Turtle Bunbury

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



Perhaps Tom Bunbury's 18th century bachelor pad had become too musty in its old age. Or perhaps Captain William McClintock Bunbury merely wished to build something that posterity would marvel at. Or maybe he was simply trying to fulfill his paternal grandfather's dream to build a new house at Lisnavagh.

At any rate, in 1846, soon after he succeeded his uncle Tom at Lisnavagh, the Captain 'immediately organised the building of a new house and farmyard complex on the estate. The planning and building programme proceeded at an astonishing pace'. Amongst the letters in the Lisnavagh archives is one dated 19 December 1846 from the Captain's elder brother John McClintock, later Lord Rathdonnell, who would inherit Drumcar. It reads: '... Tighe was busy last night explaining all about your house [Lisnavagh]. He says it will cost £10,000, and that Kane will pay it all. I hope so, as I suppose he will give me an equivalent, otherwise, the savings which he talks about dividing between us by his will will be all moonshine. I think you will have got the oyster and I shall get the shells. I don't think you would conceive that just. He had better hold the balance fairly. What he does for one, either at present or future, he ought to do for the other, as I know you would wish him to do so; but I think you should say so to him. Of course, he can do as he likes with his own; but I am sure he would be sorry to show, and you would be the first to prevent his showing, any partiality for one over the other. Poor Tom said to me: "You know, William will require something more, as he will have to do things at Lisnavagh", alluding to your building, etc; and in consequence gave you two-thirds of the residue, to which I assented, upon which he seemed pleased. This feeling having arisen in my mind, I, as a brother, don't for a moment hesitate to express it. Kane is an easy-going man, and he may not have thought of the effect of his apparent partiality, but it is for you to point out to him, and insist upon his taking, the just and impartial course. ...' In subsequent correspondence, there are references to the existence in 1862 of a bond for £10,000 which the Captain had given to John McClintock (and which was partially offset by McClintock-Bunbury's charges on the Louth estate), presumably as an equivalent for the £10,000 which the Captain had received to build Lisnavagh.

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

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Above: This is thought to be one of two know photographs
of Captain William McClintock Bunbury.

In a note written at the end of his 1846 diary, the Captain noted that on 23rd January 1847, 'My dearest wife Pauline laid the first stone of the New House in Lisnavagh, fine day. She and I planted an oak tree each'. The first stone of the new house was laid on 23rd January 1847, an event marked by the presentation of a silver ebony-handled trowel by Henry Kingsmill, contractor, to Mrs. McClintock Bunbury. A pair of unicorn doorstops at Lisnavagh are said to be taken from an oak tree planted by Captain and Mrs McClintock Bunbury on the laying of this foundation stone. Kingsmill and the Captain subsequently ended up in Court after Lisnavagh was built. [John Kingsmill, son of Henry Kingsmill, married Eleanor Palmer, a daughter of Thomas Palmer of Dereen, Co Laois, who died in 1771. Were they related?]

As well as building what would surely become the biggest house in County Carlow, Captain McClintock Bunbury set about building new stables, haylofts, farm buildings, a schoolhouse, several outbuildings, new formal gardens and a cut-stone wall around almost the entirety of the estate. (50) There must have been feverish activity at Lisnavagh during the late 1840s as the captain fulfilled his grand ambitions and put the people to work as never before. Every working man in the vicinity must have opened his eyes a little wider when it became apparent that the new owner of the Bunbury’s farm was hiring. Michael Conry holds that the main house cost £16,000 to build and took 130 men two and a half years, while the wages appear to have been £300-400 a week. The Sawmilll House was already built at this time; the Laundry House may also have been. Bear in mind there were practically no trees on the place in 1840. It was only afterwards that the demesne was established and all the woods planted.

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

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

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Above: This map shows the estate at Lisnavagh circa 1847.
The shape has not changed greatly in 160 years.

[Unconnected but I can't think quite where else to put it ... Prompted by Jamie Cahalane I took Dilly on an off piste walk in August 2016, heading west of Carr's Hill into what was then a field of peas ... A marsh runs up to a wood along the northern edge of this field with a substantial ditch nearby ... I also found a granite bridge down at the southern end of the Sunk Fence, in the south west corner of the Whelan's bog belt, which has been broken up by a tree. My father advises that this was part of a major drainage scheme laid out in the mid-nineteenth century, which paid for that drain to go almost to the Moanavoth Cottages. That drain joins the River Derreen near Rathglass Bridge but further north there is an exit to the Slaney through Deerings.]

(49A): Carlow Granite: Years of History Written in Stone, Michael J. Conry, pp.320 - 336.
(50): Or rather, the estate proper. In the 1860s the 'Lisnavagh Estates' actually extended some 6 miles north of the house to border General Dennis's estate at Fort Granite.



(60) The Newcomens had previously employed the architect James Gandon to build the impressive stable yards and the Dublin Gate.

ROBERTSON & Lisnavagh House

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

Daniel Robertson communicated with Captain Bunbury, almost on a daily basis, with the Captain advising him on progress and asking for his advice and direction on related matters.

Again I am indebted to Stephen Massil for the following:

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A sketch of the proposed design by Robertson.

On 9th October 1846, Robertson wrote from Rathwade, Bagnelstown, to Captain Bunbury at his London address (32 Cavendish Square), stating that he had '… arranged with Beauchamp Newton accordingly gratefully thank you for your intention in my favour …’ and refers: ‘… the weather is too severe for a man only recovering from gout.’ It was not necessarily the most auspicious opening letter but, on 23rd January 1847, another letter reports: ‘Completed the first and great stage of your works here. … long years of enjoying your Residence in all the happiness which falls to the lot of poor mortals such as we all are’. He discusses aspects of payments due, and refers: ‘…my rent and taxes at Walton due at last Christmas are become very oppressive to me’.

The Captain responded immediately so that Robertson’s next letter of 27th January 1847 serves as a receipt ‘for the £50’ while including also a request that he write himself to Germaine over the current problem over plants and garden work. It is Amelia Helen Robertson’s own acknowledgement of the money writing on 7th March from Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, that confirms the location of the family and how far husband and wife are separated at this time[108].

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

The letter of 25th February refers to a near-mutiny by the workforce. Robertson writes: ‘As it is pretty well known that I am not a sweet-tempered man, I am held in some terror; and consequently they knew what I said, I would do; so they proposed going back to work to being paid off, and for the present the conspiracy is quashed’ he also avers: ‘This is one advantage of Lisnavagh being my Headquarters’.

The letter of 6th March indicates another extra-financial request satisfied with ‘thanks for £25 to my poor Emily – she is a sickly, nervous and worn out invalid, and has frightened herself as well as me beyond measure’. The letter includes a lengthy reference to the ‘workings of these infernal new county courts here. The results around here are frightful’. This is followed by a family passage for Mrs Bunbury’s benefit: ‘I am sure dear Mrs Bunbury will be glad to hear that Andrew Savage has recently got the appointment of Instructor of Fortifications and Mechanical Drawing to the officers of the Navy and Marines, a post lately held by a Major of Artillery from Woolwich – this puts £200 a year in his pocket, besides his marine pay & allowances, and his wife says a capital good house in the Dock Yard etc etc rent free and to her, a great happiness that he is not liable to go to sea, and leave her a gay widow at Portsmouth’ and concludes ‘I am today but cruelly weakened’.

The letter of 21st March includes a further sick note and family matters: ‘… For myself I am very ailing, I have suffered greatly from that epidemic of dysentery so prevalent around us, and now, gout is breathing[109] and plying about me, all this is now more severe on me, for I yesterday received the sad news of the death of my eldest son at Calcutta, in December last – my poor Emily is in sad sorrow for her loss, and I confess I am not much of a stoic – grief sharpens this cruel gout, and altho’ up, bed is where I ought to be’.

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

In a letter dated 24th March 1847, Robertson advises the Captain 'that a great saving would be made by having the face of the walls of all the building, except the Stewards House, built without being hammered face, in regular courses, precisely the same way, in which the best portions of the road wall are done; I admit the buildings would not look so neat and well, but the cost may be spared and the work equally as substantial for use'. He also suggested that the proposed brick floors could be replaced with locally cut granite flags.

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

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

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

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

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Above: The entrance to the walled garden at Lisnavagh circa 2003.

A further letter of 30th May continues the report and mentions an unusual visitor to the construction site at Lisnavagh, being a parrot that belonged to (I think) his daughter. As Roberston wrote to the captain: 'I brought over Blanche’s paraquet with me for company as the bird was too noisy for her sick mother and it has astonished the The natives vastly; but no more so than your fat cattle. I was up as usual before 6 this morning and took the Bird out of doors & the 30 Bullocks were round the House, and I went up the Buildings, on my return they had surrounded the Cage and appeared to enjoy the infernal screaming of my saucy [?] bird who cared not for a dozen pair of Horns within a yard of his habitation – their gravity was amusing enough.’

In the same letter, Robertson indicates that they had heard that you [the Captain were] ‘very ill indeed’ but find now that he was ‘not so ill’ He remarks that, 'even with the broken weather and the delay in getting the slates up from Carlow to finish covering the Stable Quadrangle… the building of the cellarage is slowly proceeding but still getting on well … and I have no reason yet to alter my opinion that it will be a beautiful House as it already looks beautiful; and this I can honestly say that better work and materials are not in any House in Ireland … There is a large quantity of cut-stone ready on the spot, and a still larger quantity in the surrounding districts; so on the whole I am very well satisfied of the progress and state of the works'.

