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The Hon. Jack Bunbury (1851-1893)

Jack McClintock Bunbury

(aka Hon. John William McClintock Bunbury)


Born in Dublin on 1 September 1851, the Hon. John William (Jack) McClintock Bunbury was the only brother of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury (1848-1929), aka Tom Bunbury, subsequently 2nd Baron Rathdonnell and President of the Royal Dublin Society (1913-1929). [1] His father was Captain William McClintock Bunbury (1800-1866), MP for Carlow, who sailed the coast of South America as a youth, chasing slave ships and entertaining Charles Darwin on board HMS Samarang. His mother Pauline was a daughter of Sir James Stronge of Tynan Abbey, Co. Armagh.

Shortly before Jack’s birth, his parents and elder brother moved to the new house at Lisnavagh, Co. Carlow, where the McClintock Bunbury family live today.

Initially educated at Radley, Jack was hailed as a remarkable oarsman during his time at Eton and Oxford. He also enjoyed acting, not least during his service with the Royal Scots Greys between 1871 and 1877. In 1874, he succeeded to his great-uncle Colonel Kane Bunbury‘s house and estate at Moyle, County Carlow.

Jack’s legacy is somewhat tainted by a story of him whipping a Carlow farmer during a dispute over hunting. He also seems to have become entangled in various debts.

His wife Myra Watson was a daughter of the eccentric Carlow huntsman Bob Watson who believed he would be reincarnated as a fox. Their only son Geoffrey died at the age of 9 in 1892. Jack, who had been living in England for several years, died of heart failure the following year aged 41 and was buried in Tarporley, Cheshire. Myra continued to hunt across the British Isles, married a Dutch aristocrat and died in 1914.


Radley (1862-1865)


Born in Dublin in 1851, Jack is thought to have spent his early childhood in Ireland but perhaps, like many of his class, he was at a prep school in England. In 1862, he went to St Peter’s College, aka Radley School, in Oxfordshire, a boys school founded in 1847, the same year that Jack’s father began building the new house at Lisnavagh that would be Jack’s childhood home. He arrived at Radley just as its warden, William Sewell, was departing for Germany in a cloud of financial debt. Sewell was also a key figure in the founding of St Columba’s College in Dublin.

He was rowing for  Radley in the early 1860s[2]


Dr Warre’s House, Eton


Jack Bunbury at Eton.

In September 1865, Jack migrated from Radley to Eton where he joined his elder brother Tom in Dr Warre’s House. Like Tom, he was a member of Pop, the Eton Society. Jack’s classmates at Eton included Henry Neville Gladstone (son of the Prime Minister) and George Harris (the cricketer who became Governor of Bombay).

In an 1898 memoir entitled ‘Amateur Clubs & Actors’, Francis Batten Tarver recalled organising ‘a little entertainment’ at Dr Warre’s house for the amusement of his pupils, family, and a few friends, on the evening of Thursday 14 December 1865. The play was ‘A Charade’ in three acts, with three cast members, namely Mr Tarver himself as Box, Tom Bunbury as Cox and Jack Bunbury as Mr Bouncer. Tarver’s principal recollection was ‘the stroke of genius which inspired the younger Bunbury (who died a few years ago) to express to Mr. Cox the hope that he slept ‘comfortable’ (so pronounced).’ ‘A Charade’ was followed by a Burlesque Tragic Opera called “Bombastes Furioso” in which Tom had the lead role as Artaxominous.[3]


The Eton Stroke



Etonians celebrate 4th June as the birthday of George III. On 4 June 1866, a service was held at Eton 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. He was one of the few boys in training for Henley. Like his father and elder brother, Jack was to prove an extremely talented oarsman.

Jack’s father, Captain William McClintock Bunbury, sailed the coast of South America with Darwin in the 1830s. He died in June 1866 when Jack was fifteen years old.

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).  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.’

Two days later, news arrived of the death of Jack’s father, Captain McClintock Bunbury.

The 4th June Procession at Eton in 1889. Jack participated in this same event 20 years earlier.

In 1867, Jack was Captain of Lower Boats at Eton. Tom was in the Eton Eight in 1867 and was captain of boats in 1868: Eton won the Ladies Plate in both years.

In 1868, Jack scored his first success at Henley Royal Regatta in the two seat of the Eton crew that won the Ladies’ Plate. The boat was stroked by Tom, who left Eton that summer. Jack went on to stroke Eton in the winning Ladies crews of 1868 and 1869 at 10 stone 11 pounds. Thus, for three years in succession, there was a Bunbury at the stroke oar when the Ladies Plate was won. The 1868 crew set a record time of 7 minutes 18 seconds.

In the 1869 Henley he also stroked Eton’s Grand crew which lost in a heat to the final winners by of a length. In early November 1869, he also officiated as starter at the Eton athletics contest on the South Meadows. [4]

During Eton’s annual sculling races on the 25 and 26 May 1870, he won the Silver Sculls. [5] On 1 June 1870 – Speech Day at Eton – he was second captain of the Victory with fellow crew members Daniell, Preston, Yarborough, Coleridge, Benson, Fountaine, Hall and Allen (cox).

He also stroked Eton to victory in the Ladies Plate before leaving Eton in July 1870. Like his brother Tom, he was. He also stroked the Eton boys, if you will, to win the Grand for Oxford Etonians in 1871.

For extra information on Tom and Jack – their high jumping and rowing exploits – look up M’Clintock Bunbury on The Times – note its M’Clintock, not McClintock.




When their father died in June 1866, Tom succeeded to the Bunbury estates and Jack was left £14,000, plus £300 pa up until their 21st birthday “for or towards their advancement in the world.” He would subsequently inherit the house at Moyle from his great uncle, Colonel Kane Bunbury.


Brasenose College, Oxford  (1870-1872)


Jack Bunbury at about the time he went to Oxford.

In the [summer?] of 1870, Jack’s sister Helen died.

On 24 October 1870, 19-year-old Jack was matriculated into Brasenose College, Oxford, matriculation being the formal ceremony of admittance as a member of the University. At matriculation his status was given as ‘armigeri filius’, son of an ‘esquire’ (originally a man entitled to bear heraldic arms). [6] The college principal since 1853 had been the RevEdward Hartopp Cradock (1810-1886), whose wife Harriet Cradock wrote a number of novels.

Brasenose College focused on sport more than academic merit at this time, especially boating. The Brasenose College Boat Club was the oldest collegiate boat club in the world. However, according to The Quatacentenary Monographs, the rowing team had been struggling since 1868. To the horror of its Chief, aka Dr Cradock, an enthusiast for sports and exercise, Brasenose had dropped to 5th place on the eve of Jack’s arrival at the college.

According to a story told in The Brazen Nose:

“The best Oar at Eton, McClintock-Bunbury, had come up for entrance and to the intense astonishment and disappointment of us all had next day returned whence he came, defeated. [I think this means he had not secured sufficiently good results to get into Oxford from Eton?] when this was known, the Captain and Secretary of our boat club hurried off to interview “the Chief ” … and asked him whether he realised that the stroke of the Eton Eight had been ploughed for matric., adding that our next years Eight needed him badly.
“God bless my soul, “said the Chief, “is that so? I will see at once whether anything can be done.”
He promptly telegraphed to Bunbury at Eton, “what is the perfect of Τ?πτω (túpt?)?” and the answer [an Ancient Greek word, meaning ‘I beat’ or ‘I strike’– TB.] was wired back quite right the very first time. [7]
Whether the tale is true or not, he (Jack) turned up sure enough the next term, and not only proved a power in the College boat, but rowed in the Varsity crew as well.” [8]

As preparations for the annual University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge got underway in 1870, many wondered whether 12-stone Jack Bunbury might be selected as the Oxford stroke. Oxford had enjoyed a run of nine consecutive victories before Cambridge beat them in April 1870. The pressure was back on Oxford and, as such, much of it fell on their young stroke. He won The Trial Eights in 1870 before going on to greater success in 1871.

In 1870, Jack won the hammer-throwing at Eton with a massive throw of 83ft. 7.5in. [9]


The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, 1871, by William Crimea Simpson


The 1871 Season


A carte de visite of the Oxford crew of 1871, courtesy of Greg Denieffe, with Jack bottom right.

1871 was seemingly ‘an uneventful year’ for Brasenose, in which, as the Rev. H. C. Wace observed, ‘both boats had a chequered career, with the result that the Eight finished where it started and the Torpids gained one place.’ However, he singled out Jack who, did at least win both the Oxford University Boat Club Sculls and (with A.D.C. Lewis) the O.U.B.C. Pairs in 1871.[10]

On 11 February 1871, The Graphic said Oxford was struggling to find a suitable stroke as ‘it is said that Mr Bunbury, who came from Eton with a great reputation, has not “last” enough for the place’. Nonetheless the moustachioed Jack was chosen as stroke. In the build-up to the race, Cambridge were able to field ‘a good stroke and a good No. 7’ while Oxford, with five veterans from 1870’s ‘Dark Blue’ crew, ‘will have men who are untried to fill both those important places.’ The Graphic predicted a victory for Cambridge. [11] They were soon out practicing on the water, displaying their prowess to a few riverside spectators, in a boat built by Messrs J and S Salter. Sometimes they were steered by Mr W. D. Benson (who had rowed three times for the Dark Blues in the 1868, 1869 and 1870 races) while Mr E. G. Banks coached them by horse-back from the bank. [12]

On 25 February, the Penny Illustrated stated that Jack had:

‘… much improved on his trial-eight form … and if he can make the heavy men behind him row forty in an outrigger as well as he did the boys’ crew forty-eight, he will be able to show an older on younger shoulders than is often seen’.

But much doubt was still placed on Oxford having ‘almost a boy for a stroke to a mammoth crew’. He weighed 8lb less than the average member of the Oxford team.

On 23 February, Oxford decided to swap Jack’s stroke with the No. 7, R. Lesley. It seems to have worked better for them and by March 18, the Penny Illustrated favoured Oxford over Cambridge. You can see portraits of the two competing teams here: THE OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE OARSMEN, 1871. [13]

On Saturday 1 April 1871, the two teams set off but it was Cambridge who, despite a last minute spurt by Lesley and the Oxford team by the Mortlake brewery, won by a length in 23 minutes and 5 seconds (‘with a foul wind from the north east’). They had a big feast celebration in Willis’s Rooms that evening.

The Brasenose Eight‘s prospects ‘were to all appearances as bright as its best wishers could have desired’ but things went downhill when three of the crew were obliged to vacate their seats. ‘Still, with the valuable addition of Mr. Bunbury, it was hoped that the Eight would succeed in making some bumps.’ Unfortunately despite his ‘valuable addition’, Jack was unable to improve things although, by 1872, the Eights had clambered back into third place and then, after ‘a small drop in 1873’, they clawed their way back again to become the top team by 1876.

