|Arthur of Glanomera|
What is more certain is that the family were settled at Limerick in the late medieval and early modern period, and they supplied no less than 48 mayors of that city between 1340 and the mid 17th century. Three members of the family served as MP for Limerick in the Irish Parliament in 1550, 1585 and 1591, and the family were also active in the church: Thomas Arthur being appointed Bishop of Limerick in 1470 and Geoffrey Arthur (d. 1519), being Treasurer of the cathedral. After the Reformation, however, the Arthurs remained Catholics, and they suffered as anti-Catholic discrimination intensified in the 17th century. Dr. Thomas Arthur, a physician who had such a strong reputation that despite his religion he was appointed physician to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in the 1630s, felt obliged in the changed climate of the 1640s to return to Limerick and keep a lower profile. After Limerick was captured by the Cromwellian soldiery in 1651 his property was confiscated, although he quickly recovered it. Other members of the family were apparently less fortunate, and their lands in Co. Limerick were confiscated during the Commonwealth to allow the settlement of Cromwellian soldiers. As so-called 'innocent Papists' (who did not take up arms against Cromwell) they are said to have been compensated with lands of lesser quality in county Clare, but it is not clear where these stood.
The family's association with the Ballyquin (alias Glenomera or Glanomera) estate seems to begin in 1699 when Thomas Arthur look a lease of nearly 10,000 acres from the Earl of Inchiquin and Sir Donagh O'Brien. The lease was in the joint names of himself and a Protestant, Robert Hannan, to get around the prohibition on Catholics renting or buying estates, although in 1707, after Hannan died, he seems to have had no difficulty in renewing the lease in his sole name. The original lease required him to build a new house on the property within nine years, and what seems to be the only surviving photograph of Ballyquin/Glenomera shows what seems to be an early 18th century building. At some point, perhaps in the late 18th century, what had begun as a leasehold interest was converted into a freehold.
Thomas Arthur had no sons, so at his death the estate passed to his daughter Margaret and her husband, Piers Arthur (d. 1752) of Limerick, who was presumably also a cousin some degree, and from them it descended in turn to their son Thomas Arthur (d. 1755) and grandson Thomas Arthur (c.1740-1803). The latter, who was perhaps responsible for the late 18th century addition to the house, produced only two surviving children. His daughter married Richard Henn (d. 1828) of the neighbouring Paradise (or Paradise Hill) estate, and when she died in 1830 without surviving issue, she bequeathed it to her brother, Thomas Arthur (1778-1845).
|Paradise House was altered in the 19th century and burned down in 1970.|
It will be discussed more fully in a future post on the Henn family.
In 1884 Thomas Smith Arthur died and the estate passed to his brother, the Rev. Lucius Arthur (1810-87), who was however comfortably ensconced in a house at Matlock and did not relocate to Ireland. His son, Thomas Lucius Jervis Arthur (1847-88) probably moved in, but he died soon after his father, leaving as joint heirs to Glenomera his two young sons, Charles William Augustus Arthur (1882-c.1937) and Desmond Phelps Pery Lucius Studdert Arthur (1884-1913). His widow brought the family up at Glenomera until 1894, when she married again, and thereafter they lived with her second husband, William Paumier Ball, in the elegant surroundings of 71 Merrion Square, Dublin (the house which later became the home of Sybil Connolly and her couture studio). However, both Bell and his wife died in 1902, and the two young men, who already had the reputation of being somewhat wild and fearless, were left with plenty of money but no parental guidance to make their way in the world. Although they seem not to have been close, both men went into the army, but Desmond developed a passion for flying and in 1912 he was seconded to the 2nd squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. Sadly, he was killed the following year when one wing of his plane suddenly collapsed during a training flight at over 2,000 feet. A subsequent inquiry showed that accidental damage to the plane had been covered up by a mechanic rather than repaired, and although there were suspicions of foul play, no one was ever charged with an offence; Desmond's ghost is said to have haunted Montrose airfield for half a century. When Desmond's will was published there was a further sensation, as he proved to have left most of his estate to the 14-year old daughter of an old family friend, with whom he was said to have formed a 'romantic attachment'. In order to meet this bequest, the Glenomera estate, where the house had burned down in 1905, had to be sold.
