Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Blakiston Baronets

THE BLAKISTON BARONETCY, OF LONDON, WAS CREATED IN 1763 FOR MATTHEW BLAKISTON, LORD MAYOR OF LONDON, 1760-61

This family is very ancient, being descended from the Blakistons, of Blakiston, County Durham; two members of which family were created baronets; one by JAMES I, in 1615, and the other, by CHARLES I, in 1642.

MATTHEW BLAKISTON (c1702-74), an eminent merchant of London, was elected an alderman in 1750; served the office of sheriff in 1753; and filled the civic chair in 1760.

In 1759, Mr Alderman Blakiston received the honour of Knighthood, and was created a baronet in 1763.

He was twice married: By his first marriage he had one son, who died unmarried; and by the second, which took place in 1760, with Annabella, daughter of Thomas Bayly, MP for Derby, he had an only son, his successor, at his demise in 1774,

SIR MATTHEW, 2nd Baronet (1761-1806), born in the Mansion House during the mayoralty of his father.

He married, in 1782, Anne, daughter of John Rochford, of Clogrennane, County Carlow, by whom he left six sons at his decease, the eldest of whom,

SIR MATTHEW, 3rd Baronet (1783-1862).

As of 2008, the title is held by the 8th Baronet's eldest son, Sir Ferguson Blakiston, 9th Baronet, who lives in New Zealand.


*****

John Blakiston-Houston, MP for Down North, was a son of Richard Blakiston-Houston (of Orangefield, County Down), a younger son of the 2nd Baronet.

His third son,

Charles Blakiston-Houston, was MP for Belfast Dock from 1929-33; and his fifth and youngest son, John Blakiston-Houston (1881–1959), was a major-general in the Army.

Beltrim estate in County Tyrone forms part of the Blakiston-Houston estate.

Richard Patrick Blakiston-Houston was born in 1948; educated at Eton; JP and DL of County Down; registered as a Professional Associate, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors,  in 1972, and High Sheriff of County Down, 1989.

He lived in 2003 at Beltrim Castle, County Tyrone, and The Roddens, Ballywalter, County Down.

Interestingly, the Blakiston-Houston family appear to be related to General Sam Houston, after which Houston, Texas, USA, was named.


Orangefield House taken by Lady Mabel Annesley.  ©PRONI 2011

Orangefield Park in east Belfast was the family home of the Houston family in the 19th century. The head of the family, John Holmes Houston, was a partner in the Belfast Banking Company and lived at Orangefield House with his family. 

Orangefield was situated at the end of what is now Houston Park and the estate itself extended to almost 300 acres. John and Eliza's daughter, Mary Isabella, was born in 1793 and later married Richard Bayly Blakiston.

The two families joined names, leaving J Blakiston-Houston in charge of the Orangefield estate from 1857.

In 1934, the Blakiston-Houston family offered Belfast Corporation (now the council) part of the Orangefield estate to develop as a public park. The corporation, although keen to buy the land, felt that the price was too high. 

After lengthy negotiations, they bought part of the site in 1938 for £20,000. Development work was put on hold due to World War II and plans for the park were only drawn up in 1947. 
First published in August, 2011.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Castle Martyr

THE EARLS OF SHANNON OWNED 11,232 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY CORK

This is a branch of the noble house of BOYLE, Earls of Cork and Orrery, springing from 

THE HON HENRY BOYLE (1682-1764), second son of Roger, 1st Earl of Orrery, whose son, by the Lady Mary O'Brien, daughter of Murrough, 1st Earl of Inchiquin,

HENRY BOYLE, of Castle Martyr, being sworn of the Privy Council in Ireland, filled some of the highest political offices in that kingdom (Speaker of the house of commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Justice etc).


He was elevated to the peerage, in 1756, as Baron Castle Martyr, Viscount Boyle, and EARL OF SHANNON.

His lordship married firstly, in 1715, Catherine, daughter of Chidley Coote, of Killester, by whom he had no issue; and secondly, in 1726, the Lady Henrietta Boyle, youngest daughter of Charles, 3rd Earl of Cork, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Henry;
William;
Charles;
Robert;
Juliana.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 2nd Earl (1728-1807), KP, PC, who, having filled some high political offices, and being sworn of the Privy Council, was enrolled amongst the peers of Great Britain, in 1786, as Baron Carleton, of Carleton, Yorkshire.

