Turtle Bunbury

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Stronge of Tynan Abbey, Co. Armagh


"An Act for the Attainder of Divers Rebels, and for Preserving the Interest of Loyal Subjects. WHEREAS a most horrid invasion was made by your Majesty's unnatural enemy the Prince of Orange, invited thereunto and assisted by many of your Majesty's rebellious and traiterous subjects; and having likewise raised, and levied open rebellion and war in several places in this Kingdom and entered into association, and met in conventions, in order to call in and set up the said Prince of Orange, and the said rebels and traitors, having the impudence to declare for the Prince and Princess of Orange against your sacred Majesty, "BE IT ENACTED, that the Persons hereafter named, viz: Hugh Montgomery, Earl of Mount Alexander; ...William Caulfield, Viscount Charlemont; ....CAPTAIN JAMES STRONG, ...of Ballycastle; all of the County of Londonderry...(and many others)...whether dead or alive, or killed in open rebellion, or now in arms against your Majesty, and every one of them shall be deemed, and are hereby declared and adjudged traitors, convicted and attainted of high treason, and shall suffer such pains of death, penalties, and forfeitures respectively, as in cases of high treason are accustomed...."

This abstract of the Act, is taken from a copy published in the "State of the Protestants of Ireland under the late King James's Government", written by William King, Chancellor and Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin, during the Glorious Revolution, and afterwards Bishop of Derry.

The Tynan Estate

Hemisphered beneath a cloudless sky and surrounded by glorious autumnal sunshine, Sir Jack Leslie and I drove out of Glaslough for Tynan Abbey and Caledon. (1) For most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Leslies of Castle Leslie, the Alexanders of Caledon and the Tynans of Tynan Abbey were the closest of neighbours. Jack recalls constant walks in his childhood from one big house to the next. There were four Alexander brothers, contemporaries of his father; one went on to become Field Marshal Lord Alexander of Tunis, another man with McClintock blood coursing in his veins. (2) My great-great-great grandmother was Pauline Stronge of Tynan Abbey. Her husband, Captain William McClintock Bunbury, built my family home at Lisnavagh shortly after their marriage in 1842. (3) As a young couple they spent much time up here on the borders of Armagh, Monaghan and Tyrone.

The three estates, which average at about a thousand acres a-piece, adjoin one another in an unusual manner. Each has its own estate wall and it appears that each of these "famine walls" forms the boundary of their respective county. Thus, while Castle Leslie is in County Monaghan (and therefore within the Republic), Tynan is in County Armagh and Caledon in County Tyrone.(4) It is also of interest that these walls all appear to have been built in the late 1840s - the same time as Lisnavagh - by famished peasants stumbling down from mountains to the north to the soup kitchens of Tynan, Caledon and Castle Leslie during the Great Hunger. The wall around Caledon is exceptionally well built and extends for five miles.

We stopped first in the village of Tynan to view the High Cross, a replica of which now surmounts Bourke and Anne Cochrane's grave in New York. We could just make out some images - perhaps Shadrach and his brothers hot-stepping it on fire-coals, maybe Adam and Eve contemplating a serpent. The Church where the Stronges are buried stands close by. The last baronet, Sir Norman Stronge, and his son, James, were murdered by an off-shoot of the IRA in 1973.(5) Sir Jack, who knew them both, says father and son were quietly watching TV when a hand grenade blew their front door of its hinges. Sir Norman managed to let off a flare but the police got there too late. The two men were machine gunned to death and the house burned down. The perpetrators all met unhappy ends - either shot by their own comrades or captured and incarcerated.

The McClintock Bunbury Connection

In 1842, Captain William Bunbury McClintock, future owner of Lisnavagh and father of the 2nd Lord Rathdonnell, married Pauline Stronge. She was the second daughter of 56 year old Sir James Matthew Stronge, 2nd Bart, of Tynan Abbey in Armagh. Her mother, Lady Isabella Stronge, was the eldest daughter of Nicholas Calvert of Hundson House, MP for Hertfordshire.

