Thursday, 31 March 2016

Mount Panther Album

front elevation

I cycled into town this morning in the trusty two-wheeler, through sunny Victoria Park and over the Sam Thompson Bridge; along Titanic Quarter; over another new foot and cycle bridge which traverses the River Lagan from Queen's Quay to Donegall Quay.

My destination today was Belfast's Central Library in Royal Avenue.

I wished to inquire about the method for downloading eBooks on their website (in conjunction with Overdrive app).

courtyard: prospect from the house

A reader had very helpfully apprised me of HMSO's Archaeological Survey of County Down, 1966; and that it contains images of Mount Panther House.

I've already written at length about Mount Panther, once one of County Down's finest and grandest country houses.


It is said that the roof was unceremoniously removed in the 1960s in order to avoid paying rates.

My images are of the house taken prior to this, most likely in the early 1960s.


The ballroom was exquisite; to the extent that HRH Princess Margaret paid it a visit with her husband, the Earl of Snowdon.

Castle Grove


THOMAS GROVE, of Castle Shanahan, County Donegal (son of Thomas Grove), living there 1666-77, Commissioner of Assessments for the county, 1655, Collector of Customs in Londonderry, 1643-74, Sheriff of Donegal, 1664, married Margaret, only daughter of Peter Benson, of Elagh, Alderman of Londonderry, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Frances; Elizabeth; Helen; Margaret; Ann; Prudentia.
Mr Grove died in 1681, and was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM GROVE (1662-97), of Castle Shanahan, who served through the siege of Londonderry, 1688, and purchased the Manor of Kingston, 1684, from the Kingsmills.

He married firstly, in 1684, Constance, daughter of Major John Kingsmill, of Andover, Hampshire.

She died in 1687, aged 22.

Mr Grove wedded secondly, in 1688, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir James Leigh, Knight, of Cullionmore, County Westmeath.

Mr Grove was murdered by rebels in 1697, leaving had issue,
Thomas, dsp 1724;
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
James, of Grovehall;
The second son,

WILLIAM GROVE, of Castle Grove, which he built 1730, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1727-8, espoused Susanna, daughter of Philip Barry, of Kilcarra, County Meath.

He died in 1742-3, having by her had issue,
Thomas, b 1719; dsp 1792;
James, b 1725;
William, 1734-93;
Richard, d 1766;
CHARLES, of whom presently;
Judith; Elizabeth.
The youngest son,

THE REV CHARLES GROVE (1742-1818), Vicar of Kilmacshalgan and Templeboy, County Sligo, married Mary Gilmour, and left issue,
William (Rev), dsp 1857;
Mary Susanna, m 1794 her cousin Thomas Grove (took name of
DOROTHY, of whom presently;
Helen Elizabeth.
The younger daughter,

DOROTHY GROVE, wedded, in 1802, John Wood, of 9th Light Dragoons, son of James Wood, of Woodville, County Sligo, and by him had issue (with a daughter), a son,

JAMES GROVE WOOD GROVE JP DL (1803-91), of Castle Grove, barrister-at-law, High Sheriff, 1855.

Mr Wood adopted the name of GROVE in 1863 on succeeding to the Castle Grove Estate.

He wedded, in 1843, Frances Judith, daughter of Robert Montgomery, of Convop House, County Donegal, by Maria Frances Stewart his wife, niece of Robert, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, and granddaughter of the 1st Marquess of Drogheda, and had issue,
Robert Thomas Wood, Captain RN;
Charles William;
Mary Susanna Frances; Dorothea Alice; Frances Mary Ellen.
The elder son,

JOHN MONTGOMERY CHARLES GROVE JP (1847-1920), of Castle Grove, married, in 1886, Lucy Georgina, daughter of Major-General William Maunsell Gabbett, East India Company's Artillery, and had issue,
Lucy Dorothea Montgomery, 1892-1908.
Mr Grove was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR JAMES ROBERT WOOD GROVE (1888-1969), who married, in 1920, Eileen Beatrice, daughter of George Edmonstone Kirk, and had issue, an only child, Bridget Grove, who was born and died in 1927.

When Major Grove died, in 1969, Castle Grove was inherited by Commander Peter Colin Drummond Campbell-Grove (Cdr Peter Campbell LVO OBE DL RN), Equerry to HM The Queen 1957-60, who married, in 1966, the Lady Moyra Kathleen Hamilton, daughter of James, 4th Duke of Abercorn, and sister of the present 5th Duke of Abercorn, KG.

CASTLE GROVE, near Letterkenny, County Donegal, is a two-storey, four-bay Georgian country house, built ca 1750, though there may be elements of an earlier dwelling of ca 1695.

It was altered about 1825 by the addition of two-storey wings.

Castle Grove retains much of its early character and form, despite alterations to accommodate new uses.

Its visual appeal and integrity are enhanced by the retention of salient fabric to the main block, including timber sliding sash windows, natural slate roof, and timber panelled door.

The fine pedimented Tuscan entrance porch with sidelights and entablature provides an attractive focus and gives this building a classical architectural character that is typical of its type and date.

The door-case dates from 1750 and was probably moved from another location to the site when the house was altered ca 1825, and the present entrance front was added.

These 1825 alterations and modifications were carried out by Thomas Brooke (née Grove).

This building may contain fabric of an earlier house to site, apparently built ca 1695 by the Grove family.

The Grove family originally settled in the area in 1656.

They originally had a dwelling at nearby Castle Shanahan to the north, which was apparently burnt to the ground in 1689 by Jacobite forces retreating from the siege of Londonderry, a fate suffered by numerous properties in this part of County Donegal.

The Groves decided to rebuild a short distance to the south of their original residence.

The original house was either greatly altered or rebuilt ca 1750.

The present house originally had the Tuscan porch to the main entrance, though it was later moved following the construction of a new block to the front about 1825.

Occupying attractive mature landscape grounds to the north-east of Letterkenny, this building is one of the finest houses in the area, and is an important element of the built heritage of County Donegal.

The now-altered but appealing conservatory to the south-west of the entrance front, and the single- and two-storey wings to site add to the setting and context.

This building forms the centrepiece of a group of related structures along with the complex of outbuildings and former estate manger's residence; walled garden to the south-west; gardener's house; and gate lodge to the west.

