Also known as Athclare lodge the house was possibly constructed about 1800. The two storey over basement house is located near Drumconrath. 1835 it was the property of H.C. Singleton. Aclare Cottage, the residence of Mr. G. Moore Adams, was in the north-east of the townland. The Admas family had connections to Aclare from the early 1700s. The demsne contained 36.5 acres. The house was described as a two storey, slated modern house in good repair. It seems to have been a u shaped house. George Adams held the house and demesne in the 1850s. John William McKeever and his family occupied Aclare Cottage in 1911. The original windows have been replaced. Today there are farm buildings around the house.
Aclare House, Drumconrath, was constructed for Henry Corbet Singleton in 1840. A previous house on the site was described in 1836 as being a two storey slated house in good repair. A well planted demesne of 97 ½ acres surrounded the house.
Located beside the river Dee the townland takes its name from a ford over the river possibly at the site of the crossing called the Han bridge. The house is a good example of classical revival. Casey and Rowan describe the house as faced with Scottish sandstone. The house has a central top-lit stair hall. Held by the Lord of Slane in 1640 the property became part of the estate of the Corbet family. The large reception rooms contain neoclassical chimney pieces. The ballroom leads to the orangerie which overlooks the parkland of the estate. There are substantial stables and outbuildings to the rear of the house and a walled garden. The river Dee winds its way though the parklands and powered a turbine which provided electricity for the house.
The Corbets of Aclare were descended from Very Rev. Francis Corbet DD, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, and the family had burial rights at the cathedral. The owner of Aclare, Francis Corbet, added the name Singleton to his surname by royal licence in 1820 when he inherited the Meath estates of his uncle, Henry Singleton. The eldest son, Henry Corbet Singleton, born in 1806 inherited the property. Henry was a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of the County Meath.
Robert Corbet Singleton, the second son of Francis Corbet, established St Columba’s College, Rathfarnham, in 1843 and St Peter’s College, Radley at Oxford in 1847. As its first warden he inaugurated a very strict and rigorous system of religious discipline. In 1868 he co-edited, The Anglican Hymn-Book, which contained nearly thirty original hymns by him, most notably ‘With gladsome feet we press.’
Francis Corbet Singleton was the third son of Francis Corbet Singleton. Joining the Royal Navy he emigrated to Adelaide, South Australia, where he became Clerk of the Legislative Council. He established a silver mine in South Australia which he named Aclare. This may not be accurate as there was a second Francis Corbet Singleton, who was a relative of the family living at the same time.
Loftus Corbet Singleton, the fourth son, joined the army and became a major. He died in 1881 aged 38 from wounds received at Majuba Hill, Natal, South Africa while fighting the Boers.
Henry Corbet’s son, also Henry Corbet, was born in 1837 and served as a major in the 30th Foot before assuming his role as landlord of 5,857 acres in County Meath in 1872 on the death of his father. When he died in 1890 the estate passed to his brother, Rear Admiral Uvedale Corbet Singleton, who died in 1910. His only child monica Virginia, married and English cousin in 1923. The estate then passed to the Land Commission in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The contents of the house were sold in 1930. Each summer the Singletons gave a party at Aclare for the school children from Drumconrath, which was followed by a football match between the local men.
The house and 160 acres were sold by the Land Commission in 1939. In the 1940s the house was owned by Mr. Phillips. The house was opened as a hotel about 1950 by its then owner Mr. D.E.T. Lindsay and it remained operating as a hotel in the following decades.
Another branch of the Singletons were established at Mell, Drogheda and a number of these were members of parliament in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This family held nearly nine thousand acres in Cavan, Louth, Meath and England. Another Singleton family held over nine thousand acres mainly in Monaghan and Fermanagh.
In Trim parish Adamstown was described as an excellent house and offices of a handsome appearance and the residence of Mrs. Morgan in 1835. It was the property of Thomas R. Disney. Richard Nassau Bolton was in residence at Adamstown in the 1840s. in 1846 he supported the construction of a railway from Dublin to Trim and Athboy.
Agher church stands just outside the garden of Agher House and so formed part of the estate. Jonathan Swift was rector at Agher from 1699 until his death in 1745. In 1804, a new church was erected to seat one hundred. The cost was mainly borne by the local land-owner, Samuel Winter, who made a gift of £450 and later, to make up the short-fall, a loan of £168. The church is renowned for its east window. Made in Dublin by Thomas Jervais, it is the second earliest known piece of Irish-made stained glass. The unusual subject is St Paul preaching to the Athenians on top of Mars Hill outside the Court of Areopagus. The design was inspired by a cartoon of Raphael and was created by painting on glass rather than using stained glass. The window was originally erected in the private chapel of Dangan Castle, the seat of the Wellesley family, which burnt down in the 1809. The window was presented to Agher by the O’Connor family, who were then occupying Dangan. Soon after the new Agher church was constructed Samuel Winter erected a family burial vault in the churchyard. Agher church was re-built in 1902.
Agher House stood south of Summerhill village until 1945 when its ruins were removed. The yard with its rows of old style out offices has survived. There was an underground passage leading from the basement of the house to the yard so the servants could not be seen by the occupants of the house. Close to the house was an ornamental pond. There were two avenues into the house; the one which went by the church was the back avenue which led to the farmyard.
In 1652 Samuel Winter, who had received an MA at Cambridge, was made Provost of Trinity College and managed to acquire land in Offaly and at Tullyard, Trim. Following the restoration of Charles II Winter was removed from his position at Trinity College. From his first marriage he had five sons. Samuel, his eldest succeeded him. Two sons, Ebenezer and Gonaught, inherited only 100 acres between them, and that only on condition that “they should reform their wicked lives.” The Winters inter-married with local and newly arrived families particularly the Bomfords.
Francis Winter was born about 1690 and as a younger son had to find his own living as a woollen draper in Dublin. When his older brother, Samuel, died he inherited all the Winter estates. Francis married Margaret, eldest daughter of Benjamin Pratt of Agher. Another branch of the family established themselves at Cabra Castle, Kingscourt. Benjamin Pratt became the first of the Pratts to settle at Agher. The original property of 1150 acres included the townlands of Agherpallice, Ballintogher, and the detached townland of Genetts (Ginnetts) near Galtrim to the north. Benjamin Pratt died in 1706 aged 67 and was succeeded by his second son, Benjamin. This Benjamin married twice, firstly to Jane Nugent and secondly to Elizabeth Moore. His daughter and heiress Margaret married Samuel Winter. Their son, Samuel Winter, was born in 1741 and brought up with his two sisters by their uncle, John Pratt. In 1771 when Benjamin Pratt died Samuel Winter inherited the Pratt estates including Agher, Killeter, Co. Cavan and Killynon, Westmeath. This united the Winter and Pratt estates.
Samuel then rebuilt Agher House and moved to Agher in 1776. The cost of building was such that parts of the estate were sold to generate the necessary revenue. In 1778 and again in 1784 he was High Sheriff of Meath. In 1784 his undersheriff disappeared with public funds and Samuel had to make good the loss. He died aged 70 on 19th May 1811 and was the first occupier of the Winter vault, which he had constructed. His eldest son, John Pratt Winter, was born in 1768 and educated at Rev Oliver Miller’s school at St Mary Abbey, Trim. He became a barrister and magistrate. Marrying Anne Gore, the couple made their home at Eccles Street, Dublin. The couple then moved to Agher until their home at Tullyard was completed.
In 1798 John Pratt Winter resigned his position as captain in the Lawyer’s Corps of the Yeomanry as he could not accept the government’s actions of ill treating the ordinary people and burning the houses of the peasantry. In 1803 John was appointed a Resident Magistrate for Meath and Kildare; in 1804 he was made Deputy Governor of Meath and in 1805 High Sheriff. His father died in 1811 and John inherited Agher and the other Winter estates, all of which were heavily charged to provide portions for the younger children under the terms of his parent’s marriage settlement. He stayed on at Tullyard until his mother died in 1814 when the whole family moved to Agher.
In 1817 his financial position was so serious that he was forced to lease Agher and take his wife and the younger members of the family, including young George and Samuel Bomford to live in a boarding house in Paris. They remained there for seven years, returning in l824. John Pratt Winter was known to the Bomford family as “The Ruffian.” John Pratt Winter died in 1846.
John’s sister, Anna Maria Winter, never married but did published three books; “Some Thoughts on the Moral Order of Nature,” “The Fairies and other Poems” and a poem “The Ideal Confidant.”
Samuel Winter, the eldest son of John Pratt Winter, was a justice of the peace and Deputy Lieutenant of Meath. In 1837 he was elected High Sheriff of Meath and in 1851 of Cavan. He was a guardian of the Trim Union (Workhouse) and in 1861 was Chairman of the Guardians. Samuel died in 1867 and was buried with his wife, Lucy, in the Winter vault at Agher Church.
Samuel’s brother, Arthur Gore Winter, went to Greece as a member of Lord Bryon’s Expedition. Another brother, John Pratt Winter (the younger) became a portrait painter.
In 1836 the house was described as an excellent house with good out offices, garden and orchard. The townland was well wooded with fences were planted with ash trees and a large portion of Agherpallis was planted with ornamental shrubs and trees. The demesne consisted of 360 acres.
A member of the family, Samuel Pratt Winter, left Ireland in 1833 for Van Diemen’s Land. His wife was Frances Bomford from a neighbouring family. His brothers Trevor and George joined him in Australia. Samuel established himself at Murndal. Samuel managed to acquire 19,000 acres freehold and 12480 acres on licence. He collected paintings and built up a library of more than 1000 books. He had an Aborigine boy in livery mounted on his horse’s croup on his visits to the Melbourne club. He introduced Pyrenean sheepdogs to guard his flocks and wrote a poem in 1874 commemorating his invention of a swing gate for drafting sheep. Before his death he had instructed his brother to bury him where the Aborigines were buried and to mark his grave with a stone cairn but this created a shocked reaction in the community and the request had to be modified to a more conventional burial.
Another member of the family, John Pratt Winter, was a captain in her Majesty’s 17th regiment of light dragoons (lancers). He fell gloriously leading the second squadron of his regiment in the heroic but disastrous charge of the Light Cavalry Brigade on the Russian army at Balaklava before Sebastopol in the Crimea on 25th October 1854 in the 26th year of his age. A memorial in the interior of Agher Church commemorates this member of the family.
James Sanderson Winter was born in 1832 and succeeded to an estate which included 1640 acres in Meath, 861 in Westmeath, 940 in Cavan and 206 in Kildare, a total estate of 3,647 acres. He graduated MA from Trinity, joined the Royal Meath Militia as a Captain, became a justice of the peace; was elected High Sheriff of Co Cavan in 1871 and of Co Meath the next year. James erected a number of new estate buildings including a school and stewards house. James Sanderson Winter died unmarried on 10th July 1911 and was the last Winter to be buried in the family vault at Agher. His estates were passed to his nephew, Lieut-Colonel Edward Winter Purdon, the eldest son of his sister Elizabeth Anne, with the proviso that he took the surname of Winter, which he did in 1912.
When Edward Winter Purdon died in 1927 Agher passed to his eldest son, Captain Charles Edward Purdon-Winter. In 1936 Agher was sold to the Land Commission, which split the estate into separate lots. The house fell into ruins and was removed.
Located to the west of Navan near Bohermeen, Allenstown House was a large two storey house erected by William Waller about 1730. The house and estate was purchased by the Land Commission in the 1930s and the house was demolished in 1938.
Allenstown House was built in the 1730’s and was the home of the Waller family. Mary Waller married Daniel Beaufort in 1767 and Daniel interested himself in later Charlesfort House modifications. Allenstown House was demolished in 1938.
Robert Thomas Waller was the first of the family to come to Ireland in the early 1600s. His son, John, became established at Kilmainham Castle, Kells. John Waller received some of the Barnewall lands at Kilmainham, Kells, following the Cromwellian confiscations. John Waller died 1713 aged 74. John’s son, Robert, purchased lands at Allenstown from Prestons of Navan and also purchased lands from Trinity College at Athgaine. Robert Waller sheltered priests in his house while priest hunters were about in the Penal Days. The Wallers intervened to protect Fr. Barnewall P.P. Ardbraccan on a number of occasions. Robert died 1731 aged 59 and was buried in Martry cemetery. The noted Irish artist, Charles Jervas, painted portraits of three of the Waller family; Mary, William and Robert, in the early part of the eighteenth century. Jervas died in 1739.
William Waller, born in 1710, was High Sheriff of Meath and it was he who erected the house at Allenstown. In 1733 William Waller married Anna Maria Smyth, daughter of James Smyth, Archdeacon of Meath. The Wallers were close associates of the Tisdalls, acting as executors to their wills and advisers on estate management.
William lived until 1796 when he died aged 86. William Waller left 20 guineas to the poor of Ardbraccan and Martry and 4 guineas per annum to ‘his poor, drunken, but honest servant, Pat G… (if in my service at the time of my demise) to keep him from starving, as I am sure no one will hire him after I am gone’.
At the start of the 1800s many families around Kells had their own packs of foxhounds but about 1816 they amalgamated the packs and called them the Clongill Hounds, which in 1832 became the Meath Hounds. The Waller family kept the Meath hounds initially at Allenstown, but around 1880 they were moved to new kennels built by John Tisdall at Nugentstown.
Mary Waller married Daniel Augustus Beaufort, rector of Navan, in 1767. Their son was Admiral Francis Beaufort, devisor of the Beaufort Windscale. Their relative, the novelist, Maria Edgeworth, visited Allenstown.
William’s successor, Robert, died in 1809 without an heir and the property devolved to William’s grand-nephew, Rev. Mungo Henry Noble, rector of Clongill who took the name and arms of the Waller family. In 1812 Edward Wakefield said Mr. Waller of Allenstown had 1300 acres wasted with thistles and ragworth.
In 1837 Allanstown, the seat of W. H. Waller was described as a handsome residence situated in a well planted demesne of about 700 acres, including a deerpark. In the demesne was Faughan Hill, the summit of which was planted.
James Noble Waller was High Sheriff of Meath in 1845. In 1838 he married Julia Tisdall from nearby Charlesfort. Their son, William Newcombe Waller, was born in 1839 and was High Sheriff of Meath in 1880. The second son, James Henry Waller, became an engineer and died in Banda Oriental, South America, in what is now called Uruguay. In 1883 William N. Waller held 2687 acres in county Meath. In 1895 he began a herd of pedigree Hereford cattle. In 1901 William N. Noble was living at Allenstown with four servants. In 1877 Edmund Noble Waller, son of James Waller, married Maria Louisa Noble, daughter of Robert Noble, rector of Athboy. In 1911 Edmund Waller and his wife, Maria, lived at Allenstown with three servants.
In 1920 the final family owner was Vice-Admiral Arthur William Craig who took the name Waller in 1920 in order to inherit the estate from his distant relative. Craig had served in the Navy and been in command of a ship at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Vice Admiral A. Craig Waller presented a perpetual challenge cup to Bohermeen Cycling Club in 1937. In the late 1930s the property was sold to the Irish Land commission and the estate broken up. The house was demolished in 1938. Craig-Waller died in 1943. His son, Commander Michael Waller Beaufort Craig Waller, served in World War II and also the Korean War.
In the townland of Rafeehan, Burry parish, Kells anchorage Anchorage was described as a neat two storey residence in 1835. At the time it was the seat of Mr. Brady, who held the townland of 53 acres from C.A. Tisdall. Today there are farm buildings around the house.
In Kilsharvan civil parish Annagor is a rectangular Regency house. Casey and Rowan decribed the house as two storeys over basement. A central Doric doorcase with a pretty elliptical fanlight is set above a low flight of steps. In the early part of the twentieth century Annagor was home to the Channey family but in the ownership of Elizabeth Matthews.
Annesbrook house is approximately two miles from Duleek on the Ashbourne Road but may be best viewed from the Balrath road. The house has a beautiful view over the River Nanny and the surrounding countryside. On the Ashbourne Road there is a stone gateway, known locally as ‘The Pockets’ with a kitchen on one side and a bedroom on the other side of the arch. In 1838 it was described as a ‘modern spacious gateway.’ The two storey house dates to the late eighteenth century with a portico and dining hall being added for a visit by the king in 1821. The portico may have been designed by the noted architect, Francis Johnson.
Annesbrook is sometimes known as Loughanmore and was the seat of Mr. Hamilton in 1766. Thomas Hamilton of Strabane married Anne Rouse of Oberstown, Co. Meath in 1752. When Thomas died in 1792 their son, Rev. William Slicer, Hamilton inherited Annesbrook.
Henry Jeremiah Smith of Beybeg House married Margaret Osborne of Dardistown Castle in 1802 and they acquired Annesbrook and were in residence when George IV paid a visit in 1821. When George IV paid a royal visit to Ireland in 1821, cynics said that he was coming to Ireland to visit his mistress, Elizabeth Conyngham, Marchioness Conyngham of Slane. The king received invitations from the major landowners and nobility in Ireland and yet he chose to visit Annesbrook. The ionic portico was erected for the royal visit as was the gothic banqueting room with a splendid plasterwork ceiling. George suffered from diarrhoea during the visit and did not enter the banqueting room. As the additions were erected in a hurry the foundations were not adequate and the room sank. In 1842 William M. Thackeray visited the area and is said to have been most impressed by Annesbrook, being pretty and neatly ordered.
Henry had nine sons. His fourth son, St. George W. Smith, lived at Duleek House. A number of the brothers served in the British army. Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Augustus Smith saw action in the Crimean War. For his bravery at Tauranga, on the 21st of June 1864 during the Maori Wars in New Zealand he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He died at Duleek in 1887. A memorial plaque to him, which was in the church in Duleek, was moved to the church in the Ulster
In the 1870s Mrs. Smith wrote a number of novels, one of which featured members of the family and their neighbours. In 1876 Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen H. Smith, of Annesbrook, Duleek, held 981 acres in County Meath. His brother, Michael Edward, succeeded in 1892. Michael, born 1814, had served with the British Army in Jamacia, India and Australia. He died aged 88, in 1903. After Michael’s death the properties went to his nephew, Fitz Henry Augustus Smith. Fitzhenry Smith of Annesbrook died in 1930, aged 70 and was buried in Duleek.
In 1920s the McKeever family took up residence at Annesbrook and the property was sold to the Allens in the 1960s. It then passed through various owners. In recent years the Irish Georgian Society grant aided part of the work of the restoration of the plasterwork in the banqueting hall which had been damaged by water.
Annesbrook, located near Moynalty was the seat of Mr. Rathbone in 1835. It was described as well wooded. A nearby bridge was erected in 1835 over the Moynalty river at the expense of the two counties of Cavan and Meath. County Meath paid £51 15s and Cavan paid £18 5s. Mr. Rathborne had erected a first class corn mill on a small river at the south of the townland of Skeark in Moynalty parish. It could grind 300 loads per week.
Joseph Rathborne erected the house which he named after his wife, Anne. This family were a branch of the family Rathborne, candlemakers of Dublin. Their son John married Mary Chambers of Bailieboro and the inheritance went towards the refurbishment of the cornmill. In 1876 John Rathburne of Annesbrook held 217 acres in County Meath. In 1911 Frederick Rathborne, farmer and corn merchant was living at Annesbrook with his mother, Marion and sisters, Marion and Mary Elizabeth.
Annebrook became the home of the Cooper family in 1995.
Arch Hall, Wilkinstown, was a three storey red brick house with cylindrical turret-like bows at each end and a semicircular bow at the centre of the façade. The house was just one room deep and was built over a brick basement. The house was re-modelled in the nineteenth century and the front brick façade was rendered. The curved ends were given conical roofs so that the house would resemble a French chateau.
Photo: Mike Searle
The rustic arch flanked by obelisks to the south of the house on the original avenue provided the name of the house. The arch contains a decorated stone from Neolitic times. Other follies included two bridges over a narrow canal that is diverted from the Yellow River. There was a large lake to the south-west of the house. With a lodge at the entrance gates there was a walled garden and extensive outbuildings.
A local story says that there were two Chilean pine trees planted, one each side of the arch to celebrate the birth of two boys to the Gilliat family. Captain Glennie Gilliat died of wounds in October 1914 while his brother, Captain Reginald Gilliat was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle in April 1915.
Arch Hall is associated with the Payne and Garnett families. The lands at Newtown-Clongill were in the hands of the Payne family from the time of the Cromwellian confiscations. William Paine acquired a lease of 510 acres at Arch Hall in 1714. William had two sons, Lawrence and John. Anne, daughter of John Paine, married Benjamin Woodward of Drumbarrow in 1737.
The house was probably constructed in the 1730s and designed by Edward Lovett Pearce. Arch Hall is one of a small group of Irish buildings in Vanbrugh’s castle style making use of bows and circular rooms at an early date.
In 1835 John Payne Garnett retained the townland of Arch Hall in his hands and had most of the townland under pasture, raising sheep and black cattle. Mr. Garnett’s house was described as a beautiful old-style residence with a fine garden and offices, an artificial pond with a number of islands on which ducks and widgeon feed. On the western boundary was a beautiful decoy. The well-wooded demesne comprised about 350 statute acres. Garnett also kept the townland of Fletecherstown in his hands raising sheep and cattle. The sheep were mostly of the Galway breed and the cattle chiefly the long-horned Irish breed. John Payne Garnett was High Sheriff of Meath in 1821.
John Paine Garnett died 1846 and was succeeded by his son, Samuel. Samuel Garnett of Arch Hall married Mary Anne Tandy in 1841. In 1845 Samuel Garnett, Esq., J. P., was a member of a company promoting the construction of a railway from the south of Ireland to the north, from Limerick to Clones. In the 1850s Samuel Garnett held lands at Arch Hall, Fletcherstown, Oristown and Clongill. Samuel was High Sheriff of Meath in 1858. In 1876 Samuel Garnett of Arch Hall owned 1,336 acres in county Meath. Samuel’s son, John, married Edith Singleton of Aclare but died in 1872 leaving an only son, John, born in 1866, who succeeded to the estates of his grand-father in the 1880s. A Justice of the Peace John died unmarried in 1894.
The property then came into the hands of the Gilliat family who were involved in banking in London and trade in Liverpool. In the 1901 and 1911 censuses Edith Gilliat and her daughter, Constance, resided at the house with their servants.
Arch Hall, the property of the late Mrs. Gilliat, was burned in April 1923. The house was unoccupied at the time. Before it was destroyed, one of the rooms was reputed to be made entirely in gold, from the paint on the walls to the furniture and picture frames. All that survives today is the facade and some remains of the front rooms. Mulligan described it as a “romantic decaying shell.”
Located just outside Kells Archdeaconry House, also known as Blackwater House is in the townland of Archdeaconry Glebe. A five-bay, three-storey house, the building dates to the late 18th century. The Church of Ireland Commissioners were the owners of the house. From the Anglo Norman period up until the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871 the archdeaconry of the diocese of Meath was united with the rectorship of Kells. The position was quite well lucrative. In the 1740s the Rector of Kells, who also held the position of Archdeacon of Meath, had an annual income of £700. In 1799 the Bishop of Meath, Thomas Lewis O’Beirne, gave his nephew, Thomas de Lacy, the position of archdeacon of the diocese, the best position the bishop had to give. Thomas De Lacy was known for his hunting in Kells and his curates were expected to keep up to him. In the 1830s during the cholera epidemic De Lacy stayed at his post and tended to the dying. He also gave money to the poor and milk to the sick. When de Lacy died in 1844 he was followed by Edward Adderly Stopford, the son of the then Bishop of Meath, Edward Adderly Stopford. The position was then worth £1670 per annum, a considerable sum.
Alice Stopford was born in 1847 in Archdeaconry House, Kells, the seventh of nine children of Edward Adderley Stopford. Alice stayed with the family, moving to Chester in 1874 on the death of her father. In 1877 she married the historian, John Richard Green, the acclaimed author of the ‘Short History of the English People’ published in 1874. Through the work of her husband she became interested in historical research, first in England and then following her husband’s untimely death in 1883 in Irish history. In England her friends included Sydney and Beatrice Webb, Arthur Conan Doyle and others whom she entertained in her house at 14 Kensington Square. Alice was critical of the conduct of the Boer War. She supported Casement in his campaign against injustice in the Congo. She met many Irish nationalists and became a nationalist herself. In 1908 she published ‘Making of Ireland and her Undoing’. Her London home was used to plot the Howth gun running. After the 1916 Rising she attempted to save Casement from execution. Alice moved to Ireland in 1918 and remained her until her death in 1929. She supported the pro-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War and was among the first nominees to the newly formed Seanad Éireann in 1922, where she served as an independent member. In 1925 her book ‘A history of the Irish state to 1014’ was published.
In 1872 Joseph Samuel Bell was appointed Archdeacon. In 1887 Rev. John Healy became archdeacon and the house was too large and he erected a new rectory on the Dublin Road. John Healy wrote a history of the diocese of Meath, which was published in 1908. His son was killed in the First World War.
In 1911 the house was the property of John Brady. The river Blackwater borders the gardens of the house with a bathing house just across the river. The house was renamed Blackwater Stud. Two housing estates were developed on the original lands of the house and were named Archdeaconry and Archdeaconry View.
Ardbraccan was the seat of the diocese of Ardbraccan founded by St. Breaccan and St. Ultan. In the middle ages Ardbraccan became the seat for the Protestant bishops of Meath and a large house was erected with a chapel dedicated to St. Mary. The bishops of Meath were interred in the churchyard at Ardbraccan.
The house was replaced by a Georgian building in the eighteenth century. The kitchen and stable wings were completed first in the mid 1730s and then the central block was erected about 1776. The two wings were designed by Richard Castle, the pre-eminent architect working in Ireland at the time while the central block was an amalgam of the designs of Thomas Cooley and James Wyatt, together with amateur Navan architect, the Rev. Daniel A. Beaufort. The house was constructed with limestone from the nearby White Quarry. The house is set in mature pasture land with formal gardens and walled gardens. There is a courtyard of domestic and agricultural buildings to the north of the house. The farm and stables are joined to the house by a tunnel under the garden terrace. A dome-shaped icehouse, dating from about 1800, is located to the south of the outbuilding complex. A gable fronted gate lodge was constructed about 1776 when the main house was completed.
Known as Ardbraccan House or Bishop’s Palace the house was the residence of the bishops of Meath until 1885, after which it became a private residence.
In 1734 Bishop Arthur Price decided to replace the old Tudor house with a new residence and commissioned Richard Castle to prepare plans. Arthur Price had been vicar of Celbridge and resided at Oakley Park. Here his steward at Oakley Park was Richard Guinness, who was acclaimed for his brewing talents. Richard’s son, Arthur, went on to establish the Guinness Brewery in Dublin in 1759. While the new house was in the process of construction Price was elevated to Archbishop of Cashel and construction came to a halt. The kitchen wing was used as the bishop’s residence for more than thirty years until Bishop Henry Maxwell decided to complete the building. Bishop Maxwell was a younger son of the 1st Lord Farnham of Cavan. James Wyatt, Thomas Cooley and Rev. Daniel Beaufort of Navan drew up plans and it would appear that while Wyatt’s plans were used but Beaufort and Cooley also influenced the final house. Beaufort attended the laying of the foundation stone but had to leave early due to a toothache. Beaufort described the house as being ‘in a style of superior elegance, and yet with such simplicity as does equal honour to his lordship’s taste and liberality.’ Maxwell is said to have boasted that he would build a palace so grand that no scholar or tutor would dare live in it. Bishop Maxwell also constructed the nearby Ardbracan church about 1777.
The Bishops of Meath resided at Ardbraccan during the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries.
Rev. James Singer became bishop in 1852 but resided mostly in Dublin and the house at Ardbraccan was shut up in the 1860s. In 1876 Rev. William Plunket became bishop of Meath and he resolved to sell Ardbraccan as the costs of upkeep were too large for a now disestablished Church of Ireland. The bishops moved to a smaller house in the locality, Bishop’s court, now An Tobar.
Bishop Plunkett sold the house in 1885 to Hugh Law, son of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. At the time Fr. Kearney P.P. Bohermeen suggested purchasing the Bishop’s Palace as a seminary but his bishop did not agree with the suggestion.
The house remained in the Law family until it passed by marriage to the Foster family. In 1985 Colonel Owen Foster sold Ardbraccan House to Tara Mines who used it as an occasional guest residence for visiting businessmen. The Fosters moved to the old schoolhouse at the entrance to the churchyard and were noted for their great care of the grounds of the church.
In the late 1990s the house was once again sold.
A farmhouse erected about 1860 Ardglasson House is a two storey slated house near Crossakiel in north-west Meath. It is to a traditional design and has a flat-roofed porch. The entrance conssits of octagonal stone entrance piers and a pair of cast-iron gates. In 1911 it was in the ownership of James William Gilsenan and it has continued in the family to the present day.
Ardmulchan Castle is a Scottish Baronial cum Elizabethan hunting lodge dating to 1904. The house was built for a Scottish landowner, Fitzroy C. Fletcher, who died before the house was completed. Set dramatically high up on the south banks of the river Boyne below Navan the house has been described as a Scotsman’s house in Ireland by Casey and Rowan. The house was built for entertaining with five guest bedrooms and plenty of space for staff. It has a very ornate porch, front door and portico. The house had its own electricity provided by a powerhouse near the river with the front door of the old house was re-used as the door of the powerhouse. The tower of the house with its battlements stores the water tanks. The long internal hall is at right angles to the door with the principal rooms overlooking the Boyne. The hall has high oak panelling. The rooms have plasterwork ceilings created by G. Rome & Co, a firm which practised in Dublin and Glasgow. All the rooms have elaborate chimney pieces and a number have angle nooks.
The Taaffes acquired Ardmulchan in the eighteenth century and erected a plain Georgian style house overlooking the river. The family burial ground is at Ardmulchan cemetery. Taaffe’s lock on the Boyne Canal commemorates their financial contribution to the canal company.
Fitzroy Charles Fletcher of Angus in Scotland married Frances May Grant, from Australia in 1890. Fletcher enjoyed hunting and regularly visited his friend, Robert Gradwell of Dowth Hall, co. Meath. Fletcher rented Slane Castle from the Conynghams for a number of hunting seasons, hunting in Ireland from November to March Fletcher decided to purchase a permanent residence in Ireland. With the assistance of Gradwell he found and purchased Ardmulchan House in 1900. The existing Georgian style house was not suitable for Fletcher’s requirements and he decided to demolish the house and replace it with a hunting lodge.
The architect Fletcher selected was a Scotsman Sidney Mitchell of Edinburgh. Materials and workmen were despatched from Scotland. Lord Aberdeen, the Viceroy, appealed to Fletcher to use Irish craftsmen and materials but to no avail. Apart from some welding on some dog grates the rest of the works was all provided by Scottish workers. The sandstone for the windows was carved from a quarry on Fletcher’s Scottish estate and transported by ship to Drogheda and then by barges along the canal to Ardmulchan. All the materials with the exception of the bricks were also Scottish. Casey and Rowan wrote that Fletcher can hardly have been popular in Meath for importing such a quantity of tradesmen.
Fletcher’s poor health forced him to delegate much of the work and decisions to the manager of his Scottish estates, James Stirling. Construction made good progress but Fletcher died in August 1902. His will provided for £7,000 for the completion of Ardmulchan. His wife Mary Frances was given a life rent of all her husband’s estates.
Thomas Fletcher inherited Ardmulchan on the death of his mother. A noted horse breeder and huntsman, Thomas was director of Proudstown Park racecourse, Navan, from its inception in 1921. During the 1930s the house was rented to Sir Alexander Maguire of Maguire and Patterson matches. In 1939 his horse “Workman” won the Grand National, an event celebrated in Navan with an Address by the Urban District Council to Sir Alexander.
After the Second World War Thomas Fletcher moved across the Boyne to Dunmoe cottage and he died in 1950. The Fletcher family remained in ownership of Ardmulchan until 1956 when the house and estate were sold to Anthony Riddell Martin and his family. When his young daughter died in 1952 she was interred in Ardmulchan cemetery and Riddell Martin had the intervening woods cleared so that the grave and cemetery could be viewed from the house.
During the late 1960s the castle was owned by a German called Von Trapp and the estate was managed by an Englishman Hogarth. In 1973 it was purchased by Sean Galvin as a family home and is still in use as a family home today.
Kathleen G. Mac Leman recorded much detail of Ardmulchan in her book ‘Fitzroy C. Fletcher of Letham Grange and Ardmulchan.’ A few years ago the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society was graciously allowed to visit the house courtesy of its owners.
Ardrums House is in the townland of Ardrums Great and the civil parish of Rathcore, near Enfield. Henry Purdon acquired Ardrums about 1800. Henry was resdiding there in the 1830s. In the 1850s Ardrums was in the possession of his son, Bartholomew Purdon. Bartholomew married Maria Trotter, daughter of Doctor Trotter of Summerhill, at Laracor in 1847 and he died at Ardrums in 1904. They had four boys and three girls. David William Purdon succeeded his father in 1904. David had been a colonel in the Indian Army. He served served during the Rumpa Rebellion 1881, in the Burma War 1887-88, and in Great War, 1914-19. David died in 1948 and was buried at Agher churchyard. The estate was sold shortly afterwards.
The Nangles were granted the barony of Navan in the 1170s by Hugh de Lacy and they erected a castle at Ardsallagh. The Nangles lost their lands in the Cromwellian plantations. John Preston purchased much of the former Nangle properties and in this manner managed to acquire 7,859 acres in Co. Meath and Laois (Queens) Co.
Preston placed 1,737 acres in trust for the keeping of two schools, one in Navan and another in Ballyroan, Queens Co. (Laois). Preston’s heir was his grandson, John of Ardsallagh. His daughter, Mary, inherited the property as her brother Phineaas had died young. Mary married Peter Ludlow, M.P. who in his old age became afflicted by gout and had to be carried in and out on men’s shoulders. Their son, Peter, MP for Co Meath, was created Baron Ludlow of Ardsallagh in 1755 and in 1760 created Viscount Preston and 1st Earl of Ludlow. Peter, the first Earl died in 1750 and he was succeeded by his eldest son, Peter, 2nd Earl of Ludlow, MP for County Huntingdon. Ardsallagh House had well designed formal gardens and a carefully designed landscape. Dean Swift and the Delaneys were regular visitors and many descriptions of the eighteenth century house and gardens survive. The house was described as a good house with some good pictures. Mrs Delaney wrote had difficulty describing the gardens saying that nothing could be wilder or more romantic. There was a grotto in an old stone quarry with statues of Hercules, Atlas and other Greek and Roman characters. Clipped yew hedges were set out like the walls of Troy.
Lord Ludlow and the Ardsallagh estate provided 5s worth of bread each week for the poor of the parish. The loaves were placed in St. Mary’s church. The Duke of Bedford continued this charity until 1907.
In 1836 Ardsalla was the residence of Earl Ludlow. The south east portion of the townland was laid out to form a demesne and deer park. Ardsalla House with its outbuildings stood on the banks of the river. There are very good oak, ash and elm timber and some fir plantations in the demesne.
The third Earl Ludlow willed the property to the Earls of Bedford who took control in 1842. In the mid 1840s the Duke erected the present house, accounts and drawings of which survive in the Bedford Estate Office. Ardsallagh is a Tudor Revival house with steeply pointed gables and dormer gables, oriels, mullions and tall chimneys. This new mansion house for 7th Duke of Bedford, cost £40,000. Wilde writing in1849 said that house looked as if it was half in mourning due to the very black limestone used in its construction. The Duke of Bedford took an active interest in improving the estate and proposed the demolition of the slum houses at Brewshill.
In 1861 the Duke of Bedford died, and Lord John Russell, the British prime minister 1846-52 and 1865-66 inherited the Ardsalla estate. Lord John then asked for a peerage and became Earl Russell of Kingston Russell, and his eldest son became Viscount Amberley of Amberley and Ardsalla. In 1883 Earl Russell of Ardsalla held 3176 acres in Meath and 1017 acres in county Louth. He held no lands in England or elsewhere!
His grandson, the third earl and last of the family to own Ardsallagh was the philosopher Bertrand Russell. The Russell Arms Hotel (where the Newgrange Hotel is now located) was erected by the agents of the Duke of Bedford to provide a suitable meeting place for the gentlemen of the county.
The French family lived at Ardsallagh in the latter half of the nineteenth century. William John French married Harriet Caufield of Dromcairne. William John of Ardsallagh died aged 63 in 1876. His son, Captain Caufield French was High Sheriff of Roscommon in 1887. Another son, Houston, an army officer, served in the Egyptian campaign of the 1880s. In 1895 he was appointed to the Yeomen of the Guard, achieving command of that body in 1925. He also served in the Boer War. William De Salis Filgate of Lissrenny, Co. Louth married Georgiana Harriett French, eldest daughter of William John French of Ardsallagh. A fire damaged the house in 1903.
Dr. Robert Collins, a distinguished physician lived in the house for a period. John McCann, M.P. lived at Ardsallagh House. A nationalist MP for Stephen’s Green division in Dublin, McCann, published the newspaper, The Irish Peasant, in Navan.
Bernadette Murray has written a detailed account of Ardsallagh townland.
Ludlow Street and Bedford Row in Navan commemorate the Ardsallagh landowners.
Arodstown is just off the Dunboyne-Summerhill Road. In 1901 Arodstown House had seven rooms, seven windows to the front and ten outbuildings. A castle ruin stands to the north of the house and a church and graveyard to the west. In 1725 William Palmer of Dublin leased Arodstown to Stephen Bomford of Gallow. Arodstown House was described in the 1830s as a good farmhouse, two storeys high and thatched. It was the residence of Robert Williams, whose brother Robert lived nearby at Curraghmore Cottage. In the 1850s Robert Parson had 46 acres rented from Henry Williams at Arodstown. John Williams of Arodstown held 296 acres in County Meath in 1876. In 1901 William G. Williams and his family lived at Arodstown. The Parsons continued to hold lands at Arodstown until they married into the Douglas family who now hold Arodstown house.
Ashfield House at Bawnbreaky, Moybologue was the residence of Mr. Fleming in 1835. Near Breakey Lough the house was described as a neat two storey slated house with about five and a half acres of ash and fir planted in the surrounding land. The house was replaced by a new building.
Ashfield House, Beauparc, is a simple three storey Victorian house. It was the home of Arthur George Murray, brother of the architect William G. Murray who designed the house. Four stone creatures guard the garden steps. The grounds were landscaped with laburnum, red flowering chestnuts and various decorative trees.Arthur Murray held a house and lands at Painestown in the 1850s. In 1876 Arthur G. Murray held 674 acres in County Meath. In 1901 John Henry Murray was the proprietor. In 1911 his sister, Isabel Henrietta Murray was the owner/occupier. Her brother, Charles Frederick, also lived at Ashfield. The Murary family left Ashfield in 1927 and emigrated to Canada. The estate was divided by the Land Commission.
In the twentieth century Captain Charles Wren Newsam ran a stud farm at Ashfield. He gave one of his fields for playing gaelic football. His daughter, Eileen, married the 7th Marquess of Slane in 1950. The marriage was dissolved in 1970. Henry Mountcharles, now 8th Marquess, is their son.
Eldon and Dede Power family lived at Ashfield from 1965 when they purchased the property. Their daughter, Carole Crossman Power, married Lord Simon Carles Conyngham, second son of the 7th Marquess of Slane and Eileen Newsam in 1990.
In 2006 Ashfield was purchased by Michael Bailey of Bovale Developments for the sum of €6.5 million at auction. Refurbishment work was estimated to cost €3m. The property which included the Suma Stud, went for nearly twice its guide price of €3.75m. Michael Bailey was expected to open up the 160 acre estate to the Ward Union hunt of which he was one of the masters. Suma Stud re-located to county Kildare.
Now demolished, Athboy Lodge, stood on the edge of Athboy town on the road to Kells. The old Vocational school now stands on the site of the house. Still surviving from the house are the stables, the walls of the walled garden and a tunnel which was possibly used as an ice house. The stable has interesting circular windows. The farmyard may have been designed by William Barber for Sir Francis Hopkins.
The house was probably constructed about 1800. The house was probably constructed by the Hopkins family. James Hopkins came to Ireland with the Cromwellian forces. The family settled in Westmeath. His son, Francis, was born in 1714 and died in 1789. His son, also Francis Hopkins was born in 1756. Francis entered Trinity and was called to Irish Bar in 1781. In 1794 Francis put to flight 2,000 insurgents, being severely wounded in the fray and in the following year was created a baronet. He was returned by Gustavus Lambert as M.P. for Kilbeggan for 1797 to 1800. He voted against the Union in 1799. He married Eleanor, daughter of Skeffington Thompson of Rathnally. They lived at Athboy Lodge. He died at his Dublin home in Mountjoy Square in September 1814. His son also Francis was born in 1813 and was living at Athboy Lodge in 1838 but also lived for a period at Mitchelstown House, Athboy. In the 1830s he went on travels in the Middle East, even visiting the court of the Shah of Persia. He died in 1860.
In 1836 Athboy Lodge was described as a neat two storey house with basement and was then the residence of Mr. Noble while Mr. Hopkins lived at Mitchelstown. There is a house nearer the Kells road called Maryville on the first Ordnance Survey maps of the 1830s.
Colonel Edward Dyas served as a colonel in the army of William of Orange and was granted lands in Meath as a result. The Dyas family came to Athboy from the Kilbeg area where they also held lands. In the 1850s the lands at Fosterfields were held by John Dyas. John Dyas of Athboy Lodge was buried at Histy Graveyard, Staholmog in 1867. His eldest son, Nathaniel Hane Dyas was baptised in Kells in 1836 and died aged 64 years in 1901 and is buried at Histy graveyard.
Nathaniel H. Dyas of Athboy lodge held 1,231 acres in Meath in 1876. Joseph H. Dyas of Athboy held 816 acres in County Meath in 1876. About 1870 plans were drawn up for alterations to Athboy Lodge.
Nathaniel’s brother, Harry Dyas, came into possession of Athboy Lodge. Harry lived at Boltown, Kilskyre. There are many tales told locally about his strictness with workers. He once shot an egg out of an eggcup sitting on his steward’s head. A solicitor and farmer Harry Dyas bred the horse, Manifesto, which won the Grand National in 1897. Dyas sold the horse in 1898 and the horse came back strong to win the 1899 Grand National for his new owner. The favourite that year was “Gentle Ida”, another horse that had been owned by Harry Dyas and was still kept in his stable. After Manifesto’s death his skeleton was donated to a veterinary college in Liverpool and is still there to this day.
In the 1901 census Nathaniel Hone Dyas and his wife Rosa Hone, nee Mangin, was living at Athboy Lodge. Nathaniel died later in 1901 and ten years later his widow and her brother were living at the Lodge. .
A technical school was established in Athboy in 1935, initially in the rented Civic Hall, until Athboy Lodge could be adapted as a school. Athboy Technical School was officially opened on 21 June 1938 but had been occupied by students for at least six months before that. Meath VEC decided to proceed with the erection of new technical school at Athboy on 28 June 1952. The gardens of Athboy Lodge became the site for Athboy Co-op Creamery while the stables became a pig mart for a short period. Tennis grounds were also constructed. Athboy Co-op is the reason I came to Meath in 1980 and I well remember exploring the tunnel under the garden.
Athcarne Castle is located just west of Duleek, on the Hurley river and near to the Nanny.
Athcarne consists of a medieval tower with a large nineteenth century extension. Athcarne Castle was originally built for William Bathe in 1590. Home to the Bathe and Gernon families it was lived in until the mid-twentieth century. The four storey tower house was renovated about 1830 and a large three storey extension and a thin turret tower were constructed. The tower house has a vaulted lower chamber with wicker markings on the ceiling. The three-storey nineteenth century house is stone-faced and brick-lined. There is a turret at the south west corner and an armorial plaque on the south wall. There was a great walled garden and yard. The rear entrance to the house is off the Duleek – Balrath road while the front entrance had a gate lodge.
Mathew de Bathe, who died in 1350, obtained a grant from Edward III, of the manor of Rathfeigh. The family held considerable lands at Drumcondra, Co. Dublin. Matthew’s descendant, James Bath, was Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer in 1547. His son, John, was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and died in 1586. His eldest son, William, was second Justice of the Common Pleas; but dying in 1599 without issue, the estates reverted to his next brother John, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, who died in 1634. It was William who erected the house at Athcarne. William’s widow, Jenet Dowdall, erected three crosses in the memory of her late husband, William Bathe. She erected one at the western end of Duleek, one at entrance to Annesbrook House and one at Whitecross near the entrance to Athcarne.
John was succeeded by his eldest son James, who lost the property in the Cromwellian confiscations. His eldest son, Luke, was created a Baron when Charles II was restored to the throne but he had difficulty in having the estate restored to the family. In the end he was forced to accept a 99 year lease on his lands of Athcarne which amounted to 1200 acres but had to give up the family’s considerable estates in Dublin.
Sir Luke died in 1672, leaving an only son Sir Peter who died without issue. It was said that King James slept in the house and a bed was preserved in memory of the king. Sir Luke had three brothers who survived him but none were able to gain control of the family estates. The widows of Sir Luke and Sir Peter in 1693, gave possession to the Crown and in 1704 the property was sold to Mr. Somerville, woollen draper of Dublin. The Bathe family seem to have managed to stay on at Athcarne.
In 1832 Sir William Plunkett de Bathe lived there but the property was shortly after acquired by the Gernon family.
In 1837 Athcarne, the residence of James Gernon, was described as pleasantly situated on the Nannywater, a perfect specimen of the Elizabethan castellated style. It was described as a massive pile of building, with a still more massive keep defended by quadrangular towers; and the whole was formerly surrounded by a fosse.
Henry Chester Gernon, JP for Meath, was born in 1848, the son of James Gernon. In 1876 Henry C. Gernon is recorded as holding 734 acres in Meath and Louth while other members of the family held 257 acres in both counties. Colonel (later Major) Gernon commanded 5th Batt. Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the Boer War and died in 1908.
Major Gernon, had five in family, one boy went to Canada, a daughter married Mr. McCann of Staleen House. The castle was retained by the Major’s son, James Gernon and his two sisters, Helen and Constance. James regaled locals with tales of the Klondike gold rush. He was the last occupant of the castle which was partially demolished in the 1950s. King James’ bed, along with the skins of the last wolves to be killed in Ireland and many other items, were disposed of in the 1950s. After the division of the estate the roof was removed from the castle.
Athlumney House, dates from the eighteenth century and sits on the east bank of the Boyne, just south of Navan. The Metge family were Huguenot refugees fleeing the persecution of Catholics in France. Peter de la Metgee was the first of the family to arrive in Ireland. Settling at Athlumney he married Joyce Hatch and had four daughters and a son. He died aged 70 in 1735 and was succeeded by his son Peter.
Peter held lands at Athlumney and Warrenstown, Dunboyne. Peter was married to Ann Lyon, a family from which a Queen Mother in England was to descend. On the staircase of Athlumney there were some carved oak ornaments brought over from Glamis Castle by Janet Lyon. They had four sons and eight daughters. Peter Metge died in 1774. Two of his sons served as MPs in the Irish House of Parliament.
Peter Merge, eldest son of Peter Metge of Athlumney, was MP for Ratoath 1783-4 and also served as magistrate and portreeve (Mayor) of Navan. Peter was a lawyer. He served as M.P. for Boyle and became Baron of the Exchequer. Baron Metge was a local commissioner appointed to supervise the Boyne Canal in 1787.
John Metge, second son of Peter Metge of Athlumney, was MP for Ratoath 1784-90. A captain in the 4th Dragoons he acted as Henry Grattan’s second in his famous duel with Corry in 1800. Peter became deputy auditor general of the Irish Treasury. John later went on to represent Dundalk in the parliament in Westminister on three separate occasions. He served as a seatwarmer for the Earl of Roden who was patron of Dundalk. John also acted as a representative for Lord Roden and signed deeds on his behalf.
John inherited Athlumney on the death of his brother, Peter and he was succeeded by his son, Peter Ponsonby. In 1830s Athlumney was home to Peter Ponsonby Metge and was described as “beautifully situated on the banks of the Boyne, commanding some pleasing views and the demesne is well planted and tastefully embellished.” In the 1800s an underground passage, a souterrain, was discovered at Athlumney and featured in many learned books of the era.
In 1876 Peter Ponsonby Metge of Athlumney held 788 acres in county Meath. Peter’s brother, John Charles, settled at Sion and in 1876 J. C. Metge of Sion, Navan held 968 acres in Westmeath.
Peter Ponsonby died in 1873 and was succeeded by his nephew, Robert Henry Metge.
Robert Henry Metge was M.P for Meath from 1880 to 1884. He married Frances Lambart, daughter of Rev. Charles Lambert, rector of Navan and grand-daughter of Gustavus Lambert of Beauparc. Robert Henry died in 1900 and was succeeded by his son, Robert Henry. Another son Captain Rudolph Cole Metge died as a results of wounds suffered during the first World War.
Robert Henry was born in 1875 and married Mary Galway Creagh of Mallow in 1914. Major Robert Henry Metge, fought in the Boer War and was a survivor of the siege of Ladysmith. He served as a captain in the Welsh regiment and was major in the Leinster regiment. When he returned to Athlumney he fished regularly in the Boyne. In 1930 he wrote a letter to the Irish Times complaining of the decline in the fishing stock in the Boyne and its tributaries. Major Metge came into possession of the seal of the corporation of Navan. He lent it to the National Museum but it was later acquired by Randolph Hearst. Metge supported the efforts of Sir Nugent Everard in promoting the growing of tobacco in the county. He also bred pedigree British Berkshire pigs. Major Metge was a member of the Navan branch of the British Legion. His wife died in May 1939.
In the early 1900s Athlumney was leased to a Mr. Collier, owner of Collier’s Weekly and New York magazine. The Duc d’Orleans visited Mr. Collier there. The Duke was the pretender to the throne of France. Some of the Metge Estate was purchased under the 1923 Land Act. Later the house was occupied by the McEntegart and Farrell families.
Metge’s Lane in the centre of Navan commemorates the family today.
Bachelor’s Lodge is located on the road between Navan and Kells in the townland of Scallanstown. Bachelors Lodge was built in 1725. The house had been erected by the Earl of Essex on his lands. Casey and Rowan described Batchelor’s Lodge as a mid eighteenth century house of modest proportions now covered by ivy. They said it had been built presumably as a hunting lodge by the Earl of Essex. The house has a dull Victorian porch according to Casey and Rowan. In one room the plasterwork looks as if it is from the 1760s.
About 1790 Hamilton Wade, formerly a major in the army died at Bachelor’s Lodge. Alan Wade lived at Bachelor’s Lodge and married Anne Shenton. Rev. George Charles Garnett of Williamstown married their daughter Margaret.
In 1805 John Wade was living at Bachelor’s Lodge. John was nephew and heir of Hamlet and Christopher Wade of Bachelor’s Lodge. In the 1830s Bachelor’s Lodge was described as a good two storey house, the residence of John Wade.
In the 1850s Thomas Wallace was leasing Bachelor’s lodge and lands at Scallanstown from the Earl of Essex.
Born in 1839, Joseph Lowry died in 1913 aged 74. A native of Ballyjamesduff, he began his life as an assistant in a draper shop in Dublin. The draper shop later developed in into Clerys Department Store. Joseph married Mrs. Hannon, the proprietess of the Headfort Arms Hotel where he took up the position of manager. He was also an auctioneer and Sub-sheriff of Meath. Joseph and his family were Wesleyan Methodists and later Church of Ireland. Joseph Lowry, was a founder member of Navan race course. The family lived at Oatlands. Lowry leased Bachelor’s Lodge about 1880 before purchasing the property. A prominent owner and breeder, in 1913 Bachelor’s Wedding, a horse which Lowry had bred, won the Irish Derby and a prize fund of 1,000 guineas. Another of his horses, Killeagh, also won the Irish Derby. He was known by race goers as “Lucky Lowry.”
Joseph’s son, Albert took over the property. Albert married Emma Lewis of Athboy in 1889. Albert John Lowry of Batchelor’s Lodge died 1935 aged 67 years.
The property is now home to the superb equestrian centre.
Located on the road to Trim from Robinstown in 1901 Balbray House was the home of George A. Tisdall, land agent. William Tisdall is recorded as a landowner in the 1850s. William Tisdall of Balbrigh is listed as owning 152 acres in County Meath in 1876. In 1911 Balbray or Balbrigh House was home to Mrs. Frances Izod Tisdall aged 91 and her four daughters. In July 1921 the house described as the residence of G.A. Tisdall was burned during the troubled times. It is said that is owner hid in the shrubbery when the house was burned and caught pneumonia from which he died. George Tisdall was the owner at the time and he did escape the burning house through his plantation. He moved to Tullyard, Trim after his house was burned and he died in 1922. His health had failed. It was said that he had reported the activities of the attack by police forces on the Chaloner property at Robinstown and had insisted that it be investigated.
In 1837 Balfeaghan house was uninhabited and rapidly becoming ruinous. In the 1970s Dr. Moore said it had been recently modernised. About 100 feet northwest from the house is Balfeaghan church and graveyard, on the right hand side of the Kilcock- Trim road.
Ballaghtalion, also spelled Balatalion, House is located near Kildalkey, on the Trim Road.
John Potterton of Rathcormick leased 250 acres at Balatalion from Speaker Connolly in 1731. In 1756 his grandson, Thomas, was the first to live at Balatalion and it was probably he who built the house or added to the existing house at the rear. There was a pigeon house and in 1836 Ballaghtallion Cottage was described as very pretty. In 1835 it was the seat of Mr. T. Potterton.
Alexander de Courcy Potterton emigrated to Australia and New Zealand. He saw action against the Maori and taught French. He returned to Ireland in his seventies and is buried in Athboy. A brother, Frederick became Dean of Ardagh and married Julia Switzer, only daughter of John Wright Switzer, founder of Switzer’s department store, Dublin. Another brother, Henry, went to America where he sought his fortune in the California Gold Rush, after which he disappears from family records. Another brother, Robert, was a schools inspector and wrote rhymes.
In the 1901 and 1911 census Hubert W. Potterton and his family lived at Ballaghtalion. He bequeathed Ballaghtalion to his nephew, Henry Norman Potterton of Freffans, following his death in 1942. The house remained in the Potterton family until it was sold in 1972.
Homan Potterton describes the house and its family connections in his book ‘Potterton People & Places.’
Ballair is located between Moynalty and Carlanstown. The 1830s maps show a pigeon house west of the main building. It would appear that the present house was erected to replace an older dwelling between 1836 and 1854. Around 1760 Edward Kellett lived at Bellair. Bellair House was owned by the Walker family of Zephyr Lodge, Williamstown. In 1854 Alexander Walker was leasing Ballair House and 217 acres of land. Alexander Walker of Bellair held 119 acres of land in County Meath in 1876. His son also Alexander and daughter Annie lived in the Glebe House, Kilbeg. In 1901 Charles Walker and his sister, Eliza, were living at Ballair. In 1911 Robert Kellet, Steward, was living in Ballair House, the property of C.E. Walker. The house had eight rooms, five windows to the front and nineteen outbuildings.
Ballinadrimna is located in Athboy parish, a little distance from Kildalkey. Ballinadrimna was occupied by the Kellet family in the 18th century and it was probably they who erected the house in the 1780s. John Potterton acquired the house and property from the Kellets in 1819 and bequeathed it to his sons John and James. Harris Kellet held the mill and lands at Ballinadrimna in 1778. The house was attached to the old tower house and may date to the 1780s. In the 1830s Ballinadrimna was the residence of Mr. Thorogood and described as a good two storey slated house.
The house is now a ruin. The east wall of the tower house survives to the first floor level. A new building is now on the site of the house. See ‘Potterton People & Places’ by Homan Potterton.
Ballinderry House is located between Longwood and Enfield. In the 1830s Ballinderry House was described as a handsome dwelling, the residence of Mr. F.C. Murphy who in 1836 was making extensive improvements in the way of drainage etc. The house was described as standing on a good site and was sheltered by some trees around it. Murphy held the townland of Ballinderry, 491 acres, from Lord Langford. In the 1850s William Walsh held the house and over 200 acres from Richard T. Rowley. In 1901 and 1911 William Walsh and his family resided at Ballinderry House, probably a son of the William who held the lands in the 1850s.
Ballintry house was located in Belgree townland, Kilbride, Dunboyne. Ballintry townland is immediately to the west of the house. In 1835 this was described as a neat two storey slated farmhouse in good repair, the residence of Mr. Moore. The Moores were one of the longest families in the parish. In the 1850s Michael Moore held the townland from the Earl of Fingal. In recent years the house was held by the Delaney Family. In the early 1900s the townland was held by James J. Butler and in 1911 the house was lived in by Mary and Bridget Black.
Ballybeg House was located near Courtown, Kells. There was a castle belong to the Hill family there until the 1650s. The O’Reillys managed to gain control of the lands in the eighteenth century. One of the family Peter O’Reilly studied at the Irish College in Paris and in 1782 became parish priest of Ardbraccan and Cortown. He later became parish priest of Kells and Archdeacon of Meath.
In the 1820s Patrick O’Reilly held at least 200 acres including 100 acres of a nursery and employed eighty people. It was one of the most extensive nurseries in the country and recognised internationally. In 1802 the nurseries were considered the largest in Ireland. Mr. O’Reilly offered free carriage of trees to anyplace in Ireland and offered a three year looking after period. Patrick O’Reilly was a subscriber to an Irish-English dictionary published in 1817.
In the 1830s Terence O’Reilly held the property at Ballybeg and he was also in residence in the 1850s. The house had its own gatelodge. All the nursery and wooded land was removed over the years. The townland had its own railway station opening in 1853. Ballybeg was the first station west of Navan town, the branch lost its passenger service in 1958 and closed completely in 1963.
Bernard O’Reilly was born at Ballybeg in 1824. He was educated at the Seminary of Navan and at Ushaw. Joining the church he was consecrated Bishop of Liverpool by Cardinal Mannin in 1873. During his episcopacy of twenty-one years he opened twenty-two churches in Liverpool city and area and supported the foundation of the diocesan seminary of St. Joseph at Upholland.
Christopher O’Reilly, youngest son of Terence and Anna O’Reilly, was born at Ballybeg in 1835 and emigrated to Victoria, Australia in 1854. From there he went to Tasmania where he became a mining engineer and farmer. He was elected to the Tasmanian Parliament in 1871. His sister, Mary, married John Donnellan Balfe, a politician and journalist.
Ballybeg house is no longer there but the outbuildings serve as farm buildings.
Ballyboy House is located in the western part of Athboy parish, near the border with Westmeath. Ballyboy does not appear on the first Ordnance Survey maps of the 1830s and so must have been erected after that date.
Ballyboy House is located on the Athboy-Navan road near Rathmore. In 1835 it was the residence of Mr. Gannon. In the 1850s Thomas Askens was leasing the house and entire townland of 327 acres from the Earl of Darnley. The Parr family acquired the property prior to 1901 and in that year Bernard W. Parr and his family were living in the house. He was a grazier and farmer. His wife, Alice Catherine, was from Cambridge. There was a related Parr family at Parkstown, Ballivor. Bernard W. Parr died in 1922. He was a well known personality on the Turf course and ran a stud farm at Ballyboy. He had re-married shortly before his death.
Victor Henry Parr was born in 1887, the son of Bernard and Alice Parr. Victor became a Major in the Inniskilling Fusiliers and served in France from February 1916. Major Victor Parr D.S.O. M.C. resided at Ballyboy. In 1925 Victor ran for the Farmer and Ratepayers Party for Meath County Council. About 1928 he married Norah Beatrice Moyne. Their only child, Annie, was killed at the age of 19, when she fell from her horse at Rathcarne in 1949. Ballyboy House was sold in 1987 following Mrs. Parr’s death. The house and 195 acres fetched £266,000. I remember visiting this house when the contents were for sale in 1987.
Ballyfallon house on the road from Athboy to Kildalkey is a nineteenth century house. Casey and Rowan described it as a ‘modest country house of two storeys over a basement.’ Its early nineteenth century appearance is altered by some classical features. It has an attractive grey-blue limestone doorcase.
The Colles and Martley families are associated with Ballyfallon. Abraham Colles was born at Ballyfallon in 1816 and died in July 1879. He married Mrs. Anna Countess about 1841. Their son, Abraham, born in 1850 died aged eight.
In the 1850 Abraham Colles was listed as the landowner of Newtown, Ballyfallon and in 1876 Abraham Colles of Ballyfallon was recorded a sowing 273 acres in county Meath.
It is not clear if Abraham Colles of Ballyfallon was a relative of Surgeon Abraham Colles of Kilkenny, whose name is best-known in connection with the Colles fracture of the radius, a common fracture just above the wrist and usually the result of a fall on the palm of the hand. Colles was also influential in introducing new principles for the use of mercury in the cure of syphilis. In 1804, however, he became professor of anatomy and surgery in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, an office he held for thirty-two years.
John Martley, of Ballyfallon, married Margery, daughter of James Cusack, of Clonard. Dying in 1729, aged 87, he was buried in Athboy. He was succeeded by his second son, John, who married Clementina, eldest daughter of the Rev. Robert Meares, rector of Almoritia, Westmeath, in 1744. He was succeeded in 1797 by his second son, William. The third son, James Frederick, a medical doctor lived at Kells. One of James’ sons went to British Columbia in Canada while another son went to Melbourne where he became attorney general. Another grandson of the first John Martley was the Hon. Henry Martley, judge of the Landed Estates Court, Dublin who died in 1895.
William Martley of Ballyfallon married firstly Alicia, daughter of Francis Hopkins, of Darvistown, co. Meath, and had an only daughter Jane, who married the Right Hon. Francis Blackburne, of Tankardstown, Slane, Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1809.
His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Rothwell, of Rockfield, and Berford, co. Meath. His only son, John, inherited Ballyfallon in 1807. John married Jane Rothwell of Cannonstown in 1818. He was succeeded by his son, William, in 1841. William died childless in 1874 and was succeeded by his brother, Francis Blackburne Martley, Registrar of the High Court of Judicature in Ireland. Francis married Elizabeth Gibson of Rockforest, co. Tipperary, and Gaulstown, co. Meath in 1853. His second son William Gibson Martley inherited Ballyfallon in 1894.
By 1911 the house was being lived in by the Waldron family. William Waldron was from Laois and the family had lived in Kildare and Dublin before moving to Athboy. Henry Potterton resided at Ballyfallon for a period. The Irish scholar, Father Eugene O’Growney was born at Ballyfallon in 1863. In 1891, he was appointed Professor of Irish at Maynooth College and became vice-president of the Gaelic League.
Ballygarth Castle is located on the south bank of the Nanny River near Julianstown. Ballygarth castle first appears in records in 1372. This tower house was added to with a Georgian block in 1782. It was further enlarged in the nineteenth century. Part of the castle was damaged on the night of the Big Wind in 1839. In 1867 architect William Louch drew up plans for alterations and additions to Ballygarth for Thomas Pepper. In 1889 architect Robert John Stirling drew up plans for alterations and additions including a new billiard room with neo-classical decoration for Major Charles Pepper. The grounds slope down to the river. Nearby is a limekiln and a dovecote.
In medieval times Ballygarth was the property of the Netterville family. The lands were granted to Captain George Pepper after the Cromwellian confiscation. The Peppers were confirmed in their estates by Charles II.
The Peppers sided with James II at the Battle of the Boyne and their lands were confiscated. George Pepper’s lands at Ballygarth were confiscated after the battle of the Boyne and an English officer arrived in Ireland to take over the estate. George’s foster brother Rory came up with a plan to secure the lands. Acting as a guide for the English officer he took him on a long circuitous route. Rory made the officer’s horse throw a shoe and then took him five miles to Duleek to the blacksmith. The shoeing took a long time and the officer took a room in the inn for the night. The following morning his guide had disappeared. The blacksmith’s son took on the role and he too took the officer all over the country. As night was beginning to fall they saw a light in the distance and decided to take shelter for the night. As the officer stabled his horse he saw a fine white horse in the stable. He was welcomed to the castle by George Pepper, the officer had arrived at Ballygarth without knowing it. He was well entertained but got no more information on the whereabouts of Ballygarth Castle. In the morning the officer decided to give up his quest and told his host that he would trade the title deeds for Ballygarth for the fine horse in the stable. The deal was done and ever after a white horse was maintained at Ballygarth. This story is also sometimes set in Cromwellian times. The poet, Thomas Moore, immortalised the story in “The White Horse of the Peppers.” This drama was a mid-nineteenth century success which was witnessed by Queen Victoria herself. A headless white horse is said to canter in the fields of Ballygarth at the stroke of midnight.
George was succeeded by his eldest son, Simon who married Rose Lambert. Their son, George, may be the character in the story. George was High Sheriff of Meath in 1724 and he married Anne Taylour, daughter of the first baron of Headfort. Their son, Thomas Pepper of Ballygarth was MP for Kells for 1761-76. His cousin, Lord Bective, provided him with the seat.
In 1772 Thomas Pepper married his cousin, Henrietta Long, and they had four daughters and eight sons, many of whom pursued careers in the military and in the East India Company. In 1885 a grandson of Thomas Pepper, Lieutenant William Lowry was killed in action in Canada during the Riel rebellion.
Thomas Pepper’s son, also Thomas, represented Kells and voted in favour of the act of Union in 1800. His brother George succeeded.
Their brother, Lieutenant Col. Charles Hampden Pepper, commanded the 27th regiment for sixteen years and served in Italy under Sir John Stuart. In the Peninsula War he served under Wellington of whom he was a great admirer. He assembled a fine collection of Wellingtonia which was kept in one room of the castle.
In the 1830s Ballygarth Castle, the seat of Lieut.-Col. T. Pepper, was picturesquely situated on the banks of the Nanny water; the demesne, which was well wooded, comprised 486 statute acres, and contains the ruins of the ancient parish church.
George was succeeded by his nephew, Thomas St. George Pepper, son of Charles Hampden Pepper. In 1876 Thomas St. George Pepper of Ballygarth Castle held 1,884 acres in County Meath. He died unmarried in 1884 and was succeeded by his brother, Charles.
