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Captain William McClintock Bunbury, Part 3: Lisnavagh House & Westminster MP (1835-1866)

I think this is Captain William McClintock Bunbury in later life.



Part 3 takes up from William’s retirement from the navy, after 20 years at sea, and the complete revolution in his life in 1846 when, in the space of 5 weeks, he succeeded to his wealthy uncle’s fortune and became MP for Carlow, just as Peel’s government collapsed and the potato blight began to scorch the land. It looks at his sojourn in County Fermanagh, his marriage into the Stronge family of Tynan Abbey, his political term at Westminster, the construction of Lisnavagh House, the Great Hunger and other contemporaneous events.



1835 Further Events


  • Jan 14: Thomas Kavanagh of Borris and his son-in-law Colonel Henry Bruen elected for Carlow in the General Election for the Tory party, but the election was declared null and void, and a new election called for in June. See also under Thomas Bunbury, MP.
  • March 30: 10,000 people gathered on the streets of Carlow to witness the last public hanging that ever took place in the town. The luckless duo to face the hangman’s noose were Lucinda Sly, a 58-year-old Protestant landowner, and her 26-year-old lover John Dempsey, a Catholic labourer who worked for her. At the murder trial, William and his uncle Thomas Bunbury both sat on the Grand Jury


1836 Further Events


  • March: Bunbury town, Australia, founded by Lieutenant Henry William St. Pierre Bunbury.
  • April: Grand Orange Lodge, hampered by prohibitions against their demonstrations and dismissals of sympathetic magistrates, disbands.
  • May 20: An act amalgamates the county constabulary and Peace Preservation Force into a centralized police force – the Irish Constabulary – which will later become the Royal Irish Constabulary. The Dublin Metropolitan Police is also established.
  • June 19: Death of 22-year-old,Walter Kavanagh, eldest son of Thomas Kavanagh. He had played in three first-class cricket matches for Cambridge University and the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1834.
  • July 13: Nelson St George hosts a ball and supper at Altamont.
  • Oct 2: Darwin returns after five years at sea on the Beagle.
  • Daniel Robertson working on Dunleckny Manor.
  • ‘WB McClintock, who afterwards changed his name to McClintock Bunbury … at the age of 36 years became a commander.’ [1]


The Great Trek, 1836


In 1834, the British abolished slavery in South Africa. The Boer burghers were offered remuneration but on the absurd condition that they went to London in person to get it. This was one reason why they were inspired to make the Great Trek in 1836 to create their own autonomous Boer republics, aka the South African Republic (known as the Transvaal), the Orange Free State, and the Natalia Republic. That same year, 35 voortrekkers under the command of Andries Potgieter, brilliantly repulsed a major attack by a force of 5,000 Matabele in the battle of Vegkop. Among those present was 11-year-old Paul Kruger, who loaded guns for the older men during the battle.

On 6 February 1838, the Voortrekker leader Piet Retief met with the Zulu King Dingane for an event that was supposed to be a celebratory day confirming their land grant. However, like the Red Wedding in G.O.T., the ambience changed dramatically midway through the day when Dingane screamed out a command to kill the Boers. Retief was made to watch while his 100-strong delegation was clubbed to death, including his son, before he was likewise murdered. The victims were impaled on Zulu spears as part of the ritual. The Zulu impis then went on the rampage and killed 41 more Boer men, 56 women and 185 children in the Wassen Massacre.


Death of the Rev. Alexander McClintock, 1836


On 6 August 1836, William’s 61-year-old uncle, the Rev. Alick McClintock passed away in Wexford after a long illness.  He had been rector of Newtown Barry when fourteen people died in Bunclody during a horrible incident of the Tithe Wars. His brother Henry wrote that ‘he had been ill for more than a year with some inward complaint & died near Enniscorthy (where he had removed for the benefit of sea air) in the County Wexford. Alick and Nancy had nine children who were first cousins of Captain William McClintock Bunbury and the 1st Lord Rathdonnell. At this time, Alick’s eldest son, the Rev. Henry Fitzalan McClintock, A.M., was Prebendary and Vicar of Ballymodan (Bandon).


Death of Lord Clancarty, 1837


On 24 November 1837, life at Drumcar came to a brief halt with the news of the death of Lady Elizabeth McClintock’s brother, the 2nd Earl of Clancarty, at Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath. He was succeeded by his eldest son, William Le Poer Trench (1803-1872). Captain McClintock Bunbury was in the Louth neighbourhood, as he drove from Drumcar to visit his uncle Henry on 27 November.


Scottish Tour of 1837


The Lisnavagh archives (G/10) contain a diary from 1837, indicating that William went on a tour of his ancestral homeland, Scotland. This includes a hotel bill from Edinburgh.


1837 Further Events


  • February:  County Carlow plunged into what The Times described as an electoral campaign of great ‘turbulence and excitement‘ as William’s uncle Thomas Bunbury of Moyle is called back from Bath to represent the Conservative interest alongside Colonel Bruen
  • June 21: William IV, the Sailor King, died on 21 June 1837 and his 18-year-old niece Princess Victoria succeeded as Queen of Britain and Ireland. Tom Bunbury and Henry Bruen duly stood for the Tories in Carlow in ensuing election.
  • July 25: First electric telegraph in Britain.
  • Captain McClintock Bunbury purchased a complete volume of Wilberforce’s Memoirs when they were published in 1837, so he evidently had an interest in what the man who abolished slavery had to say.
  • In India, Hugh Gough is given command of the Mysore division of the Madras Army.
  • William Tighe appointed High Sheriff for Co. Carlow.
  • Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) begins mapping Ireland, ultimately producing hand-drawn maps of the entire country. These maps, drawn at a scale of 6 inches to a mile, were etched in reverse on copper plate, printed in grayscale and then hand coloured. Now after three years of work, ESRI Ireland, a geographical information systems firm working for the OSI has taken these historic maps and joined them together seamlessly. The ultimate goal is to make them available online.
  • The two-storey Royal Arcade, formerly the General Post Office, on College Green, Dublin – is completely destroyed by fire. It was purchased by entrepreneur George Homes who commissioned the architect Francis Johnston to convert it into what was probably Dublin’s earliest shopping centre.
  • In the small hours of 6 April 1837, Henry Beresford, Earl of Tyrone (later 3rd Marquess of Waterford), Edward Raynard and his fox-hunting pals arrived in Melton Mowbray at the Thorpe End tollgate in a state of intoxication. They nabbed a pot of red paint and then painted the whole town red. Henry also drove from Dublin to Waterford, knocking the balls off every gate post they passed.


1838 Further Events


  • April 4: The Sirius, the first ship to cross the Atlantic entirely under steam, arrived in New York after a voyage of 18 days, 4 hours and 22 minutes (8.03) knots. A side-wheel wooden-hulled steamship, she was built in 1837 for the London-Cork postal route operated by the Saint George Steam Packet Company. The ship was commanded by Richard Roberts, a direct contemporary of William McClintock Bunbury who was chasing slaver ships up the West Africa coast in age just as engine power was emerging. The captain must have had a craggy salty face! Who was Daphne D. C . Pochin Mould, author of “Captain Roberts of the Sirius”? Tim, 3rd Lord Rathdonnell, had a Victor Pochin as best man at his wedding.
  • July 31: Irish Poor Laws passed into law, suggesting that the Government is finally addressing problem but their direct and high-handed manner earn them more resentment than respect.
  • Box Tunnel constructed between December 1838 and June 1841 for the Great Western Railway under the direction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The 2.95km tunnel passes through Box Hill, where Captain McClintock Bunbury’s mother Jane was killed four decades earlier, on the Great Western Main Line between Bath and Chippenham.
  • Autumn: Outbreak of Afghan War between Britain and Afghanistan (until 1842) leads to the fall of Governor-General Auckland and his replacement by Lord Ellenborough.
  • Brougham carriage, a four-wheel (sometimes two) one-horse carriage designed by Henry (later Baron) Brougham, a former Lord Chancellor of England, with a capacity of two to four persons. Colonel Kane Bunbury had one which he liked very much.
  • The final voyage of HMS Temeraire, a veteran of Trafalgar, which was towed up the Thames to be broken up. She was depicted in a J. M. W. Turner oil painting greeted with critical acclaim, entitled ‘The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up, 1838‘. The immediate legacy of the Temeraire was the use of the timber taken from her as she was broken up – to create a gong stand (a wedding present to the future King George V on his marriage to Mary of Teck), as oak chairs (now in the possession of the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, Lloyd’s Register, London & the Whanganui Regional Museum), as the frame for an oil painting by Sir Edwin Landseer entitled ‘Neptune’, and as a mantelpiece made for Beatson’s office, supported by figures of Atlas supposedly taken from Temeraire‘s stern gallery. One thinks of John Ruskin’s essay which claimed that “Perhaps, where the low gate opens to some cottage garden, the tired traveller may ask, idly, why the moss grows so green on its rugged wood, and even the sailor’s child may not answer nor know that the night dew lies deep in the war rents of the wood of the old Temeraire.”


1839 Further Events


  • Jan 3: Every person in Ireland must have been greatly affected by the events of the first week of January 1839. It began with the assassination of the 3rd Earl of Norbury, grandson of the famous Hanging Judge who sentenced the Finnegan Gang of Rathvilly to death back in 1822. Lord Norbury died at midday on Thursday January 3rd having been shot in the lung and arm with eight slugs of a gun while strolling down one of the avenues of his home at Durrow Castle two days earlier.
  • Jan 6: The Night of the Big Wind. Over 15,000 trees were apparently uprooted from the Clancarty estate. A further 20,000 were lost on the estate of the Charlevilles. In Carlow, Oak Park and Browne’s Hill experienced similar losses and one assumes the Lisnavagh estate was similarly hammered. 700 trees were felled at Adare Manor. At Moydrum Castle in County Westmeath, Lady Elizabeth McClintock’s brother-in-law, 78-year-old William Handcock, 1st Viscount Castlemaine was killed when the storm blew his bedroom window open with such force that he was flung onto his back and ‘expired instantly’. [6] Ireland was devastated although only about 400 died. Norman tower houses and old churches collapsed. Factories and barracks were destroyed. Fires erupted in the streets of Castlebar, Athlone and Dublin. The wind blew all the water out of the canal at Tuam. It knocked a steeple off Carlow Cathedral and a tower off Carlow Castle. It stripped the earth alongside the River Boyne, exposing the bones of soldiers killed in the famous battle 150 years earlier. Roads and railway tracks in every parish became impassable. All along the Grand Canal, trees were pulled up by the roots and hurled across the water to the opposite bank. Perhaps this was the moment when families like the Clancartys began to harden in their religious beliefs. Certainly, many who witnessed the carnage of that dreadful night were inclined to think the Day of Judgment was close at hand. The annals noted that Dublin was “visited by a hurricane of unprecedented ferocity”.
  • April 19: Britain and Prussia are amongst those who pledge to defend Belgian neutrality at the Treaty of London. This is what would lead Britain into the First World War long decades later.
  • May 1 – early September: One of the wettest summers in recent Irish history commences, with hardly a dry day, following the devastation of the Night of the Big Wind the previous year.
  • July 5: Death of Lady Flora Hastings, after which Victoria’s popularity plummeted and the newspapers became obsessed with Victorian gossip.
  • July 9: William’s half-brother Stanley McClintock marries Gertrude La Touche at St Peter’s Church, Dublin.
  • July: Robert FitzRoy published the third volume of his account of the Beagle voyage. In fact, this volume ‘Journals and Remarks, 1832 – 1836‘ was the first version of Darwin’s account of the voyage. A few weeks later, in August, the same text was published with a different title, ‘Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries visited by HMS Beagle‘.
  • Both Foot and Mouth Disease and Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia appear in Ireland, probably for the first time. They may have been introduced by the same animals, imported by the Cloncurry family into Cork from the Netherlands. The family however later denied that such an event had ever occurred. [9]
  • Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist.


The Paget – McClintock Marriage


On 24 January 1840, Charles Paget was married secondly to Leopold McClintock’s sister, Emily Caroline McClintock, first cousin of William and daughter of Henry McClintock. See Paget here.


Sheriff John McClintock


William’s brother John McClintock (later 1st Baron Rathdonnell), at the time of his marriage in 1829. The portrait was restored by Justin Laffan in 2018.

William’s brother John McClintock Junior served as High Sheriff for Co. Louth during 1840. On 2 April 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.[10]


The Clive-Somerset Marriage, 1840


William’s first cousin Theophilus Clive jun., son of Theophilus and Fanny (nee McClintock) Clive, was married in Florence on 23 April 1840 to Frances Caroline Somerset, second daughter of General Lord Edward Somerset, GCB, (1776-1842) who was himself the fourth son of the 5th Duke of Beaufort.

Theophilus jun. died on 1 August 1875, leaving a son Colonel Henry Somerset Clive (b. 9 January 1841) who was married firstly in December 1862 to Ada Blanche Thomas, and secondly on 19 June 1879to Ellen Lizzie Lugard, daughter of Lt.-Col. H. W. Lugard.


Death of Uncle William McClintock, 1840


On 30 November 1840, William’s 63-year-old uncle William Foster McClintock died. Born on 18 October 1777, he was the third son of Bumper Jack McClintock and a younger brother to John McClintock of Drumcar. In 1803 he married Mary, daughter of Major General Helden, with whom he had issue.


1840 Further Events


  • January 3: While traveling from Kilkenny to Dublin, the composer Franz Liszt had luncheon in Carlow.
  • Jan 10: Penny Post introduced by Sir Rowland Hill.
  • Feb 10: Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert.
  • Feb 11: William’s first cousin Hester McClintock, daughter of the Rev Alick McClintock, was married – as his second wife – to Walter Hussey de Burgh, JP, of Donore House, Co. Kildare, and Dromkeen House, Co. Limerick. He was a grandson of the famous orator Walter Hussey Burgh, Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
  • May 23: The first Mormon mission arrives in Ireland.
  • Oct 25: 58 municipal corporations dissolved, and the administration of boroughs merged with those of the counties.


General Election, 1841 – Bunbury & Bruen vs. O’Connell & Yates


The old front avenue to Lisnavagh, up which Captain Bunbury would have driven his carriage in the 1850s. Photographed circa 2005.

On 17 July 1841, Disraeli wrote to his wife Sarah from London that ‘good accts [have] just arrived from Dublin and Carlow – the first safe, as it is polled out – and Bruen and Bunbury at the end of the 3rd day 34 ahead’. [13] For details of the victory of  Thomas Bunbury and Colonel Bruen, see under 1841 here.

The result of the election was challenged and there seems to have been a collection to finance his defence of the election petition. When he received a petition for the erection of a new church (see Bruen Testimonial Church, beglow) and the petitioners had only £2,000 in hand, he agreed to cover the rest of the cost from the funds raised for his case – presumably the money not having been needed after all.



The Wandesforde Marriage of 1841


On the fine, snow-speckled morning of Tuesday 16 November 1841, William’s youngest half-sister Emily McClintock (aka Emily Selina Frances McClintock) was married in Castle Bellingham Church, County Louth, to John Wandesforde, D.L., the Castlecomer coal mining magnate from Co. Kilkenny. He descended from Sir Christopher Wandesforde, who sided with Queen Elizabeth in the Great Northern Rebellion, for which he was made a Knight of Greenwich and awarded  Kirklington, the principal family seat in North Yorkshire. His grandson, also Sir Christopher Wandesforde, was granted 35,000 acres of land on the Castlecomer plateau in 1635 by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The plateau had previously belonged to the Brennan Clan of Idough. Sir Cyprian Horsefield had extracted iron ore in the area previous to Wandesforde acquiring the land. Sir Christopher, who also took over the iron works, brought 600 men from the Borders area of England and Scotland with him to Ireland. At least some of these men are likely to have had expertise in mining and farming. [16]

John Wandesforde was the eldest son of the Hon. Charles Wandesforde, MP and brother to the 2nd Marquess of Ormonde. The Rev Robert McClintock performed the ceremony which was packed to the rafters and followed by ‘a grand dejune’ for 44 guests at Drumcar. The 44 included the Wandesfordes, the Marquis of Ormonde and senior members of the Balfour, Fortescue, Le Blanc, Lefroy, Trench, Maxwell, Tighe, Woolsey and Longfield family. William and his brother John also attended, as did Stanley and George. Henry McClintock records all their names in detail as well as the fact ‘there was plenty of champagne and claret at the dejune … at quarter past two, the bride and bridegroom set out in his chaise with four horses for Dublin – they are to stop at Tommy’s Hotel in Sackville St & go on tomorrow or next day to Newtown, not far from Castle Comer, where Mr Prior lives‘. Henry returned home later and ‘took tea & eggs &c“, presumably to sober up a little.

One presumes talk was still relatively fresh of a scandal from two years earlier when C.B. Wandesforde’s gamekeeper shot dead a son of Dr O’Reilly of Carlow after that ‘fine young gentleman’ had fired at a crow in 1839.[17]

Did having a Wandesforde as a brother-in-law help the captain in terms of a coal supply at Lisnavagh in the years to come?

John Wandesforde passed away on 26 June 1856. There were no children. The Wandesforde papers are held by the NLI and are available online.

1841 Further Events

  • The Church at Tynan where William McClintock Bunbury married Pauline Stronge in the autumn of 1842.

    May 26-27: At the outbreak of the First Opium War, the Bunbury’s close cousin Sir Hugh Gough is sent from Madras to assume command of the troops for the attack on Canton, for which he was made a GCB.

  • June 16: Gough appointed Commander-in-Chief to British India.
  • July: In a combined operation with Admiral Sir William Parker, Gough succeeds in capturing the great fortified city of Ching-keang-foo.
  • July 5: First Thomas Cook tourist excursion in England.
  • July 17: First issue of Punch.
  • July 22: Lord Morpeth (later the Earl of Carlisle) retires as Chief Secretary, a position he had held since 1835, with much admiration, under Lord John Russell. He lost the office when he lost his seat in the UK parliament. As he prepared to leave in the summer of 1841, 160,000 men and women from Ireland signed what became a 420-metre document that was wound around a giant bobbin in a box. Known as the Morpeth Roll, it lay in Castle Howard, North Yorkshire. [22] Lord Carlisle was later sculpted by John Henry Foley.
  • September: Daniel O’Connell was elected Lord Mayor of Dublin, the first Roman Catholic to have held the office since the reign of James II.
  • Ireland’s population stands at 8 million of whom 53% are unable to read or write.


1842 Further Events

  • January: Storm destroys 6-700 trees at Adare Manor, on top of Night of Big Wind losses of three years earlier.


Marriage to Pauline Stronge, 1842


Tynan Abbey, home of the Stronge family.

On 29 September 1842 Thomas Bunbury of Lisnavagh, then in Paris, wrote to his nephew, William, 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 (later 1st Baron Rathdonnell) had got to?

Pauline was the second daughter of 56-year-old Sir James Matthew Stronge, 2nd Bart, of Tynan Abbey, Armagh, by his wife, Isabella, eldest daughter of Nicholas Calvert of Hundson House, MP for Hertfordshire. Her grandmother Frances Pery Calvert was a tremendous society beauty in the Regency period, whose journals can be found here. For more on the Stronge family generally, see here.

William and Pauline were married in Tynan Church by his Grace the Lord Primate of Armagh on a cold dry day, Thursday 3 November 1842. [23]  The Primate was Lord John George de la Poer Beresford, second surviving son of George de La Poer Beresford, 1st Marquess of Waterford. (See here.)

How many people attended the wedding? Think of all the horses! What presents did they get? What booze was served?


Ulster Canals & the Countess of Erne


One wonders whether William was involved with the ill-fated 74km long Ulster Canal, connecting Lough Erne to Lough Neagh, which opened for business in 1842. (17,000 passengers travelled on steamers on the Shannon in that same year). With 26 locks, it runs very close to my wife’s family home at Bishopscourt (en route to the River Finn), reaching its summit level (highest point) at Smithborough. There was to be some black comedy for the canal when it emerged that its 26 locks, scaled on those of the Royal Canal, transpired to be a foot too narrow to accommodate the average boat operating on waterways linked to the Ulster Canal. William Thomas Mulvanny, the Dublin engineer who masterminded the arterial drainage along the Ulster Canal, went on to open the first deep coal mine in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, as well as developing the region’s canals, railways and shipping.

Just before Christmas 1842, the Countess of Erne, became the first paddle steamer to sail Lough Erne. Owned by the Carlow-born canal and railway engineer William Dargan, she cast out from Wattlebridge, called in at Crom and then onwards to Lisnaskea. It was the first time most people in the area had ever seen a steamer. The Countess of Erne provided a daily service from Belturbet to Enniskillen, until she caught fire and sank in 1846. Brian Osborne from Lough Erne Heritage knows all there is to know of the vessel. Other steamboats operating on Lough Erne were the Belturbet and Knockninny.


Manor Highgate

Manor Highgate near Clones and Newtown Butler where Captain Bunbury lived in the 1840s.

It appears that William and Pauline moved to Fermanagh at this promising point in Lough Erne’s history. They settled in a house by name of ‘Manor Highgate’, located a mile outside the small village of Magheraveely on the Newtownbutler – Rosslea Road, some 4 miles north-west of Clones. [24]

The house stands close to Gorta House which was home to the Crozier family for many years. Given that the Croziers were a major naval dynasty, this connection may be very relevant. The house had an address as ‘Clones, County Fermanagh’, although it is probably closer to Newtown Butler. Highgate appears to have been named for James Heygate [aka Huggatt / Higate / Highgate] who became Archdeacon of Clogher in 1609. [25]

The Captain was friends with the Erne’s so Highgate may have been an outlying part of the Crom estate. The Captain’s diaries reveal that he was constantly visiting Crom Castle so they were evidently great friends, which is presumably how he met William Walker, the architect he originally commissioned to design his house on Lough Erne. The Patton’s house of Knockballymore is also close.

In any event, the fact that Captain Bunbury lived just outside Clones for somewhere in the region of five years is remarkable to me because my wife grew up in another large house outside Clones called Bishopscourt. During the Captain’s time in these parts, Bishopscourt was home to the Very Rev. Henry Roper, DD, Rector of Clones and Dean of Clonmacnois. It seems reasonable to suppose that Captain Bunbury would, at some time or other, have had occasion to visit Dean Roper at Bishopscourt in the 1840s.

Perhaps the Captain was drawn to the region because of all the possibilities for sailing on Lough Erne. Johnny Madden tells me that yachts were still to-ing and fro-ing between Crom Castle and Hilton Park during his childhood in the 1950s although sadly that seems to be all past tense now. In any event, for much of the 1840s, the Captain was living close to the waters of Lough Erne. Between the 13th and 17th centuries, these waterways were dominated by the Maguires, Kings of Fermanagh, who ruled from their dual headquarters at Lisnaskea and Enniskillen. In the late 14th century, Philip of the Battle Axe, one of the most expansive of Maguire kings, secured ‘mastery on the water’ and established a fleet of white sail boats on Lough Erne, giving him the power to conduct silent but devastating raids on their enemies. During the 1590s, the Maguires were compelled to fight the ever-encroaching Tudor army, uniting with O’Neill, O’Donnell and other clans for the Nine Years War. The death in action of Hugh Maguire in 1600 in Cork was a massive blow for the Gaelic alliance, even before their crushing defeat at Kinsale. Eight years later, having masterminded the Flight of the Earls, the last of the Maguire kings died of fever in Genoa.

The sale of Manor Highgate as advertised in the Northern Standard, 1846. (With thanks to Eamonn Fitzsimons).

The house at Manor Highgate is still in existence today. I visited it in March 2012 and met with the owner Hugh Ruttledge, whose great-uncle Hugh Ruttledge purchased the property in the early 20th century. It is ostensibly a typical Georgian block, with probably the same walls, chimney stack and window frames that were there in the Captain’s day, although the exterior has been rendered and the portico renovated. Hugh recalls how there were formerly ten bells in the house, connected to a servant’s wing below ground. There is a farmyard to the rear with cattle. It overlooks rolling drumlins, with a farm on the other side of a wooded drumlin called Bellawillin [sic] which Hugh Ruttledge believes would have been part of the Highgate demesne in the 19th century. Hugh’s uncle owned it but then sold it although the Ruttledges now own much of this land.

According to his 1844 diary, the Captain took possession of Manor Highgate on 15 May. He was certainly there by the time he was appointed a Commissioner of the Peace for County Fermanagh that August. How long he remained there is also open to question. The property was advertised for an August 1846 sale in the pages of the Northern Standard (after his electoral success) although the captain was still noted at that address in 1847. [26]  His 1845 diary suggests he loves walking, and was always walking, to Armagh, to Clones, to Crom, to Tynan. He occasionally sails with the Earl of Erne who was apparently going to call a boat ‘Pauline’ after the Captain’s wife. He attends the Assizes in Enniskillen in 1844 or 1845, along with Lord Erne.He also attends church every Sunday. His friends include Mr. Fleming of Monaghan, Mr. T. Butler and Mr and Mrs Trench. By 1846, he is often visiting the Fortescues at Dromisken, Co. Louth, where his brother John had lived. He also attends cattle shows a good deal. While in Leinster, he stayed at Duckett’s Grove and Castle Comer (where his half-sister lived).

The entrance gates to Tynan Abbey, above, were remarkably similar to those at Lisnavagh until the latter were necessarily modernized in the 1990s.

Lady Erne stood as godmother to one of Captain Bunbury’s children in 1847. The library at Crom Castle is said to be the very similar to that at Lisnavagh, which one feels must also be connected to the time when Captain McClintock Bunbury was living in Fermanagh and close enough to Lady Erne to maker her his child’s godmother.

As an aside, when we were growing up at Lisnavagh, the nearby house at Rathmore (once Colonel Kane Bunbury’s home) was occupied by Baron Michael and Lady Rosanagh Raben-Levetzau and their four sons, Mathew, Alexander, Victor and Seamus. Lady Rosanna is a daughter of the 5th Earl of Erne. Their youngest son Seamus Raben became a great friend of mine. In 2007, he stood as godfather to my daughter Jemima, and I stood as godfather to his son Charlie, who was born a day after Jemima. Unbeknownst to us at the time, our respective forebears had signed up to similar godparent duties 160 years earlier. When I mentioned this happy coincidence to Seamus, and the Captain’s nautical connections, he replied:

‘The Erne family were great boat designers due to competitive yacht racing against rival aristos on Lough Erne. Boat building at Crom was well know and followed with great interest from all over Europe. It is said that the Kaiser regularly asked is officials in his navy what was the latest design from Crom.’


Tynan Abbey


Tynan was never far away. I visited Tynan with my wife in the spring of 2007. While it is difficult to forget the murder of Sir Norman Stronge and his son, the lands around Tynan are rolling, fertile, defiantly optimistic. A stream runs by the old granite front gates, itself astonishingly similar to the old front gates at Lisnavagh. Through them one can see the long straight avenue running towards the house.

The village of Tynan is tiny; its old high cross which Bourke Cochrane had replicated over his gravestone in New York, is eroding fast but one can still decipher Adam and Eve sniffing each other out. A boy racer whistles by; a horse, being broken in, rears its head in a small field behind us. Across the road from the cross is the church where Captain Bunbury married his Pauline – or was she too known as Poly?

There is a hefty monument to the “STRONGE” family by the front door and many graves round about, including two I photographed of Sir Francis Stronge and Alice Stronge. The town is on the road to Middleton, which was one of the most bombed border towns in Ireland during troubled times.

See here for a full account of the Tynans of Stronge Abbey. 


The Nation


The Young Ireland Movement is formed to cater for the growth of nationalist politics and arts. The Nation was founded on 15 October 1842 by three young barristers, Charles Gavan Duffy, John Blake Dillon and Thomas Davis, all central figures in the group later known as Young Ireland. On its first day of publication the print-run of 12,000 copies was sold out, and within a short time The Nation had a higher print circulation than any other newspaper in Ireland.

The First Opium War (1839-1842) concluded when William’s cousin, Hugh Gough led a spirited campaign against the Chinese, forcing them to sign the Treaty of Nanking, on HMS Cornwallis, on 29 September by which Britain gains control of Hong Kong. For his efforts, Gough was created a baronet and received the thanks of both parliament and the East India Company. Gough is the red-haired, red-coated man seated to the left in this close up from “The Signing and Sealing of the Treaty of Nanking in the State Cabin of H. M. S. Cornwallis, 29th August, 1842”, painted by Capt. John Platt.


Death of Henry McClintock, 1843


William’s uncle, the diarist Henry McClintock died on 27 February 1843. That same year, Henry’s son Leopold passed his Lieutenant’s examination and joined the Gorgon steamship, under Captain Charles Hotham, in South America. The ship was driven ashore at Montevideo and salvaged, a feat of seamanship on the part of her captain and officers that attracted much attention. On the strong recommendation of his captain, Leopold McClintock received his lieutenancy on 29th July 1845. He spent the next five years serving on the American coasts.


1843 Events


  • Jan 6:  43-year-old Nelson St George of Altamont, Tullow, County Carlow, a direct contemporary of Captain McClintock-Bunbury, takes his own life in Capel Street, Dublin, with an opium overdose. The jury verdict deduces that ‘he died in of consequence of having swallowed poison, while labouring under a temporary depression, brought on by embarrassed circumstances.’
  • Jan 13: Fourteen fishing boats from Newcastle and Annalong, County Down, are lost in a storm, killing 76 fishermen, leaving 27 widows, 118 children, and 21 dependent. A Public Subscription pays for the construction of Widows Row, cottages for the widows and dependents.
  • By March 1843 roads were bring laid across the townlands of Leitrim as the survey for the proposed (and ill-fated) Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Canal got underway. Someone by name of William McClintock was involved with these lands at Derrada, Drumcrumon, Killameen, Aughalough, Gortagouch, Arderra and Corcopple. [30] I am unsure if this was the captain.
  • May 4: Britain annexes Natal, South Africa.
  • July 20: After the massive ‘monster meeting’ for the Repeal of the Union at Tara, the next biggest of the 30+ meetings takes place at Enniscorthy, County Wexford. The crowd of some 3/4 million was addressed by Daniel O’Connell; the titular Bishop of Ferns was also present. Over 1100 people apparently attended the dinner afterwards. It is thought that O’Connell’s talk of the land of liberty inspired many Wexford men to take a ship on one of the fleets then operating between Wexford and Savannah. O’Connell organised another mass rally at Clontarf in October.
  • August 11: Sir Hugh Gough is appointed Commander-in-Chief of British India.
  • Oct 14: Daniel O’Connell was arrested by British on charges of criminal conspiracy.
  • November: William and Pauline have a daughter Kate Isabella McClintock Bunbury but she is destined to pass away the following year. [‘At Tynan Abbey, the seat of Sir James M. Stronge, Bart., thelady of Captain W. B. M’Clintock, R.N., of a daughter.’ Cork Examiner, 24 November 1843.]
  • Dec 29: Sir Hugh Gough defeats rebelling Mahratta army at Maharajpore and captures fifty-six guns, though the British again suffered heavy losses. He again receives the thanks of parliament, although Governor-General Lord Ellenborough expresses some doubts as to Gough’s fitness or command in a letter to the Duke of Wellington.


1844 Events

  • April 1: An April Fool’s joke prompts a riot in Dublin following mischievous fake announcement of free rides on the train to Drogheda.[31]
  • April: CFS Vigors killed aged 33 at the “Moor of Meath” during the Grand Military Steeplechase of Ireland.
  • May: Henry Hardinge replaces Ellenborough as Governor-General in India.
  • August 9: The Marriage Act of 1844 rules that consent of parents of guardians must be obtained if the spouse was under 21. Males aged 14 and females aged 12 could marry in Ireland up to at least 1985.
  • August 17: ‘The Lord Chancellor has been pleased to appoint Captain William Bunbury M’Clintock, R. N., of Manor Highgate, to the commission of the peace for the county of Fermanagh.’ (Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail, 17 August 1844).
  • Nov: ‘The splendid Catholic Cathedral at Enniscorthy, building on a place of Mr. Pugin, is fast advancing to a state of completion. When finished it will present one of the most beautful specimens of modern architecture. No expense is spared. On Sunday, the 20th ult. the Bishop—the Right Rev. Dr. Keating applied for the third time to his parishioners for the means of carrying on the work, and his call was nobly responded to by a contribution of nearly £600. Since then he has received from the Rev. T. Furlong, P.P., Cloughbawn £5 —from Colonel Fitshenry, Birdhill, £5, and from Lord Carew, £20.’ Wexford Independent, quoted in the Tipperary Vindicator, 6 November 1844. Good to see clever Lord Carew chipped in too, not that it saved Castleboro in the long run.  
  • Turner, Rain, Steam and Speed.


Devon Commission, 1845

The Devon Commission (officially ‘Commission on Occupation of Land (Ireland)’ was appointed by Sir Robert Peel to research the problems with unfair land leases, with Pierce O’Mahony of Grangecon to the fore. Sensing this was simply to facilitate British takeover of Irish lands, Daniel O’Connell likened it to ‘a jury of butchers trying a sheep for its life’. Headed by William Courtney, 10th Earl of Devon, it reported in 1845 that the population of Ireland had exploded from 6 million people to close on 8 million people. Amongst other findings:

  • Over 230,000 two-year-olds recorded in Ireland.
  • More than half a million people in Ireland are classified as “servants”.
  • The average Irishman was eating 13 to 14 lb. of potatoes daily.


1845 Further Events

  • Feb 7: Lord Haddington appointsSir John Franklin commander of expedition to Northwest Passage, with Francis Crozier as his No. 2. Did Captain McClintock Bunbury harbour any desires to go with them, or was he exhausted by his previous exploits?!
  • May 19Erebusand Terror moved into Thames & set off on expedition.
  • July 26: Franklin’s expedition last seen by Europeans when a whaler spots them moored to an iceberg in Lancaster Sound.
  • Dec 29: USA annexes Texas as a slave state.
  • University College Cork, then known as Queen’s University, opened to students.


Death of Kate Bunbury and Charlie Paget, 1846


The Armagh Guardian reported the death on 21 April 1846 at Manor Highgate, Co. Fermanagh, of ‘Kate Isabella, daughter of Captain W. B. M’Clintock, R.M., aged one year and five months‘. [36] Her father appended her death in his diary with a biblical quotation. She presumably died before the birth of her sister and namesake Isabella who grew up to write witty poems … so I need to double check when the latter was actually born.

Kate Isabella McClintock of Manor Highgate, 23rd April 1845, 17 months & 3 days. Henry Tottenham, Rector. [37]

A month later, on 26 May 1845, William heard that his friend and former Captain Charlie Paget had died aged 38. He had been sick since February but died ‘fully in his senses & in peace & hope, with his head on his wife’s arm – she bore the blow fimrly at first, Rosa being with her was a great comfort to her, he was buried in Portsmouth in a week after‘. [38] In August, there was some consolation with the news from South America that Leopold McClintock had officially received his lieutenancy ‘as a reward for his zeal & activity on board the ‘Gorgon’ when she was aground at Monte Video‘. [39]


William’s cousin Sir Hugh Gough, from a very early 1850 photograph. In 1843, Gough became Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India.


Outbreak of the Potato Blight, 1845


I believe this is Captain William McClintock Bunbury.

According to his diary, on 11 November 1845, William ‘attended a meeting on the subject of the potato disease’ while based at Crom. The first reports of diseased potatoes in Carlow came in September 1845. The ensuing blight took out most of the potato crop in Ireland, bringing about the catastrophe of the Great Hunger. Within five months, between a third and a half of all crops had been destroyed.

The south of County Carlow was particularly hard hit with some 80% of employees in the Borris district being unemployed. In Hacketstown and Clonmore, unemployment was running at about 50% although in Tullow, where the crop had been seriously blighted, there was apparently no unemployment.

In November, Sir Robert Peel, Britain’s Prime Minister, purchased £185,000 (£2 million today) worth of Indian corn or maize, most of it paid for by the Irish taxpayer. When it arrived the following February, it fed one million people for one month, and was sold rather than given out. Henry Bruen and Tom Bunbury were the sitting MPs for County Carlow when the Great Hunger struck.


Drumcar Church

The Drumcar mausoleum in January 2009, just weeks before
the Bunbury siblings appraoched it with saws and scythes.

Drumcar Church was built by John McClintock in 1845, two decades before that good God-fearing Victorian stalwart became the 1st Lord Rathdonnell. He also paid for the construction of a particularly striking mausoleum, inside of which he and his wife were buried, and which my siblings and I set about restoring in March 2009.

William McClintock’s stepmother Lady Elizabeth McClintock was a serious Protestant Evangelical and in 1825 she founded a Protestant elementary school in Drumcar. In fact, I think the whole family were pretty Evangelical in the 1830s and 1840s. Watching Jeremy Paxman’s series on The Victorians, it seems this was something of a last gasp from the Christian world as science began to undermine their beliefs in eternal life and so on. (The word ‘dinosaur’ was born in 1842). And building fancy flamboyant mausoleums was their way of sticking two fingers up at all those who derided the concept of an afterlife. I’m not sure when things changed. Certainly the letters that Billy Bunbury’s sisters sent to their parents after his death in Africa in 1900 continue that religious theme … rest assured that he is now seated at the right hand of God the Father and the Lamb of God sort of stuff. What did Captain Bunbury think of it all? Presumably he was one of the first to read Darwin’s thoughts, having met the man back in the 1830s?

I also think the Captain’s son – Thomas Kane McCB, the 2nd Baron Rathdonnell (and Billy’s father) was the sort of guy who fully understood the wonder of science and engineering, making sure Lisnavagh was one of the most cutting edge farms of its day with saw-mills and what not. It’s also curious to note that TKMcCB’s grave comprises a large Celtic cross and is just in front of my grandfather’s rock in Rathvilly.


A New House on The Erne


The Lisnavagh Archives contain three outsize drawings (2 plans and an elevation) by William Walker, architect, ‘For a proposed house on the banks of Lough Erne for Capt. McClintock, R.N.’ [the future Capt. W.B. McClintock-Bunbury, who had not yet double-barrelled his name]. This two-storey over basement gentleman’s residence, which as far as is known was never built, may have been designed for the McClintock estate in Co. Fermanagh, or it may have been attached to the Crom estate. Walker became an expert in the Tudor style during the 1820s, specializing in churches and country houses. He was closely linked to the Shirleys of Carrickmacross and may have done some work for the Earl of Erne at Crom Castle, after the 1840 fire, which was probably the basis of his introduction to ‘Captain McClintock’.


Death of Tom Bunbury, 1846


This portrait is reputedly of William’s uncle, Thomas Bunbury, MP for Carlow. When Thomas died in 1846, he made William his heir at Lisnavagh – on condition that he take on the name and arms of Bunbury as well as McClintock. Hence, McClintock Bunbury.

On 28 May 1846, William’s 71-year-old bachelor uncle Thomas Bunbury of Moyle and Lisnavagh, the sitting MP for Carlow, died at his London residence, St. James’s Hotel. An immensely wealthy man, whose estate appears to have been worth £180,000, Thomas had never married and had no children. In accordance with his mother’s 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 William and his heirs, and the remaining third to William’s older brother, John McClintock Jr.

In the will, drawn up two days before his death, Thomas also ‘left all his real, freehold and copyhold and leasehold estates, to Kane for life, and after his decease to William and his heirs, ‘for ever, upon condition that he shall apply for the necessary license under his Majesty’s sign manual to use and bear the surname and arms of Bunbury.’ [41]

William also inherited the reversion of Thomas’s real estates and a legacy of £30,000, while John received a legacy of £50,000 sterling and £10,000 Irish currency, secured on mortgage. William and John were co-executors of the will, along with William Elliott of Harcourt-street, Dublin. William was still living at Manor Highgate at the time that Thomas’s will was drawn up, while John was at Dromiskin House, near Castle Bellingham, County Louth.


The McClintock Bunbury Surname

The coat of arms in Drumcar Church represents the marriage of Jane Bunbury and John McClintock and shows the arms of McClintock impaling those of Bunbury. However the Bunbury one is quartered with the Bunbury arms in the 1st and 4th quarters (three chess rooks etc). The other quarters have what looks like three dogs or stoats or weasels. It probably represents some heiress who married into the Bunbury family. Seamus Bellew tried such names as Stanney and Aldersey from the pedigree but none seems to fit.


Following his uncle’s death, William moved from Manor Highgate to Lisnavagh where he would not only succeed to the parliamentary seat of his maternal uncle in Carlow (1 July), but also, in compliance with his will, he adopted the name and arms of McClintock Bunbury (1 August).

He was granted new arms, crest and motto on his assuming, by Royal licence, the additional name and arms of BUNBURY, ‘in compliance with the testamentary injunctions of his maternal uncle, THOMAS BUNBURY, of Lisnevagh and Moyle, co. Carlow, M.P‘. [42] The crest of Bunbury of Moyle family was a gold leopard’s face with two silver swords thrust through it from opposing diagonals. This was now combined with the McClintock crest of a lion, as found on the Lisnavagh crockery. Likewise, on the family arms, the three red and blue chess rooks on the Bunbury arms were now quartered with the silver scallops of the McClintocks. The family motto was the sobering reminder that ‘FIRMUM IN VITA NIHIL‘ (Nothing in life is permanent). [43]

In a letter of 1868, Pauline McClintock Bunbury counselled her uncle-in-law, Colonel Kane Bunbury that when she and William first came to live in Carlow, ‘we had a capital, I think, of between 60 and 70,000 pounds‘. She said William had spent between £20-30, 000 pounds (‘I forget the exact sum‘) on the purchase of small properties at Aldborough (Stratford-upon-Slaney?) ‘and those near Tullow and Hacketstown‘. However, she assured the old man, ‘the remainder of his capital he spent on this house, gardens, place, and on our own living, our children, elections & c‘. [44]


The Great Hunger Continues


In early June 1846,Richard Pennefather (of Rathsallagh House, County Wicklow), Under-Secretary in Dublin Castle, reported to Charles Trevelyan, Secretary to the Treasury, that aggravated distress existed in some parts of the county. Trevelyan proposed that the typical Irish peasant worked for about five weeks a year “a fortnight planting, a week or ten days digging, 14 days cutting turf” and spending the remaining 47 weeks or so sitting on a ditch, smoking and philosophising. The situation worsened over the autumn and the first relief schemes were set in motion. The wants of the poor were to a large extent catered for by the activities by local Relief Committees organized by the gentry and clergy.

