Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Brooke Baronets (1822)

THE BROOKE BARONETCY, OF COLEBROOKE, COUNTY FERMANAGH, WAS CREATED IN 1822 FOR HENRY BROOKE

SIR BASIL BROOKE (1567-1633), Knight, of Magherabeg and Brooke Manor, County Donegal, went over to Ulster during the reign of ELIZABETH I.

Sir Basil served under Charles Blount, 8th Lord Mountjoy, and was appointed governor of the town and castle of Donegal.

He was likewise one of the commissioners for the settlement of Ulster, and obtained from the crown large grants of land in County Donegal.

Sir Basil's son and successor (by Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of John Leycester, of Toft),

SIR HENRY BROOKE, Knight, of Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, also governor of Donegal, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1669, and MP for Brooke's Borough.

This gentleman received, in recompense for his services during the rebellion of 1641, grants of lands in County Fermanagh.

Sir Henry married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Captain John Wynter; and secondly, Anne, daughter of Sir George St George Bt, of Carrickdrumrusk, County Leitrim.

For his third wife, Mr Brooke espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, Lord Docwra.

He died in 1671, and was succeeded by the eldest son (by his second wife),

THOMAS BROOKE MP, of Donegal, Major in the Williamite Regiment of Foot, who wedded Catherine, daughter of Sir John Cole Bt, of Newlands, County Dublin, and sister of Cole, Lord Ranelagh.

This gentleman died in 1696, leaving a son,

HENRY BROOKE (1671-1761), of Colebrooke, MP for and governor of County Fermanagh, who married, in 1711, Lettice, daughter of Mr Alderman Benjamin Burton, of the city of Dublin.

Mr Brooke left at his decease, in 1761, four daughters and two sons, of whom ARTHUR, MP for Fermanagh, was created a baronet, 1764, which honour ceased at his demise in 1785; and

FRANCIS BROOKE, who wedded, in 1765, Hannah, daughter of Henry Prittie, of Dunalley, Co Tipperary, and sister of the 1st Lord Dunalley, by whom he had issue,
Arthur (Sir), KCB, lieutenant-general;
Richard Prittie, major-general;
Francis, lieutenant-colonel;
HENRY, of whom presently;
George Frederick;
Caroline; Harriet; Elizabeth.
Mr Brooke died in 1800, and was succeeded by his youngest surviving son,

HENRY BROOKE (1770-1834), of Colebrooke, County Fermanagh, who was created a baronet in 1822.

This gentleman married, in 1792, Harriet, daughter of the Hon John Butler, and granddaughter of Brinsley, 1st Viscount Lanesborough, by whom he had issue,
Francis, fell at Waterloo;
Henry, died young;
ARTHUR BRINSLEY;
Butler (Rev);
Edward Basil, major-general;
Richard, later HOWARD-BROOKE;
Thomas;
George Augustus Frederick;
Harriett Elizabeth; Maria; Selina.
Sir Henry was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ARTHUR BRINSLEY BROOKE, 2nd Baronet (1797-1854).
The Brookes of Colebrooke remain one of the oldest landed families in Ulster.

The Brookeborough Papers are deposited at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

Sir Arthur, Arthur, 4th Baronet, was Sheriff of County Fermanagh in 1896, a Deputy Lieutenant, and Justice of the Peace for the county.

His younger brother was Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke.

The Rt Hon Sir Basil, 5th Baronet, KG CBE MC PC, third prime minister of Northern Ireland, was elevated to the peerage in 1952 as VISCOUNT BROOKEBOROUGH.

His second but eldest surviving son, John, 2nd Viscount, and 6th Baronet, was also a notable politician.

As of 2010, the titles are held by the latter's eldest son, Alan, 3rd and present Viscount and 7th Brooke Baronet, who succeeded in 1987.

Lord Brookeborough is a Lord in Waiting to HM The Queen and Lord-Lieutenant for County Fermanagh.

First published in November, 2010.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Geashill Castle

THE BARONS DIGBY WERE THE LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN KING'S COUNTY,WITH 29,722 ACRES


The original surname of this ancient family is said to have been TILTON, assumed from their residence at Tilton, Leicestershire; and the alteration is supposed to have taken place in 1256, when that abode was abandoned for Digby, Lincolnshire.

Almost two centuries later, in 1434, we find

EVERARD DIGBY, filling the office of High Sheriff of the county of Rutland, and representing that county in parliament.

He fell at the battle of Towton, in 1440, fighting under the banner of the unfortunate HENRY VI.

This gentleman married Jaquetta, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Ellis, of Devon, and left (with one daughter), seven sons, of whom the eldest were,
Everard;
SIMON;
John.
The second son,

SIR SIMON DIGBY, Knight, of Coleshill, Warwickshire, having contributed mainly, with his six valiant brothers, to the Earl of Richmond's success at Bosworth, was rewarded, after the accession of HENRY VII, with large grants of lands and lucrative public employments.

Sir Simon wedded Alice, daughter and heir of John Walleys, of East Radston, Devon; and dying in 1519, was succeeded by his elder son,

REGINALD DIGBY, of Coleshill, who espoused Anne, daughter and co-heir of John Danvers, of Calthorpe, Oxfordshire, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN DIGBY, who married Anne, eldest daughter of Sir George Throgmorton, and was succeeded by his son,

SIR GEORGE DIGBY, who wedded Abigail, daughter of Sir Arthur Henningham, of Kettering, in Norfolk, and had, with other issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
George, created 1st Baron Digby.
The son and heir,

SIR ROBERT DIGBY, Knight, who received that honour from Robert, Earl of Essex, at Dublin, in 1596, represented the borough of Athy in parliament, in 1613, and was called to the privy council.