Castle Grove is now a country house hotel and was purchased by the current owners, Mary and Raymond Sweeney, from Commander Campbell in 1989.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Delamont Park



This family, a branch of the ancient and ennobled line of the same name in Scotland, is stated to have gone from Berwickshire to Ulster during the period of the civil wars in Scotland.

Following the destruction of the family papers, the lineage cannot be traced accurately.

Nevertheless, it is known that many years after the period of the Scottish settlement, General Lord Adam Gordon, 4th son of Alexander, 2nd Duke of Gordon, during a visit to Ulster, resided with his cousin, John Gordon, of Florida Manor, in County Down.

At a subsequent epoch, in 1783, the intercourse was renewed upon the occasion of some members of the Gordon family visiting Scotland, when they were received with much kindness by Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon, who fully recognized the relationship.

The representative of the Ulster branch, at the close of the 17th century,

ROBERT GORDON, of Ballintaggart, County Down, married, in 1689, a daughter of George Ross, of Portabo, and sister of Robert Ross, of Rostrevor, in the same county, ancestor of General Ross, who fell at the battle of Bladensburg, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Robert (Rev).
Mr Gordon died in 1720, and was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN GORDON (1690-1771), of Ballintaggart, who wedded, in 1720, his cousin Jane, daughter of Hugh Hamilton, of Ballytrenagh, and by her had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Jane, m David Johnston.
Mr Gordon espoused secondly, Grace, daughter of Thomas Knox, of Dungannon, County Tyrone, and had by her,
Thomas Knox;
Margery; Elizabeth.
Mr Gordon left his estate at Ballintaggart to Thomas Knox Gordon, his eldest son by his second marriage.

His eldest son by his first wife,

(1722-93), of Florida Manor, married, in 1755, Alice, widow of Thomas Whyte, and only daughter of James Arbuckle and his wife Anne, daughter of John Crawford, and niece and heir-at-law of David Crawford, of Florida Manor, and had issue,
JOHN CRAWFORD, his heir;
David, of Delamont, successor to his brother;
Alexander, of Castle Place, Belfast; father of
Alice; Anne.
Mr Gordon was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN CRAWFORD GORDON JP (1757-97), of Florida Manor, captain, 50th Regiment, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother, DAVID, of Delamont. This

DAVID GORDON JP DL (1759-1837), of Florida Manor and Delamont, High Sheriff of County Down, 1812, married, in 1789, Mary, youngest daughter of James Crawford, of Crawfordsburn, and sister of Anne, 1st Countess of Caledon, by whom he had issue,
ROBERT, his heir to Florida Manor;
JAMES CRAWFORD, succeeded to Delamont;
Jane Maria.
Mr Gordon was succeeded by his son,

ROBERT GORDON JP DL, (1791-1864), of Florida Manor, High Sheriff, 1833, and for Tyrone, 1843, who wedded, in 1825, Mary, daughter of William Crawford, of Lakelands, County Cork.

This gentleman dsp in 1864, and was succeeded by his brother,

THE REV JAMES CRAWFORD GORDON (1796-1867), of Florida Manor and Delamont House, Precentor of Down Cathedral, 1828-41, who espoused Geraldine, daughter of James Penrose, of Woodhill, County Cork.

He dsp 1867, and was succeeded by his cousin, 

ROBERT FRANCIS GORDON JP DL (1802-83), of Florida Manor and Delamont House, High Sheriff, 1873, who dsp and was succeeded at Delamont by his nephew ALEXANDER HAMILTON MILLER HAVEN, and at Florida Manor by his nephew,

ALEXANDER FREDERICK ST JOHN GORDON JP (1852-86), of Florida Manor; who dsp 1886, and was succeeded by his cousin,

ALEXANDER MILLER HAVEN GORDON JP DL (1842-1910), of Florida Manor and Delamont, who wedded, in 1881, Ada Austen, eldest daughter of John Edward Eyre, Governor of Jamaica, of The Grange, Staple Aston, Oxfordshire, and had issue,
John de la Hay;
Edward Ormond;
Henry Gisborne;
Eldred Pottinger;
Ivy Dorothy Catherine; Margerie Frances; Honor; Marion Alice.
Mr Gordon was succeeded by his eldest son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL THE RT HON  SIR ALEXANDER ROBERT GISBORNE GORDON GBE DSO (1882-1967), of Delamont, who married, in 1914, his first cousin, Alice Mary Dorothea, daughter of Robert Francis Gordon, in a childless marriage.

Delamont was held in trust by his niece, Patricia Lillas, for her son, Archibald Arundel Pugh, who assumed the additional surname of GORDON by deed poll in 1968.

When they took up residence at Delamont in 1968, they had the house altered and modernised by the architect Arthur Jury.

They pulled down the remaining buildings around the back yard and connected the house to water mains and electricity.

To keep maintenance costs down, they ceased using the front avenue and approached the house via the back.

The farm and land were let and, when their son came into his inheritance he, too, continued to let the land.

In 1978, Mr Gordon-Pugh applied for, and obtained, outline planning permission for a hotel, marina and associated development along the shore, together with additional approval for a leisure park and golf course over the rest of the estate.

The proposals were not implemented though the house was, for a period, used as a restaurant and hired out for private parties and functions.

Delamont was sold by Mr Gordon-Pugh in 1985.

DELAMONT HOUSE (above), near Killyleagh, County Down, is a mildly Tudor-Revival 19th century mansion of two storeys with an attic and dormer gables.

Its front has a central, polygonal bow, raised above the skyline to provide the effect of a tower flanked by two narrow oriels and topped by dormer gables.

There is a rather irregular, gabled side elevation, notably longer than the front. A slender, polygonal turret with cupola is at the back of the house.

By the late 16th, early 17th centuries, much of County Down had been acquired by Scottish and English Landlords such as the Hamiltons and Montgomerys.

They, in turn, settled the area with tenant farmers, Scots in the north east and English in the rest; while the native Irish were relegated to the less fertile areas.

These early settlers were required to build fortified dwelling houses or bawns and, in the Thomas Raven maps of 1625, there appears a substantial one-and-a-half storey stone house with a wall around it on approximately the same site as the present Delamont House.

This house was approached by a long, tree-lined avenue, which does not correspond with the line of the present avenue.

The house was also on a hilltop, appearing to lie surrounded by a deer-park.

