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Guinness of Lodge Park, County Kildare

Lodge Park, County Kildare

Overlooking a stretch of the River Liffey, Lodge Park was built by Hugh Henry whose wife Lady Anne Leeson grew up at Russborough.

The house was bought by the Guinness family in 1948 and it is presently home to Robert and Sarah Guinness.

Robert descends from Samuel, a younger brother of Arthur, who became a goldbeater in the 18th century.

Samuel’s descendants founded the bank of Guinness Mahon and included Adelaide, 1st Countess of Iveagh, the financiers Loel and Dick, and Robert’s father, Richard, a prominent Engineer.

The formative history of the Guinness family is told in my account of Arthur Guinness (1759-1803), the Brewing Maestro.

 

Samuel Guinness (1727-1795)

 

 

In 1753, Arthur’s youngest brother, Samuel Guinness, a goldbeater, married Sarah, daughter of Henry Jago of Dublin and niece of Robert Calderwood, the great Huguenot goldsmith. Samuel and Sarah lived at 4 Crow Street, Dublin, and were friends of the actor Thomas Sheridan, father of the writer Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

 

Richard Guinness (1755-1829)

 

Samuel and Sarah’s only surviving son Richard Guinness was born in 1755 educated at Whyte’s Classic Academy in Dublin and entered the Inner Temple as a law student in 1779. When asked to subscribe to a book being published by a friend he replied:

What can I do? I have my own works to subscribe to! Nine volumes – three of them folios and six in duodecimo. I have found the binding very expensive. I am labouring to gild and letter them on the back. The paper is tolerably good, the character I hope clear and neat. But I assure you I have found the press very expensive. In a word I cannot protect any man’s productions but my own. This is destiny, not choice”.

In 1783, Richard married Mary Darley, eldest daughter of John Darley of Kilternan. The marriage further cemented the Guinness’s hold on Dublin’s brewing industry; the Darleys had operated a flourishing brewery alongside the Lepers’ Stream in Stillorgan since the 1750s. Richard, a supporter of religious toleration, was a barrister and a judge. He became a Freeman of the City of Dublin in 1822. He died shortly after Catholic Emancipation was granted in 1829.

Richard and Mary’s had five sons and seven daughters. Of these the most prominent were Robert Rundell, Richard Samuel and Mary.

 

Robert Rundell Guinness (1789-1857)

 

The eldest son Robert Rundell Guinness was born amid the turmoil of the French Revolution in 1789. He qualified as a barrister in about 1812 and lived between Farmleigh in Stillorgan and 17 College Green. Originally apprenticed to his uncle Henry Darley, a brewer in Stillorgan, Robert left the company in 1831 to join his younger brother Richard in a banking firm called “R. Guinness & Co.” The brothers’ interest in banking was undoubtedly inspired by their grandfather Samuel Guinness, the goldbeater.

After he left his brother’s business, Robert Rundell Guinness joined forces with a young apprentice from the same firm, John Ross Mahon of Ahascragh, Co. Galway.[1] In 1836, they co-founded the bank of Guinness Mahon & Co, later absorbed into Investec, the South African financial conglomerate. In 1844 Robert introduced his first customer to the proposed new railroad from Dublin to Cork, offering investment options at £2.10 shillings a share. Of the railway, he concluded: “I have a good opinion of the work. It will, I believe, assist in tranquillising Ireland” was his opinion.

Robert’s first wife, Mary Anne Seymour, was the sixth daughter of the Rev. John Crossley Seymour of Castletown House, County Laois (aka the Queen’s County). They had two sons, Richard Seymour and Henry, and a daughter, Mary.

After Mary Anne’s death, Robert was married secondly to a Mary Anne Moore in June 1840, with whom he had a son, the Rev. Robert Guinness (1841-1918) and six daughters, all of whom apparently died childless.

 

Richard Seymour Guinness (1826-1915)

 

Richard Seymour Guinness, Robert and Mary’s eldest son, was born in 1826 and educated at Trinity College Dublin. In 1841, he commenced work at Guinness Mahon, being made a partner in 1845. He then moved to England and set up house in St George’s Square. Famous for his parsimony, he used to take the penny boat to his office in St Swithin’s Lane. In later life, he moved to 16 Rutland Gate, and leased Ettington Hall, Warwickshire from the Shirley family.

In the summer of 1857, he married his cousin Elizabeth Darley, a granddaughter of Arthur Guinness the brewer. Her father, the Rev. John Darley, Rector of Arboe, was a gold medalist at Trinity College Dublin. Her mother Susanna was a celebrated beauty in Victorian England. As children, she and her sisters were painted by Sir Frederick Burton RHA. The portrait is still in the Guinness family. After the marriage, Richard moved to England, set up house in St. George’s Square, and later at 16 Rutland Gate. There they raised six sons and four daughters.

Elizabeth died in August 1906 and Richard on 2 December 1915.

 

Henry Guinness (1829–1993) of Burton Hall

 

While Richard looked after the family’s banking interests in London, management of the Dublin bank on College Green fell to his brother Henry. Born in 1858 and educated at Winchester, Henry lived at Burton Hall at Belfield by Stillorgan. Henry’s direct heirs continued the business up until its demise which, in the opinion of one family member, was due to “an unscrupulous interpretation of banking methods by non-family partners and advisors, coerced by politically powerful opportunists”. [2] Burton Hall was later converted into a riding establishment by Colonel Dudgeon and then purchased by University College Dublin for their campus.

 

Lady Ferguson

 

In August 1848, Mary Guinness, Robert and Mary’s only daughter, married Sir Samuel Ferguson (1801-1886). The Antrim-born poet and antiquarian became Deputy Keeper of Public Records in Ireland in 1867 and rose to become President of the Royal Irish Academy in 1881.

Their home at 20 North Great George’s Street was one of the principal enclaves of intellectual and artistic life during the late 19th century. Lady Ferguson, author of “Ireland before the Conquest” and a keen patron of the Celtic Revival, survived her husband by 19 years and died on 5th March 1905 in her 81st year.

 

Richard Samuel Guinness (1797–1857), MP – Old Pelican

 

Richard Samuel Guinness, the younger brother of Robert Rundell Guinness, was born in 1797. In 1833, he married Katherine, daughter of Sir Charles Jenkinson of Hawkesbury. The wedding took place at the residence of the British ambassador to France in Verdun. The Jenkinson family descend from Anthony Jenkinson, a colourful merchant-traveler who served as England’s Ambassador to Russia in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Anthony’s grandson, Sir Robert Jenkinson, a close friend of scientists Sir Matthew Hale and Robert Boyle, was knighted by Charles I. Sir Charles’s first cousin, Robert Banks Jenkinson, 8th Bart, succeeded as 2nd Earl of Liverpool and became Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1812 following the assassination of Spencer Perceval. He retained the post for 15 years until foiled by paralysis a year before his death in 1827. When Lord Liverpool’s half-brother and heir, the 3rd Earl of Liverpool, died without male heir in 1851, the Jenkinson baronetcy passed to Sir Charles.

Katherine, a lady of expensive tastes, disliked her husband’s commercial connections and rather felt she had married beneath her. Her younger sister Eleanora, for instance, married the Duke of Montbello, son of the great Napoleonic General Marshall Lannes, killed in the battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809.[3]

Richard was known in the family as ‘Old Pelican’ or ‘Old Pel.’  Perhaps to soothe his wife’s temper, he lived beyond his means and rather neglected his duties to the company. In 1836, his elder brother Robert withdrew from the partnership. Richard continued to run the firm alone, briefly acting as Treasurer to the Union Club of Dublin, but the business ultimately went bankrupt in 1849.

In 1842 Richard and his new wife moved to Deepwell House in the south Dublin village of Blackrock. In the General Election of July 1847, Richard was elected Conservative MP for Kinsale, Co. Cork. Here he must have borne witness to the shocking effects of the Great Famine as thousands of impoverished Catholics made their way into the small port and boarded ships bound for England and North America. He may have subsequently benefited from the financial assistance of his cousin, (Sir) Benjamin Lee Guinness, who was fast establishing himself as the richest man in Ireland.[4]

In 1855, the year Lord Palmerston took office as Prime Minister, Richard was elected Conservative MP for Barnstaple in Devon. He died at the height of the Indian Mutiny on 10 August 1857 at the age of 60. He left four sons and four daughters, including:

  1. Col. Charles W. N. Guinness CB (1839–1894).
  2. Arthur C. C. J. Guinness (1841–1897), who emigrated to Melbourne.
  3. Sir Reginald R. B. Guinness (1842-1909) JP, DL for County Dublin.
  4. Adelaide (1844-1916), known as “Dodo”, who was married in 1873 to her third cousin Sir Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh. The Iveaghs enjoyed entertaining on a lavish scale and their parties in Iveagh House (now the Department of Foreign Affairs) on St Stephen’s Green and their estate at Farmleigh in Castleknock were legendary. This marriage linked the brewing and banking lines of the family. [5]
  5. Claude H. C. Guinness (1852–1895), the managing director of Guinness (1886-95).

 

Robert Darley Guinness (1858-1938) and Lydia Smythe

 

Returning to Richard and Elizabeth Guinness, their eldest son Robert Darley Guinness was married in 1887 to Lydia, daughter of Henry and Maria Smythe of Barbavilla House, Collinstown, Co. Westmeath. The Smythe family came to Ireland from Yorkshire in the late 17th century. In 1713 William Smythe married Barbara Ingoldsby, for whom Barbavilla was named. Barbara’s grandfather, Sir Richard Ingoldsby, was Chief Justice and Master of Ordnance in Ireland under Oliver Cromwell. Her grandmother Lady Elizabeth Ingoldsby was a first cousin of Protector Cromwell. Barbara’s nephew, Henry Ingoldsby, was the original builder of Carton, County Kildare.

In 1882, Lydia’s mother Maria was murdered in a bungled attempt on the life of her brother-in-law William Barlow Smythe, an opponent of the Land League.[6] The two were returning from Sunday service in the village church when a lone gunman opened fire on their carriage and shot her. A maid at the house apparently forewarned her that her black crepe undergarment was showing as she mounted the carriage to go to Church that day. Henry Smythe, Maria’s husband, was so distraught he never returned to Barbavilla but remained at his Dublin house, eventually settling at Newpark in Athlone. Robert and Lydia Guinness were grandparents to Robert Guinness, the present owner of Lodge Park.

Not all of Robert’s five brothers took to merchant banking, although finance was the calling of his youngest brothers, viz:

Herbert married one of the Hope girls.

Arthur purchased Green’s Norton Hall, nr Towcester.

Gerald, born 1862. educ. Charterhouse and Trinity Dublin, was married in 1797 into Sir William de Capell Brooke’s lovely estate at Great Oakley Hall, Northamptonshire.[7]

Benjamin Guinness, the fifth, was born in 1868 and became a prominent banker in New York during the early 20th century, commuting in great style from his Long Island residence to his office, on board his yacht. He married a daughter of Sir Richard Williams-Bulkeley Bt. Their son Captain Loel Guinness, MP, married a string of beautiful women including Joan Yarde-Buller (who left him for Prince Aly Khan), Lady Isabel Manners and the Mexican socialite Gloria Guinness (1912–1980). The latter, one of Truman Capote’s beloved swans, was once asked what her favourite newspaper was. “The Daily Male!”, she quipped.” [8] By his marriage to Lady Isabel Manners, Loel was father to Billy (aka William Loel Seymour, born 1939 Eton. Lieut Irish Guards, who owned a Gulfstream jet aeroplane) and Lindy (aka Serena Belinda, the late Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava.)

Robert’s youngest brother Richard Sidney Guinness, aka Dick Guinness, was born in 1873, educated in  Harrow and stayed in the City of London all his life. He rose to become Chairman of the Mercantile and General Re-Insurance Company, subsumed by Prudential Insurance after his death and eventually sold by them back to the Swiss Re-Insurance who had originally founded the business with Richard. Dick and his second wife Beatrice (née Jungman), known as “Gloomy Beatrice,” were part of a circle that included Noel Coward, Evelyn Waugh, Lucien Freud, Oliver Messel and Loelia, Duchess of Westminster. One day, the Duchess approached Beatrice and said: “I met a friend of yours the other day …”. “You can’t have”, interjected Gloomy Beatrice, “I haven’t got one”. After their house in Great Cumberland Place had been bombed, and Beatrice was being dug out from the rubble, she is quoted as saying “I knew I should be wonderful, and I was.”  They then removed to the Park Lane Hotel, which was also hit and nearly demolished during the Blitz. Beatrice’s granddaughter Penny Cuthbertson, who was painted by Lucian Freud, became Desmond Guinness’s second wife.

 

Richard Smythe Guinness (1888-1979) – The Engineer

 

Scenes of the Guinness family in England including haymakers, the family on the steps, a donkey cart and the ruins of Wootton Hall.

