Monday, 31 August 2015

Mayoral Occupants


MY FASCINATION with the history of the city of Belfast's Rolls-Royce Phantom VI continues.

The following Lord Mayors enjoyed the privilege of being conveyed in that stately limousine:-


1966-69     William Duncan Geddis,
Studied at Skerries College in Belfast before becoming a clothing manufacturer; elected to the Belfast Corporation for the Ulster Unionist Party; Lord Mayor, 1966-69.
1969-72     Joseph Foster Cairns,
Managing director of a furniture retailer, and chairman of a development company; elected to the Belfast Corporation for the Ulster Unionist Party; Lord Mayor, 1969-71.
1972-75     Sir William Christie MBE JP,
Proprietor of a wallpaper company in Belfast; Lord Mayor, 1972-75. During this time his home and business were attacked several times, and his wife survived a gunshot to the head in 1972. 
His time in office coincided with the suspension of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, and he was therefore the first Lord Mayor since John White in 1920 not to serve as an ex-officio member of the NI Senate. He retired in 1977.
1975-77     Sir Myles Humphreys JP DL,
Ulster Unionist Party politician, engineer and businessman; Lord Mayor, 1975-77; chaired the NI Police Authority for a decade. Sir Myles appears to have been the last Belfast Lord Mayor to be knighted.
1977-78     James Stewart.

1978-79     David Somerville Cook,
solicitor, eventually becoming a senior partner at Sheldon and Stewart Solicitors; founder member, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland; Belfast City Councillor, 1973-85. 
In 1978, he became the first non-unionist Lord Mayor since partition (the pro-home rule Liberal, William James Pirrie, having held the post in the 1890s); Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party, 1980-84. 
The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Down is presently Mrs Fionnuala Cook OBE DL.
First published in August, 2012. 

The Plain Loaf


Here is a loaf of bread which is a perennial favourite of mine: Irwin's Nutty Krust high-fibre plain bread.

It toasts very well indeed. I turn the toaster up several notches.

It does have a tendency occasionally to be misshapen upon purchase, which necessitates trimming the edges a little for insertion into the toaster.

No matter. The lucky birds get my crumbs.


The plain loaf  is a traditional Ulster-Scots style of loaf. It has a dark, well-fired crust on the top and bottom of the bread.

There is no crust on the sides due to the unbaked loaves being stuck together in batches, baked together then torn into individual loaves afterwards.

This style of bread does not fit well in most modern toasters due to the greater height of the loaf. This was once the more widely available style of loaf in comparison to the now more common pan loaf.

Irwin's bakery is based at Portadown in County Armagh.

First published in November, 2012.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tynan Abbey


TYNAN ABBEY, County Armagh, was built in 1750 and enlarged in the Tudor-Gothic style around 1820-30.


It had an imposing two-storey entrance front, battlemented and pinnacled; a battlemented central tower and doorway too, with pointed Gothic windows.

Photo credit: Stuart Blakely

The Rt Hon Sir Norman Stronge, 8th Baronet, MC JP, and his only son, James, were murdered by the IRA in the Abbey, which was burnt to the ground, in 1981.

I have written about the Stronge Baronets elsewhere on this blog.

Photo credit: Stuart Blakely

Originally the estate extended to some 8,000 acres. 

The late Douglas Deane OBE recalled the 8th Baronet's passion for wildlife at Tynan Abbey:
He went to live and farm at Tynan Abbey in 1928 and always his interest was in wild things; often he told me about the wildfowl which visited the lake in winter; the groups of Bewick swans; the flocks of white-fronted geese...

...he showed me an incubating woodcock, hidden in a pool of brown leaves by the edge of the main drive at Tynan and told me that his gamekeeper had seen a woodcock carry one of its young, held between its legs, from an open patch in the woods in to cover; and many times had watched a woodcock feed its young in the same fashion as pigeons.

Every year Sir Norman would invite me to Tynan to see the azaleas in colour and the seas of bluebells in the woods and always there was talk of butterflies, painted ladies, peacock and the rest. Sir Norman was the envy of his friends, being an excellent shot.

He would often finish a day's shooting with close to 200 pigeons...his cousin, Sir Basil Brooke [1st Viscount Brookeborough], had the edge on him and always seemed to finish the day with more.
First published in September, 2013. 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Strand Hotel, Portstewart

I am seeking photographs of the Strand Hotel, Portstewart, if any readers can share them with me.

Wodehouse Gems: II

Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves by Sir P G Wodehouse, KBE, published  in 1963


Bertie Wooster's arch-adversary, Roderick Spode, Earl of Sidcup, features heavily in this book.

Spode, as Bertie calls him, is a character we all love to hate.

Here is one of my favourite passages that always makes me laugh:-

'...Spode pivoted round and gave me a penetrating look. He had grown a bit, I noticed, since I had last seen him, being now about nine foot seven. ...I had compared him to a gorilla, and what I had had in mind had been the ordinary run-of-the-mill gorilla, not the large economy size'. 

...'To ease the strain, I asked him if he would have a cucumber sandwich, but with an impassioned gesture he indicated that he was not in the market for cucumber sandwiches..."a muffin?" 


No, not a muffin, either. He seemed to be on a diet.

"Wooster", he said, his jaw muscles moving freely, "I can't make up my mind whether to break your neck or not."

And so on. Wodehouse's command of the English language was supreme. Brilliant.

Wodehouse's character, Spode, is believed to be modelled on the war-time fascist leader, Sir Oswald Mosley Bt.

The Mosleys had a connection with Staffordshire, the county where Spode pottery is made; hence the Spode name.

First published in March, 2009.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Portstewart Revisited

It's a mere hop, skip and jump by car from Portballintrae in County Antrim to Portstewart in County Londonderry.

Portstewart is, perhaps, the slightly more sedate neighbour of Portrush, a mile or two along the Causeway Coast.

