Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Garron Tower


Garron Tower is a romantic, though austere, cliff-top Victorian castle of black basalt, built as a summer retreat by Frances, 3rd Marchioness of Londonderry, daughter and heiress of Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, Bt.

Lady Londonderry's mother was the 2nd Countess of Antrim in her own right.

Her daughter, Lady Frances Anne Emily (Fanny) Vane married the 7th Duke of Marlborough and their son, Lord Randolph, was later to become the father of Winston Churchill.

The estate lies midway between Cushendall and Carnlough on the County Antrim coast.

The problems of the Antrim estates were compounded by the failure of the 6th Earl of Antrim to produce a male heir.

Although he was granted a new patent for the earldom, which allowed his daughters to inherit and transmit the title to their children, the inheritance of the estate itself proved much more problematical.

The 6th Earl bequeathed his estates in his will to his three daughters and the resulting litigation lasted more than twenty years.

The Antrim estate itself was eventually divided: Lady Antrim's daughter, Lady Frances, who married the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, received one sixth; the remainder passed to Lady Charlotte, afterwards 3rd Countess of Antrim in her own right (Lady Mark Kerr) and her descendants.

Frances, Lady Londonderry, eventually bequeathed her portion of the estate to her younger son, who had no love for Garron Tower and neglected it.

After his death in 1884, the estate passed to her grandson, Lord Herbert Vane-Tempest KCVO VD JP (1862-1921), who was tragically killed in a train accident in Wales.

After his death the estate, including the building which is now the Londonderry Arms Hotel, passed to his second cousin, Sir Winston Churchill, who owned it until after the 2nd World War.

Being the Prime Minister, Sir Winston had no time for Garron Tower so it was donated to the British Tourist Industry which transformed it into a hotel; it was then devastated by fire and was later turned into a school which it still is today.

The main portion of the estate remained in the hands of the Earls of Antrim.

Upon the death of her mother in 1834, Frances Lady Londonderry inherited a portion of the Antrim Estate, almost 10,000 acres lying mostly between Glenarm and Glenariff.

Following much debate she decided to build a summer residence and in 1848 the foundation stone was laid for Garron Tower.

The principal guest at the opening of the Tower was the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Clarendon.

Coinciding with the end of the Famine in 1849, the four Coastguard cottages at 91 Garron Road were built as part of that estate.

Lady Londonderry showed a considerable interest in the day to day administration of her estate, demanding detailed reports from her agents.

She was a relentlessly improving landowner, encouraging agricultural improvement and endowing schools, clothing societies, etc.

The link with Lady Antrim's ancestral seat, Glenarm Castle, a few miles to the south is such that it was suspected Lady Londonderry's intention had been to upstage Glenarm Castle with the erection of Garron Tower.

GARRON TOWER, near Carnlough, County Antrim, was built in stages from 1848-56, initially to the designs of Charles Campbell, architect, of Newtownards, who had selected the site in 1847.

The house was ready for occupation by 1850.

A new hall, with a projecting rectangular bay facing eastwards, was added to the north of the polygonal tower in 1852, attributed to Lewis Valliamy of London.

A front porch was added in 1854.

The oak doors, which still survive inside, were carved by Austrian craftsmen.

After Lady Londonderry's death in 1865, it remained in the private hands of the family until rented by Henry McNeill of Larne in 1889 and opened as a hotel.

Garron Tower was leased from 1898.

Many of the original contents were sold by public auction in 1911.

The house was badly damaged by accidental fire in 1914; then it was bought by McNeill's firm in 1915.

It was burnt maliciously in 1922; and closed as a hotel in 1939.

From 1941-46, it was occupied by evacuated residents from the Belfast Charitable Society home at Clifton House, Belfast.

The Tower was converted for use as a school for the Catholic diocese of Down and Connor in 1951 to the design of Padraic Gregory, a Belfast architect, whose firm also designed various school buildings, added to the rear from time to time.

The battlemented retaining wall to the terrace walk in the garden, terminating in a circular magazine, was built in 1848 to the design of Campbell.

