Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Caroline greets Royalty

Prince Michael of Kent is attending the Battle of Jutland commemorations at HMS Caroline in Belfast.

His Royal Highness was greeted by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for Belfast, Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster MLA, the Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP, and Gavin Robinson MP, are among those in attendance.

Milford House

WILLIAM McCRUM (1785-1879) (son of William McCrum (1756-1818), a farmer from County Armagh, by his wife, Elizabeth Harper, of County Armagh), married, in 1818, Judith, daughter of Moses Paul, and had issue,
ROBERT GARMANY, of whom presently;
Martha, died in infancy.
The only son,

ROBERT GARMANY McCRUM JP DL (1827-1915), of Milford House, County Armagh, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1909, wedded, in 1864, Anne Eliza Riddall, of Armagh, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
HARRIETTE, b 1867.
Mr McCrum was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM McCRUM (1865-1932), of Milford House, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1888, who espoused, in 1891, Maude Mary, daughter of Dr W W Squires, of Montreal, Canada, and had issue, an only son,

CAPTAIN CECIL ROBERT McCRUM OBE* RN (1892-1976), of The Mall, Armagh, who wedded Ivy Hilda Constance (1891–1990), daughter of William Nicholson, and had issue,
Patrick, 1917-22;
Antony, b 1919; 
MICHAEL WILLIAM, of whom presently;
The third son,

MICHAEL WILLIAM McCRUM CBE (1924-2005), a distinguished academic and historian, married, in 1952, Christine Mary Kathleen, daughter of Sir Arthur Brownlow Frederick fforde GBE,  and had four children, of whom 

(John) Robert McCrum, born in 1953, is a well-known editor and writer.

Robert Garmany McCrum's only daughter,

HARRIETTE (1867-1951), of The Mall, Armagh, married, in 1898, the Rev David Miller, and had issue, four sons,
Robert Craig;
William McCrum;
David Riddall;
Edward Wentworth.
*Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, St James's Palace, SWl. 1st January, 1943: The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following to be Additional Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order : Captain Cecil Robert McCrum, RN (Ret.).

MILFORD HOUSE, near Armagh City, County Armagh, is a two-storey, Italianate country house, built for Robert Garmany McCrum between 1865-1904.

It has a three-sided bow; pedimented three-bay projection; and camber-headed windows.

There is an elaborate range of glasshouses running at right-angles from the middle of the front.

During the Victorian era, the grounds extended to 46 acres.

The manor house passed into the ownership of William McCrum in 1915.

Never adept at business, he lost heavily in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and was forced to auction the contents of the house the following year and sell the mill the year after that.

He died penniless in 1932 and the Milford House came into the ownership of the Northern Bank.

In 1936, the bank leased it to a private boarding school for girls (Manor House School), who bought it outright for £3,000 in 1940.

The school closed in 1965; and in 1966 the property was sold to the Northern Ireland Hospital Authority for use as a special care home.

This shut in 1988 and since then the property became vacant.

In 1936, the house was leased and ultimately sold to a girls' school.

In 2000, the Friends of Manor House was established by Stephen McManus, in collaboration with Armagh Council to secure the future of the property.

The property was sold to the current owners in 2002.

The Milford Buildings Preservation Trust continues to work tirelessly to protect Milford House, its parkland and gardens.

First published in May, 2014.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Kinnitty Castle


THOMAS BERNARD, of Oldtown and Clonmulsh, County Carlow, High Sheriff, 1708, married and left issue, his third son,

JOSEPH BERNARD, of Straw Hill, County Carlow, and Castletown, King's County; born in 1694; High Sheriff, 1730. His heir,

THOMAS BERNARD, of Castletown, married and had an only son,

THOMAS BERNARD, of Castle Bernard, Birr, County Offaly, whose son,

THOMAS BERNARD (c1769-1834), of Castle Bernard, was a colonel in the King's County Militia, and for more than 32 years served as MP for that county.
Mr Bernard married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, 1st Baron Dunalley; and secondly, Catherine Henrietta, daughter of Francis Hely Hutchinson MP, with whom he had four sons and two daughters.
His descendent,

THOMAS BERNARD, of Castle Bernard, was Lord-Lieutenant of King's County and High Sheriff, 1837; lieutenant-colonel in the Army.

He died unmarried in 1882.

KINNITTY CASTLE, or Castle Bernard, near Birr, County Offaly, is a landmark structure in the area and enjoys commanding views across the surrounding countryside.

This striking castle was built ca 1833 by the Pain Brothers, important advocates of the Gothic Revival in Ireland and architects of Mitchelstown Castle.

An immense edifice, it displays architectural motifs typical of the style including tall chimney-stacks, gabled elevations, castellated towers and parapets, battered walls and labels to windows.

Built for Thomas Bernard, the estate has played an important role in the economic development of the nearby village of Kinnitty.

The castle was burnt by the IRA in 1922, though rebuilt in 1928 by the Bernard Family who, in 1946, sold to the 6th Lord Decies, who in turn disposed the property to the Irish State in 1951.

The Ryan Family acquired the Castle and Estate in 1994 and transformed it into a hotel.