A picture of the Oxford Crew, including Jack, appears in The Illustrated London News Vol 58 (1871). His fellow crew members were E. Giles, S.H. Woodhouse (bow), T.S. Baker, E.C. Malan, F.H. Hall (cox), J.E. Edwards-Moss, F.E.H. Payne and R. Lesley. While at Eton, Jack won the coveted Ladies Plate at Henley.

At Henley in July 1871, he was defeated ‘with ridiculous ease’ by William Fawcus of the Tynemouth Rowing Club, shortly before Fawcus defeated Mr Long, the Wingfield sculls winner. Jack also stroked the Eton boys to win the Grand for Oxford Etonians in 1871.[14]

Jack was also a member of Vincent’s Club, the University club for Blues and sportsmen

In 1871 he was ‘7’ in the losing Boat Race crew, won the Oxford University Sculls (the Silver Sculls and the Silver Challenge Oars for pairs), lost in the first round of the Diamonds but won the Grand, rowing at ‘4’ for Oxford Etonians.

See Greg Denieffe’s blog post ‘A Victorian Ladder: Eton College at Henley’ (Hear the Boat Sing, 2013) here.


Oxford Swell


Jack duly became one of the so-called Oxford ‘Swells’ and was described as ‘one of the best of good fellows’. [15] In July 2012, I asked Dr Robin Darwall-Smith, FSA, FRHistS, Archivist at Magdalen College if he could define a ‘swell’. He most eloquently replied: ‘What is a swell, you ask? As you say it, I at once think of someone who is a bit flashy – definitely wearing very fashionable clothes, rather expensive, and with a splendid buttonhole, and a smart walking stick – without being vulgar; he will have a bit of money to throw around, even if he can’t really afford it; he’ll know all the right people and be invited to all the right parties; he will be a member of rather exclusive dining clubs; he will be a bit pleased with himself; he won’t be particularly academic. That’s a caricature, I know; but when you say “Oxford swell” to me, that’s the picture I have. I then looked at the “Oxford English Dictionary”, and they suggested “A fashionably or stylishly dressed person; hence, a person of good social position, a highly distinguished person.” So I think I got it about right.’ 

Elizabeth Boardman, the Brasenose College archivist concurred that an Oxford Swell was ‘someone who was more into the social and sporting life of the College as opposed to being studious.’

Jack left Oxford before taking a degree. We know this because his name was removed from the College books (the Buttery Book) in 1871. At this point, he ceased to be a member of the College and dues were no longer payable. Names were removed if a man left before taking a degree; after degrees the name remained on the books (and dues were payable) for life unless the member removed his name.


Jocelyn Alexander (1852-1918)


Jocelyn Alexander, son of the hymnwriter C. F. Alexander.

Among Jack’s Brasenose contemporaries was his distant cousin Jocelyn Alexander , who had previously studied at Winchester College. Jocelyn was the eldest son of Mrs. Cecil Frances Humphreys (the hymn writer) and her husband, Sir William Alexander, the Protestant Primate of All Ireland. He matriculated five weeks after Jack on 1 December 1870, aged 18. He gained a 3rd Class degree in History and was awarded his B.A in 1874.

While at Oxford, Jocelyn won the prestigious Newdigate Prize for English Verse in 1874. He also won the English Essay Prize in 1877 and the Sacred Poem Prize in 1878.[16] He also wrote an Ale Verse in 1875, ‘Brasenose Ale’, perhaps?, and may have played cricket for the college. He was appointed Inspector of Schools in 1880. He married Alice Rachel Humphreys on 5 January 1876; their son died in infancy.

Jocelyn was killed aged 66 when RMS Leinster was sunk by a German U-boat in the Irish Sea in October 1918.


Oxford – The Wildean Connection?


Jack and his brother Tom Bunbury (later Lord Rathdonnell).

Jack Bunbury with Mr. C. Nugent performing in a play called ‘Ticklish Times’.

bunbury (BUN-buh-ree) noun. An imaginary person whose name is used as an excuse to some purpose, especially to visit a place. verb intr. To use the name of a fictitious person as an excuse.

I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, in order that I may be able to go down into the country whenever I choose. Bunbury is perfectly invaluable. If it wasn’t for Bunbury’s extraordinary bad health, for instance, I wouldn’t be able to dine with you at Willis’s to-night.
Algernon Moncrieff, ‘The Importance of being Earnest’, by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was at Trinity College Dublin from 1871-1874, and then at Magdalen College, Oxford from 1874-1878, so he does not seem to have been at Oxford at the same time as Jack. That said, Jack’s name may well have still been spoken of at Oxford in Wilde’s day, whether for his boating prowess or for his reputation as an Oxford swell.  It might be noted that Oscar Wilde’s brother Willie was later to become a friend of Colonel Kane Bunbury’s granddaughter Mary Bayley, or was staying with her on the night of the 1891 census. Colonel Bunbury also owned the land at Drumsnatt, County Monaghan, where Oscar and Willie’s half-sisters were living at the time of their tragic death in 1871.

In any event, the story runs that Oscar Wilde encountered a man called Bunbury who inspired the imaginary invalid in his masterpiece, “The Importance of Being Earnest”. That Jack was called Jack is perhaps curious as ‘Jack Worthing’ is also the name of the lead character in “Earnest“.

Bunburying” has since entered the dictionary as “the art of inventing a friend whose troubles are so compelling that nobody will question the need to visit that friend at short notice, and for any length of time“.

The contemporary Spanish rock singer Enrique Bunbury adopted his name from Oscar Wilde’s book.

William Whitelocke-Lloyd, who became a famous artist in the Zulu War, started at Magdalene College, Oxford, in 1874.


Fitzsmythe at the Theatre Royal, 1871


On Wednesday 29 March 1871, Jack McClintock Bunbury, Scots Greys, continued his acting career when he took to the stage of the Theatre Royal in Dublin to entertain Earl Spencer, the Lord Lieutenant, and the Countess Spencer with the garrison’s first and only Amateur Performance. Also present were Major General Newton, CB, Commander of the Garrison, and General Wardlaw, CB, Commander of the Cavalry in Ireland.

The evening commenced at 8:00 with a two-act domestic drama called ‘The Rent-Day‘ by Douglas Jerrold. [17] As befitting a Bunbury, Jack’s role was in a one-act farce that followed, entitled ‘Fitzsmythe of Fitzsmythe Hall‘, written by John Maddison Morton in 1860. J. McCalmont of the 8th Hussars took the titular role with Captain Smythe as Frank Tottenham, Jack as the servant Gregory and the two female roles of Mrs Fitzsmythe and Penelope played by Mrs F. Huntley and Miss T. Coleman respectively. The New York Times described the play as ‘a lively farce, imported from London. Without possessing much merit it keeps the audience in a roar of laughter, and thereby answers its purpose‘. [18]


2nd Dragoons (Scots Greys)


On 30 December 1871, Jack purchased a commission as a sub-lieutenant in the 2nd Dragoons (which became the Royal Scots Greys in 1877) in succession to Cornet Johnson, promoted. [19]  Jack’s brother Tom was by then a lieutenant in the Royal Lancers and stationed at Plymouth and Dartmoor.

Jack’s army expenses were covered by a £1000 gift to his mother from his great-uncle, Colonel Kane Bunbury of Moyle and Rathmore Park.

The 2nd Dragoons do not appear to have seen any action during the 1870s but was devoted to peace time duties in England, Scotland and Ireland. There was always time for cricket. In 1873, Jack was caught by a Colthurst while playing against Cork County. In 1938, Jack’s great nephew Bill Rathdonnell avenged this moment by catching out Sir George Colthurst!

On 20 January 1874, the War Office announced that Sub-Lieutenant Jack was to be promoted to lieutenant.[20] Five weeks later, on 26 February 1874, his brother Tom married Kate Bruen, thus uniting two of County Carlow’s most influential families.


The Sevenoaks Fray, 1874


Jack with some fellow officers of the Scots Greys, namely Scott, Mabob and Captian Uniake.

On 24 April 1874, Jack was at the Sevenoaks Races his fellow officer, Lieutenant Francis Maitland Phillips, Scots Greys, when the latter was embroiled in a fight with John Wilson, alias Edward Murray. As the press relayed:

‘At the conclusion of one of the races, [Lieutenant Philips] left the ring, and as he was passing through the turnstile his attention was attracted by some one tapping him on the shoulder, and using very abusive language. He turned round, and received a blow in the face from the prisoner with his fist, and found himself surrounded by a gang of men, of the same class as the prisoner. He closed with the prisoner with the view of protecting himself as far as possible, and they fell to the ground together. While on the ground the prisoner struck and attempted to strike him, and he received several kicks and blows from the prisoner’s confederates, some of whom used most disgraceful language.’ [23]

It seems Mr Wilson was still sore about being roughed up by the Greys in the weighing room at the Aldershot races a week earlier after he had failed to pay Captain Ross, Scots Greys, the £10 he was owed. An assault trial ensued at the Sevenoaks Petty Sessions, with Jack being summoned as a witness.

Mr Wilson was given two months’ imprisonment, with hard labour, and ordered to pay the costs.



The Moyle Inheritance


This is believed to be Kane Bunbury in the uniform of the Princess Royal’s. Kane was Jack’s great-uncle. He also sponsored his entrance into the army and ultimately left him the estate at Moyle in County Carlow.

1874 brought the sad but anticipated death (apparently at Lisnavagh) of Jack’s great uncle, Colonel Kane Bunbury, aged 92, on 9 November. The Colonel was buried in the family vault at St. Mary’s Church in Rathvilly where Jack’s father and two sisters also lay.

In his will, Colonel Bunbury left Big Moyle and the 520 acres that went with it to his cousin, George Stephen, 2nd Viscount Gough, who sold it to Jack in 1875 for £20,000. I think Kane had provided the money for Jack to but Moyle, and a number of other estates. The 1876 Registry for the “Owners of Land of One acre and Upwards” suggests that the Moyle estate comprised of 3098 acres.


Royal Dublin Society


On 28 October 1875 – John William Kane [sic] McClintock Bunbury of Moyle, Co. Carlow, was elected a life member of the Royal Dublin Society. He was proposed for membership by J. L. Naper and J. C. Doyne. This was the same year that Parnell was elected MP for Meath.

On 30 June 1876, the RDS members list again included John Kane McClintock Bunbury of Moyle.


Resignation from the Army


Jack’s mother died in 1876, the same year Tom was elected High Sheriff for Co. Carlow.

On 8 June 1877, the War Office announced that Jack had resigned his commission as a lieutenant of the 2nd Dragoons. [21]

1877 was the year in which Parnell began his campaign for Irish Home Rule and Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.


Marriage to Myra Watson, 1878


On 11 September 1878, the Hon. John McClintock Bunbury, Esq, of Molye, Co. Carlow, married (Elizabeth) Myra Watson, second daughter of Robert Gray Watson of Ballydarton, the famous Master of the Hounds. She was eight years his junior. The marriage took place in Fenagh with the Dean of Leighlin and the Rev. Leslie Badham, Rector of the parish, officiating.[22] Four days after the wedding, Jack’s brother Tom was blessed with a son and heir, William McClintock Bunbury, meaning Jack was no longer first in line.


The Watsons of Ballydarton


John Watson (1861) by Stephen Catterson Smith. His feet are upon the fur of the last wolf in Ireland, which was shot by his father.

The Watsons claim descent from the Rutland line of Watsons in England, one of whom became Marquess of Rockingham in 1728. From this line came John Watson of Crosted, Cumberland who married Jane West and settled at Kilconner in County Carlow in 1658, leasing the land from the Earl of Ormonde. His eldest son, also John Watson, served as a Commissioner under the Great Seal, helping Sir John Ponsonby’s enquiry into the causes and cruelties of the Irish rebellion of 1641. [24] He built Kilconnor House where the Watsons lived for many centuries.

His son, another John Watson, born in 1649, became a member of the Society of Friends and built a Quaker meeting house at Kilconnor, for which he was imprisoned and had his land forfeited. At the time, there were several meeting houses in Carlow and the Watsons were inter-married with the Leckys, the most prominent Quaker family in the county. The Watsons were well known for their love of hunting and are credited with killing the last Irish wolf at Myshall.

John’s grandson Samuel Watson (1714-1784) was the first of the family to live at Ballydarton, between Fenagh and Leighlinbridge. In 1808, Samuel’s grandson John Henry Watson became Master and co-founder of the Tullow Hunt. [25] As Jimmy O’Toole has noted in his book, ‘The Carlow Gentry‘, this marked the beginning of the legendary Watson association with hunting not just in Carlow, but also in County Meath, the Cotswold’s and Australia. John Henry Watson was Myra Bunbury’s grandfather.

In his history of the Kildare Hunt, Lord Mayo tells an anecdote relayed to him by Bob Watson about his father.

‘When Mr John Watson, was a boy, he used to hunt during the holidays with a pack belonging to Sir Richard Butler of Garryhundon, Co. Carlow. Young Watson was once returning to school in Dublin on horseback, attended by a man-servant, when he met the Kildare hounds hunting a fox. They had checked, but young Watson called out, ” Jostler has it.” Mr. Kennedy [ie: John Kennedy, then Master of the Kildare Hunt], rode up, looking very impressive in his tall silk hat, which he always wore, and said to the boy, ” Who are you, and what do you know about Jostler? ”
“I’m John Watson,” replied the boy,” and that’s Sir Richard Butler’s Jostler, wherever you got him.” Such was the beginning of a great friendship between the two families of Watson and Kennedy.’

Myra’s father was Bob Watson, legendary Master of the Carlow & Island, while her uncle George Watson moved to Australia in 1850 where he became known as the “Prince of Starters” at the race courses of Victoria as well as Master of the Melbourne Hunt. [26] Another uncle William Watson was Master of the Cotswolds.

See “The Watsons of Kilconner, Co. Carlow 1650 -Present” (Paragon Publishing, 2019) by Dr Peter Coutts.


Bob Watson (1820-1908)


Robert Gray Watson, father-in-law to Jack Bunbury and Master of the Carlow & Island Hounds.

Myra’s brother John Watson was a famous international polo player and Master of the Meath Hounds from 1891 to 1908.The Watsons were far more interested in hunting than politics, although they played their part in local affairs, chiefly in support of the right wing Tory party. In 1871, Robert Watson was listed as owner of 776 acres in the county. His cousin Robert Lecky Watson had 687 acres at Kilconnor while a further 1087 acres rested with Robert’s mother, Sarah Lecky Watson, also at Kilconnor.

Myra’s father, Bob Watson, aka Robert Gray Watson was John Henry Watson’s eldest son. He succeeded to Ballydarton in 1869 and was 56 years Master of the Carlow & Island Hunt (the new name of the Tullow Hunt from 1853). On 16 December 1862, Bob earned a paragraph in the Cork Examiner:

SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO ROBERT WATSON, ESQ, MASTER OF THE CARLOW AND ISLAND HOUNDS.—Mr. Watson met with a very serious accident, a day or two since, when following the hounds at Shrule, near Gorey. When crossing a fence, Mr. Watson’s horse fell, and then rolled over him, and one of his legs was broken a little below the knee. He was conveyed to a neighbouring house, where the leg was set and dressed by Dr. Sims, and Mr. Watson was then conveyed to his own residence, Evergreen Lodge, Fenagh. It is satisfactory to know that he is now progressing very favourably.

Another story told about Bob concerns a time when he was present for a post-hunt chat amongst members of the Kildare Hunt. One member began bragging about his horses, saying: ‘I’ve just been thinking about the amount of money I had between my legs in that run to-day. The chestnut cost me £350, and the second horse £250, £700 altogether, and they were well worth every penny of it.” As Lord Mayo relates, ‘there was a lull in the conversation, and the gentleman, turning to Mr Watson, resumed, ” By the by, Watson, that was a good nag you were on to-day.” ” He is in- deed,” was the reply. ” What did you give for him?” ” Sixteen pounds ten,” replied Mr Watson, amid a roar of laughter. This was the fact. The horse he called Quaker, and he bought him of a man who asked him to buy him because he could not keep him on the land, so he gave that exact sum for him. He was a good horse, and though he never got him to change his legs at a fence he seldom fell.’

On 30 January 1879, Bob Watson had another near death experience when his horse fell at a dangerous fence and broke its neck; the Whip’s horse jumping next met the same fate and so did a third horse who actually dropped dead before reaching the fence. It is suggested that it was from this point onwards that Robert became convinced he would be reincarnated as a fox.

“In your notice of longevity of masters of hounds, huntsmen, &c., which appeared in your paper of February 18, the name of Robert Watson, master of the Carlow hounds, does not appear. I think this most wonderful man and sportsman is facile princeps in the field of long-lived hunting men. He is at this moment 76 years of age, I believe, and is hunting his hound as he has done continuously for more than 40 years; and not only is master in the ordinary sense of the word, bat as hard riding a master huntsman as can be found. The field as a rule ride hard, and it is a big and very difficult country; but no one is ever nearer his hounds or goes straighter than this admirable sportsman.” The gentle man here referred to is a brother of Mr. George Watson, the veteran starter of the V.R.C. and master of the Melbourne Hunt Club, who, despite his advanced years, is just as keen a huntsman as his patriarchal relative in Ireland.”
The Advertiser, 13 April 1893. [27]


The Foxes Earth


An epiphany is defined as the sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something. Quite when Irish huntsman Robert Watson had his epiphany is uncertain. It may have occurred in the wake of one of his many falls. Perhaps it was the one where he broke his leg crossing a fence in Gorey in 1862. But more likely it was that strange afternoon of 30th January 1879 when his horse fell at a hazardous fence and broke its neck. What was strange was that the Whip’s horse, jumping next, met precisely the same fate while a third horse dropped dead just as it reached the fence. At any rate, Bob Watson’s epiphany was that he would one day be reincarnated as a fox.

Bob Watson probably counted foxes to get to sleep at night. His bloodline was about as thickly fox-hunterish as you get. His grandfather is credited with killing the last wild Irish wolf at Myshall, Co. Carlow. His father co-founded the Tullow Hunt. His uncle was Master of the Cotswolds. His brother went to Australia and became Master of the Melbourne Hunt. His son John was a famous international polo player and Master of the Meath Hounds. And Bob himself was Master of the Carlow & Island Hunt for 32 years.

If you were convinced you were going to be reincarnated as a fox, what would you do? Bob Watson took no chances. At the time, his family lived at Larchill in Co. Kildare. Bob designed a knobbly grass-covered mound, shaped exactly like a Foxes Earth, and whacked it bang in the midst of Larchill’s beautiful Arcadian Gardens ( He pitched a rough semi-columned temple on top and ensured the mound was full of useful escape tunnels, each one carefully tapered so that a fox could zip through but a slightly bigger hound could not.

Bob Watson died aged 86 in 1908 and was buried at Fenagh, Co Carlow. At his funeral, the mourners were apparently instructed to shout the hunter’s cry “gone-away gone-away“. It is assumed that Bob the Fox then made his way to Larchill where he now roams the water meadows and perennial borders, mingling with frogs and dragonflies, dining on wild duck and breathing in the aroma of herbs and wildflowers. Bob the Fox does not fear the hunters’ horn. In his last will and testament, Bob the Man banned fox-hunting, in perpetuity, at Larchill.

(Written by Turtle and published in The Irish Times Magazine, July 2008).


The Lawlor Affair, 1878


In 1878 there occurred a dour business when a dubious Carlow man called Thomas Lawlor managed to harness a dozen or more people to guarantee a life insurance for him to start up a business venture. Jack guaranteed him for £500 and Lawlor duly declared himself bankrupt. Investigations were made as to how Lawlor could have spent so much in a mere 5 months, but it came to nothing. Jack later stated in a letter of March 1883 to his solicitor, Richard Reeves, 17 Merrion Square:

I know I have made a fool of myself but I took a fancy to the man & thought he would have been able to work a good business – which I believe he could have done had he not tried too much … however, there is no use crying over spilt milk & I must get out of it as well as I can ...”.


High Sheriff of Carlow, 1880


This is thought to be the 2nd Baron Rathdonnell circa 1880s.

In January 1880, Jack Bunbury of Moyle, County Carlow, brother of the new 2nd Lord Rathdonnell, succeeded Charles Edward Henry Duckett Steuart to become High Sheriff of Carlow.  That same month, the Kilkenny Moderator revealed that Jack was being considered as potential master for the Kilkenny hounds following the resignation of Colonel Chaplin, ‘and all will admit that he is a good sportsman.’ However, there were also ‘whisperings’ that either the Marquis of Waterford or the Marquis of Ormond might also have an interest. [28]

On 1 November 1880, Jack was listed by the RDS as “the Hon. John W McCB of Moyle”; it is not clear why he was considered an honourable, although his older brother Tom had lately succeeded their uncle John McClintock as 2nd Lord Rathdonnell. Perhaps he was ‘the Hon.’ until his Tom produced heirs male?


Polo Match, 1880


In 1880, Jack was on the ‘Civilians’ polo team that lined out to play the ‘Military’ for a Gold Cup presented by the then Prince of Wales (later Edward VII). Jack’s team members were E. Baldock, J. Kennedy and Arthur and Johnny Peat. Their military opponents were Captain Richard St. Leger Moore, 5th Lancers, who lived at Killashee, near Naas, County Kildare, as well as the future Sir Algernon Peyton, 11th Hussars, the future Captain G. Phipps-Hornby, of the Rifle Brigade, L. Heywood Jones, 5th Lancers, and the future Major F. H. Blacker, of the 4th Hussars.