Capt. Charles William Augustus Arthur (1882-c.1937) meanwhile, had married in 1904, and after leaving the army he took his wife to India in 1909. At this time he was comparatively well-off, with an income of around £7,000 a year, but he seems to have overspent and dissipated his fortune, and for the rest of his life he was always looking for ways of making money. After service in the First World War he went back to India and became aide de camp to Prince Hari Singh, nephew and heir apparent of the Maharajah of Kashmir, but he quickly became involved in a notorious fraud in which a group of conspirators attempted to obtain £300,000 from the Prince. Although not initially implicated in the conspiracy, the case led to his divorce in 1921, and in 1924 he was arrested, tried and briefly imprisoned in France for his role. He married again in 1930, and in the mid-1930s he again hit the headlines when he promoted a company seeking to recover pirate treasure from an island off the coast of Costa Rica, which may have been an investment scam, although there really was a somewhat farcical expedition to the island. Everybody except Capt. Arthur and his wife was left out of pocket, and the couple were last heard of in the West Indies in the late 1930s. Bankruptcy proceedings were commenced against them in London in 1939, but by then Capt. Arthur may already have been dead.
Glenomera House (alias Ballyquin House), Co. Clare
|Glenomera House in the late 19th century.|
Image: digitally restored from an original in Limerick City Museum. © Michael Kelly
The house was presumably built within a few years of the family taking on a lease of the Ballyquin estate in 1699, since a clause in the lease required them to build a substantial farmhouse within nine years.
|Glanomera House. Image: Veronica Rowe/Hugh W.L. Weir|
The only photographs I have been able to locate seem to show an early 18th century three-storey house with projecting wings, which may well represent this original building. The single-storey infill between the wings looks late 18th or early 19th century, and the tall single-storey range to the right could be later again. The house is said to have burned down in 1905 and was not rebuilt.
|Glenomera from the 1st edition 6" map.|
Descent: Earl of Inchiquin leased 1699 to Thomas Arthur (fl. 1707); to daughter, Margaret, wife of Piers Arthur (d. 1752); to son, Thomas Arthur (d. 1755); to son, Thomas Arthur (c.1740-1803); to son, Thomas Arthur (1778-1845); to son, Thomas Arthur (1806-84); to brother, Rev. Lucius Arthur (1810-87); to son, Thomas Lucius Jervis Arthur (1847-88); to sons, Charles William Augustus Arthur (1882-c.1937) and Desmond Phelps Pery Lucius Studdert Arthur (1884-1913); house burned 1905 and estate sold c.1914...
Arthur family of Glenomera
Arthur, Thomas (fl. 1699-1707) of Ballyquin. He married and had issue including:
(1) Margaret Arthur; married Piers Arthur (d. 1752) (q.v.).
Robert Hannan and Thomas Arthur leased 9,870 acres in Co. Clare from the Earl of Inchiquin and Sir Donagh O'Brien in 1699 and the lease was renewed in 1707 to Arthur alone following the death of Hannan. A condition of the lease was the building of a new house on the estate within nine years. At his death the estate passed to his daughter Margaret and her husband, Piers Arthur.
His date of death is unknown.
Arthur, Piers (d. 1752) of Limerick and Ballyquin. Merchant of Limerick. He married his kinswoman, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Arthur (fl. 1699-1707) of Ballyquin and had issue:
(1) Thomas Arthur (d. 1755) (q.v.);
(2) A daughter (d. 1763); died 17 March 1763.
He and his wife inherited the Ballyquin estate from his father-in-law.
He died in 1752; his will was proved at Limerick. His wife's date of death is unknown.
Arthur, Thomas (d. 1755) of Ballyquin. Son of Piers Arthur (d. 1752) of Ballyquin and his wife Margaret, daughter of Thomas Arthur (fl. 1699-1707) of Ballyquin. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Capt. John Butler and heiress of the Butlers of Kilmoyler (Tipperary), and had issue:
(1) Thomas Arthur (c.1740-1801) (q.v.);
(2) A daughter.
