OLD COURT demesne is located at Strangford, County Down.
I have written about the barony of de Ros here.
The 23rd Baron de Ros, a grandson of the 20th Earl of Kildare and 1st Duke of Leinster, inherited the port and village of Strangford, which became his principal seat.
In 1844, he built Old Court and surrounded it with pleasant walks and gardens.
Lord de Ros also made many improvements, extended Payne's Chapel at Old Court and built Katherine's Quay as his own private harbour.
Dudley, the 24th Baron, was equerry to HRH The Prince Consort (Prince Albert), 1853-74.
His life at Court during the period 1850-62, and his manuscript account, gives interesting personal reminiscences of certain events which occurred while he was acquainted with, and in the service of, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as dinner and shooting lists, etc.
Una Mary, 26th Baroness, attended Court in an application for compensation for criminal injury to property, after a malicious fire had destroyed Old Court at the end of 1921, together with two lists of articles lost.
Nevertheless, it seems that the family were popular with the villagers generally and there was much sadness at the time when the old house was burnt.
OLD COURT was a low, rambling two-storey house with many gables, some of them set on three-sided bows, the angle walls of which curved outwards under the eaves, so that some of the upstairs windows were bent in a vertical plane, like the windows at the stern of an old man-of-war ship.
There were barge-boards on the gables and hood mouldings over the windows.
It was located at the site of the present 1970s house (also called Old Court) in a most picturesque setting overlooking the harbour and Strangford Lough.
It is believed that the chapel is still used regularly by the family and villagers.
Today the demesne stretches from Strangford Bay to Strangford village, skirting the shore-line.
In the 1980s Georgiana, 27th Baroness, and her husband (Lieutenant-Commander J D Maxwell DL RN) lived in the present Old Court House; while their son Peter Maxwell (present Lord de Ros) had a bachelor pad down in the little boat-house at Katherine's Quay.
When he married and succeeded to the title, he built a relatively modern house in the grounds, not far from the delightful little Old Court chapel.
Peter Maxwell is the 28th and present Baron.
First published in July, 2011. De Ros arms courtesy of European Heraldry.