Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Caldwell Baronetcy


The founder of this family in Ulster, 

JOHN CALDWELL, a merchant at Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, was born at Preston, Ayrshire.

He died in 1639, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES CALDWELL (c1634-1717), who settled at Rossbeg, afterwards called Castle Caldwell, County Fermanagh.

He was created a baronet in 1683, being denominated of Wellsborough, County Fermanagh.

Sir James wedded a daughter of Sir John Hume Bt, of Castle Hume, County Fermanagh.
Who, in 1671, purchased Wellsborough Estate, close to Belleek, County Fermanagh; Captain of Horse; High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1677; attainted by the Irish Parliament of JAMES II, 1689; Colonel of Foot, 1689.
Sir James was succeeded by his son,

SIR HENRY CALDWELL, 2nd Baronet, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1693, merchant at Ballyshannon, County Donegal.

Sir Henry died ca 1726, and was succeeded by his son,

SIR JOHN CALDWELL, 3rd Baronet, who wedded, in 1719, Anne, daughter of the Very Rev John Trench, Dean of Raphoe, by whom he had five sons and two daughters.

The third son, Hume, was a very distinguished officer in the Austrian service, and attained the rank of colonel. He was killed in a sally from the fortress of Schweidnitz, in 1762.

Sir John died in 1744, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR JAMES CALDWELL, 4th Baronet (c1722-84), who being in the service of the Empress Maria Theresa, was created by that princess COUNT OF MILAN, in the Holy Roman Empire.

In 1766, Sir James, in passing through Vienna, having had an audience of leave of the Empress-Queen, Her Imperial Majesty, in a very gracious manner, charged him with a magnificent gold box, to present to the Dowager Lady Caldwell, mother of Colonel Caldwell, as a testimony of Her Majesty's gratitude for the signal services performed by that gallant officer.

Sir James raised, in 1760, at his own expense, a body of Light Horse (20th Dragoons), comprising 250 men, which he commanded for some years, for the defence of the Kingdom of Ireland.

This regiment was disbanded in 1763.

Sir James is said to have declined a British peerage as well as the position of chamberlain for the Empress of Germany.

He espoused, in 1753, Elizabeth, daughter of the Most Rev Dr Josiah Hort, Lord Archbishop of Tuam, by whom he had (with four daughters) three sons,
JOHN, his successor;
Josiah John.
Sir James was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN CALDWELL, 5th Baronet (1756-1830), of Castle Caldwell, County Fermanagh, Count of Milan, Aide-de-Camp to the Viceroy of India, 1782, Governor of County Fermanagh, 1793; Lieutenant-Colonel, Fermanagh Militia, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1798, Captain, Belleek Infantry, 1802.

He married, in 1789, Harriet, daughter of Hugh Meynell, and had two daughters, the elder of whom, Louisa Georgiana, wedded, in 1823, to Sir J W Hort Bt; and the second, to Sir John Colpoys Bloomfield, of Redwood, County Tipperary.

On his death, in 1830, his Holy Roman Empire Countship expired, and the baronetcy reverted to his cousin,

SIR JOHN CALDWELL, 6th Baronet (1775–1842), born at Quebec, Treasurer-General of Canada, 1810, who espoused, in 1800, Jane, daughter of James Davidson, and had issue,
HENRY JOHN, his successor;
Anne (1805-41).
Sir John was succeeded by his only son,

SIR HENRY JOHN CALDWELL (1801-58), 7th Baronet, who married, in 1839, Sophia Louisa, daughter of David Runwa Paynter, though the marriage was without issue.

The title expired on the 7th Baronet's death in 1858.

CASTLE CALDWELL, near Belleek in County Fermanagh, stands on an isthmus overlooking Lower Lough Erne.

It was built between 1613-19 by Thomas Blennerhassett on the 1,500 acre estate he acquired under the Plantation of Ulster.

The castle was purchased by James Caldwell in 1662.

First published in July, 2011.

Conservative Support

My pal Charles Villiers has sent me a photograph of himself and Craig Whittaker MP, who has represented Calder Valley since 2010.

They are standing outside Mount Stewart House, near Newtownards, County Down, the ancestral seat of the Marquesses of Londonderry.

Charles is grandson of the late Lady Mairi Bury and great-grandson of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness.

Charles and Craig were on the Conservative campaign trail in the constituency of Strangford and, indeed, lunched at Mount Stewart in between canvassing in Comber and Newtownards.

Most of the Londonderrys (namely 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th Marquesses) were Conservative & Unionist Members of Parliament.

Craig Whittaker was in Northern Ireland for about a week.

The Northern Ireland Assembly election will be held on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Mount Stewart: Dairy & Rose Garden

I motored straight to the Mount Stewart estate, County Down, on an afternoon during the autumn.

Glasshouses near the Rose Garden in 2014

It was a splendid autumnal day. The sun shone for most of the day.

The roof was down on the two-seater.

Rose Garden from the Dairy in 2014

I was eager to revisit the estate's walled garden, dairy and former rose garden.

Entrance to the Dairy and Rose Garden in 2014

The last time I paid a visit to this part of the demesne was about thirty summers ago.

The Rose Garden was originally a cut-flower garden within the 18th century walled garden.

Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry DBE, created the Rose Garden in 1925.

It contained Lady Londonderry's favourite, scented roses.

The Rose Garden was laid out as an Elizabethan garden, with narrow beds and flagged paths.

A large urn stood in the middle of the Garden.

Rose Garden ca 1960

The Dairy was built for Edith Londonderry in order to make butter, cheese, yoghurt, etc.

The roof of the old ice-well on Rhododendron Hill was re-used for the Dairy.

Dairy in 2014

A statue of Hermes stood within a fountain in the middle of the Dairy (above), its purpose being to cool or humidify the air.

The inner face of the Dairy is flat; whilst the outer is curved.

The decorative tiles are of a raised texture and may be Spanish in origin.

THENCE I strode back to the formal gardens surrounding the mansion house.

Charming little hedgehog steps (I originally figured incorrectly that they were for frogs) are in place at several ornamental ponds.

First published in October, 2014.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Dromoland Castle


This very ancient family claims royal descent, and deduces its pedigree from the celebrated Irish monarch, 
Brian Boru, who ascended the throne in 1002, and fell at the memorable battle of Clontarf, in 1014.

From this prince descended the Kings of Thomond; of which

TURLOGH, King of Munster and principal High King of Ireland, had, with other issue, Dermot, King of Munster, from whom descended, in 1528,

CONNOR O'BRIEN, King of Thomond, who married Anabella, youngest daughter of Ulick De Burgh, 1st Earl of Clanricarde, by whom he left four sons, in minority, at his decease, when the principality was usurped by his brother,

MURROUGH O'BRIEN, who, repairing to England by the advice of the Lord Deputy of Ireland, in 1543, surrendered his royalty to HENRY VIII, and was, in recompense, created Earl of Thomond for life, and BARON INCHIQUIN to his own heirs male.

His lordship wedded Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas FitzGerald, Knight, and dying in 1551, left issue,
DERMOT, his successor;
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

DERMOT, 2nd Baron, who espoused Margaret, daughter of Donough O'Brien, 2nd Earl of Thomond.

He died in 1557, and was succeeded by his son,

MURROUGH McDERMOT, 3rd Baron (c1550-73), who wedded Mabel, daughter of Christopher, 6th Baron Delvin, and had issue,
MURROUGH, his successor;
His lordship was slain by Dermot Reagh O'Shaughnessy in 1573, and was succeeded by his son,

MURROUGH, 4th Baron (1562-97), who wedded Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND.

His lordship fell from his horse and drowned, in 1597, when fording the River Erne, near Sligo, during the Nine Years War.

He was succeeded by his son,

DERMOT, 5th Baron (1594-1624), who wedded Ellen, eldest daughter of Sir Edmund FitzJohn FitzGerald, and had issue,
MURROUGH, of whom we treat;
Honora; Mary; Ann.
His lordship was succeeded by his youngest son,

MURROUGH (1618-74), 6th Baron, who was created, in 1654, EARL OF INCHIQUN.

MURROUGH (1726-1808), 10th Baron, was created MARQUESS OF THOMOND, in 1808.

Barons Inchiquin (1543; Reverted)

The heir presumptive is the present holder's second cousin Conor John Anthony O'Brien (born 1952).

DROMOLAND CASTLE, Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, is considered one of the finest examples of a baronial style castle in Ireland.

According to history, the original castle on the site is said to have dated back to the 11th century, and was more rustic in nature than the existing castle of today, similar in style to Bunratty castle.

Like other castles of the times, it served as a defensive stronghold.