Horace Rochfort, the former High Sheriff of Carlow, set up the Idrone West Committee and supplied his tenants with seed potatoes at his own expense. John James Lecky of Ballykealy established another Relief Committee in Forth where he distributed bread, soup, and meal to ‘famine’ victims. Money poured in from the landed classes and gentry – the Dean of Leighlin subscribed £700; the Misses Vigors gave £35, Father Patrick Kehoe £5, Dr Haly £3 and Colonel Bruen a whopping £50 (to Rochfort). In Tullow, over £250 was collected. Lord Duncannon, the Lord Lieutenant of the County, sanctioned government grants to obtain two thirds of the amount subscribed for 5 of the 10 Relief Committees set up in the county, namely those of Tullow, Bagenalstown, Kiltennal, Hacketstown and Borris. By the end of June 1846, public work schemes were operational in nearly every barony.


1846 Further Events


March 10: William’s first cousin Elizabeth Chomondelay McClintock, daughter of the Rev Alick McClintock, married Edward Beaufort, son of Rev. William Lewis Beaufort, LLD, and nephew of Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), inventor of the Beaufort Scales. Edward’s mother was a daughter of Thomas St. Lawrence, Dean of Cork. Edward and Elizabeth had issue.

April 16: John Lefroy marries his first wife Emily Mary, a daughter of Sir John Robinson, CB, 1st Baronet, of Toronto; they had two daughters and two sons. She died in 1859.

June: Countess of Erne paddle steamer operating between Belturbet and Enniskillen catches fire and sinks.

June 16 circa: Thomas Bunbury’s death had left Carlow with a vacant seat in Westminster. As was the fashion in the 18th and 19th centuries, William, being his nephew and his heir, stepped forward. He was proposed by General Robert Clayton-Browne and seconded by John Dawson Duckett. The Perthshire Courier were quick to pick up on the story, under an article entitled ‘Representation of Carlow’ published on Thursday 18 June 1846:

The Tories of Carlow have called upon Mr McClintock, of Drumcar, county of Louth, to become a candidate for the representation of Carlow county, vacant by the recent death of Mr Bunbury. Mr McClintock is nephew to the deceased member, and will eventually inherit his large estates and vast accumulations. This amounts, it is said, to several hundred pounds. The estate and funded property descend to Col. Bunbury, who resides in England, but at his death they go to Mr McClintock. This latter gentleman is a Captain in the army [whoops, should be navy – ed.], and his father formerly represented Louth in the Imperial Parliament. Another report is that Sir Thomas Butler, Bart., will be the new member for the county.’

June 25:  The Duke of Wellington persuades the House of Lords to pass Robert Peel’s bill to repeal the Corn Law, and so secured Free Trade. The Duke had long advocated the importance of their abolition. Thus Wellington was due some of the massive emotional outpouring of grief that swept Britain when Peel was subsequently killed in a horsefall. That same night, Peel’s unnecessarily harsh Irish Coercion Bill is blocked in the House of Commons by 292 to 219 by “a combination of Whigs, Radicals, and Tory protectionists.” This prompts Peel’s resignation and a split in the Conservative Party while the Whigs formed a new government under Lord John Russell. Not the simplest week for William to enter politics … and that’s before one considers the potato blight that was by now wreaking havoc on the countryside.

June 29: Stung by the failure of the Irish Coercion Bill, Peel and the Tory party fall, and Peel’s Second Ministry is dissolved.

July 1: Five weeks after his uncle’s death, William, succeeded to the Carlow seat at Westminster in an uncontested by-election. He had only just returned to the county, and Westminster was in turmoil after Peel’s fall from power. William would retain the Carlow seat for 16 years until his retirement in 1862, save for a short stint between 19 July 1852 and 25 April 1853 when John Ball (later Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies) held the seat. As such, he was MP during such epochs as the Great Hunger, the Young Ireland Rebellion, the Crimean War, and the Indian Mutiny. His fellow MP from 1847 to 1852 was the notorious financial rogue, John Sadlier.

August 1: In compliance with his uncle’s will, William adopts the name and arms of McClintock Bunbury. Hayes says the Genealogical Office in Dublin has copies of the grant of McClintock Bunbury arms to Captain McCB (Aug 1846).

August 4: First passenger train in Carlow, getting people to the Ballybar Races; the opening of the Great Southern and Western Railway was brought forward in order to accommodate racegoers. By the late 19th century there are seven train stations in Carlow.

August 21: Sale of Manor Highgate. ‘To be sold by auction at Manor Highgate, near Clones and Newtownbutler, the residence of Captain McClintock Bunbury M.P. on Monday 21st day of August and the following day the entire of his household furniture which is all of the very best description etc. etc. etc.’  Northern Standard, 15 August 1846. [45]

Oct: Robert Peel (in opposition): ‘There is such a tendency to exaggeration and inaccuracy in Irish reports that delay in acting on them is always desirable.’

Nov 5: The Earl of Bessborough arrives by ‘a special train in Carlow’ 2:29 having completed the 56 ¼ mile journey in one hour and 29 minutes – ‘the speed at some parts of the line averaging 50 miles an hour.’ Sir John Macneil, engineer in chief, was among those who journeyed with him, while eight horses from the Carlow Club House were ready to take his Excellency ‘in two private carriages’ to his family residence at Bessborough, near Piltown.[46]

The shape of County Carlow in 1840.

Relief Schemes in Carlow


Relief and employment schemes in Carlow continued to boom under the sponsorship of the landed gentry, including Lord Bessborough (the Lord Lieutenant), Kavanagh and Lecky. By 6 March 1847, more than 3,000 people in Carlow were employed in these schemes; the figure was 734,792 for Ireland as a whole. Most were employed in public works as opposed to agricultural employment, but plenty must have found work in the construction of the New House at Lisnavagh.

Although there were occasional evictions during the Great Hunger years in Carlow, Thomas P. Neill believes “landlords as a body played a noble part in assisting the poor“. They took their place on Relief Committees and ‘devoted their time generously’. They were willing to tax themselves almost to the last penny of their income to get these government schemes underway. Mr Neill believes they deserved better thanks from the Government for their efforts; the Government in fact blamed the failure of their own schemes on the landlords. The taxation of each landowner in a barony to raise money for the poor, irrespective of the landlords’ private actions, tended to smother the benevolence of good landlords. [47]


Captain Bunbury, MP for Carlow (1846-1852)


With Peel’s fall in the summer of 1846, Lord John Russell and the Whigs filled the vacancy. The Queen was again called forward to dissolve parliament and the Irish electorate once again went to the polls. At the General Election, Conservatives were returned unopposed in a number of county constituencies. In County Carlow, the Conservative candidate Col. Henry Bruen expressed pleasure that ‘all sects and parties’ were uniting to ‘rescue the country from its perilous position’, but his only specific reference to the famine was to express general concern about the operation of the new law for the relief of the poor. [48]  William McClintock Bunbury, the other Conservative MP, praised the unity within the county and merely promised to support whatever measures he thought best for the country. Neither mentioned the land question. The Whigs who then took office under Russell did “less than the Conservatives” and, in 1852, were defeated on the Militia Bill, an attempt to provide for the defence of Great Britain and Ireland in the event of an invasion.

NB: Captain Bunbury’s Diary for 1847 can be found here.

Dod’s Parliamentary Companion of 1847 described Captain McClintock Bunbury, the sitting MP for Carlow, as ‘Conservative; opposed to Repeal, in favour of civil and religious liberty.’ In September 2018, I asked Daniel O’Connell expert Patrick Geoghegan if he knew any like-minded politicians who I might investigate in order to get a better idea of what that description meant. Were many Conservatives in favour of civil and religious liberty?! Patrick replied: “Gladstone is one example. He was a Conservative until 1846. It would be interesting to see if Bunbury had any interest in the Peelite faction, which split on the Corn Laws and eventually formed the Liberals; probably not as he never joined. Worth seeing if he spoke in Parliament much. Books about Peel and Gladstone and the Corn Laws split could be revealing. Also point you in way of other readings. Suspect was anti-Repeal in part because of suspicion of O’Connell.’ So that is work for me to do!!




This is thought to be one of two known photographs of Captain William McClintock Bunbury.

Maybe the Bunbury’s original 1696 house had become too musty in its old age. Or perhaps Captain William McClintock Bunbury merely wished to build something that posterity would marvel at. Or maybe he was simply trying to fulfil his paternal grandfather’s dream to build a new house at Lisnavagh. At any rate, in 1846, having succeeded his uncle Tom at Lisnavagh, the Captain ‘immediately organised the building of a new house and farmyard complex on the estate. The planning and building programme proceeded at an astonishing pace‘. Amongst the letters in the Lisnavagh archives is one dated 19 December 1846 from the Captain’s elder brother John McClintock, later Lord Rathdonnell, who would inherit Drumcar. It 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. …’

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

Daniel Robertson, the American-born architect, was residing at Rathwade, Bagenalstown, County Carlow, when he learned that he was getting the commission to design the new house in October 1846. Yet everything was ready – the house designed, specifications drawn up, a contractor selected, and site excavated – in time to lay the foundation stone for the house the following January. [49] There are over 100 meticulous drawings, all signed off by Robertson and Captain Bunbury, in Lisnavagh House (and copied in the Irish Architectural Archive). These include great detail for the house, farm buildings, gardens and St. Mary’s Church in Rathvilly, as well as a whole lot of fountains and structures on the terraces which were never built.

In a note written at the end of his 1846 diary, the Captain noted that on 23 January 1847:

My dearest wife Pauline laid the first stone of the New House in Lisnavagh, fine day. She and I planted an oak tree each‘.

A pair of unicorn doorstops at Lisnavagh are said to be taken from an oak tree planted by Captain and Mrs McClintock Bunbury on the laying of the first stone of the new house that same day. The event was marked by the presentation of a silver ebony-handled trowel by Henry Kingsmill, contractor, to Mrs. McClintock Bunbury. His past work included ‘alterations and improvements’ to the Court House of the Quarter Sessions Grand Jury, for which he received a decent report in January 1843. [50] Kingsmill and the Captain subsequently ended up in Court after Lisnavagh was built. [51]

As well as building what would surely become the biggest house in County Carlow, Captain McClintock Bunbury set about building new stables, haylofts, farm buildings, a schoolhouse, several outbuildings, new formal gardens, and a modestly castellated, cut-stone granite wall around almost the entirety of the estate. Or rather, the estate proper. My father told me that in the 1860s parts of the ‘Lisnavagh Estates’ actually extended some 6 miles north of the house to border General Dennis’s estate at Fort Granite.

There must have been feverish activity at Lisnavagh during the late 1840s as the captain fulfilled his grand ambitions and put the people to work as never before. Every working man in the vicinity must have opened his eyes a little wider when it became apparent that the new owner of the Bunbury’s farm was hiring. Michael Conry holds that the main house cost £16,000 to build and took 130 men two and a half years, while the wages appear to have been £300-400 a week. The Sawmilll House was already built at this time; the Laundry House may also have been. Bear in mind there were practically no trees on the place in 1840, perhaps on account of the Night of the Big Wind the previous year. It was only afterwards that the demesne was established, and all the woods planted.

A schoolhouse was constructed for loyal Protestants who worked on the estate. The captain had curious views on Irish, I believe, encouraging its preservation and yet I imagine he was not in favour of children learning too many stories that would pollute their minds with notions of equality and liberty : )

The present swimming pool occupies what was once an underground melon house. There was also a much larger greenhouse; its base is still at the far end of the big garden. In my father’s youth (1940s) this bore the more tender fruit, peaches and figs, tomatoes and early vegetables. Both were heated, the boiler house and potting sheds are still outside the main wall to the north. The garden also included a Victorian water bowser, on iron wheels, that my eldest brother William and his son Tom began salvaging during the Coronavirus lockdown of 2020.

When the old boiler house in the backyard was converted into the gents loo in the Garden Wing in 2017, my brother William found a Hayward’s Hand Fired Grenade; this was a fire extinguisher. When you throw the grenade at a fire, the liquid forms a gas that smothers the flames.

Victorian Drains & the Burrin Report of 1847


The 1847 Land Property Improvement Act encouraged landowners to drain their land by making loans available for drainage and reclamation. Loans were repayable over twenty years 6.5% and many landlords availed themselves of the scheme in order to increase the rental value of the land.

The Lisnavagh Archives include a 17-page report from, inevitably, 1847, on the drainage around the River Burrin in County Carlow (which may show how many of the bends were taken out of the river at Kellistown). I forwarded a scan of this report to a forward-thinking pal who works in Carlow County Council and, as of October 2017, it was with Pat Connolly, Senior Executive Engineer, Water and Environment Section Carlow County Council, who was studying it as part of the River Basin Management Plan.

Prompted by Jamie Cahalane, I took Dilly on an off-piste walk in August 2016, heading west of Carr’s Hill into what was then a field of peas. A marsh runs up to a wood along the northern edge of this field with a substantial ditch nearby. I found a granite bridge down at the southern end of the Sunk Fence, in the southwest corner of the Whelan’s Bog belt, which has been broken up by a tree. My father advises that this was part of a major drainage scheme laid out in the mid-nineteenth century, which paid for that drain to go almost to the Monavoth Cottages. That drain joins the River Derreen near Rathglass Bridge but further north there is an exit to the Slaney through Deerings.

Click Here For More On Daniel Robertson – An American Architect


Daniel Robertson & Lisnavagh House


A miniature portrait of Daniel Robertson, painted in Charleston in 1793 by Peter Henry, or Pierre Henri.

Daniel Robertson communicated with Captain Bunbury, almost on a daily basis, with the Captain advising him on progress and asking for his advice and direction on related matters. A more detailed account of Robertson’s life can be found HERE. Again I am indebted to Stephen Massil for the following:

A sketch of the proposed design by Robertson.

On 9 October 1846, Robertson wrote from Rathwade, Bagenalstown, to Captain Bunbury at his London address (32 Cavendish Square), stating that he had:

‘… arranged with Beauchamp Newton accordingly gratefully thank you for your intention in my favour …’ and refers: ‘the weather is too severe for a man only recovering from gout.’ It was not necessarily the most auspicious opening letter but, on 23 January 1847, another letter reports: ‘Completed the first and great stage of your works here. … long years of enjoying your Residence in all the happiness which falls to the lot of poor mortals such as we all are’. He discusses aspects of payments due, and refers: ‘…my rent and taxes at Walton due at last Christmas are become very oppressive to me’.

The Captain responded immediately so that Robertson’s next letter of 27 January 1847 serves as a receipt ‘for the £50’ while including also a request that he write himself to Germaine over the current problem over plants and garden work. It is Amelia Helen Robertson’s own acknowledgement of the money writing on 7 March from Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, that confirms the location of the family and how far husband and wife are separated at this time.

The letter of 20 February mostly refers to the plantation and to Germaine.

The letter of 25 February refers to a near-mutiny by the workforce. Robertson writes:

As it is pretty well known that I am not a sweet-tempered man, I am held in some terror; and consequently they knew what I said, I would do; so they proposed going back to work to being paid off, and for the present the conspiracy is quashed’ he also avers: ‘This is one advantage of Lisnavagh being my Headquarters’.

The letter of 6 March indicates another extra-financial request satisfied with ‘thanks for £25 to my poor Emily – she is a sickly, nervous and worn out invalid, and has frightened herself as well as me beyond measure’. The letter includes a lengthy reference to the ‘workings of these infernal new county courts here. The results around here are frightful’. This is followed by a family passage for Mrs Bunbury’s benefit:

‘I am sure dear Mrs Bunbury will be glad to hear that Andrew Savage has recently got the appointment of Instructor of Fortifications and Mechanical Drawing to the officers of the Navy and Marines, a post lately held by a Major of Artillery from Woolwich – this puts £200 a year in his pocket, besides his marine pay & allowances, and his wife says a capital good house in the Dock Yard etc etc rent free and to her, a great happiness that he is not liable to go to sea, and leave her a gay widow at Portsmouth’ and concludes ‘I am today but cruelly weakened’.

The letter of 21 March includes a further sick note and family matters:

‘… For myself I am very ailing, I have suffered greatly from that epidemic of dysentery so prevalent around us, and now, gout is breathing[109] and plying about me, all this is now more severe on me, for I yesterday received the sad news of the death of my eldest son at Calcutta, in December last – my poor Emily is in sad sorrow for her loss, and I confess I am not much of a stoic – grief sharpens this cruel gout, and altho’ up, bed is where I ought to be’.

In March 1847, Robertson wrote that Henry Kingsmill ‘had a full complement of 130 men working on the new house’. This workforce consisted of 35 labourers, 28 stonecutters, 30 masons, 23 stone cleavers, five brick makers and nine men hired with carts‘. That same month, Kingsmill submitted an estimate of £4,820 to build the ‘farm offices at Lisnavagh‘ which seems to mean the buildings in the farmyard quadrangle, including the Stewards House.

In a letter dated 24 March 1847, Robertson advises the Captain:

‘… that a great saving would be made by having the face of the walls of all the building, except the Stewards House, built without being hammered face, in regular courses, precisely the same way, in which the best portions of the road wall are done; I admit the buildings would not look so neat and well, but the cost may be spared and the work equally as substantial for use‘. He also suggested that the proposed brick floors could be replaced with locally cut granite flags.

It is at this time that Robertson prepared an extensive set of drawings over Easter and throughout April. Captain Bunbury himself paid a visit to Lisnavagh over 10-14 April: ‘Found the stables were up and saw Mr Robertson’ before returning to his commitments in London.’

The next letter is from England at Weymouth on 2 May, with:

‘… thanks for £5 … My poor Emily is unable to move tomorrow. She goes on Tuesday with our two girls posting [?], making a two days journey of it – and myself and the rest of us with the baggage start by the coach for Bristol on Tuesday, to enable me to provide lodgings at Bristol against their arrival on Wednesday – shall cross to Dublin on Friday next’. He goes on: ‘Wat Newton lives at No. 2 [or?] 3 Gloucester Road, Hyde Park – this is one of the new streets a short distance from the Bayswater Road, and there is difficulty in finding it. I rather think he is a member of the St. James’s St. Conservative Club, & will be heard of there. – Pray accept my best thanks …

Robertson writes next on 11 May from Kington, Herefordshire: ‘My wife was so unwell and incapable of being removed but from one residence to another’ – he indicates that he is short of funds and needs to get back to Lisnavagh and the works; he requests a loan of £15; receipt of this is acknowledged in a further letter from Kington on 13 May in which he congratulates ‘Mrs Bunbury on presenting you with a son and heir [who may have subsequently died in infancy?]. I have written to Germaine to tell Miss Dunn to have all ready for me against my arrival on Sunday’. And he indicates that he expects to be staying until Christmas.

On his return to Lisnavagh, Robertson reports extensively on the 17, 18 and 24 May on progress and the state of the works (progress which mainly impresses him with the extent and quality of the work), indicating that he has brought in Easton Hydraulic Rain tanks for the water supplies, and that they had used up the bricks from the old house and would from then on be using the new bricks. This letter also bears a post-script: ‘So the Devil has got his dear son Daniel at last, all the better for poor Ireland’, presumably a reference to the passing of Daniel O’Connell.

Colonel Kane Bunbury, whose Kane inheritance helped fund a good deal of the construction of Lisnavagh House for his nephew William. For more on Kane Bunbury check this link. (Photo thanks to Iain Farrell)

A further letter of 30 May continues the report and mentions an unusual visitor to the construction site at Lisnavagh, being a parrot that belonged to (I think) his daughter. As Robertson wrote to the captain:

I brought over Blanche’s paraquet with me for company as the bird was too noisy for her sick mother and it has astonished the natives vastly; but no more so than your fat cattle. I was up as usual before 6 this morning and took the Bird out of doors & the 30 Bullocks were round the House, and I went up the Buildings, on my return they had surrounded the Cage and appeared to enjoy the infernal screaming of my saucy [?] bird who cared not for a dozen pair of Horns within a yard of his habitation – their gravity was amusing enough.’

In the same letter, Robertson indicates that they had heard that you [the Captain were] ‘very ill indeed’ but find now that he was ‘not so ill’ He remarks that:

‘… even with the broken weather and the delay in getting the slates up from Carlow to finish covering the Stable Quadrangle… the building of the cellarage is slowly proceeding but still getting on well … and I have no reason yet to alter my opinion that it will be a beautiful House as it already looks beautiful; and this I can honestly say that better work and materials are not in any House in Ireland … There is a large quantity of cut-stone ready on the spot, and a still larger quantity in the surrounding districts; so on the whole I am very well satisfied of the progress and state of the works‘.

On 16 July he acknowledges a cheque for £25 and reports:

I am far from well. I have beat away this attack but am left deplorably weak. I can hardly hold a pen’. He goes on still to mention: ‘…my daughter’s marriage – perfectly to my satisfaction both as to birth and income. The bright youth is one of the best families in Dorsetshire and has quite enough to keep a quiet home for a rather handsome young wife.’ [52]

The next surviving letter is only dated 30 December 1847 conveying a receipt for £20. ‘I am in gout: regular, but not very severe to me, accustomed as I am to torture, the foot has begun to swell.’

NB: Captain Bunbury’s Diary for 1847 can be found here.


Financing the New House


The farmyard at Lisnavagh in 2003. The JCB digger was called Donald. The Belltower in the Farmyard contained a bell, still precariously in position in 2019. My father recalls how this was rung daily by the Steward to start and stop work at 0800, 1200,1300 and 1800; on most days it could be heard almost everywhere on the estate. “In those days very few of the men would have had watches, nor would they have risked a pocket watch when doing heavy manual work.” It’s thought that it was last rung in the 1960’s.
In the foreground, hidden from view, but on this side of the beautiful cattle trough are two stone devices connected to the nearby blacksmith’s forge. As my father recalls: ‘ The process of heating metal in a fire to bend, join and generally work it took great skills and I enjoyed watching Patrick Halligan’s grandfather,
Tom, doing just that. They had crude vices and other grabs, including that thing with two rings that clearly held something. The other device smacks of the wheelwright, another whole trade; getting the metal band over a wooden wheel
to keep it all together was quite a performance.’
To which William added: ‘I understood the one near the forge was to help shape the metal band around cartwheels and the one nearer to pond was to help set the spokes into the cartwheel. Somebody once said that they thought they would cool it all down when finished by throwing it into the pond. Somebody else said that was unlikely!’

Lisnavagh House itself cost about £16,000 to build, excluding interior decorating and furniture. The records indicate that the following amount was incurred in building the new house, farmyard offices and stables, including the Stewards House.

Mr. H Kingsmill House £12,600
Farm Offices £3,800
Garden Walls etc £1,000
Total £17,400

Total for Kingsmill £17, 400
Mr. D. Robertson £645
Excavating, installing shores, planting trees £916
Stone cleavers, stonecutters, labourers £1,828
Easton & Amos, hydraulic ram etc £1,695
Miscellaneous, lime, culm, etc £460
Total Cost £22,944

The Captain financed the initial building programme with £20,000, which he received from his uncle, Colonel Kane Bunbury of Moyle. Up to the time that the house was completed, the Captain and his family also seem to have lived at Moyle. Perhaps Colonel Kane took William aside and said something along the lines of: ‘It was my father’s dream to build a new house at Lisnavagh. He had the plans drawn up and was ready to start when he was killed. It was Kane family money that was to build his house. I now have the Kane money. And I would like to use it to help fulfil my father’s dream’.


The Steward’s House

The two-storey Steward’s House at Lisnavagh (known today as the Farm House) with its annexe into the farmyard at Lisnavagh was completed in 1848. It was built with semi-dressed coursed rubble and finely-dressed stonework around doors and windows but the quality of the stonework on the garden front and gable facing the main entrance was much better than on the rear of the house facing the farmyard. However, the large bow-fronted window is a feature on that side of the dwelling. The stone for the house was cut and dressed when the houses in the quadrangle was being built by the same teams of stonecutters, namely those of Mark Egan and William Doran. A third and fourth team, headed by Pat Byrne and Pat Connolly respectively were also in operation.


The Lodge, The School House and the Farm Entrance


JAK Dean’s ‘Gate Lodges of Leinster’ (2016) attributes the ‘main entrance’ to ‘possibly D. Robertson’ with a date of circa 1849. Dean’s description reads:

‘Replacing an earlier lodge which lay deeper up the avenue is this strange and forbidding introduction in the form of a lofty wide wall with canted wings relieved by buttresses and the central Tudor-arched carriage gate with hood moulding and sculpted dripstones below a stepped coping. Behind the wooden portcullis gates is screened single-storey porter’s accommodation to each side in coursed rubble finish with single and bipartite label-moulded windows, structure having a canted bay but neither having an aspect of the road or visitors.
Originally flat-roofed with octagonal chimney-flues. A peculiar design either by Daniel Robertson or the Dublin architect John McCurdy who succeeded him here.’

My father is ‘confused’ by this record as he felt the Lodge was constructed considerably after the main house, when extra land in Ballybit Big (west of the Sunk Fence) was acquired. Dean also described the Lisnavagh School House as a ‘possibly D. Robertson’ creation from 1849, and again my father thought this was later, albeit in the same style. Dean’s description of the School House is:

‘A replacement opposite its gates for a predecessor further north. A pleasant dual-purpose structure, 1½-storey Tudor Revival with bi- and tripartite label-moulded windows in coursed rubble facings, its roof topped by two pairs of octagonal chimney-stacks rising from skew-table gables. Extending from each side are lower, plainer wings perhaps of later date. Opposite is a concave quadranted sweep with portcullis-type wooden gates.’

And then what seems to be the entrance to Lisnavagh farm, named by Dean as the ‘East entrance’ and again dated c. 1849, which is described thus:

‘Alongside the gate is a pair of semi-detached cottages, the closer having housed the gatekeeper; 1½-storey in dressed random stone facings with skew-table gables, each having three-bay fronts with smaller flat-roofed hall projections and minuscule windows containing cast-iron latticed glazing.’


Lisnavagh Landscape

The tallest tree at Lisnavagh is the Wellingtonia, named for the Duke who died around the time the species was discovered in California.

Mare’s Paddock at Lisnavagh, c. 2005.

I am, of course, tremendously biased, but sometimes I look at Lisnavagh as it is today and its beauty overwhelms me. The house seems neither solid nor dour, but rather exotic and wild, an eruption of sparkling granite walls, chimney turrets and slated valleys. In the spring, the land blossoms with snowdrops, daffodils, primroses and bluebells. Mushrooms rise from the terraces of Pegasus Paddock, while the cattle rummage idly through the grasses of the Pigeon Park where the 1696 house once stood. Robertson wanted colour. That’s why he planted the rhododendrons around the back of the house. He also planted stately Wellingtonia, Spanish Chestnuts, an entire Yew Walk and other exotics in a pleasure ground that ran parallel to the back avenue, which led to the ‘Tradesman’s Entrance’ as the main entrance to Lisnavagh was once known. Now enclosed by black railings, Pegasus Paddock was once a right of way, a pathway that still connects the Old House to the Farm Walk. The new avenue was built for wedding guests in about 2014.

Trees in the Pigeon Park at Lisnavagh.

Broom Park tree.

Further afield, the Church Path to Rathvilly has been overgrown since at least the 1970s but this was presumably the way the Captain and his family sometimes made their way to church on sunny mornings. What of Troy’s Wood and the Brick Pond Field with its strange granite ducts? The Broom Park – perhaps the Brougham Park around which Colonel Kane Bunbury galloped in his brougham? Or the Lodge Field, with the tumble-down Green Lane Cottage where a man I knew called Bob Murphy grew up with his seventeen siblings? I always wondered if there might have been a sweet romantic tale behind Walter’s Paddock and the Sally Field, although Walter is thought to have been Walter Wood, the chauffeur?! Or Kinsellagh’s Hill, perhaps leased to a tenant of the Hy Kinsella clan? How long was the Keeper’s Cottage called thus? Germaine’s is dealt with elsewhere on this website, but what of the twin houses at Williamstown? [53] Were these named for the Captain? Or perhaps for a King William?

The Brickfields at Lisnavagh by Monavoth include some granite ducts that remain a mystery to this date. In August 2019 my father wrote: “I have done some research and each possibility has some very good reason why not; drinking trough, sheep wash, etc. Investigation only creates more questions; some of the granite capstones have cuts in them which could suggest some apparatus was attached or suspended from it – or maybe those cut stones were second-hand from some device elsewhere.”


New Dawn for Architecture


Proposed layout of Lisnavagh by Robertson.

Lisnavagh was built at a time when there was a tremendous boom in construction work in the cities and the suburbs. Many of Dublin’s finer town houses date from this era, as do blah and blah. Assisting in this development was a series of Government Acts aimed at the housing situation. The Metropolitan Building Act of 1845 and the Public Health Act of 1848 led to more control over standards of buildings, with specific regulations now laid down for street plans, drainage, sanitation, the minimum width between buildings, the amount of natural light and ventilation required, the inclusion of damp-proof courses … all sorts of structural improvements and practical musts that would be further enhanced with subsequent Housing Acts but then went so hugely downhill that only buildings of the nouvelle catholique style were permitted.

The Gothic Revival movement was also underway, much influenced by Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852) and his pioneering design for the new Houses of Parliament in London, as well as Adare Manor. The first phase, the House of Lords, opened in 1847. Pugin believed Renaissance art forms with their romantic symbols of heathen mythology had caused a revival in paganism. He felt it was time to return the spiritually uplifting qualities associated with the Christian architecture of medieval times. Pugin’s era stressed the purity of individual craftsmanship and condemned the sterility of mass production, as noted by John Rushkin in “The Stones of Venice” (1851-53).


A Promise of Support

‘The following declaration, emanating from the Irish Party, is now in course of signature. A similar one has originated with Lord Fitzwilliam for England:
— We, the undersigned, being deeply impressed with a sense of the appalling distress at present prevailing in Ireland, arising from an ascertained deficiency in almost every article of human food, and feeling also the consequent effect which this deficiency must entail upon the poorer classes in the United Kingdom, do hereby declare it to be a solemn duty to economise as far as possible, in our households and in our establishments, the different articles in common use which constitute food for our fellow creatures; and to curtail every unnecessary expense during the present visitation, in order at once that the quantity of food available for the use of man may thus be increased; and, that we may ourselves be the better able to contribute to the relief of our suffering countrymen, we hereby pledge ourselves to act as far as possible in conformity with this declaration, and we earnestly call upon all heads of households in Ireland to follow our example
— Lucan, Doneraile, Monteagle, Lurgan, Massareene, Wallscourt, Bernard, Clements Carnwath, George A. Hamilton, Ralph Osborne, Hugh M. Tuite, Fitzstephen French, Thomas Martin, William K. Gregory, Henry Grattan, William Smith O’Brien, Wm. M’Clintock Bunbury, John Robert Godley, Henry W. Barron, Bart. Thomas Esmonde, Bart. James Power, William Sharman Crawford, O’Conor Don, Benjamin Chapman, Pierce Somerset Butler, Cornelius O’Brien, John Kelly, R Smithwick, William Acton, Daniel Callaghan, Alexander M’Carthy.’
Belfast Commercial Chronicle – Wednesday 3 February 1847

‘The Carlow Sentinel says there is every reasonable ground for anticipating a good harvest. More than the ordinary breadth of wheat is sown, and, even at the present moment, there is a greater quantity of land under tillage than last year. The farmers are planting potatoes pretty generally, and seem to have little, if any, apprehension of failure.’
Illustrated London News – Saturday 17 April 1847

Distress in Rathvilly

The captain presumably availed of the labourers mentioned in this report from the London Evening Standard of 26 April 1847, quoting the Carlow Sentinel:

FOOD RIOTS. There were tumultuous assemblages of people in Carlow on Wednesday, who came from the barony of Rathvilly, to demand work. The people of the town felt a good deal of alarm, but all passed off quietly. Serious apprehensions are felt in all quarters, respecting the result of the general dismissal of labourers on the 1st of May. Very significant hints have been given, that, although the works may be stopped, the gangs shall not be disbanded, and they talk of holding together for the purpose of taking provisions by force wherever they can be had. If these threats be acted upon the consequences may be dreadful. A fall has taken place in the meat markets, which is actually attributed to the fears of the farmers— which are inducing them to convert their sheep and cattle into money. The following extracts are from the provincial papers received this morning:
— (From the Carlow Sentinel.) “On Wednesday morning, at an early hour, a body consisting of about 100 labourers, from the barony of Rathvilly, entered this town, and proceeded to the lodging of Mr. Scully, accountant under the Board of Works, and demanded an interview with that gentleman. The interview being granted, one of the body stated that they represented about 600 labourers who had been dismissed from the public works, and had no means of employment. They required nothing more than to be set to work; they were not a mob assembled to violate the peace, or to excite terror, but poor men who had no means of subsistence next day for their families. They would conduct themselves peaceably (the speaker observed), and with that view they considered it prudent to call on the officers of the Board of Works to represent their condition. Mr. Scully briefly addressed the crowd, stating that he would communicate with the Board of Works on that day upon the subject. The poor men, all able-labourers, expressed their thanks to Mr Scully for his promise to interfere on their behalf, and they returned home, as they entered, in a peaceable and orderly manner.”

‘The country papers speak cheeringly of the prospect of the new potato crop. In Carlow county, there is a breadth of land already laid down which is estimated at about one- half the ordinary quantity; while there is a vast addition to the corn and green crops. So far this county appears pretty safe from a renewal of the horrors of the past winter’. [54]

‘DEPARTURE OF THE JAMESTOWN. This noble ship sailed on Thursday afternoon, between the hours of three and four o’clock, on her return voyage to America, being towed out the harbour by a government steamer, amid the cheers and blessings of grateful thousands.’ [55]


London in 1847

After the new house was finished, William divided his time between Lisnavagh and his London house at 45 Chester Square, especially in the periods when he was obliged to attend Parliament as the member for County Carlow. While his political career was not a particularly scintillating one, it nonetheless ensured that, every year, he and his family were in London, now the centre of a rapidly expanding British Empire. That was the social and cultural capital of their world, offering a kind of reaffirming sense of their position, privileges and their responsibilities.

What an enigmatic fellow Charles Dickens was – the prototype of the soap opera writer, he released his bestsellers to the public in instalments, chapter by chapter, so that each week more and more people would queue up eager to consume the latest adventures of the orphan boy Oliver Twist or of the teacher Nicholas Nickleby. Dickens himself would read these chapters aloud to selected audiences who, as Thackeray put it, would be weeping into their pocket handkerchiefs as his heroines surely and inevitably died. (The documentary attributed this trait of his to his wife’s younger sister, with whom he was much enamoured, who died tragically young). The documentary also revealed some curious statistics about life in London at this time. In 1847 there would have been about 80,000 prostitutes in London, 8000 of whom died of disease every year. There were also 3,000 cases of syphilis in children every year. (Dickens first went to America in 1848). In 1839, half the funerals held in London were of children under the age of 10. Dickens world was replete with orphanages, work houses, penal homes and child labourers. He went out of his way to heighten public awareness of this – Oliver Twist was the first novel in the English language to feature a child as the main protagonist. The audience loved it.

1847 Events


Victorious Bunchclod, 1847.

Jan 22: Birth of Sussana Kepple, daughter of John and Jane Kepple, Tobinstown, Carlow.

March 1847: The British government stopped the relief work which had employed almost three quarters of a million on work which, to quote Cormac O’Grada in The Great Irish Famine, made little sense in terms either of economy or their goal of staving off famine“. Instead, they began opening up soup kitchens, financed by the local ratepayer, distributing cheap and not very nutritious soup and gruel. People brought their pot or bowl along and had to queue for hours, often overnight, which must have worked wonders for their pride. Still, by July, the soup kitchens were at least providing 3 million people a day with some sort of nourishment.


General Election, 1847


On 21 June 1847, the Cork Examiner reported that Captain Bunbury had voted against a second reading of a proposal submitted by William Sharman Crawford advocating better rights for tenants. [56]

Colonel Bruen and Mr. W. B. M. Bunbury were subsequently elected without opposition at the General Election in July-August 1847. However, despite a Conservative victory, a split in their ranks between supporters of Protectionism (under Lord Stanley) and of Free Trade (under Peel) placed the government in the hands of the Whigs under Lord John Russell. I am inclined to think Captain Bunbury was a protectionist.

‘While moralising on the condition of the country, we should not forget the duty we owe to the constituency of this county. They again returned Colonel Bruen, a long-tried and truly independent Representative—a gentleman who, like the sturdy oak, whether standing alone on the prairies, or surrounded by the more pliant trees of the forest, never bowed his head to the storm. He is now what he ever was, and will be—the independent Representative of an independent constituency, of which he may well be, and is, justly proud—and he has as his colleague Captain McClintock Bunbury, a gentleman whose career in the last parliament was characteristic of honesty, perseverance, and single-mindedness of purpose, and whose frankness is peculiar to the Naval profession, to which he was early attached.
Some objections have been made to an observation of this gentleman on Tuesday. We give the very language he uttered, and we are greatly mistaken if any individual—we care not how fastidious or critical he may be – can find fault with that language, or say that any insult was intended to any class of his countrymen. Public men are considered fair game for misrepresentation; but they should be judged by their acts, as well as by the language they utter ; and when the observations of Captain M’Clintock Bunbury will have been perused, every impartial man will admit that, so far from wishing to annoy any party, his object was to congratulate the county on the happy change that took place since the last general election. At all events, according to the ancient maxim, Dormant quod non intelligunt, they should not condemn what they did not understand.
We have only to add, that while other counties present a fearful example of political strife, Carlow, in the year of our Lord 1847, exhibits certainly a picture commemorative not so much of former struggles as of peace, good feeling, and unanimity. May it long continue so, is our earnest prayer!’
Carlow Sentinel – Saturday 14 August 1847

Meanwhile the Captain’s brother John McClintock junior withdraws from the General Election in County Louth: Chichester Fortescue is elected. 

June 25: John Corrigan, of Garrettstown, Rathvilly, claims he is owned two years rent (£54) for 15 acres of Rickettestown connected to Hugh Cuming, the business associate of Benajmin D’Israeli of Beechy Park, Rathvilly, purported uncle of the British Prime Minister.[57]

August, circa 27: Arrivals in Enniskillen. —Captain M‘Clintock Bunbury, Member for Carlow, and Mrs. Bunbury; Sir James and Lady Strong [sic] ; Counsellor and Mrs. Strong [sic], Lieutenant-Colonel Caulfield and Miss Strong.[58]

Sept 18: William Pigott, son of John Piggot, marries Elizabeth Browne, daughter of John Browne, in Rathvilly.

October 13: Marriage at Trentham, Staffordshire, England, of Charles FitzGerald, Marquis of Kildare (later Duke of Leinster) and Lady Caroline Leveson-Gower daughter of George Granville Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland and Lady Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Howard. They had fifteen children, including Lady Geraldine FitzGerald (c. 1848-1867) and Gerald, 5th Duke of Leinster (1851- 1893), who would have been contemporaries of Tom and Jack Bunbury.

Oct 1847: In Kilmore Church, Mr. Thomas Yeates, Rathvilly, to Miss Mary Steadman.  He hailed from County Meath and may have been one of the builders working on the construction of Lisnavagh House. Witness to the wedding was the fabulously named Ebenezer Beggs, a house painter. Mr Beggs went on to be a partner in Waller & Beggs, furniture van proprietors, coal merchants and general carriers, based at 32 Denzille Street off Merrion Square, with stores at 34 Boyne Street. Was Ebenezer painting Lisnavagh? After his death in 1863, his widow Margaret Beggs gamely took the business onwards as M. Beggs & Company.[59]

Oct 1847: The master of the Carlow workhouse reported that all neighbouring graveyards were so overcrowded that he had been refused permission to bury the work-house dead in them. He nevertheless been removing bodies from the workhouse in the dead of night and burying in stealth. The Guardians were however, not prepared to condone this practice and decided that the dead should be buried in pits within the workhouse grounds; each pit would contain three or four tiers of coffins. [60]

October.Sudden death of a soldier. One of the soldiers of the 3rd Buffs, quartered in this town, while dancing in a public house, belonging to a man named Parkes, in Coal-market, on Tuesday evening last, suddenly dropped on the floor, and on raising him it was found that life was extinct. The young man was about twenty four years of age, apparently strong and healthy, but had dissipated habits.’ (The Carlow Sentinel, from the Pat Purcell Papers)

Nov 1: Laurence Kealey, son of John Kealey, marries Eliza Dunne, daughter of Hugh Dunne in Rathvilly.

Nov 18: Samuel Cooke, son of William Cooke, marries Hannah Jackson, daughter of Thomas Jackson in Rathvilly.

December: John B. O. Wandesforde, the captain’s brother-in-law, visits Drumcar from Castlecomer and is subjected to some criticism in a letter published on the front-page of The Pilot (17 December 1847). I think the family were quite bible-focused which seems to be the issue with “Peter”, the author of the letter. As one commentator observes: “At this time they [the Wandesforde family] had to find £85,000 to pay off the Ormonds and were also trying to get tenants to give up poor land and, by way of inducement, offered assisted passage to the New World. Some tenants came out in favour of Hon. Charles Butler-Clarke-Southwell-Wandesforde while others clearly did not and castigated him and John, his eldest son and heir, who died before his father. So its the ususal merry go around of an improving landlord trying to making things better for the wider community and, of course, for himself and his family while the reverse of the coin is clearly hard: families surrendering their homes and lands and going to America and the New World, many of them only as the last resort. Landlords like Tighe of Woodstock and Bessborough (who died in office) had clearly seen the danger to reliance on the potatoe and had duly warned the administration.”

