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The Earls of Mount Cashell (Moore)

The Moore family, Earls of Mont Cashell, lived at Kilworth in north County Cork. This story looks at the story of the six earls, with a focus on the 5th Earl and his wife Charlotte, only child of Richard and Harriette Smyth of Ballynatray.  


Origins of the Moore Family


The Earls of Mount Cashell traced their ancestry back to the More (or Moore) family of Shropshire. Richard More came to Ireland and served as Sheriff of County Waterford sometime before his death in 1690. He is said to have made his fortune as a glover. If so, he must have made a lot of gloves because, in 1684, his son Stephen Moore had enough money to purchase a massive 40,000 acres in Counties Cork and Waterford from Henry Fleetwood for £5,000. As a Protestant with such a sizeable estate, Stephen presumably raised fearful eyebrows at the growing Catholicism of his monarch, James II. He was certainly one of the key players in backing William of Orange’s subsequent invasion of England, lending him some £3000 for the occasion.  [1] The loan was never repaid but Stephen was appointed to the constructive post of Governor of Tipperary. In due course, he built the first family seat at Kilworth.

Stephen’s rise to prominence was further enhanced when his son Richard Moore, MP for Clonmel, married Elizabeth Ponsonby, eldest daughter of William Pononsonby, Viscount Dungannon.

Richard and Elizabeth’s only son Stephen Moore was born in 1695 and succeeded to the estates of both his father and grandfather after their deaths in quick succession in 1701 and 1706 respectively. In 1726, while serving as MP for Fethard, he fatally shot Joseph Slattery, MP for Blessington, in a duel in Clonmel. By 1738, Stephen had secured his place in College Green as MP for Tipperary, a seat he held for the next 22 years up to his death in 1766. Indeed, he was created Viscount Mount Cashell only a few weeks before his death in February 1766. [2]


Stephen Moore (1730-1790), Earl Mount Cashell

Portrait of Stephen Moore, 2nd Earl Mount Cashell (1770-1822), after Charles Robertson


The Viscount’s firstborn son Richard sat as MP for Clonmel in 1761 but died unmarried that September aged 36. It was by no means the last time the Viscountcy would suddenly shift from one Moore to another.

When the Viscount died in 1766, he was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, another Stephen Moore. Born in 1730, this Stephen had previously sat as MP for Lismore. His wife, Helen, fourteen years his junior, was a daughter of John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira and a granddaughter of John Perceval, 1st Earl of Egmont.

On 5 January 1781, Stephen was created Earl Mount Cashell, the title being derived from the Rock of Cashel, which had been part of the family estates. [3]  Once in the House of Lords, Stephen quickly found a seat on the Privy Council of Ireland. He died in 1790 in his 60th year at the Moore family’s town house on St Stephen’s Green. His London-born widow died in the same house two years later.


Stephen Moore, 2nd Earl Mount Cashell


According to the Gentleman’s Magazine, Stephen Moore, Lord Kilworth, the 20-year-old son and heir of the 1st Earl, was ‘on his travels’ when he learnt of his father’s premature death in May 1790. He had only been elected MP for Clonmel a few weeks earlier so one wonders how long he intended on travelling.

If the 2nd Earl Mount Cashell had known what fate had in store for him, perhaps he might have simply kept on travelling. As it was, he returned to Ireland, took his seat in the House of Lords on 1 April 1791 and, the following September, was married in Mitchelstown.


Mary Wollstonecroft – The Dismissal of a Governess

Mary Wollstonecraft.

The 2nd Earl’s bride was to become a considerable source of pandemonium to him in subsequent years. She is known to posterity as ‘Mrs. Mason’ and is worthy of a detour not least because she provides an intriguing link between the Moore family, Mary Shelley and one of the last great literary discoveries of the 20th century. Her given name was Lady Margaret Jane King and she was the eldest daughter of Robert, 2nd Earl of Kingston.

At the time of her wedding, Lord Kingston, a somewhat irascible character, was still smarting about an impudent Governess who he had employed to look after his children just three years earlier. The Governess in question was the pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecroft. The free-thinking teenage Margaret King quickly became one of Wollstonecroft’s most devoted fans, maintaining a secret correspondence long after the latter’s inevitable dismissal.