Charles Pepper of Ballygarth Castle was Colonel of the Royal Meath Regiment and Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons of Meath from 1895 to 1927. Colonel Pepper supported the church at Julianstown including providing funds for a steeple. Charles Pepper was responsible for the charming estate houses at Julianstown which were erected around 1897. Ballygarth was one of the last places where oxen were used to pull a plough, they were used at Ballygarth up until 1907. Colonel Charles Peppard died in 1927. In later years he lived at Laytown. Miss Wintle-Pepper lived at Ballygarth until her death in 1979. The castle was purchased by the Delaney’s who had farmed the home-farm attached to the castle for years.
Ballymacarney House is located at Kilbride, Donaghmore, near the county Dublin border. Dublin is sometimes given as its address.
Richard Brassington of Ballymacarney died in 1795 and he had provided the site for the chapel in 1789. His son was John Brassington whose house at Ballymacareny was attacked by the rebels in 1798. In 1835 Ballymacarney was listed as the property of Sir Coghill Cramer and the house was described as a modern two storied thatched farmhouse. The Cramer family were settled at Ballifoile in County Kilkenny and the Coghill were a related family. In the 1850s the townland was the property of Sir Joshua C. Coghill Baronet, and the entire townland of 515 acres was leased to John Yourell. The owner was probably the representative of Vice Admiral Josiah Coghill, 3rd Baronet, who was born in 1773. His name was changed to Coghill from Cramer in 1817 when his father inherited the title.
Laurence Cuffe was the owner in 1911. The house went through various owners. It was destroyed by fire in the 1960s and restored by the then owner, property developer, Patrick Gallagher. In 2000 Ballymacarney was for sale. It was described as a late 18th-century period house on 54 acres at The Ward, Co Dublin, had been the home of a former Dutch banker and his wife for almost a decade. The house included 8,700 square feet. Ballymacarney had a small stud farm attached.
Ballymacoll House was located two miles from Dunboyne, off the road to Maynooth, and was one of the homes of the Hamilton family. The house had more than twelve rooms and had nine windows at the front. A gatelodge stood at the end of the avenue. Nearby stands Hamwood House, another Hamilton home.
In 1835 Ballymacoll House was the residence of Henry Hamilton in the north part of the townland. Its demesne was neatly laid out and in good order in 1835. It was described as a three storey slated house with a basement situated in a demesne of 128 acres. The offices and garden were detached and in good order. The demesne was flat, but has an appearance of being well wooded from plantings, large trees in the hedgerows, and some ornamental timber around the house.
Henry Hamilton is the first of the Hamiltons recorded at Ballymacoll. Henry was born in 1760 and died in 1844. The Hamilton family were particularly prominent in the Dunboyne area. Henry was the son of James Hamilton of Sheephill and Holmpatrick. James married three times and had 36 children. Henry was his second son. Henry was succeeded by his eldest son, James John Hamilton, born in 1788 who married the daughter of Thomas Carter of Castlemartin and Rathnally. He married secondly to Anne Geraldine de Courcy. Their second son, Major General Thomas de Courcy Hamilton served throughout campaign in Crimea, including battles of Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, and Siege and Fall of Sebastopol. He won a Victoria Cross for his bravery in the Crimea. On the night of May 11th 1855, the Russian made a most determined sortie from Sebastopol, but Captain Hamilton led a few men from a battery of which he held possession and boldly charged the enemy. His gallantry and daring conduct on this occasion was most conspicuous, and by his courageous initiative the works were saved from falling into the enemy’s hands.
James John’s eldest son was Captain Henry Hamilton of Ballymacoll, Captain 13th Light Dragoons. Captain Hamilton was born in 1811, married but died without an heir and was succeeded by his brother, James. Vicar of Melbourn, Cambridgeshire. James funded the erection of St. Peter’s church, Dunboyne in the 1860s. James was born in 1817 and educated at Christchurch Cambridge. In 1876 James Hamilton held 1535 acres in County Meath. James died in 1911 in his 94th year and was succeeded by his second son, James Arthur Hamilton who died two months later and was succeeded by his father’s half-brother’s son, Henry de Courcy Hamilton.
The Hamiltons put Ballymacoll up for sale in 1906. The property was withdrawn when it had reached a bid of £11,000. It was later purchased by Lord Nugent. The house was demolished but the stables were developed as a stud farm. In 1928 T.J. Fleming purchased Ballymacoll Stud Farm for £10,000. Boss Croker held the property for a while in the 1930s. During the Second World War the Irish Army took over the house. In 1946 Ballymacoll was purchased by Hon. Dorothy Paget, daughter of Lord Queenborough. She owned the stud farm and never actually visited the property. Instead she received regular reports, illustrated with photographs. She died in 1960 aged 54. The famous racehorse, Arkle, was bred at Ballymacoll Stud. Arkle, bred by the Bakers of Malahow House near Naul in County Dublin, was born at Ballymacoll Stud, then managed by Charlie Rogers for Dorothy Paget, in 1957, and present at the birth was the late Dan Daly of Dunshaughlin, the stud groom at the time.
Sir Gordon Richards, who was Dorothy Paget’s principal jockey convinced Michael Sobell and his son in law, Sir Arnold Weinstock, to purchase the farm in June 1960. Sir Arnold was Managing Director of G.E.C. Since then the stud farm has produced many winners over the years.
Ballymagarvey House at Balrath, Navan was described by Casey and Rowan as a two-storey gabled house of mid to late 18th century with a later 19th century square porch. There was a good number of outbuildings and a walled garden. The main avenue went by the graveyard with a secondary avenue from the Dublin road.
In 1836 the house was occupied by Mrs. Osborne. Nearby stood the Blacklion public house which took its name from the sign over the door. In the 1850s the house was held by Rev. Charles Osborne and some of the land was held by Margaret Osborne. The house was occupied by Euphemia E. Hodson.
In 1887 Balfour Stewart, a Scottish physicist died at his home at Ballymagarvey. His first studies were in the field of radiant heat and he later became director of Kew Observatory. In 1870 he became professor of physics at Owens College, Manchester.
Robert Edward Going lived for a number of years at Ballymagarvey. His eldest son, John, was born at Ballymagarvey in 1890 and went on to serve in the Sudan. In 1911the Ainsworth family were living at the house.
Today the house provides a luxury venue for weddings, conferences and other gatherings. There are also seven restored cottages in the courtyard. Set on 107 acres of parkland the house also provides nine luxurious rooms.
Balrath house is located on the Duleek Road near Balrath Cross, just off the Slane-Dublin road.
Balrath House was erected in 1780 by the Walsh family. The family were the owners of the mill which now stands ruinous across the road. The plan of the house is just one room deep with a hall in the middle and a dining room and drawing room on either side. Both have pretty neoclassical plasterwork similar in style to nearby Somerville. The drawing room has a frieze of fruit, flowers and musical instruments and a polychrome marble chimneypiece. The dining room has a border of feathers, swags, urns and rams heads and a Kilkenny marble fireplace. The three storey house has a walled garden. As well as the water mill across the road there is the remains of a windmill near the house. The windmill was erected in 1780 to supplement the watermill. A millrace from the River Nanny powered the corn mill. The water mill closed in 1902. Balrath House is featured in “Classic Irish House of Middle Size” by Maurice Craig.
In 1811 Bishop Plunket spent the day with Mr. Walsh of Balrath, the brother of the parish priest of Blacklion, Rev. T. Walsh, on his visitation of the parishes of Meath. Fr. Thomas Walsh, was the parish priest of Blacklion, now called Kentstown, for 25 years. Upstairs in Balrath House, on the top floor, looking south, is the bedroom used by Dr. Patrick Plunkett, Bishop of Meath on his visitation to Kentstown. Mass was often celebrated in Balrath House in the Penal Law times.
Richard Walsh married Jane Dowd. Their son, James, was born in 1816.
In Kentstown Church, built in 1844, there is a fine monument to Eliza Jane, who died in 1847, wife of Richard Junior Walsh. Eliza died in 1847 aged 26. The monument bears the signature of James Kirk, son of the Thomas Kirk who carved the statute of Nelson at the top of the “Pillar” in O’Connell Street.
James C. Walsh, Fleet Surgeon in the Royal Navy, died at Balrath in 1884 aged 66.
Richard Walter Walsh, who was born on 6 December 1843, was the eldest son of Richard Walsh, of Balrath House, Navan, Co. Meath. He was educated in Carlow and became an engineer. In 1865 he was appointed assistant engineer for the Varty waterworks. From 1870 until 1873 he worked on the Dublin main drainage; he was about to become resident engineer on the scheme when it was halted. He then set up in private practice. About 1890 he moved to live at his wife’s home of Williamstown House, Castlebellingham. In 1901 and 1911 Annie Walsh, spinster, lived at Balrath.
The Walsh family resided at Balrath House from 1760-1940.
Balrathbury House Kells
Balrathbury house is located to the west of Kells. A two storey house, over basement, was constructed about 1709 and this was replaced by a colonial style house in the 1830s. The seat of the Nicholson family the house was described in 1835 as a handsome residence, pleasantly situated in an extensive and well wooded demesne with a park well stocked with deer. Bence-Jones said that the house suffered damage when it was used as a barracks 1939-42. This house was demolished about 1948 and a new smaller house in American Colonial style was erected. The stableyard is the only surviving building from the Georgian period.
The Nicholsons came to Ireland from Yorkshire. Gilbert Nicholson of Dublin remained loyal to the king during the Cromwellian period and was rewarded with lands in Monaghan. Selling the lands in Monaghan he bought Balrathbury in 1699. His second son, Thomas, settled at Balrathbury in 1709, after his father’s death. Thomas served as High Sheriff of County Meath in 1704. His eldest son, Christopher succeeded him at Balrathburry. Christopher served as High Sheriff of Meath in 1735. Dying in 1775 he was succeeded by his eldest son John. Born in 1724 John was a captain in the Coldstream Guards. In 1766 John married Anna Maria, daughter of Sir Samuel Armytage, 1st Baron of Kirklees, Yorkshire and widow of Thomas Carter. Their son, Christopher Armytage, was born in 1768. High Sheriff of Meath in 1791 he married Catherine Newcome, daughter of William Newcome, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland. Their eldest son, John Armytage succeeded at Balrathburry. John was born in 1798 and was High Sheriff of Meath in 1827. In 1824 John married Elizabeth Rebecca, daughter of Nathaniel Alexander, Bishop of Meath. John died in 1872 and was succeeded by his son, Christopher Armytage Nicholson. Christopher was born in 1825 and served as High Sheriff of Meath in 1856. In 1858 Christopher married Frances Augusta Moreton. In October 1869 there was an attempt to murder Mr. Nicholson on his way home from the railway station in Kells. This is was part of the land dispute. In 1876 Christopher Armytage Nicholson of Balrath Burry, held 7,693 acres in County Meath.
Their son, Gilbert, succeeded in 1887 following the death of his father. Gilbert died unmarried in 1898 and was succeeded by his brother, John Hampden Nicholson. John served as High Sheriff of Meath in 1895 and married Florence Rothwell of nearby Rockfield. John H. Nicholson died in 1935 at his residence Balrath Burry. At one stage he held nearly 8000 acres in the Kells area but had only about 1000 acres remaining at his death as it had been disposed of to the Land Commission.
John Nicholson inherited Balrath House, Balrathbury in the 1960s. John became involved in breeding deer and became national chairman of the Irish Deer Society. The John Nicholson trophy is presented by the Irish Deer Society each year for meritorious service in the welfare, conservation and protection of deer in Ireland whether the deer are wild, feral or park
Baltrasna is located to the south of Oldcastle in the parish of Moylough. Baltrasna House was erected in 1764 by James O’Reilly, who lived there till his death. In 1836 the house and out buildings were in a ruinous state. The present house of two storeys incorporates fragments of the older house.
Myles O’Reilly, Myles the Slasher, died, defending the bridge of Finea in 1644. His son, John, fought at the Battle of the Boyne for Catholic King James but was allowed to keep his lands. He died in 1717 and was buried at Kill. John O’Reilly of Cavan established himself at Ballymacad, Co. Meath. He was a supporter of James II and was M.P for Cavan in 1689. He raised a regiment to support James II. His youngest son, Thomas, was the ancestor of the O’Reillys of Baltrasna. Thomas served in his father’s regiment in support of James. Thomas had eight sons and was succeeded by his third son, James. Both Thomas and James had difficulty surviving financially and the estate was held by the Chancery for a period of seven years when it was let to Mr. Vaolley of England who put the demesne under tillage. Eighth son of Thomas was Alexander who was born in 1722.
Alexander became a general in the Spanish Army and Governor of Cadiz. Because of his service to Spain he was created a count and a Grandee of Spain of the First Class. In 1769 Alexander was appointed Governor of Louisiana. Louisiana was named after Louis XIV of France and was a French colony until taken by Spain in 1763. Alexander landed at New Orleans and invited all the French leaders to a banquet. Full with wine and food the leaders were arrested. Executing five of the six men earned him the nickname “Bloody O’Reilly.” A descendant of his, Alexander O’Reilly, was surgeon general of the US army 1902-1909.
James O’Reilly of Baltrasna married Catherine Tuite of Newcastle and was succeeded by his son, Thomas. Thomas was an officer in the army and he was succeeded by his son, James in 1805. James married Henrietta Nugent and was High Sheriff of Meath in 1803 and High Sheriff for Cavan in 1804. In 1836 the townland of Baltrasna was in the possession of Anthony O’Reilly who resided in Dublin.
James was succeeded by his third son, Anthony, in 1853. Anthony married Alicia Fortescue of Newtown, Meath and was succeeded by his son, James William Fortescue O’Reilly who was born in 1841. High Sheriff of Cavan in 1845 James married twice. His daughter Olivia Blanche O’Reilly married William Wade of Clonabreaney. James was succeeded by his nephew, James Watts-Russell in 1855. He took on the name O’Reilly in order to inherit the estate. In 1883 James O’Reilly of Baltrasna held an estate of 4,589 acres in Meath and Cavan. His daughter, Harriet, married Matthew Weld O’Connor, son of Rev. George O’Connor, rector of Castleknock. The couple lived at Baltrasna. A land agent, Matthew, was unpopular among the local tenants.
The Murdock family purchased the estate in the early twentieth century. Samuel and Annie Murdock were recorded in the house in 1911. Samuel was an auctioneer. The family sold it in 1946 to Mrs Crocker. The state was then divided.
There are two tombs to the O’Reilly’s of Baltrasna in Kill graveyard, Kilnaleck, Co. Cavan. Both record the founder of the family, Colonel John O’Reilly who died in 1717. In one of the vaults there are two coffins said to float when the water table rises with heavy rainfall. The coffins which are probably lead lined would not float. The two coffins are said to belong to a woman who married into the O’Reilly family and her child. It is said that the vault was erected over a spring and that following rain the water rises in the vault covering the coffins. This can be viewed through openings in the vault.
Baltrasna House, Moynalty
Baltrasna House is south of Moynalty village, just off the road to Kells. The present house replaced an earlier dwelling in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1854 Chidley Barnes was living in a steward house on the estate of John C. Barnes at Baltrasna. In 1911 Richard Smyth and family lived at Baltrasna house. The house had eight rooms, five windows to the front and fourteen outbuildings. The Reilly family then took over the property. The McCartan family who train racehorses occupied the house then. To the north of the house is Baltrasna Fort.
Balsoon sits on the south bank of the river Boyne on a height overlooking Bective Abbey. Baile Samhan means the town of the sorrel. The house at Balsoon was erected from the stones of the ruined medieval castle. Casey and Rowan described Balsoon as a mid-Victorian, two storey Italianite block over a basement. They state that this house replaced a redbrick Georgian house. The lower floor of the castle was converted to form an ice house for the new mansion. These were the remains of old cellars of an older house. The locals called them kennels. The orchard and garden are surrounded by old walls. Behind the house and cellars is the old graveyard and ruined church of Balsoon. A house erected to the right of the entrance avenue was erected in 1730 and in 1887 was being used as an estate office.
The Ussher family were living in Co Wexford and Co Dublin in early 1200s and became established at Balsoon by about 1300. Henry Usher held Balsoon in the late 1500s. Henry Ussher was the second son of Thomas Ussher of Dublin. Henry born in 1550, went on to be a founding fellow of TCD and Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh. Having studied in Cambridge, Oxford and Paris he returned to Ireland as a clergyman. He was fluent in Irish which was very unusual for a Protestant clergyman of the time. Casey and Rowan state that Henry Ussher erected a castle at Balsoon about 1590. Henry Ussher obtained the warrant for the foundation of Trinity College Dublin from Queen Elizabeth I in 1591. In 1595 Henry Ussher was appointed Archbishop of Armagh. He resided at his archiepiscopal palace at Termonfeckin. In 1604 Henry Ussher retreated to his house at Balsoon because of the plague that was raging in Dublin at the time. He seems to have tolerated the appointment of Catholic clergy to positions within his diocese. Lands granted by the king to his diocese were leased out to his family and supporters. He died in 1613 at this palace in Termonfeckin and was buried at Drogheda. His nephew, James Ussher, became Archbishop of Armagh and was a noted scholar. It was James who acquired the Book of Kells which went to Trinity College, Dublin, on his death.
Henry’s fourth son, Marcus, married Masrgery Elliott and their eldest son, Jocelin, succeeded to Balsoon. Reverend Jocelin Ussher was Precentor of Kildare Cathedral in 1639. The castle at Balsoon was captured by Owen O’Neill in 1643. Jocelin lived at Balsoon and died in 1657. His son, James, died in 1665 without an heir. The second son, Marcus, lived at Balsoon and was rector of Tara in 1695.
His eldest son, Henry was born in 1684 and he lived at Balsoon. He married Barbara Mason in 1708 and they had a daughter, Mary. This Henry Ussher was described as being ‘too fond of dogs, hunting and sport of all kinds.’ He died in 1744. In 1713 Henry Ussher gave a lease of Balsoon for 900 years to the Prestons who lived at Balsoon before building at nearby Bellinter. John Preston of Balsoon was M.P. for Meath.
In the 1830s and 1850s Balsoon was in the ownership of the Prestons but occupied by a Mr. Vaughan. In the 1854 Thomas Vaughan was leasing Balsoon from John J. Preston but the house was vacant.
In 1901 William Thomas and Catherine Blandford and their three daughters and one of their sons were living at Balsoon. In 1911 Thomas William Blandford, aged 88 and his son Charles and two daughters were living at Balasoon. William Thomas Blandford died in 1914.
About 1922 Thomas Roundtree from Deerpark, Bailieborough took up residence at Balsoon. He died in 1948 and his son, Joseph, lived at Balsoon.
In 1969 the American author, J.P. Dunleavy, moved back to Ireland with second wife, Mary, and bought Balsoon House. They lived there until 1972 and moved to Mullingar.
The property developer, Patrick Gallagher, purchased Balsoon in 1987 and spent his weekends there with his family. His father had been one of Charles Haughey’s supporters, and when Haughey was elected Taoiseach in 1979, Gallagher gave him £300,000 as a ‘loan’ at the time. The Gallagher group of companies collapsed in 1982. Gallagher later served a two year sentence in Belfast arising from the collapse of Merchant Banking Northern Ireland Limited.
Baronstown House is located near Ross Cross, Skryne. It is a two storey house with a single storey projecting porch. The house had a gatelodge opposite the front entrance. Erected between 1836 and 1854 Baronstown House was held by Edward T. Wilkinson in 1854. He was leasing the house and the entire townland of 61 acres from Sir Edward McDonnell.
In 1901 and 1911 Adderly B. Wilkinson and his family were living at Baronstown. The house had twelve rooms, five windows to the front and nineteen outbuildings in 1911. The house was burned April 1923 during the Troubles. Five armed men came to Baronstown after setting Lismullin House alight. They ordered the Wilkinson family out, giving them twenty minutes to gather their belongings. An explosive mine was laid in the hall and when it went off a fire broke out but it was brought under control. A few days later two armed men arrived and ordered Mr. Wilkinson out. He was laid up in the bed as a result of the shock. Giving them only two minutes the two men took petrol from an outhouse and set the house on fire again, this time completely destroying the building. The house was re-built by the Wilkinsons who continued to live at Baronstown.
Adderly Edward Wilkinson was the son of A.B. Wilkinson. Roger Casement was a personal friend and he visited Baronstown regularly. Douglas Hyde and Countess Markievicz were friends and Percy French was a classmate. Adderly acted on the stage of the Gaiety with Sarah Bernhart. He knew George Bernard Shaw. A civil engineer he spent his life in India and Canada, mainly building bridges. When he retired he returned to Ireland and lived at Newtown Park, Trim.
Bay View Stameen
Bay View, Stameen, overlooks the Boyne Estuary, down river from Drogheda. Bay View is a two-storey house, erected about 1860. It has a central porch at the front. The outbuildings are arranged around a courtyard to the west of the house.
From : A true story of the life of Lt Col Ernest George Ffrench
Beabeg is located just south of Drogheda. Beybeg House was erected by Jeremiah Smith in 1758 according to Mulligan. The house has a central entrance hall with reception rooms on each side and the stairs off the hall to the rear. The doorcase is identical to Mount Hanover, not far away near Bellewstown. The house appears on the first Ordnance Survey maps of the 1830s. A range of farm buildings are located west of the house. In 1901 the house had eighteen outbuildings, eleven windows to the front and sixteen rooms. Beabeg was the home of the Smith family who had connections in Meath and Louth. The Smith were established at Maine and Coolestown, Co. Louth.
Henry Smith was recorder in Drogheda and when he died the Beabeg lands went to his brother, Jeremiah. Jeremiah married Margaret Schoales of Drogheda and was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry. Henry Smith of Beabeg died in 1817. His son, Henry of Beabeg and Annesbrook, was born in 1783. He was High Sheriff of Meath in 1819 and married Margaret Osborne of Dardistown. Their eldest son, Henry Jeremiah of Beabeg married Sarah Maria Harrison and their son, also Henry Jeremiah was born in 1829. In the 1850s Henry held the house of Beybeg and 323 acres in demesne. This Henry Jeremiah married twice. His eldest son was also Henry Jeremiah. The family then seem to have moved their seat to Annesbrook, Duleek.
James Porter held lands at Beabeg in the 1850s and his son, George, seems to have come into possession of Beabeg House prior to 1901. George and his family lived at Oldcastle before moving to Beabeg. In 1901 George Porter, a retired grocer and his family were living at Beabeg. George died in 1910 aged 75. In 1911 his eldest daughter, Mary Olivia Porter, and her sister were living at Beabeg.
There appear to have been two or three different Beamore Houses, located at various sites within the townland.
The title to the lands of the priory of Beabeg and Beamore were granted to Henry Draycot and then to the Talbot family. In 1723 they were sold by Draycot Talbot to Thomas Pearson who bequethed the dwelling house and demesne of Beamore to his niece Hester, countess of Charleville.
Beamore was purchased in 1713 by Thomas Pearson of Athboy from the Talbots of Dardistown Castle. Thomas Pearson of Beamore was M.P. for Killybegs until 1727 and then M.P. for Ballyshannon 1727-36. Thomas was collector of revenue for Drogheda from 1730 until his death. His seat in parliament was provided by his close friend, Speaker Connolly of Castletown. Thomas married Connolly’s niece. Pearson developed the landscape, planted trees and laid out a Dutch garden. A large yew tree was cur into the shape of a cock. He also erected the four storey red brick house about 1720. Pearson died about 1740 and the house was inherited by his niece, Hester Coghill. She allowed Beamore to fall into ruins as she had a house at Drumcondra in Dublin. She held the title Countess of Charleville. Her first husband died and aged 50 she remarried a much younger man, and insisted that the marriage take place by moonlight. Beamore house must have been demolished in the late 1700s. . The foundations and remains of sewer system can be seen. An ice house also survives from this period.
Austin Cooper held Beamore in 1709. His son, Samuel Cooper, held lands at Beamore and Calliaghstown in the mid eighteenth century. His fifth son, Samuel, succeeded him at Beamore. Born in 1729, Samuel married Elizabeth Nugent and they were succeeded by their son, Samuel who died of spotted fever in 1797. He was succeeded by his son, John, who died unmarried in 1895. In 1837 J. Cooper lived at Beamore.
During the twentieth century the Hoey family lived at Beamore House but there is a conflicting claim to the name from a house on a road nearby.
Beaumont (Beaumond) House is located at Bellewstown, on the road between Duleek and Laytown. Beaumont House is a two storey over basement regency style house with a limestone porch. The house was erected in the early nineteenth century by John McCann who operated the nearby mill. In 1837 John McCann held an extensive four and oatmeal mill at Beaumont, Kilsharvan. In 1837 the mill was fitted with the most modern machinery including six pairs of millstones and a steam engine of 20 horsepower. The mill was powered by the steam engine when the water level in the Nanny river was too low. Mr. McCann’s residence adjoined the mill. In 1876 John McCann of Beaumont held 73 acres in County Meath. Beaumond mill closed in 1898 and the building was demolished in the mid-twentieth century.
In 1901 Beatrice McCann lived at Beaumont. In 1911 Hugh Sheridan and family lived at Beaumont. The house had eleven rooms and twelve outbuildings. According to ‘The parish of Duleek and over the ditches’ Desmond Boylan of the Hilltown Boylans bought Beaumond from Mrs. Graham and subsequently sold it to Tom Jenkinson, Snr.
Beau Parc House
Beau Parc House was erected in a striking natural location high above a curve on the south side of the River Boyne with magnificent views from the rear of the house. The three-storey over basement house was constructed for Gustavus Lambart about 1755. The central block at Beau Parc is attributed to be the amateur architect, Nathaniel Clements. Clements, M.P. for Duleek, was appointed Ranger of the Phoenix Park, Dublin and erected the Ranger’s house, now Aras an Uachtarain. The two additional wings at Beau Parc were added in the 1770s possibly by another amateur architect, Rev. Daniel Beaufort of Navan. A centrally placed semicircular bow is located on the east façade of the main block overlooking the River Boyne. Francis Johnston designed some alterations to the house.
Oliver Lambart, first Baron Lambart, acquired lands in Cavan. His son, Charles Lambart, first earl of Cavan, succeeded him in his lands in 1618. Charles was made seneschal for the government of Co. Cavan and the town of Kells in 1627. Lambart became military governor of Dublin in 1642. Charles became 1st Earl of Cavan.
Oliver Lambart was third son of Charles Lambart, and lived at Painstown. His elder brother, the second Earl, was deprived of his reason by a deep melancholy by which he was seized before, from a sense of injuries put upon him by his younger brother, Oliver, who by his father’s will got the estate of the family settled upon him. His son, Charles, succeeded him at Beau Parc.
Gustavus Lambert, son of Charles, was MP for Kilbeggan from 1741 to 1776 and was collector of Revenue for Trim from 1746-60. His son, Charles Lambart, was M.P. for Kilbeggan between 1768 and 1783. Charles’s son, Gustavus, was born in 1772. As M.P. for Kilbeggan Gustavus voted against the Act of Union in 1800. He married Anna Butler Stevenson in 1810. He died in 1850 aged 78.
His eldest son, Gustavus William Lambart, married Lady Frances Caroline Maria Conyngham, daughter of the 2nd Marquess Conyngham in 1847. A graduate of Trinity College he was State Steward to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In 1876 Gustavus W. Lambart of Beauparc held 512 acres in County Meath. It is said that a Miss Lambart danced a jig in front of Queen Victoria and asked for the head of the Prime Minister, Gladstone. Gladstone was a supporter of Home Rule for Ireland, a cause which did not find favour among the Irish gentry and nobles. Gustavus William died in 1886.
His eldest son, Gustavus Francis William Lambart, was Chamberlain to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland between 1876 and 1880. He gained the rank of Major in the service of the 5th Battalion, Leinster Regiment. High Sheriff of County Meath in 1901, Gustavus was Comptroller and Chamberlain to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland between 1902 and 1905. He held the office of Secretary of the Order of St. Patrick. He was created 1st Baronet Lambart, of Beau Parc on 13 July 1911. He married Kathleen Brabazon in 1911.
In January 1890 Cyril, brother of Gustavus, experimented with chasing kangaroos with the Beau Parc Staghounds. He also tried hunting Barbary sheep and Tralaia deer. Cyril later emigrated to Australia.
Gustavus’s son, Sir Oliver Francis Lambart, born in 1913, became the 2nd Baronet on his father’s death in 1926. He served as 2nd Lieutenant in the service of the Royal Ulster Rifles. He fought in the Second World War between 1939 and 1944, with the Royal Army Service Corps. Sir Oliver’s uncle was Lord Brabazon of Tara and Minister of Aircraft Production during the Second World War.
Sir Oliver Lambart was last of the Lambarts to live in the house. A popular local figure Sir Oliver had an interest in cricket and took part in the local team. He donated a field to the local GAA club as a football pitch. The Land Commission acquired 300 acres of the estate in the 1960s for distribution. Sir Oliver’s mother died in 1980 at 100 years of age. Sir Oliver died in 1986 aged 72. He willed the house and estate to Lord Henry Mount Charles a distant relative. Sir Oliver never told him and it came as a shock to Lord Henry. The house was opened for visits. When I visited it in the early 1990s the estate had been isolated there were loads of rabbits running all over the place.
Bective House is located on the banks of the river Boyne, just downstream from Bective Abbey. One of the entrance gates is on the Trim-Navan road. In the 1820s Richard Bolton erected a new house in Grange townland downstream from the abbey, making the most of the local scenery. Described as ‘a cottage’ in 1836 and ‘a handsome modern residence’ in 1837 the house is linked to the river and also to the abbey. Named ‘Bective House’ to emphasise the continuity of the estate it was also occasionally recorded as ‘Bective Abbey’ or ‘Bective Lodge’. The house is in an understated architectural style in the spirit of Francis Johnston. The front is seven bay with a side elevation of five bays. Indoors the plan was simple. The main house is two rooms deep on a tripartite plan with a large and restrained central stair hall.
Bective house was surrounded by a wide expanse of parkland, dotted with clumps of trees and secluded from the outside world by perimeter belts of trees. The plantation of these trees and creation of parkland led to the walling in of the demesne and the re-routing of the Trim-Navan road. Impressive ashlar gateways were erected at each entrance to estate with gate lodges at each and an additional number of houses to cater for workers on the estate. The gate lodge at the Trim entrance was erected in 1852 and is adorned by the Bolton crest. A walled garden was constructed near the house which provided produce for the family and household. Later the garden produced roses and vegetables for sale.
Following the dissolution of Bective monastery the estate passed though the hands of various civil servants, none of whom had the time to pay any great attention to its development but the abbey was converted into a mansion.
The Bolton family acquired Bective in 1630. The transfer of the manor of Bective from Bartholomew Dillon to Edward Bolton took place on 10 August 1630. Sir Richard Bolton was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1639 and established himself at Brazeel in north County Dublin.
Richard Bolton was born about 1802 and inherited the manor of Bective after the death of his father. The family home at Brazeel was destroyed by fire in 1810. Bolton did not live at Bective until the late 1820s.
In the 1820s Bolton established himself at Bective. Bolton married Frances Georgina Bomford of Rahinstown. Richard Bolton was High Sheriff of County Meath in 1828. Richard Bolton provided the site for a new national school at Robinstown, Balbradagh townland, in 1840 and became patron of the new school. His father, Robert, had provided a site for a chapel and school in 1800. In the mid 1850s a dispute arose between Mr. Bolton and the local priest as to the right to visitation and the appointment of teachers. This became a bitter dispute which was finally resolved in 1861 when Bective School at Robinstown became a non vested school and Bolton’s influence ceased.
Bolton was a resident landlord, residing on his estate and being close to his tenants and took an active interest in the development of his estate. Mr. Justice from Dublin was the agent in 1836 and Mr. Tisdall, who resided locally was agent in 1861. Bolton erected a house for the estate, walled in the demesne and erected a parish church. As the patron of the parish and the owner of the tithes Bolton decided to erect a church for his tenants and servants. Designed by Joseph Welland the church was erected on lands provided by Bolton and the cost of construction was also met by Bolton. The church was consecrated 15 June 1853 and enlarged in 1858. A glebe house was also erected in 1853. He was determined to stamp his footprint on his estate at Bective, becoming a landscape architect through the creation of a demesne. Bolton acquired his own coat of arms and crest. The motto he adopted was Deus providebit meaning ‘God will provide’. In Griffith’s Valuation of 1854 Bolton was the landlord of the entire parish of Bective and also held lands nearby at Shanbo, in the parish of Rataine. Richard Bolton died in 1868 and was buried in his church at Bective.
Francis Georgina Bolton died in 1884 and bequeathed Bective to her nephew, Rev. George Henry Martin. George Henry Martin died in 1896, aged 63. Bective was bequeathed to his fourth child, Mary Louisa, who lived there from perhaps as early as 1895. She farmed Bective for a period but later sold the house to John Watson and the majority of the estate to the Land Commission.
John Watson purchased Bective House and demesne after retiring from the army. He was master of the Meath Hunt from 1891 until 1908 when he died. Watson erected kennels for the Meath Hunt at Bective. Watson was highly regarded as a huntsman and well known for his temper. An active polo player he created a team at Bective and introduced the game to America. Watson died at Bective House in 1908 after which the estate was put up for sale.
Following Watson’s death Bective was acquired by Captain Henry Stern, late of the 13th Hussars. In 1912 Bective house was altered for Captain Stern. The Sterns were unsettled by the troubled times in the early 1920s.
