Monday, 11 September 2017

Dungiven Castle

THE OGILBYS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LONDONDERRY, WITH 9,735 ACRES


This branch settled in Ulster at the time of the Plantation.

All the records of the family (originally Ogilvie) were destroyed by fire in Scotland in 1784.

The original residence was at Calhame, Aberdeenshire.

DR JOHN OGILVIE, of Aberdeen, who settled in Limavady, County Londonderry, was a great friend of the celebrated Bishop Burnet.

He married Elizabeth Agnew, of the Scottish family of that name, who settled in County Antrim.

Dr Ogilvie was succeeded by his son,

ALEXANDER OGILBY, who changed the spelling of the family surname.

He married firstly, Ann Smith, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
Mary Anne.
Mr Ogilby wedded secondly, Mary Campbell, and had issue,
George;Robert.
Mr Ogilby was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER OGILBY, who wedded Mary, eldest daughter of James Alexander, of Limavady (whose family came originally from Clackmannanshire), by his wife Elizabeth Ross, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Alexander;
James;
William;
Robert, of Pellipar;
David (Sir), East India Company;
Leslie, of Strangemore;
Ann; Elizabeth; Mary; Jane.
The fifth son, Robert, of Pellipar House, Dungiven, purchased the entire Manor of Limavady from the Conolly family, also large properties in County Tyrone, and estates at Woolwich in Kent. He was also lessee of the estates of the Skinners' Company in County Londonderry.

The sixth son, Sir David, born 1755, served in Volunteers, entered in East India Service, 1781, trained at Lockie's Royal Military Academy, Chelsea, served in India for 22 years, and retired as Major; knighted in 1804 by 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, for his conspicuous services.

Mr Alexander Ogilby was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN OGILBY, of Ardnargle, near Limavady, born in 1746, who married Jane, daughter of James Simpson, of Armagh, and had issue,
Alexander, dsp;
John, dsp;
JAMES, his heir;
David, dsp;
Leonard;
ROBERT LESLIE, of whom presently;
William;
Ann; Jane; Mary.
Mr Ogilby was succeeded by his third son,

JAMES OGILBY, of Ardnargle, who espoused Bridget Rush, though dsp 1849, and was succeeded by his brother,

ROBERT LESLIE OGILBY JP DL (1798-1872), of Ardnargle, High Sheriff, 1854, who married, in 1844, Elizabeth Matilda, daughter of Major William Henry Rainey, of the East India Company, and had issue,
ROBERT ALEXANDER, his heir;
John W H;
David Leslie;
Margaret Harriet; Jane Ann; Elizabeth; Mary Isabella.
Mr Ogilby was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT ALEXANDER OGILBY JP DL (1850-1902), of Ardnargle, and Pellipar House, Dungiven, High Sheriff, 1887, Captain, 4th King's Own Regiment,

Under the will of his great-uncle, Robert Ogilby, he succeeded on the death of his cousin, James Ogilby, to the Limavady, Pellipar, County Tyrone and Woolwich estates.

Captain Ogilby married, in 1875, Helen Sarah, second daughter of the Rev George Bomford Wheeler, Rector of Ballysax, County Kildare, and had issue,
ROBERT JAMES LESLIE, his heir;
Ethel Maude; Mabel Norah; Esther Gladys; Mildred Constance.
He was succeeded by his only son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROBERT JAMES LESLIE OGILBY DSO JP DL (1880-1964), of Ardnargle, Limavady, and Pellipar House, Dungiven, County Londonderry.

Colonel Ogilby was a kinsman of both the Earl Alexander of Tunis and the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, through the line of the Alexanders of Limavady.

He was also brother-in-law of Brigadier-General George Delamain Crocker.
Colonel Ogilby entered the Army as a 2nd lieutenant, 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards 1903-1905; a lieutenant, 2nd Life Guards; High Sheriff, 1911; 29 Aug 1914 joined the Special reserve Officers as lieutenant; 29 Feb 1915, captain (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards; 1916, Major and 2nd in Command of the 7th Norfolk Regiment; 1916, lieutenant-colonel commanding 2/114 London Regiment (London Scottish). He served with the British Expeditionary Force (dispatches London Gazette); served 1916-1919 in the war; Belgian Croix de Guerre, Star, 1914; DSO and bar, 1917.
The Woolwich estate was bought at public auction in 1812 by Robert Ogilby (younger brother of John Ogilby), who also leased, in 1803, the Skinners estate at Dungiven and lived at Pellipar House.