The Warden of Lifford

The Stronges were among the earliest Planter families to settle in Ulster. They were a family of Scottish descent - probably an offshoot of the Strangs of Balcaskie, Fifeshire. They settled at Clonleigh in 1616 and were ensconced at Strabane by 1670. In 1688, the elderly Matthew Stronge was among those Ulster settlers attainted by James II's Parliament.(6) The following year, he took part in the successful defence of Londonderry against James's Jacobite forces. To be attainted by James II was the ultimate badge of honour for a good God-fearing Protestant like Matthew Stronge. When William and Mary later revoked these attainders, the heroes of the Glorious Revolution were duly rewarded with titles and lands. It was "in consideration of services done and losses sustained at the memorable defence of Derry" that the corporation of London Goldsmiths granted Stronge the lease of a considerable tract of land in County Derry in 1689. Stronge and his family had probably been dealing with the London companies long before the epic conflict of 1688 - 1691. He also purchased lands in Counties Tyrone and Donegal. Matthew Stronge served as Warden of Lifford, Co. Donegal, in 1713. There are grounds for thinking this Matthew Stronge may have been close on 100 years old when he died, shortly after the suppression of the Old Pretender's Rebellion, in 1716.

The Sheriff of Londonderry

At any rate, Matthew's son and heir, James Stronge, was born in May 1657 and christened in Derry Cathedral. An elder brother, Edward, born in 1654 seems to have died young. James served as Sheriff of Londonderry from 1682 to 1683. In 1688, he was attainted by James II's Parliament for giving his support to King William. The following year he served as a Captain of the loyalist forces defending the City of Londonderry against the Jacobites. At this time, the Stronge family had a substantial property at Waterside, outside the City, which was seized by the Jacobites early in the siege. One of the indignities Captain Stronge suffered during the siege was being shelled by bombs fired from his own orchard. Captain James Stronge married Margaret Douglas in 16756 and had several children.

The Rector of Derryloran

Captain Stronge was succeeded by his son, John. Born in 1678, John Stronge graduated from Trinity College Dublin (Sch. 1696; B.A. 1699; M.A.1702) and was ordained into the Church of Ireland on August 2nd 1702. He served as a Vicar Choral of Armagh 1701-1709 and as Rector of Derryloran, County Tyrone, from 1709-1738. The Rev. John Stronge acquired Tynan Abbey by his marriage in 1711 to Elinor Manson, a granddaughter of Hugh Echlin, the estate's original planter owner. On his death in 1744, John Stronge divided his lands between his four sons, and left a decent annuity to his daughter.

The Curate of Tynan & the Mayor of Liverpool

The eldest son, James Stronge, was curate of Tynan from 1739-1767 and built a new house in about 1750. This was considerably added to and improved over the years. It was a spacious house in the abbey style, and had a picturesque appearance, "bearing a very happy semblance of an ancient edifice, a deception which (was) not a little heightened by the nature of the surrounding country". It stood in about 600 acres of parkland, surrounded by "some remarkably fine timber of various kinds and ages" with a handsome lake added later. The Rev. James died unmarried in his 55th year (1767) and was succeeded by his brother, Matthew Stronge. Matthew married Elizabeth Powell in 1749 and died in 1780. Before he could make the move back to Tynan Abbey, Matthew had to fulfil his duties as Mayor of Liverpool, in which role he served from 1768 to 1769. Liverpool was then one of the major ports from which whaling, trade and slave ships set out for Africa, the East Indies and the Americas. In 1768, Liverpool made the British headlines when the Liverpool Conversation Club launched a debate as to the merits of secret balloting. Stronge's mayorship would also have coincided with a new burst of enthusiasm for plans to build a canal from Leeds to Liverpool (via Burnley and Blackpool).

The Rev. Sir James Stronge, 1st Bart

Matthew was duly succeeded by his eldest son, the Rev. James Stronge, born in 1750, who would go on to become the 1st Baronet. On 27 May 1785, the Rev. James married Helen Tew, a granddaughter of Robert Maxwell of Fellows Hall, County Armagh. A son, James Matthew, was born on 6th April 1786. James Stronge was awarded a Baronetcy on 22nd June 1803. This was his reward for helping to secure the passage of the Act of Union, thereby passing control of Irish political and economic affairs from Dublin to Westminster. As William McClintock Bunbury married the Reverend's granddaughter in 1842, does that suggest the McClintock's were also pro-Union? And yet the McClintocks cousin John Foster, Speaker of the House of Commons, was so virulently opposed to the Act that he was stripped of office. A hundred years after the Act's passing, Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, the eldest offspring of the Stronge-McClintock marriage, was appointed Chairman of the Leinster Unionists and became the third most senior figure in the Freemasons of Ireland. This is a small puzzle to be worked upon.

Sir James & Lady Isabella Stronge

The 1st Baronet died on 1 Dec 1804, less than six months after being made a Baronet, and was succeeded by his 18 year old son, James Matthew. On 5th September 1810, six years after his succession, Sir James married Isabella Calvert. She was the eldest daughter of Nicholas Calvert, M.P., of Hunsdon House, Hampshire, and his beautiful wife, the Hon. Frances Pery, daughter and coheir (with the Countess of Ranfurly) of Edmond Sexten, Viscount Pery. Sir James earned a Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) degree, and was made Deputy Lieutenant for Counties Armagh and Tyrone. He also served as Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and oversaw a considerable extension of Tynan Abbey.

In 1842, his daughter Pauline married William McClintock Bunbury. Eight years later, in April 1850, another of their daughters, Catherine, married 28 year old George Augustus Jocelyn McClintock, youngest son of Bumper Jack McClintock by his second wife, Lady Elizabeth Trench. George was William McClintock Bunbury's youngest step-brother. He served with the 52nd Light Infantry and was later promoted Lieutenant Colonel of the Sligo Rifles. They lived at Fellows Hall in Armagh and had a son, Arthur McClintock (later of Rathvinden House, Co. Carlow), and four daughters. George died on Christmas Eve 1873 and Catherine on 26th November 1914.

Sir James Stronge, 3rd Bart, and the Tynan Harriers

Pauline McClintock Bunbury's brother James succeeded to the Baronetcy on the death of his 78 year old father on 2nd December 1864. The 3rd Baronet was his parents firstborn, delivered on 25th November 1811. On 17th June 1836, Sir James married Selina Nugent, daughter of Andrew Nugent of Portaferry, Co. Down.A very capable administrator, he was High Sheriff of Armagh in 1844, High Sheriff of Tyrone on 1845 and MP for County Armagh in 1864. In about 1840, Sir James Stronge - William McClintock Bunbury's brother-in-law and Tom Rathdonnell's uncle - established the Tynan Harriers. He maintained the pack "at his own expense until ill health compelled him to give up the sport. His love of it was intense all through life". A committee was formed to carry on the pack and Sir James gave over hounds, horses and kennels etc rent free along with an annual subscription of €50. He retained the nominal mastership while the field masters were Dr T. Huston and Mr. W Upton Moutray of Fort Singleton, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. This arrangement continued until Sir James's death on 11 Mar 1885, at the age of 73, when the kennels were relocated to Bruce Armstrong's forbears at Killylea. The Tynan Harriers, were regarded as a first rate pack and together with Lord Waterford's Armagh Harriers made Armagh a very popular place for hunting. Sir James Stronge also once attempted to establish a fox covert at Tynan but without success; it is thought the Fox Covert at Lisnavagh was established at the same time, circa 1850s. They were built to encourage the foxes to go into them for the foxhunters. The hounds were then sent in to chase them out. It wasn't as bad as it sounds; the fox was generally given a fair start before the hounds went in pursuit.

Sir John Calvert Stronge, 4th Bart

Sir James was succeeded by his 71 year old brother, Sir John Calvert Stronge, 4th Baronet. He was born on 21 Feb 1813 and baptised that May at his grandfather's home, Hertfortshire, England. He married Lady Margaret Zoe Caulfield on 14 Sep 1848. Sir John was a barrister who served as JP for Counties Armagh and Tyrone. In 1888, he opened the grounds of Tynan Abbey to the public. He died on 20 Dec 1899 at age 86.

Sir James Henry Stronge, 5th Bart

Sir John was succeeded as 5th Baronet by his son (Sir) James Henry Stronge. Born on 8th Dec 1849, the 5th Baronet had already embarked on a distinguished legal career when he inherited Tynan Abbey. Having graduated from Lincoln's Inn in 1874, he had gone on to serve as High Sheriff of Tyrone in 1880 and Armagh in 1885. Perhaps more significantly, he was the Imperial Grand Master of the Loyal Order of Orange. In the lead up to the Great War, Sir James was among the most influential Orangemen. He was one of 30 delegates who sat on the Ulster Unionist Council alongside the likes of the Duke of Abercorn, Lord Londonderry and the Earls of Erne and Ranfurly; the politician G. Wolff; eminent Liberals like Thomas Sinclair and Thomas Andrews; other Orangemen like Colonel R H Wallace and W H H Lyons and leaders of industry and commerce such as Colonel Sharman-Crawford, E M Archdale, R H Reade, Sir William Ewart and W J Allen. This body directed the policy of Ulster Unionism during the next 15 years through the Home Rule crisis and the foundation of the State of Northern Ireland. Sir James was an extreme Unionist and die-hard Protestant. Indeed, his abhorrence of Gladstone and Home Rule was such that Sir Jack Leslie tells me there used to be an etching of the Grand Old Man at the bottom of Sir James's piss-pot at Tynan! (7)

