Graigueaverne or Hebe Hill

The name Hebe Hill is from the Greek godess of youth, a daughter of Zeus but the original name was Gráig Ó bhFuaráin  (the hamlet of the Forans) which first appears in The Kildare Rental (begun in the year 1518) (Mac Niocaill ed. Crown Surveys of Lands 1540 -41(Crown Surv.) pp231-357).   By 1582 Terrence Dempsey, gent, is there according to Calendar to Fiants of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. 1558-1603′. In RDK (1875-90)

Graigueaverne on the 6″ OS Map

Tierney in Pevsner’s Buildings of Ireland describes the house as “ Solid but rather plain villa of c. 1815 by Richard Morrison or someone in his circle, closely related to both Glenmalire and Rath House nearby.  Five bays across and four deep, of snecked limestone rubble, with a slightly smaller upper storey. Wide bracketed eaves. Tuscan Doric porch with two pairs of closely spaced columns. The upper sill course is characteristic of Morrison, but the facade is otherwise unusually plain. Grand interior, with lofty reception rooms flanking a deep hall. Fine eight-panel mahogany double doors at the back, with a stucco relief of the Rape of Europa in a tympanum above, preparation for a generous stair hall. Cantilevered stairs around three sides with ring-shafted stick banisters, rising to a landing defined by a full-width, elliptical arch. Two adjoining wings extend into a yard behind. On the s side, a large billiard room in Tudor Revival style; opposite it, a much-altered kitchen wing. The stableyard has some fine coachhouses and two distinctive servants’ cottages with quarry-glass windows.

In 1814 Leet notes “Hebe Hill Queen’s Monastereven Robert Johnston esq”

William Shaw Mason’s “Statistical Account, Or Parochial Survey of Ireland” also in 1814 writes:-Hebe hill the seat of Counsellor William Johnson but a cottage it has on inviting appearance being laid out with much taste and favoured by the natural situation of the place.  It has a partial view of the Dysart hills.

The Commercial Directory of 1821 lists Johnston, Hon. Wm. Justice, 36, Harcourt- Street, and Hebe Hill, Queen’s County

As in 1820 William Johnson and John Evans Johnson of Hebe Hill took out game licences, I think Leet should have listed William rather than his brother Robert.  Both were Judges, and the sons of Thomas Johnson  a Dublin apothecary who was ‘a good, orthodox, hard-praying protestant’ (Barrington, i, 463)

William (1760–1845), the fifth son, was the abler lawyer.  He acted for Defenders on trial at Athy assizes in August 1795, when Laurence O’Connor was found guilty of Treason and executed.

The Defenders were founded in Ulster initially to defend Catholics against sectarian attacks, however, by the early 1790’s they had moved from their base in the north and had become popular in North Kildare. They were prominent in defending the rights of small tenant farmers and labourers, and were very much influenced by the French Revolution.

Despite this Johnson wrote a pamphlet supporting the union (1798), was MP for Co. Roscommon (1799–1800), and was a justice of the common pleas (1817–41). 

In 1796 William married Margaret Evans youngest daughter of John Evans of Dublin, whose sister had married his brother Robert 18 years earlier. 

Of Robert there will be more in the article on The Derries.

William Johnson retired to Kinstown (Dun Laoghire) in 1837 and died there in 1845 

William Armstrong, son of Christopher Armstrong, and grandson of the famous Johnnie of Gilnockie, a notorious  border reiver, left Scotland with his nephew Andrew some years after the death of Queen Elizabeth, and settled in the county of Fermanagh, (in other words he was a planter) where he became the founder of a numerous family whose branches flourished in those parts.  The Tipperary Free Press reported that “On 23 October 1828  John Armstrong, Esq. of the Island of Grenada, was married to Eliza, eldest daughter of Charles Meares Esq, of Dorset-street”.  According to Turtle Bunbury’s researches Charles Meares, “an attorney of great eminence, and pursuivant Court of Exchequer in Dublin”, was father to John Meares (c. 1756 – 1809), a navigator, explorer, and maritime fur trader, best known for his role in the Nootka Crisis, which brought Britain and Spain to the brink of war. 

The Drogheda journal reported a year later that on 21 Oct 1829  “at his house, Mountjoy-square. West, John Armstrong, Esq late of the Island of Grenada died”.

In September 1832 the Hon. and Very Rev. Dean of Ossory married John Armstrong, of 13 Mountjoy-Square West, Dublin, Esq., to Letitia, second daughter Harvey Randall Saville Pratt de Montmorency of Castlemorris, whose sister Elizabeth married William Blacker of Woodbrook. 

Harvey Pratt had been born at Cabra Castle in Cavan, and took on his new names when he inherited Castle Morres from his mother. It was one of the largest stately homes in the country, designed by Francis Bindon in the 1750s. In 1926 the house was sold to the Land Commission by Captain John Pratt de Montmorency., With typical State vandalism they deroofed it in the 1930s, and the ruin finally demolished by Coilte in 1978. Sadly the house was never recorded before its demolition, so the few photographs of (as reproduced in “The Vanishing Country Houses of Ireland” are from the collection of the late Jane Avril de Montmorency Wright.

It is probable that this was John of Grenada’s son by an earlier marriage and from his tomb we know he was born in 1802.

Francis Blake of Rahara, Co. Roscommon, who died in 1808, was the first occupant of 13 Mountjoy Square West (now 65 Mountjoy Sq), and he left it to his wife.    After the Armstrongs, in May 1833, 13 Mountjoy Square was the residence of Lieut Col D O’Donoghue and by 1840 Piers Gael the Crown Solicitor was there. He had six very glamorous daughters and the house was called “the House of Lords” because he became allied to many noble families by the marriages of his daughters. Charlotte  married Lord Charlemont’s nephew, Edward Caulfield of Drumcairne, County Tyrone, Elizabeth married  Sir Marcus Somerville of Somerville House and then the Earl Fortecue, Catherine married Henry Sneyd Frech, the cousin of Lord de Freyne and Mary Anne married Sir Robert Griffith Williams. The square was even then having problems and by 1865 it was noted that the next door house, (now 66) was in the occupation of paupers. Of course the most notorious house on that side of the Square was number 60 – a brothel, known as The Kasbah Health Studio, frequented by numerous senior Irish businessmen, politicians and churchmen from the late 1970s until its closure in the early 1990s.

Mountjoy Square Monument

In 1837 there was a sale of contents at Hebe Hill and in the same year 1837 Lewis lists “Gray Avon” as being the residence of J. Armstrong, Esq.  This is probably when the present house was built, and a new lease was drawn up on 2 July 1839.

This was before John Evans Johnson, D. D. (the son of William Johnson), Prebendary of Kilrush and Archdeacon of Ferns married Mary Armstrong (1816-85) – they married on 12 July 1842, so it is unclear how the Armstrongs ended up in Laois.

John Armstrong also held land at Ballybeg, barony of Iffa and Offa and Quartercross, barony of Middlethird, County Tipperary, which was advertised for sale in March 1862. The Tithe Wars and Famine do not seem to have made a great impact on Graigueaverne. The most remerkable news that it generated in the 1850s was a fall!

It reads rather like a cat being recued from a tree story

In 1881 John Armstrong’s youngest son William married Kathleen Lushington of Rodmersham, Kent. When she was left a substantial inheritance by her aunt Mrs Tulloch in 1884 they returned from America where they had been cattle ranching and in 1890 bought Shanboolard Hall and estate in Cleggan.  Four years later they bought the former estate of Thomas Prior, 1140 statute acres and Ross House at Moyard. Most of the estate was sold to the Congested Districts Board in 1921.

In the Matter of the Estate of John Armstrong, of Graigaverne, in the Queen’s County, Esquire, Owner and Petitioner. TO BE SOLD, FRIDAY, MARCH,1 1862, before the Honourable Judge Hargreave, at the Landed Estates Court, Inns-quay, Dublin

The house did not sell then and later that year there is the marriage of Robert Forster, Esq., of Cappagh House, County Dublin, to Mary Armstrong, second daughter of John Armstrong, Esq., of Graigaverne, Queen’s County

In May 1864 Harriet Ellen Saunders of Cleeve Hill, Bath married , Elliott Armstrong, Esq., Lieutenant 91st (Argyllshire) Highlanders, eldest son of John Armstrong, Esq., of Graigaverne, Oueen’s County  1864

November 21 1865 at Graigaverne, Queen’s County, the wife of Elliott Armstrong, Esq. of a daughter.

The Irish Law Times and Solicitors’ Journal, Volume 2 1868 reported that finally the house on 147 acres was bought by Mr Eames for £530, twice its annual rental income,

The sale description was effusive: – The demesne is extremely handsome and ornamented with an abundance of magnificent timber. There are two entrance lodges _with handsome avenues of fine trees, by which the Mansion House is approached. The latter is built of cut stone with spacious hall and lofty square rooms, and is in most perfect order and replete with every convenience for a large family. There are handsome pleasure grounds adjoining the house, and two walled gardens, well stocked with fruit, and containing a greenhouse. The yards and offices are very extensive, and contain every accommodation for a tillage or stock farm, and stabling for 18 horses, besides several loose boxes, cattle beds, etc Freemans Journal, Tuesday, January 28, 1868; 

John Armstrong moved to Portarlington where he died in November 1888.

The next owner was the splendidly named Villiers Sankey Morton.  A regular soldier he came from County Waterford, and served in the Royal Sussex Regiment.  He retired in 1863 and was living in a house near Larch Hill, Mountrath, where he became a JP in 1866  After buying Graigaverne he quickly established himself in Laois society by dint of holding a huge ball in January 1870.   Later that year he was appointed High Sherriff for Queens County.

The ladies must have been delighted that ALL the officers 6th Dragoons were invited!

The Mortons had already had a daughter and she was followed by a son in May 1869.  In February 1875 he sold Graiguevern and moved to Little Island, Clonmel, close to his near relation, Mr Moore of Barne.

Morton’s final farewell in 1875

The next occupant was Captain Blackwood who only remained there till 1882

February 24 1878, at Graigaverne, Queen’s County, the wife of Captain Blackwood, Esq., of a daughter.   

Having failed to sell Thomas Blackwood let the house to Dr Robert O’Kelly.

In the 1880s under the Labourers Acts 5 labourers cottages were built at Graigaverne by the council.  One of them was given to the Dunne family.   In May 1888 Dr Robert O’Kelly was complaining to the Board of Guardians that Patrick Dunne was a very disagreeable neighbour at Graigueverne.    As the local health inspector,  he gave evidence  to the authorities on the dreadful Mr Dunne “He is an idle loafer who cannot stay in good place when he gets one.  He has got a very large family of small children which he can neither feed nor clothe, and who must in time become a charge on the rates of the district. Whilst resident at Graigaverne I often assisted wretched family out of common charity.”   In Feb 1897 Nicholas Dunne of Graigavern was charged with obtaining porter from a local pub and falsely charging it to one of his neighbours.  June 1897 Nicholas Dunne is charged with being drunk on the public road.  A year later he is charged with being drunk and disorderly and attacking Constable Grady.   The following Christmas he is involved in running a gambling racket.

Apparently Capt Blackwood had sold by 1882

09 January 1883 The Dublin Daily Express ran the advertisement “  NURSE (Experienced)—Good Needlewoman; would make herself useful ; Officer’s family preferred ; is English ; will be disengaged the 5th February. Please address Mrs Parish, Graigavern, Monasterevan,

In September 1883 The Miss Stokes of Graigueavern were at a fancy dress affair at Mount Henry wearing rich Indian dresses. They left in 1885.

There was a Henry Hughes also living at Graigueaverne, the Assistant County Surveyor, who died in 1893, but that was, I suspect, at the farmhouse, just to the South West of the main house (itself an interesting house that dates back to the late Georgian period).  The Leinster Leader on December 20 1889 reported that Mr Henry Hughes, Graigaverne, Ballybrittas, applied to the Board of Guardians the Mountmellick Union for the sum of £59, being the balance due to him .

On Saturday 26 April 1884 Graigavern is once again advertised for sale in the Leinster Leader ”with two large walled gardens, abundantly stocked with young fruit Trees, and also containing a green-house complete. Graigaverne is distant about Three and-a-half miles from the Town of Portarlington, and about Seven miles from Maryborough,

There are now a series of tenants none stating for more than a few years

In October 1893 The Social Review recorded a most enjoyable subscription dance that took place at Graigaverne, the residence of Dr. A. Kelly, which was kindly lent for the occasion to the committee, who left nothing undone to make it a complete success. The supper, music …  This might of course be a misprint for Dr Robert O’Kelly

The next tenant was Ellen Ada Clerke (nee Sweetnam) and her son and daughter  The Clerkes had emigrated from Skibbereen to Van Diemen’s Land in the late 1820s.    Ellen’s wife John had been in the business of shipping and horse dealing in Invercargill in New Zealand, where they gave their name to Mount Clerke on Resolution Island, and in Mountford near Longford in Tasmania but he died of a fall onboard ship at the age of 36 in Gladstone in Queensland in 1874.  Ellen returned to Ireland with her children where ‘rents from farms in Tasmania sustained them’.  Her son was Capt. William Speer Clerke, of the 9th Batt Kings Royal Rifles who was born in Tasmania  but had died (in Brighton)  on Dec 28 1903 at the age of 34. His wife Constance Evans having had their daughter Jessie at her father’s house at 48 Kenilworth Square in Dublin the year before.  They were in residence at Graigaverne  before 1898 and in the 1901 census his mother Ellen Ada Clerke and his brother Alex Francis Clerke were there, with one servant. 

It was sold by Battersbys in July 1902 to  a most remarkable man – John Fagan, born in Lismacaffrey, near Street , Westmeath and educated at Castleknock and the Catholic University

Sir John Fagan

Though famed as a surgeon, we should remember him more for putting air in our tyres. Sir John Fagan twice President of the Ulster Medical Society, had suggested that Dunlop’s son, Johnnie, should take up cycling as it was an excellent form of exercise. The granite setts in the streets of Belfast made riding on solid tyres a jarring experience and Dunlop began to experiment with non-solid ones, initially filling them with water. Fagan had experience of air mattresses in his medical practice and du Cros states that Fagan frequently claimed to family and friends that he had suggested to Dunlop that he would be better to use air.

In 1897 Fagan resigned his post as senior surgeon at the Royal Hospital and left his extensive surgical practice in Ulster to accept an appointment as inspector of reformatory and industrial schools based in Dublin.  In March 1906 he was living at Graigaverne when his daughter Margarrita (Rita) married Angelo Chiasserini  elder son of the late Signore Luigi Chiasserini , of Citerna,Umbria.  Their son Giovanni was born in 1909, but was killed at the age of 30 serving with Mussolini’s  Royal Italian Flying Corps

The 1911 census records Sir John Fagan was living at Graigaverne with his wife, daughter, grandson and 7 servants. 

His eldest son was in India at the time at Bairds Barracks Bangalore.  Lt Col  John Fagan, who was born in Belfast in 1874, was educated at the Methodist College, Belfast: Clongowes Wood College, and at Sandhurst. He joined the Indian Army, and in the Great War served in East Africa and Palestine. He was awarded the DSO and the Cruix de Guerre. 

November 11th, 1912, at the Roman Catholic Church, Calcutta, Captain B.J. Fagan, 17th Infantry, Indian Army, second son of Sir John Fagan, Graigue-a-Verne, County Kildare, to Kathleen, daughter of John R. Gerard Irvine, Dunsona, Derryvolgie, Belfast.  One daughter was born in 1915 in Mauritius

Col. BJ Fagan commanded the 17th Infantry alongside the South African Cape Corps in the assault on Wye Hill, near Jerusalem, as part of General Allenby’s 1916 Middle Eastern Campaign.   He was severely wounded and subsequently he was invalided from the Service, from which he retired in 1920. On his return to Ireland, he went in for farming at Ballybrittas, and took a deep interest in the sugar-beet industry.

Christopher has written about Sir John’s dramatist son, J.B. Fagan:- James B. Fagan is today primarily remembered, if at all, through his Hollywood career; for example, his surviving presence on the Internet is limited to a site such as IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. There is no entry for him on Wikipedia, and he barely rates a twenty-line paragraph in the Cambridge Guide to Theatre. However, he was a prolific playwright, actor, director, and sometimes also designer both in the West End and on Broadway, and he had close connections to Bernard Shaw.   He wrote 15 plays, produced  the British premieres of Juno and the Paycock  and of The Plough and the Stars , and founded the Oxford Repertory Theatre.

Lady Fagan died in 1914 and Sir John in 1930.  The house was bought by William Perry Odlum,  the son of Richard Eyre Edward Odlum and Jane Eleanor (Hinds) Odlum.  In the 1911 census, he was described as a 33 year old Milling Engineer, single, living at home in Coote Street, Portlaoise,  with his widowed mother and 30 year old brother Francis. William Odlum left Graigaverne in 1948, dying in Dublin in 1950. 

The house was then bought by  Hon. John Forbes, younger son of Lord Granard of Castle Forbes. John Forbes’ mother was the Countess of Granard, Violet Mills,  whose family had made their fortune as bankers to the miners of the California gold rush.  When her grandfather died in 1910 he left  $36,227,391 – several billion in modern terms.  The Granard Bequest exhibition is well worth visiting when on show in Dublin Castle. The Bequest is a stunning collection of her paintings, fine French furniture, clocks and oriental porcelain presented to the Irish nation in her memory.

Beatrice Forbes, Countess of Granard

John Forbes caused a huge consternation in the Kildare Street Club, a bastion of conservative unionism in the 1940s, when he entered wearing the uniform of the Irish Army – he became a Lieutenant in the Signal Corps.  In 1942 he joined the RAF which is where he might have acquired his considerable engineering talents.  After the war he went to Trinity and met the astonishingly beautiful Joan Smith, the daughter of a successful property developer and surveyor who then lived on Westminster Road in Foxrock.  Lady Granard did not approve and took her young son off to New York on a social whirl to meet all the suitable heiresses.  At the end of trip she wanted to know which beauty he had selected as his bride.  To her chagrin he announced that he had married Miss Smith before leaving home!

The house was sold by his son Peter Forbes, the present Earl of Granard, in the mid 1980s

Lewis’s Laois Subscribers – 1837

Samuel Lewis (c.1782 – 1865) was the editor and publisher of topographical dictionaries and maps of Britain and Ireland. The aim of the texts was to give in ‘a condensed form’, a faithful and impartial description of each place. The firm of Samuel Lewis and Co. was based in London. He carried on business successively in Aldersgate Street, Hatton Garden, and Finsbury Place South, London, and probably died at 19 Compton Terrace, Islington, on 28 Feb. 1865. The Topographies commenced with England (4 vols, 1831), which Lewis later claimed had taken six years to compile at an outlay of £48,000. Next was Wales (2 vols, 1833), Ireland (2 vols, 1837) and Scotland (3 vols, 1846).

In the 1837 preface, the editor noted that: “The numerous county histories, and local descriptions of cities, towns, and districts of England and Wales, rendered the publication of their former works, in comparison with the present, an easy task. The extreme paucity of such works, in relation to Ireland, imposed the necessity of greater assiduity in the personal survey, and proportionately increased the expense.”

Lewis relied on the information provided by local contributors and on the earlier works published such as Coote’s Statistical Survey (1801), Taylor and Skinner’s Maps of the Road of Ireland (1777), Pigot’s Trade Directory (1824) and other sources. He also used the various parliamentary reports and in particular the census of 1831 and the education returns of the 1820s and early 1830s. Local contributors were given the proof sheets for final comment and revision. The names of places are those in use prior to the publication of the Ordnance Survey Atlas in 1838. The dictionary gives a unique picture of Ireland before the Great Famine.