The cannon on the terrace were reputedly used at the Battle of Waterloo, and originally stood here on their original wheeled carriers.

The gate-lodge was built in 1854; the stable block added in 1860 to the design of Lanyon and Lynn; and the new chapel built in 1956 to the design of Mr Gregory.

The main gateway originally comprised two openwork iron piers with a pair of gates, all cast at the Londonderry foundry in Seaham, County Durham.

Garron has a dominant tower at one end of a lengthy building, polygonal with a square turret.

At the opposite end of the front a short wing projects forwards, ending in a rectangular tower and turret.

With the exception of somewhat prosaic machicolations and crenellations, the walls are quite featureless.

The mansion was enlarged in 1852 with the addition of a hall.

The main front used to be flanked by a terrace with a battery of cannon. Is this still the case today?

The position of Garron Tower is spectacular, on a plateau above the County Antrim coast.

There is some natural shelter on the west side from steeply rising ground and this has been clothed with trees.

Formerly the ornamental and productive gardens were to the west, somewhat protected from sea breezes by the castle, which stood facing south amid severe lawns decorated with urns.

Trees cover the area below the plateau, which drops sharply to the sea.

The grounds are adapted for school use and cultivated areas have disappeared.

There are notable specimens of Eucalyptus Globulus, planted in 1857.

Garron Tower is now a school,  St Killian's College.

First published in April, 2010.   Londonderry arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Castle Ward Visit

I spent a most agreeable three hours at Castle Ward yesterday, on what was a fine, sunny autumn day.

Castle Ward, County Down, is, of course, the ancestral seat of the Viscounts Bangor. Indeed, the family still has an apartment in the mansion house.

When I arrived I made a bee-line for the cafeteria in the stable-yard, where I had a delicious bowl of very thick curried carrot and parsnip soup, served with a generous slice of wheaten-bread.

Castle Ward has been a property of the National Trust since the early 1950s.

The Tack Room

I think the 7th Viscount gave the estate to the Northern Ireland government at the time as part of death duties.

After lunch, I took advantage of the free wi-fi in the stable-yard and posted a few photographs.

Thence I donned the wellington boots and had a long walk through the estate woodland.

I passed the former gamekeeper's cottage, otherwise known as the Bunkhouse; the pond; and a very large field with cattle.

BACK at the mansion house, I admired the prospect from the garden front of Strangford Lough.

Scrub and bushes have been cleared from the area between the house and the stable-yard outbuildings, revealing a very small single-storey cottage or bothy, which has obviously been derelict for many years.

I've been coming to Castle Ward since I was a boy and I've never seen this building before.

I wonder what its purpose was? Did it store something?

Bonito Cottage

Before I departed I visited the farmyard, where Old Castle Ward is located, and walked past the former smithy to the charming Bonito Cottage.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Raphoe Palace

IT is not precisely known at what time this see was established, but it must have been prior to the 10th century, since bishops of Raphoe are mentioned in the ninth.

This diocese comprises the greater part of County Donegal, being 56 miles in length from north to south, and 40 in breadth.

The cathedral, which also serves as a parish church, stands in the small town of Raphoe.

THE PALACE, Raphoe, County Donegal, otherwise known as Raphoe Castle, is a ruinous 17th century edifice on the outskirts of the town.

The castle was built in 1636 for the Right Rev John Leslie, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, 1633-61.

It was partly fortified, with square corner towers; two storeys over a basement.

The front comprised three bays, with an extra bay in each tower.

A third storey, with bartizans and battlements, was added in the 18th century by the Right Rev John Oswald.

The old palace was destroyed by fire in the 1830s.

The Right Rev William Bissett was the last Lord Bishop of Raphoe before the diocese was amalgamated with that of Derry.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Tullynally Castle


WILLIAM DE PAKENHAM was seated in Suffolk in the reign of EDWARD I.