He espoused Lettice, daughter and heir of Gerald, Lord Offaly, and granddaughter of Gerald, 11th Earl of Kildare, by whom he had, with several other sons, whose male descendants are extinct,
ROBERT, his heir;
Essex(Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Dromore.
This Lettice was created Baroness Offaly for life, and brought into the Digby family the barony of Geashill, in the King's County.

Sir Robert died in 1618, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT DIGBY (c1599-1642), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1620, as BARON DIGBY, of Geashill, King's County.

His lordship espoused Lady Sarah Boyle, daughter of Richard, 1st Earl of Cork, and was succeeded, in 1642, by his son,

KILDARE, 2nd Baron, whose two elder sons,
ROBERT, 3rd Baron, and
SIMON, 4th Baron,
succeeded in turn to the barony, and both dying without issue, a younger brother,

WILLIAM, 5th Baron (1661-1752), inherited in 1657.

This nobleman married Lady Jane Noel, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Gainsborough, by whom he had (with eight daughters), four sons, viz.
John (c1687-1746);
Robert (c1692-1726);
Edward (c1693-1746), father of
EDWARD, 6th Baron;
Wriothesley.
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson,

EDWARD, 6th Baron (1730-57), who died unmarried, when the honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY, 7th Baron (1731-93), who was created a peer of Great Britain, in 1765, as Baron Digby; and advanced, in 1790, to the dignities of Viscount Coleshill and EARL DIGBY. 

His lordship married firstly, in 1763, Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon Charles Fielding, but by that lady had no surviving issue; and secondly, Mary, daughter and heir of John Knowler, of Canterbury, by whom he had,
EDWARD, his successor;
Robert, in holy orders;
Stephen;
Charlotte Maria; Elizabeth Theresa.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 2nd Earl.

Barons Digby (1620; Reverted)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Henry Noel Kenelm Digby (b 1954).

GEASHILL, County Offaly, was developed by the Digbys as a planned estate village.

In 1887 Samuel Lewis described the village as containing 87 mostly thatched houses arranged around a triangular green.

Fairs were held on May 1, October 6 and December, the latter being one of the largest pig markets in Ireland.

The 9th Baron carried out extensive improvements in the 1860s and 1870s, and many of the current buildings around the triangular green date from this time.

The Kings County Directory recorded that Lord Digby had "converted the village of Geashill into what it now is, one of the neatest, cleanest and best kept in Ireland."

At the Paris Exhibition of 1867, Lord Digby was awarded the bronze medal for models of the village he was building.

He was awarded the gold medal for three years by the Royal Agricultural Society, for improving the greatest number of cottages in the best manner in the province of Leinster.

The Digbys built Geashill Castle near the medieval tower house of the O'Dempseys, and afterwards of the Kildare FitzGeralds, who were also Barons of Offaly.

This dwelling passed to the Digbys through marriage of Sir Robert Digby to the heiress of the 11th Earl of Kildare.

The house was of seven bays with a recessed, three-bay centre, a high plain roof parapet and a lower wing at one side.

It was burnt in 1922.

Seats ~ Coleshill, Warwickshire; Sherborne Castle, Dorset; Geashill, County Offaly.

If any readers possess better photographs of Geashill Castle, I'd greatly appreciate it.

First published in January, 2012.   Digby arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 29 January 2016

The Hot Toddy


All things considered, the winter must be dealt with. Pitilessly.

Beat the chill. Arm yourself with an abundant supply of whiskey, lashings of lemons and cloves, and fight back.

STEP ONE.  The trick is to heat your glass first, so rinse it out with boiling water just as you would heat a teapot prior to making tea.

STEP TWO.  Watch the cold begin its retreat as you intrepidly place four or five cloves in a slice of lemon.

Place the lot in the heated glass.

STEP THREE.   Add about two spoonfuls of sugar (preferably brown) and pour in boiling water till the glass is about half full.

Stir until the sugar has entirely dissolved.

Bushmills Inn, County Antrim

Finally, a liberal helping of whiskey, preferably distilled in the fair village of Bushmills, County Antrim.

Stir well and savour.

You have just beaten the cold.

Start celebrating.

Tullylagan Manor

THE FAMILY OF GREER OWNED 1,192 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY TYRONE


SIR JAMES GRIER (ca 1604-66), Knight, of Capenoch, Dumfriesshire, and Rock Hall, Alnwick, Northumberland, fifth son of Sir William Grier, succeeded his brother, John, in Capenoch.

This gentleman married Mary, daughter of the Rev John Browne, of Glencairn, first minister after the Reformation, and widow of Thomas Grier, of Bargarg Tower, Dumfriesshire.

His eldest son, 

HENRY GRIER, (c1625-c1675), of Rock Hall, and afterwards of Redford, near Grange, County Tyrone, came to Ulster in 1653.

Mr Greer joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) ca 1660.

He married, in 1652, Mary Turner, of Northumberland, and had issue, his eldest son,

JAMES GREER (1653-1718), of Liscorran, County Armagh, who wedded, in 1678, Eleanor, daughter and co-heir of John Rea, of Liscorran, and had issue,
Henry, ancestor of the GREERS of Grange, Co Tyrone;
JOHN, ancestor of the GREERS of Tullylagan and Seapark, of whom we treat;
Thomas;
James, of Liscorran;
Mary.
The second son,

JOHN GREER (1688-1741), of Grace Hill, County Armagh, and of Tullyanaghan, near Lurgan, espoused, in 1717, Mary, daughter of Jeramiah Hanks, of Birr, and widow of John Chambers, of Dublin.

He died in 1741, having had several children, of whom the second son,

THOMAS GREER (1724-1803), of Rhone Hill, Dungannon, County Tyrone, became, on the extinction of the male line of his elder brother John, the head of the second house of Ulster Greers.

