Monday, 29 February 2016

Altinaghree Castle


WILLIAM OBILBY JP, (1808-73), of Altinaghree Castle, Donemana, County Tyrone, from a cadet branch of OGILBY OF ARDNARGLE AND PELLIPAR, an eminent barrister and zoologist, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1873, married, in 1851, Adelaide Charlotte, daughter of the Hon and Rev Charles Douglas (brother of George Sholto, 17th Earl of Morton), by his first wife, Lady Isabella Gore, daughter of Arthur Saunders, 2nd Earl of Arran, and had issue,
James Douglas (1853-1925);
William Charles, 1855-6;
Adelaide Charlotte; Isabella Caroline;
Beatrice Emma Elizabeth; Louisa; Edith Sophia.
Mr Ogilby was succeeded by his eldest son,

CLAUD WILLIAM LESLIE OGILBY (1851-94), who married, in 1875, Bessie Henrietta, daughter of Captain William Grant Douglas, by whom he had no issue.

His brother,

JAMES DOUGLAS OGILBY (1853-1925), married, in 1884, Mary Jane Jameson (d 1894) at Donagheady parish church, County Tyrone.

ALTINAGHREE CASTLE, near Donemana, County Tyrone, is a large, derelict mansion thought to have been built ca 1860 by William Ogilby.

The house was said to be splendidly appointed and had a banqueting room, though is now ruinous.

It is constructed from cut stone.
James Douglas Ogilby, who later became a famous ichthyologist in Australia, eloped with a factory seamstress, Mary Jane Jamieson, in 1884. He subsequently migrated to Australia, where he was appointed to the Australian Museum in 1885.
The castle was abandoned in 1885, a mere twenty years after its construction.

It cannot be listed because it is roofless.

First published in February, 2014.

The Belvoir Shoot

Belvoir House: eastern elevation

My visit to Belvoir Park yesterday has prompted me to read a bit about it.

I have a large, A4-sized paperback book entitled A Treasured Landscape: the Heritage of Belvoir Park, edited by Ben Simon.

If readers are interested in this wonderful park, I urge them to seek it out.

Shortly after the 1st Baron Deramore died in 1890, the family decided to lease the estate, which in those days comprised no less than 6,348 acres of land.

The first lessee was Walter Wilson, a director of the Belfast shipbuilders Harland & Wolff, who lived with his family at Belvoir from 1900 till about 1918.

Sir James Johnson, Lord Mayor of Belfast, was the final resident of Belvoir House.

He and his family lived there from 1919 till 1925.

I have written already about the ultimate fate of the historic mansion house and its ignoble demolition in 1961, though the house was considered as the official residence of the new Governor of Northern Ireland.

Hillsborough Castle was chosen instead.

The estate was also a contender as the seat of the new Parliament of Northern Ireland, though Stormont was selected.


BELVOIR was a renowned shooting estate in its day: A shooting party stayed there for the weekend in 1904, and it is recorded that 431 pheasants, 32 hares, 2 rabbits, 2 woodcocks, and 17 ducks were bagged.

There was a pheasantry at the Big Meadow near the river Lagan.

Three years prior to this, the household comprised seventeen members of staff, including a governess, a housekeeper, under-butler, 1st footman, 2nd footman, page, lady's maid, cook, children's maid, stillroom maid, four housemaids, kitchen maid, scullery maid, and dairy maid.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Belvoir Park Walk


I paid Belvoir Park, Newtownbreda, County Down, a visit this afternoon.

Belvoir was built by the 1st Viscount Dungannon; and later sold to Sir Robert Bateson, 1st Baronet.

Belvoir forest park is now in greater Belfast.

I have written quite a lot about this extraordinarily fine 18th century demesne, though little trace remains of it.

There are, however, several indicative features.

The stable-yard survives, mercifully.

retaining wall

The old retaining wall is largely intact. It stands to the east of where the mansion house stood (now the car-park).

former fish-pond

There were four or five ornamental fish-ponds below the wall, though their remains are barely discernible.

The sweeping lawn immediately in front of the house (above) is now completely overgrown.

I strolled along the old tow-path, beside the former river Lagan navigation and canal.

1st Earl Cawdor


This is a branch of the ducal house of ARGYLL, springing from the Hon Sir John Campbell, third son of Archibald, 2nd Earl of Argyll.

JOHN CAMPBELL MP, of Cawdor Castle, Nairnshire (son and heir of Alexander Campbell), married Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Lewis Pryse, and died in 1775, having had issue,
PRYSE, his heir;
John Hooke, Lord Lyon King of Arms;
The eldest son,

PRYSE CAMPBELL, of Cawdor Castle, and of Stackpole Court, Pembrokeshire, represented Cromarty in parliament, and was a lord of the Treasury in 1766.

He wedded Sarah, daughter and co-heir of Sir Edmund Bacon Bt, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN CAMPBELL (1753-1821), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1796, by the title of Baron Cawdor, of Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire.

His lordship had previously represented the town of Cardigan in parliament. He wedded, in 1789, Lady Caroline Howard, eldest daughter of Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle, and had issue, his eldest son,

JOHN FREDERICK, 2nd Baron (1790-1860), who married, in 1816, Lady Elizabeth Thynne, eldest daughter of Thomas, 2nd Marquess of Bath.

This nobleman was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1827, by the title of EARL CAWDOR.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son James Chester Campbell, styled Viscount Emlyn (b 1998).

CAWDOR CASTLE, near Nairn, is the ancestral seat of the Earls Cawdor.

The earliest documented date for the castle is 1454, the date a licence to fortify was granted to William Calder, 6th Thane of Cawdor (or Calder, as the name was originally spelled).

However, some portions of the 15th-century tower house or keep may precede that date.

Architectural historians have dated the style of stonework in the oldest portion of the castle to ca 1380.