An American paper manufacturer, Charles Bird, came to Meath to hunt in the early part of the twentieth century. In 1926 Bird with two friends put in a bid of £3,000 for Bective only to be amazed when a telegram arrived in the States saying “Congratulations, you own Bective”. The syndicate wished to become involved in hunting in Ireland. When the friends sold their shares, the Birds owned the place outright. The house and garden were rejuvenated. The estate’s most famous horses, Heartbreak Hill, came sixth in the 1932 Grand National at Aintree and won steeplechases all over Ireland. The steward at Bective was Tom Lavin whose daughter was Mary Lavin, the short story writer. George Briscoe, who had sold the neighbouring estate and house at Bellinter, took over the management of Bective in 1952. Briscoe and his wife moved into the wing at Bective. The Tara Harrier kennels and Briscoe’s horse were re-located to Bective. Bird became the joint master of the Meath Hunt so there were two hunts centred at Bective.
In 1960 the Birds and the Briscoes moved across the river to Assigh and Bective House became home to Norman Wachman until the mid 1970s. Wachman allowed the Tara Harriers to continue using the kennels at Bective and began to develop a stud farm.
Bective was purchased by Michael Wymes in 1975. Wymes, a major shareholder in Bula Mines, developed a pheasant shoot on the property. In July 2006 Wymes sold Bective House and demesne.
Beechmount House, famous as a hotel, was erected as a private house in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The stables bore a plaque with the date 1896. Located on the Trim Road just outside Navan the house was home to the Pentony family before becoming a hotel run by the Walsh family. Demolished in recent decades the house was erected by John Pentony in Old Balreask townland.
The Pentony family held lands at Kilcarn, Grange and Beechomunt. John Pentony, widower and farmer of Beechmount, died in 1894 aged 75. His son, John Steven Pentony, was born in Kilmessan, the son of John Pentony and Rose McKeon in 1861.
Rose Pentony died in 1889. John S. Pentony married Julia Flanagan in 1895 at Johnstown and it may have been this marriage that resulted in the construction at Beechmount. In 1901 John Pentony, his wife, Julia and children, John and Edward were living at Beechmount. In 1901 the house had 12 out offices had more than seven rooms and 7 windows on the front of the house.
John died before 1910. His widow, Julia Pentony, was living in Bray with her son, Vincent, in 1911. John C. Pentony held Beechmount House in the 1920s.
William Walsh and family then lived in the house and a ballroom was added. Lunches and celebrations were held at Beechmount House and it became a hotel. William was a director of Boyne Mills and served as chairman of Meath County Council. He had the nickname “The Bard”. William’s wife, Ellen, died in 1948, aged 52. She had been a member of Cumann na mBan. The building was re-constructed in the 1950s. William Walsh died in Dublin in 1988.
Beechville House is located at the southern end of Gormanstown village. The house was erected about 1840 and is a two storey building. Outbuildings are located to the north of the house. The former house now serves as a farm building and was a single storey building with attic accommodation erected about 1760. Patrick and Bridget Purfield and their family lived at Beechville in 1901 and 1911. The house had eleven rooms, five windows to the front and twelve outbuildings. Patrick Purfield was an officer in the Old I.R.A. and was elected to Meath County Council as a Fianna Fail candidate. The house has been home to the Collins family.
Bellewstown House is located at the east end of Bellewstown racecourse in east Meath.
A double pile two-storey house it was constructed about 1770. It has a modern porch addition. The main house has elegant formal reception rooms comprising a drawing room and sitting room to the front and a fine dining room to the rear. A comfortable kitchen has a door out to a glasshouse to the western side. There are 4 bedrooms on the first floor and a further 2 bedrooms at attic level. At the rear is a cobbled courtyard and outbuildings. One of the buildings is the remnant of the parish church of the fifteenth century. A wide variety of trees were planted in the grounds.
In the 1860s Richard Langan lived at Bellewstown House. A relative, Hugh J. Stafford, was living at Bellewstown house in 1876.
At the turn of the twentieth century Thomas McKeever was the landowner and he leased out the house. In 1901 James Thunder lived at Bellewstown House. James was the fourth son of Thomas Thunder of Lagore. James was born 1848 and in 1873 married Laura Plowden of Plowden Hall, Salop.
In 1911 Arthur Richard Cole-Hamilton lived in house. A retired colonel and justice of the peace he was from the Co. Tyrone family. The house had twenty three rooms, nine windows to the front and seventeen outbuildings.
Thomas McKeen and the McKean family lived at Bellewstown House in twentieth century.
Bellinter House sits on the south banks of the Boyne, within sight of ancient Tara and six miles from the town of Navan. Bellinter House is a Palladian house by Richard Castle and was one of the last country houses designed by him. Consisting of a central block of two storey over basement with attic Bellinter has two wings, one of which was used for stabling and one of which was the kitchens and servants quarters. The entrance hall has a majestic fireplace of Ardbraccan limestone and some fine plasterwork. A panel in one of the upstairs bathrooms bears the inscription, ‘Where will we be September 22nd 1770. (Dated) Sept. 22nd ’68.’ The servant’s staircase is spiral and made of wood. An icehouse is located to the southwest of the house along with the remains of a kitchen garden.
John Preston established the family at Ardsallagh in the 1660s. The Preston School in Navan was established in Navan with the revenue from the school’s estate being paid to the headmaster who was usually a member of the Preston family.
John Preston erected Bellinter house about 1750 to the design of Richard Castle. John was elected MP for Navan. His younger brother, Joseph, was also elected as MP for Navan. Joseph was described as ‘the merest fribble of a man that ever existed.’
John Preston IV became Lord Tara in 1800. He fought against the rebels on the Hill of Tara in 1798. His title was probably due to his support for the Act of Union. John died in 1821 and the title died with him. He was succeeded by his brother, Joseph. His son, John Joseph succeeded him. John Joseph was a noted huntsman and founded the Tara Harriers.
John Joseph Preston held 6,839 acres in County Meath in 1883. John Joseph died in 1892 without a male heir and the estate passed to the Briscoe family. The Briscoes were originally from Tipperary and Gussie Briscoe was the son of the Rev. Francis Briscoe, the rector of Kilmessan.
Gussie Briscoe once rode a horse up the spiral staircase to win a bet. Having reached the attic and winning the bet the horse refused to go down the stairs and had to spend more than a week until a winch could be erected to lower the horse safely. Gussie permitted the British Isrealites to excavate on Tara in the search for the Ark of the Covenant. This permission and the dig caused uproar among Irish Nationalists resulting in visits to Tara by W.B. Yeats, Douglas Hyde and Arthur Griffith. It is said that Brisoe buried wooden boxes and pieces of coal for the British Isrealites to uncover.
Gussie Briscoe married Amy Smith from Duleek House and their second son Cecil Henry succeeded at Bellinter. Most of the estate had been disposed of by the 1930s. Cecil Henry installed a diesel generator to provide electric light and also installed running water in the house.
George Brisoce inherited the house and he continued the hunting tradition. Bellinter was described as a ‘very happy and friendly house’ by George and Louisa Briscoe. In 1955 he sold the house to a Mr. Holdsworth. In 1966 the house was purchased by the Sisters of Sion. The Sisters of Sion were founded in the middle of the nineteenth century in France. Today their mission is to promote better understanding between Christians and Jews. The sisters supported themselves at Bellinter by growing flowers and tomatoes and slowly Bellinter also developed into an adult education and conference centre. The servant’s hall was converted to the community’s chapel. My son was baptised there in 1997. Sean Boylan, Meath football manager, was married there. I first visited Bellinter in 1990 when I was asked to help out with American study groups. That began my decade long connection with the house. I greatly enjoyed visiting Bellinter and meeting the staff and visitors there.
Bellinter was sold in 2003 and transformed into a boutique hotel.
Further information is available in my booklet ‘Bellinter House’ which was published in 1993.
Belview is located just off the Ballinlough-Oldcastle road just one mile west of Ballinlough. According to Casey and Rowan the house dates to about 1765 and is a pleasant example of provincial Georgian classicism. Maurice Craig wrote that Belview with its sweeps and wings formed an economic layout. Craig wrote that this unusually small house of about 1765 has been attributed to Nathaniel Clements.
The house is a trim three-bay house of two storeys over a basement linked to its offices and outhouses by curving curtain walls.
Katherine Wade, daughter of Henry Wade of nearby Clonabreaney married Bridges Daniell, an apothecary from Dublin before 1741. Katherine Daniell’s second son, John, inherited Clonabreaney and assumed the surname Wade. Her youngest son, Michael, may have been the builder of Bellview. Michael Daniell of Bellvue died in 1802. He was succeeded by his son, John. In1835 Bellview townland was leased to Captain J. Daniell from Mr. Wade of Clonabreaney. Bellview was described as a neat house with 2.75 acres of a garden with a coach house, stables, barn, cattle sheds, granary, poultry houses attached, all tastefully arranged. There were 31 acres planted with fir, birch and other trees. Captain Daniell stated the correct name for the townland was Peeringstown and that Belview was the name of his residence not the townland. Mr. Daniell also leased the townland of Philpstown, 195 acres, from Mr. Garnet of Kells. John Daniell died in 1840.
By the 1850s Edward Rotherham held Belview. In 1876 Morgan F. Rotheram is recorded as proprietor of Bellview where he held 725 acres. In 1911 Edward Crofton Rotheram and his wife were living at Belview. Edward Rotheram made a collection of artefacts uncovered at Loughcrew. The house had fourteen rooms, nine windows to the front and fourteen outbuildings. Part of the Rotheram estate was taken into the hands of the Land Commission in the 1920s. In the 1930s an English relative, Charles Rotheram, an RAF officer, was willed Belview and the property went into the hands of trustees. A contingent from the Army occupied Belview during the Second World War. The Land Commision acquired the estate in the late 1940s.
Belper Hill House
Belper Hill House is located near Rath Maeve, Tara. It is now known as Belper House. In 1835 it was described as a gentleman’s residence with offices. Attached area garden, orchard and a small portion of pleasure grounds. The house was held by the Lynch family and then the Long family. In 1870 T.G. Lynch was at Belper. In 1911 Patrick Long was living at the house.
Nearby stands another house which now bears the name Belper Hill House while the original house became Belper House. This newer house was erected in the later nineteenth century.
Belvin Hall is located near Skryne. A modest late two storey Georgian block, perfectly proportioned according to Casey and Rowan. The house was burned and completely restored in the mid 1980s. In the 1830s the house was described as a gentleman’s seat in the south side of the townland of Obertstown, Skryne.
In the 1850s Henry B.W. Slator held the house and property from the Earl of Milltown.
James Comyn, a distinguished barrister and High Court judge in England lived from the age of 9 at Belvin Hall when his aunt acquired it. He recalled the house in his book “Summing it up – Memoirs of an Irishman at law in England.” Comyn divided his time between England and Ireland. The original Belvin was erected about 1700. It was burned in 1981 probably by a subversive organisation. In the adjoining garden are two beech trees trained to form an arch. He recalled the installation of running water, the telephone and electricity. Comyn maintained a pedigree herd of Aberdeen Angus at Belvin Hall. Comyn also wrote “Irish at Law” and “Their Friends at Court” Sir James presided over a famous case in relation to the Moonies.
In 1997 following the death of Sir James Belvin Hall was put up for sale.
Bensfort house is located in the townland of Ballnagon, Ballinlough, five kilometres west of Kells. Bensfort is a mid eighteenth century gable-ended two storey house with a single storey modern extension to the side. In 1911 the house had eight rooms, with eight windows to the front and twelve outbuildings. The house and outbuildings may date to about 1780.
In 1774 the estate was in the hands of David Jones, son of William Grattan and Elizabeth Jones. With Sylvan Park and Newgrove it formed part of the Grattan Estate. Henry Grattan lived in Bensfort in 1820. Later George Booker lived in it. In 1835 Bensfort was the residence of Mr. Booker and described as a two storey slated house which was not in good repair.
In 1845 George Booker of Bensfort House married Margaret Clarke of Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh. In 1911 Henry Booker and his two daughters were living at Bensfort. In 1914 Kathleen, the youngest daughter, married Guy Healy, son of Rev. John Healy of Kells. Guy Healy lived in South Africa and was killed during the First World War. Henry Booker died at Bensfort in January 1915. In 1922 B.W. Parr of Ballyboy, Athboy married Harriet Janet, daughter of Henry Booker. The Booker family continued to reside in the area until the 1920s.
Betaghstown House is located to the west of Bettystown, near the coast in east Meath. In earlier maps it is named Betaghstown Lodge. Betaghstown House originated as a manor house, possibly erected by the Betagh family who gave their name to the local area. Dating to as early as 1630 the house was re-modelled about 1780 and again about 1850. An L-shaped house with two storey wings the house also has attic accommodation. There is a five sided nineteenth century porch to the south elevation. Much of the seventeenth century house survives.
In 1846 it was the seat of Robert Shepheard. Today the house is surrounded by housing estates.
Bishopscourt – An Tobar Ardbraccan
The Church of Ireland ceased being the state church in 1871. Up until then the church was supported by the State. We have no state church in Ireland today but some countries such as England and Finland still have state churches. Following dis-establishment of the church of Ireland in 1871 the diocese of Meath purchased Ardbraccan house and demesne to serve as home for the bishop of Meath. Ardbraccan had previously served as home of the bishops. In 1884 Bishop Plunket of Meath was appointed archbishop of Dublin. So many bishops had died during the nineteenth century that the position had became known as the “Dead See.” The running costs of the large house were too much and when Bishop Plunket was promoted to archbishop the diocese decided to sell the house, which they did with a loss of nearly 20% of the original purchase price. The diocese purchased the glebe-house of Ardbraccan, where the clergyman who served Ardbraccan lived and made that the home of the bishop. This house was re-named Bishopscourt.
The parish of Ardbraccan was united with the parishes of Liscarton, Rataine, Churchtown, Martry and Clonmacduff. The glebe-house was situated about half a mile from the church. In 1837 the glebe comprised 33 acres of profitable land. In 1868 the rector J. Brownlow, was assisted by a curate who received £80 per annum. The Commission also noted that there were 267 members of the Established Church resident in the Union of Ardbraccan. A separate glebehouse for Ardbraccan parish was erected about 1890.
Bishopscourt House remained the residence of the bishops of Meath until it was sold in 1958. Bishopscourt was bought by a religious order, the Holy Ghost Fathers, who renamed in An Tobar, linking it to St. Ultan’s Well at Ardbraccan. When the vacant Ardbraccan Church underwent some vandalism, one of its valuable stained glass windows were removed by the Church of Ireland and donated to An Tobar. The Ethel Rhind stained glass window, from 1933 depicting ‘The Woman at the Well’ was presented to the Holy Ghost Fathers and was restored by the Abbey Stained Glass Studio in Dublin. Ethel Rhind was a member of the group of stained glass artists called “An Tur Gloine”, The Tower of Glass, who radically altered and improved standards of stained glass making in Ireland.
An Tobar retreat house was established in 1983 to provide a meeting place for those involved in work for peace and justice. There is a beautiful labyrinth of boxwood hedge alongside the Tobar building. There is also a lovely lakeside walk.
Black Castle House is located on the banks of the Boyne river, just downstream from Navan town. The Fitzherbert family was a junior branch of the family of Lord Stafford who was beheaded by Charles II in 1680 for alleged complicity in the ‘Popish Plot.’ William Fitzherbert, second son of William FitzHerbert, third Lord of Swynnerton settled at Shercock, Co. Cavan. From there the family acquired Black Castle.
The Fitzherberts were in Black Castle from at 1722 and the first house erected was a single storey gentleman’s cottage with a thatched roof constructed around 1760. William Fitzherbert of Black Castle left the estate to his sister, Leititia, who was married to John Ruxton of Ardee. When John Ruxton died in 1785, the Fitzherbert estates were divided between his two younger sons with John getting Black Castle and Samuel getting Swinnerton, provided they adopted the surname Fitzherbert. The Fitzherberts were said to be related to Mrs Fitzherbert who married the Prince of Wales in 1785.
John Ruxton Fitzherbert lived at Black Castle and married Margaret Edgeworth in 1770. Margaret was sister to Richard Edgeworth and aunt of the novelist Maria Edgeworth. Maria regularly visited Black Castle. John was associated with the building of the Boyne canal and also added a slated two storey wing to the rear of the house in 1791.
A family tradition stated that the Ruxton family of Ardee maintained a claim over Black Castle which they could enforce if they gained possession on St Peter’s Day, 29 June. On 29 June, all the gates leading into the demesne were locked and guarded and nobody was permitted to either enter or depart the property. From dusk to dawn four large bonfires were lit outside the main gateways on all the roadways leading to Black Castle. All the men in the district would stand guard, whilst consuming quantities of porter which was supplied to them. This custom continued annually until Bertie Fitzherbert’s death in 1939.
John died in 1825 aged 80 and was succeeded by his son, Richard Ruxton, who took the additional surname Fitzherbert. Richard also acquired the estates of his uncle, Samuel. Richard replaced the cottage at Black Castle in 1826 with a much larger two-storey house. In 1837 Black Castle was described as the handsome residence of Richard Ruxton Fitzherbert, the mansion was a spacious and modern structure, situated on the banks of the Boyne, which flowed within sight of it; the demesne was extensive and well planted. Mrs. Fitzherbert supported a charitable loan society in Navan and a society for the relief of the destitute sick poor. Richard married Elizabeth Selina Staples of Dunmore, Queen’s County in 1807 but they had no children and so they adopted Thomas Rothwell, grandson of his aunt Mary, née Ruxton, who had married James Corry of Shantonagh, Co. Monaghan. There is a memorial to Richard Ruxton Fitzherbert who died in 1840 in St. Mary’s Church of Ireland church in Navan
In 1838 Thomas Rothwell married Francis Vesey from which union stem the present Fitzherberts of Swynnerton and Blackcastle. Thomas assumed the name Fitzherbert in 1863.
Black Castle then went to his son, Richard who became High Sheriff of County Monaghan in 1880. In 1883 Richard Ruxton Fitzherbert held 2011 acres in Meath and 2387 acres in Monaghan giving a total estate of 4398 acres. Richard Fitzherbert died in 1920 and he was succeeded by his younger son, Bertram Fitzherbert who had to pay an annuity to his older brother’s widow. His older brother, Richard, had died in 1920.
Bertram was born in 1871. Known as Bertie, he was a land agent, managing Emo Court for the fifth and sixth earls of Portarlington. He lived on the Emo estate but in 1930 Emo Court was sold ending Bertie’s thirty year service to the family.
Bertie died unmarried on 4th December 1939 so the estate was bequeathed to Ivo Fitzherbert, eldest son of his first cousin. Ivo served in the Second World War as a captain, settled in Argentina and lived there until 1960. Ivo Fitzherbert pioneered the growing of maize in Ireland when he sowed the crop in the 1970s. Ivo Fitzherbert died in 2000. The family acquired Rockfield House, home of the family’s ancestors, the Rothwells.
In 1940 Blackcastle House was requisitioned by the army to use as a base and it continued to be occupied until the end of the war. The Fitzherbert family sold the house in 1946 to Dr. and Mrs Reeves. In 1962 the house was purchased by Captain Maguire. The house was sold again and allowed to fall derelict in the 1980s before being destroyed by fire in 1987.
Housing estates Fitzherbert Wood, Fitzherbert Court and Fitzherbert Place recall the names of these local landowners.
Blackwater House is located just off the Navan Relief Road, on the west bank of the Blackwater river. A detached two-storey house, it dates from about 1785. It has a round-headed limestone doorcase and a single-storey extension added to rear about 1885. Nearby was a saw mill and corn mill with which it was associated.
Bloomsbury or Bloomsberry is located on the banks of the river Blackwater, south of Kells. Erected as an estate house for the Tisdalls of Martry, the house was originally called Mount Tisdall and the area known as Jackstown. A simple two-storey Georgian house, it was extended and re-modelled in 1858 for Richard Barnewall by Kells builder Francis Nulty. In 1911 it had twenty five rooms, nine windows to the front and forty one outbuildings. There is a fishing temple at the meeting of the Blackwater and Moynalty rivers – a boathouse below and a temple above. Casey and Rowan describe it as a pretty building made useless by the lowering of the level of the Blackwater. A large courtyard and walled garden stands to the north.
In the winter of 1739 the rivers froze for a period of seven weeks. Charles Tisdall roasted a bullock on the ice to feed his tenants. Henry Brooke held the estate in 1802.
In 1829 the house was leased by Joseph Barnewall, heir to the title of Lord Trimbleston. Joseph was married to Mary Everard of Randlestown and died in 1852. Their son, Richard Barnewall of Bloomsbury, married Helena Maria Hunt. Richard died in 1866. His son, Thomas, who was born in 1825 succeeded at Bloomsbury. In 1876 Thomas Barnewall of Bloomsbury held 2,782 acres in County Meath. In 1901 Miss Katherine Barnewall was living at Bloomsberry. Katherine died in 1907. She was succeeded by her cousin. In 1911 Charles Trimleston and his wife resided at Bloomsberry. Their son, Reginald, was killed in 1918 during the First World War. The Barnewall family held the house until 1916. In 1916 the estate was sold. The house has a dining room, drawing room, saloon, library, morning room, seven principal bedrooms, comfortable servant’s apartments, kitchen, dairy, pantries, store rooms, scullery, bathrooms, w.c.s, etc. The surrounding lands amounted to 312 acres.
John Whaley, Downings, Prosperous, Sallins purchased the house and lands for £5000. The Whaleys were said to be descendants of the notorious Dublin rake, Buck Whaley, who walked to Jerusalem to win a bet. John Whaley died at Bloomsbury in 1944.
Jack. Whaley of Bloomsbury was the secretary of the Co. Meath Cricket Club and also involved in the Kells Bridge Club. The modern gardens were created by Jack Whaley who wrote a number of books on gardening in Ireland.
Bobsville is located near Clonabreany, Crossakiel, Kells. Bobsville House is contemporary with Belview and is similar being a two–storey three bay house with a basement and hipped roof. The house was named for its builder, Robert Battersby. Casey and Rowan wrote ‘The Irish taste for irony and self-mockery is surely caught in the hybrid name of Bob’s ville.’ The door knocker is in the shape of a lion’s head.
Mulligan suggests that Robert Battersby was the builder of Bobsville about 1760. The second son of William Battersby of Smithstown he was born around 1722. In 1763 Robert married the heiress, Marianne Wade of Lislin, Co. Cavan. She may have been a relative of the Wades of Clonabreany. Bobsville was probably originally part of Clonabreany townland with the townland emerging with the erection of the house. Robert died in 1785.
Robert was succeeded at Bobsville by his second son, William. William served as High Sheriff of Meath in 1804. William Battersby was born in 1767 and married Anna Maria Long of Longfield House, Cashel, Co. Tipperary in 1794. Anna Maria was the daughter of colonel Richard Long and his Indian mistress, Hedjeba and was born in India in 1776. In 1834 Lieut. Col. William Battersby of Bobsville was a magistrate for the county. William and Anna Maria Battersby had 15 children, but apparently, no descendants beyond their grandchildren. A nephew of William’s, Jenyns Charles Battersby, was born at Hickory Lodge, Crossakiel. Jenyns emigrated to America where he took part in the Civil War.
Lieutenant Colonel William Battersby had two sons who became clergy men. William died in 1837 and was succeeded by his son, Robert. Robert was a curate at Loughcrew and also officiated as curate at Killeagh. His brother, William, 1800-1882 officiated as curate at Drumraney and died at Boltown 1882.
In 1835 the townland of Bobsville, 1170 acres, was held by Robert Battersby, who had a neat house in good repair. His daughter Mary was a gifted botanical artist. Robert visited America in 1834 and shot birds in Pennsylvania which Mary painted. Robert’s brother, John Long Battersby, inherited Bobsville.
In 1876 John L. Battersby of Bobsville held 226 acres in County Meath. John, born in 1814, married firstly Catherine Blakeney, who is believed to have died in childbirth in 1842 and secondly to his half first cousin, Charity Cooper. Their eldest son, Francis Robert Battersby, born in 1859, lived at Bobsville. Francis R. Battersby of Bobsville Kells was High Sheriff of Meath in 1898. Francis died in 1906 aged 45 and was buried at Loughcrew.
According to Mulligan Bobsville was the home of Colonel Bindon Blood in the end of the nineteenth century. Blood was a descendant of the Captain Blood who stole the crown jewels in 1671.
Later the Gilsenan family lived in it and the current owner is the Gibney family.
Boltown Hall is located at Crossakiel, Kells. The house is two storey over basement with square entrance porch. There are three reception rooms, kitchen, six bedrooms and two bathrooms. Outside there are two yards; the original old yard with loose boxes, one of which stabled Manifesto and a newer yard.
The house was erected about 1875 for Joseph Hoan Dyas. There were two existing buildings on the site which remained in use after the new house was constructed. The house was inherited by Henry Dyas, son of Henry Dyas of Castlepole, Kells. In 1911 Henry Mortimer Dyas and his family were living at Boltown Hall. He died in 1915. He was owner of Manifesto. Manifesto is regarded as the greatest Grand National Horse of all time having won the Grand National twice and was third 3 times between 1897 and 1903. Harry’s widow was killed in an air raid in England in October 1940.
The next owner was Mr. Gallagher and then Mr. Farrell. Various families lived in it over the twentieth century.
Boltown House is located near Crossakiel, Kells. A two storey Georgian house with a hipped roof and two chimney stacks Boltown was possibly erected about 1750. The outbuildings to the rear of the house have been converted into a dwelling.
In 1835 Boltown was described as a good two storey house which was unoccupied. In 1837 Boltown was the property of Colonel Battersby. In 1876 Francis Battersby of Boltown held 128 acres in county Meath. Francis Battersby of Boltown died in 1882 aged 72.
In 1911 William Wilson and his family were residing at Boltown House. William died in 1934 aged 67 years. His wife, Ethel, died in 1969.
Boynagh Hill House
Boynagh Hill House is located near Kilmainhamwood. Originally called Twlase House in 1835 William Kellet occupied this two storey thatched house. In the 1850 Edward Kellet held the property. Boynagh House is recorded in Jack Fitzsimons book on Thatched Houses of Meath. Erected on a very elevated site overlooking Whitewater Lake the house was said that it was built as a monastery, by the Knights Templars in the twelfth century. This story may have resulted from its gothic style windows. Count Plunkett stayed in this house. It was abandoned and is now derelict.
Boyne Hill House
Boyne Hill house stands south of Navan over looking Kilcarne Bridge. A two-storey house with an attic Boyne Hill is an Italianate style house. The rear elevation overlooking the Boyne may once have been the entrance front. The house may have been designed by Nathaniel Clements. The house has a walled garden.
Rev. Philip Barry of Boyne Hill and Kilcarne died October 1831 aged 51 years. In 1836 Boyne Hill was the residence of Lt. Col. T. Gerrard. His demesne nearly occupied all the townland. In 1883 Thomas Gerrard of Boyne Hill House held 4,748 acres in County Meath. In 1898 the house had three reception rooms, eight bedrooms and stabling for seventeen horses. The Sclater family lived in the house early in the twentieth century. The Collins family lived there in the 1930s. In the later part of the twentieth century and early part of the twenty first century the house was for sale on a number of occasions and also vacant for periods. In recent years the house has been restored and became a venue for functions.
Boyneview House, Athlumney, Navan, sits on the east bank of the river between Johnstown’s housing estates and the river Boyne. Described as a gentleman’s house with pleasure grounds the house was erected about 1820. There is a modern projecting porch and extensions to the rear. There is a limestone summerhouse in the mature grounds. The summerhouse may date to the early nineteenth century. In 1876 James Lewis Williams of Boyneview, Navan, held 422 acres in County Meath. James Williams died in the 1890s and the property was sold. The house contained a dining room, reception room, study, six bedrooms and ample servants accommodation. The out-offices included a grooms house, coach house and stabling for fifteen horses. A Navan housing estate now bears the name Boyneview.
Boyne Lodge is located west of Trim at Drinadaly, near the Boyne river. Boyne Lodge was erected for the Barnewalls in the eighteenth century. Bishop Plunket spent a day with Mr. Bartholomew Barnewall at Boyne Lodge in 1796. The building was remodelled about 1810 by the O’Reillys. All that survives from the Georgian period is one six panel door and some shuttering in a room at the rear. The O’Reilly’s claimed descent from the O’Reillys of Breifne. James Archibald O’Reilly of Boyne Lodge and Rahattan, Co. Wicklow married Cecelia Drake of Roristown. James was presented to George IV on his visit to Dublin in 1821. James died in Kingstown, Dublin in 1848. His third son, Richard Lattin O’Reilly, succeeded him at Boyne Lodge. Richard L. O’Reilly of Boyne Lodge supported the establishment of a Dublin to Enniskillen railroad to pass through Trim in 1846. In 1876 D. C. O’Reilly of Boyne Lodge, Trim held 123 acres in county Meath.
Drinadaly was sold in 1874 though the Encumbered Estates Court Property. The field names included The Lawn, the Triangle, The Sally Plantation, Brady’s Garden, The Paddock, the Paddock Meadow, The Boyne Meadow, The Woodfield, The Brickfield, The Seven Acre-Field and the Three Acre Meadow. The mansion was called Boyne Lodge and was described as handsome and commodious, with first class stabling, coach house and farm offices.
The property came into the ownership of the Redpath family. In 1901 Grace Redpath, widow, and her family were living at Boyne Lodge. In 1911 Alexander William Redpath, who was born in Co. Mayo, and his wife were living at Boyne Lodge. Henry Redpath of Boyne Lodge was a direct descendant of Henry Usher, archbishop of Armagh. Known as Alec, he was the son of Alexander Redpath, and was the third generation to live at Boyne Lodge. Mr. Redpath was the first secretary of Trim Agricultural Show which was founded in 1929. He was president of Trim Pitch and Putt Club and chairman of Boardsmill Co-operative. He died in 1972.
Braymount or Breemount House is located in the townland of Strokestown, on the southside of Bray Hill on the road from Trim to Summerhill. Sometimes called Braymount the house was erected prior to 1830. A large stable and a farm building complex were added in the later nineteenth century. There was supposed to be a locked room which contained a ghostly spirit. The original building was demolished and replaced by a new house.
Breemount was sold by public auction in 1906 by Joseph Lowry, Auctioneer, Kells. The property consisted of a gentleman’s residence and 362 acres of land. The dwelling house was described as well constructed and commodious, having three reception rooms, study, six bedrooms, servant’s rooms, trunk room, large lobby, kitchen, pantries and all usual modern conveniences. The outoffices and stables were extensive accommodation for winter feeding over 100 cattle. The stables could accommodate 30 horses. A walled in garden contained two acres with a large greenhouse. The avenue was lined with fine beech trees.
The Murphy family were established at Breemount. In 1802 John Locker leased lands at Breemount to James Murphy. In 1805 Bishop Plunkett of Meath spent the day with his cousin, Mr. James Murphy of Breemount, on his visitation of the parishes of Meath and again in 1810, 1813, 1815 and 1816.
In 1835 Braemount was described as the handsome residence of Mr. G. Murphy situated on the eastern brow of the large hill called Bray Hill. George married Elizabeth Loughran. George Murphy leased lands at Grange, Derrypatrick from Mr. Hopkins, Athboy.
In 1868 L. O’Connell Murphy signed a petition calling for equal treatment for Roman Catholics. At the time the Protestant church was still the State church. A year later a bill was passed removing the state recognition of the Church of Ireland. O’Connell Murphy bred Shorthorn cattle and won a number of prizes for the cattle. In 1876 O’Connell S. Murphy of Braymount held 372 acres in County Meath.
James O’Connell Murphy was a noted horse breeder and Breemount Oak, Hill of Bree and Moyfenrath were among his successful horses. Oak Leaf was bred by O’Connell Murphy around 1858. In 1890 a descendant, Ilex, won the Grand National. Another one of his horses, Roman Oak, ran in the Grand National twice, in 1891 and 1893. In 1897 Breemount Pride won the Irish Grand National. James O’Connell Murphy married firstly Judith Cullen and following her death in 1893, he married her sister, Ellen. These Cullen sisters were relatives of Cardinal Cullen who visited Breemount. James O’Connell Murphy died 15 September 1900. He had four sons and three daughters by his first wife. In 1901 Ellen, his widow, and her three nephews and three nieces were living at Breemount. A receiver, Oliver J. Shannon, was appointed to wind up the estate. The house was sold in 1906 and went through a number of various owners. George Murphy, son of James, was killed in the First World War.
Malcolm Macarthur was the only child of Daniel and Irene Macarthur of Breemount House. He had a difficult childhood and attended the Christian Brother’s School in Trim. Daniel died in 1971 and the Macarthurs sold Breemount in 1972. In 1982 Malcolm Macarthur killed nurse, Bridie Gargan, in the Phoenix Park and Donal Dunne in Edenderry. Macarthur was discovered hiding in the home of the Attorney General. Taoiseach Charles Haughey attempted to distance himself from the fiasco and described the event as “a bizarre happening, an unprecedented situation, a grotesque situation, an almost unbelievable mischance” which gave rise to the expression GUBU.