The Poet & Mrs. Mason


Margaret, Countess of Mout Cashell bore her husband eight children. Although based at Moore Park, they also owned Iveagh House in Dublin, where they frequently entertained guests such as Henry Grattan, Lord Edward FitzGerald and John Philpot Curran. The Mount Cashells marriage was an unhappy one. They had no interests in common and were prone to constant rows. In 1801, during an extended tour of Europe, Margaret met an Irishman by name of George William Tighe. The two fell madly in love. Margaret abandoned her husband and children in Germany and eloped with George to Italy where they had two girls. They called themselves ‘Mr and Mrs Mason’ , taking the names from Mary Wollstonecraft’s book, ‘Original Stories from Real Life’. Wollstonecraft had been Margaret’s Governess and, in time, Margaret would become a great friend to Wollstonecraft’s daughter, Mary Shelley, author of ‘Frankenstein’. Mary’s husband, the poet Percy Shelly, refers to Margaret as ‘The Lady’ in his poem, ‘The Sensitive Plant’. Forbidden to have any contact with her children in Ireland, Margaret was reputed to have descended to a life of ‘extreme poverty’. As Anna Maria Hajba comments, this meant having to limit herself to two servants. After the Earl’s death, George and Margaret were married. She wrote a book entitled ‘Advice to Young Mothers on the Physical Education of Children’, published in 1823. She died in Italy twelve years later.


Mary Shelly and The Fisher’s Cot


Mary Shelly became extremely fond of the Mason daughters. An entry in her diary for 10 August 1820 records:

‘Write a story for Laurette. Walk in the mountains … the weather is warm and delightful’.

This suitably melancholy children’s story was assumed to have been lost for more than 150 years. However, in 1997, the year of Mary Shelley’s bicentenary, an Italian lady by name of Christina Dazzi came upon a little book of pages, sewn together by string, while rooting around in a wooden chest in the attic of her Tuscan palazzo. The manuscript was entitled ‘Maurice’ or ‘The Fisher’s Cot’. At the top of the first page were the sort of words that inspire people to nip up to their attics and get rooting: ‘For Laurette from her friend Mrs. Shelley’. The Laurette in question was Laurette Tighe (1809-1890), the illegitimate eleven-year-old great-granddaughter of William Tighe of Rossanagh. Signora Dazzi’s husband Andrea was a direct descendant of Laurette’s sister Nerina (1815-1874) who had married into the Cinis of Pistoia. [4]


3rd Earl Mount Cashell by Spy (Leslie Ward), Vanity Fair, 1883.

The 3rd Earl Mount Cashell


Stephen Moore, 3rd Earl Mount Cashell, was 30 years old when he succeeded his father at Kilworth in 1822. He was to become the oldest member of the House of Lords by the time of his death 61 years later. He was an efficient correspondent and wrote a detailed diary. The late Kitty Fleming had his diaries from 1858, 1863 and 1869 in her possession in 2006.

The 3rd Earl was born in August 1792, six months before the execution of the French monarch Louis XIV plummeted Europe headlong into one of the most violent wars the world had ever known. A pamphlet published in Cork in 1828 claims he received his early education ‘in the convent of St. Isidore in Rome’. [5]  This seems unlikely but perhaps the convent had some link to his parents early travels in Europe. At any rate, by 1809, he was studying at Trinity College Cambridge, graduating with an MA in 1812. As a young man he was engaged in two duels against Wellesley Long, later Earl of Mornington, in a quarrel over Miss Tyleny Long ‘to whom both were paying their addresses’.

Lord Kilworth, as he was then, was considered one of the dandiest, most fashionable men about town, and regarded as an exceedingly good dancer too.

In the spring of 1819, he was married at St. Marylebone in London to Anna Maria, daughter of Samuel Wyss ‘of the Canton of Berne’ in Switzerland. He succeeded his father as Earl Mount Cashell three years later. As a politician, he was a die-hard supporter of the Torys in an age, witnessing the administrations of Prime Ministers Robert Peel, Lord Palmerston, Lord Derby and Benjamin D’Israeli. In Irish affairs, he consistently spoke out against absenteeism. His tenants were said to be treated well and respected him for it. On 22 April 1847, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society.