Dec 30: Death of Henrietta, Lady Clancarty, sister-in-law to Lady Elizabeth McClintock.


1847 – Other Events


Daniel O’Connell, the great Catholic Emancipator, died in 1847.

A rare and remarkable photograph of Sir John Franklin whose disappearance in the Arctic in 1846 prompted young Leopold McClintock to go in pursuit.

  • Daniel O’Connell, The Great Liberator, dies in Genoa, having made his final speech to House of Commons on 8 February, pleading for help for a starving Ireland.
  • The Metropolitan Commission of Sewers in London orders all cesspits to be closed and house drains to connect to sewers and empty into the Thames. As a result, a cholera epidemic ensued, killing 14,137 Londoners in 1849.
  • Mormons advance to Salt Lake City.
  • Birth of Jesse James, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Eddison.
  • Rev Thomas & Cassandra Hand move to Bishopscourt, Clones, Co Monaghan.
  • Establishment of Jacob’s Creek, Carlsberg, Cartier Diamonds.
  • Thackeray, Vanity Fair.
  • Karl Marx, The Comminist Manifesto.
  • Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights.
  • Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre.The book is published with a dedication to Thackeray leaving many to suppose, incorrectly, that the author was a governess in his household and that Mr. Rochester and his mad wife are doubles for Thackeray and his.
  • Henry Ford‘s family emigrate to America; mother dies en route.
  • John Henry Foley working at Westminster; mother dies.
  • Jeanie Johnson built in Canada.
  • Lola Montez on rampage in Bavaria.
  • USA at war with Mexico with John Riley’s San Patricio Battalion to the fore.
  • 38,000 Irish arrive in Toronto and double the population.
  • Edinburgh physician James Simpson publishes his discovery of chloroform as an aesthetic, revolutionising the procedure of childbirth.
  • Michigan became the first English Speaking territory in the world to abolish the death penalty.
  • Seven years after the appearance of the penny black in Britain, Mauritius became the first British colony to issue its own postage stamps, the Red and Blue Pennies.


Member of the Royal Dublin Society

On 24 February 1848, Captain William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury, RN, MP, ‘of Baltinglass‘, is the first Bunbury to be recorded as a member of the Royal Dublin Society when elected life member. His proposers were Henry Kemmis and Sir William Betham. Henry Kemmis would subsequently propose William’s uncle Kane Bunbury for membership in April 1853. William’s eldest son Thomas would go on to serve as President of the RDS from 1913 to 1929.


Meeting Queen Victoria, 1848


On the afternoon of Thursday 11 May 1848, Mrs McClintock Bunbury presented ‘her sister, Miss Stronge’, to the Queen in her drawing room at Buckingham Palace. The queen would meet Mrs McCB again in August 1849.


Birth of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury


At the close of November 1848, the Anglo-Celt noted that on November 29th, ‘the lady of Captain M’Clintock Bunbury, R.N., M.P.’ had been delivered of ‘a son’. (64) The baby was Thomas Kane, the firstborn son of the Captain and Pauline Stronge. The same issue of the Anglo-Celt noted the birth of a daughter on November 23, at Carnarvon, North Wales, the lady of Walter HUSSEY DE BURGH, Esq., of Donore House, County of Kildare.


1848 Further Events

Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury’s birth came just one week after his cousin General Sir Hugh Gough‘s victory over on 22 November. Gough, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India, was the son of Letitia Bunbury, great-aunt of William McClintock Bunbury.

  • February 24: King Louis-Philippe of France abdicates and the Second Republic is proclaimed in Paris. This revolution sends political sent political shock waves across Europe, and revolutions broke out in Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Prague, Budapest and Kraków.
  • March 21: ‘The Information of Robert Hart of Viewmount Parish of Clonmore Barony of Rathvilly in the County of Carlow. Sworn before Bartholomew Warburton and Thomas R. Hardy, Esquire, Two of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace. Robert Hart being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists, saith That on Monday the 13th March 1848 I was in George Kelly’s field of Ballyduff and I cutting bushes and I saw Catherine Ryan and James Ryan come and unloose a Black and White Goat without Horns from a White Goat and they took it away with them. I saw this Goat on Edward Ryan’s land with his daughter some time before this. (signed) Robert Hart.Edward Ryan of Davis’s Hill who being duly Sworn on the Holy Evangelists deposeth that on Monday the 13th March 1848 when I was going into my dinner I saw my two Goats on George Kelly’s land at Ballyduff and in about an hour afterwards I missed one of them, A Black and White Goat without Horns she had been Serviced to another White Goat, the Goat Stolen was Valued for about ten shillings. (signed) Edward Ryan. Each Bound to Our Lady the Queen. (signed) Bartholomew Warburton, Thomas R. Hardy.’ (Pat Purcell Papers)
  • May 13: The Irish Confederation splits; John Mitchel starts the militant United Irishman; he is arrested on this date and is sentenced to 14 years transportation under the new Treason-Felony Act.
  • July 15: By Charles H. Tuckey, Esquire, One of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for Carlow. – The Information of John Taylor, School Master of the Carlow Poor Law Union, Carlow, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists deposeth that on the 15th day of July 1848 a boy named Patrick Fox of Bagenalstown, Carlow, absconded from the Work House taking with him One Cap – One Jacket – One Trowsers and One Shirt the property of the Guardians of Said Work House. (Pat Purcell Papers).
  • July 18: William Fennelly of Farnans in the Queen’s County aged about 12 years also absconded from the Work House taking with him One Cap – One Jacket – One Trowsers and One Shirt the property of the Guardians, (signed) John Taylor. Sworn before me this 1818 [?] day of July 1848. (signed) C.H. Tuckey, Resident Magistrate. (Pat Purcell Papers).
  • Leopold McClintock makes expedition to Arctic with Sir James Ross in search of Sir John Franklin’s ships, as second lieutenant of the “Enterprise“.
  • As the Great Hunger enters its third year, the Young Irelanders and William Smith-O’Brien launch an abortive rising against the British elite.
  • Revolutions in France (Louis Napoleon becomes President), Hungary, Germany and Italy where the King of Naples attacks Pope Pius IX. Britain sends gunboats to assist Pope demanding “in return”that he “keep the priests in Ireland quiet“.
  • Nov 22: Gough defeats the Sikhs at Ramnuggar.
  • Dec 1: The paddle-steamer ‘Londonderry’ takes shelter at Derry’s quayside during a storm while en route from Sligo to Liverpool. By the time cabin covers were removed from the hold, 72 men, women and children had suffocated.
  • Californian Gold Rush begins.
  • Marx, Engels, The Communist Manifesto.


John Malone, Agent to Lisnavagh


The sun setting at Lisnavagh, just as it would have done in 1847.

In 1847 or 1848, Captain McClintock Bunbury appointed John Malone as the new land agent, or steward, at Lisnavagh. Malone, who lived in the Farm House at Lisnavagh, was born in 1802 and is described as ‘a native of County Louth’ in an 1849 newspaper article in the Pat Purcell Papers (see below). There was a John Malone who, born in Rathvilly, served in Royal Artillery from 1825 until he was discharged aged 30 in 1834. [61]

John Malone ran the farm at Lisnavagh for some thirteen years before his death aged 61. He was buried in St Mary’s, Rathvilly, on 24 May 1862. [62] Griffith’s Valuation, compiled circa 1852, show that he was living in the Farm House at Lisnavagh at this time. (The same survey records James Pierson and Patrick McKew living side by side in what are now the Blacksmith’s Cottage & the Farm Cottage at the entrance the farmyard). See also the map here.

During the 1850s, John had at least four children by his wife Margaret Malone, namely Mabel and Lizzie (born at Tullow and baptized at Rathvilly), John (born at Lisnavagh, Jan 1858) and William (born at Lisnavagh, baptized at Rathvilly). The latter was quite probably named for his father’s employer, William McClintock Bunbury. In 1890 William Malone was married in Rathvilly to Eva Emily Arthur and they lived at Mount Lucas. Between 1894 and 1901, William and Eva Malone had at least three children, baptised at Rathvilly, namely William Arthur, John Alexander (1896-1915) and Margaret Ann.

It was formerly thought that John Malone, the Lisnavagh agent, was a son of Walter Malone (1756-1840), a miller whose family farmed and owned the Rathmore Mill on the banks of the River Slaney, some 4km south west of Rathvilly, for nearly 200 years. However, while Walter did have a son John, his John died in 1853, while John Malone the Lisnavagh agent lived until 1861. This does not rule out a connection. For more see here.


In 1952, the decision was taken to knock down some two thirds of the original mansion at Lisnavagh. Three sets of death duties in thirty years and a punishing roof tax left little other option. The woman seated in the foreground was my grandmother Pamela Drew, aka Lady Rathdonnell, who orchestrated the operation.


Lisnavagh Under Construction c. 1848-1849


On 15 August 1848, Daniel Robertson penned a letter to the captain highlighting the scarcity of lodging options in the area. There was nowhere for Stuart, the pipe-layer, to stay in Rathvilly, or any of the farmhouses between Lisnavagh and Rathvilly. As such, he had gone to stay in Tullow. He had previously been staying at the Big House until Mrs McCB seemingly ejected him as she wanted those nice warm rooms for herself and her children. Robertson was much concerned with lighting fires in the house to dry the walls out and make the place habitable. As regards being ejected from his rooms at Lisnavagh, Robertson had less chase to complain as he appears to have either kicked out the builder Kingsmill, or else refused to give Kingsmill a place to stay at the Big House. In any event, there was a fall out between the two men at this point. They were about to go full steam ahead at building the Brick Tank at this point. Robertson added that the site of the terraces (possibly as far south as the farmyard) was ‘a mass of mud’.

One of the bedrooms for the new house, now the Blue Room, was set aside for the captain’s uncle, Colonel Kane Bunbury, sponsor of the house. It was known as the Colonel’s Room.

On 3 June 1847, Robertson writes: ‘I have sent you a sketch plan of the Great Quadrangle and the terrace, showing how I would plan the gravel …’, and … ‘God grant there is no ill-health in Cavendish Square’, with a post-script about the Church which may fit O’Dwyer’s reference to the church at Rathvilly.

There is a letter of 8 June hoping that the Captain will be making a visit to Lisnavagh soon. This visit appears to be closely figured in a letter of 15 August in a separate file. It refers to the reservoir and discusses where the [Bunbury] family might be lodged:

Fires in all the rooms to air them. … As to myself, it is of no consequence, for I cannot at all afford the Fleecing at Beaumaris, and it would cost me as much to send my family back to Chester, as to get them over to Dublin, so I think of so doing, if she can bear the sea voyage. Their coming over for the winter would be very convenient for me in many respects and I am striving to coax her over’.

A letter of 7 September includes references to the exigencies of doctors’ bill for Robertson’s wife so he begs a loan of £12 to settle these, and it would appear that she is now ‘in town’ but it is not likely that this is in Dublin. Here in the file there is a loose sheet with details concerning Kingsmill which may be displaced and be concerned with earlier business.

In a letter of 8 September, Robertson reports about glass but also at the end:

I am delighted at the continued good progress of Mrs Bunbury and the infant heir – all danger is now past, & I hope she will soon be convalescent’.

The undercurrents of ill-health on the part of mother and child seem to recur.

A letter of 24 March 1848 includes an examination of Kingsmill’s accounts and is an important record for Captain McClintock Bunbury’s later dispute with the man coming to court long after Robertson’s death.

On Friday 3 November 1848, the Limerick Reporter noted:

The Carlow Sentinel notices great improvements in building and agriculture now taking place in that county. Our contemporary expressly notices the exertions of Captain Banbury [sic] M’Clintock, M.P.and Mr. Clayton Browne —the former of whom is just finishing a magnificent mansion at Lisnevagh.’

It is possible that this is based on the same report that Michael Purcell once emailed me from the Pat Purcell Papers, which was taken from an undated newspaper cutting, undated, with the name ‘T. Bunbury’ scribbled in ink alongside the article. The following transcript retains capitals as printed in that article.

Lisnavagh House.

From MOATABOWER ([66]) to LISNEVAGH, the future seat of Captain McCLINTOCK BUNBURY, M.P., improvements are everywhere visible, although the road contractors are not entitled to praise for the integrity of their intentions in the fulfillment of their contracts, the roads being in many places much neglected.
To Lisnevagh we next direct the attention of the reader; and here CAPITAL, which in every civilised country is understood as “money” has worked miracles within two years.
Bog land has being reclaimed, rocky ground has been converted into pasture, and a wide-spread field of 700 acres, (the property of one of our COUNTY MEMBERS), a portion which for years has been almost unprofitable, presents, under his superintendence, ( and a judicious outlay of capital ), the appearance of a well-cultivated district, and in a short time will not only repay the PROPRIETOR, but exhibit practically what can be done by capital, labour, and industry, on the part of a landed proprietor.
We have heard a great deal of what English factory capitalists can do in England; we are, therefore, inclined to be minute in details, when we find a landed proprietor prove what capital well applied can effect in Ireland.
The future magnificent residence of Captain McClintock Bunbury, M.P., situate at Lisnevagh, is one creditable not only to the county, but to the country.
In magnitude and extent it is not surpassed in the kingdom, and of the pure ELIZABETHAN style of architecture, erected from the plans and under the personal superintendence of D. Robinson, Esquire, upon elevated ground; there are few edifices present so noble an appearance.
The first stone of this extensive mansion was laid on the 23rd of January, 1847, nearly on the site of the ancient residence of the BUNBURY family, erected in 1686, which was dismantled during the progress of the present structure.

Lion’s head on Lisnavagh chair.

The library at Lisnavagh, circa 2005.

The present residence is complete in every part, as far as the exterior is concerned; and in a few months – such is the exertions that are being made, and the liberal outlay of capital – it will be ready for the reception of the family in every department before the ensuing summer – a circumstance in building seldom or never surpassed, and could not be accomplished but for the building materials being on the spot, such as granite, brick, lime, etc. and the vast number of workmen employed to carry out the design. (*)
The elegant mansion on the north side presents the appearance of an extensive quadrangle, every view that presents itself on the approach from that side being chaste and classical, combined with elaborate taste and skill – harmony and proportion (combined with comfort and convenience ) being evidently the object of the architect.
The south side, comprising a magnificent suite of apartments, viz.- the drawing-room, library, dining-room, ante-chambers, etc., commands a splendid view of the surrounding country, with Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs in the foreground of the picture – while from the same wing on the east the beautiful scenery of the Wicklow Mountains attracts attention.
From the upper rooms a vast and beautifully cultivated tract of the county Carlow is visible, presenting every variety of scenery, enhancing in the eye of even the artist the value and beauty of the site chosen for the erection of a family mansion of such extent.
In a future publication we shall enter more into details, but for the present we shall content ourselves with a brief description of some of the adjuncts to the mansion of Captain Bunbury.


The farmyard at Lisnavagh in 2003.

The farm-yard is situate about a quarter of a mile from the mansion, in a valley, and on what, on the fourth of May last, was apparently an irreclaimable bog.
This mass of buildings all enclosed, but covering an immense space of ground, presents the appearance of a large manufacturing village, with its chimney shaft 60 feet high.
The farm-yard comprises buildings of every description for agricultural purposes, under the superintendence of a very intelligent and scientific steward, Mr Malone, a native of the county Louth, for whom a handsome residence is built on the spot.
Attached to the building is a steam engine of great power, by which flour and oatmeal are manufactured for the use of the mansion, and by which steaming, winnowing, threshing, etc. are performed Independently of the several purposes to which the steam mill is applied, it is used for forcing water from this point through an elevated plane, to a tank on a rising ground above the mansion, which contains 700,000 gallons of water.
From this point, invisible from the house, the water is supplied to every apartment, and if required, there are FOUR escapes, or cocks in the event of accidents by fire, by which the water may be raised 20 feet above the roof of the mansion.
We are thus circumstantial in details, with the view of showing what capital can effect since the 31st of January, 1847 ; but we may here go further by stating that the steam mill, its towering shaft and the immense mass of buildings surrounding them, all erected on what was a bog on the 4th of May, in the present year ; and the GRANITE with which the buildings were erected were taken from the fields now covered with a rich and luxuriant crops of Swedish turnips for stall feeding in the buildings erected on the “bog” which “bog” we might however add, is now thorough drained, and reduced to its present state by the powerful agency of capital, and skill in its application.
We cannot now enter into further details, but in a future number we hope to enter more fully into the subject, with a view of exhibiting substantial proofs that by the combined agency of A RESIDENT GENTRY, and the industry of the people, the county of Carlow may fairly look forward to future progress and prosperity.

* Michael Conry’ proposed that the granite blocks were cut from field boulders rather than especially quarried. However, Tom Brennan of Kill reckons the men would’ve been cutting stone from giant lawn-size slabs of granite, literally hacking into the slab and cutting out the rectangles and squares, rather than finding boulders and reshaping them. As Tom observes, there is a vein of granite that slaloms its way either side of the Slaney from Rathvilly to Aghade. It veers from one side to the other so that there might be a huge slab of granite on one side of the river and nothing but coral-like silt on the other, like at Rathmore, or the sandy banks of the Dereen and the Slaney. There is an extraordinary dip at the south-east corner of the Pigeon Park, reminiscent of a Great War bomb crater. Was this part of a quarry? You still find small mounds of cut-stone granite discarded by the stonemasons beside the marshland at the bottom of the Pigeon Park, as well as in the wood along the back road to the farm. There is also significant evidence of stonemasonry alongside the woodland entrance to Kinsellagh’s Hill where the quarries now serve as two small ponds on the avenue to Kinsellagh’s Hill, nicknamed Lough Beg and Lough Mor by my parents.

Carlow Fire Engine, 1849

THE UNDERSIGNED request a MEETING of the Inhabitants of CARLOW, on WEDNESDAY the 14th of FEBRUARY 1849, at the COURT-HOUSE, to take into consideration the PROPRIETY of procuring a FIRE ENGINE for the use of the CARLOW TOWN and Neighbourhood.
The late accidents by FIRE render such a measure EXPEDIENT, and all those CONCERNED are requested to attend the Meeting.
Robert Clayton-Browne, Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Carlow and Justice of the Peace.
Captain William M’Clintock Bunbury, Member of Parliament and Justice of the Peace.
Henry Hutton, Assistant Barrister.
Henry Watters, Justice of the Peace.
Charles H. Tuckey, Resident Magistrate.
William Henry Cary, Esquire.
A. Royse, County Inspector.
Sim. Clarke & Co.
Thomas Rawson, Medical Doctor.
John Tuomy, Medical Doctor, Justice of the Peace.
Edward M. Fitzgerald, Esquire.
Matthew E.White, Medical Doctor, Justice of the Peace.
William Johnson, Esquire
Thomas H. Carroll, Esquire.
William Whitmore, Esquire.
Thomas Haughton, Esquire.
William Fishbourne, Esquire.
John James Lecky, Esquire.
Thomas Braddle, Esquire.
Somerset Maxwell, Esquire.
Edward Burton, Esquire.
(signed) Samuel Elliott, High Sheriff for the County of Carlow.
This 6th Day of February 1849.’ [67]

Rathvilly Church

Feb: ‘MUNIFICENT DONATION. Colonel Bunbury, of Moyle, has presented the Rev. J.B. Magennis, the Rector of Rathvilly, with the sum of £500, as his subscription towards the repairs and improvement of the Parochial Church of Rathvilly. This munificent donation reflects credit on the kind and generous donor, who thus secures encreased accommodation in the Parochial Church of his ancestors.’ [68]
Feb: ‘CAPTAIN M’CLINTOCK BUNBURY, M.P. — We are gratified to learn that Captain Bunbury, who was ill from influenza in London, is in a state of convalescence, and will in a few days be able to attend his parliamentary duties.’ [69]

Sheep Theft at Moyle, 1849

About four o’clock on the morning of the 19th April 1849, two notorious characters, named James Kehoe and James Nolan, were arrested by Constable Cox and a party of Constabulary, while on patrol in the vicinity of the town.
They were concealed on the Railway, having in their possession the carcases of three sheep, which were subsequently identified as the property of Captain B. McClintock Bunbury, M.P., and had been killed on the lands of Moyle.
The prisoners, who are professional sheep-stealers, were fully committed by C. H. Tuckey, Esquire, Resident Magistrate, to abide their trial at the
ensuing Quarter Sessions.
Much credit is due to Constable Cox and his party for the capture of two of
a gang who live by the plunder of the gentry and farmers of the neighbourhood. [70]


On Thursday, Patrick Lucas, a notorious sheep-stealer who absconded some weeks since, was committed to the county gaol by Charles H. Tuckey, Esquire, Resident Magistrate. Lucas was one of the gang concerned in killing two sheep, the property of Captain B. McClintock Bunbury, M.P., and escaped the morning of the capture of his companions ; he was pursued to England by Constable Cox, who, following closely in his track, arrested Lucas near Grantham.
Much credit is due to this active constable for his zeal and activity in effecting the capture of the last of this gang of marauders. [71]

The sessions for the division of Carlow were opened on Monday last, by Henry Hutton, Esquire, Assistant Barrister.
His worship was assisted in the criminal business by Charles H. Tuckey, Resident Magistrate, Henry Watters, Samuel Elliott and Thomas Haughton, Esquires.
The following gentlemen were sworn on the grand jury :
Major McMahon, foreman : Thomas Dowse, Richard McMullen, Geroge William Anderson, Edward M. Fitzgerald, Stanley Johnson, John Cummins, Richard Dunne, William Corrigan, John Casey, Owen Cummins, A.Coffey, James Morris, John Hanlon, Henry Birkett, Garret Nolan, Robert Kenny, James Hughes, James Watson and Robert Lawlor.
Three men, named James Nolan, Patrick Lucas and James Kehoe, were indicted for having, on the night of the 19th of March 1849, on the lands of Moyle, killed and carried away three sheep, the property of Captain William B. McClintock Bunbury, Esquire, M.P.
~~ Mr James Smyth being sworn, proved that on finding the skins, etc., of the sheep on the field, he noticed one of them, which had the tail attached to it, and which exactly corresponded with one of the carcases found in the police barrack at Carlow; the remaining skins and carcases also corresponded, so that he felt no hesitation in identifying them as the property of Captain Bunbury.
Constable Coxe proved that he saw the prisoners coming in the direction from Moyle, about 4 o’clock on the following morning, with the carcases of the sheep tied up in three bags, and that on seeing him two of the prisoners made off, leaving Kehoe, whom he arrested ; he afterwards arrested Nolan in his bed, and Lucas, who absconded, he arrested in Grantham, in England, where Lucas made a declaration of his guilt before the mayor of the town, and a Justice of the Peace.
Mr Tuckey deposed to a declaration made by James Nolan on the morning of his being arrested, stating that he ( Nolan ) together with Lucas and Kehoe did on the night of the 19th of March 1849, kill and take off the lands of Moyle three sheep, the property of Captain Bunbury.
The prisoners were found guilty and were sentenced to seven years’ transportation.
Mr Burgess appeared for Kehoe, one of the prisoners. [72]

It is not yet known where Messrs. Nolan, Lucas and Kehoe were despatched for their seven years of servitude – probably Australia.


The Move to Lisnavagh

The Lisnavagh archives include another business letter of 15 November 1848 from Daniel Robertson and then a long letter of 10 May 1849 which refers to three drawings for the Dining Room etc which incorporate changes necessary to fit the ‘Turkey carpet’ that Bunbury has purchased:

I sent these drawings and the report to Lower Grosvenor Street’ but states also that he would be taking the accounts and so forth ‘to Howth because I feel that this is no common illness, and it may be a prolonged one. If I had money I would go home on Saturday but I have none and Emily, I know, is as poor as myself. These are hard and bitter times on me, true enough. I confess, I am anxious to know how you like Sandgate: for I fancy my own recollection of it, and the happiness I once had there, might mislead you – but this cough kills me’.

A letter of 17 May is folded and misplaced in Bunbury’s notebooks; it is ‘addressed to the hotel at Folkestone’ … forwarding the cheque of £5 for Emily, mentioning a visit by the Colonel, and drawings of the carpet, ‘… suffering from low, slow fever’, and another of 30 May loose in the same notebook with estimates for glass and a reference to Wat Newton.

It is not clear where the Captain was living during the building; perhaps he was at Moyle with his uncle Kane, or was the original Lisnavagh House of 1696 still standing? If it was, did it look like Moyle? This may become apparent as we delve deeper into the archives. At any rate, on 28 June 1849, the Captain notes in his diary that ‘a.m. arrival at Lisnavagh with Wife and Children for first time to take up our Residence there‘. I presume all their luggage went ahead of them and one wonders about all the trunks and steamer baskets and valises and prams that must have cluttered up the halls and corridors in the days before their arrival … he had to scoot off to London at some point in the next few weeks as Dublin Evening Mail of Wednesday 18 July records: 

Captain Bunbury M’Clintock, M.P., has arrived at Lisnevagh, county of Carlow, from London.’

Entrance to the walled garden at Lisnavagh.

It was a large rambling Tudor-Revival Gothic house of granite, its chimney turrets soaring into the sky, it’s walls lined with arches and colonnades. There were two Porte-Cocheres; ‘the perfect Victorian invention which managed to add grandiosity to any façade‘. (Modchick) The interior rooms were grand and baronial, a library, a ballroom, a reception room, a dining room, a drawing room – all warmed by grand fireplaces of Kilkenny black marble and Wicklow granite, capable of burning the huge mossy logs dragged in from the surrounding woods. My father recalls that the ceiling in the library was similar to that of Rathvilly Church: solid oak beams with shields at the points were the beams crossed, supporting heraldry, presumably Bunbury, McClintock or Rathdonnell. The Strahan Brothers of Dublin were commissioned to create a wonderful Gothic dining room suite and extensive shelving for the library. The shelves were then rapidly filled with the miscellaneous books of the Bunbury and McClintock houses – accounts of the Peninsula Wars, JP’s handbooks, Books of Common Prayer and Hymns, nautical memoirs, poetry and prose. A vast cellar was dug 15 feet deep below the ground, with three special chutes down which coal and wood could be poured to stock up for the long, cold 19th century winters. The household staff kept their eyes on an intricate set of bells in the house, each one hooked up to a different room. The kitchen and larder were stocked with fruits and vegetables from a walled garden made of red bricks and a series of greenhouses, one underground. An orchard of apple trees was planted to its rear. Huge bullocks and thoroughbred mares grazed indifferently in a series of paddocks. There were plans for a conservatory by Richard Turner (1798-1881), the most important iron-founder and glasshouse designer in Ireland. (See below).

The house was reached from the Rathvilly – Tullow road (N81) near Ballybit. An austere granite gateway was later constructed with foreboding black oakwood gates, through which the carriages, coaches, boxcars, broughams, horsemen and, later, open-top motor-cars would to and fro for over a hundred years before the old tradesman’s entrance became the principal access route to the house. From here one advanced past the gate lodge, along a daffodil-lined avenue, through lush meadowlands populated by cattle and sheep, into the new woodlands being planted on the estate. At a cross roads, one could turn right for the new Farmyard, left to turn back on oneself and the Green Lane Cottage, or continue straight for the Big House, up an avenue of rotating oak and beech trees, with a second avenue of luminous green limes leading up a small rise to the house itself.


The Strahan Brothers


Close up of honey-coloured oakwood carving in library at Lisnavagh, thought to be the work of the Strahan brothers.

The 18th century is recognised as being the heyday of the Irish furniture industry. Ireland’s furniture making tradition however continued into the 19th and 20th centuries. During this period some of the most recognised firms were those of Michael Butler, William Hicks, Michael Jones and Robert Strahan.

Robert Strahan & Co. Henry Street, Dublin, was founded in 1776. By 1845 they had opened two workshops at Henry St., and 5 Leinster Street. Much of the furniture in the library and dining room at Lisnavagh was made by this company, probably on a straight-forward commission basis by Captain Bunbury when he was building the house in the 1840s. Robert Strahan & Co. exhibited at Dublin’s great industrial exhibition of 1853.

At the 2002 Irish Antique Dealers Fair in the RDS, the most expensive price tag was Stg £225,000 for a 12-piece suite of heavily ornate, leather-upholstered, walnut furniture made for the Viscount Doneraile by Robert Strahan around 1845.

In 2001, Mealy’s offered a splendid 19th century Irish Partner’s pedestal writing desk for between £4000-£6000. In chinoiserie-decorated green lacquer, it has a tooled leather top above an arrangement of six frieze drawers raised on two pedestals, each with a cupboard and three drawers, and carries the trade label of Robert Strahan & Co, Dublin.


Richard Turner & the Lisnavagh Greenhouse


The Lisnavagh Archives include plans, never fulfilled, for a conservatory by Richard Turner (1798-1881), the most important iron-founder and glasshouse designer in Ireland. Along with architect Decimus Burton, Turner was responsible for the design and manufacture of the Palm House glasshouses at Kew Gardens (1844-1848) and the Winter Gardens at Regent’s Park. His most important work in Ireland is the Curvilinear Range at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. He was also responsible for the Great Exhibition building of 1853 in Dublin as well as the original roof of Broadstone Station (which later collapsed). He was involved with the first iron roof to cover a railway terminus in a single span at Lime Street Liverpool. He also submitted an entry for the design of the Crystal Palace in London, but his design was rejected as being too costly.


Black Rain in Carlow


‘On the 14th of May, 1849, a shower of black rain fell in several parts of Ireland. It was particularly noticed at Carlow, Kilkenny, and Abbeyleix, and is supposed to have extended over an area of more than four hundred square miles. It occurred about six o’clock in the evening, and was preceded by such extreme darkness, that it was impossible to read except by candlelight. After this darkness had existed for some time, a hail-storm, attended with vivid lightning, but without thunder, occurred, and when this subsided, the black rain fell. This rain was found on examination to have an extremely fetid smell and a disagreeable taste; it left a stain upon some clothes on which it had fallen, and the cattle refused to drink of it. A bottle of this rain has been presented to the Royal Dublin Society by Prof. Barker. The specimen had been sent to him from Carlow, accompanied by a letter, in which the writer mentioned that at the time of its collection it was uniformly black, and resembled writing-ink. Prof. Barker had found, that, by allowing it to stand for a time, the black coloring matter separated from the water with which it had been mixed, rendering the color of the rain much lighter than at first.’
(Reported in ‘The Annual of Scientific Discovery, Or, Year-book of Facts in Science and Art’ (Gould, Kendall, and Lincoln, 1850), Volume 1, p. 345. With thanks to Belinda Evangelista)



A Second Meeting with the Queen, 1849


Major H. Stanley McClintock by Richard Dighton

On Thursday 9 August 1849, Commander McClintock Bunbury, MP, and his half-brother Stanley McClintock were amongst a vast crowd of 1,700 who assembled in the Presence Chamber at Dublin Castle to meet Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Times noted that this was an important event with ‘the Queen of a united empire holding her first drawing room sin the second city of her dominions’. Carriages began to set down at the Castle from 7am. ‘The scene presented to the eye of the Spectator was one of peculiar brilliancy’, remarked The Times.

‘Hour after hour the long line of equipages succeeded each other. It literally appeared as if there would be no termination to the arrivals, and the blaze of light from the Castle, and the Royal Exchange, and other buildings which were illuminated made every object appear almost indiscernible as if it were clear day … Her Majesty was attired in a superb pink poplin dress, elaborately figured with gold shamrocks’.

On the same day, Mrs McClintock Bunbury was presented to the queen by Lady Louisa Fortescue in the Throne Room at Dublin Castle. Isabella in turn presented Mrs Duckett. Mrs E. S. Dix, Miss Duckett, Miss A. Hutchinson and Miss M. A. Watson to the queen.

On the following day, Friday 10 August, the Captain and Pauline were among 2000 members of the nobility, gentry and clergy of Ireland to attend the Queen’s Levee in Dublin, details of which may be found in The Times and Carlow Sentinel. On this occasion, Pauline presented Miss Lecky to the Queen. [73]


Death of Daniel Robertson


The architect had been unwell for some time before he died in Howth in early September 1849 and was buried on 20 September, probably in Howth, possibly in Kilbarrack. For more detail on his death and latter months, see here.


Auxiliary Meetings & Irish-Speaking Protestants


On 1 December 1849, the Carlow Sentinel’s Local Intelligence column reported on the ‘ANNUAL MEETING OF THE COUNTY CARLOW AND LEIGHLIN DIOCESAN AUXILLIARY TO THE IRISH SOCIETY’. There had actually been two meetings, held the previous week in the Assembly Rooms in Carlow Town, one in the morning (or forenoon), the other in the evening. Among the main speakers were the Rev. Thomas Moriarty from Ventry and the Rev John N Griffin from Harold’s Cross, Dublin.

‘At the morning meeting, on the motion of Captain McClintock Bunbury, MP, seconded by the Rev J. S. Cooper, Colonel Bruen, MP, Vice-President, was called to the chair. The meeting opened with singing and prayer’. The Rev. JP Garrett commenced proceedings by reading a letter from William D Hull, hon sec of the Irish Society, which stated that the Carlow Auxiliary contributed more than any other auxiliary in the previous year. A letter was also received from Lady Harriet Kavanagh enclosing a draft of £10 for the Auxiliary and £2 for the Protestant Orphan Society.

The Rev. Garrett then turned to:

‘… the awful pestilence which swept through their town within a few months. They stood as it were over the graves of five hundred of their fellow creatures who a short time since enjoyed the same life and health as they did that day, and how grateful to Almighty God they should feel for all his mercies, when they were spared, while so many were struck down by the fearful visitation. He then proposed that the Words of Divine Truth upon which salvation depended should be conveyed to Ireland’s ‘poor benighted countrymen through the medium of their own language – a language so dear to the heart of the Irish (hear, hear). He begged to remind the meeting that 66,000 of the Irish-speaking people of Ireland die yearly, hitherto neglected, without Christ or a knowledge of the true way of salvation. The Irish Society had extended itself into 16 counties, had 63 auxiliaries, 823 schools and teachers, above 33,000 scholars, and had distributed about 30,000 Bibles, Testaments and Elementary Books in the Irish language during the past year.’

He concluded with an earnest appeal on behalf of the Society. Captain Bunbury then proposed the following resolution:

‘That we rejoice to hear of the continual and increasing disposition of the Irish speaking population to receive Scriptural instruction in their own language, and of the success with which it has pleased God to accompany the operations of the Irish Society during the past year. We are strengthened in our convictions that the principles and proceedings of this Society are eminently calculated to meet the great Spiritual wants of the Irish speaking population, and we confidently affirm that without the free use of God’s Holy Word and sound Scriptural instruction, our country never can be prosperous and happy. We therefore, are determined in God’s strength to continue our support of this Society both by our fervent prayers and contribution, and we earnestly entreat our English brethren to give us more efficient aid to carry out this work of love and mercy on our native land’.

Echoing a sentiment my father would empathize with, the Rev. Thomas Moriarty took up the argument.

‘The Irish were the most religious people in the world and if, at the Reformation, the Holy Scripture had been expounded to them in their native language, Ireland would not now be a disunited people, inveigled in ignorance and sin, but would enjoy the freedom which shone so conspicuous ion England and Scotland’. [74]


Reopening of Rathvilly Church, 1849


St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Rathvilly, Co Carlow

‘On Sunday, the 2nd instant [December], the Parish Church of Rathvilly was reopened for divine service, having been closed for extension and improvement during several months when the Hon and Ven Archdeacon Stopford preached an appropriate sermon on the occasion. A lathe addition has been built to this chapel, principally in the ‘Tudor style’ of architecture, and is capable of affording ninety new sittings. It consists of transept and recessed chancel, with vestry entrance and porches. The external appearance of the edifices presents those peculiar features of English Church architecture, not only in the construction of the new work, but also by the introduction of suitable tracery windows into the old portion of the building, which gives the entire a finished appearance.

The interior is fitted up in a style corresponding with the exterior. The pulpit is made of old Irish oak, beautifully panelled and enriched with elaborately carved figures and foliage ornaments. The reading desk is also tastefully adorned with rich Gothic trancery, as are also the chancel, ceiling and walls, especially the ceiling which, after an elegant design, is formed of ribbed oak. The architect was the late Daniel Robertson, Esq, an eminent Scotchman, whose designs were chaste and original, and his views were ably carried out by Mr Kingsmill, the well-known and distinguished builder.

The funds for this enlargement so necessary to accommodate the increasing congregation of the parish was raised by subscription, through the active, and we may add, the unceasing effort of the worthy rector, the Rev. J.B. Magennis. Among the subscribers we may allude to Colonel Bunbury, whose munificent donations amounted to £500. The county members subscribed largely; also the Hon. Wingfield Stratford, the Messrs Duckett and Hutchinsons, and many others who must feel a pride in contemplating a work dedicated to the service of the Almighty, while affording a praiseworthy encouragement to the unprecedented exertions and well-directed zeal of the rector, who first proposed the enlargement of the church. Well might the venerable preacher, when addressing a crowded congregation on the auspicious occasion referred to, remark that Protestant zeal or feeling was not on the decline while such edifices exhibited the zeal and piety of those who assisted in its erections.’ [75]


Attack on William Drury, 1849


A meeting of Magistrates was held at Tullow Courthouse on 15 December 1849, with Sir Thomas Butler, Bart, in the chair. The magistrates in attendance were Captain McClintock Bunbury, MP; the Hon Somerset R Maxwell, James Butler, John James Lecky, John Whelan, William Duckett, Clement Wolseley, Hugh Faulkner, James H Eustace and CH Tuckey, RM, Esq. The meeting concerned an incident at 9pm on the evening of the 9th when some unknown person or persons fired a shot through the window of the residence of William Drury of Raheen, Forth, Co. Carlow, and wounded his daughter severely in the face. The magistrates expressed their abhorrence at ‘such a diabolical outrage in our hitherto peaceable county’ and gathered together with the county’s gentlemen and landholders to procure money to distribute to anyone who came forward in the next six months with information leading to the arrest of the guilty party. The Earl of Bessborough led proceedings with a £10 donation, a sum echoed by all the magistrates, while the gentlemen pitched in between £5 and £10 and the landholders between £1 and £5. [76]

1849 Further Events

  • January: Daniel Robertson notes in a letter that Captain Bunbury has acquired a Turkish carpet that is too big for any of the new rooms at Lisnavagh.
  • Jan 13: Gough’s army inflict a mortal blow to Sikh power at the battle of Chillianawallah but the deaths of some 2,357 British Indians arouses a massive press campaign against Sir Hugh Gough and his “Tipperary Tactics” back in London
  • Feb 21: Gough re-establishes reputation by crushing the Sikh armies at Goojerat.
  • March 28: Following General Gough’s victories at Chilianwala and Gujarat, Britain annexes the Sikh kingdom and also, by Article 3 of the Treaty of Lahore, take possession of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond. (See below)
  • April 29: The brig Hannah, transporting Irish immigrants from Warrenpoint and Newry to Quebec City, she sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, resulting in at least 49 deaths. The captain Curry Shaw and two officers controversially survive. A Northern Ireland documentary titled ‘The Ice Emigrants’ deals with the tragedy and aired on the BBC in February 2011.
  • May 7: Gough steps down as Commander-in-Chief.
  • May 18: Death of John Ryan, Carlow historian, in Carlow Lunatic Asylum. His father Beaumont Ryan, a member of the Orange Society in Tullow, lived at Broghillstown, built by William Pendred pre-1750, while his mother was Mary Shepard, daughter of James Shepard of Paulville. John Ryan has placed Broghillstown for sale in 1846.
  • June 28: The Captain notes in his diary that ‘a.m. arrival at Lisnavagh with Wife and Children for first time to take up our Residence there‘.
  • September: Death in Howth of Daniel Robertson, architect of Lisnavagh. He was buried on 20 September.
  • September 20 (Thurs): Dublin Evening Post: ‘Sir James Stronge, Bart., has left Tynan Abbey, for Lisnavagh, near Blessington.’
  • December 8: Birth of (Sir) James Stronge (1849-1928), 5th Baronet.
  • In Ireland, some 36,000 die from cholera – mostly those in the workhouses and poorhouses. Potato blight reappears. Over one million people are believed to have died of starvation and disease in the Great Hunger.
  • Encumbered Estates Act.
  • David Livingstone crosses the Kalahari Desert.
  • Mazzini declares Rome a republic.


Henry Lurway, Coachman

Illustration: Derry Dillon

On the 1841 census, the Irish-born Henry Linway [sic] was recorded as Bunbury’s servant at Westminster, suggesting that he worked for Thomas Bunbury, MP for Carlow and elder brother of Colonel Kane Bunbury. Henry’s father, Thomas Lurway was an innkeeper from Bristol. Born circa 1820-1822, Henry was a coachman. In 1849 he married Mary Anne Smith in Bristol, after which they moved to Carlow, presumably to work for Captain McClintock Bunbury, MP, of his uncle Kane. Was she connected to the Smyths of Moyle?

Henry Lurway remained at Moyle until 1861 when, following the death of his wife, he returned to Bristol with his three children – William (named for his employer?) born 1851, Francis born 1852 and Marion born in Moyle in 1854. By 1870 he had remarried, found work as a coachman and had an address at 45 Chester Square, London. The McClintocks had a house at 80 Chester Square which may provide a link. There were only eight people in the UK with the name Lurway in 2012. [77]

Captain Bunbury made a small fortune investing in the railways that came to Carlow in the 1860s.


The Arrival of the Railways


The Iron Horse arrives.

