Wednesday, 16 October 2013

(81) Alexander of Milford House

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Alexander (d. 1641) who inherited lands at Eridy (Donegal) from his father [see post on the Alexanders of Enagh and Caw House], was the father of Capt. Andrew Alexander (fl. 1689) of Ballyclose, Newtownlimavady (Derry), who was one of those attainted for treason by the Irish Parliament at the behest of King James II in 1689.  He married twice and had a single son by each marriage.  The elder, Jacob Alexander, was the ancestor of the Alexanders of Ahilly; the younger, John Alexander  I (d. 1747), inherited the family property at Ballyclose, and had in turn three sons: John II (1689-1766), from whom the Alexanders of Milford House descend; Nathaniel (1689-1761), ancestor of the Earls of Caledon (q.v.); and William (d. 1778), ancestor of the Cable-Alexander baronets.

John Alexander II (1689-1766) had a son, John Alexander III (1736-1821) who lived at a house called Ardmoulin in Belfast (Down) adjacent to a flour mill which he also owned.  His son, John Alexander IV (1764-1843) built a large flour mill (Milford Mill) at Ballygowan beside the River Barrow near Carlow in 1790, and sometime afterwards, the nearby Milford House.  Although they built up an estate of around 2,000 acres, they remained active millowners and entrepreneurs over the generations.  

An early photograph of the picturesque setting of Milford Mill

In the mid 19th century Milford Mills was the largest flour mill in Ireland and despite the abolition of the Corn Laws in 1846 which damaged the economics of the enterprise, and a major fire in 1862 which burned out one of the main buildings of the mill, the site remained a focus of industrial employment into the 20th century.  Part of the site was still in use as a tannery when a further major fire took place in 1965.  Today only one of the three main mill buildings survives, a crenellated shell beside the river.

A section of the 1st edition Ordnance Survey of Ireland map showing the relative location of the house and mills

John Alexander IV had several sons who joined him in the mill business, but his eldest son, John Alexander V (1802-85) inherited Milford House and became MP for Carlow Borough 1853-59.  His son, Major John Alexander VI (1850-1944), was an officer in the 1st Dragoon Guards, and installed one of the earliest hydroelectric dynamos at Milford Mills, which supplied the town of Carlow with electricity in the 1890s.  His son, Major John Alexander VII (1898-1961) was the father of the present owner, John Alexander VIII (b. 1927), who continues to live at Milford House.

Milford House, Carlow

A 19th century watercolour of Milford House. Image: Major Calloway

A dignified five by two bay, two-storey house of c. 1820, with a granite Ionic portico and single-storey wing to left side.  The garden side has a four-bay front.  The parapeted flat roof dates from c.1955 when the house was partly remodelled internally, but the interior preserves some original joinery and plasterwork, as well as family furniture and pictures.  There are some replacement chimneypieces of c. 1955.
Milford House before the remodelling of 1955.

Descent: John Alexander (1764-1843); to son, John Alexander (1802-85); to son, John Alexander (1850-1944); to son, John Alexander (1898-1961); to son, John Alexander (b. 1927).

The Alexanders of Milford


Alexander, John (d. 1747), of Gunsland.  Only son of Capt. Alexander Alexander (b. c.1640) and his second wife.  He married Anne, daughter of John White of Cady Hill (Derry) and had issue:
(1) John Alexander (1689-1766) (q.v.);
(2) Nathaniel Alexander (1689-1761), alderman of Londonderry; married 
Elizabeth, second daughter of William McClintock of Dunmore (Donegal) and had issue five sons and six daughters; from whom descended the Alexanders, Earls of Caledon;
(3) William Alexander (d. 1778); married Mary Porter of Vicardale (Monaghan) and had issue; ancestor of the Cable-Alexander baronets of Dublin (who will be treated in a future post);
(4) Martha Alexander; married Alexander Kellie.
He inherited his father's estates in Donegal and Derry and in 1717 bought the Gunsland estate in Donegal.
He died 12 March 1747.

Alexander, John (1689-1766) of Ballyclose, Newtownlimavady (Derry).  Eldest son of John Alexander (d. 1747) and his wife Anne, daughter of John White of Cady Hill (Derry), born 1689.  He married Sarah, daughter of Alexander MacCauley of Co. Antrim and had issue including:
(1) John Alexander (1736-1821) (q.v.).
He died in 1766.

