Sunday, 28 May 2017

Skipper Street, Belfast

Merchant Hotel

Skipper Street, Belfast, runs from Waring Street to High Street.

This is one of the the oldest streets in Belfast, where the River Farset used to flow openly along High Street itself (it still does, though it's culverted).

High Street ca 1830

The street was thus named because skippers of sailing vessels lodged here.

This street is mentioned as far back as 1685; it was, however, significantly affected by the 1941 blitz.

In 1974, The Albert Inn stood at 3 Skipper Street; then it changed its name to the Blackthorn Bar.

High Street

The buildings are now all relatively recent since many, if not most, were destroyed by bombing during the 2nd World War.

The most notable premises today are The Merchant Hotel - formerly the Ulster Bank head office - which now runs along the entire left-hand side of the street (the even numbers).

The Spaniard Bar  is at number three and Jackson Sports is located at the corner of Skipper Street and High Street.

First published in July, 2009.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Wheaten Bannock

I do enjoy wheaten bread.

It's particularly popular here in Ulster, though many wheaten loaves or bannocks sold in the supermarkets don't enthuse me at all.

I decided to make my own.

I have been experimenting with various recipes and I think I've found a good one.

For this recipe I use a greased (buttered) baking-sheet.

Heat the oven to 200º C.

  • 280g coarse wholemeal flour (the coarser the better)
  • 20g rolled jumbo oat flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 270ml buttermilk

Measure the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them.

Pour the treacle into the buttermilk and mix in another bowl or dish.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk and treacle.

Mix well with a wooden spoon.

With your hands make the mixture into a round and place carefully on to the baking-sheet.

Cut a deep cross on it.

Sprinkle the top with wholemeal flour (I often forget to do this).

Bake for about 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter and allow to cool on a cooling-rack.

Campbell Dinner

I had the most enjoyable evening last night. An old pal, NCS, picked me up at Belmont GHQ and took me the short distance to that venerable academic institution, Campbell College.

There were a couple of stinkers at Campbell during my time, though thankfully they weren't there last night.

It was such a glorious evening that some of the former staff and guests were standing in the quadrangle, drinking Pimm's.

I leapt out of NCJ's car and joined Keith and a few others.

The refreshing glass of Pimm's was duly collected at a side table.

A waiter offered delicious little canapés from a large tray.

It was truly a pleasure to meet my friend and teacher, Johnny Knox.

Johnny - Mr Knox as I knew him when I was a pupil - and his wife chatted with me in the warm sunshine.

After a while we all moved in to the Dining Hall.

Keith introduced me to the Headmaster, Robert Robinson MBE BSc. I can recall apprising him that my Number was "SIX ONE TWO EIGHT".

My name was on a place-card and I sat opposite Keith.

Johnny and Mrs Knox sat within roll-throwing distance.

This was a formal dinner, of course, and the meal was first-rate.

The main course comprised perfectly cooked salmon.

I wish I'd taken a few photographs: my camera was in my pocket, though I was enjoying myself so much that I was oblivious to it.

Keith very kindly gave me a lift home.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Prince Philip at Hillsborough

The Duke of Edinburgh, Patron, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, attended Receptions at Hillsborough Castle, County Down, on Thursday, 25th May, 2017, for young people who have achieved the Gold Standard in the Award.

His Royal Highness was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs. Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE).

Marquess's Coronet

THE coronet of a marquess is a silver-gilt circlet with four strawberry leaves around it, alternating with four silver balls, known as pearls, on points.

The coronet itself is chased as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) but is not actually jewelled.

It has a crimson cap (lined ermine) in real life and a purple one in heraldic representation, and a golden tassel on top.

The alternation of strawberry leaves and pearls is what distinguishes a marquess's coronet from those of other ranks.

Coronets are rarely worn nowadays, although they are customarily worn at coronations.

They can, however, still be seen depicted on peers' coats-of-arms as a badge of rank within the five degrees of the hereditary peerage.

The coronet of a marchioness sits on top of the head (instead of around it).

A marquess is a peer of the second degree in the peerage, ranking above an earl and below a duke.

First published in May, 2010.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

1st Baron Beresford



He was the second son of John, 4th Marquess of Waterford, and brother of John, 5th Marquess.

Lord Charles married, in 1878, Mina, daughter of Richard Gardner, in London.

He was educated at Bayford School, and Mr Foster's School, Stubbington, Hampshire.

His distinguished career is very well documented already.

Admiral Beresford was elevated to the peerage, in 1916, as BARON BERESFORD, of Metemmeh and Curraghmore, County Waterford.

Lord Beresford died three years later, in 1919, when the barony became extinct.

He died at Langwell, Berriedale, Caithness, aged 73.

After a State funeral at St Paul's Cathedral,  Lord Beresford was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in south London.

Lord Beresford inherited the County Cavan estate of his relation, the Most Rev Lord John Beresford.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Lord John George de la Poer Beresford (1773-1862), Lord Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, possessing great wealth, was known for his considerable largesse.

His patronage extended largely to Trinity College, Dublin; to the College of Saint Columba; and he restored Armagh Cathedral, at a cost of £30,000.

Furthermore, His Grace augmented the salaries of his clergy.

The bust of this distinguished prelate stands in the private chapel at Curraghmore, County Waterford.

He is interred in Armagh Cathedral.

The Archbishop bequeathed his County Cavan estate to Lord Charles Beresford.

Learmount Castle in County Londonderry, belonged to the same family through marriage.

First published in May, 2013. Beresford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

The Slieve Donard Acquisition


PROPERTY: Slieve Donard Lands, near Newcastle, County Down

DATE: 1990

EXTENT: 1284.76 acres

DONOR: Gerald Annesley Esq

First published in January, 2015.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Oak Park


JAMES BRUEN, said to have been of Tarvin, Cheshire, went to Ireland in Cromwell's Army and settled at Abbeyboyle, County Roscommon.

He was administrator to his brother, Henry Bruen, of Dublin, in 1700.