The interior survives, much altered.

The Bernard family later lived at 30 Saumarez Street, St Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands.

First published in April, 2012.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Glen Walk

By Jove it was busy at Mount Stewart estate, County Down, today. The overflow car-park in the large field was almost full.

Of course the popular Jazz in the Gardens event has been taking place this afternoon.

My purpose, however, was to explore the Glen in the demesne.

The glen is off the beaten track.

It begins at a junction on the Red Trail, where there's a small bridge.

One can follow the little river along a track till we reach the estate wall or boundary, where a stone arch passes over the river.

At this point the glen terminates.

There are oblong stepping-stones here, though the river is low at the moment and they are unnecessary.

Other features include a little hump-backed bridge and a more recent bridge in need of repair.

I will return to the Glen again in order to search for a former church or chapel, which was in another field beside the Glen.

On my way back I passed the former estate piggery.

Causeway Hotel: A Brief History

In November, 1836, Elizabeth Henry leased just over four acres of land in the townland of Ardihannon, County Antrim, from Sir Francis Workman-Macnaghten, 1st Baronet.

The Macnaghten Baronets, of Dundarave, were the major landowners in the area, owning 7,134 acres in 1876.

Miss Henry, formerly the proprietress of The Copeland Arms in Coleraine, proceeded building on the site; however, by 1841, her financial circumstances were such, that she was unable to complete the construction of her hotel on the Macnaghtens' land at The Giant's Causeway.

When she died, the Macnaghten mortgage debt was still outstanding.

In 1844, the Hotel was let to William McNaul, who pledged
BY diligence and attention to do all in my power to promote the comfort of my Guests, and they may depend on my always keeping a well stocked larder and being well supplied with the choicest Wines and Liquors.
Twenty years later, in 1863, a new lessee, William Coleman, ran the Hotel, the business at least servicing the interest on the debt for the Macnaghtens.

Mr Coleman was the proprietor of Coleman's Portrush Hotel.

On acquiring the Causeway Hotel, he demonstrated his flair for the catering industry in his press advertisement:
W Coleman begs to inform his patrons that he has become Proprietor of the GIANT'S CAUSEWAY HOTEL, which he has completely refitted. The arrangements and rates are the same as those which have given so much satisfaction at his Portrush Establishment.
The GIANT'S CAUSEWAY HOTEL, being immediately above the Causeway itself, is admirably situated for Tourists having only a short time to spare, and also for those who wish to spend some time in the neighbourhood. The Hotel is commodious, and, in every respect, a First class Establishment.
Mr Coleman added, in small print presumably (!),
Tourists are particularly requested not to engage either Guides or Boatmen till arrival at Giant's Causeway Hotel.
Sitting-room per day ~ from 2 shillings (/) to 3/-
Bed-room ~ from 1/6 to 2/-
Sitting-room fire per day ~ 6d
Breakfast ~ from 1/6 to 2/-
Hot Lunch ~ 1/6
Cold Lunch ~ 1/3
Dinner ~ from 1/8 to 3/-
Visitors' Servants per day ~ 4/-
VISITORS taken at the under-mentioned charges:-
Board, including Bed-room ~ 35/- each per week
Sitting-room ~ from 12/- to 21/- each per week
Attendance ~ 5/-  each per week
Visitors' Servants ~ 21/- each per week
A Two-horse van leaves daily, from The Portrush Hotel for The Giant's Causeway, from 1st June to 1st October, at 9.40am, on arrival of first train from Belfast, returning at 2pm, in time for the afternoon trains. Fare:- Return, 2/-; Single, 1/6.
£2 (40/-) in 1860 was worth about £200 today.

By 1884, the Causeway Hotel and its strategic importance had, not surprisingly, come to the notice of the entrepreneurial Traills of Ballylough House.

Sir Francis Workman-Macnaghten, 3rd Baronet, had a meeting with William Atcheson Traill and his brother, Anthony, the result being that the Giant's Causeway Tramway took over the Causeway Hotel.

William Winter was employed to manage it.

This was a mutually beneficial arrangement: Sir Francis acquired a good tenant (with an option to purchase the hotel) to pay off the old debt; whereas the Traills' tramway company got vertical integration in their business.

Their passengers would be directed to their hotel to avail of the conveniences (!) etc.

Advertisements proclaimed that “the Causeway Hotel is now worked in connection with the Tramway."

In 1910, the Kane family purchased the Causeway Hotel; and in 1963 the Hotel was sold to Frank Fleming.

The last private proprietors of the Hotel were the Armstrong family, who sold it to The National Trust in 2001.

If there are any inaccuracies in this article, please let me know.

First published in May, 2014.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

HMS Caroline Video

HMS Caroline, a decommissioned light cruiser moored in Alexandra Dock, Belfast, will open as a museum ship on the 1st June, 2016.

Caroline was built in 1914.