The castle was expanded numerous times in the succeeding centuries.

In 1510, the heiress of the Calders, Muriel, married Sir John Campbell of Muckairn, who set about extending the castle.

Further improvements were made by John Campbell, 3rd of Cawdor, who purchased rich lands on Islay.

By 1635, a garden had been added; and after the Restoration, Sir Hugh Campbell of Cawdor added or improved the north and west ranges, employing the masons James and Robert Nicolson of Nairn.

The architects Thomas Mackenzie and Alexander Ross were commissioned to add the southern and eastern ranges to enclose a courtyard, accessed by a drawbridge.

In the 20th century John, 5th Earl Cawdor, moved permanently to Cawdor and was succeeded by the 6th Earl, whose second wife Angelika, the Dowager Countess Cawdor, lives there still.

The castle is known for its gardens, which include the Walled Garden (originally planted in the 17th Century), the Flower Garden (18th century), and the Wild Garden (added in the 1960s).

In addition, the castle property includes a wood featuring numerous species of trees.

First published in January, 2014.   Cawdor arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Ashbrook House

The ancient and eminent family of ESSE, ASHE, or D'ESSECOURT, which came over with WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, appears by certified extracts, under the seal of Ulster King of Arms, to have held large estates in the county of Devon, so early as the 11th century; and the line is deducible through more than eighteen generations.
THOMAS ASHE (1529-82), second son of Nicholas Ashe, of Clyst Fornyson in Devon, was the first of the family to settle in Ireland.

Having married and had issue, he was succeeded by his eldest son,

GENERAL SIR THOMAS ASHE (1567-1626), of St John's Abbey, near Trim, County Meath, and Dromshill, County Cavan.

This gentleman received the honour of knighthood, in 1603, at Dublin Castle from Sir George Carew, the Lord Deputy, in recognition of his services to the crown in helping to put down the rebellion in that kingdom.

Sir Thomas was subsequently granted land in County Cavan.

He was rewarded even more handsomely a few years later for his support in the fight against the rebellious Irish earls, and was granted land in County Londonderry.

Over a period of several generations, this branch dropped the E from Ashe, and most references to them are with the surname "Ash".

Sir Thomas died without issue.

His country estate, later known as Ashbrook, was bequeathed to his brother, 

JOSIAS ASH, whose son,

JOHN ASH, married thrice and had some twenty-four children, a number of whom died young.

This gentleman reputedly built Ashbrook.

From him the family estate descended to his son,

GEORGE ASH (1679-1729),  who married his cousin Mary, daughter of John Rankin, in 1710.

Mr Ash was succeeded by his only son,

GEORGE ASH (1712-1796), of Ashbrook, who, dying without issue, bequeathed Ashbrook to his nephew by marriage,

WILLIAM HAMILTON, son of William Hamilton, by Jane his wife, daughter of George Ash.

Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM HAMILTON, of Ashbrook, who assumed the additional surname of ASH, on succeeding to the estates of his uncle.

Mr Hamilton-Ash wedded, in 1795, Miss Elizabeth Harriet Henderson, by whom he had issue,
George (Rev), Rector of Ballyscullion;
Anne; Jane.
Mr Hamilton-Ash died in 1821, and was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM HAMILTON-ASH JP DL (1801-67), of Ashbrook, who married, in 1827, Lady Elizabeth Emma Douglas, daughter of the Hon John Douglas and Lady Frances Lascelles, and sister of the Earl of Morton, and had issue,

CAROLINE HAMILTON-ASH (1830-1901), who espoused, in 1853, John Barré Beresford, son of Henry Barré Beresford, of Learmount Castle, County Londonderry.

The eldest son of this marriage,

COLONEL WILLIAM RANDAL HAMILTON BERESFORD-ASH DL (1859-1938), of Ashbrook, married, in 1886, Lady Florence Marion Browne, daughter of the 5th Marquess of Sligo.

In 1901, his name was legally changed to BERESFORD-ASH, when he assumed the additional surname and arms of ASH by Royal Licence.

He was a lieutenant-colonel and brevet colonel in the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers.

Colonel Beresford-Ash was succeeded by his only child,

MAJOR DOUGLAS BERESFORD-ASH DL (1887-1976), of Ashbrook, High Sheriff, 1950, who wedded, in 1930, Lady Betty Helena Joanna Rous, daughter of 3rd Earl of Stradbroke.

Major Beresford-Ash was succeeded by his son,

JOHN RANDAL BERESFORD-ASH (1938-2010), of Ashbrook, High Sheriff, 1975, who married, in 1968, Agnès Marie Colette, daughter of Comte Jules Marie Guy de Lamberterie de la Chapelle Montmoreau.

Mr Beresford-Ash left issue, three daughters,
Melanie Anne Helena Charlotte b 1968;
Louisa Jane Marie Caroline b 1971;

ASHBROOK, County Londonderry, has been home to the Beresford-Ash family since 1595.

This two-storey, bow-fronted, gable-ended, 18th century house reputedly incorporates the original house.

There is unusual fenestration: Two windows on either side of the central, curved bow in the upper storey; while there is only one on either side below.

The windows on the entrance front all have rusticated surrounds; and both sides of the house are gabled and irregular.

The Honourable The Irish Society records the Ash family as one of only four 'native land owners' prior to the plantation.

Today Ashbrook is set in 30 acres of mature parkland on the outskirts of the city of Londonderry.

The oldest part of the house was built ca 1590.

The Hall

During the celebrated siege of Londonderry in 1689, Ashbrook was partially burnt by JAMES I's troops as the Ash family were besieged in the city.