The land at the time was in the ownership of Lord Claneboye, so his tenants must have been quite prosperous farmers to have afforded such a large house.

This early Victorian period saw most of the major developments and improvements to the estate.

In 1841, the Rev James Crawford substantially extended the farm buildings and planted a second avenue to service the farm, orchard and walled garden.

A second gate lodge was built and is known as the “Gardners Cottage” [sic]. He also improved the main entrance to the estate.

Much of the planting of Delamont was carried out in the years between David Gordon’s death and 1859, most notably Kinnegar Wood and the two wooded hilltops, the “Corbally Planting” and the “Ringwood Planting”.

Gibbs Island was also planted and the wooded area round the house extended.

It would appear that the form of the present house also dates form this period.

The formal terraced gardens were laid out at the same time and provide an integral link between the house and the landscape beyond, carefully leading the eye down through the various levels and making full use of the superb natural setting.

The main terrace directly in front of the house was gravelled, with the others kept as lawn.

The flower beds at the front of house and to the side would have been planted with seasonal bedding plants. There was formerly a rose garden.

The demesne was considerably larger than at the present day, extending west of the Downpatrick Road and Island Road and, in Griffiths Valuation of 1863, the Rev James Crawford Gordon held the land in the townland of Tullykin as well as Mullagh.

He also held the right of collecting and taking seaweed from the shore.

The Rev James died in 1867 and, having no children, the estates of Florida Manor and Delamont passed to his first cousin, Robert Francis Gordon DL JP (1802-83), son of Alexander Gordon and Dorothea Gisborne.

He apparently altered the house in 1875. He remained unmarried.

On his death in 1883, the two estates were divided: Florida Manor was left to one nephew, Alexander Frederick St John Gordon (1852-86); and Delamont to another nephew, Alexander Hamilton Miller Haven Gordon (1842-1910).

However, the nephew who inherited Florida Manor died without issue and so Florida passed back to Alexander Hamilton Miller Haven Gordon. Thus the two estates were again united in the Gordon family.

This late Victorian period at Delamont was when the Long Avenue was planted, as it does not appear on the 1856 Estate Map, but it features on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1903. Alexander Gordon appears to have taken an active interest in his estate, and his obituary in 1910 describes him as a man
naturally attracted to the necessity for cultivating the soil in an agricultural country like Ireland. He was foremost in promoting any effort to introduce modern improvements and was himself an extensive farmer, both at Delamont and Florida Manor.
The Delamont estate is now run as a country park for the use of the general public.

Up until the time of the 2nd World War, the estate seems to have flourished: Sir Alexander's land steward, Mr Carlisle, developed the farm and improved the land; fruit and vegetables from the walled garden were sold; and Mr Moreland, who was employed as gardener in the 1920s, remembers half an acre devoted purely to rhubarb.

At that time, the estate employed five indoor servants plus a chauffeur, whose duties included carrying drinking water twice a day from a well by Kinnegar Wood up the hill to the house.

Eventually water was pumped up the hill and stored in a reservoir built on top of the rath.

Delamont appears to have been quite self-sufficient in those days, even generating its own electricity.

Sir Alexander made alterations to the house at the rear, by demolishing some of the sixteen servants' rooms which were no longer needed.

He also altered the porch ca 1938.

Whether Delamont was actually purchased by the Gordons or acquired by marriage is unclear, but their other estate in County Down, Florida Manor at Killinchy, was acquired through the fortuitous marriage or Robert Gordon to Alice Arbuckle in 1755, who was niece and heiress-in-law to David Crawford of Florida Manor.

It is thought that their son, David Gordon (1759-1837), first came into Delamont in 1793.

David Gordon purchased Delamont for £8,360 in 1793 (about £1 million in today's money) from Lord Northland and Matthew Forde, who were acting as executors for Mrs Margery Delahay.

Thomas Delahay acquired the property from Lord Limerick in 1733 for £1,117.

He had married in 1721, Margery, the sister of the Rt Hon Thomas Knox MP and predeceased her in 1747. The name "Delamont" obviously derives from the surname.

Unlike his father and grandfather, who were wine and general merchants, David Gordon entered the legal profession and also established the banking house of Gordon and Company in 1808, which later became the Belfast Banking Company.

He married Mary Crawford, of Crawfordsburn, in 1789 who was, by all accounts, a very wealthy lady.

The Delamont demesne dates from the 17th century. Raven’s picture map of 1625 shows a straight avenue leading to a previous house apparently on top of a drumlin, with mature trees and deer.

The present house was built in the mid-19th century on high ground with extensive views over Strangford Lough.

The ground undulates and the site is very attractive.

There are fine parkland trees, woodland belts and stone enclosed clumps on the hill tops.

The tree-lined ‘Long Walk’ was laid out post-1860 and has recently been shortened by a road-widening scheme. There is a narrow ornamental garden at the house which is not kept up and the conservatories are gone.

To the south of the house there is an enclosure, which has been adapted as a garden feature with encircling, tree-lined walks.

There are farm buildings of 1841, a walled garden and walled orchard. The walled garden is cultivated as a nursery.

There are two gate lodges built ca 1855. Delamont Country Park owned by Down District Council and is open to the public, as is the nursery garden.

Delamont House is itself privately owned by the Belfast Education & Library Board.


FLORIDA MANOR comprised the townlands of Ballybunden, Drumreagh and part of the townland of Kilmood.

In 1791, the estate was described as containing 1,300 acres of arable land and 400 acres of bog and it was let for £1,000 per annum.

In 1867, when Robert Francis Gordon took possession of the Florida Manor estate, it was valued at £4,634.

However, the bulk of Florida Manor, including the townlands of Ballygraffan, Ballyminstragh, Kilmood, Lisbarnet, Raffrey, Ravara and Tullynagee, formed part of the Londonderry Estates.

There is very little information relating directly to Florida Manor, though it is possible to draw together some information about the building of the house or, at least, to establish an approximate date of when the house was completed.

A bill of complaint declares that, when John Crawford Gordon died in 1797, his brother, David, succeeded to the estate which included the mansion-house called Florida Manor and demesne.

Moreover, a survey of 1794 for the Florida demesne of John Crawford recorded that it comprised just over 100 acres.

