Turtle Bunbury

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Above: John McClintock (1797-1879).

Conservative Member for Louth, 1857-9.

Created Baron Rathdonell, 1868.

Jane McClintock Bunbury

Above: Jane McClintock (nee Bunbury) who was thrown
from her horse and killed aged 22.


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Lady Elizabeth McClintock (nee Le Poer Trench)
who became the matriarch of the family. She
passed away aged 97 in May 1877.



OBITUARY (Freeman's Journal, 20 May 1879)


Dundalk. Monday.

"This morning the announcement of the death of the Right Hon. Lord Rathdonnell, Drumcar, was received in thiis town, the mournful event having taken place early on yesterday morning at his residence Drumcar. His death was quite unexpected, as his lordship had been driving along the seacoast of Annagassan and in that direction on Saturday, and on Saturday night late he became suddenly il, and died some short time afterwards. His lordship had reached the ripe old age of eighty-two, and had latterly been in a feeble state of health.
He leaves no issue, his brother, the Rev. Mr. M'Clintock, Kilsoran, being the nearest male relative, who is at present absent travelling.
His lordship was intimately connected with the politics of this country, which, when Col. John M'Clintock, he contested no less than five times in the Tory interest, and only succeeded in being returned once, in 1857, when the Liberal party were divided.
He first contested the county in 1852 with Mr. Fortescue (now Lord Carlingford) and Mr. Tristram Kennedy, and was defeated.
In the election of 1857 he again contested the county, the outgoing members, Messrs. Fortescue and Kennedy, being put in nomination in the Liberal interest, as was also Mr. R. M. Bellew (now one of the Local Government Board) thus dividing the Liberals. In the result Mr. Fortescue and Colonel M'Clintock were returned.
He sat for the county only for two years, as in the general election of 1859 he was defeated by Mr. Bellew (Mr. Kennedy not having come forward), who sat until 1865, and when, as a reward for his services to the Whig party, he was appointed Poor Law Commissioner, he vacated the seat, Mr. M’Clintock and Mr. Tristram Kennedy contested it. After a fierce contest Mr. Kennedy was returned by anoverwhelming majority. He again contested the county at the general election in July, 1865, but retired the day after the nomination.
Mr. M'Clintock's services to the Tories, for whose cause he fought and bled well in this county were rewarded by Lord Derby in 1868, when he was raised to the peerage as Lord Rathdonnell.
On the death of the late Lord Bellew, who held the position, he was made Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotolorum of the county.
Although an out-and-out Tory and thus opposed to the vast majority of the people, he was not unpopular, and enjoyed the reputation of being a kind and indulgent landlord."



Born on 26th August 1798, John McClintock, 1st Lord Rathdonnell, was the firstborn son of John 'Old Turnip' McClintock (1770-1855) and a grandson of John 'Bumper Jack' McClintock (1743-1799) of Drumcar and his wife Patience Foster, first cousin of John 'Speaker' Foster.

At the time of his birth, John's father held the office of Serjeant-at-Arms to the Irish House of Commons, in conjunction with his uncle William Foster McClintock. John 'Old Turnip' McClintock also served the office of High Sheriff of County Louth in the eventful year of 1798 and was present at the battles of Arklow and Vinegar hill. According to Sir Jonah Barrington, he was the last person to leave the House of Commons, accompanied by Speaker Foster, on the night the abolition measure was passed in March 1800. On the plus side, his compensation for the loss of the office of Serjeant-at-Arms appears to have been a pension of £2,000 a year which he recieved for over half a century until his death in 1855.

John's mother was Jane Bunbury, the only daughter of William Bunbury esq of Moyle, MP for co Carlow, and sister to Thomas Bunbury esq, former MP for County Carlow. John McClintock and Jane Bunbury were married on 11th July 1797. It is assumed they lived between Bath and Drumcar, where John's grandfather Bumper Jack passed away in February 1799.

John's only full-brother William (later McClintock Bunbury) was born in September 1800 and a sister, Catherine, arrived in early 1801. Catherine can hardly have been off the bosom when tragedy struck. On Tuesday 28th April 1801 Jane McClintock was thrown from her horse while riding up Box Hill by Ashley on the London road outside Bath with her husband and Mr Barrington. The 22-year-old mother of three was knocked out cold and, having fractured her skull and dislocated her shoulder, she died early the following morning. Her memorial in Drumcar states that her three children were 'too young to be conscious of their loss.' Her death mirrored that of her father - John McClintock's grandfather - WIlliam Bunbury, who was also killed in a riding accident.

Ashley, where Jane died, is where the Lefroy family lived; John Rathdonnell, would, perhaps coincidentally, marry one of these Leforys three decades later. The Lefroys were also friendly with Jane Austen's parents.

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Ashe Rectory outside Bath where the Rev. Isaac Lefroy
was Rector during the years when Jane Austen's family
also lived close by. Isaac's granddaughter Anne Lefroy
would go on to marry William Bunbury's brother John
McClintock and so became the first Lady Rathdonnell.

Jane Austen & the Lefroy Connection

I do not yet know what brought Jane Bunbury to Bath but her mother certainly had a fondness for the City whose roots go back to a Roman Spa based around the only naturally occurring hot springs in the United Kingdom. It was a popular resort for the well to do and experienced a tremendous boom in the late 18th century with such buildings as the Theatre Royal, the Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge. In the 1801 Census, the population of the city was recorded as 40,020, making it amongst the largest cities in Britain.

One of the city's most celebrated residents was Jane Austen who lived in the city with her father, mother and sister Cassandra between 1801 and 1805. Bath features centrally in two of her novels 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Persuasion'. (1) In Bath, the Austens became frinedly with the family of the Rev. Isaac Lefory, Rector of Ashe. Of relevance to this tale is the fact that William Bunbury's brother John, 1st Baron Rathdonnell, later married Isaac's granddaughter, Anne Lefroy.

Anne was the daughter of the Rev. John Henry George Lefroy (d.1823) of Ewshot House (subsequently Itchel) in Wiltshire, and his wife Sophia, née Cotterell. (2) Isaac was also uncle to Thomas Lefroy (1776-1869), the man who Jane Austen apparently had in mind when she invented the character Mr. Darcy in 'Pride and Prejudice'. Their friendship was romanticized for a rather unconvicning period drama called 'Becoming Jane' which was on the silver screen in the early part of the 21st century. (3) But Jane Austen certainly became very friendly with Isaac's wife, 'Madame Lefroy', a sister of Sir Egerton Brydges, and grandmother to the first Lady Rathdonnell, who was herself killed by a fall from her horse in 1804. [Click here for more, these pages having been added since I wrote all this!] (14) One wonders did the two Janes ever meet? Perhaps their petticoats rebounded as they sashayed down the streets. All these deaths from horsefalls! The inquest records for County Carlow indicate that 212 people were killed as a result of carriage / horse accidents between 1800 and 1871. If you bear in mind that Jane Bunbury's father William and her uncle ('Master Keane') were also killed in horse accidents, it makes driving cars in the 21st century seem entirely safe. Incidentally, it is worth noting that John and William's only sister, Catherine McClintock was married in 1831 to the Rev. George G. Gardiner of Bath, but died just a few years later. Her grandmother, Catherine Bunbury (nee Kane) had a residence on the Circus Bath, where her uncle Thomas Bunbury, MP, also lived. (Their house was also affilaited to the family of Major John Andre).

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Above: Jane Austen was in Bath from
1801 to 1805 where she befriended
the McClintocks' future in-laws, the
Lefroys, and allegedly had a romance
with Tom Lefroy, the future Chief Justice
of Ireland. Might she also have encountered
her fellow Jane - Jane Bunbury - who was
thrown from her horse and killed while
hunting at Ashely near Bath in 1801. Jane
Austen earned approximately £650 in her
professional life, which would have been
equivalent to 6 months wages for a
contemporary solicitor.

On 15th April 1805, John's father was married secondly in St. George's chapel, Dublin to Lady Elizabeth Le Poer Trench, third daughter of William Poer, 1st Earl of Clancarty. Lady Elizabeth produced five sons and three daughters, who were thus John McClintock's half-siblings, of whom further details are here.