The army men won by a goal. Colonel St Leger More captained the team that won the first Hurlingham inter-regimental tournament, and was MFH of the Kildare Hunt from 1884 to 1897. Blacker became assistant polo manager at Hurlingham.[29]


Grand Juror, 1882


At the Summer Assizes of 1882 and the Spring Assizes of 1883, Jack was listed as one of the 20 or so gentlemen sworn in as jurors on the Grand Jury. He lived at Moyle at this time. His property was rated at £450 and he was described as a non-resident. The box beside the word ‘Magistrate’ is ticked no. [30]


New Herd Wanted (Protestant)


On 2 October 1882, Jack placed an ad in the Belfast Newsletter:

‘WANTED, an experienced HERD (Protestant), who can be well recommended; must have a thorough knowledge of the management of sheep and cattle – Send copies of discharges  and state terms to J. W. McClintock, Bunbury, Moyle, Carlow.’ [31]


Geoffrey McClintock Bunbury (1882-1892)


Jack’s wife Myra bore him his first (and ultimately only) child, a son, Geoffrey McClintock Bunbury, born on 10 October 1882. They were living at Moyle at the time and Geoffrey’s birth was registered with Dr Henry Kidd in Tullow on 22 November.


The Fenelon Affair


On 21 November 1882, six weeks after his son’s birth, Lieutenant Jack Bunbury, Scots Greys, became embroiled in a serious scandal when he struck a farmer across the face with his riding crop. As he had been appointed a JP early in the year, he should have been entirely familiar with the implications of the 1881 Land Act, which enshrined the Land League’s policies for fair rent, fixity of tenure and the right to freely sell their holdings. The Act was seen as the first serious economic dent in the previously impenetrable armour of the gentry. For keen huntsmen like Jack Bunbury and his father-in-law Bob Watson, there was a psychological impact also. They could no longer ride their horse and hounds willy-nilly across the county.

Jack came face to face with this new age while out hunting near Bagenalstown with his various others, including Captain Beauchamp Bagenal and several ladies. The small party came upon a 15-acre farm belonging to Patrick Fenelon (or Fenlon). Patrick and his brother James were amongst over 200 farmers who had signed a petition forbidding the hunt to cross their land. They had sent notice of this ban to Bob Watson.

When Jack and his colleagues were crossing Patrick Fenelon’s land, they found their path blocked by the 6 foot 3 inch frame of Patrick Fenelon himself and four or five others. There are various versions of what happened next but the one that gained traction in the nationalist press is that heated words were exchanged before Jack attempted to force his way through. Patrick, aged 36, is then said to have grabbed the bridle of Jack’s horse, at which Jack struck him ‘a stunning blow’ on his head with his riding crop, knocking the man’s hat off. That may not have been the only act of aggression in the fray. The Kildare Observer of 17 February 1883 carried full details of the event, see here. See also the case referenced in Hansard 1883.

News of the incident spread like wildfire across the county. Mass rallies were called for and Jack quickly became a cause célèbre in nationalist newspapers, earning two pages in the Leinster Leader. In December, a mass demonstration was held at St Mullins in support of the Irish National League; the Rev. Delaney of Clonegal showed a sense of humour when he proposed that “every Land Leaguer in County Carlow give a penny-a-piece to buy a gold-mounted riding whip and present it to the Honourable Bunbury to flagellate all the farmers that opposed hunting”.

At length, a special jury was convened at the Four Courts under Lord Chief Justice Pallis of the Queen’s Bench on 13 February. After considering the case for 20 minutes, the jury awarded Patrick Fenlon £10 damages and Jack was ordered to pay £150 costs.

The event was even raised in the House of Commons on 10 May 1883.[32] Shortly afterwards, the Dublin Weekly Nation published the following letter.[33]

Mr. Patrick Fenlon and the Distress in Donegal.
Mr. Patrick Fenlon, of Carlow, has addressed the following letter to the Rev. F. W. Gallagher, of Glencolumbkille:
Curracut, County Carlow, 21st May.
Rev. Dear Sir—Enclosed I send you bank notes for £20, my contribution to the Donegal Distress Fund, a sum which would be far above my small means were it not that it has reached my hands under peculiar circumstances.
In November last I was guilty of the daring impropriety of asserting my legal right of preventing trespass over my land, in opposition to the wishes of three members of the Carlow and Island Hunt —one landed proprietor, the Hon. John M. Bunbury; another a justice of the peace, Captain Walter B. Perrsse, of Bagenalstown; and the third a doctor, who is a Government official in a small sense, holding the lucrative position of surgeon to the Carlow Rifles, Mr. Edward Rawson, Carlow.
These dignitaries resented my interference with their gracious pleasure, by assaulting me on my own land, and no doubt thought that in so doing they were exercising one of the ordinary privileges of the dominant class. However, even a Dublin special jury thought otherwise, and awarded me the sum of £10 damages against Mr. Bunbury. The two other heroes of the hunting whip took warning by this, and offered to pay me similar damages, and to apologise for their conduct, which offer I have accepted.
I did not want their money, but I thought it a pity that their conduct should go un punished. Accordingly I have applied £10 of the money recovered to solicitors’ costs and expenses incidental to the action against Mr. Bunbury, and not allowed against him on taxation, and the balance I tend to you, because I consider that this money, wrung from the hands of landed proprietor, magistrate, and petty official, could not be better applied than in relieving the wants of those who owe all their misfortune to the grasping cupidity of the landlord class, and the culpable blindness to their miseries of alien Government.
Patrick Fenlon.

As noted by Dr Peter Coutts in ‘The Watsons of Kilconnor, County Carlow, 1650 – present’ (Paragon Publishing, 2019), p. 198:

‘The “facts” presented to the Chancellor appear to be somewhat different if not a distortion of those presented at the trial. According to the Chief Secretary, Bunbury had not refused to leave Fenlon’s property when warned off but offered to leave if Fenlon showed him the boundary of his land. Moreover, in this version he is supposed to have offered to pay compensation for any damages done by members of the hunt. Referring to the notice signed by the farmers of County Carlow, the Chief Secretary claimed that many of those who had signed had told the Master of the hunt that they had signed under terror but were in fact in favour of hunting continuing.’


The Move to Cheshire


In mid-January 1883, Jack and Myra stayed at Buswell’s Hotel in Dublin.[34] The court case in which Jack was found guilty of assault in Patrick Fenelon followed a few weeks later. Presumably in consequence of this, and the pressures of the Land War in general, Jack evidently tired of Ireland. There seems to have been problems with James Smith, former tenant and close confidante of Colonel Kane Bunbury, then residing at Little Moyle. It is possible that James Smith was Colonel Kane Bunbury’s illegitimate son, or had a connection along those lines.

Shortly after March 1883, he moved to Ebnal House, Malpas, Cheshire (the original Bunbury land!).

In October 1884, there was a sale of stock at Moyle, including 236 cattle, 116 sheep and a number of horses, as well as farm implements and crops. (Dublin Daily Express, 18 October 1884.) Moyle itself was offered for sale in December 1889. It was advertised as an estate, immediately available, comprising 414 acres and 7 perches with an estimated annual value of £650-10-06. The house was described as large and commodious suitable for both nobles and gentlemen and the lands were of first rate quality. A second portion of Moyle, 107 acres and 33 perches, was also offered for sale, having two tenants paying yearly rents worth £136-18-06. The Carlow and Island kennels were said to be just 5 miles from Moyle. Jack was still listed as the owner of 3098 acres, valued at £2741 (as of 1873) in Thom’s Irish Almanac for the years 1880 to 1894.

In any event, it remained unsold until purchased by Tom Bunbury in 1898.


Death of Constance Duguid


In 1887, Jack’s sister-in-law Mary may have been involved with the tragic fate of Constance Duguid, the English girl to whom the beautiful church in Myshall is dedicated. Constance came to Ireland, fell in love with and got engaged to Inglis Cornwall-Brady, the dashing heir to the local estate. She was thrown from her horse and killed while out hunting, sustaining injuries from which she did not recover. Rumours abounded that one of the Watson girls – with whom Inglis Brady was said to have an “understanding” – had put a bur under her saddle. Myra’s sister Mary Watson married Brady six months later.


Morning Post – Saturday 24 April 1886

Buckinghamshire (1885-1889)


Edmund Marmaduke Dayrell, a naval officer who lived in the Manor House in Buckingham where Jack Bunbury was sometime resident.

On 12 May 1885, Jack was elected an honorary member of the Buckingham Cricket Club.[35] His address was given as the Manor House, Lillingstone Dayrell, Bucks. [36] The Manor House was home to the Dayrell family who had been the principal residents of the village of Lillingstone Dayrell since the 12th century. Edmund Marmaduke Dayrell (1835-1909), the last of the Dayrells to live in the Manor House, was a naval commander born in Co. Wexford.

On 10 October 1885, the Ipswich Journal reported:

‘Major Bunbury, Lord Rathdonnell’s brother, who got such a shaking fall with the Duke of Grafton’s hounds the other day, found, when he had picked himself up and been duly “vetted,” that his collar-bone was not broken, as supposed, but dislocated – a curiosity in accidents, I believe. – World.’

I assume this was Jack, although his rank is surely misquoted!? Perhaps the fall put him off riding for a while because on 3 May 1886, Tattersalls hosted a sale at Albert Gate, near Hyde Park, of a dozen hunters that Jack had ridden with the Grafton, Bicester and Whaddon Chase Hounds. The geldings, three of which were regularly ridden by Myra, ‘fetched high prices’.[37]

Jack’s address was given as Lillingstone Dayrell at the time of the sale. According to the RDS members list, he was still at the Manor House in July 1886 and July 1887. A notice in the Oxfordshire Telegraph on 1 June 1887 read:

‘THIRTEEN HORSES, the property of Mr. J. W. M’Clintock Bunbury, who is leaving Lillingstone Dayrell, are to be submitted to public competition on June 6.’

A further sale of about 100 cattle, a flock of sheep, working cart horses and ‘excellent implements’ was scheduled for 28 September 1887.[38] That said, he was again recorded at Lillingstone Dayrell in August 1889 but left for Cheshire soon afterwards. [39]


Back to Cheshire


By October 1889, Jack was back in Cheshire, living at The White Hall, Tarporley, from where he announced the sale of his entire stud, comprising, another nine hunters. The initial notice in the Sporting Gazette read as follows:

‘WARNER, SHEPPARD, & WADE are favoured with Instructions to SELL by AUCTION, at the REPOSITORY, LEICESTER, On SATURDAY, November 2nd, 10 HORSES, the property of Captain J. W. McClintock, Bunbury, who is unable to hunt this season.’ [40]

Full particulars of the horses appeared the following week – see here – but I am unsure why was he unable to hunt?

