1. FAMILY BACKGROUND (Pre-1800)
2. THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1800-1815)
3. THE SEA YEARS, PART ONE (1812-1829)
4. THE SEA YEARS, PART TWO (1830-1835)
5. POLITICAL RISE (1835-1846)
6. THE CAPTAIN'S DIARY (1847)
7. THE NEW HOUSE AT LISNAVAGH (1847-1852)
8. THE LATTER YEARS (1852-1866)
9. THE PROCRIS JOURNAL (1829-1830)
The improbably named Captain William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury was undoubtedly one of the most important members of the family to sit upon the throne of Lisnavagh. It was, after all, he who commissioned the building of the present house at Lisnavagh in the 1840s. Born in 1800, he lost his mother to a horse-fall in Bath the following year. His widowed father, John McClintock, MP for Louth, was married again to a sister of the Earl of Clancarty, one of the most powerful men in Europe during the Congress of Vienna that followed the fall of Napoleon. Educated at Gosport in Hampshire, William entered the Royal Navy aged 13 in July 1813 as a first class volunteer on the Ajax.
As a 16 year old Midshipman on HMS Severn, William took part in the Bombardment in Algeria, marking the start of a naval career focused on the liberation of slaves. In the 1820s and 1830s, he sailed the little known seas of the Southern Hemisphere as an officer on board HMS Samarang, again chasing slave ships and protecting British interests. Also on board the Samarang was his first cousin, later Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock, and the artist-adventurer William Smyth. In Brazil and Peru, the Samarang encountered the Beagle, upon which Robert FitzRoy and Charles Darwin were travelling.
On the death of his maternal uncle Thomas Bunbury, MP, in 1847 he succeeded to the Bunbury family estates at Lisnavagh. As a legal prerequisite for this inheritance, he had to comply with his uncle's will, combining the surname "Bunbury" with his own family name of "McClintock". Hence, the current name of "McClintock Bunbury". It is said that the McClintocks had the cash and the Bunburys had the name. William also succeeded to his late uncle's seat in the British House of Commons and served as Member of Parliament for County Carlow alongside Colonel Henry Bruen during the unhappy era of the Irish Famine. In 1847 he recruited the services of the eccentric Scottish architect Daniel Robertson to build a New House at Lisnavagh. Robertson was also commissioned to landscape and design the gardens and grounds that surrounded the new house. He represented County Carlow in the British Parliament for the Conservative party from 1846 to 1852, and again from Feb 1853 until ill-health obliged him to retire in 1862. In 1842, William married Pauline Stronge, second daughter of the influential Orangeman, Sir James Stronge, of Tynan Abbey, County Armagh. She provided him with two sons, Tom and Jack, and two daughters, Bella and Helen, before his somewhat premature death at the age of 66 at Lisnavagh on 2nd June 1866.
NB: The Captain was a methodical man who, after he left the Navy in 1834, chronicled much of his life in a series of small pocket journals'. I plan to transcribe these over coming years. His diary page can be found here: Captain Bunbury's Diary.
Redmond Kane was one of the most prudent
men in Ireland in the 1780s, buying up land
across the country. His only surviving child,
Katherine, married William Bunbury, MP for
Carlow, and was grandmother to Captain
William McClintock Bunbury.
A rather hazy view of Alexander McClintock,
the barrister who built Drumcar House in Louth.
He left the property to his nephew, Bumper Jack
McClintock, grandfather to William.
The McClintocks trace their ancestry back to Luss and Balloch on the shores of Lough Lomond in the Scottish lowlands where they are variously described as rogue highwaymen and landed farmers, often interconnected with the Lindsay clan that ruled the area. Alexander McClintock made the hazardous voyage across the north coast of Ireland to County Donegal in 1598, three years before King James conferred a knighthood on Henry Bunbury in London. 1598 marks an interesting date in Irish history, being the year of Red Hugh O'Donnell's historic victory over Marshall Bagenal's English army at the battle of Yellow Ford. However, within three years the Ulster Rebellion had been suppressed and the lands of O'Donnell and his supporters were confiscated and parcelled out to families who's loyalty to the crown was unquestionable. It is assumed that the McClintock's were loyalists, perhaps benefiting from the interesting transfer of power in London from the House of Tudor to the Scottish House of Stuart following the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. Interestingly, the fort from which Red Hugh O'Donnell was to flee to the Continent in 1607 was called Rathdonnell, "Fort of the O'Donnells". The McClintock's acquired the property soon after this; more than 250 years later William's brother John McClintock was to be created Baron Rathdonnell.
John McClintock (1769 - 1855) was the eldest boy of four sons and four daughters born to John 'Bumper Jack' McClintock (1742 - 1799), MP, of Drumcar, by his marriage of 1766 to Patience Foster, daughter of William Foster, MP, of Rosy Park, Co. Louth, and first cousin of John Foster, Lord Oriel and Spaker of the Irish House of Commons. Bumper Jack had succeeded to considerable wealth in May 1775 on the death, without children, of his barrister uncle, Alexander McClintock of Drumcar. 'Bumper Jack' duly commissioned the building of the vast mansion at Drumcar House outside Dunleer in 1777, where the McClintock family remained until the 1940s. From 1783 to 1790 he was MP for Enniskillen and from 1790 to 1797 he held the seat as MP for Belturbet. In a famous painting of the Irish Parliament of 1790 Bumper Jack, MP for Belturbet, is seated just three to the right from Speaker John Foster. Oblivious to the all around him, Bumper Jack appears to be wearing a nun's habit and is clearly fast asleep. When Bumper Jack first met his new daughter-in-law, he made the mistake of greeting her maidservant first. That evening he may well have ruminated on Daniel Defoe's similar encounter which prompted the 'Robinson Crusoe' author to write: 'I remember I was put very much to the Blush, being at a Friends house and by him required to salute the ladies, and I kiss'd the Chamber Jade into the bargain, for she was as well dressed as the best. Things of this Nature would be easily avoided if servant maids were to wear Liveries'.