Amherst Island – The Canadian Experience


In 1833 the 3rd Earl and his wife moved from Frankfurt, with their eight children, to live upon a 1000 acre estate outside the Canadian town of Lobo, Ontario. Amongst these children were Lord Kilworth, alter the fourth Earl, and the Charles William, later the 5th Earl and forefather of the Holroyd Smyths. The 3rd Earl built a large ‘L’ shaped house at Lobo, known as the castle. [6]  The people of Lobo still talk today of the crazy earl and how he used to knock back a carafe of wine and shoot his pistols at the doors and walls of his house. One witness recalled seeing him sitting in bed, taking shots at flies on the wall.

In 1835, the Earl purchased Amherst Island from Catharine Maria Bowes, who is said to have gone bankrupt over a card game. The island is located in the mouth of the Bay of Quinte, west of Kingston, consisting of 16,543 acres of good farm land. His interest in Amherst Island was both profit-oriented and humanitarian. On his Irish estates, he was constrained by encumbrances, long leases at low rents and by increasingly hostile Roman Catholic tenants. In Canada, he could start afresh and do it right. He saw it as his ‘magnificent and fruitful Island’, his ‘Promise of Eden’. Financially, he hoped to reap large returns on his investment by settling the island with industrious immigrants who would clear and cultivate the land, thereby improving its value and providing him with a steady rental income. But his vision extended beyond pecuniary ends. Inspired by the evangelical belief in human improvement, he thought that by encouraging emigration from Ireland to Canada he could help solve the over-population of his homeland, create a prosperous, loyal farming population in the new world, and strengthen the Empire through a transatlantic grain trade. Mount Cashell became a leading spokesman of these views in North America. In 1839/1840 he was President of the North American Committee of the Colonial Society whose major aim was to encourage emigration and improve colonial trade.

The Earl clearly retained an interest in Ireland for his yacht was “totally wrecked” on the Bulman rock in Kinsale harbour in the last months of 1846. He also brought settlers out from Ireland, giving them seven-year leases at nominal rent and requiring them to make certain improvements each year. He financed the establishment of a general store, maintained the church and glebe, provided the resident land agent with a home, and divided the island up into individual farms with a large section reserved for timber. By 1841, the community had three schools and a population of over 1,000 people. The majority of families were Presbyterian, six were Church of England, eleven were Roman Catholics and a few were Methodist.

In 1847, Dr Thomas Rolph of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel applauded Amherst Island as a first-rate example of a planned immigration scheme that had been profitable to both settler and financier. However, the Irish Famine hurt Mount Cashell badly. Distressed tenants and declining rents placed a heavy burden on a landlord who was already in debt because of lavish living and beleaguered by an untrustworthy agent’s embezzlement. In 1848, he mortgaged Amherst Island. Several more mortgages followed on his Canadian properties, and in 1856 his creditors foreclosed and Amherst Island was sold at public auction for much less than its market value to Robert Perceval-Maxwell, husband of the Earl’s cousin, Helena Moore of Moore Hill. It seems Robert had lent £10,000 to Mountcashel and was thus obliged to purchase all the Canadian property when the Mountcashels financial situation deteriorated in order to salvage his money. [7] The Earl was also obliged to dispatch of a considerable portion of his Irish estates, parcelling them out in large and small farms. [8]


Hard Boiled


A note from the diary of the 3rd Earl’s lawyer, H.C.R. Becher may say it all:

‘Oct. 1, 1865. The Earl of Mount Cashell dines with me often. He is a troublesome client, rather amusing as a guest at first, but in the main a bore’.

A famous story, preserved both in local tradition and in various newspapers, tells of how the earl, drunk and disorderly and clad in old clothes and a hat, entered an assizes court room in London, walked to the front and sat down beside the presiding Magistrate. The astounded Magistrate demanded the intruder leave. Getting no response, he threatened a charge of contempt of court and ordered the sheriff to remove him. The sheriff urgently whispered to the Magistrate that this was the Earl of Mount Cashell, a Privy Counsellor, thus entitled to sit on the bench if he wished. The stunned Magistrate mumbled an apology and went on with the case during which the Earl got up and stumbled out. A less charming anecdote relating to the 3rd Earl concerned a 12-year-old boy who he racked up for stealing some of his cider apples. He also cut off all the boys long locks. Such chastisement was considered the way to teach a lesson that thou shalt not steal but inevitably sowed seeds of discontent.


The 3rd Earl Takes a New Bride


Anna Maria, Countess of Mount Cashell, died at Moore Park on 4 July 1876 aged 84. Her widower husband swiftly became engaged and possibly married to a beautiful nurse by name of Miss Kennedy. He died in Oxford Terrace, London, on 10 October 1833, aged 91. He had held his seat in the House of Lords for 57 years. At the time of his death, his landholdings still amounted to 12,344 acres, valued at £3725 a year. These estates consisted of 5961 acres in Co. Cork and 6383 acres in Co. Tipperary.


The Moore Boys – Wild Cats


The 3rd Earl’s three sons were renowned as wild cats the length and breadth of the British Isles. As bachelors, they excelled as idle spendthrifts and serious drinkers, shooting, fishing and generally ragging while their father’s estates crumbled around them. They were frequently to be found clowning about with British officers at Fermoy. The firstborn Stephen was born at Moore Park on 11 March 1825 and was commonly known as ‘Kilworth’ on account of his title, Lord Kilworth. He served as High Sheriff for County Cork in 1849 and succeeded his father as 4th earl in 1885. However, all was not well. ‘According to the World, the present Earl of Mount Cashell is hopelessly insane,’ advised the Dundee Courier (19 October 1883). ‘For many years past he has been inmate of a well-known private asylum at Brislington, near Bristol.’ When he died unmarried aged 64 on 9 November 1889, the Irish Times (Saturday 16 November 1889) noted: ‘he has been for many years in very infirm health, but his death was unexpected.’ It was noted that he died at ‘Dr Fox’s asylum at Brislington, near Bristol, where he had been confined for many years.’ [9] His funeral took place at Kilworth, with the procession being headed up by the Mountcashel and Ballynatray tenantry, and his remains were interred in the family vault.[10] The titles duly passed to his brother Charles, of whom more anon.[11] The asylum was founded by Dr. Edward Long Fox.

Kilworth and Charles’s youngest brother, the Hon. George Francis Moore (1830-1881), seems to have shared a similar fascination for as pistols as his father. At least there is a story that, hearing of a British army officer who could hit a coin at the toe of his boot, George tried it and blew off his big toe. In 1865, George married Jane Dance and brought her back to Lobo in Canada where he seems to have lived. She died less than three years later ‘of a broken heart’ and is buried in the Campbell cemetery at Komoka.


The 5th Earl Mount Cashell & Charlotte Smyth of Ballynatray

His younger brother Charles duly succeeded as 5th Earl Mount Cashell. Born in October 1826, Charles William Moore was the second son of the 3rd Earl Mount Cashell by his Swiss wife, Anna Maria Wyss. He was a 22 year old officer in the Rifle Brigade when, on 18 January 1848, he married Charlotte Mary Smyth, only child of Richard and Harriette Smyth of Ballynatray. She grew up at Ballynatray against the backdrop of the 1830s and 1840s during which her aunt Penelope became a cause célèbre in Europe.

When Charlotte’s father died in 1858, his will decreed that, in order to inherit the ancestral estate, his son-in-law must assume the additional name and arms of Smyth. Thus, on 7 July 1858, Charles Moore became Charles Moore Smyth and co-owner of Ballynatray. However, after he succeeded to the earldom, he relinquished the name ‘Smyth’ and assumed instead the name of ‘More’. He promptly cleared all his tenants at Ballynatray of any outstanding arrears of rent, an unusually generous act in those times.

Two years later, in May 1860, Youghal became the latest town in Ireland to be connected to the railway. The British Army had maintained its presence in Youghal but the town’s importance as a trading port had gradually declined during the 19th century. However with the coming of the railroad Youghal was reborn as a seaside destination, and the most popular seaside resort on the south coast. The town was also enjoying some creative prosperity through the introduction of lace-making by with Presentation Sisters.

