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The McClintock Family in Scotland

Drumcar House was built by John ‘Bumper Jack’ McClintock in about 1777. The wings, portico and window surround were added later.

The McClintocks were a Scottish family who settled in north west Donegal (Trintaugh, Rathdonnell, Dunmore) during the early 17th century and spread east into Counties Derry, Tyrone (Seskinore), Armagh (Fellow’s Hall) and Louth (Drumcar, Red Hall, Newtown). By the 1750s, Alexander McClintock had made sufficient fortunes as a barrister to found the family demesne at Drumcar in County Louth. His ultimate heir John McClintock would marry Jane Bunbury and so give life to the McClintock Bunburys of Lisnavagh. The McClintock genes lay claim to a number of historical celebrities including Generals Montgomery and Alexander, Speaker John Foster, the Barons Rathdonnell, Brigadier Dame Mary Colvin and the explorer Sir Leopold McClintock.





The Scottish family name of McClintock is said to be an English corruption of the Gaelic name “Mac Giolla Fhionntog”, meaning the ‘son’ of the ‘servant’ [ie: Giolla / Ghillie] of Fhionntog. This suggests that our family descend from someone who looked after the fishing, or perhaps hunting, for someone by name of Fhionntog, although, with a religious connotation, it could feasibly mean “followers of the cult of Fhionntog’.

McClintock family lore has it that Fhionntog was no less a soul that Saint Finnian, the Carlow-born saint from Myshall who established a monastery of much renown at Clonard on the banks of the Boyne in County Meath. As a Carlow man, I’ve long enjoyed this theory but, alas, I don’t buy it. [1]

Instead, my focus is on Saint Fyndoc who was not only a Scottish saint but a lady to boot. She was one of the Nine Maidens, nine sisters, raised between Glamis and Dundee, who practically invented the art of being a nun when they set themselves up in a veritable convent at Abernethy where they lived a very strict and austere life, munching barley bread, sipping springwater and tilling the soil, all the while delivering prayer and singing praises to God.

Heathcliffe McClintock and his six-barrelled Ditch Gun, as published alongside the following text in an ad for Grant’s Whiskey in the Illustrated London News, 1 August 1987. As my father observed, ‘one salvoe would have put a mass of splinters into his bare knees from the flimsy mounting.’
Recalling this golden year of human achievement, two dates above all immediately spring to mind. August 12th and December 25th.
It was on the August day that the dream of Heathcliffe McClintock came to fruition.
Aspiring to become the most prolific shot in the Highlands, he unveiled his six-barrelled Ditch Gun to the awe-struck shooting fraternity. As he concealed himself in ditches, it would enable him to pepper everything on the skyline simultaneously.
On the Christmas Day, our ancestor, William Grant of Glenfiddich realised his dream. Having built a distillery with his bare hands, his first whisky flowed. Not only did it bring our ancestor sweet success, but it became known as the very stuff that drams are made of. And one hundred years later, we are celebrating five generations as independent family distillers.
We’re afraid, however, that success turned sour on Heathcliffe McClintock.
At its first blast, the mighty Ditch Gun wiped out every grouse upon the moor.
Whereupon, the shooting fraternity ostracised him as a cad, a show-off and an unspeakable spoilsport.

Saint Fyndoc seems an unlikely fisherwoman, I concede, but what is relevant is that there is a chapel dedicated to the Saint Fyndoc on the Scottish island of Inishail, the remains of which stand yet. Inishail is set on beautiful Loch Awe, a freshwater lake in the ancient district of Lorne in present day Argyle County.

The first reason I run with Fyndoc is that records indicate the earliest McClintock estates included a manor house near Loch Awe.

And secondly, Loch Awe is renowned for its trout. So, my thinking is the name comes from a trout fisherman affiliated with this chapel.

In the early 14th century the barony of Argyle was granted to the Campbell family by Robert the Bruce. However, much of the lands to the north of Loch Awe remained the dominion of the MacGregor clan, from whom the celebrated Rob Roy MacGregor didst hail.




There were certainly McClintocks in the MacGregor’s circle. The earliest written record of the McClintock surname is in the early 16th century Book of the Dean of Lismore (not to be confused with Ireland’s Book of Lismore). Written in Gaelic, this Scottish manuscript was compiled by the Fortingall MacGregors, James and Duncan, under the patronage of Duncan Campbell (c.1443-1513) of Glenorchy in northern Argyll. At this time, the Campbells and the MacGregors were allies and their territories expanded in cahoots.

On 9 September 1513, Duncan Campbell died alongside his cousin, the 2nd Earl of Argyll at the battle of Flodden; the two men were buried side by side at Kilmun, Argyll. Duncan Campbell had contributed nine humorous and bawdy poems to the Lismore book.