Nearly 10,000 people subscribed to the Irish Edition, and this list is extracted from the full list:-

Abbott, J., Esq., Gov. of the Lunatic Asylum, Maryboro’, Queen’s co
Adair, George, Esq., J.P., Bellegrove, Ballybrittas, Queen’s county
Alloway, A. W., Esq., Kilbracken, Ballybrittas, Queen’s county
Alloway, Robert M., Esq., J.P.,The Derries, Ballybrittas, Queen’s co
Armstrong, Lieut.-Col., Portarlington, Queen’s county
Baldwin, Rev. John, Incumbent of Clonaslee, Queen’s county
Beale, Mr. William, Anne Grove, Mountmelick, Queen’s county
Bell, William, Esq., Bellview, Abbeyleix, Queen’s county
Beresford, Rev. J., Donoughmore Glebe, Rathdown, Queen’s county
Biggs, William, Esq., Burris Castle, Queen’s county
Birch, Henry, Esq., Ashfield, Ballybrittas, Queen’s county
Bland, John Thomas, Esq., Blandsfort, Abbeyleix, Queen’s county
Borrowes, Rev. Sir Erasmus Dixon, Bart., Lauragh, Emo, Queen’s co.
Bourke, Rev. J. W., Vicar of Offerlane, Mountrath, Queen’s county
Boxwell, William, Esq., M.D., Abbeyleix, Queen’s county
Brereton, Captain Henry, J.P., Mount Rath, Queen’s county
Brereton, Mr. John, Mountmellick, Queen’s county
Budd, Rev. Richard, A.B., Stradbally, Queen’s county
Burrowes, Rev. Sir E. D., Lauragh, Emo, Queen’s county
Butler, Capt. Edward, Ballyadams Castle, Ballylinan, Queen’s co.
Butler, R., Esq., Maryboro’, Queen’s county
Cary, D., Esq., C.C.P., Maryborough, Queen’s county
Chapman, Robert, Esq., J.P., Castle Mitchell, Athy, Queen’s co.
Chetwood, Major J., J.P., Woodbrook, Portarlington, Queen’s county
Clarke, George, Esq., Emo, Queen’s county
Clarke, J. D., Esq., J.P., Recorder of Portarlington, Queen’s county
Clarke, W., Esq., Rathleague, Maryborough, Queen’s county
Conroy, Messrs. Edward & John, Mount-Mellick, Queen’s county
Coote, Sir C. H., Bart., M.P., D.L., J.P., Ballyfin-house, Mountrath, Queen’s co.
Corbet, Mrs. M. A., Edge-hill, near Clonaslee, Queen’s county
Cosby, Sidney, Esq., J.P., Stradbally-hall, Stradbally, Queen’s county
Cosby, Rev. W., Killermogh-glebe, near Durrow, Queen’s county
Croly, H., Esq., M.D., Mountmellick, Queen’s county
Delany, H. P., Esq., Millbrook, Maryboro’, Queen’s county
Dempsey, Rev. E. H., Ballyfin, Mountrath, Queen’s county
Despard, W. W., Esq.;J.P., Donore, Mountrath, Queen’s county
Dowling, Rev. Cornelius H., P. P., Stradbally, Queen’s county
Doyle, Rev. Charles, P.C., Ballyfinn, near Mountrath, Queen’s co.
Drought, Mr. James, Kilbredy, Rathdowney, Queen’s county
Dunne, Gen. Edward, Brittas, Clonaslee, Queen’s county
Dunne, Capt. F. P., Brittas, near Clonaslee, Queen’s county
Dunne, Rev. J., P.P., Clonmore, Clonbulloge, Queen’s county
Dunne, James, Esq., Rathleix, Portarlington, Queen’s county
Dunne, Michael, Esq., Ballymanus, Stradbally, Queen’s county
Fallon, Rev. Thomas, P.P., Ballinakill, & Donena, Queen’s county
Fenamore, George, Esq., The Cottage, Clonaslee, Queen’s county
Ferguson, Joseph, Esq., Oatlands, Abbeyleix, Queen’s county
Fitzpatrick, J. W., Esq., Westfield Farm, Mountrath, Queen’s county
French, Dawson, Esq., Ballintoher, Monastereven, Queen’s county
Graves, A., Esq., Derrynaseera, Mountrath, Queen’s county
Greenham, Robert, Esq., Mountrath, Queen’s county
Greham, Rev. M., P.P., Clonaslee, Queen’s county
Hamilton, William, Esq., Peafield, Borris in Ossory, Queen’s county
Handcock, E. B., Esq., Rathmoyle-house, Abbeyleix, Queen’s co.
Hare, Rev. George, Portarlington, Queen’s county
Hart, J. Esq., M.D., Portarlington, Queen’s county
Hawkesworth, John, Esq., Forest, Mountrath, Queen’s county
Hawkesworth, William, Esq., Woodbrook, Mountrath, Queen’s co.
Haydin, Rev. J., C.C. Clonaslee, Queen’s county
Healy, Rev. A., P.P., Mount Mellick, Queen’s county
Hennesy, Rev. L., C.C., Portarlington, Queen’s county
Horan, James, Esq., Ballinakill, Queen’s county
Howard, John P., Esq., Eyne-house, Mountmelick, Queen’s county
Jacob, John, Esq., M.D., Maryboro’, Queen’s county
Jelly, Rev. Robert B., Portarlington, Queen’s county
Jessop, A. P., Esq., Shanderry, Mountrath, Queen’s county
Johnstone, J. W., Esq., Portarlington, Queen’s county
Keightley, William S., Esq., Springfield, Stradbally, Queen’s-county
Kelly, Burrowes, Esq., Stradbally, Queen’s-county
Kelly, Mr. John, Portarlington, Queen’s county
Kelly, Thomas B., Esq., Kellyville, Stradbally, Queen’s county
Kemmis, Rev. G., Vicar of Rosinallis, Mountmellick, Queen’s co.
Kemmis, Joshua, Esq., J.P., Knightstown, Emo, Queen’s county
Kemmis, Thomas, Esq., Shane Castle, near Emo, Queen’s county
Knipe, John, Esq., Spring-hill, Burros-in-Ossory, Queen’s-county
Lane, Mr. Thomas, Coolebanagh, Clonaslee, Queen’s county
Lawlor, W.D., Esq., M.D., Stradbally, Queen’s-county
Lawrenson, Robert, Esq., J.P., Castlewood, Durrow, Queen’s-county
Lodge, Rev. F., A.M., Rathsaran-glebe, Rathdowney, Queen’s-co.
Lodge, Mr. R. F., Prospect, Durrow, Queens-county
Maher, Rev. Daniel, P.C., Jamestown, Ballybrittas, Queen’s-county
Meredith, J., Esq., Reary-More, Mountmellick, Queen’s county
Meredith, R., Esq., Reary-vale, Mountmellick, Queen’s county
Monck, Rev. Marcus, Rathdowney, Queen’s county
Moore, Rev. J. T., Eirke Rectory, Rathdowney, Queen’s county
Moore, Lewis, Esq., D.L. and J.P., Cremorgan, Queen’s county
Moore, Lieut.-Col. Richard, Lawnsdown, Portarlington, Queen’s co.
Mosse, A. M., Esq., Annefield, Maryborough, Queen’s county
Neale, George, Esq., Coolraine Mills, Mountrath, Queen’s county
O’Connell, Rev. T., P.P., Portarlington, Queen’s county
O’Connor, Very Rev. A., P.P. Maryboro’, Queen’s county
O’Donoghue, Lieut.-Col. D., J.P., Portarlington, Queen’s county
Ormsby, Robert, Esq., M.D., Durrow, Queen’s county
Palmer, Joseph, Esq., Cuffsboro’, Rathdowney, Queen’s county
Palmer, Thomas, Esq., Coolraine-house, Mountrath, Queen’s county
Parker, John, Esq., Mountmellick, Queen’s county
Percival, William, Esq., J.P., Woodville, Queen’s county
Percival, Capt., Woodville, Maryboro, Queen’s county
Perry, Mr. Robert, Rathdowney, Queen’s county
Perry, Mr. William, Rathdowney, Queen’s county
Phillips, Lodge, Esq., Lodgefield, Rathdowney, Queen’s county
Pigott, John, Esq., D.L. & J.P., Capard, Rosinallis, Queen’s county
Pigott, John, Esq., Capard, Mountmellick, Queen’s county
Pim, John, Esq., Laca, Queen’s county
Pim, Messrs. James and Sons, Mountmelick, Queen’s county
Powell, Rev. John, Lea Glebe-house, Ballybrittas, Queen’s county
Price, J.R., Esq., Westfield-farm, Mountrath, Queen’s-county
Read, Capt. John, Ballycarroll, Monastereven, Queen’s-county
Roberts, Mr. Thomas, Nore Mills, Mountrath, Queen’s-county
Roberts, Messrs. T. and D., Hibernian Foundry, Mountmellick, Queen’s co.
Roe, John, Esq., J.P., Belmont, Rathdowney, Queen’s-county
Ryan, Mr. John, Ballyroan, Abbeyleix, Queen’s-county
Ryan, W. H., Esq., Larchfield, Abbeyleix, Queen’s-county
Sandes, C. L., Esq., J.P., Indiaville, Portarlington, Queen’s-county
Saunderson, James Johnston, Esq., C.C., Portarlington, Queen’s co.
Scott, James E., Esq., J.P., Ann-grove-abbey, Queen’s-county
Senior, Richard, Esq., J.P., Moorfield, Mountrath, Queen’s-county
Senior, W., Esq., Knockacollar, Mountrath, Queen’s-county
Sheane, Mr. Samuel, Mountmelick, Queen’s-county
Sherlock, Edward, Esq., Coolgrove, Stradbally, Queen’s-county
Shortt, James, Esq., Newtown, Mountrath, Queen’s-county
Shortt, P. H., Esq., Centry-lodge, Burros-in-Ossory, Queen’s-county
Smith, James, Esq., J.P., New-park, Mountrath, Queen’s county
Smyth, Henry, Esq., J.P., Mount Henry, Queen’s county
Staples, Edmund, Esq., J.P., Donmore, Durrow, Queen’s county
Steele, Richard, Esq., Skirke, Burros-in-Ossory, Queen’s county
Stone, Mr. Samuel, Mountmellick, Queen’s county
Stubber, Sewell, M., Esq., Monaclare, Ballynakill, Queen’s county
Swan, E. L., Esq., Allworth, Abbeyleix, Queen’s county
Tabuteau, A. S., Esq., M.D., Portarlington, Queen’s county
Thacker, B., Esq., J.P., Ballymellish, Burros-in-Ossory, Queen’s co.
Thompson, W. P., Esq., Rush-hall, Ballynakill, Queen’s county
Thompson, Mr. W. P., Ralish, Abbeyleix, Queen’s county
Thwaites, Major, Portarlington, Queen’s county
Tighe, James, Esq., Durrow, Queen’s county
Trench, H., Esq., Ballybrittas, Queen’s county
Trench, Thomas, Esq., J.P., Rath, Ballybrittas, Queen’s county
Vicars, Robert, Esq., Grantstown, Rathdowney, Queen’s-county
Walpole, Mr. R., Monderhilt, Burros-in-Ossory, Queen’s-county
Walsh, Sir Edward, Bart., Ballykilcavin, Stradbally, Queen’s county
Weldon, Lieut.-Col., Rahin, Ballylinan, Queen’s county
White, R., Esq., Coolrain-house, Mountrath, Queen’s county
White, Robert, Esq., Scotchrath, Abbeyleix, Queen’s county
White, Robert, Esq., J.P., Old-park, Rathdowney, Queen’s county
White, Thomas, Esq., J.P., Ballybrophy, Burros-in-Ossory, Queen’s county
Wolfe, Robert, Esq., Tentower, Queen’s county
Wolseley, Rev. John, Portarlington, Queen’s county
Woodcock, Mr. Francis, Nore-ville, Queen’s county
Woodcock, Mr. Thomas, Noneville, Abbeyleix, Queen’s county
Wray, H. B., Esq., J P., Maryborough, Queen’s county
Young, Rev. Robert A., Lackland, Rathdowney, Queen’s county

Leet’s Laois

An extract from Ambrose Leet’s ”A directory to the market towns, villages, gentlemen’s seats, and other noted places in Ireland”. Dublin: Printed by B. Smith, 2nd edition 1814, which runs to over 400 pages, showing the “gentlemen’s seats” of Laois.

Ambrose Leet worked for the General Post Office, ending up as the President of the Inland Department. He was also a bit of a property developer and built 14 and 15 Stephen’s Green – he lived in 14 for a while. 15 is now Trevor White’s delightful “Little Museum of Dublin” During the emergency (the 2nd World War) the basement of Number 14 was half filled with concrete and turned into an air raid shelter.

In 1812 Leet produced the first edition of “The Noted Places and seats of the Nobility and Gentry in Ireland.” This was one of the first nineteenth century Irish directories to appear in print, and provides alternative information and additional details to that presented in the various earlier publications. Leet’s directory was compiled for the purpose of encouraging trade, communications and ‘public correspondence’. The complete book, edited and indexed by Harry and Louise McDowell is available from the Irish Georgian Socety

Leet’s spelling can be random, such a Lackey instead of Lecky of Shrole instead of Shrule. Those amused by the minutiae of Georgian social distinction will observe that the gentry are esq, whilst the mere gentleman are just Mr. Esq., (esquire) was originally the lowest order of nobility of the Norman feudal system. A squire served a knight or a lord, carrying his shield and armour for him, and might hope by distinction in battle to become a knight himself.

I am looking forward to researching the Herons of Paradise, I really want to know more about Cold Blow and who was Mr Unthank of Fry, Portlaoise?

The format is the name of the house, followed by the county, followed by the postal town (which may not be in the same county), followed by the name of the occupier in 1814