His son,

MOSES BRUEN, of Boyle, County Roscommon, purchased land and property in counties Carlow and Wexford from the Beaucamp, Grogan and Whaley families.

Thereafter, the family settled at Oak Park, County Carlow, and Coolbawn, County Wexford.

This Moses, who died in 1757, left issue,
HENRY, of Oak Park;
Bridget; Mary; Elinor Catherine; Margaret; Elizabeth.
The second son,

COLONEL HENRY BRUEN MP (1741-95), of Oak Park, removed, about 1775, to estates which he purchased in County Carlow.

He married, in 1787, Harriette Dorothea, daughter of Francis Knox, of Rappa Castle, County Mayo, and had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
John, of Coolbawn;
Francis, of Coolbawn;
Maria; Margaret; Harriett.
The son and heir,

COLONEL HENRY BRUEN MP (1789-1852), of Oak Park, and Coolbawn, County Wexford, was sometime MP for County Carlow.

He married, in 1822, Anne Wandesforde, daughter of Thomas Kavanagh MP, of Borris House, County Carlow, by Lady Elizabeth his wife, daughter of John, 17th Earl of Ormonde.

The Colonel died in 1852, leaving issue,
HENRY, of Oak Park;
Elizabeth; Harriet; Anne.
The son and heir,

THE RT HON HENRY BRUEN JP DL (1828-1912), of Oak Park and Coolbawn, MP for Carlow, 1857-80, High Sheriff, 1853, Privy Counsellor, married, in 1854, Mary Margaret, third daughter of Colonel Edward M Conolly MP, of Castletown, County Kildare, and had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
Edward Francis, Captain RN;
John Richard;
Arthur Thomas;
Katherine Anne; Mary Susan; Elizabeth; Eleanor; Helen; Grace.
Mr Bruen was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY BRUEN (1856-1927), of Oak Park, and Coolbawn, Lieutenant, Royal Artillery, High Sheriff of Carlow, 1886, and of Wexford, 1909, who wedded, in 1886, Agnes Mary, youngest daughter of the Rt Hon Arthur M Kavanagh, of Borris, County Carlow, and had issue,

HENRY ARTHUR BRUEN (1887-1954), of Oak Park, Captain, 15th Hussars, who wedded, in 1913, Jane Catherine Gladys, daughter of Arthur George Florence McClintock, and had issue,

GLADYS PATRICIA BREUN (1914-), of Oak Park, who wedded, in 1939, Mervyn Anthony Arthur Rudyerd Boyse, son of Major Henry Thomas Arthur Shapland Hunt Boyse. They had four sons.

She lived in 1976 at Maryvale, Church Road, Ballybrack, County Dublin.

OAK PARK, near Carlow town, is a large Victorian classical house by W V Morrison.

It has two storeys, the entrance front having a five-bay central block with a pedimented portico of four huge Ionic columns.

The main block is prolonged by wings of the same height, initially set back though returning forwards with Wyatt windows at their ends.

The garden front of thirteen bays is duller in appearance.

The interior has splendid plasterwork in the style of Morrison; while the Hall boasts giant, free-standing Ionic columns.

Part of the former Oak Park estate, once the home of the Bruen Family, from 1775 to 1957, is now the 127 acre Oak Park Forest Park.

The Oak Park demesne was bought by Colonel Henry Bruen in 1775, after making his fortune in the American Army.

He was the grandson of James Bruen, of Tarvin, Cheshire, who came to Ireland with Oliver Cromwell and received land at Abbeyboyle, County Roscommon.

The Bruens intermarried with the County Mayo families, Knox of Rappa and Ruttledge of Bloomfield.

HMS Drake, the wreck of which lies at Church Bay, Rathlin Island, was torpedoed in 1917. One of her Captains was Edward Bruen, son of the MP. He was Captain when the ship was flagship on the Australian station circa 1912/13.

The Senior Naval Officer in Australia at the time was Admiral King-Hall (Admiral Sir George Fowler King-Hall KCB CVO) who had a very strong Ulster connection. Captain Edward Bruen RN was married to Olga Ker, one of the Montalto and Portavo family.

Captain Bruen later went on to command HMS Bellerophon at the Battle of Jutland.

The Bruen estate was mainly in the counties of Carlow and Wexford where they had houses at Oakpark in Carlow and at Coolbawn, Enniscorthy.

Francis Bruen was married to Catherine Anne Nugent, daughter of the Earl of Westmeath.

Three townlands in the barony of Athenry were offered for sale in the Landed Estates court in 1866.

All this land gave the Bruen family political power and, in 1790, Henry Bruen was returned to Parliament, winning the seat of a neighbouring family, the Butlers.

However, the Butlers reclaimed their seat five years later with the sudden death of the Colonel in December, 1795.

This allowed his son, also called Henry, to assume control of the estate.

The Bruen estate in County Galway amounted to over 700 acres in the 1870s but was part of an estate of almost 25,000 acres in total.

Manuscripts in the Irish Genealogical Office would suggest that the family held lands at Boyle, County Roscommon, in the 18th century.

These lands seem to have been at the centre of a legal case between the Bruen family and Richard St George.

Henry Bruen attended Harrow School alongside the poet Lord Byron and Robert Peel, with whom he would later serve as a Conservative MP.

Peel was Home Secretary at the time of Catholic Emancipation, a Bill which Henry Bruen supported.

Bruen quickly amassed the land surrounding Oak Park.

In 1841, a survey of every Bruen farm revealed that the family's estates in County Carlow covered 20,089 acres.

In the 1841 election, Henry defeated the Liberal candidate, Daniel O'Connell, Jnr., son of “The Liberator”.
However, the Bruen hold on the seat lapsed with the death of Henry in 1852; but his son, also confusingly called Henry, returned to the House of Commons in 1857 and held his seat until 1880, which marked the end of the family's 90-year history of political involvement over three generations.
The current mansion house at Oak Park is the result of four periods of expansion and remodelling carried out between 1797 and 1902.