On 16th July he acknowledges a cheque for £25 and reports: ‘…I am far from well. I have beat away this attack but am left deplorably weak. I can hardly hold a pen’. He goes on still to mention: ‘…my daughter’s marriage – perfectly to my satisfaction both as to birth and income. The bright youth is one of the best families in Dorsetshire and has quite enough to keep a quiet home for a rather handsome young wife’ [but leaves her unnamed and without indication here or later of the actual wedding so the couple remains untraced]

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Above: Colonel Kane Bunbury whose Kane inheritence
helped fund a good deal of the construction of Lisnavagh
House for his nephew William. (Photo thanks to Iain Farrell)

For more on Kane Bunbury check this link.

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

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

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

Financing the New House

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

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

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

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

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Above: The farmyard at Lisnavagh in 2003. The JCB digger was called Donald. The
Belltower in the Farmyard contained a bell, still precariously in position in 2019. My
father recalls how this was rung daily by the Steward to start and stop work at 0800,
1200,1300 and 1800; on most days it could be heard almost everywhere on the
estate. "In those days very few of the men would have had watches, nor would they
have risked a pocket watch when doing heavy manual work.” It’s thought that it
was last rung in the 1960's.

In the foreground, hidden from view here, but this side of the beautiful cattle
trough are two stone devices connected to the nearby blacksmith's forge. As my
father recalls: ' The process of heating metal in a fire to bend, join and generally
work it took great skills and I enjoyed watching Patrick Halligan's grandfather,
Tom, doing just that. They had crude vices and other grabs, including that thing
with two rings that clearly held something. The other device smacks of the
wheelwright, another whole trade; getting the metal band over a wooden wheel
to keep it all together was quite a performance.'

To which William added: 'I understood the one near the forge was to help shape
the metal band around cartwheels and the one nearer to pond was to help set the
spokes into the cartwheel. Somebody once said that they thought they would cool
it all down when finished by throwing it into the pond. Somebody else said that
was unlikely!'

The Stewards House

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

Lisnavagh Landscape

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

Further afield, the Church Path to Rathvilly is now overgrown but this is the way the Captain and his family must have sometimes made their way to church on sunny mornings. What of Troy's Wood and the Brick Pond Field with its strange granite ducts? The Broom Park - perhaps the Brougham Park around which Colonel Kane Bunbury galloped in his brougham? Or the Lodge Field with the tumble down Green Lane Cottage where a man I knew called Bob Murphy grew up with his seventeen siblings? Was there a sweet romantic tale behind Walter's Paddock and the Sally Field?! Or Kinsellagh's Hill, perhaps leased to a tenant of the Hy Kinsella clan? How long was the Keeper's Cottage called thus? Robertson may also have built the agent's house at Germaines and the twin houses of Williamstown. (63) Were these named for the Captain? Or perhaps for a King William?

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

(63) The agent's house was purchased by a Huguenot descendent called Germaine in the 1870s. The house was reconstructed and enlarged in 1901. This information appears to have come from Mr. Parker the Sawmill Man who came to Lisnavagh from Drumcar in 1914. My notes say he told of Germaines history in 1963.

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Proposed layout of Lisnavagh by Robertson.

New Dawn for Architecture

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




The following declaration, emanating from the Irish Party, is now in course of signature. A similar one has originated with Lord Fitzwilliam for England:
— We, the undersigned, being deeply impressed with a sense of the appalling distress at present prevailing in Ireland, arising from an ascertained deficiency in almost every article of human food, and feeling also the consequent effect which this deficiency must entail upon the poorer classes in the United Kingdom, do hereby declare it to be a solemn duty to economise as far as possible, in our households and in our establishments, the different articles in common use which constitute food for our fellow creatures; and to curtail every unnecessary expense during the present visitation, in order at once that the quantity of food available for the use of man may thus be increased; and, that we may ourselves be the better able to contribute to the relief of our suffering countrymen, we hereby pledge ourselves to act as far as possible in conformity with this declaration, and we earnestly call upon all heads of households in Ireland to follow our example
— Lucan, Doneraile, Monteagle, Lurgan, Massareene, Wallscourt, Bernard, Clements Carnwath, George A. Hamilton, Ralph Osborne, Hugh M. Tuite, Fitzstephen French, Thomas Martin, William K. Gregory, Henry Grattan, William Smith O’Brien, Wm. M'Clintock Bunbury, John Robert Godley,Henry W. Barron, Bart. Thomas Esmonde, Bart. James Power, William Sharman Crawford, O’Conor Don, Benjamin Chapman, Pierce Somerset Butler, Cornelius O'Brien, John Kelly, R Smithwick, William Acton, Daniel Callaghan, Alexander M’Carthy.
Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Wednesday 03 February 1847


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

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

'The country papers speak cheeringly of the prospect of the new potato crop. In Carlow county, there is a breadth of land already laid down which is estimated at about one- half the ordinary quantity; while there is a vast addition to the corn and green crops. So far this county appears pretty safe from a renewal of the horrors of the past winter’. (London Evening Standard - Monday 26 April 1847)

‘DEPARTURE OF THE JAMESTOWN. This noble ship sailed on Thursday afternoon, between the hours of three and four o'clock, on her return voyage to America, being towed out the harbour by a government steamer, amid the cheers and blessings of grateful thousands.’ (London Evening Standard - Monday 26 April 1847)



On 21 June 1847, The Cork Examiner reported that Captain Bunbury had voted against a second reading of a proposal submitted by William Sharman Crawford advocating better rights for tenants: 'THE TENANT RIGHT QUESTION. The muster of Irish members was, as usual, very scant, and, on looking over the subjoined list, you will find that many of those who ought to have supported the honourable member for Rochdale absented themselves, and shrunk from lending their aid towards securing the enactment of one of the few practical Irish measures introduced this session. The O'Conor Don and Sir William Sommerville displayed somewhat better taste than Mr. Monaghan. Neither the Under Secretary for the Home Department nor the junior Lord of the Treasury could screw up their courage to join the ministerial opposition—in all probability, having before their eyes the fear of landlord oppressed constituencies at the ensuing general election.
IRISH MEMBERS FOR THE FIRST READING.— Sir H. W. Barron, Martin J. Blake, J. J. Bodkin, John Boyd, Viscount Castlereagh, John Collett, M. E. Corbally, Cecil Lawless, Alexander M'Carthy, Sir D. Norreys, J. O'Brien, Timothy O'Brien, M. J. O'Connell. Tellers.—W. S. Crawford, E. B. Roche.
AGAINST THE SECOND READING. — W. Bunbury, T. J. Burke, Hon. H. A. Cole, H. Corry, Sir R. Ferguson, Edward Grogan, Lord C. Hamilton, A. Lefroy, J. H. Monaghan, D. R. Ross, F. Shaw, Sir W. Verner, John Young, Hon. W. Browne. —Freeman Correspondent.

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

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

Meanwhile the Captain's brother John McClintock junior withdraws from the Geneal Election in County Louth: Chichester Forestuce is elected.

Arrivals in Enniskillen. —Captain M‘Clintock Bunbury, Member for Carlow, and Mrs. Bunbury; Sir James and Lady Strong [sic] ; Counsellor and Mrs. Strong [sic], Lieutenant-Colonel Caulfield and Miss Strong. (Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent - Saturday 28 August 1847)

London in 1847

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

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

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

Soup Kitchens & Work Houses

In March 1847 the British government stopped the relief work which had employed almost three quarters of a million on work which (to quote Cormac O'Grada in The Great Irish Famine) "made little sense in terms either of economy or their goal of staving off famine". Instead they began opening up soup kitchens, financed by the local rate-payer, distributing cheap and not very nutritious soup and gruel. People brought their pot or bowl along and had to queue for hours, often overnight, which must have worked wonders for their pride. Still, by July, the soup kitchens were at least providing 3 million people a day with some sort of nourishment. In October 1847 the workhouse master in Carlow reported that all neighbouring graveyards were so overcrowded, he had been refused permission to bury the work-house dead in them. He had nevertheless been removing bodies from the workhouse in the dead of night and burying in stealth. The Guardians were however, not prepared to condone this practice, and decided that the dead should be buried within the workhouse grounds, in pits, which would contain, three or four tiers of coffins.

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

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



(Transcribed by Cara Links)

22nd Jan. 1847 - Birth of Sussana Kepple, daughter of John and Jane Kepple, Tobinstown, Carlow.

