Monday, 31 October 2016

(237) Atkinson of Crow Hill

Joseph Atkinson (1760-1836) was the fifth son of a linen draper in Co. Armagh, who in 1791 married Sarah Hoope, the heiress of the Crow Hill estate near Loughgall. Joseph became a magistrate for Co. Armagh and as a result played a leading role in the so-called 'Battle of the Diamond' in 1795. He and his wife lived in the old Hoope family house at Crow Hill until 1824, when it was pulled down and a new house was built to the design of an architect called Brownlee or Brownlees. It seems possible that the initiative came from their son and heir, Thomas Atkinson (1793-1842), who was recently married and also lived at Crow Hill, since a house of almost identical design was erected in 1825-30 for a relative of his wife at Glenaul Park (alias Mullyloughan), Eglish (Armagh), presumably by the same architect.

Thomas left two sons: his heir, Joseph Atkinson (1822-1903) and a second son, James Hope Atkinson (1825-65), who first joined the army and then married the daughter of an English merchant in Turkey, before joining the growing Irish diaspora who sought a new life overseas; in his case, in New Zealand. Thomas died at the early age of 49 and Joseph therefore had to take responsibility for the estate as a very young man. He seems to have grown quickly into the role, helping to promote railway building in northern Ireland in the 1840s, and taking on the public offices expected of a landowner at the time. He acted as Foreman of the Co. Armagh Grand Jury for nearly fifty years and when it was replaced by Armagh County Council in 1899 he was unanimously elected Chairman of the new body for its first year.

Joseph and his wife Judith produced four sons and one daughter. The eldest son and heir, Joseph Atkinson (1845-1916) spent four years in the army before marrying and settling down on the estate. His next brother, James Johnston Atkinson (1847-1905) went to Trinity College, Dublin and there was perhaps thought of him joining the church, but this never happened and he lived at home until he died, unmarried, in 1905. The third son, Robert Richard Atkinson (1855-1932) leased the neighbouring estate of Summer Island and farmed there for many years, before retiring to Tunbridge Wells in Kent in the 1920s. The youngest boy, the imaginatively named Ynyr Henry Atkinson (1861-1943), emigrated to America in 1882, married an Irish-Canadian girl in Iowa four years later, and ended his days living with his son on a farm near Seattle in Washington (USA).

Joseph Atkinson (1845-1916) worked in harness with his father for many years, both on the estate and in public office, before he came into his inheritance in 1903. By his first wife he had three sons: two born in the 1870s and one in the 1890s; the youngest boy died in the First World War. The second son joined the merchant navy and had a career at sea before marrying the daughter of a local landowner and settling down to a farming life after 1913. After his first wife died in 1897 Joseph married again, and produced a further son - who emigrated to Southern Rhodesia - and a daughter. Joseph's heir was his eldest boy, Joseph Jervis Atkinson (1873-1951) who trained as an electrical engineer, fought with the Yeomanry in the Boer War, and then spent a decade working in India, where he married in 1907; he and his wife had two daughters after they returned to Britain in 1911. He managed the Crow Hill estate until his death in 1951, but by then his two daughters were married and living in England, and his widow sold the house to the father of the present owner and moved to Co. Down. 

Crow Hill, Loughgall, Co. Armagh

Crow Hill: the house of 1824-26.

A large and dignified L-shaped house of two storeys above a semi-basement, built in 1824-26 for Joseph Atkinson. The house has adjoining five and three-bay fronts of white-painted roughcast, with grey painted quoins to the angles and the pedimented one-bay breakfronts. The main entrance is approached by a broad flight of steps and has a wide tripartite doorcase. The original fanlight has sadly disappeared and its replacement is not worthy of the house, but there are photographs of the original design and it could be restored. Otherwise, the windows have their original Georgian sashes, which is nice to see in the land of uncontrolled uPVC. There is a hipped roof with slightly overhanging eaves but no cornice. 

Crow Hill, entrance front, with the original fanlight, from a photograph published in 1909.

