Above: Bishopscourt, Co Monaghan, was built
as a rectory in the early 19th century.
People associated with the house include Charles II, the founder of Clones Lace, a
future Primate of All Ireland, the world champion boxer Barry McGuigan, the tennis ace
Cecil Parke and the inestimably beautiful Ally Bunbury. (Photo: Turtle Bunbury, 2015)
In 1933 the National Museum of Ireland acquired the fragments of an ornamented wooden cauldron of the Iron Age (c. 500 BC - 450 AD). Laurence Clarke made the discovery while cutting turf in the townland of Altartate near Clones, on the Monaghan - Fermanagh border in Northern Ireland. Buried deep in the bog, the cauldron was in poor condition when found but was carefully restored. The fibre-glass copy on view in Monaghan County Museum is a reproduction of the original. (1)
In the 1851 census, the townland of Altartate Glebe comprised 228.2.26 acres; it is situated in the barony of Dartreein and the Parish of Clones. At its heart stands Bishopscourt, a magnificent pile which my late father-in-law, Archie Moore, purchased in the early 1980s. The house was in a ruinous condition at the time; the 'Clones Cyclone' Barry McGuigan confessed to my wife Ally (nee Moore) that he had frequently played amid the abandoned ruins as a child. The building dates to the early 19th century and was built for the Roper family, descendents of Charles II, who were Rectors of Clones until 1847 and who were intermarried with the Lennard family of the Earl of Sussex, for whom the Lennard Arms in Clones is named. It then became home to the Rev. Thomas Hand whose wife Cassandra pioneered the Clones Lace movement.
The house was named 'Bishopscourt' by Dr. Charles Frederick d'Arcy and his wife Harriet when they moved in from about 1905 to 1908. Dr. D'Arcy was Bishop of Clogher at the time and would go on to become Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. The house then passed to the Mealiff family (who leased the top flat to Baldwin and Judith Murphy from about 1928 to 1932) and went through several owners before Archie and Miriam Moore moved in with their four daughters and eighty seven pets and made it, very much, their own family home. Anyone with further information or anecdotes about this marvelous home, where our wedding was celebrated, or the people who have lived here, is encouraged to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
By his mistress Barbara Castlemaine,
Charles II was ancestor of the Rectors of
Clones. Their daughter Lady Anne Lennard
was grandmother to the Rev. Richard
Roper who became Rector in 1754. His son
Henry is believed to have built the
present house of Bishopscourt.
The history of Bishopscourt is intrinsically linked to the history of the Lennard family, not least because the Very Rev. Henry Roper who most likely built the house circa 1810 was a grandson of the Lennard heiress, Lady Anne Lennard, Baroness Dacre (who was herself a granddaughter of King Charles II). Although the Dacre story and the Lennard story roll back through the centuries, it might make sense to begin this tale with Lady Anne’s gambling-addicted, cricket-loving father, Thomas, 15th Lord Dacre. He had come to Court as a young man and was Lord of the Bed-Chamber to Charles II who, in 1674, elevated him in the peerage as the Earl of Sussex. The Earl had secured a £20,000 fortune when he married the King’s ‘natural’ daughter, Lady Anne Palmer (alias FitzRoy), a daughter of Barbara, Countess of Castlemain (and Duchess of Cleveland in her own right).
However, as with many of his class and generation, the Earl of Sussex ‘fell into the expensive way of living’ and ‘through this unlucky setting out, and by great losses at play, to which he was for the great part of his life addicted’, blew the family fortune. Careless and ill-tempered he also ‘neglected to take a proper care of his affairs’. As such, the Earl became ‘so much entangled that he was obliged to sell several of his estates, including the family seat at Herstmonceaux, East Sussex. By the 1680s, all that remained of his fortune was Chevening in Kent, along with his other Kentish estates and some manors in Cumberland and Westmoreland. He lived his latter years quietly at Chevening and was among the aristocrats to sign the invitation bidding William of Orange to take up the British throne. The Earl died in 1715 and his Countess in 1721. Their two sons died in infancy and that left them with two daughters, Lady Barbara and Lady Anne.
(While in France, Lady Barbara became acquainted with Charles Skelton, a lieutenant general in the French service. As the Skeltons had supported James II, the Earl of Sussex was slow to give his consent to the marriage. It is to be noted that Lord Sussex's sister Elizabeth married the 3rd Earl of Meath on whose watch the French-style gardens at Kilruddery were laid out).
The Earl' second daughter, the thrice married Lady Anne Lennard (1684-1755) provides us with a direct link to Bishopscourt. Born on 17 August 1684, her first husband Richard Barrett Lennard was her cousin. His grandfather, Richard Lennard, a son of Lord Dacre, was a well-travelled intellect, patron of the arts and intimate friend of the Great Duke of Ormonde (who would stay with him at Belhouse, Essex, for a week every summer). In 1644, this young man succeeded to the wealth and estates of Sir Edward Barrett, Lord Newburgh, sometime Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Richard’s wife Anne was the daughter and heir of Sir Robert Loftus, eldest son of Adam, Viscount Loftus of Ely, Lord Chancellor of Ireland under Queen Elizabeth. Rather more relevantly, her mother was the eldest daughter and co-heir of the military commander Sir Francis Rushe, an Irish Privy Councillor with substantial lands in Co Monaghan. When Richard Lennard married Anne Loftus, the Lennards thus acquired a considerable estate at Clones, Co Monaghan.
Richard Lennard died at Belhouse in 1696 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Dacre Barrett Lennard, Sheriff of Essex in 1706. He was married three times.[i] Like his father, he was a man of learning, being particularly interested in astrology and physics. He suffered a shock in his early life when his only brother Richard, a bachelor, was killed by a fall from his horse in the park at Belhouse. Dacre was an ‘active and avowed advocate’ of Protestantism ‘in the most difficult times’. He died at Belhouse in 1723.
Dacre’s eldest son Richard Barrett Lennard (born from his first wife, Lady Jane, eldest daughter of the 2nd Earl of Donegal), predeceased him. Richard was the husband of the aforementioned Lady Anne Lennard, Baroness Dacre, and had lived at Chevening for the short 8-month tenure of their marriage. As it happens, he managed to produce a posthumous heir in the form of Thomas, 17th Lord Dacre. When Richard died, his widow and her sister, Lady Barbara Skelton, sold Chevening, the old seat of the Lennards, to Earl Stanhope, and Dacre Castle, with the lands in Cumberland, to Sir Christopher Musgrave. The sale was controversial at the time as Richard was engaged in negotiations to keep the estate in the Lennard family at the time of his premature death. It appears he was in bad books with his father over ‘some unlucky misunderstandings’ that took place before the marriage. (see Arthur Collins, Collins's peerage of England;: genealogical, biographical, and historical Peergae of England, p. 583, 1812).
In 1718, the widowed Lady Anne Lennard married Henry Roper, 8th Lord Teynham(1676 - 16th May 1723), being his third wife. Their sons included Captain Charles Roper (father of the 18th Lord Dacre) and the Rev Richard Henry Roper, Rector of Clones [see below].[ii] After Lord Teynham’s death IN 1723, Lady Anne married thirdly the Hon. Robert Moore of West Lodge upon Enfield Chase, a younger son of Henry, 3rd Earl of Drogheda, by whom she had one son, Henry.[iii] When her sister Lady Barbara died in 1741, Lady Anne sister became sole heir to the Dacre fortune, and as such became Baroness Dacre.
Lady Anne died on 26 June 1755 and was succeeded by her eldest son Thomas Barrett-Lennard, 17th Lord Dacre, (d.1786), whose wife Anna Maria was a daughter of Sir John Pratt, Lord Chief Justice of England). When Lord Dacre was presented at court soon after his succession, it propelled his Roper half-brothers forward also. Richard Roper became Rector of Clones.
When Lord Dacre died, he was succeeded as 18th Lord Dacre by his half-nephew, Charles Trevor Roper. However, the living in Clones remained the gift of the 17th Lord's illegitimate son Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard, 1st Bart (1761-1857) and it was he who would bring Thomas and Cassandra Hand to Bishopscourt in 1847.
Above: A View of Clones from 1741.
The Ropers seem to have been based at Bishopscourt for at least two generations. The first of these was the Rev. Hon. Richard Henry Roper, Rector of Clones. He was born in November 1723, the fifth and youngest son of Henry Roper, 8th Baron Teynham by his marriage to Lady Anne Lennard. He married firstly, on 20 May 1755, the Hon. Mary Chetwynd, a daughter of William Richard Chetwynd, 3rd Viscount Chetwynd of Bearhaven, by his wife, Honora Baker. The following year, the death of his mother elevated his half-brother Thomas in the peerage as Baron Dacre.
On 12th October 1754, the Archdeacon of Cloger was relieved of his duties as Rector of Clones and Richard Roper was appointed the new Rector, retaining the post for sixty years. Clones was at the heart of the large Lennard-Rush estate in Monaghan. (See Shirley's Monaghan, pp. 310, 327). It is notable that in the letters below, dated circa 1854, Cassandra Hand refers to 'the sewed muslin work, which my and your friend Lady Lennard introduced some years ago'.