By 30 October 1890, he had an address at Hampton Old Hall, a house dating to 1591 in the former Bunbury stronghold of Malpas, near Chester, which was tied in with the Bromely family.  That was also the address he used to secure a mortgage on Big Moyle to Samuel Cooper of Newcastle, Co. Stafford. It was also his address when he was listed as the ‘first subscriber’ of the Midland Breweries’ Auxiliary Company, which had taken over the Edgbaston Brewing Company in May 1891. [41] He was also at Hampton Old Hall on the night of the 1891 Census, where his household comprised himself, his wife and their son Geoffrey, plus five servants (a cook, butler, parlour maid and house maids) and his young nephew William McClintock Bunbury, aka Billy.

I would hold that Cheshire was their principal residence as both Jack and his son were both buried at Tarporley, while Myra’s will suggests a closeness to the big Cheshire gentry families, Cholmondeley and Grosvenor.

Dr Coutts observes:

‘Aside from collecting rents, the couple would have engaged with the local Hunt Clubs of which there were several in the surrounding counties. The nearest hunts to Malpas, Little Budworth, Whitchurch and Tarporley (all of which are located within an area defined by a 10 km radius) were, to the North, the Cheshire or Norwich Hunt which went out five days a week, to the south, very close at hand, the Shropshire North Hunt (five days a fortnight) and a little further south the Shrewsbury Hunt (4 days a week). In other words, the Bunburys had planted themselves in what could only be described as a “Hunter’s paradise” perhaps yet another reason for their move from Ireland.’


Myra’s Close Call, 1891


In an extract from the Thorp Scrapbook about Carlow, kindly transcribed by Jean Casey, it says:

Surely in the history of last season (1890-91) – broken and disappointing as it was – no item of personal ill fortune was so sad as the accident that deprived Mrs Bunbury of her hunting. I say it advisedly and without exaggeration — no lady we have seen ride to hounds, where so many ride fearlessly, skilfully and well, had the knowledge and faculity of crossing a country possessed by Mrs Bunbury, who not only rode to hounds in the most complete sense, but might even have handled them herself.” 

 This was presumably Myra, but what the accident was is unknown.


Unionist Candidate?


In June 1892, the Carlow Nationalist maintained that ‘Mr. Jack Bunbury is … mentioned as a possible candidate’ for the Unionists at the coming election.[42] He did not stand.


Death of Geoffrey, 1892


On 2 October 1892, Jack and Myra’s only child Geoffrey McClintock Bunbury died of typhoid fever aged 9. There seems to have been no mention of his demise in the press save for a piece quoting ‘Belle of the World’ in the Northampton Mercury:

“Do you know Mrs. McClintock Bunbury? She is one of the finest horsewomen in England, and you may remember that last year she had an accident out riding, which made it doubtful whether she would ever again be seen in the saddle. Now she has worse trouble. Her only little boy caught typhoid fever in Dublin; he was brought to Cheshire and there died after a few weeks’ illness. We are all so very sorry for her.” [43]

The Bunburys were living in Cheshire at the time and Geoffrey was buried at St. Helen’s, Tarporley. His memorial reads:


James Smith of Moyle had died just four days earlier.

In October 2012, Maurice Hunt, the Hon. Archivist to the Parish of St. Helen’s, was surveying some ‘significant tree surgery’ in an area abutting the graveyard at St Helen’s. He began cleaning various leaves and debris away only to discover that he had found Geoffrey’s headstone. Up until then, Mr. Hunt had thought it rather sad that Geoffrey’s name was not included on the headstone bearing his father’s name. At the time of their deaths, the existing graveyard was full-up so he assumed they were buried together. It now became apparent that father and son simply did not share a plot. As Mr. Hunt noted, ‘Geoffrey, who predeceased his father, was buried in a very confined position between a wall and an adjacent grave. Whilst this plot appears sufficiently long to accept a nine year old boy, it most certainly would not accept an adult man. Consequently, Geoffrey is in his own grave with his father in another. Being a sentimental old sandbag, it is for me still rather sad, but at least we now know for sure where the boy lies and he does have a memorial. He is not too far from his father in one of the oldest parts of the graveyard.’ [44]

I presume the family were aware that the Bunbury family’s connection to the church at Tarporley goes back to the 13th century.

At this time, Jack’s brother Tom Rathdonnell must have been deeply occupied with the growing divisions in Irish politics occurring over the Parnellite split, the Ulster Convention and the Home Rule movement.


Rose Cottage, Somersby, Rutland, where Jack lived and died in 1893.  Photo: Jilly Bartlett.


Death of Jack, 1893


In the summer of 1893, Jack and Myra moved to Rose Cottage near the tiny village of Somerby in the beautiful, rolling countryside of Rutland where all the villages are built of stone. The house had 8 bedrooms, with a drawing room and a dining room. Jack had lately ‘suffered from an affection of the heart,’ for which he had been ‘medically treated.’ The couple are thought to have planned to stay over winter for the season in order to hunt with the Cottesmore Hunt, whose patron was the Earl of Lonsdale (5 days a week), and / or the Quorn (4 days).

On 2 October, he and Myra marked the first anniversary of the death of their only child. Twelve days later, on the afternoon of Saturday 14 October 1893, Jack became ‘suddenly’ ill. As the resident doctor was away on business, telegrams were hastily despatched to Oakham, the county town of Rutland, which was 4 miles south-east, and to Melton. Alas, Jack had already died by the time Dr Keal arrived from Oakham.[45] Heart disease was diagnosed as the cause of death.

Jack’s remains were carried by train to Tarporley, Cheshire, where he was buried in the churchyard on the evening of Tuesday 17 October. Myra, Tom and Kate were present, so perhaps they had crossed the Irish Sea in the previous day or two. Myra’s sister Miss Watson was also in attendance at the grave, ‘beautifully lined with moss and white flowers.’ Jack’s coffin, made of polished oak, with massive brass furniture, bore a simple inscription on the breastplate, “John William McClintock Bunbury, died October 14th, 1893, aged 41.” [46] The most magnificent wreath was sent by Lady Cholmondeley, which tallies with a recollection by my brother William who sat next to a Lady Delamere (or Cholmondeley?) at lunch near Tarporley in about 1995 and told him how the two families had once been very good friends. The late Tom Cholmondeley was at Cirencester with William although they did not know one another, as such.


Jack’s Will


On 14 February 1894, a week after Jack’s will was proved by the Probate division of the High Court, Tom (who succeeded to Jack’s considerable estates in County Carlow) and his co-executor Edmond Ernest Venables issued a statement to The Times. Acknowledging Jack’s recent demise, they requested that anyone owed money by Jack should send written ‘particulars’ of their claim to the executors before 2 April 1894. Thereafter, Jack’s possessions and assets were to be distributed in accordance with his will.[47]

The Sporting Gazette wrote:

‘In consequence of the death of Mr. J. W. McClintock-Bunbury, a stud of eight horses ‘well known with the Cheshire and Sir W. W. Wynn’s Hounds’ went under the hammer. These horses are mostly bays, and are all of the right sort, while some of them have been hunted by ladies.’ [48]


Myra, Beau Watson & Sir Horace Plunkett


Sir Horace Plunkett – who was at both Eton and Oxford after Jack – was good friends of William ‘Beau’ Watson, Jack’s brother-in-law. On 31 October 1893, Plunkett returned from America and noted in his diary: ‘J Bunbury dead’.

A year later, on 22 November 1894, Sir Horace was at the House of Commons when he received a visit from Beau Watson. Beau had come directly from Paddockhurst, home to the increasingly bankrupt torpedo-inventor Robert Whitehead, where Beau was employed. He told Sir Horace:

P’hurst was sure to be sold, that his position would come to an end and that he proposed to go in with his sister Mrs. Bunbury in a horse dealing business if he could raise his share of the capital‘.

Beau said Myra Bunbury was prepared to put up a third and hoped Sir Horace would not only advance him a third but also invest another third himself. Horace described Beau as ‘straight, energetic, business like’ and reckoned Myra ‘would be a great help & has a good horse connection‘. Thus Horace concluded, ‘I am anxious to see him on his feet & shall go in‘.

Twelve days passed before Horace wrote in his diary, with considerably subdued enthusiasm, on 2 December 1894:

 ‘After a day at letters &c went to Paddockhurst where I found W Watson & his widowed sister Myra Bunbury. Object of visit to talk over a proposal that he should go into the horse dealing business with his sister in Cheshire probably, & that I should lend him 3rd capital & subscribe 3rd myself. I don’t like it at all. But I daresay I shall be able to get my money out & I know no better way of putting that very helpful & satisfactory protégé of mine on his legs’.

No more is yet known of this equine venture, but in late 1900 Horace arranged for Beau Watson to act as Lord Dunsany‘s agent at the Castle. Beau left this position in 1902, saying he ‘could not live in Meath’. He died of cancer in 1913; Sir Horace retained contact with his widow Ada and son Robin.

In 2009, I was contacted by Jeremy Bale whose grandmother, Charlotte Bale (née Bratt) was a lady’s maid for Myra McClintock Bunbury. In 1895, Myra wrote to Charlotte from Cholmondeley Castle. Charlotte later married Alfred James Bale, who served with the 9th Lancers in Ireland circa 1889, and was batman to Lord Charles Cavendish-Bentinck. Jeremy wondered if they met in service at Moyle, but I have not had a chance to explore the relevant records of this properly.


Baroness Myra de Tuyll


On 1 June 1896, Myra Bunbury married Baron Maximilian de Tuyll (1857-1911) at St Marks Church on North Audley Street, London. Max de Tuyll was an officer in the 10th Hussars, claimed descent from the ancient Dutch family of van Tuyll van Serooskerken. In the 10th century, this family apparently dominated the region surrounding the castle of Tuyll (also written Thule and Tuil), one of the oldest places of the Betuwe (aka Batavia), the floodplain between the Waal and Rhine rivers, which Tactitus called Insula Batavorum.[49] The lordship of Serooskerke in Walcheren was seemingly granted by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. In 1623, King James I of England gives Philibert van Tuyll (died 1661) the right to carry a rose extracted from the royal coat of arms and bearing the crown of England on the family coat of arms.

Diederik Jacob Tuyll van Serooskerken

One prominent family member was Diederik van Tuyll van Serooskerken (1772-1826) who served in the Imperial Russian Army during the Napoleonic Wars. He was subsequently envoy at the court of the King of Portugal and Brazil, and from 1815 Russian plenipotentiary to the Holy See, where he had colloquies in regard to the union of the two Churches. In 1823, Tsar Alexander I appointed him the Russian ambassador to the US, a position he held until his death during a sea voyage from Washington in 1826. During his time in America, he was resident of Stephen Decatur House at 748 Jackson Place in Washington, D.C. The key events of concern to him were Russia’s claims to Alaska and the formulation of the Monroe Doctrine by the US Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. Bear in mind that Russia were deeply embroiled in Alaska in the 18th century, and down into California where they founded settlements like Fort Ross (as in ‘rus’ for Russia). Indeed, there are still Russian Orthodox churches across Alaska, while a high percentage of indigenous Alaskans are also Russian Orthodox. Alaskan sea otter pelts had been huge business since the 18th century, selling in Canton for $100 a pelt at peak. As the animals spent most of their life underwater, otter fur was three times thicker than other creatures. Diedrik was buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In consequence of his stay, the White House still has some of his silver collection, complete with the family coat of arms. (See here).

