Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Island Taggart Visit

Island Taggart is one of the largest islands on Strangford Lough, County Down.

Today we all mustered at Balloo, Killinchy, and motored the short distance, via Rathcunningham Road, to the quay.

This is a cul-de-sac which terminates at Rathcunningham Quay.

From here, Simmy Island and Ringdufferin are adjacent.


About ten of us boarded the little motor-boat from the quay and made the five-minute trip over to Taggart in two runs.


This island has been a property of the National Trust since 1985, when it was donated by Patrick and Kathleen Mackie.

There is a derelict farmstead in the middle of the island, which was used for the film production of The December Bride (by the Ulster author, Sam Hanna Bell).

Taggart is about 85 acres in extent.

Old orchard at back of farmhouse

Today we were cutting down gorse bushes.

I had my favourite cheese-and-onion sandwiches for lunch.

Royal County Down Golf Club


The Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, County Down, was established in 1889 by a group of Belfast businessmen.

The Club has two eighteen-hole links courses, viz. The Championship Course and The Annesley Links.

The clubhouse was built in 1896, to designs by Vincent Craig (brother of Sir James Craig, later 1st Viscount Craigavon), and opened in September of the following year.


The building cost of £2,200 and was partly funded by the Belfast and County Down Railway, which ran a Golfers' Express train from Belfast every Saturday.

The railway company and its successor, the Ulster Transport Authority, maintained formal links with the club until 1968.

Slieve Donard Hotel in early 20th century

The Slieve Donard Hotel, adjacent to Royal County Down, has always had close associations with the club, having originally opened, in 1898, as a railway hotel.

Royal patronage was conferred on the Club in 1908 by EDWARD VII.


In 1965, the clubhouse was extended at a cost of £60,000, with additional changing-room facilities added to the ground floor and extensive remodelling of rooms to the first floor.

The Centenary Extension, added in 1989, provided a visitors bar to the first floor and ladies toilets to the ground floor.

The most recent extension and refurbishment occurred in 2005.

The original two-storey Clubhouse is in the Domestic-Revival style.

It has a rosemary clay tile roof, dormers, gables and bays, with a battered Scrabo stone finish to the ground floor which rises to the first floor cill level.


The Clubhouse was extended in 1965, with a sympathetic additional extension ca 1992, the latter to designs by Hobart & Heron.

In the middle of the south elevation an external timber stair ascends to a gabled timber porch with recessed central double doors and a segmental fanlight.


The porch has glazed sides each with three large panes surmounted with a small decorative fanlight.

The Irish Open golf championship will be held at Royal County Down from the 28-30th May, 2015.

A number of Old Brackenbrians (a degree of partiality here!) have served the office of Captain, namely: Michael Harkness; Dr Peter Brown; and Kenneth McCaw.

Royal County Down is widely reputed as being one of the finest golf links in the British Isles and beyond.

First published in June, 2014.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Rowallane House

THE MOORE FAMILY OWNED 510 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

This family claims to be a branch of the very ancient Scottish house of MURE, or MUIR, of Rowallan, Ayrshire.

COLONEL MUIR, of WILLIAM III's army, obtained a grant of lands in Ulster.

His son, 

CAPTAIN HUGH MOORE (1696-1777), of the 9th Regiment of Dragoons, married, in 1720, Elizabeth Clarke, of Clough House, County Down.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN MOORE (1724-1800), of Clough House, land agent to the Annesley estate, who wedded Deborah, daughter of Robert Isaac, of Holywood, County Down, and Anne his wife, daughter of James Bailie, of Inishargie, in the same county, a descendant of John Knox.

Mr Moore was succeeded by his son,

HUGH MOORE (1762-1848), of Eglantine House, and Mount Panther, County Down, Captain, 5th Dragoon Guards, Colonel of the Eglantine Yeomanry (which he raised) in the Irish Rebellion.

He was ADC to General Needham during the Irish rebellion, and raised and commanded the Eglantine Yeomanry.

Colonel Moore married, in 1798, Priscilla Cecilia, daughter of Robert Armytage, of Kensington, London, and widow of Robert Shaw, of Terenure, County Dublin, and had issue,
JOHN ROBERT, his heir;
William Armytage (1806-83); father of HUGH ARMYTAGE;
Jane Deborah, died unmarried;
Priscilla Cecilia, m 3rd Earl Annesley;
Caroline Anne Elizabeth, m Rev J P Garrett;
Maria Clarissa, m W Humphrys.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THE REV JOHN ROBERT MOORE (1801-88), of Rowallane, County Down, Vicar of Kilmood, 1830, who wedded, in 1850, Jane, daughter of R Morris, of Carmarthen, and widow of Henry Davidson.