The seventh in descent from him was

SIR HUGH PAKENHAM, who died in the reign of HENRY VII, leaving issue,
John (Sir), his successor;
Nicholas, grandfather of SIR EDWARD PAKENHAM;
Anne, mother of Sir Henry Sidney KG, Lord Deputy of Ireland.
The first member of the family who settled in Ireland,

SIR EDWARD PAKENHAM, Knight, accompanied his cousin, Sir Henry Sidney, to that kingdom in 1576, when Sir Henry went to assume the government there, as Lord Deputy.

The grandson of this gentleman,

HENRY PAKENHAM (1618-91), was seated at Pakenham Hall, County Westmeath, in the reign of CHARLES I, having obtained a grant of the lands of Tullynally, in that county, which he so designated.

This Henry represented the borough of Navan in parliament after the Restoration.

He married firstly, Mary, daughter of Robert Lill, of Trim, County Meath, by whom he had four sons and three daughters; and secondly, Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Pigot, by whom he had one son.

Mr Pakenham died in 1691, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR THOMAS PAKENHAM, Knight, MP, a lawyer of eminence, and prime sergeant-at-law in Ireland in 1695.

This gentleman dying in 1706, was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD PAKENHAM, MP for County Westmeath; who died in 1720, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS PAKENHAM (1713-66), who married, in 1739, Elizabeth, daughter and sole heir of Michael Cuffe, and niece of Ambrose Aungier, 2nd and last Earl of Longford (1st creation) of that family, to whom her father was heir.

This gentleman was created, in 1756, Baron Longford; and his lady, in 1785, Countess of Longford.

By this marriage his lordship had,
EDWARD MICHAEL, his successor;
Thomas, an admiral of the red;
Elizabeth; Frances; Helena.
His lordship was succeeded in the barony of Longford by his elder son,

EDWARD MICHAEL (1743-92), 2nd Baron, who married, in 1768, Catharine, second daughter of the Rt Hon Hercules Langford Rowley, and Elizabeth, Viscountess Langford, by whom he had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Edward Michael (Sir), GCB, major-general;
Hercules Robert (Sir), CB;
William, Captain RN;
Henry (Ven), Archdeacon of Emly;
Elizabeth; Helen; Catherine; Helen; Caroline Penelope.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS (1774-1835), 3rd Baron, who inherited the EARLDOM OF LONGFORD at the decease of his grandmother, Elizabeth, Countess of Longford, in 1794.

The 2nd Earl espoused, in 1817, Lady Georgiana Emma Charlotte Lygon, daughter of William, 1st Earl Beauchamp, and had issue,
EDWARD MICHAEL, his successor;
William Lygon;
Thomas Alexander;
Charles Reginald;
Henry Robert;
Frederick Beauchamp;
Francis John;
Catherine Felicia; Georgiana Sophia; Louisa Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD MICHAEL (1817-60), 3rd Earl,
The heir apparent is the present holder's eldest son Edward Melchior Pakenham, styled Lord Silchester.

TULLYNALLY CASTLE, otherwise Pakenham Hall, near Castlepollard, County Westmeath, has been the home of the Pakenhams for over 350 years.

The original 17th century fortified house was remodelled first as a comfortable Georgian mansion, then as a huge rambling gothic revival castle in the early 1800s, by the 2nd Earl.

Mark Bence-Jones describes it as having
a long, picturesque sky-line of towers, turrets, battlements and gateways stretching among the trees of its rolling park. Tullynally covers a greater area than than any other castellated country house in Ireland; it looks not so much like a castle as a small fortified town; a Camelot of the Gothic Revival.
It inhabited in as the family home, now probably one of the largest in Ireland to survive in private hands.

The interiors, part Georgian, part Gothic revival, have a fine collection of furniture and pictures.

Guided tours also take in the splendid Victorian kitchens and laundries, complete with all their equipment.

The gardens, like the castle are on a magnificent scale, taking in nearly 12 acres.

Terraced lawns around the castle overlook superb 18th century parkland.

The adjoining woodland gardens and walled gardens date largely from the early 19th century and encompass a grotto of eroded limestone from nearby Lough Derravaragh and two ornamental lakes.

The present owners have added a Chinese garden, complete with pagoda and a Tibetan garden of waterfalls and streams; and a local sculptor has made fantastic woodcarvings in existing roots and trees.

The walled gardens have extensive flower borders and an avenue of magnificent 200 year old Irish yews.

For children, there is also an Adventure Trail leading to the lower lake, and for those who wish to take the gardens more slowly, there is an assortment of delightful, ornamental summer houses and seats, each offering a different view.

First published in November, 2011.   Longford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Dromana House


LORD HENRY STUART, third son of John, 1st Marquess of Bute, married, in 1802, Gertrude Amelia, only daughter and heir of George, 2nd and last Earl Grandison, and had issue,
HENRY, created, in 1839, BARON STUART DE DECIES.
HENRY WINDSOR VILLIERS-STUART JP DL (1827-95), of Dromana-within-the-Decies, County Waterford,
MP for County Waterford, 1873-74 and 1880-85; Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Waterford 1871-73; High Sheriff, 1889.
He married, in 1865, Mary, second daughter of the Ven Ambrose Power, Archdeacon of Lismore, fourth son of Sir John Power Bt, and had issue,
Maurice Ambrose;
Horace Gervase;
Mary Therese; Gertrude Gwendoline;
May; Winifred Frances.
Mr Villiers-Stuart succeeded to the extensive estates of Henry, Lord Stuart de Decies, at that nobleman’s decease in 1874.
He was the author of Nile Gleanings, Egypt After the War, and other works; and was commissioned by the Government in 1882 to visit Egypt, and report upon the condition of the populace after the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir.
His eldest son,

HENRY CHARLES WINDSOR VILLIERS-STUART JP (1867-1908), of Dromana, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1898, espoused, in 1895, Grace Frances, only daughter of J A R Newman DL, of Dromore House, County Cork, and had issue,
Geraldine Mary; Nesta Mona.
Mr Villiers-Stuart was succeeded by his son,

ION HENRY FITZGERALD VILLIERS-STUART (1900-). of Dromana, who wedded, in 1928, Elspeth Richardson, and had issue,

JAMES HENRY VILLIERS-STUART (1928-), of Dromana, who married, in 1952, Emily Constance Lanfear, daughter of Major Charles Plenderleath Graham, and had issue,
Caroline Elspeth, b 1955;
Barbara Emily, b 1955.

THE MEDIEVAL CASTLE of Dromana occupied a spectacular site, high above the River Blackwater.From the 13th century onwards this was the seat of the FitzGeralds, Lords of the Decies, a junior branch of the Earls of Desmond.

In the 1670s the FitzGerald heiress, Katherine, the ‘Lady of the Decies’, ward to CHARLES II, married Colonel Villiers, son of Lord Grandison.

Their descendants succeeded as the Earls Grandison until 1800, when the only child of the 2nd Earl (of the second creation) married Lord Henry Stuart, younger son of Lord Bute. 
Their son was subsequently created Lord Stuart de Decies, a title that recalled his long family connection with the region. 
The castle of Dromana was attacked and damaged in the wars of the 1640s and 50s, though its base can still be identified from the river, and indeed is still inhabited. 
About 1700, instead of rebuilding the castle, two new ranges were built at right angles to one another along the courtyard walls. 
Both were simple gable-ended two storey structures, possibly just intended for occasional occupation, their only decoration being a robust, pedimented block-and-start door case in the manner of James Gibbs.

Work on a larger new house commenced in about 1780, directly in front of the longer 1700s range.

The principal façade was of two storey and nine bays, quite plain, with a parapet and a rather curious segmental-headed armorial doorcase.

The river façade contained a shallow double-height bow and was actually an extension of the smaller 1700s range.

Together these three buildings faithfully followed the line of the original bawn or courtyard.

The interior was elaborately fitted out for Lord Stuart in the 1840s, with a suite of very grand reception rooms and a massive imperial staircase but by the 1960s Dromana had become something of a white elephant.

The estate was sold and subdivided, and the house bought by a cousin who demolished the 1780s block and reduced it to more manageable proportions.

Happily, Mr James Villiers-Stuart was able to repurchase the house in the 1980s.

His widow Emily still lives there, along with her daughter and family.

The Dromana demesne extends to 600 acres.

The steeply sloping riverbanks are covered with oak woods and the important mid-eighteenth century garden layout, with its follies, the Rock House and the Bastion, is currently being restored.

To the north of the estate, on a bridge across the River Finisk, is the renowned Hindu-Gothic lodge, originally erected to welcome the owner and his bride on their return from honeymoon in 1826.

They were so taken with this temporary structure in the latest Brighton Pavilion mode, that they had it rebuilt in more durable materials.

The most notable person associated with Dromana was Katherine, Dowager Countess of Desmond.

Born a daughter of the house, she died there in 1604, supposedly from falling out of a cherry tree at the reputed age of 140, having allegedly worn out three natural sets of teeth.

Another remarkable man was Lord Stuart de Decies himself, a Protestant aristocrat and large landowner with radical views.

As a young man he defeated the Waterford establishment in the famous 1826 election to give Daniel O'Connell and the Catholic Emancipation movement their first Member of Parliament.


Clogher Palace


THE see of Clogher was founded by St Patrick, about the same time as Armagh.

It stretches 78 miles from north-west to south-east by a breadth of 25 miles.

The diocese comprises some portion of five counties, viz. Fermanagh, Monaghan, Tyrone, Donegal, and Louth.

THE PALACE, Clogher, County Tyrone, is a large and handsome edifice adjacent to the Cathedral, on the south side of the village, and consists of a central block with two wings.

The entrance is in the north front by an enclosed portico, supported by lofty fluted columns. 

It is built throughout of hewn freestone, and standing on elevated ground commands extensive views over a richly planted undulating country. 

It was built by the Most Rev and Rt Hon Lord John George de la Poer Beresford PC, Lord Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, when he was Bishop of Clogher.

The building was completed by the Right Rev Lord Robert Ponsonby Tottenham DD, Lord Bishop of Clogher, in 1823.
Attached to the palace was a large and well-planted demesne of 566 acres, encircled by a stone wall; and within it are the remains of the royal dwelling-place of the princes of Ergallia, a lofty earthwork or fortress, protected on the west and south by a deep fosse; beyond this, to the south, is a camp surrounded by a single fosse, and still further southward is a tumulus or cairn, encircled by a raised earthwork.

According to Mark Bence-Jones this is a restrained, cut-stone Classical mansion of 1819-23, begun by Lord John Beresford (Lord Bishop of Clogher 1819-20; Lord Archbishop of Dublin 1820-22; Lord Archbishop of Armagh 1822-62; Bishop of Clogher again in 1850; died 1862).

Building work continued under the next prelate, the Rt Rev and Hon Percy Jocelyn; and finally completed by Lord Robert Tottenham between 1822-50. 

The house has a centre block of three storeys over a high basement, with lower wings.

The entrance front, which stands off the main street, has an enclosed portico of fluted columns.

The garden front, which overlooks the demesne, consists of six bays in the central block, which has a lofty, arcaded basement. 

The walled demesne was set out for the 18th century bishop’s palace.

The present house, entrance and lodge replaced an earlier 18th century house and is a very fine one, though constricted by the road through the village of Clogher on the north side, the cathedral to the west and a steep slope on the south side.

It was designed by Warren and built between 1819 and 1820, possibly retaining earlier wings.

Although the house is no longer a bishop’s palace, the landscape park retains an elegance of proportion and planting that compliments the house.

There are very fine mature lime clumps around a beech encircled fort.

Parkland trees have been felled and many are now ageing but a few new trees have been added near the pond.

Mrs Delany visited the previous house in 1748 and commented on the steep slope, a basin of water with swans and expressed delight at a proposed grotto.

In a later era of garden history, there is a mention in Robinson’s Garden Annual & Almanac of 1936.

436 acres were sold by the Church of Ireland in 1853 for a private residence and during the 1970s the site was a convent.

There is a deer park, now farmland, and a walled garden that is used for agricultural purposes.