1. Frederick William Pitt McClintock, a barrister at law, who was drowned in Strangford Lough in August 1834.

2. Captain Charles Alexander McClintock, 74th Foot, who died aged 27 at Drumcar of malignant scarlitina on 9 December 1833.

3 Rev Robert le Poer McClintock, MA. (1836), B.A. (1832), Rector of Castle Bellingham, Co Louth,

4 Major (Henry) Stanley McClintock (1812-1898), JP, Royal Horse Artillery, who married his first cousin Gertrude La Touche

5. Lt. Col. George Augustus Jocelyn McClintock, 37th Regiment, of Rathvinden, Co. Carlow. (See here for more).

1. Anne Florence McClintock married in 1827 to the Very Rev Hugh Usher Tighe, DD, Dean of the Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle, and Rector of Clonmore, Co. Louth. She died on 21 February 1893 at age 84.

2 Harriet Elizabeth McClintock married in 1821 to Richard Longfield, esq, of Longueville, Co Cork, MP for that county in 1835.


3. Emily Selina Frances McClintock married in 1841 to John Butler Clarke Southwell Wandesford, esq, of Castlecomer, nephew to Walter 17th Marquess of Ormonde.

John's childhood took place against the backdrop of the Robert Emmet Rising and the Napoleonic Wars while he would also have been familiar with events such as the murders at Wildgoose Lodge (which took place when he was eighteen) and with people such as John Suttoe, the black servant who was still in his father's employment in 1814. Perhaps, aged 16, he was knocking back ale and dancing to the fiddles when his father hosted 100 people to celebrate the gathering of the harvest in October 1814.


That said, by 1815 he was being educated at RMC Sandhurst. On 13th May 1818, John set out for Halifax, Nova Scotia as an officer in 74th Foot (Highland) Regiment. He served in North America until 1821. (5) It is not clear when John actually joined the 74th. The regiment had served keenly during the Napoleonic War but was then stationed in Ireland from June 1814 until May 1818, so it did not have the chance of distinguishing itself at the crowning victory of Waterloo. (It was on its way to embark for Belgium when news of that decisive battle arrived). While at Fermoy, on 6th April 1818, the regiment was presented with new colours. The colours which had waved over the regiment in many a hard-fought field, and which had been received in 1802, were burned, and the ashes deposited in the lid of a gold sarcophagus snuff-box, inlaid with part of the wood of the colour-staves, on which the following inscription was engraved:—"This box, composed of the old standards of the Seventy-fourth regiment, was formed as a tribute of respect to the memory of those who fell, and of esteem for those who survived the many glorious and arduous services on which they were always victoriously carried, during a period of sixteen years, in India, the Peninsula, and France. They were presented to the regiment at Wallajahbad in 1802, and the shattered remains were burned at Fermoy on the 6th of April 1818." John McClintock and the 74th embarked at Cork for Halifax on 13th May, leaving one depôt company, which was sent to the Isle of Wight. The companies were divided between St John’s, Newfoundland, St John’s, New Brunswick, and Frederickton, where their headquarters and five companies were based. The regiment remained in North America till August 1828 when they proceeded to Bermuda. In the autumn of 1829, they left for Ireland, arriving in early 1830. In 1818 the regiment had been reduced to ten companies of 65 rank and file each, and in 1821 it was further reduced to eight companies of 72 rank and file. In 1825, however, the strength was augmented to ten companies—six service companies of 86 rank and file, and four depot companies of 56 rank and file each. The regiment remained in Ireland till 1834, during part of which time it was actively employed in suppressing the outrages consequent on the disturbed state of the country.



As early as 1825, John McClintock was complaining in letters to his brother William about their father's heavy expenses and 'numerous tribe'. ((G/5/2).

He appears to have made his political debut in October 1826 when he spoke at at an aggregate meeting of the Roman Catholics of Co. Louth held in Dundalk, although this could feasibly have been his father.

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Above: A portrait of Lady Rathdonnell,
formerly Anne Lefroy, attributed to
Mayer and dated to August 1829, the
year of her marriage to John McClintock.

Anne Lefroy (b. 19 Jul 1808; d. 22 Dec 1889)
was the eldest daughter of
Rev John Henry George Lefroy,
of Ewsholt House, Hampshire,
by his wife Sophia Cottrell, youngest
daughter of Rev Charles Jeffreys Cottrell,
of Hadley, co. Middlesex.

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According to Amina Wright, Senior Curator
at the Holburne Museum in Bath, there
were a number of artists active at
the time of this portrait with the surname
Mayer, mostly on the continent but also
in Britain. Without a Christian name or
any other information it is hard to give
any further comments

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John McClintock,
1st Baron Rathdonnell.

On 11 August 1829, William's older brother John McClintock Junior, later Baron Rathdonnell, married 21-year-old Anne Lefroy. She was the eldest daughter of Jane Austen's friends from Bath, the late Rev. John Henry George Lefroy, MA, of Ewsholt House, Hants, and cousin german to the Right Hon Baron Lefroy. For more on the Lefroy family, see the Tycie Lewis Family Tree on Ancestry. Her mother Sophia was the youngest daughter of the Rev. Charles Jeffrey Cottrell of Hadley, Middlesex (August). According to 'The Weekly Notes' of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales 1952 (p 142) she brought a sum of £5000 upon her marriage - Google Books has more on this. There is a portrait of Anne McClintock (neé Lefroy) in the library at Lisnavagh, apparently painted in August 1829, and attributed to Mayer.

Curiously, the Lisnavagh archives include a letter from to Captain W.B. McClintock from Lady Grey (mother of George Grey, later Secretary of State for the Home Department and for the Colonies] in which she refers to the Lefroy marriage as follows: '... I sincerely hope it will prove a comfortable union and that the Lord will in mercy restore him to a Christian course of life and bring his wife also to the true fold. ...' One wonders just how much John had deviated from the Christian course.

In the General Election of 1831, John McClintock Junior [or was this his father?] was elected MP for Co. Louth. That same year his sister, Catherine, married the Rev. George Gardiner of Bath. He may have been connected to Thomas George Gardener of Doonass, Co. Clare, whose daughter Anne married Colonel Anthony-Peter Lefroy and was mother to Tom Lefroy, sometime paramour of Jane Austen. Curiously Elizabeth Bennett goes to stay with a family called Gardiner at the end of 'Pride & Prejudice'. Catherine Gardiner died on 5th June 1834 and was buried at St Michael's Church, Bath.

John McClintock Junior served as High Sheriff for Co. Louth during 1840. By at least 1837, John and Anne were living at Dromiskin House (home to the Mc Mahon family by c. 2010) by Castlebellingham, Co Louth. In 1837 the first schoolhouse in Dromiskin was built with funds collected by Mrs. Anne McClintock (the future Lady Rathdonnell). Known locally as ‘the old old school’, it ran under the jurisdiction of the National Board of Education and provided for the education of Catholic children. In 1844, Patrick Quinn, the Principal, was awarded Lord Morpeth's Premium (awarded only in cases of special excellence). A farm known locally as the ‘Model Farm’ (presently inhabited by Mr. Tom Dooley) was provided, and young aspiring farmers were instructed in `Crop Rotation' under the supervision of Mr Quinn. The school evolved into present-day St Peter’s National School, Dromiskin. [Records of SCH007/ St Peter’s National School, Dromiskin, via Louth County Archives Service.

By about 1840 John was both a Justice of the Peace and a Major of the Louthshire militia. On April 2nd 1840, representing ‘the inhabitants of the County Louth’, he was one of a hundred gentlemen who presented an address of congratulation to the Queen and Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace after their marriage. (The Times, Friday, Apr 03, 1840; pg. 5; Issue 17322; col F)

On the fine, snow-speckled morning of Tuesday 16th November 1841, he attended the wedding at Castle Bellingham Church of his youngest half-sister Emily McClintock (aka Emily Selina Frances McClintock) and Mr John Wandersforde, D.L., the Castlecomer coal mining magnate from Co. Kilkenny.


On 29th September 1842 John's uncle, Tom Bunbury of Moyle and Lisnavagh, then in Paris, wrote to John's brother, William McClintock Bunbury, at Tynan Abbey, congratulating him on his engagement to Pauline Stronge and regretting that he would not be able to attend the marriage owing to my "arrangements here". He offered a gift of £5000 as a wedding present. In the letter he also asks where on earth John had got to? Tom died at his London residence, St. James's Hotel on 28th May 1846, aged 72. In his will, he 'gave, devised and bequeathed all his estates, freehold, copyhold and leasehold, to trustees therein named upon trust for his 70 year old brother, Kane Bunbury, for life, with two thirds remainder falling to his nephew, William Bunbury McClintock and his heirs, and one third remainder to his other nephew, John McClintock Jr.' He also left Kane 'for his own absolute use, the furniture, books, farming stock and implements, and other effects at Moyle – the plate for his life only', after which these were to go to John 'absolutely'. John was also left all Tom's furniture and effects at Bath, and at the St. James's Hotel, as well as a legacy of 50,000l sterling and 10,000l Irish currency, secured on mortgage. At this time, John was still living at Dromisken House, Castlebellingham, as confirmed by William Skey's work, "The Heraldic Calendar Alist of the Nobility and Gentry Whose Arms are Registered, and Pedigrees Recorded in the Herald's Office in Ireland' (1846).

There are two letters in the Rathdonnell Papers (G3/4) from 1846 that were sent to John McClintock by his first cousin Alexander E. McClintock who was clearly, the family's legal advise. The letters concern the descent of the Kane estates: "I have read the will of Redmond Kane, probate of which was granted in the year 1778. The trusts upon which his landed property are thereby devised are as follows: 1. to his daughter, Katharine, for life, then; 2. to his grandson, Kane Bunbury, and his male issue, in default of which, then; 3. to Thomas Bunbury and his male issue and, in default, then to the female issue of Katharine (your grandmother). The female issue is thereby expressly introduced in the line of inheritance, and therefore there can be no doubt but that, on the death of the survivor of your two uncles without lawful issue, the estates in question will descend to you under the will of Redmond Kane ...You have at present no disposing power over the estates that will descend to you on the death of your uncles, under the will of Redmond Kane; nor, on their death, would the absolute ownership be vested in you, it being further entailed on your issue and, in default, on your next brother. But you might acquire the absolute ownership by barring the entail in the usual way. …” He then goes on to discuss the 'Ulster Canal Company compensation money' [and, presumably, its bearings on the McClintock estate in Co. Fermanagh.

Another letter in the Lisnavagh archives written by John to his brother William and dated 19 December 1846 reads: '... Tighe was busy last night explaining all about your house [Lisnavagh]. He says it will cost £10,000, and that Kane will pay it all. I hope so, as I suppose he will give me an equivalent, otherwise, the savings which he talks about dividing between us by his will will be all moonshine. I think you will have got the oyster and I shall get the shells. I don't think you would conceive that just. He had better hold the balance fairly. What he does for one, either at present or future, he ought to do for the other, as I know you would wish him to do so; but I think you should say so to him. Of course, he can do as he likes with his own; but I am sure he would be sorry to show, and you would be the first to prevent his showing, any partiality for one over the other. Poor Tom said to me: "You know, William will require something more, as he will have to do things at Lisnavagh", alluding to your building, etc; and in consequence gave you two-thirds of the residue, to which I assented, upon which he seemed pleased. This feeling having arisen in my mind, I, as a brother, don't for a moment hesitate to express it. Kane is an easy-going man, and he may not have thought of the effect of his apparent partiality, but it is for you to point out to him, and insist upon his taking, the just and impartial course. ...'

John McClintock was presumably familiar with Daniel Robertson, the architect his brother employed to build Lisnavagh. Between 1837 and 1844, Robertson designed the gothic revival house at Carriglass for Thomas Lefroy, a cousin of Anne McClintock. Tom Lefroy, a Victorian Renaissance man of Huguenot descent, had been a paramour of Jane Austen in Bath during their youth. He went on to become Chief Justice of Ireland in 1852. In 1810 [check] he acquired the Carriglass estate and manor from its bankrupt Newcomen owners, the last Viscount having taken his own life. Carrigglas was sold by the Lefroys in the early 21st century and was taken over by NAMA in 2011.

In subsequent correspondence, there are references to the existence in 1862 of a bond for £10,000 which William had given to John (and which was partially offset by William's charges on the Louth estate), presumably as an equivalent for the £10,000 which William had received to build Lisnavagh.



“Accounts received from different parts of Ireland show that the disease in the potato crop is extending far and wide, and causing great alarm amongst the peasantry. Mr. John Chester, of Kilscorne House, in Magshole, Co Louth, in a letter to the Dublin Evening Post, states that he has a field of twenty acres of potatoes, which, up to the 3rd instant, had been perfectly dry and sound, when they were attacked by the blight, and three-fourths of them are so diseased and rotten that pigs decline to eat them. This, he says, is the case all through the county of Louth.” (Illustrated London News, 18 October 1845).

And yet between 1841 and 1851, the population of every townland and village without exception in Co Louth actually went up. The famine just did not affect the county, was what the late Gus MacAmhlaigh told me. It got as far as Westmeath but that was it.



G3/1 1838: 1850 Two letters to John McClintock, later 1st Lord Rathdonnell, from his father, John McClintock Junior of Drumcar, about the McClintock estate in Co. Fermanagh (Cleenagh, Clontaverin, etc), in-roads made upon it in connection with the Ulster Canal, 1838, the difficulties attendant upon its being held under a lease from the bishops of Clogher/the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for Ireland, etc.

G3/2 1840-1841 Correspondence of John McClintock [either Junior or the future 1st Lord Rathdonnell?] about a row over the running of the Dunleer dispensary, and particularly over the election of Dr Delap as dispensary doctor, vice Dr Ball. The principal correspondent is Charles Coote of Baggot Street, Dublin, and there are also a number of letters from the McClintocks' cousin and neighbour, Thomas Henry Skeffington, 2nd Viscount Ferrard, Oriel Temple, Collon, Co. Louth.

G3/3 1844-1846 Correspondence of John McClintock, the future 1st Lord Rathdonnell, about buying out the chief rent payable out of Drumcar. This is complicated by the fact that the head landlord, Charles Fortescue [of Stephenstown, Dundalk?], has run up debts of an alleged £80,000 on his property, and therefore has difficulty in making a good title.

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Above: John McClintock, 1st Lord Rathdonnell, at the time of his marriage in 1829. The portrait was
restored by Justin Laffan in 2018.

ELECTIONs 1842 - 1847 - 1852

John was was an unsuccessful candidate for County Louth in 1841. At the age of 49 he was all set to contest the General Election in 1847 but withdrew from the contest, as per these extracts from the Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser, Saturday 14 August 1847.


Gentlemen— It being well known amongst you that I had some intention of offering myself for the representation of this County at the recent election, having also issued an address to that effect, I feel called upon to guard myself, and you, from misrepresentation, by a public declaration of motives in not coming to a poll.
Gentlemen, I have only retired from this contest from an unwillingness to plunge this County in all the horrors it would have involved; while the absence of many of my most steady supporters, in England and elsewhere, would have made the issue doubtful. I feel confident, that, by so doing, I shall have indisposed none of you to support me on a future occasion.
Gentlemen, there never was a time when it so much behoved us all steadily to exert ourselves to obtain representatives whose character, principles, and stake in the country would ensure their support of all those measures having for their object the maintenance of our connexion with England, and the security of our established institutions. The question is no longer a question of party, but a question of civil and religious liberty.
A few years will determine whether the floodgates of democracy are to be thrown open, and its flood destroy all that is dear to us ; or whether its tide shall be stemmed, and real and abiding national improvement spring up in its place. The larger proportion of the property of this County is now, and has long been, unrepresented. To assert the independence of that portion was my object in offering myself to you.
I have now only to offer my sincere thanks to those amongst you who so cordially tendered me your assistance; and to declare readiness to come forward, on any future occasion, and aid you with my best services in maintaining the independence of the County, and true Conservative principles,
I am, Gentlemen, Your obliged and humble servant,
Drumcar, Aug. 12, 1847.

1852 was a difficult year for him. On 25 February 1852, the 74th Regiment, his old regiment, was involved in the HMS Birkenhead disaster when their ship was wrecked of Western Cape of South Africa. Of the approximately 643 people aboard, only 193 were saved. Their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Seaton, was among the dead. This lead to what became known as the "Birkenhead" Drill, enabling women and children on board to be saved.

John stood as Tory candidate for County Louth but was also defeated in the July election - despite spending a well above average £3500 on his campaign, a pretty penny. On 3 July 1852, a McClintock campaign posters say ‘To the Electors of Louth … I am pledged to no party’. Soon after the defeat, an election address was published by 114 persons, describing themselves as the 'Roman Catholic Farmers, Tradesmen and Labourers of John McClintock's estate at Drumcar'. In it they take objection to accusations made against the latter that he was a 'bigot' and 'had an inane hatred of the Catholic religion'. They pointed out that 'he had contributed to the construction of the Catholic church at Dillonstown, that he had never preferred a Protestant to a Catholic tenant and that when some tenants fell into arrears with their rents, he did not, as other landlords had done, evict them'. (67B)

The year ended badly for Co. Louth when a storm on Christmas Day 1852 sends two cranes working on the behind schedule Boyne Viaduct crashing down and bankrupting Evans the construction man. Sheep-wool was used to plug some of the gaps beneath the viaduct piers into which water was leaking. First train finally crossed over-budget and over-schedule on 5 April 1855 to provide a seamless link between Belfast and Dublin, a massive boost for Victorian Ireland.



Completed at a cost of £1550 and consecrated by the Bishop of Meath on 15th May 1845, the church at Drumcar is his legacy so it is fitting that he and his wife are buried in the Gothic Ruskin-inspired Mausoleum (1868). Further details of the church can be found here.

In 1850, while his father was living at Drumcar, John McClintock Jnr is recorded as living at Oriel Temple in Collon. (Thom’s Directory 1850).



On 20 July 1852 Anne McClintock's younger sister Sophia Anna Lefroy married the Rev. Ernest Hawkins (1801-1868), an English Anglican churchman and mission administrator who became canon of Westminster. The River Hawkins, which runs into the Selwyn River in Mid Canterbury. Another Lefroy sister Frances Phoebe Lefroy married George Kettilby Rickards, a Canterbury Association member. A man named HM Lefroy preceded HF A1st on as secretary of the Canterbury Association.

The following details are extracted from 'The Canterbury Association (1848-1852): A Study of Its Members’ Connections’ by Michael Blain (2007).

Born on 25 Jan 180, Ernest was the 6th son of Henry Hawkins, of Lawrence End, Kimpton co Hertford, a major in the East India Company, by his wife Anne Gurney only child of John Gurney, a merchant of Bedford, England. He was educated at Balliol College Oxford (matriculated 1820, 1824 BA; 1839 BD Oxford) and, having been ordained, returned to Oxford as a Fellow of Exeter College (1831-1852). From 1831 to 1835 he acted as an under-librarian of the Bodleian Library, and served the curacy of St. Aldate in the city of Oxford. Leaving Oxford about 1835 he undertook the curacy of St George's, Bloomsbury, London. In 1838 Hawkins was appointed an under-secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), and succeeded to the secretaryship in 1843. In the following year he became assistant preacher at Lincoln's Inn, and a prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral (1844-64), and in 1850 minister of Curzon Chapel, Mayfair. While he was secretary of the SPG the income of the society grew, and there was an increase of the colonial episcopate from eight to 47 sees. He attended the first meeting of the Canterbury Association on 27 Mar 1848, which was formed in order to establish a colony in what is now the Canterbury Region in the South Island of New Zealand. He proposed that the SPG should administer the ecclesiastical and educational aspects but the plan lapsed when the Association decided to administer the funds. From the High church connections of the National Society, he knew Thomas Jackson at the teacher training college in Battersea, and thought to propose him as the bishop for the see of Lyttelton in May 1860.

"Hawkins forms a very important link between the old High church loyalties shared by many in the Canterbury Association through to the Tractarian and rising Ritualist Movement that largely overtook or confounded such loyalties. Hawkins initiated a remarkable revival of the somnolent fortunes of the SPG; the annual income rose from £16,000 to £91,000, and in the churches overseas which it served, the episcopate increased from eight to forty-seven sees. As honorary secretary to the Colonial Bishoprics Fund, as well as secretary of the SPG, Hawkins formed close contacts with the colonial office and missionary workers, including Field the Tractarian bishop of Newfoundland (who later corresponded with Bishop Harper of Christchurch). As secretary to the Colonial Bishoprics Council in July 1845 Hawkins advised the archbishop of Canterbury about the needs of the diocese of Tasmania.” He resigned on 20 Feb 1851, just under 18 months before his marriage to Miss Lefroy.

At the time of the marriage he was minister of Curzon chapel at Mayfair, London, which position he held from 1850-1860. In 1859 he was elected vice president of Bishop’s College, Capetown, and he published works relating to history of missions. (‘Documents relating to the erection of bishoprics in the colonies’ (1844); ‘Manual of prayer for working men and their families’ (1856). His close friends included Francis Fulford, John Medley, bishop of Fredericton; and Edward Feild. He succeeded William Henry Edward Bentinck to become canon of Westminster in 1864, which he held until his death on 5 Oct 1868 at Dean’s yard, Westminster SW1. He was buried in the cloisters of the abbey on 12 October 1868.

Hawkins retained his interest in New Zealand. "In February 1863, he was in correspondence with Henry Pelham Pelham-Clinton, the Duke of Newcastle (as secretary of state for the colonies) about the precedent or justification for the archbishop of Canterbury to nominate colonial bishops. In June 1861 he (as secretary of the Colonial Bishoprics Fund) reported to the archbishop of Canterbury on the resolution of the Colonial Bishoprics Council (CBC) to add £1,000 to the endowment of the see of Brisbane, provided £2,000 was raised locally. In August 1862 Hawkins objected that the SPG and CBC were not consulted on the appointment to the bishopric of Goulburn NSW. In February 1865 CB Adderley as under secretary at the Colonial Office notified Tait the archbishop of Canterbury that he had written to Hawkins suggesting the Revd John Anderson rector of Norton-le-Moors as successor to Hobhouse as bishop of Nelson; he noted that George Lyttelton supported his suggestion, and that Anderson wished to go to Nelson. (Anderson continued as rector of Norton until 1877.) After John Henry Newman left the Church of England for the church of Rome, as one of the significant leaders of the Oxford Movement he was a rallying point for Anglo-Catholics in London. HJC Harper the 1st bishop of Christchurch sought Hawkin’s assistance as secretary for the SPG in funding for Maori work in North Otago, and in recruiting clergy for the diocese of Christchurch. Hawkin’s successor as secretary for the SPG, HW Tucker had a significant role in recruiting priests for the diocese of Christchurch in the 1870s."



The Marquess of Downshire wrote to Lord Derby in 1852, recommending John's father for a peergae but it never happened. It is notable that the Marquess refers to William's political career but says nothing of John. Perhaps Old Turnip might have won his peerage in in due course but he was already very senior and he died on July 12th 1855, at Drumcar, in his 85th year. John must have had cause to reflect on the Carlow Sentinel's obituary which referred to Old Turnip as ‘a patriot in the true sense of the term, being consistently opposed to the Union.’


image title

Above: Sir John Henry Lefory, KCMG, CB, FRS, brother-in-law of the 1st Lord Rathdonnell, painted
by Ossani in 1879. He was a distinguished magnetic scientist who became President of the Royal
Canadian Institute. In 1857 he was gazetted Inspector-General of army schools, whereby all
matters connected with regimental education were placed under his direction, and he at once
organised a large staff of trained school masters.


An interesting letter was sent to me in December 2009 by Sharon Lefroy, written by her great-great-grandfather, Sir John H Lefory, and suggests that all was not well in the McClintock family at the time of Old Turnip's death. Had he turned against his firstborn son in favour of his family by his second wife?

W.O July 12/ 55

My dearest Emmie

I was very glad to get your note this morning and to hear such good accounts. You were a good little soul to write me a long letter so soon. I hope you got mine I did not address Spring Cottage. I took tea yesterday at Anne’s. They were in some indignation with the Master’s Will. He leaves John the bare walls and bare acres; but no part of the Furniture – cellar, plate, etc. – not the crops; there are doubts whether he can give away the latter legally. It is an ungracious act. McC has for years given up as much to his family and it does not appear to have been softened by any mark of affection or gratitude to him, but I cannot feel indignant at it myself. The McC’s will have a very large fortune, and the second family a very small one. I am not so much in love with {illegible word} as to wish the see the Father of both families refrain from anything it is legally in his power to do for his widow of half a Century’s union and her children. They have been over 50 years married. John is expected back today or tomorrow. I took Emmie today to the Dowlings after a game at hide and seek with the family at large. Little Frazer was hid in the tall clothes basket and made Jack-in-the-Box to his own and their infinite delight. Harry goes to Cleveland Gardens . I dine on my way home at Dowlings. Magdalen has standing orders not to expect me if I am not home by 8. A small parcel has come from Sir John from Strongitharus (sp?), apparently a seal. Shall I send it? Also a few billet-doux like the one I sent yesterday morning.

Best love to all the party; I am glad the letters were so agreeable and look for mine next week.

Ever your affectionate

JH Lefroy

A telegraph dated to pm yesterday says we had silenced all [Redan?] against the Ministry.


John was nearly sixty at the time of this election. "At the general election in 1857 there were contests in county and town Mr McClintock, defeated in 1852, was prepared to renew the struggle and this time, with better assurance of success, Mr Montesquieu Bellew also entered the lists, supported by the powerful influence of Barmeath while the tenant right candidate Mr Tristram Kennedy relied on the votes of the tenant farmers and Mr Fortescue on his long and faithful services The result must have been exceedingly gratifying to this gentleman as also to his excellent brother Lord Clermont the former representative of the county. The votes were:
Mr Chichester Fortescue 1,376
Mr M Clintock 1,057
Mr Bellew 894
Mr Tristram Kennedy 406
Mr Fortescue and the Conservative candidate Mr McClintock were therefore declared the sitting members."
('The history of Dundalk, and its environs from the earliest historic period to the present time, with memoirs of its eminent men', John D'Alton, James Roderick O'Flanagan).

Box 2/9 of the Rathdonnell Papers includes a printed pamphlet of 1857, with MS alterations and comments, stating the high Ultramontane position of the Roman Catholic priesthood in Meath elections, 1850, together with a poem extolling John as a candidate for Co. Louth, 1857.

Dundalk was visited by his Eminence Cardinal Wiseman during his visit to Ireland in 1858. He was accompanied by Lord Bellew from Barmeath and his entrance into Dundalk on Friday 3rd September 1858 was one of the greatest public demonstrations ever made.


In 1859 the representation of the county was again contested. The Whig Party determined to return the two members while the Conservatives felt they had an equal claim to send both members representing their views on political matters. Accordingly, in addition to Mr M Clintock of Drumcar, they put forward Frederick J Foster Esq whose family long resident and respected had fair claims to seek the suffrages of the freeholders. The result however was not consonant to their wishes for though Mr M Clintock was supported by a much more numerous constituency than on any former occasion, 1,138 votes being recorded in his favour, he was left in a minority while Mr Foster in sporting phrase was no where. The numbers polled were
Mr Fortescue 1,379
Mr Montesquieu Bellew 1,208
Mr M Clintock 1,138
Mr Foster 23


Along with the Earl of Roden, Lord Clermont, Brown & Co and other principal inhabitants of Dundalk, Mr McClintock was one of the key shareholders in the Dundalk Corn Exchange and Market Company, founded in 1856 'for the purpose of supplying these desirable objects'. The Company accordingly purchased the old gaol premises at an expense of £2,000 and proposed to erect thereon a corn exchange a public exchange and news room with other commodious rooms attached for public purposes as also fish poultry egg vegetable fruit and general markets which on a moderate calculation would pay four per cent on the proposed capital of 5,000. Before the buildings were completed however a new joint stock company called The Dundalk Commercial Buildings and Market Company Limited was formed in the year 1861 and opened in July 1862 : capital £7,000 in 70 shares of £100 each. (The history of Dundalk, and its environs from the earliest historic period to the present time, with memoirs of its eminent men, By John D'Alton, James Roderick O'Flanagan (1864).

A letter from William McClintock-Bunbury (G/5/4) to his brother John, dated 1864, refers to an 'unhappy scene' at Drumcar which particularly affected relations between their wives and makes it imprudent for Pauline McClintock- Bunbury's wife to see Anne, John McClintock's wife, in the present delicate state of Pauline's health.

On 22 August 1865, The Newry Commercial Telegraph reports: 'John McClintock, Esq., DL, Mrs McClintock and suite, have left Drumcar for London, on their way to the Continent. (With thanks to Charley McCarthy).


That summer he was one of the principal mourners at his brother William's funeral in Rathvilly. On September 26 1866, the Nenagh Guardian (p. 4) quotes a story from the Daily Telegraph that 70-year-old John McClintock was likely to become a new peer and would 'probably assume the title of Baron Drumcar'. On 18 November 1866 he was made Lord Lieutenant for Co. Louth and the town of Drogheda, which posts he retained until death thirteen years later in 1879. [He was also Colonel of the Louth Militia (check).]

At the time of the captain’s death in June 1866 the Liberal government were falling from power, having split over the specifics of the proposed Reform Bill. The so-called Abdullamites within the Liberal party objected to the extremities of the bill and declared they were sticking to the principles of their late lamented party founder and leader, Lord Palmerstone, who had led the party to electoral victory before his death in 1865. However, following the bill's defeat in June, the Reform League host a lot of major rallies, kick-starting the trade unions with 150,000 arriving into Trafalgar Square on 29 June 1866, requiring either the police or the army to maintain order. This was Lord John Russell’s second administration; he had been prime minister during the latter part of the famine in the 1840s. Gladstone was his head honcho in the House of Commons; Gladstone’s father had made his fortune from slave plantations in British Guyana and Jamaica. It was Disraeli more than anyone who brought the Liberals down but with a rally of 200,000 in Hyde Park on 23 July 1866 and other pressures, the Tories were then obliged to champion the Reform Bill, which doubled the number of voters to two million. A little like Wellington overseeing the Emancipation of Catholics in 1829, the Reform Act was not a natural fit for the Tories.

In February 1868 Lord Derby resigned due to ill health and Disraeli became the fortieth prime minister of Great Britain or, as he put it, ‘I have climbed to the top of the greasy pole.’ One of his achievements during what was to be a relatively short premiership was to dispatch the successful expedition against Tewodros II of Ethiopia under Sir Robert Napier, in which Sir Harry Flashman also served. Under his guidance, the Reform Act had ended up even more radical than the Liberals had intended for various reasons, eliminating all the rotten boroughs and ensuring that one could no longer simply be elected on the back of one’s name or family. One would henceforth have to actually visit one’s constituents and hear their concerns, God forbid.

Another legacy of this tenure was the creation of a new Irish peerage: Baron Rathdonnell.

On 21 November 1868, Disraeli wrote to the Queen (5235):

‘Mr Disraeli with his humble duty to Yr Majesty.
There are now four Irish peerages extinct; and Y r Majesty has the power on the extinction of three, & after a certain period, wh: has now lapsed, to create a new Irish Peer.[i]
May Mr Disraeli recommend to Yr Majesty, Mr McClintock, Yr Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the County of Louth, & for a long period, member for that County? He is a gentleman of high character, & of extensive & unembarrassed possessions, & a constant resident on his estate.
Although the fury of the priesthood prevents Mr McClintock from now exercising his natural influence, in ordinary time she is esteemed & beloved by his Catholic neighbours, & was on the point of supporting Mr Preston,[ii] son of Lord Gormanston, the Premier Viscount of Ireland, & a Conservative altho’ a Roman Catholic, for the County of Louth: but the turbulence of the present moment renders this impossible.
In a more tranquil period, the McClintock family is something to rally around, & Mr Disraeli feels sure that the elevation of this gentleman to the Irish Peerage by Yr Majesty will be viewed by all loyal subjects of Yr Majesty in Ireland with grateful respect.
The three vacancies in the Irish Peerage wh: enable Her Majesty to create a peer
Earl of Clare Jan 10 1864
Visct Palmerston Oct 18 1865
Baroness Keith Nov 12 1867
The fourth extinction
Earl of Moira (Marq: of Hastings).’

