Monday, 23 October 2017

Digby of Stoke Dry

SIR EVERARD DIGBY, Knight, Lord of Tilton and Stoke Dry (Drystoke), Rutland, eldest of the seven sons of Everard Digby, of Tilton, by Jacqueta, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Ellys, of Devon, was Sheriff of Rutland, 1459, 1486, and 1499, and MP for Rutland.

He fought gallantly at Bosworth in support of HENRY VII, and died in 1509, leaving a son and heir,

SIR EVERARD DIGBY, Knight (c1472-1540), of Tilton and Stoke Dry, Sheriff of Rutland, 1513, 1518, 1528 and 1532, and for Leicestershire and Warwickshire in 1511.

He wedded Margery, daughter of Sir John Heydon, Knight, of Baconsthorpe, Norfolk, and was succeeded by his son,

KENELM DIGBY (c1518-90), of Stoke Dry, Sheriff of Rutland and MP for Rutland, 1545-84, who espoused Anne, daughter of Sir Anthony Cope, Knight, of Hanwell, Oxfordshire, Vice-Chamberlain to Catherine Howard, Queen Consort of HENRY VIII, and had issue,
Kenelm, his heir;
Gregory;
EVERARD, succeeded his brother;
Anthony;
John;
Anne.
The third son,

EVERARD DIGBY (c1550-92), of Stoke Dry, Fellow of John's College, Cambridge, a man of learning and publisher of several works, who married Maria, daughter and co-heir of Francis Neale, of Keythorpe, Leicestershire, and had issue (besides a younger son, John, of whom no account is given, and two daughters), two sons,
EVERARD, his heir;
George, of Sandon.
Mr Digby was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR EVERARD DIGBY, Knight (c1578-1606), of Stoke Dry, who received the honour of knighthood from JAMES I.

Sir Everard was reputed to be one of the handsomest men of his time, and by the accomplishments of his mind, said to be one of the finest men in England.

Being led by religious motives to engage in the Gunpowder Plot, he was convicted on the 27th January, 1606, and executed three days afterwards, on the 30th January, at the west end of old St Paul's Cathedral churchyard, leaving by his wife Mary, daughter and heir of William Mulsho, of Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire, with whom he had a large fortune, two sons,
KENELM, his heir;
John (Sir).
The elder son was the celebrated

SIR KENELM DIGBY (1603-65), of Gayhurst, reputedly one of the most faithful adherents of the royal cause during the civil war, and an exile in consequence during the Commonwealth.

He wedded the renowned beauty, Venetia, youngest of the three surviving daughters and co-heirs of Sir Edward Stanley KB, of Tong Castle, Shropshire, and had issue (with a daughter), two sons,
Kenelm;
JOHN, his heir.
JOHN DIGBY, younger son and heir, inherited, under many disadvantages and vexations, most of his father's estates.

He espoused firstly, the Lady Catherine Howard, eldest surviving daughter of Henry Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel, and sister of Thomas, restored to the Dukedom of Norfolk; and secondly, Margaret, fourth daughter of Sir Edward Longueville, 1st Baronet, of Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, and had issue by her, two daughters, his co-heirs,
Margaretta Maria;
Charlotte Theophila.

Cloyne Palace

THE bishopric of CLOYNE was established in the 6th century.

It was united to Cork for almost two hundred years.

This diocese lies entirely within County Cork, extending east and west nearly 63 miles in length, by a breadth of 29.


CLOYNE PALACE, County Cork, was built in 1718 for the Right Rev Charles Crow, Lord Bishop of Cloyne, 1702-26.

The last bishop to reside at the palace was the Right Rev Dr John Mortimer Brinkley, who died in 1835.

The see of Cloyne subsequently became united with that of Cork and Ross.


The see house is unusual in plan and elevation.

It underwent a number of alterations and additions over several hundred years, giving it today a unique appearance with a multiplicity of roofs.

The remarkable west elevation, used as the front, conceals a notable double-height single-storey space.

It retains many notable early features, including timber sliding sash windows.

There are outbuildings, gates, and a gate lodge, which provide added interest and context.

The palace and demesne were leased by the Church of Ireland, in 1836, to Mr H Allen.

First published in October, 2015.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Freemen of Belfast: 1951-60

HONORARY BURGESSES OF THE CITY OF BELFAST
ELECTED AND ADMITTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BELFAST UNDER THE MUNICIPAL PRIVILEGE (IRELAND) ACT, 1875


55  HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, Countess of Ulster ~ 1952

56  Rt Hon William Spencer Earl Granville, KG GCVO CB DSO ~ 1952

57  Rt Hon Rose Constance Countess Granville, GCVO ~ 1952

58  Royal Ulster Rifles ~ 1954

59  Sir James Henry Norritt JP DL ~ 1955

60  Mrs Margaret Lawson OBE ~ 1955

61  Rt Hon Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill KG OM CH TD DL ~ 1955

62  Sir Cuthbert Lowell Ackroyd Bt JP DL ~ 1956

63  Lady Ackroyd ~ 1956

64  Royal Air Force Aldergrove ~ 1957

First published in August, 2012.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

1st Duke of Shrewsbury

DUKEDOM OF SHREWSBURY
1694-1718

Charles, Lord Talbot (1660-1718) succeeded his father as 12th Earl of Shrewsbury and 12th Earl of Waterford in 1667.

In 1681, his lordship was constituted Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire; and he renounced the tenets of the Church of Rome at the time when prosecutions were in such vigorous progress under the auspices of the immaculate OATES against the unhappy persons charged with the fictitious popish plot.

At the coronation of JAMES II, Lord Shrewsbury wore the Curtana or pointless sword; and the same year he was appointed Colonel of the 6th Regiment of Horse; but disgusted with the proceedings of the Court, he resigned soon after his military rank and went over to the Prince of Orange, to whom he tendered his purse and sword.

Burnett states that Lord Shrewsbury was one of the noblemen in whom the Prince placed the most confidence, and upon whose counsel he was on all occasions principally guided.

Thus promoting the Revolution, when that measure was accomplished by WILLIAM & MARY to the throne, his lordship was immediately sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Principal Secretary of State.

In March, 1694, he was appointed a Knight of the Garter; and the next month, created Marquess of Alton and DUKE OF SHREWSBURY.

