Springhill House, Killeshin – A house with a varied history

In researching the history of this very lovely, though sadly unoccupied, house, set high up overlooking the plains of Kildare and the Wicklow Mountains, it seemed that no great Netflix plot was waiting to be discovered.  One historian suggested that it had been the home of  Capt. Knipe and his wife, a 28 stone (180 kg) Indian Princess.  However Knipe lived at the other Springhill, near Borris in Ossory, and his wife’s maiden name was Rachel Gerrard, from Gibbstown, Co Meath.  She may have been “beef to the heel”, and a Meath Princess, but she certainly wasn’t an Indian Princess

The Buildings of Ireland proposes a date of c. 1740.   Tierney’s Pevsner suggests c. 1760 .  Tierney’s description is superbly detailed: – “double gable-ends, five bays wide and flanked by curving screen walls. Side-lit Gibbsian doorway approached up steps. Hall ceiling with ornate stucco strapwork and acanthus leaves with small birds centrally placed to front and back. Raised-and-fielded panel doors throughout, their shouldered architraves — with one exception — removed. The drawing room to the rear has a deep dentil cornice with egg-and-dart mouldings. First-floor bedrooms with box window seats. A quaint feature is the steeply pitched roof and tall chimney of the kitchen wing — which looks earlier, but is probably of the same date.”   I think that it must be before 1755;  any later and when selling the lease in 1777  Cramer would have described  it as “newly built”

In the 16th Century it was part of the estate of Sir William St Leger under the Elizabethan Plantation of Laois and Offaly (Summary of Inquisition of 1622  R. Dunlop). 

By the end of the 17th Century it had become part of the estate of the O’Briens, Earls of Thomond.   The tenant was John Warren of Ballymoyleran, who was on the losing side after 1691, was described thus in 1694: ‘the tenant is very poor and now in gaol who as yet has [had] no abatement on account of the troubles [,] he having dealt very unfaithfully with my lord during the troubles’.

He seems to have suffered on account of his actions during the war when he was accused of having discovered the estate to Tyrconnell which made him ineligible for an abatement of £34 in 1693 ‘because of his unkindness to the family of Thomond’.  Arrears amounted to £150 in 1699 but was reduced to about £100 by 1702.

On 14th June, 1703 Henry, Earl of Thomond, to Maurice Warren, of Nurny, County Carlow, Esq., in consideration, one thousand and fifty-seven pounds. The town and lands of Nurny and Ballinvally, Ballan and Coniger, Cappaghwater, Laraghteige and Garryoung, Ballykeeneen, Aghaclare, Cooleneshigan ;— The estate of John Warren, attainted. To hold to him and his heirs. — Inrolled 7th July, 1703.

It is not quite clear if this included Ballymoyleran / Ballintobber  because by 1704 the hard-line attitude seemed to have softened when one of Thomond’s officials recommended that ‘Mr Warren will clear this arrear, if your honour will allow him the year and a half abatement for the war, which has not yet been made good’.   By 1709 the arrears on the farm were about £5.   The townland of Springhill incudes a tiny exclave surrounding Old Derrig, and it is probably Old Derrig that was Ballintobber, the townland of the well.  Ballymoyleran, the townland of Myler, or of the flat topped hill  (Maol) would fit Spring Hill.

A new lease was acquired by Maurice Warren from Henry, Earl of Thomond in 1712, in return for fitting out a Protestant with horse, sword and pistols to preserve the public peace and the Protestant interest and serve Henry Earl of Thomond and his heirs. 

All the estate and interest of the said Maurice Warren in the said lands became vested in Sir William Cooper, Bart . (MP for Hillsborough, whose house Cypress Grove in Templeogue still exists;  his brother of Thomas Cooper of Gaigue) who, by indenture of lease dated the 22nd February, 1750, demised the said lands and premises to Benjamin Fisher, of Old Derrig.

Much of this early information comes from law reports – the quarrying at Springhill twice led to litigation – Fishbourne v Hamilton in 1890 and Reilly v Walshe in 1914.

Benjamin Fisher of Old Derrig, a magistrate in 1750, married Ester Harvey (of Bargy Castle) (as reported by Pue’s Occurrences 6 May 1758) and describing Fisher as of Springhill.  It was probably his father who was the Benjamin who married the daughter of John Browne and Mary Jennings (ancestor of the Brownes of Browne’s Hill)  in about 1705.  In 1765 Benjamin Fisher is a High Sheriff of Carlow and of Sliguff, near Bagenalstown    In 1761 there is a Christopher Fisher, a freeholder of Springhill.   Frances Fisher married as his third wife Samuel Galbraith circa 1756 at Old Derrig.  Griffith’s Valuation also has the representatives of Benjamin Fisher as the Landlord of Springhill.  And until the sale of the estates under the Land Act following the ruling of the Land Judges Court of in November 1903, much of the land was rented from “the Legatees of _______Fisher”.

At Christmas 1845 there was a most unseemly fracas at the C of I church in Carlow.  The officers and their ladies had been using the gallery, as their pews were inaccessible due to the installation of a new organ.  Mr Faulkner, of Laurel Lodge, as one of the Legatees of Fisher, claimed it and repulsed the officers and their ladies.  Not as bad as the altercation a New Inn, County Tipperary, recounted by Dorothea Herbert.  The vicar’s family took the front pew, but their claim was contested by the Hon Mrs Robinson of Hymenstown, Lord Massy’s daughter.  Lodge’s Peerage was produced (why did anyone have a copy with them at church, I wonder) to show that Mrs Herbert’s family, the Earls of Desart, took precedence over Lord Massy, but that did not stop the subsequent fight in the churchyard. 

Benjamin Fisher may have been a descendant of Sir Edward Fisher’s brothers Richard Fisher, or Vincent Fisher, a vintner. In 1611 Sir Edward, an adventurer from London arrived in Dublin with his brothers and  received from the crown a large tract in West Dublin upon which he built a manor house called Phoenix Park. He also received large tracts in Wexford and other places. In the cess of 1621, he lived on Fishmonger Street in St. Johns Parish in Dublin, and died there in 1630. By 1634 the records mention William Fisher and his son Thomas, and Hugh Fisher, vicar of St. John’s.   There was a quite separate family of Fishers, Quaker millers in Piltown and Youghal, but they did not arrive in Ireland till 1692.    Tied in with the pedigree of the Fishbourne family, The National Library has a release by various creditors of Elizabeth Fisher from charges due out of property of her late husband, Thomas Fisher at Coolenekishy, Co. Carlow, Oct., 1746. (National Library of Ireland, Ms. Joly 51 (i)).  Gordon Fishbourne, Esq., J.P., was the agent for the Fisher estate in the early 1900s.

One of the legatees may have been Frances Jackson, daughter of Michael & Rebecca Jackson of Carlow, who died in 1859.    Her father was Quartermaster of the 2nd Troop (Scots), Horse Grenadier Guards (ROD 506. 120. 378210)

In her will she set up an Asylum for destitute Protestant female servants, ten pounds per annum to be paid out of my said share of the Springhill property and the Museum belonging to my late brother Adam Jackson with all the ancient Books and manuscripts belonging thereto also the House of Commons Journals Almanacs Army Lists etc as books of reference in trust for the public whenever a suitable room shall be obtained for it.  The collection also contained the antlers of a Great Irish Elk.  As a beneficiary of Springhill it may be presumed that she was one of the legatees of Fisher.

It would appear that the Coopers also retained an interest.  The Dublin Weekly Register reported on Sat 21 December 1822 that on Sat 14 Dec 1822 William Cooper of Cooper Hill had had Owen Crosby, wo had lived at Spring Hill for more than 60 years (ie since 1760) as a tenant of the Legatees of Fisher, arrested on a “Court of Conscience” warrant.  He had become Mr Cooper’s tenant in 1821, renting 15 acres at £3 13s an acre, and owed £60.  He had offered the crop on the field to Cooper (valued at £60) and to give up the tenancy, but both offers were refused.  The economics of the field are interesting – his rent is £40 p a, and his gross return in a reasonable year is £60 p.a.  – there’s not much room for error or a bad year!  In the case he paid off £10/2/6 and was remanded on bail till the balance was paid.

On 18 Oct 1858 it was reported that Kate Mary, youngest dau of the late Owen Crosby and niece of William Dargan m James A Roche of Springfield NJ at St John the Evangelist in New York. 

In the graveyard at Killeshin there are a couple of memorials that relate:- 

This stone was erected by Owen Crosby in memory of his wife Mary Crosby otherwise Beaghan. She departed this life the 12th. of February 1804 aged 42 years. May she rest in peace Amen. 

Nearby is a stone to Dargan:- Erected by Patrick Dargan in memory of his mother Sile(?) Dargan who departed this life 24th April 1801 aged 76 years. Lord have mercy on their souls Amen. And also his wife Elizabeth Dargan who dept. this life Dec. the 24th 1813 aged 42 years and of the above Patrick Dargan who departed this lifef (stone broken) aged 83 years. Also his children Michael, Damien Bridget & Patrick who died young. 

William Dargan (28 February 1799 – 7 February 1867) may have been a surviving son.  He was arguably the most important Irish engineer of the 19th century and certainly the most important figure in railway construction.  The exact place of birth is uncertain but may have been Ardristan near Tullow. When William was a boy the family moved to rent a 101 acres farm at Ballyhide, 1.5 km S. E of Springhill.   The names of his siblings are also uncertain, but one genealogical source lists William as the eldest of seven brothers and his will mentions a sister named Selina.   Two influential patrons took a hand in Dargan’s career: John Alexander of the milling family based at Milford, Co. Carlow, and Sir Henry Parnell of Rathleague,  MP for Queen’s Co. 

Dargan gave us not only our railways but also The National Gallery, as part of the 1853 Dublin Exhibition, Ireland’s answer to The Crystal Palace Exhibition.  The enterprise, to which he contributed nearly £100,000, involved him in an eventual loss of £20,000.  Apart from the DART he constructed over 1,300 km (800 miles) of railway around Ireland.

He married Jane Arkinstall in the Anglican Church of St Michael & All Angels, Adbaston, Staffordshire in 1828.   He bought Mount Annville in Dublin (his neighbour at the smaller Mount Annvile House, on the opposite side of the road was the distiller Henry Roe).  By 1857, William Dargan used ‘The Tower, Mount Anville’ as his business address as well as 74 Harcourt Street.   Queen Victoria visited Mr Dargan in 1853 and the visit was described in the Illustrated London Newspaper in September 1853.  A Wellingtonia tree growing outside the main door of Mount Anville House was planted by her and in 1863 plants from Mount Anville were transplanted to create the public gardens in Bray.   Following a very bad fall from his horse, Dargan sold Mount Anville to the Convent of The Sacred Heart and died a year later on 7 February 1867 . 

Mount Anville

He seems to have been universally liked, and had a quick wit, as quoted in Seventy Years of Irish Life by William Richard Le Fanu (1896):- “A spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar” and “Never show your teeth unless you can bite”.

Nicholas Harman, of Carlow, settled in Ireland during the reign of James I.   Whence came he?    Most Elizabethan adventurers leave copious genealogies,   But not Harman.  So he was probably not from the grand Harmans of  Sussex and Norfolk.  Nor was he related to William Horman (c. 1440-1535), headmaster at Eton and Winchester, best known for his Latin grammar textbook the Vulgaria; or  Thomas Harman ( fl. 1567),  who was an English writer on beggars, grandson of Henry Harman, clerk of the crown under Henry VII, who obtained the estates of Ellam and Maystreet in Kent.

He was however one of the first burgesses of Carlow, named in the charter granted to that borough by James I in 1614, and was High Sheriff of County Carlow in 1619.  He had two sons, Edward Harman and Sir Thomas Harman of Athy, MP who commanded Sir George Wentworth’s (the brother of Sir Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford who was executed by Charles I) troop in the Athy area in 1643 (Protestant in the Confederate War, Royalist in the Civil War).  Edward’s son was William Harman, of Derrymoyle, Queen’s County (on the Ballickmoyler Road out of Carlow)  and of Dublin whose will was dated 27th April, 1682 and proved 10th Jan 1684. William had two children, both daughters, but the elder died before her father so William left his wealth to his younger daughter Catherine who, around 1680,  married James Fitzmaurice, of Kilmihil, Co Clare, brother of Thomas Fitzmaurice, 21st Lord of Kerry, and uncle of John Petty of Springfield Castle, 1st Earl of Shelburne. 

Sir Thomas Harman’s great grandson was Lawrence Parsons Harman, Lord Oxmanstown and Earl of Rosse (1749-1807), of Newcastle, MP for County Longford, 1775-92, who assumed the additional surname of Harman in 1792, on succeeding to the Harman estates, and married, in 1772, Lady Jane King, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Kingston (a dangerous relative- he shot his son’s father in law qv Levally). He was also ancestor of the King Harmans of Rockingham House,  Boyle.   Sir Thomas’ family had lands at Moyle between Carlow and Tullow, Edward’s land was on the other side of Carlow, into Laois, centred on Derrymoyle, Old Derrig, Springhill and Killeshin – considerably more profitable as it included coal mines!

James Fitzmaurice  and Catherine Harman were recorded as living at Bannagh, Co Kerry in 1720 & 1724. The Hon Captain James died before 1749 when his widow advertised the lands of Derrymoyle and the colliery for let.  She was living at Bowensford near Charleville, Co Cork (Pue’s Occurrences 21 February 1749)

On 28 July 1755 her grandson James Fitzmaurice had a son, Harman, by his wife Catherine Moore (both were minors and had married earlier that year!) at Springhill.  The god parents were Warter Wilson Esq, William Moore Esq. , The Hon Catherine Fitzmaurice and Mrs Elizabeth Magrath.    This is the first reference found so far to the Fitzmaurices at Springhill.  Harman married Maria Evans and died 9th July, 1839 at Ardateggle, just over the hill from Springhill.  With thanks to Catherine FitzMaurice, Bandon Genealogy

It is fairly certain that the Fitzmaurice’s never had more than a lease on Springhill, the head landlords being the Fishers, in succession to Thomond to Warren to Cooper. 

In the meantime both Taylor and Skinner (1783) and George Tyner’s  1791 Traveller’s Guide Through Ireland list Springhill as being the seat of Coghill Cramer esq.

However Mr Cramer was trying to sell his interest in 1777, and by March 1790 James Roe, the next tenant,  is selling his interest.  What of James Roe – the complications of the Roe Genealogy make me blanche!  I did discover that he was one who gave his name to the efficacy of inoculation against smallpox in an advertisement in the Freeman’s Journal of 1769.  As I write there are discussions about how people can be persuaded to take the Covid Vaccine.  Maybe we will see similar advertisements!

Oliver Coghill Cramer possessed property in the County Carlow, where he married a Miss Rudkin, “a lady of more beauty than fortune” (the note of disapproval suggests that the commentator had chosen money over beauty!); by her he left two children, Marmaduke Coghill and Hester.  The former married first a Miss Humphreys, also of County Carlow, by whom he had two or three children that died in infancy, and secondly the daughter of Jacob Warren, Esq., of Grangely, County Kildare, a family related to the Wellesleys and descended from John Warren, who held the property 100 years earlier.  The descendants of this marriage are Maurice Cramer, who inherited Beamore at Drogheda from the Countess of Charleville, Captain Cramer of the Rattlesnake, a Trafalgar veteran, and other cousins residing at Drumcondra.

Sarah Marcella FitzMaurice, b 21 Dec 1818, the daughter of Captain James Fitzmaurice RN and Harriet Thomas, grand-daughter of Harman and Maria and great grand daughter of James and Catherine Moore, married Dr James Lafarelle whose father had been renting Springhill since before 1837 (when he appears in Lewis’s Topography.) till at least 1860 when Dr James died. 

Capt Paget Butler (1831- 1913) arrived in 1861.  Henry William Paget Butler, Capt Carlow Militia, was the 4th son of Son of Sir Thomas Butler of Ballintemple.  He married Geraldine Sydney Fitzgerald, one of the three love children of  Lord William FitzGerald, brother of the 3rd Duke of Leinster, to whom the manor of Graney, at Castledermott had been granted.   He left in 1868 (selling a 57 year lease).

However on Wednesday 14 July 1909 Hansard records :-  W. C. Steadman asked Augustine Birrell, the Chief Secretry for Ireland :- Is he aware that the solicitor having carriage of the sale of Thomas Butler’s estate, of Ballyvass, county Kildare, obtained a conveyance to himself of that estate, and also of Butler’s estate of Springhill, Queen’s County, on 9th November, 1903, as shown by a memorial in the Registry of Deeds, Dublin; that the execution of the conveyance was witnessed by two of the solicitor’s clerks; that the only money advanced by the solicitor to Butler was £384; that Butler’s two estates realised £6,079; that the giving of the conveyance left Butler absolutely without means, and that he died in great poverty; whether he is aware that his personal estate was sworn at £3; that the solicitor placed the estate of Springhill in the Land Judge’s Court in a false name and published an improper final notice to claimants and incumbrancers; that Butler’s share of the purchase price of Springhill and bonus was £2,867; will he say if Butler or his widow have received any portion of that money, and, if so, how much, as there is no record of any such payment; if the solicitor has received a payment of £935; and if he will call for a detailed account to show what has been done with Butler’s share of the purchase money of the estate of Springhill?

Mr Birrell:- I am informed by the Registrar to the Land Judge that there do not appear to have been any proceedings in that Court for the sale of the estate of Thomas Butler. As regards the proceedings instituted before the Land Commission, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the question asked by him on the 6th instant. As the title to the claims on the estate has not yet been investigated, the charges made in the question against the solicitor having carriage of the sale cannot now be dealt with by the Land Commission. It is open to the parties, if so advised, to raise the question before the Court of the Land Commission at the time of the distribution of the purchase money, or, in the meantime, to take proceedings before a court having jurisdiction in such matters.

This Thomas Butler (1814-1893) is the elder brother of Paget Butler.  His widow, Emma Elizabeth Bertie Cator, had died in 1905, and the beneficiary would have been their daughter Laura and her husband Commander Francis Fitzpatrick Tower, whose only daughter became Lady Dunboyne.  An odd aside, and it is hard to see how and when Butler acquired an interest in Springhill. 

Saturday, October 29, 1892, In consequence of the tenant Joseph Greene leaving the county, an unexpired lease from the legatees of Fisher Esq is to be sold.    John Greene married Elizabeth Anne Lafarelle, daughter if Dr James Lafarelle of Springhill on 11th November, 1861.  His son Joseph Greene b 18 Dec 1861 (5 weeks water!)  at Spring Hill.  He married Charlotte FitzMaurice, daughter of Gamaliel and Charlotte on 13 May 1885 at Kenilworth Square, Rathgar. Dublin.   Charlotte had been born in Laurel Lodge, Carlow (which was the home of the Faulkners, Legatees of Fisher!)  and her father had been born at Old Derrig and died at Ballyhide, the farm that had been rented by the Dargans,  Their children were Elizabeth Adeline Greene b 10 Jan 1892 at Spring Hill and Amy Hilda Greene b 21 Nov 1893 at Ballymagarvey, Balrath, Navan.

When Sarah Marcella Lafarelle’s brother Major Harman Fitzmaurice, the son of Captain James FitzMaurice, RN,  and Harriett Thomas (only daughter of Arthur Thomas of Straw Hall, Carlow),  married his first wife Frances Fitmaurice,   he gave his address as Old Derrig.  Crossleigh is where they were living when Harman jnr was born on 25 Mar 1866.  His mother died 3 years later at Springhill House, , deeply regretted by numerous circle of relatives and friends.   They had presumably moved when Paget Butler left. 

Harman’s second wife was Helena Fitmaurice. They married in September 1876 and his address was Spring Hill House.  She died at Spring Hill 6 days after William Raymond Fitzmaurice of Everton (his first wife’s father), in November 1896. 

In the 1901 Census the 80 year old Harman Fitzmaurice and his 22 year old daughter Ada were in residence.  They had moved to Crossleigh at Ballyhide by 1903, when Ada married Clarence Cary, a land agent of Dublin Street, Carlow.  Harman died in 1908 with his daughter and son in law beside him. 

By late 1901 William Reilly, farmer and harness maker, was of Springhill.  The Census of 1911 lists him (b 1857) his wife Bridget  (b 1858) (daughter of Martin Brennan from Killeshin), their sons John, Thomas and James, their daughter Elizabeth, and his brother in law Thomas Brennan.    His son Big Tom O’Reilly (named after his grandfather Thomas Reilly),  a hero of the War of Independence  died in 1953, and was buried with full military honours.  