He inherited the Ballyquin estate from his father in 1752.
He died 23 December 1755. His widow married 2nd, 1760, Luke Wall (fl. 1781) of Springmount (Clare), which was ransacked and burned by a mob in 1780; her date of death is unknown.
Arthur, Thomas (c.1740-1801) of Ballyquin. Son of Thomas Arthur (fl. 1752-68) of Ballyquin and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Capt. John Butler, born about 1740. Probably the person of this name who was an Ensign in Kennedy's Regiment, 1756. JP for Co. Clare, 1766; Freeman of Ennis (Clare), 1773 and High Provost of Ennis, 1789. He married, 1 October or November 1766, Lucy (c.1729-1815), fourth daughter of Sir Edward O'Brien bt. of Dromoland and had issue, probably with others who died young:
(1) Mary Arthur (d. 1830); married, 28 August 1793, Richard Henn (c.1764-1828) of Paradise (Clare) but their three children all predeceased him, and Mary, who was his heir, bequeathed the Paradise estate to her brother; she lived latterly at Claines (Worcs) and died at Worcester, August 1830; her will was proved in the PCC, 30 November 1830;
(2) Thomas Arthur (1778-1845) (q.v.).
He inherited the Ballyquin estate from his father.
He died 15 April 1801. His widow died 28 April 1815, aged 86.
Arthur, Thomas (1778-1845) of Ballyquin/Glenomera. Only son of Thomas Arthuur (c.1740-1801) of Ballyquin and his wife Lucy, daughter of Sir Edward O'Brien, bt., of Dromoland (Clare), born 6 April 1778. Educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (matriculated 1795). High Provost of Ennis (Clare), 1809; DL for Co. Clare, 1837. "An excellent landlord, kind and indulgent to his tenants...truly charitable and humane, he kept a dispensary near [Glenomera] for the benefit of the poor people of the neighbourhood...His principles, as a politician, were very liberal, and he was a strenuous advocate and supporter of Catholic Emancipation." However, his relations with his children seem to have been more strained. He was responsible for committing his eldest son and heir to a lunatic asylum in the 1830s, and he cut out of the entail on his estate his second son, who lived abroad from 1833-36 'and he was not able to discover where he resided'. He married, 10 April 1803 at Dromoland, Harriet, second daughter and co-heiress of Willam Smith of Cahirmoyle (Limerick), and had issue, with three other daughters* who probably died young:
(1) Thomas Smith Arthur (1806-84) (q.v.);
(2) William Smith Arthur (1809-39), born 13 June 1809; lived on the Continent, 1833-36, and in 1837 was in dispute with his father about a document executed by his father and his elder brother which had the effect of excluding him from succession to the estate; married, 1838, Caroline Frances Sydney (who married 2nd, April 1843, William Wallace Harris, son of Hugh Harris of Ashfort (Armagh)), eldest daughter of Frederick Saintbury Parker of Saintbury (Dublin), but died without issue in Paris and was buried there, 12 March 1839;
(3) Rev. Lucius Arthur (1810-87) (q.v.);
(4) Charlotte Arthur (c.1811-61); died unmarried, 9 October 1861;
(5) Maria Arthur (c.1812-54); died unmarried at Leamington, 22 July 1854 aged 42;
(6) Anne Arthur (1813-85?); perhaps the person of this name who died at Limerick, Jul-Sep 1885;
(7) Edward Arthur (1817-53), born 7 January 1817 in Florence and baptised 17 February 1817; educated at Rugby and Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1835; BA 1839; MA 1840); called to bar, 1852; barrister-at-law; died unmarried and without issue at Bray (Wicklow), 6 August 1853;
(8) twin?, Florence Theodosia Arthur (c.1819-1866), born in Italy, 1819; living with her brother Lucius in 1851; died unmarried, 30 September 1866, aged 48, and was buried at Malvern Wells (Worcs);