In 1695 and 1697, His Grace was one of the Lords Justices during the temporary absences of the King; and in 1699 he resigned the seals as Secretary of State, but was constituted soon after Lord Chamberlain, an office which he subsequently held in the reign of QUEEN ANNE; and was afterwards appointed by Her Majesty LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND.

Upon the accession of GEORGE I, the 1st Duke was appointed Groom of the Stole, Privy Purse, and sworn a member of the new Privy Council.

He was subsequently declared Lord Chamberlain of His Majesty's household, while the Duchess was appointed one of the Ladies of the Bedchamber to Caroline, Princess of Wales.

His Grace married Adelhida, daughter of the Marquis Paleotti, in Italy, descended maternally from Sir Robert Dudley, son of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the celebrated favourite of ELIZABETH I, but died without issue in 1718, when the honours he had inherited passed to the heir-at-law, and the marquessate of Alton, dukedom of Shrewsbury, etc expired.

Shrewsbury arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Prince Charles in NI

THE PRINCE OF WALES is today visiting County Londonderry.

His Royal Highness is visiting Eglinton Community Centre and YMCA Londonderry to meet local residents, farmers and business owners affected by the flooding in August, and speak to volunteers, emergency services and officials assisting with clean-up efforts.

At Eglinton Community Centre HRH will meet local residents, some of whom remain in temporary housing, and the volunteers helping them to rebuild their homes.

Prince Charles will also speak with representatives from the emergency services, including local Police and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, and officials who continue to work on repairing the damage caused by the flooding.

The Eglinton Community Centre served as a place of refuge for those displaced by flooding and a coordination point for volunteers in the immediate aftermath of the storm.


HRH will then visit YMCA Londonderry, near Drumahoe, where he will meet representatives from the local farming community.

The Prince's Countryside Fund has partnered with Rural Support NI to offer Emergency Fund support to farm businesses in the area to assist with long-term recovery.

His Royal Highness will also speak with members of a multi-agency group who were also on standby for Storm Ophelia which struck Northern Ireland earlier this week.

The YMCA provides a valuable after-school programme and has a long tradition of offering team-based sports and fostering good community relations.

The Prince of Wales will view the YMCA's sports pitch, which was heavily damaged during the August flooding, and learn about the effect its loss has had on the local community.

Old Belfast Castle

Belfast Castle ca 1611

When Sir Arthur Chichester, the younger son of Sir John Chichester, was granted a patent by JAMES I, dated the 8th November, 1603,
"the Castle of Bealfaste, or Belfast, with the Appurtenants and Hereditaments, Spiritual and Temporal, situate in the Lower Clandeboye"
he did not fully realize the value of the property thereby granted.

Chichester was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in the following year, at a salary of £1,000 per annum, together with £500 for an outfit and some fees attaching to his office.

But on the death of the preceding Lord Deputy, Charles Blount, 5th Baron Mountjoy and Earl of Devonshire, Sir Arthur wrote to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 25th April, 1606, asking to be transferred to
"some meaner office" giving as his reason that his "fortunes are poor, not having a foot of land or inheritance, but such as his Majesty gave him in the North, of which he makes small benefit, and his expenses last year greatly exceeded his income."
Even three years after he had become the proprietor of the lands upon which that part of the City of Belfast, situated in County Antrim, now stands, he apparently failed to realise the potential value of his acquisitions.

High Street, Belfast, in the 17th century

In the development of that property, however, he was retarded by the onerous and exacting duties attaching to his high office, and it was not until after 1610 that the project of building a new castle upon "the ruynes of the decayed Castle" was carried to completion.

The report, undated, but supposed to be about 1611, bears the following signatures:
  • Sir Arthur Chichester, Lord Deputy, Baron Chichester 
  • George Carew, Earl of Totnes, Baron Carew 
  • Thomas Ridgeway, Earl of Londonderry 
  • Sir Richard Wingfield, Viscount Powerscourt 
  • Sir Oliver Lambart, Baron Lambart of Cavan
"We came to Belfast where we found many masons, bricklayers, and other labourers working, who had taken down the ruins of the decayed Castle there almost to the vault of the cellars, and had likewise laid the foundation of a brick house 50 foot long which is to be adjoined to the said Castle by no staircase of brick well [sic] is to be 14 foot square.

The house to be made 20 foot wide, and 2 storeys and a half high.

The Castle is to be built two storeys above the cellars, all the rooms thereof to be vaulted, and platforms to be made thereupon.

The staircase is to be made 10 foot higher than the Castle, about which Castle and house there is a strong bawn almost finished which is flanked with four half bulwarks.

The foundation of the wall and bulwarks to the height of the water-table is made with stone, and the rest, being in all 12 foot high above the ground, is made with brick, the bawn is to be composed about with a large and deep ditch or moat which will always stand full of water.

The Castle will defend the passage over the ford at Belfast between the upper and lower Clandeboye, and likewise the bridge over the River of Owenvarra between Malone and Belfast.

This work is in so good forward [sic] that it is like to be finished by the middle of the next summer.

The town of Belfast is plotted out in a good form, wherein are many families of English, Scottish, and some Manxmen already inhabiting, of which some are artificers who have built good timber houses with chimneys after the fashion of the English pale, and one inn with very good lodgings which is a great comfort to the travellers in those parts.

Near which town the said Sir Arthur Chichester has already made above twelve hundred thousand of good bricks, whereof after finishing the said Castle, house, and bawn, there will be a good proportion left for the building of other tenements within the said Town."

First published in July, 2012.   Source: Eddie's Book Extracts.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Emerson-Tennent Baronetcy

THE EMERSON-TENNENT BARONETCY WAS CREATED IN 1867 FOR THE POLITICIAN AND TRAVELLER JAMES EMERSON-TENNENT

The family of EMERSON came originally from Foxton, County Durham.

GEORGE EMERSON, of Ardmore, County Armagh, was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM EMERSON, a merchant at Belfast, who married Sarah, youngest daughter of William Arbuthnot, of Rockville, County Down, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
George;
Arbuthnot;
Eliza.
Mr Emerson was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES EMERSON JP DL (1804-69), MP for Belfast, 1832-45, who wedded, in 1831, Letitia, only daughter of William Tennent, of Belfast, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Eleanor Edith Sarah.
Mr Emerson assumed, upon his marriage, the additional surname of TENNENT.

Sir James Emerson-Tennent Bt. photo credit: Belfast City Hall 

He received the honour of Knighthood in 1845.