Robert and Lydia Guinness’s eldest son Richard Smythe Guinness was born in 1888 and educated at Eton and Trinity Cambridge.[9] During the Edwardian years, the family leased a large and pretty Victorian gothic villa from the Domville’s called Shanganagh Grove in Loughlinstown, County Dublin. This is where Richard spent his formative years, as well as Ettington Park in Warwickshire. I think the the family then moved to Wootton Hall in Warwickshire, a beautiful late 17th century house near Stratford on Avon.

His father, who became senior partner, preserved the interests of the bank in London with Richard Seymour, whilst Henry, Richard Seymour’s brother, continued at College Green, Dublin.

During the Great War, Richard, a lieutenant with the Royal Naval Division, was wounded during the botched landing at Suvla Bay in the Dardenelles. He was about to go “over the top” when he lifted his arm rather than his head to look at his watch, at which moment the bullets tore into him. But for the brilliance of the Scottish surgeon Sir Arbuthnot Lane he would have lost his left forearm. Among his fellow soldiers were Herbert Asquith, the Prime Minister’s son, and the poet Rupert Brooke whose funeral Richard attended on Skyros in 1915.

On 24 October 1929, Richard was married in London to Esmé Patricia Chapman, a member of the Irish Chapman’s. Her father, Brigadier General Chapman, CB, CMG, CBE, had a distinguished military career with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during both the Boer War and Great War.[10] The wedding was a quiet affair, somewhat marred by news percolating through of a major crash in the American stock exchange. On their wedding day alone nearly 13 million shares were sold. By 29 October, the market had lost 47 per cent of its value.

Known by his family as “The Engineer” Richard had a profound and passionate interest in railways and steam engines. Assisted by his financier uncle Dick and other family members, he worked with the British Mannesmann Tube Company before purchasing James Beresford & Co, a Birmingham company which manufactured railway fittings.  In 1946 he acquired the Lowy Collection of locomotive models. These included George Stephenson’s Planet of 1831, the precursor of all steam engines, and Richard Trevithick’s third locomotive, the first four-wheel vehicle in existence. These engines would form the backbone of the Straffan Steam Museum, run by his son Robert.

Richard succeeded his father in 1938. The war was tough on those living around Birmingham. Night after night the cities were bombed by Hitler’s deadly V1s. On the night Coventry was destroyed, the village of Wootton Wawen was hit by 23 such bombs. Amazingly Wootton Hall, which had been requisitioned by the War Office, survived the attack. However, on VE Night, a reckless party of soldiers broke into the cellars and drank all the old port. In due course, a drunken cigarette blew flames upon the rafters. The subsequent fire destroyed the roof of the building.

In 1948, Richard moved back to his Irish birthplace and acquired Lodge Park in Straffan, County Kildare, which had been in the Henry family until 1937. With Celbridge less than 5 miles away, the family had come full circle from Richard Guinness, Dr Price’s right-hand man.

Richard had four children and was succeeded at Lodge Park by his eldest son Robert Chapman Guinness.

Map of Straffan, showing Lodge Park.

Robert Chapman Guinness.

 

Born on 4 February 1937, Robert was educated at Eton before entering the Irish Guards under a Northern Ireland Short Service Commission aged 20. In 1963 he married Sarah Jane, daughter of Miles Herman de Zoete, head of a long line of City of London Merchant Princes of Dutch origin.[11] In 1968 Robert purchased Straffan Lodge.[12] The property was previously the dower house for Straffan House and the land was originally purchased by the Barton’s to secure their right of way to the new Church at the end of the Village. The old roadway has vanished but the private gate entrance to the Church grounds remains.

In 1955 Robert’s eldest sister Meryl married Captain John Brabazon Booth of Darver Castle, Dundalk. In 1947, Captain Booth served as ADC to Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck (1884–1981), the last British Commander-in-Chief of India. Known to his troops as “The Auk”, Sir Claude’s unenviable task was to help prepare the future Indian and Pakistani armies for the Partition later carried out by Viceroy Mountbatten in August 1947. Meryl and John had four children – Grania married John Furness in 1983, Rosanna married Lord Andrew Hay in 1986, Edward married Roisin Toner in 1981 and Caragh married John Goodwin in 2003.

In 1975, Meryl married secondly an American named Thomas Fields Long. Tom, who died on 10 November 1997, was Master of the Kildare Hounds from 1966 to 1976. The Huntsman was the legendary Jack Hartigan, who rode alongside Michael Beaumont, MFH, in the 1950s. Tom Long maintained that Jack taught him everything he knew about hunting. The other Hunt servants in this era were Joe Lenehan (1st whip), Jack’s son, Michael Hartigan (2nd whip) and Dick Mahon, a mainstay of the kennels.