I parked on the Promenade and proceeded to walk to the main beach, viz. Portstewart Strand, a property of the National Trust.

En route, I passed the site (top) of the Strand Hotel.


Do any readers possess photographs of the Strand Hotel, by the way?

The site is directly opposite the golf links. The hotel was demolished about 1991, I gather.

My parents stayed there in 1958; and We Three stayed there six years later, in 1964, when I was four.


The original steps down to the beach remain, however.


Across the beach is Harry's Shack, a new beach restaurant which has become very well established.


The ecological roof is notable.

Portballintrae: III

I motored the short distance from Portballintrae to Portrush yesterday evening, in order to have some grub at the legendary Ramore wine-bar, at Portrush harbour, County Antrim.

Be advised that parking is difficult here, though, having driven round the block twice, I was fortunate enough to drive into a space somebody was just vacating.

The wine bar was as busy - buzzing - as ever.

I was shown to a high table and stool within five minutes, though.

Their system is proven and works very well: one is shown to a table; given a menu; order up at the bar counter; provide table number and pay.

Thereafter you wait until your name or number is called.

I had the Seafood Thermidor, comprising a kind of luxurious fish-pie of lobster, cod, prawns, turbot etc, with piped potato and tomato slices on a rich lobster Thermidor sauce.

It was sumptuous and filling; no need for any side orders.

In fact, I was so satisfied afterwards that I had no room for the tempting puddings on offer.

Had I not been dining solo, I could have shared a dessert.

What a remarkable establishment Ramore is.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Portballintrae: II

The roof was firmly attached to the Belmont two-seater this morning for my visit to Portrush, the popular seaside resort on the County Antrim coast.

I parked at the East Strand car-park and thereafter walked towards the town centre.

I enjoyed a pot of tea in The White House department store on the main street.

This compact store has a very good culinary department on the ground floor; and their café is renowned for its high standards.

I also paid a brief visit the Holy Trinity parish church, just across the road, which dates from about 1842.

Portrush was, unsurprisingly, quiet today due to particularly heavy rain.

I was brandishing the holiday umbrella.

This afternoon I'm installed comfortably in the Bushmills Inn, having a quiet alcohol-free lager and about to peruse my Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Portballintrae: I


The little seaside resort of Portballintrae is as popular as ever.


It lies on the north coast of County Antrim, about a mile from Bushmills.

After I'd unpacked, I felt like paying my old acquaintance, Con Auld, a visit.

During the summer months he lives at his Portbradden home (top).


His tiny church, St Gobban's, was closed, so unfortunately he wasn't at home.


I'm presently in the Causeway Hotel, where I've had a light meal.

Adare Manor

THE EARLS OF DUNRAVEN AND MOUNT-EARL WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LIMERICK, WITH 14,298 ACRES

The descent of the Earls of Dunraven from the ancient Milesian princes is certified by the recognition of the pedigree of their ancestor, Thady Quin, of Adare, in a record entered in Ulster King-of-Arms' office by Sir Richard Carney, Knight, Ulster King-of-Arms in 1688.

Con Cead Caha, or Con of the Hundred Battles, described by genealogists as monarch in Ireland in the 2nd century, is represented as the founder of the family of QUIN; his grandson, Cormac, who is said to have reigned in AD 254, was the first who adopted the surname of QUIN, which signifies a descendant of Con.

The family certainly possessed large territories in Ireland, and governed as hereditary chieftains, before the invasion of the English in the reign of HENRY II.

The Earls of Dunraven descended from a branch which for many centuries possessed great feudal power in County Clare, whence their ancestors were finally expelled by the more powerful family of O'Brien, and settled in County Limerick.

JAMES QUIN, of Kilmallock, County Limerick (whose brother, John Quin, a Dominican friar, was Bishop of Limerick in 1521), had a son,

DONOUGH QUIN, who was father of

DONOUGH QUIN, who married Judith, heiress of the family of O'Riordan, which had been settled for more than five centuries in County Limerick.

He died in 1621, leaving a son,

THADY QUIN (1645-1726), of Adare, who wedded firstly, Bridget, daughter and heir of Andrew Rice, of Dingle, County Kerry; and secondly, Frances, daughter of Major Hull, son of Sir William Hull, Knight; and thirdly, Catherine, daughter of Piers Morony.

By his last wife he had issue,
VALENTINE, his heir;
John;
James;
Catherine; Eleanor; Judith.
Thady Quin was succeeded by his son,

VALENTINE QUIN, of Adare, who espoused Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry Widenham, of The Court, County Limerick, and had issue,
WYNDHAM, his heir;
George, of Quinsborough;
Mary; Margaret; Alice; Catharine; Anne.
Mr Quin died in 1744, and was succeeded by his elder son,

WYNDHAM QUIN MP (1717-89), of Adare, who married, in 1748, Frances, daughter of Richard Dawson, of Dawson's Grove, County Monaghan, by whom he had issue,
VALENTINE RICHARD, his successor;
Wyndham, lt-col in the army;
John, in holy orders;
Elizabeth; Mary; Catherine; Frances.
Mr Quin's eldest son,

VALENTINE RICHARD QUIN (1732–1824), was created a baronet in 1781; and raised to the peerage, in 1800, as Baron Adare.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1816, as Viscount Mount Earl; and created Viscount Adare and EARL OF DUNRAVEN AND MOUNT EARL in 1822.

He wedded firstly, in 1777, Frances, daughter of Stephen, 1st Earl of Ilchester, by whom he had issue,
WYNDHAM HENRY, his successor;
Richard George;
Elizabeth; Harriett.
His lordship espoused secondly, Mrs Blennerhasset, widow of Colonel Blennerhasset, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

WYNDHAM HENRY, 2nd Earl,
Windham Henry Quin, 2nd Earl (1782–1850);
Edwin Richard Wyndham-Quin, 3rd Earl (1812–71);
Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl (1841–1926);
Windham Henry Wyndham-Quin, 5th Earl (1857–1952);
Richard Southwell Windham Robert Wyndham-Quin, 6th Earl (1887–1965);
Thady Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 7th Earl (1939–2011).
Unable to bear the expense of maintaining Adare Manor, sold it and its contents in 1984. The house was purchased by Irish-American businessman Tom Kane and converted into the Adare Manor Hotel.