Twenty-two years after he arrived, Henry employed Michael Boylan to redecorate the house.

In 1832, the second Henry Bruen commissioned William Morrison to re-model the house and in 1876 Samuel Bolton, a builder, signed a contract for a major extension, which took three years to complete.

However, on 22nd February, 1902, the house was gutted by fire.

After eight hours of fighting the blaze, all that remained was the north wing. Fortunately, a large number of paintings, furniture and books were saved by the workers.

The house was rebuilt under the supervision of William Mitchell.

The last male Bruen, the fifth Henry, died in 1954.

By then, the estate had reduced in size to a relatively small 1,500 acres.

He left nothing to his estranged daughter Gladys, who had several years earlier married Prince Milo of Montenegro.

The remainder of the estate was bequeathed to a cousin in England, minus a weekly income for life of £6 to his daughter, Patricia.

In 1957, the estate was purchased at auction for £50,555 by Brownes Hill Estates, who already owned the nearby estate in which a Norfolk farmer was principal partner.

However, within three years the property was back on the market after fierce protest from smaller farmers in opposition to the purchase by the Norfolk farmer.

The estate was bought by the Irish Land Commission for £68,000, and seven hundred acres were divided up among small holders, while the house and the remaining land were taken over as a research centre for the Irish Agricultural Institute (Teagasc).

The last member of the Bruen family to be buried in the family's private burial ground at the Mausoleum was Gladys, the estranged wife of Henry (d 1969). 

First published in April, 2011.

I am grateful to Henry Woods and Robert Power for most of the information; further reading about the Bruens and Oak Park can be read here.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Rowallane Acquisition


PROPERTY: Rowallane Estate, near Saintfield, County Down

DATE: 1956

EXTENT: 199.34 acres

DONOR: Jane Moore and Kenneth Goodbody

First published in January, 2015.

The Bangor Bell

McCance of Knocknagoney

THE BELL of Bangor Abbey, County Down, dating from 825AD, was reputedly found at the Abbey ca 1780, and it is speculated that it had been hidden at the time of the Viking attacks on Irish monasteries.

It was in private hands for some 150 years, and then housed in the Ulster Museum before coming to Bangor Borough Council in the 1950s.

The cast-iron bronze bell would have been used to call the monks to prayer.

THIS Bell was in the possession of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCance (1843-1922), of Knocknagoney House, near Holywood, County Down, whose great-grandfather found it in the ruins of the Abbey.

Knocknagoney House

In the historic Ulster Journal of Archæology it was recorded that
"this bell was found in the ruins of the abbey about sixty years ago" (last decade of the 18th century) and was in 1853 in possession of Dr Stephenson, of Belfast." 
The Bell has been at North Down Museum, Bangor, since 1984.

It shows the flowering of Irish Christian civilisation which was set back by the pagan Viking attacks.

The bell would have been used to call the monks to prayer.

First published in June, 2015. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Thomas A Hope


JOHN HOPE, of Hopefold, Astley Green, Lancashire, was father of

PETER HOPE (1671-1741), who married Hannah Kirkman, and had a son,

SAMUEL HOPE (1709-81), who wedded firstly, Amy Venables; and secondly, Martha Hepworth, by whom he had issue,

WILLIAM HOPE (1751-1827), of Liverpool, who married, in 1779, Mary, daughter of Robert Jones, of Liverpool (both of whom were buried at the Necropolis, Liverpool), and had issue,
SAMUEL, of whom presently;
Joseph Walley;
The second son,

SAMUEL HOPE JP (1781-1837), of Liverpool, Banker, wedded, in 1816, Rebekah, daughter of Thomas Bateman, of Middleton Hall, Derbyshire, and had issue,
THOMAS ARTHUR, of whom presently;
William Carey;
Samuel Pearce.
The eldest son,

THOMAS ARTHUR HOPE JP (1817-97), of 14 Airlie Gardens, Kensington, formerly of Stanton, Bebington, Cheshire, married, in 1839, Emily, youngest daughter of Christopher Hird Jones, of Liverpool, and had numerous issue.


THE HOPES were a large, wealthy and well connected family of Liverpool bankers and landowners.

Samuel Hope was a Liberal non-conformist, noted for his philanthropic work in the city.

His son, Thomas Arthur Hope, and his wife, Emily Hird Jones, had thirteen children.

The family owned land in Cheshire, Flintshire and County Tyrone.

They lived in a succession of properties in Liverpool, the Wirral and London.

They are known to have associated with other prominent Liberal families including the Rathbones of Liverpool and the Gregs of Styal in Cheshire. 

The famous Hope Collection can be seen at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Liverpool. The Hopes were wealthy bankers: Thomas Hope, born in 1769.
The Rt Hon Sir Alexander James Beresford Hope was married to the Hon Louisa Beresford, daughter of William, 1st Lord Decies (3rd son of 1st Earl of Tyrone).

First published in December, 2009.

Baron's Coronet

The coronet of a baron is a circlet of silver-gilt, bordered with ermine, with six balls (known as pearls) set at equal distances.

It has a crimson cap with a a gold-threaded tassel on top.

The six large pearls distinguish the coronet of a baron (the lowest degree in the nobility) from the four other ranks of the peerage.

Like all coronets, it is customarily worn at coronations, though a baron is entitled to bear his coronet of rank on his armorial bearings, above the shield.

A smaller version, shown above, as worn by baronesses at coronations, sits on top of the head, rather than around it. 