Here's a fascinating video taken about five years ago:-

Friday, 27 May 2016

The Adair Baronetcy

The family of ADAIR was settled in Scotland, and later in Ulster, for many generations, and, according to tradition, derived its descent from a junior branch of the noble house of FitzGerald, Earls of Desmond. 
NINIAN ADAIR, of Kinhilt, in Wigtownshire, lived in the early part of the 16th century, and was father of

WILLIAM ADAIR, of the same place, whose son,

NINIAN ADAIR, was father of

WILLIAM ADAIR, who acquired the estate of Ballymena, County Antrim. His son,

SIR ROBERT ADAIR, who received the honour of knighthood from CHARLES I, died in 1665.

He married Jean, daughter of Archibald Edmonstone, of Duntreath, in Stirlingshire, by whom he had a son,

WILLIAM ADAIR, who, by Anna Helena Scott, his wife (to whom he was married ca 1658), was father of

SIR ROBERT ADAIR, of Kinhilt and Ballymena, who raised a regiment of foot and a troop of horse for the service of WILLIAM III, and received the honour of knighthood from that monarch on the field after the battle of the Boyne.

Sir Robert died in 1745, having married four wives; by the first of whom, Penelope, daughter of Sir Robert Colville, Knight, he left a son,

WILLIAM ADAIR, captain of dragoons; who died in 1762, leaving by Catherine Smallman, his wife, a son and successor,

ROBERT ADAIR, who died in 1798, leaving by Anne his wife, daughter of Alexander McAuley, of the city of Dublin, barrister-at-law, a son,

WILLIAM ADAIR (1754-1844), of Flixton Hall, Suffolk, and Colehayes Park, Devon, who wedded Camilla, daughter and heir Robert Shafto, of Benwell, Northumberland, and had issue,
ROBERT SHAFTO, his heir;
William Robert, died at Harrow School;
Alexander, of Hetherton Park;
Mr Adair was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT SHAFTO ADAIR (1786-1869), of Flixton Hall, Suffolk, and Ballymena, County Antrim, who wedded, in 1810, Elizabeth Maria, daughter of the Rev James Strode, of Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire.

Mr Adair was created a baronet in 1838.

By his wife he had issue,
Hugh Edward.
His elder son, 

SIR ROBERT ALEXANDER SHAFTO ADAIR (1811-86), 2nd Baronet, of Ballymena Castle, married Theodosia, daughter of General the Hon Robert Meade, second son of John, Earl of Clanwilliam; sometime MP for Cambridge.

In 1873, Sir Robert was elevated to the peerage, as BARON WAVENEY, of South Elmham, Suffolk.
In 1865, Adair began the construction in the demesne of Ballymena Castle, a substantial family residence in the Scottish baronial style. The castle was not completed until 1887, and was demolished in 1957 after having lain empty for some years and being vandalised; the site is now a car park. In 1870, Adair donated a People's Park to Ballymena, engaging fifty labourers to work for six months landscaping it.
The barony became extinct on his death in 1886, while he was succeeded in the baronetcy by his younger brother,

SIR HUGH EDWARD ADAIR JP DL (1815-1902), 3rd Baronet, of Ballymena Castle, who wedded, in 1856, Harriet Camilla, daughter of Alexander Adair, and had issue,
Hugh Alexander (1858-68);
ROBERT SHAFTO, succeeded his brother;
Camilla Beatrix Mary.
Sir Hugh was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR FREDERICK EDWARD SHAFTO ADAIR JP (1860-1915), 4th Baronet, of Ballymena Castle, who died a bachelor, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

SIR ROBERT SHAFTO ADAIR JP DL (1862-1949), 5th Baronet, who married, in 1890, Mary, daughter of Henry Anstey Bosanquet, and had issue,
Robert Desmond Shafto, died in infancy;
ALLAN HENRY SHAFTO, of whom hereafter;
Camilla Mary Shafto.
Sir Robert was succeeded by his only surviving son,

MAJOR-GENERAL SIR ALLAN HENRY SHAFTO ADAIR GCVO CB DSO MC JP DL (1897-1988), 6th and last Baronet, who espoused, in 1919, Enid Violet Ida, daughter of William Humble Dudley Ward, and had issue,
DESMOND ALLAN SHAFTO, predeceased his father;
Robert Dudley Shafto (1923-25);
Bridget Mary; Juliet Enid; Annabel Violet.
Sir Allan's only son,

Captain Desmond Allan Shafto Adair, born in 1920, died in 1943 at Italy, killed in action.

When the 6th Baronet died in 1988 the title became extinct.

THE CASTLE, Ballymena, County Antrim, was a large Scottish-Baronial Victorian house built in the 1870s for Sir Robert Adair, later 1st Baron Waveney.
It had a massive seven-storey tower at one end was built by Lanyon & Lynn of Belfast.

The original castle, built by the Adairs, was burnt in 1720.

The Adair estate at Ballymena was sold to the tenants in 1904 and the castle fell into disuse.

The castle was still standing in 1953, but badly damaged by arson in 1955 and condemned as unsafe the following year.

When the local council demolished it in 1957, Sir Allan Adair bought Holy Hill House, near Strabane, County Tyrone, and installed ten stained glass windows from the castle there, where they remain today.

First published in October, 2010.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Killeen Castle


This noble family was of Danish origin, but its settlement in Ireland is so remote that nothing certain can be ascertained as to the precise period.

