Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Sloane Baronetcy


ALEXANDER SLOANE, of Killyleagh, County Down, was Receiver-General to James, Viscount Claneboye (c1560-1644), of the taxes of that county, wherein he resided before and after the civil war.

He married Sarah, daughter of the Rev Dr William Hicks, of Winchester, chaplain to the Most Rev Dr William Laud, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and had issue,
James, MP;
William, of Chelsea;
HANS, of whom hereafter.
The youngest son,

HANS SLOANE (1660-1753), Doctor of Medicine, of Chelsea, born at Killyleagh, County Down, having attained great celebrity in his profession, and presided several years over the College of Physicians, was created a baronet, 1716, by GEORGE I.

Sir Hans married Elizabeth, widow of Dr Fulke Rose, of Jamaica, and daughter of John Langley, Alderman of London (by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and co-heir of Richard Middleton, also an alderman of London), and had issue,
SARAH, m G Stanley; mother of RT HON HANS STANLEY;
Sir Hans Sloane, who was chosen president of the Royal Society at the vacancy caused by the decease of Sir Isaac Newton in 1727, died in 1753, and was interred seven days afterwards in the churchyard of Chelsea in the same vault with his deceased wife, under a handsome monument erected by his daughters.

As he left no male issue, the Baronetcy expired with him.

The manor of Chelsea, which Sir Hans purchased in 1712 from William Cheyne, 2nd Viscount Newhaven, descended to his two daughters as co-heirs.


The Sloane family lived in a thatched house on Frederick Street, Killyleagh, near the Castle.

The house was demolished much later, though the lintel stone was saved and moved across the street where a plaque has been erected to acknowledge Killyleagh’s most illustrious son.

The three Sloane boys who survived infancy received their education at the school provided by James Hamilton and they had access to the library at the Castle.

James became an eminent lawyer; William, a merchant; and Hans, an eminent physician.

The early days at Killyleagh were well suited to Hans, as his interests in natural history, particularly botany, thrived.

At the age of 16, Hans suffered a severe illness that confined him to his room for over a year.

At that time his interest in medicine grew and at the age of 19 he left for London to study medicine and natural sciences.

He then went to Paris and attended lectures on botany, chemistry and anatomy and then on to the University of Orange where he became a Doctor of Medicine.

He became intrigued by the search for new species and describing and naming new plants and animals was a passion which he would put to good use.

On return to London in 1685 he was made a Fellow of the young but prestigious Royal Society, and in 1687 a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

He was offered the chance to travel to Jamaica as physician to the new Governor, the 2nd Duke of Albermarle.

While in Jamaica, Hans Sloane was introduced to cocoa as a drink favoured by the local people.

He found it 'nauseous' but by mixing it with milk made it more palatable.

He brought this chocolate recipe back to England where it was manufactured and at first sold by apothecaries as a medicine.

Eventually, in the nineteenth century, it was taken up by Messrs Cadbury who manufactured chocolate using Sloane's recipe.

Following the unfortunate death of the Duke, Sloane returned to England in 1689.

He published in two volumes the information he had gathered in Jamaica.

In 1695 Hans married Elizabeth Langley Rose, the widow of a sugar planter in Jamaica.

Of their four children, two died when young but two girls, Sarah and Elizabeth, survived.

He developed his medical and scientific interests and because President of the Royal Society, succeeding Sir Isaac Newton, and President of the Royal College of Physicians.

In 1716, Sloane was created a baronet, the first medical practitioner to receive an hereditary title.

The Sloanes lived at Bloomsbury Place, near to the site of the present British Museum.

His collections grew and he bought the adjacent house to help accommodate them.

Corridors and rooms were filled from top to bottom with plants, animals, gemstones, coins, antiquities, books and many more objects.

Sloane's 'Museum' became a major attraction of its time and was visited by a stream of distinguished visitors from home and abroad.

That house also filled. Sloane eventually bought a large manor house in Chelsea, with surrounding farmland, to house the collection containing 117,000 items (of which about 50,000 were books and manuscripts).

On his death, aged 92, on the 11th January, 1753, the nation purchased his collection and then housed it in the British Museum.

His bust is the first item on view at the entrance to the Museum.
He became a successful physician in London with the Royal Family and other eminent persons as his patients but he still found time to treat the poor for nothing; was President of the Royal Society (PRS) 1727-41; and amassed a large fortune and was able to pursue his lifelong interest in natural history, amassing a vast, important collection that was the foundation of the British Museum.

When the Natural History Museum and the British Library were built, the natural objects, books and manuscripts were transferred to those establishments. 

Such was the esteem of Sir Hans that Sloane Square was created and a statue erected in the nearby Physic Gardens.

Those gardens were founded and bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane to the Apothecaries' Company for the cultivation of medicinal plants for the benefit of medical students.

It consists of four acres, and is one of the oldest of existing gardens.
The statue, by Rysbrack, of Sir Hans Sloane, who gave the freehold of the ground on consideration of an annual presentation of plants to the Royal Society, stands in the centre of the Botanic Gardens, to which the public are not admitted.
His property and fortune passed to his two daughters but on the death of Sarah all passed to Elizabeth, married to General Charles Cadogan.

The lands remain with the Cadogan family.