First published in May, 2010.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Ballinacor House


WILLIAM KEMMIS (1777-1864), of Ballinacor, County Wicklow, and Killeen, Queen's County, Crown and Treasury Solicitor for Ireland (see KEMMIS of Shaen), espoused, in 1805, Ellen, second daughter of Nicholas Southcote Mansergh JP, of Greenane, County Tipperary, and had issue,
George (Rev);
Mr Kemmis was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM GILBERT KEMMIS JP DL (1806-81), of Ballinacor and Ballycarroll, who died unmarried, when he was succeeded by his nephew,

COLONEL WILLIAM KEMMIS JP DL (1836-1900), of Ballinacor and Ballycarroll, Royal Artillery, who wedded, in 1862, Ellen Gertrude de Horne Christy, eldest daughter of George Steinman Steinman, FSA, of Sundridge, Kent, and left issue,
Marcus Steinman (Rev);
Lewis George Nicholas;
Edward Bernhard;
Gilbert (Rev).
Colonel Kemmis was succeeded by his eldest son, 

WILLIAM HENRY OLPHERT KEMMIS JP DL (1864-1939), of Ballinacor, High Sheriff, 1904, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding, Wicklow Royal Garrison Artillery, who espoused, in 1888, Francis Maude, second daughter of the Rev Charles Beauclerk, Chaplain of Holy Trinity Church, Boulogne, France, and had issue,
Thomas Steinman;
Karolie Kathleen.
The eldest son,

CAPTAIN WILLIAM DARRYL OLPHERT KEMMIS MC (1892-1965), Inniskilling Dragoons.

When Captain Kemmis died in 1965, Ballinacor was inherited by his maternal cousin, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Lomer.

BALLINACOR HOUSE, Rathdrum, County Wicklow, is a two-storey, late 18th century house, enlarged, re-faced and re-roofed in the 19th century.

It has a three-bay entrance front with an Ionic portico.

The end elevation has six bays, three of which are in a shallow, curved bow.

There is a gabled office wing with an adjacent conservatory; an Italianate campanile at the junction of the main block and wing.

The clock has been said to keep time for the surrounding countryside.

The entrance hall is stone-flagged, with a plasterwork Victorian cornice; a large, top-lit, two-storey hall with oval lantern; oval gallery with iron balustrade.

The demesne is said to be magnificent, with wooded hills topped by high mountains; a mile-long oak walk; and a mile-long avenue from the front gate to the house, bordered by rhododendrons and firs.

There is a deer-park and the River Avonbeg flows by with abundant cascades and gorges.


THE PRESENT owners, Sir Robert and Lady Goff, bought Ballinacor Estate in 2001 as a working farm and shoot.

The house underwent an extensive renovation and modernisation project, which was completed in 2009.

This renovation was sympathetic to the time in which the house was built and is furnished appropriately.

The estate has a strong tradition of driven shooting and has game records going back well over a century.

Grouse were previously shot on the estate, and it is hoped to revive the moor in future years.

First published in May, 2013.

Prince of Wales's Coronet

The coronet of the Prince of Wales, or, more properly, the demi-crown of the Heir Apparent to the throne is composed of a circle of gold; on the edge, four crosses patée, between as many fleurs-de-lis; from the two centre crosses, an arch, surmounted with a mound and cross, the whole richly chased and adorned with pearls; within the coronet, a crimson cap, lined with white sarsnet, and turned up with ermine.

The original coronet of this design forms part of the crown jewels exhibited at the Tower of London.

The royal coronet made for Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1728, is a golden diadem, the band decorated with embossed jewel-like lozenges and ovals with foliate surrounds, on a matted ground, between rows of gold pearls.

Royal Collection © HM Queen Elizabeth II

Above the band are four gold crosses-pattée and four fleurs-de-lis, partly matted and chased.

The single arch dips deeply in the centre and supports a monde with gold pearls and a cross above, fitted with a purple velvet cap and ermine band.

The Investiture Coronet of the present Prince of Wales was designed by the architect and goldsmith Louis Osman (1914-96) and given to HM The Queen by the Goldsmith’s Company for His Royal Highness's Investiture at Carnarvon Castle, 1969.

It is 24 carat gold, with four crosses-pattée and four fleur-de-Lys made from a nugget of Welsh gold, reinforced with platinum and decorated with diamonds and emeralds. The orb mounted on the top of the arch was engraved by Malcolm Appleby with The Prince of Wales’s insignia.

This is surrounded by thirteen diamonds arranged as the constellation of Scorpio, The Prince of Wales’s star sign. The diamonds set horizontally represent the seven Gifts of God on one side and the seven deadly sins on the other.
First published in June, 2013.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Belfast Fishmongers

In 1974, there were no less than fifty-two merchants in Belfast who were classified as Fishmongers:
  1. Adams, T, 24 Bromley Street
  2. Bon-Accord, 169 Victoria Street
  3. Boyle, F, 169 Divis Street
  4. Campbell, T, 332 Woodstock Road
  5. Christie, J, 32 Belmont Road
  6. Christie, Walter, 94 York Road
  7. Coulter, J, 162 Crumlin Road
  8. Crawford, John, 34 Botanic Avenue
  9. Crawford, William, 239-241 Cliftonville Road
  10. Crawford's, 2-4 Westland Road
  11. Curran, J, 241 Grosvenor Road
  12. Davey, Robertina, 849 Crumlin Road
  13. Dickson, John, 122 Oldpark Road
  14. Donnelly, T, 62 Knockbreda Road
  15. Duffy, John, 43 Bradbury Place
  16. Dungannon Stores, 145 Upper Lisburn road
  17. Eagle, The, 233d North Queen Street & 171 Shankill Rd
  18. Ewing, J, 32 Gilnahirk Road
  19. Ewing, M & H, 124 Shankill Road
  20. Ewing, Walter, 11 Oldpark Road
  21. Ewing, William, 427 Lisburn road
  22. Fitzsimmons & Son, 261 Upper Newtownards Road
  23. Fitzsimmons, James, 431 Upper Newtownards Road
  24. Frizzell, 273 Shankill Road
  25. Gillespie, JH, 223 Woodstock Rd & 138 Ravenhill Rd
  26. Gillespie, W, 252 Newtownards Road
  27. Gilroy, George, 66-72 Ann Street
  28. Hanlon, Archer, 14 Woodvale Road
  29. James, H, 112 Albertbridge Road
  30. Johnston, James A, 23 Castlereagh Road
  31. Kingham, Thomas, 76 Shore Road
  32. Larmour, A, 249 North Queen Street
  33. Loughran, J & Sons, 137 Antrim Road
  34. Magill, Mrs M, 183 Newtownards Road
  35. Marquis, The, 91 Castle Street & 2 Marquis Street
  36. Mayne, N, 393 Ormeau Road
  37. Moss, R, 67 Ormeau Road
  38. McAreavy's, 242 Springfield Road
  39. McCrory, Edward, 146 Castlereagh Road
  40. McCusker, John, 295 Grosvenor Road
  41. McGonigle & Malcolm, 14 Upper Newtownards Road
  42. McNeill, FG, 5 Ardoyne Road
  43. Nightingale, Thomas, 79 Castlereagh Road
  44. McTeggart, Mrs C, 68-78 Oxford Street
  45. McVeigh, J, 83 Newtownards Road
  46. O'Connor, A, 374 Crumlin Road
  47. Quinn, Hugh, 68-78 Oxford Street
  48. Rogan, Patrick, 792 Shore Road
  49. Ross, John & Sons, 68-78 Oxford Street
  50. Sawers Ltd, 24-38 Castle Street & 15 Fountain Street
  51. Somerville, H, 112 Bloomfield Avenue
  52. Stewart, WH, 307 Springfield Road