Sir James married Ethel Margaret Burges on 7 Oct 1885. Jack Leslie recalls the Stronges visiting Castle Leslie when he was a child. Apparently young Jack took it upon himself to surreptitiously pour a glass of milk down her ladyship's tortoise-shell ear trumpet while it was plugged in! This earned him a righteous smack from his nanny, Miss Orr, who would secretly sleep in his mothers bed when his parents were away. Sir James's only son, James Matthew Stronge (b. 1891) was killed in the Great War while serving as a Lieutenant with the Royal Irish Fusiliers in France (August 1917); his name heads the war memorial at the church in Tynan. Their daughter Zoe massaged Queen Mary and became a Dame, another Daphne married a Colonel with a double-barreled name and the third Joy went to Australia. Curiously Jack dreamt of Sir James's death the night before he died on 20 May 1928 aged 78.

A Brutal Conclusion

Without male heir, the titles and property passed to his cousin, Sir Walter Lockhart Stronge. Sir Walter was succeeded on his death in 1933 by his elderly brother, Sir Charles Edmond Sinclair Stronge, 7th Baronet. Sir Charles was father to the last of the Baronets Stronge - Sir Norman Lockhart Stronge, 8th Baronet. Born in the summer of 1894, Norman was prominent in the Unionists and Orange Order. On Wednesday January 21st 1981, a gang composed of some of the most hardened republicans from the South Armagh/North Monaghan/South Tyrone area arrived at Tynan shortly after 9pm and staked out the Tudor-Gothic building and the surrounding 1,000-acre estate. Sir Norman and his only son James were alone in the library when the assassins struck. They blew off the doors, assassinated Sir Norman and James and then burned the house down. The Catholic politician Austin Currie declared afterwards that "even at 86 years of age, [Sir Norman] was still incomparably more of a man than the cowardly dregs of humanity who ended his life in this barbaric way."

Some news reports relating to this event follow here:

Father and son murdered in library
STORMONT speaker Sir Norman Stronge and his bachelor son James were murdered as they sat in the main library of Tynan Abbey 20 years ago this Sunday.Under the cover of darkness, IRA gunmen stormed into the Abbey in one of the biggest and most reported gun battles in the province during the history of the Troubles. And on that night on January 21, 1981, the killers torched the Abbey, which was built in 1750 by Rev James Stronge and remodelled and rebuilt between 1820 and 1830 by Sir James Stronge. Until December 1998, only a shell of the grand Tudor-Gothic style home stood in the 1,000-acre estate. Then, the remains were flattened, just a year before the Abbey would have been 250 years old. Provo gunmen burst into the home of one Tynan family and took them in their own car to a neighbouring house as the drama of that night in January 1981 began to unfold.Two of the gang held both families captive in the second house while at least five other heavily armed men made off in the family cars. They drove to Tynan Abbey, where Sir Norman (86) and his heir James (48) were sitting alone in the main library of the rambling grey-stoned mansion. Just before 9.45pm, the terrorists bombed the heavy front doors and burst in on the two men. They opened fire with an assortment of weapons, and shot both at point blank range with what are believed to have been high velocity firearms. Both died instantly.The gang then bombed the Abbey, leaving the bodies to burn along with the many valuable books and antiques in their home. The multiple explosions at the Abbey were heard by a police patrol who rushed to the scene as the two cars carrying the terrorists sped down the driveway.The police had already set up a road block at the end of the driveway, but the terrorists rammed the block, dived from the cars and engaged in a gun battle with the RUC. After 10 minutes they scattered, and escaped into nearby woods and over the border. Tynan Abbey burned fiercely throughout the night and was almost completely destroyed. Despite the blaze, firemen were able to recover both men's bodies from the wreckage.

Soldier awarded for his bravery
A RETIRED Unionist MP, 86-year-old Sir Norman Stronge was one of the oldest people deliberately killed during the Troubles.A soldier, politician and a farmer, he was the eighth holder of one of Ulster's oldest baronetcies. Born in Bryansford in County Down on July 23, 1894, Sir Norman was educated at Eton, and his war service took him to France with the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was a second lieutenant when he landed on the continent, and two months later he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.A day after the opening of the Battle of the Somme, on July 2, 1916, he was raised to the rank of captain. His courage under fire was recognised by a series of bravery awards, and he was the first soldier mentioned in despatches by Lord Haig after the ill-fated Somme offensive began. Sir Norman became adjutant of the 10th Battalion in February 1918, but the unit having been practically wiped out, Captain Stronge was appointed adjutant of the 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles in April. He received the Military Cross and the Belgian Croix de Guerre, and was wounded near Courtrai on October 20, 1918.