Sir James was created a baronet in 1867, denominated of Tempo Manor, County Fermanagh.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR WILLIAM EMERSON-TENNENT (1835-76), who married and had issue, two daughters,
ETHEL SARAH;
Edith Letitia Anna (1876-1953).
The elder daughter,

ETHEL SARAH EMERSON-TENNENT (1871-1951), of Tempo Manor, married, in 1893, Sir Herbert Charles Arthur Langham, 13th Baronet, and had issue,

SIR JOHN CHARLES PATRICK LANGHAM, 14th Baronet (1894-1972), JP, DL, who wedded, in 1930, Rosamond Christabel, daughter of Arthur Rashleigh, and had issue,

SIR JAMES MICHAEL LANGHAM, 15th Baronet (1932-2002), TD, of Tempo Manor, who married, in 1959, Marion Ellen Audrey, daughter of Oswald Horner Barratt, and had issue,
JOHN STEPHEN, his successor;
Rupert William;
Lucinda Jane.
Sir James was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JOHN STEPHEN LANGHAM, 16th Baronet (1960-), of Tempo Manor, who wedded, in 1991, Sarah Jane, daughter of John Denis Greene, and has issue,
TYRONE DENIS JAMES, b 1994;
Phoebe Tara, b 1999;
Isabella Hay, b 2000.
THE family of TENNENT, originally Danand or Tenand, was of respectability in Scotland, and the principal branch resided at Glasgow.

WILLIAM TENNENT (1759-1832), of Tempo House, County Fermanagh, formerly a banker at Belfast, died leaving an only daughter and heiress,

LETITIA TENNENT, who had married, as already stated, SIR JAMES EMERSON-TENNENT.

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

Former seats ~ Francfort, County Sligo; Tempo Manor, County Fermanagh.

Former town residence ~ 25 Duke Street, Westminster.

First published in October, 2010.

Langford Lodge

THE PAKENHAMS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 14,629 ACRES

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL THOMAS HENRY PAKENHAM CB JP DL MP (1826-1913), of Langford Lodge, County Antrim, only surviving son of Lieutenant-General the Hon Sir Hercules Robert Pakenham KCB, by his wife, Emily (daughter of Thomas, Lord le Despencer), married, in 1862, Elizabeth Staples, eldest daughter of William Clarke, of New York, USA, and had issue,
HERCULES ARTHUR, his heir;
Harry Francis.
The elder son,

COLONEL HERCULES ARTHUR PAKENHAM CMG JP DL (1863-1937), of Langford Lodge, wedded, in 1895, Lillian Blanche Georgiana, daughter of Evelyn Ashley and sister of Lord Mount Temple, and had issue,
HERCULES DERMOT WILFRED, his heir;
Joan Esther Sybilla; Beatrix Helen Constance.
The only son,

MAJOR HERCULES DERMOT WILFRED PAKENHAM (1901-40, killed in action), espoused, in 1927, Hetty Margaret, daughter of Captain Roland Stuart Hebeler, and had issue,
HERCULES MICHAEL ROLAND, his heir;
Anne Penelope; Katherine Susan.
The only son,

HERCULES MICHAEL ROLAND PAKENHAM (1935-), is married with issue and lives in Hampshire.


LANGFORD LODGE, near Crumlin, County Antrim, was a three-storey Georgian house of ca 1821 on a headland jutting out into Lough Neagh.

The house had an entrance front of three bays between two deep, curved bows, a Doric portico and a two-storey side wing.

The end elevation was of two bays with another deep, curved bow.

The Georgian mansion replaced a two-storey house of 1785 (said to be similar in appearance to Castle Upton) built by Sir Hercules Pakenham (1781-1850).

Sir Hercules had demolished a modest two-room fishing lodge of 1785.


The Lodge passed to the Pakenham family, Barons Longford and later Earls of Longford, through the marriage of Catherine, Viscountess Langford, to the 2nd Baron Longford.
The offspring of this marriage included the Hon Catherine "Kitty" Pakenham, later Duchess of Wellington and wife of the great Duke of Wellington; Major-General the Hon Sir Edward Pakenham GCB; and Lieutenant-General the Hon Sir Hercules Pakenham KCB, from whom were descended the subsequent owners of Langford Lodge.
Sir Hercules (1781-1850), of Langford Lodge, had been wounded at the siege of Badajoz in 1812; was MP for Westmeath.

He married, in 1817, the Hon Emily Stapleton (1798-1875), daughter of Lord Le Despencer. 

Langford Lodge subsequently passed to their eldest son, Edward William Pakenham, who died at the battle of Inkerman in 1854.

The estate subsequently passed to the Rev Arthur Hercules Pakenham (son of Lt-Gen the Hon Sir Hercules Robert Pakenham), who died unmarried in 1895, when the estate  passed to Colonel Hercules Arthur Pakenham, CMG, who died in 1937.

Glenavy History Society has published a very interesting article about Langford Lodge and the Pakenhams.


WHEN Chichester was governor of Carrickfergus three of his officers were Hugh Clotworthy, Henry Upton and Roger Langford.

These men were rewarded for their services by receiving Crown grants of choice lands once belonging to the O'Neills.

Clotworthy acquired Massereene; Upton, Templepatrick; and Langford sited his residence on a slight peninsula projecting into Lough Neagh, which he called Langford Lodge.

Later on, the Langford and Longford (Pakenham) families were united.

Langford Lodge later served as NI Base Command for US troops in the second world war.

The present Gartree parish church, which was once the private chapel of the Pakenhams, was built in the 1830s by Lieutenant-General Sir Hercules Pakenham.

His elder brother, General Edward Pakenham, was commander of the defeated British Army at New Orleans.

The last of his family to die in war was Major Hercules Dermot Pakenham, who died from wounds received at Dunkirk.

The Pakenhams sold the estate to the Air Ministry in 1940, when the airfield was opened.

In 1959, the estate was bought by the Martin Baker Aircraft Company and Territorial Army Sappers blew up the mansion house.

Former town residence ~ 19 Hertford Street, London.

First published in April, 2010.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Carton House

THE DUKES OF LEINSTER WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILDARE, WITH 71,997 ACRES

This illustrious and ancient family is descended from a common ancestor with the house of FITZMAURICE, Earls of Kerry (an earldom now merged with the marquessesate of Lansdowne) and that of WINDSOR, Earls of Plymouth; namely,

MAURICE FITZGERALD, LORD OF LANSTEPHAN, through whose exertions the possession of Ireland was chiefly accomplished by HENRY II.