Abbeyleix House Queen’s Abbeyleix Lord Viscount De Vesci
Abbeyview Queen’s Monasterevan Rev Henry Torrens
Adragoule Queen’s Durrow Mr D Delany
Airhill Queen’s Maryborough Mr J Plunkett
Akeraguar Queen’s Mountmelick Nathaniel Gatchell esq
Altavilla Queen’s Mountrath Hon Eyre Massey
Annaghmore Queen’s Clonaslee Arthur Dempsy esq
Anne brook Queen’s Maryborough John Hawtrey esq
Annegrove Queen’s Mountrath James Edw Scott
Anneville Queen’s Carlow Patrick Colclough esq
Archerstown Queen’s Durrow Michael Delany esq
Ashfield Queen’s Carlow Arthur Hovenden esq
Ashfield Queens Emo Fred Trench Esq
Augharney Queen’s Durrow Edw Marum esq
Agmacart Queen’s Durrow Wm Butler esq
Ballinraly Queen’s Mountrath Richard Seinour esq
Balloughmore Queen’s Roscrea G and T Eely esq
Ballybooden Queen’s Durrow Mrs Lidwell
Ballybrophy Queen’s Burros in Ossory Charles White esq
Ballycolla Queen’s Durrow Mr John Harper
Ballyfin Queen’s Mountrath Sir Charles H Coote
Ballygeehan Queen’s Durrow Robert Drought ésq
Ballyhegadin Queen’s Rathdowney Captain Lyster
Bally keen upper Queen’s Clonaslee Cutbert Freer esq
Ballykeen lower Queen’s Clonaslee Charles Edghill esq
Ballykilcavan Queen’s Stradbally Sir A Johnston Walsh Bt
Ballymelish Queen’s Burros in Ossory Jos Thacker esq
Ballymullen Queen’s Abbeyleis Mr M Maher
Ballyquade Queen’s Burros in Ossory Mr A Bergin
Ballyreily Queen’s Burros in Ossory Edmund Conway esq
Barnadunty Queen’s Ballinakill Mr Gale
Barrowlodge Queen’s Athy George Studdart esq
Beckfield Queen’s Burros in Ossory John Roe esq
Beckville Queen’s Rathdowney John Roe esq
Belan Queen’s Monastereven Rev Robert Lockwood
Belbrook Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr W Bell
Belgrove Queen’s Monastereven Rev Dean Trench
Bellmont Queen’s Durrow CB Ponsonby esq
Belview Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr Thomas Fitzgerald
Bernard’s Grove Queen’s Ballinakill Mr Thomas Gorman
Blakefield Queen’s Burros in Ossory William Meagher esq
Bland’s fort Queen’s Abbeyleix Mrs Bland
Bloomfield Queen’s Maryborough Robert Robinson esq
Boolybawn Queen’s Ballinakill Mr P Power
Branra Queen’s Durrow Mr Patrick Moony
Brittas Queen’s Clonaslee Lt General Dunne
Brockley Brockley Park Queen’s Stradbally Rev Thomas Kemmis
Brooklawn Queen’s Durrow Crofton Lawrenson esq
Borris Queen’s Maryborough Henry Wrixon Esq
Burris Castle Queen’s Burros in Ossory Fred Thompson esq
Bush field Queen’s Burros in Ossory Mr Michael Delany
Camira Queen’s Mountmellick Rev Thomas Pigott
Capan Island Queen’s Durrow Edward Laurenson esq
Cappalough Queen’s Mountmellick Richard Goodbody esq
Cappanara Queen’s Mountrath Miss Conway
Cappard Queen’s Mountmellick John Pigott esq
Carrice Queen’s Mountrath M Lynch esq
Carrick Queen’s Durrow Wm Pilkington esq
Cartown Queen’s Mountrath Isaac Humphreys esq
Castlecuff Queen’s Clonaslee Rev John Baldwin
Castlefleming Queen’s Burros in Ossory Robert Roe esq
Castlegrogan Queen’s Rathdowney MW Fisher esq.
Castlelodge Queen’s Clonasle Captain Drew
Castlemitchell Queen’s Athy John Chapman esq
Castle Rheban Queen’s Athy Mr John Haughton
Castletown Queen’s Athy Mr John Furney
Castleview Queen’s Durrow Rev JB Ridge
Castlewood Queen’s Durrow Michael Byrne esq
Charleville Queens Burros in Ossary Charles White esq
Charleville Queen’s Clonaslee Rev Robert Russell
Cherry Hill Queen’s Maryborough Mr James Ryan
Clonbrine Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr Dovey
Clononan Queen’s Burros in Össory Mr Hump Hardgrove
Clonrehir Queen’s Maryborough Mr Fitzpatrick
Closeland Queen’s Portarlington Harrington Tinkler
Cloverhill Queen’s Durrow Frederick Alley esq
Coldblow Queen’s Mountrath James Calcutt esq
Coleraine Queen’s Burros in Ossory Robert Steele esq
Colt Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr T Haslm
Coolbanagher Queen’s Emo A Fizgerald esq
Coole Queen’s Durrow Mr Michael Phelan
Coolfin Queen’s Rathdowney Seat unoccupied
Coolitial Queen’s Roscrea Arthur Molloy esq
Coolnagower Queen’s Mountrath Rich Gilbourne esq
Cooper hill Queen’s Carlow William Cooper esq
Corbally Queen’s Clonaslee Samuel Dunne esq
Corbally Queen’s Athy Mr Patrick Dunn
Cottage Queen’s Clonaslee John Mulhall esq
Cottage Queen’s Carlow Miśs Colclough
Cottage Queen’s Maryborough Captain Brennan
Cottage Queen’s Portarlington William Handcock esq
Cottage Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr Bernard Brown
Courtwood Queens Monasterevan William Scott esq
Cranagh Queens Mountrath Richard Palmer Esq
Cudda lodge Queen’s Mountrath James E Scott esq
Cuffsboro Queen’s Rathdowney Joseph Palmer esq
Dairy house Queen’s Durrow Samuel Blighe esq
Danesfort Queen’s Burros in Ossory Mr J Robert Walsh
Derlamogue Queen’s Mountmellick Mr R Shannon
Derreen Queen’s Durrow Mr Thomas Palmer
Derries Queen’s Emo William J Alloway
Derrinasera Queen’s Mountrath John Long esq
Derry Queen’s Mountrath John Sawer esq
Derry Queen’s Clonaslee William Dunne esq
Derryduff Queen’s Mountrath Rev Bourke
Derryfore Queen’s Ballinakill William Gale esq
Derrykeirn Mountrath John Gordon esq
Derrylea Queen’s Monastereven Thomas Sadler esq
Donore Queen’s Mountrath George Despard esq
Dunmore Queen’s Durrow Sir Robert Staples
Edmundsbury Queen’s Durrow Richard Philips esq
Eglish Queen’s Rathdowney Mr George Pratt
Emo Park Queen’s Emo Earl of Portarlingon
Farmly Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr J Thomas
Faranville Queen’s Rathdowney Humphrey Palmer esq
Fishers town Queen’s Monastereven William Scott esq
Forest Queen’s Mountmellick Samuel Goodbody esq.
Fruitlawn Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr James Leach
Fry Queen’s Maryborough Mr Unthank
Garrantegart Queen’s Ballinakill Mr William Power
Garryvacuae Queen’s Portarlington George Fossett esq
Goleyduff Queens Athy Mr William Wilkins
Gortnaclea Queen’s Durrow Peter Roe esq
Gosbrook Queen’s Mountrath Captain Fitzgerald
Gracefield Queen’s Athy Mr Cavendish
Graigavoice Queen’s Durrow John Connor esq
Graignasmutton Queen’s Ballinakill Mr Thomas Campion
Grange Queen’s Burros in Ossory Mr Robert Richardson
Grangemore Queen’s Burros in Ossory Mr Wm Delany
Grantstown Queen’s Rathdowney Mr Wm Hayes
Grennan Queen’s Ballinakill Mr Oliver Wright
Grove Queen’s Emo Colonel Archdall
Harristown Queen’s Rathdowney George Steele esq
Haywood Queen’s Ballinakill F Trench esq
Heathfield Queen’s Athy Robert Rawson esq
Heath Lodge Queen’s Emo Miles O Reilly
Hebe Hill Queen’s Monastereven Robert Johnston esq
Hermitage Queen’s Monastereven William Barret
Huntington Queen’s Portarlington John Eccles esq
Inch Queen’s Athy Michael Carter esq
Inchito Queen’s Portarlington Philip Doyne esq India Ville
Janeville Queen’s Ballinakill Thomas Hastlom esq
John’s grove Queen’s Mountmellick William Beale esq
Johnstown Queens Rathdowney Rev Marcus Monk
Keelogue Queen’s Burros in Ossory Mr John Bond
Kilbreedy Queen’s Rathdowney Mr William Drought
Kilbricken Queen’s Mountrath John Roberts esq
Kilcavan Queen’s Mount Mellick Major L Sandes
Kilcotton Queens Borris in Ossory Mr George Bolton
Killadooly Queens Borris in Ossory William Caldbeck Esq
Killamullen Queen’s Portarlington George Harrison esq
Killedelig Queen’s Rathdowney Peter Roe esq
Killeen Queen’s Ballyboy Joseph Bernard
Killeen Queen’s Carlow Mrs Warren
Killeen Queen’s Emo Wm Kemis esq
Killenure Queen’s Mountrath Mr James Elmee
Killeny Queen’s Mountrath Wm Maher esq
Killown Queen’s Emo George Dunn esq
Kilmartin Queen’s Burros in Ossory Daniel Brereton esq
Kilminchy Queen’s Maryborough HH Bourne esq
Kilnaparson Queen’s Clonaslee Joseph Bernard Esq
Kilpurcell Queen’s Burris in Ossory Mr John Hayes
Kitegrove Queen’s Maryborough Mr Andrew Carter
Knapton Queen’s Abbeyleix Mrs Morton
Knight’stown Emo town Queen’s Mr Joshua Kemmis
Knockanoran Queen’s Durrow George Bathom esq
Knockaro Queen’s Burros in Ossory Mr Samuel Hipwell
Knockfin Queen’s Rathdowney Richard Steele Jun esc
Kyle Queen’s Maryborough Thomas Kenny esq
Kyle Queen’s Rathdowney V Rich Steele Sen esq
Lackey Queen’s Mountrath Moses Pim esq
Lamberton Queen’s Maryborough Hon Sergeant Moore
Laragh Queen’s Emo Rev Róbert Vicars
Larchhill Queen’s Mountrath Rev Francos G Despard
Larkfield Queen’s Carlow Mr Farrell
Laurelhill Queen’s Mountrath James Bradish esq
Lisbigney Queen’s Ballinakıll Samuel Philips esq
Lismore Queen’s Burros in Ossory William Roe esq
Littlefield Queen’s Durrow Francis R Jackson eşq
Longford lodge Queen’s Mountrath Keeran Delany esq
Lough Queen’s Portarlington P Dempsey esq
Lowhill Queen’s Ballinakil John Warren esq
Macloone Queen’s Mountmellick Mr Robert Deverel
Maidenhead Queen’s Carlow Mr Sutton
Mannin Queen’s Burros in Ossory Christ. Sudren esq
Marymount Queen’s Mountrath Thomas Sawer esq
Middlemount Queen’s Rathdowney Edward Flood esq
Millford Queen’s Athy Robert Cooke esq
Monamore Queen’s Burros in Ossory Mr Thomas Keegan
Mondrahilt Queen’s Burros in Ossory William Walpole esq
Money Queen’s Maryborough Mr Lalor
Moneyclear Queen’s Ballinakill Mr Edward Cahill
Money Lodge Queen’s Ballyboy Mr Wm Mitchell
Moorefield Queen’s Mountrath Richard Seinour esq
Mountbrock Queen’s Athy William Roe esq
Mounteagle Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr Owen McMahon
Mount Henry Queen’s Portarlington John Smyth esq John
Mount Oliver Queen’s Rathdowney Mrs Francis Biddulph
Mount Pleasant Queen’s Rathdowney Mr Anthony Murphy
Moyne Queen’s Durrow Robert Stubber esq
Newpark Queen’s Maryborough John Maclean esq
Newtown Queen’s Mountrath James Short esq
North Grove Queen’s Mountrath John Walpole esq
Oakland Queen’s Durrow H French Barrington
Oldglass Queens Durrow John Roe esq
Oldtown Queen’s Durrow William Young esq
Oldtown Queen’s Maryborough John Seale esq
Paradise Queen’s Carlow Mrs Heron
Phillipsburgh Queen’s Rathdowney Richard Philips esq
Poles bridge Queen’s Stradbally Pierce Moore esq
Popefield Queen’s Athy Mr Keefe
Porterstown Queen’s Portarlington Henry Porter esq
Portnehinch Queen’s Portarlington V Oliver Tibeaudo esq
Portrane Queen’s Maryborough Thomas Parnell esq
Quarrymount Queen’s Mount Mellick Anthony Johnston esq
Ragget’s town Queen’s Bailinakill Mrs Anne Gale
Rahan Queen’s Athy Rev A Weldon
Rahanahone Queen’s Athy Mr D Dunn
Raheen Queen’s Emo Mr John Roberts
Raheen Queen’s Mountrath John Moffett esq
Raheenduff Queen’s Stradbally David Baldwin esq
Ralish Queen’s Ballinakill Mr Robert Thompson
Ralphsgrove Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr Francis Moffett
Rath Queen’s Monastereven George Adair esq
Rathmoyle Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr Lawrenson
Rearymore Queen’s Clonaslee Joseph Meredith esq
Rearyvale Queen’s Clonaslee Rice Meredith esq
Redhill Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr Kelly
Ridgemount Queen’s Ballyboy Robert Drought esq
Rockfield Queen’s Portarlington Mrs Howard
Rockview Queen’s Maryborough James Hartam esq
Rosebrook Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr Scott
Rosetta Queen’s Monastereven Seat unoccupied
Roughpark Queen’s Durrow Mrs Flood
Roundwood Queen’s Mountrath Samuel White esq
Rushin Queen’s Mountrath Jonathan Pim esq
Rynne Mountmellick Richard Croasdale esq
Sabine Field Queen’s Monastereven Michael Lloyd esq
Salem cottage Queen’s Durrow Rev Adam Avarell
Shanahoe Queen’s Abbeyleix Mr E Galbraith
Shanderry Queen’s Mountrath Francis G Despard exq
Shean’s Castle Queen’s Emo Thomas Kemmis esq
Sheffield Queen’s Maryborough Matthew Cassin
Shrole castle Queen’s Carlow John Lackey esq
Southfield Queen’s Athy Mr Keely
Springfield Queen’s Portarlington Rev J Dunn
Springfield Queen’s Ballyboy James Haslam esq.
Springfield Queen’s Burros in Ossory Thomas White esq
Springhill Queen’s Carlow Harman Fitzmaurice esą
Springhill Queen’s Burros in Ossory Francis White esq
Stewarts grove Queen’s Durrow John Murphy esą
Stradbally hall Queen’s Stradbally Thomas Cosby esq
Summergrove Queen’s Mountmellick John Sabitier esq
Tenakill Queen’s Mountrath Patrick Lawler esq
Tentower Queen’s Durrow John Wolfe esq
Thornberry Queen’s Abbeyleix Francis Evans esq
Tierhogar Queen’s Portarlington James Wilkinson esą
Towlerton Queen’s Carlow Hovendon Stapleton esq
Tunduff Queen’s Abbeyleix Andrew Galbraith esq
Valleyfield Queen’s Ballinakill William McDonald esq
Water Castle Queen’s Durrow Thomas Prior esq
Westfield Queen’s Mountrath John Price esq
Whitewall cottage Queen’s Rathdowney Webb Nowlan esq
Woodbine lodge Queen’s Portarlington John Blake esq
Woodbrook Queen’s Portarlington Jonathan Chetwood esq
Woodville Queens Abbeyleix Doctor T Doxey

Racing Royalty and a maid brought to misfortune

Ballinfrase House             Rathdowney

The Barton connection with Balinfrase goes back to 1734 when Allice (sic) Laurenson of Archerstown, Durrow (which was miraculously restored from ruin in recent years by Sarah Webb and her husband of Bramleys in Abbeyleix) married George Barton of Castle Bamford, just South of Kilkenny.  His grandfather, Cornet George Barton, is said the have received Castle Bamford in 1662 under the Act of Settlement.

Castle Bamford

Their son Andrew married Anne Laurenson in 1767.  They had four children, the youngest of whom, another Andrew (1790-1879) , married Anne Gatchell and built Ballinfrase, which he originally named Annemount,  The Gatchells were quakers from Mountmellick and Mountrath. 

The head landlord  at Ballinfrase were the Earls of Portrlington, the Damers, whose estates fell into the Incumbered Estates Court in 1850   when their interest was purchased by “Mr Cathcart”

Andrew’s early years at Ballinfrase were make difficult by the activities of the Whiteboys and there is a letter from him to William Gregory, Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, 16 August 1823, enclosing petition of Barton, to Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquis Wellesley, Lord Lieutenant, Dublin Castle, complaining of losses sustained owing to the intimidation of one of his new tenants, an outsider to the area named Flood, by the former tenants of the land, firstly, ‘…by cutting off his horses [sic] Ears, and in the Second, by Killing the Horse altogether by houghing him by Night’. Barton complains of the conduct of local magistrate Mr Scott in refusing to take sworn examinations from Flood, to present at the assizes of Maryborough, in order to obtain compensation. Barton notes that Flood has since relinquished the farm, and complains of the failure of the county’s magistracy, to offer any protection. Encloses copy of information of Barton, sworn before magistrate Scott, 16 July 1823, detailing the case, and also Barton’s information sworn before, Robert St. George magistrate of County Kilkenny, 16 August 1823, concerning his fear that the corn left behind on Flood’s former farm land, ‘will be cut and carried away by force by the tenants who held said Lands, or by some other persons employed by them‘.

They had five children, only two of whom carried on the genes.  Sarah Barton married Frederick Hoysted, of Waterstown, whose uncle was Lieut.-Colonel Hoysted  who  served in the American War of Independence, the Peninsula War where he was wounded in the battle of Nive, in the Waterloo campaign and the occupation of Paris. He was awarded a gold medal and clasp for Nive and the Waterloo medal.  He served in the Lilywhites, 2nd Battalion 59th Regiment.  Their nickname came from the white facing on their uniforms, noticeably on their sleeve cuffs.  Hoysted left Paris before the rest of the regiment and so escaped the tragedy of the Sea Horse.  In January 1816, the transport vessel the Sea Horse foundered in Tramore Bay with the loss of 363 lives. On board the ship were the majority of the 2nd Battalion of the 59th Regiment, the wives and children of the soldiers and the crew.

The Sea Horse Memorial at Tramore

They also claimed Sir Charles Coote as a close relation, though not the Cootes of Ballyfin but of Donnybrook, heir of the splendid Earl of Bellamont, who had many children, but his only legitimate son predeceased him.

Charles Coote, The Earl of Bellamont by Reynolds

In the words of his obituary “On the death of his father Frederick Hoysted’s  future prospects were entirely altered, for contrary to expectation, the whole of his father’s fortune was inherited by his widow (a second wife) and her family. Mr. Hoysted never disputed the will, although he was advised that there were good grounds for doing so, but determined to remain, independent of his relatives, and set out to seek his fortune in Australia where he became a top race horse trainer” – his descendants are Australia’s racing royalty.

Isaac Barton married twice.  His first wife was Frederick’s half sister, Charlotte Hoysted.  Their son Hoysted Bagott Laurenson Barton was born in 1861. He married Margaret Mitchel of Quarrymount, Erril, whose brother Henry (after they had both emigrated to Michigan) married Eleanor Connor, the widow of James Connor who owned and ran the Clogrennane Lime Works  and was killed in 1916 by the Countess Markievicz’s men on Stephen’s Green for not surrendering his motor car. Eleanor was the daughter of William Proudman, a noted Rathdowney grocer. As an aside one of the challenges of social history is exemplified by the report on the death of James Connor. He was described as a labourer, which would not lead one to believe that he was the owner of a large and successful company.

After Charlotte’s death Isaac married Elizabeth Roe the daughter of William Roe and his wife Frances Phillips, of Middlemount by whom he had a further nine children.

In 1892 at the age of 75 William Barton, the third son,  married Margaret Dooling whose father Michael was a farm labourer at Ballinfrase House.   They were married by Fr Patrick Treacy actually in the house – there is certain to be a very romantic story to be uncovered here. 

One of these Barton boys was the cause of a case in 1858 that resulted in what the papers described as “An Intelligent Jury”

A petty jury having been sworn, Mary Ryan was indicted for stealing a key, the property of Mr. Andrew Barton, oatmeal miller, at Ballinfrase ; There was also a count in the indictment for having the key knowing it to be stolen.

The prisoner in her defence that the prosecutor wanted to get rid of her as she had been seduced by his son and brought to misfortune. Mr. Barton denied the accusation. 

The jury found her “guilty of having the key, not knowing by whom taken.”  The Clerk of the Peace asked “Is that guilty of having the key knowing it to be stolen? A Juror—It is having the key, not knowing by who it was taken. Clerk of the Peace—That is virtually an acquittal. A Juror—-They are differing here in opinion, will yer worship decide it yerself?

Court—Return to your room.

A verdict was at length handed in finding the prisoner guilty of stealing and receiving. Court—Do you find her guilty of stealing the key ? A Juror—No, we don’t. We find that she had it knowing she had no right to it. Another Juror—How do we know when Mr. Barton got the key but he was after dropping it himself? At the suggestion of his worship the jury retired to reconsider their verdict.-

Mr. Jacob (for the prosecution)—Mr. Clerk of the Peace, will you swear a petty jury with some brains ?

After the lapse of an hour the jury returned from their room and handed in the issue paper, from which it would appear that they found the prisoner guilty of stealing the key. The Clerk of the Peace having said he should take a viva voce finding, asked them what verdict they intended to return. The Foreman: Not guilty of either stealing or having the key knowing it to be stolen. The issue paper was again handed back for amendment. His Worship discharged the prisoner with a caution.

Of the mill that produced oatmeal for animal feed the Laois Survey of Mills records that in 2005 “Only the partial remains of the south-east gable and external waterwheel pit survive on the left bank of the river. The wall is of random rubble and reduced in height from its original level. The head and tailraces are still evident. The latter is culverted under the road in a semi-elliptical arch.

Nothing of the kiln survives, but Ballinfrase House still stands, almost unchanged from 200 years ago, and one of only a handful of historic houses in Ireland that remains in the hands of the family who built it.

A Modest House with a Massive History

Jamestown House, or Ballyteigeduff – The townland of black Tadhg

Of the three houses near Ballybrittas shown on Taylor and Skinners Map in the 1783, Jamestown is probably the least changed.  Pevsner’s Central Leinster describes it (incorrectly) as being of 1800 and built by the Cassidy family.   Pevsner also says that it was bought in 1918 and restored after falling into dereliction.  The Buildings of Ireland website puts it at about 1740 and describes it as a  Detached three-bay two-storey house, with round-headed door opening to centre and returns to rear. Stable complex to site. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with clay ridge tiles, nap rendered chimneystacks with red clay pots and cast-iron rainwater goods. Roughcast rendered walls; painted. Square-headed window openings with stone sills and six-over-six timber sash window. Ground floor windows set into recessed arches. Round-headed door opening with stone Doric doorcase and timber panelled double door with decorative fanlight. Entrance/ Stair Hall: replacement timber pilaster doorcases to internal doors; carved timber staircase; replacement fireplaces throughout; decorative plaster cornices to ceilings decorative plaster centrepieces. Set back from road in own grounds; landscaped grounds to site; tarmacadam drive and forecourt to approach. Stable complex to site comprising group of detached single- and two-storey rubble stone outbuildings.

During the motorway construction two Fulacht fiadh or prehistoric cooking pits were discovered, so it has been inhabited for a long time!

In 1582 Terence Dempsy, gent has title here and in 1600 it is Edm. and Owen M’Hugh Dempsie. 

Ballyteigeduff or Jamestown on Petty’s 1657 map – Ballybrittas Castle is on the left

The Down survey of 1657 shows a building at Jamestown. 

Under the act of settlement of 1666 it first becomes Jamestown, named presumably after the King’s brother

In July 1758 there is a Richard Hetherington of Jamestown, carpenter, listed as a freeman, though probably of the townland than of the present or a previous big house.

On stylistic grounds that the present house is of about 1770.  The shallow recessed arches over the windows are very much a Morrisson signature (or indeed a Gandon trait, whose first work in Laois was collaboration with Trench at Heywood in 1771).    It would also be reasonable to assume that it dates from post Mark Rochfort’s marriage in 1764.

Jamestown from The Buildings of Ireland survey

 On 17 August 1764  Mark Rochfort of Jamestown Queens Co married  Miss Elizabeth Connor daughter of John Connor of Jervis street merchant in Chester according to The   Freemans Journal Tuesday, September 04, 1764; They had at least four children.  Their second son John died in 1836.   Elizabeth died in Lambeth  on 17 August 1841 in her late 90s.               

Mark was the son of Richard Rochfort of Jamestown whose will executed in 1764 (the will also names a brother Thomas).    

In 1780 Wilson’s The Post-chaise Companion: Or, Travellers’ Directory Through Ireland writes” Near two miles beyond Monastereven on the L is Jamestown the seat of Mr Rochfort “

The family also owned property near Balbriggan, and by 1802 Mark was living at Walshestown, Lusk, Co Dublin where he was a magistrate.

Died, at Balbriggan in Ireland, universally lamented, Mark Rochfort, Esq. for many years one of his Majesty’s justices of the peace; esteemed through his long life by all who knew him … Thursday 20 July 1809 in The Exeter Flying Post

The Rochfort family had come to Ireland around 1240; they were descended from Sir Milo de Rochfort, who held lands in Kildare in 1309. There are two branches of the Rochfort family of fame (or infamy) in Ireland.  The Rochforts, Earls of Belvedere built some stunning houses, such as Belvedere House, now a Jesuit School that educated such greats a James Joyce and Tony O‘Reilly, and Tudenham on Lough Owell.  Unfortunately the 1st  Earl, by all accounts a most charming man, was irritated by his wife’s post-natal depression went off on the grand tour for three years.  On his return his brother George whispered “Did you know that your wife had an affair with our brother Arthur?”  He locked her up in the attic at Gaulstown (for the rest of his life) and bankrupted his brother Arthur. After the death of the Earl in 1774, at the age of 54 she was released.  Not only had her features become old and haggard but she had acquired a wild, scared, unearthly look, whilst the tones of her voice, which nearly exceeded a whisper, were harsh, agitated and uneven.  She did not survive into old age. 

Anne Molesworth

Criminal conversation gave a man a right of action for damages against anyone who had or attempted to have sexual relations with his wife, and the consent of the wife did not affect his entitlement to sue.  It was not until 1981, under section 1 of the Family Law Act 1981 that criminal conversation, enticement, and harbouring a spouse was abolished in Ireland.  A wife was, after all, a chap’s property.   Lord Belvedere secured £20,000 (about €2 million in today’s terms) criminal conversation damages from his brother, Arthur Rochfort, in 1759. Rochfort was subsequently imprisoned for debt in King’s Bench prison. 

The other infamous Rochforts were from Clogrennan, on the Carlow Laois border renowned for the fighting vicar Revd Robert Rochfort (1775–1811).   In History Ireland Shay Kinsella has the following account:- An investigation into his life and early death is dominated by allegations of cruelty and sectarian butchery in June of 1798, and the unlawful execution of supposed United Irishmen. He cuts an intriguing figure in his fusion of military and religious concerns, striking in his clerical garb, Bible in one hand and cat-o’-nine-tails in the other, unapologetic to the last in his preaching of a dominant Protestant Ascendancy. Interesting as a case-study of Orange sectarianism, his story also hints at the persistence of anti-Protestant sentiment in the folk memory of Carlow in the decades that followed. Thirty years after the rebellion, Rochfort was demonised and styled the ‘slashing parson’ in the local liberal press. His premature death at the age of 36 locked him into a legend he could never change, and his reputation hovered like a spectre over his family for decades, destroying their electoral chances and their entitlement to a good name until their final departure from Carlow in 1923.   Edward Wakefield (who interviewed Robert while researching his Account of Ireland) observing that the Carlow gentry were largely ‘ignorant and conceited’ and prone to unwarranted and inexcusable violence towards their social inferiors.  