He married, in 1746, Sarah, daughter of Thomas Greer, of Redford, his second cousin, and died at Rhone Hill, leaving issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Robert (1766-1808), died unmarried in USA;
Eleanor; Mary; Jane; Sarah; Ann.
The elder son,

THOMAS GREER (1761-1870), of Rhone Hill, wedded, in 1787, Elizabeth, only child of William Jackson.
William Jackson was descended from Richard Jackson, of Killingwold Grove, near Beverley, Yorkshire. To this family General Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of America, and "Stonewall" Jackson, the celebrated Confederate general, belonged.
Thomas Greer left issue,
Thomas, of Tullylagan;
William Jackson, of Rhone Hill, father of
THOMAS FERGUS;
John Robert;
Alfred, of Dripsey House, Co Cork;
Sarah; Mary Jackson; Elizabeth; Caroline; Louisa Jane; Priscilla Sophia.
The eldest son,

THOMAS GREER JP (1791-1870), of Tullylagan, married, in 1826, Wilhelmina, daughter of Arthur Ussher JP, of Camphire, County Waterford, by ehom he left issue,
FREDERICK, of Tullylagan;Usher;Martha Ussher; Elizabeth Jackson; Wilhelmina Sophia Priscilla.
The eldest son,

FREDERICK GREER JP (1829-1908), of Tullylagan, late Royal Navy, wedded, in 1874,  Cecilia, eldest daughter of Sir Nathaniel Alexander Staples Bt, of Lissan, County Tyrone, by Elizabeth Lindsay his wife, only child of James Head and Cecilia his wife, third daughter of the Hon Robert Lindsay, of Balcarres.

Mr Greer had issue by his wife,
THOMAS, of Tullylagan;
Nathaniel Alexander Staples;
Elizabeth Lindsay; Mary Ussher.
The eldest son,

THOMAS GREER JP (1875-1949), of Tullylagan, espoused, in 1907, Constance Clara Annie, daughter of Edward Cochrane Palmer, of Beckfield House, Queen's County, and had issue,

FREDERICK WILLIAM USSHER GREER, of Tullylagan, born in 1915, who died unmarried.


TULLYLAGAN MANOR, (formerly New Hamburgh), near Cookstown, County Tyrone, was built ca 1830.

It consists of two storeys over a basement, which was subsequently excavated to become a ground floor.


The house has a three-bay front; a two-bay projecting porch; an eaved roof on bracket cornice.

There is a side wing, originally one storey over a basement.

Frederick Greer inherited Tullylagan following the decease of his father, Thomas, in 1870, though he leased the estate to his cousin, Thomas MacGregor Greer ca 1898.

Thomas MacGregor Greer, the only son of Thomas Greer, MP for Carrickfergus, was responsible for much of the development of the estate thereafter.

MacGregor Greer was a talented man who had many diverse interests.

He considered the Manor House inadequately proportioned for a country residence, so rather than risk spoiling the architecture by adding to the house, he decided to excavate the basement.

This was a substantial task at the time, depending heavily on manual labour, with the soil removed from the basement, the house became three-storey.

The following obituary appears in The Times newspaper:
Mr Thomas MacGregor Greer, who died at Bournemouth on Sunday at the age of 75, was a well-known figure in the North of Ireland, a member of the Senate, and a Deputy-Lieutenant for Co. Antrim. He was born in Dublin on January 31, 1853. His father, Samuel McCurdy Greer, was a prominent member of the Irish Bar, at one time M.P. for Co. Derry. and Recorder of Londonderry, and later County Court Judge for Leitrim and Roscommon.

His mother was a daughter of James McCrone,. Crown Agent for the Isle of Man. He was educated at Coleraine and Trinity College, Dublin, where he took a distinguished degree. He was admitted a solicitor in 1875 and, with offices at Ballymoney, built up a large practice in the North of Ireland, from which he retired seven years ago.

He was formerly a delegate for Ulster to the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland, Convenor of Tenures and Trusts Committee of the General Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian Church, and for over 20 years solicitor to the Antrim County Council. On the formation of the Northern Irish Parliament he was elected a member of the Senate, and was one of the members of that body chosen to represent Northern Ireland in the abortive Council of Ireland provided for in the Government of Ireland Act.

He married in 1880, Margaret, daughter of the late Sir Charles Reed, M.P., first chairman of the London School Board. She survives him. His only son Lieutenant Kenneth Greer, Irish Guards, was killed on the Somme in 1916; his only surviving daughter is the wife of Sir Ernest Gowers.
The grounds of the estate received similar attention with many rare & exotic trees and shrubs being planted. Greer was able to identify each plant by its common and Latin name.
In the farmyard he installed carpentry facilities and here many fine examples of chairs, tables and other items were produced.

Thomas MacGregor Greer remained in Tullylagan until his death in 1941.

The house is now privately owned.

Other former residence ~ Curglasson, Stewartstown, County Tyrone.

First published in January, 2012.

House of Acheson

THE EARLS OF GOSFORD WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ARMAGH, WITH 12,177 ACRES

The founder of this noble family in Ulster,

ARCHIBALD ACHESON (1583-1634), descended from a good family in Scotland, was seated at Gosford, Haddingtonshire, previous to his settlement in the Province, where we find him in 1610.

In the following year he had passed patent for a large proportion of land in County Armagh, and at the same time his younger brother, Henry, passed patent for a smaller proportion in the said county, which lands he afterwards assigned to Sir Archibald.

This Henry Acheson returned to Scotland and there died unmarried.

Sir Archibald was "so steady and zealous a friend" of the protestant interest in Ulster that seven years after he obtained this grant (according to the survey made by Nicholas Pynnar) he had 203 men upon his estate capable of bearing arms.

In 1612, he obtained another grant from JAMES I of a small proportion of land in County Cavan containing 1,000 acres.

In 1628, he was created a baronet; and in 1630, this gentleman obtained, in conjunction with Pierce and Walter Crosbie, a territory in Nova Scotia, Canada, called Bonovia [sic].

