Sunday, 29 September 2013

(78) The Alexander families of Ireland, and the Alexanders of Caw, Enagh and Termon House

There are five main branches of the Alexander family based in Ireland.  They all trace their descent from John Alexander (?1587-1662), who came over from Scotland c.1613 to rent lands at Eridy (Donegal) from Sir James Cunninghame of Glengarnock (Ayrshire), who acquired them in 1610 as part of the settlement of Ulster.  It is generally assumed that John Alexander was distantly related to the Alexanders of Menstrie, Earls of Stirling, although no connection has been shown.

John Alexander had five sons, the eldest of whom, Capt. John Alexander (d. c.1690), bought the lands of Enagh and Caw on the east bank of the River Foyle, just north of Londonderry, in 1686, and they remained in his family until the 20th century.  The youngest son, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Alexander, inherited Eridy, and was the ancestor of the Alexanders of Ahilly and Milford, the Cable-Alexander baronets, and the Earls of Caledon.  This blog will include posts on four of these families, indicated by green labels in the diagram below; to the best of my knowledge, the Alexanders of Ahilly never owned anything I would recognise as a country house, and are therefore omitted.

The relationship of the various branches of the Alexander family in Ireland



Alexander of Caw and Enagh
The Alexanders of Caw therefore represent the senior branch of the family in Ireland.  Capt. Alexander’s son by his second marriage, William Alexander (d. c.1740), inherited Enagh and Caw, and passed this estate to his two elder sons, John Alexander (1717-1801) and Samuel Alexander (1725-1814), in turn.  John acquired additional land at Kilfennan and Gransagh, and when he died unmarried these lands as well as the core estates of Caw and Enagh passed to Samuel’s son, John Alexander (1770-1852).

John had three sons.  The eldest, the Rev. Samuel Alexander (1808-89), married the daughter and heiress of Rev. Charles Cobbe Beresford of Termon House, Carrickmore (Tyrone), and succeeded his father-in-law as rector of Termon in 1851.  Beresford had built Termon House as the rectory, but it was bought as the family’s private property in the late 19th century.

John’s second son, Adam Murray Alexander (1810-74) became a barrister in Dublin and served as Judge of the Supreme Court of British Guiana.  He inherited the Enagh estate, and built the present house there about 1855-60.  He died unmarried and left this estate to his elder brother’s second son, Charles Murray Alexander (1845/6-1902).

John’s daughter Hannah Alexander (1806-83) received a life interest in Caw House.  She married James Murray of Clooney and they lived at Caw House until her death, when it passed under her father’s will to her niece, Kathleen Hannah Murray Alexander (d. 1887), the wife of Rev. Thomas Agmondisham Vesey (1848-1922), rector of Marske (Yorks).  When she died it passed not to her children but to her cousin, John Adam Alexander (1843-1907), after whose death it was apparently sold.

The Rev. Samuel Alexander also had three sons.  John Adam Alexander was settled at Caw House from 1887; Col. Charles Murray Alexander inherited Termon House from his father in 1889 and Enagh from his uncle in 1874; and the youngest, Lt-Col. Henry George Samuel Alexander (1848-1931) leased Carrickmore House from the Stewart family after his retirement from the army.

In the 20th century the family has gradually sold its property.  Caw House was sold after 1907; Termon passed to Col. Alexander’s widow and on her death at the age of 93 in 1951 to their son, Maj. Charles Adam Murray Alexander (1889-1958), who had also inherited Pomeroy House (Tyrone) from his mother’s brother in 1947.  Pomeroy House was sold in 1959 and Termon House by his daughter in the 1980s.  Enagh passed in 1951 to Mrs. Alexander’s grandson, Terence Lowry Rowland Hill (1920-82).

Caw House, Derry
Caw House, depicted on an early 20th century Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland map

A minor gentry house between the main road from Derry to Limavady and the River Foyle, which was demolished after 1975.  The site is now within the suburbs of the city.  It was an early 19th century classical house which must have replaced the earlier house of the family. A mid 20th century watercolour of the house can be found here.

Descent: sold 1686 to Capt. John Alexander (d. c.1690); to younger son, William Alexander; to sons, John Alexander (1717-1801) and Samuel Alexander (1725-1814); to latter’s son, John Alexander (1770-1852); to latter’s daughter, Hannah Alexander (1806-83), wife of James Murray of Clooney, and then to her brother, Dr. John Alexander MD (b.1812); to his daughter, Kathleen Hannah Murray Alexander (d. 1887), wife of Rev. Thomas Agmondisham Vesey (1848-1922), rector of Marske (Yorks); to cousin, John Adam Alexander (1843-1907); to widow, Edith Margaret Alexander (née Reeves), who sold to Thomas Fitzpatrick Cooke (1860-1926); to son, Capt. Thomas Fitzpatrick Cooke (1911-94), who sold 1975.