Captain Bunbury may have made a small fortune from his investment in the railways. The coming of the steam trains made a huge impact on the life of the country gentleman. As the railway networks expanded across the country, be it Britain or Ireland, so access to the capital city, to the various towns and above all to neighbours’ estates became much more convenient. People could now afford to take some time off from public affairs and visit friends and relatives in the countryside (perhaps for a hunt, a shoot, or a party) with a pretty good guarantee that they could be back where they came from in just a few hours. Even a grouse moor in Perthshire was only 16 hours away from Euston Station in London. The flipside for the aristocracy was that it was now much easier for the lower orders to get around. As the British Empire found out to its cost, there’s nothing more damaging for a hierarchical society than to enable the lower orders to travel with ease. The wisdom of a wider world prompts people to get ideas above their station, don’t ye know. In the beginning the aristocracy and landed gentry were suspicious of the Iron Horse, as the indigenous American tribes would later call it. But gradually they cottoned on to just how much money could be made if they offered up their land to the railway companies. Often they themselves would invest in shares of the railway line; that is what Captain Bunbury did in the 1850s.

In due course, the Earls of Dunraven, Fitzwilliam and Waterford would become major investors in the Canadian Railways. (I’ve travelled them from Montreal to Halifax – what a remarkable feat they are). They made a fortune out of it. [78] It also became socially acceptable to build a train station on your estate at which you would welcome your well to do visitors. Hence both Heuston Station and Killarney were built for Queen Victoria. The same man who built Heuston Station was despatched south to design the one in Carlow.

The Bagenals built the station at Bagenalstown, which opened on 24 July 1848, designed by Sancton Wood. In the 1860s, the Prince of Wales endorsed this ‘private station; concept when he built Wolferton Station at his new estate of Sandringham. The railway companies quickly noted the aristocracy’s liking for transport and began building state of the art luxury trains with special quarters for their dogs and plenty of room for their baggage. After the railways arrived, it’s as if all Europe came out to party and the Victorian Age is abundant with paintings of Tommy the Tank Engine style choo choos chugging and honking their way through the countryside as yokels raise their hats in the air and jump for joy.


A Second Stronge – McClintock Marriage


In April 1850, William’s half-brother, George A.J. McClintock, a Lieutenant Colonel with the Sligo Rifles, and former captain with the 52nd Light Infantry, marries Catherine Stronge, a sister of William’s wife, Pauline, and youngest daughter of Sir James M. Stronge of Tynan Abbey. They live at Fellows Hall, near Tynan, where he serves as a magistrate for both Tyrone and Armagh.


Death of Robert Peel, 1850


With so many equestrian deaths in his own family, William must have felt considerable empathy for the Peel family when, on 29 June 1850, the former Prime Minister Robert Peel was thrown from his horse while riding up Constitution Hill in London. The horse stumbled on top of him, and he died three days later on 2 July 1850 at the age of 62.

Sir Robert’s ‘Peelite’ followers, led by Lord Aberdeen and William Gladstone, went on to fuse with the Whigs as the Liberal Party. Peel was formerly based in Dublin Castle, where he had served as Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.


The Koh-I-Noor Diamond Reaches England


On 1 July 1850, the Koh-i-Noor diamond (captured, in a way, by General Gough) arrives into the UK at Portsmouth. Its curse seems to come to fruition when Robert Peel falls from his horse and is killed (July 2) just five days after would-be assassin Robert Pate nearly took out Queen Victoria with a small black cane, leaving her with a black eye. The diamond had already killed many of those who touched it, including many of the crew who sailed it back from India to Britain. The unshiny, unsparkly diamond becomes the main attraction of the 1851 exhibition which drew 6 million visitors, a third of the British population at the time!


Carlow Spring Assizes, 1850


One of the asps at Lisnavagh.

23rd March 1850.
On Tuesday last the Lord Chief Justice Doherty of the Queen’s Bench arrived
by the early train, and at 11 o’clock he took his seat on the Bench.
Her Majesty’s Commission being read by the Clerk of the Crown, the following Grand Jurors were resworn for the discharge of the Criminal Business.
John Watson, Esquire, of Ballydarton House, was absent through illness :–
William Burton, Esquire, Foreman.
Henry Bruen, M.P., William B. M’Clintock Bunbury, M.P., Sir Thomas Butler, Robert Clayton Browne, John Dawson Duckett, Walter Newton, Philip Bagenal, William Steuart, William Duckett, John Alexander, John James Leckey, Sam Elliott, John Eustace, William Garrett, John Whelan, Hugh Faulkner, Charles Doyne, John Henry Keogh, Thomas Elliott, John M’Clean Baillie, B.B.Fletus, Esquires.
His Lordship briefly addressed the Grand Jury.
He said — Gentlemen of the Grand Jury, although we have to lament that so great a number of cases appear on the calendar, still it is gratifying to know that there is not a single case of an insurrectionary character — there is nothing to indicate the committal of offences calculated to disturb the public tranquillity. There is nothing of importance demanding any further observation; you will, therefore, Gentlemen, retire to your room, and proceed with due diligence in disposing of the cases brought before you. His Lordship then proceeded to fiat the presentments.
After dealing with the Grand Jury the following Petty Jury was next sworn: — Joseph Penrose, foreman; Garrett Nolan, James Hughes, John Brownrigg, James Watson, Philip Nolan, Martin Mangan, Benjamin Dowse, James Moody, Myles Young, Robert Hanlon, Thomas Gabriel.

Michael Purcell informs that at least 20 cases were reported for this Assizes, two of which resulted in guilty verdicts and the death penalty, and several other guilty verdicts (for sheep-stealing) were punished with Transportation. [79] Amongst those cases were:

  • Laurence Fenlon pleaded guilty to stealing three stone of potatoes at Lisnevagh, the property of Captain McClintock Bunbury, M.P. on the 8th of February. Two months imprisonment from date of committal.
  • Michael Conran, a little boy, was sentenced to 1 month’s imprisonment and to be whipped, for stealing a waistcoat, the property of the Guardians of the Carlow Union Workhouse.
  • Maria Haydon pleaded guilty to stealing a shirt and drawers the property of Philip Bagenal, Esquire, of Bennekerry Lodge, sentenced to one month’s imprisonment.
  • John Kenny was indicted for stealing an apron, a sack, and two loaves of bread, from Darby Kavanagh, in the Town of Tullow. Sentenced to twelve months and to be whipped four times during the last three months.
  • Mary Murphy was indicted for stealing eight pigs, the property of John Parker, near Bagenalstown. Sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
  • Catherine Pender, a notorious shoplifter, guilty of stealing 5 yards of doeskin from Mr John Henderson and one boot from Mr William Graham, Tullow St. Sentenced to 12 months hard labour.


1850 Further Events


Charles Henry Doyne (youngest son of Robert Doyne of Wells and a descendant of the ancient Irish Sept of O’Duinn, whose chieftains once ruled Laoise) began constructing St. Austin’s Abbey in Tullow. The architects were Sir Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward. To facilitate life for the masons, every individual piece of granite was numbered, as happened, I believe, at Lisnavagh.

A cricket match from 1850 as depicted in the Illustrated London News.

January: FESTIVITIES IN CARLOW BARRACKS. The detachment of the 71st Regiment stationed in Carlow Barracks, ushered in the New Year amid much mirth and rejoicing, combined with substantial fare on Tuesday evening last. Each Barrack room was tastefully decorated with laurels and other evergreens. In one of the rooms were the portraits of the Duke of York, the Duke of Wellington, and Lord Hill. At 5 o’clock the men assembled in the several rooms and partook of dinner, which consisted of roast beef, plum pudding, with abundance of wines etc. About 9 o’clock dancing commenced to the music of the Scotch bagpipes, fiddle, etc., when Scotch reels and the Highland Fling were kept up with unabated ardour to a late hour, amid good feeling and harmony. The 8th Hussars very kindly undertook the duty of the garrison on that day, to enable the 71st to enjoy themselves. [80]

Feb: Leopold McClintock embarks on second search expedition for Franklin as first lieutenant of the Assistance and is put in charge of sledging.

March 29: SS Royal Adelaide sinks in a storm with the loss of 200 lives. The paddle steamship was owned and operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. Its principal route ran between London and Cork.

July 2: Robert Peel, former prime minister, killed in horse fall.

July: The ship’s manifest of the Guy Mannering, arriving in New York, lists Mr and Mrs John B. Wandesforde at the top of the cabin passengers. It is assumed that Mrs J. B. was the former Miss Emily McClintock (i.e.: Captain McClintock Bunbury’s half-sister, who was born circa 1816) but she then declares herself to belong to the United States which is a puzzle as there is nothing to suggest she had become an American earlier in life. They were not emigrating as John died in Kilkenny in 1856. [81]

Aug 14: The Irish Franchise Act is enacted and has the effect of increasing the electorate from 45,000 to 164,000.

November 19: William’s daughter, Helen McClintock Bunbury, received a personally engraved copy of Eyre & Spottiswode’s Book of Common Prayer, a confirmation present perhaps.  Exactly five years later her young brother, Thomas Kane McCB, received his own personally engraved copy. Why were they both given books on November 29th?

Nov: Captain McClintock Bunbury purchases a chunk of the Aldborough estates.[82]

Christmas Eve: Death of typhus, or famine fever, of the Rev. Robert Nathaniel Burton, a Clare clergyman who fetched up as Vicar of Borris and vicar of Clonagoose in County Carlow during the Great Hunger. He was also briefly Chaplain to the artist and antiquarian, Lady Harriet Kavanagh, mother of Incredible Arthur and sister of Lady Elizabeth McClintock (née Trench) who married John McClintock after Jane Bunbury’s death. (Her Egyptian collection can be seen in the National Museum of Ireland.) As famine and disease raged through the country, Rev Burton often gave his breakfast to the starving and the last rites to the dying – even to Roman Catholics in the absence of their own priest. He also fell foul of Lady Harriet over his Tractarian faith, I think. Nathaniel’s older brother was the artist, Sir Frederick William Burton, Director of the National Gallery of England, whose painting ‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ was voted Ireland’s favourite painting. Sir Fred, as I believe he was known, quickly stepped in and offered financial assistance to Nathaniel’s widow Isabella with the raising of her children, the youngest only three.

One of the sons was Captain Charles Francis Burton who, during the 2nd Afghan War of 1878-1880, led a Punjab battalion – the 2,000 strong Kapurthala Contingent – with which he managed to recover 21 bags of looted mail, much to the pleasure of General Frederick Roberts, Commander of the Kabul Field Force. He remained on the North West Frontier for many years afterwards while his witty Irish-born wife, Isabella, provided Rudyard Kipling, a friend of the couple, with the basis of his character, Mrs Hauksbee. One of Nathaniel’s daughters was the flame-haired Isabella Julia Burton who married the solicitor Frederick Gifford and was mother to the celebrated Gifford sisters of Easter 1916 fame.


Lord Gough Comes To Moyle, 1850


Viscount Gough

Sir Hugh Gough, whose mother was a Lisnavagh Bunbury, returned to England a hero in 1850 after his exploits in the Punjab. He was raised as Viscount Gough of Gujarat and Limerick by the Queen, given the Freedom of the City of London, an annual pension of £2000 by the East India Company, and a further pension of £2000 a year for himself and his next two successors in the viscountcy from Parliament. It was soon after this that he went to see his cousin Kane Bunbury at Moyle. (See below) The British had by now all but consolidated their grip over the entire Indian sub-continent, and a new era of unification and modernisation thus got underway under Governor-General Dalhousie.

Carlow Sentinel.
25th May 1850.
It was in this Regiment, the 119th, which was raised by the late Colonel Rochfort of Clogrennane, that General Viscount Gough commenced his military career in the line, after leaving the Limerick Militia.
From the Carlow Buffs, in which he served as a Lieutenant, he entered the 87th Regiment, which he subsequently commanded during the Peninsular War, and at the head of this gallant corps he captured a French Eagle on the heights of Barossa, and the baton of one of Napoleon’s Marshals.
On Saturday last Colonel Bunbury received a visit from his distinguished relative, Lord Gough. Locals who were desirous of testifying their respect to the gallant veteran were disappointed by his non-arrival by the seven o’clock train.
He arrived by carriage at the Carlow Club-House about eight o’clock, where Colonel Bunbury’s carriage awaited his arrival, and accompanied by the Hon. Captain Gough, they proceeded without delay to Moyle, where arrangements were made on a splendid and extensive scale to give his lordship a truly Irish welcome.
Lord Gough looked fresh and well, after thirteen years absence in China and India.
A large number of the tenantry of the Bunbury estates, and people of the neighbourhood, assembled at an early hour.
Moyle was magnificently fitted up for his lordship reception. In the
evening an immense bonfire was lit on the adjoining height, which continued during the night to cast a glare on the surrounding district.
The assembled crowd amused themselves until a late hour, being abundantly supplied with ale and porter by the worthy host.
The gentry of the county were invited to meet the gallant chief, who has well entitled himself to a niche in the Gallery of “Illustrious Irishmen”.
Among those who attended were – Captain W.B. M’Clintock Bunbury, M.P., Colonel Bruen, M.P., Sir Thomas Butler, Bart., Sir James Strong, Bart., the High Sheriff, B. Burton and Thomas Bunbury.

Carlow Sentinel.
8th June 1850.
On Monday last, Colonel Bunbury gave an entertainment to his tenantry and labourers at Moyle, in commemoration of the visit of the gallant veteran, Lord Gough.
The wives and children of the parties were invited to partake of the substantial fare provided for the occasion.
At three o’clock about 150 persons sat down to dinner :- – Mr Smith presided.
After the usual loyal toasts, the health of their worthy host, Colonel Bunbury, was proposed and responded to, amid loud applause. A brilliant display of fireworks, dancing, and rustic amusements followed, and the company did not separate till an early hour in the following morning. [83]

A Knitting School at Lisnavagh?


On Saturday 1 February 1851, The Nation reported on a circular issued by Mrs. Fitzgibbon of Mitchelstown, ‘with the approbation of the Clergymen of all Religious Persuasions,’ in which she planned to set up a Working Class under the Board of Irish Manufactures and Industry. ‘The sole object is that poor girls should be taught embroidering, knitting and needlework.’ She stressed their hope that ‘children of all persuasion may attend the workroom without any objection on the part of their religious instruction’ and that such training (and the money the girls could thus make) would support them ‘in cleanliness and decency’ and enable them to ‘escape the only refuge hitherto provided for their poverty – the Poorhouse’. Mrs. Fitzgibbon urged ‘any ladies’ with knowledge of the chosen subjects to call in from time to time. The secretary was ‘honoured by Mrs McClintock Bunbury of Lisnavagh, the lady of the member for Carlow, with her application for materials and work for her new school, with which he has immediately complied. In the same neighbourhood they had established, a few weeks back, a flourishing Industrial School, under the patronage of Miss Saunders [of Fort Granite, Baltinglass, County Wicklow?]


Opposition to Free Importation of Flour


On Tuesday 25 March 1851, Captain McClintock Bunbury presented a petition from the Grand Jury of Carlow to the House Of Commons against the free importation of flour. [84]


50th Anniversary of Jane Bunbury’s Death


28 April 1851 was the 50th anniversary of the tragic death of William’s mother, Jane McClintock (née Bunbury). His father and Lady Elizabeth still living at Drumcar.

The Spirit of 1851


According to The Times, Captain Bunbury met Lord John Russell , the prime minister, in London circa 7th May 1851. [85] The Captain was presumably in London to attend the Great Exhibition held between 1 May and 15 October 1851. This massive event, held at the newly built Crystal Palace, was to have a profound influence on Victorian style. The brainchild of Prince Albert, it aimed to show the world the diversity and excellence of British design and manufacture, as well as exhibiting the products of other nations. Tens of thousands of people flocked to visit the show during its run. From about 1850 onwards, it also became possible to mechanically saw and shape wood with circular saws. Machine made nails and bolts were also available for the first time. In the iron factories of England, columns and handrails were being mass produced in both wrought iron and cast-iron form. (In 1836 a revolutionary new lightweight corrugated cast iron was introduced in England and had reached the colonies by 1850).
The 1850s and 1860s also saw the birth of a new age of British patriotism that would become to be known as Imperialism. Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley novels, read by thousands, contributed to this new nationalism.
This was also a time of optimism when people believed in the future. The British were outstanding colonisers in their ability to dazzle the vanquished with their stately homes and exotic tastes. Up until the Williamite Wars it must have been difficult to build a majestic home. One would have always feared a premature conclusion to it all. Houses were built on the basis that they’d either fall down quite soon or be burnt and destroyed in a time of war. That’s why all the old houses just have tiny arrow slits for windows. The advent of peace and prosperity in the 18th century enabled people to explore new possibilities with their private homes. Windows could now be added to inspire undreamed of lighting possibilities.


Birth of Jack Bunbury

On 1 September 1851, Pauline gives birth to a second son, christened John William McClintock Bunbury and later known as ‘Jack Bunbury’.


1851 Events

Pegasus Paddock at Lisnavagh, circa 2002.

  • 1851 Index of Townlands lists Rathdonnell as the name of townlands in Cos. Donegal and Sligo, though not in Co. Carlow.
  • Effects of Great Hunger calming down but even so 125,148 succumb to dysentery and a further 192,937 from fever.
  • Singer sewing machines appear in USA.
  • March 30: A census shows the population of Ireland to be 6,552,385: it declined by one-fifth since 1845. The number of Irish in England and Wales increased by 79% in the past decade. Nearly a quarter of Liverpool was now ‘Irish’. Over 18% of the people of Glasgow and Dundee were Irish-born – 6.7% of Scotland as a whole.
  • Oct 25: Death from black fever of Bartholomew Watters (Waters) of Tinryland.
  • Athy Model School Founded


A Play at Tynan Abbey

The interior of Tynan Abbey before the fire.

In January 1852, the Armagh Guardian reported on a theatrical evening at Tynan Abbey:

‘A large party of fashionable were invited to Tynan Abbey on Friday evening, to witness dramatic performances got up some of the family circle assembled for Christmas by Sir James Stronge. At nine o’clock the large drawingroom, converted for the occasion Into an impromptu theatre, was opened to the company, and the performance commenced with the new play of the Two Bonnycastles, now being represented at the Haymarket Theatre, London.

  • Mr. Bonnycastle, alias Jorum .. .. Mr. Strong.
  • John James Johnson .. .. Mr.  J. C. Strongs.
  • Smuggins .. .. Captain Stronge, 52d regiment.
  • Mrs. Bonnycastle .. .. Capt. M’Clintock Bunbury, M.P.
  • Helen .. .. .. Mrs. George M’Clintock.
  • Patty .. .. Miss Nugent.

The acting and dressing were alike perfect—the spirit and plot of the play was well kept up, and the roar of laughter on the entrance of Captain Bunbury, in full and complete Bloomer costume, were such as to interrupt the progress of the piece for some minutes. Mr. Stronge was excellent throughout, and the gallant captain of the 52d was not to be recognised in the old lawyer Smuggins, while the archness of Patty, the maid of all work, left nothing to desire in the young debutante. After a short Interval, the curtain again rose for the popular farce of Slasher and Crasher.

  • Slasher .. .. Lieutenant Colonel Caulfield, M.P.
  • Crasher .. .. Mr. Charles Stronge.
  • Blowhard .. ..  Mr. Edmund Stronge.
  • Lieut. Brown (Marines) .. Captain Stronge, 52d regiment.
  • Dinah .. .. Mrs M’Clintock Bunbury.
  • Rosa .. Mrs. J. Calvert Stronge.

Where all were excellent, it would be invidious to distinguish or criticise, but the personification of Slasher, on whom falls the weight of the performance, perfectly convulsed the company. Indeed the acting and imitation of Buckstone’s well known voice and manner were such as to gain the honourable member continuous and deserved applause. Mr. C. Stronge acted and dressed as Paul Bedford ; the ladies were all that could be desired; and, to use the words of one of the audience, “the artistes of the Adelphi could not have brought out the play to better advantage. ”

A handsome supper brought the evening’s entertainment to a close, and the numerous guests retired In high delight. Among those present were—The Earl and Countess of Caledon, Earl and Countess of Charlemont and Hon. Mrs Caufield, Hon. and Rev. Dean Maude, Mrs Maude and daughters, Rev. W. M’Clean and daughters, Mr. Shaw, of Caledon, Misses Shaw. Miss Hyland, Mr. and Mrs. St. George and Miss St Georg, Captain St. George and Miss Pentland, &c; besides the large party staying in the Abbey, and several of the tenantry and domestics of the worthy Baronet, according invariable custom admitted to share the amusement and join in the laughter.— Armagh Guardian.’ [Quoted in the Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent – Tuesday 20 January 1852, p. 3.]


Crawford’s Land Reform Bill, 1852


John Ball (1818-89), Botanist and Alpine explorer and Fellow of the Royal Society, who defeated William in the 1852 election.

On 13 May 1852, Westminster met to consider a land reform bill proposed by William Sharman Crawford, a popular Protestant liberal from Co. Down. Captain Bunbury was amongst 30 Irish members who voted against the bill, while John Sadlier was amongst the 44 who supported it. A large number of Irish members were shut out accidentally (?!) from the division. [86]


The Bruen Testimonial Church, 1852-1858


On 21 May 1852, Joyce Derick, wife of the architect John MacDuff Derick, laid the foundation stone for the Bruen Testimonial (Church of Ireland) Church in Carlow. The building was completed in 1858, when The Builder for 28 August reviewed it. One interesting feature was that, ‘Attached to the tower is a smaller one of octagon shape, terminated with pyramidal roof and crocketed pinnacle, and containing a winding staircase leading to belfry and to the pulpit, through a doorway formed with solid granite in the massive but deeply splayed and moulded pier of the tower.’ Here might be noticed a trace of the eccentricity which was to appear more prominently later. The review also remarked on the polychrome effect of the use of several different local granites and ‘window tracery, gurgoyles, [sic] &c of Yorkshire stone on the exterior’. The fate of the church was quite strange. In 1926 it was purchased by Very Rev. James Fogarty parish priest of Graiguecullen, was taken down stone by stone and was re-erected in his parish as the Catholic Church of St Anne. ‘It still lacks its spire, the stone of which [is] awaiting a propitious time for erection. Both at the taking down and the erection of the church, a steeplejack was killed.’ 23


A Break in Wales


‘Captain W. B. M’Clintock Bunbury, M.P., Mrs. Bunbury, family, and suite, have arrived at Beaumaris, North Wales, the hon. member having “paired off” for a fortnight.’ Dublin Evening Mail, 14 June 1852, p. 3.


The Attack on John Regan, 1852


In October 2020, Adam’s Auctioneers auctioned a silver hot water jug,  made by Robert Smith in about 1852, with Captain McClintock Bunbury’s armorial crest on its cartouche, engraved with the motto Vis Unita Fortior (United Strength is Stronger). It is entirely decorated with repos e and chased flowering foliage, with hinged lid and applied thumb piece, the baluster body decorated with birds to each side feeding on fruit, against an orange peel and scaly ground. It has a banded spout and s-scroll acanthus capped handle, raised on circular spreading foot, 22cm high. Colonel Bob McClintock owned a similar vessel, with the family crest on top. He maintained it was for claret.
In June 2010, I was contacted by Spencer Gordon of Spencer Marks, the Massachusetts-based silver and antique experts. He had lately acquired a silver jug which, he believed, was either purchased or commissioned by the Captain to help furnish Lisnavagh with some handsome plate when completed in 1852. The piece was also made in Dublin by Robert W. Smith in 1852/53. I am unsure now if Spencer Gordon’s jug was the same as the Adam’s jug!In June 2010, I was contacted by Spencer Gordon of Spencer Marks, the Massachusetts-based silver and antique experts. He had lately acquired a silver jug which, he believed, was either purchased or commissioned by the Captain to help furnish Lisnavagh with some handsome plate when completed in 1852. The piece was also made in Dublin by Robert W. Smith in 1852/53. I am unsure now if Spencer Gordon’s jug was the same as the Adam’s jug!

On Monday 9 August 1852, The Times of London published the following piece, ‘extracted from the Carlow Sentinel of this day, is another illustration of “freedom of election”, as it is understood at this side of the Channel:-

“On Thursday last, one of the most murderous attacks it was our painful duty to record after a contested election was made on a respectable Roman Catholic, the son of a freeholder of this county, near Lisnevagh, the residence of Captain M’Clintock Bunbury.
At an early hour Mr. John Regan, an extensive road contractor, proceeded with two men to raise some gravel from a pit in the neighbourhood. On his arrival at the pit, about 20 men pounced on their victim, whom they designated a ‘bloody Bruenite’. He was knocked down, brutally maltreated with stones and shovels, and finally left in a state of insensibility.
Intelligence having reached Lisnevagh, Captain Bunbury ordered his carriage, proceeded to the spot where this outrage was committed, and conveyed Mr. Regan to the County Infirmary, where he now lies in a dangerous state under the care of Dr. Rawson. We may judge of the savage character of his assailants, when we inform the reader that Mr. Regan sustained a compound fracture of the arm, had eleven wounds on the head, one of which, it is feared, is accompanied by a fracture, as a splinter from the skull was taken off, and that his body, from head to foot, was covered with bruises, the effects of kicks and blows while lying on the ground.
Mr. Regan’s father voted for Colonel Bruen and Captain Bunbury; and the son is thus punished because his father exercised the privilege of an elector in a county governed by British law. Here are some of the fruits of those fanatical harangues delivered during the last month, when we were told in the public streets that the contest was one between ‘God and the devil’. Five of the parties concerned in this inhuman outrage have been arrested, and committed to the County Gaol for trial at the assizes. Their names are Hugh Carty, John Carty, James Carty (three brothers), James Walsh, and Patrick Bryan. We regret to state that the life of Mr. Regan is in imminent peril”.


Election Overview – ‘Ungrateful Priests’! (Or Bad Losers?!), August 1852



We have given the proceedings of this election down to the close of the poll on Monday last, by which it will be seen that it was a sharp race — a close contest, unprecedented even in this county. It was one of unexampled excitement created by the Roman Catholic clergy; and they won one seat by a small majority, while we lost one occupied by a gentleman who expended nearly £100,000 within five years in the barony of Rathvilly, where he was defeated by the degraded serfs who were one and all polled against a country gentleman by whose wealth that very barony was enriched, and thousands kept from starvation or the poorhouse. The base ingratitude of the electors of that barony will not soon be forgotten, especially of those slaves who having derived all these advantages from a gentleman whose munificence was unbounded in the form of expenditure on labour, polled against their neighbour and benefactor in favour of two adventurers set up by their equally ungrateful priests. We regret deeply the defeat of a high-minded and honourable man but we hope the day is not far distant when he will regain his position, and maintain that post which he worthily filled during his career in parliament. The honoured name of Bunburv will be a host in itself, and when the human passions cool down, and the wretched people who were coerced to oppose Captain Bunbury reflect on their conduct, they will, we venture to say, be the first to cast off the degraded thaldrom under which they groan, for that freedom which would be extended to them by such true-hearted Irishmen as Captain Bunbury. The priests of Rathvilly Barony have gained a victory over a resident gentleman. The electors were obliged to poll against him in that barony. The rabble were ready to hoot and insult him — let us see what they will gain by the substitution of a Bull for a Bunbury. We shall see the difference between a munificent country gentleman of ancient standing, and an acre less adventurer, like Mr. Bull, a late Poor-Law Commissioner. Col. Bruen, it is unnecessary say, still holds the position to which he was elected by the constituency of this county in 1812. He never flinched from that position — never abandoned his principles — and never yet forfeited the friendship of those ardent supporters who stood by him through good and evil report. Every exertion was made to oust him from the seat which he should naturally occupy; but, although second on the poll the electors, including his own tenantry, stood by him to a man, and followed him with a degree of enthusiasm never before surpassed on any former occasion – in fart, unexampled in all former political struggles. The personal attachment of his friends surpassed anything on record; he is returned despite of that terrible confederacy which aimed at the subjugation of this county, and of Ireland – and we fervently hope that we may live to see the day when we may be enabled once more to place by his side in parliament that colleague who served us so well and faithfully. In losing one seat, we admit we are beaten. It is well; for we require great chastisement for backsliding, luke-warming, and TREACHERY — of an appalling character. If we did not meet with difficulties, we might be as passive as the people who lived on the foot of Vesuvius before an eruption — never dreaming of the danger which surrounded us. Let us, then, start from the post, as on former occasions, resolved to conquer and never to cease from our labours, until the County Carlow be once more restored to independence. We have lost a seat. The priests won it by fraud and treachery; let us not forget the fact. Mr. Ball has little to boast of when he reflects that, even to gain a majority of two, there were base scoundrel who made two attempts to personate dead men; and there were men present to look on — and crowds ready to applaud the deed. We have only time to add, that the Roman Catholic electors made a noble stand—a clear proof that the influence of the Roman Catholic priesthood is rapidly on the decline, and that the threats and anathemas will find their level in this county.— Carlow Sentinel [87]

Further Works at Lisnavagh 1850 – 1855

Work begins on the high granite entrance gate at Ballybit in 1850 with the Gatekeeper’s Lodge behind wall, the stone being cut and dressed by Patrick Byrne and Thomas Gahan. The School House at the back entrance of Lisnavagh is also built at this time by mason James Nolan and stonecutter Patrick Byrne for a total cost of £206 10s 10d, with a piggery and granite trough to the rear. William and his uncle Kane Bunbury continued to carry out huge land improvements on their lands around Rathvilly at Lisnavagh, Knockboy, Tobinstown etc during the early 1850s. The work includes rock removal, cleaving granite stones, installing drains, sinking drains and building outlets.

John Byrne was paid 1s 8d for cleaving stones. Patrick Neill, Edward Fitzgerald, Peter Nolan and Thomas Cody were paid 6d a ton to cleave stones while the masons, John Griffith and James Nolan were paid 2s 6d for building the outlets. Denis Maguire and Patrick Byrne were paid one shilling a day ‘for stoning the drains‘ and laying tiles, respectively. But labourers Michael Doyle, Joseph Hanlon and Thomas Hosey were only paid 6d a day for sodding the drains.


Taking Mr Kingsmill to Court, 1852


However, not everything was running smoothly and, in 1852, the Captain brought an action against Henry Kingsmill (d. 1890), the builder, for ‘imperfect and dishonest’ workmanship, much of it to do with the leading of the roof of Lisnavagh. There is a lengthy and detailed bill from Kingsmill to McClintock-Bunbury for £2,563′. As Malcomson noted, ‘Kingsmill greatly underestimated McClintock- Bunbury’s meticulous methods of business when he decided to pull a fast one on him!‘ My brother William suggests that a famous way to cheat was to use lead thinner than that specified. ‘For example, Robertson probably specified 7lb lead. Kingsmill may have used, say, 5lb lead – which is a lot cheaper to buy – but charged the Captain for 7lb lead. 5 lb lead is much easier to get hold of, but doesn’t last very long.’ We shall ponder this further.

In April 2010, I gave one of my first ‘Around the World in 1847’ talks to the Bray Cualann Historical Society, commencing with the trowel Henry Kingsmill presented to Mrs Bunbury on 23 January 1847. Brian White of the BCHS quickly alerted me that Kingsmill lived in a place called Sidmonton, Bray, from 1853-1863. He also had addresses at 95 Lower Mount Street (1835-36) and 97 Lower Mount Street (1839-1863). According to the Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1940, he was based on Merrion Street when he appeared on a list of Dublin’s master carpenters and builders compiled in March 1834. As well as Lisnavagh, he worked at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1850 and was the builder of Lanyon’s famous Campanile in 1852-54. His son Henry T. Kingsmill, born in Co. Wicklow circa 1824, was a student at Trinity between 1840 and 1846. Thomas William Kingsmill, listed as an architect at 97 Lower Mount Street in the classified section of Thom’s directories for 1862 and 1863, was perhaps another son.


General Election, 1852


Sheridan Le Fanu. Illustration: Derry Dillon.

In 1852, Gothic author and aspiring newspaper magnate Sheridan Le Fanu made a bid to become Tory MP for Carlow, presumably in place of Captain McClintock Bunbury or Colonel Bruen. Perhaps he was inspired by his engineering brother Bill – William Le Fanu of Summerhill, Enniskerry – who had worked so closely on the Carlow railway station with Sir John MacNeill, and the Bagenalstown to Kerry line with William Dargan, as well as the Borris viaduct. However, Le Fanu’s political ambitions took a dive when the Tory party ditched him for supporting, alongside Isaac Butt and Samuel Ferguson, a Young Ireland initiative to highlight the indifference of the Government to the Great Hunger.

In the General Election of 19 July, Captain McClintock Bunbury initially lost his seat to the Whig candidate John Ball of Butlerstown, Co. Kilkenny, later Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Colonel Henry Bruen nearly lost his seat to John Henry Keogh of Kilbride, Tullow. Ball and Bruen were returned with 893 and 891 respectively. In Rathvilly barony the voting was Ball (301); Keogh (297); Bunbury (162) and Bruen (159). As open voting still prevailed, a wrong decision brought the risk of eviction. The townlands of Straboe, Rathdaniel and Ballyhackett were all allegedly “cleared” of tenants who had voted for Ball and Keogh.

However, after the election, Philip Jocelyn Newton of Dunlekney and Henry Watters of Stapelstown submitted a petition complaining that Ball’s slender majority of fifteen votes over Captain McClintock Bunbury was “an undue Return and was procured not only by violence, terror, threats and intimidation, but by perjury, bribery, and by the payment, and promise of payment, of sums of money by and on behalf of the said John Ball to Electors and to other persons capable of influencing Electors of said County … and by other undue illegal corrupt and unconstitutional means’. The House of Commons concurred that his majority was ‘fraudulent’ and the captain was returned in his place. [88] The consequence of the election was that the reins of government passed to the Protectionist party of the Derby – Disraeli administration. This cabinet only lasted a few months before breaking down.


Death of Duke of Wellington

A photograph of the elderly Duke of Wellington.

In September 1852, 1.5 million people rolled up to Wellington’s funeral, proving that memories are short. His tenure as Prime Minister had been an unpopular one. His political career began in 1817 when Lord Liverpool persuaded him to become Master of Ordnance to restore some victorious moral during the recessional times.

The duke’s  greatest achievement as PM was arguably to secure Catholic Emancipation – something he was personally opposed to – with clauses in his favour. He also advocated to Peel the importance of the abolition of the Corn Laws. Peel duly abolished the Corn Laws and so secured Free Trade. Thus, Wellington was due some of the massive emotional outpouring of grief that swept Britain when Peel died.


Derby Ministry and a General Election


The ongoing split between Protectionists (with whom, I believe, Captain Bunbury sided) and Free Traders continued to split the Tories. Lord Derby’s minority Protectionist government ruled for 10 months from 23 February until 17 December 1852. Derby appointed Benjamin Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer in this minority government, while Tom Lefroy became Chief Justice of Ireland. However, in December 1852, Derby’s minority government collapsed because of issues arising out of the budget introduced by Disraeli. A Peelite-Whig coalition government was then formed under Lord Aberdeen, one of the leading Peelites. Although, the precise issue involved in this vote of “no confidence” which caused the downfall of the Derby minority government was the budget, the real issue was repeal of the “Corn Laws” which parliament passed in June 1846. In the Carlow election there was ‘a severe struggle, which terminated thus’:

John Ball, esq. … 895.
Colonel Bruen …. 893.
W. B. M. Bunbury, esq … 880.
John Keogh, esq. . . 877.

Thus, the Captain was ousted by John Ball (1818–1889) a naturalist and Alpine traveller who became such a vocal supporter of Britain’s role in the Crimean War that Lord Palmerston made him Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1855, a post which he held for two years. He passionately supported the British participation in the Crimean War. The Ball Range in the Rocky Mountains is named for him because he helped secure funding for the Palliser expedition, the first detailed, scientific survey of the region between Lake Superior and the southern passes of the Canadian Rockies, between 1857 and 1860. John Ball was one of the Balls of Ballsbridge ancestry.  His older brother Nicholas Ball (1791-1865) was one of Ireland’s first Catholic judges of the High Court; Nicholas’s daughter Jane married Henry E Doyle, Director. ofthe National Gallery of ireland and uncle of Arthur Conan Doyle.  John’s sisters included Anna Maria Ball, a prominent philanthropist (and friend of Mary Aikenhead), and Mother Frances Mary Teresa Ball, foundress of the Irish Branch of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, aka the Loretto Sisters.


1852 Further Events

  • Jan 17: Formal establishment of the South African Republic (aka the Transvaal) when United Kingdom sign the Sand River Convention treaty with about 40,000 Boer people, recognising their independence in the region to the north of the Vaal River.
  • Feb: On the formation of Lord Derby’s ministry, Anne McClintock’s cousin Tom Lefroy became Chief Justice of Ireland in 1852.
  • February 25: The 74th Regiment, John McClintock’s 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 led to what became known as the “Birkenhead” Drill, enabling women and children on board to be saved.
  • July: Despite spending a well above average £3500 on his campaign, John McClintock is defeated in his bid to become Tory MP for County Louth.
  • August: The Attempted Murder of John Regan. See The Times.
  • Aug 19: John Nue (New), son of Henry Nue ( New), marries Alice Eyles, daughter of William Eyles, in Rathvilly.
  • Aug 23: London Morning Herald reports on death of the Incredible Arthur Kavanagh’s brother Tom from TB: ‘DEATH OF THOMAS KAVANAGH, ESQ. By communications received at Borris House, in the county Carlow, on Tuesday, we learn the demise of Thomas Kavanagh, Esq., at the early age of 24, while on his passage from the Island of Sumatra to Australia, where he intended to remain for some time for the benefit of his health.’
  • September 8-9: Tenant League conference in Dublin adopted a policy of independent opposition in Parliament.
  • Oct 2: Deaths – ‘At Rutland, near Carlow, at the advanced age of 102 years, Mrs. Mary Gray. She died after a few moments illness, being on the same day engaged in the discharge of her domestic duties.’
  • Nov 5: Death of Colonel Bruen, MP for Carlow.
  • Christmas Day: Two cranes working on the behind schedule Boyne Viaduct crashing down and bankrupting Evans the construction man.
  • Royal Irish Regiment embroiled in Second Anglo-Burmese Warin which Rear Admiral Charles John Austen, younger brother of Jane Austen, died of cholera.
  • Lord Gough buys Lough Cutra in Galway.
  • Commander Leopold McClintock sails to the Arctic with the screw-steamer “Intrepid” under the leadership of another old Samaranghand, Sir Edward Belcher, C.B. He sledges1,400 miles across the ice in just over one hundred days and shoots the polar bear in the Natural History Museum while making his way up Canada’s Baffin Bay in 1852.


The Bruen Testimonial Church

On 21 May 1852, Joyce Derick, wife of architect John MacDuff Derick, lays foundation stone for the Bruen Testimonial (Church of Ireland) Church in Carlow. The building was completed in 1858, when The Builder for 28 August reviewed it. One interesting feature was that:

Attached to the tower is a smaller one of octagon shape, terminated with pyramidal roof and crocketed pinnacle, and containing a winding staircase leading to belfry and to the pulpit, through a doorway formed with solid granite in the massive but deeply splayed and moulded pier of the tower.’

Here might be noticed a trace of the eccentricity which was to appear more prominently later. The review also remarked on the polychrome effect of the use of several different local granites and ‘window tracery, gargoyles’ of Yorkshire stone on the exterior. The fate of the church was unusual. In 1926, the Bruen Testimonial Church was purchased by Very Rev. James Fogarty, parish priest of Graiguecullen, and taken down stone by stone. It was re-erected in his parish as the Catholic Church of St Anne.

‘It still lacks its spire, the stone of which [is] awaiting a propitious time for erection. Both at the taking down and the erection of the church, a steeplejack was killed‘.

I believe this unnamed photograph is of Captain William McClintock Bunbury, the man who built Lisnavagh House, and that it was taken by Marshall & Nelson shortly before the Captain’s death in 1866.


Griffith’s Valuations, 1852-1853


Griffiths Valuation was compiled between 1848 and 1864. This followed on from the Ordnance Survey, which was completed in 1839. The survey started in Dublin and Waterford in 1848 and then worked up from Counties Kerry and Cork moving northward and finished in Armagh in 1864. County Carlow was surveyed in 1852 and 1853. [89] The survey for Sleaty, and likely also Graigue, both across the river from Carlow Town (but actually in Co. Laois) took place in 1849 and was printed in 1850. The 1852 Survey lists a Michael Brien as one of Captain Bunbury’s tenants, with land in the townland of Mountkelly, parish of Rathvilly. [90]

Born in 1902, Bill Burgess was the second oldest man in Ireland at the time of his death in July 2007. His grandfather was the first of the family to settle at Tobinstown in 1852. They were among the new Protestant families to settle in the Lisnavagh area. See here for more.


Victory at Carlow By-Election, 1853


Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock in 1859, the Dundalk man who discovered the fate of Sir John Franklin in the Arctic. I think this is Leopold with relics from the Franklin ships.

William was returned on 25 April 1853 in the by-election that followed Colonel Bruen’s death six months earlier. With an address at Sussex Square, Hyde Park, London, he was described as “a Conservative in favour of civil and religious liberation“. He held the seat for eight years, before going on to accept the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, and was thus in Westminster during the age of the celebrated Coalition Cabinet which launched Britain into the Crimean War.

‘The nomination of a candidate to represent this county in Parliament, in the room of the late Colonel Bruen, took place yesterday morning in the Court House, at ten o’clock. The hustings were crowded by a number of the friends and supporters of Captain W. M’Clintock Bunbury, whilst the body of the court was but scantily filled. The Sub Sheriff having read the writ, the High Sheriff addressed the assembly as follows:-

In pursuance of the writ which you have just heard read, I, as High Sheriff, now open this court for the purpose of affording the electors an opportunity of proposing and seconding any candidate whom they may think proper to represent them in Parliament in place of the late Colonel Bruen.

Robert Clayton Browne, Esq., of Browne’s Hill, then came forward to propose Captain W. M‘Clintock Bunbury a fit and proper person to represent the county in Parliament. After paying a high and well deserved compliment to the character and memory of the late Colonel Bruen, Mr Browne proceeded to observe that numerous section of the constituency called on the son of our late lamented friend to come forward on this occasion—he has, however, with great self-denial waived his claim on the constituency in favour of our friend Captain M’Clintock Bunbury,—(Applause.) This does him great honour, and affords an earnest of what his future career will be ; and I have no doubt, from what we have seen of that gentleman, that he will follow in that line of conduct which we so highly approved of in his late father, and I hope that on future occasion we will have the pleasure of returning him as a colleague to our respected friend Captain Bunbury, whom I have now the honour to propose as a fit and proper person to represent this county in Parliament. (Loud cheers.)

Horace Rochfort, Esq., in seconding the nomination of Captain Bunbury, spoke as follows:— Mr. Sheriff and gentlemen, electors of the County of Carlow, I feel very great pleasure, indeed in seconding the nomination of my old and esteemed friend Captain M’Clintock Bunbury, which has been so ably proposed by Mr. Browne —(applause)— And the remarks with which I shall trouble you in so doing will be few and very brief. I think, however, that when man stands sponsor for a member of Parliament, either as his proposer or his seconder, he should be perfectly satisfied that his public and private character is without stain or reproach. But. gentlemen, I have been induced by him to state to the assembled electors of the county on this occasion that if returned to Parliament he goes in as a representative unfettered by any pledge, and bound to support no particular political leader. He goes in as the perfectly free, untrammelled, and chosen representative of the Carlow constituency.—(Cheers.) He goes in perfectly free give his support to any measure which may emanate from Lord Aberdeen’s administration, should he conceive that such a measure would confer any benefit upon this county or upon Ireland in general.—(Hear, hear,)

The High Sheriff then inquired whether any elector had any other candidate propose, and if so, that he would hear him.

After a short period, no other elector having come forward for that purpose, The High Sheriff declared Captain W. McClintock Bunbury duly elected. The announcement was received with loud cheering.

Captain Bunbury then came forward and said— Gentlemen, Electors of the county of Carlow—it is now my pleasing duty to return you my most sincere thanks for the honour you have done me, in placing me in the proud position in which I now stand as your representative in the Commons House of Parliament. Gentlemen, the vacancy which I have been called upon to fill cannot but bring to your recollection the melancholy event which has occasioned it. We have been deprived of your ancient representative [Colonel Bruen] —your old valued friend. He has been taken from amongst us and has left us an example of honesty of purpose and perseverance of character, which is worthy of imitation—(hear)— and it will be my endeavour to follow that bright example in those qualities which I have mentioned. Gentlemen, I think it becoming of me on the present occasion, as your representative, to make a few remarks on the present ministry. They appear to me to be composed of very opposite materials. We see men at the same council board who have been politically opposed during their entire lives.—(Hear, hear.) Even from this very spot where I now address you, we heard a lord of the treasury stating that he holds the same opinions in office, that he held out of office—that he is still the same supporter of Sharman Crawford’s Bill (Hear.) We see the same sentiments reiterated at Athlone by Her Majesty’s Solicitor General; but when we go a little further north, and come to the county of Cavan, we there find the right hon. baronet the Secretary for Ireland repudiating those sentiments, and entirely disregarding them—in fact, entirely opposed to them. Now, with those opposite sentiments, I think that it becomes me to watch narrowly the propositions which are made by the present government—(Hear, hear.) No doubt it includes men of undoubted talent of transcendent ability, of great administrative qualification — and all these qualities are necessary in a minister of the Crown. Therefore, gentlemen, I think it becomes your representative to watch narrowly the measures that will be proposed— (Hear, hear.)

Gentleman, we have had presented to us within the last few days the budget of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer.—(Hear.) I have not had time to weigh the merits of all that he has proposed, neither have I had the advantage of consulting with those whose opinions I value, and who are better able to judge of these matters than I can possibly be. But I have seen sufficient to tell us that we, the landed interest, will have to bear a far greater proportion of taxation than we have ever yet had to endure.— There is the income tax, which is to extend to all proprietors of land; and there is the legacy duty upon landed property. We will suppose a farmer who has a farm of £100 a year. If I understand the matter rightly, supposing that man to die, his eldest son, upon succeeding to the farm, will have to pay legacy duty. Then supposing that in a few short days afterwards that man should die, his successor would have to pay the legacy duty again ; and so it would if three or four deaths should occur in rapid succession, by which the property would dwindle away, and its ultimate possessor would perhaps be obliged to give it up.

We have been saved the turmoil and misery of a contest; and all those bitter feelings and animosities which such an event occasions, have on the present occasion been prevented. I do not wish to make use of any language of triumph now—(hear)—but I think we ought all to congratulate ourselves upon the happy termination of this election.— (Cheers.)

Captain Bunbury then proposed a vote of thanks to the Sheriff for the manner in which he had presided, which was seconded by Mr. Rochfort, and carried unanimously.

The proceedings then terminated, about half an hour having elapsed from their commencement.

Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet – Thursday 5 May 1853.


Bunbury v McClintock 1853


Tom Lefroy (1776-1869) aka Chief Justice Thomas Langlois Lefroy painted in 1855 by W. H. Mote. A first cousin of Anne McClintock (later 1st Lady Rathdonnell), he was reputed to have been Jane Austen’s lover in their teenage years. In 1855, he became Chief Justice of Ireland. See here.

Box 106/109 at Lisnavagh contains the Queen’s Bench judgement from 20th October in a case taken by William B. McClintock Bunbury, MP, against his brother John McClintock, Esq, both of Chester Square, Westminster, for £14,000 damages. Cases such as these were a common method of transferring money and did not necessarily mean malicious prosecution.


1853 Further Events


  • Jan 29: Death of William’s aunt Elizabeth Melesina McClintock, widow of Henry and mother of Leopold, passed away.
  • Feb: The unthinkable happens when Charles Kavanagh is killed when his clothes catch fire while dressing; his younger brother, the crippled Art Kavanagh, becomes head of the family and heir to Borris House. The Kavanagh family future looking doubtful.
  • John McClintock’s brother-in-law John Lefroyreturns to England after nine years in the Toronto observatory.
  • John Alexander of Milford elected for the Carlow borough when he defeats the sitting MP, the notoriously corrupt banker John Sadlier, by 6 votes, 97-91.
  • Levi-Strauss makes “jeans” for miners.
  • May: Thomas Trueman, who was born in Carlow c. 1820, and his wife, Sarah Eliza Douglas, born c. 1822, arrived in Australia from Liverpool on theMarco Polo. Sarah was the daughter of Marlborough Douglas and Sarah Rowe, and married Mr Trueman in 1847.
  • Summer: Cholera epidemic in London kills 10,738.
  • August 29: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert dash over to Ireland to attend the Exhibition of Art and Art Industry at Leinster Lawn, Dublin. It is her second visit to Ireland in four years, but she would only make two more – in 1861 and 1900.
  • Sept 12: John Malone, the farm manager, writes to Captain Bunbury, requesting Mount Lucas. As a postscript, he adds: ‘I hope that Mrs Bunbury (and) the young ladies and Master Tom are well – I also hope that your father is still in the enjoyment of his usual good health.’ [91]
  • Nov 21: William Poland (Polard)?, son of William Poland (Pollard?), marries Jane Atkinson, daughter of Thomas Atkinson, in Rathvilly.
  • Dec 17: Sudden death of Edward ‘Stcks’ Brennan, a prominent County Carlow cattle dealer. [92]


Constable Hill and the Carlow & Island Hunt


The Lisnavagh Archives contains several beautiful maps from 1853 of Ballykillane (mainly Ballysallagh Lower and Upper, and Constable Hill), lithographed by John Irvine Whitty of 16 Henrietta Street, Dublin. Correspondence in the archives (G7/8) confirms the Hozier estate in Ballykillane, Constable Hill and parts of Ballysallagh [near Hacketstown] were purchased by the Captain from William Henry Hozier in 1853 for c. £10,000.

An instrument of 7 July 1854 suggests the fee farm grant may have been held by Robert Whitestone, Susan Warren and Thomas Wilson. Perhaps a useful addition if the Captain Bunbury was a hunting man for, that same year, the Carlow & Island Hunt was founded when Mr. Bolton of Island, Co. Wexford, gave his pack to Lord Fitzwilliam (who then lent it to the Tullow Hunt). My father recalls Constable Hill as the land of the Pollards and ‘Bo Peep’ who was one of the night shepherdesses at Lisnavagh. James Hozier was connected to Lord Ventry of Kerry; his daughter Christiana married James McAllister. [93]


Harvest Home at Lisnavagh, 1854


From the Carlow Sentinel of 25 November 1854: [94]

“The labourers of Captain McClintock Bunbury, MP, were, on Thursday week, entertained to a harvest home at Lisnavagh. At two o’clock on that day, 250 of the labourers of the estate, with their wives and daughters, sat down to a most substantial dinner in the great barn, which was tastefully fitted up for the occasion. An abundant supply of good stout ale was liberally handed about. After ample justice had been done to the good things set before those present, the dance was opened by Master and Miss Isabella Bunbury (the former six, and the latter eight years of age), who, by their beautiful style of dancing, were much admired, and attracted the attention of all present. The dancing then became general, and was kept up until three o’clock in the morning, when all returned to their homes in good order, highly gratified with the evening’s entertainment, and cheering loudly for their kind employer and benefactor. The only matter to mar the merry meeting was the unavoidable absence of Captain and Mrs Bunbury. The whole arrangements were under the superintendence of Mr Malone, the agent, whose attention and kindness to the company reflected the highest credit on him.”

Master Bunbury was presumably Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, aka Tom Bunbury, later to become 2nd Baron Ratdonnell.


1854 Further Events

  • 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.

    Feb 23: Britain recognised the independence of the Orange River Sovereignty and the country officially became independent as the Orange Free State

  • March 27-28: Outbreak of Crimean War – Britain and France declare war against Russia.
  • June 6: Henry Bruen marries Mary Margaret Conolly, daughter of Edward Michael Conolly.
  • Sept 21: First meeting of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, co-founded by Colonel H. Stanley McClintock, a half-brother of Captain McClintock-Bunbury.
  • June 20: Viscount Gough becomes a full general and appointed Colonel-in-chief of the 60th Royal Rifles.
  • September 25: John, 2nd Marquess and 20th Earl of Ormond, drowned when swimming in shallow water off the coast of Co. Wicklow, in the presence of his family. His wife Frances was the daughter of General Sir Edward Paget, younger brother of the 1st Marquess of Anglesey, who lost his leg whilst commanding the Cavalry at Waterloo. She was thus a first cousin of Captain Charlie Paget under whom William McClintock Bunbury served on Samarang. Frances was a widow for 49 years, dying in 1903. Charles Ponsonby knows a good deal more of all this.
  • Oct 25: Amongst those who survived the famous British Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava was Daniel Dowling from Carlow.
  • Nov 15: Colonel Stanley McClintock, a half-brother of Captain McClintock-Bunbury, appointed second in command to Viscount Masserene and Ferrard in the new Antrim Militia Artillery, which served in both the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny.
  • Wexford-born Robert McClure became the first person to transit the Northwest Passage using a combination of sea travel and sledging. It would be another 52 years before Roald Amundsen completed the first successful transit by ship alone.
  • Leopold McClintock commands the Intrepid in the third search expedition in search of the fate of Sir John Franklin.
  • Catholic University (later to become University College, Dublin) set up with Dr John Henry (later Cardinal) Newman as its’ first rector.
  • Ireland’s first rugby club is established at Trinity College Dublin.
  • National Gallery established by act of parliament.
  • The first public performance of Fion Boucicault’s Arrah-na-pogue is given at Dublin’s Theatre Royal.
  • ‘Two miles to the south [of Rathvilly] is Lisnavagh, the seat of Mr M’Clintock Bunbury, where a handsome Elizabethan house has been lately erected and other extensive improvements effected. Near Lisnevagh [sic] are the sites of Acaun castle and abbey, also the ruins of Acaun monastery and church. Adjoining the latter is Acaun cromlech.’ Hand book for travellers in Ireland’ by James Fraser (4th Edition, James McGlashan, 1854).
  • Robert FitzRoy, former Captain of the Beagle, appointed Director of the Meteorological Office.


Birth of Helen McClintock Bunbury, 1854


Pauline McClintock Bunbury has a second daughter, Helen McClintock Bunbury (d. 1870). I need to check this date as who was the Helen given the prayer book in 1850?


John ‘Old Turnip’ McClintock, father of the 1st Lord Rathdonnell, Captain William McClintock Bunbury and Kate Gardiner, as well as eight children by his second wife, Lady Elizabeth McClintock, daughter of the Earl of Clancarty.

Death of John McClintock


On 5 July 1855, the Captain’s 85-year-old father John McClintock passed away at Drumcar. Known as Old Turnip, he seems to have been succeeded by both his eldest son, John McClintock Jr (later Baron Rathdonnell) and his eldest-surviving son by his second marriage, Major Stanley McClintock.


Carlow Cattle Show, August 1855


THE CATTLE SHOW AT CARLOW. Preparations are being made for holding the show on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of next month … The company will be very numerous. His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant will be the guest of Mr. Burton at Burton Hall, on the occasion of his visit. The Duke of Leinster will stay at the Marquis of Kildare’s, Kilkea Castle; Lord Gough, at Colonel Bruen’s, Derrymoyle; the Earl of Clancarty and Lord Erne at Captain Bunbury’s M.P.. Lisnavagh. [95]


Bunbury v McClintock 1855


Box 106/109 contains the Queen’s Bench judgement from 9 November 1855, awarding £6000 for damages to Ballysallagh and Constable Hill in Rathvilly in a case taken against William B McClintock Bunbury by his half-brother, the Rev. Robert Le Poer McClintock of Kilsernan, Co. Louth.


1855 Further Events


It is my belief that this painting at Lisnavagh depicts Captain Bunbury’s daughters, Bella and Helen. Sadly both girls were to have short lives, passing away within a few years of their father.

Sir John Henry Lefroy.

  • March 15: The limbless Art Kavanagh marries his cousin, Frances Leathley, and goes on to sire six children.
  • May 12: Deaths – ‘At the residence of his son, Henry Banks, Esq., Tullow Street, Carlow, the Rev. Robert Banks, the Venerable Father of the Irish Wesleyan Conference. He retired to Athy, and in his more advanced age removed to Carlow. He was in the 89th year of his age and 63rd of his ministry.’
  • June 29: Viscount Gough made Colonel of the Royal Horse Guards, or Blues, on the death of Lord Raglan.
  • September 24: John Lefroy, brother-in-law of John McClintock, is promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and sent to Constantinople to investigate the condition of hospital staff in the East, and on the accommodation of the sick at Scutari. During this mission he meets and befriends Florence Nightingale.
  • October: The 3rd Baron de Robeck’s life ended sadly when, after he had been missing for eleven days, his body was found in the River Liffey near the Salmon Leap. He and his second wife Emily (née Henry) had been living in nearby Leixlip Castle for several years. The family fortune and the baronetcy now passed onto his firstborn son by Margaret Lawless, John Henry Fock, 4th Baron de Robeck. The 26-year-old had already shown his financial acumen when, just months before his father died, he married Sophia Burton, the daughter of a wealthy County Carlow landowner.
  • Nov 29: Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury receives his own personally engraved copy of Eyre & Spottiswode’s Book of Common Prayer, a confirmation present perhaps.
  • Dec 17: Death of Francis Beaufort(1774-1855), hydrographer to the British Admiralty since 1829.


Promotion for Captain William McClintock Bunbury


On 1 April 1856, the Captain appears to have been officially posted to the ‘Rank & Seniority on the Retired Lists’ as a ‘Captain’. He may only have been a ‘Captain’ by repute prior to this.

Death of John Wandesforde, 1856

William’s 43-year-old brother-in-law, John Wandesforde, D.L., of Castlecomer, died on 26 June 1856. He and his wife Emily – William’s half-sister, born circa 1816 – left no known children. Did William ever benefit from the Wandersforde’s owning of the Castlecomer coal mines and Perambulator Works? Emily seems to have gone away immediately after the burial:

“His truly amiable and afflicted lady, who now leaves Castlecomer, carries with her the fervent good wishes of the people of the district. She ever went hand-in-hand with her lamented husband in doing good to all around her, and her loss, like his, will be severely felt in the locality.” [96]

She was childless but it still seems odd that she left so quickly. Where did she go? On 21 June 1870, she was at Tynan, County Armagh, when she contributed £25 to a Church of Ireland Fund reported in the Saunder’s Newsletter. Her brother George McClintock was living at Fellow’s Hall, Tynan, Co. Armagh so perhaps she went to live with him at Tynan, after the loss of J.B.” At the time of the 1881 Census, she was staying with her sister, Anne Florence Tighe, also a widow, in a very nice property at 10 Chesham Street, Belgravia, London. Also present was her kinsman Frank McClintock, a clergyman and visitor. She does not appear in earlier English censuses, so she may have been in Ireland before 1881. She died in Shropshire in 1909. [97]


Captain Edmund Gardiner Fishbourne


Napper Tandy, the 1798 Rebel. There is an interesting link between the Rev. Robert Le Poer McClintock and the 1798 rebel Napper Tandy. According to Liz Crossley in ‘James Napper Tandy – United Irishman‘: There is a tradition that Tandy’s remains were exhumed and brought to Ireland. The Revd J.B. Leslie records that “Mr R. Baile, Seabank, informs me that during the lifetime of the late Rev R. le Poer M’Clintock, Rector of the Parish [Castlebellingham], he remembers an old man in the village telling the Rector in his presence, beside this grave, that he remembered the burial of ‘James Napper Tandy of ’98; that his remains were brought over sea from France to Dunany or Annagassan, that they were buried at dead of night in this grave, and that some dispute arose over an inscription on the stone.’ Others have also heard the same tradition.”

The Lisnavagh Archives (G4/1/6) contains a letter of 1856 written by a rather irate Captain Edmund Gardiner Fishbourne (1811-1887) to Captain Bunbury who felt the Admiralty had ‘cast a slur on me’ when he learned from the Duke of Newcastle that they had rejected his application for a CB (for his services in the 2nd Anglo-Burmese War of 1852-1853) ‘in favour of [Hardwicke] a man several years my junior.’ Fishbourne had been the senior officer at Rangoon and was the Second in Command under Commodore Lambert during the war. However, while his services were recognized by the Governor General and military top brass, he was overlooked in favour of Commanders Tarleton and Shadwell. He felt the Admiralty were unjust in ‘reprimanding me and in not making reparations when they found they were wrong.’ He hoped the Captain would mention it to Admiral Beechey (formerly of HMS Samarang), ‘not as a matter of friendship or favour but as of basic justice’.

The Captain then got a memorandum about Fishbourne, showing he had been the senior officer at ‘the commencement of the Kaffir War’ (when he was Commander of HMS Hermes) and had received the thanks of the Queen, ‘though he did not show / share the responsibility, he having returned from the Mozambique only a few days before the date of Sir Harry Smith’s despatch of 18 February 1851 reporting the service alluded to.’ He was the only field officer not rewarded for his services in the Kaffir War.

Fishbourne entered the Royal Navy in 1824, becoming a Lieutenant in 1835, a Commander in 1841, a Captain in 1853 and retiring as an Admiral in 1879. [98] He became full Admiral in 1880 and died in 1887. Between 1835 and 1850, he saw active duty across Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, and the East Indies. In 1854, the newly promoted ‘Captain’ Fishbourne and the HMS Hermes were paid off in Woolwich after steaming 75,000 miles.

When Shanghai was captured, he landed three ships to defend the British settlement. On three occasions he destroyed and captured piratical junks amounting numbers of 40 [?]. Sir John Parkington when Colonial Secretary officially wrote to Sir Harry Smith saying that Smith’s choice of officers, Fishbourne included, should be recognized but when Parkington left that office, Captain Fishbourne’s name was omitted. He spent many years beating up pirates and being beaten up in Rangoon on the Empire’s behalf so he felt understandably sore at being ignored in favour of some cub who had probably never even left Portsmouth.

He later thanks Captain Bunbury for his part in restoring his credibility in 1859, although the letter was written on black-rimmed mourning paper from the United Service Club. In 1857, he was involved with an attempt to lay the North Atlantic Cable. The following year, he gave a lecture On Floating Batteries.[99] He was a Patron of the London Homeopathic Hospital, and of the homeopathic hospital in Smyrna, as well as being a Steward at the 1858 Annual Festival in aid of the London Homeopathic Hospital.


The Carlow Rifles Crimean Dinner, 1856


In August 1856, the gentry of the County Carlow hosted a great dinner in the Assembly Rooms for the Officers of the County Carlow who had fought in the Crimean War. The Chair was taken by Captain McClintock Bunbury, M.P., and towards the close of the proceedings he proposed a toast to “The Carlow Rifles and Sir Thomas Butler their Colonel.” In doing so he said—

They have not had the good fortune to be engaged in the Crimea, but I am sure from what I have witnessed, if their services had been required, they would have done credit to the County Carlow. I must say I am sorry they have been disbanded.” In responding to the toast, Sir Thomas Butler said—“I beg leave to return you my most sincere thanks for the way in which you have spoken to me as Colonel of the Carlow Rifles but I must say that the praise is mostly due to Lt. Col. Keogh and Captain Knipe, the two principal Officers of the Regiment. At my time of life I could not accomplish the task of organising them nor have I been enabled to spend as much of my time with them as I have wished. They have given satisfaction wherever they have gone and they have sent as brave a body of men into the regular army as any country could boast of. I am proud to be their Colonel (cheers). For my part I only desire the ranks to be filled with such men and they will reflect credit on every officer connected with it.“(Loud cheering).

Lt. Col. Keogh was then unanimously called on to speak. He was a young man of thirty-two years, tall and strikingly handsome. He said—

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, I rise as you have been kind enough to call upon me but I thought after the eloquent speech of our Colonel I should have escaped being called on. It is rather dull work speaking of the Militia now. As long as the Queen was pleased to give me 20/- per day it was all very well—as long as I got that I worked hard for the Carlow Rifles but that is now all gone by and I think the Carlow Rifles very stale talk indeed. I did not value myself very highly — only at 20/- a day! The only thing for which I am proud of the Carlow Rifles is that they sent as fine a body of recruits to the line as any Officer might be proud to receive.

The Carlow Militia at this period was a red-coat Regiment known, affectionately or otherwise, as the “Old Fogies.” The rank and file served 27 days’ intensive training every year and new recruits did drill training in addition. The permanent staff remained on duty all the year round and the intention was that the regiment could be mobilised in full force at any time at short notice.


1856 Further Events


  • Feb 1: Assignment of mortgage from John McClintock, William Bunbury McClintock and William Rochfort to Arthur and Thomas Leslie, recorded in the Doyne Papers (MS 29,770 /108) in the National Library of Ireland Collection, List No. 24.
  • Feb 15: The steamship Queen Victoria, on a voyage from Liverpool to Dublin, with 100 passengers and cargo on board hits the rocks near Howth, Co Dublin in the early hours of the morning. An estimated 60 lives are lost. Did Captain McClintock Bunbury already know Howth at this point? I think so as Daniel Robertson was living there in 1849.
  • Feb 17: John Sadlier, former MP for Carlow, takes his own life after implication in banking scandal.
  • April: The Rev. George Studdert replaces Rev. Cecil Smyly as Rector of Drumcar.
  • June 24: Death of Philip Bagenal of Benekerry, Co. Carlow, in Bologne aged 64.
  • June 25: Following the end of the Crimean War, Viscount Gough is sent on a special mission to Sebastapol to invest Marshal Pelissier and other officers of rank with the insignia of the Bath.
  • July 29: William’s half-brother the  Robert Le Poer McClintock, M.A., Rector of Castle Bellingham, co. Louth, marries Maria Susan, only daughter of Alexander Charles Heyland, late of the Hon. East India Company’s Bengal Civil Service. [100]
  • Dennis Pack-Beresford elected High Sheriff for Carlow.
  • Louis Pasteur discovers that germs spread diseases.
  • Bessemer process allows for mass production of steel.


General Election, Spring 1857


In 1857, the power of Lord Palmerston’s Whig government was threatened when Thomas Cobden challenged their plans to go to war with China. In the ensuing General Election of 27 March – 24 April 1857, Captain McClintock Bunbury (Tory) was returned unopposed for Carlow County, but Palmerston’s Whigs actually secured a long sought for majority. Prior to the election, the Captain made it clear that he wanted to stand down, but was persuaded to offer himself again by the argument that his retirement would almost certainly give rise to a contest against the Conservative interest. John Alexander was returned for the Carlow Borough with a decisive win over Crimean War veteran Arthur Ponsonby, a grandson of the 3rd Earl of Bessborough. [Cobden masterminded the free trade agreement with France which saw unprecedented cooperation between the two states].

Henry Bruen III elected MP for Carlow (retained until 1880).


John McClintock Wins Seat For County Louth, 1857


In County Louth, William’s brother, John McClintock Jr, was finally victorious when returned for the Tory party. He serves until 1859 and appears to have been of the strongly Conservative view as championed by Lord Derby and later by Disraeli, which had split from the Peelite faction over a decade earlier.


Farmer’s Gazette Report on Lisnavagh, 1857


This exceptional article, unearthed in October 2016, was something of a compare and contrast article that appeared in the

The Clock Tower at Lisnavagh. My father writes: ‘The fine structure actually houses the bell. Before the days of watches, certainly pocket watches at work would have been at risk, it was common to summon industrial groups of workers by a bell or siren. With eighty or more workers here a century ago, the bell was rung at 0800, when they came in from the farm gate and again at midday when they stopped for dinner; I remember many assembling in the forge for that. It was rung again at 1300 to start and 1700 to end the day. On most days it was audible over the majority of the estate (as indeed we could hear the Rathvilly churches and quite often the fire siren in Tullow). It was rung until sometime in the 1960’s when it probably became unsafe as well as superfluous.
The bottom of the tower is of course a throughway which we deepened about the time of the Hyde Park Corner Underpass in order to get silage trailers under(1963). (Incidentally in your plans, it would look much nicer filled in level). Both the main yard archways had trap doors in the ceiling so that bags of grain could be winched up into the loft level. The measure in these large hessian sacks was a “barrel”; that was 2 1/2 cwt. (hundredweight) of wheat or 2 cwt. of barley and a bit less for oats. (a hundredweight is 112 pounds or 50kg. and although I never carried a barrel of wheat, I did load barley on a trailer in my youth. It is now advised not to lift more than 25kg!)’



For quite a critical article, it is certainly positive about Lisnavagh and the captain’s intentions.

“The village of Rathvilly … might be an exceedingly nice place, from its locality, were it not for a parcel of abominable cabins by which it is disfigured. They are certainly habitations which are scarcely fit abodes for pigs, and yet they are crowded with human beings. The cost of erecting any of those cabins cannot, by any possibility, have exceeded three or four pounds, and with a rental of from sixpence to a shilling a week from each they produce a profit which may well make our city building speculators stare. It is, however, a most disgraceful state of things, and we trust that the day is not far distant when such abodes will be swept away. How long will our refined sensibilities continue to be affected by the state of savages on the other side of the globe, whilst we have, under our own eyes, thousands of our fellow countrymen and countrywomen, speaking the same language, and holding the same faith, sunk and degraded to the level of the brutes which perish? We confess we have no patience with those who would make merchandize of the miseries of their fellow-men; and it is a special article in our creed, that the landowner who permits the erection or existence of such cabins as those we allude to does not do his duty in that state unto which it had pleased the Ruler of all things to call him. Let us have less whining about “Uncle Tomss,”and a little more home care about our brother Pats, and Sandies, and Jacks, and it will be better for all parties. Let people expend as much sympathy as they please upon those in whom they have no concern, but let it be surplus sympathy, after the main supply has been used up at home. What insensate folly it is to weep over “suffering humanity” at Timbuctoo or the Feejee Islands, when have plenty of it at home, stewed up in hovels, and luxuriating on an uncertain eight-pence or ten-pence a day, spread over half a dozen individuals.
When we compare the cabins in Rathvilly with the cottages erected, a little further on, by Captain M’Clintock Bunbury, at Lisnevagh [sic], the contrast becomes even more painfully striking. In the one case we have the depth of squalid wretchedness, and in the other, comfort, cleanliness, and beauty. Captain Bunbury’s cottages, however, are not show cottages, merely erected to he looked at, loaded with external ornament, but deficient of every internal accommodation to render them comfortable dwellings, as we have seen some fancy cottages to be; they are plain, substantial buildings, just the sort of thing that any proprietor may erect, and what every labouring man, with his family, ought to possess. They are double cottages, two being under one roof (which is slated), but extending in a line with each other. Each cottage has a kitchen in the centre, with a sleeping apartment at each end. One room is lofted over, so that there is a small garret, which is entered by a trap stair from the kitchen. Immediately behind is a commodious scullery, with back-yard containing piggeries and the other requisite offices. In front is a small flower plot, and climbing roses being trained upon the walls, the houses have an exceedingly pleasing appearance, The outer doors are defended and the houses rendered more comfortable by outside porches, which are also fitted up with doors. The entire cost of these cottages, with appurtenances, was about £80 each double cottage, that is £40 for a single dwelling — ten times, indeed, the amount expended by the cabin speculator at Rathvilly; but the one is a dwelling fit for human beings to live in, whilst the other we would scarcely select as kennels for the meanest curs.
Ten years ago not a stone was laid of all the buildings which now exist at Lisnevagh, not a shrub was planted, and fully two-thirds of the land now forming the demesne was composed of turf bogs and treacherous quagmires. The house itself stands on an eminence from which a beautiful view is obtained, with the Wicklow mountains on one side, and those of Carlow and Queen’s Co. on the other. It is built in the Elizabethan style — a style which always appears to us well suited for the mansion house of large estates. The sloping ground on one side has been formed into a series of three terraces, and on the other side into flower gardens and shrubberies. At the back entrance Captain Bunbury has erected a beautiful schoolhouse, also in the Elizabethan style, in which there is both a boys’ and girls’ school, maintained at his expense. There are a few old trees about the house, and scattered throughout the grounds, which formerly grew in hedge rows, but all the rest of the very thriving plantations around are new. A very imposing main entrance has recently been erected, from which a long drive through the grounds brings us to the house.
The demesne contains about 1,100 statute acres, only about one-third of which, as we stated, was capable of being converted into tillage land when Captain Bunbury commenced operations. Fully three miles of a very substantial stone wall has been erected around the demesne. It is not quite complete yet, but will be so very soon. Fortunately for this purpose, there is abundance of material, the ground having been full of loose granite boulders of all sizes. The same supply was most opportune when the farm buildings were erected. These have been built in the most substantial manner possible, the granite used being of the best quality for building purposes. The very spot upon which the farm yard and steward’s house now stands was almost as unlikely a spot as could be found upon which to commence to build. Hideous bog holes and a dismal swamp occupied the site, but every inch has been rendered dry and solid by means of deep drains.
The farm buildings have been erected in the form of a double square, with smaller yards behind. The squares , are spacious, and, therefore, airy. Entering the principal yard by the main gateway, we find that the left side of the square is taken up by two feeding houses, with accommodation for 40 head of cattle. The troughs are constructed entirely of granite slabs, and are 21 inches wide at the top, sloping to 16 inches in width at the bottom; 18 inches deep at back, and 15 inches deep in front of the animal. The length of each trough is 3 feet 6 inches. The stalls are separated from each other by strong wooden partitions, the width of each stall being 7 feet 6 inches. The feeding passage along the head of the animals is 3 1/2 feet wide. At right angles to and immediately behind these feeding houses, and forming one side of the second square, is a large turnip house. At the other end is the barn, and the straw from the machine passes at once into a loft above the cattle, from which it is put down behind them when required. This loft also contains a supply of hay which is put down into the feeding passage at the head of the cattle in the same manner.
The feeding houses are lofty, airy, and well ventilated. The flooring of every one of the houses is made of granite blocks. In the barn this is especially useful, as it is impossible for rats to find any harbour in the floor, as is too often the case. Behind the feeding houses, in the second yard, is a large dung pit, with liquid manure tanks and pump. The back part of this square is formed by a long shed, in which forty more cattle can be tied up, with five boxes for cattle, separated from each other by stone walls.
The large square contains a row of buildings, comprehending carpenters’ shop, cart sheds, yardmen’s room, loose boxes for horses, and harness room, a most important part of a set of farm buildings, where the harness can be placed once when the horses are brought in, instead of hampering the stable by suspending it on pins, or allowing it to be kicked about among the litter, as have sometimes seen. Those who are partial to the phrase, “It will do,” may not see the necessity for such an appendage to a farm-yard stable; but if they calculate the loss which is sustained by extra tear and wear on harness, from want of a proper place to put it in, they will soon see that a farm-yard has as much claim to a harness room as the private stables have.
“A place for everything, and everything in its place,” is an adage too much neglected about farm yards. A twelve-stalled stable completes the square. Along the front of the stable is a light verandah resting on iron pillars, which is found extremely useful for sheltering horses when being cleaned in wet weather. This, too, is a point in farm-yard management in which there is usually room for improvement. The horses are brought in wet and dirty, and as soon as they become dry they are subjected to the comb and brush, or wisp. The dust rises in clouds, and, there being no other outlet for it, settles down on the same animal and his companions, and finding its way into their lungs, besides alighting on the fodder, and harness; whereas when the horse is cleaned outside the dust is blown away, and the stable is kept sweet and clean. The ventilation in the farm stables at Lisnevagh [sic] is very complete. The main yard is entirely free from all obstruction in the shape of buildings, the only erection in it being a large, open, circular stone tank, which is kept constantly full by an unceasing flow of pure spring water. The surrounding wall is raised about two feet above the level of the ground, and being always full to the brim, the horses get easily at the water. Behind the stable there is a smaller yard for loose cattle, which, with the pigyards, completes the arrangement of the buildings.
The engine, which is of 10-horse power, by Easton and Amos of London, drives the machinery of a flour and oatmeal mill — also constructed by the same parties — oat crushers, chaff cutters, and thrashing machinery. The latter, which was made by Garrett and Sons, thrashes ten barrels of average oats per hour. The waste steam is conveyed by pipes into a steaming house, where it cooks food for the horses, cattle, and pigs. The engine also pumps water for the mansion house, which is nearly half a mile from the farm-yard, sending the water into a reservoir, from whence it is conveyed all through the building. In the stack-yard the corn stands are formed entirely of granite, and the whole yard is enclosed by a substantial stone wall. Every stone which was used in the various buildings — in the mansion house, the farmyards, demesne walls, and cottages — was dug out of the land, it being quite unnecessary to open a regular quarry, such was the abundance of stones in the land.
We observed that Mr. Malone, who has the management both of the demesne and the estate, and under whose superintendence all the improvements have been carried into effect, is most particular in having every implement thoroughly overhauled and painted every year ; by doing which, it is impossible to overlook a deficient bolt or screw; and the implements are, therefore, kept in perfect working order, besides always looking neat and clean. The expense of doing this is not great, whilst its advantages are manifold. He would, indeed, be looked upon as a careless person who allowed the machinery of his spinning mill to get out of order in consequence of systematic neglect of cleaning and timely repairs ; but we have schooled ourselves to look upon ricketty carts and untidy implements as quite in keeping with the business of the farmer. Surely, it is not essential that slovenliness should form a characteristic of agricultural labour in any respect.
The soil of a large proportion of the Lisnevagh demesne consists of bog, fully eight feet deep in many parts; in other places the bog had been cut away, leaving only the bare subsoil to work upon. Those parts of the demesne which were naturally dry are composed of granite sand. About 800 statute acres were drained, 4 1/2 feet deep, and averaging about 40 feet apart. The remaining portion of the land did not require draining. The greater part of the demesne has been laid down to grass, it being intended to keep only as much in cultivation as will be necessary for home use, which will probably extend to about 200 statute acres. The crops of all kinds are excellent, and the root crops — mangels, turnips, and carrots — well advanced and beautifully clean. Hitherto the rough work of the place has required every attention ; but that being completed, a finish will now be given to every department. The heavy works at Lisnevagh having been commenced and carried on during the famine years, came most opportunely to the relief of all classes of working people in the district, there having been from £300 to £400 paid weekly, for a considerable time, in the shape of wages alone.
The grazing stock at Lisnevagh consists chiefly of a good class of bullocks, bought in at country fairs, which, after been summer grazed, are finished off in the stalls. Mr. Malone has also at present some immense bullocks, which he intends preparing for the butcher, and which hitherto have been used as plough bullocks in breaking up the rough land. For some time past Captain Bunbury has been getting a very select herd of short-horns; and we observed among them several animals of great beauty. His bull, “Northern Light,” bred by Major M‘Clintock, of Randalstown, co. Antrim, is a magnificent animal. His colour is a very rich roan; he is of great substance, yet sweet and fine in his points. Among the cow-stock there are some first-rate specimens from the herds of his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, Mr. Chaloner, &c.; but what promises to be the flower of the flock is a beautiful heifer calf, bred by Captain Bunbury, out of one of Mr. Chaloner’s heifers by “Emperor,” a bull bred by Mr. Barnes, and now the property of Mr. Tynte, of Tynte Park. She is truly a splendid animal, and with the Hopewell and Baron Warlaby blood in her veins should turn out to be something of the very best. There are also some other very fine pure bred calves.
The breed of horses in the district has been much improved by the introduction of first-class draught stallions at Lisnevagh. Captain Bunbury’s prize horse Eglinton began the reformation of the very light horses which were used by the neighbouring farmers; and now a son of his, Emperor, out of a Clydesdale mare, is carrying on the work of improvement. Emperor is a very handsome, compact horse, light action, and just the thing to improve the produce of a light class of mares.
In the piggeries there are some capital Berkshires; and as an evidence of the quality of the breed, as kept at Lisnevagh, we may mention that Mr. Malone has sold, at the spring show of the Royal Dublin Society, a single litter, ten months old, for 187 guineas.
Whilst Captain Bunbury has been improving his demesne, he has not been unmindful of the state of his tenantry outside. The greater part of the estate has been thorough-drained, at his expense, with the best possible effect. The various farm houses and offices throughout the property are also being overhauled, and in some cases nearly all new buildings have been, or are being, erected, whilst, in others, additions to, or alterations of, the existing buildings have been made. This is all done at Captain Bunbury’s cost, without charging even interest on the outlay; and we believe, in many cases, lowering the rents besides. Captain Bunbury is deservedly popular, both as a landlord, and throughout the country at large; and we trust that he will yet see his exertions for the welfare of his tenantry rewarded by a thorough-going spirit of improvement arising up amongst them, leading them to turn to good account that “talent” which has been committed to their charge, in the cultivation of the soil. With but few exceptions, and in common with the majority of cases around them, the farming of the district is by no means what it should be; and we think that the tenantry of the Lisnevagh estate in particular will deservedly subject themselves, to censure if, with the example shown them, and the assistance rendered to them, they do not shake off their supineness, and bring all their industry to bear upon the fulfilment of the important duty of developing the dormant energies of the soil. For a neglected tenantry, or for one which is merely looked upon as something out of which certain amount of rent may be annually squeezed, there is an excuse if their mode of cultivation is low and unproductive; but Captain Bunbury’s tenants can offer no such plea in extenuation. It is with the sincerest desire for their prosperity that we make these observations, trusting that they may be stirred up to greater exertions than they have ever yet employed, so that they may become, what we feel sure it is their landlord’s wish they should be, models of good management, and patterns of happiness and comfort.” [101]

COST OF ERECTING COTTAGES – A “Subscriber” Kerry writes, “In page 651 (1857) of your valuable Gazette, the cottages erected by Captain Bunbury for his labourers are described, and are stated to have cost £40 for a single dwelling. Please obtain for me the particulars of this cost and the specification of the building.” Apply Mr. Malone, Lisnevagh, Rathvilly, who, we are sure, will give the required information.” [102]

5th Baron Rathdonnell’s Remarks on the 1857 Report (4 March 2017)

Born in 2002, Bill Burgess of Tobinstown knew the 4th Baron Rathdonnell throughout his life. When Bill died in 2007, he was Ireland’s oldest farmer.


‘The fine cottages the author describes are presumably Moanavoth or possibly at the Farm gate. The foul cabins in Rathvilly to which he refers may have been in Phelan Street and replaced in 1903 by the lovely row of houses there. The Estate often gets credit for them but they were actually constructed by some housing trust, Bill Burgess [of Tobinstown House, who died aged 104 in 2007] told me about it and his father may even have been involved. We owned most of the rest of the village as recorded in the Rent Account Book.

It was the rent of a shilling a week reference which got me started on my recent analysis of that book. Some rents were not much more a hundred years later when I was faced with repair bills of £60 or maybe £70, which is why I sold them as we could. A proposal in the 1970’s was that Ground Rents should be bought out by the tenant at 14 years’ purchase – and that was nothing to do with the building on it.

The Schoolhouse was made into a proper dwelling by my mother in 1961. Before that there was the living room below with bedroom above, for the teacher, and one large classroom leading to the big window; if it took boys and girls, as stated, they must have shared the room. I do not know when the last lesson was but until about 1947 the Rathvilly rector, who had only the one church, used to bicycle up to take Evensong there on Sunday evening; I was walked down for this sometimes and enjoyed the harmonium (there was of course no electricity).

Other buildings are mentioned for key employees’ families. The Sawmill (forester) and Oddfellows Hall (gardener) are older than the estate. Tobinstown (became a store and post office) was built later for a retiring steward and, Frank Parker [Forester, Sawmill & Maintenance Manager at Lisnavagh until 1970] told me, constructed low so that it could not be seen from the House. Wherever there is a chimney in all the buildings there is, or was, a plastered room which was the dwelling of an unmarried employee, thus there was a vast community on the place! I thought the “Main Entrance” was twenty years later but presumably our man knew. He mentions the absence of trees; that is indeed true, the 1840 O.S. map shows only a few hedgerow trees, all the woods were planted just after that.