Recently Sir Hans Sloane Square was created in Killyleagh, complete with a copy of the statue from the physic garden; and there is a memorial at Killyleagh Castle.

The Parish Church contains the graves of his father and some of his brothers.

Hans Sloane is buried at Chelsea Old Church and his tomb bears the inscription:
In memory of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart, President of the Royal Society and of the College of Physicians, who died in the year of our Lord 1753, the ninety-second year of his age, without least pain of body, and with a conscious serenity of mind eniled [sic] a virtuous and beneficent life. 
This monument was erected by his two daughters, Elizabeth Cadogan and Sarah Stanley.
Chelsea Manor, which Sir Hans purchased in 1712 from William, 2nd Viscount Newhaven, descended to his two daughters as co-heirs. 

First published in September, 2011. Select bibliography:

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


By the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire

First published in August, 2013.

Aughentaine Castle


JOHN HAMILTON BROWNE, of Comber House, County Londonderry, and Aughentaine, County Tyrone, son of THOMAS BROWNE, of County Londonderry, by Elizabeth Hamilton his wife, niece of James Hamilton, Provost of Strabane ca 1720, and grandson of GEORGE BROWNE, also of Londonderry, by his wife Mary, daughter of Colonel Hogg.

He married, in 1795, Jane Matilda, daughter of William Lecky, of Castle Fin, County Donegal, MP for Londonderry in the Irish House of Commons, by Hannah his wife, daughter of Conolly McCausland, of Drenagh, County Londonderry, and had issue,
Conolly William Lecky, of Comber House; died unmarried;
THOMAS RICHARDSON, his successor;
GEORGE, of Comber House;
John Hamilton;
Hannah Sidney; Elizabeth.
Mr Browne died in 1848, and was succeeded by his second, but eldest surviving son,

THOMAS RICHARDSON BROWNE JP DL (1810-82), of Aughentaine, High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1832, wedded, in 1839, Sarah, fourth daughter of Hervey Pratt de Montmorency, of Castle Morres, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
JOHN HERVEY, his heir;
Raymond Saville;
Conolly William Lecky Browne-Lecky;
Rose Sarah; Caroline Frances; Matilda Theodosia.
Mr Browne was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN HERVEY KNOX-BROWNE JP DL (1841-1927), of Aughentaine Castle, High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1887, who married, in 1867, Louisa Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Francis Arthur Knox-Gore Bt, of Belleek Manor, County Mayo, by Sarah his wife, daughter of Colonel Charles Nesbitt Knox, of Castle Lacken, County Mayo, and had issue,
Charles Arthur Hervey (1870-1934), died unmarried;
Sarah Hannah Madeline; Augusta Caroline; Eileen Hester Louisa.
Colonel Knox-Browne, ADC to His Grace the Duke of Abercorn, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lieutenant-Colonel, 9th Brigade, North Irish Division, Royal Artillery, assumed the additional surname and arms of KNOX in 1874.

He was succeeded by his younger son,

MERVYN WILLIAM CHARLES NESBITT KNOX-BROWNE DL (1880-1954), of Aughentaine Castle, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1935, who married, in 1911, Mary, daughter of Captain Thomas Barry George, and had issue,
MERVYN HERVEY, his heir;
Louisa May (1912-69).
Mr Knox-Browne was succeeded by his only son,

MERVYN HERVEY KNOX-BROWNE JP DL (1927-), of Aughentaine Castle, who wedded, in 1956, Catherine, daughter of Hugh Ferguson, and had issue,



Mr Knox-Browne, who moved to Perthshire, sold Aughentaine Castle to Lieutenant-Colonel J H Hamilton-Stubber DL. It was subsequently demolished in 1955. 
An ancestor of the Hamilton-Stubbers, Hugh Hamilton, settled at Lisbane in County Down during the reign of JAMES I, died in 1665 and was interred at Bangor, County Down. Hugh's son was called John Hamilton, of Ballymenoch near Holywood. A second son was Alexander Hamilton, of Killyleagh.  
Richard John Hamilton-Stubber, son of J H Hamilton-Stubber, married the Hon Susanna Cynthia Brooke, daughter of John, 2nd Viscount Brookeborough, in 1989.

They have one son and one daughter.

Photo credit: © McClitock of Seskinore

AUGHENTAINE CASTLE, near Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, was a large Victorian mansion, built in 1860 for Thomas Richardson Browne.

It consisted of a two-storey main block and a lower two-storey wing, with two tall Italianate campaniles of equal height, one at each end.

Photo credit © McClintock of Seskinore

There was an open porch; two-light and three-light windows some round-headed and others rectangular. The roofing was prominent.

The images above are shown by kind permission of McClintock of Seskinore, which contains more pictures of Aughentaine.

The house was demolished ca 1955 by Colonel Hamilton-Stubber, who built a modern classical house (below) ca 1958 to the design of the Hon Claud Phillimore.

Land was acquired in the 18th century and a demesne was set out but not walled in.

An Italianate house was built in 1860.

There are many fine mature trees, evidence of the planting that took place for this imposing house.

The English landscape designer, Percy Cane, planned an ornamental garden for the house and this is maintained.

Excellent distant views can be seen from the house over Cane’s double terraces and tree-tops on lower ground.

