I, King William, in the third year of my reign, give to Paulinus Rawdon, Hope and Hopetown, with all the boundaries both up and down, from heaven to earth, from earth to hell, for you and your heir to dwell, as truly as this kingdom in mine; for a crossbow and an arrow, when I shall come to hunt on Yarrow; and in token that this thing is true, I bite the white wax with my tooth, before Meg, Maud, and Margery, and my third son, Henry.
GEORGE RAWDON (1604-84), who settled in Ulster, and took an active part, as a military commander, during the Irish rebellion of 1641; and subsequently, until his decease, in 1684, in the general affairs of that Province.
John, a military man; killed in France, 1656;
ARTHUR, his successor;
Dorothy; Brilliana; Mary.
FRANCIS, his successor;
Selina Frances; Charlotte Adelaide Constantia; Anne Elizabeth.
GEORGE AUGUSTUS FRANCIS, his successor;
Flora Elizabeth, Lady of the Bedchamber to HRH The Duchess of Kent;
Sophia Frederica Christina; Selina Constance; Adelaide Augusta Lavinia.
All of these subsidiary titles, including the Baronetcy, became extinct following the death of the 4th Marquess and 8th Baronet, in 1868.
|MoiraCastle. Photo credit: Royal Irish Academy © RIA|
He was to give fifty years of devoted service to the family, serving three successive Viscounts Conway, the 3rd Viscount of whom was created Earl of Conway.
When George Rawdon acquired Moira demesne and other land, he established a dynasty similar to that of the Hill family at Hillsborough (Marquesses of Downshire).
Later, his own descendants were to marry into the Hill family, who were among the richest landowners in the Kingdom.
Rawdon was created a baronet in 1665.
Sir George, 1st Baronet, had done much to foster the early growth and development of Lisburn after the Rebellion.
His family was largely responsible for the foundation of Moira as it is today.
He was known as the "Great Highwayman", responsible for constructing many of the highways in the county.
Sir George's wife, Dorothy, died in 1665 and was buried in the chancel of Lisburn Cathedral.
Sir George died in 1683 and was also buried in Lisburn Cathedral.
He was succeeded by his son Arthur, 2nd Baronet (1662-95) who, like his father, was a member of Parliament, and was one of the generals in King William of Orange's armies.
When King William landed in Ireland, Sir Arthur raised troops and rallied to his side.
Before long he was besieged at Derry where he became ill, but, encouraged by his friends, he managed to escape and so ended his part in military affairs.
When Sir Arthur inherited the lands at Moira he rebuilt the mansion, which became one of the most magnificent castles in the country. Records describe this mansion as a
"commodious habitation, surrounded by a wood, which affords beautiful walks, a large lawn extends in front, where sheep feed, and is terminated by trees, and a small Lough eastwards, the rear of the castle grounds contains a wood, with large opening fronting the castle, which forms a fine perspective".
The 2nd Baronet was a renowned botanist and, on his estate at Moira, he built the first hot-house in Europe.
The gardens were adorned with a pretty labyrinth, ponds, canals and woods.
In Lisburn, Lord Hertford had beautiful hanging gardens which were the inspiration of Sir Arthur Rawdon, and they cascaded from the present Castle Gardens to the large basin.
All that remains today are the terraces, which are maintained by the local Council.
Just over twenty years ago they were a wilderness and some shrubs remained, which may have been part of the original planting.
Sir Arthur lived only a short time to enjoy the garden which he created and loved; he died in 1695, at the premature age of thirty-four.
For two generations Rawdon's descendants maintained the garden; however, when, in 1788, Moira passed into other hands, the garden became neglected and was subsequently vandalised.
By the middle of the next century there were scarcely any trees of note.
Nothing now remains of either house nor gardens.
Sir Arthur's successor was Sir John, 3rd Baronet (1690-1723).
Throughout his short life he suffered from tuberculosis.
At the time of his death, St John's Church in Moira had just been consecrated.
He was buried in the family vault underneath the church.
Sir Hans Sloane encouraged Sir John to correspond and, in 1711, in response to a letter from Sloane enquiring about the plants at Moira, Sir John replied that owing to the 'carelessness of servants and the death of Mr Harlow, most of the plants were withered to nothing'.
Outside, however, the trees and shrubs fared better.
His son, also Sir John, 4th Baronet (1720-93), inherited the estates and the baronetcy at the age of three.
Sir John was later elevated to the peerage as Baron Rawdon and further ennobled as Earl of Moira in 1762.
Lord Moira was a well known figure in Irish government circles.
When he died in 1793, his funeral was said to have been the largest ever seen in the Kingdom of Ireland: Over four hundred horse-drawn carriages were in the procession from all parts of the country.
He died at his grand town residence in Dublin, Moira House, and was buried in the family vault at St John's, Moira.
The 1st Earl, by this stage, had removed the family seat to Montalto, near Ballynahinch.
The 2nd Earl, afterwards 1st Marquess of Hastings KG PC, Francis Rawdon-Hastings (right), was undoubtedly the most distinguished member of the Rawdon family.
He took on his mother's maiden name, inherited his mother's titles as well as his father's, and also much of the estates belonging to the Huntingdon dynasty.
He was educated at Harrow and, in 1774, went to America and fought with distinction in the American War of Independence, and was present at the Battle of Bunker's Hill.
Lord Moira became Adjutant-General of the British Armed Forces in America, and during the illness of Lord Cornwallis, commanded the armies that brought victory to the colonists.
He is said to have been one of the most courageous generals in the whole war.
Some of his soldiers founded towns in America called Moira, in memory of his exploits.
One can be found in New York State, and another in Canada where there is also a river of the same name.
On his return home, the 2nd Earl became an MP and was an advocate of the Act of Union.
He later became the first Governor-General of India (1813); and, having purchased Singapore Island in 1819, was largely responsible for the establishment of India as an important part of the British Empire.
The 2nd Earl's reward for this illustrious service was to be further ennobled as Marquess of Hastings in 1817.
The 1st Marquess, by now a knight of the Garter and privy counsellor, was, in 1824, appointed the first Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta, where he died off Naples in 1826. Lord Hastings was buried at Valetta.
By 1805 the Rawdon family had moved to their other estates in Ireland, including Montalto at Ballynahinch.
The new tenant of Moira Castle was William Sharman, a member of Grattan's Parliament, who was very prominent in the history of the area.
This family owned Moira Castle only for a relatively short period.
The last direct descendant, Henry Rawdon, a great nephew, became 4th Marquess of Hastings and died without issue.
As a consequence, the titles became extinct in 1868.
At this stage the Moira demesne was purchased by Sir Robert Bateson, Bt, who also owned Belvoir Park in Belfast.
The Bateson family did not live for any lengthy period in Moira and used the Castle as a secondary residence. Bateson's son Thomas became 1st Baron Deramore.
Former seats ~ Donington Hall, Leicestershire; Rawdon Hall, Yorkshire; Loudoun Castle, Ayrshire; Moira, County Down; and Montalto, County Down.
First published in June, 2010. Hastings arms courtesy of European Heraldry.