Mr Parker confirmed to me what the author described about the “swamp’ where the farmyard was built. The Haggart extended roughly where the big new workshop now is and around the back of the Dutch Barn (1935); at the east end was a sheep dip but I know not its date. This area was all ricks of corn or straw in my childhood, some maybe even up on those lovely granite rickstands we have since salvaged. It seems the threshing mill was established on the “barn” loft from the very beginning and he describes how the straw was passed on along the lofts. Much of the shaft and pulleys that worked the threshing machine is still in place; the steam engine, later a “hot bulb” (diesel) engine, drove it by a belt up to the end pulley in the top of the engine house in the lean-to outside. Some of this has been robbed for repairs since, not to mention lighting in the West Wing. I never saw the thresher but in my youth there were a number of straw and chaff cutters, turnip slicers and sharpening stones attached to the shaft. When the engine failed my father cut a hole in the floor to allow a pulley from a tractor below to drive the shaft and thus also to pump water I recall; the three piston water pump is still there in the engine house, even if the 3” pipe to the Steel Tank is no more. We owned a mobile threshing mill (and 2 steam engines) in the 1940’s and on appropriate autumn or winter days the stacks of corn in the Haggart were transformed into stacks of straw; it took most of the men on the place to do this. When the time came in 1974 to build a lambing shed in the old haggart Giles Blundell had considerable difficulty with the swamp and had to bring in much stone and hardcore to support his uprights and concrete.

The Milkmaid’s Cottage near the Keeper’s and Bowe’s Grove at Lisnavagh, also known as the Mermaid Cottage or Snow Whit’s Cottage. William and Lady R stand to, with Zorro the dog, circa 2004.

The stone cattle troughs as described were all there in 1948 when my father converted the western “feeding house”, as the writer termed it, into a dairy with a new milking machine; diesel engine, no electricity. I believe any milking that took place in the early days was in the yard at the House, hence the Cow Field. The eastern shed was not modernized so the troughs were there until the 1980’s when the new cattle handling area and crush required their removal. There were also some amazing glazed earthenware troughs in the Stallion Yard, some of which are still around. The yard behind the feeding houses was of course not ‘Covered’ for another fifty years when Thompsons of Carlow did a very similar job to that of the Main Hall of the RDS at Ballsbridge, under much the same management. The “Covered Yard” had some 20 individual boxes on the east and south sides with 8 large cattle pens in the centre, when I inherited it in 1959, and absolutely no running water! Seemingly all the beasts still had to be taken out to the lovely round trough to drink. I took out the walls to make it more machine friendly and dug out the floor so the tractors making silage in there did not hit the roof tie bars so soon!

I recall twelve horses in the Stables (the building in front of you as you enter the main yard); that is before the northern end was taken for a tractor shed, later workshop. I inherited three work horses in what is now Sasha’s den and in those days each horse and tractor had only one master. The smaller yard behind the Stables became the Stallion Yard but clearly after 1857, when it seemed to be devoted to liquid manure. Stallions are mentioned but where did they live? Not sure when this ended but I met Wicklow men who had walked mares over through Hacketstown to be covered here in the 1930’s. Between these yards is the bell tower; before watches became commonplace, the bell was rung to commence work and to finish; it could be heard in almost all weather anywhere on the estate. Most of the men, still nearly 50 in 1933, gathered at the farm gate, having arrived by bicycle or on foot, until the bell sounded. Our man’s wage bill of £300 a week suggests twice as many at the beginning but there were 20 more (unproductive) in the house and stables.

The water pump, I referred to it earlier, has me completely baffled. I thought it was part of a major operation in the 1880’s along with the water ram in the Farm Wood and the Brick Tank (Any date on that I wonder?). I wonder too when the 3” cast iron pipe went in, no surprise it was hopeless by 1975. The Steel Tank was added in 1907 we know. I long to learn more!

Until World War II almost all machinery, and most wheels, were made of iron or wood; motor cars and much more had evolved this way. As such they could very largely be restored or repaired “in house” by the joiner (Sawmill team) or the blacksmith. [The last blacksmith was Tom Halligan, grandfather of the present Halligan Brothers in Rathvilly]. Even bearings were made of greased hardwood; a corn “binder”’s canvas conveyer belt required additional skills but there were very few spare parts as such. All wars create tremendous technical progress and by 1945 although economies were ruined there were massive new materials in alloys, rubber and plastics as well as mechanics and hydraulics; nothing would be the same. Out of destroyed Germany came our Class combine harvester (4th into Ireland) in 1953.

Curious them finishing the cattle in the stalls. Hugh Massy had a theory that they bred the cattle here and after two years sent them over to Moyle, more Bunbury property, on the “good” land to be finished. This all came to an end when that farm was lost to the Rathoe Land League in 1923.

I thought that the Captain ran out of money rather before all his ambitions (Robertson’s fountains on the terraces, etc.) could be fulfilled, but there is no suggestion of that here. High ideals, if the writer has it correct, were certainly there; no wonder TK was such a great fellow!

Rather a long-winded commentary, I am afraid, but what a magnificent piece of writing on a wonderful subject and I am fortunate to have been acquainted with it all for nearly half the very long time span since that was written.’


1857 Further Events


  • Lisnavagh from a distance. Photo: James Fennell.

    Lisnavagh from the lawn. Photo: James Fennell.

    March 3: France and Britain declare War on China. Viscount Gough receives arguably his most prized possession – a Knighthood of St. Patrick – being the first knight of the order not holding an Irish peerage. A top subject of conversation for Gough at this time must have been the collapse of the East India Company after 250 years of profiteering.

  • Robert Fitzroy, former Captain of the Beagle, became a rear-admiral in 1857 and vice admiral in 1863. Captain Bunbury met him during the Voyages of the Samarang. He is also remembered as the originator of the ‘Fitzroy Barometer’.
  • May 10: Outbreak of Indian Mutiny. Charles Gough wins Victoira Cross at Siege of Lucknow, saving the life of his brother, Sir Hugh Gough, who also won a VC. The brothers were sons of Judge George Gough, grandsons of Thomas Gough, Dean of Derry, and great-nephews of the Field Marshal Sir Hugh Gough.
  • June 26 (Friday): Queen Victoria distributed the first Victoria Crosses at Hyde Park, including Davis Lucas and Luke O’Connor.
  • July 1: Captain Leopold McClintock duly embarked on board the “Fox“, at request of Lady Franklin, and set forth on his fourth expedition to find Franklin.
  • John McClintock’s brother-in-law John Lefroy 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.
  • Indian “Mutiny” ended with the Siege of Lucknow.
  • The 4th Baron de Robeck puts his riches into a pot and commissions Dublin architect John McCurdy to design Gowran Grange, a new mansion on the de Robeck family lands at Swordlestown, right beside the Punchestown racecourse. The de Robecks would be among the Bunbury’s closest friends in the late Victorian Age.


Rev. Patrick Nolan, Parish Priest of Rathvilly


Father Patrick C. Nolan, parish priest of Rathvilly from 1855 until 1885, was educated at Carlow College (1818-1823) and was ordained in 1828 for the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin.  (Photograph held by the Delany Archive:

The Lisnavagh Archives contains some correspondence from the Rev. P.C. Nolan, parish priest of Rathvilly, and his nephew, Michael Nolan (eldest son of Maurice and Alicia Nolan of Killane), written between 25 March 1857 and 1862. The early letters suggest Fr Nolan felt insulted by the Captain’s ‘indifference’ to him but he then played what he deemed to be a vital role in persuading the Hon. Frederick Ponsonby, the Liberal candidate, to withdraw his candidacy from the 1857 election. In return, he sought thanks from Captain Bunbury. Indeed, at one point, he writes and says: ‘I will want a few bunches of grapes, some plums & apples for desert on two days next week. I will have the Bishop & some of my church brethren to dine with me on the occasion of the Confirmations – I will be much obliged if you could let me have them from your garden.’ The later letters complain about the antics of Mr Malone, Captain Bunbury’s agent during the run up to the election.

The Rev. Patrick Celestine Nolan was born in Ballintrane on 2 January 1802. Ordained in Maynooth College in 1827, he was first assigned as a curate to the Myshall parish. His second assignment was in Killeigh, King’s County (Laois). In around 1850, he was assigned to Rathvilly parish, being appointed parish priest in 1855. He was instrumental in building the new church there. He died on 12 February 1885, with advancing age, having served the Rathvilly community for 35 years.

Letters between Captain Bunbury & the Rev. P.C. Nolan, PP, Rathvilly (1857-1862)


34 Charlemont Street, Dublin

25 March 1857

My dear Sir,

Mark Deering tells me he has been with you and that out of the 10 Votes you pointed out, only three or four, all Deerings, have comply’d with the request – the others, flinching under pretext that there would be no Contest!; I earnestly wish they may not –

That Blockhead James Deering who never does anything of his acres himself; employed Priest Nolan to send me some of his rent the other day – to which I remonstrated that the Priest has shewn me, that he is the arbitrator [?] between Landlord & tenant – no the whole County & much more; But I have transcribed (in confidence) part of the Priest’s note for your information – viz:

“I am interested both for Landlord an tenant, & feeling so, now & then, take a part between them, I do not nor am I permitted to confine myself to those of my own faith – there is not a month that I a not solicited to interfere on one side or the other. I am just now engaged in getting for your Protégée, J. Jackson (not one of your tenantry) a farm from W.d [?] O’Driscol. I am not desirous of mixing in these matters but scarcely can avoid it when called & ** ‘d on; there is one thing certain that I never will act unfairly to any party.

I regret to have to inform you that the People are as determined as heretofore to show forth all their hostility & bitterness against those they consider their enemys; Elections are to be held immediately. I confess I am not willing to be the cause of evil in this district; but I know well, the feeling of the excited people & often have to divest [?] it. If I can check it, all will be well. I am in a difficult position having the Key of the County in my hands, I may be found to do what I would, much regrets … It is well known that Mr Bunbury treated me, to say the least, with indifference, not even deigning to call on me; and the people are furious for the insult ; I should desire revenge by hunting him this county, I could with a bad grace say against them – but it would be sad indeed that we should yield to such feelings & permit a fire to be enkindled, that we might not see the end of; if I can reasonably prevent this evil, I will. I am yours, PC Nolan PP’.

It is not for me to make comments on this Priestly epistle but I think it concerns every Protestant and conservative Proprietor [?] & Electors in Carlow, to enquire why Priest Nolan should carry the Key of their County in his pocket – or that their tenants should apply to him for assistance and advice, which properly [?] belongs to themselves? What in the name of goodness sent Jackson to the Priest? I think he requires absolution for that.

I give you all this for the informing of yourself & friends, praying earnestly that I many not be mix’d up in the matter; or known to proceed from me. I send the Original to Mr W. Stratford who will return it.

I regret that the young man I intended sending down, who is known to the Rathvilly tenants, is like myself an invalid, & from the same cause. I shall request them all again to attend at the Hustings & remain Dear Sir,

Respectfully Yours,

William Duncan


Rathvilly – Wednesday Evening 1857

Dear Sir,

I am happy to make you certain that Hon. F. Ponsonby has ceased to canvas this County against you. This event has arisen, as I intimated to you from my interferences – I received a letter from him today announcing this determination formally.

You will see what part I made in bringing about this happy event, from his letter a paragraph of which I transcribe: ‘Reverend Sir, After the communications I had with you – you will not be surprised to hear that I had determined not to contest the County”. This happy consummation I have brought about, & I trust I may congratulate you, the people & myself in effecting is so fortunate – we will now be friends, aiming at the welfare of each other, without jealousy, bigotry or the wild passions that disgraces man, without ***** any. Wishing you long life & good health to use the trust we are committing to your hands for the welfare, peace and harmony of all our people – I am with all Confidence yours sincerely.

Patk C Nolan, PP


Lisnavagh April 1st 1857

My dear Sir,

Pray accept my best thanks for your kind commiserations just received. It breathes such a spirit of peace & good will that quite warms my heart & think that nothing on my hands will ever occur to give any fair cause of offence to you … [the rest of the letter is essentially illegible as this is clearly a draft copy; one wonders was it ever sent?!]


Rathvilly – Friday

My Dear Sir,

When passing a few minutes since by Lisnavagh, some one told me that there has been some person imposing on you, or trying to do so, by saying Hon’ble F Ponsonby still intended to contest the County. This handbill will prove to you that for this time he is down with the matter. I send this up to satisfy you that the report, if such it may be, is but a trick.

Yours very sincerely,

P.C. Nolan



I addressed you from London last week, as a candidate for the representation of our County in Parliament. On my arrival in Carlow, on Friday night, I immediately turned my attention to the consideration of the prospects of success that awaited me.

I find, after a most careful enquiry, that in consequence of the state of the Register, the votes of many Independent Liberals are lost.

I find that in consequence of the late period at which I announced myself as a Candidate, some, who would have received me favourably, at an earlier period, are now pledged to my opponents. As I know that on me must rest the responsibility of disturbing the peace of the County, and, perhaps, in some cases causing disunion and ill-feeling between Landlords and their Tenantry, I have determined, with the concurrence of friends who have so kindly given me their advice and assistance, to withdraw from the present contest. To continue it without expectation of success would neither be fair to my opponents nor honest to my supporters.

I cannot make this announcement without expressing my warmest gratitude to the Liberal party generally for a promise of support far beyond my deserts, and to those with whom I have communicated during the short time I have been in the county, for the kind feeling expressed towards me.

If the result of the present Election shall have the effect of rousing those who should be the leaders of the Liberal Party to a sense of their won strength when properly directed, their weakness when apathetic or indifferent to the registration, I shall have the satisfaction of feeling that I have been of some service to the Liberal cause.

I have the honour, to be, Gentlemen,

Our obedient servant,


April 2nd, 1857


Rathvilly – 11th September 1857

My Dear Sir,
I will want a few bunches of grapes, some plums & apples for desert on two days next week.
I will have the Bishop & some of my church brethren to dine with me on the occasion of the Confirmations – I will be much obliged if you could let me have them from your garden – I send this early, in order that I can send to Dublin in case you cannot accommodate me. I am Dear Sir, yours very sincerely, P.C. Nolan


Rathvilly – Tuesday September 15th 1857

My Dear Sir,
Tomorrow & next day I will have the Bishop – I therefore sent up for Fruit you so kindly promised for the occasion. I have no celery yet fit for eating – a few heads then if you have them with some cauliflower & lettuce – I was greatly delighted as well as having at having a *** supplied by this nice quarter of Mountain Mutton you presented to me. It will be a great treat.
I am dear Sir.
Yours sincerely,
P.C. Nolan


Probably 1858.

Dear Sir,
I regret to be so troublesome – I am but a new house [resident?] & not supplied with the [*****] befitting this present [******] – you will therefore kindly let me have a Soup Ladle – and if you have any pears I will thank you to order the gardens to send me a few. Yours very truly, PC Nolan.


Probably 1858 or 1859

Rathvilly – Friday Evening

My dear Sir,
Michael J Nolan, my nephew, has just returned from Dublin where he has stood the examinations, and as far as he could judge, from conversing with the other competitors, has gone on well, if not first, at all events in the second place. I hope the commissioners may think so. [103]
I’m filling up some query about [him?] here – I presumed to state to the Commissioner that as to the character they might refer to you or to me – I trust you will pardon this liberty and that if they should apply to you on this matter you will be able to support favourably – as he is your protégé.
Yours very sincerely,
P C Nolan


Decb’r 18th 1861

My Dr. Sir,

I enclose Sir R. Butler’s note as you desired – and I too



Rathvilly – Sunday Evening.

My Dr. Sir,

I regret to hear from different quarters of harsh, and in the mind of the people, unjust proceedings of your agent – For, as far as I can learn, you are not held culpable – Peter Lalor’s case is so glaring [?] on that every one says, at once Mr Malone, ***** like, covets the Widow Burn’s little plot – and Lalor and his poor young wife, near her confinement, must be turned to the *** world to make room for the Widow.

I wish you to stand well with the peoples, you know it, and I grieve you should be put in the wrong – again I hear of the rents being raised 25 per cent or more – why such a thing – any such a reason would damn any man’s character – can you be aware of these proceedings? I really can hardly believe you have given consent to these proceedings – and I beg you to put a stop to them – your character, that of your family, your *** of charity, all forbid them proceeding.

You will pardon me for interfering – my desire to save the people, as well as my good wishes for your welfare and happiness, all my apologies.

I am Dr. Sir, yours very faithfully,

PC Nolan





Feb 4th 1862

My dear Sir,

This to acknowledge the Receipts of your Letter of Sunday last and to thank you for your good wishes therein expressed for my welfare and happiness.

Allow me to say that you are misinformed as to the facts mentioned in your Letter and more so as to the motives that influenced my agent in the management under my order of my property. I have made inquiries since I received your letter and I can find no acr bordering on hardship or injustice by my agent to any tenants – I have known Mr Malone for many years & I am confident that he would not act unjustly to any man. He is quite able however to vindicate [?] himself against any libellous attacks upon his character that are made to injure him in his business.

Whoever your informant has been let him come before me as proof of his accusations. I shall only be too happy to remedy any hardships or injustice that I have the power to correct.

As for Mr Peter Lalor and his wife, they are not tenants of mine & that they **** well know.

Very faithfully yours,




Feb y 12th – 1862

My Dr. Sir,

I see from the tenor of your note in reply to mine of 2nd Inst that you totally misapprehended my motive in writing that note – I made no charge – but mostly / merely [?] let you know rumours that were afloat and had come to my ears. Hoping you would make enquires – and beseeching you of anything was wrong to right it. You will give me credit, I think, for giving information of reports likely to be prejudicial to you. At all events I am convinced of the honesty of my motives and I cannot conceive why any fair man should be angry with me. Your note was courteous but I thought I could see in it that my interference was not palatable. I may be mistaken but it appears so.

I had a letter from Mr Malone which I regret he should have written. He has fallen into the mistake, above alluded to – and under this misapprehension, and thinking I complained of him to you, with intention of hurting him – in his excitement, but on a very unbecoming note – full of ***** – I will only say, letter of this class rude and insulting to the Pastor for a numerous people, are seldom forgiven, never forgotten.

The letter I will [hold onto?] – it may be useful on some future occasion – for this writer. I have rather pity than anger – he is evidently a hasty and intemperate man and if he suffers his passion to carry him away independently, in writing a note to the Parish Priest, what must those have to suffer who are subject to those control!

Yours very sincerely,

P.C. Nolan

PS: if you think it worth while you can affirm Mr Malone that I never presented knowledge & [will say by / willingly?] a [living / being?] man, & I have not an intention of beginning now. PCN.


Mauled by a Bull in Tobinstown, 1857


Anchor, Lisnavagh’s prize shorthorn bull, which swept the awards across Ireland, Scotland and England for Captain Bunbury’s son Tom in 1879.

‘An aged man named Patrick Byrne, who came by his death under the following circumstances:
— It appears from the evidence that the deceased was employed by a person named Burgess, a tenant of Colonel Kane Bunbury, at Tobinstown, near Carlow, as a herd, and while engaged at this avocation he was attacked by a furious bull, which set upon him, and having knocked him down, literally buried his horns in the unfortunate man’s prostrate body. His cries attracted the attention of several persons who were engaged at a short distance from this distressing scene, and on ascertaining the cause they immediately procured the assistance of four courageous dogs, with which they endeavoured to extricate Byrne from his perilous position.
In this they partially succeeded, for at this juncture the animal directed his fury against both men and dogs, and obstinately defended himself against their united attacks for nearly half an hour, but at length was ultimately overcome and routed. The unfortunate man all this time lay, writhing in intense agony, his mangled body presenting a frightful spectacle, being saturated with the blood which flowed copiously from his wounds. A physician was immediately sent for, who dressed his wounds, and had him instantly conveyed to the County Infirmary; but medical skill was unavailing, and he died in a few hours afterwards. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the foregoing facts.’ [104]

The Atlantic Cables


The Great Eastern, the largest steamship in the world, launched at Millwall in 1858 by designer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59). Although ground-breaking in design, the passenger liner was a commercial failure. In 1864, she was sold to a Greenwich-based cable-laying company for £25,000, a fraction of its original cost. From 1865 to 1872, she laid four telegraphs under the Atlantic, and others to link Bombay and Eden. How familiar was the Captain with these antics? Did he live long enough to hear the news that the Transatlantic cable was complete in 1866? He must have been amazed to see the link established between Ireland and the Americas. He was still alive when, in 1865, the European end of the Atlantic cable was laid at Foilhummerum Bay on Valentia Island, off the coast of Co Kerry, from where it connected to the existing landline. The American end was at Heart’s Content in Newfoundland. Once the telegraph was established, Queen Victoria exchanged congratulations with President Andrew Johnson. The message took several hours to cross the Ocean where it had formerly taken approximately 12 days.


1858 Further Events

  • March 17: The Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenian movement) founded by exiles in America.
  • June 27: Death of William’s first cousin, Hester de Burgh, Walter Hussey de Burgh, and daughter of the Rev Alick McClintock.
  • July – August: The Great Stink in London, where hot weather intensifies the stench of untreated human waste and industrial effluent along the River Thames to a debilitating effect for those in the city. Part of the problem was the invention of the water closet, or W/C, which had been exhibited to tremendous effect at the 1851 Exhibition. Anyone that could afford it installed a W/C so that by 1818, there were close to 2.5 million Londoners flushing their daily inevitabilities directly into the Thames. Prior to this, it had been a day job for many a boys to load all of London’s human waste into wagons and cart it out to the farms around London. However, with London’s expansion, the farms were further and further away, making the cart trips less feasible. The arrival of guano also affected this trade. In any event, the Great Stink rolled into Westminster where the cabinet were also obliged to hold their noses in the new parliamentary buildings. Captain McClintock Bunbury was presumably among them. Following a heavy media campaign, led by visual depictions in Punch and the Illustrated London News, the government finally commissioned  the civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette (who trained in Northern Ireland under John MacNeill) to create a new sewerage system for central London, an engineering masterpiece that was so successful there have been no cholera epidemics since.
  • August 16: First message to be sent across the Atlantic by cable received at Valentia Island, Kerry, reads “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to men.”
  • Sept 23: The “Fox” reaches Blackwell deck. Captain Leopold McClintock reports to the Admiralty and provides his account of the fate of Sir John Franklin.
  • Oct: Gladstone inadvertently head-butts the heavily bearded Bishop of Paxos during a tour of the Ionian Islands. [105]


Recruitment Drive in County Carlow, 1858


NOTICE. CARLOW March 1858.
5th Royal Irish Lancers and 18th Hussars.
Mr Alexander Malcomson, Ensign, Carlow Rifles. having received authority from the Commander of the Forces in Ireland to Recruit for the above NATIONAL CORPS, will receive YOUNG MEN averaging from 5 feet 4 and a half inches to 5 feet 8 inches in height, and between 18 and 30 years of age to whom he is prepared to give a Gratuity of ONE POUND TEN SHILLINGS in addition to BOUNTY OF THREE POUNDS and a FREE KIT. [106]


Florence Severne & a Wedding Party at Lisnavagh


The Freeman’s Journal of Thursday 8 July 1858 referred to the marriage of Captain Bunbury’s niece Florence Tighe and John Severne, which took place at the Chapel Royal, followed by a party at Lisnavagh. The article ran under the heading ‘MARRIAGE IN HIGH LIFE’ as follows:

‘On Tuesday, the 6th instant, by special license, in the Chapel Royal, by the Venerable the Archdeacon of Kildare, assisted by the Archbishop of Raphoe, John E Severne, Esq., of Thehford House, Northamptonshire, and Wallop Hall, Shropshire, to Catherine Florence Morgan, youngest daughter of the Very Rev. H. U. Tighe, Dean of Ardagh [and later Dean of Derry]. His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, Viscount and Viscountess Monck, Lord Bellew and the Hon. Misses. Bellew, Lady Elizabeth McClintock, Lady Fanny and the Misses Cole, Lady Mary Monck and the Hon. G. and the Misses Handcock, Lady Chapman, Sir B. and Lady Burke, with a large circle of friends and relatives were present on the occasion; and in the afternoon the bridge and bridegroom set out for Lisnavagh, the seat of Captain M’Clintock Bunbury, MP, in the county of Carlow.’

In 2011, I was informed by John Herrington that the new Mrs. Morgan, 25 years old at the time of her wedding, was almost certainly Florence Severne, a poetess and author of a handful of novels written between 1888 and the mid-1890s. At the time of the 1881 Census, she was living at 10 Chesham Street in London with her widowed mother, Anne Tighe (aged 72), her widowed aunt Emily Butler Wandesforde (aged 63), as well as a butler, a footman, three lady’s maids, a housemaid, a kitchen-maid and a cook. Her 27-year-old cousin the Rev. Frank McClintock was also staying in the house that night, but peculiarly the Census failed to mention Florence’s husband’s existence. On the 1891 census she is living in Atcham, Wallop, Shropshire, with her husband, John E Severne. Florence, a first cousin of Tom Rathdonnell, died in Atcham on 17 June 1916 and was buried at Westbury on the 24th. Her novels include ‘Uneven Ground’, ‘In the Meshes’ and ‘The Dowager’s Determination‘.

John Severne was born at Ludlow in 1826 and was the eldest son of J.E. Severne of Wallop-hall, Shropshire, and Thenford, Banbury. He was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford. He was subsequently a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of Shropshire and Northamptonshire. According to The Times:

‘He entered Parliament as Conservative member for Ludlow in 1865 but when the Reform Act deprived the town of one of its representatives, Mr. Severne declined to contest the seat again. Nine years later he was returned unopposed for South Shropshire, which he represented until 1885. Mr. Severne took a great interest in country affairs.’

John Severne was tragically killed when knocked down by a van at the junction of Pall Mall and Waterloo Place at the end of April 1899. On 1 May, The Times reported his death, stating that he had ‘sustained a fracture of the skull, which was fatal.’


General Election, 1859


Captain W. B. ‘Bunburry’ [sic] is one of 55 Irish MPs (from 96 present) who vote in support of the government against Lord John Russell in ‘The Division of the Reform Bill’ on circa 5 April 1859. [107] On Tuesday, April 12, 1859, The Irish Times reported that the Captain and Henry Bruen had addressed the electors of the county and ‘their re-election is considered certain’. The same paper said that while Bruen had just returned to Oak Park from Dublin, ‘Captain W B McClintock Bunbury, MP, Mrs Bunbury, and family, [had] arrived at Merrion-Square North.’

Two days later, a shorthorn bull bred by the Captain in 1856 won the first prize of 3 sovereigns in the Class 1 – Short-Horned Division at the Royal Dublin Society’s Spring Show.


1859 Events


  • The yacht Fox, Arctic discovery-vessel, from the Illustrated Times, 1 October 1859.
    The wooden-hulled, 1 screw steam yacht Fox was built in 1857 by Alexander Hall & Co., in Aberdeen Scotland. She made one voyage to Norway under Sir Richard Sutton before he sold her to Lady Jane Franklin for £20,000, part of which she used to give the luxury yacht a refit, fortifying the hull and enlarging the steam boilers to convert her into a tough Arctic explorer. Outfitted with supplies donated by the British admiralty, the Fox was prepared for one last search the remains of Sir John Franklin’s HMS Erebus and Terror, which had been missing since 1848. She sailed under the command of  Captain F.L. McClintock RN.

    March 29: 3rd Marquis of Waterford killed in the hunting field.

  • Early June: ‘The Lady Elizabeth M’Clintock and suite have left Kingstown, on a visit to Captain W. B. M’Clintock Bunbury, MP, Lisnevagh [sic], County of Carlow’. [108]
  • Oct 26: A vicious storm sinks 133 vessels, including Royal Charter, a steam clipper which was wrecked in Dulas Bay on the northeast coast of Anglesey, with the loss of over 400 lives. Robert Fitzroy, the former captain of Darwin’s Beagle, was now Meteorological Statist to the Board of Trade, the forerunner of the modern Meteorological Office. He wrote to The Times stating that the storm had been predictable – and the sinking thus avoidable. He advocated the collection of as much barometer readings and other data as possible, to be shared using new technology of telegraphy. He also set up a network of 15 coastal stations to collect data for “weather forecasts,” a term FitzRoy coined in 1863. His first forecast was published in The Times on 1 August 1861. Similar data centres were installed in fishing harbours, and he devised a series of signals to display weather warnings to ships. The number of lives lost around Britain fell by around a third in the following years but FitzRoy’s petitions to the Board of Trade for funding went unanswered and he was mocked by those who like and his forecasts to astrology. Fitzroy, who suffered from depression, was already embarrassed by his celebrity after Darwin’s Origin of Species was published n 1859. Having exhausted his fortune trying to establish a regular forecasting service, he killed himself in 1865.
  • October 31: Leopold McClintock is the guest of honour at a dinner in Dundalk-Court-house, at which he received a presentation of silver and an address of welcome. Dublin University gave him the honorary degree of L.L.D. and Queen Victoria conferred on him a Knighthood.
  • Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species.
  • Leopold McClintock, ‘The Voyage of the ‘Fox’ in the Arctic seas : A narrative of the discovery of the fate of Sir John Franklin and his companions‘.
  • Viscount Gough made a privy councillor, a Knight of the Star of India and of St. Charles of Spain.
  • Dissolution of the Royal Flax Improvement Society leaves Ulster without any established body to stimulate the growth of such a valuable crop.
  • Royal Commission on the defence of the UK includes Brevet-Colonel John Lefroy among its members. His wife died that year also, and he married secondly Charlotte Anne (eldest daughter of Colonel T. Dundas of Fingask and widow of Colonel Armine Mountain, C.B) who, with two sons and two daughters, survived him.
  • In the third last election for a Borough seat, John Alexander is defeated by Sir John Acton, a nephew of Cardinal Acton.
  • Ireland’s first daily penny newspaper, The Irish Times, is founded.
  • The Liberal Party formed from alliance of Whigs, Peelites and other Radicals.


LANDED ESTATE COURT & anr TO EUSTACE, 1871-24-242-690
To the Registrar appointed by Act of Parliament for the Registry of Deeds Wills and soforth in Ireland.

A Memorial of an Indenture Deed of Conveyance bearing date the thirty first day of July one thousand eight hundred and seventy one which is in the words and figures following that is to say:-
Sale and Transfer of Lands in Ireland in consideration of £1,350 by Hardy Eustace of Castlemore, Tullow, county of Carlow trust account of William Lewis deceased – part of the lands of Ardristan otherwise Roscat Barony of Rathvilly Co Carlow formerly in the possession of William Nicholson. 72a.1r.20p. Lease dated 24 May 1859 between William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury Esquire and William Lewis etc. etc.

In 1859, William’s cousin, Francis McClintock published ‘The Voyage of the ‘Fox’ in the Arctic seas : A narrative of the discovery of the fate of Sir John Franklin and his companions‘.

1860 Further Events


  • Sept 27: David Dagg, son of James Dagg, marries Francis Giltrap, daughter of James Giltrap, in Rathvilly.[109]
  • Despite emigration, over 800,000 attending national schools in Ireland.
  • Garibaldi’s Redshirts begin process of Italian unification and free Sicily.
  • Lister pioneers use of antiseptic surgery (until 1865).
  • Prince Albert and Queen Victoria; the prince consort died on 14 December 1861.

    Letters from John Malone in Lisnavagh archive for 1860-1861 indicate A Denis Nowland delivering lime for a wall, as well as “building in Rathvilly” and work on Lisnavagh Estate drainage. One bill mentions £1492.

  • The Lisnavagh archives include a bundle of correspondence from 1860 between Capt. W.B. McClintock-Bunbury and J.[?S.]F. Hutchinson of Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, about a poor widow living at Ballyoliver but I haven’t yet had a chance to read it & not sure if this means Ballyoliver  was part of the estate! The Tithe Applotment Books show Captain McClintock Bunbury with 185.11.8 acres in what I think is Ballyoliver.


1861 Further Events


  • Feb 9: Date on painting of Sir F. Leopold McClintock on cockloft stairs at Lisnavagh.
  • March 17: Victor Emmanuel proclaimed King of Italy.
  • April 6: A horse drawn bus, bound for Rathmines, mounted Portobello bridge in Dublin but rolled backwards into the lodge, drowning six people.
  • April 7: A census shows the population of Ireland to be 5,798,967.
  • April 8: Ulster-Scot landlord and aspiring sheep farmer, John George Adair of Glenveagh Castle, evicts 244 tenants on his estate at Derryveagh, Co Donegal. Over 150 children and adults were ordered off the property. Adair cleared twelve thousand acres. Many of the evicted had no idea where they might find shelter; some relocated to Australia. Have a listen to Donegal band, “Goats Don’t Shave,” in the song “The Evictions” on their “Rusty Razor” album.
  • April 12: Outbreak of American Civil War (until 1865). Captain Bunbury must have been animated when Palmerston put Britain on a war footing, sending 10,000 troops to Canada and ramping up the Navy, after the Trent Affair when a Union ship halted a British steamer on Nov 8 and incarcerated two Confederate diplomats on board. 150,000 Irishmen went on to serve with the Union forces, and 40,000 with the Confederacy.
  • August 1: Admiral Fitzroy’s first forecast is published in The Times.
  • The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII.

    August 22Queen Victoria arrived on the royal yacht at Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) for an eight-day tour, homing on on Edward, Prince of Wales (who was with Nellie Clifden in the Curragh) and then going to Killarney. See below for more.

  • October 2: Pauline McClintock Bunbury’s first cousin Flora Louisa Calvert was married at Bridgwater, Somerset to Lt.-Col. Alfred Tippinge (1817-1898), Grenadier Guards, a veteran of the Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman (where ’severely wounded’) and Sebastapol, who had lately retired from the army. Born in Italy circa 1842, Flora Tippinge was the youngest of three born to Pauline’s uncle Nicholson Robert Calvert of Quentin Castle, County Down. [110] Flora’s older brother Nicolson Calvert was a brewer who died unmarried aged 46 on 27 January 1873. Her only sister Rose Calvert was married in 1856 to Richard Blackwood Ker of Portavo, Co. Down (MP for Downpatrick), son of David Guardi Ker and Lady Selina Stewart (a daughter of Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry). Colonel Tippinge lived at Fern Hills, Bucks, but later moved to Longparish House, Whitchurch, Hampshire, where he died aged 81 in 1898. He was the fourth son of Thomas Tippinge and of Devonport Hall, Cheshire, and his wife, Anna Hibbert. [111] Flora and Alfred Tippinge had three daughters – (1) Isabel Flora Augusta, (2) Violet Cecil Mary, who was married on 7 May 1889 to the Rev Neville Egerton Leigh of Twemlow Hall, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, and (3) Helen, who was married in 1901 to Arthur Irwin Dasent, youngest son of the late Sir George Webb Dasent, of Tower Hill, Ascot, Berks. [112]
  • Nov 8: Death of Sir Thomas Butler, 8th Bart, of Ballintemple, Co. Carlow, aged 78. He was buried alongside his favourite daughter who had died in November 1829 aged 12.
  • Dec 14: Death of Prince Albert.
  • Dec 15: William’s Carlow neighbour (Sir) Charles Burton, 5th Bart, (1823-1902) of Burton Hall weds an American heiress, Georgina May Haliburton, only daughter of David Halliburton of Dallas, Texas. They have no children.
  • Viscount Gough made G.C.S.I. and Honorary Colonel of the London Irish Rifle Volunteers.
  • Harland & Wolff begins shipbuilding in Belfast.
  • Emancipation of the serfs in Russia.


Queen Victoria in Ireland, 1861


On 25 August 1861, Queen Victoria arrived at Killarney Station with her husband and four of their children. They spent their first night with Viscount Castlerosse (Valentine Augustus Browne), and his wife Gertrude, at the original Killarney House. Valentine was the eldest son of Thomas 3rd Earl of Kenmare, an elderly gentleman who spent little time at Killarney. Killarney House (also, confusingly, known as Kenmare House) was demolished in the early 1870s when the family moved to a new red brick mansion, overlooking the Lakes of Killarney, close to Killarney Cathedral. When this red-brick mansion was burnt down in 1913, the family converted the stable-block of the earlier 18th century house into a residence. It is still called Killarney House today. (Understandably there is always a great deal of confusion concerning these three different residences.)

The royals spent their second and third nights with the Herbert family at Muckross House. The cost of all the interior furnishings at Muckross, specifically commissioned to impress the queen, put quite a dent in the Herbert family fortunes. However, while the royal visit is often stated to be the cause of their financial downfall, it seems their woes were more directly attributable to Major Henry Arthur Herbert, reputedly a man of little financial acumen, who succeeded his father, Colonel Henry Arthur Herbert, in 1866. The family also took a hit during the Land War, even if the Muckross Estate was not as turbulent as the Kenmare Estate. A divorce case and legal wrangles between the Major and his former wife did not help matters. There is very little in the way of primary sources relating to the Queen’s visit or indeed to other aspects of the 19th century Muckross Estate.

While the royals went boating and visiting the local castles and abbeys, the queen’s ladies-in-waiting rested at a viewing point overlooking the Lakes, known ever since as Ladies’ View. The royal visit is often credited with launching Killarney as a major tourist destination but its tourism industry was already a century old at the time, carefully fostered by the Kenmares from the mid-18th century onwards. The opening of the railway in 1853 was also a major factor in popularising Killarney and both the Kenmare and Herbert families undoubtedly saw the royal visit as an opportunity to further that tourism industry. [With thanks to Patricia O’Hare, Archivist, Muckross House, Killarney and Author of ‘Kerry People & Places 1860-1960’, a publication by The Trustees of Muckross House.]


The Chiltern Hundreds


On 5 March 1862, Captain McClintock Bunbury was amongst those sworn onto the Grand Jury in Carlow before Hardy Eustace, High Sheriff. [113]

In May 1862, he was one of the leading figures behind the push for the Dublin and Baltinglass Junction Railway (via Dunlavin and Sallins) behind John La Touche of Harristown (Chairman), Major R. Borrowes of Giltown (Deputy Chairman) and Lord William Fitzgerald. [114]

In the summer of 1862, declining health forced Captain Bunbury to retire from politics and accept the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, an obsolete office with a nominal salary. [115] The captain had represented the county unopposed for the greater part of 14 years. On 25 July the following address was sent from Lisnavagh to his electors:

“Gentlemen, – Circumstances over which I have no control prevent me from attending to my duties in Parliament as your representative, and therefore it is that I am compelled, with very great regret, to return into your hands that trust with which you have honoured me for so many years. I cannot resign the honourable position of member of the county of Carlow, which by your favour I have so long enjoyed, without expressing my deep gratitude for the great kindness I have at all times experienced from you, and for the forbearance you have invariably shown towards my shortcomings, the recollections of which, be assured, can never be effaced from my memory. I have the honour to remain, Gentlemen, Your ever faithful servant, Wm Bunbury McClintock Bunbury”.

I do not know what health issues he had. Perhaps it was gout on account of his passion for port?! His vacated seat was promptly filled on 7 August by Denis William Pack Beresford of Fenagh, Co. Carlow. Denis’s grandfather was Major General Sir Dennis Pack, a prominent soldier in the Napoleonic Wars who had received the thanks of Parliament on five occasions. General Pack married Lady Elizabeth Beresford, daughter of the Marquis of Waterford, who took on the name Pack in compliance with the will of her illegitimate brother William Carr, Viscount Beresford. Denis was married to Annette Clayton Browne of Browne’s Hill, Carlow, by who he had seven sons. [116]


Death of John Malone, 1862


A horse called Dolly, with leather side-saddle, stands outside the Farm House at Lisnavagh. Could the bearded man be Frederick Devon, the Steward at Lisnavagh at this time, or his successor Sean Keogh? (Photo: Walter Lawrell, 1865).

A photograph of the Steward’s House at Lisnavagh (now known as the Farm House) from circa 1865 taken by Captain Walter Lawrell who was later killed by Zulus in 1879.

On 24 May John Malone died at Lisnavagh ‘in his 61st year, deeply and deservedly regretted … for nearly fifteen years the faithful and much valued steward and agent of Captain McClintock Bunbury, RN, MP.’ [117] He left his widow Margaret to raise four small children. He was buried at St Mary’s of Rathvilly on 24 May.

I am in touch with some of John Malone’s descendants. One legend holds that he was thrown from his horse and killed while riding at Lisnavagh. The room in which he was allegedly waked at Lisnavagh was said to be haunted, obliging Lord Rathdonnell to block it up. The same tale says Mr Malone was staunchly anti-Catholic which does not necessarily hold to the notion that he was of Quaker origin but, as Dick Corrigan says, ‘a lot of these stories gather wool on their way around’. Another Malone, based at Rathmore, is said to have murdered the parish priest but thus far I know of no priests murdered locally. [118] [1862 was also the year that the Douglas’s, kinsmen of John Malone, left for New Zealand which may be relevant.]

It seems as though John Malone’s vacant post was then filled by Frederick Devon. A later Steward was Sean Keogh who lived at Mount Lucas. Dick Corrigan told me a story of how Keogh decided to replace the banjaxed cobble stone kitchen floor with a cement floor. A man, possibly Pat O’Toole, was employed for the job and had just finished levelling the wet cement when a sow broke into the house and went for a trot. Dick said the curses of Pat O’Toole could be heard on Rathvilly Motte. (Dick also told me ‘Rathvilly must have been the last place God lived because he left all the Toole’s behind‘). The original house at Mount Lucas was burnt in the 1960s. Keogh’s son, Dr Harry Keogh invented the Rooster Potato while working with Teagasc at Oak Park Research Station in Carlow. Harry was one of the most successful plant breeders of his or any other generation, applying the best of science genetics to breed this most successful of varieties.


Bella’s Christening


Bella Bunbury’s confirmation took place in Carlow Church on Wednesday 4 June 1862 with the Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin presiding.


Auction of Lisnavagh Shorthorns, 1862


‘Auction of Shorthorns at Lisnevagh.—On Tuesday last an important sale of shorthorns, the property of Captain W. B. M’Clintock Bunbury, took place at the extensive farm-yard, Lisnevagh. There was a large attendance of purchasers, about 150 persons having sat down to very excellent luncheon previous to the sale, which was conducted by Mr. Thomas Dowse, auctioneer, of Naas and Dublin. The prices are listed in the Dublin Evening Mail, Thursday 2 October 1862.