In 1760, the front six rooms were added to Ashbrook.
Unfortunately the architect's records were lost in the burning of the records office in Dublin in 1917. However, the original plans still exist of all the drainage system for the estate (fields and house) from the plumbers who installed the first flushing lavatories and baths in 1911.
In the early 1940s, Ashbrook played host to the US Marines.
The then owners, Major Beresford-Ash and his wife, Lady Helena Beresford-Ash, were asked by King George VI to host General George Marshall, Averell Harriman and Harry Hopkins, who were inspecting their troops in Londonderry.
In the grounds there are fine, mature trees with glen-side walks leading to the River Faughan, to which there is public access.

This area was recently improved following a report by Dr Tim Edwards of Ulster University, which emphasised the importance of this area as a public amenity.

Tree planting is recorded in A Register of Trees in County Londonderry 1768-1911, for the years 1773 to 1776. The house is set in lawns, with shrubs and trees a short distance away.

The walled garden has not been cultivated in the last twenty years. Half of it was an orchard, separated from the rest by a beech hedge, which still exists.

Peter Taylor has written an interesting article about the history of the Beresford-Ash family; how Ashbrook was a gift to General Thomas Ash from ELIZABETH I; and their experiences during the troubles in Northern Ireland. 

First published in February, 2010.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Shelton Abbey


The noble house of WICKLOW derives from the Fersfield branch of the ducal family of Howard.

JOHN HOWARD (1616-43) married, in 1636, Dorothea Hassells.

Following his decease, his widow removed to Ireland, where she wedded her cousin, Robert Hassells, of Shelton, County Wicklow.

The son of John and Dorothea Howard,

DR RALPH HOWARD (1638-1710), of Shelton, who was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, took a degree in Medicine in 1667, and succeeded Dr Margetson as Regius Professor of Physics at that university.

Being afterwards attainted with many others in King JAMES II's parliament, on account of his having returned to England on the breaking out of war in Ireland, with his numerous family of young children, in 1688, his estate containing 600 acres in the barony of Bargy, and County Wexford, and his leasehold interest of the north share of Arklow, and Shelton estates, County Wicklow, held from the 2nd Duke and Duchess of Ormonde, containing 4,000 acres, plantation measure, were seized upon and put in the possession of Mr Hacket, who being appointed sequestrator, resided in Shelton House, and received the rents until the war ended.

After the defeat at the Boyne in 1690, King James stayed at Shelton to refresh himself, en route to Waterford; and says, in his memoirs, that he rested some time at Mr Hacket's.

On the re-establishment of tranquillity under WILLIAM III, Dr Howard recovered his estates.

He married, in 1668, Catherine, eldest daughter of Roger Sotheby, MP for Wicklow, and by her had issue (with three daughters) three sons, viz.
HUGH, his heir;
ROBERT, of whom hereafter;
William, MP for Dublin.
The eldest son,

HUGH HOWARD (1675-1737), of Shelton, born in 1675, was appointed keeper of the state papers at Whitehall in 1714, and paymaster of the Board of Works, 1726.

He died in London in 1737, leaving a fine collection of books, drawings, prints, and medals, as well as his estates at Shelton and Seskin, County Wicklow, to his only surviving brother,

THE RT REV ROBERT HOWARD (1670-1740), Lord Bishop of Elphin, inherited in 1728 the estates of his family at the decease of his elder brother, Hugh, of Shelton, County Wicklow.

His lordship married, in 1724, Patience, daughter and sole heiress of Godfrey Boleyne, of Fenner, by Mary his wife, sister of the Rt Hon Henry Singleton, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and had issue,
RALPH, his heir;
Catherine, m to John, 1st Earl of Erne.
The Bishop was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON RALPH HOWARD, (1726-89), MP for County Wicklow, and a member of the privy council.

Mr Howard was elevated to the peerage, in 1778, by the title of Baron Clonmore, of Clonmore Castle, County Carlow; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1785, as Viscount Wicklow.

His lordship wedded, in 1755, Alice (who was raised to the peerage as COUNTESS OF WICKLOW in 1793), only daughter and heiress of William Forward MP, of Castle Forward, County Donegal, by whom he had issue,
WILLIAM, successive peers;
Stuarta; Isabella; Katherine; Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT (1757-1815), 2nd Viscount; who became EARL OF WICKLOW at the demise of his mother, 1807; but died unmarried, when the honours devolved upon his brother,

WILLIAM (1761-1818), 3rd Earl; who had assumed the surname and arms of FORWARD, upon inheriting the estate of his maternal relatives; but resumed his family name of HOWARD on succeeding to the peerage.

His lordship espoused, in 1787, Eleanor, only daughter of the Hon Francis Caulfeild, and granddaughter of James, 3rd Viscount Charlemont, by whom he had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Francis (Rev); father of
Isabella Mary; Eleanor; Mary; Alicia.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM (1788-1869), 4th Earl, KP, who wedded, in 1816, Lady Cecil Frances Hamilton, daughter of John James, 1st Marquess of Abercorn.

His lordship had no male issue and was succeeded by his nephew,
On the death of the 8th Earl, the titles became extinct.

SHELTON ABBEY, near Arklow, County Wicklow, was the ancestral seat of the Earls of Wicklow.

It is an eleven-bay, two-storey mansion, built in 1770 but remodelled in the Gothic style to designs by Sir Richard Morrison in 1819.

The building is finished with lined render and granite dressings.

The decorative panelled front door has a blind fanlight and is set within a pointed-arched opening.This is recessed within a projecting triple arched flat-roofed porch.

The front is lavishly embellished with reducing buttresses with tall pinnacles. To the north and rear large two-storey wings were later added.

The mainly pitched roof is finished with natural slate and has cast-iron rainwater goods.

The building is set within a large wooded demesne. Internally the elaborate plasterwork is still intact.

This remains an important early 19th century country house which has been very well preserved.