The book also refers to Mac Giolla Fhionntog (ie McClintock) as a clan bard or Man of Songs who penned a poem of praise to Malcolm MacGregor, 4th chief of the Clan MacGregor, who died April 20, 1440.






Another branch of the McClintock clan held territory directly west of Loch Lomond, in the parish of Old Kilpatrick, where the Antonine Wall concludes. I visited the church at Old Kilpatrick with my parents and siblings in April 2019 but alas, we espied no McClintock graves. The original medieval church here was granted to ten year old Claude Hamilton at the dissolution of the monasteries and a tomb of the Hamilton family stands proud; Claude Hamilton’s son James became the 1st Earl of Abercorn, an Irish peerage, as well as Lord Kilpatrick (and other titles) and was an ancestor of my mother through the Colley family, so we were at least able to claim some connection to the church. The 1st Earl of Abercorn was also a member of the first Parliament of Ireland in 1613, and built a castle at Strabane, so there was certainly many direct connections to note. The fact the church was dedicated to St Patrick was an added bonus; this is one of the many sites from which the boy Patrick is said to have been seized by pirates and sold into slavery. Whether any McClintocks lie buried here under faded slabs in the ancient graveyard, I doubt we’ll ever know. I guess they could have lived anywhere up in the Kilpatrick Hills that rumble upwards from behind the church, a forested, semi-terraced, gorse-lined strip of hills, escarpments and ravines, including a sizeable boulder, which run to the north, dropping down into Dumbarton Muir and then onwards to Loch Lomond itself.

A splendid rendition of the McClintock lion passant-gardant by Sarah Goss. (Courtesy of AW)

Loch Lomond, or the Lake of the Elms, lies amid the Lands of Luss, an extensIve estate held by royal charter by the Earls of Lennox. In 1368, this earldom passed by marriage to the Clan Colquhoun (pronounced Cahoun); the McClintocks of Old Kilpatrick were thus a sub-sept (or something along those lines) of the Colquhouns. On our trip to Loch Lomond in April 2019, my parents, my siblings and I enjoyed a Saturday morning cruise on board Lomond Princess, a ship built by the Argyll Ship and Boatbuilding Company 46 years earlier, and run by Cruise Loch Lomond. The foul weather we endured on the pier while awaiting the boat magically lifted as the voyage began and we spent most of the trip above deck, taking in the magnificent view. Khaki hued mountains, softly contoured in the damp sunlight, the wooded shores so reminiscent of Donegal in places that the McClintocks must have felt quite at home when they took up residence in that northern Irish land. The loch is the biggest in Britain, in terms of surface area, with over 25 square miles of water, but still way smaller than Loughs Neagh, Erne, Corrib, Derg or Mask in Ireland. Puffs of cloud drifting over some of the 38 islands in the loch, four of which are still inhabited, with snow-capped Ben Lomond impressive in the distance. One of the islands has wallabies on it and another, run by an American called Roy Rodgers, is full of horses that like to swim. The Cordners, family friends, have a wonderful photo of a stag swimming through the lake, having disembarked from Iniscailloch. We espied an osprey nesting and plenty of ducks and gulls skittering across the cold, choppy waters. The gravelly-voiced skipper dropped us off on an island by name of Iniscailloch and said he’d pick us up in an hour. That gave us enough time to meander around the island. The recent rain showers had triggered an explosion of bluebells, none more than four days old, and I’m not sure if I’ve seen a lovelier place in terms of the blue carpets rolling through the woodlands, oak and birch, wet-loving alder and rowan, ferns, holly and mosses, all dappled in wondrous spring rays. Birds twittered and warbled, woodpeckers pecked, bumble bees buzzed and a brace of Canadian geese necked one another on a rock. A run of small beaches, coarse sand and skimming stones.

Aside from the levelled remains of a farmhouse, the highlight of Iniscailloch was the outline of a 13th century church and its ancillary graveyard. It was apparently founded by Saint Kentigerma (or Caintigern), the daughter of Cellach Cualann, the last Ui Mail king of Leinster. Apparently Insihcailloch translates as ‘Island of Old Women’ but one wonders is Cellach’s name not relevant also? I note that “tradition states” Christianity was brought to Loch Lomond by another Irish saint, Kessog, who was apparently a son of the King of Cashel. Kessog was martyred in 520AD. Kentigerma fared better, dying naturally here on the island in 733; she is thought to have been the woman whose skeleton was excavated beneath the altar in 1903. In 1621, just as (I believe!) the McClintocks were embarking for Ireland, the parish of Inishcailloch was increased in size by the addition of the lands of Buchanan; this church was abandoned, in favour of Buchanan Old House, although its graveyard continued to be used into the 1940s. We saw graves a plenty for MacGregor and MacFarlane (cattle thieves from Tarbert and Arrochar), as well as McCallum, but n’er a McClintock among them. In fact, this was apparently the traditional burying ground for the Clan MacGregor, including Gregor MacGregor, Clan Chief, who lived to the north-east of the loch; in hindsight, we should have checked whether the MacGregor killed by McClintock at the battle of Glen Fruin was buried here! They liked drinking whiskey when they buried people; on one occasion the mourners reputedly drank so much they forgot to bury the deceased.