Belmont Tower

BELMONT TOWER, as it is now known, is a two-storey five-bay former schoolhouse situated at the corner of Belmont Road and Belmont Church Road, Belfast.

The building was constructed between 1889 and 1892.

Before 1889, Belmont Primary School had been located in the grounds of Belmont Presbyterian Church, in a schoolhouse first opened in 1863.

The school continued to meet at the church site for over 25 years until the erection of the present building.

The architect of the new school was Vincent Craig (1869-1925), a local architect who was articled to W H Lynn between 1885-89, and who was the younger brother of the Rt Hon Sir James Craig Bt (the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland).

Belmont Primary School was built in the Gothic-Revival style, and locally quarried Scrabo sandstone was used in the masonry of the building with Locharbriggs sandstone as a secondary material.

The construction of the school was undertaken by the local building firm of Dixon & Campbell.

Belmont Primary School is said to have been erected in memory of Mrs Mary Ferguson, of Sydenham House.

Following her death in 1888, Mrs Ferguson's widower, Robert Ferguson, donated £1,000 to the Belmont Presbyterian Church Committee in order to ‘build and furnish a school and enclose the ground as a memorial to my dear wife and to be named as such.’

Robert Ferguson, of Sydenham House, Strandtown, was a prosperous merchant and businessman who co-owned Robertson, Ledlie, Ferguson and Company.

The school was originally known as The Ferguson Memorial School and was administered under the state-managed National School System until after the partition of Ireland in 1922.

The Belmont Tower website states that the old school was originally divided between its two storeys: the boy’s school occupied the ground floor; whilst the girls school utilised the upper floor of the building.

The southern extension of the school was added in 1910 by a local architect, Thomas Houston (1873-1938).

The Ferguson Memorial School continued to be administered by the National School System until partition.

In 1926, the school came under the auspices of Belfast Corporation’s Education Committee, and consequently the school was renamed Belmont Public Elementary School.

Belmont Public Elementary School was sold to the Belfast Education and Library Board in 1975 and was listed in the following year.

By 1994, the condition of the building had deteriorated to a point where Belfast City Council did not consider refurbishment to be economically viable, and the building was declared redundant in May, 1999.

Staff and pupils moved to a brand new school that was built in the grounds.

Nevertheless, local residents, many of whom were also parents of children at the school, were concerned for the future of the school building and established the Old Belmont School Preservation Trust in May, 2001.

The National Trust subsequently acquired the building.

Work began to restore the fabric and introduce 21st century facilities, for various community uses such as a pre-school play group, coffee shop, function and meeting rooms.

Belmont Tower was officially opened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in September, 2004.

BELMONT TOWER, Belmont Road, Belfast, is today used for small conferences, seminars, "away days", staff assessment centres, training, exhibitions, product launches, breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings, business networking, board and committee meetings, and receptions.

There is a café upstairs.

This was my primary school in the 1960s: Miss McMinnis was the headmistress; and Miss Cartright - aka Cartyballs -  zealously banged children's heads together when she felt so inclined.

Little bottles of milk (1⁄3 of a pint, I think) were delivered in a metal crate for us every day.

First published in April, 2013.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Duke's Coronet

The coronet of a duke is a golden circlet with eight gold strawberry leaves around it (pointing upwards).

The coronet itself is chased as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) but is not actually jewelled.

It has a crimson cap (lined ermine) in real life and a purple one in heraldic representation.

There is a gold-threaded tassel on top.

The number of strawberry leaves and absence of pearls is what distinguishes a ducal coronet from those of other degrees of the peerage.

The ducal coronet has undergone several modifications in form since it was first introduced in 1337.

As now worn, it has eight golden leaves of a conventional type - the "strawberry leaves" so called - set erect upon a circlet of gold, and having their stalks so connected as to form a wreath.

Of late years this coronet has enclosed a cap of rich crimson velvet surmounted by a golden tassel and lined and "guarded" with ermine.


A smaller version, above, is worn by duchesses at coronations.

Peeresses' coronets sit on top of the head, rather than around it.

Non-royal dukes represent the highest degree in the hereditary peerage.

First published in April, 2010.

House of Rawdon

The illustrious family of RAWDON deduced its pedigree from Paulinus de Rawdon, to whom William the Conqueror granted considerable estates.

This Paulyn, or Paulinus, commanded a band of archers in the Norman invading army, and derived his surname of Rawdon, from the lands of that denomination, near Leeds, which constituted a portion of the royal grant.

From this successful soldier lineally sprang, 19th in descent, through a line of eminent ancestors,

GEORGE RAWDON, who settled in Ireland, and took an active part as a military commander during the rebellion of 1641, in that kingdom; and subsequently, until his decease, in 1684, in the general affairs of Ireland.