Adare Manor was originally a two-storey, seven-bay early 18th century house, most likely built about 1725 by Valentine Quin, grandfather of the 1st Earl of Dunraven.

From 1832, the 2nd Earl, started rebuilding the house in the Tudor-Revival style as a way of occupying himself (his wife was handicapped).


When the house was almost completed in 1846, A W Pugin was commissioned to design some features of the Great Hall.

Between 1850-62, the 3rd Earl finally completed the mansion by building the principal garden front.

The Great Hall is a room of vast size and height, divided down the middle by a screen of giant Gothic arches of stone.

A carved oak Minstrels' Gallery runs along one side; originally there was once an organ loft.

Mark Bence-Jones states that Adare Manor, as completed, is a picturesque and grey stone pile, composed of various elements that are rather loosely tied together; some of which are reproduced from Tudor originals in England. viz. the entrance tower, bearing a verisimilitude to the Cloister Court at Eton College.

The Long Gallery above is 132 feet long and 26 feet in height.

The house is set on a 840-acre estate and now operates as a luxury hotel, featuring the Adare Golf Club, Elemis Treatment Rooms, Townhouses and Villas on the rest of the resort.

President Clinton stayed at Adare Manor in September, 1998.

Dunraven arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in August, 2011.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Strand Hotel Invoice

I found an invoice among several documents in a drawer recently at home.

The Strand Hotel was located at the end of the road where Portstewart's famous strand beach is.

The hotel was established in 1932.

The Director in 1958 was Mrs A L S McGrath.

Golf, tennis and fishing must have been popular then, as these pastimes remain today.

It's perhaps notable that the invoice contains columns for

  • Servants' Board
  • Morning Tea
  • Baths
  • Fires
  • High Tea
  • Supper
  • Phone & Grams [presumably telegrams]

Friday, 21 August 2015

1st Viscount Dillon

THE VISCOUNTS DILLON WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MAYO, WITH 83,749 ACRES


This family is said to derive from LOGAN, or the Valiant (third son of O'Neal, monarch of Ireland, of the blood royal of Heremon), who fled his country in consequence of slaying, in single combat, about AD 595, his father's nephew, Coleman, King of Timoria, in Hibernia; and subsequently passing over into France, and marrying the daughter and heir of the Duke of Aquitaine, himself and his descendants became, for several generations, sovereign princes of that dukedom.

From these princes descended

SIR HENRY DE LEON (son of Thomas, Duke of Aquitaine), who was brought into England with his brother Thomas, when an infant, by HENRY II, the deposer of his father; and accompanying the Earl of Moreton (afterwards King JOHN) into Ireland, in 1185, obtained those extensive territorial grants in the counties of Longford and Westmeath then denominated Dillon's Country, but altered by statute, in the reign of HENRY VIII, to the Barony of Kilkenny West.

Sir Henry married a daughter of John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, and was afterwards styled "Premier Dillon, Lord Drumraney".

From this feudal lord lineally sprang

GERALD DILLON, of Drumraney, County Westmeath, chief of the family of Dillon towards the end of the 14th century, left two sons, the elder of whom, SIR MAURICE, was ancestor of the Viscounts Dillon; and the younger, SIR JAMES, of the Earls of Roscommon.

Sixth in descent from Sir Maurice was

SIR THEOBALD DILLON, Knight, of Costello-Gallen, County Mayo, who was created VISCOUNT DILLON in 1622.

His lordship married Eleanor, daughter of Sir Edward Tuite, of Tuitestown, County Westmeath, and sister of William Tuite, of Tuitestown, County Westmeath.

He died at an advanced period of life, in 1624, leaving so numerous a progeny that he assembled, at one time, in his house at Killenfaghny, more than one hundred of his descendants.

He was succeeded by his grandson,

LUCAS, 2nd Viscount (1610-29), who wedded, in 1625, but when fifteen years of age, the Lady Mary MacDonnell, second daughter of Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim; by whom he left at his decease an only son, his successor,

THEOBALD, 3rd Viscount (1629-30); who died in infancy, when the title reverted to his uncle,

THOMAS, 4th Viscount (1615-72), who espoused Frances, daughter of Nicholas White, of Leixlip; and was succeeded at his decease by his by his eldest surviving son,

THOMAS, 5th Viscount, who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir John Burke, Knight, of County Galway; but left no issue.

His lordship died in 1674, when the title reverted to his kinsman,

LUCAS, 6th Viscount, great-grandson of the 1st Viscount, being the eldest son of Theobald Dillon, third son of his lordship's eldest son, Sir Christopher Dillon, Knight.

This nobleman dying without issue, in 1682, the title devolved upon

THEOBALD DILLON, of Kilmore, as 7th Viscount (refer to Sir Lucas Dillon, 2nd son of 1st Viscount).

This nobleman, an officer in the army, attached himself to the falling fortunes of JAMES II, and was outlawed in 1690.