A memorandum of agreement between Robert Gordon and Hugh Agnew, a brick-maker, for 'fifty thousand bricks or any greater number...' is dated 1775.

First published in July, 2010.

Ballydugan House


This family descended maternally from the Boyds, of Glastry, County Down, who claimed to be a branch of the Kilmarnock family.

RICHARD KEOWN, of Downpatrick, County Down (son of Richard and Margaret Keown, m 1768), married Mary, daughter of Henry Keown, and by her (who assumed the name of BOYD, as heiress of the Boyds of Glastry and Portavogie) had issue,
John, JP, barrister;
Henry, a military officer;
Mary, m William Beers;
Anne, m George Gulliver;
Isabella, m Dr R Boyd.
The third son,

WILLIAM KEOWN JP (1816-77), of Ballydugan House, County Down, High Sheriff, 1849, MP for Downpatrick, 1867, assumed the surname of BOYD in 1873, under the will of his grand-uncle, Major David Hamilton Boyd, of Glastry.

He wedded, in 1845, Mary, eldest daughter of the Rev Robert Alexander, Prebendary of Aghadowey, County Londonderry, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
John Maxwell;
Alfred Henry;
Edmund Walter;
Mary; Matilda Catherine; Hilda Margaret.
The eldest son,

LIEUTENANT RICHARD KEOWN-BOYD (1850-), Royal Navy, of Ballydugan and Glastry, married, in 1875, Florence, fourth daughter of Charles Manners Lushington MP, and had a daughter,

SYLVIA IRONSIDE KEOWN-BOYD, who espoused, in 1927, Sir Denys Henry Harrington Grayson, 2nd Baronet. They divorced in 1937.

BALLYDUGAN HOUSE, near Downpatrick, County Down, is a three storey, five bay, Georgian house of ca 1770.

A two-storey, bow-fronted wing was added about 1815.

Ballydugan has changed ownership on several occasions.

Stephen Richard Nassau Perceval-Maxwell (whose ancestral home was Finnebrogue House) lived at Ballydugan House until about 1935.

It appears that it was subsequently purchased by the Brownlows of Ballywhite House.

In 1976, Captain James Christy Brownlow (1922-2006), High Sheriff of County Down in 1971,  lived at Ballydugan House.

Stuart Blakley has written an informative piece about Ballydugan here.

The demesne was established in the 18th century.

There are mature shelter trees and woodland.

The walled garden is not cultivated but there is a very large English yew flourishing in the centre.

A maintained ornamental and productive garden is near the house.

The gate lodges have gone.

This site lies to the south of a much larger demesne, Hollymount, which has completely gone.

There are remnants of a fine oak wood on the east side, amongst forest planting.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Chambré of Hawthorn Hill


This family descends from JOHN DE LA CHAMBRÉ, who settled in Denbighshire, under Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln, in 1275.

He is stated (in a very ancient pedigree in Norman French) to have been descended from
Johan de la Chambré, a nobelle Normanne, who entered England in ye traine of King William ye Conqueraure.
He married Mawith, daughter of Blethyn Vaughan, and had a son,

HENRY CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni, living in 1236, who wedded Katherine, daughter of Edmond Charlton, and had a son,

JOSHUA CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni, who espoused Margaret, daughter of Ludowick de la More, and had a son,

MORGAN CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni, who married Anne, daughter of Peter le Knive, and had a son,

SAMUEL CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni, who wedded Mary, daughter of William lloyd (or Rosendale), and had a son,

JOHN CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni, who espoused Jane, daughter of John Conway, and had a son,

HUGH CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni, who married Martha, daughter of William Ravenscroft, of Denbigh, and had three sons.

The third son,

WILLIAM CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni, wedded Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Jenkin Pigott, of Denbigh, and had issue.

The eldest son, HENRY, was ancestor of the family of CHAMBRÉS of Pentre; while the second son,

ROBERT CHAMBRÉ, espoused Elizabeth Peake, and had, with a daughter, a son,

JENKIN CHAMBRÉ, who married the daughter of ______ Kynaston, and had a son,

RICHARD CHAMBRÉ, Lord of the Manor of Petton, Shropshire, who wedded Mary, daughter of John Hill, of Court of Hill, Ludlow, Shropshire.

He died in 1563, leaving a second son,

GEORGE CHAMBRÉ, of Petton, Shropshire, who espoused Judith, daughter and co-heir of Walter Calcott, of Williamscote, Oxfordshire, and had issue,
Calcott, dsp;
Calcott, MP, of Carnew and Shillelagh;
CALCOTT, of whom hereafter;
The youngest son,

CALCOTT CHAMBRÉ, of Coolatrundle, County Wexford, born in 1602, left issue, two sons, viz.
CALCOTT, of Carnew.
The younger son,

CAPTAIN CALCOTT CHAMBRÉ, of Carnew, County Wicklow, married Mary, daughter of Oliver Walsh, of Dollardstown, County Kildare, and Ballykilcavan, Queen's County, by Edith his wife, sister of Raphael Hunt.

She administered to his will in 1723, and died in 1753, having had a son,

HUNT CALCOTT CHAMBRÉ, of Carnew Castle, County Wicklow, who wedded, in 1735, Anna Maria, eldest daughter and co-heir of William Meredith.

Mr Chambré died in 1782, having had (with other children who died unmarried) three daughters, and a son and successor,

MEREDITH CALCOTT CHAMBRÉ (1742-1812), of Hawthorn Hill, County Armagh, an officer in the army, who married, in 1785, Margaret, daughter and co-heir of George Faulkner, of Dublin, and by her had issue,
HUNT WALSH, his heir;
William, Major-General;
Maria, m Rev R Henry, Rector of Jonesborough.
Mr Chambré was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUNT WALSH CHAMBRÉ JP (1787-1848), of Hawthorn Hill, Captain, Mullaglass Yeomanry, High Sheriff, 1829, who wedded, in 1813, Rebecca, only daughter of William Upton, of Ballinabarney, County Limerick, and had issue,
MEREDITH, 1814-79;
JOHN, of Hawthorn Hill;
Catherine; Anna Maria; Rebecca; Margaret Elizabeth;
Olivia Henrietta Elizabeth; Mary Frances; Jane Hunt.
The third son,