Clogrennan, on the Laois Carlow border

In 1920 their end was swift.  Turtle Bunbury has set it down in THE LIFE & TIMES OF THOMAS KANE McCLINTOCK BUNBURY,   2nd BARON RATHDONNEL:-

November 2: Horace Rochfort’s son was returning from the Cricket & Rugby Club House (now St. Bridgid’s Hospital) when seized by Pat Purcell, a young man in the IRB, and some colleagues. It was a freezing cold night. They tied him up and dragged him down the River Barrow for a few minutes, before returning him to the seat of his carriage driven by Paddy Buggy. The next morning, Rochfort traveled to Carlow and put his house up for sale. It was purchased by John Heron of Waterford who cut down the trees in the wooded estate for use in his building business and then sold the estate onto another builder called Murphy who used the slates from the house for a church at Carndonagh, Co. Donegal. (N.D McMillan and D. Foot, ‘One Hundred and Fifty Years of Cricket and Sport in County Carlow’, pp. 4-5.) This was not so much official IRB policy as a local vendetta brought on by the evictions in Raheendoran. The Rochforts and Eustace-Ducketts were particularly frowned upon in this regard.

The Jamestown Rochforts were rather different.  It seems that they may have been Rochfort yeomen in North County Dublin form the late 17th century  Walshestown House is long gone, but the road sill bends submissively around the ghostly demesne.  In 1765 Mark is reporting to the linen board his success of inter seeding flax and potatoes at Jamestown

Newspapers mention two of his children: –

Mr. Robert Shaw, to Mary, youngest daughter of the late Mark Rochfort, Esq. of Walshestown, County Dublin. Dec. 1819

And The Newry Telegraph reported (possibly a little gleefully) on Tuesday 21 August 1832 that Mr. John Rochfort, of Walshestown, County of Dublin, a nominal Protestant,  has been dismissed from the Commission of the Peace by the Lord Chancellor, for having presided at Anti-Tithe Meeting

Mark’s  2nd son Mark died  in 1836  at Walshestown after a short illness John Rochfort,

The Rochoforts let Jamestown in the early 19th century and in 1865 the Freeman’s Journal carried an advertisement looking for the heirs of  Hugh Christie, formerly of Glengowlandie, in the county of Perth, in Scotland, and late of Jamestown House, Monasterevan, in the Queen’s County, farmer, who died at Jamestown House, aforesaid, on the 1st day of December, 1804 .

The next owner of Jamestwon we know about is Patrick Delany, as recorded by Ambrose Leet in 1814.  Patrick was related to the branch of Dulaneys in the United States who trace back to a Thomas Delaney of Rathkrea and his wife Sarah Dennis of Aghaboe, born said to have been born in 1662. Thomas’s son, Daniel, claimed to have been descended from Dr. Gideon Delaune, a Huguenot physician and theologian and founder of the Apothecaries’ Hall. Hence, there are multiple discussions among genealogical circles as to the origin of Delaney since it can be anglicized Gaelic or anglicized French. 

Daniel Dulany arrived in Maryland in 1703 as a young, prospective indentured servant from Ireland.  Fortuitously, he was “redeemed” by Colonel George Plater, a former attorney general for the colony who needed a law clerk for his busy private practice. He was apprenticed in the law and eventually became a leading attorney.  His son, another Daniel,  was sent to England for formal and legal education, at Eton, Clare Hall, Cambridge and The Middle Temple. The younger Delany would eventually surpass his father’s own outstanding legal reputation to become the most highly regarded attorney in the colony;  during the Stamp Act crisis of 1765-1766, he drafted one of the most articulate polemics against that act, Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes in the British Colonies, For the Purpose of Raising a Revenue, By Act of Parliament.   His son, another Daniel, moved to London and from 1800 to his death in 1824 lived at 11 Downing Street, now the official home of the British Chancellor.  Daniel Delaney wrote the following on the flyleaf of a family  prayer book : ” Of my father’s family, my grandfather, Daniel Dulany, the elder, was born in Queen’s County, Ireland, and until the year 1710, wrote his name Delany, and afterwards Dulany. He was a cousin to Dr. Patrick Delany”

Patrick Delany, (1685?–1768), clergyman and writer, who was born in Rathkrea, probably on the road from Ballybrittas to Vicarstown near Rossmore Crossroads in an area now known as Redhills, and about 6km from Jamestown.   His father, Dennis Delany, is reputed to have been a servant to the Irish judge Sir John Russell. Delany was educated in Athy, Co. Kildare, at the school of Mr Dalton.  “At his beautiful residence of Delville, Glasnevin, Dr Delany was wont to collect a brilliant circle, in which Swift shone pre-eminent.”

So far I have not  found any information on Sir John Russell or Mr Daltons School, both of which presumably date from the late 17th Century. 

From 1813 there are newspaper reports of Patrick Delaney of Jamestown chairing meetings of  the Catholics of the Queen’s County, demanding the repeal of the penal laws, emancipation and relief from tithes.

On April 13  1820 The Freemans Journal records a robbery at his home, and he died in early 1822 leaving a young son.

6th July, 1822   In the Matter of Joseph Osborne Delany, a Minor.   To Let, By Public Cant, to the highest and fairest Bidder, for such Term, during the Minority of the said Minor James Osborne Delaney, now aged about eleven years, all that Mansion house, offices, garden and Demesne Lands of Jamestown, containing about 188 acres; and also the House and Lands of Morett, containing about acres, 3 roods, and 36 perches, situate in the Queen’s County.  The House of Jamestown is in complete repair and fit for the immediate reception a genteel Family. The lands are the best quality.

For Particulars apply Mr. William Lewis, Solicitor for said Minor No. 11, Talbot-street, Lower Gardmer-street, Dublin,  Henry Osborne, Esq. Dardistown, Drogheda ; or George Delany, Esq., the Receiver in this Matter, Ballyspellan House.

Dardistown castle came into the hands of the Osborne family in the 17th Century and they occupied it until the 1970s. Francis Osborne was M.P. for Navan from 1692 to 1703. Henry Osborne (d.10 May 1828) also owned Cooperhill Brickworks which supplied red bricks to many of Drogheda’s buildings.   He also bought the horse pulling a stagecoach in 1827 which later gave birth to Abd-El-Kader, the first successive Grand Nationals winner (for his trainer son Joseph) in 1850 and 1851.  His wife was Alice Dunne of Brittas Castle.  I think that Patrick Delaney’s wife was Henry Osborne’s sister.

Dardistown Castle, from the Sherry Fitzgerald details in 2018

The next occupant was Robert Cassidy the younger son of John Cassidy who took over Goslin’s Distillery in Monasterevan in 1784.  John Cassidy was reputed to be one of seven sons born in a farmhouse at a place known as Lime Tree Crossroads near Portarlington- possibly near the Airfield.

Norman White in Gerard Manley Hopkins Annual 1992 writes “ The Cassidys typified the realistic working compromise so often made in pre-independent Ireland and so seldom recorded by nationalist historians, between the old culture of the native majority and the imported one of the ruling class. Although they were practicing Roman Catholics, they had close and friendly contacts with the Protestant St. John’s church and, though native Irish, were staunch loyalists and upheld British law as local magistrates. (There’s also the fact I discovered only last week that in 1802 a Mr. Cassidy received 50 pounds from the British Secret Service money list, for the parish priest, Fr. Doran, on the recommendation of Lord Tyrawley, who then lived at Moore Abbey. Heaven knows what this means; my source is Fr. Comerford, the parish priest in Hopkins’s time.)”

The first reference to the  Cassidy’s at Jamestown, is in the Freemans Journal which records    “To the Lady of Robert Cassidy a son and heir.  14 July 1827 

Cassidy was very busy politically:-   On 7 Oct. 1828 a county meeting for Catholic claims was held at Maryborough under the direction of Robert Cassidy of Jamestown and John Dunne of Ballinakill, at which resolutions were passed for the formation of a Liberal Club. Following a communication from the influential Catholic bishop of Kildare and Leighlin,  Dr. James Doyle, who believed that  ‘the projected club would not be advisable’ as ‘it might create distrust and fear’, its launch was postponed until early the following year.

On 11 Jan. 1829 a Catholic meeting was held at Heath Chapel under the chairmanship of Joseph and Michael Dunne to pay tribute to Daniel O’Connell and draw up an address in support of the recalled viceroy Lord Anglesey, of which he received a copy the following month

County meetings in support of the Wellington ministry’s concession of Catholic emancipation, for which both Members voted, were held at Upperwood on 18 Jan., at Mountrath on 28 Jan., chaired by Cassidy and Thomas Wyse

The  Chief Secretary’s office papers include a letter dated May 6 1831 from Robert Cassidy, complaining over the part taken by some members of the police constabulary in Abbeyleix with respect to the upcoming county election, reserving for particular criticism the person of Sgt Howard who is accused of removing publicity material or handbills in support of Mr Kelly ‘The candidate for Reform’.

In Parliamentary debates January 1837 the following affidavit is recorded :“ William Kinsella of Coolbanagher Queen’s county collector of the county for the barony of Portnahinch saith that Tuesday the 22nd inst he went to the of Mr Robert Cassidy of Jamestown to a part of said tax and on demanding amount due by said Robert Cassidy was whereupon deponent seized a mare the property of said Robert Cassidy for amount of tax due and was in the act bringing her to Ballybrittas pound when was followed by James Byrne and a boy deponent heard and believes was Patrick son to said Robert Cassidy steward He was also met on the road in by a number of men viz Austin steward Edward Malone Timothy Strong both the latter armed with forks in their hands Edward Malowny Bryan Dunne and Dunne some of the latter men had in their hands Deponent further states said James Byrne coming up he seized mare assisted by said Edward Malone appeared with a pitchfork in his hand raised it in a fighting position The persons above named also assisted and the mare should go back and Austin steward said at the same time what master had done they would now do the same and thereon they in a riotous manner said mare from deponent.    Mr Cassidy worked as a clerk in his brother’s distillery

The Cassidys sold their interest in Jamestown in 1858 and the next owners were the Hetheringtons.    Hetherington is a family widely scattered around Laois, and the earliest appears to be an Elizabethan planter called Jenken Hetherington.   

Dr Jane Lyons invaluable site records the following inscriptions in Lea Churchyard.

Hetherington: In/memory of/Robert Hetherinton/of Jamestown House /who died 28th Oct 1894 aged 98/And his wife/Anne Hetherington/died 22nd Nov 1863 aged 56/Also their Grandson G.H. Hetheringon/died 9th Decr 1880, aged 3 years

Hetherington: In loving memory of/Till he come/Thy will be done/ (two sides of part of ornamentation before full script begins/Robert Hetherington/died 3rd Spet 1907 aged 35/Also of Caroline (Cullen) wife of/ George Hetherington died 12th Jany 1909 aged 70/Also of/George Hetherington/Jamestown House/died 25th Feb 1913 aged 74

George’s death was reported by his son Thomas Hetherington, who was married to Olive Edith McKenan and has a son George Arthur Claude Hetherington, born in 1912.

In the 1911 census George was living with his unmarried son Alexander Hetherington and his niece Arabella Luttrell, the daughter of his wife’s sister, Fanny Cullen. 

In August 1865 at The Queen’s County Agricultural Society Show:-

Best ram lamb, £1 10s; -second best, £1. First prize, James Flynn ; second, Robert Hetherington.

Best ram of any age, 1 sov. First prize, Robert Hetherington.

On 19 November 1881 The Irishman Paper reported that  “The Jamestown tenantry met their landlord, Mr. Hetherington of Abbeyleix, on last Monday. They passed resolution to pay no rents”

The No Rent Manifesto was a document issued in Ireland on 18 October 1881, by imprisoned leaders of the Irish National Land League calling for a campaign of passive resistance by the entire population of small tenant farmers, by withholding rents to obtain large rent abatements under the second 1881 Irish Land Act. The intention being to “put the Act to the test” and prove its inadequacy to provide for the core demands of the tenants – the ‘three Fs’ of fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale – as well as providing sufficient funds for occupier purchase.

At this time the Hetheringtons were letting Jamestown to James Archibald, who sold out his interest in July 1888.

After George Hetherington’s death in 1913 it is not clear what happened to the house, which is where the assertion in Pevsner that it was restored from dereliction in 1918 may originate. And though the lawn field is rent assunder by the M7 motorway, Jamestown survives in good condition.

Family Affairs

Phillipsburgh was probably built in the 1760s.    It was demolished to provide rubble in the early 1980s,   and I have yet to find a photograph of it.   As I remember it,  it was a tall 3 storey house, one room deep, without a basement, 5 bays wide, of plastered rubblestone and gable ended.  The attics were used as staff bedrooms, and the attic walls were graffitied with rude rhymes about the Phillips’ composed by the servants and dating back to the 18th century.  

A fine account of one of the more colourful episodes in the Phillips family history is recounted by  Cherry Gilchrist in her blog


All that remains of Foyle, the Phillips home near Freshford

On Thursday 7th August 1777 Mary Max,   at the age of 13, was heading home to Gaile from a house party, travelling in her cousin Frances Phillips’ carriage.  Her brother had died 4 months earlier and she was now heiress to a £40,000 estate.    Frances’ 21 year old brother Samuel Phillips, with the assistance of his father Richard and Mary’s uncle, Dennis Meagher, had planned her abduction. They shot past her family home and did not stop till they came to Passage East.  There Captain Hearn’s brig was standing by to take them to Wales.  They then travelled up to Scotland, where she was married to Samuel by a dodgy clergyman, and whisked down to Brighton with the Bow Street Runners close on their heels (Mary’s mother was offering a £500 reward for their capture)  where they set sail for France.

Gaile, the home of Mary Max

The Freeman’s Journal reported on Sep 25th 1777: ‘Application has been made by the English Ambassador at Paris to have the Phillipses who ran away with Miss Max delivered up if they could be found in the French dominions, and liberty given to have them transmitted to this kingdom to be tried for the felony.’

After hiding out in Paris for some time, with a price on their heads and having lost her husband and two sons in the previous 8 years, Joan Max relented and the couple returned to Ireland, and were reconciled with the Max family.

The fanlight at Gaile from the Goffs Property details

Richard Phillips of Phillipsburgh had already removed himself from the family home at Foyle, near Freshford and is mentioned in the act for repairing the road from Timahoe to Cashel in an act of 1775.      He may have been Samuel’s brother, but there is a recently compiled genealogy in the National Library that suggests that Richard Phillips of Phillipsburgh was the third son of Richard Phllips and his wife Alice née Despard.  It says that he lived at Frankfort (Ballykeerin) and Donoghmore, Co. Kilkenny and built Phillipsburgh House, Aghmacart. His second wife was Susanna Lodge of Kilishulan, Fertagh Parish, and mother of Letitia Phillips who married Thomas Palmer of Durrow in 1770.  That would make him the abductor’s great uncle.  There is a problem with generations.  Saunders Newsletter’, 28th November 1821, announced the upcoming sale of the lands of Ballydowell and Coolishill, Co. Kilkenny, which was to be sold following a decree executed in the court of chancery on 27th May 1818, by way of executing the will of the late Richard Phillips the elder.  The two executors of his will were Richard Steele and James Scott. The plaintiffs in the case were Richard Phillips Junior, son and heir of the deceased.   If Richard Phillips the elder was the Richard who built the house he would have been nearly 100 on his death, so there may have be an additional Richard Phillips, make 5 generations of Richards! 

The first Richard was the son of Samuel Phillips, said to be born in Wales, who a sherrif in Kilkenny in 1662 and a sergeant in the militia.  He became Mayor of Kilkenny in 1681.   Though D’Alton’s  King James’ Irish Army List has a Phillips genealogy stretching back to the 4th century Emperor Maximus, the Kilkenny Phillips family may have Welsh Cromwellians. 

There is no proof of either a Welsh or Cromwellian origin. The Phillips family was established in Ireland, probably in the Dublin area as merchants, earlier in the 17 th or even 16 th c.

By the end of the 17th Century they had acquired an estate at Foyle, a mile North of Freshford, where there is also a townland called Ballyphilip.

Richard and Susanna’s second son was Lodge Philips, who built Lodgefield opposite Phillipsburgh’s back avenue, of which more later.

Richard and Susanna’s daughter Letitia Phillips and Thomas Palmer had two known sons (1) Thomas b came to Wollongong March 1841 with three younger sons John, Henry and Richard Elliott and d. several weeks later (2) Richard Elliott Palmer b. 1783/4 attorney of Birr, m. Catherine Palmer 1806, d. in hunting accident 1812 leaving children Anne and Thomas who owned Nun’s Island Bakery and Brewery, Galway and John Palmer of Tralee who owned Bunnow Bakery Tralee.

There was another marriage  in October 1775 when Richard Steele of Kyle, married Miss Phillips of Phillipsburgh, Queen’s County, presumably another of  Richard’s daughters.  Major Richard Steele (1744 – 1835), was the last Major of the Irish Volunteers of 1782 – he died at Kyle House, in 1835 aged 91.  (‘The Pilot’, 12th August 1835.)

The bold Frances probably also moved into Phillipsburgh and on 15 August 1778 married, at Aghmacart,  the rather serious Rev Edward Ledwich, vicar of Aghaboe, 20 years her senior (though they seem to have been happily married for 45 years).  Ledwich’s most famous work was his “ Antiquities of Ireland

The townland is Rapla, meaning the bad or broken ground, and the house was initially known as Rapla House.   Sleater’s Topography of 1806 notes Mr Phillips of Rapla, and the 1830 Tithe Applotment survey has Richard Phillips of Rapla . Taylor and Skinners map of 1777 also has it as Rapla.

However Saunders’s News-Letter of 20 February 1813 records that Richard Phillips, jun. of Phillipsboro’ Queen’s County, married Miss Phillips of Digges-street.  And Ambrose Leet’s directory of 1814 also lists Richard Phillips esq of Phillipsburgh.

He was probably a brother Eleanor Phillips of Phillpsburgh, in Aghmacart Parish, Spinster, who married William Butler esq., of Park, Co. Tipperary on 23 Sep 1797  (Marriage licences of of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin)

And Elizabeth Phillips of Aghamacart, Queens Co. married David Sherrard, a merchant of Cork on March 14 1791

Saunders Newsletter’, 28th November 1821, announced the upcoming sale of the lands of Ballydowell and Coolishill, Co. Kilkenny, which was to be sold following a decree executed in the court of chancery on 27th May 1818, by way of executing the will of the late Richard Phillips the elder.  The two executors of his will were Richard Steele and James Scott. The plaintiffs in the case were Richard Phillips Junior, son and heir of the deceased.

In the Registry of Deeds, 524 Deed dated 26th October 1837 Richard Phillips of Phillipsburgh in Queen’s County of the one part and Hill of No 6 Frederick street in the city of the other part whereby the Richard Phillips in order to bar and all estates tail in consideration of 10s and released to the said Hill Wilson the re trenched part of the town and lands of Killneseer in the barony of Ossory and Queen’s County To hold in trust for the use of the said Phillips his heirs and assigns Inrolled March 1838 page 150   This Richard was also of 11, Chatham Street, Dublin

Richard junior’s son was Charles Faucett Phillips whose first wife was Muriella Fry, the daughter of William Baker Fry of Frybrook in Roscommon, a noted Orangeman and vicar of Dunkerron.

Frybrook House (1743)  is one of the few grand properties in Boyle to have survived intact. With an oculus and a venetian window and a pedimented doorcase, it is notable for its absence of a basement, caused by the proximity of the River Boyle.    It was built by Henry Fry Esq.  a merchant from Edenderry, who established a weaving industry in the town in 1742.  His descendants Henry Fry Jr. Esq. of Frybrooke and Henry Fry Esq. of Fairyhill (Knockashee) were founding members of the Agricultural and Commercial Bank in Boyle in 1835.  It fell into the hands of money lenders and was in danger of becoming quite derelict when it was saved in 2018, by a German buyer.

Frybrook, from the Estate Agent’s details

Muriella died in childbirth on their first wedding anniversary, in 1842.    15 years later Charles married his cousin and neighbour, Caroline Jane Phillips, daughter of Lodge Phillips of Lodgefield, and had three daughters and a son. 

His son Charles Frederick W Phillips married Susan Maude Morris, a nurse and the daughter of a Naval doctor in 1901 and they had 2 sons and 3 daughters.              

In 17 April 1914 however, whilst dining with the Bartons at Ballinfrase, Charles died, choking on a morsel of meat.  Am I unduly suspicious in wondering why his wife, the daughter of a doctor and a trained nurse, could not save him?  Anyway, within four months the grieving widow had married William Barton who moved into Phillipsburgh, to the consternation of Charles’ sister, Francis Maud Philips who had married Peter Thomas Roe, an RIC inspector from Ventry.   William Barton’s mother Elizabeth was also a Roe, the daughter of William Poe of Middlemount

The case of Roe v  Barton came before the courts on  Monday 26 February 1917,     Monday 23 July 1917,  Tuesday 18 September 1917, and Friday 25 October 1918.  On Nov 12 1917 The Bartons had an auction of horses at Phillipsburgh.