So early as the 11th century, we find

JOHN PLUNKETT, of Beaulieu, County Meath, the constant residence of the elder branch of his descendants.

The successor at Beaulieu at the beginning of the 13th century,

JOHN PLUNKETT, living at the time of HENRY III, had two sons,
John, ancestor of the BARONS LOUTH;
RICHARD, of whom hereafter.
RICHARD PLUNKETT, of Rathregan, County Meath, who, with his son and heir, RICHARD PLUNKETT, by royal writs of parliamentary summons, was summoned to, and sat in, the parliaments and council of 1374; the one as a baron, and the other "de consilio regis".

To the same parliament and council was also summoned as a baron "Waltero de Cusake Militi", Lord of Killeen, whose heir general afterwards, as wife of Christopher Plunkett, was previously thought to have first brought the dignity of a parliamentary barony into this branch of the Plunkett family, but how erroneously may best be seen by reference to the writs of summons during the reign of EDWARD III, before alluded to.

The younger Richard Plunkett was father of


This gentleman, as a recompense for the services he had rendered in the wars of Ireland, and as an indemnity for the expenses he had incurred, had a grant of a sum of money from HENRY VI, in 1426; before which time he was sheriff of Meath; and in 1432, was deputy to Sir Thomas Stanley, knight, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Sir Christopher was created, ca 1426, BARON KILLEEN.

He married, in 1403, Joan, only daughter and heir of Sir Lucas Cusack, Knight, Lord of Killeen, Dunsany, and Gerardstown, County Meath, and became, in her right, proprietor of the Barony of Killeen.

He was succeeded by his son and heir,

CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Baron (who, in an act of parliament during the reign of HENRY VI was called "Christofre Plunkett le puisne Seigneur de Killeen").

This feudal Lord wedded twice: firstly, to Genet, daughter of Bellew, of Bellewstown; by whom he had two sons.

He espoused secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Wells, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, by whom he had a daughter and two sons.

Sir Christopher died in 1462, and was succeeded by his elder son,

CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT, 3rd Baron (1440-c1469); who had summons to parliament in 1463.

His lordship died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

EDMOND, 4th Baron (c1450-1510), who had a son and heir,

JOHN, 5th Baron, who was sworn of the privy council of HENRY VIII, and was found by inquisition to have had four sons,
Patrick, dsp;
CHRISTOPHER, heir to his brother;
The eldest son,

PATRICK, 6th Baron (1521-c1526), was succeeded by his brother,

CHRISTOPHER, 7th Baron, who succeeded to the titles and estates.

His lordship was an active and gallant nobleman, who discharged many high functions and commissions under the royal authority.

He sat in the parliament of 1509, and having married the granddaughter of the 8th Baron Slane, left issue, three daughters, his co-heirs,
Maude, m 3rd Baron Louth;
Catherine, m David Sutton;
Margaret, m Nicholas Aylmer.
He died about 1567, and was succeeded by his brother,

JAMES, 8th Baron (c1542-95), whose inheritance of the ancient family dignity was not opposed or questioned by the daughters, co-heirs of his deceased brother, and he took his place in the House of Lords in 1585.

In 1589, he enfeoffed trustees in his family estates, and was succeeded at his decease by his son and heir,

CHRISTOPHER, 9th Baron (1564-1613), who, when aged 31, sat in the parliament of 1613; and dying soon afterwards, was succeeded by his eldest son,

LUKE, 10th Baron, styled Lucas More.

This nobleman had a large grant of territory in 1613, and was created EARL OF FINGALL in 1628, JAMES I precluding the honour by a most flattering letter beginning thus:-
That having received good testimonies of the virtuous and many good parts of his right trusty and well-beloved subject, the lord Baron Killeen, being one of the ancient nobility of Ireland, His Majesty was pleased ...
The titles became extinct on the death of the 12th Earl.

KILLEEN CASTLE, near Dunsany, County Meath, is said originally to have been a Norman fortification, built for the de Lacy magnates, and held from 1172 by the Cusack family, beginning with Geoffrey de Cusack.

The castle was then held from 1399 by successors by marriage (to Lady Joan de Cusack), the Plunketts.

Killeen Castle was originally built by Geoffrey de Cusack around 1181. The date is carved above the doorway.

The castle fell into disrepair in the late 17th century, was leased out, and was not restored until around 1779, when parts of the demesne were landscaped and some of the estate features were added.

Significant reworking was carried out from 1803-13 under the supervision of Francis Johnston, and in 1841, much of the castle was demolished and rebuilt (using much existing material) by the 9th Earl of Fingall, in the style of a small Windsor Castle.

The two towers added have the dates 1181 and 1841 inscribed, and at the time of completion, it was claimed that Killeen had 365 windows.

The 12th and last Earl sold Killeen Castle and Estate, in 1951, to Sir Victor Sassoon.

Lord Fingall remained as manager of the stud farm established near the castle.

In 1953, Lord and Lady Fingall moved to a contemporary house built in the grounds, and most of the house contents were sold.