Extensive rhododendron and other shrub planting cascades below the terraces and into the parkland to the south.

Expansion took place post-1958 in the planting beneath mature trees on either side of Ballyness Glen, which runs to the east of the house in an attractive declivity.

There is a lake on high ground to the north of the house, which has an island and is backed by a wood and, further back, extensive forest planting.

It is referred to as a ‘Fish Pond’ in 1858, prior to the erection of the 1860s house.

The 1860s stables are retained and beyond lies the walled garden, which is pre-1858.

It is part-cultivated and the original glasshouses have gone except one, which is in operation.

Several bridges are necessary in the park: one, built in the 1860s, was designed as part of the planned landscape.

Aughentaine estate, near Fivemiletown, is renowned for its shoots, garden and forestry.

First published in September, 2010.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

1st Duke of Chandos


The very ancient house of BRYDGES deduces its descent from

SIR SIMON DE BRUGGE, of Herefordshire, who flourished in the reign of HENRY III, and who seems to have been a branch of the old Counts de Rethel, in the province of Champagne, France, princes of the first distinction in that kingdom, sprung by various alliances from the House of Charlemagne, and afterwards memorable in the crusades.

In the time of HENRY IV,

THOMAS BRUGGE married Alice, daughter and co-heir of Sir Thomas Berkeley, of Coberley, Gloucestershire, by Margaret, sister and heir of Sir John Chandos (a family of nobles who had held baronial rank since the Conquest), and from this Thomas descended

JOHN BRYDGES (1492-1557), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1554, as Baron Chandos, of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDMUND, 2nd Baron (c1522-73); from whom descended, in succession, five more Barons; and, at the demise of

WILLIAM, 7th Baron, without issue, in 1676, the barony passed to his cousin,

SIR JAMES BRYDGES, Baronet (1642-1714), 8th Baron Chandos, of Wilton, as heir of Charles, second son of the 1st Baron.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 9th Baron (1673-1744), who was created, in 1714, Viscount Wilton and Earl of Carnarvon.

His lordship was advanced to a marquessate and dukedom, in 1719, as Marquess of Carnarvon and DUKE OF CHANDOS.

His Grace married firstly, in 1695, Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Lake, and had issue,
John (1703-27);
HENRY, his successor.
He wedded secondly, 1713, Cassandra, daughter of Francis Willoughby; and thirdly, in 1736, Lydia Catherine, daughter of John Van Hatten.

His Grace was succeeded by his younger son,

HENRY, 2nd Duke, KB (1708-71), who wedded, in 1728, Mary, daughter of Charles, 4th Earl of Elgin, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
His Grace married secondly, 1744, Anne Wells; and thirdly, in 1767, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Major Bt.

The 2nd Duke was succeeded by his son,

JAMES, 3rd Duke (1731-89), who wedded firstly, in 1753, Margaret, daughter of John Nicol; and secondly, in 1777, Anne Eliza, daughter of John Gamon, and had issue,

THE LADY ANNE ELIZABETH BRYDGES, who married Richard, 1st Duke of Buckingham & Chandos.

Following the decease of the 3rd Duke, without male issue, the dukedom expired.

Former seat ~ Stowe House, Buckinghamshire.

Chandos arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

The Princess Royal

Her Royal Highness THE PRINCESS ROYAL KG KT GCVO is 67 today.

The Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise was born at Clarence House, London.

HRH is married to Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence KCVO CB.

Princess Anne is a Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and an Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.

Her Royal Highness is also Grand Master and Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

Monday, 14 August 2017


By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith

First published in August, 2013.

Babington of Creevagh


The family of BABINGTON, of Creevagh, traces its descent from a younger brother of Bebington, of Bebington, Wirral, Cheshire.

He married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Croxton, of Ravenscroft, Cheshire, and had, with other issue, a son,

RICHARD BABINGTON, who had seven sons, of whom five were slain with their uncle Randal at Flodden Field, 1513, viz. William, Randal, James, John, and Charles.

The two surviving sons were,
RICHARD, of whom presently;
Thomas, ancestor of BABINGTON OF CHORLEY.
The elder son,

RICHARD BABINGTON, of Nantwich, Cheshire, wedded, in 1555, Ann, daughter of Richard Starkey, of the same place, and had issue,
BRUTUS, his heir;
Eldred, of Nantwich;
Randal, of Nantwich;
William, of Nantwich;
Ury (or Uriah).
Mr Babington was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT REV BRUTUS BABINGTON (1558-1611), Rector of Tatenhill, Staffordshire, and Thurcaston, Leicestershire, who was appointed, 1610, to the bishopric of Derry, and consecrated at Drogheda, County Louth, by the Most Rev Henry Ussher, Lord Archbishop of Armagh.

His lordship had issue, by Joan his wife,
RICHARD, his heir;
Edwin, of Creduff, Co Tyrone;
The Bishop was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD BABINGTON, who obtained from his father in 1610 a grant of the Urney estate, County Tyrone.

He had issue, a son,

MATTHEW BABINGTON, of Urney and Doe Castle, County Donegal, living in 1663, was attainted, 1689, by the Dublin parliament.