Poster for ‘McLintock!’, the film starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
Lester McClintock is the name of an unseen arch-villain in the hit series, ‘Succession’, in which he is known to Logan Roy’s family as ‘Mo.’

I don’t know if our McClintocks came from the Loch Awe or Loch Lomond branches, if either. Maybe someday there will be some undreamt way to prove such things but right now we can’t do much more that speculate. Search the archives and your bitter rewards is all manner of M’Ilandick, M’Illandag, M’Illandick, M’Lentick, MacIlliuntaig and indeed MacClinton, the names scattered high and low, highland and lowland.

Duncan McGellentak appears as a witness in West Perthshire appears in the Balquhidder’s Records of the Scottish Highlands from 1549. Or what about John McInlaintaig who shows up on an Argyll Inventories for Kilbride in 1693?

Some of the very earliest McLintocks can be found in large numbers at Bonhill in Co Dumbarton, while others show up at Balloch and Boturich on the east side of Loch Lomond, including some who refused to pay the tithes in the early 16th century because they suspected the money was going straight into the Abbots pocket.

And there were more McClintocks in and around Glasgow and Sterling. I have espied a pedigree uploaded by Bedford Rader McClintic on in which he states that a John McClintock from Cairndow, on the west of Loch Lomond, died in Donegal in 1562. Mr McClintic names this John as grandfather of the Alexander McClintock who allegedly came to Donegal in 1597… I have no idea where this data came from, and must treat it with caution until I know more. Likewise I had serious doubts about the story stating that Alexander arrived from Scotland with a marble coat of arms that apparently then went from Trintaugh to Drumcar to Lisnavagh, although we know it not.

What I can say is that there appears to have been one lot of McClintocks who were loyal to the posh Colquhouns and another lot who were loyal to the somewhat rowdier MacGregors. In other words, they took both the high road and the low road. All this came to a head in early 1603, two weeks before James VI of Scotland succeeded Queen Elizabeth to become James I of England.




The Clans MacGregor and Colquhoun fought a savage battle at Glen Fruin, near Loch Lomond, in what transpired to be the last clans battle fought in Scotland. We went to the site of the battle in April 2019. Or at least we were shown a muddy pitch of a field full of silage bags, manure heaps and piles of gravel which ran alongside a river. The cause of this battle was an incident involving the theft of a Colquhoun sheep by two hungry MacGregors who were subsequently captured by the Colquhouns, tried by Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, the Laird of Luss, and executed for this crime, which certainly seems rather extreme. This act lit a rage in Clan MacGregor who amassed every fighting man they could and set forth to attack the Colquhouns who likewise rallied, mustering twice as many men as MacGregor, including a number of skilled horsemen. If any MacGregors hesitated, they were reassured by the clan seer who told how he could see the shrouds of the dead wrapped around the Colquohouns.

Greatly cheered by this vision, the MacGregor’s charged … imagine the sight of hundreds of shrieking Conor Magregor’s charging at you, fuelled with Scotch, wielding pikes, axes and spears. Meanwhile, nightmare dawned on the Colquohouns as their horses became bogged in mud and it turned into a triumph for the MacGregors as somewhere in the region of 150 Colquhouns were slain, enough for this to be categorised as a massacre in Scottish lore. Legend holds that during the battle, some clerical students from Dunbarton took a seat above the battlefield to spectate … and that the MacGregors then slew them into the bargain, although this could be wicked anti-MacGregror baloney cooked up thereafter!

Monument marking the site of the battle
of Glen Fruin, 1603, in which some of the McClintocks served. (With thanks to Sylvia McClintock).

One of the few MacGregor’s killed was John Dhu MacGregor, a brother of the clan chief, who was also known as Black John of the Mail, after the black chain mail he wore in battle. He came a cropper when an arrow passed through the neck joint of his chain mail. It appears this arrow was aimed by a young man with the upstanding name of MacClintock. The bard of the Clan Colquhoun recorded this event; a translation from the Gaelic reads: “Quickly did you turn, Stripling MacClintock, by you was slain, John of the Mail, MacGregor’s victorious son.”

Any joy the MacGregor’s may have experienced in victory was short-lived. King James was a supporter of the Colquhouns and, having apparently met with ninety Colquhoun widows, he proclaimed the name of MacGregor ‘altogidder abolished’. Anyone who bore the name had to renounce it or suffer death. The MacGregors were outlawed, hunted and flushed out of the heather by bloodhounds; 35 members were rounded up and executed. I think this may be why Rob Roy Macgregor was still on the run a century later …

At the Loch Lomond Arms in Luss in April 2019, I espied a portrait of Sir John Colquhoun, 2nd Baron of Luss, the “Blackcock of the West”, who was born in 1621 and died in 1676. Did Alexander McClintock perhaps skull whiskey and sing in a smoky bonfire on the night that baby boy was born in 1621? Who knows? What I can say is that my family and I were much entertained when we realised that three of the prints on the dining room wall at the Loch Lomond Arms were by H. W. Bunbury, a scion of the English branch of the family, namely The Deserter (which caught my eye, as we have a copy at Oldfort), A Tea Party and The Village Ale House.

So we still hadn’t found any McClintocks but we’d found one of my mother’s Colley-Hamilton forebears, and now a Bunbury … and within an hour of lunching on game pie and seafood around that handsome dining table in Luss, my brothers and I were strolling through the ghost of our Drew ancestors’ printworks at Bonhill, but we never found a single record to a McClintock on that trip.




Malcolm Wright, Sylvia Wright (née McClintock), Turtle Bunbury, John & Irene McClintock of Redhall after Turtle’s talk about the McClintock family in April 2017 at CastleBellingham. The event raised over €2500 for the restoration of Drumcar church and lych-gate.


I mention the battle of Glen Furin of 1603 because it took place just six years after the purported date of the McClintock’s first arrival in Ireland which, according to Burke’s Peerage and other such sources, took place in the unlikely year of 1597, when Alexander McClintock of Argyllshire is said to have purchased the estate of Trintaugh in Raphoe, North East Donegal.

As I say, the date has never added up for me and I think a much more accurate starting point is 1623, the date supplied by John ‘Old Turnip’ McClintock to the 1835 edition of Burke’s Commoners. The first definitive record of a McClintock in Ireland comes from 1630 when another Alexander ‘MacLentock’ was recorded in Donegal. For more, see here.

The Portlough Patent 1608

King James’s administration had previously made an unsuccessful attempt to colonise Nova Scotia. They were to have much more success with the plantation of Ulster, albeit at the expense of the indigenous Irish. Alexander’s arrival probably followed the division of the County Donegal barony of Raphoe into two precincts early 17th century. One of these was Lifford (which was granted to a group of nine Englishmen from Norfolk, Suffolk, Somerset and London.). The other was  Portlough (which was co-ordinated by Ludovic Stuart, 2nd Duke of Lennox, a kinsman and friend of James II). The Duke of Lennox parcelled this out to his own Stuart / Stewart kinsmen and other close allies such as the Cuninghams and Crawfords, two clans who would go on to make substantial profits from the establishment of a shipping trade between Donegal and Scotland. And so I guess the first McClintocks simply sailed out the Clyde, perhaps even from Old Kilpatrick, and on around the Antrim coast to Donegal …

Bear in mind that Macbeth was probably written in 1606 and this was an age in which the king believed in witches!

I have no immediate date for his arrival but “Alexander Mc Lentock,” appears on the Muster Roll of Ulster of 1630, bearing a sword and pike, on the lands of Duke of Lennox, in the Precinct of Portlough. Either he or his son, another Alexander, was married to Agnes McClean who lost her father and seven brothers at the Battle of Inverkeithing, Scotland, when a Scottish Covenanter force loyal to the future King Charles II failed to halt a superior force from Cromwell’s New Model Army. They lived at Trintaugh House where he died in 1670. He was buried in Taugboyne, about 8 miles west of Derry, as was Agnes who died in 1698.

I descend from Alexander and Agnes’s eldest son John McClintock who was born in 1649 and succeeded to Trintaugh at the age of 21. John was ancestor of McClintocks of Drumcar, Lisnavagh, Seskinore and Red Hall. In 1687, John married Jenet Lowry, the youngest daughter of a prosperous landowner John Lowry, another Scotsman, who had settled at Aghenis, Co. Tyrone. The family subsequently added the name of Corry and were given the title of Lord Belmore. John and Jenet appear to have sought refuge in Scotland during the War of the Two Kings in 1689-1691. Agnes as certainly in Scotland at the time of the Siege of Londonderry, when their first child was born although the baby did not survive infancy. They returned to Ireland after peace was re-established and had thirteen children, of whom seven survived.