He was also Solicitor-General, a senator of justice, and many years secretary of state for Scotland; which latter office he continued to fill until his decease in 1634.

He died at Letterkenny, County Donegal, at his nephew's house, Sir William Semple, Knight.

Sir Archibald was succeeded in the title and estates by his eldest son,

SIR PATRICK, 2nd Baronet, at whose decease without issue, in 1638, the title devolved upon his half-brother,

SIR GEORGE (1629-85), 3rd Baronet, who was succeeded by his only son,

SIR NICHOLAS, 4th Baronet, MP for County Armagh, in 1695; who died in 1701 and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ARTHUR (1688-1749), 5th Baronet, who wedded Anne, daughter of the Rt Hon Philip Savage, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, by whom he had issue, five sons and two daughters.

He died in 1748, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ARCHIBALD (1718-90), 6th Baronet, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, in the dignity of Baron Gosford, of Market Hill, County Armagh; and advanced to a viscountcy, as Viscount Gosford, in 1785.

His lordship married, in 1740, Mary, youngest daughter of John Richardson, of Rich Hill, County Armagh, by whom he had issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Anna Maria; Nicolas; Julia Henrietta;
Lucinda; Mary.
Sir Archibald was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Viscount; who was created EARL OF GOSFORD, in 1806.

His lordship espoused, in 1774, Millicent, daughter of Lieutenant-General Edward Pole, by whom he had issue,
ARCHIBALDof whom presently;
Edward, CB, lieutenant-colonel in the army;
Olivia, Brigadier R B Sparrow, of Brampton Park;
Mary, Lieutenant-General Lord William Bentinck GCB;
Millicent, Rev J H Barber MA.
 His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

ARCHIBALD, 2nd Earl (1776-1849), GCB, PC.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's first cousin Nicholas Hope Carter Acheson (b 1947).

He is the eldest son of the Hon Patrick Bernard Victor Montagu Acheson (1915–2005), second son of the 5th Earl.


GOSFORD FOREST PARK, near Markethill, County Armagh, is one of the most beautiful demesnes in Northern Ireland.

There are woodland and forest walks; the walled garden; and a caravan and camping site within the park.



Gosford Castle is said to be the largest private mansion house in Northern Ireland.

The estate was sold to the NI Government shortly after the 2nd world war. 


The castle was restored between 2006-8 and has been divided into a number of apartments.

The Gosford Papers are deposited at PRONI.

First published in January, 2012.   Gosford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

1st Earl of Home

THE EARLS OF HOME WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN LANARKSHIRE, WITH 61,943 ACRES

This noble family yields to few of its native country in antiquity of descent, being a branch of the great house of Dunbar and March, springing from

THE HON PATRICK DUNBAR, second son of Cospatric III, Earl of Lothian; whose son,

WILLIAM DUNBAR, married, for his second wife, Ada, daughter of Patrick I, Earl of Dunbar, and widow of William de Courtenay, who had obtained from her father the lands of Home in free marriage.

De Courtenay died childless and the lady brought those lands to her second husband, whence his posterity assumed the name of "HOME".

This Ada made a grant to the monastery of Kelso, for the salvation of her soul and the souls of her father and mother, prior to 1240.

The son of her marriage with William Dunbar,

WILLIAM DE HOME, confirmed, under that designation, the grant of his mother to the Abbot of Kelso, in 1268.

From this William lineally descended

SIR ALEXANDER HOME, of Home, who founded the collegiate church of Dunglass, for a provost and several prebendaries.

He wedded Mariotta, daughter and heir of Sir Robert Lauder, of The Bass, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ALEXANDER HOME, of Home, who was ambassador-extraordinary to England in 1459, and was created a Lord of Parliament, as Lord Home, in 1473.

He married firstly, Mariotta, daughter and co-heiress of John Lauder, in Berwickshire, by whom he had, with other issue,

ALEXANDER, MASTER OF HOME, who married Elizabeth Hepburn; and dying before his father, left issue,

ALEXANDER, 2nd Lord, who wedded twice. His 2nd wife, Nichola, daughter of George Ker of Samuelston; and dying in 1506, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER, 3rd Lord.
This nobleman commanded the vanguard, with the Earl of Huntly, at the battle of Flodden Field, dispersed the English opposed to him, and was one of the few who escaped the carnage of that disastrous day.

His lordship joined the Queen Dowager and her husband, Angus, in 1515, and embraced the English interest in opposition to the Regent, John Stewart, Duke of Albany, who took Home Castle and Fast Castle, the fortlets of Lord Home, and ravaged his lands.

Albany having caused the French Ambassador to offer an amnesty, and to send a pardon to Lord Home, with a request of a conference, he agreed to meet the Regent at Dunglass, where he was instantly arrested, and committed to Edinburgh Castle, then under the governorship of the Earl of Arran; but Lord Home prevailed on Arran to permit him to escape, and to accompant him to the Borders.

Lord Home made his peace with the Regent in 1516, and was restored to his honours and estates; but visiting the Court in September of that year, with his brother William, they were arrested, tried for treason, and convicted.