From the time of Morrough O’Brien (the original owner of Dromoland) until the 16th Baron Inchiquin - who still owned the castle in the 1960s - the Inchiquins lived at Dromoland for more than 500 years.

In 1736, a second castle was built in the design of the Queen Anne period with a wing enclosing a central courtyard.

This wing of the castle remains today and is almost a century older than the other sections of the castle.

The present castle was completed in 1826 by the 4th O'Brien Baronet in Gothic style, with four large towers made of a dark blue limestone that was cut from a nearby quarry, and built at great expense for the times.

The Castle is dominated by a tall, round corner tower and a square tower, both of heavily crenellated. There are also smaller towers and a turreted porch.

The windows on the main fronts are rectangular with Gothic tracery.

Inside, a square entrance hall opens into a long, inner hall similar to a gallery, the staircase being at one end; while the main reception rooms are at one side of it.

The rooms have quite austere ceilings with Gothic Tudor-Revival cornices.

The drawing-room was formerly called the Keightley Room since it contained many of the 17th century portraits which were acquired by the O'Brien family through the marriage of Lucius O'Brien MP to Catherine Keightley (whose grandfather was the Earl of Clarendon).

Part of the 18th century garden layout survives, including a gazebo and Doric rotunda.

During the latter portion of the 19th century, the Inchiquin family wealth dwindled due to a series of Land Acts, until Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom in 1921.

Landlords during this time were forced to sell their farmlands, and so the Inchiquins lost their main source of income.

However, they were able to still hold onto Dromoland.

Although the loss of income suffered by the Inchiquins made the Castle difficult to keep, they managed to do so, and the castle was maintained by the personal wealth of the 15th Baron's wife, and afterwards her son, the 16th Baron, until 1948, when they began to take in tourists as paying guests.

Finally, in 1962, the Castle was sold to an American industrialist, Bernard McDonough, whose family were of Irish descent.

Over a period of six months, the castle underwent major renovations and was eventually re-opened as a luxury hotel.

The original style and atmosphere of the castle are said to have been preserved, and the rooms including its stately, baronial country house atmosphere “look very much today, like they did when the Inchiquin family lived there... ".

The original wing is very elegant inside: Guests enter into a two-storey stone lobby (made from the dark blue limestone) that is complete with suits of armour, a large dark wood carved table, elegant rose tapestry covered chairs, and dark red drapes.

On one side, a stone passage and hallway lead to the large, main drawing room of the castle.

The hallway and drawing-room have a high ceiling,deep red and gold wallpapered walls, and is lined with baronial portraits of the barons and former members of the Inchiquin family.

It is said that O'Brien family portraits (on loan) remain on display at the Castle today.
First published in April, 2011.  Thomond arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Duckett's Grove


THOMAS DUCKETT, who first settled in Ireland, and purchased, 1695, Kneestown and other estates in County Carlow, from Thomas Crosthwaite, of Cockermouth, Cumberland, is stated, by Sir William Betham, Ulster King of Arms, to have been the son of JAMES DUCKETT, of Grayrigg, Westmorland, by his third wife Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Walker, of Workington, Cumberland.

James Duckett, of Grayrigg, was tenth in descent from JOHN DUCKETT, of Grayrigg, during the reign of RICHARD II (1377), who obtained that estate by his marriage with Margaret, daughter and heir of Willian de Windesore, Lord of the Manor of Grayrigg, in Westmorland.

John Duckett, of Grayrigg, was son of HUGH DUCKETT, of Fillingham, Lincolnshire, during the time of JOHN and HENRY III.

This descent is elaborately given in a pedigree certified by Sir William Betham, Ulster King of Arms, in 1842.

The first settler in Ireland,

THOMAS DUCKETT, of Kneestown, County Carlow, married Judith, daughter and heir of Pierce Power, of Killowen, County Waterford, and left a son,

THOMAS DUCKETT, of Phillipstown, which he purchased from the Earl of Ormond, who married, in 1687, Jane, daughter of John Bunce, of Berkshire, and had, with other issue, a son,

JOHN DUCKETT, of Phillipstown, and Newton, County Kildare, who wedded Jane, daughter of Thomas Devonsher.

