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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borough, the Hon. John Butler, M.P. for Newcastle, who resided in
Wickham, then called Primrose Hill. During his representation
of Newcastle, which extended over a period of forty years, he dis-
l^layed a most zealous attachment to the King's govermnent and
person, and received on more than one occasion the thanks of public
bodies for his efforts in the public weal. His death took place at
Dundrum in the year 1790, when he had attained the age of eighty-
three years, and Wickham passed from his family into the possession
of Mr. John White, a barrister of eminence, whose claim to a
baronetcy led to his being sometimes styled Sir John White, and
was subsequently the residence successively of the late Sir Robert
Kane and of the late Sir Edward II udson-Kinahan. In the middle
f)f the eighteenth cenluiy, in 1766, t' ere were only seven residents

(M Tranmclions oj Royal Irish Acadcwi/, A., vol. xxiv., |>|i. »•'.. I|(» : 1 Uli l!i'i)ort
(if tlic Deputy Kcf))(>r of the liccorfls in TrclaiHl. App.. p. 44 ; Depositions of Kill ;
Cill.crt's "Ancient lleernls of Diihlin." vol. iv., ]). 'Jfi ; King's "State of the I'lO-
t(stanls of Ireland nixler Jiinies il.,"p. :5.">:{ ; Wills of (lie Dobson family;
(Albert's " Hi.storv of Dublin," vol. i.. p. KJ ; AhuMen's " liistoi y of Irisli IVriod-
ical Literature," vol. i., p. 171 ; Jliijzlies' " History of St. \Verbur<;h's," p. 1'2G ;
" Dundrum Castle and its owners," in tlie Irinh liuildcr for 1897, )). Kl'2 ; Leases
in Hej:istrv of Deeds Ofliee ; Ph(\s OrrurrvnceH, vol. Hi.. No. 17 ; .Seward's '' Tope
graiiliieii. Hibernif ;e " ; Cooper's .Vote Book; Wilde's "Memoir v.i Cabriel IVr-
anger " ; " i^ite of Thomas Reynolds."



besides Mr. Butler of importance in the wliolei j)arisli of Taney,
namely, Lord Fitzwilliam, at Mount Merrion; Anthony Foster,
afterwards Chief Baron of the Exchequer, at Mervillc; Hugh Car-
michael, Dudley Rogers, James Crowe, John Hunt, and Richard
Thwaites, and the total number of dwellings was only sixty-six.
Amongst the other inhabitants we find names which arc still
familiar, including those of Moulds, Messit, and Rinklc (i).

Dundrum was then a small village chiefly remarkable for being
on the high road to Powerscourt. It had a reputation, though not
in an equal degree with Carrickmines, as a health resort- a rcjjuta-
tion which it regained at the beginning of the nineteenth century —
and lodgings where goats' milk could be obtained were advertised.
Some of the deaths announced as taking place at Dundrum are
possibly those of persons who sought benefit from the mild climate;
amongst these we find, in 1756, the wife of Anthony Perry, master
of Lucas's Coffee House; in 1757, Lieutenant John Kcllie, of Lord
George Forbes' Regiment of Foot; in 1760, Mr. Williani Litton, a
silk weaver; and in 1771, the wife of Mr. Shea, a linen draper.
Some years later in 1787 the discovery of a mineral spring near
Ticknock was announced, but, in spite of a strong recommendation
of its efficacious qualities, it had only a short-lived popularity. A
few houses near the old churchyard formed a separate village known
as Churchtown, and the only other neighbouring village of any
importance was Windy Arbour, on the road to Dublin, where there
was a lodging house in which the first Lord Cloncurry stayed in
early life (2).

The lawless and defenceless state of the vicinity of Dublin is
indicated by more than one outrage near Dundrum. A house at
Churchtown was in 1780 broken into by four masked robbers armed
with swords and pistols ; a gentleman returning on horseback from
the fair at Donnybrook was in 1788 stopped near the castle by two
highwaymen ; a coffin containing the body of a man supposed to
have been murdered was in 1790 left on a false pretext with the
grave-digger; the house of Mr. Valentine Dunne, whose business
premises were in Castle Street, Dublin, was in 1798 broken into

(M Pue''s Occurrences, vol. xl., Xo. 85; vol. Iviii.. No. 8r$ : vol. lix.. No. 97;
vol. Ixi., No. 6270; Exslian^s Magazine for 1790, p. .56; Ball and Hamilton's
"Parish of Tanev." pp. 152, 176; Religious Returns of 1766; Anthologia Hiber-
vicn vol. i., p. 32.?.

("-) Lewis's " Guide to Dublin," pp. 104, 129 ; Ball and Hamilton's " Parish of
Tanev," p. 210 ; Piir's Occurrences, vol. liii.. No. 70, vol. liv.. No. 66 ; vol. ivii..
No. 36 : vol. Ixvi.. No. 6790 ; vol. Ixviii., No. 7051 : Duhfin Chronicle. 17S7-1788,
]) 424 ; FitzPatriclc's " Life of Lord rioncurry," p. 37.


and plundered; and a fanner called Eunis in the same year of
rebellion was forced to leave his house near the Three Rock Moun-
tain after it had been three times robbed (i).

Towards the close of the eighteenth century Duudrum was the
home of Mr. John G-iffard, who took a prominent part in the poli-
tical affairs of his time as a strong supporter of the Union, and who
has the distinction of being the grandfather of the present Lord
Chancellor of England, the Earl of Ilalsbury. There Mr. Giffard's
sons, Sir Ambrose Hardinge Giffard, Chief Justice of Ceylon, and
Stanley Lees Giffard, many years editor of TJie Standard, and father
of Lord Halsbury, passed their early life. At Churchtown the
Hon. William Tankerville Chamberlaine, a Justice of the Kind's
Bench, one of the most eminent members of the judiciary of his
day, and Mr. Edward Mayne, who subsequently became a judge of
the same court, were at that time residing, and amongst other
inhabitants in the immediate vicinity of Dundrum were Mr.
Stephen Stock, a brother of the Bishop of that name, and a man
of exemplary charity ; Mr. Daniel Kinahan, ancestor of a family
still identified with the parish ; and Alderman Nathaniel Hone,
sometime Lord Mayor of Dublin (~).


These lands, which lie between those of Dundrum and the parish of
Kilgobbin, were the site of a castle, and of a church, remains of
which were until recently to be seen in the gi'ounds of Moreen. In
the opinion of the late Professor Stokes the name is a derivation of
Irish words meaning the town of Olave, a famous Danish saint, and
had its origin in a Danish settlement represented afterwards by the
Harolds, a clan rivalling the Walshes in the extent of their moun-
tain lands. A tradition existed in the neighbourhood a century ago
that the church had been erected by two families which had engaged
in despex'ate conflict near its site, and which had agreed, on their
revenge being satiated, to erect a church there, known a hundred
years ago as the Cross Church of Moreen.

r') Ilihrrnia)} Mnqazivr for 1 7S0. p. 118, nml 1 TOS. p. 732: Diihlin Chronicle,
178H-17H9, p. 42:{ ; Mall and Ilairiilton's " P.uisli of Tanoy," p. 215.

(») Ball ami Hamilton's "Parish ot 'I'MiKy," ),p. Ki:?, 112. 120, i:{(», I |;{.


The lands of Balally were given in 1279 to John de Walhope, an
old and valued servant of the Crown, and twenty years later
were in the occupation of John Othyr. After having been,
about 1334, in the possession of Maurice Howell and Gregoiy
Taunton, already mentioned as tenants to the Priory of the Holy
Trinity for the lands of Cabinteely and Brenanstown, the lands of
Balally came into the possession of the Walshes of Carrickmines.
Like other lands bordering on the mountains, those of Balally
suffered much from " wars and casualties of fortune,'" and in a grant
from the Crown in 1407 to William Walsh it was conditioned that
he should build a small castle upon them. Although a considerable
time elapsed before its completion, this castle was ultimately
erected, and became the residence of a branch of the Walsh family.
In 1546 Thomas Walsh, who was then in jDossession of thi*ee houses
and eighty-one acres in Balally, besides the castle, died there,
and was succeeded by his son, John, then a minor; in 1597 William
Walsh was in possession, and in 1 64 T James Walsh was seized of the
castle and lands, as well as of those of Edmondstown, near Rath-
farnham (i).

