F. Erlington (Francis Elrington) Ball.

A history of the County Dublin; the people, parishes and antiquities from the earliest times to the close of the eighteenth century (Volume 2) online

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attaining the age of twenty-one, was entitled to her property, but
owing to his weak state of health his father was able to withhold
knowledge of this fact from hi}n, and to spend the money to which
his son was entitled on his own pleasures. At the same time it
was in the father's interest that the youth should appear capable
of managing his own affairs, for, in the event of his incapacity
being proved, the children of bis mother's only sister, who had
married Mr. George Rochfort, brother of the first Earl of Belvedere,
would have succeeded on his death to the property which he
inherited from his niother, and with the object of showing that he
was of sound mind the father had him returned to Parliament a
few years after lie came of age for his pocket borough of Bannow,
in the County Wexford.

Before his father's death, which took place in 1766, the Roch-
forts had instituted proceedings to have the cjuestion of the youth's
capacity decided legally, and four months after his father's death
a commission was issued to determine it. The conduct of the
defence devolved on his father's only brother. Colonel the Hon.
Heniy Loftus, the owner of Killiney Hill, who had represented
the borough of Bannow and then represented the County Wexford
in Parliament. The Rochforts alleged that the youth was an idiot
or of unsound mind, and his uncle put forward the defence that
his condition was entirely the result of the treatment which he had
received from his father, and that he was capable of instruction,
stating, in proof of the treatment which the youth had received,
that on posting down to Claremont, his brother's seat in the
County Wicklow, after his brother's death, he found the youth
miserably clad and almost in rags, so infirm and debilitated as not
to be able to walk about, totally illiterate, and in ignorance of the
property to which he was entitled. The Commissioners, who
included two Privy Councillors, two Masters in Chancery, a King's
council, an alderman, and three other gentlemen, had the assistance
of a jury, and after a trial lasting five days and a personal examina-
tion of the young Earl, this jury, on which three Privy Councillors
and other gentlemen of high degree served, found that the young
Earl was not an idiot or of unsound mind. On appeal to the
House of Lords their decision was upheld.


Three moutlis after the trial in April, 1767, the Manor and
Castle of Rathfarnham, the estate and niausion of his ancestors,
was purchased for the young Earl, and money was raised to
modernize and improve the structure. After a personal interview
with Lord Bowes, then Lord Chancellor of Ireland, the vouno- Earl
was appointed Governor of Fermanagh, and in December of that
year it was announced that he had been pleased to gi'ant a pension
to the widow of a worknian who had been killed at Rathfarnham
by the fall of a wall. Afterwards the Earl's health became
more unsatisfactory, and in the beginning of 1769 he was taken
by his uncle to Bath, and subsequently to Spa, in pursuit of
health. From the latter place they returned to Ireland in October,
and on the voyage the young Earl contracted an illness from which
ho died on the 12th of the following month. Eight days before his
death he signed at Rathfarnham Castle a deed before one of the
Masters in Chancery, and two days later he executed a will, leaving
all he possessed to his uncle, in the presence of the Right Hon.
John Ponsonby, the Speaker of the House of Commons ; Sir Henry
Cavendish, father of the Parliamentary repoi*ter, mentioned in con-
nection with the history of Booterstown ; and Sir James May.

Henry Loftus, who appears so prominently in the pages of
■■ Baratariana " as Count Henrico Loftonzo, now succeeded to the
Viscounty of Ely and the ownershija of Rathfarnham Castle. His
possession of his nephew's estate was not undisputed, and the Roch-
forts instituted proceedings to upset his nephew's will, but its
validity was upheld by Philip Tisdal in his capacity as Judge of
the Prerogative Court. Count Loftonzo's success in this and in
eveiything else was imputed by his enemies to political intrigue.
There is no doubt that the Viceroy, the Marquis of Townshciul,
was most an.xious to secure his support, and it was announced a
year after the young Earl's death that " the great man " had been
sumptuously entertained by a nobleman not far from Rathfarnham.
and that since that time he had boasted of his conquests, wliich
liad not, howevex", been attained witliout the promise of places of
profit to eight of the peer's dependants. Matchmaking seems to
liavo been an amusement of Count Loftonzo and his wife; in iho
same ycai' in wliich Lord Townshend visited Rathfarnliani i( is
recorded that a Wexford gentleman was married at Rathfarnliani
Castle, the seat of the Right 1 1 on. Viscount Tioftus, to a y(nnig
lady " of great merit and beauty, with cvoiy other accomplishment
which can render the man-iago stato happy," and if rumour spoke
truth Count Loftonzo's wife spared no cfVort to secure Lord Town-
shend as huisband for her niece, the lovely Dolly Monro.