In about 2008, Meryl was married, thirdly, to Christopher Gaisford St Lawrence of Howth Castle.

In 1961, Robert and Maryl’s sister Shaunagh married Colonel Anthony Aylmer of Courtown, Kilcock, who commanded the Irish Guards after his appointment as Military Attache to Earl Mountbatten. The Aylmer family were prominent in Kildare since the days of Strongbow and claim descent from Ethelred, eldest brother of Alfred the Great. Large tracts of Kildare were owned by the family not least Donadea Castle, Lyons Demesne and Kerdiffstown. Colonel Aylmer’s ancestor William Aylmer of Painstown was one of Lord Edward FitzGerald’s colleagues in the United Irishmen. Anthony and Shaunagh have three children – Patrick who married Philippa Hansard in 1996, Mary married Andrew Post in 1995 and Rose married Stephen Bonsey in 1998.

Robert’s youngest sister Deirdre literally followed in the footsteps of her father and went to Peru. There she married a Peruvian, Alberto Neyra, and settled in Peru. They have a daughter, Isabel, who married M. Charles Platt and a son, Charles (film). Deirdre subsequently married Egerton Skipwith, brother of the 12th baronet.

On Richard Guinness’s death in 1979, his widow Esmé moved into Straffan Lodge, thus opening the way for Robert and Sarah’s children to be brought up at Lodge Park. Since 1980 Robert and Sarah have conducted an acclaimed restoration of the 18th century walled garden and herbaceous border at Lodge Park. When Richard originally purchased the house in 1948, the garden was in a ruinous condition, the far end being used as a stallion paddock. Slowly Esmé enabled the garden to recover its glory. She was ably assisted by Ned and Jimmy Rowley, both of whom served their apprenticeship at Straffan House. However, as time went by, so the garden at Lodge Park declined again, and it took Sarah to rise to the new challenge, with the help of Patrick Ardiff. Amongst the gardeners involved in the latest restoration have been Michael Thomas, who also worked at Englefield near Reading, and Anthony O’Grady who worked at Penshurst Place in Kent.

In 1988, one hundred years on from the birth of Richard Smythe Guinness, the Straffan Steam Museum started up in the ruinous old farm buildings. The museum itself was built from the stones of the former Church of St Jude at Inchicore, once used by the employees of the Great Southern & Western Railway. In 1992 President Mary Robinson visited the completed building and officially opened the Steam Museum in association with Dr Donald Caird, Archbishop of Dublin. These would form the basis of one of County Kildare’s foremost visitor attractions.

Robert and Sarah have five children.

The eldest Louisa achieved a successful financial career and married the modern art dealer Benjamin Brown, with whom she has a son Hector.

Clare married Hugo Jacobs in an unusual service spread over a series of days involving a private train ride for her and her guests and a service at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. They have two sons, Oliver and Edward, and a daughter, Marina.

In 1998, Katharine, the third daughter, married barrister David Bulbulia, son of former Senator Katharine Bulbulia, with whom she has a daughter Megan and a son Miles.

The eldest son Richard de Zoete Guinness was born in 1981, educated at Eton and worked with Michael Symonds, a London banker.

The youngest Samuel, born I in 1985, read theology at Brookes University, Oxford.

 

End-Notes

 

[1] “Irish Banking & Merchant Families of the 18th and 19th Centuries: A Genealogical Guide to Marriage connections”, Rosaleen Underwood (2002).

[2] Henry’s son Howard Rundell proved prolific and produced five sons, and seven daughters. His daughter Lucy married the Hungarian artist Philip de Laszlo. To this side of the family was born Henry Samuel a brilliant banker, and three knights. Here we should remember his marriage to Alfhild Holter of Norway and their two daughters Helga who married Sir Hugh Carleton Greene KCMG OBE and Marit Victoria artist enamellist, who married in 1937 Carl Aschan of Stockholm. But to return to the knights, Howard created 1981 married Evadne Jane Gibbs in1958, having two sons Christopher and Dominic and one daughter Annabel. Christopher educ. Eton married Alicia Mary Cubitt 1992 and they have one son James and two daughter Tatiana and Fenella. John created knight 1999. married Valerie Susan North  they had two sons, Rupert, born 1971 and Peter who tragically died in a car accident, and Lucy who married 3rd August 1996 Olav Ostin of Grenoble.