Mr Rawdon married, in 1654, the Hon Dorothy Conway, daughter of 2nd Viscount Conway, and they lived at Moira, County Down.

He was the only son and heir of Francis Rawdon, of Rawdon Hill, near Leeds in Yorkshire.

Rawdon went to Court about the end of the reign of JAMES I and became private secretary to Lord Conway, Secretary of State.

After Lord Conway's death, Rawdon was attached to his son, the 2nd Viscount Conway, who had large estates in County Down. 

George Rawdon became his secretary (or agent) and frequently visited the Lisburn area.

He commanded a company of soldiers, and sat in the Irish Parliament of 1639 as MP for Belfast.

When the Irish Rebellion broke out on 23rd October, 1641, Rawdon was in London; but he lost no time in coming to the post of duty.

He travelled at once to Scotland, and crossed to Bangor, reaching Lisburn on the 27th November. 

The account of his visit to Lisburn at this critical time is fully recorded in a most interesting and vivid contemporary note in the old Vestry Book of Lisburn Cathedral.

The towns of Moira and Ballynahinch were founded by Rawdon.

He married, in 1639, Ursula, daughter of Sir Francis Stafford, and widow of Francis Hill, of Hillhall, by whom he had no surviving issue.

After her death he espoused, in 1654, Dorothy, eldest daughter of Edward, Viscount Conway.

She died in 1676.

There was an only son of this marriage, Sir Arthur Rawdon, who was buried beside his father in the vault.

Mr Rawdon was created a baronet, 1655, being denominated, of Moira, in the County of Down.

He died in 1684 and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,  

SIR ARTHUR RAWDON, (1662-95), 2nd Baronet, MP for County Down, a distinguished soldier, like his father, and a leader of the "Loyalists of Ulster", who fought against the army of JAMES II.

Sir Arthur was in Londonderry during the siege, but as he was dangerously ill he had to leave the town by the advice of his doctor.

His only son, 

SIR JOHN RAWDON (1720-93), 3rd Baronet, MP for County Down, married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Richard Levinge Bt, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons (she, after his death, married the Most Rev Charles Cobbe, Lord Archbishop of Dublin).

Sir John was elevated to the peerage, in 1750, as Baron Rawdon, of Moira, County Down; and advanced to an earldom, as EARL OF MOIRA,  in 1762. 

He was married thrice: 1st to the Lady Helena, daughter of the Earl of Egmont; secondly to the Hon Anna Hill, daughter of the Viscount Hillsborough; and thirdly, to the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of the Earl of Huntingdon.

His eldest son,  

FRANCIS EDWARD (1754-1826), 2nd Earl and 4th Baronet, KG, PC, was advanced to a marquessate, as MARQUESS OF HASTINGS.

His lordship was a distinguished soldier and scholar, Governor-General of India, Fellow of the Royal Society, and fought in the American war.

He was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

All of these subsidiary titles, including the baronetcy, became extinct in 1868,  following the death of the 4th Marquess and 8th Baronet.
     First published in January, 2012.  Hastings arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

    Thursday, 18 May 2017

    Viscount's Coronet

    The coronet of a viscount is a silver-gilt circlet with sixteen silver balls (known as pearls) around it.

    The coronet itself is chased and embossed as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) with alternating oval and square jewel-shaped bosses, but is not actually jewelled.

    It has a crimson velvet cap with lined ermine trim (the cap being purple in heraldic representation).

    There is a gold-threaded tassel on top.

    The sixteen pearls are what distinguishes the coronet of a viscount from other degrees of the Peerage.

    The coronet of a viscountess (above) is smaller in size and sits on top of the head, rather than around it.

    Like all heraldic coronets, it is mostly worn at the coronation of a Sovereign, but a viscount is entitled to bear a likeness of it on his coat-of-arms, above the shield.

    Viscounts are peers of the fourth degree of nobility, next in rank above a baron and below an earl.

    First published in June, 2011.

    Killua Castle


    The parent stock of this family flourished through several generations, in and near the town of Hinckley, Leicestershire.

    The branch settled in Ireland was established there by 

    JOHN CHAPMAN and his brother WILLIAM, under the auspices of their first cousin, Sir Walter Raleigh; through whose influence John obtained grants of land in County Kerry, which, on the fall of his great patron, he was obliged, from pecuniary difficulties, to dispose of to the 1st Earl of Cork, receiving the large sum, in those days, of £26,400 (about £7 million in 2016) from his lordship.

    He lived eight years after this transaction, leaving at his decease, his brother,

    WILLIAM CHAPMAN, surviving, who lived for several years afterwards, and left at his decease, an only son, 

    BENJAMIN CHAPMAN, who entered as a cornet into a cavalry regiment, raised by the Earl of Inchiquin; and obtained, from Cromwell, when Captain Chapman, a grant of a considerable estate in County Westmeath, at Killua, otherwise St Lucy's, formerly a preceptory, or cell, of the knights hospitallers, where he resided during the remainder of his life.

    Captain Chapman wedded Anne, daughter of Robert Parkinson, of Ardee, and had two sons, of whom the younger, Thomas, settled in America; and the elder,

    WILLIAM CHAPMAN, succeeded his father at Killua.

    He married Ismay, daughter of Thomas Nugent; and dying in 1734, was succeeded by his eldest son,

    BENJAMIN CHAPMAN, who wedded Anne, daughter of Robert Tighe, by whom he had three sons and two daughters.

    He died in 1779, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

    BENJAMIN CHAPMAN,  of Killua Castle, who was created a baronet in 1782, with remainder in default of male issue, to the male descendants of his father.

    Sir Benjamin married Miss Anne Lowther; but dying without an heir, in 1810, the title devolved upon his brother, 

    SIR THOMAS CHAPMAN, 2nd Baronet (1756-1837), who had previously received the honour of Knighthood.