Richard and Mary apparently had children but it is unclear what happened as Debretts claim she died in January 1780, which indicates a divorce along the way, but a premature death seems more likely. At any rate, in October 1759, Mrs Delaney recorded a visit by Richard in her diary, saying he had married secondly, another Mary, a daughter of Captain Thomas Tennison, just two months earlier.[i] Mary died on 16 February 1795. (ii)
In ‘A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland’ (W. Miller, 1810) by Nicholas Carlisle, the author notes that Clones had ‘two Churches in good condition’ as well as a Glebe House ‘in indifferent order’, with ‘about 700 acres of Glebe near the church’. It also noted how ‘the Hon and Rev Richard Henry Roper, the Incumbent (in 1806) who has cure of souls, and is resident, but being infirm, the duties are discharged by two Curates.'
When Richard Roper died ‘at the advanced age of 87’ in October 1810, The Gentleman’s Magazine noted that the clergyman was the brother of the late Lord Dacre and that he had been rector of ‘that opulent and extensive parish for upwards of 60 years’. It is said that Bishopscourt
was built, or possibly rebuilt, in about 1810 which would tie in with his passing.
Above: Bishopscourt: Front of House.
(Photo: James Fennell)
By his marriage to Mary Tenison, the Rev. Richard Roper had three sons and two daughters. The eldest son, the Very Rev. Henry Roper, succeeded to Bishopscourt and was also Rector of Clones and later Dean of Clonmacnois.
The second son, Cadwallader Blayney Roper was born on 8th February 1765 and married twice, firstly in 1796 to Elizabeth Anne Reveley, daughter of Henry Reveley, by whom he is forbear of the Trevor-Roper family. He was married secondly on 24 September 1817 to Eliza Agnes Gayton, daughter of Rev. Clerk Gayton, and died six years later on 20 October 1823 at age 58.
The third son, William Roper (1768-16 July 1832) married Elizabeth Fish, lived in Rathfarnham and was father to three daughters and two sons, including Sir Henry Roper (1800-1863). (iii)
The Rev. Richard and Mary Ropers' two daughters were Anna Maria Roper (1773-1810) and Caroline Roper (b 1787). (iv)
Known as 'Dean Roper', the Very. Rev
Henry Roper succeeded his father as
Rector of Clones in 1812. He may have
built Bishopscourt; he certainly did a
good deal to enlarge the house. Born in
1761, he was 85-years-old when he
died in the pivotal year of 1847. He was
succeeded as Rector of Clones by
Thomas Hand whose wife Cassandra
established Clones Lace.
(With thanks to George Knight, and
also to Raymond Stronge for the photo)
The Very Rev. Henry Roper, DD, was born on 19th March 1761. On 19th December 1796, he married Mary Chamberlayne who would remain his wife until her death 47 years later. They had four sons and a daughter. Upon the Rev. Richard Roper’s death, he was succeeded as Rector of Clones by John Brinkley, DD, Archdeacon of Clogher since October 1808. Brinkley was an Englishman educated at Caius College, Cambridge, and became a Prebendary of Elphin in 1806. However, the Rev Henry Roper successfully contested Dr Brinkley’s appointment and was himself made Rector of Clones by the Primate in 1812. (Cotton, 1849). (In 1826, Dr Brinkley was raised to the bishopric of Cloyne).
Henry became Rector of Clones in November 1810. On December 6th 1811, he also became Dean of Clonmacnois when he succeeded Thomas Vesey Dawson (uncle of Richard Thomas, Baron Cremone, and Dean since 1806).
The house at Bishopscourt was apparently dated to 1804 although, writing in 1837, Lewis states that 'the glebe house [in Clones] of the Very Rev. H. Roper, Rector of the parish and Dean of Clonmacnois' was 'rebuilt in 18l6'. It makes sense that, with at least five children, the new Rector wanted to increase the size of his fathers' house. Lewis adds that the Board of First Fruits granted Roper 'a gift of £100 and a loan of £1500 towards defraying the expense'. In 1837, 'the glebe comprises 700 acres'.
The historian Kevin V Mulligan kindly added the following notes, upon which he based a brief gazetteer entry for Bishopscourt in the South Ulster volume.
BISHOP’S COURT. Late-Georgian glebe house, built c. 1816 (Lewis in 1837 says glebe rebuilt 1816 with £100 gift and £1500 loan from Board of First Fruits). Designer unknown but to a standard design, very possibly by John Bowden, architect to the Board of First Fruits. A plain cubic block, three storeys over basement with a sombre (north-facing) three-bay front, made more so by unforgiving cement render (presumably applied C20th). Small late-Victorian porch, replacing another projection evident here on first edition of OS (1836). Walls built of rubble with dressed stone quoins and sills. Evident to rear that window heads are in brick. Originally entirely roughcast and limewashed with traces of coloured (pink, perhaps using copperas) limewash surviving on rear façade. The basement has since been exposed on the garden front, the result is cliff-like with gaping tripartite 'Wyatt' windows at ground floor level (attractive colonettes to the mullions on those above), giving a pleasant accentuated gauntness. Main roof hipped, returned with central valley to rear and all covered with natural slate. A lower service range (windowless to the north) projects to the east into a small yard at the side, evidently extended in two later periods. Lower stage probably original (evident in 1836), built of rubble and roughcast with upper stages in brick and therefore most likely added for the purposed of sanitation in later C19. Late C19 water tank and cast-iron sewage fittings to rear.
NB: Amongst local heroes of this period was Sergeant James Graham, born in Clones, who was regarded by contemporaries in 1815 as 'the bravest man at Waterloo'.
Mary Roper died on 25th October 1843. The Dean surived his wife by three years, passing away on April 18th 1847, at the age of 85. (5) Their firstborn son William Lennard Roper did not long survive them, passing away on 13th August 1849. The second son was John Henry Roper (8 Nov 1803 - 15 July 1890). The third son was Major Henry Welladvice Roper (25 October 1806 - Oct 1833). The fourth son was Blayney Tenison Roper (10th Feb 1811 - 30 March 1886). The daughter, Caroline Roper, died on 23 May 1864.
Above: Corravahan House, Drung, Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan.
Bishopscourt may have inspired William Farrell (d. 1851), the architect who
oversaw the construction of the See House at Kilmore for Bishop George
Beresford in c.1835. In about 1840, Farrell was employed to design
Corravahan House, near Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan, for the Bishop's nephew, the
Rev Marcus Gervais Beresford.
Corravahan House, which looks remarkably like Bishopscourt, was a residence
of the Leslie family from c.1855-1972, commencing with Rev. (later Bishop)
Charles Leslie. Miss Mae Haire-Foster was resident in Corravahan House with
the Leslie sisters during the mid-20thcentury.
It has also been mooted that Bishopscourt could have been one of Farrell's
own creations, built before he became the Board of First Fruits architect for
the Church of Ireland ecclesiastical Province of Armagh in 1823.
(Photo courtesy of Ian S. Elliott).
Above: The Hands head for Clones, October 1847; St Mary the Virgin Church in Bulphan, Essex
where the Hands lived before moving to Clones. (Photo: Pat Tubb).
The death of the 85-year-old Dean Roper on 18 April 1847 created two vacancies for the Church of Ireland as he was not only Dean of Clonmacnois but also Rector of Clones. His place at Clonmacnois would be filled in December 1847 by the Rev. Richard Butler, BA, Vicar of Trim, whose nephew George Butler was my grandfather's father. The living of Clones still belonged to Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard, 1st Bart, illegitimate son of the 17th Lord Dacre and Elizabeth FitzThomas. In October 1847, he bestowed the living on the Rev. Thomas Hand, of Bulphan, Essex.
Educated at Eton, Thomas Hand became Rector of Bulphan in the Orsett ward of Essex in about 1830. His wife was Cassandra More-Molyneux; her surname may indicate a link to the Maddens of Roslea who were closely related to the Molyneaux [sic] family in the 17th and early 18th century.
While In Essex they had at least seven children, five boys, Thomas (1834-1857), John Sidney (b. 1833), George Molyneux (1838-1859), Henry (d. 1889) and William, and two daughters, Mary Adelaide (b. 1841) and Cassandra Caroline (b. 1843). Further children would follow, including at least one born at Bishopscourt.
A long article in the Chelmsford Chronicle of 15 October 1847 reveals how Sir Thomas Lennard attended a banquet given ten days earlier in Bulphan , held to honour the Rev. Thomas Hand, Rector of Bulphan for the previous 17 years. The event was 'very fully attended by the gentry and yeomanry of the neighbourhood, the three learned professions, Medicine, Divinity, and Law, each furnishing several representatives.'
The evening seems to have involved a huge number of toasts and much cheering, with 87-year-old Sir Thomas leading the charge. He began by asking everyone preset 'to fill a bumper to the health of Mr. Hand, who is about leaving us for a highly respectable station in Ireland. Most of you are aware the patronage of Clones is in my gift; when it became vacant there were many clergymen with whom I was more intimate and personally acquainted with than Mr. Hand, and it is on public grounds alone that the living was offered to him. For 17 years I knew of the mode in which he had conducted himself as a clergyman in Bulphan. I had heard him occasionally preach his sermons, ever displaying the most enlightened Christianity. I had known him as a magistrate remarkable for his extensive knowledge, his great impartiality and firmness in administering justice, always disposed to temper mercy with justice. I knew well that as chairman of the board of guardians in the Orsett Union, he had administered the new poor law in so humane and temperate a manner that whilst the rate-payers were satisfied the poor were greatly so. For these reasons I pressed the acceptance of the parish of Clones, with 20,000 inhabitants, on Mr. Hand and I am most happy to say he has accepted it. I am well aware we all in this neighbourhood sustain a loss, but I think I have conferred an inestimable boon on Ireland. I am now satisfied - and the more I Think of it I am the more satisfied - that presenting the living of Clones to Mr. Hand has been the best act in my life.' And with that he raised his glass, shouted 'Mr. Hand's good health and God bless him' and downed the contents.
Mr. Hand spoke next and declared that he 'never rose under greater embarrassment'. He bestowed manifold thanks on all present and explained how the honour was all the greater because he was not one 'possessed of any adventitious aid from birth or fortune'. (That said, he was at Eton!!) He also told of how much he would miss the community and expressed that he was under no illusions about the land to which he was now moving. 'My future country is still writhing under the afflictive dispensations which have beset her (ie: the famine), and still press heavily upon her, but I do not despair; nay, I look forward with hopeful confidence to the future. I feel that Ireland shall arise from her present intense difficulties, and I look to that law which we have been so long engaged together in carrying out [ie: the Poor Law??], as the means of her regeneration; I look to it, if honestly, humanely and discreetly carried out, as the means by which better habits will by degrees be promoted among the labouring population - more industry, better farming, and all the good which usually follows in such a train. At all events, let me assure Sir Thomas and the present meeting, that no exertion on my part shall be found wanting to promote both the spiritual and temporal welfare of the inhabitants of the parish to which I have been so handsomely appointed.' When he finished his speech, he sat down 'evidently under considerable emotion, amidst long and long-continued cheers.'
When Sir Thomas was obliged to speak again later, he explained that while he was entitled to be reclusive at his age 'and certainly had any nobleman of the land asked him to dine with him he would have declined, but he could not resist the invitation to meet so many excellent neighbours, and to testify his respect for Mr. Hand.' Sir Thomas would live for another ten years, being the oldest baronet in Britain at the time of his passing on 25 June 1857. He had seven sons and four daughters by his first wife, and another son by his second wife. He was succeeded as 2nd baronet by his grandson Thomas; his oldest son, also Thomas, had predeceased him.
At the same banquet, the Rev. James Bloomfield raised a toast to Mrs. Hand - Cassandra - applauding 'the exemplary way in which she performed all her duties' and her 'great support' for her husband. The Rev. Hand thanked them for the toast and said that Cassandra was 'deeply sensible' to the importance of their impending mission and that she 'carried with her a good heart and an anxious desire to be useful.' He also took the opportunity to quote these lines from Walter Scott:
'O, Woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou!'
To which he added that when his mind was harassed, his body suffering, Cassandra 'never failed to be the ministering angel' and he felt 'convinced she would ever cheer him on in the right course, if he faltered'. This prompted old Sir Thomas to quip that any bachelors present must have just 'fall[en] in love with matrimony'.
That same evening, the inmates of the Bulphan workhouse enjoyed 'a substantial dinner' of roast beef, plum pudding and ale 'at Mr. Hand's expense'. The article also mentioned that the officers of the Orsett Union had commissioned a portrait of Mr. Hand which was hung in their boardroom. I wonder where this portrait is now?
On 23 October 1847, the Oxford Chronicle and Berks & Bucks Gazette confirmed that 'Rev. Thomas Hand, of Bulphan, Essex, [was appointed] to the rectory of Clones in the province of Ulster, Ireland.'
When the Rev. Thomas and Cassandra Hand moved into Bishopscourt in 1847, the house was called the Rectory but I assume this is the same as 'Altartate Glebe' (Táite na hAltórach)? ('Never assume!' I hear my grandmother scold!) Griffith's Evaluations of the late 1840s lists the tenants at Altartate Glebe as including Thomas Aull [sic], Philip Brady, Thomas Browne, John Cole, Pierce Cullen, John Forker, Joshua T. Hoskins, Samuel Johnston, Bernard Lynch, Henry McAtee, John Purvis, John Swift, William Thompson and, most importantly for this purpose, the Rev. Thomas Hand.
Following the move to Clones, Cassandra introduced the making of crochet lace to the area. She worked in conjunction with a crochet teacher from Co. Kildare; their technique was a less time-consuming variation of Venetian Point Lace. The lace-making tradition became particularly popular in the Roslea area of South Fermanagh during the post famine period of the 1850's. In a few years about 1,500 people were employed through crochet work and a cottage industry was born. Cassandra is buried at Clogh Church of Ireland, Roslea, Co. Fermanagh, where her husband is also buried.
LETTERS CONNECTED TO CASSANDRA HAND & CLONES LACE
Pat Tubb kindly directed me to the following exchange of letters between the lace workers and Cassandra Hand which appeared in a book by Susanna Meredith called ‘The Lacemakers; Sketches of Irish Characters with Sound Accounts of the Effort to Establish Lacemaking in Ireland’ (pages 19-23) published by the British Library in their Historical Collection.
“The wife of the rector of the parish of Clones taught crochet-making to some little girls, and it soon spread over the whole neighbourhood. After a time, the number employed in it became so great that it assumed the formidable proportions of a large mercantile concern. At this stage, Mrs Hand, the foundress of the business, did not desert it, though, overwhelmed by the extent of the undertaking, she was about to do so in 1854. But her lacemakers made a brave struggle to retain the direction under which they had commenced to work; and they addressed Mrs Hand on the subject, in an interesting letter, which tells the history of the school so completely, that we must give it place in our summary of the movement.
Above: Cassandra Hand, founder of Clones Lace, and her husband Rev. Thomas Hand. (Photos courtesy of Pat Tubb).
ADDRESS TO MRS. HAND. Rectory, Clones. [ie Bishopscourt]
We, the undersigned, beg your acceptance of the accompanying Piece of Plate as a small token of the very sincere respect and gratitude we feel towards you for your unremitting kindness. On your coming to Clones, you found us in a state of the deepest distress, utterly destitute of any employment, unskilled in any art. By your unaided personal exertions you introduced, and had us instructed in, the manufacture of crochet lace – a work before then unheard of in this neighbourhood. You patiently bore with our ignorance, kindly encouraged our efforts, liberally rewarded us for our labour, and now you have the satisfaction of knowing that you have been the means, under God, of enabling 1500 individuals (at least) in this parish to earn a respectable living. Dear madam, we are not skilled in writing addresses, but we beg you will accept this effort on our part, to evidence in some manner that we are conscious of your goodness. We entreat you not to retire from the work you have so successfully carried on, though others are engaging in it, when all the difficulties attending its establishment are overcome. We feel assured that we will be the losers if you do so. Praying that He who will not overlook ‘even a drop of cold water’ given in His name may abundantly reward you,
We remain, your obliged and grateful workers,
Signed on behalf of the rest of the workers by a good many of the girls.
REPLY FROM MRS. HAND
MY DEAR FRIENDS,
I have received your kind address with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction, conveying me your grateful sense of the exertions which God has enabled me, successfully, to make in your behalf since I came to reside among you. ‘To Him be all the glory and all the praise’. To have received such an expression if your esteem and gratitude would have amply repaid me for all the trouble and anxiety which I have had, and I cannot help feeling sorry that you should have thought it necessary to accompany those expressions with so handsome a proof of their sincerity.
But believe me, I gladly accept it as a token of the warmth of the Irish heart, which, unless misdirected, always beats in concert with kindly feelings; and your beautiful and costly flower-stand will be a happy emblem, I trust, of our continued regard and mutual love to Him who is the ‘Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley’. I need scarcely add that I shall bequeath it to my children as a memento of my residence among you, when I and their father have run our course.
Too true it is, that I found you in deep distress, and am only thankful that God devised means in some measure to remove it in this parish, and made me the happy instrument in that removal. Indeed, had it not been for the sewed muslin work, which my and your friend Lady Lennard introduced some years ago, and the employment I have been able to afford, the fearful visitation of famine would have been still more severe and more disastrous.
Permit me to add, in answer to your requisition, that I shall continue, if health and strength be given me, to carry on the work, and I trust that you, by increased diligence and attention, will feel no difficulty in keeping up the credit of the Clones lace, and preventing its falling into disrepute among the higher classes, in consequence of competition and the production of an inferior style of work.
Praying that the Lord will prosper your handiwork, and enable you to derive all the good, and as little of the evil which is incident to every human undertaking, I remain, your sincere Friend,
In compliance with this request, Mrs Hand retained her position, although it entailed much tiresome exertion of mind and body, and no little worry of spirit. Some four or five years after this, she was compelled to withdraw, but she induced an accomplished lady, who had been trained in the best schools of art, to settle in Clones, and to undertake the business for her own benefit. The effects of this were admirable. Good designs and correctness of finished continued to characterise Clones lace long after others had lost their celebrity. This district is still leavened by the skilled instruction of this lady, and a standard of merit is kept up. Even at its reduced price, the work provides a respectable livelihood for many women in the locality, and the fruits of the steadiness of their trade is seen in their improved domestic tradition. Mrs Roberts of Kilcullen, and Mrs Tottenham of New Ross, and many other ladies, made goods of a very superior sort, which were known in the London market by their names. Their skill, and that exhibited at Clones, was the result of peculiar culture; and it is only to be deplored that it had not the element of perpetuity…’.
On 2 October 1849, Thomas Hand attended a meeting of the Church Education Society at the Court-house in Clones, with the Hon. Samuel Crichton in the chair. The Fermanagh Mail (18 Oct 1849) commended his 'frank and candid statement' in which he admitted his determination when he first arrived 'to carry out the views of the government and join the National Board' but 'when he became aware of the nature of the system and saw the necessary consequences of its operation, he could not have anything to do with it.' The Fermanagh Mail was impressed: 'Such would be the result in every instance if the real principles of the National Board were examined into and understood. Would that the eyes of all honest Englishmen were so opened to this vital question.'
Above: Letter written from Bishopscourt by the Rev. Thomas Hand.
On 8 January 1852, the Anglo-Celt reported: 'Mrs Hand, the lady of the Rev. Thomas Hand, rector of the parish of Clones, has shown her liberal, charitable and Christian feeling towards the poor inmates of Clones workhouse by giving bread and tea on Christmas Eve, to the female paupers and children. This is not the only kind act she has done, for she has at present between 200 and 300 females at different kinds of work, by which they can support themselves comortably, and even save money, most of whom would have been in the workhouse but for her. She has also induced Sir Thomas B. Lennard, proprietor of Clones, to repoen an infant school which has long been closed. It would be well for our country if our ladies generally would follow the noble example.'
In September 1860 the Rev. Thomas Hand visited the annual Lisnaskea cattle and agricultural slow. He broke his leg in 1867. Dr. Hoskins of Clones attended him, with Mr. Collis of Dublin coming to visit. By 18th September, The Irish Times was reporting the 'happy' news that 'Mr. Hand will very shortly be able to take carriage exercise, and at no distant point to resume his important duties'. [i] When the Lord Primate visited Clones in September 1868, the Rev. Hand read the lesson.
The inscription on a tablet in Clones Church of Ireland, dedicated to Cassandra Hand reads:
'This tablet is erected by the parishioners of Clones, to the memory of Cassandra, the beloved wife of the Revd. Thomas Hand, Rector of this parish who died the 21st day of October 1868. During the Famine of 1847, and subsequent years she contributed largely to relieve the distress then prevalent, and was the means under God of bringing comfort to many families. To posterity she has left enduring monuments which testify to her zeal and self-sacrifice, in promoting the moral and spiritual well-being of the people of this district, by whom she was held in high estimation, and who now deeply deplore her loss.'
Clones Lace supplied markets in Dublin, London, Paris Rome and New York. By 1910 Clones was the most important centre of crochet lace-making in Ireland, its produce worn by royalty and gentry throughout the world The coronation dress worn by Queen Mary in the 1940's was made by local women of Clones. As the present day marketing blurb reads: "This beautiful and intricate hand craft has been passed on from mother to daughter and from generation to generation since then". [ii]
Above: Memorial to Rev. Thomas Hand. (Photo: Pat Tubb)
The Rev Thomas Hand resigned his post in Clones on 1st November 1872 and returned to England to become Rector of St Nicholas, Compton, Guildford where he died on August 4th 1874. This parish included Loseley Park, Cassandra's childhood home, and he succeeded her brother as Rector.
The Hands had at least seven children, all of whom must have been familiar with Bishopscourt. The family was said to have a particularly close bond with the Maddens of Hilton Park, which is rather lovely given that the Moores of Bishopscourt have continued this link between these two houses into the 21st century. Indeed, the Hands are buried in a plot very close to the Madden mausoleum in Clogh graveyard. Miss Isobel Madden appears to have had an interest in the Hand children and some of the younger ones were her contemporaries.
Above: News report on Lieut. Thomas Hand's death.
Thomas and Cassandra Hand's eldest son Lieut. Thomas More Hand was born in Guildford in October 1832 so he would have been 15 when they moved to Bishopscourt. At the time of the the 1851 census, he was a student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. However, he then joined the army and served as a Lieutenant with the 51st Bengal Native Infantry. On 27th January 1857, just a few months after his 24th birthday, he was murdered in the Khyber Pass.
He was buried at Jamrud Road Cemetery, Peshawar, where his gravestone reads: "In memory of Lieutenant Thomas More Hand of the 51st Regt N.I. who was shot by an assassin near the Khyber pass on the 27th January 1856 & died the same day deeply regretted by his brother officers aged 22 years & 3 months". It appears that he was lured "to see the Kyhber Pass" by some British Indian officers affiliated with a local hill tribe. It is curious that his headstone in Peshwar should mark down his age erroneously but the parish register in Guildford where he was born apparently states clearly that he was born in 1832, in which case he would have been 24.
In a lucid account of British Policy in Central Asia published in The Times on 10th April 1857, the newspaper's Lahore correspondent wrote (letter dated Feb 23): "Poor young Hand's murderer is, it is said, well known, but it is difficult to get hold of him. The hill tribe to which he belongs is put under the usual ban. Every soul who stirs out of the mountains belonging to the tribe is seized and imprisioned. As the hill people depend on the plain for subsistence, they will be starved out at last, give up the criminal and pay a heavy fine. This is the way in which our wild frontier neighbours are kept in order'.
The second son Colonel John Sidney Hand, CB, was born and baptised in Bulphan, Essex, in 1833. According to his obituary in The Times (6 Jan 1890), 'he entered the 82nd Regiment in 1853 and served with his regiment in the Crimea, being awarded the Crimean medal with clasp and the Turkish medal. He also served in the North-West Provinces of India in suppressing the Mutiny of 1857-8, at the relief of Lucknow by Lord Clive, the defence of Cawnpore (where his brother George was also present) and the defeat of the Gwalior contingent, the action of Kala Nuddee, and the occupation of Futtehghur. He likewise served with the Royal Artillery at the action of Khankhur during the Rohilcund campaign, the defence of the gaol of Shahjehanpore, the affairs of Mahomdee and Shahabad, and the action of Bunkagaon, and was in reciept of a medal with clasp for these services. He served with the 1st Sikh Cavalry as commander of a squadron throughout the campaign in China in 1860, including the action of Sinho, the capture of Tangku, the capture of the Takoo forts, the actions at Chunkiawhan and Tongehow, the destruction of the Emperor's palace and the surrender of Pekin. As a reward for his services in the last-mentioned actions he was given a medal with two clasps. He subsequently served throughout the Abyssinian campaign of 1868. He was attached to the headquarters staff as director of the Highland transport train, and was present at the storming and capture of Magdala, for which he was twice thanked by Lord Napier, mentioned in despatches, breveted Major, as well as given a medal. from November 1868 til February 1869 he was commandant of the Deolali dept in the East Indies, and was transferred to the 44th Foot in December 1872. He became a Lieutenant Colonel in September 1876, and Colonel in July 1881. Since 1882, he had been lieutenant-colonel commanding the 44th Regimental District.' He died at Norwood in early January 1890, aged 56.
Above: Cassanrda Hand's re-dedicated grave in Clogh..
The third son, Captain Henry Hand, RN, was born in Bulpham in 1833 and baptised in Guildford on October 11th that year. He joined the Royal Navy in 1854 and rose to the rank of Captain before his death in 1889. The Times (10 Sept 1889, pg 8) refers to the appoitment of Captain Rodney M. Lloyd, 'to the Urgent as Commodore at Jamaica in the place of Captain Henry Hand, whose period of service has expired'. On June 8th 1893, The Times noted how WPL Hand, Vicar of Taynton (see below) and Barrington, conducted the wedding service at St John's Church, Blackheath, on June 6th, of his niece Cassandra Mabel Molyneux Hand, second daughter of the late Captain Henry Hand, RN, to Lt Harold Charles Scroggs, RN. Whitaker's Almanac for 1894 states that Lt Scroggs was then serving on board Retribution, although he appears to have been transferred to the Spartan at about this time. In September 1902, The Times noted that Lt HC Scroggs had been appointed to the Vernon. He retired as a Commander and settled in Celden Common, Winchester.
Their only son Henry Sydney Scroggs was born in 1896 and entered school at Osborne in 1909, being in the same class as George VI (then Prince Albert of Wales). From September 1913, he was a midshipman in the Monarch, in which he served in the Grand Fleet in 1914 and 1915. While still a midshipman he was selected for airship training and afterwards was a sub-lieutenant and lieutenant in naval airships working from Anglesey, Howden, Capel and Pulham during the war. On the formation of the RAF he was graded a captain and played on the RAF rugby team in 1919 and 1920. From 1921 to 1924, he served in Egypt. In 1926, while a Flight Lieutenant, he married Margaret "Peggy" Fray, only daughter of Mr and Mrs EE Powell of Shawford, Winchester, late of Ceylon. He settled in Britain with a home bomber squadron and on the staff of the RAF College. He was promoted to squadron leader in 1929. From 1934 to 1936 he was navigation staff officer at the headquarters of the Far East Command. He was appointed wing commander in 1936 and group captain on 1 June 1940, which he served in the Battle of Britain. However, Group Captain Scroggs, known as Scroggy, was killed on active service, aged 45, during the Second World War on 29th September 1941. He was in command of the RAF station on Thorney Island at the time. He left a widow and two sons.
Above: Report on death of Lieut. G. M. Hand.
Lieutenant George Molyneux Hand, the Hands fourth son, was born and baptised in Bulpham in 1838. He attended the Military College in Addiscombe, training for the East India Company service, and was one of thirteen cadets who graduated into the infantry on 12th June 1857. According to the Belfast Daily Mercury (16 Dec 1859), 'he served with her Majesty's 82nd Regiment throughout the Bengal campaigns of 1857-8, from Cawnpore to Shahjehanpore and Bareilly'. He later served with the 9th Bengal Infantry, with whom he was listed on his death certificate. He died in Bath, Somerset, during 1859, having 'recently proceeded [to Bath] with his family.' The certificate says he died from 'an abscess on his liver and apoplexy' at just 21 years of age. According to The Irish Times (Saturday, 17 December 1859), he 'contracted disease from over-exertion and exposure to the sun, from which he never recovered'.
Above: News reports birth of William Patrick Lennard Hand at Bishopscourt.
The fifth and youngest son, William Patrick Lennard Hand was born at Bishopscourt on New Year's Day 1849. (It is named as 'Clones Rectory' in The Essex Standard of 5 January 1849). He was given the Lennard name in honour of Sir Thomas Lennard, his father's patron. He entered Trinity College Dublin on July 1st 1867 and graduated with a BA in 1871, He sailed with his brother, Henry, at the time of the 1881 census on HMS Euphrates. He became a clergyman and, by 1882, was Vicar of the parish Church in Taynton, Oxfordshire. On 6th Dec 1882, The Times noted that the wife of the Rev. WPL Hand of Taynton Vicarage had given birth to a son two days earlier. However, the child does not seem to have survived as the census records only name their four daughters. He was still Vicar of Taynton when his niece married Lieutenant Scroggs in 1893. On Thursday, Jan 30, 1896, The Times 'Ecclesiastical Appointments' noted his advacement from the Vicarage of Great Barrington to become Vicar of Coln St Aldwyn's in the Cotswolds of Gloucestershire. He died in Gloucestershire of pneumonia following a bout of influenza in March 1900 and was buried on St. Patrick's Eve in the churchyard at Coln St Aldwyn, alongside his sister Mary Adelaide. He was survived by his widow and four daughters. (The Anglo-Celt, 31 March 1900).
Above: Death of Rev. William Hand, who was born at Bishopscourt.
Their daughters Mary Adelaide Hand and Cassanadra Caroline Hand were born in 1841 and 1843. During the late 1890s, Mary appears to have moved to Coln St Aldwyn in Gloucestershire to nurse her brother William when he contracted flu and then also succumbed to it herself. They both died in March 1900. Mary was married at St. Paul's Church, Cannes, France, on 13 February 1875 to Richard Edward Creswell, Esq., of Ravenstone, Leicestershire; their daughter gave her birthplace as Cannes in the UK census returns. 1875 marriage recorded in Leicester Chronicle, 13 February 1875).
In 1873, Thomas Hand was succeeded as Rector of Clones by the Venerable George Finlay, DD, later Archdeacon of Clogher. According to the Rev. J. B. Leslie’s ‘Clogher Clergy & Parishes’, published privately in 1929, George was born in Dublin in 1828, the son of Dr. James Finlay. In November 1844 he entered Trinity College Dublin, obtaining a BA and Divinity Testimonium in 1852 and an MA in 1856.
He was ordained in 1852 and spent his first year in the Diocese of Down. He was subsequently Parson of the Diocese of Meath (1853), Curate of Fahan (1852-3), Curate of Templeport (1853-4), Curate of Lower Langfield (1855-7, where he met his first wife Isabella), Canon of Collon (1857-61, a replica of Christs College Cambridge, built by Rev. Daniel Beaufort, the fourth and final father-in-law of Richard Lovell Edgeworth), Rector of Drumcar (1861-73, home of the McClintock family whose head was Lord Rathdonnell) and, following the Thomas Hand’s resignation on 1st Novermber 1872, he served as Rector of Clones from 1873 until December 1903.
When Dr. Charles Maurice Stack became Bishop of Clogher in 1886, George – who became Canon of Clogher in 1875 - succeeded him in the vacated post of Archdeacon of Clogher, an office he retained for the next seventeen years.
On April 27th 1877, the Rev. Canon Finley, assisted by the Rev. Samuel H. Simpson, incumbent of Drumakilly, brother of the bride oversaw the wedding at St. George's Church, Dublin, between Francis Fitzgerald, Esq., of Cloncorn House, Clones, and Lucinda Margaret, youngest daughter of the late Rev. J. E. H. Simpson, vicar of Drumsnat, County Monaghan.
Two years later, the Dublin University Magazine (Volume 89) applauded ‘the worthy rector of the parish’ for his ‘kindness’ in letting them look at parish register to examine the entries of births and marriages which began in 1682. ‘Few parishes in Ireland can boast of parochial records like those of Clones,’ they concluded.
In 1879, The Achill Missionary Herald also noted that Canon Finlay ‘had a very successful Sunday-school examination in Clones, over 300 children were present. The answering gave proof of much thoughtful preparation.’
George Finlay was married twice.
In 1856, he married Isabella King, daughter of the Rev. Gilbert King, Rector of Langfield, Co. Tyrone (where he was curate). Gilbert was a son of James King, by Lady Elizabeth Creighton, daughter of John, 1st Earl of Erne. Isabella’s mother Anne was a daughter of Lt.-Col. Samuel Madden, of Hilton Park, Co. Monaghan.
Isabella died on 9th March 1888, possibly at Bishopscourt. She left her husband an only son, Rev. George Alexander King Finlay, MA, British Chaplain at Dusseldorf, of whom more below.
He became a Doctor of Divinity in 1875 and the following year, with an address at Drumcar, Dunleer, Co. Louth, he was named in a list of County Cavan’s landowners as the owner of 573 acres in that county. What is potentially extraordinary to this author is that Drumcar, where George Finlay was Rector for twelve years before moving to Clones, was then the home of John McClintock, 1st Baron Rathdonnell, from whose family I descend.
On 5th September 1889, eighteen months after his first wife's death, George Finlay was married secondly to Helen Chapman, youngest daughter of the Rev. Joseph Chapman, of Wykeham, Co. Carlow, and by her had no issue.
George and Helen were living in Altartate Glebe, aka Bishopscourt, at the time of the 1901 Census. By then 72 years old, the Archdeacon of Clogher lived with his 60-year-old County Carlow born wife Helen, described as the ‘Lady’ of the house. Also present was their 45-year-old County Kildare-born Catholic cook Margaret Lawlor, their 35-year-old County Tyrone born Protestant parlour maid Sarah King, and their 24-year-old County Down born Presbyterian housemaid Elizabeth McCullough.
In December 1903, the 75-year-old resigned both as Archdeacon and Rector of Clones, greatly disappointed that he had not been elected Bishop of Clogher. His name had been sent up with that of Dr. D’Arcy, the Primate, on the death of Dr. Stack to the Bench of Bishops. However, they elected Dr. D'Arcy to the vacant Bishopric on 21st January 1903.
On pages 130 and 131 of 'The Adventures of Bishop D'Arcy', the sad finale of Archdeacon Finlay was explained further by (then) Archbishop D'Arcy: 'At age 44 in Jan 1903, I was appointed Bishop of Clogher. It was a bolt from the blue. No thought of such an event had occurred to me until, after the resignation of Bishop Stack, a rumour reached me that some members of the Synod of Clogher had mentioned me, among others, as possible. To this rumour I attached no importance. All I knew was that it was said to be a practical certainty that Archdeacon Finlay, a clergyman of very leading position in the diocese, would be elected by the synod. It was also said that he was so deeply respected and had been so influential I the life of the diocese that no other result could be anticipated. I had no knowledge at all of him. My surprise therefore was great when, at the meeting of the Synod of Clogher, his name and mine were sent up to the Bishops for their decision. It was still greater when a telegram came informing me of my election.’
‘I was sorry for Archdeacon Finlay’ continues Archbishop D’Arcy, ‘whose many friends were much disappointed; but I had no part in bringing about the disappointment and I very soon realised that the turn things had taken was due, in the main, to his advanced age and growing infirmity. The younger men in the diocese were of opinion, and the bishops had decided, that a man with the activity of youth was demanded by the circumstances.’
In hindsight the proper decision was probably made as twelve months later the Archdeacon resigned and died two years later at Hughenden, Glenageary, Co. Dublin, on 9th September 1905. He was buried at Kildallon in Co. Cavan. By 1911, 71-year-old widow Helen was living at 19 Vesey Place in Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) with a County Down cook and an English housemaid.
George Alexander King Finlay, the Archdeacon’s only son, was born in 1858 and would have been 15 years old when his parents moved to Bishopscourt. He studied at Trinity College and obtained a BA in 1879 and an MA in 1884. Ordained in 1885, he was a Curate at St. John’s in Birkenhead when appointed Rector of Currin in January 1887. On 21st September 1898, George junior married Isabell Cundell, fifth daughter of A. N. Dare, of West Lodge, Mortlake. He died in Dublin on 25th April 1916, aged 58. He also appears to have been in charge of St. Luke's, Bermondsey (1888), the Dusseldorf Chaplaincy (1897-1900) and Vicar of Dunmow (1903-4).FOOTNOTE
The Bishop of Bishopscourt
The Most Rev Charles D’Arcy.
A studio portrait of Archbishop Charles F. D’Arcy,
sometime resident of Bishopscourt. After a
distinguished career at Trinity College, Dublin,
C.F. D’Arcy entered the ministry of the Church
of Ireland, becoming Dean of Belfast in 1900.
He became Bishop of Clogher in 1903 and moved
to Altartate Glebe, which he named Bishopscourt,
remaining there until 1911 when elevated to Bishop
of Down and Connor and Dromore in 1911. He later
became Archbishop of Dublin and was enthroned
in Armagh in 1920, remaining Primate of All Ireland
until his death in 1938.
In about 1905, Bishopscourt became home to by Charles Frederick D'Arcy, Bishop of Clogher from 1903 - 1907 and subsequently Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh. He was born in Dublin on 2nd January, 1859, the only son of John Charles d'Arcy (1828-1902) of Mount Tallant, County Dublin, a grandson of John d'Arcy of Hydepark, County Westmeath. As such, he was a direct descendant of John d'Arcy, first Lord d'Arcy de Knayth who fought at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. He was educated at Trinity College Dublin where he was first mathematical scholar of his year and senior moderator and gold medallist in Moral Philosophy. He graduated BA in 1882 with a first-class Divinity Testimonium and proceeded to the degree of MA in 1892. In 1898 he qualified as BD and two years later was granted the degree of DD. He was ordained to the curacy of Saint Thomas's, Belfast, in 1884.
In 1890 he was appointed Rector of Billy in County Antrim. Three years later he was elected Rector of the united parishes of Ballymena and Ballyclug. On the election of Dean O'Hara to the See of Cashel, Dr d'Arcy was chosen to succeed him as Vicar of Belfast and was appointed Dean of Saint Anne's at which time he resigned a canonry in Connor Cathedral. He was also examining chaplain to Bishop Welland and served as chaplain to both Earl Cadogan and the Earl of Dudley during their respective tenures as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Shortly after his father's death in September 1902, Dr D'Arcy was elected to succeed Dr Stack who had just retired from the Bishopric of Clogher. As mentioned in the above story of Dr. Finlay, this appointment came as a surprise to Dr. D'Arcy but he was nonetheless consecrated to the office in Armagh cathedral on 24th February 1903.
In his autobiography, The Adventures of a Bishop (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1934), Dr. D'Arcy explains how there was no see house when he was elected Bishop, the original Bishop's palace at Clogher having been sold when the diocese was united with Armagh in 1850. The see of Clogher had been re-established in 1886 (with Bishop Stack at the helm), after 36 years of union with Armagh, due in no small part to the generosity of 'Mr. Porter of Belle Isle, grandson of a former bishop of the diocese'. For the first year and a half of his tenure as Bishop, Dr. D'Arcy and his wife Harriet (nee Lewis) lived at Ballynure House near Newbliss, the home of the Rev. Arthur Haire-Forster, then Rector of Clogher parish. With his duties in Clogher, Haire-Forster was obliged to live closer to that parish and was thus 'glad to get a tenant for his old family place'. (His eldest son and heir to Ballynure was Captain Harry Haire Forster (1878-1936), a Royal Navy officer whose ship was sunk at Gallipoli in 1915, but he survived. Another son Arthur Haire Forster (1879-1965) emigrated to the United States via Canada in about 1920).
However when the Rev. Finlay resigned as Rector of Clones, Bishopscourt became available. 'There was a strong feeling among both clergy and laity', wrote Dr. D'Arcy, 'that a permanent residence should be provided for the bishop, and the large old Rectory of Clones was secured for this purpose, a smaller house having been obtained for the rector'. And so, they moved from Ballynure to 'Bishopscourt, as we named it'. 'The place had the advantage of nearness to Clones, and was therefore much more convenient for all diocesan purposes. Here we also rejoiced in our country life; for Bishopscourt proved a real country house, with spacious grounds, a very fine old garden, and best of all, a large bog. The bog lay behind a high ridge, secluded from all roads, a place of infinite delight. Here we spent many a long summer day, and here we pursued our researches in natural history. Here on summer evenings we could hear the whirring of the nightjar, and in springtime the bleating of the snipe. Here were wild duck, teal, widgeon, shovellers, and even rarer creatures. In a little lake close by, the crested glebe made a home. In this same lake we found the rare cladophora, with its perfect spheres of moss-like growth; and in the bog a number of rare plants, especially the beautiful Andromeda polyfolia. My old friend , Nathaniale Colgan, hearing of these discoveries, came on a visit, and, within a radius of a mile from the house, we catalogued six species never before recorded from County Monaghan. All this was pure delight, and afforded endless interest to our younger people'. (p. 137) It cannot have made it any easier for the Rev. George Finlay that the young man who had beaten him to become Bishop now also occupied the house where he had lived for thirty years.
Dr. D'Arcy remained in the diocese of Clogher for four years when he was then elected to succeed Dr Crozier as Bishop of Ossory, Crozier having been appointed Bishop of Down and Connor and Dromore. Coincidentally, d'Arcy then replaced Crozier after an election by the Synod in Clarence Place Hall, Belfast on 28th March 1911. He was consecrated Bishop of Down, Connor & Dromore on 9th May 1911. His enthronement as Bishop took place in Belfast Cathedral on 9th May 1911. Four days later his enthronement as Bishop of Connor took place in Lisburn Cathedral. In August, 1919, Dr d'Arcy was appointed Archbishop of Dublin, Bishop of Glendalough and Kildare and Primate of Ireland Metropolitan. He was succeeded as Bishop by C T P Grierson. The following June Dr d'Arcy was elected to succeed the Most Reverend Dr Crozier as Primate of All Ireland and Metropolitan.
Dr d'Arcy's wife was Harriet Le Byrtt Lewis, eldest daughter of Richard Lewis of Comrie, Co. Down. They were married on 12th June 1889 and had one son, John Conyers D'Arcy, and three daughters, Ellinor Marian, Henrietta Grace Lewis and Dorothy Frances. Captain John Conyers d'Arcy, MC, Royal Artillery, was wounded on the North-West Frontier of India in 1931. His mother Harriet died from a heart attack while on a cruise to the West Indies in the summer of 1932. That same August, Henrietta married Charles Henry George Mulholland, 3rd Baron Dunleath, son of Henry Lyle Mulholland, 2nd Baron Dunleath and Norah Louisa Fanny Ward. In June 1937 it was announced that Dr d'Arcy would retire due to ill health but he continued until his death at the Palace, Armagh, on 1st February 1938. Details of his distinguished Church career are contained in 'Clogher Clergy and Parishes' by Rev J. B. Leslie, 1929, the updated edition of which has been published recently. A more detailed account of his time in Belfast Cathedral is available on their website. For those who are interested, Amazon also lists an Obituary of Charles Frederick D'Arcy (1859 - 1938), paperback offprint, Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol 24.
Bishop Maurice Day and his wife Charlotte Frances Mary, out for a stroll
in the meadows beneath Bishopscourt in 1916. (With thanks to George Knight).
There were two tennis courts at Bishopscourt, one high, one low, on the site of where Tom Treanor's fine house stands today. A glasshouse ran alongside it which Dan Kerr, born circa 1919, recalls from his childhood as being full of tomatoes and strawberries. There also appears to have been some form of walled garden - Tom Treanor recalls a long redbrick wall, perhaps 10 foot high - and some apple trees around about. (Miriam Moore says there were some more apple trees up at the top of where the Bishopscourt playground now stands).
Amongst those who played tennis on Bishopscourt must have been the Pringle and Parke families who loved at Clonboy and the hill outside Clones, where the Tunneys now live. And one of those Parkes was Cecil Parke, winner of the 1900 Clones Lawn Tennis championships, who went on to become one of the finest tennis players in the world, winning the Australasian Open and the Davis Cup in 1912 and suriviving Gallipoli to be World No. 4 in 1920.