Groom:- William Pigott
Bride:- Elizabeth Browne
Grooms Father:- John Piggot
Brides Father John Browne
Date of Marriage 18/9/1847

Groom:- Samuel Cooke
Bride:- Hannah Jackson
Grooms Father:- William Cooke
Brides Father Thomas Jackson
Date of Marriage 18/11/1847

Groom:- Laurence Kealey
Bride:- Eliza Dunne
Grooms Father:- John Kealey
Brides Father Hugh Dunne
Date of Marriage 1/11/1847

In Kilmore Church, Mr. Thomas Yeates, Rathvilly, to Miss Mary Steadman. (Dublin Weekly Register, Saturday 16 October 1847). He hailed from County Meath and may have been one of the builders working on the construction of Lisnavagh House. Witness to the wedding was the fabulously named Ebenezer Beggs, a house painter. Mr Beggs went on to be a partner in Waller & Beggs, furniture van proprietors, coal merchants and general carriers, based at 32 Denzille Street off Merrion Square, with stores at 34 Boyne Street. Was Ebenezer painting Lisnavagh? After his death in 1863, his widow Margaret Beggs gamely took the business onwards as M. Beggs & Company. See here. (Thanks to Sinéad Nolan of www.ardglassancestry.ie)

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


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

1847 Events

· Daniel O'Connell, The Great Liberator, dies in Genoa, having made his final speech to House of Commons on 8 February, pleading for help for a starving Ireland..
· Death of Henrietta, Lady Clancarty, sister-in-law to Lady Elizabeth McClintock (Dec 30th).
· Mormons advance to Salt Lake City.
· Birth of Jesse James, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Eddison.
. Rev Thomas & Cassandra Hand move to Bishopscourt, Clones, Co Monaghan.
. Establishment of Jacob's Creek, Carlsberg, Cartier Diamonds.
·Thackeray, Vanity Fair.
. Karl Marx, The Comminist Manifesto.
. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights.
· Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre. The book is published with a dedication to Thackeray leaving many to suppose, incorrectly, that the author was a governess in his household and that Mr. Rochester and his mad wife are doubles for Thackeray and his.
. Henry Ford's family emigrate to America; mother dies en route.
John Henry Foley working at Westminster; mother dies.
. Jeanie Johnson built in Canada.
Lola Montez on ramapge in Bavaria.
. USA at war with Mexico with John Riley's San Patricio Battalion to the fore.
. 38,000 Irish arrive in Toronto and double the population.
· Edinburgh physician James Simpson publishes his discovery of chloroform as an aesthetic, revolutionizing the procedure of childbirth.
· Michigan became the first English Speaking territory in the world to abolish the death penalty.
· Seven years after the appearance of the penny black in Britain, Mauritius became the first British colony to issue its own postage stamps, the Red and Blue Pennies.

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

Leopold McClintock & the Search for Franklin

Leopold McClintock returned from South America in 1847 and enrolled at the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth. Determined to acquire a thorough knowledge of every branch of his profession, he studied hard to master the various details of nautical science, especially steam navigation which was then in it's infancy. After his year at Portsmouth the young Lieutenant went to sea again, but this time in a region far removed from the sunny waters of the Pacific. For years there had been efforts to find a North West Passage through the Polar Seas, the latest expedition being led by Sir John Franklin. Public anxiety, however, was growing and it was decided to send another expedition to try and find out the fate of Franklin's ships, and so in 1848 Sir James Ross set out on a rescue voyage, with McClintock as one of his officers. The voyage lasted well into 1849 and proved fruitless, as did McClintock's second trip under Captain (later Admiral) Austin in 1850-'51. The voyage is one of many tales recounted in David Murphy's book, 'The Arctic Fox: Francis Leopold McClintock, Discoverer of the Fate of Franklin', (Collins Press, 2004).

The Royal Dublin Society

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


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

Birth of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury

At the close of November 1848, the Anglo-Celt noted that on November 29th, 'the lady of Captain M'Clintock Bunbury, R.N., M.P.' had been delivered of 'a son'. (64) The baby was Thomas Kane, the firstborn son of the Captain and Pauline Stronge.

Footnote (64): The same issue of the Anglo-Celt noted the birth of a daughter on November 23, at Carnarvon, North Wales, the lady of Walter HUSSEY DE BURGH, Esq., of Donore House, County of Kildare.

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Above: General Sir Hugh Gough,
Commander-in-Chief of the
British Army in India was the son
of Letitia Bunbury, great-aunt of
William McClintock Bunbury.

Gough & the Second Sikh War

Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury's birth came just one week after his cousin Hugh Gough's victory over the Sikhs at Ramnuggar on November 22nd. His mission was effectively to crush the Sikh independence movement, paint the entire Punjab red and thus consolidate Britain's commercial and political dominance in India. However, two months later, at the battle of Chillianawallah on 13th January 1849, the Sikhs fought harder than anticipated. Whilst the battle did inflict a mortal blow to Sikh power, the deaths of some 2,357 British Indians aroused a massive press campaign against Sir Hugh Gough and his "Tipperary Tactics" back in London - the severe loss of life was in fact due to the failure of a subordinate officer, "but Gough`s generous nature made him bear the newspaper attacks without a word of self-justification". Sir Charles Napier (who believed himself to be divinity incarnate) was sent out to supersede him but before the change had taken place

Gough had re-established his reputation with a crushing defeat of the Sikh armies at Goojerat on 21st February, followed by their unconditional surrender to the pursuing force under General Gilbert. Gough vacated his command on 7th May. Meanwhile, by March 30th, John Company Raj had succeeded in annexing the Punjab - 100,000 miles of India's most fertile soil, destined to become the breadbasket of the British Empire and later the heartland of Pakistan. Governor-General Dalhousie appoints a troika of Charles Mansell and the Lawrence brothers to oversee the pacification.

When Sir Hugh Gough returned to England in 1850, his sovereign Queen raised him to the dignity of a viscount as Viscount Gough of Gujarat and Limerick; the East India Company vote him their thanks and award him an annual pension of 2000l; Parliament also awards him a pension of £2000 a year for himself and his next two successors in the viscountcy; and the City of London conferred its freedom upon him. It was soon after this that he went to see his cousin Kane Bunbury at Moyle. (See below) He saw no more active service. The British had by now all but consolidated their grip over the entire Indian sub-continent, and a new era of unification and modernisation thus got underway under Governor-General Dalhousie.

1848 Events

· Leopold McClintock makes expedition to Arctic with Sir James Ross in search of Sir John Franklin's ships, as second lieutenant of the "Enterprise".
· As Famine Crisis enters third year, the Young Irelanders and William Smith-O'Brien launch an abortive rising against the British elite.
· Revolutions in France (Louis Napoleon becomes President), Hungary, Germany and Italy where the King of Naples attacks Pope Pius IX. Britain sends gunboats to assist Pope demanding "in return" that he "keep the priests in Ireland quiet".

· Californian Gold Rush begins.
· Marx, Engels, The Communist Manifesto.

March 21: (Pat Purcell Papers): The Information of Robert Hart of Viewmount Parish of Clonmore Barony of Rathvilly in the County of Carlow. Sworn before Bartholomew Warburton and Thomas R. Hardy, Esquire, Two of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace. Robert Hart being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists, saith That on Monday the 13th March 1848 I was in George Kelly's field of Ballyduff and I cutting bushes and I saw Catherine Ryan and James Ryan come and unloose a Black and White Goat without Horns from a White Goat and they took it away with them. I saw this Goat on Edward Ryan's land with his daughter some time before this. (signed) Robert Hart.
Edward Ryan of Davis's Hill who being duly Sworn on the Holy Evangelists deposeth that on Monday the 13th March 1848 when I was going into my dinner I saw my two Goats on George Kelly's land at Ballyduff and in about an hour afterwards I missed one of them, A Black and White Goat without Horns she had been Serviced to another White Goat, the Goat Stolen was Valued for about ten shillings. (signed) Edward Ryan. Each Bound to Our Lady the Queen. (signed) Bartholomew Warburton, Thomas R. Hardy.

May 13: The Irish Confederation splits; John Mitchel starts the militant United Irishman; he is arrested on this date and is sentenced to 14 years transportation under the new Treason-Felony Act.

July: (Pat Purcell Papers). By Charles H. Tuckey, Esquire, One of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Carlow. - The Information of John Taylor, School Master of the Carlow Poor Law Union, Carlow, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists deposeth that on the 15th day of July 1848 a boy named Patrick Fox of Bagenalstown, Carlow, absconded from the Work House taking with him One Cap - One Jacket - One Trowsers and One Shirt the property of the Guardians of Said Work House.
William Fennelly of Farnans in the Queen's County aged about 12 years also absconded from the Work House taking with him One Cap - One Jacket - One Trowsers and One Shirt the property of the Guardians, (signed) John Taylor.
Sworn before me this 1818 day of July 1848. (signed) C.H.Tuckey, Resident Magistrate.

Dec 1: The paddle steamer ‘Londonderry’ takes shelter in Derry harbour en route from Sligo to Liverpool. By the time cabin covers were removed from the hold, 72 men, women and children had suffocated.

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


In 1847 or 1848, Captain McClintock Bunbury appointed John Malone as the new land agent, or steward, at Lisnavagh. Malone, who lived in the Farm House at Lisnavagh, was born in 1802 and is described as 'a native of County Louth' in an 1849 newspaper article in the Pat Purcell Papers (see below).

It is not yet known what he worked at prior to his appointment. Perhaps coincidentally, the Soldiers Service Documents (1825-1834) of the Royal Hospital Chelsea (held at the National Archive WO 97/1249/60) include those of a John Malone who was born in Rathvilly and served in Royal Artillery from 1825 until he was discharged aged 30 in 1834. This gives this John Malone an estimated date of birth of 1804-1805. (With thanks to Jean French).