William Bunbury's grandmother,
Patience Foster, was a first cousin
of John Foster, Speaker of the Irish
House of Commons and one of the
most influential men in Georgian Ireland.
Considered a gentle and upright soul, John McClintock was heavily embroiled in the Irish political scene in this Age of Revolution. At the age of 17, young John entered the University of Dublin as a fellow commoner where, after remaining for three years and a half, he took out his degree of Bachelor of Arts. ‘He had originally intended himself for the profession of the law, and had actually kept several Terms for that purpose, but his intentions in this respect were changed by a vacancy having occurred in the office of Serjeant-at-Arms to the Irish House of Commons’.[x] 21-year-old John McClintock was appointed to this post in 1794, in conjunction with his younger brother, William Foster M'Clintock esq, who died in 1839.[i] As Serjeant one of his roles involved looking after the Speaker’s mace. On this subject, FB Hamilton advises: ‘When the mace lies on the table, it is a house. When under the table, it is a committee. When out of the house, no business can be done When from the table and on the Serjeant's shoulders, no motion can be made'. As a Serjeant in Grattan’s Parliament, remarks the Carlow Sentinel, Mr McClintock was: 'The contemporary of the most distinguished men at the time when the brilliancy of Irish genius was the theme of admiration throughout Europe. He was a patriot in the true sense of the term, being consistently opposed to the Union - when peerages honours and decorations were lavished on those who supported the measure. He owed much of his political career to his neighbour and cousin by marriage, John Foster, later Baron Oriel. Born in 1740, Foster had risen steadily through the ranks of Irish politics since his election, aged 21, to the borough of Dunleer in 1761. In 1784, John Foster was elected Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland and duly oversaw the passage of the Corn Law, which, by granting large bounties on the export of corn and imposing heavy duties on its import, encouraged a significant shift in agricultural practice from farming to tillage. In 1785 Foster was unanimously elected Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and held that post until the passing of the Act of Union less than three months after William's birth.
[i] Writing in 1832, Hamilton, FB, says John was appointed Serjeant in 1791 but both his obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1855, and his memorial at Drumcar state ‘1794’. Was John the Serjeant at arms during the Kingsborough Trial in which case it was a lucky escape for the United Irishmen were all set to storm Parliament and hold everyone therein hostage! See p. 44 – 45 of White Knight, Black Earl.
The Battle of New Ross, 1798, at which Lady Elizabeth McClintock's
uncle, Lord Mountjoy, was murdered by rebels.
The McClintocks and Bunburys both spent a good deal
of time at Bath in the early 19th century. Indeed, it was
here that Captain Bunbury's mother met her untimely death,
killed when thrown from her horse at the age of 21.
This painting depicts Bath in 1828.
By this Act of 2nd July 1800, the Irish
Parliament consented to vote itself out of existence and relinquish control
of Ireland's administrative affairs to Westminster. This decision, made
effective by the Act of Union on 1st January 1801, would radically alter
the state of Irish politics. (2) Foster was a die-hard adherent of the
Protestant Ascendancy and strongly opposed both the Act of Union and Catholic Emancipation (which
would unleash the majority upon the electoral polls). (3) When the Irish
Parliament met for the last time on August 5th 1800, five weeks before William's birth, Foster famously refused to surrender the mace. (4). It is reasonable
to suppose that John McClintock was of a similar philosophy to Foster in
terms of allegiance to the Tory Protestant Ascendancy and opposition to
Catholic Emancipation and the Act of Union. He may also have shared Foster's
devotion to the advancement of agricultural techniques. (5) During the twilight
of the Irish Parliament in the 1790s he had not only sat as a Member of
Parliament for Louth but also performed the duties of Prime Serjeant. According to Sir Jonah Barrington, John was the last person to leave the House of Commons, accompanied by the Speaker, on the night the abolition measure was passed in March 1800. ‘Both seemed impressed with the solemnity of the occasion when at the door they turned around and took a last view of that house which had been, as Grattan observed, the glory, the guardian and the protection of the country’.
After the Act of Union, the names of the McClintock brothers were put upon the pension list. £2545 was assigned to them in compensation for the loss of the office, and John was still in receipt of that pension until at least 1832.
The Irish House of Commons in 1780.
· Act of Union with Great Britain (29th Dec) - Irish Parliament
votes itself out of existence, sending 100 MPs to Westminster, 28 peers
and four Bishops to the House of Lords. This also involves the union of
the Churches of Ireland and England, whilst confirming the pre-eminence
of the Protestant Episcopalians by securing the continuation of the British
Test Act which virtually excluded all Non-Conformists (Catholics and Presbyterians)
from Parliament and membership of municipal corporations. Free trade between
Britain and Ireland is established in the Act of Union so that Irish merchandise
is to be admitted to the British colonies on the same terms as British,
but the effects of this are disastrous because where the UK proceeds to
enter into its industrial era, Irish agricultural produce and estate rentals
decline in value and the population increased substantially. Hence, the
impact of the Great Famine. Indeed, thousands perished in a famine between
1800 and 1801.
· King George III's Coronation Oath highlighted his intention to maintain the Protestant character of the Court and thus Pitt (whilst he would like to have done) did not pursue emancipation for the Catholics.
· Napoleon conquers Italy.
· Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent.