Thursday, 23 February 2017

Kilbroney Lodge

WILLIAM RAINEY, of Ayrshire, settled in County Antrim, and died in 1606.

He was father of

JOHN RAINEY (1600-88), of Killybegs, County Antrim, who left three sons and two daughters,
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
Robert, of Killybegs;
Hugh, of Magherafelt;
Elizabeth; Mary.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM RAINEY (1640-1720), of Belfast, wedded a daughter of _____ McCormick, and left four sons and four daughters,
John, of Belfast;
WILLIAM, of whom hereafter;
Robert, of Newry;
Daniel (Rev), minister of the church at Amsterdam;
Jane; Mary, Anne; Grizzel.
The second son,

WILLIAM RAINEY, of Belfast, espoused Katherine, daughter of _____ Shaw, by Elizabeth, daughter of James Maxwell, and sister and co-heir of Arthur Maxwell, of Drumbeg, County Down, and had four sons and a daughter,
Arthur Rainey MAXWELL, of Castle Hill, Co Down;
JOHN, of whom we treat;
The second son,

JOHN RAINEY, of Greenville, County Down, married Mary, daughter of Surgeon William Hamilton, of Dublin, and had an only son and two daughters,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Frances; Elizabeth.
The only son,

WILLIAM RAINEY (c1745-1803), of Greenville, wedded firstly, Henrietta Maria, daughter of the Rev James Hutchinson, by whom he had five sons and two daughters.

He married secondly, Mary Anne Boyd, and had a son, Boyd, and a daughter, Elizabeth.

The children of the first wife were,
John, of Drumbo;
WILLIAM HENRY, of whom we treat;
Martha; Mary.
The second son, 

WILLIAM HENRY RAINEY JP (1780-1830), of Mount Panther, County Down, Major, 4th Bengal Cavalry, East India Company, espoused Margaret, daughter of Robert Macan, of County Armagh, and had a son and daughter,
Elizabeth Matilda, m R L Ogilby of Ardnargle.
The only son,

MAJOR-GENERAL ARTHUR JACOB MACAN RAINEY (1826-1906), wedded Caroline Susannah, eldest daughter of the Rev William Robinson, Rector of Bovagh, County Londonderry, and sister and co-heir of Henry Jeffery Robinson, of Portrush, County Antrim, and had issue,
William John, died in infancy;
Francis Edward;
Edward Flower;
Caroline Susanna; Esther Sophia.
The eldest surviving son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROBERT MAXIMILIAN RAINEY-ROBINSON CB CMG (1861-1932), commanding 62nd Punjabis, Indian Staff Corps, assumed the arms and surname of ROBINSON in 1897.

He wedded, in 1903, Alice Frances, eldest daughter of Arthur Hidding Hildebrand CIE.

The Rainey Mausoleum is at Knockbreda parish graveyard, County Down.


THE VERY REV WILLIAM FRIEND (1714-66), Dean of Canterbury, 1760, wedded, in 1739, Grace, youngest daughter of William Robinson, of Rokeby, Yorkshire, and sister of the Most Rev Richard Robinson, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and had, with other issue, a son,

THE REV SIR JOHN ROBINSON, Baronet,  formerly Archdeacon of Armagh, who assumed the surname of ROBINSON in lieu of Friend, 1793, and was created a baronet in 1819.

Sir John had, with other issue,


THE LODGE, Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, County Down, is said to have built by Robert Ross.

The Lodge was situated on a rise overlooking the lower meadow.

Kilbroney Lodge was swept away by the local council when they acquired the forest park.

First published in February, 2013.

Laurel Hill House


The family of KYLE, formerly settled in Ayrshire, acquired, during the plantation of Ulster, the lands of Camnish, County Londonderry.

SAMUEL KYLE (1686-1769), of Camnish, married, in 1720, Mary Buchanan, and had issue,
ARTHUR, of whom presently.
The fourth son,

THE REV ARTHUR KYLE (1733-1808), Minister of First Coleraine Presbyterian Church, wedded, in 1770, Martha, daughter of James Wood, by his wife Maria Lœtitia, second daughter of the Rev Robert Higinbothom, of Laurel Hill, County Londonderry (James Wood was brother to Robert Wood, the celebrated traveller, who discovered the ruins of Baalbec, and was Under-Secretary of state, in 1759, in Lord Chatham's government), and had issue,
SAMUEL, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

SAMUEL KYLE (1772-1814), espoused his cousin Martha, youngest daughter of the Rev Henry Wright, by his wife Martha, eldest daughter of the Rev Thomas Higinbothom, Rector of Pettigo, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
Arthur, died unmarried;
Henry Wright, died unmarried;
Samuel, died unmarried;
Robert Wood;
HENRY, of whom hereafter;
Maria Lœtitia Wood; Rachel Anna; Martha Eleanor; Anna Lily; Emily H.
Mr Kyle died at Capel Curig, North Wales, and was buried there.

His fifth son,

HENRY KYLE JP DL (1811-78), of of Laurel Hill, High Sheriff, 1868, who succeeded his uncle, Robert Kyle, 1831, married, in 1836, his cousin, Elizabeth Mary, third daughter of William Thompson, of Oatlands, County Meath, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
William Thompson;
Anne Elizabeth; Ellen; Frances Martha; Georgina Higinbothom.
Mr Kyle was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE REV ROBERT KYLE JP (1837-98), of Laurel Hill, who wedded, in 1868, Kathleen, second daughter of William Wilson Carus-Wilson, of Casterton Hall, Westmorland, and had issue,
Francis Carus;
Robert Wood;
Mary Alice Kathleen.
Mr Kyle was succeeded by his eldest son,

DR HENRY GREVILLE KYLE (1869-), of Laurel Hill, and 31, Westbury Road, Bristol.

LAUREL HILL HOUSE, Coleraine, County Londonderry, is a two-storey, five-bay house of 1843, with a single-bay pedimented breakfront centre which has three narrow, round-headed windows at first floor level.

The porch boasts a fine, single-storey Corinthian portico.

Quoins are vermiculated and rusticated.

The hall has columns at the rear, disguising the join with an earlier house.

There is said to be good plasterwork in several reception rooms.

The house comprises 5,300 square feet, to the designs of (Sir) Charles Lanyon.

It was lately used by the Ministry of Defence, mainly as an activity centre with ancillary function rooms and recreational space together with showers and toilets.

The Granary lies to the south of the main house.

Laurel Hill House is located on the high ground to the west of Coleraine, overlooking the River Bann.

The Kyles inhabited the house since 1711; hence the road outside the estate was named Kyle’s Brae.

Henry Kyle (1811-78), eldest son of Rev Arthur Kyle, Minister of First Coleraine Presbyterian Church, was the last member of the family to live at Laurel Hill.

During the 2nd World War, Laurel Hill House accommodated elements of the American army.

It was sold to a private buyer in 2012.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Derrymore Acquisition


PROPERTY: Derrymore House, Bessbrook, County Armagh

DATE: 1953

EXTENT: 40.63 acres

DONOR: J S Richardson Esq


PROPERTY: Lands of Derrymore

DATE: 1988

EXTENT: 60.84 acres

DONOR: J S Richardson Esq

First published in December, 2014.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Creagh House


ALEXANDER KNOX (son of William Knox, who died intestate, son of Alexander Knox), said to have sold Silvyland, Renfrewshire, settled in County Donegal, and is said to have had issue, two sons,
William, of Ashmoyne;
ALEXANDER, of Ballybofey.
The younger son,

ALEXANDER KNOX, of Ballybofey, County Donegal, whose will was proved in 1742, left issue by Mary his wife,
WILLIAM, of Cloghan;
Alexander, of Ballybofey;
a daughter; Margaret; Mary.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM KNOX, of Cloghan, County Donegal, died ca 1760, and left issue, by Margaret his wife, a son,

JAMES KNOX, of Kilcaddan, County Donegal, who left, by Martha his wife,
WILLIAM, of Kilcaddan;
Carncross, of Ballybofey;
Margaret; Elizabeth; Martha.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM KNOX, of Kilcaddan, County Donegal, High Sheriff, 1776, married, in 1778, Elizabeth, only child of Charles Nesbitt, of Scurmore, County Sligo, and had issue, a son,

COLONEL CHARLES NESBITT KNOX (-1860), of Scurmore, County Sligo, and Castle Lacken, County Mayo, High Sheriff of Sligo, 1810, and Mayo, 1831, who married, in 1810, Jane Cuff, testamentary heiress of James, Lord Tyrawley, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
The only son,

CHARLES KNOX (1817-67), of Cranmore, Ballinrobe, County Mayo, High Sheriff, 1860, Colonel, North Mayo Militia, wedded, in 1839, the Lady Louisa Catherine Browne, daughter of Howe Peter, 2nd Marquess of Sligo, and had issue,
Howe James, Lieutenant-Colonel;
Colonel Knox was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HOWE CUFF KNOX JP DL (1840-1921), of Creagh, High Sheriff, 1873, Honorary Colonel, Connaught Rangers, who married, in 1869, Henrietta Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt Hon Sir William Gibson Craig Bt.

There is a stained-glass window "In memory of Charles Howe Cuff Knox who died 27th Dec. 1921 aged 81 years" in the Church of Ireland (now the Library) in County Mayo.

Colonel Knox had issue,
Charles William Cuffe, dvp 1910;
HENRY HOWE, his heir;
Gerald Vivian Cuffe, Commander RN;
Louisa Gertrude.
The eldest surviving son,

HENRY HOWE KNOX (1871-1954), of Creagh House, wedded, in 1906, Ada, only child of Sidney Bryan, of Kenilworth, Port Elizabeth, and had issue, a daughter.

CREAGH HOUSE, near Ballinrobe, County Mayo, was built in 1875 for Captain Charles Howe Cuff Knox, to the design of S U Roberts.

Sadly diminished drastically in size in the 1930s by fire (it appears to have been halved), there still remains today a sizeable period house of around 6,000 square feet.

It is located in beautiful and secluded surroundings, habitable, and indeed inhabited, but needing further restoration.

The property today occupies grounds of just under two acres, looking toward Lough Mask.

The grounds are partially wooded with lawned areas around the house.

The front of the house has magnificent views over the Tourmakeady mountains and from some aspects, to the lake.

First published in January, 2013.

Forthill Park

Forthill Park is a drumlin-top public park in Enniskillen, the county town of County Fermanagh.

Topped with a tall monument and surrounded by trees, it stands out as a feature from the distance.

Fort Hill has historic interest, both as a 17th century artillery star-fort and as an early public garden, laid out as a promenade by 1846.

The Forthill Promenade and Pleasure Park has always been a space for public use.

In the years after the Plantation of Ulster, it was known as Commons Hill or Cow Hill, where the Enniskilleners, as they were called, could graze their livestock.

It was also known as Camomile Hill where, in 1689, the Governor of Enniskillen, Gustav Hamilton, ordered a fort of sods to be raised in Enniskillen; hence Forthill.

In 1836, the area was enclosed and planted with trees; it became a promenade and pleasure ground.

Following the Crimean War, a captured Russian gun was brought to the south bastion of the Forthill.

It fired a salute to the first train arriving in the town in 1857 and broke the windows in Belmore Street.

By the 1880s, the park had become overgrown.

Thomas Plunkett, Chairman of the town commissioners, supervised the landscaping of the park.

He felt that the Forthill had become little used and overgrown.

The Forthill Pleasure grounds officially opened on the 7th August, 1891.

It had been transformed: special areas included the Dell, the Fernery, the Fountain, and the Waterfall; all designed by Plunkett.

A new entrance was added and the Forthill steps were built, which saw “The Bower Lane” disappear.

Forthill Bandstand was erected during Plunkett's own lifetime, in 1895, as a mark of appreciation.

The bastions of the fort remain prominent and are grassed.

The park element still has the feeling of a Victorian civic park, with winding paths, clipped evergreen shrubs and island flower beds.

Mature trees provide a canopy above.

The park was officially opened as Fort Hill Pleasure Grounds in 1891.

There are two memorials of high quality: the Cole Monument, built between 1845-57; and the Bandstand, with clock tower, built in 1895.