John Malone ran the farm at Lisnavagh for some thirteen years before his death aged 61. He was buried in St Mary’s, Rathvilly, on 24 May 1862. [1] Griffith's Valuation, compiled circa 1852, show that he was living in the Farm House at Lisnavagh at this time. (The same survey records James Pierson and Patrick McKew living side by side in what are now the Blacksmith's Cottage & the Farm Cottage at the entrance the farmyard). See also the map here.

During the 1850s, John had at least four children by his wife Margaret Malone, namely Mabel and Lizzie (born at Tullow and baptized at Rathvilly), John (born at Lisnavagh, Jan 1858) and William (born at Lisnavagh, baptized at Rathvilly). The latter was quite probably named for his father’s employer, William McClintock Bunbury. In 1890 William Malone was married in Rathvilly to Eva Emily Arthur and they lived at Mount Lucas. Between 1894 and 1901, William and Eva Malone had at least three children, baptised at Rathvilly, namely William Arthur, John Alexander 91896-1915) and Margaret Ann.


It was formerly thought that John Malone the Lisnavagh agent was a son of Walter Malone (1756-1840), a miller whose family farmed and owned the Rathmore Mill on the banks of the River Slaney, some 4km south west of Rathvilly, for nearly 200 years. However, while Walter did have a son John, his John died in 1853, while John Malone the Lisnavagh agent lived until 1861. This does not rule out a connection and it is possible that John Malone was a connection, perhaps even a son of Walter's brother Frank Malone, about whom no more is known save that he died in 1826.

A memorial inscription in Rathvilly churchyard reads:

Erected by | Joseph Malone of Rathmore |In memory of his Grandfather | James Malone | Who died 28 Feb 1816 | aged 101 years | also his uncle Frank Malone | who died 2 Feb 1826 | aged 61 years | and his father Walter Malone | who died 18 July 1840 | aged 84 years | also beneath this tomb is interred the | remains of Mrs Allias (sic) Malone wife of | the above Joseph Malone who died on | the third day of December 1851 beloved | wife and tender mother aged 51 years | also to the memory of his brother John Malone who | departed this life on the 26th day of November 1853 | aged 55 years. Also his beloved son Joseph Malone | who departed this life on the 28th day of August 1854 | aged 21 years.

It is possible that these Malones descended from the Quaker family of that name who lived at Graney Cross, midway between Rathvilly and Castledermot. Walter's wife Ruth Cooper was the daughter of Joseph Cooper and Ruth Warren, daughter of Richard Warren of Ballymurphy by his wife Dorothy (nee Kemmit). Walter and Ruth were married at St Columba's Tullow in 1788.

Walter Malone's son Joseph carried on the mill at Rathmore after his death in 1840. Joseph Malone leased the corn-mill, along with a house, offices and 24 acres and 21 perches of land, from Colonel Kane Bunbury of Rathmore Park. In the Griffith's Valuations of the 1850s, the net annual valuation of the land was £20 and 10 shillings, the buildings were valued at £35 and the total valuation was thus £55 and 10 shillings.[2] Joseph had a second, possibly adjoining, lease of 20 acres from the Rev John B Megennis. Joseph was buried at St. Mary's Church of Ireland in Rathvilly. The four walls of mill buildings still stand, albeit just, together with a centenary memorial stone erected in 1839 by Joseph Malone in tribute to Walter Malone's founding the mill in 1739. The metal skeleton of the mill wheel is also still in situ in the wall above the mill race. Joseph was dead by 1866. His son – possibly Walter Malone who died in 1910 – was married in 1868 to Elizabeth Burgess, aunt of the late Bill Burgess. Originally from Lourm, her family had moved to Tobinstown twenty years earlier, leasing a farm from Captain McClintock Bunbury where Edwin Burgess, son of the late Bill, farms today. (Elizabeth’s mother was a Piggot of Garristown [sic] and I think it is through the Piggots that the Burgess and Corrigan families of Rathvilly are related). Elizabeth Malone (nee Burgess) died in 1874 aged 28, having written a diary in 1866 which was in the late Dick Corrigan’s possession. Her widowed husband married again, a Miss Watters.

Walter Malone may also have been the father to another Walter, born circa 1809, which is the year Ruth Malone died aged 37, perhaps in childbirth. This Walter rented land at Ardistan and was already a widower when he was married secondly in 1867 in Baltinglass to Rebecca Hawkins, 35 years his junior. However, the younger Walter may have been the son of a William Malone.

Joseph Malone's eldest daughter Mary Malone was married in 1840 to Bartholomew Watters (sometimes Waters), a farmer with over 100 acres at Tinryland at the time of Griffiths valuations. (1) By coincidence, Bartholomew and Mary Watters were the parents of Annie Watters who married Dublin docklands engineer George Halpin. Annie and George's daughter Eva was the Eva Halpin who married Lt Alfred Rudall, first cousin of my wife’s great-grandmother.

(1) Bartholomew may have been a son of Henry Watters of Staplestown Lodge, Tinryland, and grandson of Philip Watters of the same address. Henry Watters graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1810, went on to the King's Inns and Lincoln's Inn and became a barrister in 1816. By 1859, when he would have been pushing 70, Henry was listed as Chairman of Magistrates in Carlow. The report of Henry's death in the Carlow Sentinel 1864 conclusively states that "the deceased left no issue". However, Bartholomew predeceased him by 13 years and it is just possible that it means that Henry left no living issue. As Bill Webster put it, 'The tantalising facts remain that both Watters families would have attended Staplestown Church at the same time and Annie married George Halpin at that church only 4 years after Henry's death'.

In 1848, Joseph’s younger daughter Ruth Malone married William Marlborough Douglas and lived in a house known as Oddfellow's Hall, where William and Hazel Burgess lived until recent times. William and Ruth Douglas had eight children, all baptised in St Mary's, Rathvilly. The Primary Valuation of Tennements for the Parish of Rathvilly indicates that William Douglas was leasing 47 acres from Lisnavagh during the 1850s. According to his descendent Liz Wade, there are three legends about when and why the Douglas family came to be living in Ireland. William Douglas, the first of the line, is said to have left Lanarkshire, Scotland, in about 1745-6 and settled at Clogh, near Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow. Alternative stories suggest the family arrived in Ireland about 1568 and 1649.

As such, William lived close to other members of the Douglas family already living in the area. His son, William Douglas (c. 1750-1798) succeeded him, presumably at Clogh. He and his wife (name unknown) had four sons and a daughter. One of these sons was, William Douglas (c. 1777-1855), is said to have taken over the lease for the land at Clogh on his father's death about 1798. There is evidence (somewhere) of an Indenture concerning land at Clogh leased from the Rt. Hon. Edward Stratford, Earl of Aldborough, who died in 1801. William Douglas was married twice - firstly, in 1802, to Mary Colman and secondly, in 1813, to Sarah Valentine. By his second wife Sarah he had at least 10 children. One of these children was William Marlborough Douglas (c. 1820-1865) who farmed the 47 acres at Lisnavagh and married Ruth Malone. It may be noted that a William Douglas of Carlow provided the coffin for Captain Bunbury's funeral in June 1866.

Joseph Malone may also have been father of Fanny Malone who died in 1905.

With thanks to Bill Webster, Jean Ffrench, Liz Wade and Belinda Sibly.

[1] The Burial Register at St Mary's Rathvilly.
[2] Joseph had other land, both his own and from other lessors. Griffith's Valuations (of about 1852, the same period when John was at Lisnavagh), it is recorded for the mill property:
Occupier: Joseph Malone; Lessor: Kean Bunbury; Description of Tenement: House, Offices, Corn-Mill, and Land. Area: 24 Acres, 0 Roods, 21 Perches. Net Annual Valuation of Land: 20 Pounds, 10 Shillings. Net Annual Valuation of Buildings: 35 Pounds. Total Annual Valuation of Rateable Property: 55 Pounds, 10 Shillings.

For further information on the Douglas family, please contact Kathryn Roundtree or Elizabeth Wade, great-great granddaughters of William and Ruth, via turtle@turtlebunbury.com or for further information on the Malone or Watters family, please contact Bill Webster via turtle@turtlebunbury.com

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


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

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

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

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

There is a letter of 8 June hoping that the Captain will be making a visit to Lisnavagh soon. This visit appears to be closely figured in a letter of 15 August in a separate file. It refers to the reservoir, and discusses where the [Bunbury] family might be lodged … ‘Fires in all the rooms to air them. … As to myself, it is of no consequence, for I cannot at all afford the Fleecing at Beaumaris, and it would cost me as much to send my family back to Chester, as to get them over to Dublin, so I think of so doing, if she can bear the sea voyage. Their coming over for the winter would be very convenient for me in many respects and I am striving to coax her over’.

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

In a letter of 8 September, Robertson reports about glass but also at the end: ‘…I am delighted at the continued good progress of Mrs Bunbury and the infant heir – all danger is now past, & I hope she will soon be convalescent’. The undercurrents of ill-health on the part of mother and child seem to recur.