Enagh House, Derry
Enagh, Co. Derry.

Rebuilt c.1855-60 as a modest square two-storey house with a service wing to the north, still latest Georgian in style.  The house stands in a romantic situation, in woods between the two parts of Lough Enagh.  The house now contains a self-contained holiday apartment.

Descent: Capt. John Alexander (d. c.1690); to younger son, William Alexander (fl. c.1690-1717); to son, John Alexander (1717-1801); to nephew, John Alexander (1770-1852); to younger son, Adam Murray Alexander (1810-74); to nephew, Col. Charles Murray Alexander (1845/6-1902); to widow, Mary Anna Catherine Alexander (née Lowry) (c.1858-1951); to grandson, Terence Lowry Rowland Hill (1920-82).

Termon House, Tyrone
Termon House, in a derelict condition.

A large plain three-storey late Georgian house built, perhaps by Francis Johnston who certainly made designs, at a cost of £3,293 in 1815 for Rev. C.C. Beresford as the rectory of Termonmaguirke parish.  His crest appears in the dining room ceiling.  The house has a three-bay front with a projecting porch and a four-bay rear elevation, where large windows have been introduced on the ground floor.  There is a shallow hipped roof with a huge range of eighteen chimneys grouped in the centre of the house.  After disestablishment of the Irish church the house passed into private ownership, and there are a series of later extensions to the north of the original building.  The Alexander family sold the house in the 1980s and it has since become derelict; in 2012 it was on the buildings at risk register.  The house is set in its own small well-wooded park, now rather overgrown.

Descent:  Rev. Charles Cobbe Beresford (c.1770-1850), rector of Termonmaguirke 1809-50; to daughter, Charlotte Frances Beresford (d. 1890), wife of Rev. Samuel Alexander (1808-89), rector of Termonmaguirke 1851-80; to second son, Col. Charles Murray Alexander (1845/6-1902); to widow, Mary Anna Catherine Alexander (née Lowry) (c.1858-1951); to son, Maj. Charles Adam Murray Alexander (1889-1958); to widow, (Gladys) Sylvia Macgregor Alexander (née Greer) (b. 1896, fl. 1976); to daughter, (Evelyn) Ruth Dorinda Mary Alexander (b. 1921), wife of Lt-Col. Peter Ferns; who sold 1980s.

The Alexanders of Caw, Enagh and Termon

Alexander, John (?1587-1662), of Eridy (Donegal).  Born in Scotland and relocated to Donegal c.1613. He married and had issue:
(1) Capt. John Alexander (d. c.1690) (q.v.);
(2) Archibald Alexander (b. c.1611; fl. 1665), of Ballybiglimore;
(3) William Alexander;
(4) Robert Alexander (fl. 1663-90), of Dunvanaddy; took part in the Siege of Derry and for his services there was granted lands at Drumquin, Ardstraw (Tyrone); married and had issue two sons;
(5) Rev. Dr. Andrew Alexander (d. 1641); ancestor of the Alexanders of Ahilly, Milford, Caledon and Dublin [see subsequent posts].
He rented the lands of Eridy (Donegal) from Sir James Cunninghame of Glengarnock (Ayrshire), who had acquired them in 1610 on condition that he did not 'alienate the premises to no mere Irishman or any other person unless he or they first take the Oath of Supremacy'.  At his death the lands of Eridy passed to his youngest son.
He is said to have died in 1662.

Alexander, Capt. John (d. c.1690), of Caw and Enagh.  Eldest son of John Alexander (?1587-1662).  He married 1st, [name unknown] and 2nd, Susanna [surname unknown], and had issue:
(1.1) Alexander Alexander, of Girlaw, Aughentaine, near Clogher (Tyrone); married Jean Stewart of Killymoon (Tyrone) and had issue four sons and two daughters;
(2.1) William Alexander (d. c.1740) (q.v.).
He purchased the lands of Caw and Enagh in 1686.
He died about 1690.

Alexander, William (d. c.1740), of Caw and Enagh.  Only son of Capt. John Alexander (d. c.1690) and his second wife, Susanna.  He married and had issue:
(1) John Alexander (1717-1801), of Caw and Enagh; extended the estate through the purchase of lands at Kilfinnan and Gransagh; died unmarried, 1801;
(2) Samuel Alexander (1725-1814) (q.v.);
(3) Robert Alexander (b. c.1727); emigrated to USA; married there [forename unknown] Wilmot and had issue two sons (both later judges); died at sea on a second voyage to America;
(4) George Alexander (1730-94).
He inherited Caw and Enagh from his  father in about 1690; at his death they passed to his two elder sons in turn.
He died about 1740.