Charles was Worshipful Master of Youghal Masonic Lodge No. 68 on six occasions between 1853 and 1866. He also sat as High Sheriff for County Waterford in 1862. An interesting document that survives from this age is an address published in the Cork Examiner on 28 October 1863. It reads as follows:



Ballynatray, October 24, 1863.


—We, the undersigned Tenants to your Ballynatray Estate, beg to express to you our regret for, and abhorrence of, the late atrocious outrages which have been committed on this portion of your property, but particularly for that part which relates to yourself, and although you may not wish that we should enumerate your many acts of kindness towards us, now that it has gone forth to the public that you have received a threatening letter we conceive it to be our duty to show how little you deserve it.

You and the Hon. Mrs. MOORE SMYTH’S first act on coming into possession of this Estate was to forgive every penny of arrears due by the tenants, amounting to several thousand pounds. You then got the several farms re-valued, and reduced the rents where necessary, and last year, in order to assist the tenants after the late bad harvests, you made abatements of from 15 to 25 per cent. in their rents.

You and the Hon. Mrs. MOORE SMYTH have been invariably kind and considerate to us all, and we now take this opportunity publicly to express our sincere attachment to yourselves and family, and most solemnly to repudiate our having the slightest sympathy with the guilty parties or their acts, which we feel to be a deep disgrace to this hitherto peaceful district.

We trust, Honourable Sir, that the evil doings of one or two misguided individuals will not cause any interruption to kindly intercourse and mutual good will which has ever existed between us, and We remain, with much respect, your grateful and attached Servants,

John Mansfield,
Patrick Brown,
Nicholas Flyn,
Thomas Murphy,
John Sanders,
John Ahern,
Martin Murphy,
William Sullivan,
James Fitzgerald,
John Murray,
William Brown,
Michael Connery,
John Murphy,
Michael Harty,
Patrick Mansfield,
Timothy M’Carthy,
Michael Murray,
Patrick Magrath,
John Leahy,
Timothy Leahy,
John Doocey,
John Griffin,
Michael Landers,
William Murray,
Daniel Murray,
Maurice Browne,
Garrett Sanders,
James Kennedy,
Stephen Murphy,
James Griffin,
John Barry,
Thomas Connery,
William Pumpery, sen.,
Edmond Killeger,
James Sullivan,
Thomas Kennelly,
James Doyle,
Daniel Donovan,
John Donovan,
Michael Leahy,
Patrick Harty,
Thomas Colbert,
James Mountain,
William Corkran,
William Irishy,
William Coghlan,
John Fitzgerald,
Patrick Laughton,
Patrick Cronican,
William Pumpery, jun.
— The Cork Examiner 28 October 1863

After 1878, the Land War, agricultural depression, and Gladstone’s Land Act of 1881 resulted in lower rental incomes and a tighter mortgage market. Within a few years, insolvency was widespread and, combined with legislation to implement peasant proprietorship, hastened the demise of landlordism.


Children of Charles & Charlotte

Charles and Charlotte, the 5th Earl of Mount Cashell and his countess, had a son, Richard, and three daughters. However, they were to have a very unhappy experience as parents. Their eldest daughter, Lady Harriette, was the only one who survived into the 20th century and went on be matriarch of the Holroyd-Smyth family of Ballynatray. The second daughter Helena died young and unmarried in 1876. That same year saw the construction of the family mausoleum at Temple Michael and poor Helen was the first to be buried within. [11] A memorial on the exterior reads: ‘She died in faith as only those who die in Christ depart; one blessed name within her lips, one hope within her heart’. She is also recalled by a memorial in St. Mary’s of Youghal which reads:

Sacred to the memory of Helena Anna Mary More who entered into rest 6th November 1876 aged 25 years, the second and beloved child of Charles W Moore, second son of Stephen, 3rd Earl of Mount Cashell, and Charlotte M Smyth, only child of Richard Smyth Esq of Ballynatray, Co. Waterford. A good true hearted daughter, sister and friend she was fondly loved in life and deeply mourned in death and precious were her latest words.
Blessed are the pure in heart’.