HUNT WALSH CHAMBRÉ JP (1831-1914), of Dungannon House, County Tyrone, espoused, in 1860, Mary Anne Brunette, daughter of John Brett Johnston, of Ballykilbeg, County Down, and had issue,
John Brett Johnstone Meredith;
William Thomas Meredith;
Charles Barclay Macpherson;
William Henry;
Thomasina; Rebecca Mary Brunette; Olivia Isabella Kathleen;
Jane Henry Wray Young Mabel; Kathleen Georgaina Evelyn.
The fourth son,

CHARLES BARCLAY MACPHERSON CHAMBRÉ JP (1870-1950), of Hawthorn Hill, married, in 1906, Nina Lisa Francis Ochiltree, daughter of the Rev Alexander Stuart, and had issue, a son,

ALAN STUART HUNT CHAMBRÉ JP DL (1908-), of Ringdarriff, Annahilt, County Down, who wedded, in 1933, Violet Aileen, daughter of Wickham Hercules Bradshaw Moorhead, and had issue,
JOHN ALAN, his successor;
Jean Mary, b 1938;
Rosaleen Aileen, b 1946.
His only son,

JOHN ALAN CHAMBRÉ (1939-), married, in 1968, Elizabeth Mildred, daughter of John Horace Willcox, and had issue,
Thomas John Charles, b 1976;
Sophia Gabrielle, b 1971;
Kate Mabel Elizabeth, b 1978.

HAWTHORN HILL was located at the foot of Slieve Gullion Mountain between Forkhill, County Armagh, and Newry, County Down.

It was built ca 1820 by Hunt Walsh Chambré.

The family is buried in Killevy churchyard.

During civil unrest in the 1920s the house was burnt.

It was subsequently reconstructed in its present form.

In 1968, the Chambré family sold the estate to the Northern Ireland Forestry Commission and the house was used until recently as its headquarters.

The demesne lies on the east-facing slopes of Slieve Gullion.

There are mature trees from the early 19th century, later exotics, and forest planting from the 1950s.

Modern landscaping and ornamental planting now form part of the walled garden and outbuildings, which now house the visitor centre for Slieve Gullion Forest Park.

The gate lodge of ca 1834 is opposite the entrance and replaced a lodge that was contemporary with the house.


THE COURTYARD (above) remains and is used commercially for weddings and other functions.

It is located at the foot of Slieve Gullion with a walled garden to its north-west and Hawthorn House to its South.

There are two gate lodges: a modified back lodge to the north; and a restored gate lodge to the east, opposite the entrance gates to the park.

The early 19th century rectangular courtyard is enclosed to all sides by former stables and related farm buildings, now all refurbished as offices, apartments, conference centre and restaurant or service block by the Forest Service.

All buildings are constructed in coursed granite rubble with natural slate roofs.

The eastern side of the courtyard assumed its present form between 1861 and 1907.

It was sold to the Forestry Commission in 1968.

The present buildings were developed to provide resources for the local community and tourists and opened to the public in 1995.

The complex was taken over in 1999 by Clanrye Employment and Training Services, Newry.

Finnebrogue Visit

photo credit: © Finnebrogue House

I was invited to Finnebrogue House yesterday.

It's located in a beautiful part of the County Down countryside, close to the river Quoile, near Downpatrick.

Main gate lodge ca 1900

The main entrance lodge of ca 1888 is built of red brick and is fairly substantial in size.

My original article about Finnebrogue can be seen here.

Old gate piers stand isolated in the garden of this lodge, adjacent to the main road.

J A K Dean, in his admirable gazetteer The Gate Lodges of Ulster, describes them thus:-
Square in section, the big dressed sandstone pillars with plinths and full entablatures have breakfronts or pilasters on three faces, one forming a gate stop.
Driving slowly up the main drive, the big house emerges to one's right, slightly elevated on a slope.

Its surrounding demesne was the focus of an extensive late 17th century and early 18th century geometrically designed landscape.

This layout was focussed upon the house, which has a north-south axis view to Down Cathedral and Inch Parish Church.

A series of symmetrical enclosures, comprising courts, gardens and orchards, would have surrounded the building, including an entrance court on the north side.

The formal geometric layout was replaced by the present ‘naturalistic’ landscape park in the late 18th century.

Finnebrogue House was built in 1660 and is reputed to be the oldest inhabited private residence in Northern Ireland.

It is built on an "H"-plan: a long, central block with wings projecting at the front and back.

It comprises two storeys over a basement, and the wings have attic storeys.

The interior dates mainly from 1795.

The current owner gave me a complete tour of the house, which has been sympathetically and fully restored; including the old wooden flooring.

photo credit: © Finnebrogue House

One striking feature is the colourful skylight above the main staircase which has several county family coats-of-arms; and the quartered armorial bearings of the Perceval-Maxwells, complete with supporters and crest.

photo credit: © Finnebrogue House

I gather the current owner is hosting a dinner in April for the Historic Houses Association; and the Waterloo Dinner, in aid of the charity Hope For Youth, is being held on the 25th June, 2016.

Monday, 28 March 2016

1st Baron Lurgan


SIR WILLIAM BROWNLOW (1591-1660), of Brownlowsderry, County Armagh, the first of the family who settled in Ulster, was born at Epworth, Derbyshire.

The said gentleman received the honour of knighthood, in 1622, from Henry, Viscount Falkland, the Lord Deputy of Ireland.

In 1629, he received a patent and grant of lands in County Armagh.

He left his property to his grandson (the son of his daughter, Mrs Chamberlain),

ARTHUR CHAMBERLAIN, who assumed the surname and arms of BROWNLOW.