After the war, he lived at Ballydavitt, Aghadowey and in 1921 married Gladys Olive Hall from County Galway. On the death of his cousin Sir James Stronge, he and his wife moved to Tynan Abbey, the family seat. Sir Norman became the eigth baronet in 1939, the year after he became MP for Mid Armagh. He was unopposed in each succeeding election, and after a short period as junior Minister, and then Chief Whip at Stormont, he became Speaker in 1945. He was also President of the Royal Overseas League, President of the Northern Ireland Council of the Royal British Legion, Sovereign Grand Master of the Black Institution, from which he resigned in 1971, President of Boys' Clubs and Chairman of Armagh County Council from 1944 to 1945.Sir Norman was Her Majesty's Lieutenant for Armagh, and was Justice of the Peace for both Counties Armagh and Londonderry, having property in both places.

On his resignation as MP for Mid Armagh in 1969, his son James was selected by the Official Unionists and elected. He held the seat until 1972.The Irish Times reported: "They were completely the local big family, still living in an enormous mansion though everyone knew the father and son used only a few rooms of it, with a housekeeper and a landsteward who lived out. Neither had much interest in farming - most of the acres was let."The family position and name carried weight almost on a par with the Brookborough name, in the days when Unionism was a seamless whole. The pedigree was long - eight generations in the Tynan area - and the tradition of public life unbroken. Sir Norman's great grandfather was Speaker in the Irish House of Commons".

Thousands mourn at double funeral
THE village of Tynan was crowded for the double funeral of Sir Norman Stronge and his son James. Mourners came from throughout the province and from England, including lords, politicians, policemen, judges and church leaders. The remains of Sir Norman were carried by the men of the 5th Battalion the Royal Irish Rangers.On the coffin were the cap and sword of Major John Hamilton-Stubber, Lord Lieutenant for County Tyrone, for all Sir Norman's possessions were destroyed in the fire which gutted the Abbey. James Stronge's coffin was carried by colleagues from the RUC Reserve, and a Constable's hat was placed on top. The coffins were met by the Rector of Tynan, former RAF Chaplain the Rev Tom Taylor, a close friend of the family. Two Royal British Legion standards were carried into the church.Sir Norman's daughters Daphne and Evie were accompanied by their husbands, and his grandson Mr James Kingan was also present. The funeral service was relayed over an amplifying system, as the church could only accommodate a small proportion of the mourners.After the service, the chief mourners moved out into the churchyard where the Last Post was sounded and a Royal British Legion farewell was given.The two coffins were laid in the family plot, where Lady Stronge, Sir Norman's wife and mother of James, was buried a year previously.

See also David B. Stronge's excellent website: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~donegalstrongs/tynan001.htm


1. The drive took us past the Glaslough' converted rectories, barracks, Orange Lodge and new housing estate, the Castle Leslie Pinereium (planted circa 1850 with unusual trees), the Steward's house, the farm and back gate lodges and a few sadly severed rail-bridges.
2. Sir Jack's father, Sir Shane Leslie regularly visited Lord Alexander when he was Governor of Canada.
3. The grid-like gates to Tynan Abbey are remarkably similar to the old front gates of Lisnavagh House in Co. Carlow where Sir James's daughter Pauline went to live with her husband. Captain William McClintock Bunbury.
4. The Blackwater runs nearby and goes all the way to Lough Derg / Neagh?
5. Sir Norman was survived by two daughters, Daphne (who married Thomas John Anthony Kingan of Glenganagh, Bangor, Co. Down) and Evelyn. Tynan Abbey is now owned by Sir Norman's grandson, James Kingan, and his wife Kate.
6. The Parliament called in Dublin by King James II, 7th May 1689, had no representatives from the counties of Derry, Donegal, or Fermanagh; and, as many Protestants from those counties were engaged in the defence of Londonderry then under siege by forces loyal to the King, the protestants are described in the Act of Attainder as being "of Donegal and Derry". Many of the attainted persons listed in the abstract from the Act also appeared in the corporation Minutes or many of the Derry diaries, as participators in the defence of Derry, Sligo, or of the Passage of the Bann (eg: the ford across the River Bann, running through Cames Parish, County Tyrone
7. For more information, see notes on The Orange Institution and the Ulster Unionist Council at www.grandorange.org.uk/unionistcouncil.htm