His lordship was a Knight Founder of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, 1783.

He wedded, in 1763, Catherine, eldest daughter of Mr Speaker Ponsonby, of the Irish house of commons, and had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Catherine Henrietta.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

HENRY, 3rd Earl (1771-1842), KP, PC, who espoused, in 1798, Sarah, fourth daughter of John Hyde, of Castle Hyde, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Henry Charles;
Robert Francis;
Catherine; Sarah; Louisa Grace; Jane; Elizabeth; Charlotte Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,
The heir presumptive is the present holder's second cousin, Robert Francis Boyle.

CASTLE MARTYR, County Cork, was built in the early 18th century by Henry Boyle, Speaker of the Irish house of commons, afterwards 1st Earl of Shannon.

The house was substantially enlarged by the 2nd Earl between 1764-71; and further re-modelled in the late Georgian period.

The entrance front is of two storeys and seventeen bays, comprising a five-bay recessed centre and giant pedimented portico between projecting wings.


The entrance front of the house overlooks a sheet of water which is part of the remarkable artificial river made before 1750 by the 1st Earl.

Castle Martyr was sold early in the 20th century to the Arnott family; then became a Carmelite college.


It now forms the nucleus of a luxury hotel resort.

Former town residence ~ 7 Connaught Place, London.

First published in July, 2013.   Shannon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Craig Baronets

THE CRAIG BARONETCY, OF STORMONT, COUNTY DOWN, WAS CREATED IN 1918 FOR JAMES CRAIG MP

The 1st Baronet, later to become the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, was created Viscount Craigavon in 1927, when the baronetcy merged with the viscountcy.

I have written an article about his family here.

Born at Sydenham, a suburb of Belfast, Craig was the youngest of six sons of James Craig JP, of Craigavon and Tyrella, County Down, a successful whisky distiller and businessman in Belfast.

Educated at a private school in Holywood, County Down and afterwards at Merchiston Castle, Edinburgh, the younger Craig became a stockbroker.

However, with the start of the Boer War in 1899 he ceased formally to be a member of the Belfast Stock Exchange and took a commission in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.
Serving with distinction as a lieutenant with the Imperial Yeomanry, he was captured by the Boers but survived the barren conditions of a concentration camp and returned home with a firm and lasting conviction of the British way of life.
The 1st Viscount was still prime minister when he died peacefully at his home, Glencraig, County Down, in 1940.

He was buried at the Stormont Estate.

James Craig (1906-74), 2nd Baronet and 2nd Viscount, was educated at Eton. He was a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and fought in the Second World War.

Janric Fraser Craig (b 1944), 3rd and present Baronet and 3rd Viscount, was born in 1944; educated at Eton; graduated from London University with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts.

Lord Craigavon was invested as a Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants and was an Elected Member of the House of Lords in 1999; lives in London.

There is no heir to the viscountcy.

First published in July, 2010.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Lanesborough Lodge

THE EARLS OF LANESBOROUGH OWNED 7,946 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY CAVAN

This family is not sprung from any of the ancient Irish houses of Butler; but from George Butler, of Fenny Drayton, in Cambridgeshire, and of Tewin, in Hertfordshire.

This George, living in 1575, son of Edward Butler, was said to be descended from John Butler, living at Waresley, Huntingdonshire, in 1376.

SIR STEPHEN BUTLER, Knight (descended from John Butler, of Waresley, Huntingdonshire, living in 1376), settled in Ireland in the reign of JAMES I, being an undertaker in the plantation of Ulster, and having obtained a grant of 2,000 acres of land in County Cavan, erected a baronial castle of great strength.

He and his co-undertakers of the precinct of Loughtee commenced, according to their agreement, the plantation of a town at Belturbet; and in his time thirty-five houses were erected, all inhabited by British tenants, most of whom were tradesmen, each having a house and garden plot, with four acres of land, and commons for a certain number of cattle.

Sir Stephen married Mary, daughter and co-heir of Gervais Brinsley, of Brinsley, in Nottinghamshire; and dying in 1639, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES BUTLER, of Belturbet; at whose decease, without issue, the estates devolved upon his brother,

STEPHEN BUTLER, MP for Belturbet, who wedded Anne, daughter of Sir James Barry, 1st Baron Barry of Santry, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1662, by his eldest son,

FRANCIS BUTLER, MP for Belturbet.