His lordship wedded Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Talbot, of Templeoge, County Dublin, and had, with other issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Arthur, father of 10th and 11th Viscounts.
After the decease of his lordship, in 1691, the outlawry was reversed in favour of his son and successor,

HENRY, 8th Viscount, who espoused Frances, second daughter of George, Count Hamilton, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1713, by his son,

RICHARD, 9th Viscount (1688-1737), who married the Lady Bridget Burke, second daughter of John, 9th Earl of Clanricarde, by whom he left at his decease an only daughter, Frances, who wedded her first cousin, and his lordship's successor,

CHARLES, 10th Viscount (1701-41), who died without issue and was succeeded by his brother,

HENRY, 11th Viscount (1705-87), a colonel in the French service, who espoused, in 1744, the Lady Charlotte Lee, eldest daughter of George Henry, 2nd Earl of Lichfield, of Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire, and had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
Arthur, a general in the French service;
Henry;
Frances; Catherine; Laura; Charlotte.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 12th Viscount (1745-1813), who conformed to the established church in 1767, and claimed, and was allowed, the viscountcy, as 12th Viscount, by the Irish House of Lords in 1778.

His lordship married firstly, in 1776, Henrietta Maria Phipps, only daughter of Constantine, 1st Lord Mulgrave, and had issue,
HENRY AUGUSTUS, his successor;
Frances Charlotte.
His lordship wedded secondly, a French lady, and by her, who died in 1833, he had a daughter, Charlotte, married in 1813 to Lord Frederick Beauclerk.

He was succeeded by his son,

HENRY AUGUSTUS, 13th Viscount (1777-1832), who espoused, in 1807, Henrietta, eldest daughter of Dominick Geoffrey Browne MP, and had issue,
CHARLES HENRY, his successor;
Theobald Dominick Geoffrey;
Arthur Edmund Denis;
Constantine Augustus;
Gerald Normanby;
Henrietta Maria; Margaret Frances Florence; Louisa Anne Rose; Helena Matilda.
This nobleman, assuming the additional surname and arms of LEE, was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HENRY, 14th Viscount (1810-65).
  • Charles Henry Robert Dillon, 21st Viscount (1945–82);
  • Henry Benedict Charles Dillon, 22nd Viscount (b 1973);
The heir is his cousin, Thomas Arthur Lee Dillon (b 1983), the son of his uncle, the Hon Richard Arthur Louis Dillon (1948–2014).

LOUGHGLYNN HOUSE, County Roscommon, is a five-bay, two-storey mansion house, built ca 1715.

Although Loughglynn is in County Roscommon, the vast majority of the Dillon estate straddled the border with County Mayo.

A third attic storey was built in the 1820s, though suffered a disastrous fire in 1904, when the top storey was not replaced, nor the end bays on the garden front which were reduced to a single storey.

There are ashlar limestone walls with quoins and a with roughly tooled limestone basement.

The entrance front has a pediment and a pedimented Doric doorcase.

In 1903, Loughglynn was sold to the Catholic Bishop of Elphin, who invited the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to establish a convent.

The sisters established a dairy, and Loughglynn butter and cheese was famous all over the world until they ceased this activity in the 1960s.

They subsequently opened a nursing home.
In 2003, the property developer Gerry Gannon bought the convent for under €2m, intending to turn it into a hotel.
In 2009, it was transferred to his wife's name.
THE DILLON FAMILY lived mainly at their Oxfordshire seat, Ditchley Park.
Dillon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Belan House

THE EARLS OF ALDBOROUGH OWNED 964 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY KILDARE

It is said that the family of STRATFORD can be traced from the time of ALFRED THE GREAT; but our account shall commence in 1660 with

ROBERT STRATFORD, a younger branch of the house of MEREVALE, and the first who settled in Ireland, one of the original burgesses in the charter constituting Baltinglass a borough.

He represented County Wicklow in parliament and, in 1662, married a daughter of Oliver Walsh, of Ballykilcavan, Queen's County, by whom he had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
Francis, consul at Bordeaux, dsp;
Grace; Mary; Elizabeth; Abigail;
Jane; Anne; Catherine.
Mr Stratford was succeeded by his elder son,

EDWARD STRATFORD (1664-), who purchased Great Belan, and other lands in County Kildare, from the Viscount Fitzhardinge.

This gentleman was a staunch supporter of the Revolution, and entertained WILLIAM III at Belan.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Euseby Baisley, of Ricketstown, County Carlow, and had, with a daughter,
Robert;
Eusebius;
JOHN, of whom presently.
The youngest son,

JOHN STRATFORD, (c1691-1777), MP for Baltinglass in the reigns of the first three GEORGES, was raised to the peerage, in 1763, by the title of Baron Baltinglass; and in 1776, Viscount Aldborough

In 1777, he was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ALDBOROUGH, and Viscount Amiens.

His lordship married Martha, daughter and co-heir of the Ven Benjamin O'Neale, Archdeacon of Leighlin, by whom he had six sons and nine daughters.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 2nd Earl (1736-1801), who espoused firstly, Barbara, daughter of the Hon Nicholas Herbert, of Great Glemham, in Suffolk; and secondly, in 1788, Elizabeth, only daughter 1st Baron Henniker; but had no issue.

He was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN, 3rd Earl (1740-1823), who wedded, in 1777, Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon and Rev Frederick Hamilton, and great-granddaughter of William, 3rd Duke of Hamilton; by whom he had three daughters,
Louisa;
Elizabeth;
Emily.
His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

BENJAMIN O'NEALE, 4th Earl (1746-1833), who married, in 1774, Martha, only child and heiress of John Burton, and niece and heiress of Mason Gerard.

By this lady his lordship had one son and two daughters, viz.
MASON GERARD, his successor;
Eliza; Sophia.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

MASON GERARD, 5th Earl (1784-1849), who wedded, in 1804 (divorced 1826) Cornelia Jane, a daughter of Charles Henry Tandy, of Waterford.

He was succeeded by his only son,

BENJAMIN O'NEALE, 6th and last Earl (1808-75), a captain in the 15th Light Dragoons.

Following the decease of the 6th Earl at Alicante, Spain, unmarried, the titles expired.


photo credit: The National Trust 

BELAN HOUSE, near Ballitore, County Kildare, was said to have been one of the biggest 18th century gable-ended houses in Ireland

It was built in 1743 for the 1st Earl of Aldborough by Richard Castle, in collaboration with Francis Bindon.