The Walshes of Balally, as adherents of the Roman Catholic
Church, had its services regularly performed, possibly in the
ancient church, and in 1630 the Rev. John Cahill, mentioned as
parish priest of Donnybrook, was commonly the celebrant. After
James Walsh's death in 1646 his son, Henry, disposed of Balally
for £700 to Mr. John Borr, of Dublin, but during the Common-
wealth, when there was a population of seven persons of English
and eleven of Irish descent inhabiting eight houses, the Parliament
seized upon the lands and leased them to Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac
Dobson, of Dundrum. After the Restoration Mr. John Borr was
successful in establishing his right to the lands before the Com-
missioners of Settlement, and subsequently occupied the castle,
which contained three hearths, as his country residence. He was
the son of Christian Borr, a naturalised German, who, having come
to Ireland early in the seventeenth century, had amassed a large
fortune as a merchant, trading principally in the export of beef
and import of corn, wine, and salt, and in whose will piety and
business are quaintly mingled in the direction that his body should
be buried in " a comely but not costly manner " near his jdcw door
in St. Kevin's Church, Dublin, and in closing a long list of debtors

(1) Ball and Hamilton's "Parish of Taney," p. 14; Post Chaise Companion;
Plea Rolls ; Sweetman's Calendar ; Patent Rolls, pp. 30, 249 ; Exchequer In-
quisition, Henry VIII., No. 191 ; Fleetwood's Survey.


with the prayer that Providence may direct them to discharge their
considerations. Mr. John Borr, who built a great house known as
'' Borr's Court/' near Christ Church Cathedral, added to the wealth
which he had inherited from his father, and his son, Mr. Christian
Borr, father of several sons who met with sad and untimely ends,
occupied a good social position in Dublin (i).

In the latter part of the eighteenth century the villas which
border the high road through Balally began to be erected.
Moreen, then described as a neat, compact house, was built, and its
grounds laid out with much trouble and expense on the rocky
land, by Mr. William M"Kay, a legal official, whose descendants are
still recollected for their prowess in the hunting field in days when
hares and foxes abounded in the wilds of Carrickmines and Foxrock,
Amongst other residents were Mr. Faithful William Fortescue,
M.P. for Monaghan ; Mr. Robert Turbett, ancestor of the family
still identified with Dundrum ; and Mr. William Ridgeway, au
eminent lawyer, whose name will be found as counsel for the Crown
in many of the leading prosecutions of the period, joarticularly in
that of Robert Emmet, and whose reports of cases are still of value
to lawyers (-).


The lands of Roebuck, or Rabo, as they were anciently called,
which lie between Donnybrook and Dundrum, were the site of a
castle, which stood from very early times on the ground now
occupii'd by the modern Roebuck Castle, the handsome seat of Mr.
Francis Vandeleur Westby, D.L.

Soon after the Anglo-Norman Conquest tho lands, which were
originally of greater extent than at present, became a manor with
a chief residence, and at the beginning of the fourteenth century
permission was given to the owner to keep game in his demesne on
them. They wei-e then est iinat cd to contain three carucates, valued
at £9, being at the I'ate of ('>'/. an aero, and (lie owner had sixty

(') Anlihislmp P.iilkclcy's I!(|><.rl. p. I tS ; Kolls of rnnoccntH ; Census of Kk")!);
frown Rental Hcatlli Money Jioll ; I'alcnl llolls, vol. i., p. IWC, ; Wills of tlie How
faiiiilv; fillterl'^^ "Hisfrxy of Dublin," vol. !., ]). •_>:{«; "Sonic Notes on Ual-
ally," in tlie Irish /l„i/'hr'\nr ISIIS, p. II.

r^) Ball ati'l ll;iniillnii's " Parish of Taney," pp. Ill, ^■U. 140, IIS; " Dicljoii-
ary of National I'Ao^rdphy,'" (tor Ki<lgeuay'), vol. xlviii., p. "JSI.


