It is hardly fair to call Springmount House at Shanahoe near Abbeyleix a minor house – it is one of the prettiest houses in the county.
The Buildings of Ireland record describes it as “Detached five-bay two-storey house, c. 1750, with pedimented bay to centre. Renovated, c. 1870, with façade enrichments added. Renovated, c. 1980, with projecting porch added”
The initial building here was Killeany Castle on the banks of the Nore, of which no vestige remains; According to Coote “ On Sir Allen Johnson’s estate stand the ruins of Killeany Castle ; the walls are injudiciously built of very had stones, though an excellent quarry is contiguous.”
Robert Dunlop’s 1563 map of the Plantation of Leix and Offaly shows Kileane Castle. Petty in 1685 also has Killeany Castle marked on The Down Survey.
Ralph Wallis, of Killeny, Queen’s County, Esq. (d. 1677), son of Charles Wallis of Dublin, Clerk of the Rolls, in Ireland, and M.P., who acted as Deputy for Sir William Temple, received in 1644 from the Ulster King of Arms, a Grant or Confirmation of Arms. By his arms it would appear that he felt he was a descendant of the Sussex family of Wallis or Walleys. For his motto he took an O’Brien motto that was carved on their town house in Patrick Street, Dublin “Victoria Mihi Christus”. So it is evident that he was established here before the outbreak of the English Civil War. However with the coming of Cromwell we find him in May 1654 as one of the 8 clerks paid £107 for indexing the Black Books of Athlone They were the Roll of Association the names of all who had become members of the Confederation of Kilkenny by taking the oath, the books of the Supreme Council and Books of Entries.
In 1662 he received A Warrant [by the Duke of Ormond] for a fiant for [the grant of his Majesty’s] general pardon.
Thomas Ball sold Portrane to Charles Wallis for £40 in the 17th century. William Petty, in his survey in 1654, noted that Ralph Wallis owned Portrane, including “an old castle with a thatch hall adjoining …”
By 1677, a George Wallis was living in Portrane Castle. It was rebuilt as we see it today In 1709 by Charles Wallis, of Springmount, Queen’s County, who was the tenant of the Portrane Estate, by virtue of an ancient Archiepiscopal Lease. This is the earliest date that we have for Springmount. In 1709 he mortgaged the castle and parsonage lands amounting to 243 acres. Very shortly afterwards,by 1712, Honoria Swanton, the daughter of Willoughby Swift, a cousin of the writer Jonathan Swift, Dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, was living at Portrane Castle. At the end of that year, Swift’s ill-fated “Stella,” Esther Johnston (1681-1728), spent several weeks with the Swantons at Portrane Castle, and ever since the castle has been known locally as Stella’s Castle or Stella’s Tower.
Patrick Comerford writes in his excellent blog – While Stella was staying at Portrane Castle, she and Swift exchanged letters in October and November 1712, and he wrote to her: “I did not know your country place had been Portrane until you told me in your last. Has Swanton taken it of Wallis? That Wallis was a grave, wise cox-comb – Oh ho Swanton seized Portrane, now I understand you, Ay, ay, now I see Portraine at the top of your letter. I never minded it before.”
Eventually Ralph Wallis of Springmount, Co Laois, sold Portrane in 1728 to Eyre Evans,
The Eyres and the Evan’s held Portrane till the dreaded St Ita’s Asylum was built there in 1896, where 3,000 are buried with but the one stone to commemorate their priest.
“It was on this peninsula a few hundred yards from Tower Bay, at the tip of the peninsula itself, that the government of the day decided to build Portrane Mental Hospital – isolated as far as possible from the mainstream of things, as was the policy throughout the 19th century in the building of mental hospitals in the various towns throughout the country,” from a staff memoir sourced by the writer Rosita Boland
Ra[lph] Wallis to James Payzant, Lord Townshend’s office, Whitehall. Is pleased with price for ‘papers’ and wishes to know method of payment. Dated at Springmount near Maryborough, Queen’s County. 1721 June 24 . The National Archives, Kew
Francis Sadlier Vaughan b 1698 at Golden Grove, Roscrea, m (articles dated 17 May, 1718) Ralph Wallis, ot Springmount, Queen’s Co., and had issue. They had two sons, Robert and Hector.