Belan comprised three storeys; an eleven-bay front; three centre bays and the two outer bays breaking forward.

A central Venetian window was above the tripartite doorway.

The roof parapet had recessed panelling and urns.

There was also an elegant stable block; and a domed Doric rotunda in the park.


Belan House remained intact, though inhabitable, until 1837, when the family left owing to impecunious circumstances.

During the lifetime of the 4th Earl, owing to his reckless gambling and extravagant mode of living, the property became heavily mortgaged.

After 1823, the estate became neglected.
During Lord Aldborough's absence abroad, it is said that the family lawyer, a man named Lewis, illegally obtained a long lease of Belan and, together with a friend of his named Mercer, brought about the dismantlement of the house and demesne by gradually auctioning off every stick and stone they could move.
The cut-stone work of the parapet and other parts of the house were sold, and used in the erection of public buildings in Athy; the furniture and chimney pieces were parted with, and the statuary in the grounds suffered a similar fate; the doors and shutters are said to have been used for flooring the stable lofts at Newtown House, near Bolton Castle.

For miles around there is hardly a place which does not possess some fragments of Belan's former grandeur.

At Bolton Castle, in the garden, is a block of composite, bearing the Aldborough crest.

The great iron gates within view of the hall door at Carton House originally hung at the Belan gate lodge.

The only trace now showing the extent of Belan demesne in former times are three stone obelisks.


ALDBOROUGH HOUSE is amongst the most important surviving historic houses in Dublin.

Located on Portland Row, it was the last great mansion to be built in Dublin city during the second half of the 18th century.

Aldborough House was built in 1796 by Edward, 2nd Earl of Aldborough, from whom Aldborough Place, Amiens Street and Stratford Row receive their names.

Stratford House was the family's town residence in London.


STRATFORD HOUSE, Stratford Place, London, is now the premises of the Oriental Club.

The building was constructed in the 1770s for the 2nd Earl, who paid £4,000 for the site (formerly occupied by the Lord Mayor of London's Banqueting House) along with the Robert Adam-inspired building.

The House was variously remoulded over the years with new plumbing and a second storey on the east and west wings in the 1890s.

However it was in 1908 when Lord Derby bought the lease that the most extensive alterations were set in motion.

He purchased additional property in Marylebone Lane, removed the stables and built a Banqueting Hall with a grand ballroom above (the last privately owned ballroom to be built in this country).

It was a spectacular room of Italian design which was converted when the house was acquired by the Oriental Club.

When Stratford House was purchased by the Oriental Club in 1960, it was necessary to make certain alterations, as the needs of a Club were different to those of a town house of the nobility.

The ballroom was converted into two floors of bedrooms, additional lifts were installed and alterations to the Banqueting Hall were made, which is now the Dining Room.

The recent addition of eight new bedrooms continues the Oriental Club's tradition of providing a welcoming and comfortable home-from-home for its Members in the centre of London.

First published in August, 2013.   Aldborough arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Mayoral Rolls-Royce

This stately Rolls-Royce Phantom VI was used by the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of Belfast between 1968-78.

It was purchased by Belfast Corporation for the official use of the Lord Mayor.

The traditional navy blue colour is still on the bonnet, roof and boot, though elsewhere it has been re-painted.

The bonnet's considerable length is reminiscent of a concert grand piano.


Its original registration number was 1 WZ.

Of course the Council should have kept the car and continued to use it.

It could even have been converted to run on bio-fuel.


This car was the first Phanton VI off the production line: 1969 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine. Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward. Registration number WVO 338G. Chassis number PRH4108. Engine number 4108. Sold for £36,700, including premium.


FOOTNOTES

The Rolls-Royce’ in-house coach-builder Park Ward Limited (later H J Mulliner, Park Ward) produced what was, in effect, the ‘standard’ seven-passenger limousine coachwork for the Phantom V.

This timeless design would survive until 1990, being built in near-identical Phantom VI form from 1968, when separate air conditioning for front and rear compartments was standardised alongside the Silver Shadow-specification 6,230cc V8 engine.

The usual upholstery for the front compartment was leather, which was also included in the list of alternatives for the rear along with West of England cloth.


As one would expect in a car of this class, a cocktail cabinet incorporated into the rear compartment’s cabinet-work was one of a host of options that also included electric windows.

Phantom development tended to lag behind that of the contemporary ’Shadow range, and it was not until 1978 that the model received the three-speed automatic transmission and 6.75-litre engine that had featured on the latter for many years.

By this time the opulent Phantom VI was being built to special order only, with prices ‘on application’.

The very first Phantom VI produced, chassis number ‘PRH 4108,’ was sold new to Belfast City Corporation for use by the Lord Mayor (as referenced in Martin Bennett’s book, ‘Rolls-Royce & Bentley: The Crewe Years’) and was mostly maintained by the Crewe factory until sold by the Corporation in 1978.

The car enjoyed three subsequent owners before passing into the vendor's’ hands in 1991, and comes with numerous invoices for this period issued by recognised Rolls-Royce specialists.

Since acquisition it has been maintained by the engineer owners and used regularly on R-REC events, most notably Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations at Windsor Castle in 2002.

Restored in the early 1990s, the vehicle is reported as being to factory specification apart from the addition of an electric radiator cooling fan.


AUCTION NOTICES

This, four previous owner car, was acquired by the current vendors in 1991 when it was then comprehensively restored underneath and new rear springs fitted.

It has since been enjoyed at many club events.

In addition to regular servicing, the car has benefited from a new radiator, brake overhaul, three new tyres, rear fog lamps and an electric radiator fan together with new front and rear bumpers.

The car comes with all MOT certificates dating back to 1977 and numerous invoices from recognised Rolls-Royce specialists.

Handbook, jack and wheel brace are all included and the cocktail cabinet is complete with decanters and glasses.