    This gentleman married, in 1808, Margaret, daughter of James Fetherston, of Bracklin Castle, County Westmeath, and had issue,
    MONTAGU LOWTHER, his heir;
    Benjamin James;
    Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

    SIR MONTAGU LOWTHER CHAPMAN, 3rd Baronet (1808-1853), of Killua Castle, County Westmeath.
    • Sir Montagu Richard Chapman, 5th Baronet (1853–1907);
    • Sir Benjamin Rupert Chapman, 6th Baronet (1865–1914);
    The 7th Baronet left his wife to live with his daughters' governess, Sarah Junner.

    The couple did not marry.

    Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO

    Sir Thomas and Sarah had five sons born out of wedlock, of whom Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, was the second-eldest.
    Caroline Margaret, wife of Sir Montagu, the 5th Baronet, was sister of the 7th Baronet, Lawrence's father. She was the last Chapman to live in Killua until her death in 1920. She wrote a fascinating little booklet with the history of the house.

    Lawrence did visit Killua once, but it was a few weeks before his death when Killua was already a golf club owned by Mr Hackett. The is a letter by Lawrence at the Imperial War Museum where he mentions his intention to buy the property back into the family. Alas, it was never meant to be. 

    KILLUA CASTLE is situated near Clonmellon, County Westmeath.

    The present mansion was built ca 1780 by Sir Benjamin Chapman, 1st Baronet, consisting of a hall, dining room, oval drawing room, breakfast parlour and front and back stairs.

    There was also a stable yard, barn and haggard.

    From here, the Chapmans administered the surrounding farm lands in the 18th century.

    The Castle and its surrounding lands were granted around 1667 to Benjamin Chapman.

    On his death the estate passed to his elder son, William; and on William's death in 1734 to his son Benjamin.

    Sir Benjamin demolished the original castle.

    It passed from him in 1810, by special remainder, to his brother Thomas who, in the early 1820s, commissioned the addition of a large round tower and several other towers, including a library tower, staircase tower and back door tower.

    He also completed the castellation and erected the Raleigh obelisk nearby.

    When Sir Montagu, 5th Baronet, died childless in 1907, his widow, a cousin, divided the estate between the four legitimate daughters of her brother Sir Thomas, 7th Baronet.

    The house and the remaining 1,200 acres of land were sold in 1949.

    Until recently, the Castle had become an ivy-clad roofless ruin.

    Since 2010, however, Killua Castle has been purchased by a private owner and is undergoing major restoration.

    THE OBELISK, erected in 1810 by Sir Thomas Chapman, 2nd Baronet, marks the position where Sir Walter Raleigh planted some of the first potatoes that he imported to Ireland.

    The inscription on the obelisk currently reads 'Sir Walter G Raleigh', but there is no other evidence that Raleigh had a middle name, and the 'G' appears to be vandalism added after the original inscription.

    The obelisk has been recently restored through a grant from the Irish Georgian Society.

    First published in May, 2013.

    Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Norwood Tower Appeal

    I'm seeking photographs of Norwood Tower.

    If any readers can help, or are in contact with the Hendersons or Musgraves, that could be useful.

    I gather that a few members of the Musgrave family, including the present Baronet, live in Syros, Greece.

    Norwood Pictures

    © Lord Belmont In Northern Ireland 2011

    "One of them (below) has a photograph of both my aunts, Peggy and Mary, and Mary does not want her photo to go on the Internet so you cannot put that one on the site ...

    Sadly it is the best one of the two, as it shows the full door the other one, with the single lady in it, you can use; however I have no idea who she is, it shows a little of what is in the hallway through the door.

    I do have some information of the layout of the houses Riversdale [Co Fermanagh] and Norwood Tower from my aunt and will write it up for you ...

    Norwood was powered by gas so had gas cookers and lights.


    I do have a photograph of a woman standing at the front door which seems quite ornate with iron railings around it I will scan it and send later.

     I also have a photograph of my aunt sitting in front of a lion statue in the garden of Norwood Tower (above); she said that she didn't want it to go on the Internet however I have attached it for you to see.

    The lady with her was Mrs Lutton or Litton and she rented part of the servants' quarters in Norwood Tower.

    Mary said that another couple rented a different part of the house seemed to be outside of the main house but part of the surrounding building and the rent of those went to the upkeep of the house.

    The photograph above shows a glass-house at Norwood Tower.

    First published in May, 2011.

    Belle Isle Castle


    JOHN PORTER DD, Lord Bishop of Clogher, formerly Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge, came to Ireland in 1795 as viceregal chaplain to the 2nd Earl Camden, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1795-98.
    There was a convention that viceregal chaplains became bishops. Dr Porter, however, fared exceptionally well because, after only a two-year purgatory in the remote and undesirable bishopric of Killala in County Mayo, he was translated to the singularly valuable bishopric of Clogher, where he remained from 1797 until his death in 1819.
    He married, in 1786, Mary Smith, of Norfolk, and had issue,
    JOHN GREY, his heir;
    Thomas, captain RN;
    Charles (Rev);
    Henry Edward, army general;
    Elizabeth; Margaret.
    The Bishop died in 1819, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

    THE REV JOHN GREY PORTER (1789-1873), Rector of Kilskeery, County Tyrone, who wedded, in 1816, Margaret Lavinia, eldest daughter of Thomas Lindsey, of Hollymount, by his wife, the Lady Margaret Bingham, daughter of 1st Earl of Lucan, and had issue,
    JOHN GREY, his heir;
    Lavinia; Louisa; Elizabeth Phœbe; Emmy; Frances;
    Adelaide Mary, m Nicholas Montgomery Archdale, of Crocknacrieve, County Fermanagh, who died in 1877, leaving issue. Their second son, JOHN PORTER, of Belle Isle, assumed, in 1876, the surname and arms of PORTER. 
    The eldest son,

    JOHN GREY VESEY PORTER JP DL (1818-1903), of Belle Isle, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff, 1844, married, in 1863, Elizabeth Jane, daughter of Richard Hall, of Innismore Hall, County Fermanagh.