Robert was of Springmount and Knapton and was succeeded by his brother Hector, who married Miss Sarah Drope, of Dublin, by whom he had Margaret. At Golden Grove, Roscrea, the seat of her great uncle William P Vaughan esq Lord Mountjoy to Miss Margaret Wallis daughter of the late Hector Wallis esq, formerly of Springmount 1793. The Vaughans of Golden Grove were related to Baron Vaughan, of Mullingar, Earl of Carbery, of Golden Grove, Camarthen.
Golden Grove, Roscerea
Here we have a clash of inhabitants. Though it is not clear when Margaret was born, or her father died, it cannot have been much before 1770 at the earliest. But in 1752 Pococke records “We came to Ballyroan via Timohoe to a. large village on a rivlet, which falls into the Nore, and crossing that river came to Springmount the seat of Mr. Brereton, near the remains of a fine ruined Castle, on the Nore called Killeny”
There is a plaque on Killeany Bridge over The River Nore. “1760/this bridge was/erected at the county/expense/Edward Brereton of/Spring Mount Esq/Director/Michael Dealy Mason”
William Brereton of Narraghmore, Co. Kildare married Pricilla Brooke . The family were descended from a Henrician soldier, Sir William Brereton of Brereton, Cheshire, who died in 1541 and is buried in Kilkenny. His grandson Baron Brereton of Leighlin, Co. Carlow, built Brereton Hall.
The son of William Brereton of Narraghmore, Major Edward Brereton of Dublin & Springmount married on 25 November 1754, Frances, daughter of Philip Rawson of Donoughmore, Co. Queen’s and Abington Park, Co. Limerick and had two daughters, Sackvilla Brereton (1759 – 1849) Martha Brereton (born 1761) (Grantstown Castle was taken by force by Gilbert Rawson and in his possession by 1653, but was originally a property of the Fitzpatrick family (Earls of Upper Ossory). Aan agreement of some sort was eventually reached between the families and that Grantstown Castle was returned to its previous owners, but that the Rawson family retained title to Donoughmore. There are “Papers relating to the Rawson family of Leix in the Fitzpatrick Papers, 1640 – 1752” held at the National Archives).
Edward Brereton was a Justice of the Peace, member of the House of Commons from 1742-1756 and Chief Sergeant of Arms of Ireland 1743-1756. He died in 1775 aged 81.
Sackvilla’s godmother was Lady Sarah Pole of Ballyfin, the daughter of the Earl of Drogheda, who married William Pole in 1748. Sackvilla was b. 15 Jun 1759, d. 1 Mar 1847 and in 1783 married Sir John Allen Johnson-Walsh, 1st Baronet (c. 1745 – December 1831) was an MP. He was born John Allen Johnson (also spelled Johnston), the eldest son of Allen Johnson, of Kilternan in County Dublin, by his wife Olivia, only daughter of John Walsh, of Ballykilcavan in Queen’s County. The second son was Henry Johnson, who was created a Baronet in 1818.
Sarah Pole from http://www.ballyfin.com
His father died on 30 July 1747, so, on the death of his grandfather Allen Johnson on 25 August following, Johnson succeeded to the family estates. On 24 February 1775 he was created a Baronet in the Baronetage of Ireland. He represented Baltinglass in the Irish House of Commons from 1784 to 1790 and was High Sheriff of Queen’s County in 1792. In 1808 he succeeded his maternal uncle Raphael Walsh (Dean of Dromore) to the estate of Ballykilcavan, and adopted the additional surname of Walsh by Royal Licence of 9 May 1809.
WLlliam Pigott esq son of Colonel Pigott, Chief Engineer of the Ordnance and member for Midleton to Miss Brereton of Springmount, Queens County with thirty thousand pounds Her sister is the lady of Sir John Allen Johnson, bart. Anthologia Hibernica 1793 (Newspaper reports can be very difficult to reconcile with other evidence – I suspect that Col Pigott might have been Thomas Pigott, of Knapton, Queen’s County, born 13th October, 1734, Major-General in the army, and M.P.. for Midleton, (the only Pigott who was M.P for Midleton.) His son William lived at Farmely, Abbeyleix.)