During the Victorian era, the 'Abbey style' was considered appropriate to secluded settings such as this.

It has been converted to institutional use with no loss of character.

The town residence of Lord Wicklow used to be 56 Upper Brook Street, London (now part of the US Embassy).

In 1947, the 8th Earl opened Shelton as an hotel in a vain attempt to meet the cost of upkeep; but he was obliged to sell it in 1951, owing to taxation.

Shelton Abbey operated as a school for a period.

The abbey has, since the early 1970s, been used as an open prison for males aged 19 years and over who are regarded as requiring lower levels of security.

Wicklow arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in January, 2012.

Castlewellan: Moorish Tower

During my visit to Castlewellan Park, County Down, in February, 2014, I came upon the ruins of the Annesleys' admirable little Moorish Tower.

Fisst floor entrance

This folly or gazebo is located at the west, or north-west, end of the lake, on the edge of a steep slope.
The Annesley crest, incidentally, features a Moor's head; and William Armytage-Moore (1806-83), coincidentally, was brother of Priscilla Cecilia, Countess Annesley (wife of the 3rd Earl) and land agent to the 3rd and 4th Earls.
The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) wrote about the tower in its 1976 gazetteer of historic buildings in the Mourne area of south County Down.


Alas, this charming folly is now concealed by relatively recent forestry, and its magnificent prospect is obscured by fir and pine trees.

It was built in 1884 by Hugh, 5th Earl Annesley.

Lord Annesley was the third largest landowner in County Down, with about 25,000 acres, extending from Slieve Croob to Slieve Donard.

Basement entrance

The UAHS described the Moorish Tower in 1976 as being in ruins, built on the edge of a steep slope.

About twenty feet in diameter inside and hexagonal in shape, the rusticated basement of great random granite blocks, battered, with a doorway facing east.

The first floor made of smooth Victorian brick, a little porch on the opposite side from the door in the basement, a fireplace in the side to the left, no window in the side to the right.


The other three sides have Moorish, key-hole-shaped windows.

Both inside and outside, the brick walls had wooden strips for battening or plastering or, outside, slate or log-hanging.

The roof was slated (the gazebo is now roofless).

The gazebo was originally clad outside in vertical split logs, dentils under the gutter, the porch doorway under a shallow gabled roof with barge-boards.

photo credit: Follies Trust

It stood under mature trees in an idyllic position.

photo credit: Follies Trust

The prospect overlooking the lake was also idyllic (and still is), though this little gem is now a neglected, ruinous, roofless shell, shut in by forestry.

THE GREAT NEWS, however, is that The Follies Trust has received a grant from the  NGO Challenge Fund, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Forest Service, to undertake initial conservation work to the Tower.

When surrounding trees are cleared as part of the conservation process, the tower’s prospect of the demesne lake, Irish Sea and Mourne mountains will be restored.

Work commenced during the summer, 2014.

March, 2015
First published in February, 2014.   Annesley arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Hardinge Baronets


This family descends from

NICHOLAS HARDY, of King's Newton, Derbyshire, living at the time of HENRY VII; who wedded Isabel, daughter of Edward Webb, and had issue,

SIR ROBERT HARDING, Knight (1621-79), of King's Newton, married Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Sprignell, Knight.

Sir Robert was a master in Chancery, raised a royalist troop of horse during the reign of CHARLES I, and entertained CHARLES II at King's Newton Hall. He was knighted in 1674.

Sir Robert's son,

THE REV GIDEON HARDINGE (c1668-1712), Vicar of Kingston-upon-Thames, left issue,
NICHOLAS, of whom we treat;
Caleb, MD, physician to the Queen;
Mary, m Sir John Stracey, Knight.
The Rev Gideon Hardinge's son,

NICHOLAS HARDINGE MP (1699-1758), of Canbury, Surrey, barrister-at-law, was chief clerk of the House of Commons in 1731, attorney-general to the Duke of Cumberland, and, in 1752, Joint Secretary to The Treasury.

Mr Hardinge married, in 1738, Jane, daughter of Sir John Pratt, Lord Chief Justice of the court of King's Bench, by whom he had issue,
George, dsp 1816;
Henry (Rev), father of
CHARLES, 2nd Baronet;
RICHARD, of whom hereafter;
Juliana; Jane; Caroline.
The youngest son,

RICHARD HARDINGE (1756-1826), of Belle Isle, County Fermanagh, was created a baronet in 1801, with remainder to the heirs male of his father.

Sir Richard wedded firstly, in 1793, Mary, daughter of Ralph, 1st Earl of Ross, by whom he had no issue; and secondly, in 1826, Caroline, daughter of Lieutenant-General Wolf.
Sir Ralph Gore was born at Belle Isle in 1725 and was created Earl of Ross in 1772. He died in 1801, leaving Belle Isle to his only surviving child, Mary, who married Sir Richard Hardinge, 1st Baronet, who sold Belle Isle, in 1830, to the Rev John Porter for £68,000 (£5.8 million in today's money).
Sir Richard died childless, in 1826, when the baronetcy devolved, according to the limitation, upon his nephew,

THE REV SIR CHARLES HARDINGE (1780-1864), 2nd Baronet, Rector of Crowhurst, Surrey, who married, in 1816, Emily Bradford, second daughter of Kenneth Callander, of Craigforth, Stirlingshire, and had issue,
HENRY CHARLES, 3rd Baronet;
EDMUND STRACEY, 4th Baronet;
Robert James;
Caroline Bradford; six other daughters.
Seemingly, Sir Charles sold Belleisle, his estate in County Fermanagh, and purchased Bounds Park in Kent.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR HENRY CHARLES HARDINGE, 3rd Baronet (1830-73), who died a bachelor, when the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR EDMUND STRACEY HARDINGE, 4th Baronet (1833-1924).