He is supposed to have wedded a daughter of Colonel James Galbraith, and died soon after 1689, having had issue,
William, of Urney and Doe Castle;
RICHARD, of whom we treat;
The second son,

RICHARD BABINGTON, of Daisy Hill (otherwise Roe Park), near Limavady, County Londonderry, married Isabella, fourth daughter of William Wray, of Castle Wray and Ards, County Donegal, and had issue (with three daughters),
William, of Urney and Doe Castle;
Humphrey (Rev), of Portglenone;
Richard (Rev);
GEORGE, of whom hereafter.
The youngest son,

GEORGE BABINGTON, of Londonderry, merchant, married, before 1763, Mary, daughter of Edmund Stafford, of County Antrim, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Isabella; Dorothea; Mary; Angel; Margaret.
Mr Babington was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE REV RICHARD BABINGTON (1765-1831), Rector of Longfield, County Tyrone, 1803, and Termonamongan, 1812, wedded Mary Boyle, of Dungiven, and had issue (with two daughters, Anne and Angel), nine sons,
Anthony, of Creevagh;
Thomas Henderson;
HUME, of whom we treat.
The youngest son,

THE REV HUME BABINGTON (1804-78), Rector of Moviddy, County Cork, married, in 1836, Esther, daughter of Richard Nevill Nettles, and had issue,
Richard, his heir;
HUME, of whom hereafter;
James Boyle;
David Robert;
Angel; Anne.
The second son,

HUME BABINGTON (1848-1925), of Creevagh House, Londonderry. wedded Hester, daughter of Samuel Watt, and had issue,
Hume (1880-1963), CBE;
Aileen Frances.
The elder son,

THE RT HON SIR ANTHONY BRUTUS BABINGTON QC MP (1877-1972), Attorney-General for Northern Ireland, married, in 1907, Ethel Vaughan, daughter of George Vaughan Hart, and had issue,
Mary Hume; Ruth.
The only son,

EMERSON BABINGTON (1910-89), Crown Solicitor for the City and County of Londonderry, married Judith Evans, and had issue,
Anthony Brutus, b 1947;
Andrew Hume, b 1949;
Kate, b 1951.
Photo credit: Stonedatabase

CREEVAGH HOUSE, Londonderry, is a two-storey, five-bay house over a basement.

There is a canted porch in the centre which incorporates a square-topped doorway and fanlight.

The present house replaced a previous dwelling, believed to have been constructed ca 1780.

According to Curl and Rowan the gentleman’s mansion was erected in the 1780s by the Babington family.

It is likely that Anthony Babington demolished his original dwelling shortly after 1830 and replaced it with the current two-storey mansion which is late-Georgian in appearance, suggesting an early build date of ca 1830-40.

Anthony Babington was the Distributor for Londonderry’s Stamp Office located on Pump Street and leased his land in Upper Creevagh from The Honourable The Irish Society.

He added an extensive complex of farm buildings to the north of his dwelling.

These outbuildings were arranged around a courtyard and included a ‘thrashing machine.’

In the same period the current 1½ storey gate lodge was installed at the south-east entrance of the estate.

The map shows that Creevagh House was originally constructed as a rectangular-shaped building.

The two-storey rear return and side porch were not added until the late-19th century.

Anthony Babington resided at Creevagh House until his death in 1869.

He bequeathed his estate at Upper Creevagh to his nephew, Hume Babington, third son of the Rev Hume Babington.

The 1911 census described Babington’s house as a first class dwelling that consisted of 27 rooms and possessed an extensive number of farm buildings including a stable, cow house, dairy, boiling house and potato house which were located at the outbuildings to the north.

Hume Babington vacated Creevagh House shortly before his death in 1925.

John E Morrison took possession of the house and its farm buildings in 1926.

The Morrison family resided at Creevagh House until at least the 1970s.

Creevagh House was listed in 1979.

In that year Rowan described the dwelling in the following terms:
"Shrouded in woodlands. A large, plain late-Georgian house built by the Babington family ca 1780. 
The usual five-bay, two-storey block enhanced by a freestone ashlar front with corner quoins and Gibbs surrounds to the windows. 
Inside is a delightful cantilevered oval stair, small in scale, lit by a half-landing window and roofed by a deeply coffered dome. The entire basement of the house is finely vaulted in brick."
Creevagh House was re-roofed in 1999 during a renovation that also included repair work being carried out to its side entrance porch.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Ballymena Castle


The family of ADAIR was settled in Scotland, and later in Ulster, for many generations, and, according to tradition, derived its descent from a junior branch of the noble house of FitzGerald, Earls of Desmond.

NINIAN ADAIR, of Kinhilt, in Wigtownshire, lived in the early part of the 16th century, and was father of

WILLIAM ADAIR, of the same place, whose son,

NINIAN ADAIR, was father of

WILLIAM ADAIR, who acquired the estate of Ballymena, County Antrim. His son,

SIR ROBERT ADAIR, who received the honour of knighthood from CHARLES I, died in 1665.

He married Jean, daughter of Archibald Edmonstone, of Duntreath, in Stirlingshire, by whom he had a son,

WILLIAM ADAIR, who, by Anna Helena Scott, his wife (to whom he was married ca 1658), was father of

SIR ROBERT ADAIR, of Kinhilt and Ballymena, who raised a regiment of foot and a troop of horse for the service of WILLIAM III, and received the honour of knighthood from that monarch on the field after the battle of the Boyne.