On Friday 3 November 1848, the Limerick Reporter noted: 'The Carlow Sentinel notices great improvements in building and agriculture now taking place in that county. Our contemporary expressly notices the exertions of Captain Banbury [sic] M'Clintock, M.P.and Mr. Clayton Browne —the former of whom is just finishing a magnificent mansion at Lisnevagh.' It is possible that this is based on the same report that Michael Purcell once emailed me from the Pat Purcell Papers, which was taken from an undated newspaper cutting, undated, with the name 'T. Bunbury' scribbled in ink alongside the article. The following transcript retains capitals as printed in that article.

From MOATABOWER (*) to LISNEVAGH, the future seat of Captain McCLINTOCK BUNBURY, M.P., improvements are everywhere visible, although the road contractors are not entitled to praise for the integrity of their intentions in the fulfillment of their contracts, the roads being in many places much neglected.
To Lisnevagh we next direct the attention of the reader; and here CAPITAL, which in every civilised country is understood as "money" has worked miracles within two years.
Bog land has being reclaimed, rocky ground has been converted into pasture, and a wide-spread field of 700 acres, (the property of one of our COUNTY MEMBERS), a portion which for years has been almost unprofitable, presents, under his superintendence, ( and a judicious outlay of capital ), the appearance of a well-cultivated district, and in a short time will not only repay the PROPRIETOR, but exhibit practically what can be done by capital, labour, and industry, on the part of a landed proprietor.
We have heard a great deal of what English factory capitalists can do in England; we are, therefore, inclined to be minute in details, when we find a landed proprietor prove what capital well applied can effect in Ireland.
The future magnificent residence of Captain McClintock Bunbury, M.P., situate at Lisnevagh, is one creditable not only to the county, but to the country.
In magnitude and extent it is not surpassed in the kingdom, and of the pure ELIZABETHAN style of architecture, erected from the plans and under the personal superintendence of D. Robinson, Esquire, upon elevated ground; there are few edifices present so noble an appearance.
The first stone of this extensive mansion was laid on the 23rd of January, 1847, nearly on the site of the ancient residence of the BUNBURY family, erected in 1686, which was dismantled during the progress of the present structure.
The present residence is complete in every part, as far as the exterior is concerned; and in a few months - such is the exertions that are being made, and the liberal outlay of capital - it will be ready for the reception of the family in every department before the ensuing summer - a circumstance in building seldom or never surpassed, and could not be accomplished but for the building materials being on the spot, such as granite, brick, lime, etc. and the vast number of workmen employed to carry out the design.(**)
The elegant mansion on the north side presents the appearance of an extensive quadrangle, every view that presents itself on the approach from that side being chaste and classical, combined with elaborate taste and skill - harmony and proportion (combined with comfort and convenience ) being evidently the object of the architect.
The south side, comprising a magnificent suite of apartments, viz.- the drawing-room, library, dining-room, ante-chambers, etc., commands a splendid view of the surrounding country, with Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs in the foreground of the picture - while from the same wing on the east the beautiful scenery of the Wicklow Mountains attracts attention.
From the upper rooms a vast and beautifully cultivated tract of the county Carlow is visible, presenting every variety of scenery, enhancing in the eye of even the artist the value and beauty of the site chosen for the erection of a family mansion of such extent.
In a future publication we shall enter more into details, but for the present we shall content ourselves with a brief description of some of the adjuncts to the mansion of Captain Bunbury.
The farm-yard is situate about a quarter of a mile from the mansion, in a valley, and on what, on the fourth of May last, was apparently an irreclaimable bog.
This mass of buildings all enclosed, but covering an immense space of ground, presents the appearance of a large manufacturing village, with its chimney shaft 60 feet high.
The farm-yard comprises buildings of every description for agricultural purposes, under the superintendence of a very intelligent and scientific steward, Mr Malone, a native of the county Louth, for whom a handsome residence is built on the spot.
Attached to the building is a steam engine of great power, by which flour and oatmeal are manufactured for the use of the mansion, and by which steaming, winnowing, threshing, etc. are performed Independently of the several purposes to which the steam mill is applied, it is used for forcing water from this point through an elevated plane, to a tank on a rising ground above the mansion, which contains 700,000 gallons of water.
From this point, invisible from the house, the water is supplied to every apartment, and if required, there are FOUR escapes, or cocks in the event of accidents by fire, by which the water may be raised 20 feet above the roof of the mansion.
We are thus circumstantial in details, with the view of showing what capital can effect since the 31st of January, 1847 ; but we may here go further by stating that the steam mill, its towering shaft and the immense mass of buildings surrounding them, all erected on what was a bog on the 4th of May, in the present year ; and the GRANITE with which the buildings were erected were taken from the fields now covered with a rich and luxuriant crops of Swedish turnips for stall feeding in the buildings erected on the "bog" which "bog" we might however add, is now thorough drained, and reduced to its present state by the powerful agency of capital, and skill in its application.
We cannot now enter into further details, but in a future number we hope to enter more fully into the subject, with a view of exhibiting substantial proofs that by the combined agency of A RESIDENT GENTRY, and the industry of the people, the county of Carlow may fairly look forward to future progress and prosperity.

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

** This tallies with Michael Conry’s theory that the granite blocks were cut from field boulders rather than especially quarried. That said, there is an extraordinary dip at the south-east corner of the Pigeon Park, reminiscent of a Great War bomb crater, which I assume was part of a quarry. You still find small mounds of cutstone granite discarded by the stonemasons beside the marshland at the bottom of the Pigeon Park. There is also significant evidence of stonemasonry alongside the woodland entrance to Kinsellagh's Hill where the quarries now serve as two small ponds on the avenue to Kinsellagh’s Hill, nicknamed Lough Beg and Lough Mor by my parents.


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

(Handbill in the PPP. ( 13" x 10") - Transcribed by Selina Lawlor, 2012).


February 1849.

Colonel Bunbury, of Moyle, has presented the Rev. J.B. Magennis, the Rector
of Rathvilly, with the sum of £500, as his subscription towards the repairs and improvement of the Parochial Church of Rathvilly.
This munificent donation reflects credit on the kind and generous donor, who thus secures encreased accommodation in the Parochial Church of his
(Thanks to PPP)


February 1849.

CAPTAIN M'CLINTOCK BUNBURY, M.P. -- We are gratified to learn that Captain Bunbury, who was ill from influenza in London, is in a state of convalescence, and will in a few days be able to attend his parliamentary duties.
(Thanks to PPP)


April 22, 1849.

About four o'clock on the morning of the 19th April 1849, two notorious characters, named James Kehoe and James Nolan, were arrested by Constable Cox and a party of Constabulary, while on patrol in the vicinity of the town.
They were concealed on the Railway, having in their possession the carcases of three sheep, which were subsequently identified as the property of Captain B. McClintock Bunbury, M.P., and had been killed on the lands of Moyle.
The prisoners, who are professional sheep-stealers, were fully committed by C. H. Tuckey, Esquire, Resident Magistrate, to abide their trial at the
ensuing Quarter Sessions.
Much credit is due to Constable Cox and his party for the capture of two of
a gang who live by the plunder of the gentry and farmers of the neighbourhood.
May 5th 1849.

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


June 23rd 1849

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

(Thanks to PPP - it is not yet known where Messrs. Nolan, Lucas and Kehoe were despatched for their seven years of servitude - probably Australia).


The Move to Lisnavagh

The Lisnavagh archives include another business letter of 15 November 1848 from Daniel Robertson and then a long letter of 10 May 1849 which refers to three drawings for the Dining Room etc which incorporate changes necessary to fit the ‘Turkey carpet’ that Bunbury has purchased: ‘I sent these drawings and the report to Lower Grosvenor Street’ but states also that he would be taking the accounts and so forth ‘to Howth because I feel that this is no common illness, and it may be a prolonged one. If I had money I would go home on Saturday but I have none and Emily, I know, is as poor as myself. These are hard and bitter times on me, true enough. I confess, I am anxious to know how you like Sandgate: for I fancy my own recollection of it, and the happiness I once had there, might mislead you – but this cough kills me’.