Ada Moore-Smyth


The fate of Helena’s youngest sister, Ada, seems to have slipped the archives. She was christened Charlotte Adelaide Louisa Riversdale.


Richard Moore-Smyth & Lord Kilworth


Charles and Charlotte’s only son Richard Charles Moore was born on 26th September 1859 and educated at Eton. On 16th October 1884 this handsome man married Helen Stirling, the younger daughter of a Scotch Presbyterian clergyman by name of Rev. William Makellar of 8 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. [12] Scotch Presbyterians were never famed for their sense of humour and this young woman was no exception. Helen was a tiny wee slip of a thing whose feet never touched the ground when she was sitting down. Nonetheless, all seemed to be going as planned when she begat a son shortly before Christmas 1887. However, on January 3rd 1888, just fifteen days later, the baby boy’s father was dead. It is not known what killed Richard Moore-Smyth at the age of 28 but there is talk of a similar fate to that which befell his contemporary Lord Randolph Churchill. His son, Claude William Stephen Richard Moore, duly became Lord Kilworth. He seems to have gone to live with his mothers’ family in Scotland but tragically he too perished on 1 October 1890, two months before his third birthday. A portrait of young Lord Kilworth formerly hung at Ballynatray.


Not Gone from Memory


Richard Moore-Smyth and their young boy, Lord Kilworth were buried in the family mausoleum at Temple Michael. Richard’s memorial on the exterior wall of the vault reads:

‘Sorrowing affection most early mourns a loving son, devoted husband and father, and a kindly relative and friend so truly loved and early came away.

Not gone from memory, not gone from love, but gone to his father up above’

Helen erected further memorials to her husband and son in St. Mary’s of Youghal. The latter reads:

‘In loving memory of Richard Charles Moore Smyth, only and fondly lamented son of Charles W and Charlotte M Smyth of Ballynatray, Co. Waterford, who died January 3rd 1888 aged 28 years to the inexpressible friend of his loving and much loved wife.

‘Is it well with thy husband?’ And she said ‘it is well’.

‘In Loving Memory of Claude Stephen William Richard Moore Smyth, Lord Kilworth, only and darling little son of the late Richard Charles and Helen Stirling Moore Smyth who died 1st October 1890 aged 2 years and nine months to the lifelong grief of his heartbroken mother.

And in their mouth was found no guile for they are without fault before the throne of God’.


The Fate of Helen Moore-Smyth


Helen was obliged to leave Ballynatray in 1890 and removed to England. However, by dint of her husband’s will, she apparently secured an annual pension of £500 from Ballynatray for the next fifty-three years. [13] She is said to have become a Catholic in the meantime. When she died in 1943, she asked to be buried in the Smyth mausoleum alongside her husband and son. A Catholic priest was duly summoned to administer the last rites, on a cold winters night.


Death of Charlotte, Countess Mount Cashell


Presumably devastated by the death of her son and grandson in such quick succession, the Countess Mount Cashell herself succumbed to acute bronchitis at Ballynatray on 17th January 1892. She too is recalled in St. Mary’s of Youghal:

‘In loving memory of Charlotte Mary, Countess of Mount Cashell, only child of Richard Smyth of Ballynatray, who died 17th January 1892.
Erected by her daughter Harriette Holroyd-Smyth’.

The Latter Years of the 5th Earl


For all that, her widowed husband was clearly not inclined to excessive grieving for come 25th October following, the 64-year-old was to be found strolling around a crowded St. Anne’s Church on Dublin’s Dawson Street awaiting the arrival of his new bride-to-be. Her name was Agnes and she was the widow of Sir Edward Porter and daughter of Andrew Cowan of Glenghana, Co. Down. The congregation were to be disappointed when the Vicar coughed silence from the pulpit and announced that the marriage was off. A year later, on 19th October 1893, the 5th Earl fared better when he married Florence, youngest daughter of Henry Cornelius of Ross-na-Clonagh, Mountrath, Queen’s County [Co. Laois]. Henry’s father Edward Cornelius lived at Dromore, Coote Hill, Co. Cavan, while his mother was born Sophia Atkinson. The 5th Earl died on 20th February 1898 aged 71 and was buried at Kilworth. Florence survived him nearly thirty years and died in January 1927.