0^ i




acres under corn and twelve plough teams. Clonskeagh, or the
meadow of the white thorn hushes, now a village on the Dodder
known for its iron works, is mentioned in 1316 as belonging to the
owners of Roebuck, and then contained a mill. By Plenry II. the
lands of Roebuck were granted, together wath the somewhat distant
manor of Cruagh, to Thomas de St. Michael, and after passing
through the hands of David Basset, a member of a gi'eat Norman
family, came in 1261 into the possession of Fromund le Brun,
then Chancellor of Ireland, from whom they descended to Sir
Nigel le Brun, who was given in 1304 the right of free warren.
Under these owners the lands were held by a family which took its
cognomen from the place, and a member of which, Otho de Rabo,
acted as bailiff in legal proceedings for Sir Nigel le Brun.

The succession of owners for the next two centuries is almost
complete. In 1315 Fromund, son of Sir Nigel le Brun, was in
possession ; in 1377 Sir Thomas, son of Sir Fromund le Brun ; in
1382 Francis, son of Sir Thomas le Brun; and in 1420 Sir John,
son of Francis le Brun. Sir John le Brun had two sons,
Christopher and Richard ; Christopher died before his father,
leaving two children, a son, Christopher, who died shortly after
his grandfather, and a daughter, Elizabeth. For a time the lands
appeal' to have been in possession of Sir John's second son, Richard
lo Brun, Ijut ultimately they became vested in his granddaughter,
Elizabeth, and by her marriage to Robert Barnewall, first Baron of
Trimlestown, passed into possession of the latter family, which
cniitinned to own Roebuck until the beginning of the nineteenth
century (i).

It has been stated that the Castle of Roel)Uck, now partly
incorporated in the modei'ii house, was the residence of John, third
Baron of Trimlestown, who was Chancellor of Ivi'land in the reign
of Henry VIII., but it seems probable that it owed its construction
to Robert, fiflh Baron of Ti'inilestown- " a rare nobleman, <>nd(nved
with sundrv good gifts " whose initials, with those of his wife,
Anne Fyan, it bore. During the rebellion of 1641 the castle, then
in possession of Matthew, eighth Baron Trimlestown, who served as
an officer in the Confederate Army, was destroyed, and in the time
of the Coniiiioiiwcalt h the lands and niaiioi- of Roebuck, together
with CMonskeagh and a mill, woe held hv one Edwai'd Bariy. whom
Coloiii I .XilliiT Mill sought to dis])ossess. The piincipal occn))ant
of till' l.ind^.it lliat time was 1\I r. William N'allv s.-iid to ha\'(' been

(') "" 'J'lic .Xoriiiaii Scltlcimiit in l^cinstcr-,' liy Jaiiics .Mills in .loiuiiii/, Ji'.S..i.f..
vol. xxiv., p. 1()7; I'loa Jii.slifiary and Minmranda Roils ; Swcctnian's Calendar;
Burke's Peerage inidcr- I'rinilc-low n.


an ancestor of the notorious Leonard MacNally, the lawyer^ — whose
death in 1669 is recorded on one of the oldest tombstones in Donny-
brook Churchyard. In 1652 Nally was ordered to attend a peram-
bulation of lands in the neighbourhood of Dublin taken under the
protection of the Commonwealth, and in 1664 he was occupying a
house rated as containing two* hearths, which was probably portion
of the castle. Besides the lands of Roebuck, Nally held, under the
Fitzwilliams, the adjoining lands of Owenstown, now forming part
of Mount Merrion. The population of Roebuck and Owenstown is
returned about that time as seven persons of English and forty-
two persons of Irish extraction (i).