Alexander, John (1736-1821) of Ardmoulin (Down).  Eldest son of John Alexander (1689-1766) and his wife Sarah, daughter of Alexander MacCauley of Co. Antrim, born 26 January 1736. Flour mill owner in Belfast. He married, 29 May 1760, Anne, daughter of George Portis, and had issue:
(1) John Alexander (1764-1843) (q.v.).
He died 23 December 1821, aged 85.

Alexander, John (1764-1843) of Milford House.  Only son of John Alexander (1736-1821) and his wife Anne, daughter of George Portis, born 27 February 1764.  Flour mill owner at Milford (Carlow).  He married, 8 September 1801, Christian (d. 1864), daughter of Lorenzo Nickson Izod of Wilton and Chapelizod, and had issue:
(1) John Alexander (1802-85) (q.v.);
(2) Lorenzo William Alexander (1810-67) of Straw Hill (Carlow), born 22 October 1810; married, 25 June 1857, Harriet, daughter of Col. Henry Bruen MP of Oak Park (Carlow) and had issue two sons (one of whom became a coffee planter in Kenya and died there) and one daughter; died 21 September 1867;
(3) George Alexander (1814-93) of Erindale (Carlow), born 17 February 1814; educated at Middle Temple, London; barrister; JP for Co. Carlow; married, 28 February 1861, Susan Henn (d. 1895), daughter of Stephen Collins QC of Dublin and had issue four sons and one daughter; 
(4) James Alexander (1818-92), born 8 March 1818; married, 12 July 1855, Lucia Margaret (d. 1893), daughter of Sir William St. Lawrence Clarke-Travers, 2nd bt., but died without issue; 
(5) Rev. Charles Leslie Alexander (1820-88), born 28 April 1820; rector of Stanton-by-Bridge (Derbys), married, 26 January 1882, Hon. Emily Caroline Fremantle (d. 1929), daughter of 1st Baron Cottesloe but died without issue; died 13 May 1888;
(6) General Henry Alexander (b. 1822); born 17 August 1822;
(7) Anne Alexander (d. 1862), married, 6 October 1828, John Cranstoun; died without issue, 10 April 1862;
(8) Lucia Alexander (d. 1877); died 7 October 1877;
(9) Fanny Alexander (d. 1894), married, 19 October 1847, Rev. Charles Henry Travers (d. 1884), rector of Englefield (Berks), son of Capt. Thomas Otho Travers of Leemount (Cork) but died without issue, 20 May 1894.
He purchased the Milford estate of about 2000 acres and built Milford Mills, 1790 and Milford House, c.1820.
He died 16 August 1843, aged 79.  His widow died in 1864.

Alexander, John (1802-85) of Milford House. Eldest son of John Alexander (1764-1843) and his wife Christian, daughter of Lorenzo Nickson Izod of Wilton and Chapelizod, born 26 July 1802.  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (MA).  Flour mill owner at Milford (Carlow); MP for Carlow Borough 1853-59; High Sheriff of Carlow, 1824.  He married, 18 October 1848, Esther, daughter of Matthew Brinckley of Parsonstown (Meath) and had issue:
(1) John Alexander (1850-1944) (q.v.);
(2) William Cranstoun Alexander (1851-1934), born 5 November 1851; married, 8 February 1879, his cousin, Edith Caroline, daughter of Col. William Henry Longfield of Ashgrove (Cork); died 26 November 1934;
(3) Lorenzo Alexander (1853-1942), born 28 August 1853; lived at New Denver and later Victoria, British Columbia (Canada); married, 28 December 1899, Charlotte Catherine Louisa, daughter of Arthur John Campbell Gwatkin and had issue one son and one daughter; died 27 June 1942;
(4) Brig-Gen. Charles Henry Alexander RA (1856-1946), born 2 June 1856; officer in Royal Artillery; married, 17 March 1891, Isabel Annie, daughter of Gen. Sir Campbell Claye Ross KCB of Lothian House, Ryde (IoW) and had issue one son; 
(5) George Alexander (1858-1930), born 20 June 1858; educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Middle Temple, London (admitted 1880) and Kings Inn, Dublin; barrister; he acquired property in Alberta and British Columbia (Canada), installed the first water system in Calgary in 1891 and had other enterprises, which he visited in summer; before his death he disposed of most of his Canadian assets; married, 2 January 1891, Louisa (d. 1941) daughter of Kennett Bayley of Inchicove (Dublin) and had issue one daughter and adopted another daughter, Anne; died 2 November 1930;
(6) Harriet Lucia Alexander, married, 8 July 1875, Lt-Col. Edward George Moore Donnithorne DL JP (d. 1906) of Colne Lodge, Twickenham (Middx) and had issue.
He inherited the Milford House estate from his father in 1843.
He died in October 1885, aged 83.