Alexander, Samuel (1725-1814), of Caw and Enagh.  Second son of William Alexander (d. c.1740), born 1725.  He married Sarah Ross and had issue:
(1) Jane Alexander (1765-1842);
(2) William Alexander (1767-1852), died unmarried;
(3) Samuel Alexander (1768-1844) of Caw; died unmarried;
(4) John Alexander (1770-1852) (q.v.);
(5) Margaret Alexander (1777-86); died young;
(6) Sarah Alexander (1778-1814).
He inherited the Caw and Enagh estates from his elder brother in 1801.
He died in 1814.

Alexander, John (1770-1852), of Caw and Enagh.  Youngest son of Samuel Alexander (1725-1814) and his wife Sarah Ross; born 1770.  He married Hannah Richardson, daughter of Richardson Murray (a descendant of that Col. Adam Murray, who was prominent in the siege of Derry) and had issue:
(1) Hannah Alexander (1806-83), life tenant of Caw House; married 1839 James Murray of Clooney and had issue one son; died 1883;
(2) Rev. Samuel Alexander (1808-89) (q.v.);
(3) Adam Murray Alexander (1810-74) of Enagh; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (BA 1830, MA 1834) and Kings Inn, Dublin (admitted 1832; barrister-at-law); Judge of the Supreme Court of British Guiana; inherited Enagh from his father in 1852 and rebuilt it c.1855-60; died unmarried, 2 February 1874, when Enagh passed to his elder brother's second son;
(4) Dr. John Alexander (b. 1812), MD of Caw; married Katherine Atkins and had issue a daughter, who inherited Caw House from her aunt;
(5) Sarah Jane Alexander (d. 1877); died unmarried.
He inherited the Enagh estate from his father in 1814 and the Caw estate from his elder brother in 1844; at his death they were divided among his children.
He died in 1852.

Alexander, Rev. Samuel (1808-89), of Termon House.  Eldest son of John Alexander (1770-1852) and his wife Hannah Richardson, daughter of Richardson Murray, born 12 April 1808.  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (BA 1830, MA 1834); curate of Termonmaguirke and rector of Termonmaguirke, 1851-56.  He married, 4 November 1839, Charlotte Frances (c.1811-90), daughter and heiress of Rev. Charles Cobbe Beresford, rector of Termonmaguirke and builder of Termon House, and had issue:
(1) Amelia Henrietta Alexander (c.1841-1906); married, 2 May 1860, Col. George Perry McClintock (d. 1887) DL JP of Seskinore (Tyrone) and had issue; died 23 June 1906;
(2) John Adam Alexander (1843-1907) of Caw House; married 15 December 1875 Edith Margaret, daughter of Edward S.S. Reeves of Dublin, but died without issue; inherited Caw House from his cousin in 1887; it was sold after his death;
(3) Col. Charles Murray Alexander (1845-1902) (q.v.);
(4) Lt-Col. Henry George Samuel Alexander (1848-1931) of Carrickmore House (Tyrone), born 12 April 1848; JP; Lt-Col. of 4th Inniskilling Fusiliers; married, 16 February 1878, Elizabeth Collie Phoebe (d. 1913), daughter of Edward B. Webb of London, and had issue one son and four daughters; died 22 November 1931;
(5) Charlotte Frances Selina Alexander (1849-1923), born 23 November 1849; died unmarried, 9 January 1923;
(6) Frances Sophia Alexander (1851-1920); died unmarried, 20 July 1920.
He inherited Termon House in right of his wife in 1850; at his death it passed to his second son.
He died 3 June 1889.

Alexander, Col. Charles Murray (1845-1902), of Termon House and Enagh. Second son of Rev. Samuel Alexander (1808-89) and his wife Hannah Richardson, daughter of Richardson Murray, born 29 September 1845.  Educated at Royal School, Dungannon; JP; served in 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Colonel).  He married, 25 April 1888, Mary Anna Catherine (c.1858-1951), elder daughter of Robert William Lowry of Pomeroy House (Tyrone), and had issue:
(1) Maj. Charles Adam Murray Alexander (1889-1958) (q.v.);
(2) Charlotte Frances Alexander (1892-1901), born 23 March 1892; died young, 30 April 1901;
(3) Mary Anna Catherine Letitia Alexander (1893-1979) (q.v.);
(4) Emily Geale Hester Lowry Alexander (1895-1970), born 28 September 1895; married September 1920, S/Ldr Cecil George Mathew (d. 1947) RAF, son of Arthur Charles Mathew of Church Crookham (Hants) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 5 August 1970.
He inherited Enagh from his uncle, Adam Murray Alexander, in 1874, and Termon House from his mother in 1890.  At his death Termon House passed to his son and Enagh to his widow.
He died suddenly at Termon House, 30 July 1902.  His widow died 28 December 1951, aged 93.