The year 1771 saw the Earldom of Ely created for the second
time in favour of Count Loftonzo, and on Angelica Kauflfmann's
visit to Ireland, which then took place, she painted a picture of
the newly-made Earl and his Countess. This picture, which now
hangs in the Irish National Galleiy, is painted on one of the largest
canvases ever used by the artist, and represents in a flowery garden,
almost in life size, the Earl in his ermine tipi^et, and his Countess,
in the full dress robes of a peeress, while near them are two beauti-
ful girls, said to be the artist and Dolly Monro, and a negro atten-
dant holding a cushion on which two coronets rest. Three years
later the Earl had the misfortune tO' lose his wife, after a long
illness; but, although Provost Andrews thought it would be impos-
sible to find as amiable a successor, he was not long in filling up the
vacancy, and subsequently we see him on the eve of St. Patrick's
Day at a masquerade ball figuring as a hermit and his second wife
as a washerwoman. On the institution of the Order of St. Patrick
Lord Ely was named as one of the original knights, but was unable
to attend the installation, and died a few months later in May,
1783, at Bath. One of the obituary notices which appeared says
that his death was nothing short of a national loss, as his fortune
was spent in the improvement of his country and in encouraging
honest industry amongst the poor, and another refers to his rapid
advancement in life from the rank and revenue of a private gentle-
man to a very rich earldom and great Parliamentary influence (i).

Lord Ely's operations at Rathfarnhani Castle were on a scale
of regal magnificence. In the decoration of the interior of the
house the talented artists and skilled artizans then to be found in
Dublin were employed, and in the drawing-room, the small dining-
room with its exquisitely painted ceiling, the gilt room with its
inlaid chimney-piece, and the stately ball-room, their work is still
to be seen. Amongst those who were engaged in beautifying the
house was Angelica Kauffmann, and panels painted by her adorn
the elaborate ceiling of the drawing-room. In the demesne the
noble gateway on the river Dodder exhibits the classic taste of the

(1) Lease in Registry of Deeds Office ; " Old Dublin Mansion Houses," by Edward
Evans in The Irish Bnilder for 1894, p. 242 ; Prerogative Cause Papers, Ely r.
Rochfort in Public Record Office ; " Rathfarnliam Castle, its sale and liistory,"
by John P. Prendergast in The Irish Times for May 10, 1S91 ; Josiali Brown's
" Reports of Cases in the Court of Parliament," vol. i., p. 450, vol. vii., p. 469 ;
Dublin Journal, Nos. 4148. 6638 ; Pue's Occurrences, vol. Ixiv., No. 6653, vol.
xlvii.. No. 6958; Will of Nicholas, second Earl of Ely; Gilbert's "History of
Dublin," vol. ii., pp. 84, 85 ; Historical Manuscripts Connuission. Rcpt. viii.,
App.. p. 195; (hntloncns Magazine for 1783, p. 453; Freeman's Journal, vol.
vii.. No. 125.



Earl and his extravagant conceptions. On visiting the Castle in
1781 Austin Cooper was lost in admiration, and forty years later
James N. Brewer refers to its splendours. After describing the
Castle as we see it to-day, a square building with towers at each
corner and a semi-circular extension on the southern side, Austin
Cooper tells us that it was originally embattled and had small

The Ct'ilins: of the Small Dining Room in Rathfarnham Castle.

From (I r/iulograph hij T/ioiikis Ma,so)i.