This Maurice was the son of Gerald FitzOtho (son of Walter FitzOtho, who, at the general survey of the kingdom in 1078, was castellan of Windsor, and was appointed by WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, warden of the forests of Berkshire; which Walter was the son of

OTHO, a rich and powerful lord in the time of ALFRED THE GREAT, descended from the Dukes of Tuscany, a baron of England, according to Sir William Dugdale, in the reign of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, by Nesta, daughter of Rhys, Prince of South Wales.

The said Maurice obtained for his services a grant of extensive territories in the province of Leinster, and was constituted, in 1172, one of the governors of Ireland; in which year he slew O'Rourke, Prince of Meath, then in rebellion against the English Government.

This feudal chief died, full of honour, in 1177, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

GERALD FITZGERALD (c1150-1204), 1st Baron of Offaly, who was with his father in the memorable sally out of Dublin, in 1173, when that city was besieged by O'Connor, King of Connaught, with an army of 36,000 men, over whom the FitzGeralds obtained a complete victory.

This Gerald, dying at Sligo, was succeeded by his son,

MAURICE FITZGERALD (1194-1257), 2nd Baron, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, who was put into possession, by a mandatory letter of HENRY III, dated 1216, of Maynooth and all the other lands of which his father died seized in Ireland, and was put also into possession of the castle of CRUM, County Limerick.

This nobleman is said to have been the first who brought the Orders of the Franciscans and the Dominicans into Ireland.

In 1229, the King, appreciating the good services of the family since its settlement in Ireland, constituted his lordship lord-justice of the kingdom.

In 1236, Lord Offaly built the castle of Armagh; and, in 1242, he erected a similar edifice at Athlone.

His lordship died in 1257, in the habit of St Francis, leaving the reputation of having been a "valiant knight, a very pleasant man, inferior to none in the kingdom, having lived all his life with commendation."

By his wife he had issue,
Gerald FitzMaurice;
MAURICE FITZGERALD, of whom we treat;
David FitzMaurice;
Thomas FitzMaurice.
He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

MAURICE FITZGERALD (1238-c1286), 3rd Baron, Chief Governor of Ireland, then in minority; and Prince EDWARD having obtained the dominion of Ireland from his father, HENRY III, claimed his wardship as a part of the prerogative; but the barony of OFFALY being held by the minor and his deceased father under Margaret, Countess of Lincoln, to whom belonged the county of Kildare, as widow of the Earl of Pembroke, that lady contested the right of wardship, and brought the case before the King himself for decision.

This nobleman was afterwards Chief Governor of Ireland.

He espoused firstly, Maud, daughter of Sir Gerald de Prendergast, by who he had issue, a daughter, Amabel; and secondly, Emmeline, daughter of Stephen Longespee, by whom he had a daughter, JULIANA FITZGERALD, LADY OF THOMOND.

Lord Offaly was succeeded at his decease by his cousin,

JOHN FITZGERALD, designated of Callann, who wedded firstly, Margery, daughter of Sir Thomas Anthony, with whom he acquired the lands of Decies and Desmond, and had an only son, MAURICE.

He espoused secondly, Honora, daughter of Hugh O'Connor (the first Irish lady chosen for a wife by any member of the family), and had four sons,
Gilbert, ancestor of The White Knights;
John, ancestor of The Knights of Glin;
Maurice, first Knight of Kerry, or The Black Knight;
Thomas, ancestor of the FitzGeralds, of The Island, County Kerry.
This John being killed with his eldest son, Maurice, at Callann, by MacCarthy Mor, against whom the FitzGeralds had raised a great army in 1261, was succeeded by his grandson,

THOMAS, nicknamed Nappagh Simiacus, or the APE, a surname thus acquired - being only nine months old when his father and grandfather fell at Callann, his attendants rushing out at the first astonishment excited by the intelligence, left the child alone in its cradle, when a baboon, kept in the family, took him up, and carried him to the top of the steeple of Tralee Abbey; whence, after conveying him round the battlements, and exhibiting him to the appalled spectators, he brought him down safely, and laid him in his cradle.

From this tradition the supporters of the house of LEINSTER are said to have been adopted.


This Thomas was constituted a Lord Justice of Ireland, and captain of all Desmond, in 1295; and being of so much power, was generally styled Prince and Ruler of Munster.

He married Margaret, daughter of John, Lord Barry, of Oletham; and dying in 1298, left two sons,
JOHN, his successor;
Maurice, created EARL OF DESMOND in 1329.
Thomas was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN, 5th Baron (c1250-1316), who, being at variance with William de Vescy, Lord of Kildare, and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1291, and having various charges to prefer against him, came over to England, and confronted, and challenged the said Vescy, Lord of Kildare, before the King.

Lord Kildare first took up the glove, but subsequently withdrawing to France, His Majesty EDWARD I pronounced against his lordship, and conferred upon Lord Offaly Vescy's manors and Lordship of Kildare, Rathangan, etc.

Lord Offaly returned triumphantly to Ireland, and having continued to promote the English interest there, was created by EDWARD II, in 1316, EARL OF KILDARE.

His lordship died in the same year.

FROM this nobleman the family honours descended, without anything remarkable occurring, to

GERALD, 5th Earl, who died, leaving a daughter and heir, Elizabeth, who marrying James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormonde, the King's sheriff, in 1434, was ordered, on payment of the usual fine to the Exchequer, to give full livery of the Earl of Kildare's estates to this latter nobleman and his wife; and on the same roll, in that year, we find that Lord Ormonde and his wife paid the accustomed "relief" due to the Crown out of the estates of the said Gerald, Lord Kildare.

But no claim was ever made by the Earls of Ormonde to the parliamentary barony of the Kildare family in right of their marriage with the heir; for we find it with the earldom inherited by

THOMAS (c1421-78), 7th Earl, who succeeded his father John, the 6th Earl, in 1427.