He wedded, about 1677, Jane, daughter of Sir Standish Hartstonge Bt; and dying in 1710, left issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Anne, m Matthew Forde;
Lettice, m Robert Cope.
Mr Brownlow was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM BROWNLOW (1683-1739), MP for County Armagh, who married, in 1712, the Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of James, 6th Earl of Abercorn, and by her had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Jane, died unmarried;
Elizabeth, m to John, Lord Knapton;
Anne; Mary; Isabella.
Mr Brownlow was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON WILLIAM BROWNLOW (1726-94), of Lurgan, MP for County Armagh, who married firstly, in 1754, Judith Letitia, eldest daughter of the Very Rev Charles Meredyth, Dean of Ardfert, and by her had two sons, viz.
WILLIAM, his heir;
CHARLES, heir to his brother.
He wedded secondly, in 1765, Catherine, daughter of Roger Hall, of Mount Hall, County Down, and had issue,
James (1772-1832);
Francis (Rev), b 1779; m Catherine, 6th daughter of 8th Earl of Meath;
Catherine, m, in 1783, M Forde, of Seaforde;
Isabella, m, in 1796, Richard, 4th Viscount Powerscourt;
Elizabeth, m, in 1791, John, 4th Earl of Darnley;
Mary Anne, d unm 1791;
Frances Letitia, m, in 1800, John, 2nd Viscount de Vesci;
Selina; Louisa.
Mr Brownlow was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM BROWNLOW, who dsp in 1815, and was succeeded by his brother,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL CHARLES BROWNLOW (1757-1822), of Lurgan, who wedded, in 1785, Caroline, daughter and co-heir of Benjamin Ashe, of Bath, and had issue,
William, a military officer, killed in Spain, 1813;
CHARLES, of whom we treat;
John (Rev), b 1798;
Frederick, b 1800; army major;
George, b 1805; East India Company;
Henry, b 1807; East India Company;
Isabella, m, in 1818, R Macneill, of Barra;
Anna, m, in 1821, Col Maxwell Close, of Drumbanagher;
Mary, m, in 1822, Rev John F Close.
Colonel Brownlow was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON CHARLES BROWNLOW (1795-1847), of Lurgan, MP for County Armagh, 1818-32, who married firstly, in 1822, the Lady Mary Bligh, second daughter of John, 4th Earl of Darnley, by whom he had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth.

He wedded secondly, in 1828, Jane, fourth daughter of Roderick Macneill, of Barra, Inverness-shire, and had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
Clara Anne Jane.
Mr Brownlow was elevated to the peerage, in 1839, by the title of BARON LURGAN.

His lordship was succeeded by his edlest son,

CHARLES, 2nd Baron (1831-82), of Lurgan, Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, who espoused, in 1853, Emily Anne, fourth daughter of John, 3rd Baron Kilmaine, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
John Roderick;
Francis Cecil, father of 5th Baron;
Mary Emily Jane; Clara Agnes; Louisa Helene; Isabella Anna;
Clementina Georgiana; Emmeline Harriet Annette.
His lordship, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1864-82, was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Baron (1858-1937), KCVO, of Lurgan, State Steward to HE The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1895-1905, who married, in 1893, the Lady Emily Julia Cadogan, eldest daughter of George, 5th Earl Cadogan, and had issue, an only child, 

WILLIAM GEORGE EDWARD, 4th Baron (1902-84), who wedded, in 1979, (Florence) May Cooper, widow of Eric Cooper, of Johnannesburg, South Africa, and daughter of Louis Francis Squire Webster, of Johannesburg.

His lordship died without isue, and the title reverted to his cousin,


The title expired following the death of the 5th Baron in 1991.


UNDER the Plantation of Ulster, John Brownlow, of Nottingham, offered himself as an undertaker of land in O'Neilland, County Armagh.
Brownlow stated Nottingham as his place of origin, his family's native city and where his father had served as Mayor; but he himself had actually been living in Epworth, Lincolnshire, and had only returned to Nottingham on his father's death to claim his inheritance.
He was granted the 'middle proportion' of Doughcoron in the barony of O'Neilland by patent from JAMES I in 1610.

Doughcoron contained 1,500 acres and included many townlands.

In 1610, John Brownlow's son William was granted 1,000 acres by James I, the proportion of Ballynemony.

This land also lay on the southern shore of Lough Neagh, adjacent to his father's land, and stretched from the upper Bann eastward to Doughcoron.

With the death of John Brownlow, his son, William inherited his father's property; and in 1622 William was knighted by Lord Falkland, the lord deputy of Ireland.

The existing Brownlow estate was not only consolidating and prospering but also being extended, for on the death of Sir William Brownlow in 1660, he was succeeded by his grandson, Arthur Chamberlain, eldest son of Lettice Brownlow. 

Arthur Chamberlain assumed the surname of Brownlow as directed in the will of his grandfather Sir William Brownlow and resided in Brownlowsderry.

Arthur Brownlow, alias Chamberlain, was a prudent manager and accumulated a considerable amount of money which he invested in other lands, chiefly in County Armagh were he acquired the manor of Richmount and thus became one of the largest property owners in the county.

Meanwhile throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the County Armagh Brownlow estate in the manors of Brownlowsderry and Richmound continued to prosper and with it the Brownlows, while Lurgan continued to grow as a town.

However, the changing political situation in Ireland, especially in regard to the land question, and the introduction of the Land Acts, meant the end of the great estate.

This, coupled with family financial crisis, forced the Brownlow family to sell off most of their remaining estate, including Brownlow House, in 1893. 

They moved to London, although maintaining their contact and links with the town and people of Lurgan.

The barony of Lurgan was created in 1839 for Charles Brownlow, MP for County Armagh.

His son, the 2nd Baron, joined the Liberal Party and became a government whip in the Upper House; and he was appointed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (KP) in 1864.

The 2nd Lord Lurgan owned the celebrated greyhound, Master McGrath; and his brother-in-law was Mr Maxwell Close whose home, incidentally, was Drumbanagher House, built to the design of William Playfair who also designed Brownlow House.

The barony expired in 1991, following the death of the 5th Baron.

BROWNLOW HOUSE, near Lurgan, County Armagh, is a large Elizabethan-Revival mansion, built by William Playfair about 1836.

This large mansion is built of a honey-coloured stone, with numerous gables and lofty finials; abundant tall chimney-pots; oriels crowned with strap-work; and a tower with a dome and lantern.

The walls of three main reception rooms are decorated with panels painted to look like verd-antique; the ceilings grained to resemble various woods.

The windows overlooking the great staircase boast heraldic stained glass.

Brownlow House was sold by the Lurgan family to the Orange Order in 1903.

The surrounding parkland is the largest public park in Northern Ireland

The Brownlow Papers are held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

By 1883, the Brownlow estate was valued at £20,589 a year (£1.8 million today).

This consisted of the manors of Brownlowsderry and Richmount.

The memory of the Lurgan family lives on, in the form of a charitable trust.