Former residences: 25 Duke Street, off Manchester Square, London; Sundridge, Sevenoaks, Kent.
  • Sir Henry Charles Hardinge, 3rd Baronet (1830-73);
  • Sir Edmund Stracey Hardinge, 4th Baronet (1833–1924);
  • Sir Charles Edmund Hardinge, 5th Baronet (1878–1968);
  • Sir Robert Hardinge, 6th Baronet (1887–1973);
  • Sir Robert Arnold Hardinge, 7th Baronet (1914-86) – unproven;
  • Sir Charles Henry Nicholas Hardinge, 8th Baronet (1956–2004) – unproven (had already succeeded as Viscount Hardinge in 1984).

THE VISCOUNTCY OF HARDINGE was created in 1846 for the soldier and politician Sir Henry Hardinge.

His son, the 2nd Viscount, represented Downpatrick in Parliament. His great-great-grandson, the 6th Viscount, succeeded a distant relative as 8th Baronet, of Belle Isle in the County of Fermanagh, in 1986.

This aforementioned baronetcy had been created in 1801 for Richard Hardinge. He was the third son of Nicolas Hardinge, younger brother of Rev Henry Hardinge and uncle of the latter's third son Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge.

The baronetcy was created with special remainder to the male heirs of Richard Hardinge's father.

Whilst the present and 7th Lord Hardinge is generally believed to be the 8th Hardinge Baronet, the succession has yet to be proved.
The mitre on the Hardinge crest indicates the family's ecclesiastical past. The other crests, two pennants, allude to the naval exploits of George Nicholas Hardinge: As a naval commander, he captained HMS Scorpion in 1803, capturing the brig Atalanta (or Atalante).  
First published in December, 2010.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Orlock Hedging

I've spent the day at Orlock, a property of the National Trust between Groomsport and Donaghadee, County Down.

The former coastguard lookout stands adjacent to the public road.

This former lookout is now surrounded by residential homes.

Today our task was to construct a hawthorn hedge.

The hawthorn trees are already there; our job was to bend them horizontally, using bill-hooks and saws.

The trick is to leave a mere "strap", a sort of ligament of the tree, very thin indeed.

The tree can then be bent down horizontally so that it stays alive.

This is a most satisfying pastime.

Most of the trees were relatively large, so it wasn't as easy as it might seem.

Some of the straps broke, which meant that we had to remove the tree for firewood.

The intention is to plant new hawthorn trees imminently to fill the gaps.

We enjoyed sunny intervals today, though there was a heavy hail shower which lasted five or ten minutes.

I munched away happily on egg salad sandwiches at lunchtime.

Ballywhite House

BALLYWHITE HOUSE is situated at Ballywhite Bay, about two miles north-west of Portaferry, County Down.

It is a Georgian house comprising two storeys with gables.

It was extended and beautified in the Italianate style about 1870 by its then owner, John Warnock, a solicitor from Downpatrick.

He also built a conservatory.

A substantial pedimented projection, somewhat akin to a wing, juts out from the centre of the entrance front, which has coupled Corinthian pilasters on the upper storey.

One of the gable ends has a single-storey bow; while the opposite end has the Victorian conservatory, joined on to a single-storey ballroom wing.

In 1838 the property was owned by Isabella McDonnell

Mr Warnock acquired the house by 1861.

It was sold ca 1918 to the 3rd Lord Lurgan; and subsequently passed to a cousin, Colonel Guy James Brownlow DSO DL (1883-1960).

Colonel Brownlow's eldest son, Colonel William Stephen Brownlow JP (1921-98) inherited Ballywhite House on his father's decease.

Colonel Brownlow was Lord-Lieutenant of County Down from 1990-96.

Mr & Mrs Jamie Brownlow now live at Ballywhite.


THERE were formerly two conservatories, one of which remains.

The site of the demolished conservatory has a garden at the present time.

The house is in a fine position, with views to Strangford Lough.

The grounds fall away to the south west and the area near the house is maintained as an ornamental garden.

There are other cultivated compartments around the house.

Attractive trees and shrubs are planted informally, but the arrangement of the grounds is organized into specific areas, including a paddock and managed woodland beyond the garden.

There is a cultivated productive garden enclosed by a laurel hedge, with a wooden nectarine house.

I'm seeking better images of Ballywhite House.

First published in February, 2014.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Courtown House


This family is said to derive its descent from Nicholas de Stockport, Baron of Stockport, one of the eight barons of the county palatine of Chester, created by Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, in the reign of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

It is probable the family had been settled in that county before the Conquest, and certainly the estate of Salterstown, near Macclesfield, in Cheshire, belonged to the Stopfords from time immemorial.

The first of the family who settled in Ireland,

JAMES STOPFORD, of Saltersford, Cheshire, an officer of rank in Cromwell's army, served in Ireland in 1641.

Upon the restoration of the royal family, acquiring considerable estates in that kingdom, partly by purchase, and partly by grants, he took up his abode at Tara Hill, County Meath.

Captain Stopford was succeeded by his grandson, 

JAMES STOPFORD, MP for County Wexford in 1713, who wedded Frances, daughter and heir of Roger Jones, of Dublin, by whom he had five sons and four daughters.

He was succeeded at his decease by his eldest surviving son,

JAMES STOPFORD (1700-70), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1758, as Baron Courtown, of Wexford; and, in 1762, advanced to the dignities of Viscount Stopford and EARL OF COURTOWN.

His lordship married Elizabeth, only daughter of the Rt Rev Edward Smyth, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Edward, lieutenant-general in the army;
Thomas (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Cork and Ross;
Frances; Mary; Anne; Catherine; Charlotte.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl (1731-1810), KP, PC, who was created a peer of Great Britain, in 1794, as Baron Saltersford.