(9) twin?, (Richard) Augustus Arthur (1819-1902), born in Florence (Italy), 27 August 1819; educated at Shrewsbury, Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1836; BA 1840; MA 1843) and Kings Inns, Dublin. JP for Co. Clare; appointed a Governor of the Limerick District Lunatic Asylum, 1848; lived at Glenomera in 1840s and 1850s and in contrast to his father had a reputation as an oppressive landlord who evicted several tenants in 1848; married, 13 August 1885, Augusta (b. c.1847), eldest daughter of Lt-Gen. George Dean-Pitt CB, Keeper of the Crown Jewels, and lived later in London and Rome, where he died, 29 March 1902 and was buried in the Campo Cestio Cemetery; will proved in Dublin, 4 August 1902 (effects £2,106);
(10) Canon Henry Arthur (1820-95), born in Paris, 12 November and baptised there, 26 November 1820; educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1838; BA 1842; MA 1845); Canon of Ferns Cathedral; married, 13 April 1847 at St Peter, Dublin, Ellen, second daughter of Henry Joy Tombe, but died without issue in Dublin, 30 March 1895; will proved 21 June 1895 (effects £5,114);
(11) Rev. Frederick Brian Boru Arthur (1822-70), born in Paris, 12 September 1822 and baptised there, 1 October 1822; educated at Rugby and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1841; BA 1846; MA 1851); ordained deacon, 1846 and priest, 1855; curate of Oddingley, 1851, and later St Mary Leeds and Langstaffe (Yorks), but remained unbeneficed; died unmarried at Brislington (Somerset), 19 January 1870; will proved 10 August 1870 (effects under £9,000);
(12) Julia Isobelle Adelaide Arthur (1826-53), born 21 November and baptised at Cheltenham, 28 December 1826; died unmarried at Thornhill, Bray (Wicklow), 3 October 1853;
(13) Augusta Catherine Arthur (c.1829-42); died at Torquay, 11 June 1842, aged 13.
He inherited the Ballyquin estate from his father in 1801, and changed the name to Glenomera. He also inherited the Paradise estate (Clare) through his sister in 1830. He lived on the Continent for much of the 1810s and 1820s, and thereafter at Cheltenham, before settling at Glanomera in the 1830s. After his death his widow lived at Paradise; their younger children sold it back to the Henn family in 1855 or 1863.
He died at Leamington (Warks) from an attack of paralysis, after two days' illness, 6 May 1845. His wife's date of death is unknown.
*One Internet source gives their names as Lucy, Harriet Grace, and perhaps Frances; one was born 8 March 1804.
Arthur, Thomas Smith (1806-84) of Glenomera. Eldest son of Thomas Arthur (1778-1845) and his wife Harriet, daughter of William Smith of Cahirmoyle (Limerick), born 10 September 1806. Educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford (matriculated 1827), but from 1826 onwards he began to suffer periods of mental illness. After spending one year at Oxford, he returned home but from 1831 he needed a 'keeper' to look after him. He fell out with his father over his mental state, and was eventually detained in Swift's Hospital, Dublin as a lunatic at his father's request. In 1837 he sought a writ of habeas corpus for his release from the hospital, but he seems to have remained confined for the rest of his life. In the 1860s and early 1870s John and Robert L. Brown acted as receivers for his estate, and his brother (Richard) Augustus Arthur seems to have occupied Glenomera. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Glenomera estate from his father in 1845. At his death it passed to his next surviving brother, Rev. Lucius Arthur.
He died 12 September 1884.