Gothic windows, but that a coping of stuiif had been substituted for
the battlements and that the windows had Ix'cii iiindi inized. lie
iiKiilioiis the poitico, consisting of a dome, (ui which tlic signs of
the Zcjdiac were painted, suioported on eight Dniic ((iluiuns, and the
hall. Tlic laltei-, he says, was lighted by three windows of stained
glass, which have now disappcarcfl, made by Thomas .T(M-vais, who
cxccut<;;d the wiiidnw designc:] hy Sir Joshua. Ucynolds in Ni'w
College, O.xl'urd, and was oni.inicnl ( d with statues, Imsts, and unis
on iiedcstals of variegated marble. Afterwards he in.spected a


room, then called the gallery, in which he saw a cabinet of tortoise-
shell and brass filled with ivory ornaments of rare beauty, and con-
cludes by saying that a description of the other rooms, of the
family portraits, of the paintings collected by the first Earl of Ely,
and of the china, would require a volume (i).

Henry, Earl of Ely, was succeeded at Rathfarnham by his
nephew, Charles Tottenham, the son of one of his sisters, who had
married the famous member of the Tottenham family known as
" Tottenham in the boots," from his having appeared in the House
of Commons in riding dress, and saved his country by recording
his vote at the sacrifice of the sacred conventionalities of the period.
Charles Tottenham, who took the name of Loftus, was made the
subject of renewed litigation by the Rochforts, in which they were
successful, but this defeat does not ajjpear to have seriously
impaired his wealth, and soon after he succeeded to Rathfarnham
he was raised to the peerage as Baron Loftus, and subsequently
was created Marquis of Ely. The demesne at Rathfarnham, then
remarkable for an aviary in which there were ostriches and many
other rare birds, was thrown open by him to the public, for which
he received high encomiums from the press, and the Lords Lieu-
tenants of his day were entertained by him frequently in the gi'eat
dining-room of the Castle ('-).

The village of Rathfarnham at the end of the eighteenth cen-
tury was said by Austin Cooper to be a small village with very few
houses of the better class, and the residents in the neighbourhood
were not numerous. Amongst those connected with Rathfarnham
in the latter part of that century we find — the Rev. John Palliser,
D.D., who succeeded to the residence of his cousin, Mr. William
Palliser, and who died in 1795; Mr. Richard Wetherall, who died
in 1752, leaving money for the endowment of a grammar school;
Mr. Edward Slicer, who died in the same year at a very advanced
age; the agreeable widow Slicer, who married in 1757 Sir Timothy
Allen, sometime Lord Mayor of Dublin ; Mr. Benjamin Sherrard,
an eminent linen manufacturer, who died in 1766 ; Mr. John Lam-
prey, a young gentleman of unblemished reputation, who died in
the same year at Waxfield ; Alderman James Horan, and Alder-
man James Hamilton ; Sir George Ribton, the second baronet of

(*) Cooper's Note Book; Brewer's "Beauties of Ireland," vol. i., p. 210;
" Dictionary of National Biography," vol. xxi.x., p. 353.

(2) Lodge's Peerage, vol. vii., p. 269 ; Rutland PaiDers, vol. iii., p. 83. pub-
lished by Historical IManuscripts Commission ; Post Chaise Companion ; Dublin
Chronicle, 1788-1789, [i]). 208, 255, 1790-1791, p. 90.


the name, who built Landscape; and Mr. Garret English, an
upright and active magistrate (for an assault on whom a man was
in 1790 whipped from the bridge of Ratlifarnham to the upper
end of the town), who lies buried in Dundrum graveyard. Amongst
owners of property were the Presbyterian Church, which owned
hind in Rathfarnham, originally leased in 1679 by Viscount Lis-
burue to Daniel Reading, and subsequently sold by the Right lion.
Thomas Conolly to the Rev. Richard Choppin, one of the ministers
of the meeting house in Wood Street, Dublin, and Provost Hely
Hutchinson, who owned Butterfield House, and gave the fair green
to the village (l).

The bridge at Rathfarnham was carried away once more in June,
1754, by floods, caused by the greatest rain known for years, and
one built in its place sulTcred the same fate. These disasters,
Austin Cooper says, were due to the supports resting in the water
on bad foundations, and a bridge of a single arch was, about the
year 1765, thi'own across the river, which, from the fact that it
rested on the solid banks, Cooper predicted would last for years.
A ford near the present bridge at Orwell Road was sometimes used,
and after crossing it in his carriage in the year 1773, Counsellor
Walsh was robbed of his gold watch valued at 50 guineas. Samuel
Derrick, who succeeded Beau Nash as Master of the Ceremonies at
Bath, and for whom the gi'cat Samuel Johnson had a kindness,
mentions that on a visit to Ireland in 1760, when driving from
the County Kildare to Bray, he dined at Rathfarnham, and an inn
bearing the Sign of the Ship existed there some years later. The
manufacture of paper was caii'ied on to a vei*y considerable extent
by a ^Ir. Manscrgh, who died in 1763, and by Mr. Thomas
Slator, whose works were destroyed in 1775 by fire, and dye works,
which were owned in 1752 by Mrs. Elizabeth Fisher, were estab-
lished near the bridge. Nursei'ies owned by the Bruces, eminent
seedsmen of the fairest character, supplied all manner of fiuit and
forest trees, flowering shrubs, and green-house plants, and the early
production of farm produce, already noted in connection with Mv.
Bellingham Boyle's occupation of the Castle, was maintained by a
barrel of new wheat being brought in 1768 on August 6th from

(M Austin Cooper's Xntc Book ; Post Chaise Coinjiaiiioii ; K.rshair.t Mdf/a-
zinc for \~~>2, p. (UiO ; Duhlhi Jonrvaf. .\os. •ioCiI. 2t>24 ; loin's Ocnnrcncvs. vol.
liv.. No. 81. vol. lix.. No. ."{l. vol. Ixii., No. (i42il. v.il. Kiii.. N'o.s. ().-)(»], (mI'J ;
Frffmnn's Jnuriiiil, vol. xii.. .\(». 17: Dnhliii Chronirli. IT'.IO IT'.tl, pp. 410, 4,S7 :
Hilnrnuiv Mdfjiizitu- for \~H1. p. 3H7 ; Ball and Hamilton's " I'arish of Taney,"'
p 31 : D'.AIton's " Histoi-y of (lie County Dulilin."' p. 7H7 ; " A sliort account of
the FuikIs of the Presbyterian Chureh," \>y P.cv. .lames Arm.strong, Dublin, LSI."),
p. W.


Rathfaniliam to the Dublin Market. During the Volunteer move-
ment Rathfarnham was often visited by the Dublin companies ; in
1783 the Light Company of the Independent Dublin Volunteers
made an excursion there on a Sunday in October, and after being
sumptuously entertained by Alderman Horan, on whose lawn they
went through their martial exercises, spent the evening " with the
greatest good humour and cheerfulness " (i).

Rathfarnhain Castle was dismantled by the Loftus family in the
early jDart of the nineteenth century, and after having been occupied
for a time by a family called Roper, under whom the demesne was
used for dairy purposes, it was bought about the year 1852 by
Lord Chancellor Blackburne. The neighbouring residence of the
Pallisers, after the death of the Rev. John Palliser, joassed into the
possession of the King's Printer, Mr. George Grierson, whose model
farm was noted for the production of prize crops and cattle, and
was sold subsequently to its present occujjants, the Convent of the
Lorettoi (-).


The lands now covered by the populous suburb of Rathgar, which
lies between Rathmines and Rathfarnham, were in the centuries
immediately succeeding the Anglo-Norman Conquest, the grange or
home fann of the Abbey of St. Mary de Hogges — a convent for
nuns of the rule of St. Augustine, which stood upon College Green,
then called the Hogges or the mounds. At that time there were
to be seen on the lands the Abbey's manor house, granary, and
other farm buildings (for robbery from which one David Lugg was
at the beginning of the fourteenth century sentenced to be hanged),
and a wood of considerable extent. In the sixteenth century,
when the dissolution of the religious houses took place, the premises
and lands, which were returned as containing ninety acres arable,
and three of wood, were held under the Convent by James Richards,
and some years later they were granted by the Crown to Nicholas
Segrave (3).