Alexander, Maj. John (1850-1944) of Milford House.  Eldest son of John Alexander (1802-85) and his wife Esther, daughter of Matthew Brinckley of Parsonstown (Meath), born 23 September 1850.  Major, 1st Dragoon Guards; JP; High Sheriff of Carlow, 1891.  He married, 22 April 1896, Ethel (d. 1916), daughter of Kennett Bayley of Sevenoaks (Kent) and Inchicove (Dublin) and had issue:
(1) Jane Alexander (b. 1897), married Archibald Hamilton Busteed Moeran (1901-34) and had issue one son;
(2) John Alexander (1898-1961) (q.v.);
(3) Kennett Alexander (b. 1900) of Fonthill House, Raheendoran (Carlow); born 23 March 1900
(4) William Alexander (1901-60), born 13 May 1901; married, October 1936, Josephine Henderson and had issue one daughter; died 22 May 1960, aged 59;
(5) George Alexander (b. 1907), educated at Uppingham School; racehorse breeder and trainer in Kenya, married, 1947, Anne [surname unknown] (d. 1955) and had issue one daughter; 
He inherited the Milford House estate from his father in 1885.
He died 17 June 1944, aged 93.

Alexander, Maj. John (1898-1961) of Milford House.  Eldest son of John Alexander (1850-1944) and his wife Ethel, daughter of Kennett Bayley of Sevenoaks (Kent) and Inchicove (Dublin), born 9 July 1898.  Major in the Army.  He married, 1926, Olive Mary, daughter of Maj. William Charles Hall, and had issue:
(1) John Alexander (b. 1927), now of Milford House; born 19 September 1927; married Chloe Verschoyle-Greene, daughter of Walter Islay Hamilton Verschoyle-Campbell of Tassagart, Saggart (Dublin) and former wife of John Denis Greene;
(2) Brian Alexander of Brannockstown, Naas (Kildare), m. Sheila Lewis.
He inherited the Milford House estate from his father in 1944.
He died 15 October 1961, aged 63.

Sources

Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976; BBC, Great British Railway Journeys goes to Ireland, episode broadcast 6 February 2013; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 1988.


Location of archives

Believed to be in the possession of the family.


Coat of arms

None recorded.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 16 October 2013 and updated 13 September 2016. I am grateful to Bill Yeo for information about the family's Canadian connections.

5 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I have a(paternal) great grandfather who was a servant in the house (1901 census) having been invalided out of the Inniskilling Fusiliers after the Boer War

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Anonymous. I completed my PhD on the Alexanders of Milford last year. Would be fascinated to hear any details about your grandfather's days in Milford. Am currently preparing the manuscript for publication.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Dr Shay Kinsella
    Shaycarlow@yahoo.ie

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Anonymous.
    I finished my PhD on the Alexanders of Milford last year. Currently preparing the manuscript for publication. Would be fascinated to learn any details you have about your grandfather's days at Milford.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Dr Shay Kinsella
    Shaycarlow@yahoo.ie

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mr W.B. Yeo writes:
    I have been collecting information about the activities here in Canada of George Alexander (1858-1930) and his cousin Harry. George acquired property in Alberta and British Columbia, installed the first water system in Calgary in 1891 and had other enterprises. His daughter Nelly died at Kaslo, British Columbia, and is buried in the cemetery there.
    George's older brother, Lorenzo, lived for a time in New Denver, BC, close to Kaslo, before moving to Victoria.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Would be fascinated to learn more of what Mr Yeo has discovered about George's investments and time in Calgary.
    Thanks so much,
    Shay Kinsella
    shaycarlow@yahoo.ie

    ReplyDelete

Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.