He dsp and was succeeded by his nephew,

HUGH ARMYTAGE-MOORE JP (1873-1954), of Rowallane, County Down, who married, in 1910, Jane Christian, eldest daughter of Kenneth Mathieson, of 50 Prince's Gate, London;
2nd lieutenant, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1891; manager of the Annesley Estate, 1909-17; chairman, County Down section, Ulster Volunteer Force.
*****

Charles James Eglantine Armytage-Moore (1880-1960), son of William Armytage-Moore and Hugh Armytage-Moore's cousin,
was a founding partner of the London stockbrokers Buckmaster & Moore and owned an estate called Winterfold, a Queen Anne style residence with 219 acres near Cranleigh in Surrey, with a remarkable collection of furniture and art.

ROWALLANE HOUSE, near Saintfield, County Down, is a long, low, plain house of two storeys, with a higher block at one end.

It was built in 1861 by the Rev John Moore, who had purchased the property as a farm.  

In 1858 he had bought a townland called Creevyloughgare

After this initial acquisition, Mr Moore then acquired the neighbouring townland, Leggyowan, in the early 1870s and named it Rowallane, meaning Beautiful Cleanrig, after the ancestral home of his Scottish forebears.

He gradually enlarged the farmhouse, added the walled garden and stable block and planted The Pleasure Grounds.

The house has irregular fenestration, with a few first-floor windows having little, iron balconies.


The grounds contain various turrets; an obelisk made of spherical stones from the river bed; and other 20th century follies.

The house and grounds, comprising ca 220 acres, were walled-in and converted from farmland to the fifty acre layout as seen today.

The land has pockets of good acid soil and much rock near the surface, so planting is mitigated by these conditions.

The planting is informal, for the above reason, and it also reflects the style of the era.

Initially shelter trees were planted, and the Pleasure Grounds developed to the west of the house.


Ornamental plants were added, but the important plant collection that can be appreciated today occurred between 1903-55 by Hugh Armytage Moore ~ whose sister, incidentally, was the first wife of Percy French.

This has become one of the greatest gardens in Northern Ireland and is appreciated for the fine variety of plant material, which can be enjoyed at all times of the year.

The size is not intimidating ~ fifty acres; and the layout is varied by being in compartments, often using earlier stone-walled field boundaries.


There is the Spring Ground (above), Stream Ground, and the New Ground, to name some of the areas.

The Rock Garden Wood lies at the southern end of the garden and, as a large natural rock outcrop, provides an ideal spot to grow a wide range of alpines and unusual shrubs.


The walled garden, originally a conventional fruit, vegetable and flower garden, became a focus for the plant collection and, at the present time, is fully maintained and contains many interesting species, including the national collection of penstemons.

Rhododendrons are a speciality and they can be seen in many parts of the grounds.

Wild flowers are encouraged in the Pleasure Ground.

A great deal has been written about Rowallane in horticultural journals.

Rowallane demesne was acquired by the National Trust in 1955 and, since then, the gardens have been improved and the plant collection added to.

The ground floor of Rowallane House is now open to visitors with a new café, shop, and exhibition on the ground floor.


The house has recently undergone internal alterations and visitors can now enjoy new enhanced facilities.
Alterations include: the formation of structural openings to the ground floor to provide a new café, shop and interpretation area; a new tea room, designed to bring the outdoors indoors, with the colour scheme depicting the four seasons; while customers can also enjoy a new outdoor patio area.
There is also a pottery.

First published in September, 2012.

Henderson of Norwood Tower

THE HENDERSON FAMILY OWNED 52 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

JAMES HENDERSON (1766-1834), of Castlereagh, County Down, married Amelia Magill, and had a son,