(1) "Derrick's Letters," Dublin, 17<'7, p. 07; "Dictionary of National Bio-
graphy." vol. xiv., p. 399 ; Duhlin Journal, Nos. 2672, (57U1 ; Puc's Occurrences,
vol. li.", Nos. 49, 74, vol. Iviii., No. 27, vol. Ix., No. 25, vrl. Ixiv., No. 6620, vol.
Ixv., Nos. 6704, 6721, vol. Ixvii., No. 6959, vol. Ixviii., No. 7032 ; Frccman\<<
Journal, vol. xi., No. 12. vol. xii.. No. 69.

{^) Curwen's " Observations on the State of Ireland," vol. ii., p. 137 ; Hand-
cock's " History of Tallaght." See for pictures of Rathfarnham in the nineteenth
century, Gi/cfopa'dian Magazine for 1807, p. 385; Dublin Pruni/ Journal, vol. in.,
p. 369.

(•■') D' Alton's "History of the County Dublin," p. 780; Justiciary Roll;
Gilbert's "History of Dublin," vol. iii., p. 1.


At the beginning of the seventeenth century the castle or manor
house of Rathgar had become the country residence of the Cusacks,
one of the oldest and most leading mercantile families in Dublin,
and was occupied by Mr. John Cusack, who was in 1608 Mayor of
Dublin. His son, Mr. Robert Cusack, succeeded him. The latter
had entered in 1617 as a law student at Lincoln's Inn, but his only
appearance in legal proceedings seems to have been as defendant
in a suit taken by the Prebendary of St. Audoen's in Dublin to
compel him to restore an entry to that church which some member
of his family had obstructed more than sixty years before by
building a hoiise across it. He served as Sheriff of his countv, and
during the troublous times after the Rebellion suffered severely by
his loyalty to the throne. At the time the Duke of Ormonde w-as
apprehensive of being besieged in Dublin by the Confederates, Mr.
Cusack found it necessary to obtain orders forbidding the Royalist
troops from cutting timber in the wood of Rathgar and taking his
horses and carts while drawing his corn, and serious injury must
have been done to his house during the Battle of Rathmines, when
it was taken possession of by some of the Royalist soldiers. Being
a Protestant, Mr. Cusack was allowed to remain in possession of his
lands under the Commonwealth, and when the Restoration cam©
we find him living there in a house which was rated as containing
five hearths, his household including his wife, Alice, his eldest son,
John, his daughter, Katherine, tw'O' men servants, and twO' maid
servants, one described as a little short wench and the other as a
full fat wench ; and the only other residents on the lands being two
poor women (i).

After Robert Cusack's death Rathgar became the residence of his
second son, the Honble. Adam Cusack, one of the Justices of the
Common Pleas. During the Commonwealth Adam Cusack, who
had attained to the position of a Fellow in Trinity College, Dublin,
entered as a law student in his father's Inn, and when the Restora-
tion came, though lu- had nut ((iin])letcd seven years' residence, the
period then required, he was allowed, on undertaking not to ])iac-
tise in England, to be called to the Bar. In Ireland, as he had
much influence, owing to his being by marriage a nephew of Sir
Mauiice Eustace, the Lord Chancellor, ho came qiiickly to the
fiont. and twelve yeai's after his call to the Bar, having filled while