This nobleman was appointed, in 1454 and 1455, Lord Deputy of Ireland; in the latter of which years he held a great council, or parliament, in Dublin, and subsequently one at Naas, wherein, amongst other proceedings, it was resolved
"that as no means could be found to keep the King's coin within the Kingdom of Ireland, that all Frenchmen, Spaniards, Britons, Portuguese, and other sundry nations, should pay for every pound of silver they carried out of the land, 40 pence of custom to the king's customer, for the use of the King."
His lordship was continued in the government of Ireland until 1459, when Richard, Duke of York, was constituted Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; but the following year, Lord Kildare was appointed Deputy to the Duke of York.

This tide of prosperity continued to flow until 1467, when, being involved with the Earl of Desmond, he was attainted with that nobleman (who suffered death), but subsequently pardoned, set at liberty, and restored in blood, by act of parliament.

His lordship was afterwards a Lord Justice of Ireland; and, in 1471, Deputy to George, Duke of Clarence.

He died in 1478, and was succeeded by his eldest son (by Joan, daughter of James, 6th Earl of Desmond), 

GERALD (c1456-c1513), 8th Earl, KG; who was constituted, on his accession to the peerage, Lord Deputy to Richard, Duke of York, and held a parliament at Naas.

In 1480, he was re-appointed Lord Deputy; and again, upon the accession of HENRY VII, Deputy to Jasper, Duke of Bedford, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Upon the arrival, however, of Lambert Simnel, and his tutor, Richard Simon, an Oxford priest, in Ireland, the Lord Deputy, the Chancellor, Treasurer, and other nobles in the York interest, immediately acknowledged the imposter, and had him proclaimed in Dublin, by the style of EDWARD VI; and the Lord Deputy assisted with the others at his coronation at Christ Church Cathedral, in 1487, where the ceremony was performed with great solemnity, the Chancellor, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Earl of Lincoln, Lord Lovell, Jenico Marks, Mayor of Dublin, and several other persons of rank attending.

The crown was borrowed from the image of the Virgin Mary; John Pain, the Bishop of Meath, preached the coronation sermon; and the Pretender was subsequently conveyed upon the shoulders of Darcy, of Platten, a person of extraordinary height, to Dublin Castle, amidst the shouts of the populace.

In the engagement which afterwards decided the fate of Simnel, near Stoke, the Chancellor, FitzGerald, fell; but the Lord Deputy had the good fortune to make his peace with the King.

His lordship was nominated Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1496, when he was succeeded by his son,

GERALD (1487-1534), 9th Earl; who, with his five uncles, having revolted, was imprisoned in the Tower, where he died, in 1534, and an act was passed in the parliament of Ireland attainting him of high treason, and forfeiting the family honours and estates.

His eldest son,

THOMAS, 10th Earl, shared in the misfortunes of his father, and leaving no issue, was succeeded by his brother,

GERALD (1525-85), 11th Earl; of whom a most remarkable account is given by a contemporary historian, Richard Stanihurst.

It appears that, at the age of 10, he was preserved from the power of HENRY VIII by the precaution of his female relatives, and his tutor, Thomas Leurense, his father's foster-brother.

He wandered from court to court upon the Continent, until Cardinal Pole, who was related to his lordship's mother, sent for him into Italy and completed his education.

He wedded Mabel, daughter of Sir Anthony Brown, and through the medium of that connection, obtained the favour of EDWARD VI, who conferred upon him, in 1552, the Lordship of Maynooth and other of his father's estates.

In the ensuing reign, he was fully restored, by letters patent, to the earldom of KILDARE and barony of Offaly, with the precedence of his ancestors.

It is a remarkable circumstance that, though attainted by act of parliament, this Gerald, under such grants from the Crown, but without any new statute, was summoned to, and actually sat as a peer in, the parliament of 1560, and it was not until the 11th year of ELIZABETH I that the attainder was removed by parliament.

His lordship's eldest son, GERALD, Lord Offaly, dying in the lifetime of the 11th Earl, left an only daughter, Lettice, who married Sir Robert Digby, and for a long time claimed the BARONY OF OFFALY, as heir of her father, but which claim, after being referred by JAMES I to the judges of England, was decided by His Majesty himself, who confirmed the barony of Offaly to the Earls of Kildare and their heirs male, and created Lady Digby BARONESS OFFALY for life; whereupon that ancient title devolved on the deceased Earl's second son and successor,

HENRY, 12th Earl, who wedded the Lady Frances Howard, daughter of Charles, Earl of Nottingham, and had surviving issue,
Bridget;
Lettice.
His lordship dying thus without male issue, was succeeded by his brother,

WILLIAM, 13th Earl; who died unmarried, when the honours devolved upon  (the son of Edward FitzGerald, brother of the 11th Earl, his kinsman,

GERALD, 14th Earl; whose grandson,

GEORGE, 16th Earl, was the first of the family brought up in the reformed religion, being so educated by his guardian, the Duke of Lennox.

His lordship wedded Lady Jane Boyle, daughter of the 1st Earl of Cork, and had, with other issue,
WENTWORTH, his successor;
Robert, father of ROBERT, 19th Earl.
George, 16th Earl, was succeeded by his elder surviving son,

WENTWORTH, 17th Earl, who was succeeded by his son,

JOHN, 18th Earl, who dsp in 1707, when the honours reverted to his cousin (refer to Captain Robert FitzGerald, second son of the 16th Earl), 

ROBERT (1675-1743), 19th Earl, third son of Captain Robert FitzGerald, seconnd son of the 16th Earl, who took a distinguished and active part in favour of WILLIAM III, during the contest in Ireland between that prince and his father-in-law, JAMES II.

This nobleman was an eminent statesman in the reigns of Queen ANNE, GEORGE I and GEORGE II.

His lordship espoused, in 1708, Mary, eldest daughter of William, 3rd Earl of Inchiquin, by whom he had four sons and eight daughters; and dying in 1743, was succeeded by his only son then living, 

JAMES, 20th Earl, who was created Viscount Leinster, of Taplow, in 1747; and in 1761, advanced to a marquessate, as Marquess of Kildare.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of a dukedom, in 1766, as DUKE OF LEINSTER.

His Grace wedded Lady Amelia Mary, daughter of Charles, Duke of Richmond and Lennox, by whom he had seventeen children, of whom were
WILLIAM ROBERT, his successor;
Charles James, 1st Baron Lecale;
Henry, m Charlotte, Baroness de Ros;
Edward;
Robert Stephen;
Emilia Maria Margaret; Charlotte Mary Gertrude; Sophia Sarah Mary; Lucy Anne.
The 1st Duke died in 1773, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
The heir presumptive is the 9th Duke's younger brother Lord John FitzGerald (born 1952)
The Dukes of Leinster are premier dukes, marquesses and earls of Ireland.