“Before closing this notice we must express our fear that Capt. Bunbury will not be as extensive an exhibitor the future shows of the County Carlow Society he has been, judging, at least, from the contents of the catalogue of his sale, which will be held Mr. Dowse, Lisnevagh, Tuesday next. Both the worthy Captain and the County Carlow Society have sustained a great loss in the death of Mr. Malone; for Captain Bunbury never concealed for a moment that his success as an agriculturist was entirely owing to Mr. Malone’s skill and judgment. But if Captain Bunbury should cease henceforth to as prominent an exhibitor, at least, he has been, trust it will act as incentive to other proprietors in the county to come forward in a more spirited manner than they have done as yet, as exhibitors we mean. Their county society is undoubtedly improving, and we can only join the hope expressed by the committee, that such of the proprietors, tenant farmers, and other residents the county have hitherto given to the society a limited support, will perceive the utility of the operations of this society, and, accordingly, may be induced to give to it a support commensurate with its usefulness and with their stake in the county.”

(Farmer’s Gazette and Journal of Practical Horticulture, Saturday 27 September 1862).


The £10,000 Bond


The Rathdonnell Papers (G/5/4) contains a reference from 1862 to a bond for £10,000 which Capt. W.B. McClintock-Bunbury had given to John McClintock (and which was partially offset by McClintock-Bunbury’s charges on the Louth estate), presumably as an equivalent for the £10,000 which William had received to build Lisnavagh.


1862 Further Events


  • April 12: Isabella, Lady Stronge, the Captain’s mother-in-law, passes away.
  • June 17: William’s first cousin Alexander Edward McClintock, son of the Rev Alick McClintock, married Mary Selina Cottingham, daughter of Major Edward Cottingham, JP, 28th Regiment, Inspector General of Prisons in Ireland.
  • Viscount Gough receives the Field-Marshal’s baton (9th Nov).
  • Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.
  • New campaign to bring the railway to Baltinglass commences.
  • Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness co-founds the Dublin Exhibition Palace and Winter Garden Company, with the intention of ‘providing a permanent exhibition of Irish arts and manufactures and also reading rooms, flower gardens, and a gas-lit winter garden, for public enjoyment’. The Exhibition Palace was constructed on the site of the former Coburg Gardens [aka Iveagh Gardens], behind St. Stephen’s Green south, which had been purchased by Sir Benjamin Lee. The Exhibition Palace was designed by Alfred G Jones. The Prince of Wales opened an International Exhibition of Arts and Industries in May 1865.
  • 3rd Bengal European Light Cavalry becomes the 21st Regiment of Hussars; re-designated as a lancer regiment in 1897, becoming the 21st Lancers
  • Nov 8: A devastating fire destroyed the Alexander’s flour Mill at Milford. As Shay Kinsella explains, the ‘death knell of Milford’s supremacy’ had already been sounded by the Repeal of the Corn Laws (1846), compounded by the site’s remote inland location.
  • The Great Southern & Western, which came to Borris in the 1850s, now goes over a monumental 16-arch viaduct built by the Incredible Mr Kavanagh across the Mountain River at a cost £20,000. Captain Bunbury is clearly much inspired and starts hotting up interest for a line to Baltinglass.
  • Captain McClintock Bunbury recorded as a member of the Kilkenny and South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society.
  • 1862 is the year in which Florence Pugh’s English nurse Lib Wright arrives in a tiny village in Ireland to observe eleven-year old Anna O’Donnell in the 2022 film of Emma O’Donoghue’s book, The Wonder,  directed by Sebastián Lelio. “The souls in Purgatory have to be burned for a while, to clean them. But the souls in Hell have to be burned forever,” says Anna. Eeek.



Dublin & Baltinglass Junction Railway, 1863

The Lisnavagh Archives (G/9/1-6) contain various letters and papers belonging to Capt. W.B. McClintock-Bunbury referring to the Dublin-Baltinglass Junction Railway, of which he was a director and for a while acting Chairman. This includes a printed prospectus of 2 October 1863, which describes the undertaking as follows:
Capital, £180, 000, in 18, 000 shares of £10 each, Deposit, £1 per share,
Provisional Committee: (with power to add to their number),
Chairman: Capt. W.B. McClintock Bunbury
, Lisnavagh, Baltinglass,
Deputy Chairman: Major R. Borrows, Gilltown, Kilcullen.
[Committee: It then lists the following but order of names and locations may be muddled – John La Touche Esq. (Harristown, Kilcullen), Abraham Shackleton, Esq. (Ballitore), C.J. Cramer Roberts Esq. (Sallymount, Brannoxtown), William Jones Westby Esq. (High Park, Baltinglass), Thomas R. Hardy Esq. (9 Mount Street Crescent), David Mahony Esq. (Grangecon), John McMahon Esq. (Donard), Thomas Pim Esq., Jnr. (William Street), Richard S. Chandlee Esq. (Baltinglass), James Wall Esq. (Knockrigg, Grange, Athy)].
Bankers: Messrs La Touche & Co., Dublin,
Consulting Engineer: George W. Hemann Esq., Dublin and , 13 Queen Square, Westminster, London,
Engineer: James Dillon Esq., 13 Lower Ormond Quay, , Dublin,
Solicitors: Newtons & Armstrong, Dublin and, Dungannon,
Secretary: H.W. Kelly Esq., Temporary Offices: 13 Blackhall Street, Dublin
PROSPECTUS, The object of this undertaking is to provide Railway Communication with Dublin, for the towns of Naas, Ballymore-Eustace, Dunlavin, Donard, Ballitore, Timolin, Stratford-on-Slaney, Baltinglass, Hacketstown, Rathvilly, Kiltegan and for the populous districts, in which those towns are situated. … Having regard to the cheapness of construction, to the wealth and, population of the district, and to the large existing traffic in passengers, agricultural produce, and goods (particularly along the mail coach road from Baltinglass to Dublin), the Provisional Committee confidently believe that the undertaking will be amply remunerative to the shareholders., Many of the landed proprietors through whose estates the line is intended to run, have already taken shares, and parties in Dublin, not locally interested, have also shown their confidence in the undertaking by becoming shareholders. The Committee entertain a confident opinion that there is no quarter from which any opposition can arise in parliament. The Great Southern and Western Railway Co. are favourable to this project, and are prepared to work the line on very reasonable terms.’ [119]


1863 Further Events


  • Colonel Kane Bunbury of Moyle (1777-1874), William’s uncle.

    Captain William McClintock Bunbury makes his last will and testament.

  • Jan 1: Abraham Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation as U.S.A. abolishes slavery.
  • Jan: William Curran of Rutland, Carlow summoned his employee John Murphy, a labourer, for stealing three turnips. Mr Murphy was given the option to pay a fine of 10 shillings or a fortnight’s imprisonment with hard labour.[120]
  • Jan 10: Carlow & Island Hunt meet at Lisnavagh, 11am; first section of London Underground opens from Paddington to Farringdon Street.
  • Jan 17: ‘Married – At St. Stephen’s Church, Dublin, Leethem Reynolds Esq., Cheapside, London to Kate Edgworth daughter of Mr Thos. Kennedy, Rathvilly, county Carlow.’
  • Jan 17: ‘Married – At Monkstown Church, county Dublin, the Rev. William Leader, son of Henry Leader, Esq., of Dromaneen, county of Cork, to Sophia Berri, daughter of Alexander john Humfrey, Esq., of Ardiston, county Carlow.’
  • Feb 17: ‘Married – In the parish church of Carlow, Denis William Pack Beresford, Esq., of Fenagh, county Carlow, M.P. for that county, son of the late Major-General Sir Denis Pack, K.C.B. to Annette Caroline, daughter of R. Clayton Browne, Esq., of Browne’s Hill, in same county.’
  • March 2: The Ulster Railway reaches Clones.
  • March 25: George Finlay becomes Rector of Drumcar.
  • March 10: The Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) marries Princess Alexandra of Denmark, see below. Nationalist riots in Cork.
  • March 15: Death of Lady Frances Gough, wife of Field Marshal Viscount Gough. Queen Victoria wrote to him soon afterwards to console, mentioning her meeting with Lady Gough and the passing of her own husband.
  • May: The Prince of Wales opened an International Exhibition of Arts and Industries.
  • June 10: ‘We are happy to learn that Colonel Bunbury has enjoyed excellent health since his sojourn at Little Moyne. On Wednesday last he was visited by Captain W. B. M’Clintock Bunbury, Miss Isabella Bunbury, and the Dean of Derry.’ (Dublin Evening Mail – Monday 15 June 1863)
  • June: ‘The Carlow Archery Club have held their first meeting at Tinny Park. There was an excellent practice, and several new names were added the list of the club.’ (Dublin Evening Mail – Monday 15 June 1863)
  • July 11: Dublin-born financial scammer Abraham Gottheimer changes his name by deed poll to Albert Grant and starts operating as a wine merchant. He soon began to make his mark as a promoter of companies, talking them up, convincing investors to come on board. By 1867, Baron Grant calculates his wealth at over half a million sterling but his peak is now over.
  • July 13-16: New York draft riots.
  • August 2: Dan and Pat Lawler returning to Milltown village from Sunday evening drinks at a pub in Rathvilly when violently attacked by a group of five men. Pat’s skull had been fractured by the time ‘some good people’ chanced upon the fight and scattered the attackers. However, they were capture and imprisoned that evening for their ‘murderous, and evidently premeditated onslaught.’ [121]
  • Aug 13: Frederick W Devon, agent at Lisnavagh, marries Charlotte Jane Wilkinson, see below.
  • Oct 31: ‘Married – At Killedmond Church, county Carlow, Robert Westley Hall Dare, Jun., Esq., son of R.W . Hall Dare, Esq., of Newtownbarry House, to Caroline Susan Henrietta, daughter of Soloman Watson, Esq., of Monkstown, county Dublin.’

Turnip Time: Royal Celebrations at Lisnavagh, 1863


The following article, sent to me by Shay Kinsella, offers some nice details about the Lisnavagh agent and a servant’s ball held in March 1863 to mark the marriage of Edward, Prince of Wales, to Princess Alexandra of Denmark at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 10 March 1863. He was 21; she was 18. There’s not a whisper of Nellie Clifden, the Curragh Wren with whom the Prince (later to become King Edward VII) was canoodling not long beforehand. Denmark was on the cusp of its disastrous war with Bismarck’s Prussia so one assumes a certain amount of talk about that.


Carlow Sentinel, 14th March 1863.

An entertainment [was] given by Captain W. B. McCLINTOCK BUNBURY to his numerous dependants at Lisnavagh, in honour of the Royal marriage. It is quite unnecessary now to reiterate what we frequently had the pleasure of stating with reference to the continued acts of kindness of this worthy gentleman, who as a resident landlord, is second to none other. At half-past 2 o’clock, the labourers employed upon the estate and their families sat down to an excellent dinner, to which, it is needless to say, ample justice was done by the numerous ad happy-looking guests. Anxious to add in every way to the gaiety of the scene, and pay a just tribute to the “dignity of labour”, Captain BUNBURY presided on the occasion, and the Vice-Chair was occupied by his justly-esteemed Agent, FREDERICK DEVON, Esq.

In proposing the health of the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the rest of the Royal family, Capt. BUNBURY alluded, in very appropriate terms, to the happy and holy alliance of the Heir Apparent to the British Throne, to the good and lovely Princess Alexandra, who, since her arrival in England, had won the hearts of the British people; and who with her Royal Consort, and queenly mother would, he sincerely hoped, be vouchsafed a long and happy life to rule over a united and loving people.

The toast was honoured with the most enthusiastic outbursts of applause, which were again renewed on the health of Captain and Mrs. BUNBURY being proposed by the Vice-Chairman, who referred to their unceasing acts of kindness daily displayed by their generous and noble-minded President and his beloved lady, and trusted they would be long spared to pursue their present laudable course of befriending the poor, and promoting the welfare and prosperity of the tenant and labouring classes.

Captain Bunbury responded to the toast, and proposed the health of Mr Devon – [a gentleman who takes the deepest interest in the welfare of those whom as agent to a truly liberal landlord he has been for some time past connected, and by all of whom he is held in the highest estimation].

Mr. Devon having returned thanks for the kind manner in which his health had been received, the light-hearted rustics, all “on pleasure bent”, joined in the merry dance.

For the school children, an elegant feast was provided in the School-house by the worthy proprietor; and the “rejoicings at Lisnavagh” were brought to a successful close by a servants ball in the family mansion, to which the friends of the domestics were invited.

Captain and Mrs Bunbury visited the gay scene, and dancing was kept up until 2 o’clock in the morning, when the party separated brimful of gratitude to their generous benefactors.


Fred Devon’s Marriage, 1863

On 13 August 1863, Frederick W Devon, Esq, of Lisnavagh, second son of C. Devon, Esq, of St Vincent’s Kent, was married at St. James’s, Poole, to Charlotte Jane, eldest daughter of the Rev A Wilkinson, Incumbent of St James’s, Poole. [122] He was Captain Bunbury’s agent.


The Bunbury Oarsmen

By 1863 Tom McClintock Bunbury was captaining the Eton Boat Crew – and young Jack was on the same team. Jack rowed with him again in 1868, and stroked the Eton eight for the next two years, so that three years in succession there was a Bunbury at the stroke oar. Dr Michael Bunbury of St. Vincent advised me that at least one of the boys was in Penn House.




Earlscliffe, Howth, where Pauline McClintock Bunbury lived from 1866 until her death in 1876.

In the early 1860s, Captain McClintock Bunbury takes a lease on Emily Cottage in the grounds of Earlscliffe House, Baily, Howth, Co Dublin. The property was held by Cornelius Egan (who built the house in 1847) under a 99-year lease dated to 1847 from the Earl of Howth. The Captain rented it either from Egan or William McDougall, possibly because his own or his wife’s health required sea-bathing.

In about 1864, the Captain purchased Earlscliffe House in Howth, Co. Dublin, which the family held until after his wife’s death in 1876. From her letters to Colonel Kane Bunbury, it is apparent that Pauline was certainly living there by July 1871 – and, according to Colonel Kane Bunbury, this greatly improved her health. [123] She appears to have lived there, in preference to Lisnavagh, until her death in 1876. (It is to be noted that Daniel Robertson’s widow lived at Howth Cottage circa 1849 but it is not yet known where that building stood). The sale of the house after Pauline’s death was advertised in the Freeman’s Journal of 1 May 1877 which said that the ‘present proprietor has expended a considerable sum in valuable and judicious improvements, and the place is now in perfect condition.’ Presumably these improvements were carried out by her son, Thomas Kane McClintock-Bunbury who put the house on the market for c.£2,000.

The sale of Earlscliffe discussed in the letters of 1876 must have fallen through, as it was not sold until 1878, and then only for £1,500.

As it happens, the lease was later taken up by John Pentland Mahaffy, sometime tutor to Oscar Wilde and ex Provost of Trinity College, who married William McDougall’s daughter, Frances Letitia in 1865. (See also Mahaffy House).

Sales notice for Earlscliff from 1895.

Amongst others who lived here were Dr. Sir John Lumsden, who oversaw the St John Ambulance Brigade at the time of the Easter Rising, and Dr Ella Webb, a former student of Alexandra College and Medical Officer of St Patrick’s Dispensary who was responsible for converting the Irish War Hospital Supply Depot at 14 Merrion Square into an improvised emergency hospital during the Rising. Dr Webb was awarded an MBE and appointed Anaesthetist to the Adelaide Hospital in 1918, thereby becoming the first woman member of the medical staff. Dr. Lumsden was knighted as KBE by George V and remained Commissioner of the Brigade until his death in 1944. Sir John Lumsden’s great-granddaughter (Nicola Hamilton) introduced me to my wife.

View from Earlscliff with echiums in the foreground and the Baily Lighthouse beyond.

The house was briefly owned in 1949-1950 by Margaret Gregory (widow of Robert Gregory, daughter-in-law of Lady Gregory) and her second husband, Guy Vincent Hugh Gough of Lough Cutra Castle. She bought it in March 1949 from the Martin Murphy’s. She never lived in it, but put it back up for sale in September 1949. It was sold in May 1950.

That house certainly has plenty of loops, to the extent that Jamie Cahalane, my next-door-neighbour here in Carlow, used to mow the lawn for the Stanley-Clarkes, who bought it from Mrs Gough.

(With thanks to David and Karen Foley, Earlscliff).


Annual Sale of Stock at Little Moyle, 1864

One wonders if the Little Moyle livestock sale in October 1864 in any way connects to this sketch of an upturned phaeton entitled ‘HML arriving at Lisnavagh, Oct 12th 1864’ although the jury is still out as to who HML is! I proposed ‘Her Majesty’s Lieutenant’ while William suggested Henry Maxwell Lefroy, although the latter was, I believe, in Australia at this time.

On Monday an auction of short-horns, fat cattle, sheep. &c., took place Little Moyle, County Carlow, the residence of Mr. James Smith. An excellent luncheon was prepared in one of the new granaries, and after the repast a number of toasts were proposed by the chairman, Mr. William Johnson (agent to Colonel K. Bunbury), and by Mr. Frederick Devon (agent to Captain M’Clintock Buubury). Mr. Thomas Dowse conducted the sale with entire satisfaction. Some fat bullocks went as high as £l9 10s. each, and heifers brought as much as £19, but these were top prices.’ [124]

The Carlow Post provided more extensive details on it all – see Kane Smith chapter – as well as an interesting observation by William Johnson (later to become Lisnavagh agent) that ‘since he became agent to Colonel Bunbury in ’52, there was not a tenant ejected from the estate. If other landlords in Ireland followed his example, they would not have emigration, or anything else of the kind to complain of.


Death of Sir James Stronge, 1864


On 2 December 1864, the Captain’s brother-in-law, Sir J.M. Stronge, passed away aged 80 and was succeeded by his eldest son, James Matthew Stronge, MP for Armagh (1864-74), a Lieutenant-Colonel with the Royal Tyrone Fusiliers.


A Fall Out Between Sisters-in-Law?


Drumcar House near Dunleer, County Louth, was built by the McClintocks.

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.


1864 Events

  • Carlow Cricket Club pavilion and grounds established at Tiney Park, near Carlow Town (Bruen land).
  • Burton Hall leased out to Moore family by Captain Burton of Winchfield, Hants.
  • January 28: Marriage at St. Peter’s Church, Dublin, of Mary Halahan of Gullistan Ranelagh, daughter of Samuel Handy Halahan, MD, to Richard Henry Dowse of Rathvilly, son of Benjamin Thomas Dowse. It is thought she was closely connected to a Dr Samuel Handy Halahan who died of heart failure on 18 January 1929 at ‘Lis-na-vaugh’, Creighton, Ixopo District, Natal, South Africa, aged 69. There is considerable mystery about the true identity of this latter S. H. Handy; please contact me for further clues but the fact his house was called ‘Lis-na-vaugh’ is what brings me into it. Dr Halahan told people he had named the house after his own home in County Carlow! With thanks to Enid Brown.
  • Jan 30: National Gallery of Ireland opens with major donation from the ingenious railway magnate William Dargan of Mount Anvil, who declines a knighthood from Queen Victoria. That section of the gallery is known as the Dargan Wing. Henry Doyle, uncle of Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes its director in 1869.
  • April 16: Under the auspices of the R.D.S., the first international Dublin Horse Show is held, featuring a wide variety of saddle horses, brood mares and ponies.
  • June 18: Death of William Smith O’Brien, leading member of the literary-political Young Ireland movement.
  • Sir Thomas Woseley builds family seat of Mount Wolseley outside Tullow. His sons, Garnet and Frederick would have been rising up through the military and vehicular hierarchies at this stage.
  • Foundation stone of the O’Connell monument laid in Dublin.
  • Prussia, under Bismarck, defeats Denmark and annexes Schleswig-Holstein.
  • Red Cross founded in Switzerland.
  • Jules Verne, Journey to the Centre of the Earth.


High Sheriff & the Marine Villa of Howth

Captain W. B. McClintock Bunbury served as High Sheriff for Co. Carlow in 1865. The Grand Jury of the County of Carlow was sworn before him at the Courthouse on Tuesday 25 July 1865 at 11am, ‘for the purpose of entering on the Fiscal Business of the County.’

However, I believe he was by now living at Marine Villa in Howth, where the architect Daniel Robertson had lived and died in the late 1840s. The Marine Villas still stand today, just south of Howth Train station.


1865 Further Events

  • William Bunbury’s first cousin, the Arctic explorer Sir Francis Leopold McClintock was elected a fellow of the Royal Society and became MP for Drogheda in 1865.

    Feb 1: In the General Election that puts the Tory partnership of Lord Derby and Benjamin Disraeli in power, Dennis Pack-Beresford and Henry Bruen are returned unopposed for the Tories in Carlow.

  • April 15: John Wilkes Booth assassinates Abraham Lincoln. Booth’s father Junius Booth had been a celebrated actor in London until driven from the stage by a jealous Edmund Kean, whose fans – the Wolf Club – literally spoiled every performance Booth gave. Booth was pretty unpredictable though; his ‘Richard III’ refused to die at the end of one performance. Junius Booth then relocated to the US to start anew. Like most of his family, he was a passionate opponent of slavery. However, after his death, his wife sent their younger son John to Bel Air Academy, a boarding school where the sons of several plantation owners were being educated. John became a white supremacist and subsequently killed Abraham Lincoln.
  • April 30: Admiral Fitzroy, who commanded the Beagle 30 years earlier, takes his own life.
  • May: The Prince of Wales opens an International Exhibition of Arts and Industries in what is now Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens.
  • July: At the General Election, eighty-year-old Palmerston sweeps to power with the Whigs in July, shortly before the outbreak of greater Fenian violence.
  • August: ‘John McClintock, Esq., DL, Mrs McClintock and suite, have left Drumcar for London, on their way to the Continent.’ [125]
  • Sept 2: Death of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, physicist, astronomer, and mathematician. His greatest contribution is perhaps the reformulation of Newtonian mechanics, now called Hamiltonian mechanics.
  • Oct 18: Palmerston catches a chill and dies. His death robs the Liberals of a strong leader at a time when Bismarck is running rampant. Gladstone will fill the void but first up is Lord John Russell whose chief focus is the Reform Act. Lord Derby and Disraeli smell blood.
  • Oct 23: Governor Eyre of Jamaica executed Gordon, a black representative of the House of Commons, for unproven involvement in a rising by the Jamaican people. The move caused moral mayhem across Britain. Did Eyre prevent another Cawnpore massacre or was it pure murder?
  • Sir Leopold McClintock elected a fellow of the Royal Society and successfully contests seat in parliament for the borough of Drogheda where he met Anette Dunlop, his future wife.
  • Charles Booth founds Salvation Army.
  • William Butler Yeats born in south Dublin.
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
  • Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon (1865) makes the first recorded use of the word ‘spaceship’ in history.

Across the Atlantic, the American Civil War – in which over 200,000 Irish-born had served – was finally over, but Lincoln had been assassinated at Easter. In early August, news arrived that the transatlantic telegraph cable being laid from Valentia Island to Newfoundland had snapped in the ocean and vanished. However, the news of most pertinence to the cattle-breeding Bunburys concerned an outbreak of rinderpest in England. This infectious viral disease, nicknamed the Russian Plague, was to kill over quarter of a million animals, primarily cattle, in Britain before the year was out. The Irish Times ran it as a lead story on 14 August, the day before the Royal Irish Show began at Clonmel, warning that ‘should the plague be introduced into this country by the importation of beasts, whether from England or the Continent, there will be an upheaving of society little short of a national convulsion.’ [126] Later in the week, Edward Purdon, ex-Lord Mayor of Dublin, and proprietor of The Irish Farmer’s Gazette, likewise warned that if such an epidemic were to be unleashed upon the ‘thirteen million and a half of horned cattle’ in Ireland, it would result in ‘national bankruptcy’.


Lisnavagh Photograph Albums


When family photos are unnamed, what starts to happen after a while is that faces start to become familiar. Or rather family traits suddenly leap out at the beholder of photographs. I see a girl reading a letter beneath a tree, a massive hula-hoopy sort of skirt around her waist, and she looks the spit of all my Doyle cousins rolled into one. I see my brothers’ eyes in the face of an old man with fine black ruffled whiskers rolling down his sides and over his upper lip as he sits in a wooden chair, one elbow on the table, looking thoughtful upon the distance. I wonder is this Captain William McClintock Bunbury at a later age than his Library portrait suggests? I mean whoever painted that portrait the accompanies the start of this article has given him a neck that ET the Extra Terrestrial would find offensive. But just when you think you’ve cracked it and yes, that’s definitely the Captain’s daughters, Helen and Bella McClintock Bunbury, just before they died early, you turn the page and there’s a photo of Queen Vic and the Prince Consort. There are a lot of pictures of Victorian celebrities. I guess in those days, with newspapers rarely ever printing any form of a photograph, people collected mugshots of the rich and famous. These mini-photographs must have been a valuable reference material. There was probably a great racket to be made out of collecting them all. I’ll swap you a Livingstone for a Gladstone. I’ll give you three Prince Alfreds for one of Lord Roberts.

When I was a kid I covered my walls in pictures of pop-stars with alarmingly bad haircuts. I later stripped these down and re-clad my walls with pictures of scantily clad but undoubtedly beautiful women taken from my mother’s Vogues and the like. It’s peculiar to think how quickly some Heroes of our Time fade to dust and are ousted by dashing young soccer strikers and guitar strumming rock chicks. That said, a substantial number of portraitures are named and they read like a sturdy Who’s Who of, at the very least, the Victorian gentry of Counties Carlow and Louth. Cousins and family friends leap from every page. Carlow and the sunny south east is headed up by Alexanders, Bagenals, Brownes, Bruens, Burtons, Butlers, Conollys, Ducketts, Kavanaghs, Goughs, Grogans and Ponsonbys. The Stronges bring in De Vesci, Calverts and Nugents galore. Louth features Fosters, McClintocks and Bellinghams. There are portraits of about 20 members of the Scots Greys, into which regiment Tom, Jack and Billy Bunbury would all go. And there are plentiful snaps of leading politicians and Eton headmasters and all the rest of it. Elsewhere there are Lefroys and Staples and Bensons (Miss. Mary Benson is quite a looker), Ruttledges, Spring-Rices, Hall Dares, Cochranes, McDougalls …

It may be me, but there definitely seems to be Scottish hue to the family names of many of these punters. And, coincidentally, they’re all looking pretty dour. Maybe that was the way of it in the days before people learnt to say “Cheese”. These days the only people allowed to look quite so unapproachable and moody are otherwise beautiful fashion models. Again, in the days before easy printing, were these people’s hard copy of what their friends, family and political heroes looked like. Was it so mothers could flick through and decide which boys would best suit their daughters?

For all that, one of the small green albums is definitely a gem. It unearthed the amazing and charming talents of one Isabella McClintock Bunbury, daughter of Captain McCB and his good wife, Pauline. Unfortunately, Isabella – or Bella, it seems – did not survive into her 20s. Consumption most probably. Colonel Kane’s letters to Pauline indicate that she was ill for some time. She was definitely a talented girl. She would have been a great hit with logo designers in this day and age and, if ever we are in need of someone to reshape the McClintock Bunbury name into a logo, her mid-Victorian concepts are well worth a look.

Bella is also the subject of a jolly wee ditty, written for her birthday or some such, by her cousin CE McClintock on 25 March 1865. I presume this is Charles Edward McClintock, a grandson of Bumper Jack by his second marriage to Lady Elizabeth Clancarty. Charles’s parents were Major Stanley McClintock of Kilwarlin House in County Down and Gertrude La Touche of Harristown, Co. Kildare. He was born on 11 May 1844, making him just 21 when he wrote this. He would later (1881) marry Blanche Foster Dunlop of Monasterboice, County Louth, and had three sons. He served as a Colonel with the Royal Irish Rifles.


An Ode on Isabella Bunbury’s Looks.

The tout ensemble of her face,
Is pleasing, bright and full of grace,
Her eyes are brown and shining bright,
Though not both of the same size quite;
I think her nose is quite delightful,
Though some folk say it is so frightful.
Some think it points up towards the sky,
But this I must with truth deny.

And Constance here with me agrees,
Because she too with straight eyes sees:
Her lips are like a full blown rose
And through them pretty teeth she shows.
Dark hair grows low upon her forehead
And her complexion is not quite florid.

Her eyebrows, they are passing fine,
And look quite like a penciled line.
She’s pretty, taking all in all,
Her figures good though she’s but small.
Enough I’ve said about this matter
All’s true for I do hate to flatter.

The Constance referred to here may be Constance McClintock, eldest daughter of Lieutenant Colonel George McClintock of Rathvinden who, like his half-brother, Captain William McClintock Bunbury, had married a daughter of Sir James Stronge – in this case Catherine Brownlow Stronge. On 16 July 1881, Constance married a 33-year-old Oxford graduate, lately returned from the Civil Service in Bengal, named Henry Crossley Irwin. In 1883, Henry succeeded his father and the couple moved into Mount Irwin in County Down.


The Captain’s Last Hunt


The Wicklow Newsletter of 7 April 1866 includes this letter, kindly sent to me by Ray Halpin:

No way out…

To The Editor of the Wicklow News-Letter.

Sir – Although you seldom give an account of sport in this or adjoining counties, I cannot help sending you an account of a run we had last Saturday with the Carlow and Island Hounds. The fixture was Rathmore, but Captain Bunbury’s coverts at Lisnevagh were to be drawn. A fox, and one of the right sort, was immediately found. There was a burning scent and hounds beat horses completely for the first twenty minutes; after that they ran not quite so hard; and, till the finish, the field were well up. He crossed the river at Knockeen bridge, and leaving Tullow to his right he ran through Ardoyne, and was killed at Munny. Time – one hour and eleven minutes.

This is by no means the only good run this crack pack has had this year, for the sport has been far above average.

A Correspondent.

The Carlow and Island Hounds will meet at Coollattin on the 12th April; at Clonegall on the 13th; at Coollattin on the 14th, at 11 o’clock.


4th of June, 1866


4 June is celebrated by Etonians as the birthday of George III. In 1866, a service was held with a sermon by the Bishop of Oxford in lieu of the Provost, the Rev. Dr Goodford, who was ill and recovering at St. Leonard’s. After speeches, luncheon and promenading in the fields, the boys assembled to hear the band of the Royal Horse Guards play between 2 and 3 in the upper shooting fields. Jack Bunbury probably left shortly after the choral service to prepare for the afternoon’s boat race. Shortly after 6:00, the eight boats left for Surly Hall in the rain. Jack was on board the ‘Prince of Wales’ with Messrs. Unthank, Hodgson, Entwisle, Tayleur, Eyton, Mirehouse, Thornhill and Roberts (coxswain). Jack was then one of the few boys in training for Henley. At Surly, the boats:

partook of supper, provided by Mr. Layton, of Windsor, and on their return to Windsor they pulled round and round the Eyot whence a splendid display of fireworks was let off as usual by Mr. H. Fenwick, of Lambeth, with which the rain, always propitious to the birthday of George III, played sad havoc‘.

One wonders did Jack already know that his father had died at Lisnavagh two days earlier. An affection of the heart was the stated cause.


Captain Bunbury’s Obituary from the Carlow Sentinel, 1866


Death of Captain McClintock Bunbury
It becomes our painful duty to record the demise of this inestimable gentleman, which melancholy event took place at Lisnevagh, on the morning of the 2nd instant, from an affection of the heart.
The profound sorrow with which the announcement of his sudden and unexpected death was received throughout the county, testified how universally he was respected; but the best eulogium to the memory of the lamented deceased is “the life he had led”. Kind, genial, and courteous in manner and disposition; endeared to his family and friends by the observance of every social and domestic virtue, and to the community in general by the honourable discharge of his public duties; one of the best of landlords, and a sincere Christian.
The deceased gentleman, William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury, who had reached his 66th year, was the younger of the two sons of the late John McClintock, Esq., MP, of Drumcar, in the county of Louth, by his first marriage with Jane, the only daughter of the late William Bunbury, Esq, of Lisnevagh, MP for the county of Carlow, which lady died in 1801. He entered the navy at an early age; was present at the battle of Algiers on board the Severn, 50-gun frigate, and retired from the service in 1832. In 1846, on the death of his maternal uncle, Thomas Bunbury, Esq, MP, (in compliance with whose will he assumed the name and arms of Bunbury in addition to his patronymic), he was unanimously chosen to fill the vacancy then created in the representation of the county of Carlow, for which he sat until the general election of 1852, when, after a sharp and spirited contest, he was defeated by the narrow majority of 13 votes. Early in the following year he was again elected by an unopposed return, in the room of the late Colonel Bruen, and at the general elections of 1857 and 1859, he was returned without opposition, having on both occasions for his colleague the present Henry Bruen, Esq, MP. [127]
In 1862 he applied for an obtained the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds (79); and “it was with very great regret“, as his retiring speech informed the electors (a regret which was very widely shared by his constituents), “that he was compelled (uncontrollable circumstances preventing his attending to his duties in Parliament) to return into their hands the trust with which he had been honoured for so many years“.

Since that period he has been a consistent resident at Lisnevagh, where he devoted himself to the discharge of his varied and responsible duties as a landed proprietor, country gentleman and magistrate. In 1865 he filled the office of High Sheriff for this county.
Captain Bunbury married Pauline Caroline Diana Mary, second daughter of the late Sir James Matthew Stronge, Bart, of Tynan Abbey, county Armagh, and by her, who survives him, he has left a family of two sons and as many daughters. The eldest son, Thomas, who is now in his 18th year, succeeds to his landed estates.

St Mary’s, Rathvilly, where Captain McClintock Bunbury was buried.

On Thursday the remains of the above lamented gentleman were interred in anew family vault beneath the north transept of Rathvilly Church. Despite an almost incessant downpour of rain, an immense concourse of persons assembled from every part of the county, including all the tenantry on the Bunbury estates, to pay a last tribute of respect to the deceased. Eleven o’clock was the hour announced for the funeral to leave, but, as upwards of 300 scarfs, &c, were distributed, it was found impossible to have all the arrangements completed until a little before twelve o’clock, when the mournful procession was formed, headed by the tenantry, on foot, all wearing scarfs and bands. The hearse was drawn by four jet-black steeds with sable trappings, followed by two mourning coaches, the equipages of the deceased gentleman, of Colonel Kane Bunbury (uncle to the deceased) and of the county gentry generally; those again, followed by a long line of cars and other vehicles – the entire extending nearly a mile in length.
The occupants of the first mourning coach were – Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, eldest son of deceased; John William McClintock Bunbury, second son of deceased; John McClintock, Esq, of Drumcar, brother to deceased; and the Rev. Robert McClintock. [So, where were his widow and two daughters?]
The second mourning coach was occupied by Major Stanley McClintock, Lieut-Col George McClintock, J. Calvert Stronge, Esq, and Captain Maxwell Dupre Stronge.
In the carriage of the deceased – Thomas Vesey Nugent, Esq; Frederic Devon, Esq, and Robert Todd Huston, Esq, MD.
On arriving at the entrance to the burial ground, the coffin was carried by the tenants to the church where the Psalms and Lessons appointed for the occasion were read by the officiating clergymen, the Rev. Quinton Dick Hume and the Rev. Samuel Quinton. The coffin was then conveyed to the entrance to the vault, where the remainder of the very solemn and consoling Burial Service was read, after which the remains of the departed worth were consigned to the abode of the dead, and the gates of the vault closed upon its first occupant.
The remains were enclosed in three coffins, one of lead, and the outer of oak, richly but plainly draped in black cloth, with a silver shield, bearing the following engraved inscription: –

DIED JUNE 2, 1866

The funeral arrangements were most satisfactorily carried out by Mr. William Boake, and the coffins supplied by Messrs. William Douglas and J.C. Deighton, all of this town. The hearse and mourning coaches were from Dublin. [128]


The Captain’s Will

A portrait of Captain Bunbury’s eldest son, Tom Bunbury (2nd Baron Rathdonnell) as a young man. He was 18 years old when he succeeded to Lisnavagh. He would later become President of the Royal Dublin Society.

The Captain was buried in the family vault at St. Mary’s in Rathvilly where he was all too soon to be joined by his wife and daughters. In his will, he instructed his brothers, George, Robert, Stanley and John McClintock (later 1st Baron Rathdonnell) that all life tenants and tenants in tail

“… shall take and from thenceforth use the surname of Bunbury only and no other name in addition to his or her or their Christian names and shall bear the arms of Bunbury quartered with his, her or their own family arms”.

He bequeathed to his widow and sole executor of his will, £3000 and “the use of my mansion house and demesne at Lisnevagh together with the use of all my pictures, plates, china, linen, glass, furniture, horses, carriages, harness, saddles, bridles, farming stock and implements of husbandry” until each of his children was 21 after which they would also be entitled to such usage.

He left his son Tom the Bunbury estates and also provided £14,000 for his two younger children, Jack and Isabella, and a further £300 pa up until their 21st birthday “for or towards heir advancement in the world”.

John Calvert Stronge and Thomas Vessey Nugent were his trustees.

According to the Freemans Journal (10 October 1866), ‘The will of Captain William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury, of Lisnavagh, formerly MP for the county Carlow, has been proved and the personalty sworn under one hundred thousand pounds’.



1866 Events


  • John McClintock made Lord Lieutenant for Co. Louth (until death in 1879).
  • Arthur Kavanagh elected Conservative MP for Co. Wexford at a by-election. Two years later, he was elected for Carlow, a seat he retained until 1880.
  • June 6: Marriage of 33-year-old Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge to Francis, Prince of Teck, four days after Captain Bunbury died.
  • June 14-July 26: Prussia defeats Austria in the Seven Weeks War.
  • July 16: Carlow-born, scientific-writer, Samuel Haughton published “On hanging considered from a Mechanical and Physiological point of view” in which he developed the original equations for hanging as a humane method of execution.
  • June 22: Paul Cullen of Narraghmore becomes first Irish cardinal.
  • Oct 2: First transatlantic telegraph cable linked to Valentia Island, Kerry. The captain did not quite live long enough to hear the news that the Transatlantic cable was complete,
  • Nov 15: Death of the 25th Knight of Glin (1813–1866).
    Nov 19
    : Birth of Frederick John Dalgety, later husband to the Captain’s granddaughter, Pauline McClintock Bunbury.
  • Nov 22: Death of Augusta, Countess of Dunraven, wife of the 3rd Earl.
  • Dec: ‘Rejoicing at Newtownbarry – On Wednesday evening last, the usually quiet town of Newtownbarry was the scene of great excitement, consequent upon the rejoicing of the happy and contented tenantry of ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE, Esq., on the birth of an heir to his extensive estates. When the event took place in Dublin, in October last, a committee was formed, and subscriptions entered into to procure fireworks; and a resolution passed to illuminate the town on the return of Mr. and Mrs. Hall-Dare, with their son.’ (Carlow Sentinel, 8 Dec 1866)
  • Bismarck made German Chancellor.
  • ‘John Seaconemow, Convert: A strolling black from Calcutta here [Carlow Cathedral] on this day baptised having been under instruction for a month or more. Patt Murphy of Dublin Road answered for him at the font. He thinks he is about 35 years of age. Received by Father O’ Neill.’ [129]


Colonel Kane Bunbury to the Rescue

This is believed to be one of the Captain’s two daughters, both of whom died young.

After William’s death, his widow, Pauline McClintock Bunbury, was faced with the unenviable task of maintaining one of the largest mansions in Ireland, as well as four children between the ages of 22 and 12. To compound matters, neither of her daughters, Bella and Helen, were in good health. Inevitably she turned to the man whose generosity had helped her husband build Lisnavagh in the first place, Colonel Kane Bunbury. The Lisnavagh archives show that Kane had always been a frequent correspondent of the Captain. He spent his time between Moyle and Rathmore Park. His latter day letters reveal a repetitive sense of hypochondria, reinforced by a read of the Colonel’s tiny diaries but perhaps the pain was genuine and unvarying. But he has the manners to offer his constant good wishes to William, Pauline and the family. In January1866, he asks how the Captain’s ‘pain in the back‘ is and expresses pleasure that the Captain’s health has improved since he moved to his ‘Marine Villa‘. He also mentions a few visits by Captain George Bunbury.

Pauline’s first letter to the Colonel mentions the delicate situation but explains that given ‘my poor Isabella’s illness‘, she was out of options. She could not get a loan because she had no security and no possibility of repaying the lender. Hence, ‘I venture to apply to you, trusting to your willingness to assist us in our difficulties‘. However, Pauline soon found herself in the even more humbling position of writing a ‘much grieved‘ response to the Colonel, assuring him that an unspecified amount of money which he had gifted to William had not been wilfully or wastefully misspent. The Colonel seems to have been particularly irked that the money had been spent on buying properties. Pauline told the Colonel that when she and William first came to live in Carlow, ‘we had a capital, I think, of between 60 and 70,000 pounds‘. She conceded that William had spent between £20 – 30, 000 pounds (‘I forget the exact sum’) on the purchase of small properties at the Aldborough  ‘and those near Tullow and Hacketstown‘.

However, she assured the old man, ‘the remainder of his capital he spent on this house, gardens, place, and on our own living, our children, elections & c‘. In order to buy ‘the Rathvilly property‘, they borrowed money from the Royal Exchange. ‘We also borrowed from the same company a still larger sum to live upon when our capital was expended‘. Pauline insisted that all money gifted by the Colonel ‘was spent honestly and honourably on this house and place, and if my dear Husband laid out less on the House and spent more on the place than you wished, it was entirely from his mistaking your directions, not from wilfully disregarding them‘. She concluded by thanking the Colonel profusely for all his support to her and her family down through the years, ‘believe me, yours affectionately, Pauline‘.