When Dr D'Arcy moved on to succeed Dr Crozier as Bishop of Ossory, the see of Clogher was filled by Rt. Rev. Maurice Day, DD, the former Dean of Ossory, who, in 1908, also gave his address as Bishopscourt, Clones. He remained Bishop of Clogher until 1923, when succeeded by James MacManaway (1923-1943). (*a) 'The Day family of Kerry, like three or four other families of Kerry gentry, gave many ministers to the Reformed Church of Ireland, but the Day family gave more than any at least two score, including three bishops ; and unlike some other families-- noble and gentle in other parts of Ireland who are suspected, with some reason, of sending sons into the Ministry for what they could get out of it, the Days entered the Ministry in order to give, not get, and they gave of their best. Maurice Day, of Clogher, was a typical example, who won the affection and respect of all who came in contact with him'. (*b)
The Bishop's father was the Very
Rev. John Godfrey Day, Dean of Ardfert. Maurice was born on September
2nd, 1843 on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, and educated at Beaumont College,
Cork, Queen's College, Cork, and the Historical Science School (1860). He
graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA in Maths and seems to have
aquired severalk further BAs and MAs, as well as a BD and a DD. Ordained
in 1866, he gradually made his way up the clerical hierarchy, becoming Dean
of Ossory in 1905-8. He was elected Bishop of Clogher on December 10th 1907,
and consecrated in St. Patrick's Cathedral on January 25th, 1908, by the
Bishop of Meath (Keene), assisted by the Bishops of Killaloe (Archdall),
Cashel (O'Hara), Down (Crozier) and Ossory (D'Arcy). He was also Commissioner
of National Education (1911-22). On 29th April, 1873, he married Charlotte
Frances Mary Forbes, daughter of Herbert Taylor Ottley, of 28
York Terrace, Regents Park, London. It was the first marriage celebrated
in St. Matthias's, Dublin. They had issue three sons and a daughter:
(i) Right Rev. John Godfrey FitzMaurice Day, D.D., Bishop of Ossory,
b. 12th May, 1874 , who married Oct 1922, Cicely Dorothea Langrishe, in
(ii) Herbert Taylor Ottley Day, B.A., B.A.I., T.C.D., Lt. R.E. and
R.A.F. 1917 to 1919, A.M. Inst. C.E., b. 27th May, 1875
(iii) Maurice FitzMaunce Day, M.C., Lt.-Col. 1st K.O. Y.L.I., who
served in the S.A. War (Medal and three Clasps) and also at Ypres, etc.,
in the Great War,P.S.C. G.S.O. at the War Office 1921 to 1926, b. 27th
August, 1878, married at Washington, U.S.A., Eleonora Morgan, November 1918);
(iv) Kathleen Mary Agnes Day.
The 1911 Census records that the 67-year-old Bishop was living at 'Altartate Glebe' with his wife Charlotte (58 yrs), son Herbert (a 35 year old engineer), daughter Kathleen (30), and five servants, general labourer William Duncan (25), cook Annie Campbell (35), parlour-maid Hannah Greer (28), housemaid Charlotte Sherwood (19) and kitchen-maid Sarah Houston (18). Nineteen rooms of the house were occupied at the time.
For the record, the Rector of Clones by the time of the 1911 Census was the Rev. Joseph Ruddell who, aged 44, was born in County Armagh. His wife Dorothy Maria Ruddell was thirteen years his junior and came from County Fermanagh. They lived at No. 6 on The Diamond in Clones with their two sons, Joseph Frith William Ruddell (aged 4) and John Shegog Ruddell (aged 2), as well as coachman William Robinson (aged 27), cook Margaret Smith (aged 24) and housemaid Minnie Flanagan (aged 20). These Ruddells are not to be confused with the Ruddall family of London and Cornwall from which descended Miriam Moore who moved into Bishopscourt with husband Archie in the 1980s. For more, see
Maurice Day died suddenly, in the Vestry of Broomfield Church (before Morning
Service at which he was to have preached) while conversing with some of
the parishioners, on Sunday, May 27th, 1923. He was buried at Dean's Grange
Cemetery, May 31st. The Provost delivered a funeral address in St. Matthias's
and spoke of him as "a truly patriotic Irishman, warm- hearted as
became his good Southern blood, always forward to promote
the best interests of his country and his Church .... Benignus, humanus, stabilis, certus, securus."
ADDENDUM: BISHOP SPOTTISWODE
Amongst the paintings which hung on the wall at this time was apparently one of James Spottisiwoode, Bishop of Clogher from 1621 to 1644. According to a 1862 journal, this portrait formerly hung in the See House of Clogher but, on the suppression of that see, was removed to The Clerical Rooms, Lakeview, Monaghan. How- ED.'[i] In 1937, this was described as a "painting of James Spottiswoode, Bishop of Clogher, formerly in Bishopscourt, Clones, now in St. Angelo, Ballinamallard, co. Fermanagh." The Bishop’s portrait was described as: 'Middle age, stiff suit of ecclesiastical garments, close fitting black cap, with square collar to shirt. A sombre picture and much defaced.' (Thanks to Grace Moloney and Richard Hodgson).[c]
Dan Kerr, who was born circa 1919, visited Bishopscourt on the last day of May in 2014 and talked with Miriam Moore, Tom Treanor and I for two hours His memories of the old days in Clones were hugely impressive and laced with much humour. He recalled the woods alongside the Bishopscourt avenue being full of bluebelles and primroses where the Mealiff children would play all day, climbing trees and building bracken houses, when they weren't milking cows or transporting the milk for their father. He also told of the war years - both wars, in fact - when the Bishopscourt bog would be covered in hundreds of men cutting turf.
In about 1924, Bishopscourt came into the ownership of William James Mealiff and his wife Kathleen Jane (nee McConkey) who farmed the surrounding land.  William grew up in Bawnboy, County Cavan, and was registered at at Killynaff, Lisanover, (Parish of Templeport) Co. Cavan in the 1901 census. He moved to Clonkirk, Clones, in 1907, where he was registered in the 1911 census.
According to his obituary in the Northern Standard of June 4th 1976, William was a lifelong member of the Clones Co-operative Society and its chairman for many years. 'He was a founding member of the former Clones Greyhound Racing Co., whose first track was on the land at Bishopscourt, and he was a shareholder of the former Clones Tannery which operated at Annalore Street. He was a member of the Clones Show Committee for about 60 years and took a keen interest in all agricultural affairs ... He was a member of Clones Masonic Order and of the Clones Orange Order, now disbanded.'
We're not quite sure where the greyhound track was but Miriam Moore recalls finding a lot of bovine skulls in the hollow to the right of the back avenue. 'I thought that there had been an outbreak of Foot and Mouth. It turned out that father Mealiff kept greyhounds and boiled up the heads to feed them.'
Above: A relic from the days of the Bishopscourt Dairy. which was
run by the Mealiff family in the 1920s . Note the "Tubercluin "
tested motif. Clones historian George Knight writes: 'I think a
connection had been made even as early as this between the
killer disease and contaminated milk. Of course it was much later
before the authorities brought in a policy of eradicating all
cattle found to be infected with TB."
He also ran the Bishopscourt Dairy, holding apprxominately 25 cattle on a farm that I think ran to some 150 acres at this time. In May 2014, his son Jack Mealiff (born 1929) told me how he spent 17 years driving a pony and trap laden with milk from Bishopscourt to Clones, delivering milk to the houses. He also milked the cattle - 'with these hands', he chuckled. I have also heard a tale of how Jack was lowered down from the Bishopscourt rooftops on a rope so that he could clear the gutters and wash the windows. It seems to have been a happy childhood - hiding in the tunnel that runs to the back of the house, although there is some talk of being locked in the cellar when one was naughty! Jack left the house upon his marriage circa 1955 but the family remained there for a few years. I think his brother Gordon moved to Lisnaskea about the same time.
William and Kathleen Mealiff had four sons - William James (Jim) Mealiff, Jack Mealiff (of Drumacoon, Newbliss), Gordon Mealiff (of Lisnaskea) and Fred Mealiff (of Strabane) - and three daughters - Gene Rusk (who was in South Africa at the time of her fathers death), Audrey McMurray (of Ballybay) and Mearle Atkins (of Clady, Co. Derry). I believe all of the children were born at Bishopscourt.
William Mealiff sold Bishopscourt in 1963, see below, but remained in Clones. He died aged 88 on 28th May 1976. He was interred at the New Cemetery, in Teehill, Clones.
His son Jim Mealiff was the former owner of the Lennard Arms Hotel. In 1981, his daughter Sandra married the Clones Cyclone, boxer Barry McGuigan. Jim's son Ross Mealiff, an independent politician, is a past Mayor of Clones. A former director of Quinn Direct and general manager of the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan, he now runs the Hotel Kilmore in Cavan. Any further information on the Mealiff family would be most welcome.
 Sean Slowey writes: 'I think he came to Bishopscourt about 1924 as from notes I compiled from Index Books in Registry of Deeds, Dublin;- Clones, Benefice etc. Representative Church Body to Wm. Mealiff, 1924. also Legarhill, Representative Church Body to Wm. Mealiff, 1924.'
Above: William Mealiff puts Bishopscourt up for sale, Northern Standard, November 8th 1963. (Image courtesy of Sean Slowey).
Above: Baldwin Murphy, a sometime resident of Bishopscourt, achieved a remarkable
double when he won the Clones golf championship at the age of 14 - and then won it
again exactly fifty years later. (Image courtesy of Brian Morgan).
Between about 1928 to 1932, the top flat at Bishopscourt was leased to Baldwin and Judith Murphy for a period of two years. There had been some doubt as to whether the Murphys lived at Bishopscourt with Dan Kerr and one of the Mealiff family amongst those who proposed that Bishopscourt had been confused with Altartate Glebe. However, Norah McDowell, daughter of Baldwin and Judith, confirmed they had been there for two years in November 2014.
As a 14-year-old boy, Baldwin partnered Dr. F. C. Fitzgerald, a former Newtownbutler medical practitioner, to win the first organised golfing competition ever held at Clones Golf Club. Just as remarkably, he saw off 57 rival competitiors to win the same contest - the Golden Jubilee Cup - fifty years later. The cup was presented by Captain L. Carroll on behalf of Ike Geller, 'a Clones industrialist' who was unable to attend. Describing the event, the Northern Standard applauded Baldwin's sporting prowess:
'Few people are better known on the Irish sporting scene than Baldwin Murphy, noted as a life-long angler and prominent member of the various angling associations in this country. A patriotic townsman, born and reared in Clones, and member of a family identified with the legal profession for generations. Mr. Murphy has always taken a leading part in the sporting, social and business life in his native town and despite is heavy professional commitments finds time to explore the many waterways in this country on which he is a recognised authority.'
(John) Baldwin Murphy was the eldest of four sons and a daughter born to Mary and Henry Murphy (1867-1948), Crown Solicitor and County Register for Co. Monaghan. Born in Dublin and proficient in both the Irish and English language, Henry descended from a Tipperary / Wexford family who came into their own when Patrick Murphy saved the life of a son of Captain Tudkin, an officer in William of Orange's entourage. The King rewarded Patrick with a grant of land at Ballymore near the Rock of Cashel. (7)
Henry's father, John Baldwin Murphy, was a Trinity educated barrister who 'took a deep and practical interest in all Catholic movements.' He was called to the bar in 1840 and "took silk" or became a QC (Queen's Counsel) in 1868. J.B. Murphy married Alice Morrogh of Kilworth House, Co. Cork, with whom he had 13 children. He was vice-president of the St. Vincent de Paul from 1851 to his decease. In August 1893, he resigned as a Commissioner of Charitable Donations and Requests for Ireland; his place was taken by Dr. Walsh, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. (Lincolnshire Echo, 19 August 1893). He died at his residence of 6, Mountjoy Square, on 14 June 1894, at the age of 77, and was buried in Glasnevin. He merited an obituary in the Irish Law Times on his death .
JB and Alice's eldest daughter Catherine Murphy married John Stanton, Solicitor, of Cork, and was great-grandmother to Justice Mary Finlay-Geoghegan. They were also the parents of Bob Stanton, a solicitor from Cork City, who died in the Great War. A few years before the war, Bob had fallen out badly with his father, with whom he worked, when the latter refused to permit him to marry the woman he loved because her family were riddled with tuberculosis. Bob abandoned the Stanton practice and in 1912 he moved to Clones, County Monaghan, where - by some accounts - he prospered as the only Catholic solicitor in the area, although the Murphys are also thought to have been Catholic. His body was never found because the shelling set fire to the bush where he fell. On 1st July 1916, Bob’s younger brother, George Stanton, a young medical graduate from Trinity College Dublin serving in the R.A.M.C., received fatal stomach wounds during first day of the Battle of the Somme and died the following month. Further details of the Stanton family can be found here and here.
Above: This is what Whitehall Street in Clones would have looked like when Henry and Mary Murphy lived there circa 1901.
Photo by Robert French.
Another son of JB and Alice Murphy was James Murphy, who also became a solicitor and lived on Mountjoy Square. He was grandfather of Justice Hugh Geoghegan.
Henry was born on 1st December 1867 and married Mary Frances Donnelly, daughter of Peter Donnelly of Farney Hill, Clones. At thw time of the 1901 census, they were living on Whitehall Street in Clones with their two-year-old son Baldwin and an 18-year old 'nurse' called Mary Rooney. (See their 1901 form here). At the time of the 1911 census they were living at Clontivrin in Clonkeelan, Co. Fermanagh, along with their four younger children, a Governess, a children's nurse, a housemaid, a cook and a coachman / groom. (See their 1911 form here). They subsequently lived in Clones until 1937 when they moved to Dublin. As well as Bishopscourt, Henry and Mary may have rented Altartate Glebe, a charming redbrick house between Bishopscourt and Clones, from the Gunn family. When they moved to Dublin, it seems their son Baldwin took on Altartate Glebe. Henry died on 21st May 1948 and Mary on 15th March 1954.
Baldwin was born in December 1898 and educated at Mount St. Benedict in Gorey. In December 1928, shortly after his 30th birthday, he married Judith Flood, daughter of the late Robert Samuel Flood of Killycreenan House, Cootehill, Co. Cavan, and Mrs. Flood of 47 Cromwell Road, Belfast. Baldwin and Judith then apparently leased the top flat of Bishopscourt from the Mealiff family. Their daughter Nora recalls 'the top flat everywhere was chilly but that was not a problem - we just wore more clothes!'. Baldwin worked alongside his father, with offices (now Henry Murphy & Sons) at The Diamond in Clones and on Main Street, Lisnakea, Co. Fermanagh. Baldwin also co-founded the Clogher Historical Society and was president of the Clones Fine Gael party for many years. For more information it is worth contacting the Murphy's spiritual heirs, Morgan McManus Solicitors who mention the Murphys on their website. Baldwin and Judith had a son Henry Murphy (born in 1934 and educated at Glenstal Abbey and the National University of Ireland) and two daughters Nora (b. 1930, admitted as a solicitor in 1952 and married (1955) to John Lynne McDowell of Dundrum, Co. Dublin) and Anna White (b. 1947).
In 1963, William Mealiff sold Bishopscourt to Mr. Reginald V. Kelly. An advertisment in the Northern Standard of July 23rd 1965 (not included on this page as it's getting rather too crowded!) states that Mr. Kelly sold Ivy House and two other buildings on the Main Street in Newbliss. In the autumn of 1969, he sold the house on to Messrs. McMahon Bros. building contractors., of Dernawilt, Roslea Co. Fermanagh, for an undisclosed sum.
Northern Standard, November 29th 1968. (Image courtesy of Sean Slowey).
Above: 'Mr. Reginald Kelly, Bishopscourt, Clones, has sold his 26-roomed three-storey country mansion with basement to Messrs. McMahon Bros. building contractors., Dernawilt, Roslea [Co. Fermanagh], for an undisclosed sum. Included in the sale is about 25 acres of land which is attached. About half a century ago, Bishopscourt was the residence of the Protestant Bishop of Clogher. Most of the land comprising the estate was taken over by the Irish Land Commission a few years ago. Bishopscourt is situated in a pleasing setting a mile from Clones on the Newbliss road.' (Northern Standard, September 29th 1969, courtesy of Sean Slowey).
Archie Moore came to Monaghan as the Consultant Surgeon to Monaghan General Hospital and was widely acclaimed as a genius with his hands. Archie's uncle Tommy had worked at Clones Railway Station. He originally lived in a wing of Hilton Park but moved to Bishopscourt with his wife Miriam (nee Craigie) and four daughters in about 1985. He appears to have purchased the house from Brian and Eugene McMahon. Assisted by the late and much lamented architect Chris Pringle, Archie and Miriam removed a lawn at the front of the house to expose the basement which now includes the perpetually active and sweet-smelling kitchen.
Archie passed away in 2002 and Miriam continues to live at Bishopscourt where life is always busy and bountiful. Her eldest daughter Elizabeth Moore (aka Liz Moore) was married in July 2007 to Andy Cairns. Liz was head chef at the Belle Isle Cookery School. Liz and Andy have a son Jasper Cairns and daughter Pippa Cairns.
The second daughter Gilly Moore married Canadian writer Larry Fogg and lives in Hubbards, Nova Scotia, with their daughters, Harriet Fogg, Pearl Fogg and Mimi Fogg; Gilly is a dynamic player in the world of animation.
The third daughter is the beautiful Ally Moore and became the wife of writer Turtle Bunbury on 20th May 2006, just over ten years after their first meeting at Hilton Park. Ally is a freelance publicist and a full-time mother to Jemima Bunbury, born 17th June 2007, and Bay Bunbury, born 4th February 2009.
The fourth daughter Faenia Moore lives in London where she is one of the city's top food stylists, working on shows such as the 'Great British Bake Off' and BBC's 'Masterchef'.
To be continued
With thanks to Grace Moloney, Henry Skeath, Sean Slowey, Brian Morgan, Ross and Kate Mealiff, William Mealiff, Nora McDowell, Pat Tubb, Josephine McKenna (Cassandra Hand Centre), Edward Fenn (www.thekingscandlesticks.com), Janet McCheyne, the Rev. Ed Hanson, Hugh Geoghegan, Sean McQuillan, Maire Treanor, Matthew Gallagher, Catherine McMahon, Tom Hanchett, George Knight, Kevin Mulligan, James Mealiff, the Rev. Helene Steed, Ian Elliott and the Moore family.
And a special thanks to Maria O'Brien who sourced much of the detail about the Hand, Murphy and Mealiff families.