JAMES HENDERSON (1797-1853), of Newry, County Down, Proprietor of the Newry Telegraph, who wedded Ann Peacock, and had issue,
JAMES ALEXANDER, his heir;
William;
George, b 1814;
Henry, b 1820;
Isabella; two other daughters.
Mr Henderson was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES ALEXANDER HENDERSON JP (1823-83), of Norwood Tower, Strandtown, Belfast, Mayor of Belfast, 1873-74, Proprietor of the Belfast Newsletter, who wedded Agnes, daughter of Alexander Mackay, Junior, of Mountcollyer Park, Belfast, Joint Proprietor of the Belfast Newsletter, and had issue,
JAMES, of whom presently;
Alexander Mackay, b 1850; Major, RIR;
William, 1852-75;
Trevor (Sir), KBE, of Norwood Tower (1862-1930);
Charles Westbourne (1865-1935);
Jane; Anne; Agnes; Catherine Mackay; Florence Elizabeth.
Mr Henderson was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES HENDERSON JP DL (1848-1914), of Oakley House, Windsor Park, Belfast, who married Martha Pollock and had issue,
David, 1881;
James, 1889;
OSCARof whom hereafter;
George York, MC (1893-1917); k/a;
Richard Lilburn, 1895;
Mary Agnes Florence Elizabeth, 1899.
Sir James served the office of Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1898, and was the first High Sheriff of the city.

He was credited with the building of the new City Hall.

James Henderson was born at Mountcollyer Park, Belfast, the home of his grandfather, Alexander Mackay; took a law degree at Trinity College, Dublin; called to the Irish Bar, 1872; editor of the Newry Telegraph, 1873-83. 

He became managing proprietor of the Belfast News-Letter and Belfast Weekly News; was appointed President of the Master Printers’ Federation of Great Britain and Ireland; was made a Freeman of the City of Belfast in 1912; and was knighted by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at Viceregal Lodge, Phoenix Park, Dublin, in January, 1899.

Sir James's younger son,

COMMANDER OSCAR HENDERSON DSO CVO CBE RN (1891-1969), married, in 1920, Alicia Mary Henry.
Commander Henderson served in a destroyer during the 1st World War and he was second-in-command of HMS Iris at the famous Battle of Zeebrugge, in April 1918, when a British force blocked the Mole by sinking a ship across the entrance.
Commander Henderson assumed command when the Captain was killed, and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his part in this epic He became Comptroller and Private Secretary to the 3rd Duke of Abercorn, 1st Governor of Northern Ireland, and was awarded a CVO and CBE for his services. 

© 2011 Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland


During the 19th century, the Hendersons lived at Norwood Tower, Strandtown, County Down, a large mansion in its own grounds.


This rambling Tudor-Revival mansion had two gate-lodges, each about a quarter of a mile apart.

The first lodge was a little beyond the entrance to Clonaver House, the Hendersons' former dower house, which was sold to James Girdwood; while the second lodge was almost opposite the entrance to Ardvarna House.

The gate lodges were both battlemented; while the house, set in a landscaped park, was dominated by a lofty, castellated tower.

The grounds of fifty-two acres extended to the top of Circular Road and Sydenham Avenue. 

It was assumed that Norwood Tower or its dower house, Clonaver, would pass to Oscar Henderson when Florence Elizabeth, his aunt, died.

She decided, however, to leave the estate, together with a majority holding in Belfast News Letter shares, to the Musgrave (baronets) side of the family. 

Drawing by the Rev McC Auld

This was a bitter blow to Oscar and his family.

They could do nothing about the property, but they did succeed in buying back the News-Letter shares. 

Commander Henderson and his wife Alicia had two sons,

1. Captain Oscar William James (Bill) Henderson OBE DL (1924-2010); educated at Brackenber House School and Bradfield; married Rachel Primrose Forrest, daughter of Colonel John Forrest CMG, of Belfast, in 1949. They had three daughters.

2. Robert Brumwell (Brum) Henderson CBE DL (1929-2005); educated, like his brother, at Brackenber House School, Belfast, and Bradfield; took his degree at Trinity College Dublin.

Commander Henderson's first wife was Joy Duncan whom he married in 1952.

Brum Henderson became a career journalist in the Belfast News Letter from 1951-59; was appointed general manager of Ulster Television in 1959; managing director, 1961; and Chairman, 1983-92.

He was appointed CBE in 1979 and received an honorary doctorate of Literature at the Ulster University, 1982.

Brum published a number of books, including Midnight Oil (1961), A Television First (1977) and Amusing (1984). He was a director of ITN from 1964-66; a Deputy Lieutenant of Belfast; a director of Reuters and of the Press Association; and gave many years of service to the Newspaper Society.

A golfer of distinction, he was once runner-up in the Irish Open Championship. They had two daughters. 

In 1970 Brum married, secondly, Patricia Ann, daughter of Matthew Davison, of Belfast.

They lived at Ballynahinch, County Down.