This gentleman bore arms in the royal cause during the civil wars.

He married Judith, daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Theophilus Jones, of Osberstown, County Kildare, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1792, by his eldest son,

THE RT HON THEOPHILUS BUTLER (c1669-1723), of Belturbet, County Cavan, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1715, as Baron Newtownbutler, with remainder, in default of male issue, to the male descendants of his father, having previously represented County Cavan in parliament and being called to the Privy Council.

His lordship espoused Emilia, elder daughter and co-heir of James Stopford, of Tara, County Meath; but leaving no issue at his decease, the title devolved upon his brother,

BRINSLEY, 2nd Baron (1670-1735), Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, Colonel of the Battle-axe guards, who was created Viscount Lanesborough in 1728.

His lordship married Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Neville Pooley, of the city of Dublin, by whom he had no less than twenty-three children, five only of whom, however, survived infancy, namely,
HUMPHREY, his successor;
Thomas, Governor of Limerick;
Robert, MP, Captain, Battle-axe Guards;
John, MP for Newcastle;
Judith, m to B J Cramer.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUMPHREY, 2nd Viscount (1700-68), who wedded, in 1726, Mary, daughter and heir of Richard Berry, of Wardenstown, County Westmeath, by whom he had an only son.


His lordship was created EARL OF LANESBOROUGH in 1756, and was succeeded by his son,


BRINSLEY, 2nd Earl (1728-79), who wedded, in 1754, Jane, only daughter of Robert, 1st Earl of Belvedere, and had issue,
ROBERT HERBERT, his successor;
Augustus Richard;
Mary; Catherine; Charlotte; Caroline; Sophia.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT HERBERT, 3rd Earl (1759-1806), who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon David La Touche, by whom he had two sons,
BRINSLEY, his heir;
David.
The titles expired following the decease of the 9th Earl in 1998


LANESBOROUGH LODGE, County Cavan (also known as Quivvy Lodge), stood very close to the border with County Fermanagh.

It was adjacent to Lord Erne's land at Crom estate.

The Lodge was a two-storey Tudor-Revival house of ca 1810, comprising a main block and a lower, two-storey service wing.

It was extended to the rear in 1846.


There were gables, mullioned windows, and a corbelled oriel.


The house is now derelict and ruinous, having been burnt in the 1920s.

The importance and scale of the estate is indicated on historic maps by the related structures that are marked, including a yacht house, boat house, boat slips, a landing place, an engine house, various outbuildings, ice-house, and a walled garden.

Though now ruinous, Lanesborough Lodge retains much of its historic character and form.



I have unearthed this entry from a publication of 1852:
Since this justly admired nobleman and his amiable Countess returned to their estates in Cavan, the tenantry have had one unbroken scene of rejoicing. 
Today a large party, numbering uupwards of 1,000, dined at Lanesborough Lodge, Belturbet, on the invitation of the Earl and Countess. We will give the particulars in our next. 
It is to be regretted that these reunions are not more frequent generally, as they would tend to break down prejudices and unite landlords and tenants in all struggles for their mutual advantage and the benefit of the common weal. 
There is an old estate school on the way to the Lodge and beyond are the remains of a laundry and the steward's house.


The family also owned Inish Rath Island on Upper Lough Erne, County Fermanagh.

The island is located north-west of Crom estate.

The Victorian-Tudor style house on the island (above) was built in 1854 by the Hon Henry Cavendish Butler-Danvers (1811-91), a half-brother of the 5th Earl of Lanesborough.

It was subsequently purchased by the Earl of Erne for use as a hunting lodge.

During the early 20th century, the house was used for boating parties etc.

The island went through continuous change of ownership for about thirty years, when it was bought and sold.

At the height of the Northern Ireland Troubles, in 1982, property prices slumped in this border area.

A group of Hare Krishna monks, led by a German follower, Prithu Das, pooled their resources and took out a bank loan to buy Inish Rath, a perfect setting for a Hare Krishna centre.

The Hare Krishna temple was established in the west wing of the house with a magnificent gold altar at one end of the long room and a life size representation of Swami Prabhupada at the other.