The reference to ‘the turbulence of present moment’ relates to the impassioned arguments over the fate of the Church of Ireland, the established church, which was funded by direct taxation, a matter that was greatly resented by the Catholic majority. Gladstone’s proposal to disestablish the Irish Church entirely had united the Liberals under his leadership, while causing such divisions among the Conservatives that, even as he wrote to the Queen about McClintock, Disraeli’s government was falling apart.

Two days after his letter recommending McClintock, Disraeli was invited to dine with the Queen at Windsor. McClintock was presumably among the topics they discussed, as well as the likelihood of an election, although he simultaneously asked the Queen if she might ‘be graciously pleased to create’ a peerage for his wife (‘who has a fortune of her own’), namely Viscountess Beaconsfield, ‘a town with wh: Mr Disraeli has long been connected, & which is the nearest town to his estate in Bucks, wh: is not yet enobled.’ (5236) The Queen happily agreed and Disraeli’s wife became a Viscountess.

On 3 December 1868 John McClintock wrote (5235n1) to Disraeli from the Carlton Club to thank him for having recommended him to the Queen ‘to fill the vacant Irish Peerage, by the title of Baron Rathdonnell’ and also asked him to procure the Queen’s permission that his title ‘may descend to any Heirs, the male issue of my late brother Captain William McClintock Bunbury who for many years past represented the Co Carlow on Conservative principles … I am most anxious that the Title might be extended, after my death, to my late brother’s eldest son, to whom my landed property, in several counties in Ireland, will descend, which together with my own in Co. Carlow will form a considerable possession.’ (HC/I/A/88a).

On Sunday 6 December 1868, Disraeli wrote to Charles Freemantle (5276) from Downing Street: 'Dear Freemantle, The Queen approves of Ld Rathdonnell’s title being extended to the male issue of his late brother, as expressed in the enclosed. Loose not a moment in tomorrow in seeing, that this is alright. And if you have time, write a letter to Mr McClintock.'

The following day, the Prime Minister wrote to Freemantle again (5277): 'I am summoned to Windsor for my audience and taking leave, & shall not be back till 6 o’ck: when let me hear from you if necessary. Push Larcom’s Bartcy & Lord Rathdonnell’s peerage with limitation to his nephew, as I wrote to you yesterday.’

On 9 December, Rathdonnell wrote to Montagu Lowry-Corry (Disraeli's private secretary and a kinsman of Mathew Forde) to thank him for informing him of the Queen’s consent ‘to limit the succession of my Brother’s male issue’ and asked him to thank Disraeli for his ‘great kindness’. (HC/I/A/88b).

All this coincided with the general election on 7 December 1868, the first since the passage of the Reform Act, which had enfranchised so many male householders. As such it was also the first election in which more than a million votes were cast; nearly triple the number of votes were cast compared to the previous election. Rather as Churchill might have expected to win the post-war election in July 1945

Disraeli assumed his support for the Reform Act would win over the working class. However, when the act was passed, the Abdullamites re-joined the Liberals and galvanized support, including the trade unions, so that, au contraire, the working class did not hail him as their champion and the Liberals, led by his arch-rival Gladstone, increased their large majority over the Conservatives to more than 100 seats. And so the year ended with Gladstone commencing the first of his four terms as Prime Minister while Rathdonnell got his title in the nick of time before the Tories were plunged back into the political wilderness.

On December 21 1868 John McClintock was formally created Baron Rathdonnell in the Peerage of Ireland 'in recognition of his services to the Protestant and Conservative causes'. (Webster) His official title is Baron Rathdonnell of Rathdonnell, Co. Donegal, recalling the old ringfort of Rathdonnell in Trentagh, Co. Donegal, which was one of the first McClintock properties in Ireland. [iii] Located close to Letterkenny in the parish of Kimacrenan, this former stronghold of the O’Donnell chieftains was presumably seized when they lost their power after the Flight of the Earls in 1607, at about the time the McClintocks first arrived in Trentagh. The title was granted through a law that allowed one new peer of Ireland for every three peerages of that kingdom which became extinct. The preceding peerage created before Rathdonnell was that of Fermoy in 1856 which had proved such a fiasco many thought the Irish peerage was actually defunct. Although he had no son, 'the title conferred on this wide-spread and well-connected family will not become extinct, as there is a special remainder to the sons of his late brother', Captain William B McClintock Bunbury, RN, MP, the eldest of whom was Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury.


See: “Benjamin Disraeli Letters: 1868”, Vol. X, by Michel Pharand, Ellen L. Hawman, Mary S. Millar, Sandra den Otter, M.G. Wiebe (University of Toronto Press, 2014).

[i] There were actually three Irish peers created in 1868 – the Duke of Abercorn (10 Aug), the Marquess of Hamilton (10 Aug) and Baron Rathdonnell (21 Dec).

[ii] Jenico William Preston (1837-1907), GCMG, 14th Viscount Gormanston 1876, 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps 1855-60, high sheriff of Co Dublin (1865) and co Meath (1871), chamberlain to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1866-8) and governor of the Leeward Islands (1885-7), British Guiana (1887-93) and Tasmania (1893-1900).

[iii] A branch of the McClintock family was living at Rathdonnell House during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Rathdonnell House, built adjacent to the ringfort, was occupied by Samuel King who died of apoplexy aged 52 on 15t October 1831. (Death Notices, Kilmacrenan Parish, Co. Donegal. Transcribed from the Londonderry Sentinel 1829-69.)

It is to be noted that there are at least two other ‘Rathdonnells’ which may have helped inspire John McClintock to adopt the name. The first is what appears to be a townland called Rathdonnell, close to Dunleer, which was in existence as early as 1822. (See: http://www.jbhall.freeservers.com/1822_freeholders_mo_to_y.htm). There is a place called Rathdaniel, about 6 miles south west of Drumcar House, John McClintock's home. The second is a Rathdonnell (sometimes Rathdaniel) which appears on Lewis & Taylor's map of Ireland between Rathvilly and Baltinglass, close to the home of his mothers family, the Bunburys of Lisnavagh. As my father says, 'Quite a number of O'Donnell's may have had forts - how many Newcastles are there in England or Lochmor's in Scotland? It only became a problem when we learned to travel!'

Rathdonnell was one of eight Irish peerages created by Queen Victoria, the others being the Dukedom of Abercorn and the Baronies of
Athlumney, Dunsardle, Fermoy, Clermont, Bellew, Oranmore and, as of 1898, Curzon for the Viceroy of India. As the Marquise de Fontenoy wrote: ‘Irish peers, however, who are not representative peers, enjoy a distinct advantage over non- representative Scotch peers. For, whereas, the latter are ineligible for a seat in the House of Commons, and are debarred from taking part in any parliamentary election as voters, having, in fact, no franchise, although heavily taxed, the Irish non-representative peers can both vote at elections and occupy seats in the House of Commons.’


On 18 March 1869, John - erroneously referred to as "Viscount Rathdonnell" - was one of a hundred nobles and "upwards of a thousand Deputy Lieutenants, magistrates and country gentlemen" with Irish connections who signed a letter to The Times protesting against the proposed disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. He attended a meeting of the Diocesan Council of Armagh, presided over by the Lord Primate, and was among those subsequently elected to represent the laity. On 10th June he attended another debate on the future of the Church, presided over by the Duke of Rutland. The issue was discussed over lunch in Willis's Rooms, London, given by the supporters of the United Church of England and Ireland. He was again amongst the more prominent attendees at crisis talks in September hosted in Dublin's Molesworth Hall.