It seems that Sackvuilla and her husband lived at Springmount until he inherited Ballykilcavan in 1808. Springmount was then leased to the Bournes, though the Bournes also appear to have acquired a lease of 1737, from Ephraim Dawson
Borris in Ossory to Abbyleix ln this direction and perhaps nearly midway between those latter villages stands Spring mount formerly the residence of Sir A Johnson Walsh Bart but now the seat of HH Bourne Esq The house a light modern edifice stands on a plain at a little distance from the road in front of a beautiful and extensive lawn and in a country highly improved and altho it has neither the advantages of lake or mountain it exhibits in a striking point of view that perfection of tale and judgment to which the moderns have arrived in their plan and execution of villas
This will be a place of considerable beauty. Springmount has the advantage of Anngrove in this respect that every improvement Which could embellish it appears to have been brought up by the hand of art to the highest elegance and perfection and of Springmount, Anngrove appears to have the advantage in the more full display of its beauties to the traveller on that road which passes between them and of which those seats one on the right hand and the other on the left form two important ornaments In my progress towards Mountrath from…
The Irish Tourist AA Atkinson 1815
St Peter and the Keys
The Bourne family of Springmount gave land for a Catholic church at Raheen circa 1812 which was finished in 1816. The Pilgrim priest, Fr. Benjamin Broughall, was responsible for the building . At the consecration of that church, the local landlord and donor of the site Mr. Bourne, of Springmount House, presented to the people of Shanahoe a painting depicting St. Peter with the Keys of the Kingdom. This painting had been presented to him in gratitude for his kindness by a man known as the Ditreabhach (a man without a tribe). This inspired John Keegan’s short story.
Journal of the Waterford & South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society, Volume 4 & http://www.raheenparish.ie/ourparish/shanahoe-history/
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to establish the parentage of Henry Hawker Bourne, his four brothers and three sisters, a distinguished family – One was a founder of the P&O line; another built the town of Ashbourne County Meath; they built roads, controlled turnpikes and operated the Mail coaches.
Richard, Henry, William and Frederick, ran the lucrative mail coach business . Granted a contract in 1789 by the Irish government to introduce a mail coach service to the country, the brothers built and maintained roads to Limerick and Cork – to support the valuable Atlantic trade – and subsequently to Drogheda and the north of Ireland. Despite heavy capital investment; with a long lease, a monopoly of the tolls and ownership of the inns and hotels which lined the route, the business flourished making the brothers’ fortune. From offices at 48 Dawson Street, next to the Royal Hibernian Hotel which the brothers owned, they oversaw an integrated network of roads and businesses which stretched across the country. They built mail coaches at Blackpits in Dublin keeping over 800 horses on grazing nearby to pull them. The Bourne were described as “people of opulence” and “some of the most important people in the country”. With their wealth, they purchased property across Ireland including Terenure House near Dublin where Frederick Bourne lived (he who built the village of Ashbourne) ; Springmount House in Co. Queen’s and Lynbury House in Co. Westmeath where Richard Bourne settled.
John Edwards Bourne of Dunkerrin, King’s Co. formerly of Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, probably was the eldest of the five brothers, and may have lived in Portlaw, Co Waterford in the 1790s, dying in 1799.
Richard Edwards Bourne, born 1769 in Dublin, probably was the fourth brother. He entered the Navy, a Plymouth Volunteer, aged 18, 30 September 1787. When he signed his Will, 27 June 1844, Richard Edwards Bourne was residing at 7 Montpelier Parade, Monkstown, Co. Dublin. His Will expressed the desire to be “buried beside my late brothers.” He also named five children, issue of his marriage with Louisa Helena Blake, and a son, John, presumably a child by a former marriage. His property consisted of the lands of Killin}- called Rahalass, Knockanspigoe, Classe’nisha and Shanahoe, all in Queen’s Co., acquired from his brother Henry Hawker Bourne, deceased.
The remainder of his property consisted of Nenagh, Toomavara (Toornavara) and Roscrea in Co. Tipperary and a share in the turnpike tolls of the Limerick Road, the hotel, stores and stables, etc., in Limerick, Co. Limerick.
Henry Hawker Bourne, born ca. 1740, of Springmount, Queen’s Co., probably was the second eldest brother. He held lands situated in the barony of Maryborough, Queen’s Co. by lease, dated 3 August 1737, from Ephraim Dawson of Dawson’s Court and Henry Fisher of Killery, both of Queen’s Co. These lands described as “Killiny, called Rahalass, Knockanspigoe, Classenisha, Shandhae, or Shanahoe,” were subsequently willed to his younger brother, Richard Edwards Bourne. He also acquired by conveyance, 27 January 1808, from Robert Shaw of Dublin, the premises in Dublin City known as the Royal Hibernian Hotel, Mail Coach Offices and Yards.