By November 1918 the Roes were in possession (with the aid of the Sheriff) and in Dec 1918  Peter Roe of Phillipsburgh sworn in as a magistrate. 

On Christmas Eve, 1919. William Barton came into the house, claimed ownership of the place, and demanded £1000 to buy a farm. He became very violent and attacked the tenants Margaret and William Connell, threatening to kill them.   Peter Roe called a sitting of the court on Christmas Day but was advised that as complainant he could not also be judge, so the case was adjourned to the New Year.

In March 1920 William J Menton & Co were advertising Phillipsburgh with 135 acres and a substantial house in first class order. 

On June 14 1921 Frances Matilda Roe of Phillisburgh died and was buried in Killermogh

Peter Roe remained in residence until August, 1921, when he went away on vacation. The Bartons then broke open the hall door and re-entered into possession, and were there till September 1923, when The Lord Chief Justice granted an application of possession on behalf of Peter Roe and his son George.    There was an interesting exchange in court: – The Lord Chief Justice—You are quite satisfied that the country has quietened down? Mr. White—Yes, enough for this  (Frank Aiken had only called a ceasefire on April 30)

The Roes did not return and on Saturday 17 November 1928 the Leinster Reporter had the following news- The lands of Philipsburgh, which form part of the estate of Mr Peter Thomas Roe, have been visited by an inspector of the Irish Land Commission. Philipsburgh House has been unoccupied for about five years. 

In  March 1930 The Roe Estate at Phillipsburgh was divided by the Land Commission.

The front door from Phillipsburgh

Lodge Phillips, the younger son of Richard Philips and Susanna Lodge, built Lodgefield in the early years of the 19th century, nearly opposite Phillipsburgh’s back avenue.  As described by the estate agents,  “The residence is in perfect order with drawing room and dining room, large kitchen, servants room, pantry, and 4 principal bedrooms.”   Just 2 storeys high, it faced East, so may have been quite dark.

Lodge married his cousin Mary Ann Phillips, the daughter of Samuel Phillips the abductor by his Second wife, Margaret Max (a cousin of his first wife!)

They had at least four  children.  Lodge junior, Caroline, who married her cousin Charles at Phillipsburgh, and William Henry who qualified as a doctor in  Glasgow in 1862, and died in 1881, and Samuel George who married Marion Houghton of Glashare Castle, whose father George was a Barrister and whose brother, also George, was a doctor.

Lodge senior and junior were farming Lodgefield, but were bankrupted by the famine, and Lodgefield ended up in the Landed Estates Court, a 19th Century NAMA and was sold in 1855.  It seems to have been bought by Lodge’s brother Samuel, but things did not prosper so it was back with the Landed Estates Court in 1863 and was bought by Henry Ffolliott Gyles (1810-1883), a native of Youghal, who had been renting Ryland in Bunclody.  There he had married Eleanor Ellen Esther Foster Whiteford, and they had two children, William John Gyles, who emigrated to Canada, and Richard Walter Gyles, who in 1889 married Marion Perry Ringwood, eldest daughter of the late Thomas Ringwood, of  Castle Pierce, Johnstown. 

Two years later,in 1891, his widowed mother Eleanor was selling  “All her Right, Title, and Interest in and to her farm at Lodgefield, containing 55 Acres, Statute, with most comfortable Residence and superior Out-offices… 

The next notice that we have of Lodgefield is in the Waterford News of Friday 26 August 1910, who listed all the guests staying in the hotels of Tramore (GDPR had not been heard of then).  These included (at McDonald’s Hotel) Mr and Mrs Phelan of Lodgefield, and their neighbour Mr Delaney of Glashare.

By the 1980s the house had been abandoned, and now the site is covered by slatted sheds.

Calculated as a residence for a Gentleman (or a Coal Merchant!)

The Buildings of Ireland description of Kilmullen House, between Portarlington and Monasterevan,  is short:-

Detached six-bay two-storey Georgian house, built c.1790. Double-pitched and hipped slate roofs with nap rendered chimneystacks and octagonal yellow clay pots. Nap rendered walls with ruled and lined detail, painted. Square-headed window openings with stone sills and six-over-six timber sash windows. Round-headed door openings with timber panelled door with sidelights and fanlight (but what a fanlight – ed). Timber panelled internal shutters to window openings; pilastered marble fireplace to room to right. House is set back from road in own grounds; landscaped grounds to site; gravel drive and forecourt to approach. Group of detached rubble stone outbuildings to site.

Peadar Mac Suibhne in “Kildare in 1798” refers to Kilmullen as Blackney”s Lawn where in 1798 an assembly planned by the United Irishmen was was foiled by a heavy snowfall.   The Blackneys however did not arrive in Kilmullen till 1831.  The National Library holds a copy of confirmation of arms to the descendants of Capt. James Harrison whose father, James Harrison, removed from Ballintoy,  Co. Antrim to South Carolina, America, in 1767 and to the great grandson of the said Capt. James, being Lt. Col. Walter Archibald Harrison with draft pedigrees and notes of Harrison of Kilmullen, Queen’s Co.    I wonder why he removed to America and for whom he fought in the War of Independence?

In the 1831 sale particulars it was described as being “calculated as a residence for a Gentleman”, handsomely laid out, and  well planted.

In April 1833 Kilmullen was advertised to be let, for such Term may be agreed on, the House, Offices, Garden, Farm and Demesne Lands of Kilmullen, heretofore the residence of the late Captain George Harrison. The House is in complete repair, and contains Two Parlours, Large Elegant Dining Room, , Three best Bedchambers, Servants’-Hall and Apartments, Kitchen, Dairy, Larder, Pantry, .and store-rooms, pump, and every convenience, within a lock-up yard. The coach-house, stables, offices, and granary have been built in the most complete and substantial manner, and are tun-slated. (These were 36″ x 18 Blue Bangor slates from Wales)

George Harrison, who built Kilmullen, had married the daughter of John Hays of Gadiner Place in 1795 according to The Sentimental and Masonic Magazine. He had no children so the estate passed to his sister’s children, who had married into the Evans family (the Evans, Massy and Eyre families are so intermarried that relationships are very confusing!).

Even more confusing is the information on the Tener family blog that Mary Frances Evans Tener who was born at Farm Hill, Andreigh, near Athy, in 1799. She was the eldest daughter of George Evans, Esq., of Ardreigh, and Margaret Anne Harrison, daughter of George Harrison, Esq., of Kilmullen Hall, Queens County. Of her early life little is known except she was educated at a school for young ladies, famous in its day, at Waterford.

The house was let to James Blackney, Esq., eldest son of Walter Blackney, Esq., of Ballyellin, Goresbridge, late M.P., deputy lieutenant. of the county of Carlow .  Blackney was known as the member for Dr Doyle because of his closeness to the famed Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin.  Ballyellin was a lovely house on the East bank of the Barrow overlooking Goresbridge, sadly demolished in the late 20th century.

Ballyellin, Gorebridge

Unfortunately James Blakeney went bankrupt in 1861 and the estate was sold.  His daughter had married Hugh Sweetman, from whom are descended a rainbow of politicians and lawyers, and his son another James joined the Papal Army in 1860 and was appointed officer commanding No. 1 Company at Spoleto under Myles O’Reily.  The Irish Battalion of the Papal army during 1860 were in Italy for only three months but were part of  the last gasps of the Papal States and a key stage in the unification of the Italian peninsula.

The first tenant was an Edward S R  Smith who died shortly after arriving, so the estate was being advertised again in 1867. I have yet to discover its history during the late 19th century.

Joseph and John Black Tedcastle (1884 -1962) were the children  of George and Anne Tedcastle of Glenageary and heirs of Robert  (1864 -1919)  and Margaret Calvert Black Tedcastle of Marlay Park, Rathfarnham whose coal business became Tedcastle Oil Products or TOP and was taken over by the Rehill family the 1950s .  John Tedcastle was in Kilmullen by the time of the 1911 census and was a founder member of the Portarlington Golf Club.

The progenitor, Robert Tedcastle, was born near Glasgow in 1825. He moved to Dublin and became involved with his uncle’s coal business. A successful endeavour, by the 1840’s it moved into the cross-channel shipping of their product. When his uncle returned to Scotland, Robert remained and operated a growing fleet of sail and steam ships. By 1872 he operated a passenger and general cargo service on the Dublin-Liverpool route.  In 1897 Robert Tedcastle & Co. joined with a Dublin coal merchant to create Tedcastle McCormick & Co. Ltd, operating from Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

After John Tedcastle’s death in 1962  it was bought by Jack Behan and became a successful thoroughbred stud farm.

The Borderlands

Monasterevan or Belin, 5 km south of Monasterevan, was a fording point for the Sligh Dala, or Belach Muighe Dala Meic Umhoir,, the great road of Dala, on which two chariots could pass without one having to give way to the other, as opposed to the ‘cow road’, bóthar, only as wide as two cows. Thousands of years ago five highways radiated from Tara; the Sligh Dala, went via Limerick to Kerry

A pair of chariots from the base of the cross at Clonmacnoise

In 1572 Sir Maurice Fitzgerald of Lackagh, just outside Monasterevan (it is a few trees and a bit of a mound in a field now) got a grant of the Bridge of Belan in O’Dempsey Country. It seems possible that the main road to from Monasterevin towards the South and West might have gone through Riverstown, to Fisherstown and on to Ballybrittas.

200 years later Taylor and Skinner’s Maps show three large houses – Bellgrove, of Mr Fitzgerald, Rath of Mr Adair and Jamestown of Mr Rochfort, Ballybrittas Castle is marked to the North af the road, but as can be seen in Seymour’s 1777 view, included in Beranger’s “Views of Ireland” it was already a ruin.

Dodd’s The Traveller’s Director Through Ireland of 1801 describes the area:-
At Monasterevan where the road crosses the river Barrow is a charter school there is also a harbour on the Grand Canal.
Near 2 miles beyond Monasterevan on the L is Jamesłown Mr Rochfort’s a little further Rath Mr Adair’s and half a mile beyond it Bellgrove Mr Fitzgerald’s opposite to which on the R are the ruins of Ballybrittas Castle.

Queen’s County situated in the province of Leinster is bounded by King’s County and part of Tipperary on the north and west by part of Kildare and Carlow on the east and by Kilkenny and Carlow on the south It is a fruitful pleasant country containing 258,415 Irish plantation acres thirty nine parishes eight baronies one borough and sends three members to parliament viz two for the county and one for the borough of Portrlington It is about 35 miles long and 25 broad chief town Maryborough which with the county was named in honour of Mary I Queen of England.

It has 82,000 inhabitants. (in 2016 it was about 85,000, and at its lowest around 1900 it was 73,000) Its baronies are Portnahinch, Tinnehinch, Upper Ossory, Maryborough Stradbally, Ballyadams, Cullinagh and Slievemargy. Its principal families O Moore, Fitzpatrick, O Don, O Brenan, Wandesford and Delany.  The county was formerly full of bogs but is now pleasant and fruitful.

Even in the 18th century there were several houses that escaped both Dodd and Taylor & Skinner, but in the early 19th century there was a building boom of country houses here – partly because of the ready access to Dublin by both road and canal. – Belin, Fisherstown, Graigueverne, Glenmalire, Ashfied, Sally Park, and The Derries are the other main houses near Ballybrittas.

A fly boat from Hall’s Scenery of Ireland.  Drawn by 3  horses, it flew at 9 miles (or 15km) an hour.

Timetable and fares – SC was State Cabin, and CC Common Cabin

Of the earlier houses my favourite is Fisherstown House “comfortable but has no peculiar character” William Shaw Mason – 1814.    Apart from anything else it is opposite the wonderful Fisherstown Inn.   

The pictures show it in the late 1970s, and in the late 1990s.  Sadly the roof has now completely gone.

According to The Buildings of Ireland it is :- Detached two-storey house 5 bay, built c.1820, with full-height bowed entrance bay. Now in ruins. Double-pitched slate roof with curved roof to bow. Roughcast rendered walls, painted, with limestone course to eaves. Square-headed window openings with limestone sills; fittings to window openings now gone. Timber pilaster doorcase with timber panelled door with overlight. Entrance Hall with polychromatic ceramic-tiled floor; timber dado rails; carved timber architraves to window openings; plaster cornice to ceiling. Stair Hall with carved timber staircase; arch opening to Entrance Hall. House set back from road in own grounds; overgrown grounds to site. Group of detached outbuildings to site. Gateway comprising rendered piers with wrought-iron double gates.

The first reference we have to the English name Fisherstown is in the description of the lands in Lord Arlington’s new manor in 1666. It was probably invented then. Killeskeraghemore, Killeskeraghbegg, Grageneskerry and Bellingue or Bellnigue alias Fisherstowne.  “It is clear from the Fiants and Inquisitions that Fisherstown covers the area formerly known as Coill an Iasgaire, the Fisherman’s Wood, and that Fisherstown is a part translation of the old name’ (JKAS XIII 103, 106).    Gráig na n-iasgairidhe, ‘village of the fisherman,’ ‘Graiguenaskerry’

On 29 June 1734 Elinor Scott alias Laban (a Hugenot family from near Portarlington), the widow of William Scott late of Fisherstown Queen’s County is marrying Henry Lewis gent, of Aghmacart. Prerogative Marriages;
Henry Lewis died at Fisherstown in. 1746 but Elinor Scott did not die till 1781
In the ABSTRACTS OF WILLS  it details her marriage settlement with with Henry Lewis of Aughmacart, Queen’s Co., gent; Wm. Laban, Newmarket, Co. Dublin, tanner, and Wm. Scott of Monycoughlin, Queen’s Co., gent., the elder, parties to said settlement.
My brother Joseph Laban.
My niece Margt. Laban, daughter of my brother Joseph Laban.
My sister Anderson.
My niece Mary Palmer.
My nephew.Wm. Laban, son of my brother Jon. Laban.
My brother Wm. Laban, exor., and his two sons.
My daughter Hannah Palmer and my daughter Sarah Hutton.
My nephew Thos. Laban and my niece Jane Newbold.
My nephew Thos. Anderson and my’niece Jane Baily alias Anderson.
My brother Joseph [Laban’s] children.
My nephew Samuel Laban, son of my brother Wm. Laban.
My nephew Nehemiah, son of my brother Samuel Laban, deceased.
My niece Margaret French als. Laban.
My daughter Mary Lewis.
My son Daniel Lewis.
Daniel Lewis of Aughmacart and Samuel Laban my nephew, merchant in Dublin, overseers of Will. ,
Sarah Mullin. James Cowan. Ellinor How alias Cowan. Elizabeth Bennett alias Cowan. Steven Ray my old servant. Elizabeth Tinan my old servant. Our servant John Fletcher. Lands of Rickardstown and Ballyshanduff, [? Queen’s Co.] Witnesses: John Gordon, John Doughan, servant to said Henry Lewis,
Mary Magachie, wife to Rev. Stephen Magachie, Kilnacourt, Queen’s Co., clerk.
Memorial witnessed by: Robert Hutton, currier,
Robt. Stafford, gent., both of Dublin. 127, 407, 87288 .
Saml. Laban (seal) 25
The names of Anderson and Bayly will reappear, though I have yet to find any information about on the Lewis fmily of Aghmacart or the origin of the Scotts. 

Elinor and William’s son William Scott, Fisherstown (gent) died in 1757. (P. Beryl Eustace – 1956 – Abstracts of Wills). 

I suspect that the house was actually rebuilt not in 1820 but around 1784 when his son John married Mary Anne Biddulph who was the second daughter of Francis Biddulph [1727-1806] of Vicarstown, Queen’s County, and Eliza Harrison.   Four years later Mary Ann’s older sister married Richard Grattan, a kinsman of Henry Grattan.  

Their only brother, Francis Harrison Biddulph, was for many years the Registrar of the Court of Exchequer.   Born on 26th December 1774, he married in 1797 Mary Marsh, the daughter of the barrister Francis Marsh and descendant of Jeremy Taylor, the Bishop of Down and Connor. Mary Marsh’s parents married in Dublin on 9th September 1775, her mother being Anne Vero, the heiress of Neptune Vero of Georges Lane, Dublin. Along with Mary Marsh who married Francis Harrison Biddulph, Francis Marsh and Anne Vero had two sons, Digby Marsh and Rev. Francis Marsh of Ballintober, Queen’s Co., whose son, another Francis Marsh, settled at Springmount, Queen’s County, (qv)

The 1798 Rising touched them only a little –  March 1 1798 On Sunday night the 24th ult about eight o clock in the evening a daring banditti attacked the house of Francis Biddulph of Vicarstown in the Queen’s County Esq where they secured all the servants but Mr Biddulph with his wife and daughter. Having time to get up stairs, he made such a resistance though they carried on their attack upwards of an hour that he deterred from forcing a door which he had erected on the stairs. They fired several shots at Mr Biddulph and wounded a servant maid in the shoulder hit Mrs Biddulph with slugs in the clothes, filled the upper rooms with a number of bullets, broke all the windows and furniture in the house and the gentleman and his family are now obliged to go and reside in town.

Whether the Scotts survived the 1798 better than the Biddulphs is not known though they don’t appear in the list of 1798 claimants

We next hear of Fisherstown in the Dublin Evening Post and Saunders Newsletter of April and May 1809.

QUEEN’S COUNTY. TO be LET, for lives renewable for ever, the HOUSE,OFFICES, and DEMESNE of FISHERSTOWN, near 40A. of highly improved Land, of the best quality, beautifully divided with plantations and ditches,— The House and Offices in the most perfect condition. Not a shilling need be spent on it. There are also a good orchard and garden, well cropped. The whole adjoining the Grand Canal, opposite the Marquis of Drogheda’s fine improvements, within 2 miles of  Monasterevan, 5 of Portarlington, Stradballv, and Athy Apply Mr. Burnett, Fisherstown, or at No. 27, Stafford Street, Dublin (02/05/1809, pg 4)

The Burnetts were a Quaker family, whose best-known member was another Richard, a seedsman of Richmond, near Drumcondra. Terrence Reeves Smith was kind enough to share some of his research. Apparently Burnett imported from America and Italy, announcing (4th March 1790) ‘to the curious in planting’ that he (at Richmond): ‘has just got a parcel of fresh seeds from America; only five weeks on their passage of the most valuable trees and shrubs, the produce of that country. He has made them up in parcels.   In 1781 in Sanders Newsletter he was advertising:- Half a Crown (2/6d or about 12c )Parcel, which contains Seed enough to produce three thousand Plants.  Writing in 1801, Archer notes “since his death, this nursery has much declined; a great part of it is now set for building ground, and the remainder is insignificant’. Sounds so much like any modern day nursery near a city, being greedily eyed up by developers.

In 1814 Ambrose Leet has Fisherstown as the seat of William Scott.  However William Shaw Mason’s 1814 A Statistical Account, Or Parochial Survey of Ireland might be more accurate, saying it was lived in by the Rev Mr Torrens. “At the distance of a mile more is Fisherstown the seat of the Rev Mr Torrens the house lies low to the right hand of the road and facing it. It looks comfortable but has no peculiar character.”

In 1823 Robert and Richard Burnett are involved in leasing Belan House, of which more soon.
For particulars, apply (if letter, post paid) to Mr. Robert Burnett, Fisherstown House, Monasterevan; or to William I.odge, Esq, Kildare-Street; or Mr. Richard Burnett, attorney, 15, Stafford-street…. 27 May 1823

ROBBERY OF ARMS—QUEEN’S COUNTY.  On Friday night last at about the hour of Nine o’clock, seven or eight men armed, with their faces blackened, broke into the house of Mr. Robert Burnett, of Fisherstown by the rere, and forced the servants into the front parlour, where Mr. and Mrs. Burnett were, in which they shut them all up, and proceeded up stairs to his bed-chamber, where they took one musket, two cases of pistols, two swords, and a powder-horn; and after searching another room where his grandson lay asleep, without awaking him ,they departed, without offering any violence—demanding or taking off any other article whatsoever. It is much to be regretted that such an outrage should commence in this hitherto peaceable county. Freemans Journal Wednesday, December 22, 1824

The Disraeli School

It was then briefly the home of Richard Bayly, one of a family of lawyers in Golden Lane. His uncle, another Richard Bayly, trained Benjamin Disraeli, who is said to have been uncle of the future Prime minister and endower of the Disraeli School at Baltinglass. The odd thing is that this Benjamin Disraeli appears nowhere in the genealogy of the Earl of Beaconsfield.