On 17 Feb 1870, the Belfast news-Letter observed that 'Lady Rathdonnell and suite have arrived at Buswell's family hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin, from Drumcar, County of Louth.’ On 20 April 1870, the Nenagh Guardian alerted readers that Lord Rathdonnell, as Lord Lieutenant of Co. Louth, would succeed the late lamented Earl of Roden in the office of Custos Rotulourm of that county. Sure enough he was formally appointed to the role on 5 May. That same year, he reported an important antiquarian discovery at Drumcar in the shape of Prince Tomar's Sword.

On 3 March 1871, the Freemans Journal reported that the Rathdonnells were, along with the Lord Chancellor, the foremost guests at a dinner party at the Vice-Regal Court with Earl Spencer, the Lord Lieutenant, and his wife. Eight days later, the same paper reported that the death of the Marquis of Westmeath had created a vacancy in the Irish Representative Peerage which, according to the Mail, was likely to be filled with the election of Lord Rathdonnell. But he did not get the seat. On 3 December 1872, the Limerick Chronicle likewise reported that the new Representative Peer, in the room of the late Lord Clarina, will be 'either Lord Rathdonnell or Lord Crofton.’ He did not get it then either.

When his nephew and designated heir Tom McClintock Bunbury expressed political ambitions in 1874, he wrote to him from Bath on 2nd February, urging Tom to ensure he had financial backing of his great-uncle Kane Bunbury ‘for you cannot stand unless at a good expense’. Rathdonnell also counselled ‘I am afraid you are rather late in the field – I should not be guided solely by Dunlop [presumably of Monasterboice], I say this between ourselves’. Both John and Tom were in attendance at Kane’s funeral that November. Ten days later, the Carlow Sentinal (November 14th 1874) reported: 'Lord and Lady Rathdonnell and suite have arrived at Moyle, Carlow, from Drumcar, County Louth.” As John had been at the funeral, he must have gone back to Drumcar in the meantime. On 31 November John was present for a special sessions meeting at which a new baronial constable and cess collector for the barony of Ardee was elected in place of the late Mr. Harmon. (Freemans Journal, Tuesday, December 01, 1874 Page: 6).

In January 1876 he convened a meeting of the magistrates of County Louth to congratulate the Queen and Princess on the recovery of the Prince of Wales. He attended the Queen's Levee at St James's Palace on 22 May.

Adam’s Country House Collections 2015 recorded as Lot 552 the sale of a Fee Farm Grant from Lord Rathdonnell to Thomas Connolly of Castletown concerning lands at Possedown, County Kildare. The lot comprised three leaves, in a clerk’s hand, on vellum, together with a solicitor’s cash ledger.

[In 1873, I assume Lord Rathdonnell had one eye on the development of Greenore across the bay from Drumcar, on the shore of Carlingford Lough. Opened by Earl Spencer, the Viceroy, it was a purpose-built tourism centre, complete with ferries, a railway station, hotels and horse drawn traps to bring guests to participating in is for lunch and such like.]


Anne McClintock (nee Lefroy), Lady Rathdonnell, was apparently petrified of Russians. In 1878 the expression ‘By Jingo!’ came into existence as part of the anti-Russian music hall songs. I am sure Lady Rathdonnell sang along. According to her great-nephew, CEC Lefroy, she was "a constant student of Prophecy" and became convinced that Russia was the "Great Beast" of the Book of Revelations. CEC Lefroy described Drumcar thus. "In the year 1877, Uncle John was a gentle, very sensitive, lovable old man of nearly 80. His heart's desire has always been for peace and quiet. Of very talkative people he would say, "they would bother a rookery". He was a Conservative to the backbone; a lover of old days and old ways. The social, political and moral changes, which he perceived to be taking place in the World (even then), disturbed him greatly. "Shocking". "Shocking. "Shocking". Were the words which frequently fell from his lips. To me he seemed to take very kindly from the first. For two summers before he died (in May 1879) I spent my holidays at Drumcar. I can well imagine his evident pleasure in tipping me with a half-a-sovereign when he said good bye to me, for what he plainly felt would be the last time of seeing me- and such it proved. [Aunt Anne] had been very handsome in her youth and bore herself with much grace and dignity (also authority) in her old age. She was widely known in County Louth as "Queen Anne". She certainly ruled her domain in a queenly manner. As the eldest member of her family she had always played a great part in its life, for she possessed remarkable will-power and strength of mind. In earlier years she and Uncle John had traveled much on the Continent and had spent several winters in Italy and had moved among intellectual and cultured people. It was her energy and deep political convictions which got Uncle John into Parliament for Count Louth and in the end secured the peerage for him". After Uncle John's death she gave a home for ten years to our sisters Annie and Freda. It was a home with great ideals of life and its responsibilities. The conversation, whether of past, present or future, was always pitched high; always worth listening to. Deeply religious, ready for merriment and hearty laughter; a buoyant, courageous, hopeful nature. All through life she was in touch with interesting people. I remember meeting several times in Chester Square the Hon. Frederica Plunket, famous then as the first woman to climb the Matterhorn, and her sister the Hon. Kate Plunket, now equally famous for having lived 112 years. It must be gratefully recorded that during her ten years of widowhood Aunt Rathdonnell saved no less than £80,000, which she distributed very widely among various nephews and nieces, a wonderful boon and blessing to them all".

In the winter of 1877, Lord Rathdonnell was listed as a subscriber to the Turkish Compassionate Fund, established by the Baroness Burdett-Coutts as a relief fund for the Mohammedan victims of the Turko-Russian war, who, driven out of their homes, sought refuge in Constantinople, the capital of their monarch, the sultan.



On May 30 1877, John Rathdonnell’s 97-year-old stepmother Lady Elizabeth McClintock passed away. On 12 July 1877, the Freemans Journal noted Lord and Lady Rathdonnell had arrived at Kingstown from England.

John McClintock, 1st Lord Rathdonnell, died at Drumcar early on the morning of Sunday 18 May 1879, aged 82. 'His Lordship was quite well on Saturday,' reported the Glasgow Herald (20 May 1879) 'and was out driving along the sea coast. Late at night he became suddenly ill, and died shortly afterwards.' His obituary appeared in The Annual Register (Vol. 121, p. 189, Edmund Burke, Rivingtons, 1880): John McClintook, 1st Baron Rathdonnell, was born in 1798. He began life in the army, but soon quitted it for civil life, although at the time of his death he was colonel of the Louth Militia, for which county he was elected after repeated contests in 1857 as the Conservative member. He sat, however, for only two years. In 1868 he was granted the Irish Peerage of Rathdonnell, with remainder to the son of his brother, Captain William McClintock Bunbury, for some time member for County Carlow. Lord Rathdonnell, although a strong Conservative in politics, was personally popular. He was Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the county of Louth, and of the town and county of Drogheda. In 1829 he married Anne, eldest daughter of Rev. I. H. G. Lefroy of Ewhott House , Hants. The Glasgow Herald also noted that he had 'contested the county in the Conservative interest no less than five times, but only succeeded in being returned on one occasion—namely, in 1857—when the Liberal interest was divided. He was defeated, however, at the next general election in 1859.'

His nephew Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury succeeded as 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, as well as to Drumcar House and all the McClintcok estates. [The size of Tom's Irish estates subsequently increased to 18,923 acres (gross annual value: £15,400). Broken down into counties, this comprises of Carlow (8058), Louth (3000), Tyrone (2886), Fermanagh (2600), Meath (1215), Monaghan (1006), Dublin (600) and Kildare (558). Tom's brother Jack has a further 3098 acres at Moyle (g. an. Val. £2741).]