Lord Home was executed in 1516, his head placed on Edinburgh Tolbooth, and his honours and estates forfeited to the Crown. His brother suffered the next day.
His lordship left by his wife, Agnes Stewart, two daughters,
JANET, married to Sir John Hamilton, natural brother of James, Duke of Châtellerault;
ALISON.
His honours and estates were restored, in 1522, to his brother,

GEORGE, 4th Lord, who wedded Mariotta, daughter and co-heir of Patrick, 6th Lord Haliburton, of Dirleton; and was succeeded, in 1549, by his only surviving son,

ALEXANDER, 5th Lord; to whom succeeded his only son,

ALEXANDER, 6th Lord, who was created, in 1605, Lord Dunglass and EARL OF HOME, with remainder to his heirs male whatsoever.
His lordship married firstly, Christian, daughter of William, 6th Earl of Morton, and widow of Laurence, master of Oliphant; and secondly, the Hon Mary Sutton, eldest daughter of Edward, 5th Baron Dudley, the son of the English keeper of Home Castle in 1547 during the Rough Wooing.
His only son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl; upon whose demise, without issue, in 1633, the honours reverted to his kinsman,

SIR JAMES HOME, knight, of Cowdenknowes, 3rd Earl.
This nobleman wedded Lady Jane, daughter of William, 2nd Earl of Morton, by whom he left three sons; all of whom succeeded, in turn to the family honours.
The youngest son,

CHARLES, 6th Earl, married Anne, daughter of Sir William Purves Bt, of Purves Hall, Berwickshire. The eldest son,

ALEXANDER, 7th Earl, suffered imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle, from the breaking out of the rebellion in 1715, until the revival of the Habeas Corpus Act, in 1716.

His lordship wedded Lady Anne, 2nd daughter of William, 2nd Marquess of Lothian, by whom he had eight children, the eldest and youngest surviving of whom inherited successively the family honours. The former,

WILLIAM, as 8th Earl, upon the demise of his father, in 1720; and the latter,

THE REV ALEXANDER, as 9th Earl, upon the decease of his brother, childless, in 1761.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Michael David Alexander Douglas-Home, styled Lord Dunglass (b 1987).


HIRSEL HOUSE, near Coldstream, Berwickshire, forms  an integral part of Douglas and Angus estates, comprising the Douglas estate in Lanarkshire (33,000 acres) and the Hirsel estate (3,000 acres).

In 1611, the 1st Earl of Home contracted to buy the Hirsel estate from Sir John Kerr, although it was not until 1621 that JAMES VI of Scotland finally granted the lands of Hirsel to James, 2nd Earl.

Much of the early tree planting and the existence of the earliest part of Hirsel House appear to have been built by about 1620.

The Hirsel was also justifiably famous for its sport, particularly it’s salmon fishing on the river Tweed, where in 1743 the 8th Earl caught a 69lb salmon on a 22’ rod and a horse hair line.

By the mid-1700s, the house and gardens had been significantly developed and the 9th Earl embarked on a major programme of forestry and agricultural improvement.

Further improvements were made to the property between 1895-1900, including the erection of a new wing to Hirsel House, a chapel, and the building of the stables. 

First published in December, 2013.   Home arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Hilton Park

THE MADDENS OWNED 4,644 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY MONAGHAN

The name MADDEN or O'MADDEN is among those which claim descent from the Milesian colonizers of Ireland.

THOMAS MADDEN, of Bagottsrath, near Dublin, comptroller to Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, Lord Deputy of Ireland, was eldest son of John Madden, of Bloxham Beauchamp, Oxfordshire, and brother of Robert Madden, of Donore, County Dublin, ancestor of the Maddens of Meadesbrook, and, in the female line, of Oliver Goldsmith, the poet.

He married Elizabeth, heiress of William Pettiver, of Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire.

This gentleman died in 1640, leaving his eldest son,

JOHN MADDEN (1598-1661), of Maddenton, County Kildare, and Enfield, Middlesex, one of the attorneys of His Majesty's Court of Castle Chamber, and general solicitor for parliamentary sequestrations, 1644-49.

He espoused, in 1635, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Charles Waterhouse, of Manor Waterhouse, County Fermanagh.

This gentleman was succeeded by his second son,

DR JOHN MADDEN (1648-1703), of Manor Waterhouse, County Fermanagh,  who wedded firstly, in 1680, Mary, daughter of Samuel Molyneux, of Castle Dillon, County Armagh; and secondly, Frances, daughter of Nicholas Bolton, of Brazeel, County Dublin.

Dr Madden was succeeded by his son (by his first wife),

THE REV SAMUEL MADDEN DD (1686-1765), of Manor Waterhouse, Rector of Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, who was one of the founders of the Dublin Society, and a great benefactor to his country, known in the family as "Premium" Madden.

Dr Madden, who married Jane Magill, of Kirkstown, County Armagh, was succeeded by his third son,

JOHN MADDEN, of Maddenton, County Monaghan, who wedded, in 1752, Anne, daughter of Robert Cope MP, of Loughgall, County Armagh.

He died in 1791, having had, with four daughters, a son,

SAMUEL MADDEN (1756-1814), of Maddenton, now Hilton, County Monaghan, lieutenant-colonel of the Monaghan Militia, who married Katherine, daughter and heiress of the Rev Charles Dudley Ryder, and granddaughter of the Most Rev John Ryder, Lord Archbishop of Tuam.

Colonel Madden left issue,
JOHN, his heir;
CHARLES DUDLEY, of ROSSLEA MANOR;
Catherine; Anne; Charlotte; Maria Alicia.
Colonel Madden was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN MADDEN JP DL (1782-1844), of Hilton Park, and Manor Waterhouse, High Sheriff for Monaghan and Fermanagh, Colonel of the Monaghan Militia.

He married, in 1835, Sydney Anne, daughter of Admiral William Wolseley, of Rostrevor, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Charles Dudley Ryder;
William Wolseley;
Sydney Jane.
Colonel Madden was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN MADDEN JP DL (1837-1902), of Hilton Park, and of Manor Waterhouse, who married, in 1864, Caroline, daughter of the Rev and Hon Nathaniel Clements.

Mr Madden was succeeded by his son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN CLEMENTS WATERHOUSE MADDEN JP DL (1870-1935), who wedded, in 1908, Agnes Mary, third daughter of Sir William Henry Tate Bt, of Highfield, Woolton, Lancashire.

He was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR JOHN WILLIAM RYDER MADDEN (1913-1996), of Hilton Park, who married Nita, daughter of Brigadier J Seymour Mellor CBE DSO MC, in 1937.

Major Madden's son and daughter-in-law, Mr and Mrs J S D Madden (who made significant additions to the deposits in PRONI), opened Hilton as a 'Hidden Ireland' country house establishment.

Hilton Park is today run by the seventh generation of the Madden family, Fred and Joanna Madden, and Fred's sister, Laura, with her family.

The estate still extends to over 600 acres, much of it woodland, and provides a remarkable natural habitat for flora and fauna.


HILTON PARK (formerly Maddenton), near Clones, County Monaghan, is a noble house, built in 1734, comprising two storeys over a basement.

It has an eleven-bay entrance front, the five central bays of which break forward.

Hilton Park House was rebuilt, having suffered a fire in 1804.

In 1872, the basement was excavated to become the ground floor and the house was re-faced in Dungannon stone.

A fine Ionic porte-cochère was added, with coupled central columns.


Hilton Park, as we see it today, is the work of noted church architect William Hague, for Colonel John Madden.

Classical influences are evident in the elaborate portico and symmetry of the façade, which was developed from a simple two-storey Georgian house when the ground around the basement was excavated, and the evolution of the house is testament to the power and stature of the Madden family.

A variety of timber sliding sash windows is retained throughout, articulated by dressed sandstone detailing.


The large porte-cochère is the dominant feature of the building and amply articulates the entrance.

The various additions to the rear enhance the building and reflect the changes over the building's history.

Prominently set within extensive parkland among related demesne structures, Hilton Park is a relatively complete demesne landscape.

First published in January, 2014.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

James Bell Crichton VC


James Bell Crichton (1879-1961) was born at Carrickfergus, County Antrim, though grew up in the hamlet of Northrigg, near Blackridge, West Lothian.

He served with the Cameron Highlanders during the South African (Boer) War before moving to New Zealand.

Enlisting at the outbreak of the 1st World War, he served as a baker on the Western Front until May, 1918, when he transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, during the 1st World War.

Private Crichton was awarded the Victoria Cross for his deeds on 30 September 1918 at Crèvecœur, France:
CITATION 
Private Crichton, although wounded in the foot, stayed with the advancing troops despite difficult canal and river obstacles. When his platoon was forced back by a counterattack he succeeded in carrying a message which involved swimming a river and crossing an area swept by machine-gun fire.

Subsequently he rejoined his platoon and later undertook on his own initiative to save a bridge which had been mined. Under close fire he managed to remove the charges, returning with the fuses and detonators.
He was later promoted to sergeant.

Sergeant Crichton died at Takapuna, New Zealand, on 25 September, 1961.


There is a Blue Plaque in his memory at the premises of Weston Engineering, 75 Woodburn Road, Carrickfergus, County Antrim, the location of his family home.

First published in May, 2013.

House of Canning

The family of Canning has been of distinction in England since the reign of HENRY VI; and the lands of Foxcote, Warwickshire, were in this family for more than four centuries. 

The branch, of which the BARONS GARVAGH are members, removed into Ulster in the reign of ELIZABETH I, when

GEORGE CANNING (a military officer, it was presumed), youngest son of Richard Canning, of Foxcote, was an agent of the Ironmongers' Company of London.

He obtained a grant of the manor of Garvagh, County Londonderry, from ELIZABETH I, and settled there.

This George died ca 1646, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM CANNING, of Garvagh, to whom succeeded his son,

GEORGE CANNING, of Garvagh, who was succeeded by his son,

GEORGE CANNING (-1711), of Garvagh, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Londonderry Militia, who married Abilgail Stratford, aunt of John, 1st Earl of Aldborough, by whom he left an only son, 

STRATFORD CANNING (1703-75), of Garvagh, who married Letitia, daughter and heir of Obadiah Newburgh, of County Cavan, by whom he had issue, 
GEORGE, father of RT HON GEORGE CANNING;
PAUL, who succeeded at Garvagh;
Stratford, a London merchant; father of STRATFORD CANNING;
Mary; Jane Elizabeth; Frances; Letitia.
Mr Canning was succeeded by his second son,

PAUL CANNING (c1736-1784), of Garvagh, who espoused, in 1776, Jane Charlotte, daughter of Conway Spencer, of County Antrim, by whom he had an only son,

GEORGE CANNING (1778-1840), first cousin of the Rt Hon George Canning, Prime Minister in 1827, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1818, by the title of BARON GARVAGH, of Garvagh, County Londonderry.

His lordship wedded, in 1803, Georgiana (d 1804), fourth daughter of Robert, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, by whom he had no issue.

He married secondly, in 1824, Rosabelle Charlotte Isabella, daughter of Henry Bonham MP, of Titness Park, Berkshire, by whom he had issue,
CHARLES HENRY SPENCER GEORGE, his successor;
Albert Stratford George;
Emmaline Rosabelle.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HENRY SPENCER GEORGE, 2nd Baron, JP, DL (1826-71), who wedded, in 1851, Cecelia Susannah, daughter of John Ruggles-Brise, 
  • Charles Henry Spencer George Canning, 2nd Baron (1826-71);
  • Charles John Spencer George Canning, 3rd Baron (1852–1915);
  • Leopold Ernest Stratford George Canning, 4th Baron (1878–1956);
  • (Alexander Leopold Ivor) George Canning, 5th Baron (1920-2013);
  • Spencer George Stratford de Redcliffe Canning, 6th Baron (b 1953).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Stratford George Edward de Redcliffe Canning (b 1990).
© Garvagh House, The Sam Henry Collection, courtesy of the Craig Family

GARVAGH HOUSE is claimed to have been first built in the early 17th century and enlarged twice since then.