    Mr Porter dsp 1903, when the estate devolved upon his nephew,

    JOHN PORTER PORTER JP DL (1853-1939), High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1883, who married, in 1884, Josephine Henrietta, daughter of Colonel Jesse Lloyd, of Ballyleek, County Monaghan, and had issue,
    JOHN GREY ARCHDALE, DSO (1886-1917), killed in action;
    NICHOLAS HENRY ARCHDALE, successor to his brother;
    William Wauchope Montgomery;
    Coralie Adelaide Mervyn.
    Mr Porter was the second son Nicholas Montgomery Archdale, of Crocknacrieve, and Adelaide Mary his wife, fourth daughter of the Rev John Grey Porter, of Kilskeery and Belle Isle, and granddaughter of the Rt Rev John Porter, Lord Bishop of Clogher.

    His brother,

    NICHOLAS HENRY ARCHDALE PORTER MC JP DL (1890-1973), of Belle Isle, married Amy, daughter of Charles B Gunther, in 1919,
    Military Cross, 1916; fought in the 1st World War, as a Lieutenant with the 9th Lancers, and was severely wounded on the same day and in the same action in which his elder brother was killed; High Sheriff, 1941.
    Mr Porter's marriage was childless, and he had been long pre-deceased by his wife.

    The heiress to Belle Isle was his niece, Miss Lavinia Baird, only daughter of his sister, Audley Josephine, and William James Baird of Elie, Fife.

    Miss Baird sold the estate in 1991 to the 5th Duke of Abercorn KG.

    BELLE ISLE CASTLE, near Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh, is situated on an island in Upper Lough Erne.

    The Castle seems to incorporate a two-storey, 18th century range with a three-sided bow at one end, to which a range of 1820-30 was added at right angles, including a staircase hall, lit atop by an octagonal lantern.

    The Castle was re-fashioned after 1880 in the plain, English-Tudor manor-house style, incorporating a gabled entrance front with mullioned windows, projecting porch and a lofty, church-like battlemented tower at the corner of the 1820-30 range.

    The latter range, at the garden front facing the lough, is unaltered with the exception of Victorian, plate-glass windows; and Georgian astragals at one end.

    Inside the Castle, an oak staircase with barley-sugar balusters replaced the original stairs; and the walls were panelled with oak, too. The octagonal ceiling lantern was left undisturbed.

    In 1907, the entrance front was prolonged by a wing in the Tudor style containing a long, tall gallery with a timbered roof, an elaborate fireplace and a minstrels' gallery.

    At this end of the entrance front there is a pedimented and gabled office wing, possibly 18th century.

    BELLE ISLE is almost surrounded by the waters of Upper Lough Erne and at one time was an island.

    It is reached via a bridge and the approach to the Castle is a straight avenue.

    The original castle dates from 1629 and the present house was created round the core during the mid-19th century.

    It is sited in a glorious position of great natural beauty, which has long been acknowledged. Loudon in his Encyclopedia of 1825 remarks that there were 200 acres:
    ‘… charmingly diversified by hills, dales and gentle declivities, which are richly clothed with old timber through which gravel walks are constructed, and a temple erected, from which a panoramic view is obtained, not only of this but all the other wooded islands of the lough. One of them is exclusively used as a deer park …’. 
    Parkland still sweeps down to the lough shore, though the temple has gone.

    As well as good stands of parkland trees, there are mature shelter belts and wooded areas.

    Early 20th century ornamental gardens at the house have been grassed over.

    There is a walled garden. Two substantial gate lodges were built at the same time as the house was restored and extended.

    The original Belle Isle estate came on the market in 1830. Since the Plantation, it had belonged to the Gore Baronets of Manor Gore, County Donegal.

    The last of this branch of the Gore family was Sir Ralph Gore, 6th Baronet, later Earl of Ross and Viscount Belleisle (1725-1802).

    He had greatly ornamented the pleasure grounds, particularly with follies and garden buildings designed by the well-known Thomas Wright, but the main house was still the modest lodge built by his father in ca 1720.

    Lord Ross had died without legitimate issue, leaving Belle Isle to his natural daughter, Mary, wife of Sir Richard Hardinge, 1st Baronet.

    Lady Hardinge died in 1824; Sir Richard in 1826.

    His nephew and successor, the Rev Sir Charles Hardinge, 2nd Baronet, of Tunbridge, Kent, had no connection with Ireland and presumably no interest in Belle Isle.

    Accordingly, in 1830, Sir Charles and his trustees sold the entire Belle Isle estate, consisting of the manors of Belle Isle and Carrick, together with a small leasehold addendum acquired by Sir Ralph Gore, 4th Baronet, in 1724, to the Rev John Grey Porter of Kilskeery for £68,000.

    In the 1830s, the Rev John made further extensive purchases of land, in both counties Fermanagh and Longford, this time from the 2nd Earl of Belmore.

    The Fermanagh lands alone had a rental of £1,869 a year and cost him £75,000.
    The combined rental of all these estates (Belle Isle included) was about £6,750 a year - a staggering scale of acquisition (even for one whose father had been in possession of the income of the bishopric of Clogher for 22 years), the more so as the Bishop and the Rev John Grey Porter had each in their time to make provision for six younger children.
    Belle Isle remained in the ownership of the Porter family until 1991, when Miss Lavinia Baird sold the estate to the 5th Duke of Abercorn KG.

    Belle Isle Estate has published a fuller history here.

    The Duke bought Belle Isle for his younger son, Lord Nicholas Hamilton.

    The Abercorns have admirably transformed Belle Isle into a truly wonderful 470 acre estate with holiday apartments, cottages, a cookery school and the Castle itself.
    One interesting feature on the estate is the new wood pellet burner: Belle Isle Castle currently consumes approximately 25,900 litres of oil per annum which should be reduced by approximately 85% with this new system.

    A certain amount of oil is still  required to fuel the Aga cookers. The 22,000 litres of oil will be replaced by approximately 53 tonnes of wood pellets (based on approximately 2.4kg of wood pellets replacing 1 litre of oil).

    More detailed information can be obtained at .
     First published in January, 2011.