Alexander, Maj. Charles Adam Murray (1889-1958), of Termon House and Pomeroy House.  Only son of Col. Charles Murray Alexander (1845-1902) and his wife Mary Anna Catherine, daughter of Robert William Lowry of Pomeroy House (Tyrone), born 11 July 1889.  Educated at Wellington College.  Served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 1910-30 (wounded and mentioned in despatches in WW1; Brevet Major, 1919); MC 1917; DL (1938) and JP (1940) for Co. Tyrone; High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1936; company director and member of Electricity Board of Northern Ireland.  He married, 31 December 1918, (Gladys) Sylvia Macgregor (b. 1896), daughter of Thomas Macgregor Greer and had issue:
(1) (Evelyn) Ruth Dorinda Mary Alexander (b. 1921), born 25 April 1921; married, 4 April 1944, Lt-Col. Peter Ferns. son of John Astley Ferns of Wilmslow (Cheshire) and had issue one son and one daughter; inherited Termon House from her mother after 1976 but sold it in 1980s;
(2) (Margaret Sylvia) Daphne Alexander (b. 1925), born 4 September 1925; married 1st, 23 July 1947, Lt-Cmdr Robert Irwin Maddin Scott OBE (d. 1968), solicitor, and had issue three sons; married 2nd, 27 October 1972, (Clifford) Anthony Weston, son of Clifford Douglas Weston of Bradgate (Leics).
He inherited Pomeroy House from his maternal uncle, Lt-Col. R.T.G. Lowry in 1947 and Termon House from his father in 1951.  Pomeroy House was sold in 1959.  At his death Termon House passed to his widow and then his elder daughter, who sold it in the 1980s.
He died 8 September 1958; his will was proved in 1959 (estate in England, £12,881).

Hill (née Alexander), Mary Anna Catherine Letitia (1893-1979).  Second, but oldest surviving, daughter of Col. Charles Murray Alexander (1845-1902) and his wife Mary Anna Catherine, daughter of Robert William Lowry of Pomeroy House, born 30 October 1893.  She married, 10 October 1918, Prof. Geoffrey Terence Roland Hill MC (1895-1955), aeronautical engineer, son of Prof. Micaiah John Muller Hill, vice-chancellor of London University, and had issue:
(1) Terence Lowry Rowland Hill (1920-82), of Enagh (q.v.);
(2) Hester Mary Edain Hill (1923-2003), born 7 February 1923; married 20 September 1945, George Philip Anthony (known as Pat) Thompson (1915-2003) of Dunval Hall, Bridgnorth (Shropshire), son of Col. Stephen John Thompson of Stanley Hall, Bridgnorth, and had issue one son and one daughter; died January 2003;
(3) Desmond Beresford Rowland Hill (b. 1926), born 10 March 1926; educated at Winchester College; served in RAF 1946-50; Personnel Officer with GEC Ltd; married, 2 December 1954, Belinda Violet Fisher, eldest daughter of G/Capt. Edward Fisher Turner AFC of Bells Hill, Limavady (Derry) and had issue one son and two daughters.
She died April-June 1979, aged 85.

Hill, Terence Lowry Reginald (1920-82), of Enagh. Elder son of Prof. Geoffrey Terence Roland Hill MC (d. 1955) and his wife Mary Anna Catherine Letitia, daughter of Col. Charles Murray Alexander of Termon House and Enagh, born 20 July 1920; educated at Lancing College and Trinity College, Cambridge; married, 2 October 1954, Susan, younger daughter of Arthur Parry Richards of Putney, London SW15, and had issue:
(1) Ewen Murray Rowland Hill (b. 1956), born 5 June 1956; educated at Marlborough; married, 1986, Colette O.M. Drummond (b. 1961) and has issue two sons;
(2) Sarah Caroline Georgiana Hill (b. 1957), born 16 December 1957;
(3) Karen Jane Amanda Hill (b. 1960), born 7 May 1960;
(4) Gavin Alexander Rowland Hill (b. 1965), born 7 April 1965.
He inherited Enagh from his maternal grandmother in 1951.
He died 31 July 1982.

Sources

Burke's Irish Family Records, 1976; W.R.E. Alexander, Memorials of the Earls of Stirling and of the House of Alexander, vol. 2, 1877, pp. 135-37; Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster, 1979, p. 168; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 2nd edn., 1988, p. 272; http://www.dia.ie/works/view/9011.


Location of archives


No significant archive is known to survive.


Coat of arms


Per pale argent and sable a chevron, and in base a crescent counterchanged, on a canton azure a harp or, stringed of the first.


Revision & Acknowledgements


This account was first published on 29th Septembner 2013 and last updated 20th November 2014. I am grateful to Robert Bigger and Stephen Scarth for additional information and corrections.

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