Though the house may be in need of TLC, Reilly’s descendants have been in possession longer than any of the preceding owners.

I had hoped to bring Laois’s favourite aviator James Michael Christopher Fitzmaurice DFC (6 January 1898 – 26 September 1965) into the family, but his father Michael Fitzmaurice, who was a prison warder at Mountjoy, was born in Limerick.  His mother, Mary Reardon was the daughter of a steward from Limerick.   His grandfather, also Michael was a policeman and also from Limerick.  James moved with his parents to Maryborough (Portlaoise), in 1902, when his father was transferred to the prison staff there. James attended St Mary’s CBS and subsequently boarded at Rockwell until in 1913 his father sent him, aged fifteen, to Waterford city as a trainee salesman at Hearn’s drapery. Fitzmaurice was of course part of the Bremen flight, the first flight across the Atlantic from East to West in 1928

Raheenduff – the little black fort, one of the most important 17th Century houses in Laois

 Described by The Buildings of Ireland as a “Detached five-bay two-storey house, built c.1730, possibly incorporating fabric of earlier house, c.1675. House is set back from road in own grounds, landscaped grounds to site. Gateway to site comprising roughcast piers with wrought iron gates”. 

Tierney in his Pevsner’s “Central Leinster” does it far more justice, pointing out that since the demolition of Cremorgan it is the only surviving house built by descendants of The O’More’s. He comments that it has “sash windows of various types almost flush with the walls. Inside are high ceilings with tall narrow doorways. Plain central hall. Wainscoted drawing room to the r. with a dentil and egg-and-dart cornice. Original shouldered architraves here and on the first-floor landing. Very fine but much-rotted dog-leg staircase, through an off-centre fan-lit doorway to the rear of the hall. Closely set balusters and ramped railing to the first floor, continued upwards in fretwork. Large high-ceilinged kitchen wing of similar date to the South. An inscription over the coachhouse gives the date 1724, under which are added the initials JB 1840. This suggests that the house was built by the Rev. Francis Moore (d1729), or his daughter Catherine and son-in-law Col. William Caulfield, married in 1723. The outhouses may have been extended by John Baldwin (`JB’), listed as occupant in 1851.

Around 1520 Mortagh oge O More was born at Raheenduff.   Edmund T. Bewley wrote “Notes on an Old Pedigree of the O’More Family of Leix” in the JRSAI Vol 5, March 1905 which details how Mortagh was given a grant of Raheendoff in 1563 (and of Cremorgan in 1570).  His family took part in the regular uprisings of that period, and he, his son Lisagh and his son-in-law Dermod O’Lalor are included in a pardon granted in pursuance of a fiant, dated 12th March, 1576-7.

Mortagh married Honor O Lalor and had two sons and a daughter.  The eldest son Lisagh was killed in the fighting in September 1600, and Lisagh’s son Paul was attainted.   The land was granted to his younger brother John Moore, who was buried at Stradbally.  John’s son Pierce Moore married Mary Edgeworth, daughter of Francis Edgeworth of Edgeworthstown, (ca. 1565-1627). Her mother was Jane Tuite (ca. 1570-1641).  They had two sons and four daughters.  On his death around 1650 she remained at Raheenduff and married John Pigott of Disert who died in 1668.  Because of the subsequent history of the house, with the actual owner rarely being the resident, I would suggest that the massive gables with their obviously early stacks are from a house built soon after their marriage (circa 1630), but before the rising of 1641.

In those days it was the Wild Wood of “The Wind in the Willows” – according to Mason’s Statistical Survey, an English commander received the thanks of Queen Elizabeth “for conducting a party of her cavalry in safety through the wood of Iregan from Birr to Athy“.   A virgin forest of oak, pine and yew.

Jonah Barrington has a tale of the Battle of the Boyne – “My great grandfather, (a known supporter of William) was taken prisoner (by O’Fagan, a Jacobite wig maker) and conveyed to the drum head at Raheenduff, tried as a rebel by a certain Cornet McMahon and in due form ordered to be hanged in an hour.  At the appointed time execution was punctually proceeded on and so far as tying up the colonel to the cross bar of his own gate the sentence was actually put in force.  But at the moment the first haul was given to elevate him Ned Doran a tenant of the estate who was a trooper in King James’s army rode up to the gate,  himself and horse in a state of complete exhaustion.  He saw with horror his landlord strung up and exclaimed “Holloa, holloa, blood and ouns boys, cut down the colonel, cut down the colonel or ye ll be all hanged yeerselves, ye villains of the world ye.  I am straight from the Boyne Water through thick and thin, though by the hokys we’re all cut up and kilt to the devil and back agin.  Jemmy’s scampered, bad luck to him, without a good bye to yees, or kiss my **** or the least civility in life.”  My grandfather’s hangman lost no time in getting off,  leaving the colonel slung fast by the neck to the gate posts.  But Doran soon cut him down and fell on his knees to beg pardon of his landlord by the holy Virgin and King William from the Boyne Water”

John Pigott’s  daughter with Mary Edgeworth,   Ann Pigott, married Francis Cosby of Stradbally

John Pigott’s  son with Mary Edgeworth,  Thomas, married Bridget Brereton and after he died in 1729 (described as “of Gurteen” ) his property went to his second cousin Thomas Pigott of Hophall, (which became part of Lamberton) but first her brother Bowen Brereton and then her younger brother Arthur Brereton, who died in 1761, described themselves as of Raheenduff.

The property however still belonged to the Moores – Pierce’s son, the Venerable John Moore, Archdeacon of Cloyne had administered John Pigott’s estate in 1669, and his son the Rev Frances Moore, vicar of Athy and Inishannon (quite a ride between those churches on a Sunday – nearly 150 miles!) , who also died in 1729, had married his cousin Catherine Weldon and they had a daughter Catherine.  She married Col. William Caulfield, who became Lieut Governor of Fort George at Inverness.  He was the son of the Hon. Toby Caulfield,  and grandson of William Caulfield, 1st Viscount Charlemont.  They were married in 1723 and this is probably why Thomas Pigott moved out to Gurteen and this is probably when the house was rebuilt – the Caulfields were infamous builders – Charlemont House (the Hugh Lane Gallery) the Casino at Marino, …. Caulfield was born at Clone House, which still stands between Freshford and Ballyragget and descended to the ancestors of Walt Disney.

Clone House
Cradle Hall, Inverness

The Breretons probably moved in when he was made Inspector of Roads for Scotland in 1732, and after the departure of General Wade Caulfield became responsible for directing the construction of new roads and bridges across the Highlands.    Although he is not as well known as Wade, he is associated with the construction of far more roads than his predecessor. General Wade was responsible for 250 miles (400 km) of road, 40 bridges and 2 forts – whereas Caulfield was responsible for 900 miles (1,400 km) of road and over 600 bridges – about 5% of all the roads in Scotland, and 1/3rd of all the bridges! He became Deputy Governor of Inverness Castle in 1747 which is probably when he built Cradle Hall in Inverness, only a couple of miles from Culloden where the Duke of Cumberland had massacred the Scots two years earlier. The name Cradle Hall is said to originate from the hoisting of inebriated guests in a cradle to recover. There is a full account of his road building in A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland (Skempton & Chrimes, 2002). During the 1745 Caulfield served as Quartermaster General to General Sir John Cope, who was so disastrously defeated at Prestonpans, the first significant battle of the Jacobite rising.

The Caulfield descendants remained as “of Raheenduffe” right up to the 20th century when Lenore Caulfield of Raheenduff and 40 Roland Gardens, Kensington, (opposite Anouska Hempel’s Blakes Hotel)  married John Garland Cope of Drumily, Co Armagh.  http://lordbelmontinnorthernireland.blogspot.com/2014/01/drumilly-house.html

After Arthur Breterton died in 1761 it is not clear who the next tenant was till David Baldwin arrived    Baldwin, born about 1761 was probably living at Dysart, 1797;   He is of Rahineduff, December 1805, when he was advertised as receiving proposals in writing for the lease of a complete and equipped Brewery and Malt House in Stradbally [Dublin Evening Post, Tuesday 17 December].  His father was John BALDWIN, born 1718; named as the first life for the term of his father’s deed of lease, 1751; his will was proved in Dublin, 22 August 1797, aged 79 [W.B., 1918, of Dysart, Queen’s County, Gent [P.C.I. Index – VICARS]; he was married on 11 February 1760 to Elizabeth CAMBIE, daughter of Solomon CAMBIE of Castletown, County Tipperary [W.B., “Genealogy…” 1918, page 72];  There were three Baldwin brothers who arrived in Laois, one of Doone, near Abbeyleix and one of Summerhill  near Portaloise.  Though whether they were sons of a Cromwellian soldier from Lancashire, as seems probable or, as in a rather more fanciful genealogy,  descendants Henry Baldwin, a ranger of Woods and Forests in Shropshire, who married Elinor, daughter of Sir Edward Herbert, of Red Castle, who was the second son of the first Lord Pembroke, by Lady Anne, daughter of Lord Paar, of Kendall, and sister of Lady Catherine Paar (or Paer), surviving queen of Henry VIII., King of England. That Henry Baldwin had three sons, who settled in Ireland in the time of Queen Elizabeth, only further research will reveal. 

David Baldwin died in 1834, when his horse fell on him.  His son John was born about 1815.  Of his first wife there are no records.  His second wife was  Elizabeth Clarke   (d Apr 1872).  They were married on 23 Aug 1851 in Dysart Enos Church, witnesses Thomas Turpin, Robert Clarke.     She was the daughter of George and Esther Clarke of Killimy, Coolbanagher, and the widow of Robert Onions of Borris.  John Baldwin died in 1873.

During the famine in February 1847 the Leinster Leader reported . About two o’clock on the morning of last Saturday Mr. John Baldwin’s two watchmen at Raheenduff, hearing an unusual tinkling of the sheep bells, suspected that some robbers were prowling about, and armed themselves for the purpose of protecting their employer’s property. The foremost man, on putting his head outside the shed (which had been erected for the watchmen), received a blow of a  bludgeon, which tumbled him back on the floor ; the second man then presented his gun at the assailants, but it missed fire. Having stopped to put on a detonating cap, to have a second offer, the party was off before he could procure one.  After being outside for some time, they perceived that the roof of the shed had been set on fire.   Two or three nights in succession Mr Baldwin’s ploughs had been plundered of their tackling.

In August 1862 the papers reported DEATH OF THE PONY HORSE  Died, at Raheenduffe, Queen’s County, a few days since, in the thirty-fourth year of his age, Nimble Dick, the vell-known pony horse. Dick, during his lifetime, carried a man to the Emo, Ward, and Queen’s County hounds. He was first introduced to the Queen’s County by Mr. Armstrong, of Graigavorne, who afterwards transferred him to Mr. Alloway, the then master of the Emo hounds Subsequently, lie found his way to the stable of Mr. Carmichael, with whom he surpassed his former achievements in the field, jumping and clearing water-leaps upwards of sixteen and seventeen feet wide. His last owner was made a present of Dick’s services, and with him he ‘ crossed country” till about three years ago, when, old age telling on Dick, he was sent to grass, and up to his death he continued to receive that generous treatment which his qualities deserved. During twenty-six years’ hunting Dick never came to grief, nor was he ever beaten off if fairly handled, as can be attested by all the good riders of the different hunts he appeared.

The next tenant, George Gurd, was only there for 6 years.  In January 1880 George Gurd, clerk to the petty sessions in Stradbally, is selling.  His son Thomas Gurd, also clerk to the petty sessions,  kept 30 acres which he is sold in 1892.  Leinster Leader – Saturday 13 August 1892

George Ross arrived in 1880.   1st September 1887, Ploughman and General Farm Servant (single) ; must be well recommended and strictly sober; wages £l2 per anuum, with board. Reply with copy of discharges, Mr George Ross, Raheenduff House, Stradbally, Queen’s County.

In the 1901  Census George Ross, from Kings County (63) his wife Eva Marion,(nee Gaze)  47, their son Gorge Trevor 22, their 9 year old daughter (who died shortly afterwards)  and the maiden aunt Frances Ross (76) were there with three servants

George and Eva Marion were married in 1872 in Dublin and the 18 year old Marion’s father was John Gaze of Gaze and Jessop, auctioneers who also owned The Maryborough Hotel., now the Jeremiah Grant Bar.

Their son Albert was in South Africa.  The Kilkenny Moderator – Saturday 11 January 1908 reports:-   COME BACK TO ERIN. Mr Albert E Ross, says the ” Johannesburg Times,” one of the chief officials of the CSA Railway, has left for home on  six months’ holiday, and before leaving was presented by the residents of Jeppestown and his colleagues with a valuable presentation, a tangible token of their esteem and regard, consisting of a splendid dressing case, richly fitted. Other newspapers paid high tributes to Mr Ross’s ability and courtesy, and his gentlemanly consideration towards his colleagues and subordinates. Mr Ross, who is younger son of Mr and Mrs George Ross, Raheenduff House, (with whom he has been spending his holidays), returns to South Africa at the end of the week. In the dark days of the South African War, Mr Bertie Hoes and Mr Armstrong, son of the late Rector of Stradbally, joined the Imperial Yeomanry, and saw a good deal of service, and both were in the decisive engagements in which our great Irish commander, Earl Roberts, won added glory. Mr Armstrong fell, but his young comrade came through it all, and at the close of the war he took up a position on the Government Railways, where he has been ever since, and, as said already, returns to his duties this week. His many friends In Queen’s County send their best wishes with Mr Roes for his farther prosperity in the land of diamonds and gold.

They were still there in the 1911 census, though now lacking servants.

From his 1916 Obituary – At Christmas, 1914, Mr. Ross, while entering a field through a gate near his residence. was seriously injured in the shoulder and head by the impact of a heavy branch of a tree which smashed on just as he passed under it; the day was stormy, causing the branch to break off. The injury to one of his age was more severe than it would have been to a young man, as might be expected, and though a sound constitution enabled him to avert a fatal termination for several months, still advanced years told its tale, and he never recovered from the unfortunate accident. – Mr. Ross in his early life studied agricultural systems scientifically; this was at a time when few were educated in farming as a science. He was appointed to the position of instructor at the Model Farm, Limerick. on the completion of his studies at Glasnevin Agricultural College, and after a short period there , he was appointed to the charge of Athy Model Schools and farm, from which he was promoted to the instructorship of the more important Model Farm of Kilkenny, which he managed from 1862 to 1878. 

The mourners at the funeral included . T. Ross (son); A. Hipwell and T. K. Hinds (sons in-law): George Ross and Harold Hinds (grandsons); George N. Jessop, J.P. ; T H, Carter, and V. G. Hinds (nephews). The general attendance included:— Sir H. J. Walsh, Bart. ; Dr. M. O’Connell, Rev. A. G. Stuart, Rev. J. J. Delaney, P.P. • Rev. W. Matchett s Rev. W. Hipwell  Messrs John Hipwell, J.P ;  R. E. Odium, J.P. ; William Odium, Digby Odlum, Robert Anderson, Henry Howie, Thomas Davidson. D. McKenna, John Dwen, W. Fisher, J . Thompson; R. N.,  Bro J  O’Keeffe, T. R. Gard, C.P.S. ; James Neill, T. S. Moyles, J. T. Lewis. J. W. Empey. Albert  Empey,  A. Hinchliffe, A. Claxton. William Luttrell, James Salter, C. W. Gard, J. A. Kavanagh, H. Kavanagh, P. Phelan, T. Timmons J.P.  D. Shaughnessy, J Vanton,  Dr. W. Dimond, J. Fennelly, Patrick Dunne, D. P. Shortall, _Bartholomew Dunne, Daniel Dunne, W. Stone, Dr. Rice, F. W. Guy. W. Simpson, P. Donohoe, John Horgan, . Bryan Kelly, Daniel Brennan, M. Kiernan, Joseph Walsh, Gerald Burke, W. Carroll, Joseph Kelly, Thomas Salter, W. Maher, Sergeant Lennon, Constables Burke. Larkin, C. Smith, C. Moore, H. Fineh, J.P. ; H. Meredith. J. Marlette, Colgan, J. Kelly. Maryborough ; T. Mullen, J. Turpin, W. J. Reilly, W. Dobbin, G. Dixon, W.Pilkington. W. A. Rowe, G. Wilson, W. Pattison. W. Simpson, etc. The coffin bore the inscription:— George Ross . died February 9th,1916 aged 77 years” 

Mrs Ross continued farming with the assistance of her son till they sold in 1926 when it was bought by William F. Hendy, of Kildangan, whose family had long been strong farmers in South Kildare.

In 1931, following an arson attack on the gate lodge, William Hendy gave a useful account of the house – The applicant swore that he had living for over five years at Raheenduff House, which bought from Mrs. Ross. In the farm there were 180 statute acres, and kept a proportionate amount of stock. There were 27 apartments in the bouse, which was a quarter of mile from the main road. The avenue was down hill from the road to the house. The gate lodge in question was at the entrance from the main road. The entrance gate was a heavy iron gate, in two parts, hung on stone piers. He had had applications to let the cottage, but had refused to let it, except for a short term to one of his workmen. During the five years he had been there he had had trouble with poachers, and had prosecuted two them. At about 4 o’clock in the evening of the 25th July he saw the gate lodge; it was all right then. On the morning of the 26th July, at 8 o’clock, when he went to bring in cows, he saw smoke going up at the house; he thought it was gipsies, or travelling people, who had the fire. When came a little further he saw fire rising behind the house, and when he came a few perches further saw the thatch roof fallen in, completely burned. Then noticed that the avenue gate was gone, and found that one half of it had been carried in and thrown across the door of the gate lodge, and the other had been thrown in the ditch on the other side of the road. sent for the Guards. There was nothing in the cottage, and it was smouldering away at the time. All the glass in the three windows in the cottage was broken. got estimate from Mr. Ikrgin, Engineer, of what it would cost to rebuild the house. Cross-examined Mr. Byrne, witness said that was greatly surprised when saw the house burned. He knew the people that were poaching. In one instance one of them, whom he chased, challenged him with a gun, and (witness) had to take himself away. That was some time last April. The nearest house to the cottage was a farmer’s place about perches away, the opposite side the road, and in off the road; it was in full view the gate lodge, and there was labourer’s cottage off up the road. He (witness) was not the last one to pass the gate lodge going home. The walls of the gate lodge were stone-mason work. It would be wrong say that they were mud walls. The roof thatch, was in perfect order. He did not suggest that the man he had in it two years ago burned it because he put him out of it.

William Hendy (right) at the Athy Show

A rant – It is dreadfully sad that the owners of Raheenduff in the 21st  century don’t seem to realise what an important task they have as guardians of this historically very important house, that is as an integral a part of Irish history as Pearse’s St Endas or the O’Conor’s  Clonalis, to preserve it for future generations, and sadder still that the State offers them no real assistance.  There is a €40m sports grant scheme for 2021, which requires no matching finance.  The Local Authority grants for the conservation of a protected structure requires a quantity surveyor to give a detailed cost breakdown of works; planning permission, which also requires a report from a conservation architect,  fire safety certificate or other statutory approval; tax certificate clearance; and a method statement for the works (more work for a conservation architect).  The maximum grant is €13,000, which is little more than the cost of getting the planning permission and applying for the grant.   Bodies like An Taisce and The Irish Georgian Society do what they can, but it is too little, as the annalists of Irish dereliction like Tarquin Blake and David Hicks so clearly show.   Reflect on what has been preserved in Laois:-  too often it is only the benevolence of the very, very rich, like Fred Krehbeil at Ballyfin, David Davis at Abbeyleix, Cholmeley Cholmeley-Harrison at Emo and John Picerne at Capard.    Tom Dobson who saved Glenmalire, Sarah Webb and her husband Patrick who breathed life into Archerstown, James Speedy at Summergrove, Canice Farrell  at Knockatrina,  Mike Fitzpatrick at Aghaboe,   – people like these, who put everything they had into preserving our heritage, are the heroes of Laois’s heritage.    Catherine Martin and Darragh O’Brien,  the ministers, should (but won’t!) hang their heads in shame.