First published in August, 2012.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ardfert Abbey

THE EARLS OF GLANDORE OWNED 9,913 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY KERRY


This family came into Ireland during the reign of ELIZABETH I when one of the house of CROSBIE, of Great Crosby, in Lancashire, left two sons, Patrick and John.

PATRICK CROSBIE, the elder son, obtained a considerable landed property, and was succeeded by his son,

SIR PIERCE CROSBIE,
who incurred the resentment of the great Earl of Strafford, for opposing in parliament his violent measures, which obliged him to quit the kingdom, when a second prosecution was carried on against him by the Star Chamber, in England, which ended in his confinement in the Fleet, from whence he escaped beyond seas, and continued abroad until Lord Strafford's trial, when he became, in his turn, evidence against him. 
He is said to have been created a baronet by JAMES I, and was a gentleman of the Privy Chamber to CHARLES I, and a lord of the privy council.
Sir Pierce died without issue in 1646, and bequeathed his estates to his cousins, Walter and David Crosbie.

THE RT REV JOHN CROSBIE, his uncle, Lord Bishop of Ardfert, appointed to that see in 1601, who married Winifred, daughter of O'Lalor, of the Queen's County, and had, with four daughters, six sons,
WALTER (Sir), 1st Baronet;
DAVID, ancestor of the
EARLS OF GLANDORE;
John (Sir), of Tullyglass, Co Down;
Patrick;
William;
Richard.
The Queen's letter to Lord Deputy Mountjoy, dated from the manor of Oatland, 1601, directing his appointment to the see of Ardfert, describes the Bishop as
"a graduate in schools, of the English race, skilled in the English tongue, and well disposed in religion."
He was prebendary of Dysart in the diocese of Limerick.

This divine died in 1621. His second son,

DAVID CROSBIE,
Colonel in the army, and governor of Kerry, 1641, stood a siege in Ballingarry Castle for more than twelve months. He was afterwards governor of Kinsale for CHARLES I. In 1646, he inherited a portion of the estate of his cousin, Sir Pierce Crosbie Bt, son of Patrick Crosbie, who had been granted a large portion of The O'More's estate in Leix.
He married a daughter of the Rt Rev John Steere, Lord Bishop of Ardfert, and had, with four daughters, two sons,
THOMAS (Sir), his heir;
Patrick, of Tubrid, Co Kerry.
Colonel Crosbie, whose will was proved in 1658, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR THOMAS CROSBIE, Knight, of Ardfert, High Sheriff of Kerry, 1668,
knighted by James, Duke of Ormonde, in consideration of the loyalty of his family during the Usurper's rebellion. He was MP for County Kerry in the parliament held at Dublin by King JAMES II in 1688, and refused to take the oath of allegiance to WILLIAM III.
Sir Thomas married firstly, Bridget, daughter of Thomas Tynte, of County Cork, and had issue,
DAVID, father of 1st and 2nd Barons Brandon;
William;
Patrick;
Walter;
Sarah; Bridget.
Sir Thomas wedded secondly, Ellen, daughter of Garrett FitzGerald, of Ballynard, County Limerick, by whom he had no issue; and thirdly, in 1680, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of William Hamilton, of Liscloony, King's County, by whom he had a daughter, Ann, living in 1694, and four sons,
THOMAS;
John;
Pierce;
Charles;
Ann.
Sir Thomas's eldest son,

DAVID CROSBIE, of Ardfert, wedded Jane, younger daughter and co-heir to William Hamilton.

Dying in 1717, he was succeeded by his heir,

SIR MAURICE CROSBIE (1690-1762), Knight, of Ardfert, who married Lady Elizabeth Anne FitzMaurice, eldest daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kerry.

This gentleman was MP for County Kerry, 1713-58; and elevated to the peerage, on his retirement, by the title Baron Brandon.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Baron (1716-81), MP for Ardfert, 1735-62, who was created Viscount Crosbie in 1771; and was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF GLANDORE, in 1776.

His lordship married firstly, in 1745, Lady Theodosia Bligh, daughter of John, Earl of Darnley; and secondly, in 1777, Jane, daughter of Edward Vesey.

He died in 1781 and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl (1753-1815), PC, MP for Athboy, 1775.
He chose to sit for the latter, and held the seat until 1781, when he succeeded his father in the earldom and entered the Irish House of Lords. He was sworn of the Irish Privy Council in 1785.
In 1789, he was appointed Joint Master of the Rolls in Ireland alongside the Earl of Carysfort; was married in London, in 1771, by Frederick Cornwallis, Archbishop of Canterbury, to the Hon Diana, daughter of George, 1st Viscount Sackville. The marriage was childless.
The titles expired on his death, while he was succeeded in the barony of Brandon by his cousin,

THE REV WILLIAM CROSBIE DD (1771-1832), 4th Baron, son of the Very Rev the Hon Maurice Crosbie, Dean of Limerick, younger son of the 1st Baron.

His lordship wedded, in 1815, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of David La Touche, of Upton, by whom he had one daughter,

THE HON ELIZABETH CECILIA CROSBIE, who married Henry Galgacus Redhead Yorke MP in 1837.

Lord Brandon served as rector of Castle Island in County Kerry.

On his death, in 1832, the titles expired.



ARDFERT ABBEY, Ardfert, County Kerry, was a mansion originally built at the end of the 17th century by Sir Thomas Crosbie.

It was renovated in 1720 by Sir Maurice Crosbie (afterwards 1st Lord Brandon), and further altered about 1830.

The house comprised a two-storey block with seven-bay front, the two outer bays on either side breaking forwards and framed by quoins.

There was a pedimented centre; plain recangular doorcase; and a high, eaved roof on a modillion cornice.

The front was elongated by lower two-storey wings which protruded forwards at right angles to it, thus forming an open forecourt.

Inside the house, the panelled hall was decorated with figures painted in monochrome on panels.