The fourth son,

JONAS DUCKETT (1720-97), of Duckett's Grove, County Carlow, married Hannah, daughter of William Alloway, of Dublin, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Mary Alloway; Hannah; Jane.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM DUCKETT, of Duckett's Grove, born in 1761, wedded, in 1790, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of John Dawson Coates, of Dawson Court, banker in Dublin, and had issue,
JOHN DAWSON, his heir;
Joseph Fade;
Thomas Jonas;
Elizabeth; Elizabeth Dawson.
The eldest son,

JOHN DAWSON DUCKETT (1791-1866), of Duckett's Grove, County Carlow, and Newtown, County Kildare, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1819, wedded, in 1819, Sarah Summers, daughter of William Hutchinson, of Timoney, County Tipperary, and had issue,
John Dawson;
Eliza Dawson;
Anne, m, in 1856, HARDY EUSTACE;
Sarah; Victoria Henrietta.
Mr Duckett was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM DUCKETT JP DL (1822-1908), of Duckett's Grove, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1854, and of Queen's County, 1881,  who wedded firstly, in 1868, Anna Maria (dsp 1894), third daughter of Thomas Harrison Morony JP, of Milltown House, County Clare.

Mr Duckett espoused secondly, in 1895, Marie Georgina, eldest daughter of Captain R G Cumming, and widow of T Thompson JP, of Ford Lodge, County Cavan.

He dsp in 1908, when the family estate devolved upon his nephew, Colonel John James Hardy Rowland Eustace, who assumed the additional arms and surname of DUCKETT. 

JOHN JAMES HARDY ROWLAND EUSTACE-DUCKETT JP (1859-1924), of Castlemore and Hardymount, County Carlow, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1895, Colonel, 8th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps, wedded, in 1895, Gertrude Amelia, daughter of Algernon Charles Heber Percy, of Hodnet Hall, Shropshire, and had issue,
Hardy Rowland Algernon (1896-7);
Rowland Hugh, b 1902;
Elizabeth Gertrude; Doris Anna; Diana.
The eldest surviving son,

OLIVER HARDY EUSTACE-DUCKETT, espoused, in 1926, Barbara Kathleen,  daughter of Major William Charles Hall, and had issue,
Hardy, died in infancy;
Olive; Kathleen; 


Following William Duckett's death in 1908, his widow Maria continued to live at Duckett's Grove until 1916, when she abandoned the estate.

DUCKETT'S GROVE, near Carlow, County Carlow, was formerly at the centre of a 12,000-acre estate that dominated the landscape of the county for over 300 years.

It was built in 1830 for William Duckett.

It was designed in a castellated Gothic-Revival style by Thomas A Cobden ca 1825.

The mansion house incorporates numerous towers and turrets of varying shapes – round, square and octagonal.

One tall, octagonal turret rises from the structure.

Duckett’s Grove is elaborately ornamented with oriels and niches containing statues.

Several statues on pedestals surrounded the building and lined the approaches.

The house itself is situated in the townland of Rainstown, between Carlow and Tullow; but the estate comprised several large townlands and parts of others.

Following the departure of the Ducketts, the estate was managed by an agent until 1921; then by local farmers; and later by the Irish Land Commission.

The division of the lands was completed by 1930.

Duckett’s Grove was destroyed by fire in 1933, the cause never having been determined.

In September, 2005, Carlow County Council acquired Duckett’s Grove and commenced the restoration of two inter-connecting walled gardens.

It was officially opened in September, 2007, for use as a public park.

The first of the gardens, the Upper Walled Garden, has been planted with historical varieties of shrub roses and a collection of Chinese and Japanese peonies.

The second garden, the Lower Walled Garden, which was once the site of the family's old orchard, now contains a variety of fruits, including figs and historical varieties of Irish apples.

The borders were planted to contain a variety of shrubs and perennials.

First published in February, 2013.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Lime Kiln


Neil Porteous explains: 

This is an 18th century lime kiln, but castellated to look like a medieval structure.

 Lady Mairi had a wooden shed placed on top and used to do her homework there as a youngster.

You often find lime kilns by water because the limestone was heavy.

There were often derricks on top of the structure to lift off the stone and deposit it down into the kiln.

The process is like charcoal burning, controlling the amount of oxygen drawn into the kiln and depending on the fineness of the grade of lime required may take many days say for plasterers lime or a lesser time for agricultural lime.

The lime kiln probably dates from around 1784 and was a designed feature of the demesne.

The whole Sea Plantation was reclaimed from Strangford Lough, its sea wall and peripheral walk would provide views of the Lough.