Anne survived him by a decade, during which time her brother General Sir John Lefroy visited and made an exceptional discovery, as relayed in Bassett’s Louth County Guide and Directory [date unclear, but reprinted by County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society, 1998, p. 216]: "Greenmount, one mile south of Castle Bellingham, is a place of more than ordinary antiquarian interest. On the way there is a row of neatly-kept cottages, with fronts partly covered by rose bushes. The mount is on the estate of the Dowager Lady Rathdonnell, and is probably of Danish origin. It occupies the top of a hill, which at the north side is precipitous, and consists of a tumulus and flat embankment. Some years ago General Sir J. H. Lefroy, while on a visit to his sister, Lady Rathdonnell, at Drumcar, excavated the tumulus, and found a bronze plate with runes, a bronze celt, a bone harp-peg, and an apothecary's weight. The plate was presented to the Royal Irish Academy, and the rest of the articles are in possession of the Dowager Lady Rathdonnell. General Lefroy wrote an interesting paper on the subject, which was published in the Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. For several months after the excavations were made hundreds of visitors from different parts were drawn to the mount by curiosity. The story current in the neighbourhood is that General Lefroy was “called to the wars” before he had completed his self-imposed task, and that some day he is to return to it. Greenmount is supposed to have been used as an assembly-place by the first Parliament ever held in Ireland.

The Right Hon. Anne, Dowager Lady Rathdonnell, died at Drumcar on 22 December 1889, aged 82. Her obituary appeared in the London Illustrated News of 4 January 1890, which valued the personalty of 'Lady Rathdonnell of Drumcar, County Louth, and 80, Chester-square' at £45,000. In June 1893 (14-16 and 19), the considerable £5,000 marriage settlement made on Anne at the time of her 1829 marriage to John McClintock came before the Queen’s Bench when Her Majesty’s Attorney General, informant, took on Tom Rathdonnell and the Rev. T. C. Seymour, defendants. This is a long and convoluted trial and I am open to being corrected here but the bones of it is that Tom claimed a sum of £4000 following his aunt's death. It would seem the Revenue were seeking estate duty and stamp duty from the settlement and alleged that Tom was basically tax dodging contrary to the terms of the 1881 Customs Act. However, Palles CB held in Tom’s favour and reckoned he should not to have to pay any duty on the settlement. Tom was represented by S.S. & E. Reeves & Sons, solicitors. [For full details of this case, see Q.B. & Ex. Divisions. Vol. XXX11, p. 575, AG v. Rathdonnell. With thanks to Nicholas McNicholas].

It is to be noted that Lieut.-Colonel Hugh Bonham-Carter (1834-1896), Coldstream Guards, also gave his address as 80, Chester-Square at this time. He was a father of Air Commodore Ian Malcolm Bonham-Carter (1882–1953) who served as Duty Air Commodore in the Operations Room of Headquarters RAF Fighter Command during World War Two and who may thus have become well acquainted with another Lady Rathdonnell! Hugh’s brother Henry was great-grandfather to the actress Helena Bonham-Carter while another brother Alfred was great-grandfather to the actor Crispin Bonham-Carter.

One of the light windows beside the chancel in Drumcar Church is inscribed: "To the beloved memory of John, First Baron Rathdonnell, born Aug. 26, 1798, Called to Rest in Christ May 17, 1879." The west window has a brass inscribed: "This window was placed in loving memory of Anne Lady Rathdonnell, 1890."


The Rathdonnells earned an unlikely cameo in a romantic novel called 'A Tale of Two Lovers' by Maya Rodale (Avon, 2011), from the “Writing Girls” historical romance series) is described as 'a wonder, chronicling the deliciously passionate twists and turns that ensue when The London Weekly’s fearless gossip columnist, the “Lady of Distinction,” ruins her reputation by slandering the notorious Lord Roxbury, leaving them both no recourse except marriage…to each other!’ The relevant extract reads as follows:

“My lord. Will you be needing to dress for the ball at Lord and Lady Rathdonnell’s tonight?” Timson asked.

“Rathdonnell? Ball?” Roxbury echoed. It’d been some time since an invitation graced his home.

“You had replied favorably to the hostess when she sent her invitations out.”

“When was that?”

“A few weeks ago,” Timson said with a shrug.

“Ah. Before.”

Timson wisely elected not to say anything. Like anyone else, he read the papers.

“Well, I don’t know if I shall attend,” Roxbury said grandly, sipping his brandy. Since he might not take a wife after all, that certainly negated any reason for him to go.

Yet, a glance around the study at the fire in the grate and all the fine things gave him second thoughts.

Timson leaned against the doorframe, utterly bored.

“The invitation has not been revoked, which suggests that Lady Rathdonnell is half hoping that I will come if only to provide amusement for her guests and fodder for the gossip columns.”

Timson sighed.


(1) Jane Austen's time in Bath and the influence which the city had on her writing is celebrated in a permanent exhibition at The Jane Austen Centre

(2) The Rev. Lefroy was a grandson of Anthony Lefroy and Elizabeth Langlois and a son of the Rev. Isaac Peter George Lefroy. On 22nd July 1818, he succeeded to the estates of his uncle Henry Maxwell at Ewshot House and Ramsbury in Wiltshire. Henry Maxwell Esq also left £1m 238.15s 2d on trust as a fund for the endowment of a school to be called Oliver's Charity School. The school was intended for the education of seventy-two boys of labourer in husbandry and journeymen mechanics and twelve boys of small farmers and master tradesmen. In 1835 the school was also made available for girls - prior to this the girls school was conducted in the old boys school in Church Street. It became a National School in 1875 - see www.fleethants.com/allhistory/fleet/main.htm The impaled arms of Lefroy and Cotterell can be found in the top left corner of Crondall Church - see www.heraldry-online.org.uk/hart_heraldry/crondall.htm

(3) Thomas's father, Anthony Lefroy, settled in Ireland in 1760. Thomas was born in 1776, the eldest boy of twelve siblings, and in an illustrious life was to become MP for Trinity University, Dublin; Privy Councillor to Queen Victoria, A Baron of the Exchequer in 1841 and in 1852 Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. He died in 1869 aged 93. Tom Lefroy went on to be come Chief Justice of Ireland in 1852.
"I am almost afraid to tell you," Jane wrote to her sister Cassandra, "how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together. I can expose myself, however, only once more because he leaves the country soon after next Friday, on which day we are to have a dance at Ashe. He is a very gentlemanlike, good-looking, pleasant young man I assure you. But as to our having ever met, except at the three last balls, I cannot say much; for he is so excessively laughed at about me at Ashe that he is ashamed of coming to Steventon." She concludes her letter by saying: "After I had written the above we received a visit from Mr. Tom Lefroy and his cousin George. The latter is really very well behaved now; and as for the other, he has but one fault, which time will, I trust, entirely remove - it is that his morning coat is a great deal too light. He is a very great admirer of Tom Jones, and therefore wears the same coloured clothes, I imagine, which he did, when he was wounded." Writing a few days later she remarks: "Our party at Ashe tomorrow night will consist of Edward Cooper, James (for a ball is nothing without him), Buller, who is now staying with us, [Page 70] and I. I look forward with great impatience to it, as I rather expect to receive an offer from my friend in the course of the evening. I shall refuse him, however, unless he promises to give away his white coat." On the day of the ball she writes : "At length the day has come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, and when you receive this it will be over. My tears flow as I write at the melancholy idea."[1]
This leads me to suppose that the society in which the McClintocks and Bunburys of the early 19th century operated was not dissimilar to that depicted in Jane Austen's novels.

(4) The exact spot where the accident took place was "where the narrow lane from Polehampton crosses the Overton Road". Chapter VII, Jane Austen: Her Homes & Her Friends (John Lane The Bodley Head, 1923) by Constance Hill.

(5) Cannon, Historical Record of the 74th Regt, p.105. The 74th Regiment of Foot was a Highland regiment originally raised as the Argyll (or Argyle) Highlanders in December 1777 by Colonel John Campbell of Barbreck, who had served during the Seven Years' War. The recruits were to be at least 5' 4" tall and aged 18 through 30. Of the original 1082 men authorized, 982 were raised: 684 Highlanders, 282 Lowlanders, 12 English and 9 Irish. At the first muster on 13 April 1778, 77 men were underage, 192 men were overage, 149 men were too short and 17 were in gaol. They were first sent to Halifax in August 1778, where it was garrisoned with the 80th and 82nd regiments. In the spring of 1779, the regiment was split into ten companies, eight companies being sent to Penobscot, Maine, and the grenadier company, under Capt. Ludovick Colquhoun of Luss, along with the light company, under Captain Campbell of Bulnabic, being sent to New York. The connection to Colquhoun of Luss is interesting as Luss is where the McClintocks are said to have come from.