Ardnargle was not, therefore, a dower house for Pellipar, although it was used as such when R A Ogilby (1850-1902) inherited both properties from 1885 onwards.
The Ogilby family has had a proud military tradition: Major Robert Alexander Ogilby married Sarah Wheeler, daughter of Rev George Bomford Wheeler, a founder of the Irish Times, TCD classic scholar and contributor to Dickens' magazine, "All Year Round"; a DL for County Londonderry; captain 4th King's Own Regiment; and took part in the Zulu war (1879, medal).
In 1902, Maurice Marcus McCausland, of Drenagh, married Eileen Leslie, daughter of R A Ogilby DL, of Pellipar.


DUNGIVEN CASTLE, Dungiven, County Londonderry, is largely a 19th century edifice.

It has a long, two-storey, battlemented front with a central polygonal tower; a pointed Gothic doorway and pointed window over.

Round towers are at each end. There are five bays on either side of the centre.


THE CASTLE was for centuries the residence of the O'Cahans.

In 1601, after the submission of Sir Donnell O'Cahan, the Government placed a garrison there, and Sir Henry Dockwra subsequently gave to Sir John Sidney (4th son of Sir Henry Sidney) a lease of the castle and adjoining lands.

In 1604, on the restoration of the Earl of Tyrone, a dispute arose as to the ownership of these lands; but on the flight of the Earls, the Government restored the garrison and placed Captain Edward Doddington in the castle as Constable or Lieutenant.


Sir Arthur Chichester stated that the principal places to be held and garrisoned within the County of Coleraine were the castles of Annagh, Limavady, Coleraine, and Dungiven, albeit most of them were ruinous and out of repair.

At the Plantation of Ulster, this part of County Londonderry in which Dungiven Castle was situated was granted to the Skinners' Company, and their grant from the Honourable the Irish Society was dated 1617.

Captain Doddington was knighted and continued to hold the castle and lands from the Skinners' Company.

In the survey by Captain Nicholas Pynnar in 1618, Lady Doddington, wife of the late Sir Edward Doddington, was in possession of the castle, having taken a grant of it from the Company for 61 years:
"Here is built a strong Castle, being two stories high and a half, with a large Bawn of Lyme and Stone well fortified. In this the Lady is now dwelling, with 24 in her Family."
On the expiry of Lady Doddington's lease, in 1696, the Skinners' Company devised the "Manor of Pellipar and the Castle, town, and land of Dungiven" to Edward Carey.

His son, Henry Carey, in 1742, got a new lease at a rent of £500 on payment of a penalty.

The Careys lived in the old castle.

In 1794 Robert Ogilby paid Mr Carey for his interest in the remainder of the lease, which expired in 1803, and Mr Ogilby then acquired a new lease from the Skinners' Company on payment of a fine.

The portion of the castle which was standing in 1838 was only one storey, and there are now no traces of the old castle, though the old bawn still remains.

In 1839, Robert Ogilby expended a very large sum of money in rebuilding the castle, as it stands today.

It is at the extremity of the town of Dungiven, and is most beautifully situated, facing south, possessing an extensive foreground with views of the entire chain of the surrounding mountains.

The external appearance is that of a castellated mansion with bastions, flanking towers, etc., with a facade of about 200 feet.

Internally, it was quite unfinished, and it was a matter of regret that it was not finished more in unison with its prepossessing exterior.

Robert Ogilby was bound under his lease from the Skinners' Company to repair, and to uphold and maintain the castle, but he preferred to make his residence at Pellipar.

The bawn has three sides, the present castle forming the fourth and south side, having entrance gateways on the north, east, and west sides.

The pond of water just outside the bawn adds to its picturesqueness.

There are three turrets on the walls, and along the walls are numbers of loopholes and apertures.

On the expiry of Robert Ogilby's lease in 1873, the lands reverted to the Skinners' Company; but in 1890, when the company sold their estates, the castle and grounds were purchased by Robert Alexander Ogilby JP DL, and were inherited by his son, Robert James Leslie Ogilby.

In 1902, Dungiven Castle was inherited by Robert James Leslie Ogilby, who lived in London.

The estate was sold in 1925.

The Castle was occupied by the US Army during the 2nd World War, and later used as a dance hall during the 1950s and 1960s.

Eventually Limavady Borough Council bought Dungiven Castle and thereafter decided to demolish it.

There was public opposition and, with the help of various funding bodies, enough money was finally secured to put the neglected building into good repair.

In March, 2001, Dungiven Castle was re-opened to provide budget accommodation.

In 2009, Dungiven Castle underwent a complete redevelopment and redecoration of the entire property.

First published in September, 2013.

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