CARTON HOUSE, near Maynooth, County Kildare, remains one of the grandest stately homes in Ireland.

Formerly the ancestral seat of the  Dukes of Leinster, the demesne presently comprises 1,100 acres.


During a history spanning more than eight centuries, Carton House Hotel, County Kildare, has seen many changes.

The estate first came into the ownership of the FitzGerald family shortly after Maurice FitzGerald played an active role in the capture of Dublin by the Normans in 1170 and was rewarded by being appointed Lord of Maynooth, an area covering townlands which include Carton House.
His son became Baron Offaly in 1205 and his descendant, John FitzGerald, became Earl of Kildare in 1315.

Under the 8th Earl, the FitzGerald family reached pre-eminence as the virtual rulers of Ireland between 1477 and 1513.

However, the 8th Earl's grandson, the eloquently titled Silken Thomas was executed in 1537, with his five uncles, for leading an uprising against the Crown.

Although the FitzGeralds subsequently regained their land and titles, they did not regain their position at Court until the 18th century when Robert, the 19th Earl of Kildare, became a Privy Counsellor and a Lord Justice.

The first record of a house at Carton was in the 17th century when William Talbot, Recorder of the city of Dublin was given a lease of the lands by the 14th Earl of Kildare and is thought to have built a house.

The house and lands were forfeited to the crown in 1691 and in 1703 sold to Major-General Richard Ingoldsby, Master-General of the Ordnance.

In 1739, Richard Castle was employed by the 19th Earl of Kildare to build the existing house after it was bought by the 19th Earl of Kildare.

This was the same year the FitzGerald family bought Frescati House. Castle (originally Cassels) was also responsible for some other grand Irish houses including Westport House, Powerscourt House and in 1745, Leinster House, which he also built for the FitzGeralds.

In 1747 James the 20th Earl of Kildare and from 1766 first Duke of Leinster, married Lady Emily Lennox, daughter of the Duke of Richmond and great-granddaughter of King Charles II.


LADY EMILY played an important role in the development of the house and estate as it is today.

She created the Chinese room (bedroom to Queen Victoria) and decorated the famous Shell Cottage on the estate with shells from around the world.

One of Lady Emily's 23 children was the famous Irish Patriot Lord Edward FitzGerald, leader of the 1798 rebellion.

Leinster House (formerly Kildare House)

Carton remained unaltered until 1815 when the 3rd Duke decided to sell Leinster House to the Royal Dublin Society and make Carton his principal residence.

He employed Richard Morrison to enlarge and re-model the house.

Morrison replaced the curved colonnades with straight connecting links to obtain additional rooms including the famous dining room.

At this time, the entrance to the house was moved to the north side.

Carton remained in the control of the FitzGeralds until the early 1920s when the 7th Duke sold his birthright to a moneylender, Sir Harry Mallaby Deeley, in order to pay off gambling debts of £67,500.

He was third in line to succeed and so did not think he would ever inherit, but one of his brothers died in the war and another of a brain tumour and so Carton was lost to the FitzGeralds.

In 1923 a local unit of the IRA went to Carton with the intention of burning it down.

However, they were stopped when a member of the FitzGerald family brought a large painting of Lord Edward FitzGerald to the door and pointed out that they would be burning the house of a revered Irish patriot.

Ronald Nall-Cain, 2nd Baron Brocket, whose principal residence was Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, purchased the house in 1949; and in 1977 his son, the Hon David Nall-Cain, who had by then moved to the Isle of Man, sold the house to its present owners, Lee and Mary Mallaghan.

Carton House  was remodelled by Richard Castle in 1739, building an enormous central, pedimented block, curved colonnades and wings.

Their Graces' Dublin residence, Kildare House, later renemed Leinster House, easily the grandest private home in the Irish capital, was erected by the same architect six years later.


The Organ Room or Gold Saloon is probably the most magnificent and important room in the House, with its Victorian Pipe organ at one end; its sumptuous gilded walls, ceiling and plasterwork.


The Chinese Room (below) also retains its 18th century character, resplendent with its Chinese wallpaper of 1759 and the sumptuous gilded embellishments within the room.


It has been unfortunate that Carton no longer belongs to either the Dukes of Leinster who created it; nor the Nall-Cains, whose role was notable, too.

Both families left for reasons of impecuniosity: The 7th Duke squandered the family fortune.

The Dukes of Leinster were, by far, the greatest landowners in County Kildare, with an immense amount of property and ground rents in Dublin and Athy.

There were prosperous tenant farms and the family had to release this land under the terms of the Wyndham Act of 1903.

Carton House and demesne has been lovingly restored to become a de luxe hotel.

First published in May, 2011.  Leinster arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Donegall House


DONEGALL HOUSE was built in 1785.

It was located at the corner of Donegall Place and Donegall Square North, directly opposite the present Robinson & Cleaver building.
In 1611, the Jacobean Belfast Castle was built upon the site of the former Castle, bounded by what's now Castle Place, Cornmarket and Castle Lane. 
It was surrounded with spacious gardens which extended from the river along to Cromac Woods and near Stranmillis. 
It is curious to read of hunting, hawking and other sports in the woods and meadows where now we have long streets of premises. 
The gardens, shady walks, orchards, bowling greens and cherry gardens are all gone, and nothing remains of the fish ponds. The stately home, once the centre of hospitality and culture, is now only a memory. 
WILLIAM III was received here in 1690. 
In 1708, Belfast Castle was burned to the ground. 
Three of Lady Donegall's daughters were burnt to death, and two servants also perished. 
The Castle was never rebuilt, and Lord Donegall lived for a time in Donegall House at the corner of Donegall Place.
It wasn't until almost 100 years later that the Donegalls returned to live in Belfast.

From ca 1802-20, Donegall House was the residence of the 2nd Marquess and Marchioness of Donegall.

Lord Donegall rented the house from John Brown, a Belfast banker.


This large town house comprised three storeys, was stuccoed, and had a central pediment.

The gable end and a small side garden were enclosed at Donegall Square North.


In the image, taken from the White Linen Hall (predecessor of City Hall) , Donegall House is the first building on the left.