His lordship espoused, in 1762, Mary, daughter and co-heir of Richard Powys, of Hintlesham Hall, Suffolk, by whom he had issue,
JAMES GEORGE, his successor;
Edward (Sir), GCB;
Robert (Sir), GCB, GCMG;
Richard Bruce (Rev).
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES GEORGE, 3rd Earl (1765-1835), KP, who married, in 1791, Mary, eldest daughter of Henry, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, by whom he had issue,
JAMES THOMAS, his successor;
Henry Scott;
Montagu (Sir), KCB;
Mary Frances; Jane; Charlotte; Caroline.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son James Richard Ian Montagu Stopford, styled Viscount Stopford (b 1988).
THE COURTOWNS were a "Patrick Family", the 2nd and 3rd Earls having been installed as Knights of St Patrick.

The 6th Earl was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Wexford, from 1901 until 1922.

James Patrick Montagu Burgoyne Winthrop, 9th and present Earl, was a Lord in Waiting (Government Whip), 1995-97; representative peer to the House of Lords, 1999-.

COURTOWN HOUSE, near Gorey, County Wexford, was the 18th century seat of the Earls of Courtown, overlooking the sea at Courtown Harbour.

It was significantly altered and enlarged during the 19th century, following the 1798 rebellion. 

The front consisted of a U-shaped block of two storeys and a dormer attic within the high-pitched, château-style roof.

The five-bay centre had a large open porch, with a porte-cochère carried on four piers.

Courtown House was demolished in 1962, having been sold to the Irish Tourist Board in 1948.

After the 2nd World War, the income from the amount of land left in the estate was not enough to keep Courtown House going and it had to be sold.

Marlfield House, once a Dower House on the Courtown estate, dates back to the 1840s.

The Courtown family also had a seat in Cheshire, Beale Hall.

Courtown Woodland was planted with oak and ash back in 1870.

At this time it was part of a typical Victorian estate woodland where exotic conifers and redwoods from California were planted within viewing distance of Courtown House.

Oak plantations were established at some distance.

They were under-planted with shrubs to provide food for pheasants for shooting parties.

The woodland was regularly cleared and used as firewood by local tenants.

During the 1860s and 1870s the 5th Earl established a pinetum, or conifer collection, in the grounds around Courtown House.

A small number of these trees remain today in the Woodland and in property across the river. 

Courtown arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in January, 2012.

Botanic Gate Lodge

The Botanic Gardens, Belfast, opened in 1828 as the private Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens.

Its main entrance was (and remains) at 2, Stranmillis Road.

The Gardens continued as a private park for many years, only opening to members of the public on Sundays, prior to 1895.

It became a public park in 1895, when the Belfast Corporation (now Belfast City Council) bought the gardens from the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society.

The park, now comprising twenty-eight acres, contains a large conservatory, tropical fernery, rose garden, and many other interesting features.

Originally the park was considerably larger in size, though portions of land were conveyed to the Department of Education, the Ulster Museum, and the Queen's University of Belfast, for various purposes. 

The Stranmillis Road gate lodge, designed by William Batt, was built in 1877.

It was a lofty, single-storey building in red brick with Staffordshire blue bands and pointed stone arches at the openings.

A pair of portico arches were directly below the clock-tower, added three years later, which had buttresses and carved capitals.

This structure was built by public subscription.

The tower's steep roof was in the French château style.

The adjoining lodge had paired windows, a tall roof with elaborate iron cresting, a pair of chimneys, and bracketed eaves.

Only the stone gates, with lamps and poppy finials, survive today.

Hugh Dixon said of its demise:-
The demolition of the lodge in 1965 was unnecessary in that the site remains empty. It was also unfortunate, in removing an important architectural focus for this busy junction, and a feature which gave arrival at the Botanic Gardens a sense of occasion.
First published in February, 2014. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

1st Earl of Seafield


This family descends from a younger son of the house of AIRLIE.

SIR WALTER OGILVY, Knight, of Auchleven,
second son of the Treasurer of Scotland, Ogilvie, by Isabel Durward, heir of Lintrathen, who married Margaret, only daughter and heir of Sir John Sinclair, of Deskford and Findlater, and thereby acquired those estates.
Sir Walter obtained permission from the crown, in 1455, to fortify his castle at Findlater, and to make it a place of strength.

He died in 1473, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES OGILVY, Knight, of Deskford and Findlater, who wedded Margaret, eldest daughter of Sir Robert Innes, of Innes, and was succeeded in 1510 by his grandson,

ALEXANDER OGILVY, (son of Sir James Ogilvy, who died in 1505-6, by Agnes, natural daughter of George, 2nd Earl of Huntley,) who obtained a charter, in 1511, for incorporating the lands of Deskford, Findlater, and Keithmore, into one entire barony, to be designated by the name of Ogilvy.
He married Janet, second daughter of James Abernethy, 3rd Lord Saltoun, and had a son, JAMES, whom he disinherited, settling estates upon John Gordon, 2nd son of George, 4th Earl of Huntley; but after a feud and some bloodshed between the Gordons and Ogilvys, the baronies of Deskford and Findlater were restored by an arbitration, of which Queen MARY was overs-woman.
The rightful heir,

JAMES OGILVY,  of Cardell, who was succeeded by his grandson,

SIR WALTER OGILVY, Knight, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1616, by the title of Lord Ogilvy of Deskford.

His lordship wedded firstly, Agnes, eldest daughter of Robert, 3rd Lord Elphinstone, by whom he had a daughter,
Christian, married to Sir John Forbes of Pitsligo.
He espoused secondly, Lady Mary Douglas, third daughter of William, Earl of Morton, and had by that lady,

JAMES, 2nd Lord, who was created, in 1638, Earl of Findlater.