First published in November, 2009.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Drenagh House


This is a junior branch (which settled in Ulster during the reign of JAMES VI) of the ancient Scottish house of MacAUSLANE, of Buchanan, which sprang from

JOHN MacAUSLANE, who acquired the lands of Buchanan, on the Lennox, and from whom they descended in direct male succession to Sir Walter MacAuslane, 11th Laird, who lived at the time of ROBERT II.

The heir male is said to have settled in Ulster during the reign of JAMES VI.

He had two sons, of whom the elder,

ANDREW MacAUSLANE, was grandfather of 

COLONEL ROBERT McCAUSLAND, of Fruit Hill, near Limavady, styled his "cousin" in the will of Captain Oliver McCausland, of Strabane, of which he was left executor and also a legatee.

He had estates in the parish of Cappagh, County Tyrone, and succeeded under the will of the Rt Hon William Conolly to considerable property in County Londonderry.

He married, in 1709, Hannah, daughter of William Moore, of Garvey, and widow of James Hamilton, junior, of Strabane, and by her left surviving issue, at his death ca 1734,
CONOLLY, his heir;
Marcus, of Daisy Hill;
Frederick, of Streeve Hill;
Sarah; Rebecca; Hannah.
The eldest son,

CONOLLY McCAUSLAND (1713-94), of Fruit Hill, wedded, in 1742, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Gage, of Magilligan, and eventually sole heir to her brother, Hodson Gage, of Bellarena, and left issue, 
CONOLLY, his heir;
Hannah; Elizabeth; Sarah; Sydney.
The elder son,
CONOLLY McCAUSLAND (1754-1827), of Fruit Hill, espoused, in 1778, Theodosia, sister to Maurice, Lord Hartland,  and daughter of Thomas Mahon, of Strokestown House, by Jane, daughter of Maurice, Lord Brandon, and by her had issue,
MARCUS, his heir;
Conolly Robert;
Frederick Hervey;
Jane; Elizabeth; Eleanor; Theodosia.
Mr McCausland, who had assumed the name of GAGE in 1816, was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

MARCUS McCAUSLAND DL (1787-1862), of Fruit Hill, who married, in 1815, Marianne, daughter of Thomas Tyndall, of The Fort, near Bristol, and by her had issue,
Marianne; Theodosia Sydney; Henrietta Caroline; Katherine Geraldine;
Eleanor Georgiana; Julia; Georgiana; Adelaide.
Mr McCausland was succeeded by his only son,

CONOLLY THOMAS McCAUSLAND JP DL (1828-1902), of Drenagh, High Sheriff, 1866, Captain, Derry Militia, who wedded, in 1867, the Hon Laura St John, second daughter of St Andrew, 15th Baron St John of Bletso, and had issue,
Edmund Thomas William;
Eleanor Marianna Katharine; Lucia; Geraldine; Julia Sydney;
Lettice Theodosia; Emily Octavia.
Captain McCausland was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON MAURICE MARCUS McCAUSLAND (1872-1938), of Drenagh, High Sheriff, 1908, Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry, 1926-38 who wedded, in 1902, Eileen Leslie, second daughter of Robert Alexander Ogilby, of Pellipar, County Londonderry, and had issue,
Helen Laura, b 1903;
Eileen Mary, b 1910.
Mr McCausland was succeeded by his son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL CONOLLY ROBERT McCAUSLAND MC JP DL (1906-68), of Drenagh, who espoused, in 1932, the Lady Margaret Edgcumbe, daughter of 6th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, and had issue,
Antony Richard, b 1941;
Piers Conolly, b 1949;
Mary Fania; Caroline Ann.
Colonel McCausland was succeeded by his eldest son,

MARCUS EDGCUMBE McCAUSLAND (1933-72), of Drenagh, who married, in 1962, June Patricia MacAdam, and had issue,
Shane Francis Marcus, b 1964;
Marianne Laura, b 1970.
In 1972, as an officer in the Ulster Defence Regiment, Captain McCausland became the first soldier to be murdered by the Official IRA.

DRENAGH, near Limavady, is the finest demesne in County Londonderry and one of the noblest country houses in Ulster.

Drenagh House, formerly known as Fruithill, was inherited by Colonel Robert McCausland, agent of the Rt Hon William "Speaker" Conolly, who had purchased the estate from the Phillips family.

Colonel McCausland erected the first house a few hundred yards south-east of the present mansion, overlooking the Glen Plantation.

The original house was extended in 1796, and was said to have had a fine demesne with well laid out walks and plantations.

The walled garden of that period is still retained along with one barn and a gardener’s house.

The house had a different avenue approach from the old Coleraine Road and this can still be discerned from early maps.

Before the old house was abandoned, a new avenue approach was made to the house from the new Coleraine Road (now Broad Road).

During this period (ca 1830) W Hargrave was commissioned to consider designs for a new house which was three storeys with canted bays.

However, before these plans could materialise into buildings, both McCausland and Hargrave died and the present gate lodge, known as Logan’s Lodge, or the east lodge of ca 1830, is all that was built of Hargrave’s design.

Charles Lanyon, who arrived in County Antrim as surveyor in 1836, was commissioned to prepare designs for house, offices and outhouses; and these appear to have reached fruition about 1840.

At the same time, the west avenue approach was changed and the west lodge was built to Lanyon’s specifications.

Pleasant gardens were extended in the Glen, with a viewing platform having impressive niche and fountain below and beyond a pool and parterre.

Nothing remains of the former house.

Today Drenagh is set in 1,000 acres of parkland.

It comprises two storeys, using an agreeable pinkish sandstone ashlar.

There is a five-bay entrance front, with a recessed central bay and a single-storey Ionic portico whose outer columns are coupled.

The adjoining front is of six bays, with a pedimented breakfront which is emphasized by three massive pilasters supporting the pediment.

There is a lower service wing at the side; a balustraded parapet round the roof and on the portico.

There is a magnificent single-storey, top-lit central hall with screens of fluted Corinthian columns.

An elegant double staircase, with exquisite cast-iron balusters, rises from behind one of the screens.

There are also rich plasterwork ceilings in the hall, over the staircase and in the drawing-room.

The morning-room and dining-room have more modest ceilings.

The outbuildings are extensive.

A vista through the gap in the trees beyond the entrance front boasts an idyllic landscape far below.