From ca 1820-98, the house became the Royal Hotel, under the auspices of Charles Kerns, Lord Donegall's former butler.

Prior to its demise, the hotel's proprietor was Miss Sarah Doyle.


Donegall House was swept away ca 1967 for the present seven-storey commercial building.

First published in November, 2013.

Cork Palace

THE foundation of the bishopric of Cork is placed in the 7th century; that of Ross is unknown: they were united by ELIZABETH I in 1583.

Both sees are contained in County Cork, and are partly intermixed.

The diocese of Cork is 74 miles long from east to west, and about 16 broad.

The length of the principal part of Ross is 32 miles from east to west; and the breadth 8.


THE PALACE, CORK, is a compact three-storey block over a basement with a fanlighted doorway.

It was built ca 1782 by the Right Rev Isaac Mann, Lord Bishop of Cork and Ross, 1772-88, on the site of an earlier palace.


The palace remains the seat of the Lord Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross to this day.

The present Bishop is the Right Rev Paul Colton.

First published in October, 2015.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Antrim Castle

THE VISCOUNTS MASSEREENE AND FERRARD WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 11,778 ACRES

SIR WILLIAM SKEFFINGTON (c1465-1535), Knight, who was appointed by HENRY VIII, in 1529, His Majesty's Commissioner to Ireland, arrived there in the August of that year, empowered to restrain the exactions of the soldiers, to call a parliament, and to provide that the possessions of the clergy might be subject to bear their part of the public expense.

Sir William was subsequently a very distinguished politician in Ireland, and died in the government of that kingdom as Lord Deputy, 1535.

His great-grandson,

JOHN SKEFFINGTON, of Fisherwick, Staffordshire, married Alice, seventh daughter of Sir Thomas Cave, of Stamford, and was father of

SIR WILLIAM SKEFFINGTON, Knight, of Fisherwick, who was created a baronet in 1627, denominated of Fisherwick, Staffordshire.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Dering, and had issue,
JOHN, 2nd Baronet, whose son WILLIAM, 3rd Baronet, dsp;
RICHARD, 4th Baronet;
Elizabeth; Cicely; Mary; Hesther; Lettice; Alice.
The second son,

SIR RICHARD SKEFFINGTON, was father of

SIR JOHN SKEFFINGTON, 5th Baronet, who wedded MARY, only daughter and heir of

SIR JOHN CLOTWORTHY, who, in reward for his valuable services in promoting the restoration of CHARLES II, was created, in 1660, Baron Lough Neagh and VISCOUNT MASSEREENE, both in County Antrim; with remainder, on failure of his male issue, to his son-in-law, Sir John Skeffington, husband of his only daughter MARY, and his male issue by the said Mary, and failing such, to the heirs-general of Sir John Clotworthy.

His lordship died in 1665, and the honours devolved, according to the reversionary proviso, upon the said

SIR JOHN SKEFFINGTON, 2nd Viscount, who died in 1695 and was succeeded by his son,

CLOTWORTHY, 3rd Viscount (1660-1714), who married, in 1684, Rachael, daughter of Sir Edward Hungerford KB, of Farley Castle, Wiltshire, and had issue,
CLOTWORTHY, his successor;
Jane, Sir Hans Hamilton Bt;
Rachael, Randal, 4th Earl of Antrim;
Mary, Rt Rev Edward Smyth, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

CLOTWORTHY, 4th Viscount, who wedded, in 1713, the Lady Catherine Chichester, eldest daughter of Arthur, 4th Earl of Donegall, and had issue,
CLOTWORTHY, his successor;
Arthur, MP for Co Antrim;
John, in holy orders;
Hungerford;
Hugh;
Catharine; Rachael.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CLOTWORTHY, 5th Viscount (1715-57), who was, in 1756, advanced to an earldom as EARL OF MASSEREENE.

This nobleman wedded, in 1738, Anne, eldest daughter of the Very Rev Richard Daniel, Dean of Down; and secondly, in 1741, Elizabeth, only daughter and heir of Henry Eyre, of Rowter, Derbyshire, and had issue,
CLOTWORTHY, 2nd Earl;
HENRY, 3rd Earl;
William, Constable of Dublin Castle;
John;
CHICHESTER, 4th Earl;
Alexander;
Elizabeth, Robert, 1st Earl of Leitrim;
Catharine, Francis, 1st Earl of Landaff.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CLOTWORTHY, 2nd Earl (1743-1805), who married, though having no male issue the family honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY, 3rd Earl, Governor of the City of Cork, who died unmarried in 1811, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

CHICHESTER, 4th Earl, who wedded, in 1780, Harriet, eldest daughter of Robert, 1st Earl of Roden, and had issue,
HARRIET, VISCOUNTESS MASSEREENE.
The 4th Earl died in 1816, when the earldom expired; but the viscountcy of Massereene and barony of Loughneagh devolved upon his only daughter and sole heiress,

HARRIET, VISCOUNTESS MASSEREENE, who married, in 1810, Thomas Henry, Viscount Ferrard, by whom she had issue,

JOHN, VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD (1812-63).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son the Hon. Charles Clotworthy Whyte-Melville Foster Skeffington (born 1973).
Sir John Clotworthy took his title from the half barony of Massereene in County Antrim, where he established his estates.

In 1668, the Marrereenes owned about 45,000 acres in Ireland; however, by 1701, the land appears to have shrunk to 10,000 acres; and, by 1713, the County Antrim estates comprised 8,178 acres.

Land acquisiton through marriage etc meant that the land-holdings amounted to 11,778 acres in 1887.

In the 1600s the Massereenes possessed the lucrative fishing rights to Lough Neagh by means of a 99-year lease and they were also accorded the honour, Captains of Lough Neagh, for a period.

The Chichesters, Earls of Belfast, were Admirals of Lough Neagh.

Historical records also tell us that Lord Massereene had the right to maintain a “fighting fleet” on the Lough.

The 12th Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, DSO, was the last of the Skeffingtons to live at Antrim Castle:
The 12th Viscount was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst; commissioned into the 17th Lancers in 1895; saw action throughout the South African War, 1899-1902; was wounded, mentioned in dispatches and awarded the DSO; and retired as a brevet major in 1907.

Lord Massereene became a TA major in the North Irish Horse later in that year. He later served in the early years of the First World War and is said to have found Lawrence of Arabia 'impossible'. In 1905 he married and succeeded to the title.