Pauline’s honest response worked. For the next ten years, the Colonel was to be an invaluable source of financial support to the family. His letters arrived at both Lisnavagh and Earlscliffe on random occasions but the contents were almost always the same. ‘I beg you will accept the enclosed cheque for one thousand pounds‘ or ‘Please to accept the enclosed cheque‘. There must be a dozen such letters and what a lovely letter to receive! His directions are that they help her pay for the maintenance of the house, for fitting out Jack in his regiment (10 December 1871) and for helping Isabella whose health seems to have declined considerably by 18 December 1868. They were not always without grumble – that same letter of 18 December expresses surprise at ‘William contracting so large a debt‘. [130]

The Captain’s Heirs

Jack Bunbury at Eton.

“Tom Bunbury” was not yet 18-years-old, a schoolboy at Eton. By 1870 both he and Jack were in the army. Bella died aged 21 on 11 May 1867, less than a year after her father. Her younger sister, Helen, fared little better, passing on at the age of 16 in early 1870. Their widowed mother, Pauline, died on New Year’s Day 1876, leaving Tom and Jack as the sole surviving members of the McClintock Bunburys family.

Tom went on to succeed as 2nd Baron Rathdonnell and became a prominent figure in the Southern Irish Unionists and the Royal Dublin Society. Jack Bunbury seems to have had a rather unhappy life and died in his 40s.

‘THE LISNEVAGH ESTATES. We understand that William Johnson, Esq., Prumplestown House, has been appointed Agent over the extensive estates of the late Captain W. B. McClintock Bunbury.’
(Carlow Post, Saturday 16 March 1867)

On 11 May 1867, less than a year after her father died, The Gentleman’s Magazine reported on the death:

‘At Lisnevagh co Carlow, aged 21, Isabella, dau of the late Capt McClintock Bunbury, RN’.

Bella was buried alongside her father in the family vault at St. Mary’s Church in Rathvilly

In December 1868, Benjamin Disraeli played a key role in having John McClintock elevated to the peerage as Baron Rathdonnell. 


S.S. & E. Reeves & Son, 51 Merrion Square East


The Bunbury / Rathdonnell family solicitors for a long time were S.S. & E. Reeves & Son of Dublin. The Lisnavagh archives, for instance, include correspondence from 1867 to 1875 addressed to Mrs Pauline C.D. McClintock-Bunbury, widow of Capt. W.B. McClintock-Bunbury, from S.S. & E. Reeves & Son, solicitors, Dublin, about financial and legal business.

Originally from Sussex, the Reeves family moved to Ireland in the mid 17th Century and intermarried with the Spaight family of Bunratty Lodge and Burrane, County Clare. The solicitor Robert Reeves (c. 1752-1835) was married in 1782 to Mary Maunsell, daughter of William Maunsell, and lived between Platten Hall, County Meath (formerly home to the bachelor Graves Chamney, who sold it circa 1800) and 22 Merrion Square North, which was built by the paper-stainer George Kent circa 1790, as one of three houses. I believe the Reeves were at No. 22 from perhaps as early as 1816.  Confusingly, the house became 51 Merrion Square East when the numbering was reconfigured in 1881, after which the Oscar Wilde House became No 1 and the houses finished around the number 90. [131]

Robert and Mary Reeves had nine children, including Bridget (c. 1784-1870), Robert (c. 1786-1860), William Maunsell Reeves (c. 1788-1857), Grace Tuthill (c. 1790-1859), Samuel Spaight Reeves (c. 1795-1875) and Edward Reeves (c. 1795-1877).

Known as Robert Reeves & Sons from at least 1824, it evolved into S.S. Reeves and E Reeves when, after his death, Robert’s sons Samuel and Edward (who, I think, were twins) took over. Samuel was married at Lilmore Church in September 1831 to Maria Stafford (1806-1838), second daughter of Major Randal Stafford of Tully, Cavan.  Maria died aged 32 on 25 March 1838 at Vostersberg, the Cork residence of her brother-in-law William Maunsell Reeves. [132] Samuel died aged 80 on 30 January 1875 and was succeeded by his only son Robert Reeves (1834-1899).

Edward, Samuel’s (twin?) brother, sustained the County Clare connection when he was married in May 1828 to Juliet Matilda Studdert, youngest daughter of the Rev. Richard Studdert of Pass, Queens County and Mount Rivers, County Clare. Edward, who also lived at 7 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, died at Sydenham Villas, Bray, on 28 October 1877, aged 81. Juliet survived him by eight years and died at 18 Longford Terrace, Monkstown, on 9 August 1885, aged 78.

In 1871 when, following Bridget Reeves’s death in the house, No. 22 (aka No. 51) appears to have been sold to Walter Boyd for £610. [133] However, the business continued to be based there for at least eighty years afterwards, and they remained the family solicitors throughout that period. Certainly, S.S. & E Reeves and Sons was the name of the firm in August 1958. By May 1959, the year of the 4th Baron Rathdonnell’s premature demise, the business had passed to the Roper brothers, Reginald, aka Reggie, and Peter. Reggie Roper had been based at 51 Merrion Square East since at least 1950 when he worked with Reeves. Reggie’s brother Peter Roper was the family solicitor through until the early 1960s.  His son Mark Roper is the noted horse trainer who, as it happens, also trained Tidal Princess (aka Nutmeg) for my mother.[134]




With thanks to Michael Purcell, Michael McClintock, William McClintock Bunbury, Lord Rathdonnell, Rev. Mervyn McCullagh, Dick Corrigan, Adam Perkins, Captain Bill Hawarth, Kevin Bright, Bill Webster, Liz Wade, Andrew Davis, Harry Furr, Michael Brennan, Patricia Sigley, Kathryn Rountree (Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand), Brian White (Bray Cualann Historical Society), Shay Kinsella and Spencer Gordon (Spencer Marks).




[1] Charles Benedict Davenport, ‘Naval Officers: Their Heredity and Development’, p 132 (Heredity, 1919).

[5] Thanks to Kaye Cole.

[6] Lord Castlemaine’s wife Lady Florinda Trench was a daughter of William Power Keating Trench, 1st Earl of Clancarty and Anne Gardiner, Countess of Clancarty.

[9] Foot and Mouth Disease in Ireland; History, Diagnosis, Eradication and Serosurveillance, by Patrick J O’Reilly; Michael.O’Connor; Anne Harrington; Sally Gaynor & Dianne Clery.

[10] The Times, Friday, Apr 03, 1840; pg. 5; Issue 17322; col F.

[12] At the December meeting George Wilson, Graigue was appointed Valuator with responsibility to value all the rateable property in the Union, which comprised about 188,304 statute acres (County Carlow 151.935 acres, Queen’s County 35,491 acres and Kildare 878 acres). Robert Davies, Dublin Street was appointed Clerk of the Union. George Wilson lived at Somerton House on the Leighlin Road, Graiguecullen, and later moved to Barrow View House. He died on 17 October 1862, aged 65. By his wife Margaret he had four sons Robert Wilson (b c 1827), Susanna Wilson (born 1829), John Isaac Wilson (born 1830), George Percival Wilson (born 1832) and Richard Wilson (born 1834). (Carlow Poor Law Union – The Early Years’, by Sean O’Shea, previously published  in CARLOVIANA, December 2003. No. 52. Pages 28-35).

[13] Benjamin Disraeli Letters, John Alexander Wilson Gunn, Melvin George Wiebe, No. 1173.

[14] Quoted in “O’Connell and Terror in Carlow”, R.P. Murphy, Carloviana (1988 – 1989).

[15] Lieutenant Bernard may have been a relation of the Bunburys as a daughter of Benjamin of Killerig named Deborah married a Bernard of Burren Street, Co. Carlow. Is this also where George Bernard Shaw’s Carlow connections come into play?

[16] With thanks to John Slattery, grandfather of Jack Brophy, for these details.

[17] This was published in the Leinster Independent under the heading ‘A YOUNG GENTLEMAN SHOT BY A GAMEKEEPER’. The article, which Jack Langton alerted me to, was also published in the Hobart Town Courier (Friday, 22 February 1839, page 4) and reads as follows: ‘We are informed that a fine young gentleman, Mr. O’Reilly, son to Dr. O’Reilly, formerly of Carlow, was shot on Wednesday, near Castlecomer, by the gamekeeper of the Hon. C.B. Wandesforde. According to the report, Mr. O’Reilly, who carried a fowling piece, had fired at a crow on a tree, when the gamekeeper came up to demand the gun, which Mr. O’Reilly refused to give him, whereupon the gamekeeper instantly shot him dead. The gamekeeper has been apprehended, and committed to Kilkenny jail.’

[22] See ‘The Morpeth Roll – Ireland identified in 1841’ (Four Courts Press), edited by Christopher Ridgway, editor.

[23] Nenagh Guardian, Wednesday, November 9, 1842.

[24] Manor Highgate was previously home to Christopher Edmund Allen, father of Edmund Allen (a well-known Dublin barrister) and the Rev. Thomas Meredith (1777-1819) of Dublin. The latter married Elizabeth Mary (1792-1855), a daughter of Richard Graves, Dean of Ardagh, Co. Cork, and sister of Ireland’s celebrated surgeon, Robert James Graves (1797-1853) of Merrion Square, Dublin, and later of Cloghan Castle, Co. Offaly. The Rev. Meredith died mysteriously in 1819 and his widow married again and went to Canada. However, the Rev. Meredith’s ‘strikingly handsome‘ son, Edmund Allen Meredith (1817-1899) became a Canadian politician and Principal of McGill University, Montreal. Another family associated with Manor Highgate were the Scotts. On Saturday 2 June 1908, The Weekly Irish Times noted the death at 13 Leeson Park, of Hannah Georgina Scott, eldest daughter of the late Ralph Scott, of Manor Highgate, Newtownbutler’. She died on 27 May 1908.

[25] In June 2018 George Knight kindly responded to a request by me and consulted his copy of Leslie’s “Clogher Clergy and Parishes” to learn more of James Heygate, who was resident in Clones in 1622. He went on to be consecrated Bishop of Kilfenora in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin in 1630. He died in 1638 and was buried back in Clones, probably within the walls of the old church building. No trace of his tomb remains after all the reconstruction on the site over the 18th and 19th centuries. A final sentence states that the bishop received ‘Letters of Denization, 20th May 1617’ and 1000 acres known as Mount Calvert, which duly became the Manor of Heygate, thus proving a suggestion fired at me by Christine Rusk. After James Heygate died, the Manor of Heygate passed to Dr. Alan Cooke, who was Bishop Bedell’s Chancellor and Vicar General.

[26] The Annual register, or, A view of the history and politics of the year 1847 (Publisher: J.G. & F. Rivington, 1847)

[29] See: for more. Ask About Ireland have a photograph taken by Jim Banbury for the Office of Public Works c.1955.

[30] Dublin Evening Mail – Monday 13 March 1843.

[31] ‘During the final week of March, 1844, placards appeared around Dublin advertising a free train ride on 1st April to all who desired it, transporting passengers to the town of Drogheda and back. Early on the first of April a large crowd gathered at the station. As a train approached, the crowd surged forward, eager to secure their free seats. But the conductors and overseers intervened to keep the people away from the train, informing them that there was no free ride. The crowd grew displeased, and a riot broke out. ‘The labourers on the road supported the overseers —the victims fought for their places, and the melee was tremendous.’ The following day a number of people went to the police station to lodge official complaints, but the police dismissed all complaints ‘in honour of the day.’ –The London Times, 6 Apr 1844.

[36] The Armagh Guardian, April 29, 1845.

[37] Galloon Register, Baptisms & Burials 1845-1881, Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland, PRONI MIC/1/51

[38] Henry McClintock Diary.

[39] Henry McClintock Diary.

[41] These details were published in the Nenagh Guardian (p. 4) on Saturday, August 22, 1846, and the Statesman and Dublin Christian Record (Tuesday 18 August 1846).

[42] Lisnevagh was an alternative spelling to Lisnavagh frequently used in the 19th century.

[43] Bunbury of Moyle, co. Carlow, Ireland. ARMS: Ermine, a chess rook between two leopards’ faces in bend between two bendlets Sable (black). CREST: Two swords saltierwise through the mouth of a leopard’s face Or (gold). MOTTO: FIRMUM IN VITA NIHIL. (Nothing in life is permanent).
McClintock-Bunbury. ARMS: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Argent (silver), on a bend Sable (black), three chess rooks of the field (i.e., silver), for BUNBURY; 2nd and 3rd, per pale Gules (red) and Azure (blue), a chevron Ermine, between three scallops Argent (silver), for MCCLINTOCK. CREST: 1st – Two swords in saltire Argent (silver), hilted Or (gold), pierced through a leopard’s face of the last (i.e., gold); 2nd – A lion passant Proper (natural color).

[44] Lisnavagh Archives G/J/13: Colonel Kane Bunbury Correspondence.

[45] With thanks to Sean Slowey. The Northern Standard, August 22,1846: ‘Thomas Bunbury died age 71 one of the representatives of the County of Carlow at Lisnaveagh and Moyle has left all his freehold and copyhold and leasehold estates to his brother Kane Bunbury Esq., for life and after his decease to his nephew William Bunbury McClintock and his heirs forever etc. etc. etc. the executors are his two nephews W. B. McClintock of Manor Highgate near Clones, Co. Fermanagh and John McClintock Esq., of Dromeskin House, Castlebellingham, Louth, and William Elliot Esq., of Harcourt St. Dublin. (Morning Post). W. B. McClintock to whom he leaves the reversion of his real estates a legacy of £20,000.’

In Northern Standard, August 29,1846. William Bunbury McClintock of Manor Highgate, Co. Fermanagh, Commander in the Royal Navy, he and his issue may take the name of Bunbury in addition to and after that of McClintock in compliance with the will of his maternal uncle Thomas Bunbury, late of Lisnaveagh [sic] and Moyle, County Carlow.

[46] ‘His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant left the Viceregal Lodge, on Thursday last, at one, and arrived by a special train in Carlow, at 29 minutes past two o’clock, the journey, 56 ¼ miles, being performed in one hour and 29 minutes – the speed at some parts of the line averaging 50 miles an hour. His Excellency was accompanied by Sir John Macneil, Engineer-in-chief; Mr Durance, head of the locomotive department, who drove the engine himself; and by Mr Elwin, chief superintendent of the traffic department. His Excellency expressed to Sir John Macneil and the officers of the company, his marked approval of the entire arrangements, and observed that hitherto he entertained no idea of the perfection to which railways had approached in Ireland.
There were eight horses from the Carlow Club House in readiness at the terminus, and his Excellency, without further delay, accompanied by Ladies Harriett, Emily and Kathleen Ponsonby, the Hon. Gerald Ponsonby, Captain Henry Ponsonby, and Mr Gerry Connellan, in two private carriages, proceeded to Bessborough, the family residence of the noble Earl at Piltown. We are happy to learn that his Excellency appeared in the enjoyment of good health. His Excellency travelled in a strictly private capacity, and, consequently, there was no guard of honour in waiting to receive him.’
(Dublin Evening Post – Saturday 07 November 1846)

[47] “The Famine in Carlow”, Thomas P. Neill, Carloviana (1947). See also “Rathvilly Through the Ages”, Carloviana, 1951, p.153.

[48] Carlow Sentinel, 14 August 1847.

[49] Carlow Granite: Years of History Written in Stone, Michael J. Conry, pp.320 – 336.

[50] ‘THE Quarter Sessions Grand Jury feel it due to their Contractor. Mr. HENRY KINGSMILL, to record their unqualified approbation at the very satisfactory and permanent manner in which the late Alterations and improvements in the Interior of the Court House have been executed by him. THOMAS MOORE, Foreman. 9th January, 1843.’ Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent, 12 January 1843.

[51] John Kingsmill, son of Henry Kingsmill, married Eleanor Palmer, a daughter of Thomas Palmer of Dereen, Co Laois, who died in 1771. Were they related?

[52] He leaves her unnamed and without indication here or later of the actual wedding so the couple remains untraced.

[53] The agent’s house was formerly home to a family of Huguenot descendent called Germaine, see here. The house was reconstructed and enlarged in 1901. This information appears to have come from Mr. Parker the Sawmill Man who came to Lisnavagh from Drumcar in 1914.

[54] London Evening Standard – Monday 26 April 1847.

[55] London Evening Standard – Monday 26 April 1847.

[56] ‘THE TENANT RIGHT QUESTION. The muster of Irish members was, as usual, very scant, and, on looking over the subjoined list, you will find that many of those who ought to have supported the honourable member for Rochdale absented themselves, and shrunk from lending their aid towards securing the enactment of one of the few practical Irish measures introduced this session. The O’Conor Don and Sir William Sommerville displayed somewhat better taste than Mr. Monaghan. Neither the Under Secretary for the Home Department nor the junior Lord of the Treasury could screw up their courage to join the ministerial opposition—in all probability, having before their eyes the fear of landlord oppressed constituencies at the ensuing general election.
IRISH MEMBERS FOR THE FIRST READING.— Sir H. W. Barron, Martin J. Blake, J. J. Bodkin, John Boyd, Viscount Castlereagh, John Collett, M. E. Corbally, Cecil Lawless, Alexander M’Carthy, Sir D. Norreys, J. O’Brien, Timothy O’Brien, M. J. O’Connell. Tellers.—W. S. Crawford, E. B. Roche.
AGAINST THE SECOND READING. — W. Bunbury, T. J. Burke, Hon. H. A. Cole, H. Corry, Sir R. Ferguson, Edward Grogan, Lord C. Hamilton, A. Lefroy, J. H. Monaghan, D. R. Ross, F. Shaw, Sir W. Verner, John Young, Hon. W. Browne. —Freeman Correspondent.

[57] John Corrigan, of Garrettstown, Rathvilly, Gentleman and Receiver of rents, claims that he is owed 54 pounds, 10 shillings, “being four half Year’s Rent” due under and by virture of an Indenture of Lease bearing date the 20th day of September 1830, by Thomas Davis on one part and Anne Cuming, Widow, William Cuming and Peter Chaigneau, Esquires, Trustees and Executors of the late Hugh Cuming for part of the Lands of Rickettestown formerly in the possession of John Hoare containing fifteen Acres or thereabouts Irish plantation measure be the same more or less. Sworn before me this day in open Court this 25th day of June 1847 at a General Quarter Session of the Peace, held at Tullow. (signed) Thomas Crawford Butler, Attorney for the Plaintiff. Henry Hutton, Assistant Barrister. John Corrigan, Rent Receiver. (From the PPP).
Hugh Cuming who was the business associate of Benajmin D’Israeli of Beechy Park, Rathvilly (purported uncle of the British Prime Minister). Hugh was also executor of Benjamin’s estate, and lived in an adjoining estate to Beechy Park, called Bough. Peter Chaigneau was grandson of Rev. David Chaigneau, a priest of the Huguenot congreation, closely affiliated to Corkagh, who died in Carlow in 1744. His great grandfather, Isaac Chaigeau is buried in the Huguenot graveyard on Merrion Row in Dublin. (With thanks to Sue Clement, Ron Medulison and Michael Purcell).

[58] Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent – Saturday 28 August 1847.

[59] See here. Dublin Weekly Register, Saturday 16 October 1847. Thanks to Sinéad Nolan of

[60] Carlow’s workhouse records (in the form of minutes only) have survived. They are in the Carlow County Library where they can be accessed on request. Click here for more. With thanks to Shay Kinsella.

‘The Mercy nuns supplied nurses to the Carlow Workhouse. These nuns kept registers of admittance, births, discharges, deaths, staff, costs etc, including records of illegitimate births and many very sad family situations. Ron Medulison, who worked in the County Home in Carlow at the time, recalls seeing these records many years ago, about 200 dusty leather-bound books in total, stored in the court martial room at the old Carlow Barracks in a very disorderly manner. The Sister in charge , Sister Agnus (Butler) claimed ‘they recorded the good but also the sins of the county’. Some dated back to the earliest days of the Carlow Workhouse, containing references to every unfortunate family in Carlow. There was also invaluable information on the hundreds of orphans who passed through the system, many of whom never left the workhouse or the County Home. They worked there without pay all their lives – some were in “residence” there up to the 1960s, possibly later. These records were subsequently stored in the Sacred Heart Home (County Home), Barrack Street,  Carlow, which succeeded the Workhouse. Pat Purcell requested the books be preserved but, times being somewhat different then, it was decided to dispose of them.  Some years later, Sister Juliana informed Mick Purcell that the registers/ books had been destroyed. She explained that as the Order was leaving the County Home, no one wanted all these musty books, certainly not their convent or the new hospital. There was no agency that would accept them. As the books contained so much sensitive information, it was thought best to bury them. They were dumped into the foundations of the present day Bethany House (as the Sacred Heart Home was transferred to the Dublin Road) in the 1970s. She pointed out to him where they dumped the archive, alongside where the old county morgue was situated and adjacent to the present day building. The Minute Books (indexed by Carlow County Heritage in 1986 and now in Carlow County Library) may yield some information – they mainly deal with administration but at times mentions inmates and happenings in the House. The Famine Graveyard was used by the Workhouse right until the 1900’s.’

[61] Soldiers Service Documents (1825-1834) of the Royal Hospital Chelsea (held at the National Archive WO 97/1249/60) include those of a John Malone who was born in Rathvilly and served in Royal Artillery from 1825 until he was discharged aged 30 in 1834. This gives this John Malone an estimated date of birth of 1804-1805. (With thanks to Jean French).

[62] The Burial Register at St Mary’s Rathvilly.

[66] Moatabower is where the R726 crosses the Slaney and, coming from Carlow, the road divides, left for Rathvilly, right (R727) for Hacketstown. On Googlemaps, it seems to be marked as Grangewat. Michael Purcell believes Moatabower was once registerd to the Browne-Clayton family.

[67] Handbill in the Pat Purcell Papers, 13″ x 10″, transcribed by Selina Lawlor, 2012.

[68] Carlow Sentinel, February 1849, via Pat Purcell Papers.

[69] Carlow Sentinel, February 1849, via Pat Purcell Papers.

[70] The Carlow Sentinel, April 22, 1849.

[71] The Carlow Sentinel, 5 May 1849

[72] The Carlow Sentinel, 23 June 1849. Thanks to Pat Purcell Papers.

[73] The Queen in Ireland, The Times, Saturday, Aug 11, 1849; pg. 5; Issue 20252; col A.

[74] The Carlow Sentinel, 1832 – 1920, Local Studies Department, Carlow Central Library. In 1570 Queen Elizabeth I commissioned the first ever printing of the Bible and other religious tracts in the Irish language. It was said that the Virgin Queen spoke Irish to the Irish chieftains when they called on her in London in 1562. During her 2011 visit, Queen Elizabeth viewed one of these 16th century books in Trinity College Dublin. Thanks to Michael Purcell.

[75] The Carlow Sentinel, 15 December 1849.

[76] The Carlow Sentinel, 5 January 1850.

[77] This information was provided by George and Louisa’s great-great grandson Andrew Bennett of Hove, Sussex, and Jennie Polyblank. Andrew’s grandfather Cyril Leslie Isted was a son of George and Louisa’s daughter Florence Louisa Steer and her husband Walter William Isted.

[78] Between 1847 and 1858, Lord Fitzwilliam sent many of his 6000 “banished” tenants from his Coolattin estates directly to work on the railroads in Canada which he had invested in.

[79] Pat Purcell Papers.

[80] From The Carlow Sentinel, transcribed for the Pat Purcell Papers. According to the PPP, the Officers and men of the 71st Regiment, Scottish Division, were responsible for establishing a Fire Brigade Service in Carlow. For many years the only Fire Brigade service for County Carlow was the Fire Brigade division stationed in the Carlow British Military Barracks, the soldiers responded many times to fires in the Carlow area. For many years the Officer in charge was the aptly named Captain Dashwood. In 1850 the 71st Regiment obtained permission to present their Fire equipment to the people of Carlow.

[81] Perhaps they had US (Penn?) coal interests; the NLI Prior-Wandesforde papers at the National Library of Ireland suggests they imported American coal. John Kirwan writes: “A branch of the Prior-Wandesfordes went to the USA; one was prone to coming back looking for money. Certainly Capt Richard Prior-Wandesforde (who was known in KKY as ‘Wandy’) who died circa 1956 had a brother or an uncle who was in the USA and has descendants still living there. Matthew Harley, who is interested in the Wandesforde connection, adds: ‘The Castlecomer area was owned by the Brennan’s before being seized by the English Crown. There were and are lots of Brennans around there and many of them went to Philly as mine workers. I gather the Brennan’s of Castlecomer were the Braonan of Dublin Viking origin who ruled the Castlecomer area for centuries but couldn’t PROVE it!’ See Nora Brennan’s Thesis on the Wandesfordes is interesting, especially about their loss of territory to the Crown.

[82] The Times, Monday, Dec 2, 1850; pg. 5; Issue 20661; col B.

[83] With thanks to Michael Purcell and the Pat Purcell Papers.

[84] The Times, March 26, 1851, p. 2

[85] Thursday, May 8, 1851; pg. 5; Issue 20796; col C.


The following are the names of the Irish members who voted on the second reading of this Bill:-

AGAINST (30) Viscount BERNARD, Sir Robert GORE BOOTH, Sr. Arthur B. BROOKE, Wm. M. BUNBURY, James M. CAULFIELD, Lord John CHICHESTER, Hon. S. CLEMENTS, Thomas CONOLLY, Right Hon. Corry LOWRY, Colonel DUNNE, Sir E. M’NAGHTEN, Mr. NAPIER, Sir W. SOMERVILLE, Sir William VERNER, Mr. James WHITESIDE, Hon. W. H. S. COTTON, Sir Robert FERGUSON, Hans HAMILTON, G. A. HAMILTON, Lord Claude HAMILTON, Hon. C. S. HARDINGE, Lord Edwin BILL, Captain JONES, Hon. W. KOX, Charles P. LESLIE, Lord NAAS, Sir Lucius O’BRIEN, Sir E. TENNET, Hon. Thomas VESEY, T. BATESON.

FOR (44) Sir A. ARMSTRONG, (King’s Co.), Sir H. Winston BARON, Richard MONTESQUIEU BELLEW, Martin J. BLAKE, Sir Thomas John BURKE, Pierse SOMERSET BUTLER, Viscount CASTLEREAGH, William Henry Ford COGAN, Matthew Elias CORBALLY, John Thomas DEVEREUX, Richard M. FOX, (Longford), Fitzstephen FRENCH, Wyndham GOOLD, Oliver D. J. GRACE, Henry GRATTAN, John GREENE, (Kilkenny), John Isaac HEARD, G. G. O. HIGGINS, Sir Ralph HOWARD, (Wicklow), Robert KEATING, William KEOGH, Hon. Cecil LAWLESS, W. T. M’CULLAGH, Wm. Henry MAGAN, N. V. MAHER, (Tipperary), Thomas MEAGHER, (Waterford city), The O’GORMAN MAHON, William MONSELL, George Henry MOORE, Francis Stack MURPHY, Sir D. J. NORREYS, Sir Percy NUGENT, J. O’BRIEN, (Limerick city), Sir T. O’BRIEN, (CashelP), Morgan John O’CONNELL, (Kerry), Anthony O’FLAHERTY, Nicholas POWER, Colonel RAWDON, John REYNOLDS, Jon SADLIER, Francis SCULLY, (Tipperary), Vincent SCULLY, (Cork Co.), Michael SULLIVAN, Robert J. TENNENT, (Belfast.)

[87] Quoted in Westmeath Independent , Saturday 7 August 1852.

[88] Journals of the House of Commons, 1852, Vol. 108. p. 82.

[89] Thanks to Dave Fleming.

[90] This information came to me from Gene Gribben whose grandfather, Thomas Byrne, was baptized at St. Patrick’s Church, Rathvilly, in 1833. Thomas’s parents were Edward Byrne and Judith Brien of Mountkelly so it seems likely this was the same Brien family. Michael Brien could have been the father or older brother of Judith’s. The same 1852 survey also lists Bartholomew Watters (Waters) as occupant of over 100 acres at Tinryland Townland in the Parish of Tullowmagimma. Bartholomew apparently died of black fever on 25th October 1851.

[91] With thanks to Jean Ffrench and Bill Webster.

[92] The Carlow Post 17th Dec, 1853. Sudden Death.— A man named Edward Brennan, nicknamed the “Sticks” whose occupation was that of a cattle-dealer — who had the character of being exceedingly penurious — was found dead in his bed in his lodgings in Tullow Street, on Wednesday morning. Deceased had partaken the night previously of a small allowance of buttermilk and potatoes for his supper. Five ten-pound notes were found stitched in his trowsers, and he had £150 exclusive of this sum. He was in the habit of attending fairs in this and the adjoining counties, to which he almost invariably walk, notwithstanding lameness under which he suffered. We have heard that he possessed a considerable number of cattle.

[93] Thanks to Majella McAllister.

[94] With thanks to Shay Kinsella.

[95] Wexford People – Saturday 21 July 1855.

[96] Thanks to Matthew Harley. See J.B. Wandesforde’s obituary in the Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent of 5 July 1856, and copied from the Kilkenny Moderator.

[97] With thanks to John Kirwan, Matthew Harley and Desmond Townsend.

[98] The following obituary from the Carlow Sentinel of May 1887, and also published in The London Times, was transcribed by Michael Purcell in May 2013 :
We regret to announce the almost sudden death of another illustrious Carlow man, and distinguished naval officer, Admiral E.G. Fishbourne, which occurred on the 12th May 1887, after an illness of two days, of congestion of the brain.
Deceased was the youngest and last surviving son of the late William Fishbourne, J.P. ( last Sovereign of Carlow ), and, as will be seen by the obituary notice, which we copy from the Times, had a very distinguished naval career, while to the close of his useful life he was intimately identified with missionary work in London.
His death is deeply deplored, and especially amongst his many relatives and friends in this his native county.
Our contemporary says :- “The death of Admiral Edmond Gardiner Fishbourne, C.B., which happened at the end of last week at his residence in Hogarth Road, Kensington, has removed one of the most active and energetic of Lord Shaftesbury’s colleagues in the work of evangelising the masses of this great metropolis.
He was a very familiar presence at the May meetings of Exeter-hall, and his exertions were not confined to members of his own profession.
He entered the Royal Navy in the year 1824, passed his examination in 1830, and obtained his first commission in 1835. He saw much active service during the next three years on the African coast, in her Majesty’s ships Thalia, Pylades, and Scout, and later in the Albert steamer, under Captain Henry Dundas Trotter, in which he attended the unfortunate expedition to the banks of the river Niger.
While employed on this service he was promoted to the rank of Commander, and appointed to the Soudan, another steamer.
He went on half-pay in 1842, but subsequently served in the Caffre war of 1850 – 51, when he received the thanks of the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope and of the authorities of Grahamstown and Algoa Bay.
About the same time he was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath. He was afterwards actively employed against the privateers in the Chinese seas, and was engaged under the Treasury in relief service for some two or three years.
He obtained flag rank in 1869, and became full Admiral in 1880. He was for many years honorary secretary to the Royal Patriotic Fund, and to the Naval and Military Bible Society.
entered Royal Navy in 1824, distinguished navy career. Colleague of Lord Shaftsbury.

[99] Reported in the United Services Institute Journal Vol II, 1858. He was a prolific author of articles on shipping techniques, on various military campaigns, and also wrote What is Sin?, The Injustice of Free Trade Policy, Entire Sanctification; or, a clean heart is the doctrine of Scripture, The Irish Plundered, Manufacturers enriched, and Foreigners protected, Means employed to raise the Condition of British Seamen, Protection for her people and her industries the cure for Irish discontent, Romans vii. 14-25 represents unconverted experience!, Wholeness, or holiness and health through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

[100] Nenagh Guardian, Saturday, August 2, 1856, p. 4. The Rev. McClintock died without issue on 30th June, 1879. His widow was married secondly on 1 Feb 1883 to Francis Burton Owen Cole, D.L., of Llys Merichion, co. Denbigh. See COLE of Stoke Lyne. We have a small copy of his portrait at Lisnavagh.

[101] Farmer’s Gazette and Journal of Practical Horticulture – Saturday 1 August 1857.

[102] Farmer’s Gazette and Journal of Practical Horticulture – Saturday 24 October 1857.

[103] Father Nolan’s brother Maurice Nolan lived at nearby Killane and married their second cousin, Alicia Nolan. Alicia was a granddaughter of Matthew Nolan of Kilconnor and a niece of Laurence Nolan of Kilmeany, Ballinacarrig, the surveyor employed by Benjamin Bunbury earlier in the century. The above-named Michael was their eldest son. His baptism was registered at the Roman Catholic Church in Ballon on 13 February 1839. Michael had two younger brothers – John Nolan (a salesman) and the Rev. Patrick Francis Nolan (a priest) – and a sister, Mary Nolan, who married Patrick Lalor and went to live in Co. Laois. Like his uncle (Father Nolan of Rathvilly, above), the Rev. Patrick Francis Nolan, was known as a church builder, building the Rathoe church which was completed in 1894. According to Fr. Peadar MacSuibhne’s book entitled “98 in Carlow” (p. 170), he was also born in Killane. Although the Nolans were still living in Killane when John was born in March 1841, they are not referred to in Griffith’s Valuation. However, there are several Nolans in Ballintrane where Maurice, the father, may have been born. Anne Buckley and Roger Nowlan, who are researching this family, suggest that as the townlands (and their borders and names) were not set or standardised until Griffith’s valuation, Killane in the Ballon register may not be the same as the post Griffith’s Valuation, Killane. (Information courtesy of Roger Nowlan and Anne Buckley).

‘Michael J. Nolan” has the middle name of John. He was a first cousin of my great grandfather & had three siblings, one of whom was quite famous in his time. This Michael died before 1887, how or where I don’t know. I had assumed he might have got the family farm, but can’ be found in Griffiths Valuation so there was the possibility they had been evicted. The letter below infers he was looking for some type of job granted by a commission, possibly in the civil service, so obviously he was not farming.’ – Anne Buckley, Feb 2010.

[104] The Leinster Express of Saturday, October 10, 1857, page: 5.

[105] See Mediterranean, Portrait of a Sea, by Ernle Bradford.

[106] Poster in the Pat Purcell Papers (courtesy of Michael Purcell).

[107] Nenagh Guardian, Wed April 6th 1859.

[108] Belfast Newsletter, 8 June 1859.

[109] Transcribed by Cara Links.

[110] Nicholson Robert Calvert of Quentin Castle, County Down, was the third son of N. Calvert, MP for Hertford, of Hunsden House, and his wife Eliza (née Blacker).

[111] Alfred’s obituary, Daily Telegraph & Courier (London), 5 August 1898.

[112] See here.

[113] Freemans Journal, Thursday, March 06, 1862, p. 4.

[114] Freemans Journal, Saturday, May 17, 1862 p: 2.

[115] Chiltern Hundreds refers to the obsolete administrative districts of Stoke, Burnham, and Desborough in Buckinghamshire, incorporating the chalky Chiltern Hills in south central England. The stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds is an obsolete office with only a nominal salary. It is, however, legally an office of profit under the crown and, as such, may not be held by a member of Parliament. Since members of Parliament may not resign, “applying for the Chiltern Hundreds” or for the similarly obsolete stewardship of the Manor of Northstead is the method, still used today, by which a member gives up his seat. Recent Stewards include Sadiq Khan, Zac Goldsmith and Tristram Hunt.

[116] Of the seven sons, the eldest Dennis succeeded to Fenagh and died in 1942. Arthur was killed in South Africa. The third son, Major Charles George of the Royal West Kent Regiment was killed at Mons in 1914 while shouting “Come on boys, they are ours” – there’s an account of Charles’s last moments in “The Carlow Gentry” by Jimmy O’Toole (1993), which has a basic chapter on the P-Bs. Henry was the fourth son. According to Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland (1959) Lt Col Henry John Pack Beresford, was born on 22nd August 1871 and educated at Clifton. He served with the Malakand and Bunei Field Force on the Punjab Frontier (1897 – 98, won medal with clasp) and in the Great War (DAA, QMG 21st Div, 2nd Bn HLI). On 28 July 1904 he married Sybil Maud, yst dau of John Bell of Rushpool, Saltburn, Yorkshire. They were divorced in 1914. he died on 26th may 1945, leaving two sons, Comdr Denis John PB, RN (father of the fellow who died two years ago) and Cmdr Tristram Anthony PB, RN, Inspector of Imperial Lighthouse Service, Bahamas Islands, from 1949. The fifth son Reynell was a prominent agriculturalist and cattle breeder and lived in Co. Down. The sixth son Hugh and seventh son Algernon died unmarried in 1954 and 1908 respectively. Also two sisters Elizabeth and Annette who died unmarried in 1937 and 1941. I believe Denis’s line has now almost totally died out – perhaps a granddaughter called Alice. And I know not what became of Tristram’s daughters Caroline (b. 1945) and Moya (b. 1949).

[117] Freeman’s Journal, Wednesday 28 May 1862.

[118] These stories were told by Annie Tracey, also known as Baby Tracey, principal at Rathvilly School and a useful folklorist, in the Schools volume on Rathvilly in the National Folklore Collection at UCD. She owned Rathvilly Mill in the 1930s.

[119] Many of the correspondents in G/9 are the people named in this prospectus.

[120] From the Carlow Morning Post, Jan 1863. William Curran of Rutland, Carlow summoned John Murphy for stealing his turnips. Mr. Malcomson who appeared for Curran said that Murphy was in the employment of Curran as a daily labourer, and Curran missed turnips from time to time. He was obliged to watch and on this evening he caught this man taking turnips. Curran was obliged to take this case as there was a considerable quantity of turnips taken from him this time back. William Curran stated that this man was in my employment for the last four years, on the 30th December, I went home for my supper and shortly after going home he saw Murphy in his field pulling turnips, he had hold of three of them by the tops, I approached him , he said “Oh Lord, Oh Lord, for a few turnips”.
Defendant (Murphy) —I am those eight years in your employment , back and forward, and from that day to this did you ever see me in any robbery ?
Curran —I know I didn’t, you are very lazy at your work.
Defendant—I was taking the turnips for my wife and child to eat, and for no other intention.
Curran—His wife made no demand on me for wages. I paid his wages whenever it became due.
Judge — You are fined 10 shillings or a fortnight’s imprisonment with hard labour.

[121] VIOLENT ATTACK ON TWO MEN NEAR RATHVILLY. A murderous, and evidently premeditated onslaught, was made on two brothers, Dan and Pat Lawler, on Sunday evening last, the 2nd instant, at short distance from Rathvilly, they were returning together to the village of Milltown, where they reside. It is said that the two Lawlers were drinking that evening at a public house in Rathvilly, with some of those very persons who waylaid them soon after; and as it is rumoured that ill-feeling had existed between the parties before, it may easily be imagined that that was not exactly the fit place to extinguish the smouldering embers of hate, which were probably but ill-concealed by the mutually hating parties this as it may, they were attacked on their way home by five of these cowards, and would doubtless have been murdered by them, but for the timely and humane interference of some good people who providentially arrived in time to save their lives. The wounds inflicted on the poor fellows are of so dangerous nature, that there are but little hopes entertained of Pat’s recovery, his skull being fractured by the blows of stone. The other brother suffers great pain too from bruises received in different parts of the body. The perpetrators of this nefarious outrage were made prisoners on the same evening, and on being brought to Miltown on Tuesday for identification one or two of the prisoners were exonerated of the charge by the Lawlers. The different rumors afloat are so contradictory that it would be useless to give any of them. It was reported in Hacketstown on Tuesday night that Pat was dead, and two of the police were immediately sent off to learn the truth of it, but happily it turned out to be false. He is a present, however, in a very poor state. (Carlow Post – Saturday 8 August 1863)

[122] Freemans Journal, Thursday, August 20, 1863; The Gentleman’s Magazine, p. 343.

[123] Lisnavagh Archives, G/J/13, Kane Bunbury correspondence.

[124] Saunders’s News-Letter of Wednesday 12 October 1864.

[125] The Newry Commercial Telegraph, 22 August 1865. With thanks to Charley McCarthy.

[126] The Irish Times, Wednesday 16 August, 1865, p. 2.

[127] Colonel Bruen was grandfather to Katherine Anne, Lady Rathdonnell. Henry Bruen was her father.

[128] William Douglas, the cabinet-maker also supplied the coffin for Bella in 1867. This was probably William Douglass (c. 1815 – 14 May 1894) of (44) Dublin Street, Carlow who married Kate Clarke of Graigue on 1 Oct 1850 in the Parish Church, Lea. He had a business making furniture, and is recorded on his marriage certificate as a Cabinetmaker. Although they spelled their surname with the double ‘s’, the surname was often spelled with one ‘s’ and two ‘s’, sometimes even in the same document. (With thanks to Liz Wade).

[129] Extracted from Carlow Cathedral Baptism Register 1866, courtesy of Michael Purcell.

[130] See Lisnavagh Archives G/J/13 – Correspondence of Colonel Kane Bunbury.

[131] Robert MacDonnell, surgeon, son of John MacDonnell (who pioneered ether in Ireland in 1847) may have been the key promoter of the number-change on Merrion Square in 1881, an event that seems to have stirred as much controversy locally as the switch between the Gregorian to Julian calendars!

[132] William Maunsell Reeves’s wife Rose was the eldest daughter of the Rev Robert Conway Dobbs of Belfast. Rose’s sister Charity married Dr John McDonnell who, as a surgeon at the Richmond Hospital, applied ether to Mary Kane, an 18-year-old from near Drogheda, whose arm needed to be amputated on New Year’s Day 1847. This was the first use of ether as an anaesthetic in Ireland. Mary stirred twice during the procedure, nothing startling, and said she felt grand. It was, as McDonnell put it, “an occasion beyond measure more worthy of Te Deums in Christian cathedrals … than all the victories of fire and sword have ever achieved.”

[133] The Evening Freeman, 24 June 1871.

[134] With thanks to June Bow and Karen Poff of