Sassoon died in 1961 and his heirs sold the estate on in 1963, to the French art dealer and racehorse owner, Daniel Wildenstein.

Lord Fingall moved from the estate to Corballis on the Dunsany estate, then The Commons.

He died in 1984 and is buried at Dunsany Church.

In 1978, the castle and estate were sold to the advertiser Basil Brindley, who continued the stud farm operation.

In 1981, the castle was burnt out in an arson attack, being left abandoned for many years.

The lands and buildings were sold again in 1989, to Christopher Slattery.

In 1997, Snowbury Ltd purchased the castle and its grounds, with a vision to create the estate that exists today.

Fingall arms courtesy of European Heraldry.    First published in April, 2012.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

McCutcheon's Field

I spent a half-day with about eleven other National Trust volunteers at McCutcheon's Field today.

This comprises several acres of coastline near Groomsport, at Brigg's Rocks and close to Sandeel Bay, County Down.

There's a leisure park here called Windsor Holiday Park.

The field comprises 9.17 acres and was donated by North Down Borough Council in 2000.

This stretch of coastline overlooks Belfast Lough and the County Antrim coast at the other side.

This morning we were cutting off gorse stumps, a task which needs to be done to hinder future re-growth.

We treated the remaining stumps with a herbicide.

As we sat munching our lunch, lots of swallows were swooping over the field. Terns and field buntings were also spotted.

I brought along a box of little flapjacks for everybody; and lunched on the customary cheese-and-onion sandwiches.

A rather smart new "kissing gate" has been erected at the main entrance to McCutcheon's Field.

The Hill Baronets


The family of HILL descends from Samuel Hill, Cromwell's treasurer in Ireland ca 1648, burgess of Londonderry, who was granted land in counties Armagh, Tyrone, Antrim and Londonderry.

This family came from Buckinghamshire and, latterly, Coleraine, County Londonderry.

ROWLEY HILL MP, of Ballykelly, County Londonderry, married Sophia Beresford, second daughter of Gorges Lowther MP of Kilrue, County Meath, and by her he had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
Gorges, drowned at sea;
Jane; Catharine; Mary.
Mr Hill died in 1739, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH HILL (1728-95), MP for Londonderry and collector of that port, who was created a baronet in 1779.

 Sir Hugh married Hannah, daughter of John McClintock, of Dunmore, County Donegal, and had issue,
GEORGE, of whom presently;
Marcus, m, 1795, Miss Bernard, daughter of Rev Dr Bernard.
Sir Hugh was succeeded by his elder son,

THE RT HON SIR GEORGE FITZGERALD HILL, 2nd Baronet (1763-1839); a privy counsellor in Ireland, a trustee of the linen manufacturecolonel, Colonel of the Londonderry Militia, MP for Londonderry, 1795-1830; and successively clerk of the Irish House of Commons, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, Governor of the Island of St Vincent, and Governor of Trinidad.

Sir George espoused, in 1788, Jane, third daughter of the Rt Hon Lord John Beresford, brother of George, 1st Marquess of Waterford, which lady dsp 1836.
  • Sir George Hill, 3rd Baronet (1804-45);
  • Sir John Hill, 4th Baronet (1833-72);
  • Sir George Hill, 5th Baronet (1866-78);
  • Sir Henry Blyth Hill, 6th Baronet (1867–1929);
  • Sir George Rowley Hill, 7th Baronet (1864–1954);
  • Sir George Cyril Rowley Hill, 8th Baronet (1890–1980);
  • Sir George Alfred Rowley Hill, 9th Baronet (1899–1985);
  • Sir Richard George Rowley Hill, 10th Baronet (1925-92);
  • Sir John Alfred Rowley Hill, 11th Baronet (b 1940).

The 4th Baronet, Major Sir John Hill, served throughout the Indian Mutiny with the Bengal Light Cavalry.

Sir George Alfred Rowley Hill, 9th Baronet (1899-1995), was educated at Melville College Edinburgh, a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve; formerly a lieutenant, Indian Army.

Sir Richard George Rowley Hill MBE, 10th Baronet, was a major in the King's Own Scottish Borderers; a Lieutenant, Royal Fusiliers and Sikh Regiment Indian Army; educated at Clayesmore and Glasgow University.

Sir John Alfred Rowley Hill, 11th and present Baronet (b 1940), lives in Leicestershire.

The Hill Papers are held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 

During the Siege of Derry in 1689 Brook Hall (above), at Culmore, was the headquarters for JAMES I's army and the house was occupied by the Duke of Berwick, who commanded His Majesty's army.

The original house was replaced ca 1780 by an elegant villa to the north of its site, where extensive landscaping took place.

This house was altered ca 1816, when the balcony was added and it took on its Regency-style appearance.

The estate was purchased in 1852 by Samuel Gilliland, who planted the demesne with its rare ornamental trees and shrubs.

David Gilliland is head of a family of quite remarkable achievement and social conscience.
Married to the novelist Jennifer Johnston, David, a Londonderry solicitor, inherited Brook Hall and has continued the family passion for gardening by restoring, maintaining and improving the estate's gardens of azaleas, rhododendrons and flowering shrubs, as well as an arboretum harbouring over 900 specimens of conifers and deciduous trees.
Brook Hall is listed on the UK’s Register of Parks, Gardens and Demesnes of Special Historic Interest. Here is its website.

When the house was built ca 1780, surrounding land was acquired to create a landscape park, which slopes down to the River Foyle.

The house, lodge and gates are listed. Much original planting remains including parkland oaks, beeches and chestnuts.

In Notes of a Journey in the North of Ireland in the summer of 1827, Mitchell wrote that,
Upon the grounds, evidently neither expanse nor skill has been spared in furnishing and maturing one of the most luxuriant collections of shrubs I ever beheld.
There is also more recent planting of considerable interest in the arboretum, begun in 1932 by Commander Frank Gilliland, RNVR.

This important collection, which occupies about 35 acres west and south west of the house, has been continuously enlarged over the years.

The present owner, who succeeded to the property in 1957, has catalogued the collection.

The walled gardens are partly cultivated. Nearby lies the National Collection of Escallonia.

The gate lodge, one remaining of two, was built ca 1820 and is listed with the house and gates.

First published in January, 2011.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Shaen Manor


THOMAS CARTER (1650-1726), of Robertstown, County Meath, Sergeant-at-Arms, a gentleman whose services at the Revolution were very considerable, for he not only served WILLIAM III at the battle of the Boyne, but secured divers useful books and writings belonging to King JAMES II and his secretaries when they were fleeing from the scene of the battle.

Mr Carter married firstly, Margaret Houghton, and was father of
He wedded secondly, in 1702, Isabella, daughter of Matthew, second son of Sir Matthew Boynton Bt, of Barmeston, Yorkshire, and widow of Wentworth, 4th Earl of Roscommon (the poet), but by her he had no issue.

His son,

THE RT HON THOMAS CARTER (1690-1763), Master of the Rolls, Secretary of State, and Privy Counsellor, 1732, of Robertstown and Rathnally, County Meath, espoused, in 1719, Mary, daughter and co-heiress (with her sister Frances) of Thomas Claxton, of Dublin, and had issue,
THOMAS, MP, of Old Leighlin;
HENRY BOYLE, of whom presently;
Frances; Susan; Mary.
The second son,

HENRY BOYLE CARTER, of Castle Martin, County Kildare, Captain in Colonel Irwin's regiment, married, in 1750, Susanna, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Arthur Shaen Bt, of Kilmore, County Roscommon, and by her had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
The eldest son,

THOMAS CARTER (1753-), of Castle Martin, wedded, in 1783, Catherine, daughter of the Hon John Butler, brother of Humphrey, 1st Earl of Lanesborough, and had issue,
WILLIAM HENRY, his heir;
John, Admiral RN;
The eldest son,

WILLIAM HENRY CARTER JP DL (1783-1859), of Castle Martin, County Kildare, High Sheriff, 1817, married firstly, in 1809, Elizabeth, third daughter of Francis Brooke, and sister of Sir Henry Brooke Bt, of Colebrooke, County Fermanagh, and by her had issue,
THOMAS SHAEN, his heir;
Mr Carter espoused secondly, in 1846, Frances, sister of Robert, 5th Earl of Mayo, but by her, who predeceased him, had no issue.

His only son,

THOMAS SHAEN-CARTER JP (1813-75), of Watlington Park, Oxfordshire, married, in 1842, Maria Susan, only surviving child and heiress of Colonel John Henry Tilson, of Watlington Park, descended from the Rt Rev Henry Tilson, Lord Bishop of Elphin, and by her had issue,
HENRY TILSON SHAEN, of Watlington Park;
Thomas Tilson Shaen;
Francis Tilson Shaen;
Ernest Tilson Shaen;
Basil Tilson Shaen (Rev), Rector of Watlington;
Gerald Tilson Shaen;
Lionel Tilson Shaen;
Augusta Susanna Shaen; Elizabeth Sophia Shaen.
This gentleman was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY TILSON SHAEN-CARTER (1846-), of Watlington Park, who wedded, in 1867, Adelaide Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Denis Bingham JP, of Bingham Castle, County Mayo.

He dsp 1882, and was succeeded by his brother,

GEORGE TILSON SHAEN-CARTER JP (1848-1918), of Shaen Manor, County Mayo, who married firstly, in 1878, Eva Augusta, daughter of William John French, of Ardsallagh, County Meath, and had issue,
Ernest de Freyne Tilson Shaen;
Muriel Una Shaen.
He wedded secondly, in 1894, Grace (dsp 1908), eldest daughter of the Rev David Hughes; and thirdly, Edith Hamilton Urry.

His eldest son,

VICTOR ARTHUR TILSON SHAEN-CARTER JP (1879-1954), of Shaen Manor, and Fleet End, Berkshire, married, in 1909, Wilfreda Christine, daughter of Richard Davis; High Sheriff of County Mayo, 1922.

His only son,

GEOFFREY VICTOR TILSON SHAEN-CARTER, of Shaen Lodge, County Mayo, married firstly, in 1946, Monica Howard, daughter of Brigadier Bertie Howard Penn; and secondly, in 1968, Peggy Ismay Voake.

The Carter family of Castlemartin, County Kildare, inherited half the Shaen lands in the barony of Erris, county Mayo, through marriage with a Shaen heiress in 1750.

In the mid 1820s they founded the town of Belmullet and developed it with the assistance of John Crampton, their agent, and the engineer Patrick Knight.

Former town residence ~ 44 Tilsbury Road, Hove, Sussex.

Unfortunately I have so far been unable to find any history or images of Shaen Manor or Lodge.

First published in March, 2012.

1st Baron Maguire


THOMAS MOR MAGUIRE, Lord or Prince of Fermanagh, and chief of the name of MAGUIRE, living in 1400, married Margaret, daughter of Con O'Neill, prince of Tyrone.

This Thomas died in 1430, having had two sons,
THOMAS, of whom we treat.
The second, or, according to some, elder son,

THOMAS OGE MAGUIRE, Prince of Fermanagh, born ca 1450, died in 1480.

His direct descendant, 

SIR BRYAN MAGUIRE (c1589-1633), Knight, was elevated to the peerage, by CHARLES I, by the title of LORD MAGUIRE, BARON OF ENNISKILLEN, County Fermanagh, in 1628, with limitation of the dignity to the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten.

He wedded Rose, daughter of Art O'Neill, of Carrickasticken, County Armagh, and sister of Owen Roe O'Neill, and had issue,
CONNOR, his heir, of whom presently;
Rory, a colonel in the army.
The 1st Lord Maguire died in 1655, and was buried in Aghavea, County Fermanagh.

His elder son,

CONNOR, 2nd Lord (c1612-45), was one of the chief leaders in the rebellion of 1641, and one of its chief victims.

He was tried for high treason in London, in 1644, and being found guilty, was hanged at Tyburn.

With him, the title became attainted.

He had espoused Mary, daughter of Thomas Fleming, of Castle Fleming, and had a son.

Several of the Maguire family, many of whom served in foreign service, assumed, and were styled Lords Maguire.

John O'Donovan has written an article about the Maguires of Fermanagh here.

Maguire arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in January, 2011.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Royal Visit

The Prince of Wales has arrived in Northern Ireland.

His Royal Highness was welcomed by the Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast, Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE.

In attendance were the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP; the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Guy Spence; the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Mrs Arlene Foster MLA; and Gavin Robinson, MP for East Belfast.

The Duchess of Cornwall will join His Royal Highness in the Province on Tuesday, the 24th May.

Thereafter, TRH will undertake a joint official visit to the Irish Republic on Wednesday, the 25th May.

The visit to the Irish Republic is at the request of HM Government and follows a visit Their Royal Highnesses made there last year.

In Northern Ireland, TRH will host a musical evening at Hillsborough Castle, County Down, with the BBC Radio 3 presenter, Sean Rafferty.

Prince Charles will visit The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at the Queen's University of Belfast.

Their Royal Highnesses will also visit a number of successful local businesses, some of which work in the food and drink sector, as 2016 is the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink.
Food and drink is Northern Ireland's single biggest industry. On May 11th, The Prince of Wales attended an event at Fortnum & Mason in London to promote the Province's produce, as part of his work in supporting the food and drink sector.
In the Irish Republic, Their Royal Highnesses will celebrate the area's heritage by visiting Magee's, a local company which has been producing tweed in Donegal for 150 years.

At the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, His Royal Highness will meet local entrepreneurs. Her Royal Highness will visit a local school.

Finally, at Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal, TRH will tour the gardens and meet children who have been learning about some of the conservation work which takes place in Glenveagh National Park.

Cregagh Glen

Cregagh Glen is a spot where the city of Belfast meets the countryside.

It is a property of the National Trust.

Parking is not particularly easy from the Knockbreda end, though I managed to find a place at a road off the dual carriageway; take care, however, if you park on the other side of the ring road.

This is a linear route, which returns by way of the same path.

My walk began at the entrance on the Upper Knockbreda Road.

I followed the path uphill through beautiful Cregagh Glen.

At certain points along the glen you can choose to follow the main path or a smaller path along the river Glen itself.

The path stays close to the edges of Cregagh Glen as it ascends through pools of sunlight cast by the trees.

Eventually you encounter a waterfall, and yesterday there were carpets of bluebells and wood anemones.

A sign points towards the former American military cemetery at Lisnabreeny, which is worth a detour.

At the top of the glen I crossed the busy Manse Road via a walkway and skirted the grounds of Lisnabreeny House, now a school.

A lane passes Lisnabreeny House, once the home of the Robb family; briefly a youth hostel and army headquarters; before restoration as part of Lagan College.

The old garden is now replanted with broad-leaves and a children's den in the natural play area.

I ambled for some distance further along the country lane before turning back and retracing my footsteps.

Fermanagh DLs


The Viscount Brookeborough, Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, has been pleased to appoint:- 

  • Mr Ernest Fisher, Irvinestown, County Fermanagh
  • Mr Hamish Logan, Ballinamallard, County Fermanagh
  • The Rt Hon John Henry Michael Ninian Earl of Erne, Crom Castle, Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh
  • Mr Anthony Rasdale, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
  • Dr John Graham, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
To be Deputy Lieutenants of the County, his Commission bearing date the 1st Day of June, 2016. 