Sir Robert died in 1745, having married four wives; by the first of whom, Penelope, daughter of Sir Robert Colville, Knight, he left a son,

WILLIAM ADAIR, captain of dragoons, who died in 1762, leaving by Catherine Smallman, his wife, a son and successor,

ROBERT ADAIR, who died in 1798, leaving by Anne his wife, daughter of Alexander McAuley, of the city of Dublin, barrister-at-law, a son,

WILLIAM ADAIR (1754-1844), of Flixton Hall, Suffolk, and Colehayes Park, Devon, who wedded Camilla, daughter and heir Robert Shafto, of Benwell, Northumberland, and had issue,
ROBERT SHAFTO, his heir;
William Robert, died at Harrow School;
Alexander, of Hetherton Park;
Mr Adair was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT SHAFTO ADAIR (1786-1869), of Flixton Hall, Suffolk, and Ballymena, County Antrim, who wedded, in 1810, Elizabeth Maria, daughter of the Rev James Strode, of Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, and had issue,
Hugh Edward.
Mr Adair was created a baronet in 1838.

He was succeeded by his elder son, 

SIR ROBERT ALEXANDER SHAFTO ADAIR (1811-86), 2nd Baronet, of Ballymena Castle, who married Theodosia, daughter of General the Hon Robert Meade, second son of John, Earl of Clanwilliam.

Sir Robert was elevated to the peerage, in 1873, as BARON WAVENEY, of South Elmham, Suffolk.
In 1865, Adair began the construction in the demesne of Ballymena Castle, a substantial family residence in the Scottish baronial style. The castle was not completed until 1887, and was demolished in 1957 after having lain empty for some years and being vandalised; the site is now a car park. In 1870, Adair donated a People's Park to Ballymena, engaging fifty labourers to work for six months landscaping it.
The barony became extinct on his death in 1886, while he was succeeded in the baronetcy by his younger brother,

SIR HUGH EDWARD ADAIR JP DL (1815-1902), 3rd Baronet, of Ballymena Castle, who wedded, in 1856, Harriet Camilla, daughter of Alexander Adair, and had issue,
Hugh Alexander (1858-68);
ROBERT SHAFTO, succeeded his brother;
Camilla Beatrix Mary.
Sir Hugh was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR FREDERICK EDWARD SHAFTO ADAIR JP (1860-1915), 4th Baronet, of Ballymena Castle, who died a bachelor, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

SIR ROBERT SHAFTO ADAIR JP DL (1862-1949), 5th Baronet, who married, in 1890, Mary, daughter of Henry Anstey Bosanquet, and had issue,
Robert Desmond Shafto, died in infancy;
ALLAN HENRY SHAFTO, of whom hereafter;
Camilla Mary Shafto.
Sir Robert was succeeded by his only surviving son,

MAJOR-GENERAL SIR ALLAN HENRY SHAFTO ADAIR GCVO CB DSO MC JP DL (1897-1988), 6th and last Baronet, who espoused, in 1919, Enid Violet Ida, daughter of William Humble Dudley Ward, and had issue,
DESMOND ALLAN SHAFTO, predeceased his father;
Robert Dudley Shafto (1923-25);
Bridget Mary; Juliet Enid; Annabel Violet.
Sir Allan's only son,

Captain Desmond Allan Shafto Adair, born in 1920, died in 1943 at Italy, killed in action.

When the 6th Baronet died in 1988 the title became extinct.

THE CASTLE, Ballymena, County Antrim, was a large Scottish-Baronial Victorian house built in the 1870s for Sir Robert Adair, later 1st Baron Waveney.

It had a massive seven-storey tower at one end was built by Lanyon & Lynn of Belfast.

The original castle, built by the Adairs, was burnt in 1720.

The Adair estate at Ballymena was sold to the tenants in 1904 and the castle fell into disuse.

The castle was still standing in 1953, but badly damaged by arson in 1955 and condemned as unsafe the following year.

When the local council demolished it in 1957, Sir Allan Adair bought Holy Hill House, near Strabane, County Tyrone, and installed ten stained glass windows from the castle there, where they remain today.

First published in October, 2010.

Saturday, 12 August 2017


By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith

First published in August, 2013.

Dixon Park

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is located at Dunmurry, County Antrim, now on the outskirts of Belfast.

This fine civic park, originally Wilmont Estate, was conveyed as a gift to the City of Belfast in December, 1959, by Edith, Lady Dixon, DBE, in order to perpetuate the long association of her husband (the Rt Hon Sir Thomas Dixon Bt) and herself with the City.

It comprises 134 acres.

The mansion house of 1859 still stands, in reasonably good condition; though its future seems uncertain, since it lies disused and apparently unwanted by the city fathers.

The surrounding parkland is delightful, with mature trees and woodland, and the River Lagan.

A large section of the grounds is now used for the international rose trials, established in 1964.

The stable block now houses a ground-floor café.

The walled garden is a haven of peace and tranquillity, with a number of park benches donated by the families of deceased loved-ones, their details on metal plaques.

The fruit and vegetables which flourished here are long gone, though some original paths remain and the garden now thrives with fine flora.

On an outside wall of the walled garden, at one corner, there are three mural memorials to pet dogs.