Another prominent member was General Sir William Tuyll, who served as aide-de-camp to Lord Uxbridge during the Peninsular War, and the Walcheren Campaign. From 1827 to 1834, he was private secretary to the Viceroy of Ireland, the Marquess of Anglesey. [Check] As well as being a founder of the Oriental Club, he was a Knight Commander of the Hanoverian Guelphic Order. In 1846, he was appointed Colonel of the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars, the senior light cavalry regiment of the British Army, a position he held until his death in 1864.


Baron Vincent van Tuyll (1812-1860)


Born in 1857, Max was one of seven children, three sons and four daughters, born to Vincent Gildemeester Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerken (1812-1860), aka Vincent van Tuyll.  Max’s grandfather Carel Lodewijk van Tuyll van Serooskerke had fled after Napoleon seized the Netherlands in 1811 but became a gentleman of the bedchamber to King Willem I in 1816 and was made a baron in 1822. By the 1830s, he was speculating in real estate on the western fringe of the Canada Company’s vast Huron Tract. (See here for more)

In 1851, Vincent discovered the world’s biggest tin deposit on the island of Billiton (Belitong) in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Max’s sister was named Sophie Mathilde Henriette Bilitonia Wilhelmine in honour of the island. One of the biggest tin products sold in Vincent’s day was toy soldiers. Shortly after Vincent’s death in 1860, the company became known as NV Billiton Maatschappij (the Billiton International Metals Company), of which both his son and his grandson were president-commissioners.  Later known as BHP Billiton, it is now BHP Group Limited, the world’s largest diversified resources company.

Max’s mother Charlotte Henrietta (née Mansfield) was a granddaughter of Sir James Mansfield, a former chief justice, and a sister of General William Rose Mansfield, 1st Baron Sandhurst, Commander-in-Chief of India from 1865 to 1870.

Max’s brothers Reginald and Carlo are profiled below. One of his sisters was Baroness de Brienen.


Baron Reginald van Tuyll (1845-1903)


Max’s older brother Reginald van Tuyll (1845-1903) may have inspired the eponymous character in Pelham Grenville Wodehouse’s book ‘Indiscretions of Archie’, published in 1921. He married the countess Anna Mathilda van Limburg Stirum after the death of the Crown Prince Willem of the Netherlands, who had been refused permission to marry her, probably as she was the illegitimate child of William III of the Netherlands. Reginald lived in Holland but, according to the Gloucester Citizen of 1893, ‘comes to England every autumn on long visit to his friend the Duke of Hamilton.’ [50]


Baron Carlo de Tuyll (1859-1893) and the Duchess of Beaufort


Max’s next brother, Baron Carlo de Tuyll, aka Charles Frederick de Tuyll, was married at St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, on 17 June 1884 to Louise, youngest daughter of William Henry Hatford of Oldown House in Almondsbury, Gloucestershire. [51] Max was best man on the day. Louise’s sister was married to Lord Essex. Carlo was considered ‘very popular’ in Wiltshire, where he hunted for several seasons with the Duke of Beaufort’s hounds. From about 1891, he shared a house with Lord Essex ‘in the Tuam country.’ [52] However, he was ‘in delicate health for some time’, and was lying ill for some time at Yokohama. On his doctor’s advice, he took a long journey and sea voyage but died while traveling from Honolulu to San Francisco on board the steamship Gaelic on 2 June 1893, aged 34.[53]

Carlo was survived by two small sons, Baron Francis Owen (Frank) de Tuyll (1885-1952) and Baron Maurice de Tuyll (1888-1915). He is recalled by a tablet and small brass plaque in the south nave wall of  St James the Elder’s Church in the South Gloucestershire village of Horton, near Chipping Sodbury. In 1913, his widow and sons had his ashes transported from California to England where they were placed in a recess behind the memorial.

In 1895, Louise, a passionate hunter and patron of the Royal Hospital in Bristol, was married, secondly, to Henry FitzRoy (1847-1924), Marquess of Worcester, who succeeded his father to become 9th Duke of Beaufort four years later. Prior to the marriage, Henry had been considered a confirmed bachelor. He was certainly one of the greatest fox hunters of his generation. Louise begat him a heir in 1900, the 10th Duke (founder of the Badminton Horse Trials and husband to the Queen’s niece, Lady Mary Cambridge) and two daughters, Blanche (who married, firstly, the Earl of St. Germans and, secondly, Captain G. V. F. Scott Douglas) and Diana Shedden (who married Captain L. H. C. Shedden and died in 1935).

At the Coronation of George V in June 1911, the 9th Duke carried the Sword of Mercy; his wife’s former brother-in-law, Max de Tuyll, died three months later.

The 9th Duke of Beaufort passed away in 1924; his Duchess died at Badminton on 11 October 1945.


De Tuylls in Leicestershire


Max’s childhood seems to have been spent between the Mansfield home in England and his father’s estate at Hillegom in the  Netherlands. His parents travelled extensively, spending much time at the fashionable German spa of Baden-Baden and at Munich. They also spent a short period in the Huron Tract but neither felt at home there.

Marrying Max certainly brought Myra into the higher ranks with the Grosvenors, Beauforts, Chomondelays, Asquiths, Rothschilds and Pagets in her social circle. The columns of The Times suggest an endless run of hunting and weddings. At the time of his brother Carlo’s death in 1893, it was noted that Max had ‘several horses in Newmarket.’

Myra and Max settled at Asfordby House, Melton Mowbray, Co. Leicester, where Myra hunted for many years with the Quorn under huntsman Tom Firr while the Earl of Lonsdale, its Master from 1893 to 1898, ‘laid on a fleet of yellow carriages to convey his house parties to the meets and, just in case, a yellow ambulance.’ According to Otho Paget, Myra was one of the few ladies to follow her own line across country. [54]

Lady Angela Forbes

Another lady who knew the de Tullys was Lady Angela Forbes, who recalled the following on her memoir, ‘Memories and Base Details,’ published by Hutchinson & Co., p. 88.

‘Our nearest neighbours at Asfordby, only a mile away, were the Lancelot Lowthers and the Max de Tuylls. As Mrs. Bunbury, Baroness de Tuyll was well known in Cheshire, Ireland and Leicestershire, as one of the finest women to hounds that had ever been seen. She had not long been married to Max, and at first sight they seemed a rather ill-assorted couple, but, as a matter of fact, no two people could have got on better. Max really liked the social side of hunting, and seldom left the hard high road ; but how well she used to go, and not always on the best of horses. Years later, when her health had suffered so much from her many falls that she was obliged to give up hunting entirely, I asked her if she missed it ; her eyes filled with tears, and her reply was : ” If I could only have one more winter’s hunting I would gladly die.” Sometimes I feel like that myself !
It was at the De Tuyll’s that I first saw Eva Wellesley, who became one of my best friends. She came down to Asfordby to hunt several times not very long before she was engaged to Randolph Wemyss. Though not really good looking, she had wonderful red hair, and a delightful voice and smile, and I think looked most attractive in the Beaufort blue and buff.’

Myra  was lucky to survive a nasty fall the week before Christmas in 1898 as the South Wales Echo reported on 20 December 1898, p. 2:

When hunting with the Quorn Hounds from Lodge on the Wolds, a very nasty fall was experienced by the Baroness Max de Tuyll. Her horse made a mistake at a blind ditch, and fell heavily with its rider, who, it is feared, was very badly shaken, and was conveyed home. The hounds had a capital run from Kingulton Pond across to Harby village, in the Belvoir country.’


Lady Mary Norton, née Watson


1896 witnessed the death of Myra’s brother-in-law, Inglis Brady, aged 37. Her widowed sister, Mary Brady, was married again in 1899 to the Hon. Ralph Bowyer Adderley (1872 – 1933). Ralph’s grandfather, the 1st Lord Norton, had been a pioneer of British Colonial policy and President of the Board of Trade for the Tories. He prevented the Cape from being turned into a convict settlement and Adderley Street in Cape Town is named for him. Ralph’s father, the 2nd Lord Norton, was also closely involved in trade matters.

In 1911, ‘in view of the growing burden of taxation’, the 2nd Lord Norton disposed of the greater portion of his Warwickshire properties, retaining only Hams Hall, near Birmingham, the ancestral home of the Adderley family. His hope was that his tenants would purchase their holdings, a desire that was to some extent gratified. Ralph’s mother Caroline Ellen was a daughter of Sir Alexander Churchill Dixie and bore the 2nd Lord eleven children, of whom three sons and four daughters survived. One brother Humphrey died of wounds in action in 1917. Ralph succeeded his father as 3rd Lord Norton in 1926. He passed away after a serious illness in October 1933 and, in the absence of any children, was succeeded as 4th Lord Norton by his brother Ronald.

Lady Mary died in 1939, and the truth about the death of Constance Duguid died with her. She had a daughter by Brady – was it Mona? – but I don’t know what became of her. Their brother was the great polo-playing John Watson, whose story is well known.


Sale of Moyle, 1898


In August 1898, the Baroness Myra de Tuyll sold the estate at Moyle to her brother-in-law, Tom Bunbury, aka Lord Rathdonnell.

When Bob Watson retired as Master of the Carlow & Island Hunt in 1904, the hounds moved from Ballydarton to Moyle. William Grogan of Slaney Park took the helm of the Carlow Hunt (as it was by now called) and held it until 1920 when the celebrated Olive Hall took up the reins. Mrs. Hall remained Master until 1965 when her daughter Barbara Eustace-Duckett became Master. Barbara died that same year when the baton was taken up by her sister, Olive Alexander of Milford.

In October 1908, Little Moyle was given as the address of Eric Edward Bayley, late of the 17th Lancers, husband of one of Colonel Kane Bunbury’s granddaughters. The Bayleys had hosted Oscar Wilde’s brother Willie in 1891. Their daughter Vera married the ‘high spirited and reckless’ and famously good-looking Earl of Rosslyn in the registry office for the parish of St George’s, Hanover Square, to which the couple drove in a motor car. They afterwards left for Peebles Court, Holyport, Berkshire. [55]  Lord Rosslyn was born in 1869 and would appear to be a very colourful character. Vera was his third wife but it was renowned as ‘an extremely happy marriage’ at the time of his obituary in The Times in 1939.

By 1919, Moyle was given as the address of W. F. Grogan.


Death of Bob Watson, 1908


Bob Watson, Myra’s father, stepped down as Master of the Carlow & Island Hunt in 1904. Legend had it that he declined the inheritance of the family seat Rockingham Castle, retorting: ‘What would I be doing with a castle in England when I have Ballydarton, and the best pack of hounds in Ireland‘.