Bridestream House is located at Calgath, Kilcock. Bridestream is a detached two storey over basement house. Bridestream has been described as a miniature Palladian house. Bence-Jones said it was possible to attribute the house to the amateur architect, Nathaniel Clements, from the similarity of the wings to the wings of other houses by Clements or attributed to him.
Dating from around 1740 fragments of the eighteenth century garden survive behind the house with its horseshoe shaped pool. To the south of the house is the site of a dried up lake. A belt of trees formed the boundary of the estate demesne.
In 1761 Richard Barry was the occupier of Bridestream. In 1786 Bridestream was the seat of Mr. Hill. In 1798, it became the home of Sir Percy Gethin and on the lawn there Sir Fenton Aylmer rallied his yeomen after the Battle of Kilcock. In 1801 Mathew Bathurst was the landowner at Bridestream.
John Coates of Culcor, married May 1803 Sarah Frances Bomford in 1803. They lived at Bridestream House, about a mile south of Culcor, and had four children. John held Culcor from Mrs Bewely of Dublin. From at least 1814 the Coates resided at Bridestream. In 1835 Bridestream House was described as a neat two storey house slated building in Cologagh townland, Roddanstown with Mr. John Coates as resident. In 1876 Matthew W. Coates of Bridestream held 741 acres in Meath. In 1880 Matthew Coates, salesmaster of Smithfield, Dublin and Bridestream was adjudged a bankrupt. During the late twentieth century the Lane family lived at Bridestream House.
Brittas House is located 2km west of Nobber village. It was the home of the Bligh family for over 200 years until 1998.
Brittas House is a rectangular two-storey house with a wide hipped roof and a four bay ballroom to the east. It is simply decorated and resembles Galtrim House, outside Trim. When I visited the house I remember stepping through the long eighteen pane sash windows extending to the ground which were in the ballroom at the garden front. Casey and Rowan described it as ‘overblown picturesque in appearance now”
The main section of the house was built in 1732 and incorporates an earlier residence which dates from 1672. In 1826 it was described as “a handsome villa, recently enlarged and much improved, after the designs of Mr. Francis Johnston”. The noted Irish architect, Francis Johnson, designed the later section of the house in 1803. In 1837 Samuel Lewis agreed with the previous account and described Brittas as “the handsome villa of Thos. Bligh, Esq., whose demesne, containing about 400 acres, is well planted.” Today the demesne amounts to 280 acres. The rolling countryside of the drumlins provide a backdrop to Brittas House and the landscape was designed in the eighteenth century to compliment the house.
The mature woodlands within the demesne were laid out by the house builder, Thomas Bligh, to represent the battle formation of the army at his battles on the continent.
The builder of Brittas House was Thomas Bligh, younger brother of John Bligh, first Earl of Darnley. Thomas was Member of Parliament for Athboy in 1715 and joining the army he reached the rank of Lieutenant General. He was commander in chief of the British forces when they fought the French at Cherbourg in 1758. His taking of the deserted Cherbourg was one of the actions of the Seven Year War. His attack on St. Malo resulted in a retreat by the English forces with a loss of 1000 men. A mausoleum commemorates Thomas at Brittas but he is buried in Rathmore where a plaque commemorates his victories.
When Thomas Bligh died the estate passed to his nephew, Thomas Cherburg Bligh. Thomas Cherburg Bligh married his cousin, Lady Theodosia Bligh, daughter of John, 3rd Earl of Darnley. Thomas Cherburgh Bligh was made MP for Athboy and later MP for Meath by his cousin and father in law, the Earl of Darnley, but he fell out with him and challenged him to a duel on a number of occasions. In 1820 he was bound over to the peace to prevent him annoying the Earl and his family.
Major Frederick Arthur Bligh lived at Brittas in the late nineteenth century. He held the rank of Major in the service of the Royal Artillery and also the office of Justice of the Peace. He was appointed to the office of High Sheriff of Meath in 1904. He fought in the First World War.
His daughter, Gwendoline Bligh, married Brigadier Croker Edmund (Edward) Barrington who was killed in Burma in 1944 during the Second World War. Mrs. Barrington, a noted dog breeder in particular Alsatians, continued to live in the house until her death in 1990. The house together with 280 acres was sold in 1998 prior to auction.
Brook Lodge is down a side road from Culmullin Cross-roads and is in the townland of Bogganstown. The house does not appear on the first Ordnance Survey maps of the 1830s. Richard Bolton of Brook Lodge, Meath married Jemima, 4th daughter of Robert Bomford of Rahinstown in 1830. Her sister Frances, married Richard Bolton of Bective, two sisters married to men of the same name. Richard’s son, George of Brook Lodge, Meath joined the Royal Navy, married Mary Blood, and died without an heir in 1903. His brother, Richard, lived at Brook Lodge. Richard Bolton served in the Crimean War and was a lieutenant R.H.G. He died in 1890.
Brownstown House is located four miles from Navan. A Regency cum neo-classical villa erected by the Sommervilles probably about 1801. Nearby is the ruins and graveyard of Brownstown. A courtyard of buildings was erected at Browtown to the north of the house. A walled garden was to the south-west of the house. In 1837 Brownstown was the property and formerly residence of the Sommerville family and was then being put into a state of repair. The Cornwall family acquired Brownstown from the Somervilles. They occupied the property in the 1850s on lease from the Sommervilles. In 1911 William Cornwall and his three sisters were living at Brownstown House. Nearby lived John Cornwall and his family. William Stewart Cornwall, a solicitor, of South Frederick Street, Dublin and Brownstown House died in 1925. His sister was Miss Nora Cornwall. The house was acquired by Dr. Ross who practised in Navan and the last of the Cornwalls, two sisters, retired to Trim. The estate of 490 acres was then acquired by the Land Commission and divided.
The ruins of the house, Bumper Hall, was located in Cormeen townland, Moybologue, south of Bailieborough. In 1835 it was described as the ruins of what was formerly the seat of the Westerna family who gave it the name of Bumper Hall. In the 1830s only a small portion of its out offices were habitable and was occupied by a poor tenant, who held an adjoining small farm. The townland was the property of Major Westerna. The Westerna family came to Ireland in the time of Charles II. Peter Westerna was M.P. for Athboy in 1693. The Westerna family became Barons of Rossmore, Co. Monaghan. Bumper Hall may date to the middle of the eighteenth century. The origin of the name of the house is not clear, a local suggestion is that Captain Westerna entertained his guests to bumper feasts. The land of Bumper Hall was divided by the Land Commission in 1914.
Calgath House is located near Kilcock. The house is near Bridestream House. Calgath house was erected before 1771. The house was added to in the 1820s and again in the 1850s. A single storey, gable-ended and rendered house it dates from the late eighteenth century. On the opposite side of the road stood Calgath cornmill. A number of modern agricultural buildings have been constructed near the house. Francis Prentice lived at Calgath in1747 and his brother, Robert, lived at nearby Pheopotstown. In the 1830s Calgath was described as a neat building but in a bit of disrepair. The occupier was Mrs. Tronson. The house went through a number of owners. A number of ghosts were seen in the dining room of the house. In 2002 when it was for sale its accommodation included drawing room, dining room, sitting room, kitchen, six bedrooms, three bathrooms and studio/games room.
Carrollstown House and Estate is located on the Trim-Dunderry Road, in the civil parish of Kilcooley. In 1835 Carlestown House in Ardgreagh townland was held by Patrick Sherlock together with the entire townland of 569 acres from its owner, Mrs. Elizabeth Brown of London.
Carrollstown estate was acquired by Patrick Joseph Dunne who held 673 acres in 1876. The house at Carrolstown was erected by P.J. Dunne J.P. in 1883 and was occupied by three generations of the family. Dunne was a well known horse owner and breeder. Dunne bred Ascetic Silver who won the Grand National in 1906. When he won the Grand National, starting at 20 to 1 against, Ascetic’s Silver was owned by the Prince Hatzfeldt, and was trained and ridden by the Hon. Aubrey Hastings.
Ascetic’s Silver was the offspring of Ascetic. Ascetic was the dominant sire of steeplechasers in the U.K. in the last decade of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth centuries. Of no use on the racecourse, Ascetic was purchased as a stallion by Captain John Purdon of Cloneymore, County Meath and came to Ireland. There is a story that he was used by the local postman to deliver the mail in his early years at stud. By the late 1880s, his youngsters were starting to win the big chasing events. Ascetic’s Silver was Ascetic’s third Grand National Steeplechase winner, and set a course record while doing it. Patrick J. Dunne bred a number of mares to Ascetic in the 1880s and ’90s that produced many winners, including Little May, winner of the Irish International Steeplechase (Leopardstown Steeplechase) in 1900 and descendants with the names Kilcooley, Dunderry, Scarlackstown, Ardreagh, Dunlough and Carrollstown.
Patrick Joseph Cullinan married Josephine, oldest daughter and heiress of P.J. Dunne and he continued the horse training and owing venture. Their son, Patrick Dunne Cullinan, continued to train horses at Carrolstown after the death of his father in 1923. Born in 1898 he was educated in Yorkshire before returning to Carrollstown on the death of his mother at a young age. A keen jockey and skier, he was a member of the Irish four-man bob-team. He starred in the movie ‘Irish Destiny’ made in the 1920s. Carrollstown House was burned down in 1938 and the family renovated the stables to become a house but then sold the house to the B&I Shipping company. Paddy and his wife moved first to Knockdrin castle in Westmeath and then to Bellair in Co. Offaly. He died in 1978.
The new Carrolstown became home to the Lindsay-Flynn family who established a dairy farm at Carrollstown. I remember being on the tanker lorries collecting the milk there in the 1980s.
Castlecor is located on the Mountnugent Road from Oldcastle. Castlecor was a mill owner’s house of three-storeys dating from about 1760. It is a very plain house in a good setting. The dining room has oak panelling and on each side of the fire place is a concealed door, one leading to the butler’s pantry and the other to the kitchen. There are well kept outbuildings to the rear and a walled garden to the east. The mill is to the west beside the road. William Webb was the owner of the mill and house in the 1830s. Castlecor townland was the property of Mr. Freeman of Cork but held by Mr. Webb The corn mill was able to mill about 20,000 barrels of oats annually and all the meal was exported to England.
By the 1850s Edward Rotheram of Crossdrum had acquired Castlecor. In the 1850s Richard Ridgeway leased the house and garden from Rotheram. Richard Ridgeway, Esq., M.D., F.R.C.S., of Castlecor died 22 October 1851, aged 25.
Henry William Rotheram, Esq. of Castlecor died 1890. In 1901 Sarah Rotheram, widow of Henry William, was residing in the house. Major Auston Morgan Rotheram was occupying the house in 1911. Auston was born at Sallymount, Co. Westmeath. He joined the army and went to India where in 1896 he was subaltern to Winston Churchill in the Queen’s Own Fourth Hussars. He was champion revolver shot of South India. From 1901 to 1906 he was an international polo player for Ireland. The house had eleven rooms, nine windows to the front and thirty outbuildings. A water turbine was installed on the nearby river in 1908 to provide heat and power. Auston Rotheram also played polo for Ireland at the 1908 Olympic Games in London where just three polo teams took part, two British teams and an Irish team. In April 1913 Auston Rotheram married Miss Violet Ede, of Crow’s Nest, Hong Kong in the cathedral in Hong Kong. During the First World War he re-joined his old regiment and served in the Curragh. Auston died in November 1946, aged 70 at his home in Cheltenham. The occupants of the house both the Rotherams and later the Kilroys were associated with the Ballymacad Hunt and a number of hunt balls were held at Castlecor. The house was sold about 1932.
Castlecor became the home to Lt. Col. Alan Kilroy and his family. His eldest son, Michael Maxwell Kilroy lived at Castlecor after Col. Kilroy’s death in 1974. In 2002 Castlecor was put up for sale. The main house had eight bedrooms and four bathrooms. There was a two acre wall garden.
Castlepole House, Kells was constructed about 1870 for Henry Dyas. Henry Dyas held lands at Castlepole in the 1850s. In 1901 Henry Dyas, aged 76, Farmer and Grazier, and his wife and family lived at Castlepole House. Henry Dyas died in 1905 aged 81. In 1911 his son, Herbert Dyas was the owner and the house was resided in by general labourer, Peter Hart. The house had fourteen rooms, five windows to the front and twenty two outbuildings. The Kells-Oldcastle rail line ran just to the south of the house. In 1916 Mr. Tighe of Kells purchased Castlepole Farm containing 309 acres for £3990 and the family continued to live there. James L. Tighe, held the property in the 1930s. He was a distinguished hydraulic engineer who owned a firm in Massachusetts, U.S.A. He was City Engineer of Holyoke. He bred pedigree cattle at Castlepole.
Castlerickard is located southwest of Trim, not far from Longwood. A double-pile two-storey over basement house, Castlerickard was erected about 1820. The house is now derelict. The farmyard complex dates to the same period.
The Burnell family were associated with Castlerickard in the early seventeenth century, it and Castleknock were their seats.
Godwin Swift was the first of the family to be associated with Lionsden and Castlerickard. He was the uncle of Dean Jonathan Swift. The main seat of the Swifts was Swiftsheath, Co. Kilkenny. The Dean’s second cousin Deane, son of Deane Swift was editor of letters and other books relating to the Dean. The family leased Castlerickard to George Nugent.
In the 1830s Castlerickard was the residence of G. Lucas Nugent and the house and offices were described as being very good and the demesne was well planted. In the 1850s George Nugent was in residence, holding 535 acres himself and renting out other lands in the townlands to tenants.
Causestown House is located near Stackallen, Slane. A plaque at Causestown records the foundation date of 1748 and a reconstruction of 1845. The house includes an oratory. Causestown is a Victorian Tudor-Gothic style house. There is a lodge at the entrance.
The Grainer family were the main family associated with Causestown. Bishop Plunket of Meath stayed at Causestown, home of Mr. Grainger on his visitation of parishes in 1795. He visited them again in 1796. In 1820 the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Curtis, dined with Bishop Plunket and Mr. Grainger at Causestown. In 1822 John Mears Grainger is recorded at Causestown. In 1835 Causestown was described as a good farm house, a neat modern two storey slated house in good repair. There was a plantation to the north and west of the house. The house was reconstructed in 1846 by Mr. Grainger. In 1834 William Edward Grainer, a magistrate, was living at Causestown. William Grainger married Anna Maria Eyre and died in 1872 at Causestown. In the 1850s John Allen was leasing the house and 284 acres from Lord Boyne. In 1976 Captain A. W. Shirley Ball of Causestown held 369 acres in County Meath. In 1901 the house was in the ownership of Edward Roundtree but unoccupied. In 1911 Edward Roundtree and his family were living at Causestown House. The house had seventeen rooms, eight windows to the front and eighteen outbuildings.
Causestown House is located on the Delvin road from Athboy. George Dowdall of Causestown married Catherine Drake in 1768. In 1800 Bishop Plunkett dined at Causestown with Mr. George Dowdall on his visitation of parishes. Bishop Plunkett had condemned the scandalous sinners of the parish of Athboy the previous day. In May 1808 Bishop Plunkett officiated at the month’s mind Mass for George Dowdall. In 1814 James Dowdall is recorded at Causestown.
In the 1830s Causestown House was described as a good house of two stories and basement, the residence of G. Thunder. In 1836 the townland was the property of the Blue Coat Hospital, Dublin. There was also the ruins of a small castle and a small fort in the townland. In the 1850s Patrick Barnewall held the house and 612 acres of land from the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh.
In 1901 John William Gregg, horse owner and trainer, lived at Causestown House with his family. Gregg was the son of Rev. Robert Gregg, Archbishop of Armagh. The house had twenty rooms, nineteen windows to the front and twenty outbuildings. In 1911 H.M. Hartigan, horseowner and trainer, held Causestown House and the house was occupied by Winifred Holloway, an English woman.
Chamberlainstown House is located near Fordstown, Kells. Chamberlainstown House was erected about 1908 in the neo-Georgian style. A new porch was added in 1918 but later removed. A Norman family, the Chamberlayne family have been in Meath since the 13th century. The Chamberlains were Counts of Tankarville, whose chateau still exists on the banks of the Seine in Normandy.
The lands of Nicholas Chamberlayne at Chamberlainstown, Kells, were confiscated in the 1690s following the Battle of the Boyne but the family regained the lands. Christopher Chamberlain held the lands in the early 1700s. Major Tankerville James Chamberlayne married Donna Leopoldina, Princess Ruspoli. The Ruspoli were an old and noble Italian family who trace their ancestry back to Florence Major Chamberlayne died around 1910. Colonel C.T. Chamberlayne M.C. took over the property. He died in 1950. He joined the Munster Fusiliers in 1914 and transferred to the Scots Guards. He fought in the First World War and was severely wounded. He retired from the army in 1920 with the rank of captain. He re-joined at the start of the Second World War and served in France until Dunkirk. He then served in North Africa. He did not marry. His brother Air Commodore Paul Chamberlayne inherited the property at Chamberlainstown. Born in Cyrpus in 1898, Paul Chamberlayne was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 11th Hussars until 1915 when he became an airman in the Royal Flying Corps. He took his solo flight after two weeks and in 1916 he became a Flying Officer. He became a Wing Commander in 1937 and served as Paris Air Attache in the RAF. He retired in 1946. He died in 1972. Donna Leopoldina died at Chamberlainstown House in 1948. Michael Chamberlaine inherited the property from his father, Peter. The family continue to live at Chamberlainstown house.
Charlesfort House, Cortown, Kells was erected and lived in by the Tisdall family. A low rectangular house Richard Castles prepared plans for the house which was later re-modelled by Daniel Beaufort and William Murray. The house which was erected in the 1740s was re-modelled in the 1780s and again about 1841. Mulligan said the house has an elegant entrance hall. The library, dining room and drawing room all have regency style plasterwork. The limestone porch is probably a late 19th century addition.
In 1668 Michael Tisdall leased the manor of Martry from Nicholas Darcy. Michael lived at a house at Bloomsbury and called it Mount Tisdall. It is not clear if he erected that house. His grandson, Michael Tisdall, was M.P. for Kildare, Castlebar and Ardee in the late 1600s and early 1700s. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles.
Born in 1719 Charles Tisdall began the erection of a new house in April 1742. He selected an elevated and dry site at Athgaine, away from the river. It is said that a doctor advised him to move away from the river for the good of his health. Charles purchased a volume of books on Palladio’s architecture. The famous architect, Richard Castles, was paid £20 in 1743 for providing a plan for the house and supervising some of the work. Charles Tisdall attended the first performance of Handel’s Messiah in April 1742 in Dublin. Charles maintained an account of the building of the house and also recorded his tree planting for the years 1740-1751. In 1741 Charles planted 50 pear trees, 150 apple trees and 1,000 beech trees. In 1744 he planted 1,000 oak trees and 800 ash trees. More ash and elm trees were planted in 1746. The slates for the house were purchased from Reilly in Ballyjamesduff. Charles probably moved into Charlesfort in 1753. The following year, 1754, aged 34, Charles married Hester Cramer. In December 1755 their son, Michael, was born, and in October 1756 another son, Charles, was born. Charles, the father, died in 1757, aged 37 and was buried in Martry graveyard.
Michael Tisdall inherited the estate but only took control on his coming of age in 1776. Additions were carried out to the house for Michael Tisdall, which were designed by Rev. Daniel Beaufort of Navan. Michael was High Sheriff of Meath in 1781. He died in 1794 aged 39 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles Arthur.
Charles Arthur took over the estate at 21 years of age in 1803. Charles married Elizabeth Vernon of Clontarf Castle in 1807. In 1811 Charles was appointed High Sheriff for Meath. In 1813 the house underwent some works. Charles had an interest in religion and wrote and distributed two books attempting to persuade his tenants to convert to Protestantism. In 1824 he attended a meeting in Navan to found a branch of the Reformation Society. He stated that as a Magistrate “he was disgusted with the vice and immorality, the insincerity and want of truth in the commonest transactions” that he encountered. In the 1830s Charlesfort was described as the residence of Mr. C.A. Tisdall and a good two storey house with an extensive and well laid out demesne. Charles died in 1835 aged 53.
John Tisdall took over the estate in 1836 at 21 years of age, the year after his father’s death. The following year he married Isabella Knox. Their eldest child, Charles Arthur, was born in 1838. John provided a site for a Protestant Church at Athgaine Great. In 1883 John Tisdall held 3,962 acres in Meath, 493 in Limerick and 575 in Kilkenny a total estate of 5,030 acres. John died in 1892. John’s eldest son, Charles, had died in 1869. His second son, John Knox, appears to have been estranged from his father. John Knox’ son, also called Charles Arthur, born in 1875, inherited the estate on his grandfather’s death in 1892. As a young man he joined the Irish Guards and was reluctant to return to Ireland to take over Charlesfort. Robert Heuston leased Charlesfort from Major Tisdall. From Belfast Heuston was a noted polo player and resided at Charlesfort until 1904. Two of Major Tisdall’s uncles, Henry Chichester Tisdall and Vice-Admiral Vernon Archibold Tisdall also farmed portions of the estate. In 1904 half the estate was sold to the tenants.
Major Tisdall organised train trips for the estate children to Dublin, once to see Queen Victoria in 1900 and on another occasion to watch army drills at the Vice-Regal Lodge in the Phoenix Park. Major Tisdall was a talented musician and a pupil and friend of Sir Edward Elgar who visited Charlesfort. Elgar said when he visited the house “Charlesfort will never die, because it is built on a magic hill.’
In 1914 Major Tisdall was killed just a month after World War I broke out, killed in action in the retreat from Mons in Belgium. The Major’s brother, William, came to live at Charlesfort in 1904, inherited in 1914 and remained there until his death in 1954. During the First World War William stabled army horses at Charlesfort and tilled some of the land for vegetable growing. William was High Sheriff of Meath in 1921. He purchased the first tractor in the area and also the first wireless, which he invited local people to come and listen to. He also gave drives in his car to the local children at the parties he hosted on the estate. William’s son, Michael, was in the British army and was accidentally killed in 1940 during a military training exercise. He was 37 years old. William’s wife also died the same year. Five years later William married a second time. His wife was Una Palmer Burke from Ballina. William died aged 78 in 1954.
William was succeeded by his cousin, Dr. Oliver Tisdall. Oliver and his family came to live on the estate in 1955 and he immersed himself in the running of it. When Oliver Tisdall came to Charlesfort he was unable to find the key for the Protestant church as the key had been mislaid some years before. After rummaging he came across a key which fitted the lock. Locals were surprised with the label on the key which read “the dungeon of Martry.” Apparently the key for the police cell at Martry RIC police barracks also opened the Protestant church. Oliver died in 1964 and his widow sold the property in 1968.
In recent years the Hogan family have rescued the house and have restored it.
There is considerable further information in “Charlesfort – The story of a Meath estate and its people, 1668-1968” by Tony Coogan and Jack Gaughran and also on the Ask about Ireland, Irish Libraries website.
Cherrymount house is located in the townland of Rathinree Lower, two kilometres southwest of Moynalty village. Cherrymount is a gable ended house with a small turret with battlements. The two story house has a round-arched stone doorcase with fanlight. There are four ranges of single-storey outbuildings, set around a central courtyard with ranges of outbuildings set within the courtyard. There is a tall and imposing bellcote set over segmental-arched carriage opening. A walled garden and estate workers house lie to one side of the house. A modern porch has been added to the house.
The seat of the Chaloner family it is said to have been named Charitymount, after Charity Graham, wife of John Chaloner, the name being corrupted to Cherrymount. A gentleman’s residence the house was erected shortly after the Chaloners came into possession of the estate in 1704. Following the erection of nearby Kingsfort in the 1730s the Chaloner family rented out Cherrymount until the late nineteenth century when the family returned to the house.
Rev. John Chaloner purchased 640 acres at Moynalty from Captain Stopford in 1704. Chaloner held the parishes of Errigal and Desertoghill in the diocese of Derry. Chaloner acquired funds due to his activities on the ship “Royal Sovereign” which was dispatched to the West Indies to rid the area of pirates. The lands included a castle, three stone houses with bawns and cabins. Chaloner erected a house at Cherrymount shortly after his purchase. Rev. Chaloner died in 1732 and was succeeded by his son, John, who erected a new house at Kingsfort with Cherrymount becoming the dowerhouse for the Chaloners. John Chaloner, married in 1732 Charity, daughter of Robert Graham of Drogheda in 1732. John also renovated Cherrymount. In 1802 John Smith and his family resided at Cherrymount.
In 1835 Cherrymount was occupied by Philip Smith, the resident magistrate. Philip married Ann Plummer. Their son Philip became a clergyman and lived in Naples for a period, dying in Paris in 1862. Samuel Smith inherited the lease at Cherrymount. He died at Rathgar, Dublin, in 1871 aged 73 years. A number of the Smith family are buried in Mount Jerome cemetery in Dublin. In the late nineteenth century the house was altered by the then resident Claude C.C. Hamilton, a relative of the Chaloners.
The family returned to the house when Claud Willoughby Chaloner, a Major serving with the Royal Enniskillen Fusiliers settled at Cherrymount. His son, Desmond, attended Trinity College and served in the British Army from 1943 to 1947 during the Second World War. Desmond Chaloner died in England in 2010.
Margo and Bruce Dean operated a stud farm at Cherrymount from 1996 to 2001. Margo bred Connemara ponies at Cherrymount and the couple named their new stud at Killua, Ard Cherrymount. They sold the house in 2001.
Cherryvalley House is located just outside Rathmolyon on the Ballivor Road. In the 1850s Robert Fowler held the townland of Cherryvalley. A two storey farm house was erected at Cherryvalley in 1877. In 1901 Daniel Douglas, widower, and his son William were living at Cherryvalley. The house had twelve rooms, five windows to the front and thirteen outbuildings. In 1911 William Douglas owned the house but it was lived in by Richard Douglas and his wife. Today the housing estate of Cherryvalley is located to the east of the house.
Churchtown House is located on the Bohermeen road from Dunderry. In 1836 the house was located near the centre of the townland and was the residence of the Widow Kellett. Attached to the house was good offices, gardens, an orchard and a large farm. The townland was the property of the Earl of Ludlow of Ardsallagh.
In 1911 Eliza Smith, widow, aged 96, was living at Churchtown House. The house had fourteen rooms, five windows to the front and sixteen outbuildings.
Clarkestown House is located at Gallow just off the Summerhill-Kilcock road. The house was erected by Samuel Winter of nearby Agher in the eighteenth century. George Bomford resided there in the early 1800s. Samuel Pratt Winter lived at Clarkestown and his children were born there. The house was destroyed by fire in 1829 and re-built in stone and slated. The farm buildings date from this time as one of the arches has the date “1829” carved on its keystone. In the 1830s the house was occupied by T. Potterton and later occupied by Rev. John Potterton. It remained in the Potterton family till 1924. Peter Bamford provides details about the house on his website. The house was demolished about 1950 and a new house erected on the site.
Clifton Lodge is situated just off the Athboy Trim road. Clifton Lodge is a building for which only very little information is available and for the residence of the largest landowner in Meath that seems unusual. Clifton Lodge was the seat of the Earl of Darnley who held nearly 22,000 acres of an estate centred on Athboy, Kildalkey and Ballivor. Casey and Rowan described Clifton Lodge as a simple three bay, two storey house built of sneckled limestone rubble. Clifton Lodge is a two storey over basement house with three reception rooms and six bedrooms.
The house had a demesne of 170 acres, with a large ornamental pond. There was a cricket ground, tennis court, garden and orchards. Three avenues connected the house to the Trim-Athboy road and the Kildalkey road. At the end of the Athboy avenue is a single storey Regency style gate lodge which I almost purchased. Works at Clifton lodge may be attributed to John Hargrave, a Dublin architect. The gate lodge may also be his work although it has also been attributed to Francis Johnston.
John Bligh of London established the family at Rathmore and Athboy. There is a story told that Cromwell gave Bligh all the land he could see from the top of the hill of Ward. John’s grandson, also John, married Lady Theodosia Hyde, Baroness Clifton, only daughter and heiress of the 3rd Earl of Clarendon in 1713. He was then made Baron Clifton in 1721 and Earl of Darnley in 1725. The family came into possession of Cobham Hall though the marriage to Theodosia Hyde. The family seem to have spent quite a considerable amount of their time in England from this time onwards. Initially living at the castle at Rathmore but his burned down in 1676 and sometime later the family moved to Clifton Lodge. The house is named after Clifton in Bristol, one of the places the family held lands after the marriage to Theodosia Hyde. Captain William Bligh of the Mutiny on the Bounty fame was a relation of the Earls of Darnley. The actual relationship is unclear.
Clifton Lodge is shown on 1812 map with one avenue and gardens. The fourth Lord Darnley was a personal friend of the Duke of Wellington and supported Catholic Emancipation.
Edward the fifth Earl made some improvements at Clifton Lodge in the 1820s and provided much local employment. Gardens with roses, shrubs and a pyramidal yew tree were laid out in the late 1820s.
Art Kavanagh in his book ‘The Landed Gentry and Aristocracy: Meath’ stated that the gates of the house were beset with 40 or 50 wretches seeking employment which Lord Darnley was unable to offer them so he laid out a new avenue to the house. The fifth Earl was walking in his park in Cobham Hall when he saw a woodsman cutting up a tree. He took the axe for the woodsman to show his friends how to cut off branches, the axe slipped, cut off his toe, he became infected with tetanus and died a few days later. In 1837 Clifton Lodge was described as a handsome mansion finely situated in an ample demesne.
The Bligh family played an important role in the creation of the Ashes, a test cricket series played between Australia and England. In 1883 Ivo Bligh 8th Earl of Darnely was presented with some ashes while staying at the Clarke household in Australia while playing Australia at cricket. Ivo’s English team were very successful and brought home the ashes with them. The trophy was kept at the Darnely’s English home of Cobham Hall until 1929 when it was presented to the MCC.
In 1883 Lord Darnley held 25, 463 acres in Meath and 9309 acres in Kent. The house was regularly used by the Earls of Darnley and the newspapers record visits there. In the late eighteen hundreds the Earl of Darnley visited Athboy once every three years. The seventh Earl of Darnley took ill at Clifton Lodge in 1900 and died some weeks later at the family home in Kent aged 49.
The Earl of Darnley sold the town, the estate and the house in 1909. Mordecai Jones purchased Clifton Lodge on the recommendation of his friend George McVeigh of Drewstown. In 1913 Scinosuke Konishi, a Japanese valet, was murdered on 27th July 1913 on the grounds of Clifton Lodge. John Gilroy wrote a book about the incident.
Peter the 10th Earl fought in World War II and was a prisoner of war for a period. The Earl of Darnley’s Estate office closed in 1948. Today it is the site of the Old Darnley Hotel. In the 1920s the Quinn family held Clifton Lodge.
In the 1930s it was suggested that the mansion be considered as a possible additional mental hospital for the hospital in Mullingar. It was described as having a large hall, dining room, sitting room, study, smoke room, billiards room, six rather large bedrooms, and eight small ones. In the basement was a flagged kitchen and pantries and sculleries. At that stage the grounds and gardens were overgrown with weeds. There were two internal lavatories supplied by water from a nearby source.
In the 1960s Freddie Sheridan held Clifton. In 1980 Clifton lodge was sold for £123,000 by the representatives of the late Timothy Kinsella.
Clonabreany House outside Crossakeel was demolished in the last century. There was a house here in 1786 but the house was described as being an early 19th century house. There was extensive woodlands surrounding the house. There was the Bleach Wood, the Long Wood and the Tunnel Wood.
Cromwell is said to have encamped on Crossakiel Hill and offered 1000 acres of Clonabreaney to one of his officers who had distinguished him in the fight. The officer refusing said he would not want to live in a swamp like that and so a drummer boy spoke up saying he would be delighted with 1000 acres of the land and Cromwell said ‘Young Wade, I will give you 2000 acres of it.’
Henry Wade purchased lands in Meath in 1663 and was confirmed with 1490 acres at Clobnbreaney in 1684. John Wade of Clonabreaney was MP for Athboy 1703-14 and for Trim 1728-35. John was the eldest son of Henry Wade. He had a house in Trim. Henry Wade had been granted lands in Westmeath by Charles II and John had purchased lands at Clonabreaney from the Forfeited Estates Court in 1703 after the Battle of the Boyne. He purchased 100 acres in Dublin and 3151 acres in Meath. John Wade had served as High Sheriff of Meath in 1702 and he died in 1735.
Walter Wade, a descendant of Henry Wade of Clonabreany, became a noted botanist in the late eighteenth century. He successfully proposed the establishment of a botanical garden at Glasnevin in 1795.
John was succeeded by his nephew, Clotworthy Shields, who took the name Wade in 1735 in order to inherit the estate. Clotworthy was killed by a fall from his horse ten years later and was succeeded by his cousin, John Daniell, who took the name Wade.
Robert Wade of Clonabreany was High Sheriff of Meath 1772. He was succeeded by his eldest son, William Blaney Wade. When William died he was succeeded by Robert. Robert Craven Wade was born 1809 and served as High Sheriff of Meath 1840 and for Co. Wicklow 1847. The Wades were said to be good landlords and slaughter an ox a week to feed the people during the famine.