The castle was in a ruinous condition in the eighteenth
century, which renders it improbable that James II. lodged there,
as has been stated, after his arrival in 1689 in Ireland. Austin
Cooper, on visiting it in 1781, found only a small portion roofed,
which was used as a storehouse by a farmer who resided in ai small
house close by. In Cooper's opinion the castle was originally a
large one, forming two sides of a square, and upon it, he mentions,
were engi^aved in stone^ thei arms of the Barnewalls, as well as the
letters R. B. A. F. and the name Robert. At the beginning of that
century a bleach yard existed on the lands of Roebuck as well as
mills at Clonskeagh, and advertisements appeared front time to
time of the castle farm as affording excellent accommodation for a
dairyman, proposals for which were to be made to Lord Trimles-
town at his seat near Trim or at his Dublin house in Maiy Street.
The Dublin Volunteers in 1784 selected Roebuck as one of thedr
camping grounds, and in 1789, when there was a great uproar about
an attempt to close the footpath from Milltown to Clonskeagh, the
vicinity of Roebuck Castle was chosen as a retired jDlace to fight a
duel, which was happily amicably adjusted, not, however, before
shots had been exchanged (2).

Of the country seats which adorn the neighbourhood, the first
in date was Merville, in Foster's Avenue, now the residence of
Mr. J. Hume Dudgeon. This fine old house, which forms three
sides of a square, and has out-offices of a most extensive kind, was

(i) D' Alton's " History of the County Dublin," p. 809 ; Burke's Peerage under
Trinilestown ; Fleetwood's Survey ; Crown Rental ; " Loftus's Court Martial
Book," preserved in Marsh's Library ; Slacker's Sketches, pp. 90, 197, 434 ;
Hearth Money Roll ; Census of 1659.

{■"-) D' Alton's "History of the County Dublin," p. 810; Cooper's Note Book;
Leases in Registry of Deeds Oftice ; Puc's Occurrences, vol. xxxvi.. No. 31 ; vol.
xxxix.. No. 56 ; bublin Journal, Nos. 1846, 1851, 6845 ; Dublin Chronicle, 1789-
1790, pp. 120, 295.


built about the middle of the eighteenth century by the Right Hon.
Anthony Foster, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, and father of
the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, whose connection
■with the place is commemorated in the name of the magnificent
avenue in which it stands. Chief Baron Foster, whose ability and
.social gifts in early life attracted the attention of that acute
observer, Mrs. Delany, was one of the first persons of position in
Ireland to interest himself in a practical manner in the improve-
ment of agriculture and in the development of her industries. He
has been styled by Arthur Young, who visited him on his estate at
Collon in the County Louth, where his operations exceeded any-
thing Young could have imagined, as a prince of improvers, but
few would dare to put in practice his theory that raising x'ents
tended to improve the condition of the tenantry by quickening
their industry, setting them to search for manures, and making
them better farmers. While a practising barrister, when he
occupied a seat in Parliament, first as member for the borough of
Dunlcer and afterwards for the County Louth, Foster rendered ser-
vices to the linen manufacture by amending the laws affecting it.
For this he was rewarded by the presentation of an address in a gold
box and a magnificent piece of plate. He manifested throughout
his life the utmost intei'est in the trade of Ulster.

After his death in 1778 his son, the Speaker, occupied Merville
for some years, but ultimately sold it to Sir Thomas Lighton, on
whom a baronetcy, still held by his descendant, was conferred. Sir
Thomas Lighton, who is buried in Taney graveyard, had in early
life a career of extraordinary adventure in India, which resulted in
his making a large fortune, and after returning to his native land,
he settled down in Dublin as a banker, and obtained a seat in Par-
liament, first as a member for Tuam and afterwards for Carling-
ford. He was succeeded soon after his death in 1805, at Merville,
then said to have one of the best gardens in Ireland, by the Right
Hon. William Baron Downes, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, a
lawyer of the first distinction, and a great friend of Judge Chambcr-
laiiio, already iiKMitioncd as a resident at Dundrum, with whom he
was buried bv his own desire in Si. Ann's Chin-ch, Diiblin.
Subsequently Merville passed into the possession of Licutcnant-
General Heniy Hall, C.B., a distinguished Indian military ofTu'cr
and ndiiiinisfrator (1).