The Cole Monument takes the form of a Doric column, topped by a statue of General the Hon Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole GCB, by Farrell.

General Cole, a younger son of the 1st Earl of Enniskillen, died in 1842 at his country seat, Highfield Park, Hampshire, now a hotel.

108 steps lead to the viewing platform atop the Cole Monument, which affords magnificent views of Enniskillen and the surrounding area.

First published in December, 2012.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Fisherwick Lodge

FISHERWICK LODGE, near Doagh, County Antrim, was a hunting-lodge of the Marquesses of Donegall.

The lodge was re-built about 1805 as a hollow square, with two single-storey fronts of nine bays each.

It has lofty windows which reach almost to the ground, and a pedimented wooden door-case, with fluted columns.

Although the present house is likely to date from the early years of the 19th century, its origins are in an 18th-century hunting lodge for the Donegall estate.

The current lodge was built by the 2nd Marquess (1769-1844).

Its name derives from the barony of Fisherwick, one of the family's subsidiary titles.
The Lodge was built in the midst of an extensive deer park, which covered "nearly all of six townlands", including Kilbride, Ballywee, Holestone Douglasland, Ballyhamage and part of the parish of Donegore and the Grange of Doagh.
The 2nd Marquess, who had a reputation for extravagance, also laid out an artificial lake in front of the Lodge.

Deer were hunted by hounds in the Doagh district, and the improvements by the 2nd Marquess included the establishment of large kennels and extensive stabling.

In 1899, the kennels were associated with the establishment of a racecourse at Lisnalinchy, which continued to exist in part up until the late 1950s, retaining the name East Antrim Hounds, but have since been relocated to the Parkgate district.

The estate is described in an 1812 statistical survey by the Rev John Dubourdieu:
Close to [Doagh] is Fisherwick Lodge ... the building itself, which is very handsome, and the plantations, have much improved and enlivened the look of this well placed hamlet, which has, in addition, a good inn [Doagh or Farrell's Inn]".
The Ordnance Survey Memoir of 1838 describes the lodge thus:
an elegant and uniform structure in the Cottage style, forming with the offices a spacious quadrangular enclosure. It contains a regular suite of handsome apartments, and is constructed and finished in the most modern style.
Lord Belfast and his father, the 2nd Marquess, subsequently disentailed their estates, with the exception of Islandmagee.

It is recorded that the Donegall family took refuge at Fisherwick Lodge following the seizure in 1806 of the contents of their town residence in Belfast, Donegall House, by creditors.

Fisherwick Lodge was finally sold, in 1847, to John Molyneaux JP.

In 1894, Mr Molyneaux drained the artificial lake in front of the house.

The lodge has since been divided into two properties.

The south gate lodge was demolished ca 2000 and replaced with a modern dwelling.

First published in February, 2015.  Donegall arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Holyhill House


THE REV JOHN SINCLAIR, son of James Sinclair of the Caithness family, was the first of the family who settled at Holyhill, County Tyrone.

He was appointed Rector of Leckpatrick, 1665-6.

Mr Sinclair was succeeded by JOHN, his son, father of JOHN, whose son,

WILLIAM SINCLAIR, who died before his father, married Isabella, daughter of Thomas Young, of Lough Eske, County Donegal, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
The eldest son,

JAMES SINCLAIR DL (1772-1865), of Holyhill, wedded, in 1805, Dorothea, daughter and heir of the Rev Samuel Law, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Alexander Montgomery;
Mary; Dorothea; Marion; Rebecca; Ann; Isabella; Caroline Elizabeth.
Mr Sinclair was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM SINCLAIR JP DL (1810-96), of Holyhill, County Tyrone, and Drumbeg, County Donegal, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1854, Barrister, who espoused, in 1830, Sarah, daughter of James Cranborne Strode, and had issue,
William Frederic;
William Frederic;
Donald Brooke;
Alfred Law, Lt-Col, DSO;
Jemima Sarah; Dorothea Mary.
Mr Sinclair was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES MONTGOMERY SINCLAIR JP (1841-99), of Holyhill and Bonnyglen, Inver, County Donegal, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1899, who married, in 1868, Mary Everina, youngest daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Barton, of The Waterfoot, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
Everina Mary Caroline; Rosabel.
Mr Sinclair was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM HUGH MONTGOMERY SINCLAIR (1868-1930), of Holyhill and Bonnyglen, Called to the Irish Bar, 1897; Vice-Consul at Manilla, 1900-02; at Boston, 1902-4; Buenos Aires, 1904-7; Emden, 1907-9; Consul for the States of Bahia and Sergipe, 1909.