Raheenduff 2000
Raheenduff 2005

Beckfield – En Attendant Roe, and tasty Derbyshire cheese

It is said that in D’Arcy Mc Gee’s History of Ireland, there are so many Irish Roes that it would be fatiguing to quote them to any extent.

John O’Hart’s not always reliable Irish Pedigrees suggests that Neil Ruadh (“the red”)112 on the “O’Neill” (Princes of Tyrone) pedigree, was the ancestor of O’Ruaidhe, anglicised as Roe and Rowe in Cork and Waterford.  Alternatively they might be descendants of the McEnroe sept from Cavan and Leitrim

Others suggest the name was originally derived from the Old French nickname le rous, meaning redhead, and the progenitor was a Norman knight (why can’t a stable boy ever be the founder of a family?)  The surname Roe was first found in Norfolk where Turchil le Roux was granted lands by King William after his attendance upon him at Hastings. His son Ralph the Red (Roux) went with King Henry to the Crusades and held the Castle of Pont-Echanfre near Bernai in Vexin Normandy. He died in the wreck of the “Blanche Neuf” with the King’s two sons and their estates became divided. 

More fanciful origins include a medieval nickname from the Old French word “roi”, meaning king, and hence denoting someone who behaved in a regal fashion, or who had earned the title in some contest of skill; or it might be from the Olde English pre 7th century word “roege”, meaning “roe deer”, and hence describe a fast mover. Other suggestions include a nickname for a ‘timid’ or ‘shy’ person, or from the French ‘Baillargeon’, a cereal farmer.  Scottish Roes take their name from the word for a low, small, narrow peninsula.

There are several distinct Roe families in Ireland – the Roes of Wexford, bankers and brewers.  George Roe the distiller was identified as a relative of Rev Peter Roe (died 1842), son of Dr Henry Roe of that county. “Dr Roe’s family was of English origin His grandfather came over to Ireland from Berkshire in the reign of William III and settled in the Queen’s County whence he afterward removed to Wexford.  He had two sons Peter and John Peter the eldest married a Miss Rotheram of the Queen’s County who died leaving several children and secondly Mary daughter of Hunter Gowan of Mount Nebo Wexford Esq JP by whom he had three sons The eldest was Dr (Henry) Roe father to the subject of our memoir”.  The Life of the late Rev. P. Roe  By Samuel Madden 1842

The Roes of Rockwell and Roe’s Green, Cashel, County Tipperary, are said to be descendants of Sir Thomas Roe, Queen Elizabeth’s envoy to Turkey. His grandson, born in Kent belonged to Lord Inchiquin’s Regiment of Horse and was granted Ballymacdonofin in Co. Wexford.  He bought estates from Ormonde for his four sons.

The Roes of Meath and, most prolific of all, the Roes of the Midlands.  In Griffiths Valuation there were 380 Roe families in Ireland, outside Dublin, of whom 107 were in Laois, Offaly and Kilkenny.

Helen Maybury Roe, Medievalist and the first Laois County Librarian was born in December 1895, the only child of a prosperous Church of Ireland family from Mountrath. Her father, William Ernest Roe, was a mill owner, and his family had been prominent in Laois from the 17th century – an interesting assertion as it means that they were unrelated to Dr Henry Roe’s grandfather and the distilling Roes. Roe attended primary school in Mountrath and went on to secondary school in nearby Abbeyleix, though for at least part of her teenage years she lived in Portlaoise.

W.E. Roe was the son of William Roe born 1810.  His father William senior moved to Mountrath around 1798 from Knockfin, near Rathdowney bought the woollen factory and converted it into a flour mill.  The claim that these Roes are descended from James Roe of Inchiquin’s Regiment is possible, but the claim is generally based on the confusion between Granstown Castle, Rathdowney, Laois and Grantstown Castle Kilfeacle co. Tipperary, both of which belonged at different times to different Roe families.


Peter Roe of Killdellig, near Ballybrophy, who died at the residence of his son George Roe of Ru(i)sh Hall in 1852 was born in 1750.

There were Roes in Durrow in the 1740s, but the earlies reference so far is to Robert Roe of Seafin, Birr in the 1690s, whose grandson John Hudson Roe married his relation Anne Roe of Rathdowney in 1790.  In the papers of the Chief Secretary’s Office Certificate there is a recommendation from John Thomas Drought, Whigsborough, King’s County on behalf of John Hudson Roe. States that he has known Roe for nearly 30 years, as a tenant, and during the 1798 rebellion, when Roe was permanent sergeant of the Parsonstown cavalry. Emphasises that he is a ‘good and loyal Protestant’ and recommends him for any police vacancy. Recommendation also signed by Thomas Bernard, King’s County; and by Laurence Parsons, 2nd Earl Rosse.

There are theories that Robert Roe of Seafin, born 1738, married Grace Hodgson, niece of the Earl of Rosse, in 1769, and there may have been an earlier Robert Roe living at Seafin, born in 1682. It is hard to find the evidence!

Beckfield, also known as Beckville, first appears when Edward Flood (abt 1731-1804), the son of Robert Flood of Middlemount, d 1782,  was in pursuit of three tenants who did a midnight flit without paying him his rent.  He offered 30 guineas to anyone who apprehended them on 27 February 1773 in Finns Leinster Journal.  He was still at Beckville when created a High Sherriff of Queens County in 1775 Saunders’s News-Letter – Monday 06 February 1775.   In October 1783 he is advertising it to let, and says, probably with a little exaggeration, that it has been built within the last four years.

In May 1764 Edward Flood married Rebecca Warren, the daughter of John Warren of Lowhill, Ballinakill.    Carrigan writes that “Beckfield is so called from a spinster named Beck or Rebecca Flood, who built Beckfield House more than a century ago.” Carrigan’s book was published in 1905, so 1775 would fit if it was named after Mrs Flood, rather than Miss Flood. The dead straight avenue that survives to this day is an interstingly archaic feature seen in many of the minor houses. There used to be a similar avenue at Cuffsboro. Till the 1750s this was the usual layout of an avenue – Huntington Castle and Castletown Connolly are examles. By the middle of the 18th century grand house avenues twist and turn like a woodcock in flight, so that the visitor would catch ever changing vignettes of the estate from the windows of their carriage. Visitors to the minor gentry generally arrived on horseback, and often in the rain, so the shortest distance was the best!

The new tenant was John Roe.  He was too old to be a son of Peter Roe of Kilddelig, so my (slightly informed) guess is that he was a younger brother, and that Ann Roe of Rathdowney who married her cousin was another sibling. And was Philip Roe born 1764, and buried in Churchtown, another brother?

Leet’s 1814 directory lists both Beckfield Queen’s Burros in Ossory John Roe esq and Beckville Queen’s Rathdowney John Roe esq which are the same place.

In 1807 John Roe was looking for tenants for Coolanowle during the minority of Robert Fitzgerald, who subsequently married Mary Anne Roe and lived at Levalley.  (Dublin Evening Post – Saturday 19 September 1807).  In 1819 Robert Fitzgerald was living at Middlemount.

They had at least two daughters and three sons.  In 1808 the eldest daughter Jane married Robert Steele of Mount Oliver, Rathowney the son of R Steele of Kyle.             

31 Mar 1811 Mrs Roe of Beckfield died as reported in Saunders’s News-Letter – Saturday 13 April 1811

In  February 1820 in St Thomas’s Church, Dublin, George Roe Esq Barrister at Law, second son of John Roe Esq of Beckfield, in the Queen’s County, was married  to Caroline third daughter of the late Robert King, Esq of this city.

18 Sep 1824 John, third son of John Roe of Beckfield to Elizabeth Campbell of Barn Elm.   In the churchyard at Saint Nahi’s Church, on the Churchtown Road in Dublin is the following memorial:-

This tomb was erected by John Roe, of North Frederick Street, in the City of Dublin , Esq . , in respect and memory of his lamented and beloved wife , Eliza Roe ( otherwise Campbell , only daughter of the Rev . Matthew Campbell , late of Barn Elm, in this county) ; she departed this life on the 15th day of October , A .D. 1826, in the 24th year of her age , sincerely esteemed and regretted by all who knew her . Here also lieth the remains of Eliza Campbell , relict of the late Rev . Matthew Campbell, of Barn Elm, County Dublin, who departed this life June the lst, 1835, in the 74 th year of her age. Here also are deposited the remains of Frederick Campbell, Esq . , only son of the above – named Rev . Matthew Campbell , late of Barn Elm, Co . Dublin , who departed this life on the 15th day of February , 1861, in the 61st year of his age . Here also are interred the remains of Maria Campbell (otherwise Murray), relict of the above named Frederick Campbell , who departed this life on the 22nd day of November, 1885, aged 82 years .  In the next grave “ Here lieth the body of Philip Roe , who departed this life December the 1lth, 1817, aged 53 years .

9 July 1835 Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent reported that the Rev Samuel Roe, curate of Thornton in Leicestershire, son of John Roe of Beckfield, d in his 38th year.    His wife was Catherine Frances Price, the daughter of the Archdeacon of Killaloe, and granddaughter of James Price of Westfield, Castletown and of Richard Annesley of New Ross who was killed in 1798 at The Rower,  with Bartholomew Cliffe, and Richard Elliot  (Memoirs of the Different Rebellions in Ireland)

Dunmaine from the Buildings of Ireland with quasi defensive flankers

James Annesley, was born on April 15, 1715, in Dunmaine, County Wexford (which was rented from the Colclough family of Tintern Abbey), to Arthur Annesley 5th Baron Altham (1689–14 Nov 1727) and his wife Mary Sheffield, the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Buckingham. He was rejected by his father, who shacked up with a professional lady by Christchurch Cathedral,  and left destitute on the streets of Dublin. Then, at the age of 12 in 1728, soon after the death of his father, Annesley was kidnapped and shipped to an American plantation in Delaware, where he was sold into indentured servitude, by his uncle Richard Annesley, who claim the title of 5th Baron Altham and 6th Earl of Anglesey. However after 12 years working in slave labour and many adventures, James travelled to Jamaica, where he signed on as an able seaman in H.M.S. Falmouth, serving throughout the campaign against Cartagena, but seeing no action. He was discharged in October 1741 and returned to Ireland to lay claim to his birthright. There followed a protracted legal battle between James and Richard, during which Richard tried on a number of occasions to have James murdered. The verdict was in James’ favour, but during his Uncle’s appeal, only 44 years old,  he died. His wicked uncle died a year later in 1760.  Catherine Roe’s grandfather was the son of the wicked uncle by one of his several bigamous marriages.

by George Bickham the Younger, after Kings, line engraving, 1744 © The National Portrait Gallery

Why so much on the antecedents of the Rev Samuel?  Because his son Samuel Robinson Roe became a miller, first at Monodree, Mountmellick and then at Leixlip where he leased from Richard William Steele of New York, the eldest son of John Steele and Elizabeth Massey of Kyle.    His daughter Maria Jones Roe, married William Frank Beckett had a son, named after the Rev Samuel – En attendant Roe!!  Mrs Roe’s great niece was Arthur Chester Beatty’s wife, (he of the Chester Beatty Library), making the late Earl of Warwick (who sold Warwick Castle to Madame Tussauds) Samuel Beckett’s 2nd cousin.

To return to more mundane matters, John Roe had another son Theophilus (a common Roe name).   At a meeting in Ballacolla in February 1838 (Dublin Evening Post – Tuesday 08 February 1848) there were present Theophilus Roe, Ballagh house and Theophilus Roe, Beckfield-house. 

Theopilus of Ballagh, also known as Ballagh Castle, (Ballaghmore at Borris in Ossory rather than Ballagh at Erril – in 1869 Richard J Roe of Ballaghmore had a son), was the son of Peter Roe of Kildellig and brother of George Roe of Rush Hall.  In 1844 he had received a Rockite warning  ” Theophilus Roe, Esq., residing at Ballykelly, within about four miles of Roscrea, (still inhabited, just North of Skirk, beside the M7) on Friday morning last received a Rockite notice of a very heinous description, threatening him with immediate death should he not give up within six days some lands at Skirke, Queen’s County, which he had taken about two years back from Mr. Price, the agent over the estate, and from which the former tenant J W Fitzpatrick had been ejected for non- payment of rent. The cowardly assassins are afraid of attacking Mr. Roe personally, well knowing that he at all times ‘ trusts in God and keeps his powder dry.’  In May 1845, as Roe set off to Templemore Fair with his son Peter he was shot in the head with a blunderbuss by the 19 year old John Letsome Morton and Patrick Bryan.  His son James Roe was appointed to a cadetship in the constabulary, as reward for his conduct when and his father were fired at, on their way to Templemore fair. This  Theophilus died at Dunmoyle, Offaly (between Leap Castle and Birr – a very early 18th century house, unfortunately demolished) in 1856 and the coroners verdict was that he had died as a result of the earlier shooting.  In the early 1700s Dromoyle had been the home Robert Lovett of Liscombe in Buckinghamshire, who was the son of Colonel John Lovett of Kilruddery in County Wicklow and his cousin Susannah, daughter and coheir of Lawrence Lovett of Eythorp and widow of Horton (who made a fortune by investing his wife’s marriage settlement in constructing the Eddystone Light and charging 1d per ton on all sips that passed it.), and grandson of Christopher Lovett, Lord Mayor of Dublin, and Francis O’Moore. He succeeded his father in 1710, and was High Sheriff of Tipperary. He married Sarah daughter of Jonathan Ashe of Ashe Grove, Bansha. The marriage produced six children. The estates were inherited by their second son Jonathan who married Sarah Darby of Leap Castle

Captain Rock (or Rockites) were responsible for up to a thousand incidents of beatings, murder, arson and mutilation .  Captain Rock was a rallying symbol for agrarian violence  by an underclass of struggling labourers and small farmers.  Though too loosely organised to be described as a secret society,  they carried out reprisals against landlords and their agents who put up rents, collectors of tithes for the Church of Ireland, magistrates who tried to evict tenants, and those suspected of informing on  Rockites.

Morton was sentenced to 14 years transportation to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania). Subsequently he moved to Victoria, married, and had a small farm near Dartmoor. He died in September 1878.  His grandson, Brigadier Murray Moten, (1899-1953), commanded 2/27 battalion, A.I.F. in the Syrian campaign of 1941, for which he was awarded the D.S.O. He then commanded 17 Brigade in New Guinea in 1943, and defeated the Japanese in the battle for Wau in January 1943. This battle halted the Japanese advance towards Port Moresby. He led the Brigade in other campaigns in New Guinea in 1944-5, and was awarded the CBE in 1944. He led the Australian infantry contingent at the Victory Parade in 1946. At the time of his death in September 1953, he was ADC to the Governor General, Field Marshal Sir John Slim.

There was yet another Teophilus Roe, of Kyledellig.  In January 1860 he was sued for 6 weeks wages at 13s a week by Anne Cunningham on the basis of over work and meagre food, though under cross examination she admitted that the bill of fare was sufficiently good.  She still got her wages.  He had twin sons born in 1854, a son Thomas born in 1857, and a daughter born in 1860.

The confusion of the genealogies is revealed in the case of Roe v Steele reported in Dublin Morning Register – Monday 04 June 1827 

Mr. Antisell (of Straduff, near Birr) stated the case The plaintiff  Steele was a grazier in the King’s County. The defendant was his son-in-law, and they were both together in the habit of purchasing cattle from gentleman in the County of Tipperary, of the name of Roe. The transaction which had origin to the present action, occurred in the in 1822. The plaintiff and defendant passed their joint promissory notes for £640 in payment for cattle purchased from Mr. Roe, and they divided the bullocks purchased between them. The notes bore the date 1st December, 1822, and were drawn at twelve months.

All that remains of Straduff

Theophilus Roe (of Beckfield) proved the handwriting of both parties on the notes, and that the defendant got half of the bullocks. On his cross-examination he admitted that he was son the plaintiff (John Roe), brother of the attorney conducting this action, and brother-in-law the defendant (Robert Steele of Mount Oliver and Kyle who had married Jane Roe in 1808. ).

On 25 November 1832 The Pilot reported that an armed party entered the bouse of Peter Roe, Esq., of Beckfield, and took thereout twelve stand of arms. 

In March 1835 The Leinster Express reported:-  Attempt at Assassination.— Monday evening last, as Theophilus Roe, Esq., Beckfield, was entering bis demesne on horseback, two shots were fired him by two men, however, happily without effect. Mr. Roe immediately returned the fire, but equally unsuccessful. His assailants then decamped, and escaped into a neighbouring grove, into which Mr Roe pursued them.

Around 1836 the Grand Jury rebuilt the Beckfield Road and the workmen came upon a great amount of human bones opposite ” the bone pit” ; the bone pit itself is full of human remains, and the same may be said of the gravelly ridge in the next field, to the west. The combatants in this battle, which was evidently a very serious one, are unknown. At the north-west of Beckfield,on the bounds of Tinneclohy, there are two adjoining fields, one called ” the wart-well field,” the other, Aughnacruslia.   In the former there is a rough natural rock, 3 ft. square and rising 2 ft. over the surface of the land ; the centre of the top surface is pierced with an artificial cavity 5 in deep.  in this cavity almost always gathers, and as the people believe it possesses virtue for the curing of warts, they call it ” the wart well.”  Taken in connection with the name of the adjoining field,viz.,Aughnacrusha, the ford or field of the Cross, it must be assumed that the rock with its cavity, was the base of an ancient cross of some long gone church.

By 1853 the Roes had left Beckfield – Theophilus died in November 1857 at Albert Lodge. Monkstown.

The new tenant was Robert Palmer, son of Cochrane Palmer of Rush Hall, but he only remained there for 10 years

On March 22 1867 at 19 Leinster Square Rathmines, the Lady of Robert Palmer of Beckfield had a son. Robert Palmer died at Leinster Square in 1870.

Two days before there had been a sale at Beckfiled — One of. the most extensive auction sales held for a considerable time past in the Queen’s County, came off at Beckfield _. on Tuesday and Wednesday last, the proprietor, Robert Palmer, Esq., having set his demesne. As publicly announced, a splendid dairy stock was offered for competition, which, with sheep, store cattle, horses, vehicles, farming implements, and household furniture, brought most remunerative prices, entirely to the satisfaction of Mr Palmer. Mr Fitzpatrick, auctioneer, &c., Maryborough and Dublin, conducted the sale with his characteristic ability. The attendance of _the Ossory gentry was very numerous on both days, many of whom purchased largely.

On January 14 1869 Walter Henry Cox, Beckfield House, Queen’s County, son of George Cox, was married to Eliza  daughter of George Thompson, of Kilmore House, Cashel, Tipperary

2 Dec 1869 they had a daughter, Laura Katherine Cox.  On her birth certificate the house has become Beckville again.

Walter and Eliza disappear – There is a Walter H Cox who emigrated to Wanganui, near Wellington, New Zealand who might be the same.    By 1900 it is the home of Eliza’s brother George Thompson and his wife Violet Long.

When George Thompson arrived at Kilmore near Cashel in 1851 he is said to have been an English farmer, recently come from Derbyshire.  In November 1868 he married Frances Crawshaw of Wamsworth House, Doncaster in Stavely, Derbyshire.  He had been making cheeses, (7d a lb, rich and well tasted!) but in January 1868 he got out of dairying and sold his heard.  In 1852 his brother William Thompson from Middleton by Yolgrave near Bakewell is promoting a pneumonia cure   A link between these Thompson and the Thompsons of Borris in Ossory or the Thompsons of Harristown has yet to be found.    The senior branch of this Thompson family are still at Kilmore, Golden.

On 28 May 1881 Richard Stanley, bailiff for R.H.Stubber  of Moyne was coming home from church when the children of the Coady family, who lived in a cottage close to Beckfield, started hooting at him.  He pulled out a revolver and shot the father through his chest (though did not kill him).  He was no doubt a bit on edge – the previous week whilst seizing some cattle he had been chased and pelted by the women of Rathdowney!  Interesting that he felt it necessary to take a pistol to church.  The evidence of the lodge keeper at Beckfield, Patrick Conor, suggests that Stanley went home and got his brothers and then came back with the intention of shooting Coady.   Stanley was held on remand for nearly 6 months  in Maryboro Prison but released on bail on December 10.  Rather tactlessly George Thompson of  Beckfield took Stanley into his employ, and Coady put up a sign urging  the boycotting of Thompson.  Coady was arrested for doing this, and sentenced to 18 months hard labour.  However he was released on appeal on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to prove than George Thompson existed.   No report of Stanley’s sentence has been found, so he was presumably merely bound over to keep the peace.