In 1883 Robert Craven Wade of Clonabreaney held 5174 acres in Meath, 4055 in Wicklow and 367 in Louth making a total estate of 9,596 acres. Robert died in Surrey in 1898. His eldest son William George Clayton Wade died in 1882 and was buried at Crossakiel. The estate then went to Craven Henry Clothworthy Wade who lived at Rockfield, Co. Wicklow. He died in 1911.
The estate was broken up in the early part of the twentieth century. Clonabreaney House was levelled in the middle of the twentieth century but the stable block remained standing. In 2009 the old estate manager’s house was completely restored and opened as Clonabreany House, a venue for weddings, occasions and conferences. Clonbreany now features the restored courtyard, containing 10 self-contained houses and two restored Georgian houses.
Clonbarry or Clonbarron House is in Kildalkey parish, on a cul de sac on the road to Athboy. In 1835 it was described as a neat two storey house and the residence of Mr. Nangle. The Nangle coat of arms is on one of the outhouses. The Nangles were the major landowners in Kildalkey.
In the twentieth century Clonabarron became a stud farm when the Nelson family took up ownership. Sir William Nelson lived at Clonbarron House from at least 1915. His wife, Lady Margaret Nelson, won the Grand National in 1915 with her horse, Ally Sloper. The Nelson family owned the Liverpool based Nelson Shipping Line. In 1923 Cathleen Bryan married Sir William’s son, Sir James Hope Nelson who had recently divorced his first wife, an American. Lady Cathleen Nelson, born in 1899, was a pioneering female pilot, receiving her pilot’s licence in 1932. An airstrip was laid down near the house. In 1933 Lady Cathleen was elected chairman of the Iona National Airways, one of Ireland first airlines in the country. Sir James Hope Nelson succeeded to his father’s estates in 1922. Sir James Nelson bred Poolgowran the winner of the 1934 Irish Grand National. Sir James and Lady Nelson left Clonbarron in 1939 and took up residence in Loughbawn, Co. Westmeath. Sir James died in 1960 and is buried in a vault surrounding the O’Connell memorial round tower in Glasnevin. In 1939 T.P. McIvor of Ardcath purchased Clonbarron for a sum of £2,250. Clonbarron was purchased by A.P. Reynolds in 1943 who operated a stud farm there with Richard McCormick as trainer. Later the Hon. Gerald Wellesley lived at Clonbarron. Various other families operated stud farm at the house during the twentieth century. In 1985 Clonbarron House and 166 acres was sold for £247,000.
Cloncarneel is located two kilometres north of Ballivor. Cloncarneel House was erected in the eighteenth century. A tall gabled house with a new entrance front was commissioned by Walter Dowdall in 1801. The design of the extensions were made by Francis Johnston who was then working on the Kells Courthouse. Just one room deep the house has an imposing doorway with a fanlight. Mulligan noted the striking feature of the windows which have twelve large panes on the ground floor and sixteen smaller panes on the first floor. The two storey house has Adamesque plasterwork over the sideboard recess in dining room. There is a wrought-iron balcony to first floor window over entrance. Cloncarneel has a number of out buildings. There is an arcaded outbuilding to the south. There is a central cobbled courtyard.
Cloncarneel house, sometimes known as Clown, was held by the Dowdalls house in the eighteenth century. In 1835 Cloncarneel or Carnisle was described as a neat two storey house, the residence of Mr. William Allen. In the 1850s George Hopkins was renting the house from Jeremiah S. Murphy.
In 1940s occupied by Cecil Samuel Faloon who produced sheep’s cheese on the farm and generated his own electricity. The Potterton family held the house for a period and then the McNamara family.
Clongill Castle is located between Oristown and Wilkinstown. It is a combination of two houses, a medieval tower house with two round turrets and a two storey gabled house added in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. The bottom floor of the tower house was barrel vaulted and there are traces of wickerwork which was used to create the roof. There was a murder hole over the entrance. On the first floor there was a garderobe. The later stone house is a rectangular two storey building attached to the west end of the tower house. Connected to the earlier building through the original door of the tower house, the building has a circular tower with stairs and the remains of an oven and fireplace.
The building is associated with the White family. One of the earliest records of Whites at Clogill is Richard White of Clongill who was in England in 1352. A number of members of the White family were recorded as rectors of the parish. In 1598 Patrick White of Clongell was recorded as one of the noblemen of Eastmeath. Jane Netterville married Christopher White of Clongill in early seventeenth century. In the 1650s James White lived at Clongill and there was a castle and mansion house in the townland. It is said that the castle attacked by forces of Cromwell. It took the Cromwellian forces three weeks to capture the castle. The tradition is that the White family were wiped out at the time with the exception of Patrick White and his brother Robert White that were in the French army at the time of the massacre. A pedigree of the White family of Clongell and Ballymore, Co. Westmeath dating from 1550 to 1735 is in the National Library of Ireland.
General Scurlog Williams lived at Clongill Castle in the early eighteenth century. His daughter was maid of honour to Queen Mary. The castle and lands were acquired by Thomas Gerrard in the mid seventeen to early eighteenth century. The Gerrards lived at Clongill until the middle of the eighteenth century. Swift wrote as number of letters to Samuel Gerrard of Clongill Castle in the early 18th century. Gerrard was assisting Swift in the purchase of lands for his hospital in Dublin. Samuel Gerrard resided in the house until his death in 1750.
In 1813 Mr. Pollock and Mr. Gerrard joined their packs together to form the Clongill pack which was based at Clongill Castle. In 1837 Clongill was described as an ancient castle in a tolerably good state of preservation. Nearby Arch Hall was held by the Garnett family.
Clonylogan House is located just east of Kildalkey on the road to Trim. The house may date to about 1850. A two storey over basement house it has a modern conservatory to the south.
The land at Clonylogan was held by the Barnewalls of Trimlestown in medieval times. There was only a small building at Clonylogan in the first Ordnance Survey map of the mid 1830s. In 1830 Lord Darnley granted a lease of Clonylogan two hundred and fifty acres to Thomas Potterton of Balatalion. Arthur Potterton inherited the lease from his father and came of age in 1847. His brother and spinster sisters resided with him. His daughter, Eleanora, inherited the property on his death in 1890. Eleanora married Richard Walker of Woodtown West. In 1901 Thomas Eliot Potterton was living in the house but it was owned by Eleanora Walker. In 1911 it was owned by Eleanora Walker and lived in by William Bery White Spunner and his family. It was sold but purchased by the Potterton family in the 1960s. The house has been renovated. Most of the details relating to this house are from Homan Potterton’s book, Potterton, People & Places.
Clonlyon House stood near Moynalvey, Summerhill. In 1836 the house was the residence of Edward Purdon. He was secretary to the local famine committee during the great Famine. The house appears to be a small house, possibly for a herd in the maps of the 1830s but seems a more substantial house by 1900. It remained the property of the Purdon family until the late 1800s. In 1901 and 1911 the house was the property of George Wilson and lived in by Robert Doran, shepherd. The house had ten rooms, five windows at the front and seven outbuildings. The house then became the property of a Mr. Gallagher from Castlebar who held it until the 1950s when the Land Commission took over the property. The house was demolished in the 1960s and a new road erected near the site.
Clowanstown House is located just off the old N3 between Ross Cross and Dunshaughlin. The house was erected late in the nineteenth or early in the twentieth century. An older building on the site was adapted as a farm building. A gatelodge stands at the end of the avenue on the main road. Part of Clowanstown was part of the estate of Lord Fingall and was sold in 1893. In 1876 Patrick Maher of Clowanstown, Tara, Navan, held 606 acres in County Meath. By 1919 Hubert M. Hartigan, horse trainer, was settled at Tara Stud, Clowanstown House. In 1944 Hartigan sold Clowanstown to Clifford Nicholson, a well-known English breeder. Mr. Nicholson owned the Limestown Stud, near Lincoln.
In the 1950s William P. Iceton lived at Clowanstown House. Billy Iceton, who died in 2010, was manager of Tara Stud for over 50 years, and was prominent in breeding and racing through his involvement with the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and the Curragh Racecourse.
Collierstown House is located at Bellewstown, Duleek. Casey and Rowan said the house was reputedly erected about 1775 but the interior joinery and plasterwork look more like the 1790s. A three storey over basement house there is a good range of outbuildings including coachhouses. The house on the south side of Bellewstown Hill has uninterrupted views over east Meath and north Dublin.
In 1876 Bartholomew Ennis of Collierstown held 373 acres in County Meath. In 1901 Bartholomew Ennis and his family were living at Collierstown. J.S. Langan lived there from the early 1930s to about 1960. The Boylan family of Hilltown held the house for a period as did the Allen family.
Coney Hall is located at Mornington, Drogheda. It is sometimes called Mornington House. A Queen Anne style house it was owned by James Henry Brabazon, a relative of the Earls of Meath from the 1860s onwards. In 1879 Margaret Skean, cook and house keeper, was sacked. She murdered her replacement Emma Boucher. Found guilty of manslaughter Skean served ten years in jail before being released and emigrating to America. In 1911 James Smyth, solicitor, and family lived at Coney Hall. In 1943 Coney Hall was put for sale. The house was surrounded by woods and adjoined Bettystown Golf Course. The lands amounted to 35 acres including a three acre walled garden. The two storeyed house included a hall, drawing room, dining room, modern tiled kitchen, pantry, dairy, scullery, maid’s bedroom and five bedrooms. The Graham family purchased the property. The house was sold again in 1951. The house no longer appears to be there. The house gave its name to a local housing development.
Cooperhill house is located in the townland of Callaighstown, the civil parish of Kilsharvan, just off the Duleek to Julianstown road, not far from the Dardistown bridge on the Nanny river. There is a Cooperhill in Carlow and another in Limerick.
In 1737 Christopher Darcy of Stidalt mortgaged his lands in Duleek to John Cooper of Drogheda for £250. John Cooper (1719-1808) was Chief Clerk of the Treasury. John Cooper was the son of Samuel Cooper of Beamore and Calliaghtown, Co. Meath and Butterhill, Co. Wicklow. Educated at Custom House Drogheda, John married an heiress, Mary Anne Paget. Their third son, Nathaniel, succeeded at Cooperhill following the death of John in 1808. Nathaniel, a captain in the 68th Regiment, died in 1818 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Nathaniel. In 1835 Cooperhill house in the townland of Callaighstown was recorded as the residence of J. Cooper. Nathaniel’s eldest son, Hugh, born in 1829, was killed in an accident and so Nathaniel was succeeded in 1852 by his son, Henry Alexander Cooper J.P., who died unmarried in 1895. In 1854 Nicholas Cooper is recorded as holding Cooperhill House and 401 acres of lands in the townland of Calliaghstown. In 1876 Henry Cooper of Cooperhill held 410 acres in County Meath. There was a beech tree at Cooperhill bearing the carved initials SA and SC (Sarah Armstrong and Samuel Cooper).
The Cooper family were related to the Cooper family of Beamore and to the Cooper family of Barn Hall, Castletown, Co Kildare. In 1901 Clamina Cooper was living at Cooperhill with her sister, Sophia Smyth. In 1911 Sophia Smyth was living at Coopershill. The house had fourteen rooms, with fifteen windows at the front and twelve outbuildings.
The house was burned on 7th February 1923 during the Civil War. John Anthony Ashley Cooper fled the house before it was burned. Mr. Cooper received £4326 compensation for the burning of the house. Photographs of the house before and after it was burned are held locally. The house was restored and in 1929 Cooperhill was sold to the Corscadden family from Leitrim. The Land Commission acquired 200 acres of the estate in the 1930s and in 1956 the Corscaddens sold the remaining land to the Land Commission.
Around 1959 the house was purchased by the Ryan family. Mrs. Mary Ryan operated a guesthouse at Cooperhill for a number of years.
Corbalis House is located at Ballygarth, Drogheda, on the south bank of the Nanny where it enters the sea. A late Georgian house of square proportions the house has Victorian plasterwork. In 1911 the house had twenty six rooms, six windows to the front and twenty eight outbuildings. In the 1830s Corballis was the seat of J. Smith Taylor. The townland of Corballis contained 378 acres and this constituted the demesne of Corballis house. In the 1850s Robert Taylor was the occupier. In 1901 Edward and Clare Delaney were occupying Corballis and ten years later the same couple were there. Edward won an Irish National from Corballis in the 1898 with a horse called Porridge. His brother, Patrick, was a co-founders of Laytown Races in the 1890’s. Edward died in 1948 in his 90s. Patrick died a week earlier. Eamonn Delany succeeded to Corballis. The Delany family continued to hold Corballis into the twenty first century and continued to be involved in the equine field.
Corbalton Hall, located between Skryne and Dunshaughlin, was home to the Corbally family. A three storey house was constructed in the eighteenth century to which a new wing was attached about 1801. The two storey villa wing was designed by the distinguished Irish architect, Francis Johnston. Casey and Rowan suggested that the extension was as a result of the prosperity in the Irish corn market due to the Napoleonic wars. The older building and the new were joined at an acute angle. Three vaulted rooms as well as associated walls of the original house were incorporated into the main 1801 house and are currently underneath a paved terrace. The front of Johnston’s addition became the new entrance front. The older section, called Cookstown House after the townland name, was demolished in 1970, leaving a gap between the stable block and the 1801 house. The farmyard was located away from the house on one of the entrance avenues.
The Barnewalls held the property in the seventeenth century. Elias Corbally, a rich miller, purchased Cookstown about 1800 from Mr. White. The Corbally family were a Catholic family and Bishop Plunkett was a regular visitor at their original home at nearby Sydenham. As a lieutenant in the Ratoath yeoman cavalry Elais Corbally was captured by rebels on the first day of the 1798 rebellion, but rescued by members of the Clonsilla yeoman cavalry. Corbally was active in various Catholic committees in Dublin and Navan attempting to secure better rights for Catholics. Corbally was a major contributor to the chapel at Skryne and donated the site for a new parochial house. In the 1830s Corbalton Hall was described as the elegant and spacious mansion of Elias Corbally, Esq., standing in a remarkably well-wooded demesne of about 1000 acres. Elias died in 1837 and is commemorated by a memorial in the ruined Rathregan church.
In 1817 Arthur James Plunkett, Lord Killeen, and later 9th Earl of Fingal, married Louisa, the only daughter of Elias Corbally of Corbalton Hall. The Plunkett family lived at Corbalton Hall and their children were born there. Arthur James, the eldest son of the 9th Earl, held the position of High Sheriff of Meath in 1845. A major in the 8th Dragoons he served at the Siege of Sebastopol during the Crimean War. William Plunkett was the third son of the 9th Earl of Fingal. Born at Corbalton in 1824 he joined the army, serving in the West Indies and Canada before joining the church. William was the first Irishman to join the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1851. He worked in Manchester, Limerick, Clapham, Scotland and Australia as a Redemptorist priest. Sir Francis Richard Plunkett was born the sixth son of the 9th Earl Fingal at Corbalton Hall in 1835. Francis joined the diplomatic service and served throughout Europe before being made Minister in Tokyo in 1883. In 1900 he was appointed ambassador at Vienna, a post from which he retired in 1905.
Matthew Elias, son of Elias, was born in 1791. Living until 1870 Matthew was M.P. for Meath, a justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for County Meath. Matthew married Matilda Preston, daughter of the 12th Viscount Gormanston in 1842. Matilda died in 1889 aged 72 and husband and wife are buried in the vault in Skryne church. They only had one child, Mary Margaret, who was born in 1845. Matthew is said to have planted 14 lime trees along the cowfield and asked his daughter to have as many children.
In 1865 Mary married Alfred Joseph, 23rd Lord Mowbray, 24th Lord Segrave, 20th Lord Stourton and they had ten children, six boys and four girls. In 1876 Hon. Mrs. Corbally of Corbalton held 5,033 acres in county Meath. Alfred Joseph died in 1893, aged 64, in Paris. Mary Margaret died in 1925 aged 79. Their son, Edward Plantagenet Joseph, inherited the estate in 1925 and took the additional surname of Corbally. He sold the estate in 1951.
Courthill House was erected near the Church of Ireland church at Dunboyne about1835. It was the residence of John Greene and described as a neat two storey slated modern house. The attached outbuildings were in good repair and the demesne of twenty seven acres was kept in good order. A two storey house it is described as a substantial square villa with an elegant classical hall. The plasterwork dates to about 1838. About 1900 Courthill was enlarged by the addition of an extra storey. A walled garden stands to the north of the house. A gate lodge was erected about 1880.
Walsingham Coke held Courthill until 1622 when he sold it to Sir Arthur Savage. James Hamilton purchased it in 1698 from Sir Lawrence Parsons. This James Hamilton was from Raheny and was not related to the Hamiltons of Hamwood and Sheephill. The Wilson family then held the property.
Courthill House was erected by John Green, a fishmonger in the mid 1830s. Henry Green held the property in the 1850s. The house then descended though various families. In 1873 Patrick O’Donnell purchased the property but it was up for sale again in 1884 and 1893. It came into the hands of John Justin McCarthy in 1908. John McCarthy was the son of Jeremiah McCarthy of Coolnacalle. McCarthy was from Kerry and had managed to acquire a fortune though railways shares in companies in Africa. A supporter of Kerry GAA, Kerry footballers stayed at Courthill the night before the All-Irelands.
McCarthy died in 1953 and after the death of his wife the property passed to Eamonn Walsh. Courthill provided the name for Courthill Drive, a local residential development.
Creakenstown House is to the north of near Ratoath. The house was erected between two tributaries of the Broadmeadow river. The road bends around the house as if the house was erected on part of the road.
The O’Neill family came into passion of Creakenstown in the latter half of the eighteenth century. A room in the house was fitted out as a chapel to serve Dr. Augustine Cheevers, bishop of Meath who also used the house to hide during the Penal days. The Kelly family were in possession from the early years of the nineteenth century. Martin Kelly lived 1736-1803. His second son Edward was related to Fr. Patrick Langhan, PP and when the priest died his vestments were preserved in Creakenstown House and used at Station Masses. The Kelly were prominent donors to church activities providing stained glass windows in Ratoath and an altar in Donaghmore chapel.
Edward Kelly was a regular follower of the Meath and Ward Union Hunts. Born in 1849 he was a country councillor in 1911. Silage was made at Creakenstown in 1894 by Edmund Kelly.
The point to point held there in 1950 is featured in the news supplied by British Pathe, the world’s first digital news archive. The farm comprises 400 acres, with 300 acres in the main block. Ted and Gretta Kelly provided an interesting article on Creakenstown House for the Curraha Jubilee book on which this article is based.
Crossdrum House is located near Millbrook, Oldcastle. The townland of Crossdrum was in the ownership of the Napers of Loughcrew and they leased the land to the Rotherams and Smith Harman families. Both families were involved in the hunt.
Crossdrum House has been described as an exceptional country residence while others have described it as a dull and ill proportioned Georgian house. Some of the plasterwork has been attributed to George Stapleton, son of Michael Stapleton. The house had a Tuscan porch with a Venetian-style doorcase. The house became derelict in the late twentieth century. There was a servants’ tunnel to the basement
The first recorded lease at Crossdrum dates to 1734 from the Napers of Loughcrew. Edward Rotheram born 1789, married Barbara Crofton from Leitrim. He acted as an agent for Lord Shelborne. The Rotherams of Triermore came into possession of Crossdrum. George Rotheram lived at Crossdrum in 1810.
In 1835 Crossdrum house, the residence of Edward Rotheram, was described as a neat and commodious house of modern style, having been erected in 1817. There were suitable offices and gardens attached to it. Mr. Rotheram was described as a comfortable farmer, and lived on the land. He employed constantly 40 labourers, cultivating a third of the land and grazing the remainder.
Edward Rotheram was born in 1810, married in 1835 and was a member of the Royal Dublin Yacht club. In 1883 Edward Rotheram of Crossdrum held 5,308 acres in Meath and 1,290 in Cavan making a total estate of 6,598 acres. Edward Rotheram held the lands on which the cairns on Loughcrew stand.
Percy French was a regular visitor to Crossdrum while he was inspector of drains in Cavan. He often kept the family up to the small hours with his singing and stories. Mr. Rotheram would say “Do you know Percy the early train leaves Oldcastle at 7.30 in the morning?” This worked sometimes and Percy went to bed but many times it did not. Source John Smith ‘The Oldcastle Centenary Book’
In 1911 Edward and Jane Rotheram and their family lived at Crossdrum. In 1906 Edward had served as High Sheriff of Meath. In January 1914 when Edward, his wife and a visitor were sitting at the fire a shot was fired through the window.
Soldiers occupied Crossdrum at the request of Mr. Rotheram during the War of Independence. Edward Rotheram died about 1925. The Rotherham family left Ireland in the 1920s. The Cadden family then lived there until the late 1960s. They built a new house nearby and moved out of the old house. A modern farmyard was built directly behind the house but the old farm buildings are also still in use.
Upper Crossdrum House
Nearby Upper Crossdrum House was the residence of W. Smith Harman in 1837. In 1835 Upper Crossdrum House was described as a neat three storey house with offices built in 1819. It is attributed to the architect C.R. Cockerell. William Smith Harman married Catherine Battersby of Newcastle in 1836. Their eldest son William succeeded at Crossdrum. William who was born in 1837 married Mary O’Rorke of Loughcrew. In 1911 William Harman and his wife were living at Crossdrum. William died in 1932 at the age of 95. He had been master of the Ballymacads from 1887 to 1900. Their son Charles Cecil Harman served in the South African War and then in World War I and was awarded the DSO in 1916 and a bar 1917. Born in 1877 Charles married Muriel Huth in 1914 and they had two sons, William and Charles, both of whom served in the Second World War. When Charles Cecil died in 1952 his widow remarried two years later to Major Kenneth Thompson of Triermore House.
Crowpark House is located in Trim Town, on the north banks of the Boyne. Now surrounded by modern houses the house is accessed by a road now called Sarsfield Avenue. The house is located beside the old town walls of Trim. In 1875 the house contained a parlour, drawing room, six bedrooms, servants apartments, stables for three horses, coachhouse, cow house, turfhouse and a large walled in garden on five acres of ground.
The property was in the hands of the Chambers family in the first half of the nineteenth century. The Chambers family are recorded in Wexford in the 1650s. A descendant of the family, Joseph, married the eldest daughter of Rev. Stafford Lightbume, of Trim. Their son, Edward Elliot Chambers, lived at Crowpark and married Elizabeth Carshore. In 1835 Crowpark was the property of Minor Leslie but held by E.E. Chambers on a lease of three lives at 18s an acre. Edward’s son, Richard Edward Elliot Chambers of Fosterstown, became an artist in England. He married into a wealthy family – Chandos-Pole-Gell of Hopton Hall. His bride was 36 when they married. Richard travelled the world painting in such places as California, Mexico, Canada, New Mexico, Sahara, Algeria, Middle East and South Africa. Edward Chambers died in 1857.
Robert P. Hope of Loughbawn, Collinstown, Killucan held Crowpark in the late nineteenth century. The lands amounting to 200 acres were leased out. Crowpark house was left vacant. In 1911 Robert Hope owned the house and it was lived in by caretaker, Michael Morgan. In 1911 the house had sixteen rooms, eight windows to the front and thirteen outbuildings. The property was sold in 1913 following the death of Robert Hope.
Cruicetown House is located near Nobber in North Meath. Cruicetown moat, graveyard and lake are located to the front of the house. A long two-storey house erected in 1845, although a date of 1828 is also suggested, it has four stone chimney stacks and a square projecting castellated porch. The house is sited within a battlemented courtyard. The house replaced an earlier house from 1735, a stone in the wall is inscribed “L. Cruise 1735”. Cruicetown was the residence of the Cruise family from medieval times. The battlemented improvements are the work of Sir Lionel Alexander, who owned Cruicetown after 1874. The property includes interesting gates and lodges. There was a tile house and pigeon loft in the yard. Today a large farm complex surrounds the house.
The Cruise family settled at Cruicetown in the early thirteenth century. An early motte castle was probably their first settlement. The Cruise family vault is at the western end of the southern wall of the church. The chancel contains the tomb of Christopher and Elizabeth Cruise, dating from 1688. A pierced ring limestone cross dating to the same year stands in the graveyard. The cross depicts the Virgin and Child on its eastern side and the scene of the Crucifixion on the west. A little village may have existed to the west of the church, south of the motte. Christopher Cruise held Cruicetown in 1654 and the family were to hold onto the estate until the late 18th century and even when they disposed of it they leased it back from the new landowners. Tradition has it that Turlough O Carolan attended a school sponsored by the Cruises at Cruisetown, where he fell in love with the daughter, Bridget. He later composed four airs and a number of songs in her honour. Tradition has it that the blind Carolan was on pilgrimage to Lough Derg when a lady reached out her hand to help him. He immediately recognised Bridget Cruise just by the touch of her hand.
In 1789 Joseph Cruise sold the lands of Cruicetown, Altmash and Moydorragh to Arthur Ahmuty of London. In the early 1800s the house was occupied by a family named Barnes. In 1831 the Ahmuty lands at Cruicetown, Moydarragh and Altmash were acquired by the executors of William Alexander Shaw, late of Great Denmark Street, Dublin. His heir, William John Alexander, took the surname Shaw.
Major William Alexander was born on 12 May 1817. He was the son of William John Alexander-Shaw. Baptised William Alexander he gained the rank of major in the Indian Army. His name changed to William Alexander-Shaw in 1846 and back to William Alexander by Royal License in 1876. He held property at Guildford, Surrey and at Cruisetown.
In 1835 Cruicetown House was the residence of Andrew Cruise but the townland was owned by William Shaw. Extensive woodlands surrounded the house. The lake abounded in fish and wildfowl. Cruicetown house was described as a neat slated house. The largest farm in the townland was leased by Andrew Cruise. Andrew and Peter Cruise lived at nearby Moydorragh House. In 1837 Lewis stated that Mr. Shaw was contemplating the erection of a new house at Cruicetown, a plan which he carried out in 1845. Alexander-Shaw obtained a £350 grant towards the improvement of his lands from the Commissioner of Public Works in 1847. In 1854 Henry Green was leasing Cruicetown House from Alexander-Shaw.
William Alexander’s eldest son, William Ferdinand Alexander, became the fifth baronet Alexander of Belcamp, Dublin in 1888. William Ferdinand had been born in India while his father was serving there and he died aged 50, at Cruicetown in 1896. His son, Major Sir Lionel Cecil William Alexander, 6th Bt. was born on 23 September 1885 and it was he who disposed of Cruicetown. Lionel fought in the First World War and was decorated for his service. He held the office of High Sheriff of Huntingdonshire in 1929. Later generations of the family lived in England. Part of the Alexander estate was acquired by the Land Commission between 1913 and 1916. The Brady family acquired Cruicetown House in 1875.
The FitzLeron family were the first Norman family documented at Culmullin and it is probably they who are responsible for erecting a castle there. The remains of the castle are now incorporated into the farmyard. The Barony passed to Sir Simon de Geneville through marriage to Joan Fitzleon. The first reference to the Barony of Culmullin is in the early decades of the 14th Century, when Sir John Cusack is stated to have married Joan de Geneville, co-heir of Sir Simon de Geneville, Baron of Culmullin.Sir Simon administered his estates from Culmullin Castle and was called to Parliament in 1375. The Husseys of Mulhussey held Culmullen in the 1500s.
Lord Slane held Culmullin in 1641 and managed to retain it during the Cromwellian confiscations. After the Battle of the Boyne it was confiscated and came into the hands of Samuel Dopping. The land amounted to 1565 acres.
John Dopping of Gloucestershire, born 1562, had two sons. His eldest son, Anthony Dopping was an MP and Clerk to the Privy Council 1640. He married twice and had nineteen children, many of whom died young. He acquired land in the baronies of Skreen, Ratoath and later in Deece. His 8th son was Right Rev Anthony Dopping, Bishop of Kildare 1678-82 and Bishop of Meath 1682 – 1697. His son was Rt. Hon Samuel Dopping MP for Armagh acquired a total of 1798 acres in Meath from the Forfeited Estates after the Battle of the Boyne. His brother, Rev. Anthony Dopping, purchased lands in Westmeath. They leased their lands at Culmullin to the Bomford family.
Samuel Dopping aged 27 died of consumption at Culmullin and was buried in Culmullin graveyard in 1842.
In 1837 Colmolyn house was the elegant residence of A.J. Dopping. At Culmullin there was a school of 18 boys and 5 girls, for which Mr. Dopping allowed a house and garden free. Near the house is a graveyard and rath.
In the mid 1830 Culmullen was described as a good two storeyed slated house and the home of Mr. D’Arcy. A garden and 10 acres of pleasure grounds are rented by Mr. Darcy with the house for £6 per annum. A grave to William J.B D’Arcy in Culmullen graveyard dates his death as 1846 and aged 38. In 1837 a William D’Arcy of Culmullin was married at Knockmark church to Charlotte D’Arcy.
James Kearney was the proprietor of Culmullin house in the 1850s. J. Kearney of Culmolyn held 2511 acres in Meath and Westmeath in 1883. Lord Rossmore rented Culmullen House for the hunting from Johnny Kearney. In 1899-1900 an architect prepared plans for alteration to the house and stables for the resident, Hugh Gore.
In 1911 Edmund Dease occupied Culmullin house. On the night of the census it was unoccupied as Edmund and his wife were visiting at a house in Westmeath. Edmund was a land agent. Turbotstown House in Longford was the home of the Dease family until 1926. Edmund Fitzlaurance Dease, 1856-1934, author of “History of the Westmeath Hunt”, and father of Maurice James Dease, C.C., the first V.C. of World War I, lived at Cumullin House.
In 1922 architect, Ralph Henry Byrne, prepared plans for an addition at the rear of the house in the style of Louis XVI/William Kent/Regency for John Leonard. The Leonard lived at Warrenstown and John was a nephew of the owner of Warrenstown. John Leonard, Culmullen House served on an Economic Committee established by the Dail in 1928.
In the later twentieth century John Fowler, the trainer, lived for a while at Culmullen House before moving to the family estate at Rahinstown.
Cuarraghmore Cottage was the residence of Henry Williams in 1835. Described as a neat thatched cottage it was located in the townland of Arodstown townland, Kilmore parish, Kilcock. Nearby was Arodstown House, the seat of Henry’s brother, Robert Williams. The house was demolished before 1900.
Curraghtown House is located to the west of Navan. Curraghtown House is a two storey house erected about 1860. There is a single storey porch. The main house in the townland before this was Curraghtown or Mount Charlton. In 1836 this mansion lay in ruins at the east end of the townland.
Curraghtown was home to the Charlton family and is where the Charlton fund originated. Captain William Charlton of Curraghtown, alias Mount Charlton, Co. Meath died in 1737 and was succeeded by his son Thomas Charlton born 1702 and died unmarried 1792.
The Charlton Bequest began in 1792. At the age of seventy five Thomas Charlton decided to marry. This raised the possibility of an heir and the night before the marriage his sisters did something to him to prevent him every becoming a father. He had planned to build a new house on his Mountfarrell estate, near Edgeworthstown. The building was never finished. Charlton willed the rental income from his estate at Curraghtown and the rent from his property at Edgeworthstown to be invested and provide funds for a charity. Two thirds of the money was to be distributed to newly-weds in Meath and one-third to newlyweds of Longford.
Thomas Charlton was buried in Ardbraccan graveyard. Thomas conveyed the house and demesne lands at Curraghtown to his kinsman John Charlton, officer in the 60th Foot for the life of John and his wife Elizabeth and son James. John was an ensign in 1760 and created lieutenant in 1777. He was with Wolfe at Quebec and is said to have been one of the officers in whose arms Wolfe died.
By Act of Parliament in 1800 the estate was vested in Trustees. By 1837 marriage portions were being paid to Roman Catholics. Captain James Wolfe Charlton, son of Ensign John instituted proceedings and after protracted litigation the fund was again devoted solely to Protestants. In 1836 Captain Charlton lived in the old mansion house in Curraghtown.
By 1874 there were not enough applicants and the capital began to accumulate. In 1895 under an 1885 Act the marriage portion was to be equally divided between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
James had two sons. Rev. James Wolfe Charlton became vicar of Clonmacnoise in 1843 while his other son, William, became established at Clonmacnoise House, Co. Offaly. In 1906 the trust’s property at Curraghtown was sold to the four resident tenants. The Trust continues to issue grants annually.
In the 1850s Alexander Roberts was leasing a substantial house and 49 acres of lands from Chidley C. Barnes. At that time 102 acres of Curraghtown was in trust for the Charlton fund. Partrick Smith of Curraghtown was a member of the Young Mens’ Society in Navan in the 1860s. Patrick Smith, Auctioneers, began at Curraghtown and then opened offices in Navan. In 1911 Michael Smith owned and lived in Curraghtown House, the biggest house in the townland. It had twelve rooms and five windows to the front. In 1901 there were five farm labourers at Curraghtown House.
In 1922 Curraghtown House featured in a battle between the Free State and Irregular Forces. Following overnight fighting a ceasefire was arranged and the Irregulars surrendered and were taken to Trim Workhouse.
J.C.H. Shaw wrote an article on the family of Charlton which was published in the Irish Genealogist in 1969.