Most notable is the Chinese Garden, with its circular "moon gate", developed by the Lady Margaret McCausland in the 1960s.

The demesne itself is part-walled and dates from the early 18th century.

There are fine woodland, parkland and shelter belt trees.

The ground within the demesne is undulating, descending to the Castle River running to the south of the house and to the Curly River to the north and east.

Neither river is used as an ornamental feature.

An unusual Italianate high balustraded terrace, with a commanding view point, formerly looked over an extensive 19th century Italian Garden, which is now overgrown.

The vista at the present time overlooks what has become dense woodland, including exotics and rhododendrons.

A water garden in the foreground includes a handsome stone pond built in the 1960s to the designs of Frances Rhodes.

The '‘Moon Garden'’ was also designed by Frances Rhodes in 1968.

It is an enclosed area influenced by both Chinese and Arts and Crafts garden design, which remains fully planted up.

It incorporates pre-1830s office buildings.

Outside is the ‘Orbit Garden’, also by Rhodes, planted with shrubs, trees and herbaceous material.

An area south east of and adjacent to the house had a late 20th century ornamental garden, which is now grassed.

The walled garden is used for nursery planting.

It was enlarged after the present house was built. Logan’s Lodge, 1830 by Hargrave, pre-dates the present house.

The main entrance gate lodge, gates and screen are ca 1840 by Lanyon.

Streeve, the dower house, is within the demesne and has its own garden.

Images courtesy of Conolly McCausland.   First published in February, 2010.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Dumfries House Book

I was at home one day in March, 2014, when, somewhat unexpectedly, a postman arrived with a large parcel.

He handed me the package and I almost immediately recognized the hand-writing of an old school pal who works at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).

He knows how keen I am about heritage and country houses.

To my delight, the parcel contained a hard-back copy of Dumfries House.

In this landmark book, the author, Simon Green, draws on previously unpublished documents from the extensive archives of the Bute family, who lived in the house from the early 19th century until the death of Lady Bute in 1993.

There is a wealth of photographs, plans and drawings from the National Trust for Scotland and the RCAHMS.

Exploring the people and the ideas behind a unique building, 'Dumfries House' is the story of the survival of a treasured eighteenth century family residence.

First published in March, 2014.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Convamore House


This ancient family claims descent from the house of HARCOURT, in Lorraine, who were Counts in Normandy. In 1461,

JOHN HARE, son of Thomas Hare, by Joyce, his wife, daughter of John Hyde, of Norbury, resided at Homersfield, in Suffolk and had a son,

NICHOLAS HARE, father of

JOHN HARE, who, by Elizabeth Fortescue, his wife, had two sons, viz.
The younger son,

JOHN HARE, having eventually inherited the estates of his brother, Sir Nicholas, became of Stow Bardolph.

He had a numerous family, seven sons and three daughters. Of the former,

RICHARD, the eldest, was ancestor of the HARES of Stow Bardolph, raised to the degree of Baronet in 1641; and

JOHN HARE, the youngest, a bencher of the Middle Temple, wedded Margaret, daughter of John Crouch, of Cornbury, Hertfordshire; and by her had a son,

HUGH HARE, a faithful adherent of CHARLES I, by whom he was created BARON COLERAINE.

His lordship married and had issue.

From the eldest son,

HENRY, descended the Lords Coleraine; and from a younger, HUGH, sprang the HARES of Listowel, the representative of which branch, 

RICHARD HARE, of Ennismore, (3rd son of John Hare, of Cork, a native of Norfolk),the immediate founder of this family, married Catherine Maylor, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
John, died unmarried, 1774;
Mary; Margaret Anne.
The elder son and successor,

WILLIAM HARE (1751-1837), represented Cork and Athy in the Irish parliament from 1796 until the final dissolution of that assembly.

Mr Hare was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, as Baron Ennismore; and advanced to a viscounty, in 1816, as Viscount Ennismore and Listowel.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1822, as EARL OF LISTOWEL.

He married firstly, in 1772, Mary, only daughter of Henry Wrixon, of Ballygiblin, County Cork, and aunt of Sir William Wrixon-Becher Bt, by whom he had issue,
William Henry;
Margaret Anne; Mary; Louisa; Catharine.
He espoused secondly, in 1812, Anne, second daughter of John Latham, of Meldrum, County Tipperary.

His lordship was succeeded by his grandson,

WILLIAM (1801-56), 2nd Earl.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's brother, the Hon Timothy Patrick Hare (b 1966).

THE PRINCIPAL family seat was Convamore, County Cork, though they were also seated at Ennismore Park, County Kerry, which was sold by the Bailey family to the Hares in the late 18th century.

William, 1st Earl of Listowel, built a new house beside the River Blackwater in the early 19th century.

He was residing at Convamore in 1814.

It remained the family seat in 1894. The house was burned in 1921 and is now a ruin.

The family's town residence was Kingston House, Knightsbridge, London. The 3rd Earl, the then owner of the Kingston House estate, was admitted as copyholder and secured the ground's enfranchisement from manorial control.

In 1855, the substantial portion of the estate built up with houses and stables in the 1840s and early 1950s was sold by the 2nd Earl, but the greater part, including Kingston House itself, remained in the possession of the Hare family until shortly before the Second World War.

With the death of the 4th Earl in 1931, the estate passed not to his eldest son, the socialist 5th Earl, but on trust to a younger son, the Hon John Hare, later 1st Viscount Blakenham. 

The 3rd Earl died at Kingston House in 1924, and the last occupant was his widow, who in turn died there in 1936. In March, 1937, the contents were sold and that autumn the house itself was demolished for the building of flats.

CONVAMORE HOUSE was a large and plain two-storey early 19th century mansion, situated above a fine stretch of the River Blackwater in County Cork.

The entrance front had a single storey Doric portico; while the block with the main rooms was faced with Victorian stucco and plate-glass windows.

The walls of the old Roche castle are said to be stained with tar from a beacon that was lit when EDWARD VII paid a visit as Prince of Wales.

The castle belonged lately to a Major Hirtch, whose father built a gabled fishing lodge beside it.

These decorative cast-iron entrance gates and finely carved piers of solid limestone blocks exhibit high levels of craftsmanship.

The gateway to Convamore House was erected for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1886.

Listowel arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in February, 2012.