Mr Sinclair married, in 1924, Elizabeth Elliot (Bessie) Hayes, of Philadelphia, USA, though had no issue.

HOLYHILL HOUSE, near Strabane, County Tyrone, is a plain, three-storey, five-bay Georgian house.

The demesne and house, located in the townland of Hollyhill and the parish of Leckpatrick, date from the late 17th century.

Holyhill House, whitewashed, three-storey with five bays, seems be ca 1736, when William Starratt surveyed of the estate.

It was originally attached in front of an earlier house, which was removed in the early 19th century and replaced with the present building.


William Hugh Montgomery Sinclar served from 1900 in the consular service in Manilla, Boston and Buenos Aires, during which time his mother sold off most of the estate to its tenants between 1904-05 under the terms of the 1903 Land Act.

William Sinclair married the American heiress Elizabeth Elliott Hayes.

Upon her death in 1957, the estate was left to a distant Sinclair relation, Major-General Sir Allan Adair Bt, who sold many of the heirlooms and burned a lot of the estate records.

Sir Allan sold the property in 1983 to Hamilton Thompson, a Strabane pharmacist.

During the Plantation of Ulster, the lands were held by the 1st Earl of Abercorn, who granted them sometime before 1611 to his younger brother, Sir George Hamilton, of Greenlaw, who built a timber house that year.

A document of ca 1680 records that
“Ballyburny alias Holihill” belonged to “James Hamilton Esq. a Minor Sonne to Sir George Hamilton ye Elder” before 1641 and was distributed to Sir George Hamilton afterwards. 
This first house was burned in 1641, and at some time thereafter the property was granted to the family’s agent in the Strabane barony, David Maghee, whose son, Captain George Magee, sold the house to the Rev John Sinclair, who came to Ulster from Caithness and was instituted in the parish of Leckpatrick (in which Holyhill is located), in 1665-66, and to Camus, 1668”.
The residence purchased was rebuilt after 1641, either by James Hamilton or one of his immediate descendants.

The Rev John Sinclair purchased Holyhill with incomes from two parishes: his 1703 memorial re-erected in Leckpatrick Parish Church lauds his staunch defence of the established church and persecution of dissenters.

The Abercorn Papers contain numerous letters about and between Lord Abercorn and Mr Sinclair going back as early as 1749.

In 1756, Lord Abercorn wrote to his agent, Nathaniel Nisbitt,
“When you chance to see Mr Sinclair of Hollyhill, tell him I have not the counterpart of his deed of Holyhill; and that I therefore desire he will give me a copy of it. If he seems to think his title called in question, you may say you know of no such thing, but that you believe I am desirous of having my privileges ascertained.”
On his retirement in 1757, Nisbitt recommended to Abercorn that Sinclair take his place as he was “a rough honest man.

With income as an Abercorn agent, John expanded his demesne in the late 1760s.

He was succeeded at Holyhill by son George, who had been apprenticed to a linen merchant.

George Sinclair died in Limerick between 1803-04, with his body being buried in the old parish graveyard in 1804.

George was succeeded by his nephew, James, who later served as JP in counties Donegal and Tyrone, and took part in parliamentary inquiries in the 1830s and 1840s, including the Devon Commission and the inquiry into the Orange Order, which he held in very low regard, and spoke in favour of Catholic Emancipation at a public meeting of “the nobility, gentry, clergy and freeholders of the County of Tyrone”.


The house is set in a maintained ornamental garden with herbaceous borders and lawns.

A water garden was added in the 1970s.

There are mature trees beyond, in what was described by Young in 1909 as a, ‘… richly wooded park.’

These form a shelter belt round this fine parkland, together with and stands of woodland.

The walled garden is partly cultivated and retains glasshouses.