(•) D'Alton's " History of tlio ('(.imly Diil.liii," p. TSO ; CillxTt's " llislory of
Diitjlin," vol. i., p. 27!*; Lincoln's Inn .Vdniissions ; Carte J'apirs, il.xiv.. fT. .'}.'l,
315, and under date Jan. li, HJ(i7 ; Survey of fJaronies of I'ppereross and New-
castle in I'lil.lic I'.ccord ()fli<c: Hrartli Monoy Roll: ('crKus of IC.-.a


a practising barrister the position of a Justice and Chief Justice of
the Provincial Court of Connaught, he was appointed to the
Common Pleas. He appears to have been a delicate man ; during
his judicial career he was for two years unable to discharge his
duties through ill-health, and he died in 1681 at a comparatively
early age-. His will indicates his benevolent character. Besides
legacies to numerous relatives, he bequeathed sums of money
tO' the poor in Rathfarnham and in St. Audoen's parishes;
to the hospital in Back Lane, and to that at Oxmantown,
now known as the Blue Coat School ; and to the prisoners in
Newgate and " the Black Dog." He had married a sister of John
Keatinge, who, during Adam Cusack's lifetime, became Chief
Justice of the Common Pleas, and afterwards became well known
on account of the part he played at the time of the Revolution, but
had no children. His widow continued to reside at Rathgar, and
married, as her second husband, Mr. Nicholas Cusack. The latter
was ontlawed in 1690 for treason, but the property was subse-
quently restored to the Cusack family (i).

During the eighteenth century the castle or manor house fell
into ruin, and Austin Cooper in 1782 found at Rathgar only the
walls of a large and extensive building, which, he says, had a. modern
appearance, with the remains of several offices near to them, and
an entrance gateway, which, as a staircase indicated, had formerly
been arched over, and which looked older than the niain structure.
The lands were let to market gardeners and dairymen, including a
certain John Mooney, whose son's disreputable career and death
on the scaffold, for highway robbery, form the subject of a religious
tract of the period, and it was not until 1753 that they were
opened up for building by the construction of an avenue from the
gate of Rathmines Castle, then occupied by Chief Justice Yorke,
to Terenure. A sham fight of the Dublin Volunteers took place
in 1 784 on the lands of Rathgar, and the ruined castle was fortified
and occupied by some of the troops, who were only driven out of it
with great difficulty (-).

(*) " Some Xotes on the Irish Judiciary in the reign of Charles II.," Journal
of the Cork Arclneological and Historical Socitti/, Ser. ii.. vol. vii., p. 226 ; Todd's
" Graduates of the University of Dublin " : " Black Book of Lincoln's Inn,"
vol. iii., p. 3 ; Exchequer Intjuisition, Wni. and l\Iary, Dublin, Xo. 6.

{■') " The Life of Nicholas :\rooney," in Hahday Tracts, vol 242. in Royal Irish
Academy ; Cooper's Note Book ; Jjitblin Journal, Nos. 2(591), (371*7.



The earliest mention of these lands, which lie between Rathfarn-
ham and Crmnlin, is a grant made in 1206 to Audoen le Brun,
Chamberlain of the Irish Exchequer, of the tithes of two carucates
of demesne lands in Terenure and Kimmage held by Walter, the
goldsmith. Soon afterwards in 1216 Hugh de Barnewall was
gi'anted protection for his chattels, lands, and tenements in Tere-
nure and Drimnagh, and from that time until the Commonwealth
the Barnewall family was connected as owner with Terenure and
Kimmage, as well as with Drimnagh. In 1221 the property of
the Barnewalls was temporarily placed in custody of John de St.
John, and in 1228 was restored to Reginald, brother of Hugh de
Barnewall, who had succeeded to it through the death of his
brother without heirs, and who was then actively engaged in the
defence of Ireland for the King. A portion of the lands of
Kimmage were, however, in the thirteenth century included in the
lordship of Rathfarnham, and in 1269 Walter de Bret granted
half a carucate of land in Kinnnage, which touched on the water-
course froni Templeogue and on the lands of Terenure, to William
de Tathcony, who transferred it for the yearly rent of one penny or
a white dove to John de Hache. The latter, together with Thomas
Russell, of Crumlin, was also granted a lease by Geoffrey le Bret
on condition that they should supply him annually with wine value
for twelve pence and admit him to dinner, failing which hospitality

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Online LibraryF. Erlington (Francis Elrington) BallA history of the County Dublin; the people, parishes and antiquities from the earliest times to the close of the eighteenth century (Volume 2) → online text (page 14 of 16)