The Last Earl


After the death of the 5th Earl Mount Cashell in 1898, the title passed to his cousin, Edward George Augustus Harcourt (Moore), eldest son and heir of the Hon. Rev. George Moore, Canon of Windsor, and grandson of the 17th Lord Clinton. He declined to take up his Irish inheritance and died unmarried aged 85 at his residence Beryle near Wells in Somerset in April 1915 and was buried in Paddington Cemetery. At his death, the Mount Cashell title and all its honours became extinct.

In 1903, with Wyndham’s Land Acts taking effect, Lady Holroyd-Smyth sought a buyer for the Kilworth estate. In February 1904, The Times published an account from a ‘trustworthy authority’, in their Naval & Military Intelligence. It stated that the Government had concluded negotiations for the purchase of the extensive demesne of Moore Park, from Lady Holroyd-Smyth, ‘for military purposes’. Moore Park was thus sold to the British War Office to be used as a training camp. Artillery barracks were to be erected and the staff of the Cork district would be stationed there. The construction of an artillery range extending towards Clogheen was also being contemplated. The austere Georgian mansion of Moore Park itself, home to five successive Earls Mount Cashell, was destroyed by an accidental fire in 1908. The house was never rebuilt and the site now belongs to the Teagasc Agricultural Research and Development Centre.

With thanks to Kitty Fleming, Rosemary Cryer, Deborah Rea, Johnny Perceval Maxwell, David Butler, Peter Gilliat and others.



[1] The Complete Peerage, IX. P. 311.

[2] In 1719, the 1st Viscount married Alicia Colville, granddaughter of the Rt Hon Sir Robert Colvill of Newtown, Co. Down. She died aged 62 at Moore Park, Co. Cork, on 10th August 1862.

[3] Whether the name of the earldom was one word or two, and whether there was one L or two, seems to have been uncertain since even books such as Burke’s Peerage use a variety of forms.

[4] Perhaps inspired by the Shelleys, Laurette later wrote novels under her married name, Sara Tardi. Her husband, Professor Tardi of Genoa, died in 1914. ‘Maurice’ was published by Viking in 1998 with an introduction by Claire Tomalin, author of highly acclaimed biographies of ‘Mary Wollstonecraft’ and ‘Samuel Pepys’ (winner of the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year Award).

[5]A Refutation of the Earl of Mountcashell’s Pamphlet against Purgatory’, P.C. Tuomey (1828), quoted in The Complete Peerage.

[6] Its foundations indicate it was about 90 feet (27m) long by 30 feet (9m) at the narrow end of the L, and 50 feet (15m) at the wide part. The nearby village of Kilworth was named for the family title of Lord Kilworth.

[7] This information is taken extensively from ‘A New Lease on Life: Landlords, Tenants, and Immigrants in Ireland and Canada by Catharine Anne Wilson. Maxwell’s solicitor was John A McDonald, later first Prime Minister of Canada. In the early 1840s, he purchased large tracts of unsettled land in the counties of Middlesex, Lambton and Victoria. These lands, then on the frontier of settlement, were held for speculation and left unimproved.

[8] The Constitution, November 7 1850

[9] Portsmouth Evening News, 13 November 1889.

[10] London Evening Standard – 18 November 1889.

[11] Mausoleums were all the rage in Victorian Ireland at this time. The Hanlons of Ballyhamlet House erected one at Kilwatermoy; the Kiely family pitched another at Kilcockan.

[12] William Makellar (1816–1876) was ordained in 1843 at Pencaitland Free Church, outside Edinburgh, where his father Angus Makellar was minister, but resigned in 1845. In 1868, the Rev. William McKellar of Ascog Lodge, Bute, was recorded as attending the Assembly as one of the Dunoon and Inverary representatives but is listed with the elders, not as a ministerial commissioner.

[13] The late Kitty Fleming had a copy of this will circa 2006.