The canine memorial above must have been erected by the Reade family, who sold Wilmont to the Dixons in 1919.

First published in August, 2015.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Sir Audley Mervyn

The family of MERVYN, originally from Wales, was seised of the Fonthill estate, in Wiltshire, during the reign of EDWARD IV.

LUCY MERVYN, daughter of Sir John Mervyn, of Fonthill, espoused George, 1st Earl of Castlehaven, and her youngest daughter,

THE LADY CHRISTIAN TUCHET, marrying her maternal relative, SIR HENRY MERVYN, Knight, her son,

SIR AUDLEY MERVYN (c1603-75), went over to Ireland and had a command in the English army, in conjunction with his kinsman, Lord Castlehaven, during the civil wars in that kingdom, 1641-2.

On the attainder of his cousin James, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven, Sir Audley came into possession of that nobleman's great estates in County Tyrone, with the remainder of the estates and the name and representation of the family vested in GENERAL MERVYN ARCHDALE by the intermarriage of his great-grandfather, William Archdale, and Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Mervyn, of Omagh Castle and Trillick (whose remaining daughter wedded the ancestor of the Irvines, of Castle Irvine, County Fermanagh), as also under the will of Henry, last heir male of that family.

The Galbraith Baronetcy


SAMUEL GALBRAITH, of Fort Dunduff, County Donegal, married Jane, daughter of John Clarke, and had issue,

JAMES GALBRAITH, of Londonderry, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of John Whitehill, of Clady, County Londonderry, and had a son,

JAMES GALBRAITH (c1759-1827), Crown Solicitor for Ireland, who married Rebecca Dorothea, daughter and co-heir of John Hamilton, of Castlefin, and had issue,
Jane, m, 1820, Capt CG Stanhope RN, son of Rear-Adm Stanhope;
Letitia Elizabeth; Angel Isabella; Harriet; Isabella.
Mr Galbraith,  who represented Augher in the Irish Parliament, 1798-1800, was created a baronet in 1813.

He died at Wells, Somerset, when the baronetcy became extinct.


URNEY PARK, near Clady, County Londonderry, is a two-storey, three-bay Georgian house of ca 1810.

Its main features include a Doric ashlar portico, stone quoins, and elaborate chimneys.

The house was built or fundamentally remodelled by Sir James Galbraith in 1814.

Galbraith was "law agent" to the 1st Marquess of Abercorn at the time.

A letter to Lord Abercorn in 1814 stated that he was rebuilding Urney Park, the former residence of a Mr Fenton,
 "My Dear Lord, We have had fine weather and a fine harvest. Abundant and good. Except the poor man's all is in and he has a fine prospect for his also. 
It has been most favourable for my Building. Mr Fenton quitted Urney in July and I have one wing covered in and the cornice laid on the other. 
I hope I may yet be so happy as to have your Lordship's opinion of it tho' it should be to say that I was a blockhead for not building where I first intended and break new ground and leave Fenton where he was but what I have done fixes me for life within an hour of Barons Court and I shall be comfortably fixed next year. 
Time is everything. May God Bless you my Dear Lord. Your faithful and affectionate servant ever."
John Fenton is mentioned in documents as an absentee landlord of Urney parish.

The building is shown on the first map of 1832-33, captioned Urney Park.

Formal gardens are also shown.

Outbuildings to the rear are possible survivals from the earlier house mentioned above by Galbraith.

On a chart of 1855 a new outbuilding is shown to the rear of the house, forming an enclosed courtyard.

A gate lodge is shown to the north; and a farmyard and thrashing machine to the south.

Lady Galbraith continued to reside at Urney following her husband's death; though this was revised at a later stage to Richard Hamilton.

Ordnance Survey Memoirs place the house in County Donegal,
"Urney Park, the seat of the late Sir James Galbraith Bart and at which his widow Lady Galbraith is constantly resident, is a handsome modern house with portico situated in an extensive demesne looking over the plantations which divide it from the mail coach road to Sligo and over the grounds of Urney House to the River Finn, the picturesque hill of Crohan on the opposite side of the river forming a pleasing background and termination to the prospect in the north west."
Sir James also seems to have resided in Dublin, where he owned a house in North Great George's Street.

He was at one time the crown solicitor for Ireland, and his title became extinct when he died in 1827, as he left no male heirs.

Griffith's Valuation of 1857 records a "house, offices and land", which is occupied by Richard Hamilton and leased from Captain Andrew Knox.

Valuation Revisions listed the occupier as Andrew Knox, various members of the Knox family taking ownership throughout the 19th century, until 1908 when Catherine Perry was in residence.
Urney House consisted of kitchen, scullery, pantry and three rooms on the ground floor and six bedrooms, bathroom and separate WC on the first floor, but a note reads "two storeys and basement". Measurements and a plan are given. There is hot and cold water, but the property has no electricity, being lit by oil lamps.
First published in August, 2013. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Lough Fea House


This is a branch of the noble and ancient family of Shirley, EARLS FERRERS, springing from

SIR ROBERT SHIRLEY, Knight, 1st EARL FERRERS (1650-1717), who married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Lawrence Washington, of Garsdon, Wiltshire; and secondly, in 1699, Selina, daughter of George Finch.