He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for County Antrim. Although his father-in-law was a Liberal MP and Home Ruler, Lord Massereene was a staunch Conservative and Unionist. Notwithstanding his position as a DL for County Antrim, he is supposed to have sat in his chauffeur-driven car, looking on with approval, as guns were run into Larne Harbour in 1912!

His lordship was Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim from 1916-38.

From 1921-29 he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and a member of the Northern Ireland Senate.


ANTRIM CASTLE, County Antrim, stood at the side of the River Sixmilewater beside the town of Antrim.

It was originally built in 1613 by Sir Hugh Clotworthy and enlarged in 1662 by his son, the 1st Viscount Massereene.


The Castle was rebuilt in 1813 as a three-storey Georgian-Gothic castellated mansion, faced in Roman cement of an agreeable orange colour.

The original doorway, most elaborate and ornate and complete with Ionic pilasters, heraldry and a head of CHARLES I became a central feature of the new 4-bay entrance front, with a long, adjoining front of 180 feet with 11 bays; mullioned oriels and a tall, octagonal turret were added in 1887 when the Castle was again enlarged.


The image of the Castle above was taken in 1921, just before the disastrous fire.

Clicking on the images shall provide considerable detail.


The demesne boasts a remarkable 17th century formal garden and parterre with a long canal bordered with tall hedges; and another canal at right angles to it making a “T” shape.

There are abundant old trees, masses of yew and walls of rose-coloured brick.

An ancient motte stands beside the ruinous Castle.

The motte was transformed into a magnificent 'viewing mount' in the early 18th century with a corkscrew path lined on the outside with a yew hedge.

Lord and Lady Massereene and their family were hosting a grand ball in Antrim Castle when it was burnt by an IRA gang on the 28th October, 1922.

It is thought that one of the servants was an Irish Republican sympathizer; provided information to the gang; and left the Castle having packed his bags.

Many items of historical importance were destroyed in the fire; but the presence of mind of Lord Massereene and his staff, and the length of time which it takes for a very large house to be consumed by a fire, saved much that would otherwise have been lost.

The daughter of the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev Charles D'Arcy, who was staying at the time, jumped out of a window to save herself.

A 900-piece dinner service of Foster provenance was thrown from the drawing-room windows into the Sixmilewater river; however, very little of it survived intact.

A great deal of furniture, some of it large, was rescued.

More would have been rescued, except that the townspeople of Antrim, who turned out in large numbers to help, thought that the most important thing to be saved was the billiards table!

Thirty men managed to get it out of the castle.
Among the major survivals were the family portraits. A comparison with the portraits itemised by C.H. O'Neill in 1860 and those surviving in family possession today, suggests a rescue operation of astonishing success (although it has to be remembered that many portraits and other important pieces were probably in the London town house in 1922, or with the Dowager Lady Massereene at her house in Hampshire).
The 13th Viscount , who was a small boy at the time, recalled the blaze vividly.

He remembered being trapped with his mother in a light well from which they narrowly escaped, and being told by her that they were going to die there.

He particularly remembered the nursery cat with its fur on fire. I wonder if it survived.

Following the fire, Lord Massereene went to live in the nearby dower house, Skeffington Lodge (which subsequently became the Deer Park Hotel). Further losses of family treasures – this time by sale, not by fire – now followed.

The family considered building a two-storey, Neo-Tudor house on the site of Antrim Castle but nothing came of this.

Apparently no insurance compensation was paid, because arson could not be proved.

The ruin of the great mansion was finally removed about 1970.

After the Second World War, Skeffington Lodge was abandoned; the Antrim Castle stable block was converted for use as a family residence, and was re-named Clotworthy House.

It was let for about ten years following the death of Lord Massereene in 1956. Clotworthy was then acquired by Antrim Borough Council, and was converted for use as an Arts Centre in 1992.

The gardens are of great importance as they retain, in reasonable condition, features from the 17th century.

Whereas, at other sites in Ulster, later fashions dictated alterations in garden layout, at Antrim the formal style typical of European gardens of the 17th century remained little changed throughout successive generations.

The gardens are listed, naming the Long pond and Round Pond.

A great deal of the latter was wooded; became a deer park; and was set out in the early 19th century in clumps and shelter plantations in the landscape manner, but no longer survives in that form.

A fine stone bridge, the Deer Park Bridge, spans the river at a shallow point and formed a link between the demesne and the rest of the estate.

The Anglo-Norman motte adjacent to the house was made into a garden feature, with a yew-lined spiral walk leading to the top, from which views of the grounds, the town of Antrim and the river could (and can still) be enjoyed.

The castle and the motte were enclosed within a bawn and protected by artillery bastions, which were utilized for gardens from the 18th century.

The formal canals, linked by a small cascade and lined with clipped lime and hornbeam hedges, are the main attraction.

The wooded Wilderness is interspersed with straight paths that lead to vistas outside the demesne, which added to the impression that the area it covers is larger than it is.

Unfortunately most of the vistas have now been blocked.

A round pond is a feature in the wilderness. A small former parterre garden is now the family memorial ground.

A larger parterre was reconstructed in the 1990s and now forms a considerable ornamental area planted in the manner of a 17th century garden, including plants that were known to have been grown at that time.

The model for the layout comes from Castle Coole in County Fermanagh. This area is bounded by a fine clipped lime hedge and a venerable yew hedge.

Use of the site as an army camp in the last world war possibly accounts for the paucity of fine mature trees.

Other sections have suffered; the kitchen and ornamental Terrace Garden were destroyed in the 1960s, when a road was laid through part of the area.

The main gate lodge from the town, the Barbican Gate, was possibly built in 1818 to the designs of John Bowden and has been separated from the site by the intrusion of the road.

An underpass now connects the lodge entrance to the grounds.

Another gate lodge, at the farm and stables entrance on the Randalstown Road, has been demolished.

The stable block, built in the 1840s and now known as Clotworthy House, is used as an arts centre.

It replaced an earlier stable block immediately to the east of the house and assumed the name ‘House’ when the family went to live in it some time after the fire at the castle.

The estate and gardens are now owned by Antrim Borough Council and are open all the time for public access.

The 14th and present Viscount formerly lived with his family at Chilham Castle in Kent till it, too, was sold in 1996.

First Published in March, 2010.  Massereene arms courtesy of European Heraldry.