He was of Montasterevan, Co. Kildare, when he married in Dublin on 18 June 1794 in the Parish of St. Catherine, Lucinda Darling, born ca. 1773, of Grand Canal Harbor. He died at Springmount, Queen’s Co. and was buried 14 April 1819, aged 79, in the Parish of Abbeyleix.
The Bourne(s) families of Ireland by Mary A Strange
By indenture of release bearing date the 24th day of October 1812 and made between Henry Hawker Bourne of the one part and Francis John ones of the other part the said Henry Hawker Bourne released unto the said Francis John Jones the house and premises in Dawson street then in the occupation of the said Francis John Jones and used by him as an hotel by the name of the Hibernian Hotel to hold to the Francis John Jones for the lives of Francis Jones George Jones and William Jones sons of the lessee and the survivor of them with a s covenant for perpetual renewal at the yearly rent of 780 late currency to January 1816 the said Francis John Jones in consideration of a sum of 4000 sterling granted and sold the furniture plate household linen wine &c then being in the said hotel and in consideration of the rent charges thereinafter particularly mentioned assigned and released all his interest in the said hotel under the indenture of the 24th 0ctober 1812 to the said Francis Jones and the said Francis Jones granted to the said Francis John Jones and his assigns an annuity of 420 sterling for his life and granted to Mary Jones the plaintiff the wife of the said J r Francis John Jones in case of her surviving the said Francis John Jones an annuity of 300 sterling to be issuing out of the said hotel and concerns and covenanted for the payment of these annuities
Irish Equity Reports – Volume 4 – Page 74 1842
A Petition of Henry Hawker Bourne one of the joint, Proprietors of the Limerick Mail and Stage Coaches, was presented 1811
While Captain Bourne had been thus occupied in the prosecution of naval career his brothers the late Henry Hawker Bourne of Springmount Ireland William Hawker Bourne of Terenure near Dublin had at the instance of the late Mr Palmer Bath the originator of the mail coach system in England introduced into Ireland with very advantageous results It very early that it was only by the intervention of men of capital and the mail coach system could be introduced into Ireland with any prospect of success since in many cases the roads had to be made or re constructed before vehicles could be run upon them This double function by the Messrs Bourne By an act of the Irish Parliament an assignment of the revenues accruing from certain of the a period of years in consideration of the large outlay incurred by making those roads efficient and the lease of the road from Limerick thus assured to them expired only in 1848 Into this new Bourne entered with characteristic energy and he established mail communication between Dublin and Sligo Dublin and Galway and other places These avocations he pursued with great success profit until 1823 when in consequence of ill health he relinquished altogether.
Captain & Mrs Bourne from Martyn Downer’s site http://www.martyndowner.com
Captain Bourne was born on the 27th of February 1770 at Fethard Castle county of Wexford in Ireland In November 1787 (??)he entered the navy being at that time attached to H MS Druid. The Artizan ; A Monthly Journal of the Operative Arts – Page 244 1851
Capt Bourne RN a director of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Company (P&O Line) expired at his house in Blackheath Park on the 9th of October in the 81st year of his age. Every one cognizant of of Capt Bourne’s character must feel that a great and good passed from among us and his death is to be regarded not more as of private grief than as a public misfortune He lived indeed to exceeding that usually permitted to humanity and he sunk without pain at last But the loss of such a man come when it may heavy affliction which is only to be mitigated by the reflection that all ordered and governed by infinite goodness and wisdom and weak repinings might suggest to the contrary that everything is the best . Captain Bourne entered the navy at an early age and in the late war he saw much active service But it is chiefly as one of the founders of steam navigation and as the founder of the Peninsular his name will be remembered. He was not indeed the projector of Company. That merit belongs to Messrs Willcox and present managing directors of that undertaking. But we believe we when we state that their efforts to form a company were totally unavailing and it was at this point that Capt Bourne, by his experience, energy and means at once established The original fleet of the Peninsular Company consisted of the Don Juan Braganza Tagus Liverpool and Iberia to were subsequently added two others the Londonderry and Royal Tar.
Henry Bourne’s widow remained on at Springmount – Lewis’ Topography 1837 records Mrs Lucinda Bourne, Springmount. She lived on for another 15 ywears – In Brunswick-Sq. aged 78, Lucinda, relict of Henry Hawker Bourne, esq. of Spring- mount, Queen’s co. Gentlemans Magazine 1852
The next occupant was Francis Marsh, Esq., (born 11 June, 1817, d 25 Feb 1879); m. 17 July, 1838, Anna- Maria (who d 19 Feb 1890), youngest dau. of the late Arthur Maxwell, Esq. of Dublin, and had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He presumably moved to Springmount at about the time of his marriage.