There was an early 18th century staircase and gallery; Corintian newels, and more panelling on the landing.

A large drawing-room boasted compartmented plasterwork on the ceiling. Here there was a full-length Reynolds portrait of Lady Glandore.

The gardens had an early formal layout: sunken parterre; yew alleys; trees cut into an arcade; avenues of beech, lime and elm.

A ruined Franciscan friary was in the grounds.

Nothing now remains of the house, burnt by the IRA ca 1922, except some relics of the formal garden.


Ardfert Abbey (or House) eventually passed to the 2nd Earl of Glandore's sister, Lady Anne, who married William John Talbot in 1775. Her eldest son,

The Rev John Talbot-Crosbie MA, of Ardfert House, married Jane, daughter of Colonel Thomas Lloyd, in 1811; was MP for Ardfert, prior to taking Holy Orders. In 1816, his name was legally changed to John Talbot-Crosbie. He died in 1818. His eldest son,

William Talbot Talbot-Crosbie JP DL (1817-99), of Ardfert House, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1848.
He married firstly, Susan Anne, daughter of Hon Lindsey Merrick Peter Burrell, in 1839. He married secondly, Emma, daughter of Hon Lindsey Merrick Peter Burrell, in 1853. He married thirdly, Mary Jane, daughter of Maj.-Gen. Sir Henry Torrens, in 1868 at Edinburgh. In 1880, his name was legally changed to William Talbot Talbot-Crosbie.
His youngest son,

Lindsey Bertie Talbot-Crosbie JP DL (1844-1913), married Anne Crosbie, daughter of Colonel Edward Thomas Coke and Diana Talbot-Crosbie, in 1871; Lieutenant, RN; High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1903. His 2nd son,

John Burrell Talbot-Crosbie (1873-1969), of Ardfert House, married Mary, daughter of Gilbert Leitch, in 1910. The marriage was childless.

Mr Talbot-Crosbie sold Ardfert House (the garden gates being re-erected outside the parish church in Tralee as a memorial to the Crosbie family).

It stood close to Ardfert Village, next to Ardfert Friary with extensive surrounding grounds.

The house was evacuated by the Crosbies and most of its furniture and belongings removed prior to it being burned by the IRA in August, 1922.

Article from a publication written thereafter: The Lord Danesfort:
"May I give two illustrations of damage to property since the truce, and of the manner in which it has been treated? I take the case of Mr. Talbot-Crosby, and I mention his name because his case was fully reported in the Cork newspapers of May last.

What happened was this. His house, Ardfert Abbey, was burnt to the ground at the end of 1922, or the beginning of 1923. In May, 1924, his case came before the County Court Judge. It was, I venture to think, a most astounding case.

It was admitted that if, at or shortly before the time when the house was burnt, Mr. Talbot Crosby had been in residence, he would have been entitled, I think, to a sum of something like £21,000 compensation.

But the counsel or solicitor who appeared for the Free State at that hearing raised this extraordinary defence. He pointed to a section in the Act of 1923 to the effect that if the house was not at the time of the damage maintained as a residence by the applicant, the applicant should only get what they called market value.

Then he went on to argue that Mr. Talbot Crosby had been driven out of his house by threats of violence some few months before; therefore, his compensation, which would otherwise be £21,000, should be reduced to £2,250.

Did ever such a travesty of justice come before the Court of any civilised country in the world?

It comes to this, that if there is a ruffianly body in Ireland desirous of getting rid of a man, turning him out of his house and country and destroying his property, all it has to do is to terrorise him, shoot at him, turn him out of Ireland, and having allowed a few weeks, or whatever time this Court thinks necessary, to elapse after he has left Ireland, then to burn his house down and otherwise destroy his property.

Then, when he comes to ask for compensation, he only gets one-tenth of what he would otherwise receive. I hope the noble Lord will see the gravity of a ease of that sort. I have already given him particulars of it, and I trust he has applied to the Free State and is able to give me the explanation that they offer." 
Former town residence ~ Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin.

First published in August, 2013.   Glandore arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Rowallane Walk


I went for a walk in Rowallane Gardens this morning.

The National Trust in Northern Ireland has its regional offices here.

St John's Wort

Rowallane Gardens are beside Saintfield, County Down.

The herb & salad garden

The gardens were truly beautiful this morning. They really are a gardener's paradise.


A heavy dew remained on the lawns and the woods were captivating.


There is a pottery here; and the café is on the ground floor in Rowallane House, former residence of the Armytage-Moore family.


The bell-tower in the stable-yard has the crest of the Moores, a Moor's head.

I have written a bit about the Moores of Rowallane here.

I encountered Mike, one of the administration staff, on my way back to the car, and he brought me up to date with developments on the demesne.

Mural plaque on the House

There is a little second-hand bookshop at one corner of the stable-yard.

Bellamont Forest

THE EARLS OF BELLAMONT OWNED 5,321 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY CAVAN

This is the parent stock whence the noble houses of COOTEEarls of Mountrath, and COOTE, Lords Castlecoote, both now extinct, emanated. 

This noble family derives its origin from

SIR JOHN COOTE, a native of France, who married Isabella, the daughter and heir of the Seigneur Du Bois, of that kingdom, and had issue,

SIR JOHN COOTE, Knight, who coming into England, settled in Devon, and married a daughter of Sir John Fortescue, of that county.