George Thompson died in March 1900 and Beckfield was inherited by John Thompson, son of George Thompson, by his first wife, Esther Truman who had married Victoria Long, of the Longfield family, in 1869.  The letter their daughter wrote to uncle in America in the early 1900s paints a great picture:- Mother was very ill all the winter with bronchitis; she was four months without leaving her room in the winter, but now that we have fine weather she is much better and able to be out on fine days.    We have been living in this place for about 2 years, and are just beginning to get settled down, and to like the place and our neighbours. Father is kept very busy here, as he has a great deal of tillage as well as pasture; and where we came from in Meath, there was no tillage at all, so it is quite a change for him.   Dale Caragata has a detailed history at https://www.genealogy.com/forum/regional/states/topics/wi/richland/170/

Farranville – the home of a multi millionaire

A 5 bay 2 story over basement late Georgian house, Farranville appears on both the 1809 Grand Jury map and 1835 OS Map, but is not in Leet or on Taylor & Skinner’s Map.   Apart from the maps, the first records so far discovered are from Griffiths Valuation of 1850.   James Drought of Kilbredy was the landlord of Robert Palmer and of Humphrey Palmer, son of Captain George Palmer.  However it is not clear who  actually lived there –           

1829    At Aghaboe church, Queen’s county, Humphrey PALMER Esq of Rathdowney, in the Queen’s county, only son of Capt George PALMER to Eleanor, fourth daughter of Theophilis Chamberlaine, Esq of Knockfin in the said county.

1838       Humphrey Palmer, Esq., of Palmerville, Rushhall,  Queen’s County, to Matilda, daughter of Captain Belton, of Peafield (she died, aged 27 on 23 February 1843)  Weekly Freeman’s Journal – Saturday 04 March 1843

In 1832  Robert Palmer is of Castletown

In 1849 Robert Palmer, of Castletown, in the Queen County, Esq., was married to Eleanor, eldest daughter of the late Anthony Ffrench, of Colemanstown, county Galway.  Sadly she died two years later and we read April 30 1851, died at Castletown, Queen’s County, the lady of Robert Palmer, Esq.

In  1858 there is a Robert Palmer JP of Rockville, Rathdowney

It went through the Landed Estates Court, though it does not appear as Farranvillle in the court records. 

The first inhabitant whose name we know for certain was only there for a few years, but definitely has the most interesting family.  John William Grace was the son of James Grace of Sheffield and Ellen Mary Russell dau of Michael Russell of Nenagh,   James born 1794 d at Farranville 5th Feburary, 1869.   He was married in Limerick in 1827,  He was the son of John Grace and Alice Horenden, John Grace being the great-grandson of Michael Grace, of Gracefield, 1682–1760, and Mary Galwey, daughter of John Galwey, of Lota .

John married Mary, the daughter of James and Mary Carew of Rathmines in Sept 1869.   By 1870 he was advertising John W Grace & Co of Fernville – supplier of special manures. 

August 14 1870, at Fernville, Rathdowney, Queen’s County, to the wife John W. Grace, a daughter Mary Elizabeth

On May 25 1872 he was on the move   TO BE SOLD, With Landed Estates Court Title or Let on Lease for ever. Fernville 187 Irish Acres. or thereabouts. Prime Feeding Store and Sheep Land, with a fine House and suitable Offices.  2 miles from Rathdowney and 3 from Ballybrophy. a station on the G. S. & W. R. Apply to the Owner. JOHN W. GRACE.

On the 14th Sept 1872 at Fernville, Rathdowney, Queen’s County, the wife of John W Grace, Esq, of a son.  On Nov. 10, Fernville, Rathdowney, John Carew, infant son of J. W. Grace, Esq died. 

He was anxious to emigrate to his brothers in America and arrived in San Francisco in 1872.  His brother William Russell Grace ran away from Ireland to New York and by 1850, helped by his father, had settled in Callao, Peru, working for Bryce & Co., shipping chandlers. By 1852 he had become a partner in the firm, and by 1854 it was re-named Bryce, Grace & Co.  Soon after this he was joined in Peru by his younger brother, Michael Paul Grace. In 1865 William left Peru for New York, leaving Michael in charge of Bryce, Grace & Co. and by 1868 had founded W R Grace & Co. in New York, a shipping firm which dealt with most of the trade between the United States and South America.  John W Grace had established a firm in San Francisco and during the 1890s replaced William Grace running the firm in New York. In 1892 the brothers formed the New York and Pacific Steamship Company

Leybourne Grange

J W Grace died in 1904 at his house in England,  Leybourne Grange, Kent and the San Francisco Call printed a glowing obituary  “He was a great merchant who Influenced the commercial life of two continents. He was a genial gentleman, with a reputation for personal probity and amiability. A hale lover of outdoor sports, -he followed the hounds at fox hunts until a very short time before his death. When he was unable to mount a horse and take fences and ditches his fondness for sport still induced him to have a cart, in which he could .speed after flying Reynard. His name was known and his business operations were familiar to” all the commercial ports on the west coast of both North America and South America and to all merchants from Canada to the southernmost haven in South America.  He had a second son, Cecil Stanley Grace, born in Chile in 1881.  In 1910, a number of early aviators were competing for the Baron de Forest Prize of £4,000 for the longest flight from England into continental Europe.Tom Sopwith was the first to try with a 170-mile flight into Belgium on 17 December 1910. Grace departed Swingate Downs on 22 December 1910 flying a Short S.27 in an attempt at the prize. The sea was covered in mist, but a telegram was received that Grace had landed due to the strong winds near the village of Les Baraques near Calais.  He decided to fly home because of the strong winds, but did not made it and was posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Aero Club “for his achievements as a pilot and competitor”.

John’s brother Michael also set up in England, buying 40 Belgrave Square and leasing Battle Abbey.  One daughter married the 6th Earl of Donoughmore, Richard John Walter Hely-Hutchinson, of Knocklofty.   Great oaks from little acorns grow!

Battle Abbey

It is not clear lived at Farranville next, but it was for sale again in 1890. 

In the 1901 Census Mary Hayden, a widow, was living at there on her own.  She was the widow of Lawrence Hayden and daughter of Valentine Farrell, a poulterer of Carlow

In the 1911 census it was the home of most of the children of William Phelan  – John (28), Patrick (24), Mary (22) and Hanna (14) Phelan were there.  The girls could speak both English and Irish. 

John Phelan died at Farranville in 1961, 50 years later – the longest that any one family had lived there.  In 1980 it was still quite restorable, but it gradually decayed until it was highly regrettably bulldozed in the late 1990s. If anyone has a photograph of Farranville I would love to put it up here.

Levalley – Spanish adventurers, Jewel thieves and lots of Roes!

As well as being a Mafia Boss, a Don is a Spanish title used to refer to a gentleman of a grand family.   Don Vicaro came to England in 1501 with the 15 year old Catherine of Aragon.

With a rugged jaw, dark flashing eyes and flowing mustachios, his grandson Thomas Vicars cut quite a figure around Spink in an area where even Google Street View has yet to penetrate, though sadly Coilte and Galetech Energy Developments are planning a massive windfarm here. 

Though “The proposed wind turbines are to be located in an upland area, well away, according to the documents submitted, from any protected structure.” Cooper’s Building at Knockardagur, on Cooper’s Hill was probably where the lovely Margret Lalor lived in the late 1500s, though some suggest that it might have been the structure at Castle Coole Bridge in the neighbouring townland of Moat.  The area is in the uplands between Ballinakill and Clogh

 In Irish Lalor is Leathlobhair, “the half-leper,” (which it is hoped was a nickname and not to be taken literally!).    The name of Harry Lalor is remembered as the hero of the massacre of Mullaghmast on the last day of 1577 (which was on March 25th, The Feast of the Annunciation, until Britain adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752).     Deavil, Greham, Cosby, Piggott, Bowen, Hartpole, Hovendon, O’Dempsy, and the FitzGeralds of Monasterevan invited between 40 and 400 (depending on whose account you believe) Lalors, O’Moores , O’Dorans, O’Dowlings, O’Deevys, O’Kellys and McEvoys to a meeting at the rath.

The Lalors were late arrivals and Henry Lalor of Dysart, noting that no one who had entered the fort before him had returned, told his companions to make off as fast as they could if he did not come back. On entering the rath and seeing the bodies of his slaughtered companions he drew his sword, and fought his way back to those that survived, and made his escape to Dysart, the Lalor ancestral home.

The aggression between the Irish septs and the planters continued.  In 1606 Richard Cosby challenged the O’Moores to a pitched battle, and defeated them at a battle under the rock of Dunnamase; After the battle, being heavily wounded Cosby was taken to the home of Sir Robert Pigott ( of Dysert ), whose daughter Elizabeth nursed him back to health, and then they soon married.

In the treaty signed at Lalor’s Mills on St Patrick’s Day 1607 the families of 102 Moores, 87 Lalors, 43 McEvoys, 39 Kellys 13 Dorans and 5 Dowlings agreed to abandon Laois and were  transplanted in June 1609 to Tarbert, Co Kerry where they held lands from Patrick Crosbie and his son Sir Pierce Crosbie. The father was a leading figure in Irish history during the plantation period, posing as an English loyalist while in reality being a MacCrossan, bard to the O’Moores. His son was landlord to the septs in Kerry, led regiments in a number of wars and was both Cupholder and Gentleman of the Kings’ Bedchamber to both King James I and Charles I. He lost and then regained his estates and was closely associated with a notorious scandal in which his stepson the Earl of Castlehaven was executed for sexual depravity with Laurence FitzPatrick.   From Laois to Kerry by Michael Christopher Keane gives the whole story.

Mary (or possibly Margaret) Lalor having married Thomas Vicars remained at Knockardagur, where Thomas died in 1616/17.  We are fortunate that Sir William Betham (1779-1853)  who was deputy Ulster King of Arms from 1807 and Ulster King of Arms from 1820, spent a lifetime collating indexes and abstracts of the manuscripts held in the Record Tower of Dublin Castle.  One of the many genealogies that he produced was that of the Vicars family. 

Sir Arthur Vicars in the Ulster Tabard

It was reinforced by Sir Arthur Edward Vicars, KCVO (27 July 1862 – 14 April 1921), Ulster King of Arms from 1893.  Vicars was removed from the post in 1908 following the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels.  He was accused of being careless in his guardianship of the Crown Jewels. On one occasion when Vicars was intoxicated at a party, Aberdeen’s son Lord Haddo took one of the safe keys, stole the jewels and returned them to Vicars by post as a prank.  The actual thieves were possibly Captain Richard Gorges (“a reckless bully, a robber, a murderer, a bugger, and a sod”) and Francis Shackleton (“One of Gorges’ chums in the Castle, and a participant in the debauchery” and younger brother of the famed Artic explorer Ernest Shackleton).  A 1927 memo of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, released in the 1970s, stated that W. T. Cosgrave “understands that the Castle jewels are for sale and that they could be got for £2,000 or £3,000”. They have never been found.  Vicars retired to  the home of his step brother The O’Mahony, at Kilmorna, near Listowel, Co Kerry,   On 14 April 1921, he was taken from Kilmorna House by the IRA.  The house was burnt to the ground and Vicars was shot dead in front of his wife.

The shell of Kilmorna – nothing now remains

Though Margaret (or Mary) Lalor is said to have built the castle here herself, Knockardagur was actually O’Moore property and it was granted by Captain Brian (or Barnaby) O’Dempsey,  in 1611, along with other lands, to Sir Thomas Ridgeway, Earl of Londonderry, from whom Brian O’Dempsey  then obtained a lease in 1628.  In 1617  Barnaby married the widow of Captain Thomas Vicars, and in June 1641 sat in Parliament as M.P. for Ballinakill.

Thomas Vicars and Margret Lalor’s son William Vicars lived at Tonduff on the Dublin side of Abbeyleix.    His son, Richard Vicars was of  Garranmaconly Castle, Skeike and died in 1706/7 leaving several children, one of whom was the Richard Vicars who built Levally. 

The abstracts of Grants of Lands..under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, A.D.1666-1684 (Appendix to Fifteenth Annual Report from the Commissioners of Public Records of Ireland, 45-280; 1825)   mentions Levalley in 1667 & 1669.    The meaning is “The Half Town”.  Levally was at one stage part of the townland of Graigueard, meaning the high hamlet or barn, and is shown on the Down Survey of 1658.

James Anderson’s 1769 map, reproduced in Horner’s “Mapping Laois” shows it to have been a 7 bay house, 2 stories with a Dutch influenced dormer attic story in a steeply pitched roof, and two massive chimney stacks.   Compare it to Beaulieu in County Louth (1715) or more particularly to Edmondsbury, only 10 km away.  The 1835 OS map shows an enclosed courtyard behind the house, a defensive element derived from the earlier idea of a bawn.

In UCD’s National Folklore Collection there is a story collected in the 1930s that related that “Mr Tim Davin of Eglish Errill age seventy four told me that there is an under ground passage running from a cellar in Levally House now owned by Mr Mansfield to Aghboe. This passage was also used in the Penal Days to store guns and swords. All sorts of ammunition and provisions were also kept there.”

There were three generations of Vicars who lived at Levalley from around 1700 to 1814, all called Richard!    The first, who built the house, married Grace Tydd from Ballybritt, Co Offaly, just North of Roscrea.  His son married Elizabeth Armstrong of Ballykealy, at Fivealley near Birr. They had 12 children, so it is fortunate that the house was large!

Elizabeth married Peter La Touche of Bellevue, Delgany, after her cousin, his first wife, had died.   Elizabeth was famous for her charitable works. She opened an orphanage and school for female children in the grounds of Bellevue and supported the children until they were old enough to fend for themselves. Peter, equally well known for his generosity, built Christ Church at Delgany in 1789.   Perhaps their more famous home does actually survive and is as immaculate as when the La Touche family were there – Luggala in the Wicklow Mountains that was the home of the late Hon Garech Browne, described by Garech’s mother Oonagh Guinness as “the most decorative honey pot in Ireland”  LaTouche died in 1828 aged 95.    Bellevue was demolished in the 1950s. 

Peter La Touche
Bellevue, Delgany
The Hon Gareth Browne at Luggala

Grace married Alexander Boyle some of their many children achieved fame in Australia.  Richard Vicars Boyle started as assistant to William Dargan constructing railways in Ireland; He then became an engineer on East Indian Railway; and finally laid out system railways in Japan.

Old Benes House, Howrah by Vicars Boyle

Anne married a vicar from Devon, Rev Laurence Cainnford.   Charlotte and Fanny were unmarried.   Thomas married Elizabeth Gorges of Kilbrew, (now Tayto Park) County Meath (the great aunt of the Crown Jewels thief)  and had three daughters.

Kilbrew, by Tayto Park. The shell of the house is on on the bottom left

The eldest daughter married Lundy Foot, who became Vicar of Whitechurch.  Lundy’s father was a famed snuff merchant and tobacconist in Westmoreland Street and they lived at Kinvere House, Templeogue,  now called Cheeverstown House.  

Cheeverstown, the home of the Foots

Lundy’s uncle, also Lundy Foot, was a JP for Co. Kilkenny and Co. Dublin, where the family had estates; in 1816 he earned lasting public hatred when he determinedly pursued and successfully convicted a father and his two sons, Peter, Joe, and William Kearney, who had been accused of a murder though the victim’s body was never found. The three Kearneys were executed in a field near Bohernabreena, close to Foot’s house at Orlagh, Co. Dublin; the public execution was attended by thousands of people who opposed the sentence, and it was long held in folk memory. Foot moved to Rossbercon, Co. Kilkenny, where he himself was twice the victim of violence: on one occasion he was riddled with gunshots, and some time later, after he had recovered, he was attacked again (2 January 1835) at the age of 71 and battered to death with a large stone by the son of an evicted tenant whose farm had been acquired by Foot. Lundy Edward Foot, son of the victim, was prosecutor in the resulting trial, where a conviction was unexpectedly achieved when a child testified against the murderer. He is buried at St Matthews, Ringsend.

Edward Vicars became a Major General.  He served at the taking of Gibraltar  and became the civil and military commissioner for the Cape Province (South Africa),   retiring, broken in health, in 1814.  Robert became Vicar of Emo.  George married Deborah Hedley, the daughter of John Hedley of Newcastle upon Tyne.  One of their grandsons was the Ulster Herald, Sir Arthur Vicars;  another was Hedley Vicars Strutt of Mulroy House, in  Donegal.  The many Strutt businesses included the estate agency Strutt and Parker and Lord Rayleigh Dairies.  Yet another was Hedley Vicars who fell in the Crimean War and combined being a heroic soldier with Born Again Christianity.    A biography published shortly after his death records: “His voice in the deadly struggle was heard again as he leaped the parapet and chased the retreating enemy down the ravine. In another minute his raised sword, as if pointing on high, was seen by the light of the struggling moon, and the last words that came from the gallant fellow’s lips were, “This way, 97th.” He fell where the foes were thick around him, and he died not unavenged. His death was brilliantly brave, and talked of as gallant men would desire. But this little volume commemorates chiefly the religious phases of his character, and it is his piety, and not his heroism, which has carried the work into so many religious homes.”

The heir of Levalley, Richard Vicars, married his cousin Anne Vicars from Grantstown. , and after her death was briefly married to Mary Mansfield, daughter of Richard Fozard Mansfield of Bournemouth, dying in 1812 before their second wedding anniversary.. 

In 1798, Jerome Watson, a native of Crosspatrick, parish of Johnstown, was tried in the Garrison, Rathdowney, for an attempted robbery of firearms from the house of Mr. Vicars of Levalley on 17 March, during which attempt the steward, Mr. Whitaker, was accidentally shot dead. William Vicars, (who he?- ed) writing to Thomas Vicars in Dublin on the 21 March, confirmed the murder of Whitaker, adding that some of the windows in the house were broken, and that he himself was obliged to seek refuge, every night since, at the residence of Robert Flood of Middlemount. A servant girl, who was injured in the affray, gave evidence for the prosecution, and swore that Watson and a man named Hennessy from Moore St., Rathdowney, were guilty of the murder of Whitaker. Hennessy escaped from the district and was never heard of again. Following his conviction Watson was flogged by a man named Harney under the orders of Robert Flood, J.P., Middlemount, Commander of the Ossory Cavalry, who was primarily responsible for the execution. Watson was then placed on a cart, and hanged from a tree in Rathdowney Square, the rope having being tied around his neck by a young son of Dr. Jacob of Knockfinn. The cart was then drawn from under him, the body cut down, and buried in a grave already prepared for it beneath the tree. A can of lime was thrown over the body by Walter Phelan, and the grave was then closed. An oblong patch of ground covered with gravel marked the grave in which Watson was interred, known to this day as The Croppy’s Grave. It is no longer the simple gravel oblong but a large and shiny memorial.

In the early 1800s Richard Vicars was running Levalley as a stud farm.  In particular he had a stallion by Robin Aylmer of Painstown’s thoroughbred brown stallion called Ranunculus , a marvellous fencer , whose good qualities , however , were marred by a most diabolical temper.  The stud fee was two guineas and half a crown, to be paid before the stallion was led out of the stable!

He died in 1812, a year after his second marriage.  The house was then let to Robert Fitzgerald.

Robert’s mother was the daughter of Thomas Roe of Gortnalee and his father was Edward Fitzgerald of Coolanowle.     Gerald FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Kildare had spent his youth under attainder for treason against Henry VIII, and during his journeys around the castles of his fellow earls and chieftains had a son, Gerald Oge, by Eleanor O’Kelly, daughter of the O’Kelly of Timogue. When Queen Mary Tudor pardoned him, however, he married Mabel Browne, daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, Master of the Horse and Gerald Oge was given merely the lands and status of superior gentry. The FitzGeralds of Coolanowle maintained their claims to the Kildare earldom for centuries, and the story may account for the very romantic Knight Service that was paid on Timogue – a single red rose.