Francis’s parents were Rev.Jeremy Marsh of Ballintubber, Queen’s County, and Sarah Connell, and his grandparents were Francis Marsh, barrister-at-law, The Abbey, Stradbally, Queen’s County, and Anne Vero.
The watch given by Charles I to Bishop Jeremy Taylor remains in the possession of his descendant Francis Marsh of Springmount (via Dr Francis Marsh, Archbishop of Dublin, predecessor of Narcissus march, and son in law of the venerable and learned Jeremy Taylor, chaplain to Charles I)
The watch has been described as being plain and having only a single case with a gold dial plate the figures of which are raised. The hands are of steel and the maker’s name is Jacobus Markwich Londini Originally it had no chain but went by means of catgut. Bishop Taylor caused a second case of copper to be made for it covered with green velvet and studded with gold At the bottom the studs are so arranged as to represent a mitre surrounded by this motto Nescitis horam Bonney p 368
Jeremy Taylor Marsh was born on 14 May 1841,was the eldest son of Francis Marsh of Springmount. He obtained a commission in the Royal Engineers in 1861. Apart from a period of service in Gibraltar between 1864 and 1871, he spent all his army career in Great Britain and Ireland, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at the end of 1894. Towards the end of his career, he designed Marlborough Barracks in Dublin, built between 1888 and 1892 under the supersivion of Robert Martin Barklie . The 1911 census of Ireland records him as living at Blackhills, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois. He may then have moved to England. A Jeremy T. Marsh is recorded as dying at the age of seventy-five in Steyning, West Sussex, in 1917
Henry Marsh was born on 8 September 1850 in Ireland, the third son of Francis Marsh, a J. P. of Spring Mount, Queen’s County. He attended Kingstown School, Ireland and went on to study at Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill. He was there from 1871–74 and obtained 1st class honours in Mathematics. He became a member of the Member, Legislative Council, Uttar Pradesh from 1903 to 1905 and was eventually Secretary to Government (Irrigation Branch). His work in conjunction with the development of Irrigation in the Ganges and Jumna systems led to his being thanked by the Government of Uttar Pradesh He was later re-employed by the Government of India as Consulting Engineer for Irrigation in Central India. He was also was a rugby union international who represented England in 1873 at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow in the Scotland vs England match.
The fourth son inherited Springmount on his father’s death in 1879. Robert Maxwell Marsh who was born in 1852 m 1893 Ellen Bowyer of Freshford in Somerset. An artist, she appears in the Artists Yearbook 1908 and was exhibiting at the Hibernian Academy’s Exhibition from 1904 – The Leader: A Review of Current Affairs, Politics, Literature, and Art singled out one her watercolours , and she loaned a painting of “A Little Brown Mouse” to the 1907 International Exhibition After the 1916 rising she put in a claim for £197 16s for 15 paintings destroyed by fire at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Abbey Street Lower, Dublin. Payment of £113 18s recommended by Committee.
The River Nore at Thomastown by Ellen Bowyer
Daithi O Bricli records that there were a dozen indoor staff, “as well as a laundress in the laundry which was situated behind James Pratt’s house”
Their son Stephen Gilbert Bowyer Marsh went to Radley, joined the Royal Field Artillery in 1913 and served through the First World War, retiring as a Major. In the 1920s Daithi O Bricli in “Shanahoe – A rich Area” recorsds that he drove around in a 2 seater Alvis, capable of 90 mph. He married Ian Marsden (I M F Marsh) and had two sons, Rory and Richard. Apart from farming Springmount he also managed Annegrove Abbey for the Scotts – the heir was a lunatic.
A 1924 Alvis, but not Major Marsh
Very impoverished in the 30’s, he used to shoot rabbits to sell at the fair in Mountrath . When the Second War broke out he gratefully re-joined the colours but died when his troopship was torpedoed in the Indian Ocean. His widow subsequently sold Springmount in 1946.
O Bricli records that the house was sold to William Handcok, of Middlemount, who sold it a year later in 1947 to Samuel Gambel, who cut a lot of trees and sold the timber, and sold it in 1957 to William Shortall.
Note how the gardens have shrunk, and been replaced by agricultural buildings
From The Buildings of Ireland Survey