The Creation of Londonderry, 1613

“The ‘Society of the Governor and Assistants, London, of the New Plantation in Ulster, within the realm of Ireland’ (known after the Restoration as the Irish Society) was formed in 1609 by the City of London, to manage the estates which it been obliged very reluctantly to take on. The Irish Society took charge of the overall management of the Irish estates, with direct control of the new city of Derry (which was also incorporated in the same charter of 29 March 1613 and renamed Londonderry) and of the town of Coleraine. The City of London livery companies were required to take on estates in the surrounding County of Londonderry. The Great Twelve livery companies bore the heaviest financial burden. The county was divided amongst them into twelve “proportions”, distributed by the drawing of lots. The Great Twelve were in turn supported by a number of minor companies, so that 30 livery companies in all had Irish estates derived from their participation in James I’s scheme for the plantation of Ulster.” (via Stair na hÉireann)



Alexander McClintock of Drumcar, County Louth..


Following John’s death in 1707 he was succeeded by his eldest son who is known in the family as Alexander McClintock of Drumcar. I’m tempted to think Alexander was inspired by the success of Speaker William Conolly, the son of a Donegal innkeeper, who went to study law in Dublin and fetched up as one of the richest commoners in Ireland. Alexander likewise went to Dublin to read law, in about 1710, and became a barrister of note during the early Georgian Age. In 1725 he married Rebecca Sampson of a prosperous Dublin family. Her brother Michael Sampson was a business associate of Redmond Kane, a somewhat mysterious businessman whose daughter and sole heiress would later marry into the Bunbury family of Lisnavagh.

Alexander made a substantial fortune but had no children which was good news for his nephews and nieces whose descendants would come to call Alexander the ‘Fairy Godfather’. Not all of his nephews benefited – his will notably excluded his nearest natural heir Dr. James McClintock, a son of his brother William, although he did provide some support to another nephew, another William McCliintock, who was disinherited for marrying his first cousin. Meanwhile, Trintaugh had passed to another nephew James, a different chap to the doctor, whose extravagant habit of stabling 29 hunters and coach-horses, as well as driving a coach and four, reduced the family fortune to such an extent that Trintaugh sold soon after his death in 1786. James’s daughter Susanna married the Rev Samuel Montgomery; their grandson Henry Montgomery was not only Bishop of Tasmania but also the father of F.M. Viscount Montgomery of El Alamein, who pinned a Military Cross onto my grandfather at the end of the Second World War. (FM Lord Alexander of Tunis is also claimed as another offspring of the McClintock line.)

It was Alexander who first purchased the Drumcar property in Co Louth in 1767 after it had passed through various families such as Tallon, Cashell, Holt and Curtis. In 1764 there were 12 Protestants and 363 Roman Catholics in Drumcar parish but it had no church and no chapel. Alexander died at his townhouse on Dominick Street, Dublin, on 25th May 1775, and was buried in Dunleer, a couple of miles outside Drumcar.




‘Bumper Jack’ McClintock, grandfather of first Lord Rathdonnell.

Alexander left Drumcar to nephew ‘Bumper Jack’ McClintock, grandfather of first Lord Rathdonnell. In 1766 Jack married Patience Foster, whose first cousin John Foster would become the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons in Dublin and one of the greatest men of his age. Such political connections were extremely useful to the McClintocks and Jack was MP for Enniskillen in Grattan’s Parliament from 1783 to 1790, and then MP for Belturbet from 1790 until 1797. He was also one of the original 25 members of the Northern Rangers Hunt Club, founded in 1774, and was elected the club Treasurer in 1783.

It was Jack who commissioned the building of a vast mansion on top of the wooded ridge at Drumcar in 1777, where the McClintock family remained until 1940s. It started out as a rectangular Georgian block, three storeys over basement, two rooms deep and a large central hall. Following a cash injection in the early 19th century, they added the Doric porch and balcony, as well as the moulded window surround and, later, the two-story 3 bay wings. One of Jack’s more unusual employees was John Suttoe, a black man who settled in Louth and married a local girl after his ship ran aground at Dunany in 1783.

[John Foster: The Politics of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy – A. P. W. Malcomson]




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

Following his death in February 1799, Bumper Jack was succeeded at Drumcar by his eldest son John McClintock, known in the family as ‘Old Turnip’. (I think this is because of his catchphrase ‘I wouldn’t give an old turnip for that.’) Born Dublin in 1770, he was five years old when his father succeeded to Drumcar. In 1787 he entered Trinity College Dublin to read law, passing through to Lincoln’s Inn in 1790. However, he changed direction on 12 September 1792 when, aged 21, he was appointed Serjeant-at-Arms to the Irish Parliament (along with his younger brother, William Foster McClintock) where his cousin John Foster was now arguably the most powerful player. He was paid £670 for attending his first parliament, which computes at about €40K in 2017, according to the National Archives. (I think there may have been a fire of some sort in Parliament House in 1792 which may prove relevant).