Beechy Park

Benjamin D’Israeli was born in England in 1766. It is said that he came to Ireland with his mother at a very early age. He started to serve his apprenticeship with Richard Bayly at the age of seventeen. By the age of 22 he had acquired a licence to run lotteries By 35 he had bought a country estate Bettyfield House (now Jim Bolger’s Beechy Park Stables) at Rathvilly. Five days before his death in 1814, aged 48, he left £3,000 towards the erection of a school for the education of the poor at Rathvilly which was designed by Joseh Welland and opened in 1826.

Our Richard Bayly was born 1771; Attorney, of Finglas-bridge; and Fisherstown, killed by an accident coming home from a dinner party at Sir Richard Wilcock’s, St Lawrence Manor, Chapelizod (where the West County Hotel now stands), 20th Feb., 1828. He married. Susanna (his cousin), dau. of John Christian, Attorney, of Monasterevan,

St Lawrence Manor, Chapelizod

Sir Richard Henry Willcock, first Inspector-General of the Munster Constabulary, was born 26 July 1768 and died 7 April 1834 and is called the founder of modern policing. Writing in 1827, Hatherton notes Willcock’s role in the suppression of the Emmet rebellion: ‘In 1803, he obtained and communicated to the Government the first information of Emmet’s designs, and thereby prevented the insurgents from gaining possession of Dublin. On that occasion he narrowly escaped assassination; eight persons having been stationed in different places for the purpose of attacking him. Immediately afterwards he organized a Yeomanry Corps in the County of Dublin, with the assistance of which he maintained the tranquillity of his own neighbourhood. He apprehended and committed to prison 35 persons concerned in Emmet’s insurrection.’

In 1814 Sir Robert Peel, as Secretary for Ireland, introduced a bill in Parliament, the Peace Preservation Act. He appointed Richard Willcocks a Chief Magistrate to command the first detachment of the the PPF, Peace Preservation Force (the word ‘police’, being unpopular with the establishment, was not used),

The next tenant of Fisherstown  was John Anderson of Elm Park, Dublin, a relative of the Andersons of Dunbell, Kilkenny, and possibly of Thomas Anderson, Elinor Laban’s nephew. A law abiding man, he paid his tithes, for which he very nearly paid with his life.

Francis M’Clean, Esq., of Leinster-street, in this city, to Eliza Frances, youngest daughter the late Thomas Anderson, Esq., Elm Park, county of Dublin. Thursday 12 November 1829, Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent.

George Anderson of Fisherstown was a juror in Maryborough in May 1832.
ASSASSINATION. On Monday night, at ten o’clock, as Mr. John Anderson, of Fisherstown, about three miles from Monasterevan, was returning home from his mother’s house, where he had dined, and just as he was about ten o’clock, crossing his own stile, was alarmed by voice, saying, “ now is the time,’ which was instantly’followed by shot through the body, on which he fell to the ground. He was then attacked by three ruffians, who inflicted innumerable wounds with bayonets “and swords, by one of which his hand was split down to the arm. The unfortunate gentleman was still surviving at seven o’clock on Tuesday evening : no less than three of the many wounds he received were considered mortal. Westmeath Journal Thursday 27 September 1832


From the report of the trial in July 1833. The Evidence of John Tiffan

‘Through the exertions of Captain Flinter and Mr. Anderson, of Fisherstown, two of the three men who lately entered the house of Mr Exshaw, near Monastereven and assaulted a female relative of Mr E have been arrested Saturday, August 17, 1833;

In 1834 George Robinson, formerly of Simmond’s-court, Dublin, and late of Fisherstown, Queen’s County, gent., was declared insolvent, though it is not clear when he lived at Fisherstown.

A new family now appear at Fisherstown. The Kenny connection will be nearly as long as the Scotts. More about the Kennys and Belan House will follow in the next story.
Thomas Kenny, of Belan, in the Queen’s County, Esqr, married Bedelia, second daughter of the late Thomas Anderson, of Elm Park, county Dublin, and Fisherstown House, Queen’s 1836 Wednesday 31 August 1836 Saunders’s News-Letter

The young couple seem to have taken up residence in Fisherstown:-  Fisherstown House, of Thomas. L. Kenney, Esq.; Lewis 1837.

The OS map of 1835

The Scotts were still the head landlords, and they had a bad autumn in 1838. On August 25th in Upper Mount Street Dublin, Clara Theodosia, the wife of Wm. Scott, Esq., of the Exchequer Office and of Fisherstown, Queen’s County died.
On the 12th September, Henry David, second son of William Scott, Esq., of Fisherstown in the Queen’s County died in York-street, Dublin. Saturday, September 15, 1838

Thomas Kenny seems to have had his mother in law in residence with him – the Clare Journal reported that Mrs. B. Anderson, of Fisherstown House Queen’s County had died on Thursday 23 June 1842.  After that the Kennys considered selling:-

Fisherstown House – lease to be sold:- The Demesne immediately adjoins the Grand Canal, where the Fly Boat passes daily, ‘Morning and Evening, to and from Dublin and Athy apply Rev Simon Kenny Calverstown Saturday, December 24, 1842 Leinster Express

At Kingstown, William Scott, Esq. of Upper Mount Street and Fisherstown, Queen’s County. died Nov 1847

The Limerick and Clare Examiner 24 Jan 1855 reported that “ In St. John’s Church, Kilkenny, William Walter Scott, Esq , eldest son of the late William Scott, Esq., Fisherstown, Queen’s County, and of Upper Mount.Street, Dublin, to Eleanor, youngest daughter of John Anderson, Esq. Kilkenny .

William Walter Scott was born in about 1835 in Dublin, and joined the army at the age of 18, purchasing a commission as an Ensign in the Leicestershire Regiment (17th Foot) on 18th Nov 1853. He retired by selling his commission on 17 Nov 1854. The 17th Foot was involved in the Siege of Sebastopol from February 1855, so he may have been very fortunate to leave when he did.

William was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain in the County of Armagh Light Infantry Regiment of Militia on 21st December 1860, replacing Captain Caulfeild who was being promoted.  On 18 Nov 1863, Archibald Brabazon Sparrow (Viscount Acheson) was appointed Captain of the Armagh Light Infantry Regiment of Militia, replacing William, who had died.

Scott—November 29. at Kilkenny, to the wife of Wm. Walter Scott. .of Fisherstown. Queen’s County, Lieutenant Armagh Light Infantry, a daughter. 5 Dec 1857 Wexford Independent
Deo. 13. at the residence of her mother in Kilkenny, the wife of Captain Scott, of Fisherstown, Queen’s County, and Sidney Terrace. Blackrock, of a son. 1861
Died October 23, aged 10 months, Edward Kent, son of Captain Wm. Walter Scott, of Fisherstown, Queen’s County, and Sydney-avenue, Blackrock. 1862

To return to the Kennys, money had obviously run out and in 1863 we find Fisherstown in the hands of the 19th Century NAMA., but they seem to have been able to buy it back themselves.

LANDED ESTATES COURT FISHERSTOWN QUEEN’S COUNTY. TWO LOTS. ln the Matter of the Estate of T. KENNY, Dublin Daily Express 29 Dec 1863

Theophilus Scott, Lieutenant 10th Regiment, youngest son of the late William Scott, Esq., of Fisherstown, Queen’s County, to Elizabeth Clementina Thomson, daughter of the late T. Deas Thomson, Esq. 1865

Cardwell—-May 19, at Tullyeltner, Armagh, after a short illness, Rebecca, the beloved wife of John Cardwell, Esq., and youngest daughter of the late William Soott, Esq., _Fisherstown House, Queen’s County. Saturday, May 29, 1869

Kenny—Feb 9. at her residence. Fisherstown. Monasterevan, Maria, relict of the late Richard Kenny, Esq. . Interment this (Wednesday) morning, at o’clock, Lea. 11 February 1885 Dublin Daily Express

Henry George Myles, Ratharney,  Abbeyshrule, County Longford, to Harriet Emily, only daughter of the late Richard Kenny, Fisherstown House, Monasterevan Wednesday 13 October 1886 Dublin Daily Express.  Henry was one of seven brothers, all of whom were doctors.  Their father was Zachary Myles, of Limerick.

The 1911 census records Robert Kenny, age 49 as the head of the house. Robert was accompanied in the house by his brother George Kenny, age 45 and nephew Eddey Wildney, age 9. Robert and George farmed the surrounding land. They employed a housekeeper: Kathrine Meley, age 69 and one domestic servant: Mary Roberts, age 15.

By the 1930s when Robert was nearly 70 Miss Clare Cahill had arrived to be manageress of the farming business.  She was learning to drive a new Morris car on  Saturday December 30th, when she came into collision with a Steam roller at Fisherstown.   A young mechanic named Flood was with her the time and was able to avert serious crash.

Not the actual Fisherstown Morris Minor but one photographed by Steve Glover from Bolton, Lancs.

The car was only slightly damaged. As reported on Saturday 06 January 1934  by the Kildare Observer and Eastern Counties Advertiser.  Maybe the Steam Roller was on its way to The Stradbally Steam Rally!  I wonder was the car, a £100 Morris Minor, a Christmas present?


KENNY (Laoighis) July 13. 1948. at his residence, Fisherstown House, Ballybrittas, Portarlington, Laoighis, Robert Wolfenden Kenny, aged 86; deeply and deservedly regretted. Funeral leaving residence tomorrow (Thursday) at 2 O’clock for family burial ground. Lea, Portarlington.

Rath Guild I.C.A. reported in January  1952
Two members were- newly-weds. The room was gaily decorated, with table setting and floral arrangement by Miss Cahlll, Fisherstown House and Miss Dunne, Coolroe. Miss P. Wilson, Miss C. Kelly, Mrs. Corcoran and Miss B. Dillon won laurels for the catering .
The new officers are:—President, Mrs. Bland, Rath House; Vice-President, Mrs. Bolger, Belin House; Secretary, Miss McCarthy, N.T.; Treasurer, B, Donoghue; P.C. Rep., Mrs. O’Connell.

FISHERSTOWN HOUSE, BALLYBRITTAS, LEIX SALE OF 74 COCKS OF HAY We have received instructions from Miss Clare Cahill to sell by Auction at above ON THURSDAY, 31st JULY 1952 47 cocks prime 2nd crop hay and 27 cocks old meadow hay, in lots to suit Sale at 8 o’clock, 

The Irish Farmers Journal in March 1958 is advertising Fisherstown House , Portarllngton Co. Leix . Charming non-basement compact period house on 84 acres: 
On April 19 1958 it sold by auction for £7,500.00.

On Thursday June 26, 1958 Murphy Buckley and Keogh sold by auction the remaining furniture and farm machinery.

The End!


Pim Places – Lacca and Rushin


For the early history of the Pims we rely on a letter of Thomas Pim of Tullylast, Co Kildare, written in 1768 to his grand-nephew, Joshua Pirn, of Usher’s Island, Dublin.  It is amazing in its shameless retelling of the abduction of a 13 year old school girl.
Richard Pim was cook to Sir John Stanhope (who died in 1638),cousin of the Earl of Chesterfield. “I heard of but one brother that he had, called Robert Pim, who he said came into Ireland when young of whom he heard no more. We suppose he was that Robert Pim that Sir John Temple mentions to have been murdered by the rebels at Graigue-na-manch,in the County of Kilkenny  (in the 1641 massacres – ed) . Richard Pim, before his marriage, had acquired what they call three livings: I suppose that to be three small pieces of land with each a dwelling house on it. He took a liking to a neighbour’s daughter, a comely young girl of thirteen years of age, and as he and his fellow servants rode out on a merry-making, one of his fellow servants took a pillow behind him and found her playing ball with other girls and asked her to go with them, which she did (it is probable that this was by conceit) and the said Richard married her and sent her to a boarding school for two years and then took her home at fifteen years of age. By her he had my grandfather, William Pim, and several daughters; one married to Godfrey Cantrell and one married to William Neale.”

John Pim the eldest son , (1641-1718) was born in Castle Donington, Leicestershire. In 1654 or 1655, his family moved to Ireland and settled in County Cavan. The family may very well have already been non conformist before they arrived and,  ironically, came to Ireland in search of the religious toleration not afforded to them in England.

Around 1659, the year after Cromwell’s death, he followed Edmundson, a Quaker and a Cromwellian veteran soldier, to Queen’s County, where he settled in Mountmellick with his mother and sister. He went into business as a butcher with a partner, Richard Jackson. In 1663, he married Mary Pleadwell of Mountmellick.
In 1665 he and some other Friends were sent to Maryborough Gaol for not paying tithes, and he was held there for several years, during which time his family lived in a house nearby. After his release, he bought a farm in Coalnecart. In 1678 or 1679 he went to live in Mountrath, Queen’s County. He died in Mountrath in 1718 and was buried in Rosenallis.
Edmunson’s wife, Margaret Stanford, died in 1691 from exposure after being stripped by raparees who attacked the Quakers at Rosenallis. Presumably this was part of the Williamite invasion, which also resulted in the destruction of the Dunne’s Roskeen Castle, between Mountmellick and Tullamore, less than 5 miles from Rosenalis. General Godart Ginkel resided at Capard during part of the Williamite Wars (1689-92), while his troops were billeted Rosenallis.

Before 1692 the Pims moved to Lackagh (owned by Anthony Sharp) where they remained through the 18th century.   From the Quaker Records:-
John Pim Of Lackagh & Rushin, Queen’s Co.,Son of William & Dorothy Pim of Castle Donington  Leicestershire, Came to Ireland 1655, Joined the Society of Friends 1657. Died 1718 Aged 77. His wife Mary, Daughter of William Pleadwell. Died 1726 Aged 81.

John and Mary’s son Moses was born in 1664 married Anne Raper of Ironmills,near Ballinakill, Queen’s Co and had 10 children before being killed by machinery at his rope mill in Mountrath on 5 January 1717. Though I wonder was it a rope mill or a rape mill? In Sir Charles Coote’s Statistical Survey for the Royal Dublin Society in 1801 he writes –  Near to Cartown is Lacka, where there is erected a breast-shot rape mill and also a bolting mill ; Mr. Pim, proprietor of both, resides here.
Rape mills were for the production of vegetable oil ( from rape seed). A bolting mill (or boulting mill) is a grist mill equipped with a machine that sifts ground grain into various grades – or products.

By the mid 19th century both mills had gone – “Site of flour mill’ and “Rape mill (in ruins) “ on 1838 Ordnance Survey, the year after Samuel Pim had erected the original Lacca Bridge over the River Delour. – A plaque on bridge before the present replacement noted that it was erected by Samuel Pim in 1837; Contractor was John Dunne.

In May 1752 The London Magazine, and Monthly Chronologer records the marriage of Moses Pim of Lackagh to Miss Experience Strettle of Dubln. The Strettles regularly called their daughers Experience, from Experience Cuppage of Lambstown, Co Wexford who married Amos Strettle who had moved to Dublin form Cheshire in 1678. (William Cooper second son to Edward Cooper of Cooper Hill Ballickmoyler had married Experience Strettle Daughter of Abel Strettle of Dublin March 31 1730).

This is followed by three generations of Pim marrying Despards.  Moses Pim, their son, married Mary Despard (whose father William built Shanderry and Alta Villa) in 1805.  Moses died at Lacka in 1825 and the house was inherited by the elder son John Pim.  Mary Pim (Despard) died at Clondeglass,  (just across the road) in 1856.

Col. William Frederick Despard of Lacca (who had married Georgina Pim) was the brother of Elizabeth Mary Despard who married Georgina’s uncle Edward Strettle Pimm of Clondeglass (son of Moses Pim and Mary Despard) – second cousins marrying a brother and a sister. The Despards liked to keep a tight gene pool.   On 11 Oct 1907 Mrs Despard, the executrix of the Late Col Despard was organising a furniture clearance sale at Lacca.

It is hard to say when the house went –probably before the 1950s, though the absolutely superb yard and the walled gardens remain. They look to be early 19th century.

Lacca Lodge
One of the first causalities of WWI was Private Joshua Webster, son of Joshua Webster, of Lacca Lodge, Mountrath, and the late Catherine Webster, 1st Battalion Connaught Rangers, who was killed in action 26th November 1914, age 38, Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais. The Websters were also Quakers, whose ancestors were originally from Templeshannon, Wexford.

There seem to be few records of the Pims of Rushin in the 18th Century, home of Tobias Pim (1667 – 1747), a younger son of John and Mary Pim. The descendants of Tobias’s younger son Jonathon moved to Dublin where Pim Brothers s on South Great George’s St. became so large that it was represented by agents in New York and London. Jonathan built a tollhouse on the road at Rushin
The index of wills lists two of the next three generations:-
1762 Pim James Rushin, Queen’s Co., farmer
1809 Pimm James Rushin, Queen’s Co., farmer
The latter James may have been the last of the Pims of Rushin,
At the same time there were also Pattissons
11 Apr 1787 Henry Pattison of Rushin m Mary Sawyer
27 Dec 1804 Theophilus Thompson of Kippar? m Mary Pattinson of Rushin
2 Jan 1811 Thomas Thompson of Ballyhuppahaune [Rosenallis parish] m Anne Pattinson of Rushin
22 Oct 1814 Thomas & Ann’s daughter Ellen was baptised.
Richard Thompson Rushin 1831
Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette listed Richard Thompson, of Rushin, farmer, as insolvent on Saturday 24 June 1837
Joshua Thompson, of Mountrath, was brought up on the Conservative side. He claimed to register as a ten pound title freeholder from lands and houses situated at Rushin, Freemans Journal 1839
The Duchas Folklore Collection made in the 1930s has the following tale:- “In Rushin, Mountrath, there is a meadow named Kyle meadow, There are some stones near a tree in it. They are supposed to be either for the building of a Church or to the ruins of a Church. Some years the late Mr,William Murphy, the owner told his men to draw the stone to a place on the road to Portlaoighise named Derrangh. The horse broke its leg and all the stones had to be returned.(This story was supplied by Miss Kitty Murphy,Rushin House, Mountrath who asserts it really happened). In her house in Rushin,which is very old there are two cellars,with five steps going down to them from the Hall doors. It is reported that Cromwell slept in this house and that James 1st army camped in Kyle meadow opposite the house.”


Clondeglass was probably built by Moses Pim around 1810.  At first it may have been let – The Dublin Morning Register  for Friday 15 December 1837  reports on  Michael Dooley  At Clondeglass, Queen’s County.

Edward Pim did not marry till 1861, so may not have moved out of Lacca and into Clondeglass until then.

In Oct 1872  Edward Pim was looking for staff at Clondeglass

In the list of Landowners in Ireland 1876 Edward Pim, address Clonderglass, Mountrath, owned 546 acres.

Mrs. Maria Sandes, address Clondeglass, Mountrath, owned 151 acres. 75.

At Clondeglass, Queen’s County, the residence Edward S. Pim, Esq., Maria, widow of the late Henry L. Sandes, Esq., of  Co  Wednesday 21 February 1883 (his wife’s aunt, )

On June 26 1881 The Kerry Evening Post noted arrivals at the Railway Hotel  included Mr and Mrs Pim of Clondeglass

In 1883 they were looking for a housemaid who “ thoroughly understands her business; is a Protestant”

In 1884 Edward Pim  of Clondeglass died, aged 86.

The advertisement for Clondeglass – Matthew Franks was married to Gertrude Despard of Donore

In 1885 Clondeglass for sale or to let.  It didn’t sell because in Nov 1998 The Misses Pim hosted the hunt at Clondeglass.  In 1910 Constance Pim’s  mother, Elizabeth Mary Despard died at Clondeglass.   At the Kings County Hunt Puppy Show  June 22 1912 Miss Pimm of Clondeglass was in attendance.  Constance Pim, spinster,  died at Clondeglass on Stephen’s Day 1960 at the age of 92.

The gardener Dermot O’Neill bought Clondeglass  in the early 2000s, a derelict house and totally overgrown walled garden and restored the gardens. .  Clondeglass House was sold in 2017 still  derelict and is now being restoring to it’s former glory!

Despard Country, between Mountrath and Castletown. A tale of Revolutionaries and Reporters

The main Despard houses in Laois were Crannagh, Cardtown, & Coolrain, Larch Hill, Laurel Hill and Lacca,  Shanderry and Altavilla and Donore

The many buildings at Crannagh

Crannagh, the oldest, still stands but is unoccupied and derelict.  Cardtown is forestry.  Coolrain is but four walls, though valiant attempts to preserve or restore happen from time to time.    Lacca  and Donore have been demolished and replaced.  Altavilla, about which I have already written,  Shanderry, Larch Hill and Laurel Hill are all still inhabited, though Laurel Hill did fall into ruin in the lifetime of its builder and was restored.  Mind you, there is many a Celtic tiger apartment that has fallen into ruin within 10 years of being built, with the aid not of Whiteboys but wide boy builders.   I really wanted to put in some pictures of derelict modern houses here, but restrained myself to avoid a slew of lawyers letters from sensitive developers.