Arthur, Rev. Lucius (1810-87) of Glenomera. Third son of Thomas Arthur (1778-1845) and his wife Harriet, daughter of William Smith of Cahirmoyle (Limerick), born 31 July 1810. Educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1828; BA 1836; MA 1839). Ordained deacon, 1839 and priest, 1840; curate of Henley (Suffolk), 1841, Bishop Ryder Church, Birmingham, 1841, Donaghmore, Dromore (Down), 1846, Oddingley (Worcs), 1853-54, and Quarry Hill, Leeds (Yorks), 1854-61. A strong and outspoken churchman, apparently of too advanced a type for the north of Ireland; three parishioners at Donaghmore laid a complaint as to his teaching before the Bishop of Down & Connor, "who, however, showed it to be groundless". He married, 21 April 1840 at Kings Norton (Worcs), Caroline Elizabeth (1812-69), daughter and co-heiress of John Heycock Jervis of Moseley (then in Kings Norton (Worcs)) and had issue:
(1) Harriet Elizabeth Augusta Arthur (1841-1923), born Jan-Mar 1841 at Wilmington (Sussex); married, 26 April 1871, Richard Perceval Fry (d. 1892) of HM Indian Navy, but had no issue; died 6 August 1923; will proved 18 October 1923 (effects £623);
(2) Ellen Lucy Julia Arthur (b. 1842; fl. 1893), baptised 4 August 1842 at Henley (Suffolk); married, 2 February 1893 at St Luke, Paddington (Middx), George Stevenson of Birkdale (Lancs), son of William Stevenson, paper-maker, but had no issue;
(3) Maria Anne Florence Arthur (c.1843-1878), born about 1843; died unmarried, 31 July 1878, and was buried at Wirksworth (Derbys);
(4) Charlotte Katherine Susan (k/a Kate) Arthur (1845-1932), baptised at Perranarworthal (Cornwall), 5 June 1845; evidently a 'character'; she entered her occupation in the 1911 census as 'Trying to bear the burden for others' and 'Acting as mistress of my own house'; died unmarried at Tunbridge Wells, 11 December 1932;
(5) Thomas Lucius Jervis Arthur (1847-88) (q.v.);
(6) Edward Henry Frederick Arthur (1848-49); born Jul-Sep 1848; died in infancy, Oct-Dec 1849;
(7) Grace Caroline Frances Arthur (1849-1925), baptised at Oddingley, 11 November 1849; married, 6 November 1889 at Matlock (Derbys), Rev. Frederick James Johnston-Smith LLD (c.1852-1928) of London; died at South Acton, 19 November 1925; will proved 31 December 1925 (estate £648);
(8) Charles William Augustus Arthur (1851-82), born 20 April and baptised 27 April 1851; an officer in Derbyshire Rifle Volunteers (Ensign, 1869-70; Lt., 1870-71), Edinburgh Artillery Regiment of Militia (Lt., 1871-74), 84th Regt. of Foot (Lt., 1874-80) and 65th Regiment (Capt., 1880-82); died unmarried at Morar, Bengal (India), 9 March 1882.
He inherited the Glanomera estate from his elder brother in 1884, but lived at Tor House, Matlock (Derbys).
He died 4 January 1887 and was buried at Wirksworth (Derbys); his will was proved 31 March 1887 (effects £2,084). His wife died 1 April 1869 and was buried at Wirksworth.
Arthur, Thomas Lucius Jervis (1847-88) of Glenomera. Eldest son of Rev. Lucius Arthur of Glenomera and his wife Caroline Elizabeth, daughter of John Heycock Jervis of Moseley, Birmingham (Warks), born 30 June 1847. Lieutenant in Durham Fusiliers and Capt. in 6th Rifle Volunteers; JP for Co. Clare. He married, 28 April 1881, Constance Helen (c.1859-1902), daughter of William Steele Studdert of Clonboy (Clare), and had issue:
(1) Charles William Augustus Arthur (1882-c.1937) (q.v.);
(2) Desmond Phelps Pery Lucius Studdert Arthur (1884-1913) (q.v.).
He inherited the Glanomera estate from his father in 1887 but died the following year.
He died 19 February 1888; his will was proved in Dublin, 18 April 1888 (effects £2,848). His widow married 2nd, 6 October 1894 at St Cuthbert, Kensington (Middx), William Paumier Ball (c.1857-1902) of 71 Merrion Square, Dublin, barrister-at-law, son of Rt. Hon. John Thomas Ball, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and died 17 June 1902; her will was proved in Dublin, 20 October 1902 (estate £2,570); her second husband's will was proved 13 November 1902 (estate £21,081).