In 1797 he married Jane Bunbury, daughter of William Bunbury of Lisnavagh, County Carlow. Bumper Jack made the brilliant faux pas of kissing her maidservant hello instead of his new daughter-in-law when first introduced. John was High Sheriff of County Louth during the turbulent year of 1798 and served at the battles of Arklow and Vinegar Hill. His first son John – the future Lord Rathdonnell – was born that summer while a second son, William (later McClintock Bunbury of Lisnavagh) followed in September 1800. A daughter, Catherine, was born early in 1801 but the baby can hardly have been off the bosom when her mother was tragically killed in a horse riding accident near Bath in May 1801.

Jane was killed four months after the Act of Union came into effect. According to the Carlow Sentinel, Old Turnip was ‘consistently opposed to the Union – when peerages honours and decorations were lavished on those who supported the measure.’

In March 1800, he and John Foster were the last two people to leave the building when Parliament House ceased to operate; Foster refused to surrender the Speaker’s Mace and brought it with him to County Louth. There was a nice compensation for John and his brother for relinquishing the office they had held for the previous six years – £2545 each up front, plus a pension of £2,000 a year for life (which, in John’s case, was the next 54 years). That looks like about €80,000 a year and is assumed to have paid for the new wings at Drumcar.

Lady Elizabeth McClintock (née Le Poer Trench) as a rather formidable looking family matriarch. At the time of her death, aged 97 in May 1877, she was living at Corrig House, Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) in County Dublin.

Old Turnip was married secondly to Lady Elizabeth Le Poer Trench, a daughter of the 1st Earl of Clancarty. They had five sons and three daughters but suffered a rotten year in 1833-1834 when four of these sons and a daughter died in quick succession. Their surviving son Robert became Rector of Caste Bellingham, in which capacity he was once approached by an old man who claimed the remains of Napper Tandy, the United Irishman, had been transported by sea from France to Dunany or Annagassan, and buried at dead of night in a grave at Caste Bellingham.

Lady Elizabeth McClintock’s brother, Bishop Trench of Waterford and Lismore lead an evangelical revival during the 1820s and 1830s which was in part a response to Catholic Emancipation and also something of a backlash from the Christian world as science began to undermine their beliefs in eternal life and so on. Lady Elizabeth was certainly of an evangelical nature and founded the Protestant elementary school in Drumcar in 1825, while her husband built the church at Drumcar in 1845. [The stained glass window in the rectory is by Harry Clarke; a letter exists where Clarke apologises for being late with the delivery of the window explaining that he had been ill.]

Old Turnip was mildly ridiculed for his beliefs by his electoral opponent Richard Lalor Shiel. His brother Alick, a clergyman, became deeply embroiled in the Tithe Wars when 14 people killed during riot in Newtownbarry (Bunclody) in 1831. That said, in 1852, there was a petition from 114 people describing themselves as ‘the Roman Catholic Farmers, Tradesmen and Labourers of John McClintock’s estate at Drumcar’ who denounced accusations that he was a bigot and pointed out that he had contributed to the construction of Dillonstown Church, never favoured Protestant tenants over Catholic, employed a large number of both religions and had never evicted any tenants who fell into arrears.

At the general election in 1820, Old Turnip was returned to the Parliament for Athlone, but he resigned his seat in the same year. In 1830, he took the place of John Leslie Foster, and he was elected after a poll.




Henry McClintock (1783-1843), Collector of the Revenue at Dundalk during the early 19th century. His son Admiral Sir Francis Leopold McClintock was the discoverer of the Fate of Franklin for whom the 170-mile long McClintock Channel in Nunavut, Canada, is named.

Old Turnip’s younger brother Henry pioneered the Jedward haircut and penned a day-to-day diary of life in early 19th century County Louth that has been painstakingly transcribed by historian Pat O’Neill in a book called ‘The Journal of Henry McClintock’. Henry served in the 3rd Dragoon Guards as young man but retired on marrying a daughter of Archdeacon Fleury of Waterford and became Collector of Customs at the Port of Dundalk. Although relatively poor in comparison to his relatives, he was extremely popular and well regarded in the county. His journal includes fascinating references to such events as the Wildgoose Lodge Murders and the presence of a velocipede (bicycle) in Dundalk in 1819 while I doff my cap to his doctor who told him to have three glasses of claret a day. His oldest son was a tearaway who ultimately vanished in Demerara while the others included Alfred Henry McClintock, Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, and Leopold, who became one of the greatest Arctic explorers of the Victorian age. Leopold had a channel named after him, was knighted, received the Freedom of the City of London, wrote a best-selling book, became a Rear-Admiral and was put in charge of Portsmouth Dockyard.




