Saturday, 10 June 2017

Mount Charles Hall

THE MARQUESSES CONYNGHAM WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DONEGAL, WITH 122,230 ACRES

The family of CONYNGHAM was originally of Scottish descent, and of very great antiquity in that part of the United Kingdom.

WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM, Bishop of Argyll, a younger son of William, 4th Earl of Glencairn, in 1539, left a son,

WILLIAM CONYNGHAM, of Cunninghamhead, Ayrshire, who had two sons, WILLIAM, who succeeded at Cuninghamhead, and was created a baronet; and

ALEXANDER CONYNGHAM, who, entering into Holy Orders, and removing into Ireland, was appointed, in 1611, the first Protestant minister of Enver and Killymard, County Donegal.

Mr Conyngham was appointed to the deanery of Raphoe on the consecration of Dean Adair as Lord Bishop of Killaloe, in 1630.
Dean Conyngham settled at Mount Charles, County Donegal, which estate he held, by lease, from the Earl of Annandale, and wedded Marion, daughter of John Murray, of Broughton, by whom he had no less than 27 children, of which four sons and five daughters survived infancy.
He died in 1660, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ALBERT CONYNGHAM, Knight, who was appointed, in 1660, Lieutenant-General of the ordnance in Ireland.
This officer fought on the side of WILLIAM III at the Boyne, Limerick etc, and fell in a rencounter with the Rapparees, near Colooney in County Sligo.
He espoused Mary, daughter of the Rt Rev Robert Leslie, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY CONYNGHAM, of Slane Castle, MP for Coleraine, and for Donegal, who served during the reign of JAMES II as a captain in Mountjoy's Regiment.
When JAMES II desired his army to shift for itself, Conyngham prevailed upon 500 of his regiment to remain united, and with them offered his services to WILLIAM III. He became subsequently a major-general, and fell, in 1705-6, at St Estevan's, in Spain.
He wedded Mary, daughter of Sir John Williams Bt, of Minster Court, Kent, and widow of Charles, Lord Shelburne, by whom he got a very considerable property, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Henry;
Mary.
General Conyngham was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM CONYNGHAM, of Slane (an estate forfeited, in 1641, by Lord Slane), who was succeeded at his decease by his brother,

THE RT HON HENRY CONYNGHAM (1705-81), captain of horse on the Irish establishment, and MP from 1727 until raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Conyngham, of Mount Charles, in 1753.
His lordship was created Viscount Conyngham, in 1756; and Earl Conyngham, in 1781, the barony to descend, in case of failure of issue, to Francis Pierpoint Burton, the eldest son of his sister Mary, by Francis Burton.
His lordship married, in 1774, Ellen, only daughter and heir of Solomon Merret; but dying without an heir, in 1781, all his honours became extinct, except the barony of Conyngham, which devolved, according to the limitation, upon the above-mentioned

FRANCIS PIERPOINT BURTON, as 2nd Baron.

This nobleman wedded, in 1750, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Nathaniel Clements, and sister of Robert, Earl of Leitrim, by whom he had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Francis Nathaniel (Sir), GCH;
Catherine; Ellena; Henrietta.
His lordship, on inheriting the title and estates of his uncle, assumed the surname and arms of CONYNGHAM.

He died in 1787, ans was succeeded by his son,

HENRY, 3rd Baron, who, in 1787, was created Viscount Conyngham, of Slane, County Meath.

He was also created Viscount Mount Charles, of Mount Charles, County Donegal; and Earl Conyngham, in 1797.
In 1801, Lord Conyngham was appointed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick. In 1803, he was appointed Governor of County Donegal, a post he held until 1831, and Custos Rotulorum of County Clare in 1808, which he remained until his death.
In 1816, he was created Viscount Slane, Earl of Mount Charles, and further advanced to the dignity of
a marquessate, as MARQUESS CONYNGHAM.

In 1821, he was created Baron Minster, of Minster Abbey, Kent; and sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Lord Steward, a post he retained until 1830.

From 1829 until his death in 1832 he served as Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Alexander Burton Conyngham, styled Earl of Mount Charles.

The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Rory Nicholas Burton Conyngham, styled Viscount Slane.

The Marquesses Conyngham were seated at The Hall, Mount Charles, County Donegal, now thought to be unoccupied.

The Hall is an early to mid-18th century double, gable-ended house of three storeys and five bays.

It has a pedimented door-case, bold quoins and a solid parapet concealing the roof and end gables.

At one end of the house there is a conservatory porch with astrigals and round-headed windows.



A salt works (also in the grounds of the former Conyngham estate) provided employment to local people during the 18th century.

8th Marquess Conyngham

The present Lord and Lady Conyngham continue to live at the ancestral seat, Slane Castle, County Meath. 

First published in April, 2011.  Conyngham arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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