Curtistown House is located in Curtistown Lower or Baldoyle townland, not far from Kilmessan. In the 1830s there is only a small building identified on the site but by 1900 there was a larger house and named “Curtistown House” on the site. In 1850 John Wilkinson held 183 acres and a herd’s house at Curtistown. Curtistown House in Kilmessan was home to the Wilkinson family. John Wilkinson of Curtistown held 368 acres in county Meath in 1876. In 1901 Sarah, Sophia and Caroline Wilkinson were residing at Curtistown together with Susanna Mason, Mary Cullen and Bridget Fagan. The house had nineteen rooms, six windows to the front and thirteen outbuildings.
Danescourt House is located off the Main Street of Athboy, to the south of the town. The house is known by various names including Danson’s court, Dunstan’s court and Dnacescourt. The two storey house was erected about 1770 and has a double height hall addition to the east and an older block set perpendicularly to the west. In 1901 the house had seventeen rooms, twelve windows at the front and ten outbuildings. Athboy Cricket club had its grounds in Danescourt demesne.
Danes court was erected on the site of the Carmelite monastery of Athboy. The Carmelites came to Ireland about 1260, and one of their four chief houses was in Athboy. The monastery included an hospital and a house of hospitality. In 1540, the Abbot of Athboy was forced to surrender the property, which boasted a church and belfry, a cloister, a stone tower, a mansion, eight messuages (houses) and four acres of meadow at Adenstown called Friars’ Meadow. In 1543, the monastery was granted to Thomas Casey and it was later turned into a horse mill.
In the 1830s Danescourt was described as a good two storey house. In the 1850s John Webb was leasing Danescourt from Mrs. Warner.
In the 1870s Thomas Willet Donaldson lived at Danescourt. His daughter Rosalie Mary married James Brunton Stephen’s, a Scotsman who achieved fame in Australia for his humorous poems.
In 1901 Ivon Price, district inspector, R.I.C. and his family were living at Danescourt and owned the property. In 1911 the house was the property of Catherine Moore and was lived in by Archibald Rutherford.
Dangan castle, the family home of the Duke of Wellington, has been in ruins with over two hundred years. The shell of the house stands in parkland to the north of Summerhill village. During the 1740s the old house at Dangan burned down and was replaced by a new house of plain design. The house had a large hall where music, dancing, shuttlecock, draughts and prayers took their turn. The chapel and library at Dangan were attributed to Francis Johnson. In the 1730 and 40’s canals and gardens were created. The canals were replaced by a lake.
In 1739 the grounds had twenty five obelisks, a fort with a cannon and a lake with three ships. The obelisks at Dangan are attributed to the design of Richard Castle. Only two brick obelisk now survive from the extensive gardens. The farmyard, stable block and a number of bridges survive today.
The lands at Dangan belonged to the Cusack family in medieval times. In the fifteenth century the property came into the hands of the Wellesley family.
Garrett Wesley was portreeve (mayor) of Trim in 1694 and M.P for Trim, Athboy and Meath. He died childless in 1728 to be succeeded by his cousin Richard Colley of Carbury, Co. Kildare. Richard took the name, Wesley, to inherit the estate. He developed the demesne erecting obelisks, canals and lakes. The house was re-built after a fire in 1748. Richard Colley Wesley, was a musician – he played the violin.
His son, Garret, was elected the first Professor of Music of Trinity College in 1764. A number of his tunes still survive. He represented Trim in parliament in 1757-8. In 1760 he was created Viscount Wellesley, of Dangan Castle and Earl of Mornington. He married The Anne Hill-Trevor, eldest daughter of the banker Arthur Hill-Trevor, 1st Lord Dungannon. They had a number of distinguished children with four sons being created peers. The eldest, Richard, became viceroy of India and 1st Marquess Wellesley. William took the additional name Pole in order to inherit lands and became 1st Baron Maryborough. Henry became 1st Baron Cowley. The second eldest son, Arthur, died in early childhood and in 1769 when a son was born he was named Arthur. There has been a lot of discussion over the years as to where and when Arthur was born because he went on to be the Duke of Wellington. One of his reputed saying was “To be born in a stable does not make one a horse” but would an Irishman say anything derogatory about a horse.
Arthur was raised in Dangan, Dublin and London. Arthur managed to be elected at the age of nineteen to the Irish House of Commons for the family seat of Trim but waited two years before he made his maiden speech. He publicly declared his opposition to the Corporation of Trim’s decision to confer the freedom of the place upon Henry Grattan, the Irish patriot.
Richard mortgaged the family’s estates in Meath on their father’s death. In 1793 the house and 900 acres of lands were sold to Captain Thomas Burrowes M.P. who added two wings containing a chapel and library.
In 1799 Burrowes leased Dangan to Roger O’Connor. O’Connor, a United Irishman, had been made an honorary general by Napoleon. He is said to have had planned to entertain Napoleon at the house. By 1807 the house was dilapidated, trees cut down. The Duke did consider purchasing the estate at one stage. The house was burned in a fire in 1809. The library and chapel were torn down. The chapel window was installed in Agher church. In 1796 Roger O’Connor, from Dunmanway, Co. Cork was charged with high treason and imprisoned. Following this imprisonment he had to sell off his property in Cork and moved to Dangan Castle. In 1813 when O’Connor paid the rent to the agent of Burrowes the agent was robbed of the rent money within minutes of leaving O’Connor at Dangan. In 1817 he was implicated by two convicted criminals in the 1812 robbery of the Galway mail coach. Some of the mail bags were discovered at Dangan. The trial began in Trim in August 1817. It was alleged that O’Conner had planned and supplied the weapons for the robbery. One of the informants admitted that he had committed more robberies than he could remember. O’Connor was found not guilty. In 1822 O’Connor published a two volume work on the history of Ireland from “original manuscripts in the Phoenician dialect of the Scythian language.”
In the 1830s the house was still then property of Colonel Burrowes but was now a ruin. The occupier of the house, Peter Allen, showed visitors the room in which the Duke of Wellington was born. The fine timber which had formerly beautified the place had all been cut down.
Dardistown Castle, located near Julianstown, was described by Casey and Rowan as ‘an intriguing amalgam of medieval and modern buildings’ being made up from a 15th century castle with additions and alterations in each succeeding century.
Dardistown castle was erected by John Cornwalsh in 1465. The castle was constructed on a similar plan of Dunsoghly castle in Swords but on a smaller scale. There are turrets at each corner with each turret differing in size from the others. The southeast turret contains a garderobe (toilet). The word gives its name to the word ‘wardrobe’ because this was where the clothes were hung. The ammonia and waste fumes kept the clothes free from lice and infestation. The main entrance door was on the northside but this has been blocked up and the entrance is now on the southside.
On the ground floor, the main room and the smaller rooms in three of the turrets all have pointed barrel vaults. Following a native Irish technique, woven wicker mats resting on timber beams were used to support the vaults during their construction and at Dardistown bits of the wickerwork may still be seen embedded in the undersides of the vaults.
An extension was added to the west wall of the tower in 1583. In the hallway there is a magnificent fireplace and it was here the Osborne family, who lived in the castle for four generations from 1692 to 1970,
Dame Genet Sarsfield, widow of Sir John Plunkett of Dunsoghly, modified part of the castle in 1586 and created a hall. Genet Sarsfield was the daughter of John Sarsfield of Sarsfieldstown, just south of Gormanstown. She married five times. Her third husband was Robert Plunkett, Lord Dunsany, her fourth was Sir Thomas Cusack of Cushinstown, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, while her fifth was John Plunkett who died in 1582. Reputedly the tallest woman in Ireland the doorways at Dardistown were raised to allow Dame Genet entrance. A plaque placed at the rear wall of the drawing room stated that the chamber had been constructed by Dame Genet Sarsfelde of Donsanie in 1586. Dame Genet died in February 1597 and her memorial tablet may be seen in the chancel arch in the old church at Moorchurch.
The Battle of Julianstown in 1641 is said to have taken place on the front lawn of Dardistown. The castle was added to by the then owners the Talbots. The Osborne family came into ownership in the late seventeenth century. Francis Osborne was MP for Navan in 1692 and 1695. Henry Osborne, Dardistown, bequeathed £1,000to the establishment of the Bluecoat School, Dublin and reserved the right to nominate ten boys to be educated there. This right was left to the Bishop of Meath in his will. The original Blue Coat School is now the Law Society, Blackhall Place while the school is amalgamated into the Kings Hospital School in Palmerstown. The writer and scientist Thomas Molyneaux dedicated one of his volumes to Henry Osborne of Dardistown.
The hall was extended and a new entrance front created. The present front hall, drawing room and dining room date from around 1750. The main Dublin-Drogheda road was moved away from the front of the house about 1800. The upper floors at the back were also added about this time while the upper rooms at the front were added about 1860.
Henry Osborne of Dardistown was the proprietor of Cooperhill Brickworks and supplied red bricks to many of Drogheda’s buildings, including Saint Joseph’s Convent. Henry Osborne died at Bath in 1828 but the brickworks continued to operate until 1920.
Joe Osborne of Dardistown was the owner and trainer of “Abd-El-Kader” who won the 1850 and 1851 Grand Nationals. The horse was named after Abd-El-Kader who was a political and military leader who led the struggle against the French invasion of Algeria. He was seen as a national hero by the Algerians. Osborne had discovered the horse’s mother pulling a coach from London to Holyhead. Spotting the mare’s potential he purchased her. Osborne was the compiler and proprietor of “The Horse-breeder’s Handbook” and “The Steeplechase Calendar,” and became famous as a racing correspondent.
Henry St. George Osborne was born in 1839 and in 1876 is recorded as owning 970 acres in county Meath. His son, Henry Ralph, was a magistrate and a major in the 5th Battalion of the Leinster Regiment.
The Osborne family continued to live in the house until the 1970s when the property came into the ownership of the Armstrong family. In the 1980s the castle became home to the Allen family who renovated and refurbished the building. It has been lived in now for over 500 years.
Delvin Lodge is located on the Delvin river in the parish of Stamullin. Delvin Lodge is a plain three storey house with gables and dormer gables. In 1911 the house had thirty six rooms, thirty windows to the front and thirty outbuildings.
In 1837 Delvin Lodge was the residence of the Shaw family and described as being beautifully situated on the banks of the river Delvin, which here separates the parish from the county of Dublin. There are records of Mr. Shaw uncovering ancient skeletons on his lands during excavations.
John Jameson acquired the Bow Street distillery in 1780 and by 1800 Jameson’s were the second largest producer of whiskey in Ireland and one of the largest in the world. James, the second son of John Jameson of Prussia Street, Dublin, established himself at Delvin Lodge. In 1862 James Jameson was living at Delvin Lodge. James Jameson married Lucy Cairnes, daughter of William Cairnes of Stameen. She died in 1907.
By 1883 their son, Robert D’Arcy Jameson, was living at Delvin Lodge. In 1901 Robert D’Arcy Jameson, a Justice of the Peace and Maltser was living at Delvin Lodge with his family. With young children in the house there were ten servants. Robert married firstly Maud Smith and then secondly Eva Harrison. Robert bred horses and pedigree Kerry, Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle at Delvin Lodge. His most famous horse was Croaghpatrick. He was very involved in hunting and racing circles. In 1911 Katherine Eva and her daughter Ethel Lucy were living at Delvin Lodge. Miss Lucy Jameson and her husband Dr. Hunt were responsible for the erection of the Cottage Hospital in Drogheda after the First World War. Lucy was a social worker in Drogheda. R.D. Jameson died in 1927, aged 74. He was succeeded at Delvin lodge by his son, Henry. In 1942 Delvin Lodge was put up for sale. On ninety acres the house had electricity powered by a wind charger. The gate lodge, stewards house and five cottages were included in the sale. Stabling included twenty boxes. The gardens included a vinery, forcing houses and vegetable and fruit gardens. George McAvoy lived at Delvin Lodge for a period. The house was put for sale again in 1947. In 1955 Delvin Lodge was sold for £5000.
In 1957 the Sisters of St. Clare acquired Delvin Lodge and opened a guest house for ladies needing a place for retirement but not requiring nursing care. The house was extended in the 1960s. The property is now in use as a privately operated nursing home.
Derlangan House is situated just south of the Athboy-Dunderry Road. John Flood was born at Derlangan House about 1780. In 1816 Derlangan was held by the Battersby family. In 1836 Derlangan was the residence of Mr. Tew and described as a good two-storey house. The townland of Derlangan was the property of the Earl of Darnley. In 1911 the house had nine windows at the front, six rooms and eight outbuildings. This house seems to have been completely demolished in the twentieth century.
In 1854 Constantine Flood lived at Derlangan House, leasing a house and 78 acres from the Earl of Dartnley. The flood family were originally merchants in Dublin, having premises on the corner of King and Smithfield streets in Dublin. The farm contained a fine two storey slated house, containing a drawing room, dining room, hall, kitchen, scullery and four bedrooms. The outbuilding consisted of an inner and outer yard, stables, cow houses, coal house, dairy, barn and car house. There was also a large fruit and vegetable garden. In 1911 Mary Flood, farmer, aged 60, was living at Derlangan. The farm was sold when Mary Constance Flood passed away in July 1926.
Dollanstown or Dollinstown house is situated in the civil parish of Roddanstown, near Kilcock. An eighteenth century house of two storeys the roof dates from 1828. The outbuildings, some modern, are in use as a stud farm. In 1911 there were fifty one outbuildings, twenty one rooms in the house and eleven windows at the front of the house.
In 1775 Richard Jones was one of the Justices of the Peace for County Kildare. In 1765 Richard Jones was M.P. for Killybegs from 1761 to 1768 and M.P. for Newtown Limavady 1768 to 1778. Richard died in 1790. Richard was keen on hawking, hunting and country pursuits. Richard married Mary Cunningham. His ancestor, Roger Jones, was granted 200 acres to lay out the town of Killybegs by James I. Arthur Young, the English improver, visited Dollanstown in 1776 when he was the guest of Roger Jones.
In 1814 Dollanstown was the residence of Cunningham Jones and his wife Charlotte. In 1835 Dollanstown was the residence of Mr Gledstanes and described as a good two storey slated house with the land neatly planted with fir and ash trees. In 1834 Ambrose Upton Gledstanes was one of magistrates for County Fermanagh. In the 1850s Henry S. Jones held the land and Ambrose U. Gladstone was leasing the house but not living in it.
In 1901 Alexander McNeil and his family lived at Dollanstown. In 1911 Peter Purcell Gilpin was the owner of Dollanstown and Catherine Jane Newtown, caretaker and domestic servant, was residing in the house.
Dollardstown House stood near Beauparc, just off the road from Navan. Casey and Rowan described Dollardstown as a large and impressive stone and redbrick house designed in 1734 for Arthur Meredyth by Richard Castle, which stood as a derelict ivy grown shell until 1986 when it was completely demolished. Maurice Craig said Dollardstown was a remodelling in red brick, probably by Richard Castle of an earlier late seventeenth century house. On each side of the main house were tower-like wings. There is photo in Maurice Craig’s book. The three storey over high basement house had very fine interior plasterwork. The house was still roofed in the 1950s but demolished in 1986. The cut stone doorcase and other details were saved.
The local names of Dollardstown and Painestown derive from Adam Dullard and his relative Paganus Dullard who were given grants of land by Hugh de Lacy in 1175. Sir Gerald Aylmer was granted Dollardstown in the reign of Henry VIII.
Arthur Meredith held 382 acres of Dollardstown, barony of Duleek, and the 200 of Cristown, barony of Kells, from the Crown in 1683. Born in1639 Arthur was High Sheriff of Meath and M.P. for Navan from 1692 to 1713. He purchased 1070 acres in Co. Meath from the Commissioners for Sale of Forfeited Estates between 1702 and 1703. Dying on 1732 at age 93 years he was buried at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
His son, Arthur Francis Meredith born about 1706, served as MP for Meath from 1751 to 1761. High Sheriff of Meath in 1736 he married Mary Waller and lived at Dollardstown.
Richard Jones M.P. for Killybegs 1761-8 and M.P. Newtown Limavady 1768-76 resided at Dollardstown.
Arthur’s daughter and heiress, Mary, married Sir Richard Gorges in 1775. Richard Gorges was the only son of Hamilton Gorges who was from the Kilbrew Gorges. He took the name, Meredith, and was created a Baronet in 1787, by the name of Richard Gorges Meredith. He received the third penny of tolls and customs of Navan and half toll of corn. Mary died in 1809. Sir Richard’s only daughter and heiress, Mary Anne Meredyth, married Sir Marcus Somerville in 1801. Sir Marcus was M.P. for Co. Meath in Irish Parliament in 1800 and in London Parliament 1801-31. Their son, William Meredyth Somerville, born about 1802 became 1st Baron Meredyth of Dollardstown and 1st Baron Athlumney. He lived at nearby Somerville House. In the 1830s Dollardstown House, described as a spacious mansion was occupied by a farmer.
Dollardstown was resided in by the O’Brien family and the Shields family. A copper mine operated at Dollardstown in the early twentieth century. The poet, Francis Ledwidge, was a miner there. After the O’Briens died out the house was lived in by the Laffin family. A native of Tipperary, Patrick Laffan acquired Dollardstown when it was being divided by the Land Commission. Patrick Laffin had married a widow, Hannah Brackan, the mother of Brendan Bracken. The house was somewhat dilapidated and Hannah Laffan described the house as ‘that old barracks.’ Brendan Bracken attended Mass at Yellow Furze while living at Dollardstown.
Brendan Bracken was born in Templemore, Co. Tipperary in 1901 to Joseph K. Bracken and Hannah Ryan. Joseph died when Brendan was three and his mother married Patrick Laffan. Bracken made a successful career from 1922 as a magazine publisher and newspaper editor in London. Bracken founded the modern Financial Times in 1945. He was an ardent opponent of the appeasement of Adolf Hitler and a supporter of Winston Churchill. Brendan Bracken, was Minister of Information under Winston Churchill during the Second World War. He was briefly First Lord of the Admirality in 1945. He was created Viscount Bracken in 1952, the title became extinct on his death in 1958.
Patrick Laffan was a member of the Farmer’s Party and was elected to Meath County Council in 1925. Patrick Laffan also represented Fianna Fail on Meath County Council. His second wife, Catherine Moran, was a native of Trim. A son, Pat Laffan, became a distinguished Abbey actor. Pat Laffan featured in “The Snapper” and Fr. Ted. Pat Laffan was director of the Peacock Theatre and also directed in the Gate Theatre. He has appeared in around 40 films.
After the death of Mr. Laffan in the 1950s, the property was purchased by Dan Connell. The house was then been demolished. A stone carving bearing an image of Our Lady and dating to the 16th century was uncovered in recent years in Dollardstown on the lands of the Connell family.
Dolly’s Grove stands about four miles from Dunboyne, on the Maynooth side of the village. Also known as Staffordstown, Dolly’s Grove, is a two storey late Georgian house and has an oval staircase. The house may be dated to the 1820s or slightly earlier. The house has a neo-classical gateway and in modern times its own private airstrip.
The house is associated with the Hamilton and Gaisford families. In 1809 Dolly’s Grove was the residence of Christopher Robinson. In 1814 James Hamilton was living there. One of the Hamilton’s had the public roadway re-routed away from the house. In 1837 Dolly’s Grove was described as is a gentleman’s seat with an extensive demesne and some ornamental ground. The townland was in the ownership of Mr. Hamilton
John William Gaisford settled at Dolly’s Grove in the 1850s. The Gaisford family originated at Bulkington, Wiltshire with the earliest record of the family being in 1302. The Gaisfords were the local squires and made their money from land and wool.
John was the second son of Thomas Gaisford, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. Thomas Gaisford became professor of Greek at Oxford in 1811 and then became a clergyman there. He was Dean of Christ Church from 1831 until his death. Thomas was curator of the Bodleian Library and principle delegate of Oxford University Press. In 1843 his 21 year old son, William, drowned while swimming in the Thames.
John William Gaisford purchased a commission in the 72nd Highlanders and served with them for twenty four years. He commanded the regiment for a few months during the Crimean War before selling his commission in 1855 and retiring to Ireland. He married Mary Jane Vaughan, daughter of Dean Cotton, Dean of Lismore, a family associated with India. He had three sons, Cecil Henry who was killed in the Afghan War; Douglas, Colonel of the South Wales Borderers and Algernon, Lieut. Seaforth Highlanders and two daughters; Lady Sandeman, wife of the late Sir. R.G. Sandeman died 1912 and Mabel. There was also a step-daughter, Miss Montizambert. In 1876- Lieut.-Col. Gaisford of The Grove, Dunboyne held 113 acres in County Meath. In 1882 Helen Kate, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel John William Gaisford married as his second wife, Sir Robert Groves Sandeman, an officer in the Indian army and administrator. In 1878 he was appointed the governor-general in Baluchistan. John William Gaisford died in 1889 and was buried in Dunboyne churchyard.
Colonel Douglas Gaisford married Esme, daughter of General Sir Archibald Alison. Their children were John William, Robert Sandeman and Jane Esme. Douglas retired from the Army as a major in 1901. John William Gaisford, joined the Royal Artillery in 1914, was wounded Gallipoli but survived the war. He served in World War II primarily in East Africa and the Middle East. After the end of the war he retired at the rank of brigadier and settled in America. His brother, Robert Sandeman Gaisford, became a Captain in the Royal Flying Corps. He was killed over enemy lines, Italy, when engaged with four hostile machines in January 1918. The aeroplane was shot down in flames by Austro-Hungarian anti-aircraft fire over the Piave Sector of the Italian Front. A message was dropped from an Austro-Hungarian aeroplane to let his comrades know that the plane had been shot down and that the casualties had been buried with military honours. This act shows how in some case the First World War was treated as a war between gentlemen. Douglas Gaisford died about 1940.
About 1990 Dolly’s Grove became home to Conor and Pat Crowley. They developed a stud farm at the property. Conor was a businessman and Pat a fashion designer. Pat Crowley studied fashion design with the Grafton Academy in Dublin. In 1968, she launched her own range of knitted and crocheted fashions. In the early seventies, Pat employed six hundred knitters, dotted around the country. Pat Crowley used Carrickmacross lace in her designs. She dressed many women in Irish society and counted the Kennedy women in America among her clients. In 2001 Dolly’s Grove was sold for £3.35 million by the Crowley family.
Doolistown or Doolystown is two storey three bay Georgian house with a good doorcase, located near Boardsmill, Trim.
John Grierson of Doolistown was the son of Robert Grierson of Newtown, Co. Meath. John known as ‘Honest Johnnie Grierson’ married Elizabeth Higgins in 1728 and died 1775 aged 68. He and his wife are buried at Laracor graveyard. John left Doolistown to his youngest son, William, his oldest son James only got 5 shillings and was not to ‘pretend any claim to Doolistown.’ William lived at Doolistown but he was also a merchant operating in Dublin selling tobacco at 40 Meath Street. William married Abigail Higgins of Higginsbrook. When William died in 1793 he was buried at Laracor and after his death his widow carried on his merchant business in Dublin.
Doolistown appears to have been transferred to the ownership of the Grierson’s relatives, the Fox family. Matthew Fox married Elizabeth Grierson, daughter of John Grierson of Doolistown. Matthew, born in 1745, died in 1808 leaving issue James, John, Joseph and William and five daughters. The third son, Joseph, succeeded at Doolistown. In 1807 he married Frances D’Arcy of Hyde Park, Co. Westmeath and they had three daughters. In 1835 Doolistown House was the residence of Mr. J. Fox. He died in 1855.
In the early part of the twentieth century Doolistown was home to the McDonagh family.
For six years Doolistown was the home of Terence Hanbury White, author of ‘The Once and Future King’, filmed as Camelot, and his beloved dog “Brownie”. His father, Garrick Hanbury White, a former Royal Irish Constabulary man from Co. Meath, had joined the Indian Civil Service. The name, Hanbury, is associated with Trim and Laracor. In the late 1930s the owners of Doolistown House were approached and asked would they take in White as a lodger. In February 1939 White moved to Doolistown where he lived out the international crisis and World War II. White took lessons in Irish and attended the religious devotions of the family almost converting to Roman Catholicism. In 1940 he began work on ‘Candle in the Wind’, the third book in his trilogy. T.H. White was a sad and lonely man and while at Doolistown he suffered ill health and depression. His fantasy ‘The Elephant and the Kangaroo’ is loosely based on his time at Doolistown. Trim Castle may have been the model for the room in the ‘The Queen of Air and Darkness’. White’s ‘The Elephant and the Kangaroo’ is very critical of the Irish people and the people at Doolistown were offended by their portrayal. Vincent Eivers of Roristown was an acquaintance of White’s and said his book was ‘a desperate thing.” White taught him how to divine water and took him on hawking expeditions. Marie Mac Sweeney wrote an article on Terence Hanbury White in Meath in the 2004 issue of Ríocht na Midhe.
J.R. H. Greeves wrote an article on the Griersons of Co. Meath in the Irish Genealogist in 1959.
Donacarney House is located on Mornington Road, Mornington, Drogheda. It is a two-storey over basement house, constructed about 1860. The house has a two-storey addition and a single-storey extension to west. There is a glazed porch and to the south is a timber glazed summer house erected about 1880, with a veranda and terracotta tile roof. There was a walled garden to the west of the house. There are also three ranges of outbuildings. The red brick Tudor style gate lodge dates to about 1910.
In the 1830 there was a house called Little Mornington to the east of the present house. In 1899 Henry J. Daly of Donacarney House was High Sheriff of County Louth. Henry was one of the founders of the Island Golf Club at Donabate. In 1911 George Henry Daly, Justice of the Peace and Auctioneer, lived at Donacarney with his wife and son.
Donore Donover, or Dunorver house stood in the townland of Dunore, Moynalty. Dunore House stood near the bridge at Moynalty. In 1803 Thomas Barnes and his family were living at Donover. In the 1830s it was the property of Thomas Barnes, a resident magistrate who sat at the Moynalty Petty sessions. William Garnett, son of Rev. George Garnett of Williamstown House leased the property from the Barnes family. The Barnes family erected the new house of Westlands in Donore townland, just west of Donore House. It was also used as a police barracks. The chief officer was a brother of Edward Carson, the leader of the Irish unionist party. The house has been demolished.
Dowdstown House, Kilshine.
Dowdstown House is located in north-east Meath, in the civil parish of Kilshine, 2 kilometres north west of Clongill Crossroads. According to Casey and Rowan Dowdstown is a gentleman farmer’s house, erected in 1793 by Francis Crewe, whose initials are inscribed on the datestone. The house is a simple gabled block, two storeys over basement. Rowan and Casey describe the doorcase as being “very fine.”
Dowdstown House is in the south centre of the townland. The townland in 1835 was the property of Mr. Cruice of Belgard, Co. Dublin. In the 1850s Thomas Blake was renting the house and lands from Patrick H. Cruise. Alterations to the house and its environs have occurred since it was constructed. A new entrance from the south east has been constructed and the woodland near the house has been removed.
Dowdstown House is located to the south of Navan on the old Dublin road and can be accessed via Dalgan Park.
The house was described in the 1940s as having an imposing entrance on the Navan-Dublin Road with beautifully wrought and impressive iron gates hung on giant piers of ashlar limestone. The avenue was bordered by sylvan woodland and then emerging into verdant parkland. The house was described as pseudo-Tudor in style having turrets, gables and square headed four light windows. The cut stone facade was described as beautiful. Inside there is some magnificent oak panelling. The house, formerly the home of Captain Taylour, became the headquarters of the Maynooth Mission to China in 1927. Overlooking the Boyne the house has a fine panorama. Erected in a neo-Jacobite style the house had a splendid interior of carved wood. James Shiels drew up plans for alterations by General Robert Taylour in 1820 and 1834. Joseph Bateman drew up plans in 1831 but these were not used. An extensive baronial design was drawn up about 1870 by Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon, possibly with the assistance of S.P. Close.
Dowdstown came into the possession of Robert Rochford after the Battle of the Boyne and it was then purchased by the Taylour family of Headfort, Kells.
Robert Taylour was the third son of Thomas, first Earl of Bective and third Baron of Headfort. He joined the British army in 1783 and rose to the rank of general by 1819. Robert served in Flanders and Germany in the early 1790s. He was M.P. for Kells from 1791 until the Act of Union in 1800. During 1798 he was based in the west of Ireland where the French army landed. At the Battle of Ballinamuck in September 1798 he was second in command to General Lake. The Battle of Ballinamuck marked the defeat of the main force of the French incursion during the 1798 rebellion. General Taylor was supposed to be one of the three Meath generals who fought at Waterloo. The trees on the estate were planted in the layout of the armies which fought at Waterloo. In the 1830s General Taylour had his seat at a cottage style house in a demesne of 590 acres of which 240 was wooded. The demesne includes a haha. Robert died in 1839. In 1835 the entrance would appear on the opposite side to which it is today. There was extensive woodlands with walk ways.
His nephew, Thomas Edward, inherited Dowdstown. In 1855 Dowdstown was held by Col. Thomas E. Taylor who lived at Ardgillan. An M.P. for Dublin from 1841 to his death in 1883 he held many high offices in the Treasury.
His brother, Richard Chambre Hayes Taylor, served in India during the Indian Mutiny. He began his military career in Gibralter in 1846 and then fought at the battle of Alma, during the Crimean War. Richard was one of the leaders of the attack on Lucknow in 1858. Richard was appointed Governor of Sandhurst Royal Military College, a position he held until he retired in 1886. He died in 1904 aged 85. In 1863 Richard married Lady Jane Hay, daughter of the 8th Marquess of Tweeddale, and they lived at Dowdstown on occasion. The house at Dowdstown was often rented out to visiting sportsmen. Geoffrey Hone, the uncle of Evie Hone and famous cricketer, resided at Dowdstown for a period. In 1901 and in 1911 William Dugald Stuart and his family were living at Dowdstown House.
Richard and Jane had five daughters and a son. The son, Richard Edward Montagu, was born in 1871 and went on to become a lieutenant in the East Surrey Regiment. He served in the Boer War and the First World War. The estate at Dowdstown was purchased under the Land Acts in 1916 and the house was disposed of in 1927. Richard married but died without an heir in 1953.
In 1927 Dowdstown House was purchased by St. Columban’s Missionary Society. Since 1927 Dowdstown House has been the headquarters of the society. In June 1937 it was proposed to build a new college and work began. In 1941 there were 106 students and professors at the Dowdstown. The name, Dalgan Park, came from where the St. Columban’s first settled in 1918 in Shrule, Co. Mayo. The college was called Dalgan Park. In 1984 Dowdstown house was taken on lease by Bishop McCormack as a pastoral centre for the dioceses of Meath. The building has now been developed as a conference centre and retreat centre. Counselling and bereavement support are major works of the centre.
During archaeological investigations in preparation for the M3 an extensive multi-enclosure site was identified by geophysical survey at Dowdstown, immediately south of the River Boyne.
The house website has more extensive information on the house and family and was used as a source for this article.
Dowth Hall is located to the east of Slane, near Dowth passage grave. Dowth Hall may have been designed by Robert West or George Darley. The plasterwork is similar to that of Newman House in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The drawing room has a remarkable display of plasterwork. The entrance hall is large with a grand staircase. The joinery is similar to Dunboyne Castle. Bence–Jones described Dowth Hall as ‘a small and extremely elegant mid-eighteenth century house.’ The splendid interior plasterwork was possibly by Robert West who may also have been the architect according to Bence-Jones. Mulligan also suggested West for the plasterwork but says that George Darley is more likely as architect.
A conservatory with views to the west was added to the two-storey over basement house. A range of stables, set out around a central courtyard, date to 1760. The gate lodge dates to about 1830.
An ornamental temple erected on top of Dowth mound allowed Lord Netterville to attend Mass at the nearby chapel without actually being in the building. He could not then be accused of being a Catholic and having his lands confiscated.
The Nettervilles were the lords of Dowth from the fourteenth century and lived at Dowth Castle to the west of the present house. Nicholas Netterville was created Viscount Netterville of dowth in 1622 by James I. Nicholas Netterville, the fifth viscount, succeeded to the title following the death of his Catholic father in 1727. He conformed to the State religion and took his seat in the House of Lords in 1729. In 1731 Nicholas married Catherine Burton of Burton Hall, Carlow. He was described at the time as a ‘fool and a fop, but a lord with a tolerable estate.’ In 1743 he was indicted for murder but acquitted the following year. The mansion was erected before 1731 and the demesne was created over the following twenty years. The new house was partitioned from the old castle, church and tumulus by a plantation of trees. To the east of the house stands a large embanked enclosure. So much funds were expended on the house and demesne that the Nettervilles had to sell off some of their lands in Westmeath and put some of the Dowth lands into trusteeship. It would appear that this house lasted for about fifty years with a new house or a complete renovation taking place fifty years later about 1780.
Dowth House was erected about 1780 by John 6th Viscount Netterville. His father had been tried by the Irish House of Lords for murder and found innocent. He settled at Dowth after leaving the army. George Darley is believed to be the architect as he designed the Netterville townhouse in Dublin in 1767. In 1812 he let the house and demesne to Roger Hamill for a term of 31 years. In the same year he made his will leaving Dowth to a charity for six poor widows and six poor orphan boys. He died unmarried in 1826. His successor, a distant cousin, James had to take a case to the House of Lords to secure the title. As a result of the cost of court cases in order to secure the title Netterville was forced to sell Dowth in 1845.