When Old Turnip died at Drumcar in 1855, the property passed to his oldest son John McClintock, a former lieutenant in the 74th Foot. John was sometime Deputy Lieutenant for County Fermanagh and served as High Sheriff of Louth in 1840. He ran for election to represent County Louth in the Parliament at Westminster in 1841, but was unsuccessful. He fared better in 1857 and represented County Louth until 1859. He was Lord Lieutenant of the county from 1866. In 1867 he was appointed Colonel of the Louth Militia.

A still from the film ‘McLintock!’, a 1963 American western-comedy film starring John Wayne as cattle baron George Washington McLintock. As far as I could tell when I watched it, the film is all about how men ought to spank their wives more. Up for a hiding is his estranged from wife Katherine (played by Maureen O’Hara, who John Wayne also beat up in ’The Quiet Man’), while old McLintock also warmly encourages his prospective son-in-law Devlin Warren (played by John Wayne’s son Patrick) to give a good spanking to his daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers) with a coal shovel. I might need to watch it a second time to confirm my suspicions but the film seemed pretty dreadful to me. Nonetheless, it was the 11th highest-grossing film of 1963.  The McClintock surname also got a rather dubious airing with the story of  Lester ‘Molester’ McClintock, the former head of Waystar Royco’s cruise-ships division, during the first two seasons of the HBO series, ‘Succession.’


John’s wife Anne Lefroy was a cousin of Tom Lefroy, the Chief Justice of Ireland, who had reputedly enjoyed a romance with the writer John Austen in his youth. In 1868, Benjamin Disraeli secured the approval of Queen Victoria to have John elevated to the peerage as Baron Rathdonnell. When he died without issue in 1879, the title passed, by prior agreement with her Majesty, to his nephew, Thomas McClintock Bunbury, who was known as Tom Bunbury in his younger years.

It is thought that Tom commissioned the lychgate at Drumcar. The story runs that while and his wife Kate Bruen were on honeymoon in Switzerland, they saw a lych-gate and decided to commission one for the church at Drumcar. He brought a picture of it back on a box of matches and approached a man called Connor to build it for him. Mr Connor agreed on the condition that he could use the best oak tree on the Rathdonnell estate. When the lych-gate was broken up in 2016, an ingenious Annagassan carpenter by name of Tommy Mulroy converted two bits of it into lovely candlesticks which were then presented to me after I gave a talk on the family at Castle Bellingham in April 2017. The candlesticks are thus made from Lord Rathdonnell’s best oak!

In 1901, Tom’s eldest son Billy was killed during the Boer War. Shortly afterwards, Tom sold Drumcar to his cousin Frank McClintock and moved permanently to Lisnavagh. Frank, aka Francis Le Poer McClintock, was Rector of Drumcar and Private Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He went on to become Dean of Armagh. Frank actually lived in the Rectory at Drumcar but installed his twin sisters Emily and Gertrude in the house They were last members of the family to reside at Drumcar. (Their brother Charles may also lived in the house for a time.) My grandfather, the 4th Baron Rathdonnell, spent a good deal of his childhood at the house, perhaps simply because there were two spinster sisters there with time on their hands to look after the little motherless chap.




With thanks to Colonel Bob McClintock, Ben Rathdonnell, Sylvia Wright, John McClintock, Pat O’Neill, Jack McClintic, Bryan Rogers, Luke Torris & many more.


[1] An article that tracks the migration of Gaelic speakers who crossed the Irish Sea 1,700 years ago can be found here.




→McClintock Bunbury family descend from John ‘Bumper Jack’ McClintock, of Drumcar
his father

John McClintock of Trintaugh
his father

John McClintock
his father

Agnes Stenson McClintock
his mother

Donald Maclean of Ardgour
her father

Catherine MacLean, Lady of Lochiel
his mother

Allan Cameron of Lochiel, 12th Chief
her father

Donald Cameron of Lochiel
his father

Isabel Drummond
his mother

Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar & Lady of Garioch
her mother

Margaret of Mar, Countess of Mar
her mother

Domhnall II, Earl of Mar
her father

Christian Bruce
his mother, through whom the family also descend from Robert the Bruce & William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, aka “The Greatest Knight”

Marjorie, Countess of Carrick
her mother

Niall mac Dhonnchad, 2nd Earl of Carrick
her father

Donnchadh I mac Gilbert, 1st Earl of Carrick
his father

Gilbert mac Fergus, Lord of Galloway
his father

Elizabeth FitzRoy
his mother

Henry I “Beauclerc”, King of England
her father

Matilda of Flanders
his mother



As Sylvia Wright discovered in April 2017, the McClintocks can claim descent from Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, emperor of the Romans, through the marriage of Bumper Jack and Patience Foster. Personally I think my DNA might have come direct from Charlemagne’s father, Pepin the Short. In any case, the purported line runs thus:

Charles I le Grand Carolingien, roi des Francs 747-814
Louis I le Débonnaire, le Pieux Carolingien, empereur d’Occident 778-840
Lothaire I de Germanie, roi de Lotharingie 795-855
Irmgard de Germanie 827-
Rainier I au Long Col de Hainaut, comte de Hainaut ca 850-915..916
Symphoriane de Hainaut 889-952
Robert I de Namur, comte de Namur 920-981
Albert I de Namur, comte de Namur 959-1011
Albert II de Namur, comte de Namur 997-1063
Albert III de Namur, comte de Namur 1027-1102
Godefroi I de Namur, comte de Namur 1066..1067-1139
Henri l’Aveugle de Namur, comte de Luxembourg 1113-1196
Ermessinde de Namur, comtesse de Luxembourg 1181-1247
Henri V le Blond de Luxembourg, comte de Luxembourg 1217-1281
Philippa de Luxembourg †1311
Guillaume le Bon d’Avesnes, comte de Hollande 1286-1337
Philippa d’Avesnes 1311-1369
Thomas d’Angleterre, earl d’Essex 1355-1397
Anne d’Angleterre 1383-1438
William Bourchier †/1469
Fulk Bourchier, lord FitzWarine 1445-1479
John Bourchier, lord FitzWarine 1470-1539
Elizabeth Bourchier †1548
John Chichester 1516-1568
Susanna Chichester
Faithful Fortescue 1585-1666
Thomas Fortescue †1710
William Fortescue †1734
Elizabeth Fortescue †1762
John William Foster
Patience Foster = John ‘Bumper Jack’ McClintock
McClintock Bunbury


The Emergence of King James I and VI


Queen Elizabeth, from a portrait I saw at Hever Castle.

Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, was 70 years old when she died in her sleep at Richmond Palace on 24th March 1603. Her 45 year reign was the most remarkable period of prosperity that England had yet known. The great Spanish empire had been convincingly destroyed, their much trumped Armada fleet still rotting on the ocean floor today. The eastern coast of the New World had been conquered as far inland as Virginia. The Protestant Reformation, started by Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, was almost complete. England was experiencing a Golden Age that few could have imagined possible when Elizabeth’s Welsh-born grandfather, King Henry VII, staggered from the muddy fields of Bosworth in 1485 having finally brought the War of the Roses to an end.

When Elizabeth died, the throne of England and all its assets passed to her 37 year old cousin, King James VI of Scotland. James was the son of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots, the proud and troublesome Scot whose plots to seize the throne from Elizabeth had resulted in her eventual execution. He had been King of Scotland since 1567 when his mother was forced to abdicate. The late 16th century was, for Scotland, a complicated period in which rival Protestant, Puritan and Roman Catholic factions vied for supremacy. These power-hungry rogues went so far as to encourage the loveless orphan towards homosexuality. The belief was that if the king was gay, then whosoever shared the royal mattress would have control of the ancient kingdom of Caledonia. One of the prime culprits in this regard was his cousin, the Duke of Lennox, of whom more anon.

In 1589, King James secured himself a fine wife, a Danish blonde called Anne whose father was King Frederick II of Denmark. He loved her dearly and she produced two sons and a daughter – including Charles I – before her death of dropsy in the spring of 1619.

By the 1580s, James Stuart had cottoned on that his favourites were abusing his trust. And so he began to play chess with the different factions. To this end, the King had a most useful Queen. Not Queen Anne, but Queen Elizabeth, his cousin, who by the Treaty of Berwick in 1586 had declared him heir apparent to the Crowns of Great Britain and Ireland. The time for internal bickering was over.

One by one, James entered into negotiations with the Presbyterian Kirk, the lairds of the villages, the middle classes in the burghs, the landowning nobles and the parliamentary representatives. It would be incorrect to say the King secured the absolute loyalty of any of these groups but he and his trusted inner circle certainly managed to create the illusion of a united Scotland.

From 1601 he was also in negotiations with Robert Cecil, later Earl of Salisbury, Queen Elizabeth’s most valuable minister. The two men devoted a great deal of time to working out a way in which the Stuart accession to the Tudor throne could be handled peacefully. Contrary to all expectations, they succeeded.

Within eight hours of Queen Elizabeth’s death, James Stuart was proclaimed king in London. Two days later, he received the news in Edinburgh. And 10 days after that, King James I of Great Britain and Ireland set forth from Scotland, never to return except for a brief visit in the summer of 1617. On his way through England, he created 300 knights – an early indication that here was a man ready to hand out titles and monies wherever he needed to buy time or loyalty.

In terms of our family history, there are two things we should consider at this point.

Firstly, what was the status of the McClintock clan during this period? And secondly, how did the Bunbury’s react? Henry Bunbury of Hoole was one of the 300 men whom the Scottish king knighted on his way south.