The house eventually evolved a late Georgian appearance, with a front of three bays between two, three-sided bows and an eaved roof on a bracket cornice.

There was a long enfilade of reception rooms, one having a modillion cornice and a Georgian bow; another with a broken pediment of a 19th century appearance over its door-case.

Garvagh arms at porch
When the Canning family sold Garvagh House, it was used as flats for single female teachers, and some classrooms.

The house had fallen into disrepair over the years, suffering from wet and dry rot, and vermin infestation.

County Londonderry Education Committee decided to demolish Garvagh House and to build a new primary school on its site.

This was duly done and Garvagh Primary School opened in 1965.

The village of Garvagh is unique in that, unlike other villages in the county, it was not developed by the Irish Society, nor was it an ancient settlement.

It is, in fact, a private plantation; that is, a town set up over a period of nearly 300 years and developed by the local Lords of the Manor, the Cannings.


The family association with the Garvagh area began in 1615 when George Canning, of Foxcote in Warwickshire, was appointed the Agent for the Ironmongers' Company of London, a company actively involved in JAMES I's Plantation of Ulster. 

To begin with, the townland of Garvagh was not part of the Ulster Plantation, as it had been granted to Manus O'Cahan, the local Irish chief, as a native freehold. After the Great Irish Rebellion of 1641 the situation changed, when O'Cahan joined forces with Sir Phelim Roe O'Neill in the insurrection and, as a result, he lost the freehold.

In 1649, one of George Canning's sons, Paul Canning, acquired the townland of Garvagh and began to develop it, by first building St Paul's parish church, which initially was intended as a private chapel for him and his family. 

The Canning family continued to play an active part in the development of Garvagh until 1920 when they sold the estate and moved to England, exactly three centuries after they had established the first village.

The Garvagh Estate formerly extended to 8,427 acres.

Garvagh lies between Coleraine and Maghera. There is a museum and heritage centre in the village.

Covering over 550 acres, Garvagh Forest is situated on the Western outskirts of the village, with trees from over 80 years old to those only planted at the turn of the century.

The final unusual habitat in Garvagh Forest is the Garvagh Pyramid, created as a burial chamber for Lord Garvagh in the 19th Century.

Unfortunately the pyramid was never allowed to fulfil the task it was designed for and was sealed shut, with no incumbent, a number of years ago.

First published in February, 2010.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Lighthouse Island: V

IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, I SPENT A WEEKEND ON LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, ONE OF THE COPELAND ISLANDS


Most of us got out of bed early on Sunday morning, certainly before eight o'clock.

The kitchen in the cottage is the hub, in a sense.

I had brought twenty sausages, potato and soda farls.

Rosie & Nick supplied more bangers, with fresh farm eggs and bacon.

We used the three gas cookers and cooked the lot.

the offerings were placed in the centre of the table and we all tucked in.

Timothy Belmont was, as ever, amongst the leaders in the race to the food-trough.

Thus the troops were nourished and prepared to troop down to the Heligoland trap for a final push.

We managed to complete about 80% of the trap.

The bird observers might need to finish it off themselves; there's now a good basis for completion.

Thereafter we assembled out tools, placed them in the wheelbarrows, and left for the observatory at the top of the island.

I went for a stroll afterwards with Ron.

The remains of the "new" lighthouse (top), in the courtyard at the back of the observatory, are used as storage for fire-wood.

The original lighthouse was more of a square-shaped tower affair and some of it still exists beside the new lighthouse.

The top half of the lighthouse has been shorn off, so the open roof affords a panoramic view of the island and beyond.

Mew lighthouse

Mew Island, adjacent to Lighthouse Island, also has the lighthouse.

It is named after the common gull or sea mew, Larus canus, which nested there in great abundance during bygone years.

Mew Island

It was not until 1969 that electricity powered the lamp on Mew Island.

The light was converted to automatic operation and the last keeper left the island in 1996.

*****

AT ABOUT FOUR O'CLOCK, we all packed and tidied up, locked up and took our belongings down to the jetty, where MV Mermaid was waiting to convey us back to Donaghadee harbour.

It was a wonderful experience, though I think forty-eight hours was sufficient for myself!

Incidentally, a few of us were bitten by what are thought to have been bracken mites: We have several hives to prove it!

First published in September, 2012.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Tyrone DL

APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY LIEUTENANT

Mr Robert Scott OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, has been pleased to appoint

Mr David Iain FRAZER,
Dungannon,
County Tyrone,

to be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, his commission bearing date the 14th January, 2016.

Robert Scott,
Lord-Lieutenant of the County.

New DLs

APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY LIEUTENANTS

Mr David Lindsay, Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, has been pleased to appoint


  • Mrs Catherine June CHAMPION, Newtownards;

  • Dr Robert Alexander LOGAN, Gilford;

  • Mr Michael Desmond WATT, Seaforde;

  • Mrs Amanda Claire BROWNLOW, Portaferry;


To be Deputy Lieutenants of the County

David Lindsay
Lord Lieutenant of the County

Roe Park

THE FAMILY OF ALEXANDER WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LONDONDERRY, WITH 5,229 ACRES

In 1697, Sir Thomas Phillips'  holdings, which included Roe Park, were sold by his grandson to the Rt Hon William Conolly, who came to live in Phillips' new house in Limavady, County Londonderry.

When Speaker Conolly sold his estate to Marcus McCausland in 1743, the McCausland family greatly improved the house (and changed the name to Daisy Hill), by creating the five-bay structure which still forms the current frontage.
Roe Park House is a long, irregular, two-storey Georgian house of different periods, of which its nucleus seems to be a five-bay dwelling, built at the beginning of the 18th century by Speaker Conolly.

Roe Park's principal features are a three-sided bow with a curved, pedimented and pillared door-case.

The drawing-room and dining-room have fine Victorian plasterwork.