The canal which held all the drainage water when the tide was in and released it into the lough by means of a non-return valve a pier for mooring yachts and rowing boats and a boat-house; then you would return by the Clay gate lodge and thence on to the Temple of the Winds.

Beyond that there is a faux chapel as well as real archaeological remains ~ the Gothic cow byre; the cromlech; the ruined abbey; and a Motte-and-Bailey from Norman times.

The idea was to provide curiosities, all of them Gothic in design.

They were laid out by William King, of Dublin, Ireland’s answer to Humphrey Repton.

It is one of his very early commissions and is significant in that the estate is intact and unspoilt.

Charles Villiers continues: 

I saw one of your readers has inquired about the building near the Mount Stewart swimming pool: I can supply some information about the one with the "Gothick" windows and traceries.

Whilst I do not know why it was originally built - in, I suppose, the early 19th century - I do know it was adapted in the 1930s with a staircase; the pouring of a concrete floor foundation on the roof; and the construction of four stone columns to support a wooden summer house; completing this substantial superstructure on the old building for the benefit of my late grandmother [Lady Mairi Bury] when she was in her "teens".

My grandmother used it for her studies on warm summer days and to entertain her friends of her own age nearby to the swimming pool, as somewhere separate from the adult gatherings at the swimming pool itself in the 1930s.

My grandmother's siblings were all much older, so her parents gave her the summer house so she had somewhere fun to entertain the numerous friends of her own age who were invited over.

It is obviously sad that this elevated summer house, and the older building which is underneath, is now largely obliterated - like every other building in and around the swimming pool of Mount Stewart, where so much fun was had by so many for around 50 years.

I believe some mindless moron decided to smash the Gothick window surrounds of the old building with a sledgehammer.

First published in May, 2012. Revised in 2014.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Thomastown Park


NICHOLAS BENNETT married Mabel O’Kelly, of County Roscommon, and had issue,
Nicholas, died unmarried;
FRANCIS, his heir;
Mabel, m to John Ball;
Anne, died unmarried.
The eldest surviving son, 

FRANCIS BENNETT, of Thomastown, wedded Elizabeth Laffin, of County Kilkenny, and had issue,
Thomas, died unmarried;
Mary Catherine, m to Lt-Col L'Estrange;
Elizabeth Emily, m to John Farrell.
The younger son,

VALENTINE BENNETT JP DL, of Thomastown, High Sheriff of King's County (Offaly), 1830, married, in 1894, Elizabeth Helen, daughter of George Ryan, of Inch House, County Tipperary, and had issue,
George Henry;
Thomas Joseph;
Henry Grey;
FREDERICK PHILIP, succeeded his brother;
Elizabeth Marian.
Mr Bennett died in 1839, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS VALENTINE BENNETT JP DL (1826-90), of Thomastown Park, High Sheriff, 1854, who died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

FREDERICK PHILIP BENNETT JP DL (1830-1905), High Sheriff, 1895, who died at Monaco.

Mr Bennett left his estate to Mr Valentine Ryan, on condition that he adopt the name of BENNETT.

THOMASTOWN PARK HOUSE, Frankford, near Birr, County Offaly, was built in the mid-18th century.

There is said to be an old castle within the demesne.

The house, built during the mid-18th century for the Leggat family, and in the ownership of the Bennett family during the 19th century, was once a large and important demesne within County Offaly.

The house even had a private chapel.

Though the country house itself is no longer extant, the associated structures of the demesne remain.

Notable elements include the large walls which surround what once was a deer park; the finely tooled limestone entrance gates; the walled garden; and the outbuilding with ashlar bellcote.

The walled garden, outbuilding, deer park and former entrance gates and lodge to former Thomastown Park House, built ca 1750.

Main entrance gates (above) with square-profile, ashlar limestone gate piers with frieze and capping stones with wrought-iron gates flanked by pedestrian entrances with tooled limestone surrounds flanked by quadrant walls; large, walled deer park to north of former demesne with random coursed stone walls.

Walled garden to west of former house site with random coursed stone walls and red brick internal wall to north.

Outbuilding to farmyard complex with rough-cast rendered walls, corrugated roof and ashlar limestone bell-cote to south-east elevation.

Segmental and square-headed carriage arch openings with corrugated doors.

The estate was sold by Group Captain Richard Stephen Ryan CBE RAF in 1951.

First published in January, 2013.