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

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

It was a large rambling Tudor-Revival Gothic house of granite, its chimney turrets soaring into the sky, it's walls lined with arches and colonnades. There were two Porte-Cocheres; 'the perfect Victorian invention which managed to add grandiosity to any façade'. (Modchick) The interior rooms were grand and baronial, a library, a ballroom, a reception room, a dining room, a drawing room - all warmed by grand fireplaces of Kilkenny black marble and Wicklow granite, capable of burning the huge mossy logs dragged in from the surrounding woods. My father recalls that the ceiling in the library was similar to that of Rathvilly Church: solid oak beams with shields at the points were the beams crossed, supporting heraldry, presumably Bunbury, McClintock or Rathdonnell. The Strahan Brothers of Dublin were commissioned to create a wonderful Gothic dining room suite and extensive shelving for the library. The shelves were then rapidly filled with the miscellaneous books of the Bunbury and McClintock houses - accounts of the Peninsula Wars, JP's handbooks, Books of Common Prayer and Hymns, nautical memoirs, poetry and prose. (61) A vast cellar was dug 15 feet deep below the ground, with three special chutes down which coal and wood could be poured to stock up for the long, cold 19th century winters. The household staff kept their eyes on an intricate set of bells in the house, each one hooked up to a different room. The kitchen and larder were stocked with fruits and vegetables from a walled garden made of red bricks and a series of greenhouses, one underground. An orchard of apple trees was planted to its rear. Huge bullocks and thoroughbred mares grazed indifferently in a series of paddocks. There were plans for a conservatory by Richard Turner (1798-1881), the most important iron-founder and glasshouse designer in Ireland. (62)

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

(61) Robert Strahan & Co. Henry Street, Dublin. The 18th century is recognised as being the heyday of the Irish furniture industry. Ireland's furniture making tradition however continued into the 19th and 20th centuries. During this period some of the most recognised firms were those of Michael Butler, William Hicks, Michael Jones and Robert Strahan. The latter firm was founded in 1776. By 1845 they had opened two workshops at Henry St., and 5 Leinster Street. Much of the furniture in the library and dining room at Lisnavagh was made by this company, probably on a straight-forward commission basis by Captain Bunbury when he was building the house in the 1840s. Robert Strahan & Co. exhibited at Dublin's great industrial exhibition of 1853. At the 2002 Irish Antique Dealers Fair in the RDS, the most expensive price tag was Stg£225,000 for a 12 piece suite of heavily ornate, leather-upholstered, walnut furniture made for the Viscount Doneraile by Robert Strahan around 1845. In 2001, Mealy's were offering a splendid 19th century Irish Partner's pedestal writing desk for between £4000 - £6000. In chinoiserie-decorated green lacquer, it has a tooled leather top above an arrangement of six frieze drawers raised on two pedestals, each with a cupboard and three drawers, and carries the trade label of Robert Strahan & Co, Dublin.
(62) Along with architect Decimus Burton, Richard Turner was responsible for the design and manufacture of the Palm House glasshouses at Kew Gardens (1844 - 1848) and the Winter Gardens at Regent's Park. Turner's most important work in Ireland is the Curvilinear Range at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. He was also responsible for the Great Exhibition building of 1853 in Dublin as well as the original roof of Broadstone Station (which later collapsed). He was involved with the first iron roof to cover a railway terminus in a single span at Lime Street Liverpool. He also submitted an entry for the design of the Crystal Palace in London but his design was rejected as being too costly.



On Thursday 9 August 1849, Commander McClintock Bunbury, MP, and his half-brother Stanley McClintock were amongst a vast crowd of 1,700 who assembled in the Presence Chamber at Dublin Castle to meet Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Times noted that this was an important event with 'the Queen of a united empire holding her first drawing room sin the second city of her dominions'. Carriages began to set down at the Castle from 7am. 'The scene presented to the eye of the Spectator was one of peculiar brilliancy', remarked The Times. 'Hour after hour the long line of equipages succeeded each other. It literally appeared as if there would be no termination to the arrivals, and the blaze of light from the Castle, and the Royal Exchange, and other buildings which were illuminated made every object appear almost indiscernible as if it were clear day ... Her Majesty was attired in a superb pink poplin dress, elaborately figured with gold shamrocks'. On the same day, Mrs McClintock Bunbury was presented to the queen by Lady Louisa Fortescue in the Throne Room at Dublin Castle. Isabella in turn presented Mrs Duckett. Mrs E.S. Dix. Miss Duckett, Miss A. Hutchinson and Miss M. A. Watson to the queen.

On the following day, Friday August 10, the Captain and Pauline were among 2000 members of the nobility, gentry and clergy of Ireland to attend the Queen’s Levee in Dublin, details of which may be found in The Times and Carlow Sentinel. Pauline presented Miss Lecky to the Queen. (The Queen In Ireland, The Times, Saturday, Aug 11, 1849; pg. 5; Issue 20252; col A)

Death of Daniel Robertson

The architect had been unwell for some time before he died in Howth in early September 1849 and was buried on Thursday 13th September, probably in Kilbarrack. For more detail on his death and latter months, see here.


1849 Events


On December 1st 1849, The Carlow Sentinel’s Local Intelligence column reported on the ‘ANNUAL MEETING OF THE COUNTY CARLOW AND LEIGHLIN DIOCESAN AUXILLIARY TO THE IRISH SOCIETY’. There had actually been two meetings, held the previous week in the Assembly Rooms in Carlow Town, one in the morning (or forenoon), the other in the evening. Among the main speakers were the Rev. Thomas Moriarty from Ventry and the Rev John N Griffin from Harold’s Cross, Dublin. ‘At the morning meeting, on the motion of Captain McClintock Bunbury, MP, seconded by the Rev J. S. Cooper, Colonel Bruen, MP, Vice-President, was called to the chair. The meeting opened with singing and prayer’. The Rev. JP Garrett commenced proceedings by reading a letter from William D Hull, hon sec of the Irish Society, which stated that the Carlow Auxiliary contributed more than any other auxiliary in the previous year. A letter was also received from Lady H Kavanagh enclosing a draft of £10 for the Auxiliary and £2 for the Protestant Orphan Society. The Rev. Garrett then turned to ‘the awful pestilence which swept through their town within a few months. They stood as it were over the graves of five hundred of their fellow creatures who a short time since enjoyed the same life and health as they did that day, and how grateful to Almighty God they should feel for all his mercies, when they were spared, while so many were struck down by the fearful visitation. He then proposed that the Words of Divine Truth upon which salvation depended should be conveyed to Ireland’s ‘poor benighted countrymen through the medium of their own language – a language so dear to the heart of the Irish (hear, hear). He begged to remind the meeting that 66,000 of the Irish-speaking people of Ireland die yearly, hitherto neglected, without Christ or a knowledge of the true way of salvation. The Irish Society had extended itself into 16 counties, had 63 auxiliaries, 823 schools and teachers, above 33,000 scholars, and had distributed about 30,000 Bibles, Testaments and Elementary Books in the Irish language during the past year.’ He concluded with an earnest appeal on behalf of the Society.

Captain Bunbury then proposed the following resolution: ‘That we rejoice to hear of the continual and increasing disposition of the Irish speaking population to receive Scriptural instruction in their own language, and of the success with which it has pleased God to accompany the operations of the Irish Society during the past year. We are strengthened in our convictions that the principles and proceedings of this Society are eminently calculated to meet the great Spiritual wants of the Irish speaking population, and we confidently affirm that without the free use of God’s Holy Word and sound Scriptural instruction, our country never can be prosperous and happy. We therefore, are determined in God’s strength to continue our support of this Society both by our fervent prayers and contribution, and we earnestly entreat our English brethren to give us more efficient aid to carry out this work of love and mercy on our native land’. Echoing a sentiment my father would empathize with, the Rev. Thomas Moriarty took up the argument. ‘The Irish were the most religious people in the world and if, at the Reformation, the Holy Scripture had been expounded to them in their native language, Ireland would not now be a disunited people, inveigled in ignorance and sin, but would enjoy the freedom which shone so conspicuous ion England and Scotland’.

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


On December 15th 1849, The Carlow Sentinel reported on the ‘REOPENING OF RATHVILLY CHURCH’. On Sunday, the 2nd instant, the Parish Church of Rathvilly was reopened for divine service, having been closed for extension and improvement during several months when the Hon and Ven Archdeacon Stopford preached an appropriate sermon on the occasion. A lathe addition has been built to this chapel, principally in the ‘Tudor style’ of architecture, and is capable of affording ninety new sittings. It consists of transept and recessed chancel, with vestry entrance and porches. The external appearance of the edifices presents those peculiar features of English Church architecture, not only in the construction of the new work, but also by the introduction of suitable tracery windows into the old portion of the building, which gives the entire a finished appearance.

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

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


On 5th January 1850, The Carlow Sentinel reported on a meeting of Magistrates at the Tullow Courthouse that took place on December 15th 1849, with Sir Thomas Butler, Bart, in the chair. The magistrates in attendance were Captain McClintock Bunbury, MP; the Hon Somerset R Maxwell, James Butler, John James Lecky, John Whelan, William Duckett, Clement Wolseley, Hugh Faulkner, James H Eustace and CH Tuckey, RM, Esq. The meeting concerned an incident at 9pm on the evening of the 9th when some unknown person or persons fired a shot through the window of the residence of William Drury of Raheen, Forth, Co. Carlow, and wounded his daughter severely in the face. The magistrates expressed their abhorrence at ‘such a diabolical outrage in our hitherto peaceable county’ and gathered together with the county’s gentlemen and landholders to procure money to distribute to anyone who came forward in the next six months with information leading to the arrest of the guilty party. The Earl of Bessborough led proceedings with a £10 donation, a sum echoed by all the magistrates, while the gentlemen pitched in between £5 and £10 and the landholders between £1 and £5.

Henry Lurway the Coachman

On the 1841 census, the Irish-born Henry Linway [sic] was recorded as Bunbury's servant at Westminster, suggesting that he worked for Thomas Bunbury, MP for Carlow and elder brother of Colonel Kane Bunbury. Henry's father, Thomas Lurway was an innkeeper from Bristol. Born circa 1820-1822, Henry was a coachman. In 1849 he married Mary Anne Smith in Bristol, after which they moved to Carlow, presumably to work for Captain McClintock Bunbury, MP, of his uncle Kane. He was based at Moyle until 1861 when, following the death of his wife, he returned to Bristol with his three children - William (named for is employer?) born 1851, Francis born 1852 and Marion born in Moyle in 1854. By 1870 he had remarried, found work as a coachman and had an address at 45 Chester Square, London. The McClintocks had a house at 80 Chester Square which may suggest a link. There are only 8 people in the UK with the name Lurway today.