There is a large and imposing pedimented stableyard.
In 1782, Marcus McCausland's son, Dominick, inherited the estate.

He added a fine dining-room and built substantial office buildings, which included a coach-house designed by Richard Castle in 1784.


This building still stands today and houses the Roe Park hotel's restaurant and golf shop.

Dominick McCausland also extended the estate by purchasing adjoining town lands on both sides of the river.

He proceeded to plant thousands of trees on his estate.

He also built a ten-foot wall to surround part of the estate - parts of which are still visible today - and a foot bridge (known locally as The Spring Bridge) so that he could service the well which supplied fresh water to the house known as Columba's Spring.

During this time, it's likely that the walled garden (now the golf driving-range) and gazebo were built.

This gazebo was slightly bigger than it is today and was the home of the estate's head gardener until the 1950s.

In 1817, Daisy Hill was sold to John Cromie, of Portstewart, who renamed the house Roe Park.

Mr Cromie, in turn, sold the estate to Sir Francis Workman-Macnaghten Bt for £11,500.

Sir Francis's son, Sir Edmund, 2nd Baronet, sold the estate in 1847 to Archibald Rennie, of Inverness, for £12,000 (about £1 million today).

Mr Rennie mortgaged the property to Harvey Nicholson, of Londonderry, who came into possession of the estate during 1850.

In 1872, the estate was bought by Samuel Maxwell Alexander, DL, JP, for £12,150.

Mt Alexander, a distant cousin of the Earls of Caledon, married Henrietta Constance Heygate, daughter of Sir Frederick William Heygate Bt, in 1884.

As this gentleman brought extensive lands from his own estate, this extended Roe Park to 5,229 acres.

Mr Alexander died in 1886, but as he had no immediate family, his estate was left to his two nieces.


The part that included Roe Park was bequeathed to Elizabeth Jane Stanton who, in 1887, married John Edward Ritter; thus Roe Park came into ownership of the Ritter family.

Mr Ritter died in 1901 and the estate passed to his widow, who managed it until she died in 1926.

The estate then passed to her son, Major John Alexander Ritter, Royal Artillery.

Major Ritter continued to manage affairs until his death in 1931, followed by his widow, Mrs Ritter, until her death in 1951.

When Mrs Ritter died, the estate was sold again.

Alas, it was at this time that the estate was stripped of many of the fine trees planted by Dominick McCausland in the late 1700s.

Roe Park House was converted into a residential care home, which closed in the late 1980s, when the house and lands were purchased and developed into the current Roe Park Hotel.

First published in January, 2014.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Lighthouse Island: IV

IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, I SPENT A WEEKEND ON LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, ONE OF THE COPELAND ISLANDS


The throne-room, otherwise known as loo-with-a-view, is situated half-way down the cliff, overlooking Mew Island.

For those who haven't been following the narrative, Lighthouse Island is one of the Copeland Islands, off the coast of County Down.

From the observatory at the top of this little island it takes about four minutes to get to the said convenience.

As the steps wind their way down the path, there is a wooden notice which is raised or lowered in order to alert users to the fact that this lavatory is otherwise engaged or not.

At the loo itself, there is a second notice (Belt & Braces approach).

view from loo-with-a-view

This little cubicle has a half-door, open to the elements, where occupants can enjoy the most splendid prospect (above) of Mew Island.

I concur with Nick: Lawnmower Man needs to prune a bush which is obscuring the view somewhat [in 2012].

Next episode ... The Last Day.

First published in September, 2012.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Lighthouse Island: III

IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, I SPENT A WEEKEND ON LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, ONE OF THE COPELAND ISLANDS

Heligoland trap

After breakfast on Saturday morning, we gathered our tools, including pitchforks, spades, wire-clippers and heavy gloves.

We placed everything in wheelbarrows and made the short journey - perhaps five minutes - to the location of our day's task.

A Heligoland trap had been erected at one side of the island, though it was uncompleted.

A group of young people had built its framework, as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Our task was to begin where they had left off. We had plenty of wire mesh, nasty and unforgiving stuff.

It came in rolls of perhaps thirty yards by two yards.

Emma & Phil at the trap door

We had to construct the roof of the trap with this mesh, which necessitated manhandling, pulling and stretching it from one side of the trap to the other.

It is a particularly large trap and this task lasted the whole weekend.

Emma, Phil and self spent a fair amount of time time affixing the trap door.

We managed to do it, despite the Heath Robinson craftsmanship!

We used an ancient step-ladder, which began the day with three steps and ended with a mere one.

Of course we stopped for tea-breaks and lunch.

The weather was warm and sunny for most of the time, with a gentle breeze.

*****

DURING the day, one of the bird observers informed us that they had caught a Common Rosefinch, which was being ringed in the hut.

Its plumage was quite plain: Females, juveniles and first year males have streaked brown heads and somewhat resemble small corn buntings.

This species is a very rare visitor to Northern Ireland, I am apprised.

*****

IN THE EVENING, we all had a hearty steak dinner. Phil had brought enough rump steaks for everybody.

I assisted prepared and cooked the vegetables.

We all sat down to a great meal of rump-steak, chips, peas, tomato and onion.

Phil also brought two bottles of red wine, including a Chianti. Many thanks, Phil!

Pudding was delicious, too: sublime home-made blackberry & apple crumble with custard, made by Rosie & Nick. Many thanks, too!

The trusty nose-bag was firmly attached and the gnashers operated in overdrive.

Fret not, readers: I brought several miniature bottles of gin with me, and cans of tonic-water, with a lime.

After dinner we retired to the common-room, where a cheery log-fire was lit.

Thereafter restoratives were liberally consumed.

Some members of the group left at ten-thirty, in search of Manx Shearwaters on the island; whilst I remained at the fire with the others.

 Next episode ... The Throne-Room!

First published in September, 2012.