When he died at Ballydarton aged 86 in August 1908, the Carlow Sentinel mourned the passing of a man considered ‘one of the most fearless riders and one of the best and keenest huntsmen in the British Isles which, as regards fox-hunting, spells the world‘.


Death of Max de Tuyll, 1911


Max was living at Ashleigh, Virginia Water when he died at a London nursing home on 7 November 1911 aged 55 after what Clifton Society observed was ‘a very serious operation.’ [56] Myra had come to town to be with him. In his obituary it was noted that Max was ‘the brother-in-law of the Duchess of Beaufort and an uncle of the Baroness Margaret de Brienen and of Lady Sheffield, the wife of Sir Berkeley Sheffield.’ [57] Furthermore, the same newspaper noted: ‘Lady Geraldine Somerset, an aunt of the present Duke of Beaufort, is extremely unwell, and her condition causes uneasiness to her friends and relatives.’ [58]


Death of Myra, 1914


Myra de Tuyll’s Will, 22 April 1914

After the death of her husband in November 1911, little is known of the Baroness de Tuyll. In 1912, her nephew, Frank de Tuyll hosted the most fashionable dance of the season in Dublin at the Café Cairo. [59]  In August 1913, The Queen announced: ‘Baroness Max de Tuyll has taken a very pretty place near Oban for the autumn, and will be in residence there until the end of September.’ [60]

It was to be her final autumn. On 25 January 1914, she was staying at the Ritz Hotel in Paris when she died suddenly from heart failure. She left no surviving issue. [61]

Her will, published in The Times on 22 April 1914, stated:

 ‘Elizabeth Myra, Baroness de Tuyll, of 2 Gloucester-square, W., left unsettled English estate with net personalty £14,856. She bequeathed a picture of Ormonde with Fred Archer to Lord Hugh Grosvenor, and a piano player and records and certain jewellery to the Marchioness of Chomondeley; certain jewellery to Lady Rathdonnell and her daughter, a diamond plaque, a fur coat, and a dressing case to the Hon. Mrs Adderley [her sister, Mary]; to the Countess d’Alsace a portrait of her daughter, and to the Countess Nicoli d’Alsace a string of pearls. She left a gold-mounted salts bottle with “Tim” in diamonds to Lady Ardee, an old silver cruet to Lord Kenyon, and her linen and plate bearing the De Tuyll crest to Maurice de Tuyll‘.

The last named beneficiary was her nephew Captain Maurice de Tuyll (1888-1915), 10th Hussars, a well-known huntsman in Badminton. He was killed at Ypres on 13 May 1915.[62] His brother Baron Frank de Tuyll survived the war and died at Little Sodbury Manor on 27 June 1952 aged 67.




With thanks to Greg Denieffe, Michael Purcell, Micheal de las Casas, Penny Hatfield, Kate Targett, Jeremy Bale, D Robin Darwall-Smith (Archivist at Magdalen College), Georgina Edwards (Archives Assistant, Brasenose College), Helen Sumping and Elizabeth Boardman, Archivists, Brasenose College.


Further Reading


Peter J F Coutts, Alan Watson, ‘The Watsons of Kilconnor, County Carlow, 1650 – present’ (Paragon Publishing, 2019), here.




[1] According to the Brasenose College Register (1909) and Joseph Foster’s Alumni Oxonienses 1715-1886 (1891) John William McClintock Bunbury was born in Dublin, the second son of William Bunbury McClintock, of Dublin and the brother of Baron Rathdonnell.

[2] Register, 1847-1962, by St. Peter’s College (Radley, England), R. W. Robertson-Glasgow – Private schools – 1965.

[3] F. Tarver, ‘Amateur Clubs & Actors’ (Edward Arnold, London, 1898), edited by W. G. Elliot. The programme read:

Rev. E. WARRE’S THEATRICALS will be presented in the newest possible Theatre,

“A CHARADE ” in Three Acts.

To be followed by the usual “Christmas Box” (not without ” Cox “).

Box : Mr. F. Tarver.

Cox: Mr. T. H. M’Clintock Bunbury. (± Now Lord Rathdonnell).

Mr. Bouncer: Mr. J. M’Clintock Bunbury.

To conclude with the Burlesque Tragic Opera,


Artaxominous: Mr. T. H. M’Clintock. Bunbury.

Fusbos: Mr. H. F. Eaton.

General Bombastes: Hon. B. Lawley.

Distaffina: Mr. W. Higgins.

Attendants, Courtiers, Army, &c.

[4] Morning Post – Thursday 11 November 1869, p. 3.

[5] The Field Quarterly Magazine and Review‎, 1870, p. 315.

[6] Brasenose College holds an annotated edition of the Register which belonged to an amateur genealogist, the annotations of which record that John William McClintock Bunbury was born 1 September 1851, and was Justice of the Peace, High Sheriff of County Carlow in 1880, of Moyle, County Carlow, and of Somerby’s, Rutland. His name also appears in Oxford Rowing by WE Sherwood (Oxford and London 1900) and The peerage, baronetage, and knightage of the British Empire by Joseph Foster.

[7] As J Mordaunt Crook notes on p. 288 of his book ‘Brasenose: The Biography of an Oxford College’, the question was a difficult one.

[8] The Brazen Nose, Vol 4 (No. 4, 4 May, 1926), p. 173.

[9] The Harrovian, Volume 1.

[10] The Brasenose Quartercentenary Monographs (1909), ‘Brasenose Rowing’ (pp. 64-65) by the Rev. H. C. Wace.

[11] SPORTING NOTES – The Graphic (London, England), Saturday, February 11, 1871; Issue 63

[12] UNIVERSITY BOAT-RACE – Penny Illustrated Paper (London, England), Saturday, February 18, 1871; pg. 109; Issue 490.

[13] Penny Illustrated Paper (London, England), Saturday, April 01, 1871; pg. [193]; Issue 496.

[14] Baily’s magazine of sports and pastimes (Vinton, 1899)

[15] The Pall Mall magazine, p. 27, by Frederick Spencer Hamilton, Sidney Daryl, Charles Robert Morley, George Roland Halkett (1906).

[16] His essay, ‘The Influence of the Schoolmen upon Modern Literature’, was read in the Sheldonian Theatre in June 1877.

[17] The cast of ‘The Rent Day‘ included Captains Vivian, Brownlow (30th Regt), Lindesay (30th Regt) and Smythe (70th Regt) along with Brander Esq (30th), F. Roupel Esq (70th), F. Clows Esq (30th) and J. McCalmont (8th Hussars) while the two female roles were performed by Miss E Faucit Saville and Miss Agnes Markham.

[18] The New York Times, 21 September 1860.

[19] Army and Navy Gazette – Saturday 30 December 1871, p. 3.

[20] The Star – Tuesday 27 January 1874, p. 4.

[21] Broad Arrow – Saturday 09 June 1877, p. 26.

[22] The Times, 18 September 1878.

[23] Kent & Sussex Courier – Friday 01 May 1874, p. 7.

[24] John Watson’s younger son Samuel settled at Clonbrogan in Co. Tipperary and was ancestor to the Watsons of Ballingarrane. See: ‘A PROCLAMATION. CHARLES by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. Defender of the faith, etc. To all Our loving Subjects of Ireland, GREETING. Take notice by this Our PROCLAMATION that John Watson, Esquire, latte of Richmond, is hereby appointed as Commissioner to inquire into the State of Ireland following the late horrid Rebellion in that country, the Cause, Displacements, Acts of Violence, Cruelties, Atrocities etc. etc. Given at Our Court. Charles, King etc.. 1641.

[25] 1832. Answering Recognisance.
We Michael, David and Johanna Nowlan do Swear that we usually reside at Cranaha, Parish of Myshall, Carlow acknowledge ourselves indebted unto our lord the King in the sum of 10 pounds Sterling each. So help me God. (signed) David and Johanna Nowlan.
I Michael Clowery do swear that I am a householder and have a house wherein I usually reside at Celema Glush in the townland of Kilmagulsh, Parish of Myshall and I am worth the sum of 10 pounds Sterling over all my just debts.~~ So help me God (signed) Michael, his X mark, Clowery.
I James Minchion do swear that I am a house holder in Ballynocken, Parish of Fenagh and I am worth the sum of 10 pounds Sterling. ~~ So help me God. (signed) James, his X mark, Minchion
Michael, David and Johanna will attend the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held at Tullow to answer charges brought by George Nolan.
Sworn before me at Ballydarton this 5th day of April 1832. ( signed) John Watson.

[26] In Melbourne, George Watson named his property on St. Kilda’s Burnett Street “Fenagh” after the Parish in County Carlow where Ballydarton was situated.

[27] The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia), Thursday 13 April 1893, p 3.

[28] Kilkenny Moderator – Saturday 17 January 1880, p. 3.

[29] ‘In 1880 King Edward (then Prince of Wales) presented a gold cup for a match between Military and Civilians. The latter side consisted of Messrs Arthur and “Johnny” Peat, and Messrs E. Baldock, J. McClintock-Bunbury, and J. Kennedy, while the Military team, winners of the cup by a goal, included Capt. (now Colonel) R. St. Leger Moore of the 5th Lancers, who captained the team that won the first Hurlingham inter-regimental tournament, and afterwards was for a number of years the Kildare M.F.H., Mr (now Sir) Algernon Peyton, of the 11th Hussars, Mr (now Capt.) G. Phipps-Hornby, of the Rifle Brigade, Mr L. Heywood Jones (5th Lancers), and Mr (now Major) F. H. Blacker, of the 4th Hussars, who has for the past twelve years been assistant polo manager at Hurlingham.’ Field – Saturday 10 December 1910, p. 50.

[30] Returns for Counties of Ireland of Grand Jury Panel for Spring and Summer Assizes, 1882-83.

[31] Belfast News-Letter – Monday 02 October 1882, p. 4.

[32] Liverpool Mercury – Friday 11 May 1883, p. 6.

[33] Dublin Weekly Nation, Saturday 26 May 1883. With thanks to Tom Marnell

[34] Dublin Daily Express – Friday 12 January 1883, p. 3.

[35] Bucks Herald – Saturday 16 May 1885, p. 7.