Robert’s mother had a very horrid death in 1794, which may be why he came to the other side of the county.    It is hard to see where Edward fits into the Coolanowle family, but it seems probable that he was a younger son of Richard Fitzgerald who was shot in 1776 in a duel with his daughter’s father in law, Edward King, 1st Earl of Kingston.    Fitgerald’s  son in law, Robert, the 2nd Earl  was tried for murder, by his peers, in 1798 when he and his son murdered Captain Henry Fitgerald, also of the Coolanowle family,  who had eloped with Robert’s daughter.  Robert King and Caroline Fitzgerald were probably more distinguished for employing Mary Woolstenecraft as their children’s governesses than for anything they every accomplished themselves. Novelist, historian, author of “The Rights of Woman” and the mother of Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein.   Woolstencraft did not think much of Carline Fitzgerald and never really got over her first impressions that she recounted in a letter to her sister Oct. 30, 1787   “I have not seen much of her, as she is confined to her room by a sore throat; but I have seen half a dozen of her companions, I mean not her children, but her dogs. To see a woman without any softness in her manners caressing animals, and using infantine expressions is, you may conceive, very absurd and ludicrous, but a fine lady is a new species of animals to me.”

Many of the Coolnagowle Fitzgeralds made careers abroad – in 1843 Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald raised the Scinde Camel Corps at Karachi. The corps consisting of camel-mounted infantry was entrusted with keeping the peace on the Sindh frontier, which later became famous as the Punjab Frontier Force or The Piffers.  His brother James Edward FitzGerald (4 March 1818 – 2 August 1896) was New Zealand’s arguably first prime minister and notable campaigner for New Zealand self-governance. 

In Edward Fitzgerald’s will dated 3/6/1803 he leaves to his father-in-law Thomas Roe of Gortnalee and also John Roe, sum of £3000 for his two daughters Elizabeth and Mary Anne and they die unmarried then to son Robert Fitzgerald, his only son and heir at law. 

1819 – John Shortt of Pallas, eldest son and heir at law of John Shortt late of Pallas deceased (1st part), John Roe of Beckfield, Queen’s Co. surviving trustee and Exor. of Edward Fitzgerald late of Coolanowle, Queen’s Co., deceased (2nd part), Mary Anne Fitzgerald, spinster and only surviving daughter of Edward Fitzgerald (3rd part), James Shortt of Newtown, Queen’s Co. and John Roe, Jnr. of Dublin, gent (4th part) … re forthcoming marriage … re lands etc. of Garrane late in possession of Edward Talbot decd and indenture of lease 1/8/1799 Thomas Talbot and John Talbot did demise and release unto John Shortt and his heirs 88 acres and bog, turbary waters, etc. unto John Shortt for and during the natural lives of John Shortt and Grace Shortt, two of the children or said John Shortt the lessee and John Shortt, son of James Shortt the brother of John Shortt the lessee … John Shortt the lessee has lately died intestate.

Bill filed in High Court of Chancery for foreclosure of both mortgages. Conditional decree for sale of several properties so mortgaged. Thomas Roe died 6/7/1806. Elizabeth Fitzgerald died 20/0ct(?)/1809 unmarried so Mary Anne entitled to £3000 and interest of £1600. Robert Fitzgerald attained his age of 21 years in 1816 (after arbitration) should pay £1600 to James Shortt and John Roe Jnr – and the lands of Garrane(?) to James Shortt and John Roe until the marriage. £1000 by John Shortt to James Shortt and John Roe in trust.[2]

In 1825 George Fitzgerald and Robert Roe are trustees of the marriage settlement of Robert Fitzgerald and Mary Anne Roe his wife

The 1835 OS survey still shows the original house, but on the later 25” survey the house has  a quite different footprint.  Given its stylistic features the rebuilding probably happened in the late 1830s, though it is probable that the early fabric was incorporated in the present house.

From 1835 Robert Fitzgerald is sitting as a JP and on 5 March 1850 his daughter Elizabeth Malvina married Edward P Roe, the son of the Rev Samuel Roe of Thornton, Leics. at Erke Church – the third generation of Roe Fitzgerald marriages!  His daughter Geraldine does not seem to have married and died on 19 Dec 1896 at Newbridge Rectory.  

In 1849  Robert’s wife Mary Anne died and he married Catherine Jackson, the widow of John Flintoff. 

In 1858 Robert is thinking of moving out, and advertises the house, but nothing comes of the plan.  He died in 1872 and his son John Fitzgerald resigned from the army and came home.   John Fitzgerald had been in the Royal Irish Fusiliers  and saw action on the North West Frontier during the Indian Rebellion.  There he met Henrietta Seton Chisholm,  the granddaughter of George Wilding Chisholm, a successful merchant in Calcutta and owner of the Fairlawn Hotel, and made her his bride.  She may not have enjoyed Laois life because again in 1876 and 1877 the house is being advertised, but there were no takers.    

Her younger sister, Emily Seton Chisholm married Philp Crampton Creaghe of Mitchelstown on September 27, 1874, and they regularly visited Levalley. To turn the 7 degrees of separation into only 3, Dodie Smith’s stepfather, (she of 10001 Dalmatians) was Alec Gerald Seton Chisholm, Henrietta’s nephew.

In May 1897 the papers reported Robert Fitzgerald’s death

With deep regret we announce the death of Captain. J. Fitzgerald, which occurred at his residence, Levally, Rathdowney, on May 24th, at the age of 75. Captain Fitzgerald was the eldest son of the late Mr Robert Fitzgerald, J.P. , and joined at an early age the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers , from which he retired in 1873. He was appointed to the Commission of the Peace for the Queen’s County on the 16th October, 1874, since which time he has lived a quiet life at Levalley, supporting liberally every good cause in the neighbourhood , assisting without ostentation those whose needs were made known to him , and deserving in every respect the great popularity he bad achieved.

THE FUNERAL:-   On Friday, the 28th instant, the funeral of Captain John Fitzgerald , J.P., took place, whose death , after a long illness, borne in that spirit which characterised the life of the deceased gentleman, occurred at his residence at Levalley, Rathdowney, on May 24th. The cortege left the bouse at 11-30 a.m., the coffins, of which there was a suite—the outer one being of Irish oak, stained, polished, and massively mounted in brass—being borne by the tenants of Ballyedmond and Ballyphilip from the hall door to the centre of the avenue, preceded by the hearse, at which point the coffin was taken by a number of the Royal Irish Constabulary, headed by Sergeant Hugh Dearty, who bore it aloft as far as the demesne entrance, thus paying a last tribute of respect to one whose amiable disposition had won the esteem of all. 

The coffins, which bore the following inscription—JOHN FITZGERALD , Died. May 24, 1897, Aged 75 Years . were covered with wreaths of rare beauty, the most conspicuous being those from Mrs Fitzgerald, Mr and Mrs Philip Creaghe _and their children, Mrs Atkinson, Miss Atkinson , Rev. Hamilton and Mrs O’Connor, Mrs Caldbeck , the Misses Hamilton , Miss Fanny Hamilton also one from the servants of the house. The chief mourners were Mrs Creaghe (sister in-law), Mr Philip Creaghe, R.M., and Rev Canon O’Conor (nephew-in-law). The attendance included the gentry, traders , farmers, and labourers of the neighbourhood those having , vehicles accompanying the remains to the churchyard at Killermogh , where the funeral procession arrived about two o’clock. The service was conducted by the Rev. W. Fry, Rector of Rathdowney, assisted by the Rev. G. M. Fry, and the interment took place in the family burial-ground attached to the church. Among those who attended or sent carriages were—A. W. Perry, J.P.; Loftus T. Roe, Mrs Atkinson , Mrs Caldbeck, Rev. W. B. Fry, Rev. B. E. Carr, Rev. B. F. Johnston, B. H. D. Duckworth, M.D.; E. J. Burnett , R. C. Roe, J. C. Dugdale , R. Williams, A. Shortt, R. P. Kent, R. Pratt , P. J. Murphy, J. E. _Tomlinton, J. Williams , J. Barton, H. Barton, Mrs Phillips, R. R. Mitchell , R. Carey, W. Baird, &c.

In 1901 Henrietta Fitzgerald was still at Levally, but she retired to Castlefleming where she died in January 1912  In the census of 1911 Levally was unoccupied. 

On Monday 14 November 1920 Mr Mansfield , the son of John Mansfield and Anne Huggard of Waterville, Co. Kerry, bought Levally on 50 acres for £4,080.  In February 1921 the marriage of Mr. Joseph Mansfield, Levally, Rathdowney, with Miss Margaret (Daisy) Roe, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Roe, Ballykelly, Roscrea, took place at Skeirke Church.  The Roes were back!  I wonder did Mr Mansfield realise that 100 years previously there had been another Mansfield living in the house – Mary Mansfield, Richard Vicars’ second wife.

Of course the Huggards of Waterville are an interesting family too – Martin Huggard took over a hotel in Waterville in 1914, and his son Noel had both Ashford Castle and Ballynahinch Castle.

The next generation were on the horizon – in 1953 The wedding took place of Mr. Leslie Hutchinson, son of Mrs. Hutchinson and the late Mr. J. Hutchinson, Coolbanagher, Portarlington, and Miss Vera Mansfield. Levalley House . Rathdowney  at Rathdowney church. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. J. Costelloe (England), assisted by the Rev E V C. Watson, Rector, -Monasterevan Miss Myra Mansfield assisted her sister as bridesmaid. Mr. William Allen, cousin of the groom, was best man. The reception was held by Mrs. Mansfield at Levally House. Numerous wedding presents and expressions of good wishes were received by Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson for their future happiness.

In 1965 the Kilkenny People reported a lucky escape for the house – Rathdowney Fire Brigade were called out on Friday to deal with a fire in Levalley House the property of Mr J. Mansfield. The fire began in the chimney and at one stage threatened to do considerable damage but the brigade confined the blaze .


The Garden Front

When I first visited Lansdowne in the 1980s it was still roofed so its archaeology was hard to determine.  Tarquin Blake saw it in more recent times as a complete ruin, though not as ivy encased as it is now.  He wrote  ”The interior of the house is puzzling – it appears to be originally based around a small gable ended house with many further changes carried out over the years.”  I remember Maurice Craig at a Georgian Society talk saying how much he enjoyed visiting a house once it was derelict, because the history was laid bare to see.  The Thatcherite member from Monaghan, sitting beside me, muttered “Of course he likes to see them in ruins – the man is a damn socialist!”

The house is about 1.5 km off the public road, close to the banks of the Barrow, South of Portarlington. The garden front is a two storey 7 bay plastered rubblestone house, the end bays advanced, with roman cement quoins, the  windows with shouldered architraves,  the left (west end) bow ended, the right gabled with a chimney stack.  The staircase, with two niches on it, was to the right of the front hall, separated by a screen of Corinthian columns.  The walled gardens had a couple of greenhouses, beside which is a two storey stable yard and beyond that an ice house lurks in the shrubbery.  Though the gate lodge was on the Portarlington road, there was also an avenue over a private bridge across the Barrow to Kilmalogue.

The Staircase Screen of columns – see Classic Irish Houses of The Midlands for more images

Blake’s observations  probably identified the original house of George Gore.   The Arlington Light Cavalry was a Volunteer Regiment whose stylish uniform was described variously as blue with red facings, white waistcoat and white breeches (Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Volume 52 pg 191) or scarlet, faced green; yellow buttons (The History of the Volunteers of 1782, Thomas McNeven pg 233), founded in September 1779  under  Captain George Gore.  In William Wilson’s  Post Chaise Companion 3rd edition  (1803) he writes:-  Near a mile beyond Portarlington on the R. is Lawnsdown, the seat of George Gore, Esq.   Matthew Sleater’s Roadbook of 1806 has  “At 36 m is Lawnsdown , George Gore , Esq .”

George Gore was the great grandson of Brigadier-General Francis Gore of Clonroad, Co Clare, grandson of the Rev Francis Gore of Assolas in Cork, who died in 1748, and son of Francis Gore and Ellinor Pennefeather of New Park or Ballyowen, Tipperary.  He retired from the army, where he had served as a Captain in the 12th Lancers, in August 1775, two months after his brother had been killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.     In 1774 he had married Catherine Clutterbuck, a very wealthy heiress, from Derryluskan, about 10 miles from his mother’s home.  Catherine’s father had died the year that she was born, in 1751, and her mother died whilst staying in Nice in March 1775, the year after Catherine married.  However, her sisters Margaret, Jane and Mary remained at Derryluskan.   Why Gore chose to build his home in Portarlington is, so far, a mystery!  I have yet to find any archives that elucidate his life – maybe he just enjoyed quiet country pursuits for the next 40 years.  

They had 6 children – a Vicar, a Rear Admiral and a Lieutenant Colonel, all married but no heirs to inherit, and three unmarried daughters. 

George died in 1818, but the Trenchs were already at Lawnsdown. Shaw Mason described it in 1814 as the seat of John Trench, ‘a handsome one of a good size, lately enlarged and much improved by him’. Earlier, in August 1807, Walker’s Hibernian Magazine records that John Trench of Lansdowne (note the spelling) married Jane Currie at St George’s Church, Liverpool.  Her father, James Currie FRS (31 May 1756 in Dumfriesshire, Scotland – 31 August 1805 in Sidmouth),  was a Scottish physician, best known for his anthology and biography of Robert Burns and his medical reports on the use of water in the treatment of fever.  He became a Fellow of the London Medical Society and was a founder member of the Liverpool Literary Society. He was also an early advocate of the abolition of slavery.


The Trench, Moore and Currie families seem at this period to be rather inextricably mixed, so a bare account of the outline genealogies might be appropriate:

The 5th Earl of Drogheda’s younger son, Ponsonby Moore , of Moorefield, Newbridge,  co. Kildare, and Ballyhale, co. Kilkenny (b. c. 1736; d. 9 Aug 1819), married  3 Apr 1781 Catherine Trench (abt 1755- 1810), dau. of Frederick Trench, of Woodlawn, co. Galway.   In the Trench genealogies she is given as  “of Lansdowne” . 

Their eldest son was Rev Henry Moore, of Ballyhale, co. Kilkenny (b. 19 Oct 1784; d. 12 May 1856), mar. 15 Feb 1814 Lucie Currie (d. 15 Jun 1852), dau. of Dr James Currie, of Liverpool, his aunt’s sister.

Catherine’s Brother John Trench (1766-1858)  is also listed in genealogies as being of Lansdowne Queen’s County 

He  married 30 July 1807 Jane eldest daughter of James Currie of Liverpool MD.  His address was mostly listed as of Monasterevan, where he was Lord Drogheda’s agent (Ponsonby Moore’s brother) , and in later years at St Catherine’s Park, Leixlip, which he rented from 1850 from Rev F Trench of Cangort, who was the son of Ponsonby Moore’s niece, Sarah Elizabeth Frances Henrietta Ricarda Moore and William Trench of Cangort Park.  The Rev Frederick had the splendid title of perpetual curate of 64th regiment of Bengal Infantry.    Their house is now the Leixlip Manor Hotel.

St Catherine’s Leixlip

Ponsonby Moore and Catherine Trench’s third son was Lt Col Robert Moore, of Lansdowne (b. 15 Oct 1789; d. 3 Mar 1879), mar. 13 Nov 1809 Elizabeth Warren (d. 22 Apr 1875), dau. of Rev Robert Warren.  Elizabeth Warren’s great aunt was George Gore’s mother, Ellinor Pennefather, which might explain the connection.

He presumably moved into Lawnsdown soon after his marriage.   In 1836 Robert Moore esq Lawnsdown  Portarlington was appointed a High Sheriff for Queen’s County.  The head landlord was Lord Portarlington, but Moore had spent  “a considerable sum” on improving it.

In 1835 there was a wedding there when Richard Henry Gumbleton, Esq. of Curraglass House, co. Waterford, was married to Catherine Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Robert Moore, of Lawnsdowne, Queen’s County, Esq. granddaughter at the late Ponsonby Moore, and niece to the late Marquess of Drogheda and Lord Ashtown …   Saturday 26 September 1835.

By 1838 he was advertising for a tenant.               

There is a sad story the following year, but at least Moore is showing Christmas clemency

Lawnstown Portarlington

Dec 27th 1839

Reference Bridget Carey

Sir, I beg to state for the information of His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant that the petition of Bridget Carey which I have the honor to enclose is in my respect perfectly correct. The potatoes were were(sic) stolen from me and as the crime of potato stealing had much increased in this neighbourhood lately I thought it my duty to prosecute but I had no idea when doing so that she would have been sentenced to transportation for so trifling an offence I concurred the [….] [….] would have been satisfied by a short imprisonment after her conviction and before the sentence as passed I made a representation to that effect to assistant Barrister and other Magistrates on the bench of [….] I was my recommendation – alas not attended to as she had been confined previously for a similar offence. Bridget Carey has now been confined for seven? Months and if His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant would be pleased to take her case into consideration I will feel most grateful   Should His Excellency deem it necessary to have her sentence carried into effect will her children be allowed to accompany her?     I have the honor to be      Sir     Your obedient Servant         Robert Moore Lieut. Col.

In her own petition in 1839, Bridget Carey said she pleaded guilty to stealing the potatoes, but she was a poor, wretched and distressed woman with three helpless infants, the eldest a female not more than nine years old, the second a boy about four years old and the youngest a boy of about one year four months. She said if she was sent abroad her unfortunate and wretched orphans would starve having no person to take care of them. No mention was made of her husband. Grange Gorman prison entry book listed her as married, and when her children were put into the orphan school in Hobart, the father’s name was given as John Delaney rather than the usual note of ‘father dead’. None of the letters of petition described her as a widow, an unusual omission when asking for clemency. There was a John Delany from Queen’s County, sentenced to transportation in 1837 and sent to New South Wales. Was Bridget on her own with her children because her husband had been transported, or was he dead?

Bridget’s first sentence of transportation was commuted but she was arrested again in 1841 when she took turf from the property of John Dunn. She appealed, but her reputation and the fact that she had a similar sentence commuted meant no mercy was granted and her papers were marked as ‘the law must take its course’. When Bridget boarded the East London, a 3 masted 400 tonne ship, built in 1839,  she only had the two eldest children with her, the youngest was probably among the nine children who died in Grange Gorman in 1843.  She herself died on the voyage out, though her children survived and flourished in Van Diemen’s Land

In January 1842 Lucie Caroline, the third daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, of Lawnsdown married the Rev. John J. Campbell, of Glenealy  Glebe County Wicklow, whose  father was Alexander Campbell of Hallyards, a Glaswegian Merchant much involved in trade with the West Indies, though  the slave trade was abolished in 1807 in most of the Caribbean. After the emancipation of slaves in 1834, the plantations were worked by indentured Indian and Chinese labourers.

In the Dublin Evening Mail – Monday 26 June 1843  Robert Moore is trying to sell or let it again

He appears to have successfully sold it  James Smyth Scott     Robert Moore died in Cheltenham 26 years later at the age of 89.  He was described as late of the Kildare Rifles, and my guess is that he lived in one of Lord Drogheda’s houses in the intervening years.  It has so far not been possible to find him in any of the Army Lists, so I wonder a little about his rank!

William Scott, Esq., of Fitzwilliam-square, Dublin, to Janet Isabel, youngest daughter of Hugh Broughton, Esq., of Lawnsdown, Portarlington. November 11, at Castletownroche Church,   Saturday 23 November 1844    Dublin Weekly Mail.  Hugh Broughton, a director of the North British Insurance Company, lived in Royal Crescent, Edinburgh.  Of William and Janet Scott we hear no more, but his brother James Smyth Scott  junior is at Lawnsdown for the next 20 years. 

Their father was Edward William Scott of 9 Fitzwilliam Square North, Dublin (c. 1783-1834), son of John Scott KC, of Ballygannon Co. Wicklow, Assistant barrister, Co. Fermanagh, who married Anne Knox of Mount Falcon.

Ballygannon, near Greystones,  was inhabited from the mid-1700s to the 1930s by the Scott family. Hopton Scott came to the house in 1689 during the Williamite War. His ship (he was a naval captain) ran aground on a sandbank off Kilcoole and he was given shelter by Thady O’Byrne. He married O’Byrne’s eldest daughter, Randelia, in 1692. The story can be found on the Kilcoole web page

Their cousin was Robert Henry Scott became the first director of the meteorological office in 1867, a position he held until 1900. Before moving to London he lived at 43 Wellington Place, Dublin.  His library was presented to Valentia observatory.

James Smyth Scott  junior was a land agent for estates from George Young’s Culdaff House estate, Donegal, Anne Maria Cornahy of Frankfort Offaly to the most important of all, the Earl of Courtown’s estate in Wexford. 