Oriental arches frame the windows and polished pine floors add to the overall feeling of light and space.
SWITHLAND HALL, Leicestershire, was held by the family of Danvers until 1796, but after the death of Sir John Danvers (the last male of his line) it passed to his son-in-law, Augustus Richard Butler, 2nd son of the 2nd Earl of Lanesborough, who adopted the surname of Danvers-Butler. The current hall was partially completed in 1834 and finished in 1852 by the 6th Earl. 
The Lanesboroughs owned the following residences:

Other seats ~ Lanesborough Lodge, County Fermanagh; Swithland Hall, Leicestershire.
Town residence ~ 8 Great Stanhope Street, London.

First published in July, 2013.   Lanesborough arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Anne's Point Acquisition

SELECTIVE ACQUISITIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND


PROPERTY: Anne's Point, near Mount Stewart Estate, County Down

DATE: 1988

EXTENT: 14.61 acres

DONOR: S & K Hamilton

First published in January, 2015.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Old Court House

THE BARONS DE ROS OWNED 2,952 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

OLD COURT demesne is located at Strangford, County Down.

I have written about the barony of de Ros here.

The 23rd Baron de Ros, a grandson of the 20th Earl of Kildare and 1st Duke of Leinster, inherited the port and village of Strangford, which became his principal seat.

In 1844, he built Old Court and surrounded it with pleasant walks and gardens.

Lord de Ros also made many improvements, extended Payne's Chapel at Old Court and built Katherine's Quay as his own private harbour.

Dudley, 24th Baron, was equerry to HRH The Prince Consort (Prince Albert), 1853-74.

His life at Court during the period 1850-62, and his manuscript account, gives interesting personal reminiscences of certain events which occurred while he was acquainted with, and in the service of, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as dinner and shooting lists, etc. 

Una Mary, 26th Baroness, attended Court in an application for compensation for criminal injury to property, after a malicious fire had destroyed Old Court at the end of 1921, together with two lists of articles lost.

Nevertheless, it seems that the family were popular with the villagers generally and there was much sadness at the time when the old house was burnt.


OLD COURT was a low, rambling two-storey house with many gables, some of them set on three-sided bows, the angle walls of which curved outwards under the eaves, so that some of the upstairs windows were bent in a vertical plane, like the windows at the stern of an old man-of-war ship.


There were barge-boards on the gables and hood mouldings over the windows.

It was located at the site of the present 1970s house (also called Old Court) in a most picturesque setting overlooking the harbour and Strangford Lough.


In the grounds, nestling in a glade nearby, there is a splendid little private chapel originally built in 1629, surrounded by an old graveyard.

It is believed that the chapel is still used regularly by the family and villagers.

Today the demesne stretches from Strangford Bay to Strangford village, skirting the shore-line.

In the 1980s Georgiana, 27th Baroness, and her husband (Lieutenant-Commander J D Maxwell DL RN) lived in the present Old Court House; while their son Peter Maxwell (present Lord de Ros) had a bachelor pad down in the little boat-house at Katherine's Quay.

When he married and succeeded to the title, he built a relatively modern house in the grounds, not far from the delightful little Old Court chapel.

Peter Maxwell is the 28th and present Baron.

First published in July, 2011.  De Ros arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Caledon Estate

THE EARLS OF CALEDON WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY TYRONE, WITH 29,236 ACRES

CALEDON HOUSE, County Tyrone, otherwise known as Caledon Castle, is a Classical mansion of 1779 built for James Alexander, 1st Earl of Caledon.

The designer was Thomas Cooley.

The house was originally of two storeys, with a seven-bay entrance front and pedimented breakfront centre.

Garden front

The garden front has one bay on either side of a broad, central, curved bow.

The side elevations comprise five bays.

Side elevation and library wing

In 1812, the 2nd Earl extended and enhanced the mansion to the designs of John Nash.

Two single-storey domed wings (otherwise pavilions) were added to each side of the entrance front, projecting forwards.

These wings contain a colonnade of coupled Ionic columns and formed a veranda.

One wing, with its coffered dome and smaller columns, contains the library.

The oval drawing-room is said to be one of the finest of its kind, with its sumptuous Regency interior; gilded friezes of Classical figures; and mouldings in cut paper work.

The drapery pelmets are intricately shaped.

The 2nd Earl undertook further additions to the house in 1835.