Signed: Lord Lieutenant of the County

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Vegetarian Ulster Fry

The Belmont GHQ Ulster Fry, made with Quorn butcher-style sausages especially for National Vegetarian Week.

Mount Stewart: Floor Restoration

The National Trust seeks to raise funds for the restoration of the central hall floor at Mount Stewart House, County Down, ancestral seat of the Marquesses of Londonderry.

The floor was originally laid with local Scrabo stone.

Scrabo stone was also used for the portico, window surrounds, string course and balustrades of the house.

Scrabo stone fireplace at Belmont GHQ

The central section of the hall floor was arranged in a radiating pattern; whereas in the two apses it was laid in squares and octagons.

The original stone floor is beneath the black and white vinyl tiles and it remains in fair condition.

The new project will involve lifting the vinyl tiles, removing the bituminous layer below; and stabilizing or replacing any stones that require it.

The estimated cost for this task is £250,000.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Charlemont Beneficence

7th Viscount Charlemont

A reader has sent me an interesting account of his grandmother's time in the service of the 7th Viscount Charlemont:-

"My maternal grandmother Laura Foxford worked on the domestic staff of the 7th Viscount at Drumcairne, Stewartstown, County Tyrone.

"When he died [in 1913] he left enough money to each of his staff to emigrate if that was their wish.

"My grandmother, who had been born in Plymouth and whose father an ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer (who, on retirement, worked in the pre-partition Irish Coastguard service), opted to move to New York.

"My grandfather Robert Russell, whose family farm abutted Drumcairne, followed her.

"They were married in America and my mother, who celebrated her 100th birthday in February of this year, was born there in 1916.

"They returned to Ireland around 1920.

"I have a delightful little lady's fob watch in silver which Lord Charlemont gave my grandmother in 1911, according to the engraved inscription."

Friday, 20 May 2016

Stephenstown House


This is a cadet branch of the FORTESCUES of Drumiskin (from whom descended the EARLS OF CLERMONT, and the BARONS CLERMONT and CARLINGFORD).

WILLIAM FORTESCUE, of Newrath, County Louth, younger son of SIR THOMAS FORTESCUE, of Dromiskin, married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Nicholas Gernon, of Milltown, County Louth.

He died in 1734, leaving, with other issue, a third son,

CAPTAIN MATTHEW FORTESCUE, Royal Navy, who wedded, in 1757, Catherine Doogh, and had (with a daughter, Catherine) a son,

MATHEW FORTESCUE, of Stephenstown, who espoused Mary Anne, eldest daughter of John McClintock MP, of Drumcar, and had issue,
MATHEW, his heir;
Anna Maria; Harriet; Emily.
The only son,

MATHEW FORTESCUE DL (1791-1845), of Stephenstown, married, in 1811, Catherine Eglantine, eldest daughter of Colonel Blair MP, of Blair, and had issue,
Mathew Charles, died in infancy;
Frederick Richard Norman, father of
William Hamilton;
Clermont Mathew Augustus.
Mr Mathew Fortescue was succeeded by his son,

JOHN CHARLES WILLIAM FORTESCUE JP DL (1822-91), of Stephenstown, and Corderry, Lieutenant-Colonel, RA; High Sheriff, 1861; Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Louth, 1868-79.

Colonel Fortescue wedded, in 1857, Geraldine Olivia Mary Anne, daughter of the Rev Frederick Pare, by the Hon Geraldine de Ros his wife.

He dsp in 1891, when he was succeeded by his nephew,

MATTHEW CHARLES EDWARD FORTESCUE JP DL (1861-1914), of Stephenstown, High Sheriff, 1903, Major, 6th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, who wedded, in 1894, Edith Magdalen, eldest daughter of Sir Charles Arthur Fairlie-Cunninghame Bt, in an issueless marriage.


After the death of Mrs Pike-Fortescue in 1966, Stephenstown was inherited  by her nephew, Major Digby Hamilton, who sold it about 1974.

STEPHENSTOWN HOUSE, near Dundalk, County Louth, was a square Georgian house of two storeys over a basement, five bays long and five bays deep.

The house was extended in 1820 by the addition of two wings of one storey over the basement.

One of these wings was demolished later in the 19th century.

At some time in the earlier part of the 19th Century the windows were given Tudor-Revival hood mouldings, but later the house was refaced with cement and the hood mouldings replaced by classical pediments and entablatures.

Alas, the once-great mansion is now ruinous.

Although neglected in recent years, Stephenstown House continues to play a vital role in its surroundings.

It is located on the highest point in the locality dominating the skyline and providing a point of drama in the landscape.

The outlying buildings are in fair condition and their survival contributes further to Stephenstown's significance.

The house became ruinous by the 1980s.

Abandoned Ireland has an interesting article about it here.

Other former seat ~ Wymondham Cottage, Oakham, Rutland.

First published in March, 2012.