According to Carriggan’s  The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory:-

A.D. 1141. King Turlough O’Brien, King of Munster, came to Letter-Crannagh   (West hillside of the wooded place) in the parish of Camross, on the mountain of  the Slieve Bloom by the banks of the Nore to marry Sadb Mac GILLAPATRICK, daughter of Donnchad MacGILLAPATRICK, the year in which Rory O’Connor had again got together a large force, and made Murchadh, the King of Meath,  give him hostages, so that he again became king of all Ireland. He plundered the country near the hill of Croghan in the King’s County,

It is said that Philip d’Espard came to Ireland as a commissioner for the partitioning of forfeited lands, presumably at the time of the Ulster Plantation, after 1609,  having arrived in England after the 1572 massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve, a refugee seeking religious toleration. Like so many, it seems there was only one religion that he could tolerate and, like Rory, he was after a bit of plunder.    He does not seem to have been very good at the plundering – most people who got into the business of forfeited lands made serious money – like William Connolly of Castletown, or William Petty of Kenmare, whose Lansdowne Estates are still wide and prosperous.  Despard never rose beyond the ranks of Landed Gentry.  Of the Despards we are lucky that two sisters, Elizabeth and Jane wrote respectively the Recollections and Memoranda; Both were born in the 1770s, and their oral history went well back into the late 17th century.    They grew up in an embattled society.  Elizabeth remembers that “A great tree that stood on a hill overlooking Donore was a gallows for the Protestants of 1641.”    Jane writes how her father Philip Despard was brought from the blazing ruins of Cardtown House after it had been attacked by Levellers in 1738.

According to Jane Despard’s manuscript,  Philip D’Espard  ended up in Queen’s County in 1641, the year of rebellion and the Catholic Confederacy.  Petty in the Down Survey has them already there before 1640, which is more likely, as he would have been rather elderly in the 1641.     Philip’s grandson, William, was described as a Colonel of Engineers in 1685 under William of Orange – a bit odd as William was not crowned till 1689.    Around 1720 the Colonel’s grandson, another William, was being sent to Eton.   Iron–smelting must have been very profitable.  It also suggests a remarkable degree of aspiration – 44 British Prime Ministers are old Etonians.  I well remember the Lady of another Laois estate saying on RTE television ” I brought my children up so that they could speak to every one from the lowliest peasant to the Queen herself.  I sent them to Eton.”  A great school no doubt, but not the obvious choice for a future iron smelter?

The primeval oaks of Slieve Bloom provided a ready source of charcoal for the iron works which Sir Charles Coote  started in this area in the 1620s.  It is unclear whether Crannagh was in operation as an iron works prior to 1640, but William Despard had extensive iron-works for founding cannon at Cranagh on the banks of the nascent Nore, between Larch Hill and Mountrath.  Canon balls were shipped down the Nore to Waterford in narrow flat bottomed Nore cots .  This Colonel William was the purchaser of the “Mountain Property” in Upper Ossory, from the “Hollow Sword-blade Company” in 1709;  The deeds of sale were sign’d on Strongbow’s monument in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.     This is from a pedigree drawn up by Wheaton Bradish, grandson of Jane Despard.

“There are still to be found many huge iron pots or boilers called cheese pots, these were all made in the iron foundry in the banks of the Nore in Mr Sylvester Phelan’s land in Crannagh. There was a large foundry here in the 17th – 18th Centuries. Oak woods were very plentiful in these districts and it was used for fuel for the furnaces which flourished while the fuel lasted but them had to close down. Cannon- balls were made in this foundry and shipped down the Nore in flat bottom boats to Waterford. There was also a glass factory here also and in a mound nearly there are loads of clinkers – these are supposed to be skimings off the glass. A family named St.John’s (one of them still survives) – was the chief pattern makers of these foundries.”  The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0825, Page 405

Another story in the same collection records that there was a bottle factory here.

One of William’s sons,  Richard Despard,  in 1730 joined forces with a couple of vultures William Carden and Walter Stephens to snatch the lands of Barnaby Carroll, a papist who lived in Borris in Ossory and held extensive lands under a lease from the Duke of Buckingham.

Richard Vicars of Levally  initially issued a Bill of Discovery against Barnaby Carroll for attending Mass in Borris House in 1723.  In 1729 a decree was issued against Barnaby, depriving him of his right and title to all his possessions in the Manor of Villiers. He and his wife were obliged to seek refuge in France where he died about 1742.

Stephens took possession of Borris;  Carden found Lismore more suited to his tastes ; Despard’s share in the plunder was Ballybrophy.  Their lease from the Duke of Buckingham is dated August 1731.   Ballybrophy already had a tenant who seems to have remained in possession.  Thomas Brereton, the son of William Brereton, had obtained the lease of Ballybrophy in 1723.

As nowadays, amoral (immoral?) ruthless and unsentimental property dealing was the way to make a fortune.  Richard’s elder brother William II  Despard also purchased for £997  the townlands of Akip (just North of Rathdowney), 186 acres, and Ballintaggart and Kilmartin, 145 acres with two cabins, the entire property being the forfeited estate of Walter Bryan of Akip, killed in rebellion.  William II Despard married Francis Green  the heiress and granddaughter of the Cromwellian Colonel Green of Killaghy Castle at Mullinahone in 1708.

In the 1730s William III was living not in Killaghy (inherited from his mother), nor in Crannagh, which seems to have been his Uncle Richard’s house, but in Cardtown.

In 1738, when William III’s son Philip Despard was 2 years old,  his house at Cardtown was burnt to the ground by levellers. William then built the house in Coolrain .

Stylistically Coolrain could date from the 1750s.  Jane Despard does not understand why he did not move into Middlemount House, which he was leasing to the Floods – a house already built, in a walled demesne and a far prettier place, she felt.

Philip  remembered the famine of 1741, accompanied by daily flights of locusts.    “The Great Frost” struck Ireland and the rest of Europe between December 1739 and September 1741, after a decade of relatively mild winters.    Indoor values during January 1740 were as low as −12 °C (10 °F). This kind of weather was “quite outside the Irish experience,” notes David Dickson, author of ‘Arctic Ireland: The Extraordinary Story of the Great Frost and Forgotten Famine of 1740-41’.

During the ramp up to the crisis in January 1740, the winds and terrible cold intensified, yet barely any snow fell. Ireland was locked into a stable and vast high-pressure system which affected most of Europe, from Scandinavia and Russia to northern Italy, in a broadly similar way. Rivers, lakes, and waterfalls froze and fish died in these first weeks of the Great Frost. People tried to avoid hypothermia without using up winter fuel reserves in a matter of days.   It is estimated to have killed between 13% and 20% of the 1740 population of 2.4 million people.  At this time, grains, particularly oats(ie porridge and gruel) , were more important than potatoes as staples in the diet of most workers.

John Malpas of Killiney Hill  and Kathryn Connolly of Castletown House commissioned famine relief projects to provide employment to destitute families.  Archbishop  Boulter launched an emergency feeding program for the poor of Dublin at his own expense, as did Henry Singleton in Drogheda.

Moving on, around 1770 Philip  married his cousin Letitia Croasdaile, daughter of Pilkington Croasdaile of Liskeard, County Galway, and built the house at Laurel Hill, which was in ruins in 1838 when Jane Despard, Philip’s daughter,  wrote her memoirs.

Jane Despard recorded a second attack:

“My father Philip once more returned to a house in the country from whence, it is enough to say, that, living one Winter in terror, we were driven away by rebel whitefeet or blackfeet; lost all our plate, chiefly our mother’s which had been placed in a neighbouring town for safety; the house we lived in set fire to and burnt with all the furniture, and my poor father received only 50L damages from the country. We were moved then to Mountmellick for protection and afterwards to Mountrath, where my dear mother breathed her last after years of bad health and suffering. This is the period of our lives, the particulars of which I must pass over.”    As Jane was not born till the late 1780s, and as the rising of 1798 happened during the spring and summer, this incident probably occurred in the early 1800s.

William of Crannagh’s great great grandson, and Richard’s great nephew, and Philip’ s brother was Edward Marcus Despard . There is great debate as to where he was born – Crannagh?  Donore?  Coolrain?  Or Killaghy Castle at Mullinahone.

Followers of Poldark will have become familiar with Col Ned, a friend of Horatio Nelson, and his Jamaican wife Catherine, probably the daughter of a freed slave.    Edward Marcus Despard’s conspiracy was tied to that of Robert Emmet, and like Emmet, and later Casement, he was an ‘‘Irish apostle of a world-wide movement for liberty, equality and fraternity”.

Despard was given charge of the British enclave of the Bay of Honduras, present-day Belize. As part of the treaty that granted Belize to Britain from Spain, British settlers up and down the Mosquito Shore were required to resettle in the Bay of Honduras, and Despard was charged with accommodating them. Some were wealthy planters of Anglo-Saxon origin, but the majority were a ‘motley crew’ of labourers, brewers, smugglers, freed slaves and ex-military volunteers who had been living in straggling and remote communities and were known collectively as the Shoremen.  Despard was instructed by the Home Secretary, Lord Sydney, to accommodate the Shoremen in the new enclave ‘in preference to all other persons whatsoever’. He offered them parcels of land on which to build houses and grow crops for their subsistence, and he did so without distinction of colour, distributing lots on an equal basis to mulattos, blacks and whites. This policy was fiercely opposed by the small number of long-term white settlers in the Bay who had become wealthy through exporting mahogany to Britain, where it provided the materials for furniture makers such as Thomas Chippendale.  They argued that the rights of ‘people of mixed colour and negroes’ should be subservient to those of the established Anglo-Saxon colonists. Despard replied that the decision ‘must be governed by the laws of England, which knows no such distinction’.    In 1790, Despard was suspended and forced to return to London to argue his case.  He was bankrupted by lawyers and ended up in debtors jail for two years.   On his release he was rearrested and interned for three years as a suspected terrorist before the suspension of habeas corpus lapsed and he was freed, in theory at least without a stain on his character. Within a year he was arrested once more, in the Oakley Arms, a Lambeth pub, in the company of a number of disaffected soldiers suspected of plotting a mutiny. This time he was charged with high treason, convicted on the evidence of paid informers and executed.

After his execution in 1803 Catherine and their son James lived with Lord Cloncurry and  his family at Lyons for some years.  Catherine died near St Pancras in 1815 .  James may have fought in the French army during the Napoleonic Wars.  Mother and child were supported by a pension from Sir Francis Burdett.   James was last seen with a beautiful woman by his uncle General John Despard (though his description was a tad derogatory).  Later generations of Despards denied Ned Despard’s  marriage, and were thoroughly embarrassed by their kinsman’s inability to distinguish between one race and another.

I write this at the time that Soldier F is being charged for the Bloody Sunday murders in Londonderry in 1972.

There is, in my mind, no doubt that poor old Soldier F did kill people peacefully  marching for equal rights in Londonderry in 1972 (as did soldiers D&E and G&H, and maybe several others between A and Z)  If you put Number 1 Para into domestic policing, what the hell do you expect!  Paras are like Dobermans, very handy in a tight corner bit not ideal fireside pets.    Peter Carrington, another old Etonian, and the Secretary for Defence who sent the Paras in (and died last year) should really be on trial.   Or Willie Whitelaw, an old Harrovian (ie he couldn’t get into Eton) who was the Northern Secretary.   He died 20 years ago in 1999.

The ability of Authority, be it  Russian, American, British (God be with the days), Israeli or Muslim to banjax freedom is one of humainty’s greatest mysteries.  And I write this as a married man.  And poor Edward Despard lost his life because he was nice to people!

George Despard,  son of Richard the land grabber, was born 1720,  married Gertrude Carden, daughter of William Carden (his father’s land dealing partner)  and Gertrude Elizabeth Warburton of Lismore House. He is the first one whom we can say with certainty lived at Donore, where he died in 1814, at the age of 94, having served as magistrate, grand juror and sheriff.  It was his habit to embrace the Irish traditions of hospitality by blowing a horn at his door when dinner was served, inviting any passing by to share his table.  He was the first of three generations of men named George Depard marrying  Carden women, two named Gertrude!

His grandson George (also married to a Gertrude Carden) was born in 1800 at Donore, and became a Sub-Inspector of the RIC (police) at Trim and then a Resident Magistrate.    Their son Maximilian, despite having a delicate constitution, had made a fortune by the age of 30, trading in Hong Kong.  In 1870 he married Charlotte French, of the de Freyne family of Frenchpark.  Her brother John French became the Earl of Ypres,  a leading military commander during World War I and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

An absoluteluely splendid lady

Charlotte Despard  produced a string of novels, among them Chaste as Ice, Pure as Snow (1874), The Rajah’s Heir (1890), and A voice from the Dim Millions (1884), the last of which stands out for its radical tone.   Her husband died on 4 April 1890 on board the SS Coptic on their way back from New Zealand, 4 days out of London.  I wonder was he buried at sea by the Captain – Capt. Smith of Titanic fame.

Charlotte  found a new lease of life in philanthropy. She moved to the slum London district of Battersea, to live among some of the city’s poorest inhabitants; there she established and financed mother-and-baby clinics and boys’ clubs.

In 1921 she moved to Roebuck House a mansion outside Dublin that would frequently be raided by the police looking for IRA members who found a safe house there. However, she later resigned from Sinn Fein as a response to the factionalism of its members. She visited the Soviet Union in 1930, and took the decision to move from Dublin to Northern Ireland in the wake of an attack on the Irish Workers’ College, which she had financed for some time.

In moving to Belfast she handed Roebuck House to Maude Gonne. In the mid-thirties, her finances were becoming strained and she was declared bankrupt in 1937. Nonetheless, she continued to fight Fascism until her death as a result of a fall at her home in Nov 1939.

Maximilian Carden Despard had a namesake, his nephew, born in March 1892, the son of Captain H. J. Despard, afterwards the Chief Constable of Lanarkshire and Beatrice Lorne Jarvis, daughter of Thomas Jarvis of Mount Jarvis, Antigua.  Isn’t it fascinating how many links there are with the Caribbean

“There are many ways of not having a father”. These are the opening words to the story of Maximilian Carden Despard, written by his youngest daughter, Annabelle, who felt like she knew him all to little. She pieced together the story of an officer, born in 1892, who achieved glory and honours in a dramatic action of Dover in 1917. A post-war accident forced him to abandon his career in the Royal Navy and in the Thirties he started a new life as a navel attache, at a time when there was another enemy to face. In Yugoslavia he was a significant mover behind the scenes in Bond-like exploits to hamper the German war-machine.

Of the Despard Houses, the old house at Crannagh was already just walls when Elizabeth knew it.  It had been leased to the Kemmis’s in 1779.

William Edward Kemmis, born 4th. March 1758: described as of Knightstown in 1798 and 1802, part of which he was then probably holding as tenant: of Clonin aforesaid, devised to him by his father: of Clopoke and Tomaclonin, parish of Tallowmoy, Queen’s Co. by purchase from Joseph Green, 17th December 1809; purchased 11th March 1779 for £210 from George Despard of Donore, Queen’s Co. lands commonly called Poles Cranna and that part of the lands of Clonin adjoining Thady Keenin’s Quarter and so the high road over the hill of Clonin, 241 acres 2 roods 6 poles in the Barony of Ossory, Queen’s Co. for the life of George Despard being the surviving life named in the lease thereof, subject to the yearly rent of £54. 2s. 3d. with 4 cwts of good bar iron or in lieu thereof £4; also the original lease thereof from Bartholomew Wm. Gilbert to Rd., Despard formerly of Cranna, Geo. Despard covenanting that there was a profit yearly rent of £35. 14s. 6d. thereout over and above the Head rent aforesaid: 19th. October 1802, obtained from his brother Thomas a lease of that part of the townland of Clonin commonly called Poles Crannagh and Ballyhooraghan for the life of his said brother at a rent of £90; in 1825 he held these lands described as “Crana, i.e. Poles Crana and lands thereunto belonging” by lease of three lives from the Earl of Cavan and Gilbert Fitzgerald: held Killeen and Kilmainham from his brother Thomas and after the death of the latter from his nephew William son of his said brother at a rent of £538. 15s. 10d.: Treasurer of the Queen’s Co.; obiit s.p., 7th November 1848; buried at Straboe on 11th. of that month; M.I. on his tombstone and also upon a mural tablet in Maryborough Church; Will dated September 1843, codicil 3rd. September 1847, and proved in Dublin, 28th. November 1848

Crannagh’s iron works had been sub leased to Sylvester Phelan in the late 18th century, and his descendants are still there to this day.  Originally it was probably acquired on a lease for three lives, though I have yet to find that in the Register of Deeds or the Collis and Ward papers.    There might well be remnants of the 17th century buildings amongst the many crumbling remains. In October 19, 1839 we see an example of the crazy economic system that dominated Irish agriculture – John Pim of Lacca is letting 137 acres at Crannagh in one or four holdings.  James Gleeson the herdsman was on hand to show prospective tenants around. There may have been three or four layers of middlemen between the producer actually farming the land and the owner of the land, each layer needing its commission.  So much easier now, when its just a straightforward relationship between the money lenders and the farmer!    The positive aspect of the system was that it did allow small farmers like the Phelans to take on far more land than they could afford in the certain knowledge that they would be able to sublet it. 

Cardtown is quite gone.  It was probably built in the early 1700s on the land bought from the Hollow Sword Blade Company.  At some stage after the 1738 attack it must have been restored, as Isaac Humphreys of Cardtown is listed as Sherriff of Queen’s County in Walker’s Hibernian Magazine for February 1802.

The year before (1801) Sir Charles Coote in his statistical survey wrote:-

Mr Walpole of Cartown near Glandine Gap is now changing the corn mill there to a woollen factory which is very aptly situate for that branch having a sufficiency of water and fuel very cheap and plenty.  Near to Cartown is Lacka where there is erected a breast shot rape mill and also a bolting mill Mr Pim proprietor of both resides here .

Jane Despard writes:-    On the 24 th of June, 1817, occur’ d the most terrific storm I ever saw in Ireland. It began about noon, lasting  twelve hours. Incessant lightning, frightful thunder, torrents of  rain, and for one hour after its commencement, hail as large as walnuts thickly cover’ d the ground. Sixty-five panes of glass were broken by it in Cartown House. The weather having been previously intensely hot and dry, the thatched houses were quickly penetrated by streams of water, requiring tubs, &c. &c. to catch them.

By 1831 it was still being let to Isaac Humphreys – O’Harts Irish Pedigrees has :-  James Bramston who on the 6th March, 1884, m. Elizabeth, dau. of the late Isaac Humphrys, Major 46th Regiment, and granddaughter of the late Isaac Humphrys of Cardtown House, Mountrath,and High Sheriff of the Queen’s County in 1831. (This Elizabeth was the second wife of John Pepper Belton, Esq., of Peafield House, Mountrath, who by his first wife had two surviving children).

In  1837 Lewis has Cartown, of Colonel Price (presumably a relation of J.R. Price of Westfield), and he is still there in James Fraser’s Guide through Ireland in 1844.

However William Steuart Trench writes  “I went to reside atCardtown, my place in the Queen’s county, in 1845”.    Trench,  (1808–1872), Irish land agent and author, was born on 16 Sept. 1808 at Bellegrove, near Portarlington, son of Dean Trench of Kildare, and nephew of Lord Ashtown of Woodlwawn, County Galway (ennobled for voting in favour of the Act of Union).   He extended it in the 1840s “in fact as new house as it stands at present”

The last reference in the papers was in 1864 “At Cardtown wife of Lt Col Boldero  a daughter “ Gentlemans Magazine.  It turns out that the Colonel’s lady was Frederick’s cousin, Anna Trench.

By October 1912 Algenon Coote was offering Cardtown to the County Council  as a TB Sanatorium.   The estate was divided by the land commission in the 1920s.  The lake has gone, the house has gone – all that remains is the gable of one of the yard buildings.

Of Coolrain  Robert O’Byrne in his blog writes:-

The main block looks to be early-to-mid 18th century, of two storeys over raised basement and five bays with a central breakfront. The latter features a fine cut-limestone Gibbsian doorcase approached by a short flight of steps and flanked by sidelights, with a Venetian window directly above on the first floor. On either side of the main block, and seeming to be slightly later in date, are fine carriage arches, that to the right (south-east) further extending to a small stable yard. But the carriage arches are just that and no more: there is nothing behind them and the entrances are blocked up (if indeed they were ever open). It would appear their main, perhaps only, function was to extend the house façade and thereby give an impression of greater grandeur to anyone arriving there. ……..