Illustration of gate lodge courtesy of the Rev McConnell Auld.    First published in March, 2011.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Newtownbarry House

THE HALL-DARE FAMILY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WEXFORD, WITH 5,627 ACRES

ELIZABETH EATON, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry Eaton, of North Lodge, Essex, by Elizabeth, his wife, last surviving child of George Mildmay, of Corbett's Stye, Essex, married firstly, in 1779, JOHN DARE, of Bentry Heath, Essex, and by him she had an only child,
John Hopkins Dare, of Theydon Bois, Essex, who died unmarried in 1805.
Mrs Dare married secondly, 1791, JOHN MARMADUKE GRAFTON, of Cranbrook House (only son of John Marmaduke Grafton, of Romford), who took the surname of DARE, in addition to that of GRAFTON, in 1805, and died in 1810.

Mrs Dare died in 1823, leaving by her second husband an only child,

ELIZABETH GRAFTON GRAFTON-DARE (1793-), who wedded, in 1815, ROBERT WESTLEY HALL, of Wyefield, and of Cranbrook, High Sheriff of Essex, 1821, and MP for South Essex, who took the surname and arms of DARE, 1823, in addition to those of HALL.

Mr Hall-Dare and his sister, Elizabeth Catherine, were the children of Robert Westley Hall, of Ilford Lodge and FitzWalters, Essex, by Maria Elizabeth his wife, widow of Abraham de Codyn, of Demerara, and daughter of Cornelius Brower, of the same place and grandchildren of the Rev Westley Hall, who died in London ca 1770.

The Rev Westley Hall was son of one of the Halls of Hillsborough, Kent, who married the sister of Sir Robert Westley, Lord Mayor of London.

Mr Hall-Dare died in 1836, and by his said wife, Elizabeth Grafton Grafton-Dare, left issue,
ROBERT WESTLEY, his heir;
John Grafton, 1818-19;
Henry;
Arthur Charles; died in infancy;
Francis Marmaduke, b 1830;
Mary Elizabeth; Emma Burton; Anne Mildmay; Agnes; Elizabeth.
The eldest son, 

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE (1817-66), of FitzWalters, Essex, married, in 1839, Frances Anna Catherine, daughter of Gustavus Lambart, of Beauparc, County Meath, and had issue,
ROBERT WESTLEY, his heir;
Charles;
Olivia Frances Grafton; Mabel Virginia Anna; Frances Maria.
Mr Hall-Dare was succeeded by his elder son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE JP DL (1840-76), of Newtownbarry House, County Wexford, and of Theydon Bois, Essex, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1872, who wedded, in 1863, Caroline Susan Henrietta, second daughter of Henry Newton, of Mount Leinster Lodge, County Carlow  and had issue,
John Marmaduke, died in infancy;
ROBERT WESTLEY, his heir;
Arthur Mildmay;
Elizabeth Frances; Hilda Mary; Evelyn Una.
Mr Hall-Dare was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE JP DL (1866-1939), of Newtownbarry House and East Hall, Wennington, Essex, High Sheriff of Wexford, 1891, and of Carlow, 1896, Captain, 9th Brigade, N Irish Division, RA, who espoused, in 1896, Helen, second daughter of John Taylor Gordon, of Nethermuir, Aberdeenshire, and Blackhouse, Ayrshire, and had issue,
ROBERT WESTLEY, his heir;
Charles Grafton, b 1902;
Audrey; Daphne.
Mr Hall-Dare was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE (1899-1972), of Newtownbarry House, who married, in 1937, Elizabeth Maria Patricia, daughter of John Brooks Close-Brooks, and had issue, an only child,

CLODY ELIZABETH HALL-DARE (1938-), of Newtownbarry House, educated at Byam Shaw School of the Arts, London; lecturer at City and Guilds College of Art, London, and lived in 1976 at Newtownbarry House.


NEWTOWNBARRY HOUSE, near Bunclody, County Wexford, built between 1883-89, is one of the last country houses designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, assisted by his pupil W H Lynn and his son John.

It is almost entirely a new structure, both extraordinarily austere and Italianate at the same time.

The fenestration of the two adjoining garden fronts reveals a sequence of rooms, expressed with military precision in impeccably detailed granite.


The upstairs windows are framed with a stone surround so that it makes them the same size as the windows below, an idea first used by Lanyon nearly thirty years before at Drenagh, County Londonderry.

Features of the house include a top-lit picture gallery and a richly carved staircase which lets natural light onto the landing, staircase and hall.

There also many finely carved fireplaces.

The library is finely crafted from wood.