The sale of the Portarlington Estates advertised in The Advocate: or, Irish Industrial Journal – Wednesday 21 January 1852 includes: –

The lands comprise the mansion house and demesne of Lawnadowne, subject to the interest therein (which is very considerable) of the tenant, James S. Scott, Esq. And, also, the mansion-house and demesne of Bergerio, subject the interest therein of Henry French, Esq., the tenant. This last is within short walk of the Portrlington railway station. Upon the buildings, &c., of Lawnsdowne, the tenant has expended several thousand pounds.  (presumably the South front probably built in 1845, after he had bought it.) , Upon these and the adjoining lots, the poor-rates, for 1850, amounted to only four pence in the pound. The greater portion of this property is divided into holdings, occupied by numerous tenantry, holding some on leases, but the majority from year to year. These farms are, for the most part, small, but the tenantry are comfortably off, and all the estate occupied ; none of it, even under the disadvantages of an impending sale, being waste. In fact, when take into account the absence of crime, the absence of poor-rates, and the proximity of the Irish metropolis, with the advantages of’ rail ways, canals, etc., will be evident that few estates can lay claim to equal attention.

The Gentleman’s Magazine 1862 records that on Sept. 18.  At Lea, Queen’s County, the Rev. Gustavus Hopton Scott, Vicar of Gringley-on-the-Hill, Notts., son of the late Edward William Scott, esq., Q.C., of Fitzwilliam-sq., Dublin, and grandson of Lady Mary Knox, of Merrion-sq., sister to the ninth Earl of Meath, to Fanny S. Armstrong, only dau, and heiress of the late Rev. Francis Armstrong, Rector of Carlow, and niece of Oliver Armstrong, esq., of Emlaghroyin,  co. Roscommon.

From 1862 Scott was based at Levuka (named rather strangely after a port in Fiji – there must be a story there!)  outside Gorey, and died in St Peter Port, Guernsey in September 1884.   His only son James William Scott late 11th Regiment died in Piecre City Idaho in  December 1881 , leaving a wife and child.

The Dublin Evening Mail on Tuesday 18 June 1861 records that Col Lucas of Lansdown, Queens County has put 2 Gns into the Indian Famine Relief Fund.  Dublin sent £6500 in total to India.  The Indian famines are a subject about which too many people are ignorant.  Only 2 million people died during this one in the Punjab.    Between 1782 and 1792 over 20 million people died of famine in India, and at the end of the 19th Century there were three famines, each killing about 10 million people.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_major_famines_in_India_during_British_rule

In the winding up of the estate of Reverend RICHARD CLARKE in 1890, the later title of Lansdown quotes  ”part of the Lands of DEERPARK now known as LAWNSDOWN, being part of the townland of Ballymorris, containing 126 acres 1 rood and 5 perches plantation measure, in the barony of Portnahinch  and Queen’s County, held under Fee Farm Grant dated 30th day of October, 1863” which is presumably when Col Lucas completed his purchase.   Col Lucas remained at Lansdown till 1870 when there was a three-day auction of the contents.  Tierney in in his Pevsner’s Central Leinster suggests that the remodelling took place at this time, and suggests William Caldbeck as a possibly architect

Col Lucas’ sale September 1870

The Colonel’s cousin was Lt (and later Admiral) Charles Davis Lucas RN,  of Monaghan, whose bravery during the Crimea War persuaded the Government to inaugurate the Victoria Cross    …… at the height of the action a live shell landed on Hecla’s upper deck, with its fuse still hissing. All hands were ordered to fling themselves flat on the deck, but Mr Lucas with great presence of mind ran forward and hurled the shell into the sea, where it exploded with a tremendous roar before it hit the water. Thanks to Mr Lucas’s action no one was killed or seriously wounded.       The relationship of the Admiral with the Colonel came to light when I discovered bankruptcy proceeding against the Admiral’s father whose mill in Manorhamilton had failed.

The next resident was Captain Elliott who was there for two years.  Another brief occupant followed –  Capt William Ablett was a master mariner, who died in 1899 at the age of 83, when he was living at 35 Oakley Road, Ranelagh.  His widow Martha died 5 years later at Somerton on Rochestown Avenue, now a housing estate.

Capt Elliott’s Sale – it gives an idea of the house, and of Victorian interior decoration

Of the next occupants the first clue was a newspaper cutting that “On 16 July 1877 to John and Sophia Rosina (nee Gordon) McLelland esq of Lansdowne, Queen’s County, a son, Arthur”

The Friends of Hastings Cemetery have down sterling work on the McClellands, and revealed a fascinating man:-

Sketch of the Medical Topography or Climate and Soils of Bengal and the North-Western Provinces. By John McLelland, F.L.S., F.G.S., Surgeon H. M. Bengal Service. – Dr. McLelland’s work on the Medical Topography of Bengal and the North- Western Provinces,….affords an admirable illustration of the practical advantages which may be derived from members of our profession having some knowledge of those natural sciences, which at first sight appear to be related in no way to medicine. …….  We point to Dr. McLelland’s work as an instance where a knowledge of geology and mineralogy has served to throw a flood of light upon the etiology of a very important and obscure disease,…..

John M’Clelland married, as far as can be ascertained, relatively late in life.  It is possible that his wife, Sophie Rosina, was one of the women who went to India seeking a husband.  He was 37 years older than her.  She was born in Meldreth, Cam in 1872.  He retired on 24th November 1865.  Possibly he was already on leave in England at that time, as their son, John Gordon was baptised on 3rd November 1865 in Hampshire.

Father’s Name: John McClelland

Mother’s Name: Sophy McClelland

The household at the time of the 1871 census, when they were living in Surrey at Snowdenham House, Bramley,  was John Mc Clelland, born Ireland, aged 67, Retired Surgeon; his wife, Sophia R Mc Clelland, born in Scotland, aged 30; their son, John Gordon Mc Clelland. Aged 5.

There is a death registered for a John Gordon McClellan, of the right age for J G McClelland, in Fulham in 1901, age 36.


Hastings & St Leonards Observer, Saturday 23 May 1885

JOHN MCCLELLAND, DECEASED. Pursuant to the Act of Parliament, and 23rd Vict., chap. now initiated, 14 An Act further the Law of Property, and Relieve of Trustees

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN,—That all creditors and other persons having claims against the Estate of JOHN MCCLELLAND, formerly of Launstowne, near Portarlington in Ireland, afterwards No. 6, Lancaster terrace, Regent’s Park, in the county of Middlesex, and late No. 29, Marina, St. Leonards-on-Sea in the County of Sussex, retired Inspector-General of Her Majesty’s Bengal Medical Department, deceased (who died on the 31st of July, and whose WILL was proved in the Principal Registry the Probate Division of Her Majesty’s Justice. the 20th day of August 1853 by Sophia Rosina McClelland, Widow, the Relict cf the said deceased, and Hodgson Pratt, Esq , the Executes therein named), are hereby required to send the particulars, in writing, of their claims or demands to me, the undersigned. Solicitor for the said Executors, on or before the 16th day of June 1885, after which date the Executors will proceed to distribute the assets of the said deceased amongst the persons entitled thereto, having regard only to the claims and demands of which they shall then have had notice. And they will not be liable for the assets of the said deceased, or any part thereof distributed to any person or persons whose claims or demands they shall not then have had notice. Dated this 16th day of May, 1855. JOHN GALSWORTHY, Old Jewry. London, E.C., Solicitor for the Executor.

The original White Rock bandstand was gifted to the town in 1883 by Sophia McCelland in memory of her late husband John McClelland MD who had died in August that year in St Leonards.  Designed by Mr W L Vernon and constructed by local builder Mr William Elliott, it was 18 feet by 15 feet and 11 feet high, the roof being supported by eight pillars. Around the roof, ornamental brackets had the letters H S L T B. SM 1883 designed into Them, standing for Hastings & St Leonards Town Band. Sophia McClelland 1883. [You can read more about the story of this bandstand in Postcards from the Seaside by David Dine.] Sophia remarried, in Ashford, Kent, a Harry Swaine, in 1884.   She died in 1885, aged 44.

SOPHIA ROSINA SWAINE (formerly McClelland). Deceased— Pursuant to the Act of Parliament, and 23rd Vict., chap. now initiated, 14 An Act further the Law of Property, and Relieve of Trustees

Notice Is hereby Given, that all CREDITORS and other persons having any claims or demands against the Estate of SOPHIA ROSINA SWAINE (formerly Sophia Rosina McClelland. widow, and since the wife of Henry Edward Swaine), late of No. 69, Warrior-square. St.Leonards-on-Sea. in the county of Sussex, deceased (who died on the 8th day of April. 1885 and to whose estate letters of administration were, on the l1th day of May.1885, granted by her Majesty’s Court of Justice, at the Principal Registry of the Probate Division thereof, to the said Henry Edward Swaine, her lawful husband, the administrator therein named), are hereby required to send the particulars, in writing, of their claims and demands to me the undersigned, the solicitor for the said administrator, on or before the 16th day of June, 1885, after which date the said administrator will proceed to distribute the assets of the said deceased amongst the persons entitled thereto, having regard only to the claims and demands of which he shall then have had notice.— Dated this 16th day of May. 1885. JOHN GALSWORTHY, 12. Old Jewry Chamber-, London, Solicitor for the Administrator.

•             McClelland edited the posthumous Botanical Works of William Griffith.

•             The Geology of Kumaon, Calcutta, 1835

•             (Some inquiries in the province of Kumaon, relative to geology, and other branches of natural science. Main Author: McClelland, John, d. 1883.)

•             A List of Mammalia and Birds collected in Assam by John McClelland, Esq., Assistant Surgeon in the service of the East India Company, Bengal – The North American Review, Volume 46 1838

•             Reports of a committee for investigating the coal and mineral resources of India. John McClelland, Calcutta : G.H. Huttman, 1838.

•             Indian Cyprinidae – John McClelland [Calcutta, India] : [Bishop’s College Press], [1838]

•             Sketch of the medical topography, or climate and soils, of Bengal and the N.W. Provinces by John McClelland – The Annals and Magazine of Natural History: Zoology, Botany, and Geology, Volume 6 Taylor & Francis, Limited, 1841

•             Reports of the Geological Survey of India for 1843 – 1846 

•             Medical Topography of Bengal and the N.W.Provinces, London 1859

•             Icones plantarum Asiaticarum – William Griffith; John McClelland. Calcutta : Bishop’s College Press, 1847-1854.

•             Journal of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bootan, Afghanistan and the Neighbouring Countries (Posthumous Papers bequeathed to The Honorable The East India Company) 1847 by William Griffith and John M’Clelland

•             Birds : their structure and function – A S King; J McLelland

1878 it was for sale again.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the photographs of the house that North mention in their advertisement had survived!

Irish Times – Monday 24 June 1878

Eckfords Manures used McCleeland’s produce in their advertising in 1880:-

….It is a long time since we have seen so good a vegetable. The same remarks apply to the mangold wurzels morsels grown by Mr. John M’Celland, Lansdowne, Portarlington. They are prodigies in size, and, if properly judged, would carry a premium prize at any show. Thursday 11 March 1880 Leinster Reporter

Farmers Chronicle  Ist February 1880 . We have received very finely grown samples of Swede turnips and yellow oval mange’s. grown at Lansdowne, Portarlington, by Mr James Thompson, steward to John M’Clelland Esq. The manures used were supplied by Mr Henderson, agent for Mr Eckford

But by now Mr William Duncan of Athy was in residence, whose income came from tenants around Arles and Ballickmoyler. 

William Duncan, Esq., Lawnstown, Portarlington, has allowed the tenants on his estates at Old Leigh and Tinneraugh in  the Queen’s County, a reduction of 20 per cent on the half year.  … Pilot, Volume 42, Number 46, 15 November 1879

Richard Lalor chair of the National League, Queens Co , at a meeting “to protest against the heartless evictions which have recently taken place in the neighbourhood.” Now, friends, I will ask you to accompany me in thought over another townland near this—Tennisrath—the property of a certain Mr. Duncan, living near Portarlington. I will tell you what I saw there. I saw a young mother with four children, with a delicate husband, livng in, what will I call it, some kind of cave, with flags for a roof, and the damp dripping down on them. My feelings will not allow me to go further. I will draw veil over the sad scene.   Kildare Observer  Saturday 14 August 1886  p 5

William Duncan died Nov 1893 aged 73

The Leinster Reporter – Saturday 02 April 1898 records that on March 22. Cecil. son of late R Blake. Longfield, Galway. to Nora, daughter of late W Duncan, of Lansdowne Park, Portarlington.

PORTARLINGTON V. MONASTEREVAN   A cricket match between the above clubs was played at Lawnstown House on last Saturday, when Portarlington won easily by an innings and 13 runs. For the home team J Hynes and Dr Odlum played well, and their bowling was very destructive, while for the losers Mooney. Colgan and Ready batted best. The thanks of the Portrarlington Club is due to Mr Duncan. who placed at their disposal his laid down cricket grounds.   Saturday 07 September 1895   Leinster Reporter

In the 1901 Census, in which the enumerator calculates Lansdowne as having 27 windows across the front , is occupied by the 65 year old Mrs Hannah Duncan, her unmarried daughters, Elizabeth  (31) and Alice (26) and her son William (24).    The staff are Francis Burt, the 46 year old coachman from Wiltshire,  the cook Alice Corker, the house parlourmaid Susan Brown and the under parlourmaid  Kate Tyrell. 


The purchaser were the Braddells.  St John Galwey Bradddell senior was born at Modeligo House, Mallow in 1824 and had worked in the Wait Office in Dublin, living at 59 Lansdowne Road.  He had 4 children.  Maxwell Braddell who had been farming near Lurgan.  He was born around 1868 in Dublin.  His brother older St John Braddell was also a farmer, born 1866. 

The family were originally from Bullingate, near Clonegal.  Their cousin was Juliana Braddell,  youngest daughter of Thomas Braddell, Esq., of Coolmelagh, co. Wexford, Ireland, who married Henry Scrymgeour-Wedderburn , Hereditary Standard Bearer of Scotland,  on 31 March 1869, at S. Bartholomew’s Church, Dublin, and had four sons and six daughters.  

Another cousin was instrumental in setting up British rule in Singapore and The Straits Settlements in 1867, and after whom Braddell Station in Singapore is named.

Maxwell Braddell died aged 55 in  Feb 1923 at Ballymorris House with his brother St John Braddell with him.  I am not convinced that they were really at Balymorris House, which is closer to Portarlington, or whether this is yet another name for Lawnsdown.

The next owner I have discovered from the history of The Portarlington  Golf Club is Edward McCabe  “A game of golf in May 1941, which had rather serious consequences for one of the players, had an interesting sequel at Tullamore Circuit Court Thursday week, when Edward McCabe, Lansdowne Park, Portarlington claimed £300 damages against Mrs. Elsie O’Sullivan, Garryhinch,in respect of injuries sustained through her alleged negligence.”

McCabe was in court again in 1946, this time as a defendant “At Portarlington Court. Edward T. McCabe. Lansdowne. Ballymorris, pleaded guilty to felling ash tree on his lands without the requisite permit on the 28th Oct. Mr. A. Rolleston. S C. for the prosecution. described the tree in question as “the tree of knowledge”  Saturday 19 January 1946   Leinster Leader

At the sale in August 1996 at The Hazel Hotel, Monasterevin ( famed as the place where Dr Tiede Herrema was held by the IRA in 1975) of the extensive fattening farm Landsdowne Park, Ballymorris, Portarlington, Co Leix, containing c. 173 acres, the mansion house was described, with remarkable understatement, as being partly ruined!

Wouldn’t it be great if the remains of such a beautiful house, with such a colourful history could be preserved for future generations rather than crumbling back into dust. 

Ashfield, Ballybrittas

Before the M7 opened, the straight stretch of road beyond Ballybrittas tempted many a motorist hit the gas, ignorant of the almost inevitable Garda lurking at the entrance to the forestry at The Derries with a speed gun. Which is why many people will be familiar with the quadrant gatelodge that wraps around Ashfield’s entrance, at the spot where they were stopped!

The most important and valuable edifice of the lands at Ashfield was Ashgrove Rath, almost unbelievably destroyed in 1997. There were between 60,000 and 35,000 ring fort sites are currently identifiable in the Irish landscape – they are clearly marked on Ordnance Survey 6“ maps.  Of these, less than 1% (about 250) have so far been subjected to archaeological excavation.  44% have been destroyed or badly damaged since the advent of the bulldozer and digger into Irish farming.    Most date to between 550-900AD. Some however have a long history, including prehistoric pre-ringfort activity and later re-use   In 2004, more than 800 metres of the earthen works that surrounded the 3,000 year old fort in Kerry were levelled. The maximum penalty for the destruction of Heritage sites  that can be imposed by the courts is five years in prison and/or a fine of €50,000 but just four convictions have being secured by the state relating to the damage of ring forts in the last 10 years.  Though a couple of the farmers who destroyed or damaged the 15,000 sites may have been greedy, stupid or wicked (or even all three!) the vast majority were simply ignorant.  Possibly the most guilty party are the Department of Agriculture advisors and inspectors who desperately need to undergo a course of re-education so that they can clearly explain the value of these monuments.

The Estate Agent’s particulars summarise the house:-   The house briefly comprises a period dwelling and was constructed in several stages with a main two-storey residence over part basement stores together with a two-storey wing and two storey return. There is a a partially walled garden, stone stables and various agricultural outbuildings. The property enjoys substantial road frontage to the R445 with a two storey compact gate lodge which is contained on the Record of Protected Structures and a tree lined driveway leading to the residence which  extends to approximately 573 sq.m. (6,169 square feet). The accommodation briefly comprises a spacious entrance hallway with a drawing room on one side and a dining room and library on the other. To the rear of the hall floor there is a kitchen area with an AGA cooker and associated stores, laundry room, wine cellar and pantry. On the first floor, in the main area, there are currently 3 bedrooms and a dressing room together with two bathrooms. The larger bedroom was created previously from 2 bedrooms. With access off the main staircase there are two self-contained apartments. Outside there are a range of stables and agricultural buildings in need of considerable refurbishment. The gate lodge is in poor condition and extends to approximately to 53 sq. m. (570 sq.ft.) gross internal area.

The Buildings of Ireland don’t mention the house, but concentrate on the Lodge:- Detached three-bay single-storey gate lodge with dormer attic, built c.1850, on a curved plan with gabled projecting porch. Double-pitched slate roof with red clay ridge tiles, nap rendered chimneystack, overhanging eaves and cast-iron rainwater goods. Nap rendered walls with ruled and lined detail, painted. Lancet-arch window openings with stone sills and single pane timber diamond-leaded sash windows. Interior not inspected. Gate lodge is set back from road with three-bay side elevation curved and incorporated into boundary wall of turn-around; landscaped grounds to site; grass verge to front; rendered piers with ball finials.

In March 1786 the servant of Captain Thomas Loftus, MP for the rotten borough of Clonmines (to which he had been “elected” in 1781) spotted the infamous highwayman Moran robbing a carriage on the main road by the gates of Ashfield .  Loftus and two friends chased the group and caught two of them.

An unpleasant fate for the Highwayman Moran – but maybe it was a mistake to pick on William Johnson of Ballintogher

Thomas Loftus, a captain of the 1st Horse Guards, and M.P was the son of Henry Loftus, M.P for Fetherd Bannow and Clonmines.  He married Mary Palliser daughter of the Rev Mr Palliser of Rathfarnham (now known as Loreto Abbey)  and d  28 Jan 1792 in Lisbon aged 42.  His cousin, Dudley Loftus of Grange, Monasterevan, Clara and Anneville, Co Meath, had married Ann Ash of Ashfield near Clonard, 5 miles from the Loftus family seat at Killyon  in the 1760s.  Was this how Ashfield got its name? 

The last of the Loftus descendants to live at Killyon  was Miss Augusta Elizabeth Magan, one of the richest women in Ireland when she came into her inheritance in 1880, whose mother was Elizabeth Georgina Loftus. 

In Seventy Years Young, Elizabeth, Countess of Fingall recalls “Miss Magan had been a Dublin beauty. The story was that she had been engaged to a young man with whom she was very much in love. On the day of the wedding, he failed to appear. The house was shut up for many years and the lady lived as a recluse. When she was dying she asked to be buried in her bridal dress. After the funeral they opened the Stephen’s Green house, and, it was said, found the wedding breakfast still spread for the guests who had not come 30 years earlier.”