The third, but, eventually, eldest surviving son of his second marriage,

THE HON GEORGE SHIRLEY (1705-87), of Ettington Park, Warwickshire, Captain, 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, wedded Mary, daughter of Humphrey Sturt, and had issue,
GEORGE, his successor;
EVELYN, succeeded his brother;
Selina; Margaret.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE SHIRLEY, of Ettington Park and Lough Fea, County Monaghan, who espoused Phillis Byam, daughter of Charlton Wollaston, and had issue,
Arthur George Sewallis;
Selina; Mary; Frances; Emily Harriet.
Mr Shirley was succeeded by his eldest son, 

EVELYN JOHN SHIRLEY (1788-1856), of Ettington Park and Lough Fea, who wedded, in 1810, Eliza, daughter of Arthur Stanhope, cousin to the Earl of Chesterfield, sometime MP for County Monaghan and South Warwickshire, and had issue,
George Edward;
Walter Devereux;
Selina; Louisa.
His eldest son, 

EVELYN PHILIP SHIRLEY DL (1812-82), of Ettington Park and Lough Fea, MP for South Warwickshire and County Monaghan, had issue,

SEWALLIS EVELYN SHIRLEY JP DL (1844-1904), of Ettington Park and Lough Fea, MP for County Monaghan, 1868-80, High Sheriff of Warwickshire, 1884, who had issue,

EVELYN CHARLES SHIRLEY JP DL (1889-1956), of Ettington Park and Lough Fea; High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1914; Lieutenant-Colonel, Major, the Warwickshire Yeomanry; Lieutenant-Colonel, the General Staff, whose only son,

JOHN EVELYN SHIRLEY (1922-2009), of Ettington Park and Lough Fea, Major, King's Royal Rifle Corps.

He lived in 2003 at Ormly Hall, Ramsey, Isle of Man.

He had issue,
Philip Evelyn Shirley, b 1955;
Emily Margaret Shirley, b 1957;
Hugh Sewallis Shirley, b 1961.

The Shirley estate is based at Lough Fea, near Carrickmacross in County Monaghan.

It had an area of some 40 square miles, in the western half of the barony of Farney, County Monaghan, in the period 1576-1960.

The Shirley Papers are deposited at PRONI.

The Shirley Association has written a history of Lough Fea.

The Shirleys were semi-absentee landlords. Their main seat was Ettington Park in Warwickshire.

Evelyn Philip Shirley visited Lough Fea several times a year.

The estate was formerly in the ownership of the Earl of Essex, though underwent the first of several partitions: It passed in two halves to Essex's co-heirs, the Marquess of Hertford and Sir Robert Shirley.

Sir Robert himself died in 1656, imprisoned in the Tower of London for supporting the Royalist cause in the English Civil War.

His son and heir was Sir Seymour Shirley, on whose death in 1667 the estate and the rest of the family inheritance passed in turn to his second and only surviving son, Sir Robert Shirley.

Sir Robert entered the House of Lords in 1677, as Baron Ferrers of Chartley, and in 1711 was further ennobled as 1st Earl Ferrers and Viscount Tamworth.

This last title related to the family seat of Ettington in Warwickshire.

About 1750, the Shirleys built a house near Carrickmacross for their occasional visits.

It was not until 1826 that Robert's grandson, Evelyn John Shirley, laid the foundations of a mansion house worthy of the family and estate, near the banks of Lough Fea.

LOUGH FEA is a very large and unusual Tudor-Gothic house by Thomas Rickman, the English architect and architectural writer who invented the terms "Early English", "decorated" and "perpendicular" to describe the different periods of Gothic architecture.

Unlike most houses of its period and style, Lough Fea has no battlements and few gables, but a solid parapet which conceals much of the roof.

There are also hardly any projecting bows or oriels, but rather small, mullioned windows under hood mouldings; so that the elevations, of pinkish-grey ashlar, have a solid effect.

There are several slender, square turrets with sprocketed, pyramidal roofs; also a polygonal lantern and a small tower and polygonal turret at the end of one wing; but no major tower; so that he house seems low and wide-spreading.

The entrance front, facing the lough, is flanked on one side by the chapel and on the other by a great hall, which together form a three-sided court.

The interior is of great complexity, with many corridors and ante-rooms.

There is a hall divided by a stone arcade, its walls hung with an early 19th-century wallpaper.

There is a large and handsome library, the famous library of EP Shirley, son of the builder of the house.

The chapel is on the scale of a sizeable church, with two pulpits and a gallery.

The clou of the house is, however, the great hall: vast and baronial, with a lofty hammer-beam roof, a minstrels' gallery and an arcade at first-floor level.

It was added after the rest of the house was completed.

According to the story, Mr Shirley and Lord Rossmore vied with one another as to which of them could build the bigger room.

Lord Rossmore enlarged his drawing room at Rossmore Park five times, but in the end Mr Shirley won the contest by building his great hall.

The garden front of the house faces along a vista to an immense Celtic cross.

The demesne is noted for its magnificent woodlands.

At the end of the 19th century the estate comprised 26,386 acres, but these lands had to be sold due to the Irish Land Acts before the First World War.

The estate now has less than 1,000 acres of grass and woodland.

After the sale of the land, which had been rented to tenants, large mansions such as Lough Fea became white elephants with little revenue coming in.