His lordship married Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew, 5th Earl of Rothes, by whom he had two daughters,
ELIZABETH, wedded to Sir Patrick Ogilvy, of Inchmartin;
Anne, married to William, 9th Earl of Glencairn, LORD CHANCELLOR OF SCOTLAND.
He married secondly, Lady Marion, daughter of William, 8th Earl of Glencairn, but by her he had no issue.
Lord Findlater thus having no male issue, procured a renewed patent, dated 1641, conferring the titles of Earl and Countess of Findlater upon his son-in-law, Sir Patrick Ogilvy, and that gentleman's wife, Lady Elizabeth Ogilvy, his lordship's elder daughter.
At his decease the peerage so devolved upon

SIR PATRICK OGILVY AND HIS LADY, as Earl and Countess of Findlater.

His lordship died in 1658, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES, 3rd Earl, whose eldest surviving son,

JAMES, 4th Earl, a lawyer of great eminence at the Scottish bar, who filled successively the offices of Solicitor-General and Secretary of State for Scotland; Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer; and High Commisssioner to the General Assembly of the church.

His lordship had been elevated to the peerage before the decease of his father, in 1698, by the title of Viscount Seafield; and, in 1701, Viscount Reidhaven and EARL OF SEAFIELD.

Earls of Seafield (1701)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son James Andrew Studley, styled Viscount Reidhaven (b 1963). He became a Muslim in 1990.

CULLEN HOUSE, Buckie, Moray, was the ancestral seat of the Earls of Seafield.

The main part of the house dates from 1543. An east wing was added in 1711, and there were alterations by David Bryce in 1858.

The House and estate buildings were converted into fourteen dwellings in 1983.

Prior to the use of Cullen House by the Earls of Seafield, the castle of Findlater, now a ruin, on a rocky coastal outcrop about two miles to the east, was the seat.

Several hundred yards from Cullen House, on the site of the old village, stands Old Cullen, a dower house, Georgian in design. Formerly the Factor's house, it is now the residence of Lord and Lady Seafield.

The Earls of Seafield owned a further 160,224 acres of land in Inverness-shire, and 48,936 acres in Banffshire.

Seafield arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Tollymore Park


EGIDIUS JOSSELIN, a nobleman of Brittany, in France, took up his abode in England during the reign of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, and left a son,

SIR GILBERT JOCELYNwho returned to Normandy, and came back into England with the CONQUEROR, from whom he obtained extensive territorial grants in Lincolnshire, among which were the lordships of Sempringham and Tyrington.

Sir Gilbert had two sons, namely,

Gilbert of Sempringham (c1083-1190), the elder, devoting himself to a religious life, retired to Sempringham Priory, where he had founded the order of St Gilbert, known as the GILBERTINES, possessed, at the dissolution of religious houses, twenty-one monasteries in England, containing nearly 1,200 persons.

This Gilbert died at the exceptionally advanced age of 106, and was canonized by POPE INNOCENT III in 1202.

GEOFFREY DE JOCELYN, the younger son, married the daughter of John Blisset, and from that marriage descended lineally,

THOMAS JOCELYNwho wedded, in 1249, Maude, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Hyde, of Hyde Hall, Hertfordshire, and granddaughter, maternally, of John, Baron Sudeley, of Gloucestershire; by which marriage the Jocelyns obtained that estate, which continued for a very lengthy period in the family.

From this Thomas, we pass to his descendant,

SIR RALPH JOCELYN KBcitizen and draper of London, of which city he was sheriff, 1458, and Lord Mayor, 1464.

In 1467, Sir Ralph represented the city of London in parliament, and was again Lord Mayor in 1476.

The elder brother of this opulent citizen,

THOMAS JOCELYN, of Hyde Hall, was great-grandfather of

SIR THOMAS JOCELYN KB, of Hyde Hall, who married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Geoffrey Gates, Knight, and was succeeded, in 1562, by his eldest son,

RICHARD JOCELYN, of Hyde Hall, whose grandson,

SIR ROBERT JOCELYN (1623-1712), Knight, of Hyde Hall, and of Newhall, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, 1677, was created a baronet in 1665.

Sir Robert wedded Jane, daughter and co-heir of Robert Strange, of Wiltshire, and had nine sons and five daughters; of whom
STRANGE, 2nd but eldest surviving son, inherited the title and fortune;
Edward, in holy orders;
Sir Robert was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR STRANGE JOCELYN, 2nd Baronet (c1651-1734), who wedded Mary, daughter of Tristram Conyers, of Walthamstow, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN (1689-1741); at whose decease, unmarried, the baronetcy devolved upon his only brother,

SIR CONYERS JOCELYN MD, 4th Baronet (1703-78), High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, 1745, who died a bachelor, when the baronetcy devolved upon the son and successor of

THE RT HON ROBERT JOCELYN (1688-1756); (refer to Thomas, son of 1st Baronet), a lawyer of great eminence, who filled the offices of Solicitor-General and Attorney-General in the reigns of GEORGE I and GEORGE II, and was constituted LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, 1739.

His lordship was subsequently twelve times one of the Lords Justices of that kingdom, and died in the government, in 1756.

He was elvated to the peerage, in 1743, by the title of Baron Newport; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1755, as Viscount Jocelyn

His lordship espoused firstly, Charlotte, daughter and co-heir of Charles Anderson, of Worcester, by whom he had a son, ROBERT, his successor.

He wedded secondly, in 1754, Frances, daughter of Thomas Claxton, of Dublin, and widow of Richard, 1st Earl of Ross.

He died as already mentioned in 1756, and was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT, 2nd Viscount (1731-97), who succeeded to the baronetcy of the family upon the decease of his kinsman, Sir Conyers Jocelyn, 4th Baronet, in 1770.