Auctioneer Mr James Adams, who was retained to carry out an examination of the Miss Magan’s effects at Killyon Manor when she died in 1905, told the Probate Court: “Every passageway and every room to which access could be gained was packed with parcels and packages of all description. Piled on top of furniture, underneath furniture and on the floor were packages and deed boxes. The litter on the main stairs and vestibule was also knee-deep. Other apartments in the mansion were in the same conditions. Amongst this rubbish was found money, jewellery and valuables of all description. Bank notes were found in waste paper baskets, gold sovereign coins were thrown on the floors and in tea cups and in kitchen utensils.”   No 77 St Stephen’s Green was, he said, “if anything, to be in worse condition” and the valuers had trouble getting into the house it was so tightly packed with items she had accumulated, some highly valuable, others baubles and rubbish“.  (Liam Collins in the Irish Independent, May 15 2016)

On April 7 1792  Thomas Loftus’s widow was selling Ashfield.  She moved to Portarlington where she died in 1827.

Leet lists Fred Trench esq, at Ashfield, but Shaw Mason’s topography was probably more accurate: Passing the cross road at Ballybrittas about half a mile on the right hand is Ash field The house has been lately rebuilt by the Dean of Kildare though not large it is a genteel neat mansion and though it does not boast an extensive prospect the lawn looks pleasing enough by the judicious arrangement and disposition of the trees The soil though flat is dry, kind and productive.         A Statistical Account, Or Parochial Survey of Ireland,  William Shaw Mason  1814

Thomas Trench (5 July 1763 – 7 January 1834) was born in County Galway and educated at Trinity College, Dublin.  Trench was appointed Dean of Kildare on 7 August 1809.  Amongst his  brothers were Frederick Trench, 1st Baron Ashtown and Francis Trench, who built Sopwell Hall, co. Tipperary   Thomas had  married in 1786 Mary Weldon, 1st daughter of Walter Weldon MP, of Rahinderry, Queen’s County, by his second wife Anne Cooke, only daughter and heiress. of Sir Samuel Cooke, 1st Bt. MP,

It is not clear when Thomas Trench bought Ashfield.  When winding up his father’s estate in January 1798 he was at 52 Granby Row, off Parnell Square, and had given several sermons in the Rotunda Chapel during the 1790s. In 1806 he was resident at Bellegrove, the home of John Adair and his son George Adair who would go on to marry Trench’s daughter Elizabeth in 1822. 

The Dean of Kildare made some improvements with bullocks, at Bellegrove, in the Queen’s County, but he has not yet brought them to perfection ; the base of the Patten which he used was entirely of wood, and was fastened on the bullock’s foot by leather straps  Reports from the Commissioners – Volume 6, Part 2 – Page 215  House of Commons – 1814.

A map, which is illustrated in Horner’s Mapping Laois relates to an 1817 transfer to  Captain Henry Archdall  (14 June 1782 – 4 August 1856) who was the son of Colonel Mervyn Archdall of Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh, and Hon. Mary Dawson of Emo.  He had served through the Napoleonic Wars as an Aide-de-Camp for his brother General Mervyn Archdall, and sold his commission in 1818.   He married Jane Doyne, daughter of Philip Doyne of Leighlinbridge and Janey Vigors,  on 15 April 1816.    In 1818 he is taking out a game licence and gives his address as Rath  (Dublin Evening Post – Tuesday 27 October 1818) and in 1820 he is still in Laois litigating over a pair of carriage horses, but by 1824 he is in Fermanagh looking after the family interests.

The Gate Lodge is visible on John Longfield’s map NLI 21.F42.17

Trench built Glenmalyre where he was resident by Oct 1826. There is a letter in the National Archives from Thomas Trench, Dean of Kildare and magistrate, Glenmalure, Monasterevin, dated 2 Oct 1826 to Alexander Mangan, reminding the recipient of Henry Goulburn’s promise to forward copies of the statutes for the use of the magistrates at Ballybrittas Petty Sessions. Between 1787 and 1808 Trench had 15 children, for which Ashfield must have surely been too small. 

Lewis, in 1837, reported “ Ashfield rebuilt about 35 years ago by the Dean of Kildare is an agreeable though not large mansion”

After Trench moved to Glenmalyre the next resident of whom we know anything was Henry Birch.  He presumably moved in after the July 1834 sale at Ballybrittas, which is maybe when Dean Trench finally left Ashfield.  The Leinster Express lists Henry Birch, barrister, as being a freeholder  of Ashfield.  Saturday, March 14, 1835

27 August 1836  Birch is listed as attending a meeting of “The Queen’s County Conservative Association”, often referred to in the press as the “No Popery Association”! He was a subscriber to Lewis in 1837,  and was mentioned as a freeholder of Ashfield in 1843.

In Saunders’s News-Letter – Friday 03 March 1843 it was advertised for sale with the interesting offer – Or the above would exchanged for House with about five acres of Land, within five miles of Dublin. The North Side would be preferred.    Birch  was still described as being of Ashfield when made one of the directors of the Farmers Estate Society, a strange group of yeomen farmers set up by Parliament in 1848.

Dublin Evening Packet 13 Aug 1843
Saunders’s News-Letter Monday 27 February 1843

In 1849  Mr Scott of Ashfield assisted putting out the fire at The Derries, but no more is known of him yet.

In December 1877 it was advertised for sale

Major General JP Maquay, late of the Royal Engineers, arrived in the early 1880s – he was advertising the Irish Peat Moss Litter Company in Leinster Leader – Saturday 02 August 1884 – ‘The Shamrock Brand – made from the best air-dried absorbent peat.’ 

John Leland Maquay  junior (1791-1868), descendant of one of the first Presbyterian ministers in Dublin, (on Usher’s Quay in 1700,)   was of a family of bankers and sugar merchants.  His father was George Maquay (1758 – 1820), director of the Grand Canal Company after whom the Grand Canal Street Bridge was named.  In 1815 he was living at 20 Merrion Square.   In 1840 he was the co-founder of the Pakenham & Maquay bank of Florence.  One of his sons was John Popham Maquay, (1837-1895) who had served as Captain with the Engineers’ Force of the Turkish Contingent in the Crimea in 1855-56 (Turkish Medal). He also served in the Indian campaign of 1857-59, where he was severely wounded at (mentioned in several despatches. Medal with Clasp). The family archive is in the British Institute in Florence

Another son George Disney Maquay, of Bellegrove, (or Rathadaire)  Ballybrittas, Monasterevan, was the owner of over 850 acres in county Waterford in the 1870s.

Their great grandmother mother was Elizabeth Disney, from whom these Waterford estates would have derived. An extensive collection of this family’s papers is held in the archives of the British Institute in Florence. See http://www.britishinstitute.it/en/archive/maquay-collection.asp 

John Adair of Rath, Queen’s County m. 26 Feb. 1776 Rebecca daughter of George Maquay of Dublin (and great aunt of JP & George Disney Maquay).    John Adair d. 14 July 1809.  John and Rebecca Adair had issue George, who married Dean Trench’s daughter, and was the father of the rather infamous John George Adair, who is rumoured to have had a chid with JL Maquay’s wife.

On April  25 & 26 1895 there was an executor’s  sale of at the residence the late Major-General Maquay, J P. VERY SUPERIOR HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE. Old China and Curios. Large Collection of fine Paintings, Literature, 1,000 volumes, Carriages. Horses. Farming Implements  Catalogue  of Sale application to ROBERT H. FALKINER. Auctioneer. PORTARLINGTON.  One of  Maquay’s painting was The battle between Carnival and Lent by Pieter Breughel III which Christies sold in 2010 for €200,000

The next owner was William Perry Odlum (1843-1922).  He had been sent in 1868 to do his milling training in Samuel Kidd‘s in Isleworth in London. There he met Emma Podger, daughter of the chairman of the board, William Podger, who he was eventually to marry in 1881. He married in England the year his father died .The wedding took place in All Souls Church, Langham Place in London 29th November 1881. “It was distinguished by the fact that all the principal actors wept copiously throughout the ceremony, the bride and her parents, as was considered proper and natural, because the latter were losing a daughter, the bridegroom because his father had died only two months before and the clergyman because he wanted Miss Podger as a bride for his own son.’’* They returned to Ireland and lived initially in the Elms in the town of Portarlington. However, Emma, who had lived in some style in England, aspired to the life of the county set. This saw them move first to Ashfield in Ballybrittas and later to Huntington, about two miles south of Portarlington.   Huntington had been the home of Henry Bloomfield Trench of Cangort and Loughton, who had died in December 1900. Henry Trench’s 1879 book “Shannon Floods. Lough Derg level. The 25 Miles North from Killaloe” with a double-page map and seven coloured plates mightbe relevant to the Shannon Flood Relief Group nowadays!

The Odlums were at Ashfield in 1901, and the census records that he was there with 3 servants (all female) his two sons, his two daughters.

It had become Ashfield Poultry Farm, managed by V Dunne for Mrs Heaven by 1902.

In February 1903 Mrs Cyril Browne, the wife of Lord Sligo’s nephew, was visiting her youthful sister, Mrs Willie Heaven at Ashfield

On 10 February 1900 the social columns had announced that a marriage has been arranged between Mr. Willie Raymond Heaven, third son of Mr. and Mrs. de Heaven, of the Forest of Birae, Aberdeenshire, and Kiftsgate Court, Campden, Gloucestershire, and Edith, youngest daughter of Mr. Frederick Lewin, J.P., D.L., of Cloghans, County Mayo, and of Castlegrove, County Galway.  Castlegrove, County Galway was burnt by the Irregulars in 1922) and Mr Lewin fled Galway on a train and never returned.  He died in Baileys Hotel, Kensington,  on 17 December 1939

Her brother Brigadier General Arthur Lewin, DSO, commanded the 40th Infantry Brigade during the catastrophe of Gallipoli and later emigrated to Kenya. Another brother, Captain Frederick Lewin of the Connaught Rangers, died of wounds received in 1915 whilst training in Kinsale.

 In January 1905 Mrs Heaven of Ashfield  was elected to member of the Buff Orpington Club  according to the Sussex Agricultural Express – Saturday 28 January 1905 and winning the prize for the best cock at the Antrim Show.

One of the more amusing news items from 1906 is that at Westminster Cathedral Mrs Heaven was received into the Catholic Church – rather than the Catholic Church being received into heaven!

Mr Dunne was away the following year – first class prize winner; understands engine, electric light; good knowledge of motor car; can be highly recommended; four years last place. Apply V Dunne. Ashfield Poultry Farm.  The motor car in question was Mr Heaven’s 10 HP Chrysler which took part in the RIAC Road Trials in Dundalk in 1906.

10 HP Chrysler

Their daughter Eulalia Ildefonsa Wilhelmina Heaven was born at Ashfield in 1905. 

Who was William  Anastasius Raymond Heaven  of 43 Peter Street Manchester?  With his wealth and address one might guess that he was a Lancashire Industrialist.   Wrong!!

He was the Count Ramirez de Arellano, who as a Private Chamberlain to the Pope, denies that the attitude of his Holiness is pro-German, disguises an interesting personage, prominent in the English Roman Catholic world. Despite his Spanish title the Count is by birth an Englishman, being the son of the late Mr Robert Heaven, a member of old Gloucestershire family, by his marriage  to the Marquesa de Braceras, a Spanish lady of title. Mr Heaven made a huge fortune in Mexico, where his father also had had interests, and he bought the big Aberdeenshire estate of Forest of Birse, now Lady Cowdray’s. The Count is major-domno to the King of Spain, and he owns the historic castle of Santermo at Fuenterribia, built Philip II. He often entertains Spanish royalty, and when the Eucharistic Congress in London was held some years ago, the Cardinal Archbishop Toledo was his guest, the reception rooms at the family mansion in Grosvenor Square being turned into a replica of old Madrid palace.

He must have been a difficult neighbour for his rather fundamentally protestant neighbour Captain Thomas Trench, especially when he won legal redress to stop the felling of trees at Glenmalyre in 1910 as it would interfere with his sporting rights.

Strangely the Odlums were back at Ashfield in 1911, and the census records that he was there with 3 servants (all female) his two sons, his two daughters, and the elder daughter’s new husband, Rev. Frederick Smithwick, an Irish rugby international who had won two caps in 1898. He was the third son of Rev. Standish Poole Smithwick (1848-1909), of Youghal House, Tipperary and rector of Monasterevin. Odlum was back at Huntington when he died in December 1922.

In 1916 the Heavens departed these shores.  He died in Bournemouth in 1955.

Heaven’s kinsman was William Hudson Heaven, a Gloucestershire businessman whose wealth came from the plantations in Jamaica he inherited from his godfather, which were worked by enslaved black people on the Golden Grove and Silver Grove Plantations. In 1834 he received £11,711 in government compensation for the emancipation of his slaves. Heaven had always wanted to own an island, and so in 1836 he bought Lundy for £9,870 as a summer retreat, and now rentable as a retreat for anyone through The Landmark Trust.

After the Heavens’ departure the Trenchs returned. Born in Richmond, Virginia, USA on 28 Mar 1880 to Charles Stewart Trench, who had been born at Glenmalyre in 1843 (the Dean’s grandson) and Ellen Adelaide Marryat, whose family were major recipients of slavery emancipation compensation for plantations in Trinidad and St Lucia.   In July 1921 Thomas Perceval Trench married Phyllis Clare Hume-Spry, whose brother was famously (and wrongly)  locked up in a lunatic asylum and sued the doctor. He died on 3 Jul 1924 in Ashfield.   Phyllis died in 1968 at the age of 78.

After his death the house was lived in by the Jones family.  Mrs Geraldine Jones in February 1929 gave evidence in a case of criminal damage where James Gray and John Dempster of The Heath were accused of smashing the windows of the gate lodge, wandering somewhat drunkenly home, though they go off on appeal.  Her husband was J C Jones, a shareholder in the Great Southern Railway Company. 

A later tenant in the 1930s was a Mrs Gladys Gorges.

On the 29 July 1944 Richard Williams, then serving in the RAF, who became a director of  D E Williams of Tullamore, married Sylvia Beryl Conroy.    The following Friday 3rd November  later the young couple were not the successful bidders at auction of The Trench Estate, a charming residential farm.    However Mrs M and Miss D Lee did not stay long and in June 1948  M and Mrs Williams’ bought Ashfield.

Richard Williams died in 1968, and Mrs Williams married Geoffrey Fairtlough, who also pre-deceased her. Sylvia Fairtlough died in 2009.    Many may remember the antique shop that she ran in her gate lodge in the  1970s and 80s.

By the time the Irish Independent wrote about Ashfield on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, Jim  O’Brien’s very accurate summary was “To say it  will take refurbishment is probably an understatement.. Mother Nature has some serious plans for the place”    The gardens, he wrote, “are in a feral state and positively Amazonian in places”.

Amazingly a brave saviour has been found to save this part of the heritage of Laois.

Sabine Fields or Ballintogher

On 22 May 1787 Richard Carden of the 12th Dragoons , younger son of Minchin and Lucy Carden of Fishmoyne married Jane Blundell whose father Dixie Blundell was the Dean of Kildare.  He bought land at Ballintogher, the townland of the causeway, and built a house there.    He named it Sabine Fields  after Horace’s rural retreat, 50 km from Rome.  Map makers and geologists got very confused, and it was regularly called Saline Fields, the salty fields.     In 1795 and 96 he was trying to let his father’s estate at Fishmoyne, which produced £1040 a year. 

By 1807 he was in Tipperary, duelling:- A meeting took place adjoining the demesne Sir John Garden, at Templemore, on 26th July between Theobald Butler, Fishmoyne, Esq. and Captain Richard Carden, the Tipperary Militia. The parties having exchanged shot each, as was previously agreed by the seconds, were removed from the ground, we are concerned to state, with much difficulty, by the strenuous interposition of their respective friends, Mr. Lidwill and Major Westenra.

By 1813 Richard Lloyd is resident, taking out a Game Certificate.  Richard may have been Michael Lloyd’s elder brother who died.

Leet notes it as being the house of Michael Lloyd, esq.   Michael Lloyd , the son of  Richard Lloyd (b 1731, d 1774)  and Mary Apjohn (dau of William Apjohn of Linfield by Catherine, dau/coheir of Thomas Lysaght) was born in 1765 at Castlelake, near Cashel, a house that had also belonged to the family of the Rev Lockwood of Belin.

William Shaw Mason in 1814 laments that “We have no noblemen’s seats in the parish but following  the line of the roads the first gentleman’s seat on the Limerick through Ballybrittas by Emo to Mayboro Road which presents  itself to view is Captain Lloyd’s of Sabinefield is a pretty neat house built on a rising ground within few perches of the right hand of the road equally from Monasterevan and Ballybrittas being about mile from each It looks towards the former town of with Moore Abbey and the Canal which is enlivened by the boats plying on the right of Rathangan and the Red hills of Kildare on the it has a charming prospect The ground is principally a limestone gravel and has been highly improved within these few years by the good management skill of the proprietor”

In 1815 Richard Hemphill of Sabine Field was executor to Wm Despard of Portarlington.  Hemphill was a cousin of Lloyd and solicitor to another cousin Michael Marshall Apjohn, of Linfield, near Limerick     (Dublin Evening Post – Thursday 02 November 1815)

Dublin Morning Register on Friday 01 December 1826 records that   “At Lea Church Will Henry de Danbrawa 65th regiment to Maria Lloyd 2nd dau of Lloyd Apjohn esq of Sabine field and Linfield Limerick” They were living in Trevor Square, London in 1843, and he achieved some fame as a military artist.

Saturday 30 June 1827  the Dublin Evening Post advertised “ Sabine Field to let for 31 years or 3 lives apply M Lloyd Apjohn “        

     The tenant he found was Dawson Warburton French, J.P., whose daughter was born at  Ballintogher, Queen’s County, Saturday 02 February 1833  Tipperary Free Press.    Dawson French was born in 1795,  the son of Major George French of the Queen’s County Militia and Ann Johnston, the sister of William Johnson of Graigueverne. He nearly fought at the Battle of Waterloo.  Serving in the Royal Waggon Train, he was coming up with the reserves and was within a day’s march of the battle when it took place.    He married Jane Medlycott, daughter of Reverend John Thomas Medlycott and Jane Congreve of Mount Congreve and died on 6 July 1889.   Though he was hardly welcomed to Balintogher, judging from the Manchester Courier Report of  Aug 9 1828, he was still there in 1842 but by 1845 had moved to Tullamore

Ballintogher appears again as Sabine Fields in the marriage settlement of John Crozier Lloyd  and Mary Anne Duckett Deed dated 27th December 1836 be Michael Lloyd Apjohn of Warrington in the city of Dublin and John Crozier of the first part Charlotte Duckett of second part Mary Anne Duckett of the part and Thomas Rawlins of Harcourt street in the county of Dublin and William of Upper Mount street in the city of the fourth part whereby for the of carrying into effect a contemplated between the said John Crozier Lloyd Mary Anne Duckett and providing a maintenance i the said Mary Anne in the event of surviving her husband and in consideration 10s the said William Lloyd Apjohn granted and for ever conveyed unto the said Rawlins and William Duckett the house demesne and lands called Sabinefields being part of the lands of Ballintogher containing 84 acres 1 rood and 21 perches in the parish of Lea barony of Portnehinch and QUEEN’s County To hold in trust for the life of the said Michael Lloyd Apjohn and then to the use of the said John C and Mary Anne Lloyd or the survivor of them and the said Mary Anne in consideration of the said marriage and the provision provided for her in order to destroy all estates tail and a further of 10s granted and released to the Thomas Rawlins and William Duckett the undivided third part or share of the houses lands and premises in Duckett street on north side of the east suburbs of Clonmel on the north by Patrick Rivers fields on south by the late Thomas Duckett’s and offices and Farrell’s tenements on east by Robert Hogan and Michael Burke’s fields and on the west by a field formerly in the of Thomas Duckett also one undivided part of the yearly rent of 91 4s 7d for the right of passage through said street Patrick Rivers To hold in trust for the lives of the said John C and Mary Anne Lloyd and the survivor of them And the said Anne with her own money having built 2 houses and out offices on said premises the Charlotte Duckett the mother of said Anne undertakes for herself and her executors that upon her daughters Charlotte and Isabella now minors attaining their full age to use best endeavours with them respectively to a lease of said 2 houses to the said Rawlins and William Duckett for the trusts uses in said deed mentioned Inrolled 27th June 1837 page 8

There was another John Crozier Lloyd the youngest son of Rev Michael Lloyd Apjohn of Ballyrood Rectory & Linfeld Limerick, and grandson of Michael Lloyd, who was discharged on January 3, 1856, from the British army after eight years in the Eleventh Regiment of Hussars. In January, 1863. while intoxicated, he was enlisted at Buffalo into the Ira Harris Cavalry and taken to Staten Island. Though he applied repeatedly to his superior officer for permission to see the British Consul, he was insultingly refused. He was denied a discharge even though he held from a British regimental surgeon a certificate of disability caused by injury to his leg. On one occasion when he tried to escape to see his consul, he was, he asserted, tied by the thumbs for eleven hours. He also claimed certain knowledge that there were at least two hundred British subjects in the same regiment enlisted under similar circumstances.   John Crozier Lloyd died at Buffaloo 20 sept 1866.