Newtownbarry was built by the Hall-Dare family and still remains in the family.

A lot of the information in this script is quoted from an architectural report by Jeremy Williams.

Newtownbarry House is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, gardens and a large pond adjacent to the entrance of the house.

There is an ornamental lake; the Rose Garden; the recently renovated 19th century Sunken Garden.

The prospect from the banks of the River Slaney is to the heights of the Blackstairs Mountains.

The present owner is Clody Norton, the daughter of Robert Westley Hall-Dare, who lives there today with her family.

First published in August, 2012.

Dane of Killyhevlin

THE DANE FAMILY OWNED 716 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNRT FERMANAGH

JOHN DANE left England and was settled at Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, in 1667-8, where he was churchwarden.

He married Mary, daughter of Peter Weldon, and had issue,
PAUL;
Richard;
Elisabeth; Anne; Catherine.
Mr Dane died in 1678, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

PAUL DANE (1647-1745), of Killyhevlin, County Fermanagh, Provost of Enniskillen, 1687-90, who wedded firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Martin, and had issue,
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Paul.
He espoused secondly, in 1680, Eliza, daughter of the Rt Rev Joseph Story, Lord Bishop of Kilmore, and had issue,
Christopher;
Martin (Rev);
William;
Paul;
Richard;
Thomas (Rev), Curate of Tynan;
Mary; Margaret; Catherine; Wilhelmina; Elisabeth; Jane; Eleanor.
Mr Dane was present at the battle of the Boyne. WILLIAM III gave him two pictures of himself and QUEEN MARY, now in Enniskillen Town Hall.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN DANE (1670-1742), of Killyhevlin, who wedded, in 1734, Elizabeth, daughter of James Auchinleck, of Thomastown, County Fermanagh, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Colonel James Corry, of Castle Coole, and had issue,
PAUL, his heir;
Elisabeth; Sarah.
Mr Dane served in Brigadier Wolseley's Regiment of Horse, and subsequently abroad under the Duke of Marlborough, who gave him a jewelled sword.

He was succeeded by his son,

PAUL DANE, of Killyhevlin, who wedded, ca 1769, Margaret Swords (who remarried after his decease), and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
William, a military officer;
James, of Dromard;
John, a military officer;
Paul, Ensign in Tyrone Militia;
Christopher, of Enniskillen;
Alexander, died young;
Catherine, m Dr Trimble;
Elisabeth, m Captain Willis.
Mr Dane died in 1800, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD DANE JP DL (1770-1842), of Killyhevlin, High Sheriff, 1816, Provost of Belturbet, who espoused, in 1809, Anna, daughter of the Rev Alexander Auchinleck, of Lisgoole Abbey, Rector of Rossory, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
Paul (1810-73), dsp;
Somerset (1810-42), physician in the Army;
Richard Martin (Dr);
WILLIAM AUCHINLECK, of whom presently;
Alexander, died young;
Armar Lowry-Corry (1825-6);
Daniel Elden (1828-33);
John (1831-33);
Juliana; Anna Maria; Eva; Henrietta; Margaret.
Mr Dane was succeeded by his fourth son,

WILLIAM AUCHINLECK DANE (1816-73), of Killyreagh, County Fermanagh, and 37, Rutland Square, Dublin, Solicitor, Sub-Sheriff of Fermanagh, 1849, who married, in 1846, Sarah, youngest daughter of Benjamin Friel Foster, 46th Regiment, of Drumloo, County Monaghan, and had issue,
Paul (1847-89);
Benjamin Friel Foster (Rev);
Richard Martin (1852-1903), MP, judge;
JAMES WHITESIDE, of whom hereafter;
Elisabeth; Florence; Anna; Sarah Gertrude.
Mr Dane was succeeded by his fourth son,

JAMES WHITESIDE DANE MBE DL (1856-1925), of Castle Warden, Naas, County Kildare, and Bonnybrook, County Fermanagh, Solicitor, Clerk of the Crown and Peace for County Kildare, who died unmarried.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Purdysburn Pictures

THE BATTS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DOWN, WITH 12,010 ACRES

The Belfast Health & Social Care Trust has very kindly sent me several images of Purdysburn House, Newtownbreda, County Down, and its pleasure grounds prior to demolition ca 1965.


I've already written about the Batt family here.


The pleasure grounds were laid out in the form of a Union Flag, and the design was carried out with all the borders planted red, white and blue.


The wonderful yew-tree hedges were apparently unequalled in Northern Ireland.