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

image title

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

The Arrival of the Railways

Captain Bunbury may have made a small fortune from his investment in the railways. The coming of the steam trains made a huge impact on the life of the country gentleman. As the railway networks expanded across the country, be it Britain or Ireland, so access to the capital city, to the various towns and above all to neighbours estates became much more convenient. People could now afford to take some time off from public affairs and visit friends and relatives in the countryside (perhaps for a hunt, a shoot or a party) with a pretty good guarantee that they could be back where they came from in just a few hours. Even a grouse moor in Perthshire was only 16 hours away from Euston Station in London. The flipside for the aristocracy was that it was now much easier for the lower orders to get around. As the British Empire found out to its cost, there's nothing more damaging for a hierarchical society than to enable the lower orders to travel with ease. The wisdom of a wider world prompts people to get ideas above their station, don't ye know. In the beginning the aristocracy and landed gentry were suspicious of the Iron Horse, as the red Injuns would later call it. But gradually they cottoned on to just how much money could be made if they offered up their land to the railway companies. Often they themselves would invest in shares of the railway line; that is what Captain Bunbury did in the 1850s. In due course, the Earls of Dunraven, Fitzwilliam and Waterford would become major investors in the Canadian Railways. (I've traveled them from Montreal to Halifax - what a remarkable feat they are). They made a fortune out of it. (65) It also became socially acceptable to build a train station on your estate at which you would welcome your well to do visitors. Hence both Huston Station and Killarney were built for Queen Victoria. The same man who built Heuston Station was despatched south to design the one in Carlow. The Bagenals built the station at Bagenalstown. In the 1860s, the Prince of Wales endorsed this 'private station; concept when he built Wolferton Station at his new estate of Sandringham. The railway companies quickly noted the aristocracy's liking for transport and began building state of the art luxury trains with special quarters for their dogs and plenty of room for their baggage. After the railways arrived, it's as if all Europe came out to party and the Victorian Age is abundant with paintings of Tommy the Tank Engine style choo choos chugging and honking their way through the countryside as yokels raise their hats in the air and jump for joy.

Footnote (65): Between 1847 and 1858, Lord Fitzwilliam, the Oskar Schindler of Ireland, sent many of his 6000 "banished" tenants from his Coolattin estates directly to work on the railroads in Canada which he had invested in.

A Second Stronge - McClintock Marriage

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



In February 1850, Leopold McClintock embarks on second search expedition for Franklin as first lieutenant of the "Assistance", and is put in charge of sledging. The voyage is one of many tales recounted in David Murphy's book, 'The Arctic Fox: Francis Leopold McClintock, Discoverer of the Fate of Franklin', (Collins Press, 2004).


With so many equestrian deaths in his own family, William McCB must have felt considerable empathy for the Peel family when, on 29th June 1850, the former Prime Minister Robert Peel was thrown from his horse while riding up Constitution Hill in London. The horse stumbled on top of him and he died three days later on July 2 1850 at the age of 62. His Peelite followers, led by Lord Aberdeen and William Gladstone, went on to fuse with the Whigs as the Liberal Party. Peel was formerly based in Dublin Castle, and had served as Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.


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



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

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

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

1850 Events

Captain McClintock Bunbury purchases a chunk of the Aldborough estates (The Times, Monday, Dec 2, 1850; pg. 5; Issue 20661; col B).

Death in Indonesia of the Incredible Arthur Kavanagh's brother Tom from TB.

On 29 March 1850, the SS Royal Adelaide sank in a storm with the loss of 200 lives. The paddle steamship was owned and operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. Its principal route ran between London and Cork.

Charles Henry Doyne (youngest son of Robert Doyne of Wells and a descendant of the ancient Irish Sept of O'Duinn whose chieftains once ruled Laoise) began constructing St. Austin's Abbey in Tullow. The architects were Sir Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward. An unusual feature of this work, to facilitate life for the masons was the numbering of every individual piece of granite.

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

Christmas Eve 1850: Death of typhus, or famine fever, of the Rev. Robert Nathaniel Burton, a Clare clergyman who fetched up as Vicar of Borris and vicar of Clonagoose in County Carlow during the Great Hunger. He was also briefly Chaplain to the artist and antiquarian, Lady Harriet Kavanagh, mother of Incredible Arthur and sister of Lady Elizabeth McClintock who married John McClintock after Jane Bunbury’s death. Her Egyptian collection can be seen in the National Museum of Ireland. As famine and disease raged through the country, Rev Burton often gave his breakfast to the starving and the last rites to the dying – even to Roman Catholics in the absence of their own priest. He also fell foul of Lady Harriet over his Tractarian faith, I think. Nathaniel’s older brother was the artist, Sir Frederick William Burton, Director of the National Gallery of England, whose painting ‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ was voted Ireland’s favourite painting. Sir Fred, as I believe he was known, quickly stepped in and offered financial assistance to Nathaniel’s widow Isabella with the raising of her children, the youngest only three. One of the sons was Captain Charles Francis Burton who, during the 2nd Afghan War of 1878-1880, led a Punjab battalion – the 2,000 strong Kapurthala Contingent - with which he managed to recover 21 bags of looted mail, much to the pleasure of General Frederick Roberts, Commander of the Kabul Field Force. He remained on the the North West Frontier for many years afterwards while his witty Irish-born wife, Isabella, provided Rudyard Kipling, a friend of the couple, with the basis of his character, Mrs Hauksbee. One of Nathaniel's daughters was the flame-haired Isabella Julia Burton who married the solicitor Frederick Gifford and was mother to the celebrated Gifford sisters of Easter 1916 fame.

The Carlow Sentinel
January 1850.
The detachment of the 71st Regiment stationed in Carlow Barracks, ushered in the New Year amid much mirth and rejoicing, combined with substantial fare on Tuesday evening last. Each Barrack room was tastefully decorated with laurels and other evergreens. In one of the rooms were the portraits of the Duke of York, the Duke of Wellington, and Lord Hill.
At 5 o'clock the men assembled in the several rooms and partook of dinner, which consisted of roast beef, plum pudding, with abundance of wines etc. About 9 o'clock dancing commenced to the music of the Scotch bagpipes, fiddle, etc., when Scotch reels and the Highland Fling were kept up with unabated ardour to a late hour, amid good feeling and harmony.
The 8th Hussars very kindly undertook the duty of the garrison on that day,
to enable the 71st to enjoy themselves. (Pat Purcell Papers *).

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

The first Mormon mission arrives in Ireland.

On November 29th 1850, William's daughter, Helen McClintock Bunbury, received a personally engraved copy of Eyre & Spottiswode's Book of Common Prayer. (66) Exactly five years later her young brother, Thomas Kane McCB, received his own personally engraved copy.

(66) A confirmation present perhaps? How come they were both given books on November 29th?


(With thanks to Michael Purcell and the Pat Purcell Papers)

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

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


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


On March 26th 1851, The Times reported how the previous day, a Tuesday, Captain McClintock Bunbury had presented a petition from the grand jury of Carlow to the House Of Commons against the free importation of flour. (The Times, March 26, 1851, p. 2)

50th Anniversary of Jane Bunbury's Death

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

The Spirit of 1851

According to The Times (Thursday, May 8, 1851; pg. 5; Issue 20796; col C), Captain Bunbury met Lord John Russell in London circa 7th May. The Captain was presumably in London to attend the Great Exhibition held between 1st May and 15th October 1851. This massive event, held at the newly built Crystal Palace, was to have a profound influence on Victorian style. The brain child of Prince Albert, it aimed to show the world the diversity and excellence of British design and manufacture, as well as exhibiting the products of other nations. Tens of thousands of people flocked to visit the show during its run. From about 1850 onwards, it also became possible to mechanically saw and shape wood with circular saws. Machine made nails and bolts were also available for the first time. In the iron factories of England, columns and hand rails were being mass produced in both wrought iron and cast iron form. (In 1836 a revolutionary new lightweight corrugated cast iron was introduced in England and had reached the colonies by 1850).
The 1850s and 1860s also saw the birth of a new age of British patriotism that would become to be known as Imperialism. Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novels, read by thousands, contributed to this new nationalism.
This was also a time of optimism when people believed in the future. The British were outstanding colonisers in their ability to dazzle the vanquished with their stately homes and exotic tastes. Up until the Williamite Wars it must have been difficult to build a majestic home. One would have always feared a premature conclusion to it all. Houses were built on the basis that they'd either fall down quite soon or be burnt and destroyed in a time of war. That's why all the old houses just have tiny arrow slits for windows. The advent of peace and prosperity in the 18th century enabled people to explore new possibilities with their private homes. Windows could now be added to inspire undreamed of lighting possibilities.

Birth of Jack Bunbury

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

1851 Events

image title

Above: Pegasus Paddock at Lisnavagh, circa 2002.