Arthur, Charles William Augustus (1882-c.1937). Elder son of Thomas Lucius Jervis Arthur (1847-88) and his wife Constance Helen, daughter of William Steele Studdert of Clonboy (Clare), born 24 September 1882. Capt. in City of Limerick Artillery and Royal Munster Fusiliers. After leaving the army, he emigrated to India with his first wife in 1909, when he was said to have an income of £7,000 a year. After the First World War, when he again held a temporary commission in the Artillery, he again went to India and was appointed as aide-de-camp to Prince Hari Singh, the nephew and heir presumptive of the Maharajah of Kashmir. While in that employment, he was involved in a notorious fraud case (known as the Robinson case or 'Mr A' case), but he was not charged with any offence at that time. He later spent time in the United States and France, and he was arrested in Paris in 1924 on charges of fraud relating to the 1919 case; extradition proceedings against him failed but he was tried and imprisoned in France (where the original offence had taken place) for 13 months; in 1926 he was dismissed from the army. In 1934 he promoted an expedition to recover reputed pirate treasure from an island off the coast of Costa Rica, which may have been developed more as an investment scam than with any serious expectations of success, although the reports of buried treasure on the island were legion and many other adventurers had tried and failed to locate it. Bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against him in 1939, when he was believed still to be living in the Caribbean, but he was probably already dead by then. He married 1st, 1904 (div. 1921), Violet Rose (1881-1927), third daughter of John Joseph Roche-Kelly of Rockstown Castle and Islandmore (Limerick), and 2nd, 1930, Alice M.S. Aitken alias Rodwell, and had issue:
(1.1) Charles Augustus Arthur (b. & d. 1905), born 11 July and died 5 August 1905;
(1.2) Lucius Charles Algernon Arthur (1913-92), born in Dublin, 6 April 1913; was working for British Sugar Corporation and living at Tostock (Suffolk) in 1938 when he obtained a pilot's licence; married, 1940, Phyllis B. Lewis and had issue three sons; died Apr-Jun 1992, aged 79.
He and his younger brother jointly inherited the Glanomera estate from their father in 1888 and he came of age in 1903. The house was destroyed by fire in 1905. After his brother's death in 1913 the estate was sold to pay his brother's legacies.
He is believed to have died in the Barbados or Trinidad in about 1937.
Arthur, Desmond Phelps Pery Lucius Studdert (1884-1913). Second son of Thomas Lucius Jervis Arthur (1847-88) and his wife Constance Helen, daughter of William Steele Studdert of Clonboy (Clare), born 31 March 1884. A pioneer Irish aviator. He served as a Lt. in 5th Battn, Royal Munster Fusiliers and was seconded to 2nd Squadron, Royal Flying Corps in 1912, but was accidentally killed during a training flight, which was caused by the collapse of one wing of his plane due to previous damage having been covered up rather than repaired; the incident was subject to an official War Office inquiry. He was unmarried and without issue.
He and his elder brother jointly inherited the Glenomera estate from their father in 1888, and he came of age in 1905, the year the house was destroyed by fire.
He was killed 27 May 1913. His will was proved at Dublin, 9 June 1913 (estate £9,569) and he bequeathed the majority of his estate to Winsome Constance Ropner of West Hartlepool (Durham), a 14-year old girl with whom he had formed a romantic attachment after knowing her family for many years. The will was challenged by his brother but upheld in 1914, and in order to fulfill the bequest, the Glenomera estate had to be sold.
Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1912, p. 15; Dublin Evening Mail, 11 July 1855, p.3; H.W.L. Weir, Houses of Clare, 1986, p. 137; http://thearthurfamilyoflimerickandclare.com/chapter13thearthursofglanomera.html
Location of archives
No significant archive is known to survive.
Coat of arms
The arms of this family are recorded in Burke's General Armory as "Gules, a chevron argent between three clarions or", but the arms depicted above are a variation on this which I understand was actually used by this branch of the family.
Can you help?
Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
- Can anyone provide more photographs of Glenomera House or further information about its architectural development?
- Is anyone able to throw more light on the 18th century generations of the Arthur family at Ballyquin/Glenomera?
- Can anyone provide more information about the final years and death of Charles William Augustus Arthur (1882-c.1937)?
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 21st October 2015 and was updated 23rd October, 26th November, 4th December and 13th December 2015. I am grateful to Leland Montgomery for raising a number of queries about the family, to Michael Kelly for additional information, and to Hugh Weir for supplying an additional image.