In 1904, when Major Shirley’s grandfather died, his father moved from his Ettington Park home in Warwickshire to Carrickmacross, County Monaghan.

Between 1904 and 1977, Major Shirley’s father and his family lived there permanently.

There was a serious fire at the house in 1966, which did quite a lot of damage.

In 1977, the family moved to the Isle of Man and thus reverted to its 19th Century role of absenteeism; though because Major Shirley and his sons were brought up on the estate they have a great love of the place and they do their best to keep the main parts of the building waterproof.

First published in June, 2011.

Ballygawley House


CAPTAIN ANDREW STEWART, a native of Scotland, settled in Ulster about 1627, and marrying Sarah, eldest daughter of Andrew, 3rd Baron Castle Stewart, and sister to Mary, Countess of Suffolk, had three sons,
HUGH, of whose line we treat;
James. a naval officer slain in battle.
Captain Stewart, who had been actively engaged against the rebels, fell in one of his encounters with them, about 1650.

His second son,

HUGH STEWART, married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Morris, of Mountjoy Castle, and had two sons, Hugh and John; the elder of whom,

THE REV HUGH STEWART, Rector of Termon, County Tyrone, wedded Sarah, daughter of the Rev Andrew Hamilton, by his wife, the only daughter and heir of Sir William Conyngham Bt, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Andrew, an officer in the East India Company;
Henry (Rev Dr), Rector of Loughgilly;
Ann; Sarah; Amelia.
The Rev Dr Stewart was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON JOHN STEWART (c1758-1825), of Ballygawley, who having attained eminence at the Bar, was appointed Attorney-General for Ireland, 1799, and sworn of the privy council of that kingdom.

He subsequently represented the counties of Down and Tyrone in parliament, and was created a baronet, 1803.

Sir John espoused Mary, daughter of Mervyn Archdale, of Castle Archdale, and by her had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
Sir John was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HUGH (1792-1854), 2nd Baronet, MP for Tyrone, 1830-34, who wedded firstly, in 1826, Julia, daughter of Marcus McCausland Gage, of Bellarena, County Londonderry, and had issue,
JOHN MARCUS, his successor;
Sir Hugh espoused secondly, in 1837, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev Henry Lucas St George, Rector of Dromore, County Tyrone, by whom he had a daughter, Elizabeth.
  • Sir Hugh, 2nd Baronet (1792–1854);
    Sir John Marcus, 3rd Baronet (1830–1905);
    Sir Hugh Houghton, 4th Baronet (1858–1942);
    Sir George Powell, 5th Baronet (1861–1945);
    Sir Hugh Charlie Godfray, 6th Baronet (1897–1994);
    Sir David John Christopher, 7th Baronet (b 1935). 
Sir Hugh, 6th Baronet, of Loughmacrory Lodge, County Tyrone, was a major in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; High Sheriff, 1955, and DL for County Tyrone in 1971.

The 7th and present Baronet, Sir David, lives in Somerset.

Nick Stewart, whose half-brother is the present baronet, has kindly sent me two old photographs of Ballygawley House taken by Sir Hugh in the winter of 1914.

At that time the demesne was known as Greenhill.

Photo credit: Kenneth Allen

BALLYGAWLEY HOUSE, near Ballygawley, County Tyrone, was set in its own parkland, was a Classical mansion of two storeys, with a two-storey portico supported by two giant Doric columns and a shallow dome.

It was built for the 2nd Baronet between 1825 and 1833, to the design of John Hargrave.

Seemingly, the mansion suffered an accidental fire during the 1920s and the Stewart family never returned to it. 

First published in December, 2009.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India

First published in August, 2013.

Baronscourt Fête

Hard to believe it was two years ago (June, 2015) that I travelled down to Baronscourt, the Duke of Abercorn's stately home in county Tyrone.

A summer fête was taking place within the grounds in order to raise funds for the Woodland Trust's Centenary Woods project, one of four flagship woods being created throughout the United Kingdom to mark the centenary of the 1st World War.

I began the day with a visit to Baronscourt House, where there were guided tours by Lord Anthony Hamilton, the Duke's brother.

I had earlier encountered the Duke and Duchess near the stately porte-cochère outside the house. 

Stable-yard entrance

Inside the mansion house, Lord Anthony conducted tours of the principal rooms, including the main hall, the Rotunda, the long gallery at the garden front (the present garden front used to be the entrance front).

There is a charming little children's play house (below) within the formal garden beside the House.

Baronscourt boasts an array of old masters, including portraits by van Dyke and Panini, to mention but a few.

Ducal arms

I reminisced with Lord Anthony about his period as custodian of Florence Court estate, County Fermanagh, during the late 1970s.

At lunch-time I made a beeline for the stable-yard tea-room, where ladies of Baroncourt parish were providing delicious cream teas, sandwiches, and pastries.

Later, I ambled towards a display of army trucks, including one mighty beast which had two bunk-beds behind the driver's seat.

At two o'clock, Peter Archdale conducted an informative woodland walk.

Deep in the woods, there is a replica of a Russian Dacha  (the Duchess is patron of the Pushkin Trust).

Dacha replica

Irish cobs
I left for home at about four-thirty.
First published in June, 2015