His lordship, who was Auditor-General of Ireland, was created EARL OF RODEN in 1771.

He married, in 1752, Lady Anne Hamilton, only surviving daughter of James, Earl of Clanbrassil, and eventually heir of her brother, James, the last earl, by whom he had issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
Harriet; Caroline; Charlotte; Sophia; Louisa; Emelia.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 2nd Earl (1756-1820), KP, PC, MP, who was appointed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick in 1806.

This nobleman espoused, in 1788, Frances Theodosia, eldest daughter of the Very Rev Robert Bligh, Dean of Elphin, and niece of John, 1st Earl of Darnley, by whom he left issue,

ROBERT, his successor;
James Bligh, Lieutenant RN;
Frances Theodosia; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 3rd Earl (1788-1870), KP, PC, who wedded, in 1813, Maria Frances Catherine, 2nd daughter of Thomas, Lord le Despencer.

This nobleman was installed as a Knight of St Patrick in 1821.

The 3rd Earl was installed as a knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick in 1821.
  • John Strange Jocelyn, 5th Earl (1823–97);
The heir apparent is the present holder's only son, Shane Robert Henning Jocelyn, styled Viscount Jocelyn.

TOLLYMORE PARK, near Newcastle, County Down, was formerly the seat of the Earls of Roden.

Tollymore Park House (above) was a Georgian mansion extending round four sides of a courtyard.

The earliest part was constructed ca 1730 by James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Clanbrassil (of 2nd creation), whose grandmother was heiress of the Magennis family, original owners of the Estate.

As first built, the mansion consisted of a two-storey block with one bay on either side of a three-sided bow, and single-storey, three-bay wings.

The architect was likely to have been Thomas Wright.

By 1787, the three other sides of the courtyard had been built, all single storey.

The mansion already had long corridors with windows containing roundels of Flemish stained glass.

When Lord Clanbrassil died in 1798 without issue, the estate passed to his sister, the 1st Countess of Roden (nee Lady Anne Hamilton), and remained in the family for generations.

An extra storey was added the the single-storey parts; while the entrance front became a typical late-Georgian composition of nine bays with a pedimented breakfront centre and a single storey Doric portico.

Before 1859, the house was further enlarged and the original block was given high rooves in the French château manner.

Tollymore has been noted for its fine views and plantations since the 18th century, in the latter years of which Thomas Milton wrote in Seats and Demesnes of the Nobility in Ireland,
It is a wild and rocky Tract, exhibiting some scenes of singular beauty, in the romantic style. Two Mountain Torrents join in the Park, and form sundry cascades, in their passage to the Sea… 
Every advantage was taken of the natural attributes to create a fashionable 18th century naturalistic park and to further grace it with suitable buildings.

Tollymore House, at the centre of the site, was demolished in 1952.

However, the demesne buildings and their folly embellishments remain and are now appreciated as fine examples of the work of Thomas Wright and others, the finest being the Clanbrassil Barn.

Fantastical gate piers made of ‘bap’ stones can be seen along the demesne walls.

Collectively these are called Lord Limerick’s Follies.

A Hermitage clings to the rocks above the Shimna river, built in 1770 to commemorate a friend’s death.

There are a great many interesting 18th century bridges along the river, which plays an important part in the landscape as it sparkles over rocks and deep ravines.

In 1786 Wilson, in the Post Chaise Companion, noted the ‘… finest groves of larch trees in this kingdom …’

The woodland planting was acknowledged to have been extensive and successful.

Purchased by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1930, the holding was increased in 1941 and subsequently a great deal of the land was covered with forest planting.

The structure of the landscape park is not visible presently.

An arboretum represents the ‘second phase’ of planting lies to the west of the house is now termed a, ‘tree collection’, as it is not being added to.

The original Picea abies var. Clanbrassilliana (discovered by Lord Clanbrassil in the mid-1770s) can be seen in this area. 

There is an exceptionally fine avenue of Deodar cedar at the Barbican gate avenue.

The walled garden has been made into a car park but the Head Gardener’s house remains, surrounded by a sea of tarmac.

However, rhododendron and azalea plants attractively cover an area on either side of the Horn Bridge as a steep descending walk to the river. 

The Forest Service is also responsible for Forest Plots, experimental plantations of various species which are being tested for suitability as forest planting.

The entrances are exceptional and are: Bryansford or Gothick Gate, ca 1786, and lodge, 1802; Barbican gate, ca 1780, and lodge ca 1810; East Lodge, 1865; White Gate Lodge, early 20th century.

The walls on the Hilltown Road and a gate are listed. There is another commemorative monument, a mid-19th century obelisk.

Tollymore Forest Park covers an area of almost 500 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down.

The park has a long history dating back to 1611, in the records of King James I.

It was recorded that the park was granted to Brian MacHugh MacAgholy Magennis. 

The neighbouring village of Bryansford is believed to have been named after him (Brian’s Ford).

The property remained in the Magennis family until about 1685, when Bryan Magennis died unmarried and Tollymore became the property of his sister, Ellen, who had married Captain William Hamilton.

From the Hamiltons, Earls of Limerick, the estate passed, again through the distaff side, to the Jocelyns, one of whom was later created Earl of Roden.

The 9th Earl (1909-93) was a captain in the Royal Navy and lived at Bryansford, County Down, just outside the walls of Tollymore Park.

It is believed that the 10th and present Earl still maintains a residence at Tollymore.

Tollymore Park remained in the Roden family until it was sold to the Department of Agriculture between 1930 and 1941.

It is now one of Northern Ireland's most popular attractions.

In 1955, Tollymore became the first state forest in Northern Ireland.

Former seats ~ Hyde Hall, Hertfordshire; Tollymore Park, County Down; Dundalk House, County Louth.

Roden arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in February, 2012.