His lineal descendant,

JOHN COOTE, heir to his uncle, 28th Abbot of Bury St Edmund's, wedded Margaret, daughter of Mr Drury, by whom he had four sons,
Richard;
FRANCIS, of whom we treat;
Christopher;
Nicholas.
Mr Coote's second son,

FRANCIS COOTE, of Eaton, in Norfolk, served ELIZABETH I; and by Anne, his wife, had issue,

SIR NICHOLAS COOTE, living in 1636, who had two sons,
CHARLES, his heir;
William (Very Rev), Dean of Down, 1635.
Sir Nicholas's elder son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE (1581-1642), Knight, of Castle Cuffe, in the Queen's County,
Who served in the wars against O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, at the head, as captain of the 100th Foot Regiment, with which corps he was at the siege of Kinsale, and was appointed, by JAMES I (in consequence of the good and faithful services he had rendered to ELIZABETH I), provost-marshal of the province of Connaught for life. 
In 1620, he was constituted vice-president of the same province; and created, in 1621, a baronet. Sir Charles distinguished himself, subsequently, by many gallant exploits; but the most celebrated was the relief of Birr, in 1642. 
Being dispatched, with Sir Thomas Lucas and six troops of horse, to relieve that garrison, and some other fortresses, it was necessary, in order to effect the objective, to pass the causeway broken by the rebels, who had thrown up a ditch at the end of it. 
Sir Charles, leading thirty dismounted dragoons, beat the enemy, with the loss of their captain and twenty men; relieved the castles of Birr, Borris, and Knocknamase; and having continued almost forty hours on horseback, returned to the camp with the loss of only one man. 
This is the surprising passage through Mountrath woods which justly caused the title of MOUNTRATH to be entailed upon his son.
Sir Charles married Dorothea, youngest daughter and co-heir of Hugh Cuffe, of Cuffe's Wood, County Cork, and had issue,
Charles, his heir;
Chidley, of Killester, Co Dublin;
RICHARD, ancestor of the EARL OF BELLAMONT;
Thomas, of Coote Hill;
Letitia.
Sir Charles's younger son,

RICHARD (1620-83), for his hearty concurrence with his brother, SIR CHARLES, 2nd Baronet, in promoting the restoration of CHARLES II, was rewarded with the dignity of a peer of the realm.

Being the same day that his brother was created Earl of Mountrath, Richard Coote was created Baron Coote, of Coloony, in 1660.
In 1660, Lord Coote was appointed Major to the Duke of Albemarle's regiment of horse; and the same year he was appointed one of the commissioners for executing His Majesty's declaration for the settlement of Ireland.
His lordship was, in 1675, appointed one of the commissioners entrusted for the 49 Officers. In 1676, this nobleman resided at Moore Park, County Meath; and at Piercetown, County Westmeath.
He married Mary, second daughter of George, Lord St George.

Following Lord Coote's decease, in 1683, he was interred at Christ Church Cathedral, in Dublin.

His second son,

RICHARD, 2nd Baron (1636-1701), was, in 1688, one on the first to join the Prince of Orange; was Governor of County Leitrim, 1689; Treasurer to the Queen,1689-93; MP for Droitwich, 1689-95.

In 1689, he was attainted in his absence by the Irish Parliament of King JAMES II.

His lordship was created EARL OF BELLAMONT in 1689, along with a grant of 77,000 acres of forfeited lands.


He was Governor of Massachusetts, 1695; and Governor of New York, 1697-1701.

The King had sent Lord Bellamont to New York to put down the "freebooting". Unfortunately he was responsible for outfitting the veteran mariner William Kidd, who turned into 'Captain Kidd', who terrorised the merchants until his capture in 1698.
According to Cokayne "he was a man of eminently fair character, upright, courageous and endependent. Though a decided Whig he had disinguished himself by bringing before the Parliament at Westminster some tyrannical acts done by Whigs at Dublin."
His lordship wedded, in 1680, Catharine, daughter and heir of Bridges Nanfan, of Worcestershire, and had issue,
NANFAN, his successor;
RICHARD, succeeded his brother.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

NANFAN, 2nd Earl (1681-1708), who married Lucia Anna van Nassau (1684-1744), daughter of Henry de Nassau, Lord Overkirk, in 1705/6 at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London.

He died at Bath, Somerset, from palsy, without male issue, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

RICHARD, 3rd Earl (1682-1766), who, in 1729, sold the family estate of Coloony, County Sligo, for nearly £17,000.

In 1737, he succeeded his mother to the estates of Birtsmorton, Worcestershire.

Macaulay described him as "of eminently fair character, upright, courageous and independent."

On his death, the earldom expired. 

The last Earl was succeeded in the barony of Coote by his first cousin once removed,

THE RT HON CHARLES, 5th Baron, KB, PC (1738-1800).
The 5th Baron was the son of Charles Coote, MP for County Cavan, son of the Hon Thomas Coote, a Justice of the Court of the King's Bench of Ireland, younger son of the 1st Baron.
In 1767, the earldom of Bellamont was created for the third time when Charles, Lord Coote, was created EARL OF BELLAMONT (3rd creation).

1st Earl of Bellamont

In 1774, Lord Bellamont was created a baronet, of Donnybrooke in the County of Dublin, with remainder to his illegitimate son, Charles.

Following his death in 1800, the titles became extinct as he left no surviving legitimate male issue, though he was succeeded in the baronetcy according to the special remainder by his illegitimate son Charles, 2nd Baronet.


BELLAMONT FOREST, near Cootehill, County Cavan, now sits amid approximately one thousand acres of parkland and lakes.

It is one of Ireland's finest 18th-century Palladian villas.

The house is four bays square, built over two storeys, with a basement, built of red brick with ashlar facings, and has a Doric limestone portico, with pediments over the windows.

The main house has been re-roofed and the chimneys rebuilt; the current owner has also rewired the house.

A new heating system has been installed on the ground floor with concealed radiators and the entire house re-plumbed.

There are both excellent formal reception rooms and beautiful entertaining rooms, coupled with a comfortable family atmosphere.

It provides extensive bedroom accommodation for both family, guests and staff, and in addition boasts the former linen hall.

The gardens have also been developed and greatly enhanced and act as further entertaining space.

A particular feature is the walled garden.

First published in August, 2013.   Bellamont arms courtesy of European Heraldry.