At some date after its construction, Coolrain was enlarged by an extension to the rear but only on the left (north-west) side. The gable ends of the older section of the building indicate it was originally just one room deep, with the central portion extended back to accommodate a staircase hall lit by another Venetian window on the return. This window was subsequently blocked up, although one wonders why this was necessary since the extension does not intrude on its space. Aforementioned extension had a kitchen in the basement and a dining room immediately above, and looks to have been added towards the end of the 18th century. The gardens behind presumably ran down to the river Tonet not far away, but to the west of the house and yard are the remains of a little rectangular folly, presumably a tea room (since it has a small basement where the servants could prepare refreshments) from which there would have been a charming view of Coolrain.

……..Later it was the residence of the Campion family who farmed the surrounding land until the death in 1921 of the last member to live there. Coolrain seems to have fallen into ruin subsequently, being too big and too hard to maintain for the average farmer. More recently some work was initiated on the outbuildings, but this appears to have been abandoned, and the house now stands in the middle of a field, the mystery of its origins and early history becoming ever-harder to discern.

From Tarquin Blakes’s Abandoned Mansions

The gardens at Coolrain also had a ha-ha, beyond which a canal or fishpond, so beloved of the garden creator Jim Reynolds, and very similar to the one the Croasdaile family had at Rynn –  which was the inspiration, Rynn or Coolrain?  It is remarkable that Coolrain was not discovered by Maurice Craig as he quartered the country in his Delage.  It is a perfect example of his favourite classic Irish house of the middle size, with so many charming imperfections, like the quoins on either side of the doorcase. and the gabled arched wings, just a tiny bit too short.

Maurice Craig and his Delage D8 (sold by Bonhams for over €100k!)

It appears from Elizabeth Despard’s writings that Coolrain was built in the 1740s by William III Despard, to replace Cardtown.

In June 1784 William Despard is letting  a house on 53 acres at Coolrain.  This is the William who built Shanderry and Altavlla and married the Armstrong heiress.

1795, Francis White of Coolrain was a subscriber to Samuel Whyte’s book of poems

Feb 1799 Francis White  is living at Coolrain and letting a farm at Aghaboe

1803 Francis White of Coolrain, Queens County, Esq, is a party to Francis Freeman’s marriage settlement.

12 September 1809  Dublin Evening Post

TO be LET, for such term as may be agreed on, and immediate possession given, the Houle, Offices, and Demesne COOLRAIN, containing 50A. The tenant can accommodated with the Furniture and Stock at valuation. Application’to …

22 August 1828  Dublin Evening Mail ,

A desirable Residence TO BE LET, or the Interest SOLD, the 1st November next, for one good life, the House and Lands of COOLRAIN, containing 42 Irish acres ..

Coolrain appears twice in  Lewis’ Topography in 1837 –   once as Cooleraine House, of T. Palmer, Esq.   and then as a subscriber White, R., Esq., Coolrain-house, Mountrath, Queen’s county.

Coolrain’s Doorcase from Tarquin Blake’s Abandoned Mansions

The next residents may have been the Cooper family.

Susan Molyneux  b. 1814 m. Matthew Cooper June 4, 1840 at Anatrim Church, Coolrain.    daughter Elizabeth born May 17, 1841.

Joseph Finnamore, 2nd cos to Lord Norbury,  married Jane, youngest dau of the late Mathew Cooper, Esq., of Coolrain House, Queen’s  March 1881

A researcher on the Molyneaux family has come up with Matthew Cooper’s parents –  Alexander Cooper of King’s county who married 25 July 1813 to Susanna nee Cooper ( not Caldbeck as previously thought) daughter of Matthew Cooper b. c.1758 and Mary ?? of Glebe, Coolrain.  Susanna had siblings: Sarah 1 May 1801 – 1871 unmarried as far as we know, and Matthew 1798 – 1872 who married Pheobe ? b. c. 1791 – 25 Sept 1846 when she died at Coolrain House, the Glebe.

NB The Glebe, Coolrain is not Coolrain House, but the researcher writes:-    Matthew and Pheobe remained in Coolrain and several of their family’s deaths happened at Coolrain House.

Tarquin Blake has identified that Griffith’s Valuation of 30 Nov 1850 has the estate let to tenants Andrew Campion and Catherine Delany.

Jacob Barrington was born 17 May 1779  near Dublin, son to Thomas Barrington and Hannah Haughton,  died 22 February 1833 at Rochester, Monroe County, New York. His wife Elizabeth Neale, (to whom he was married 22 July 1804 at Coolrain Mills, Coolrain Townland, Offerlane Parish, Upperwoods Barony, Queen’s County), was born in or about 1776 or 1777, daughter to William Neale and Sarah —; died 8 October 1827

In the London Gazette of Feb 26 1876 George Neale of Coolrain Mills is listed as a shareholder in the London and Westminster Bank.

In 1891 (“Return of judicial rents fixed by Sub-Commissions, and Civil Bill Courts, notified to Irish Land Comission, January 1891” ) George Neale of Coolrain  with  Captain Henry R. Despard  was a trustee of Richard Despard, deceased.

28.12.1894 was proved the will of George Neale of Coolrain  by Mary Emma Campion of Coolrain, Spinster and hare sister Linda Anne Harding of Noreview Widow both in Queen’s County.   He left £8000.  There is work to be done to understand the relationship of the various Campions, Hardings and Neales.

In the 1901 census the protestant  Mary Emma Campion, spinster, b  abt 1841, was the head of the household , Coolrain House, Coolrain, Queen’s Co., with a resident coachman and maid.  In 1911 she was still there, with a new coachman and maid, Mary Dunne, aged 23 and Christopher Tearle also 23.    Miss Campion died in June 1921,  leaving £1,096 8s 4d.    On 16 July 1921 there was a sale of the contents.

22nd Noveber 1969 is the last that we hear of Coolrain in the Nation Press, when Telfords are selling the cows, machinery and household effects of Frederick D Foote, following the sale of the fam and 112 acres.

Mr Foote may have been letting the farm because in 1966 Griffith Bayley of Coolrain House is selling seed potatoes,  The year before that William S Pearse of Coolrain House had been fined 5/- by Mr Justice Sweetman for driving a tractor without a mirror.


It is unclear who built Donore.  Legend attributes it to George Despard 1720-1814.   He m. Gerturde Carden of Lismore and had 2 sons and 5 daughters.

Abbeyleix Heritage House has a fantastic document setting out the specification for the complete refurbishment of Donore House in 1891 for WW Despard.  The house was stripped in the 1960s, and a new house built beside the ruins in the 1980s.

Notice the shadow of the roofless facade!

It has been regarded as their principal seat by Despards, and as they spread around the world other Donores appeared.  The most famous was in Cheltenham where  in the 1880s Rosina Despard, the eldest of six children, became the first to witness an apparition that would become famously known as the ‘woman in black”, a phenomenon that still haunts Pitville Circus Road.

Larch Hill

Richad Despard married Miss Frances Burton, of the family of the baronets of Burton Hall, County Carlow  in 1747 and Larch Hill, almost opposite the original estate at Crannagh,  dates from then.  After his death in 1780 his son Francis Green Despard, another man of the cloth, moved in with his new wife, Jane Humphreys, whose mother was also a Despard.     Rev Francis Green Despard died in 1820 and the house was let.

a map of Larch Hill

Larch Hill left, and Crannagh , right

While the Rev Francis was still alive Atkinson wrote in The Irish Tourist  “Larch-hill, nearly south of Mountrath, is a place worth seeing. Its beauties, as you approach the place from that town, commence in a neighbourhood rather wild  and heathy, and by this contrast are rendered more particularly striking. The house, though not much elevated, commands a good prospect over the demesne to the mountains of Cullinagh, about fourteen miles distant. These mountains are part of an estate recently purchased by Lord Norbury, and in that country they form an important object in its best landscapes. The improvements on Larch-hill display great taste and judgment. Of these a beautiful circular lake at the foot of the lawn, with the ornamental planting on its margin, was not the least remarkable. The prospect over this lake through an ample vista in the plantations to a fine rising country, which terminates in the mountains we have just noticed, was alone sufficient- to animate and render brilliant the whole landscape—but Larch-hill is not alto-gether dependent upon this grand feature, for its character of beauty. The little plantations, which on hills remote from the interior improvements to the scenery, and give the spectator an idea of the grandeur of space, come in also for our share of admiration, in common with the other proofs of taste and judgment which that scene exhibits.”

By the time of the Ordnance Maps lake and planting had all gone.   The Buildings of Ireland survey describes Larch Hill House thus:-

Detached five-bay two-storey house, built c.1820. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with nap rendered chimneystacks. Nap rendered walls, painted. Square-headed window openings with limestone sills and replacement timber casement windows, c.1985. Round-headed door opening with limestone archivolt and replacement timber panelled door, c.1985. Interior not inspected. Set back from road in own grounds; landscaped grounds to site. Gateway comprising limestone monolithic piers with carved patarae and wrought iron gates.

Russell of The Times

In April 1825 Anne 3rd dau of William Russell of Baggot Street  died at Larch Hill.  She was the sister of William Howard Russell, who became the Times Crimean correspondent and whose account of the Light Brigade aroused the passions of Middle England even more than Brexit.

Born at Kiltalown House, not far from Tallaght,  the seat of his maternal grandfather, Captain John Kelly.    Captain  Kelly also owned Mount Pelier and Castle Kelly, in the county of Dublin, and afterwards had a fine ree-raw place, called Larch Hill, in the Queen’s County …he was a keen Nimrod, well known to all the sportsmen of his neighbourhood, and descended from an old family in the counties of Kildare and Kilkenny. His son Felix died in the army, and none of his male descendants survived him.  His daughter who died many ago married in extreme youth.

Kelly was a larger than life character, the Master  of The Tallaght Hunt, tall with long powdered hair tied with a black bow.   He wore a blue coat with brass buttons, a fawn waistcoat with many pockets, and buckskin breeches (that were not spotless, as Russell recalled when he was 65 years old). He had a set of keys and seals hanging from his pockets and wore a pair of boots with tan tops.

“All my early memories relate to hounds, horses and hunting; there were hounds all over the place, horses in the fields and men on horseback galloping, blowing of horns, cracking of whips, tallyho-ing, yoicksing and general uproar,” wrote Russell.

He recalled his grandfather being in high spirits on hunting mornings if the weather was fine and singing: “Tally ho, my boys! These are the joys that far exceed the delights of the doxies!”

After Kelly’s financial ruin around 1830 a new tenant was found for Larch Hill.

1835  At Larch-Hill, near Mountrath, the lady of A. Seymour, Esq., of a son.  – Suddenly, Seymour, as in The Little Shop of Horrors, maybe?

In 1837 Lewis lists the Rev. J. Bourke at  Larch Hill

In 1862 The Cork Examiner, on 1 August reported that George Roe of Rush Hall died at Larch Hill.   How was it the  he came to die here, 4 miles from his home?

Dawson Shortt late of Larch Hill, Mountrath in the Queen’s County Gentleman who died 20 October 1889 bought Larch Hill from Richard Brooke Despard through the Landed Estates Court in 1876.

Capt Vere Shortt

Captain Vere Dawson Shortt, (1874-1915) 7th Northamptonshire Regiment, who was killed in action in France on the 27th September,1915 at the Battle of Loos,  was the only son of the late James Fitzmaurice Shortt, of Moorfield, Mountrath, and grand nephew of the late Vere Shortt, of Larch Hill, Queen’s County. He was in the Cape Mounted Rifles from 1890-1895 and served through the Pondoland campaign with them.  He then served in the French Foreign Legion, in Africa, before the outbreak of the war in Europe.

A sci fi writer, his first novel, Lost Sheep (1915), uninterestingly incorporates some elements of black magic. He saw active service in France, dying before completing The Rod of the Snake (1917), which was completed by his sister Frances Mathews. The tale, a not entirely coherent, clottedly erotized occult romance, hints at sf through links to Atlantis understood in terms of Theosophy. The “Old Ones” who are invoked through the use of the titular talisman are conveyed with Horror in SF menace, and it is possible H P Lovecraft was influenced by Shortt’s depiction of cosmic malice.

By 1905  Dr. Eugene Francis Hogan, a subscriber to  Carrigan’s History of Ossory was living at Larch Hill  and was the organiser of the  ‘Upperwoods Volunteers’ in  1914.   The Ulster Volunteers had been established with the overt goal of blocking Home Rule by any means necessary, including, if required, armed resistance. The Irish Volunteers were established as a counterpoint to their Unionist opponents and their overt aim was to protect Home Rule at all costs.

The first corps established in Laois was in Abbeyleix on 27 April 1914. Mountmellick followed suit and throughout May, the nationalists of Laois awoke from their slumber and began to catch up with the rest of the country. Camross Volunteers would have been initially catered for in the Mountrath, Borris-in-Ossory, or Castletown corps. However, sometime around June 1914, a corps called the ‘Upperwoods Volunteers’ became affiliated with the organisation. Its leading organiser was Dr. Eugene Francis Hogan of Larch Hill, Coolrain. Hogan, a Justice of the Peace, became a much respected member of the organisation in the county. He presided over the first meeting of the County Board of the Laois Volunteers and was nominated as the county vice-president, a position which he modestly chose to pass on to someone else.

For the last century it has been the home of the Hyland family.


Shanderry, or Seandoire, the old oak wood,  appears in Leet in 1814 as the seat of Francis Despard.    From Jane Despard’s  Memoranda we know that it was built by his father  about 20 years earlier.

Shanderry from The Buildings of Ireland web site

Building of Ireland describes it thus:-

Detached five-bay three-storey house, c.1830. Renovated and extended, c.1970, with flat-roofed projecting porch added to front and returns added to rear. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with nap rendered chimneystacks. Flat-roof to porch. Roughcast rendered walls, painted. Square-headed window openings with stone sills and replacement timber casement windows, c.1985. Round-headed openings to porch. Interior not inspected. House is set back from road in own grounds; landscaped grounds to site; tarmacadam drive and forecourt to approach; hedge inner boundary to forecourt.

Jane Despard in her Memoranda of 1837 writes:-

Two brothers now remained  William, the younger, died early at Shanderry of an idle and dissipated life.  Frank, the eldest, was pleasant and  gentleman-like in company, but as an officer, a husband or domestic companion he was the perfect description of cross-grained. He was a good landlord, honourable in all things and friendly when his temper did not interfere, but I recollect him once when at home on leave of absence, getting a letter of congratulation on his promotion from some person whose office it was to inform him. His observation on reading it, or rather his execration, before a whole roomful of his relations was (as l recollect) “May the Devil damn your congratulations.” I repeat this to show you the man, however, he soon afterwards quitted a profession for which his rebellious spirit was unfit, and married a sour piece of goods like himself and a connection of his own, being niece to Lord Norbury and Mr. Toler who were nephews to his grandmother Armstrong. His wife was daughter of General Head who commanded the 13th Dragoons in the Peninsular, what one calls a real good kind of man, with nothing of the ill-natured spice of his mother’s milk (who was a Toler) but who left his sour legacy chiefly to his daughter Despard, the present Dowager Shanderry. I always used to call Frank and her “Sir Andrew and Lady Acid.” for they never were in harmony either with each other or with their neighbours. Poor Frank died, I am told, with a more serious way of thinking than he lived, but she was then as before quite opposed to Evangelical religion; I have not heard anything of her lately.           

In fact she died in 1862 – April 6, at Pembroke-terrace, Dublin,  Mary Argyle, aged 70,  relict the late Francis Green Despard, Shanderry, Queen’s County; niece of the first Earl ofNorbury  and sister of the late  General Head, 18th Dragoons,

It is recounted locally that Despard left the army as a Lieutenant and by the time he died had become a Colonel, promoting himself as his brother officers rose through the ranks.

TO LET, for ever, the House of SHANDERRY, with either 41 Acres of Land, well sheltered and divided. The House is calculated for a small genteel family.  17 March 1826

April 17 1830 the Waterford Mail reported that Airy Penrose Jessop (22) of Shanderry  had married Elizabeth Howe at the Friends Meeting House in Mountmellick.

In 1833 he was advertising Mayfly, the high bred racehorse, standing at Shanderry with a stud fee of 5 Gns.    In that same year he was letting Altavilla. So we may presume that he was acting as someone’s agent (possibly James Perry’s).  Mayfly was still standing in in 1840 – with a stud fee of £2.   He was a descended from  Darley Arabian  (as are 95%  of thoroughbred horses) – however here The Darley was only his 4 greats grandsire and Eclipse was his grandsire

The Darley Arabian


In 1837 Lewis’s Topography has A P Jessop of Shanderry.     By Jan 1841 Shanderry and Mayfly were both  for sale, and by 1844 Jessop had moved to Pleasant View, Ballsbridge (where he had a daughter in 1847) .

Shortly afterwards AP Jessop, commercial clerk, became “an insolvent debtor”.    In Sept 1854 Andrew Kiel, esq, of Chicago, married Sophia, eldest daughter of A P Jessop of Prospect Terrace, Glasnevin, and in March 1859 his daughter Elizabeth Anne was marrying Anthony Jacob in Wellington,  New Zealand.  Emma Louise, another daughter, emigrated to Canada at the age of 30 and married a fellow Irish ex-pat Thomas Woods, on St. Patrick’s Day 1874 at St. James’s Cathedral in Toronto. On their twenty-fourth anniversary, Thomas died and a year later she lost her only son to drowning. Life in Canada was not always easy for Emma but she lived a long and relatively prosperous life in West Toronto until she died at an advanced age at her home at 39 Concord Avenue, leaving her three daughters, Annie, Grace and Ida and two Grandchildren.     Most of their six other siblings also seem to have emigrated.

In October 1849 the Dublin Evening Mail reports that there was delivered to the lady of the Rev Leslie Badham  of Shanderry House a son; then in July of 1856  (according to The Freemans Journal of Aug 1) another son  and in Nov 1859 a daughter, according to the Leinster Express . He had left Coolrain, where he was curate, to become Vicar of  Fenagh, Co Carlow in 1869, and sure enough we have an advertisement for it to let in November 1868

In 1878 he married his son  the Rev. Frederick John Badham, Rector of Ballynacargy, County Westmeath, to Alice Marianne, daughter of the late John Samuel.

Also in 1878, as the rector of Fenagh,  he was officiating at the marriage of the Hon. John McClintock Bunbury, Esq, of Molye, Co. Carlow,to  (Elizabeth) Myra Watson, second daughter of Robert Watson of Ballydarton, the famous Master of the Hounds.   He died the following year, for in Fenagh church is a tablet  To the memory of the Revd. Leslie Badham for ten years the beloved Pastor of his flock.  He died 18th April 1879 aged 67 years.

Fenagh Rectory

Badham had dad a doctorate in Mathematics from Trinity in 1838

George Neale of Coolrain Mills seems to have acquired an interest in Shanderry, though whether he actually lived there is unclear.

Next we find  the Coote’s land agent at Shanderry.  Henry Cornelius was living at Shanderry by 1884  Born in Anatrim he lived in Ballytarsna, Borris-in-Ossory and later at Ross na Clonagh, Mountrath and shortly before his death in a home called Shanderry ( according to a letter from his nephew written in 1894).   Agents to the Cootes, the Cornelius family had arrived in Ireland with William of  Orange and spent 100 years as agents for the Maxwells, Earls of Farnham, and the Cootes of Bellamont, before moving to Laois to become agents for the Cootes at Ballyfin.   There is a story in the family that one day a gypsy went to Ross na Clonagh selling clothespegs. When Henry’s wife Elizabeth refused to buy any, the gypsy cursed her saying that her daughters would all be barren and her sons would only bear daughters. Of her 9 daughters,only one had children (Susannah) and her son, Harry, had only the one daughter. Thomas died without children.

A complaint of 1884 in the Leinster Express Correspondence

The Leinster Express June 1904, concerning a row about a turf bank, throws light on the later ownership of Shanderry.

This turf bank contained 8 perches, and had been cut by the late Mr George Neale and since his death in 1894 , by the trustees under his will, or rather by their tenant, who occupies Shanderry House.   The estate did belong to Mr W D Despard .  He was the landlord of Shanderry House. His estate was sold in the Landed Estates Court in October, 1902, and the lot referring to Shanderry House, which was held at a rent of £69 13a Id, was bought by Neale’s  representatives from Steele, Despard and others.  It was presumably then sold or leased to the  Cooper family, who are still there – the Cooper Marriage of 1904 was reported extensively, and I love their list of presents!