An Ice House remains, as does the man-made pond and indications of earlier water features.

There are two gate lodges: a classical one by Warren ca 1820 and a later lodge of ca 1890.

In 1850, a very curious coincidence occurred.

In that year the bishopric of Clogher was merged with the archbishopric of Armagh (which it remained until 1886). 

In 1874, Clogher Palace was bought by the Rev Canon John Grey Porter, who sold it to his descendant in 1922, Mr Thomas S Porter.

Thus Mr Porter had seized the opportunity to buy the now abandoned palace and demesne, and re-named it Clogher Park.

Paradoxically, Bishop Porter himself had had nothing to do with the building of Clogher Park: it had been built, in the period 1819-1823, by the three bishops who succeeded him.

It was presumably his son, the Rev John Grey Porter, who made the alterations to the building of 1819-23 which were noted by Evelyn Barrett.

She describes Clogher Park as having,
'... a pillared portico above a flight of steps and two wings added in Victorian times [presumably by the Rev. John Grey Porter]. Classic restraint was relieved by a balcony running the length of the south front ..., in summer smothered in purple clematis and red and yellow climbing roses ..., like the warmth of a smile on the formal façade.'
By his will, made in 1869 and subsequently much embellished with codicils, Porter left Belle Isle, Clogher Park and effectively all his landed property to his son and heir, John Grey Vesey Porter, with the proviso that his widow should enjoy Clogher Park for her life, together with the very large jointure of £3,000 a year.

The Rev John Grey Porter presumably lived at Clogher Park, when not at Kilskeery, until his death in 1873, when he was succeeded there by his widow until her death in 1881.

The demesne comprised 3,468 acres of land in 1871.

By 1890, it was the seat of John William Ellison-Macartney, MP for County Tyrone, 1874-85, who had married Porter's third daughter, Elizabeth, in 1851.

Eventually, Clogher Park was to pass to the Ellison-Macartneys' second son, and their occupation of the house must have been a grace-and-favour or leasehold arrangement anticipating this outcome.

This supposition is made the more probable by the fact that their second son, Thomas Stewart Ellison-Macartney, had assumed the name Porter as early as 1875.

The Roman Catholic Church purchased Clogher Park in 1922. According to this article:
I helped to prevail on Bishop McKenna, of Monaghan, to buy Clogher Palace and grounds for £20,000 [£886,000 in 2010], as it was the ancient seat of St. Macartan, patron of the diocese. 
This enraged the Orangemen, and as it is within the Tyrone border, the day after the Bishop took possession, it was commandeered by the Belfast Specials without notice! 
To bring an injunction the Bishop would have to sue in Belfast, and they have got a military authorization, ex post facto. The malice of this is deplorable. 
Clogher Park is now a residential care home.

First published in August, 2011.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

1st Baron de Blaquiere


ANTHONY DE BLAQUIERE, a French noble of Guyenne, married Elizabeth de Montiel, and by her had a son, Florence, who settled at Lozère, Languedoc, and was father of

JEAN DE BLAQUIEREwho took refuge in England in consequence of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, in 1685.

This Jean married Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Peter de Varennes, and died in 1753, having had issue,
Lewis, died unmarried, 1754;
Matthew, died in the East Indies;
John Elias, died in infancy;
James, a military officer;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Catherine; Jane; Mary; Susanna.
The fifth and youngest son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN DE BLAQUIERE (1732-1812), was nominated Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in 1772, and invested, in 1774, as a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.

Sir John was created a baronet in 1784, and sworn of the Privy Council in Ireland.
He held various public offices and was secretary of Legation at Paris 1771-2 (one of his responsibilities it was rumoured was to keep an eye on Bonnie Prince Charlie) and later became Chief Secretary to Lord Harcourt, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1772-7, and Bailiff of Phoenix Park in Dublin.
He was created BARON DE BLAQUIERE, of Ardkill, County Londonderry, in 1800.