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


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

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

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


The ongoing split between Protestionists (with whom, I believe, Captain Bunbury sided) and Free Traders continued to split the Tories. Lord Derby's minority Protectionist government ruled from February 23, 1852 until December 17, 1852. Derby appointed Benjamin Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer in this minority government. However, in December 1852, Derby's minority government collapsed because of issues arising out of the budget introduced by Disraeli. A Peelite-Whig coalition government was then formed under Lord Aberdeen, one of the leading Peelites. Although, the precise issue involved in this vote of "no confidence" which caused the downfall of the Derby minority government was the budget, the real issue was repeal of the "Corn Laws" which parliament passed in June 1846. In the Carlow election there was 'a severe struggle, which terminated thus':
John Ball, esq. ... 895.
Colonel Bruen .... 893.
W. B. M. Bunbury, esq ... 880.
John Keogh, esq. . . 877.
Thus, the Captain was ousted by John Ball (1818 – 1889) a naturalist and Alpine traveller who became such a vocal supporter of Britain's role in the Crimean War that Lord Palmerston made him Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1855, a post which he held for two years.

image title

Above: In October 2020, Adam’s Auctioneers
auctioned a silver hot water jug, made by
Robert Smith in about 1852, with Captain
McClintock Bunbury’s armorial crest on its
cartouche, engraved with the motto
Vis Unita Fortior
(United Strength is Stronger).
It is entirely decorated with repos e and chased
flowering foliage, with hinged lid and applied
thumb piece, the baluster body decorated with
birds to each side feeding on fruit, against an
orange peel and scaly ground. It has a banded
spout and s-scroll acanthus capped handle, raised
on circular spreading foot, 22cm high. Colonel Bob
McClintock owned a similar vessel, with the family
crest on top. He maintained it was for claret.

The Attack on John Regan

On Monday August 9th 1852, The Times of London published the following piece, 'extracted from the Carlow Sentinel of this day, is another illustration of "freedom of election", as it is understood at this side of the Channel:-
"On Thursday last, one of the most murderous attacks it was our painful duty to record after a contested election was made on a respectable Roman Catholic, the son of a freeholder of this county, near Lisnevagh, the residence of Captain M'Clintock Bunbury.
At an early hour Mr. John Regan, an extensive road contractor, proceeded with two men to raise some gravel from a pit in the neighbourhood. On his arrival at the pit, about 20 men pounced on their victim, whom they designated a 'bloody Bruenite'. He was knocked down, brutally maltreated with stones and shovels, and finally left in a state of insensibility.
Intelligence having reached Lisnevagh, Captain Bunbury ordered his carriage, proceeded to the spot where this outrage was committed, and conveyed Mr. Regan to the County Infirmary, where he now lies in a dangerous state under the care of Dr. Rawson. We may judge of the savage character of his assailants, when we inform the reader that Mr. Regan sustained a compound fracture of the arm, had eleven wounds on the head, one of which, it is feared, is accompanied by a fracture, as a splinter from the skull was taken off, and that his body, from head to foot, was covered with bruises, the effects of kicks and blows while lying on the ground.
Mr. Regan's father voted for Colonel Bruen and Captain Bunbury; and the son is thus punished because his father exercised the privilege of an elector in a county governed by British law. Here are some of the fruits of those fanatical harangues delivered during the last month, when we were told in the public streets that the contest was one between 'God and the devil'. Five of the parties concerned in this inhuman outrage have been arrested, and committed to the County Gaol for trial at the assizes. Their names are Hugh Carty, John Carty, James Carty (three brothers), James Walsh, and Patrick Bryan. We regret to state that the life of Mr. Regan is in imminent peril".


CLOSE OF THE CARLOW ELECTION. We have given the proceedings of this election down to the close of the poll on Monday last, by which it will be seen that it was a sharp race — a closecontest, unprecedented even in this county. It was one of unexampled excitement created by the Roman Catholic clergy; and they won one seat by a small majority, while we lost one occupied by a gentleman who expended nearly £100,000 within five years in the barony of Rathvilly, where he was defeated by the degraded serfs who were one and all polled against a country gentlrnmn by whose wealth thatvery barony was enriched, and thousands kept from starvation or the poorhouse. The base ingratitude of the electors of that barony will not soon be forgotten, especially of those slaves who having derived all these advantages from a gentleman whose munificence was unbounded in the form of expenditure on labour, polled against their neighbour and benefactor in favour of two adventurers set up by their equally ungrateful priests. We regret deeply the defeat of a high-minded and honourable man but we hope the day is not far distant when he will regain his position, and maintain that post which he worthily filled during his career in parliament. The honoured name of Bunburv will be a host in itself, and when the human passions cool down, and the wretched people who were coerced to oppose Captain Bunbury reflect on their conduct, they will, we venture to say, be the first to cast off the degraded thaldrom under which they groan, for that freedom which would be extended to them by such true-hearted Irishmen as Captain Bunbury. The priests of Rathvilly Barony have gained a victory over a resident gentleman. The electors were obliged to poll against him in that barony. The rabble were ready to hoot and insult him — let us see what they will gain by the substitution of a Bull for a Bunbury. We shall see the difference between a munificent country gentleman of ancient standing, and an acre less adventurer, like Mr. Bull, a late Poor-Law Commissioner. Col. Bruen, it is unnecessary say, still holds the position to which he was elected by the constituency of this county in 1812. He never flinched from that position — never abandoned his principles — and never yet forfeited the friendship of those ardent supporters who stood by him through good and evil report. Every exertion was made to oust him from the seat which he should naturally occupy ; but, although second on the poll the electors, including his own tenantry, stood by him to a man, and followed him with a degree of enthusiasm never before surpassed onany former occasion - in fart, unexampled in all former political struggles. The personal attachment of his friends surpassed anything on record; he is returned despite of that terrible confederacy which aimed at the subjugation of this county, and of Ireland - and we fervently hope that we may live to see the day when we may be enabled once more to place by his side in parliament that colleague who served us so well and faithfully. In losing one seat, we admit we are beaten. It is well; for we require great chastisement for backsliding, luke-warming, and TREACHERY — of an appalling character. If we did not meet with difficulties, wemight be as passive as the people who lived onthe foot of Vesuvius before an eruption — never dreaming of the danger which surrounded us. Let us, then, start from the post, as on former occasions, resolved to conquer and never to cease from our labours, until the County Carlow be once more restored to independence. We have lost a seat. The priests won it by fraud aud treachery; let us not forget the fact. Mr. Ball has little to boast of when he reflects that, even to gain a majority of two, there were base scoundrel who made two attempts to personate dead men; and there were men present to look on — and crowds ready to applaud the deed. We have only time to add, that the Roman Catholic electors made a noble stand—a clear proof that the influence of the Roman Catholic priesthood is rapidly on the decline, and that the threats and anathemas will find their level in this county.— Carlow Sentinel . (Quoted in Westmeath Independent , Saturday 7 August 1852).

Further Works at Lisnavagh 1850 - 1855

Work begins on the high granite entrance gate at Ballybit in 1850 with gatekeepers lodge behind wall, the stone being cut and dressed by Patrick Byrne and Thomas Gahan. The School House at the back entrance of Lisnavagh is also built at this time by mason James Nolan and stonecutter Patrick Byrne for a total cost of £206 10s 10d, with a piggery and granite trough to the rear. William and his uncle Kane Bunbury continued to carry out huge land improvements on their lands around Rathvilly at Lisnavagh, Knockboy, Tobinstown etc during the early 1850s. The work includes rock removal, cleaving granite stones, installing drains, sinking drains and building outlets. John Byrne was paid 1s 8d for cleaving stones. Patrick Neill, Edward Fitzgerald, Peter Nolan and Thomas Cody were paid 6d a ton to cleave stones while the masons, John Griffith and James Nolan were paid 2s 6d for building the outlets. Denis Maguire and Patrick Byrne were paid one shilling a day 'for stoning the drains' and laying tiles, respectively. But labourers Michael Doyle, Joseph Hanlon and Thomas Hosey were only paid 6d a day for sodding the drains.


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

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


In June 2010, I was contacted by Spencer Gordon of Spencer Marks, the Massachusetts-based silver and antique experts. He had lately aquired a silver jug which, he believed, was either purchased or commissioned by the Captain to help furnish Lisvanagh with some handsome plate when completed in 1852. The piece was made in Dublin by Robert W. Smith in 1852/53.

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

Death of Duke of Wellington

1.5 million people rolled up to Wellington's funeral in September 1852, proving that memories are short. His tenure as Prime Minister had been an unpopular one. His political career began in 1817 when Lord Liverpool persuaded him to become Master of Ordnance to restore some victorious moral during the recessional times. His greatest achievement as PM was arguably to secure Catholic Emancipation - something he was personally opposed to - with clauses in his favour. He also advocated to Peel the importance of the abolition of the Corn Laws. Peel duly abolished the Corn Laws and so secured Free Trade. Thus Wellington was due some of the massive emotional outpouring of grief that swept Britain when Peel died.

1852 Events

17 Jan 1852: Formal establishment of the South African Republic (aka the Transvaal) when United Kingdom sign the Sand River Conventiontreaty with about 40,000 Boer people, recognising their independence in the region to the north of the Vaal River. Britain also recognise the Orange Free State [when?]

Royal Irish Regiment embroiled in Second Anglo-Burmese War in which Rear Admiral Charles John Austen, younger brother of Jane Austen, died of cholera.

Lord Gough bought Lough Cutra



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