This family was of long standing in County Armagh and had been, for a long time, settled at Church Hill.
DAVID VERNER, son of Henry Verner, left, by Elizabeth his wife (with three daughters), two sons,
JAMES;The elder son,
THOMAS, an Army officer, killed at the battle of Bunker's Hill.
JAMES VERNER (1746-1822), sat in the Irish parliament for many years and served the office of Sheriff for counties Armagh, Meath, Monaghan, Dublin and Tyrone.
He married Jane, daughter of the Rev Henry Clarke, of Summer Island, County Armagh, and had issue,
Thomas (1774-1853);Mr Verner was succeeded by his youngest son,
John (1780-1814), twin with David;
WILLIAM, his heir;
SIR WILLIAM VERNER KCH JP DL (1782-1871), of Church Hill, County Armagh, Lieutenant-Colonel, 7th Hussars, MP for County Armagh, 1832-68, High Sheriff of Monaghan, 1820, Armagh, 1821, and Tyrone, 1823.
Sir William wedded, in 1819, Harriet, only daughter of Colonel the Hon Edward Wingfield, of Corke Abbey, Bray, County Wicklow, son of Richard, 3rd Viscount Powerscourt, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Edward Wingfield, 4th Baronet;
Emilia; Frances Elizabeth; Frederica;
Harriet Jane Isabella Cecilia; Henrietta Constantia Frances.
|Lieutenant-Colonel Sir William Verner KCH, by Martin Cregan|
Sir William was succeeded by his elder son,
SIR WILLIAM VERNER, 2nd Baronet (1822-73), of Corke Abbey, MP for County Armagh, 1868-73, who espoused, in 1850, Mary, daughter of Lieutenant-General the Hon Sir Hercules Robert Pakenham, and had issue,
WILLIAM EDWARD HERCULES, his successor;Sir William was succeeded by his only son,
Alice Emily; Edith.
SIR WILLIAM EDWARD HERCULES VERNER, 3rd Baronet (1856-86), of Corke Abbey, who married, in 1877, Annie, daughter of John Wilson, of Melbourne, Australia, though died without issue, when the title reverted to his cousin,
SIR EDWARD WINGFIELD VERNER, 4th Baronet (1830-99), JP, of Corke Abbey, second son of the 1st Baronet, High Sheriff of County Dublin, 1866, MP for Lisburn, 1863-73, MP for County Armagh, 1983-80, who wedded, in 1864, Selina Florence, daughter of Thomas Vesey Nugent, and had issue,
EDWARD WINGFIELD, his successor;Sir Edward was succeeded by his eldest son,
Hubert Henry Wingfield;
Florence Winifred Wingfield; Sybil; Isabel Dorothy Wingfield.
SIR EDWARD WINGFIELD VERNER, 5th Baronet (1865-1936), Captain, the Norfolk Regiment, who wedded, in 1901, Agnes Dorothy, daughter of Henry Laming, and had issue,
EDWARD DERRICK WINGFIELD, his successor;Sir Edward was succeeded by his elder son,
John Wingfield (1910-43), killed in action;
Ruth Wingfield; Betty Dorothea Wingfield; Monica Wingfield.
SIR EDWARD DERRICK WINGFIELD VERNER, 6th Baronet (1907-75), of Corke Abbey, Lieutenant, the Rifle Brigade, who wedded, in 1948, Angèle, daughter of Louis Becco, though died without issue.
The baronetcy expired on the 6th Baronet's decease in 1975.
|Church Hill, 1902|
CHURCH HILL (or Churchill House), near Moy, County Armagh, was a three-storey mansion over a basement, built about 1830.
The masonic hall in Markethill is said to include the portico of the old mansion-house.
The former estate is now Peatlands Park.
The 1st Baronet was at Eaton Square for his birthday, and died there in 1871, aged 88.
His body was brought by ship and train to Armagh, and he was buried at Loughgall.
The cortège left Armagh at 11.00am with over 140 carriages of various sorts following the hearse. The pallbearers were:-
Lord Lurgan, Sir Capel Molyneux Bt., J Y Burges DL., Col. Pakenham, Maxwell Close DL., Lt-Col Cross JP., Parker Synott JP., Sir James Stronge Bt. MP., Sir John Stewart Bt., the Hon Col. Knox MP., A H Pakenham JP., John Irwin JP., Joseph Atkinson DL., Col. Simpson JP., and Major Burleigh Stuart.
The number of people following was estimated at 10,000.
Sir William Verner, 2nd Baronet, lived with his family at Churchill and London from the early 1860s, the 1st Baronet and his wife having removed to Corke Abbey at this time.
The 3rd Baronet, also William, was born in 1856, so he must have known his aunts, his uncle Edward Wingfield, and his illustrious grandfather, the first Sir William.
William and his mother were to reside at Eaton Square and for a reasonable time each year at Churchill.
He was to inherit all the estates on becoming 21, or marrying before that.
Sir William and his wife Annie had no children.
They divided the time between Eaton Square and Churchill, and entertained on a lavish scale.
In 1880, the 3rd Baronet made his will, leaving the estates and Eaton Square to his wife, and then to "the boy who with my consent has assumed the name of Verner and is living under my charge".
Sir William Edward Hercules Verner died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1886, at London, and was buried at Loughgall, in the same tomb as his father.
His widow died two years later and was interred in the same tomb.
This was, in effect, the end of the Verners at Churchill.
Churchill House was put up for sale in 1898, but was not sold.
The following year it could have been bought for £12,000, but much of the best timber had been sold.
In 1900, the Irish Peat Development Company bought 548 acres of bog land. The most valuable furniture was sold in 1902.
More and more bog-land was sold to the Irish Peat Development Company.
Churchill, vacant since 1918, was known to have wood-rot in 1926.
The house and remaining lands were sold in 1927, and the house was dismantled by the end of 1928.
Today there is no sign of the Churchill estate, but a few things can still be seen: Verner's Inn, at Vernersbridge, has been restored.
A row of Irish yew trees remain, which were near the house.
At Maghery, the railings and gates at the old chapel were once at the Southern entrance to Churchill.
The entrance to the Masonic Hall at Markethill is adorned by the former portico of the main entrance.
The Loughgall graves in the old churchyard are of interest:
The vault where the 2nd Baronet and the 3rd Baronet and his wife were interred could be entered until 1962, when, as it was no longer weatherproof it was sealed up.
A full length portrait of Sir William Verner, 1st Baronet, in the uniform of a Colonel of the 7th Hussars, is in the Armagh museum.
The marble mantelpiece from Churchill's entrance hall is said to be in Derryadd Orange Hall.
"There was a huge grave stone in the family cemetery that covered the remains of Sir William's beloved charger which he brought home after Waterloo – she was known locally as The Waterloo Mare.
Would-be thieves tried to remove the stone in – I'm guessing – 1982, but I discovered their handiwork and the stone is now mounted in a wall in the local Orange Hall.
The cottage, Yew Cottage (named, not after the avenue of yews on the estate, but after a 2,000 year-old yew in the cottage's garden), is still, I believe, the longest thatched cottage in Ireland.
My parents lived in the only other surviving house on the Verner estate and coincidently, my father was also Deputy Lieutenant of Tyrone – and also High Sheriff of Tyrone".I acknowledge the article by John Kerr - Churchill, Home of the Verners - and Craigavon Historical Society as a source of information.
First Published in July, 2011.