Original entrance front

A third storey was built on to the main block and the pediment, resplendent with the Caledon arms, was also raised.


The entrance was relocated to one side of the house, with a single-storey extension with another domed octagonal hall.

Caledon crest at entrance porte-cochère 

A noble porte-cochère stands over the porch, with smaller Ionic columns with a splendid stone and metal cast of the Caledon crest (a raised arm in armour holding a sword).

The original hall of the mansion house became the saloon.


THE walled demesne at Caledon is one of Northern Ireland's finest landscape parks.

During the Victorian era, the Earls of Caledon were the third largest landowners in County Tyrone, after the Dukes of Abercorn and the Earls Castle Stewart.

The estate's significance and condition has been enhanced throughout successive generations of the same family to the present day.

Caledon Estate is largely contained by the river Blackwater within its eastern and southern boundaries; and the village of Caledon to the north-east.

Most of the estate lies in County Tyrone, though it straddles counties Armagh and Monaghan.

The original Caledon Castle was the seat of the 5th Earl of Cork and Orrery, a friend of Dean Swift.

It was said, in 1738, to be "old, low, and, though full of rooms, not very large."

Lord Orrery was the biographer of Jonathan Swift and friend of Dr Johnson, as well as an improving landlord who did much to beautify the gardens around his newly-acquired residence, through planting and the addition of ornamental buildings and statues.

In 1747, he constructed a folly-like bone house in the garden (faced with ox bones), which he intended should "strike the Caledonians with wonder and amazement".

It is the only element of his garden ornamentation to survive to the present day.

On the death of his kinsman, Richard, 4th Earl of Cork, in 1753, Lord Orrery became Earl of Cork and Orrery.

His wife Margaret died in 1758 and, with the death of Lord Cork himself in 1762, the Caledon estate passed to their son, Edmund, 7th Earl (1742-98).

It is during the period of the 7th Earl of Cork and Orrery's tenure that the earliest documentation concerning the modern village of Caledon dates.

Lord Cork sold his estate to James Alexander in 1776 for £96,400 (about £14 million in 2014).

This new landlord was the second son of Alderman Nathaniel Alexander of Londonderry.

He made his fortune in the service of the East India Company during the 1750s and 60s, returning to Ulster in 1772 worth probably over £250,000 (£34 million in 2014).

With this money, he proceeded to accumulate estates in Counties Donegal, Londonderry, and Antrim, as well as Caledon, to which he added neighbouring townlands (some bought outright, some leased) in both Tyrone and Armagh.

In 1779, he built a new classical mansion, to designs by Thomas Cooley, either on the site of, or a short distance from, the old Hamilton residence.

The 1st Earl died in 1802 and was succeeded by his son, Du Pré, 2nd Earl, who served as the first governor of the Cape of Good Hope between 1806 and 1811, where the river Caledon and the District of Caledon are named after him.

The celebrated landscape designer, John Sutherland, re-designed Caledon estate in 1807.

In 1827, further improvements were made by the landscape designer W S Gilpin.

There are splendid parkland and woodland trees (some renowned for their monetary value), and the estate has a benign climate for tree growth.

The estate boasts a 19th century pinetum, fastigiate yew avenues, a lake, deer park (red deer) with a lake.

The disused Union Canal and river Blackwater enhance the water features.

In the late 19th century the park was inhabited by black bears, caught by the 4th Earl (1846-98), who had ranched in the American west (father of Field Marshal the 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis).

The walled gardens are in sections, the one closest to the offices with glasshouses, fruit and vegetables.

Stables

The estate contains a large number of buildings, including gardeners' cottages, lodges, stables, and offices.

A number of the former estate workers' cottages have been modernized and are available for rental.

Head gardener's cottage

The Doric Lodge, dating from about 1780, is possibly by Thomas Cooley.

The grand and elaborate Twin Lodges of 1812 at the main entrance, by John Nash, are guarded by Coade stone sphinxes, Caledon arms and gilded earls' coronets.

The Glaslough gate lodge, the School gate lodge, and the Tynan gate lodge (all ca 1833) are likely the work of Thomas J Duff.

Other buildings include the head gardener’s cottage, a sunken tunnel to the offices, the keeper’s house, the dower house and several bridges.

There is an old cross and well along the main drive to the House.

First published in June, 2015.  Caledon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.