John Crozier Lloyd, Michael Lloyd Apjohn’s  second son died in 1846, 9 years after his marriage and in Clonmel Chronicle – Saturday 01 November 1856  the court of Chancery was advertising the disposal of his estate include the house, lands and demesne of Sabine Fields, held under a lease of lives renewable forever at a yearly rent of £132 10s 7d

There was a tenant there at the time – the splendidly named Horatio Ffoliott Nelson and his wife Maria Walker who had married at St. Catherine Dublin on  9 October 1814.  On Saturday 08 September 1855 The Westmeath Independent reported the death on the 19th August  at Burnley, Lancashire, Joseph Dunne. Nelson, Esq., surgeon, eldest son of Horatio F. Nelson, Esq., of Sabine-fields, Queen’s County, Ireland. Sally Park, half a mile North West of Sabine Fields, is where Horatio Nelson was living in 1814 when he married Maria.

Between the production of the 6” OS map in the 1830s  and the 25” OS map in the 1880s  the original Sallypark House was demolished.  The present 2 storey 3 bay house, a simple oblong in plan with a fanlight over the central front door, a fully hipped roof and a pair of chimney stacks at the rear, rising high above the gutters, probably dates from the late 19th century.  In the early 20th Century it belonged to George Comerford, who sold it in 1929 to Leo Ring , a cabinet maker.  Leo  took part in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, serving at the GPO with his four brothers.   His bother Liam O Rinn translated Peadar Kearney’s Soldier’s Song, (the National Anthem) into Irish in 1922, as well as writing the Irish version of the 1937 constitution.  Their father, a native of Danesfort, Kilkenny,  was a Dublin Metropolitan Policeman.  Leo married Alice Corcran, a farmer’s daughter from Mountmellick in 1920.  Sallypark was sold by his son Anthony Ring in 1963.

To return to Ballintoger, where in 1866 John Henry St. George Whitty was farming and winning the first prize for the best three pigs, under ten months at the local show. He was the son of the Revd. John Whitty,  rector of Rathvilly, who died 1843 aged 85 years; and of his wife, Jane St. George.    In September 1871 he married Anne Bomford Massy b 1832, the daughter of Francis Hugh Massy and Anne Bomford Molloy, and granddaughter of Baron Massy of Duntrileague, co. Limerick.   On Thursday 16 January 1873 The Cork Constitution reported the sudden death at Ballintogher, Queen’s County, Nannie, the dearly beloved wife of St. George Whitty, Esq.   He survived for two years, dying at Ballintogher in 1875 of a broken heart at the age of 43.

By 1900 the Mulhall family were in residence whose most famous son was Rev. Brother Patrick Athanasius Mulhall, the oldest Christian Brother in the Order when he died in 1959 and friend and confidant of Canon Sheehan of Doneraile. Sadly the original house was demolished in the last century.


Belin Resurget

From The Placenames Database of Ireland:- “The Barrow expands significantly at this point and we think this is probably a compound word béal + linn “mouth-pool”.  Belin is the spelling of OS 1st edition 6ʺ and is also in the Townland Index (appendix to the 1851 Census); the later OS maps are Belan.  The earliest reference is in 1549 when the extent of Clanmyre was defined as the new bridge of Belyn (Carrigan MS, Volume 46, 100)

In 1552 the Queen wrote directing a grant to be made to Sir  Maurice FitzGerald, of Lackagh, Knt., “of the bridge of Bealyne in O’Dempsey’s Country, and the (ferry) boat thereunto belonging, with all the land, tenements, and rents appertaining, of the yearly value of £7 2s. sterling ; to hold to him and his heirs for ever, without any rent, upon condition that he shall build a Castle at one end of the bridge, and a tower at the other, for its protection and maintenance.” The Calendar of the Patent and Close Rolls of Chancery in Ireland, vol. I, 302.  and Journals of Kildare Archaeological Society Volume I : 252, 253. 

In 2004 The Buildings of Ireland survey recorded “Three-bay two-storey house with dormer attic, built c.1750, with pedimented central breakfront. Three-bay two-storey Georgian house, c.1790, attached to rear. Now derelict. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with clay ridge tiles, nap rendered chimneystacks and cast-iron rainwater goods. Roughcast rendered brick walls with limestone course to eaves. Venetian-style window openings to ground floor, Wyatt-style window openings to first floor with limestone sills and timber sash windows. Round-headed door opening with block-and-start doorcase and timber panelled door with fanlight. Timber panelled shutters to window openings; timber panelled intrados to Venetian window. House set back from road in own grounds; overgrown grounds to site. Group of detached outbuildings to site. Gateway to front comprising rendered piers with wrought iron gates.”

Captain Jean Maret de la Rive of La Rive, Castlecomer died in 1763 aged 93.    Jean La Rive of St. Antonin in Rouerge, near Toulouse, escaped with his wife to Holland disguised as an orange seller at the time of the Revocation of The Edict of Nantes, when protestants had to flee France. There he entered the service of William and campaigned in Portugal. He later settled in County Kilkenny as agent to Sir Christopher Wandesforde of Castlecomer.   La Rive had two brothers, St. Martin and William Maret. The former, who served in the French Navy, is said to have aided their escape. William obtained the command of an English gunboat and served later in Canada, but, like his brother, he retired to Ireland, dying in Dublin in his eightieth year. 

Henry Larieve, Belin, Queen’s County was awarded a premium by the Dublin Society on 7 April 1768 for growing wheat and was noted as a magistrate in 1775 in the act for repairing the road from Timahoe to Cashel.  It seems probable that this Henry built the house at Belin and was the grandson of Jean. 

18 May 1780  Saunders Newsletter

.I do not believe that The Higginbotham family ever lived here.  In fact I think that they might be a red herring, as geographically there lands are around Belan, Co Kildare .  There are but two references:-

 The son of Thomas Higginbotham, of Ballintruer, near Castleruddery , who died suddenly in his 85th year in July 1780 was John Higginbotham of Belin.  ABSTRACT OF WILLS HIGGINBOTHAM, JOHN [Belin], Queen’s Co., Esq. 29 June 1805. Full Probate 9 Aug. 1805. An annuity to my wife Eliza to be paid out of the lands of Ballynure. To my eldest son the property I have out of the lands of Ballynure, Co. Wicklow, now subject to mortgage debts and bonds and subject to a provision for my younger children. An annuity to my eldest daughter Sidney, or in lieu £300, in consideration of her love and duty to me, and £20 out of the issues of my chattels at Belin. To my second and third daughters, second son John, third son Joseph, and fourth son Charles a similar bequest. An annuity to my mother out of the lands of Castleruddery [Co. Wicklow] known by the names of Byrnes and Farmers land now held by my brother Wm. Higginbotham, provided she does not reside at the house of her daughter Elizth. Hanbridge or any of that family. To my eldest son Wm. Higginbotham his mare, bridle and saddle, and my gun and turning utensils. Exors and trustees my brother Wm. Higginbotham, Joshua Pasley and John Lloyd, junr. Witnesses: Walter Baggot, H. M. Davis, Chars. Pasley, Memorial witnessed by: Chars. Pasley, Thos. Donagh, Dublin.  Joshua Pasley (seal). There were a family of Higginbothams who were saddlers of Capel Street, which might account for the mention of the bridle and saddle

DEATHS, At 10, De Grey Terrace. Dublin, Charlotte, daughter of the late John Higginbotham, of Belan, Queen’s County  10 June 1863

Saunders’s News-Letter – Saturday 09 May 1795.. The Adair family remained as the head landlords, sharing the townland with John Hutton, till the Land Commission  dealt with the estate of Cornelia Adair in December 1909

The next tenants appear to be Charles Bowen of Courtwood, son of Col Hugh Bowen and Elizabeth Jones, and his new wife Martha Hartpole, daughter and co-heiress of Robert Hartpole of Shrule Castle who were married at St. George’s Dublin, on 18 May 1796.  However the Bowens moved to Kilnacourt in Portarlington after a couple of years.  

The next owners was Richard Gibson and subsequently his son in law, Robert Lockwood. At St Anne’s Church, Dublin, On Jan 21 1811,  Rev Robert Lockwood, son of the late Richard Lockwood,of Indiaville, Co Tipperary to Miss Gibson, eldest daughter and co-heiress of the late Richard Ellis Gibson of Belan Lodge, Queens County

Richard Ellis Gibson was the eldest son of Robert Gibson of Dublin.  The Gibson, as can be seen from the advertisement of 1816 below, were also of Stone Hall, Multyfarnham, which at that time was a glebe house.   

 12 March 1816   Dublin Evening Post

In 1814  Leet notes Belan as the home of Rev Robert Lockwood, who had been in Bray in 1810.

However William Shaw Mason’s 1814 A Statistical Account, Or Parochial Survey of Ireland reports “The land is pretty good Here crossing the canal about half a mile further just by the Barrow’s side you come to Belin Lodge at present the seat of Major Dundass.  It is capable of being made a charming summer residence but both the house and improvements have been unfortunately let to fall into a state of decadence which however will not continue longer to be the case as every thing is to be hoped for from the taste of the proprietor.  The soil is naturally kind.  It is distant two miles from Monastereven and six from Portarlington”.   Major Dundas and his family had moved on by 1815 when their third son was born in Kings County. 

Major Lawrence Dundas, Son of Major Laurence Dundas (13th Light Dragoons) and Ellen Greene of Clobemon Hall, near Bunclody, Co Wexford. Major in the 5th Fusiliers. Chief Constable. ADC to the Duke of Wellington. Married Charlotte Maria Slater on 4 Sep 1812 at St Peter’s Church, Dublin. They had 7 children (Adelaide Maria Dundas, Laurence George Dundas b. 1813 in Ireland, George Charles Dundas b.10 May 1814, (at Belin),  Thomas Henry Dundas b. 1815 in Kings County, William John Dundas b. 8 Jul 1820 in Dublin, Ireland, Sarah Georgina Dundas b. 1819, Sidney Robert Dundas). Died at Carrig Castle, Kingstown, Co Dublin, Ireland aged 78 years.

The Index of Intestate Administration of The Diocese of Kildare, Vol V .  lists 1824 Finlay, Patrick, Belin, Queen’s County, by which time Robert Lockwood was living in Cashel, making himself unpopular by seizing cattle in lieu of tithes and having a remarkable fight with a Waterloo Grenadier

Dublin Evening Post 21 Oct 1824

On  Friday 10 June 1831 the Dublin Morning Register listed Rev Robert Lockwood of Leeson Street, late of Indiaville, as Insolvent.  At the time of writing Indiaville is standing in the Aldi car park at Cashel, awaiting a new owner to run it as a restaurant. 

From Turtle Bunbury’s family history :- Richard Lockwood and his wife Elizabeth (nee Carden) had a son, also Richard Lockwood (1757-1810) who succeeded to Indaville, served as a Trooper and was married in 1775 Clarinda Carden, a sister of Sir John Carden. On 23 January 1849, their son, the Rev. Robert Carden Lockwood (1781-1853), a 68-year-old widower, was married at the Cathedral Church of Old Leighlin, Co. Carlow, to Ellen O’Callaghan, a 25-year-old spinster and third daughter of the late Charles Cornelius O’Callaghan of Drangan Lodge, County Tipperary. (Limerick & Clare Examiner, 27 January 1849). Robert was the great grandson of Richard Lockwood and Elizabeth Bunbury. He sold the family’s Regency mansion at Indaville in Boherclough, near Cashel. (10) The Reverend Robert Carden Lockwood, who married for the second time when he was 68, was insolvent. He died at Pleasant Street, Dublin aged 73 in 1853. In June 1865 houses, premises and land belonging to Richard Lockwood where advertised for sale and sold.

Thomas Lee Kenny of Rosenallis had married Elizabeth Devine in Mountmellick in 1809.and they were living in Belin by 1828.  His brother was Captain Wolfenden Kenny of the 40th Regiment  who died on  25th Aug 1857 aged 75 at 4 Bedford-place, Commercial-road East, having served in the Napoleonic Wars. (Morning Chronicle 31 Aug 1857 ). In 1837 Lewis’s Topography lists Kenny, Thomas Lee, Esq., Belin, Monasterevan, co. Kildare as a subscriber

In Aug 1840 Thomas Lee Kenny is trying to let Belin

Thomas Lee Kenny died in 1845 (his wife Elizabeth survived till 1863, dying in York Street, Dublin at the age of 78) . Of their 10 children Richard  Kenny continued to farm at Belin, buying cows from Mr. Gushin, cattle dealer, from near Maryborough, 12/- each according to the Dublin Evening Packet of 27 May 1854.  This was the same year that he hosted a ploughing match.

In 1836 Thomas Kenny had moved down the road to Fisherstown, having married Miss Anderson. Henry Torrens Kenny  –  who had been born about 1820,, married Emily, fifth daughter of the late M. Dawber, Esq, of King’s Lynn on November 17, 1852and became a vicar in Norfolk.  His brother Simon also took the cloth, but ended up with a parish close to Waterville in County Kerry. Robert Wolfenden Kenny  (1814 – 1883) ended up owning Killoughter House in Ashford, County Wicklow, which was the home of Chester Beatty and one of the homes of the banker Sir David Davies of Abbeyleix House and president of the Irish Georgian Society till he sold it in 2010

Killoughter, Ashford

The most remarkable story was that of the ninth of the ten children, George Lee Kenny, born February 10, 1823. To quote from the memoirs of  Robert W. Kenny (August 21, 1901 – July 20, 1976), 21st Attorney General of California (1943-1947):- My grandfather emigrated to the United States in the 1840’s. He found employment in a bookstore in Buffalo, New York, operated by George H. Derby, husband of Celia Bancroft, sister of Hubert Howe Bancroft and A. L. Bancroft. Hubert Howe Bancroft was a fellow-clerk in the Buffalo bookstore. His early experiences with my grandfather are related in his “Literary Industries, ” pp. 117-121. When the Gold Rush came, Mr. Derby staked the two boys to a stock in trade of books, stationery and allied lines, and H.H. Bancroft and George L. Kenny came to San Francisco by way of the Isthmus of Panama in early 1852. They opened a bookstore in San Francisco and discovered that the really hot items were printed legal forms – a practical necessity in a busy society with a scarcity of legal draftsmen.

In 1855, George L. Kenny married my paternal grandmother, Melvina Van Wickle, originally of Schenectady, New York. My father was born August 23, 1862, in San Francisco. He was the second of three children who survived to maturity. The house in which my father was born still stands in San Francisco. It is an octagonal house at 1067 Green Street, near Leavenworth and Green.

The theory of octagonal houses was to provide eight different exposures to the sun instead of  only four in rectangular design. The San Francisco Chronicle of November 22, 1954 (p. 14) described it as San Francisco’s “oldest house. ” The Feusier Octagon House on Russian Hill is one of two homes remaining in San Francisco as well as the Bay Area constructed in this unique eight-sided architectural style.Octagon homes were popular in the mid-1850s thanks to American lecturer and write, Orson Squire Fowler. A well-known phrenologist (the pseudoscience of delineating a person’s personality and characteristics based on the shape and contours of their skull) Fowler wrote a book called, The Octagon House: A Home For All, or A New, Cheap, Convenient and Superior Mode of Building. This book touted numerous benefits of the octagonal layout, including more living space, more natural light and was warmer in winter and cooler in summer.As a result, a few thousand octagonal homes were constructed throughout the United States and Canada but never gained popularity among the majority.  The Feusier Octagon House is San Francisco landmark #36 and is located at 1067 Green Street between Leavenworth and Jones. Though it’s actual build date is not known, it has been seen in photographs dating back as early as 1858. At one point, there were upwards of five octagon houses in San Francisco. Today, only the Feusier Octagon House  and Colonial Dames (McElroy) Octagon (SF landmark #17) on Gough Street in Cow Hollow remain. Most of the City’s octagon homes were located in Russian Hill.

Robert Walker Kenny was “a colorful figure in Californian state politics for many years” who in 1946 ran unsuccessfully against Earl Warren for state governor (a race in which Warren won both Republican and Democratic nominations).   He represented “many people under indictment for questionable activities.”   Clients included Luisa Moreno Bemis, Guatemalan labour activist, many “unfriendly” witnesses (including the Hollywood Ten) before HUAC in Los Angeles in 1952, as well as musicians before HUAC in 1956.   The Hollywood Ten were ten writers and directors who were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Kenny was a member of the American Committee for the Protection of Foreign Born.  In 1957, he was one of the lawyers who helped 23 Hollywood screen writers and actors win a Supreme Court review of their challenge of the Hollywood blacklist.

Back to Belin –

in November 1861 the head landlord, John Hutton, had fallen into the hands of the Landed Estates Court

Two years later it is back before the Landed Estates Court, but this time it is the leases – it sounds very like a family row following their mother’s death.

On Monday 12 December 1881  Emond Nolan of Belin House, Monasterevan, President of the Ballybrittas  Land League was arrested under the Coercion Act and taken to Clonmel Jail. 87 Coercion  Acts  were passed between the Acts of Union 1801 and 1887.  W. E. Gladstone was returned to office in 1880, during the agrarian violence and civil disturbance of the Land War. William Edward Forster was made Chief Secretary for Ireland. On 24 January 1881, he introduced a new Coercion Bill in the Commons.   The bill was strongly opposed by the Irish Parliamentary Party under Charles Stewart Parnell  (IPP), which took its obstructionism tactic to new heights by filibustering the second reading for 41 hours. Eventually the Speaker resorted to ignoring IPP MPs requesting the right of speech and put the question. Charles Stewart Parnell and his companions were expelled from the House of Commons. This controversial unprecedented move was soon formalised when Gladstone secured an amendment of the rules of order to allow for cloture (“guillotine”) motions, still a favourite tool of British governments to force through unpopular legislation. A total of 953 people were detained under the act.  Many of them were active in the Irish National Land League; this was sufficient for the “reasonable suspicion” required by the act.

Whilst he was in jail his neighbours helped with the farming, as the Kildare Observer reported on January 28 1882.

Edmond Nolan was released from Naas Jail on March 22 1882  (Irish Times 23 March 1882), but police harassment continued as The Freeman’s Journal of 25 April 1882 reported

The following year he was offering Belin for sale – Farm to be sold by private TREATY. The Lands known as BELIN, with good House and Offices, situated within two and a half miles from Monasterevan.  Particulars can be had on application to JAMES WALSH, 57 Lower Dominick-street, Dublin,  Irish Times  Saturday 21 July 1883

It seems that the next occupants were the Coady family –  Administration of the estate of Robert Coady late Belin Queen’s County Farmer who died 25 August 1899 was granted to his son, Robert Coady, who was still there for the census of 1911, and presumably hosted the Quadrille Party that was advertised in 1905.  On the other hand many records report the Coadys as of Fisherstown, and though the census of 1911 says that they were living in a house with 5 windows on the front, it also says that they only had 4 rooms, which would be too few for Belin House.

For those who, like me, had never been to a Quadrille Party, here are a couple of pictures.

In January 1950 RJ Bolger of Belin House  was offering for sale his 1938 Fordson Tractor on steel wheels at “a good price”  I bet that was not the €3000 or so that it would be worth today!  In 1984 when Mrs Bolger was letting grazing, at which stage the house was already falling into significant disrepair.    By 2004 it was described by The Buildings of Ireland survey as derelict, but that was the year that Patrick McLoughlin was assisted with repairs to windows at Belin House by The Heritage Council.  Belin is another story of a house saved for posterity. 

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