[36] Edmund Marmaduke Dayrell (1835-1909), the last of the Dayrells to live in the Manor House, Lillingstone Dayrell, was a naval commander born in Co. Wexford. As a young man he seems to have had a remarkable knack for saving the lives of drowning men by plunging in after them. He saw much activity in the Far East and the Mediterranean. For instance, he was present at the capture of Palermo by Garibaldi and the bombardment of that town by the Italian fleet. In 1867, Lieutenant Dayrell was appointed to HMS Lark, for the protection of the Irish Coast during the Fenian outbreak.
In 1866 he married Isabella Holloway of Dublin with whom he had two sons and seven daughters before 1881 when Isabella died of acute bronchitis while giving birth to a daughter Mary. In 1883, Edmund married secondly Eleanora Hope, daughter of F. Hope of Manchester.
Edmund retired from the Navy in 1881 and his wife died the following year. The Manor House was then in a state of great neglect and occupied by the farm bailiff. However, by 1885, his second wife Eleanora was able to write: “The old Manor House has recently been restored, and presents a fine specimen of a comfortable English home, the staircases and passages and most of the rooms are floored with deep black oak, in the highest state of polish. The old hall where once frightened women took shelter from Cromwell’s soldiers, now echoes to the click of nothing more dangerous than billiard balls; and the long dining room in which for a time infants were registered and marriages solemnized during the Protectorate, witnesses now nothing more important than the Christmas dinner at which Captain Dayrell and his tenantry wish each other God Speed.”
However, as one of Edmund’s descendants, Tony King, noted on his website:
The picture painted here [by Eleanora] proved to be illusory. In 1887, the estate (of 625 acres) was sold to Abraham Robarts (Reed 1999, 127; BRO D210.24), and by 1891, the Manor House is not listed in the census (PRO RG 12/1154/55-62). It appears to have been demolished, and currently, Lillingstone House is the main house in the village. It is difficult to know why Edmund Marmaduke decided to move out. No family documents to indicate the reason, which could have been financial, or emotional, or both. At all events, he no longer wanted to be at the ancestral home, preferring to reside by the sea, in Jersey.

His obituary from The Times, September 22, 1909, p. 13 reads as follows:

Captain Edmund Marmaduke Dayrell, who died on Saturday at Sandown Villa, Havre des Pas, Jersey, was the only son of Mr. Edmund Francis Dayrell, of Lillingstone Dayrell, Buckinghamshire. Born in 1835 he entered the Royal Navy in November, 1848, and served in the Herald during her surveying expedition in the South Seas and coasts of Australia from 1852 to 1859. During this commission he was made a mate in 1856 and promoted to lieutenant in August, 1858, and among other services took part in several engagements with the natives of the Solomon Islands. In 1870 he was promoted to commander, and while in command of the Cockchafer in the China Seas, was several times mentioned in despatches for zeal in dealing with pirates. While divisional officer of the coastguard at Kingstown he was presented with the “Tayleur ” silver medal for saving the life of E. Dunn, who was blown overboard (with the loss of one hand and injury to the other) by the premature discharge of a gun he was loading on board a steamer on the occasion of the Kingstown Regatta, July 7, 1878. Commander Dayrell jumped overboard, brought the man to the ship’s side, and supported him until assistance was rendered. The Commissioners of Irish Lights officially recognized this act of gallantry, and the Royal Humane Society presented him with a testimonial on vellum. He retired with the rank of captain in August, 1885. Captain Dayrell married, first, in 1866, Isabella Ann, the youngest daughter of the late Colonel C. W. Elplhinstone Holloway, C.B., R.E., of Belair, Devonshire; and, secondly, in 1883, Eleanora, widow of Mr. Francis Hope. His elder son is Major Gerald Dayrell, of the Bedfordshire Regiment.

[37] Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press – Saturday 08 May 1886, p. 5.

[38] Bucks Herald – Saturday 03 September 1887, p. 4.

[39] Kevin Bright (Lismahon, Batterstown, Co. Meath) was the excellent Royal Dublin Society archivist for many years. On 26 June 2006, he wrote to me advising that he was snowed under researching the history of the RDS from the 1870s. He had notes on Jack Bunbury as follows:

  • 1875 – John / William Kane McCB, Moyle, Co. Carlow, elected life member of RDS.
  • 30 June 1876 – Listed as John Kane McCB of Moyle.
  • 1 November 1880 – Listed as Hon. John W McCB of Moyle
  • July 1886 – July 1887: He must have emigrated to England in this period as by latter date his address is given as the Manor House, Lillingston, Dayrell, Bucks, where he still resided, according to the RDS list, in August 1889.
  • 1890 – 93: Listed without address.
  • 1894: Deleted from membership list.

[40] Sporting Gazette – Saturday 12 October 1889, p. 47.

[41] The Brewer’s Guardian, 19 May 1891, p. 163.

[42] Carlow Nationalist – Saturday 18 June 1892, p. 4.

[43] Northampton Mercury, 14 October 1892.

[44] With thanks to Greg Denieffe.

[45] As Greg Deniefe observed: “The doctor fiasco surrounding Jack’s death reads like a scene from Poldark.”

[46] I first discovered the details of Jack’s death in June 2017 when I found this report from the Grantham Journal of Saturday 21 October 1893. “Sudden Death.—Great consternation prevailed in the village [of Somerby] on Saturday last [14th October], when it became known that J. W. McClintock Bunbury, Esq., had died somewhat suddenly. The gentleman and Mrs. Bunbury came to reside at Rose Cottage last summer, and it was their intention to remain here through the hunting season. Mr. Bunbury had recently suffered from an affection of the heart, for which he had been medically treated. Recently, however, he enjoyed fairly good health. On Saturday, there was no reason to apprehend anything serious, until the afternoon, when he suddenly became ill. Unfortunately, Mr. Jackson, the resident medical practitioner, was away from home on County Council business, but telegrams were despatched to Oakham and Melton for medical aid. Dr Keal, of Oakham, was the first to arrive, but too late to be of any service, for death had already taken place. Drs. Powell and Willan also responded to the Melton telegrams. As already stated, the deceased gentleman had suffered from heart disease, and the examination made by Dr Keal pointed in that direction. Much sympathy is felt for the young widow. The funeral of the deceased gentleman took place on Tuesday last, in Tarporley churchyard, Cheshire, the remains having been conveyed by train, and although Tarporley was not reached until six o’clock, the interment took place the same evening. The grave was beautifully lined with moss and white flowers. The mourners were Mrs. Bunbury (widow), Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, and Miss Watson. The coffin, which was of polished oak, with massive brass furniture, bore on the breastplate the inscription, “John William McClintock Bunbury, died October14th, 1893, aged 41.” Among the wreaths was a magnificent one sent by Lady Chomondeley. The arrangements for the funeral were carried out Messrs Furley and Hassan, of Oakham.”

[47] ‘John William McClintock Bunbury, Deceased – Pursuant to the Statute 22nd and 23rd Vic, cap. 35, intituled “An Act to further amend the Law of Property and to relieve Trustees”. Notice is hereby Given, that all CREDITORS and other persons having any claims or demands upon or against the Estate of JOHN WILLIAM MCCLINTOCK BUNBURY, late Moyle, county Carlow, Ireland, and of Rose Cottage, Somerby, near Oakham, in the county of Rutland, and 8, Norfolk-street, Park-lane, in the county of Middlesex, Esquire, and formerly residing at 21 St. Mary-street, Whitchurch, in the county of Shropshire (who died on the 14th day of October 1893, and whose will was duly proved in the Principal Registry of the Probate Division of Her Majesty’s High Court of justice on the 7th day of February 1894, by the Right Honourable Thomas Kane Baron Rathdonnell and Edmond Ernest Venables, the executors therein name) are hereby required to send, in writing, the particulars of their claims and demands to us, the undersigned, the solicitors for the said executors, on or before the 2nd day of April 1894, after which date the said executors will proceed to distribute the assets of the said deceased amongst the parties entitled thereto, having regard only to the claims of which the said executors have then had notice, and the said executors will not be liable for the assets, or any part thereof so distributed to any person of whose claim the said executors have not had notice at the time of distribution.
Dated 14th day of February 1894
Stileman, Neate and Toynbee, 16 Southampton Street, Bloomsbury Square, London, WC, Solicitors for the Executors.’
The Times, Saturday, Feb 24, 1894; 2; Issue 34196; col C.

Jack’s past addresses as listed in the Notice were:

  • Moyle, Co. Carlow, Ireland
    · Rose Cottage, Somerby, near Oakham, Co. Rutland (see below)
    · 8, Norfolk-street, Park-Lane, Middlesex
    · 21 St. Mary-street, Whitchurch, Shropshire

[48] Sporting Gazette – Saturday 28 October 1893, p. 22.

[49] The family were apparently recorded at Tuyll in 970 in a letter from Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor. The Batavians are thought to be the ancestors of the Dutch.

[50] Gloucester Citizen, 14 June 1893, p. 1.

[51] Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 21 June 1884, p. 4.

[52] Gloucester Citizen, 14 June 1893, p. 1. ‘The death on his way from Honolulu to San Francisco of Baron Carlo de Tuyll, whose wife is a sister of Lady Essex, was not unexpected, as he had been in delicate health for some time, and had taken the long journey and sea voyage at his doctor’s advice. He had made himself very popular in Wiltshire, where he hunted for several seasons with the Duke of Beaufort’s hounds, though for the last year or two he had shared with Lord Essex a house in the Tuam country. He was the brother of Baron Max de Tuyll, who has several horses in Newmarket, and the Baroness de Brienen, the head of the family being Baron Reginald de Tuyll, who lives in Holland, but comes to England every autumn on long visit to his friend the Duke of Hamilton.

[53] Devizes and Wilts Advertiser – Thursday 15 June 1893, p. 3.

[54] The Quorn hunt the heart of Leicestershire and were named for Quorn Hall, near Loughborough, from which estate the fashionable Hugo Meynell ran a foxhunt for 47 years in the 18th century. The 4th Master of Hastings – ‘Poor Mad Harry’, always late and normally drunk, put in two seasons from 1866 – 1868 before he died aged 26, a broken man. The hunt was then run by steady Jack Chaworth Musters from South Notts, and it remained steady for 14 years under a millionaire shipbroker called Coupland whose most significant move, perhaps, was to introduce huntsman Tom Firr, the finest professional of his day who remained for 27 seasons. Lord Lonsdale was Master from 1893 – 1898 and laid on a fleet of yellow carriages to convey his house parties to the meets and, just in case, a yellow ambulance. Tom Firr would set off first in a yellow chaise. The Yellow Earl complained of smelly motor cars, bicycles cluttering up the lanes, too many women, a ‘new commodity called barbed wire‘ and ‘impudent farmers‘ who requested a greater share in the running of the hunt. ‘British & Irish Hunts & Huntsmen Vol. II’, JNP Watson (BT Batsford, 1982)

[55] The Times, Friday, Oct 09, 1908; pg. 11; Issue 38773; col B.

[56] Clifton Society – Thursday 16 November 1911, p. 9.

[57] Clifton Society – Thursday 16 November 1911, p. 9.

[58] Clifton Society – Thursday 16 November 1911, p. 9.

[59] Bence Jones, p.144.

[60] The Queen – Saturday 30 August 1913, p. 17.

[61] The Times, Tuesday, Jan 27, 1914; pg. 1; Issue 40431; col A.

[62] The Times, 15 May 1915.