His lordship married, in 1775, Eleanor, daughter of Robert Dobson, of Anne's Grove, County Cork, by whom he had issue, five sons and three daughters, viz.
JOHN, his heir;
WILLIAM, of whom hereafter;
Edmund, died young;
George (1782-26); m, in 1826, the relict of Mr Leigh;
Peter Boyle;
Anna Maria.
His eldest son and heir,

JOHN (1776-1844), 2nd Baron, of Ardkill, County Londonderry; Alnager and Collector of the Subsidies of Alnage in Ireland, 1797-1817, when the office was abolished; ca 1812 he was a prisoner in France, and never established his right to vote.

The 2nd Baron died unmarried and the family honours devolved upon his next brother,

WILLIAM (1778-1851), 3rd Baron, FRS, a distinguished general in the Army, who married, in 1811, Harriet, daughter of George, 1st Marquess Townshend.

His lordship and Lady Harriet separated in 1814.

The 3rd Baron died at Norwood, Surrey, by shooting himself, while suffering from smallpox.

He served in Flanders, at the Cape of Good Hope, and in India; major-general, 1813; lieutenant-general, 1825; general, 1841.

His eldest son,

JOHN (1812-71), 4th Baron, married firstly, in 1849, Anna, daughter of John Christie; and secondly, in 1852, Eleanor Amelia, daughter of William, 1st Baron Hylton, in a childless marriage.

The titles thereafter devolved upon his next brother, 

WILLIAM (1814-89), 5th Baron; captain, Royal Navy; married Anna Maria, daughter of John Wormald, in 1862 at St. Marylebone Church, Marylebone, London.

He died without issue, and was buried at Brockworth Manor, Gloucestershire.

On the decease of the 5th Baron in 1889, the titles became extinct.

THE CHIEF SECRETARY'S LODGE, Phoenix Park, Dublin, was surrounded by 62 acres of parkland and was completed in 1776.

It was purchased by HM Government in 1782 and became the official residence of the Chief Secretary until 1922, when it became US Ambassador's residence. 

I have written an article about the Chief Secretary's Lodge here.


PORTLEMAN HOUSE (or Port Loman), near Mullingar, County Westmeath, former residence of the 1st Baron de Blaquiere, was an 18th century house of three storeys and six bays.

It was built on rising ground above Lough Owel. The grounds comprised eight acres.

The main entrance was in a pillared recess; elaborate curved staircase. It is now demolished.



Blaquiere was the fifth son of Jean de Blaquiere, a French merchant who had emigrated to England in 1732, and his wife Marie Elizabeth de Varennes. He at first served in the Army, in the 18th Dragoons (later the 17th Dragoons), where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

In 1771 Blaquiere was appointed Secretary of Legation at the British Embassy in Paris, a post he held until 1772. The latter year Lord Harcourt, HM Ambassador in Paris, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Blaquiere joined him as Chief Secretary for Ireland.

He became a Privy Counsellor the same year and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Bath two years later.

Blaquiere was to remain Chief Secretary until Harcourt's resignation in January, 1777. He had been elected to the Irish House of Commons for Old Leighlin in 1773, a seat he held until 1783.

After a few months for Enniskillen in 1783, he sat then for Carlingford from 1783-90; for Charleville from 1790-98; and for Newtownards from 1798 till the Act of Union in 1801.

In 1784 Blaquiere was created a baronet, of Ardkill in the County of Londonderry; and in 1800 he was raised to the peerage as 1st Baron de Blaquiere, of Ardkill in the County of Londonderry.

Lord de Blaquiere also sat as MP for Rye from 1801-02 and for Downton from 1802-06.


I HAVE BEEN so far unable to find any record of the de Blaquieres owning a residence in County Londonderry, despite the name Ardkill being in their territorial title.

It is, perhaps, more likely that they simply owned land.

The Ardkill estate, Clondermot, County Londonderry, by marriage: The estate was bought for him by Alexander Tompkins, of Prehen, County Londonderry, father of Maria Tompkins (wife of Robert Dobson), and grandfather of Eleanor Dobson, the 1st Barons' wife.

First published in September, 2010. Blaquiere arms courtesy of European Heraldry.