(') l-tclitrioiis l-tcfiirns nt' IT'l'i: " .\utnl)i<i;.'iM|)li\' and ('niicspDnilcucc nf .Mai\'
(inuivillr', Mrs. Dchiiiy," vol. ii., \>. :{•">:{ : vol. iii., |) HiO; Voimu's " Tour in rrcliiid.'
idilcd l)V A. \V. Iliitloii, vol. i.. |). IK); /'^.rs/niivs M'lr/iir.inr for 17<>1, p. :{!).">, iiiid
I7(i.">, p. I"2(j; Lcasos in licj^i-lrv of Deeds Ofliee ; liidl and llaniiltotrs " l'a?isii
of Taney," pp. 27, 12"), KW, 17l{, 22IJ ; London's " Kncvelopedia of CJaideniiig,"
J.on.,' ls:!n, pp. 88, 10!)5; i'.iaeker'H .Sketches, pi-. '•»!, li'-'. :{l!).


Other villas began tO' be built towards the close of the eighteenth
century, and amongst their first occupants were Alderman John
Exshaw, publisher of the magazine called by his name, whose
mayoralty was attended with much splendour, and who covered
himself with military glory du}-ing the Rebellion ; James Potts, the
proprietor of Saunder's News Letter, who resided at Richview, and
had an encounter with Mr. John Giffard, the owner of a rival
organ, outside the door of Taney Church ; INIr. Alexander Jaffray,
one of the first directors of the Bank of Ireland ; Dr. Robert
Emmet, father of Thomas Addis Emmet and Robert Emmet, who
resided at Casino; and Mr. Henry Jackson, who started the iron
works at Clonskeagh, and had to flee from Ii^eland on account of his
complicity in the Rebellion. Before the close of that century the
Castle of Roebuck was rebuilt by Thomas, thirteenth Baron of
Trimlestown, and was subsequently occupied successively by Mr.
James Crofton, an official of the Irish Treasury, and his son, Mr.
Arthur Burgh Crofton, who were both Commissioners for the con-
struction of Kingstown Harbour. After the death of the latter the
castle was taken by Mr. Edward Perceval Westby, D.L., father of
the present owner, on his marriage to a daughter of the Right Hon.
Francis Blackburne, sometime Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who
maintained by a lengthened residence at Roebuck Hall the con-
nection of Roebuck, begun in the thirteenth century, with the
holders of the Great Seal (}).


Mount Merrion, the Irish seat of the Earl of Pembroke and Mont-
gomery, can compare in the beauty of its demesne with many of
the great places in England, and has few rivals in Ireland. Enter-
ing by the high gates on the road from Dublin to Stillorgan, which
face the broad avenue from Blackrock, a straight drive with wide
borders of closely cut grass, and rows of lofty elms on either side,
leads to the house, which is covered with creepers. Across the
gravel sweep before the hall door, which faces the south, stand the
great stables forming three sides of a square, and behind them lie
the gardens entered through gates -which recall the father of the

(') Ball and Hamilton's "Parish of Taney," pp. 104, 110, 120, 138, 144, 151,
155, 175; DuhUn Chronicle (for ExshaM), 1780-1790. pp. 56, 87, 528, 536, 615,
896; 1790-1791, pp. 128, 528,



3 ^

3 -<





pi'esent owner, the lamented Lord Herbert of Lea, whose monogram
they bear. Beyond the house to the west, across a smooth lawn, is
a thick wood, intersected with walks and adorned with temples and
rural structures of various kinds, while through the park stretch
away two drives, one disused and grass-grown leading under an
ai-chway of noble trees to Foster's Avenue, and the other, com-
manding lovely views of Dublin and its bay, leading to Mount
Anville and Dundrum. A modern front of singularly poor design
disfigures the original house, which was three storeys in height,
while the front, as it stands on higher ground, is only of two, but
through the verdure one sees peeping out tiers of quaint old-
fashioned windows and a tiny belfry surmounting the western wall.
In its style of architecture the original house resembled the existing
stables, which bear the date 1711, and although of small extent it
contained one or two fine rooms, now divided, with deep window
seats, curious door frames, and moulded cornices, which show it to
have been internally a handsome dwelling.

To Richard, fifth A'iscount Fitzwilliam, who had succeeded in
1704 his father, Thomas, fourth Viscount Fitzwilliam, the last
holder of the title mentioned in connection with Merrion Castle,
the ancient home of the family, Mount Merrion House owed its
ccnstruction, and the selection of the site, one of the most beautiful
on his property, indicates that he was not insensible to the charms

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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 8 of 16)