Sir Arthur Rundell KCMG the third son, and grandson of Henry of Burton Hall married 1923 Patience Wright to begat James Rundell CBE educ. Eton & New College Oxford. RNVR 1943-46 late Chairman of Guinness Mahon married 1953 Pauline Mander. They have one son Hugo Rundell  born 1959 educ Eton and married to a New York artist Charlotte Puckette, and they have two daus. Hugo has four sisters Miranda, Sabrina, Anita who married 2002 Amcshal Rothschild and has a son James, and Julia married to Michael Samuel and has issue.

[3] Eleanora, Duchess of Montbello, died in St. Petersburg in 1863.

[4] In 1823, Guinness produced 30,000 barrels of stout annually. By 1882 this had increased to one million barrels.

[5] Adelaide was painted in the conservatory at Farmleigh by George Elgar Hicks RA. The picture, although sold in the Elveden Hall sale of 1984, was lately recovered by a member of the family and now hangs in the dining room of their Wiltshire house. A great stained glass window was erected to the Iveagh’s memory by their children in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

[6] Maria was the second daughter of Captain Richard Carr Coote, 8th Royal Irish Hussars.

[7] Great Oakley Hall is now residence of Gerald’s descendent Hugh De Capell Brooke Guinness and his wife Bianca, daughter of Colonel Renzo and Donna Isabella della Pura Onorati. In June 2002 their son Alexander Guinness married Annabel Taylor.

[8] Billy’s elder brother Patrick Benjamin, born 1931 Eton and Lieut. RHG, whose mother Hon Joan Yarde-Buller subsequently married Prince Aly Khan, married the beautiful Countess Dolores von Furstenberg. Tragically in 1965 Patrick was killed in a car accident, but fortunately had begat a son Loel Patrick born 1957 who lives in France and Lausanne, a daughter Alexandra, previously married to Comte Foulques de Quatrebarbes, and Victoria married on 19 December 1984 to Philip Niarchos eldest son of Stavros. The next generation of Billy’s children by Lynn Day, are his two sons, Sheridan William born 1972, and Thomas Seymour born 1973, and daughter Chloe Belinda born 1976 who married Lord Reginald Vane Tempest Stewart and they have a son Robin.

[9] A daughter, Muriel, was born in July 1892. On 12th July 1924, she married Major John Phillipps de Lisle, eldest son of Edward Joseph Lisle, FSA, DL, MP of Charnwood lodge, Leics. She had two sons Everard and Julian and two daughters Alathea, and Elizabeth known as Jicky. By this time the family had found it liked Warwickshire and had moved from Ettington Park to Wootton Hall, a beautiful late 17th century house, near Stratford-on-Avon, which they purchased in the early part of the 19th century. The house, possibly by Inigo Jones had an beautiful carved wooden exterior cornice surrounding the entire house with pediment over the hall door. It had been built by a member of the Smythe family but there seems to be no connection to the Smythe’s of Barbavilla. The builder of Wootton a Roman Catholic had in those days of persecution a secret tunnel  constructed from the Hall to St Peter’s Church at the gates of the park. The Catholic priest was well provided for in the house with secret compartments, and over the Saloon chimneypiece the portrait’s eyes could be removed, to enable the priest to see if it was all clear to come out of hiding.

[10] During the Boer War, Major Chapman’s defense of Fort Prospect successfully blocked General Botha’s attempt to enter Natal, shortening the war by many months, possibly years. His father John Edward Chapman was Deputy Registrar of Deeds in Dublin and his mother, Anna Maria, a daughter of Sir Anthony Weldon of Kilmorony.

[11] Samuel de Zoete founded the business in 1802 at 28 Mark Lane, as de Zoete, Blackader & Co Merchants. This eventually became the house of de Zoete & Gorton. It is estimated that over 25% – some £30 million of British Government Stocks – in the second half of the 18th century were held by the Dutch.

[12] Straffan Lodge was briefly home to the artist Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992). Bacon’s father, a captain in the British army, moved to Ireland to breed and train racehorses after the Great War. They initially rented Cannycourt House, a large residence near Kilcullen. It is said that young Francis was badly abused by the stable lads and had his first homosexual experience here. When his father subsequently caught him dressing up in women’s clothes, Francis was dispatched to live with his maternal grandmother husband in Abbeyleix. Two years later he toured Europe, saw a Picasso exhibition and embarked on his phenomenally successful career as an expressionist.