In 1835 Dowth was occupied by Mr. Blake. A racecourse was developed at the east end of the demesne but it was dangerous as there was a sheer drop into a limestone quarry. The house was described as a modern three-storey slated house with a demesne of 259 acres. The house and demesne were not in a good state as a result of the ongoing legal dispute. In the south end of the demesne was a deerpark. The demesne also included the Neolithic tomb of Dowth.
Richard Gradwell purchased the house in 1845. The Gradwells originally came from Preston but also held lands at Carlanstown, Co. Westmeath. The family also held Mullaghmean, now a forestry plantation on the borders of Meath and Westmeath. His older brother, John Joseph Gradwell, purchased nearby Platten Hall about 1870.
Richard married Maria Theresa, eldest daughter of James McEvoy of Tobertynan House in 1852. In 1876 Richard Gradwell of Dowth Hall held 845 acres in County Meath and 3169 acres in Westmeath. Richard Gradwell died 1884 aged 60 years and was buried in the vault in St. Andrew’s Church, Westland row, Dublin. Maria Gradwell of Dowth Hall died in 1914 aged 88 and she too was buried in the vault in St. Andrew’s Church, Westland row, Dublin. Richard was succeeded by his son, Robert, who was appointed High Sheriff of Meath in 1892. Robert married Lady Henrietta Plunkett, daughter of the Earl of Fingal in 1884.
Robert died without an heir in 1935 and the property went to his cousin, Francis Gradwell of Beltichburn House, Drogheda, who was living in the house in 1941.
The house was sold about 1951 to Clifford Cameron family and then the Pidgeon family purchased the property.
Drakerath Castle in north Meath was home to the Drake family from medieval times. Drakerath House was constructed prior to 1900. Drakes came from Worcestershire to Ireland in the 13th century. Richard Drake of Drakestown was High Sheriff of Meath in the 1370s. In 1640 John Drake was the proprietor but was dispossessed during the Cromwellian plantation.
Peter Drake, the Amiable Renegade, was the grandson of William Drake of Drakesrath. Peter’s mother was Elizabeth Stanley, sister of John Stanley of Fennor, Slane. Peter’s father, Michael Drake was a candidate for the borough of Navan in the parliament of James II about 1689. The family then settled in County Kildare. Captain Peter Drake joined the Wild Geese and fled to France. Drake was captured by the British in 1706 and brought to trial in the Old Bailey. He was saved through the intervention of his brother and went on to fight again. In his old age Peter Drake returned to Ireland and resided with the gentry of Meath including Lord Trimleston, Lord Gormanston, the Cusacks, the Dowdalls and also visited Drakesrath. He met the Earl of Fingall and Lord Delvin at the hot wells in Bristol. ‘The Amiable Renegade – The memoirs of Captain Peter Drake, 1671-1753’ was published originally in Dublin in 1755. He got up to all sort of activities and his book was very scandalous and when it was published the Drake family attempted to suppress it.
The eldest daughter of Colombus Drake married William Cruise of Moydorragh in the early 18th century. Peter, son of Colombus Drake was born in 1712 and married Frances, third daughter of James Reilly of Roristown. Their son, Colombus Drake, of Drakerath and Roristown died 1807 aged 57 years and was buried at the Histy graveyard, Staholmog. His son Christopher was born in 1790 and married Mary-Anne Gannon of Ballyboy, Meath in 1816. Christopher Drake of Roristown died in 1854 and was also buried in Histy. His monument was erected by his son, Alexander James Drake of Rathvale.
In 1835 Drakerath was the property of Mr. Cruise. The ruins of a small castle was still visible in the middle of the townland. In 1835 it was described as a small tower about 30 feet high and overgrown with ivy. The 1837 OS map shows the castle remains surrounded by a wood. All that remains today is a slight rise in a field which indicates the castle site.
In the 1850s Joseph Garrigan (Gargan?) was leasing over 800 acres from Miss Ellen Cruise at Drakerath. Joseph Gargan married Maria Ellis. Joseph Gargan purchased 505 acres at Drakerath from the estate of William Cruise in 1870. In 1876 Joseph Gargan of Drakerath held 907 acres in County Meath. Joseph Gargan died 1885 aged 61. Drakerath House was constructed after 1854 and prior to 1909. The house had more than thirteen rooms and had eight windows to the front. The house was constructed near the Carlanstown-Ardee road.
In 1901 Maria Theresa Gargan and her family lived at Drakerath. Maria Theresa was aged 69, a widow, and born in Co. Kildare. Her son Patrick, aged 41 and her daughters, Jane, Emily and Agnes also lived at Drakerath. All of the family were residing at Drakerath in 1911. Patrick Joseph Gargan died at his residence in 1912. Agnes Gargan, youngest daughter of Joseph Gargan, died in 1938.
In 1914 Dan McArdle purchased the estate. He was succeeded by Dr. Bradley, whose wife was a relative of Mr. McArdle. Mr. Smith from Scotland purchased the property in 1950 but he put it up for sale in 1962. Mr. Hugh Brophy of Ardlonan, Carlanstown was the auctioneer and an American relative of his purchased the property. About 1964 the estate was sold to a German couple. About 1970 Johannes N. Kolin and his wife disposed of Drakerath to the Land Commission. Local farmers were disappointed at the slowness of the disposal of the estate and launched a protest.
M.J. Turley and his family purchased the house and a small amount of land surrounding the building.
Thank you to Rosemarie Smith for the more recent information on Drakerath.
Drewstown house situated on the road between Athboy and Oldcastle was home to the McVeagh family. Described by Casey and Rowan as an eccentric mid 18th century house of some pretension the house was constructed about 1745 to plans by Francis Bindon for Barry Barry, the then owner. The plan of the house was very old fashioned. There are some signs that the designer was not familiar with large-scale domestic design. Similar problems at nearby Ballinlough Castle suggest the same architect for both. A three storey house the staircase rises behind a bridge gallery, which is a rarity in Irish houses. A stained glass window dating to 1872 lights the entrance hall. Almost all the early Georgian joinery in the entrance hall survives. To the east of the house is the lake with a pretty rock work bridge and the remnants of the plantings of a picturesque walled garden. There is another lake to the front of the house. One was the White lake and the other was the Black lake. The ranges of former stables set around a central courtyard, date from 1745, 1850 and 1870. The gates of Drewstown with their limestone piers dating from 1745 are notable as they stand at a road junction.
The name Drewstown is said to be derived from a druid’s altar in the estate. The Plunket family held Drewstown in the middle ages. The Tandys then acquired the lands. In 1684 James Naper of Loughcrew married Elizabeth, daughter of James Tandy, of Drewstown. The lands at Drewstown were inherited in 1685 by the Napper family as a result of a marriage with a Tandy heiress. The United Irishman and rebel, James Napper Tandy, was descended from the Tandys of Drewstown and the Nappers of Loughcrew. James was a grandson of John Tandy of Drewstown.
Barry Barry is traditionally said to be the person who erected Drewstown house in 1745. The English agriculturalist and improver, Arthur Young, visited Drewstown when the Maxwell family were in occupation in 1776.
Drewstown was purchased in the 1780s by Major Joseph McVeagh, who married Margery, daughter of Governor Alexander Wynch. Wynch was Governor of Madras from 1773 to 1775. Joseph McVeagh was High Sheriff of Meath in 1790. He was succeeded by his son, Ferdiand.
An officer in the Inniskilling Fusiliers Ferdinand Meath McVeagh was High Sheriff of Meath in 1817. Ferdinand McVeagh married Charlotte Brooke and he died in 1866. They had a son Ferdinand McVeagh who was born in 1813. Their daughter, Flora Harriet, married Francis Ralph Sadlier, a clergyman who was the last Protestant curate of the parish of Kilallon. In 1837 Drewstown, the residence of F. McVeigh, Esq., was described as a handsome house in a highly improved demesne.
In 1847 Ferdinand McVeagh married Marie Rotherham of nearby Triermore in Athboy church. After the wedding the couple returned to Triermore where there was a splendid dinner, the evening concluded with a dance. The poor were not forgotten on this happy occasion, a substantial dinner being provided for them by Mr. Rotherham.
In 1876 Ferdinand McVeigh of Drewstown held 2,270 acres in County Meath. Ferdinand died in 1888 and his wife Maria in 1890 and they were buried at Athboy churchyard.
George Joseph McVeigh, born in Dublin about 1866, held Drewstown in the early years of the twentieth century. His son was Major Ferdinand Annesley McVeagh who served in the Royal Irish Fusiliers during World War I. Trevor George McVeagh, born at Drewstown in 1906, played cricket for Ireland between 1926 and 1934. A superb natural athlete he also played hockey, squash and tennis player. He died in Dublin in 1968.
The house remained in the hands of the McVeagh family until 1950. The McVeagh family moved from Drewstown to Galtrim Lodge.
In 1952 Drewstown House was purchased for use as a Christian Orphanage, then in the early 1960’s it was used as a Christian secondary boarding school. Since 1989 Drewstown has been used as a Christian camping and conference centre. Drewstown House is a centre made available to the public and to groups whose purpose is to advance the Christian faith. It is operated by the Drewstown House Trust.
Drumbaragh, also spelled Drumbarrow, is located on the Oldcastle Road from Kells. Drumbaragh house is a three storey house with a large central chimneystack, erected about 1800, possibly to the design of Francis Johnston. The house was remodelled in the 1860s by architect, William Caldbeck. The house was extended at rear by architect, L.A. McDonnell, about 1900. The 1800s interiors have survived. The house was a distance from the public road with the farmyard between the house and the road. A gate lodge was erected for Robert Woodward to the design of his cousin the noted architect, Benjamin Woodward.
Drumbaragh was the seat of the Woodward family. Benjamin Wodward was confirmed in his lands at Drumbarrow in 1668 following their confiscations from the Hill and Plunkett families by Cromwell. Benjamin’s son, Joseph, died in 1702 leaving a son, Charles who married three times. By his second wife he had a son, Benjamin, born in 1710. Benjamin married Judith Meredyth of Newtown in 1733. Benjamin died in 1761 and was succeeded at Drumbarrow by his second son, Charles. Charles was born in 1740, entered the church. Rev. Charles Woodward was rector of Ardee. He died in 1793 and there is a memorial to him and his family in Kells Church of Ireland church. His first wife, Esther Wade of Clonabreany, died in 1776 and his second wife Elizabeth Minchin died in 1778. Henry, son of Benjamin and Esther, succeeded to Drumbarrow. The present house at Drumbaragh was constructed in 1800 for Henry Woodward.
In 1835 Drumbarrow House was described as the residence of Mr. Woodward. Drumbarrow was described as a neat house of two storeys and basement, surrounded by a well cared small demesne. There were considerable offices. A school house stood not far from the house in the 1830s. The famous Victorian architect, Benjamin Woodward, spent his childhood at his uncle’s home in Drumbarragh
Henry married Sarah-Catherine Wade of Clonabreany in 1800. Their second son, Robert, inherited Drumbarrow in 1838. Born in 1805, Robert entered Trinity College and was called to the Irish bar in 1829. His brother, Henry Thomas, emigrated and settled in Illinois, U.S.A. Robert died in 1864.
Drumbaragh was purchased by the Sweetman family in 1859 and it remained in the family’s hands until 1958. John Sweetman was the eldest son of a Dublin brewer. He took an active interest in nationalistic politics. In the mid to late 1870s he took over the full running of Drumbaragh from his mother. He joined the Irish Land League and proposed the MP for Meath, Charles Stewart Parnell for the position of President. He was one of the first Meath landowners to dispose of his estate under the 1903 land act. In 1880 Sweetman visited America and became involved in a scheme to settle poor Irish farmers in a colony in Minnesota. The family brewery in Dublin was sold to Arthur Guinness & Sons in 1891 and Sweetman decided to enter full time into politics. He was elected as an anti-Parnellite Irish Parliamentary Party MP for East Wicklow in 1892. In the general election of 1895 he stood for Meath North and was narrowly defeated. On 11 September 1895 Sweetman married Agnes, daughter of John P. Hanly of Navan.
In 1899 Sweetman was elected to Meath County Council and served as chairman 1902-8. He was one of the founders and financial backers of Sinn Féin in 1905, succeeding Edward Martyn to be the second President of the party in 1908. Arthur Griffith took over as the third President later in the year. He was arrested at his home in Meath followin the 1916 Rising in which he did not apparently play any active part, and was taken to prison in England. Sweetman was an opponent of women’s suffrage, and was criticised for endowing a UCD scholarship on condition that female students should be excluded from competing for it. He supported the Pro-Treaty side in the Civil War but changed his allegiance to Fianna Fail after 1927. He died in 1936. There is an article on Sweetman in the Dictionary of Irish Biography, written by Patrick Maume. The Sweetman family papers are in the National Library. John Walter Sweetman, the eldest son of John and Agnes Sweetman, married Olivia Dudley, and inherited the Drumbaragh estate after the death of his father. John Walter died in 1961.
Drumlargan House was previously known as Bloom Field House and is located outside Summerhill, just off the Kilcock Road.
Drumlargan is a two storey double gable-ended house, probably early eighteenth century according to Bence-Jones but with nineteenth century widows and a nineteenth century projecting porch. One of the reception rooms is octagonal. The original house at Drumlargan was called Bloom Field and consisted of a central block with wings each side. In the early 1700s the wings were removed and the central block enlarged to form the present house. This reconstruction took place about 1724 as there is a plaque bearing this date over the front door. Drumlargan is the site of the battle of Dungan’s Hill which was fought in 1647.
The Bomfords were settled at Rahinstown. Stephen Bomford’s eldest son, Robert George, succeeded him at Rahinstown. His second son, George, married Arabella Winter of Agher in 1809. George Bomford leased Drumlargan parish from Dixie Coddington in 1787, purchasing the property in 1795. As in all articles relating to Bomford houses much of the information on this house is obtained from Peter Bamford’s excellent website.
Lynch’s Wood in Drumlargan was obtained by Lynch from Baron Hussey of Galtrim by a trick. Lynch asked Hussey to rent it to him for the rotation of three crops. Hussey thought these would be oats or wheat but Lynch chose oak, beech and elm. It is said that the lease has not run out yet and that the Forestry Department has only just set the third crop. George Bomford probably set the second crop.
George’s son also George succeeded to his father’s estates at Oakley Park. George married Arabella Pratt Winter of Agher in 1832. Their eldest son, George Winter Bomford, succeeded to Oakley Park.
In the 1830s Bloomfield was described as a tolerably good house but becoming ruinous. In the early 1830s it was occupied by a Mr. Purdon and later in the decade by a herd. About 1860 the house was improved by George Bomford for his younger son, John Francis. John was the only Bomford to live at Drumlargan House as it was then called. The porch was added at this time. John married Eleanor Bolton and they had ten children. John Stephen served with the Indian Police and died in Burma in 1891 aged 21. Samuel Richard Bomford fought in the Boer War gaining the rank of Captain in the service of the Cape Mounted Rifles. Trevor Broughton Bomford gained the rank of officer in the service of the Surma Valley Light Horse Mounted Infantry Regiment, Indian Army and emigrated to Canada in 1908. Their youngest son, William Harold, became a surgeon and served as District Medical Officer in the Fiji Colonial Service. In 1900 John Francis and his family moved to Oakley Park. Drumlargan was sold to George Wilson of Tara for a little over £3000. John Francis died in 1911 aged 73. In 1901 and 1911 William R. Orme, a retired army Captain, and his sister lived at Drumlargan. In 1876 William R. Orme held 1521 acres in County Mayo.
In the 1920s the Bomford lands at Drumlargan was acquired by the Land Commission.
Duleek House is situated on the edge of Duleek village. In the eighteenth century the grange of St. Michael was used as the site for the major house in the town – Duleek House. Tradition states that stones from the ruined monastery were used in the construction of the building. Duleek House was attributed to Richard Castle by the Knight of Glin and to the office of Richard Castle by Casey and Rowan. Erected about 1750 for Thomas Trotter, Duleek House is a detached three-bay three-storey over basement country house. It is attached to an earlier house to the rear dated to c.1700. Attached to the house are a range of stone built outbuildings. An entrance way from the Maudlin Bridge was created with a gate lodge at the roadway. The gate lodge was known locally as ‘Savage’s Lodge’, after the family who inhabited it but the building is now demolished. This avenue is marked on the OS maps of 1836 and 1882.
The earlier house may date to the 1730s following the purchase of the site of the priory by Thomas Trotter of Dublin from the Marquis of Drogheda in 1729. Trotter was associated with the Church of Ireland church at Duleek as a statue of him stood in the porch. The statue is attributed to the Flemish sculptor, Peter Scheemakers. The statue of Trotter was moved to the Law Society at Blackhall Place, Dublin, where it is labelled as coming from “Duleek, Co. Louth.” Thomas was a founder member of the Dublin Society now the R.D.S.
The Ram family held the parliamentary seat of Duleek from the seventeenth century until late in the eighteenth century. Abel Ram of Ramsfort and Clonattin was the patron of the borough in the early eighteenth century. Thomas Trotter married Rebecca Ram, daughter of Abel Ram, in 1710. Thomas Trotter, MP for Duleek 1715-27, died in 1745 and was succeeded by his son, Stephen, who died 1764. Stephen’s son, Thomas, died in 1802 and his daughter and heiress, Elizabeth, married William O’Brien, second Marquess of Thomond.
William, the second Marquis of Thomond, died in 1846 leaving four daughters and so his nephew, James, succeeded to the title and ownership of Duleek. He died in 1855, without surviving male issue, and on his death the Marquisate of Thomond and Earldom of Inchiquin became extinct.
The Smith family came into possession of the estate about 1854. St. George W. Smith, the third son of Henry J. Smith of Annesbrook, lived at Duleek House. There are some interesting photos surviving of a wedding at Duleek House in 1901 with the groom dressed in the uniform of 1st Bombay Lancers. In 1901 Kate A. Smith, a widow of 55, and her daughter lived in the house. In 1911 Arthur Farrell, a land agent, was living in the house. Colonel E. St George Smith served in the First World War. In 1916 Major E. St George Smith, Royal Dublin Fusiliers appointed to command the 10th Battalion. A keen sportsman he had a tennis club and cricket club in the grounds of the house. The Smith family lived in the house until the 1950s.
Dunboyne Castle, now a hotel, is a three storey country house erected about 1764 but also incorporates fabric from an earlier house of about 1720. A stone courtyard stands near the house. There is a fine entrance gate which forms a feature in the landscape of the village of Dunboyne. The single-storey gate lodge dates to about 1870. The ornamental gates were removed and sold to the Medical Missionaries of Mary in Drogheda. Casey and Rowan described Dunboyne as a house which belies its plain façade with an unorthodox plan and spectacular rococo plasterwork inside. The great room or ballroom at the rear became the chapel. According to Bence-Jones the front was inspired by Charlemont Hosue in Dublin.
Seat of the Butler family, the house was renovated and rebuilt in the 1760s. In 1759 the house was occupied by Charles Hamilton and his young bride, Sarah. Within four years of marriage Charles died and Sarah embarked on improvements to designs by George Darley. At the same time a new Lord Dunboyne succeeded and he may have been supportive of the work.
Sir Edmond Butler, was created Lord baron of Dunboyne in 1541 by King Henry VIII. He was succeeded by his son, John and then his grandson Edmond. James the fourth baron was outlawed in 1642 and was succeeded by his cousin, Pierce Butler. Pierce Butler was outlawed for his support of James II. His sons, James and Edmond, succeeded him calling themselves Lords Dunboyne but the title not being recognised as their father and grandfather had been outlawed. Edmond was succeeded by his sons, James and Pierce, and then his grandson, Pierce-Edmond.
John Butler was the Roman Catholic bishop of Cork when he became the 12th Baron Dunboyne. As the third son of the 8th Baron it was unlikely he would inherit the title and the lands. Appointed Bishop of Cork in 1763 John inherited the title, Baron Dunboyne, on the death of his nephew, 11th Baron Dunboyne. John being a priest was not married and the barony would end with him if he had no children. In December 1786, he resigned as bishop and asked the pope for a dispensation from his vow of celibacy. No dispensation was given. John converted to the Protestant religion and married Maria Butler in 1787. The couple moved into Dunboyne Castle. The couple had a daughter who died in childhood. In 1800 John Butler wrote a letter of repentance to the pope and was received back into the Catholic church before his death. He left this property to the new seminary at Maynooth but the will was disputed by his sister and only half the property went to Maynooth College and the other half to the O’Brien Butler family with the Dunboyne peerage going to a distant kinsman. Funds from John Butler were devoted to the Dunboyne establishment at Maynooth.
John Butler was the last of the Lords Dunboyne to live at Dunboyne Castle. Before his death he had leased the property to James Hamilton. Hamilton fathered 36 children while Butler could only father one who died young. The story of the Bishop is recorded in Con Costello’s book ‘In Quest of an Heir’. James Butler from Clare succeeded to the title. The lords of Dunboyne were outlawed in 1642 for supporting the rebellion of 1641 and in 1691 for supporting James II. In 1827 the outlawries of both peers was reversed and in 1860 Theobald was recognised as Lord Dunboyne. Patrick Theobald, Lord Dunboyne, served with the Irish Guards in the Second World War.
Dunboyne Castle passed to Mary O’Brien Butler, wife of Nicholas Sadleir. The house fell into disrepair and according to an account in the Ordnance Survey of 1834, Sadleir set about carrying out extensive repairs and renovations. In the 1830s the demesne contained 113 acres. Nicholas Sadleir died in 1855 but the family still had connections with the Castle when it was sold in 1870.
In 1870 it became the property of George Beamish who paid £7,250 for the house and 121 acres of land. The property then passed to the Mangan family. It was the seat of Simon Mangan, HM Lieutenant for County Meath, in the 1890s. The house was leased it to the Koenig Family, who were German Catholics with large wine and hotel interests. It was subsequently leased to the Morrogh-Ryan family. The Morrogh-Ryan family played host to the nobility of the day. Two of the many illustrious people to stay at the castle were the late Lord Mountbatten and Lord Fingal. Lord Fingal’s visit was a consequence of the rebellion of 1916. He had been at the Fairyhouse races on that Easter weekend. Rather than risk returning to his house in Dublin, he stayed at the Castle. John Morrogh-Ryan was a very famous polo player and he and his wife lived in the castle until after the Second World War. The building and lands then became the property of a Mr. Garvey who sold it to the Wachman family. The entire property was then purchased by the North Eastern Health Board where the Sisters of the Good Shepherd established a home for pregnant unmarried girls. In 1987 there were thirty mothers and thirty babies at Dunboyne. The Sisters remained there until 1991 when the Eastern Health Board sold the property.
In 1991 Noel Keating of Kepak purchased the property and in recent decades the house was developed into a luxury hotel.
Michael Kenny has written about Dunboyne Castle in the local history “Dunboyne, Kilbride and Clonee – A picture of the Past”.
Family traditions states that Hugh de Lacy erected a castle here. It is possibly Ireland’s oldest home in continuous occupation. Casey and Rowan describe Dunsany as a long straggling castle. The building was renovated and remodelled about 1780 and again about 1840.
A wayside cross stands opposite the main entrance to the castle. The church of St. Nicholas, known locally as the Abbey, stands close to the castle, just off the main avenue. The castle is entered through a projecting porch and a hallway with a plaster ceiling. The ground floor holds the grand dining room. The billiard room was erected in 1910 on the site of the old chapel. A fierce looking lion stands guard in a glass case to one side. The castle contains a wonderful collection of art. The castle is crammed with various collections bought by centuries of the Plunketts. Patrick Plunkett, the 7th baron, received a cup from Elizabeth I and the cup is still in Dunsany Castle. The Dunsanys hold St. Oliver Plunkett’s ring and watch. At his canonisation the family had a private audience with the Pope and were presented with gold medals to mark the occasion. The insignia and staff carried by Lord Dunsany at the coronations of George VI and Elizabeth II are on display. The library and the drawing room with its Stapleton plasterwork from 1780 are on the first floor. The Gothic Library is in Gothic Revival style and is perhaps the work of James Shiel. There was a secret priest’s hole for hiding priests during the worst of the Penal days. Lady Dunsany unsuccessfully defended the castle against the Cromwellians in 1656 and a small cannon is said to date from that event. The third floor has a number of ornate bedrooms.
There are three Gothic gateways at the entrances to the estate, one in the form of a sham ruin. The mock ruin style was popular during the nineteenth century. These gateways date to the works of 1840 while the single-storey gate lodge is probably two decades earlier. The stable courtyard dates to about 1850 while the farmyard dates to 1780.
Randal Plunkett, the 13th baron had the public road re-routed away from the castle. According to Art Kavanagh in the ‘Landed Gentry and Aristocracy Meath’ Randal stood guard at the bridge and threw anyone who tried to travel the road into the waters below.
Sir Christopher Plunkett married Joan Cusack, the heiress to Killeen and Dunsany and when they died the property was divided between their sons, the eldest, John, getting Killeen and Christopher getting Dunsany. The first Baron of Dunsany was Sir Christopher Plunkett, second son of Christopher Plunkett, 1st Baron Killeen. Christopher Plunkett was created Baron Dunsany in 1439, a later date of 1461 is also given.
In the 1609 Maud Lady Dunsany was murdered and her servant, Honora Caffrey, was found guilty of the crime and burned at the stake. Not long after a man convicted of another crime confessed to killing Lady Dunsany and so an innocent woman was executed.
The eleventh Baron Dunsany supported James II and was outlawed. His son the twelfth Baron conformed to the Church of Ireland.
John William Plunkett, the seventeenth Baron Dunsany, sat as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Gloucestershire South. John William was a keen mechanical engineer and installed the first Irish telephone system and developed his own x-ray machine. A sportsman, he acquired a range of shooting trophies. He had acquired the right to drive the Irish Mail Train and regularly took charge of the branch line train from Dublin to Drumree, near Dunsany.
Horace Plunkett, brother of the seventeenth baron, was a key figure in the development of Irish agriculture and the co-operative movement. Horace established a co-operative store on the estate for the tenants and workers. The first co-operative creamery in Ireland was founded in Drumcollogher in 1889. Horace Plunkett become M.P. for South Dublin in 1892. In 1900 the Department of Agriculture (and Technical Instruction) of Ireland was established. His house was burned down during the Civil War. He spent the last years of his life in England and died in 1932.
In 1883 Lord Dunsany held a total estate of 8,400 acres of which 4,379 were in Meath.
Edward John Morton Drax Plunkett, the eighteenth Baron Dunsany, was a well-known poet, playwright and author. He wrote a number of short stories in the field of fantasy. Much of his writing was completed in a room in one of the towers. More than eighty books of his work were published. Dunsany’s most notable fantasy short stories were published in collections from 1905 to 1919. The film, Dean Spanley, staring Peter O’Toole, released in 2008 was based on a short story by Dunsany. He was friends with many of the writers and workers of the Irish literary revival including, George Russell, Oliver St. John Gogarty, Lady Gregory and WB Yeats. Dunsany was a major donor to the Abbey Theatre. He supported and encouraged local writers such as Francis Ledwidge and Mary Lavin. Lord Dunsany died in 1957 and memorial service was held at Kilmessan with a reading of “Crossing the Bar” which was noted as coinciding with a passing flock of geese. He had a cricket grounds constructed at Dunsany. A champion of animal rights Dunsany campaigned against the docking of dogs’ tails.
The Dunsany Estate was reduced by the operation of the Land Acts but the castle is still surrounded by its original demesne.
Randal Arthur Henry Plunkett, 19th Baron of Dunsany was born in 1906 and served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Indian Cavalry. He married twice, firstly to Vera de Sa Sottomair and secondly to Sheila Victoria Katrin Phillips of Picton Castle, Wales. Her first husband had been killed in Italy during the war.
In the late 1940s when the new Lady Sheila Dunsany came first to Dunsany there was no electricity and very little central heating. She said “We thanked heaven for a hot bath, but the water smelt strange and upon investigation, was found to come from a disused quarry where a sheep had committed suicide.” She later wrote “The sheer beauty and romance of Dunsany overrode any inconveniences.” Lady Dunsany was also founder and chairperson of the Meath branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society
Edward John Carlos Plunkett, 20th Baron of Dunsany was born in 1939 in Brazil. Educated at Eton and the Slade School of Fine Art he succeeded his father in 1999. He passed away in May 2011.
The castle is open to the public at certain times.
Durhamstown is located in the civil parish of Ardbraccan, to the west of Navan. Durhamstown has been spelled differently over the centuries including ‘Dormstown’, ‘Durmstown’ and ‘Dorreanstown’. One of the two most populous townlands in Ardbraccan civil parish, the population peaked at 713 in 1851.
Described as an old fortified residence in 1837, Durhamstown Castle is reputed to be one of the oldest inhabited houses in Meath. Mulligan described Durhamstown as comprising of an early two storey stone house with a series of vaulted compartments on the ground floor. Parts of the building date to the fifteenth century. The square tower consists of four-storeys with the ground floor having four vaulted chambers with inserted windows. The original castle is believed to have had another storey which was knocked as a result of a fire. A 19th century single storey wing was added to the north of the old house.
The original building is of medieval origin and is probably a tower house of the fifteenth century. The building is reputed to have been in the hands of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, in the sixteenth century. For his zeal in suppressing the northern insurrection in 1572 he was created Earl of Essex. He offered to go to Ulster and establish a colony there.At that time Ulster was completely under the dominion of the O’Neills, led by Brian MacPhelim O’Neill, Turlough Luineach and Sorley Boy McDonnell. Initially Devereux was compelled to entrench himself at Belfast against the O’Neills. In October 1574 he treacherously captured MacPhelim at a conference in Belfast and had him and family members executed in Dublin. He also massacred several hundreds of Sorley Boy’s following, chiefly women and children, who had hidden in the caves of Rathlin Island. While in Ireland he is said to have come into ownership of a large estate including Durhamstown Castle. Returning to England in 1575 he was determined to retire but Elizabeth persuaded him to be Earl Marshall of Ireland. Three weeks after he arrived back in Ireland he died of dysentery. The Earls of Essex continued to hold lands in the Navan area until at least the nineteenth century.
In 1598 the name Dorren or Derran is recorded at Derranstown, this is probably Durhamstown.
Thomas Jones became Bishop of Meath in 1584 and ruled the diocese for twenty one years. During his time in Meath he succeeded in acquiring for himself much of the property of the confiscated monasteries. Dean Swift described him as “that rascal Dean Jones.” Residing at Ardbraccan he virtually gave away or claimed all the lands which had been confiscated from the monasteries. Anti-Catholic in his stance, Jones was held responsible for the execution in 1591 of a Catholic schoolteacher, Michael Fitzsimons, whose property at Forrowes in Meath later came into his ownership. In 1605 Thomas was elevated to Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor. Bishop Jones’s son, Sir Roger, managed to hold onto this alienated property including the lands which had belonged to the monastery at Navan. Roger Jones, of Durhamstown, was made Baron Jones of Navan and Viscount Ranelagh in 1628. Sir Roger Jones of Durhamstown married Frances, daughter of Sir Gerald Moore, Viscount Drogheda. Roger Jones was Member of Parliament for Trim from 1613 to 1615 and in the 1640 commanded the royal army in Connacht. His son, Arthur, married Catherine Boyle, daughter of the Great Earl of Cork, one of the biggest landgrabbers of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Catherine was the older sister of Robert Boyle, the devisor of Boyles Law. Arthur was involved in the administration of Ireland and made a huge amount of money as he managed to obtain the entire tax take for Ireland in return for a lump sum to Charles, which was said to have been used to pay for his mistresses. Arthur’s son, Richard, was Vice Treasurer of Ireland in 1674 and Paymaster General to the Army. William of Orange made him a Privy councillor in 1691. He was involved in a political row with the Earl of Essex. The Viscounts Ranelagh had their seat at Monkstown, Co. Dublin and continued to hold property in the Navan area into the nineteenth century.
In the 1780s Gaynor Barry was in residence at Dormstown. Mr. Gibney is recorded as owner in 1802. The Roberts family became associated with Durhamstown through Rev. John Roberts who was rector of Rathcore from 1802 to 1826. John Roberts was the son of the Venerable John Roberts, archdeacon of Merioneth and lived at nearby Oatlands. His son Thomas Lewis Roberts and family were in residence at Durhamstown in 1837. The house and yard were re-developed in the middle of the nineteenth century. Few Irish people realise the influence of Ireland on the development of the game of croquet. Some of the modern rules of the game of croquet were produced by local gentry who lived at Durhamstown and two neighbouring estates in the 1850s. The game later spread from Ireland to Britain. In 1876 Thomas L. Roberts of Dormstown held 505 acres of land in Meath county. Thomas died in 1880 and he was succeeded by his son John Richards Roberts who married one of the Everards of Randlestown.
In 1911 gentleman farmer, John R. Roberts, his daughter, Maud, sister Anna and two female servants were in residence. The house had sixteen rooms and sixteen outbuildings including two stables, a coach house, a harness room, a cowhouse, a dairy, a piggery, a fowl house, a barn, a turfhouse, a potato house, a workshop, a shed and a forge.
A wonderful house, The Meath Archaeological and Historical Society paid a visit in 2010. We heard about the ghosts and the sheela na gig.