Crow Hill: the side elevation from a photograph published in 1909.
According to a family account book 'April 10th 1824 the old house at Crow hill was commenced to be taken down and on May 10 the first stone was laid [of the new house]'. The same note identifies the architect as one 'Brownlee', who is probably to be identified with the H. Brownlees who worked at Ardress House nearby at much the same time; the clerk of works was Christy Nugent. Inside the main rooms are tall, airy and well-proportioned, with high quality mantelpieces, staircase, plasterwork and woodwork. There were originally two gate lodges contemporary with the house, but both have now been demolished.

Descent: Thomas Hoope (d. 1785); to daughter Sarah (d. 1819), later wife of Joseph Atkinson (1760-1836); to son, Capt. Thomas Atkinson (1793-1842); to son, Joseph Atkinson (1822-1903); to son, Joseph Atkinson (1845-1916); to son, Joseph Jervais Atkinson (1873-1951); sold in 1952 after his death.

Atkinson family of Crow Hill

Atkinson, Joseph (1760-1836). Fifth son of Robert Atkinson (1726-1806) of Money (Co. Armagh), linen draper, and his wife Mary, daughter of William Delap of Grange (Co. Tyrone), born 23 January 1760. JP for Co. Armagh. "A gentleman remarkable for his personal strength and courage", he was involved in the affray between Protestants and Catholics at The Diamond (Co. Armagh) in the summer of 1795 which led the following year to the foundation of the Orange Order, of which he was a founder member. He married, 1791 (licence 21 June), Sarah (d. 1819), daughter of Thomas Hoope of Crowhill, and had issue, including:
(1) Thomas Atkinson (1793-1842) (q.v.);
(2) Louisa Atkinson (c.1799-1831); died unmarried, 9 March 1831;
(3) Frances Maria Atkinson (c.1802-73); married, 6 February 1837, Rev. Henry Stewart (c.1796-1872) of Moy and had issue two sons; died 30 August 1873.
He acquired Crow Hill through his marriage and rebuilt the house in 1824.
He died 6 May 1836. His wife died 18 January 1819.

Atkinson, Capt. Thomas (1793-1842). Son of Joseph Atkinson (1760-1836) and his wife Sarah, daughter of Thomas Hoope of Crowhill, born 18 February 1793. Captain in the Armagh militia; High Sheriff of Co. Armagh, 1825. Treasurer of the Orange Order in Co. Armagh, 1835. He married, 13 March 1819 at Knappagh (Armagh), Elizabeth (1798-1873), fourth daughter of James Johnston of Knappagh, and had issue:
(1) Martha Atkinson (1820-31), born 20 November 1820; died young, 19 November 1831;
(2) Joseph Atkinson (1822-1903) (q.v.);
(3) Capt. James Hope Atkinson (1825-65), born 1825; Capt. in 72nd Highlanders; married, 28 April 1856, Elfrida Abbott of Smyrna (Turkey) and reputedly had issue two sons and two daughters; died 3 April 1865 and was buried at Barbadoes St. Cemetery, Christchurch, Canterbury (New Zealand).
He inherited Crowhill from his father in 1836.
He died 11 December 1842. His widow died 13 March 1873; administration of her goods was granted in Dublin, 24 December 1873 (effects under £2,000).

Atkinson, Joseph (1822-1903). Elder son of Capt. Thomas Atkinson (1793-1842) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of James Johnston of Knappagh (Armagh), born 5 October 1822. JP (from 1847) and DL for Co. Armagh; High Sheriff of Co. Armagh, 1855; Foreman of the Grand Jury for almost fifty years; first Chairman of Armagh County Council, 1899-1900. As a young man in the 1840s he was involved in the promotion of railways in northern Ireland. He married, 11 April 1844, Judith Charlotte (1821-1906), daughter of Richard Barnsley, and had issue:
(1) Joseph Atkinson (1845-1916) (q.v.);
(2) James Johnston Atkinson (1847-1905), born August 1847; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (BA); died unmarried, 2 January 1905; will proved 24 February 1905 (estate £3,187);
(3) Annie Johnston Atkinson (1851-1923), born May 1851; married, 11 April 1872 at Lurgan (Armagh), Richard James Harden DL (1846-1918) of Harrybrook (Armagh) and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 31 July 1923;
(4) Robert Richard Atkinson (1855-1932), born 17 August 1855; JP;  leased Summer Island, Loughgall; married 1st, 31 July 1902, Mary Frances Josephine (1867-1928), only daughter of Henry J. Nicholson JP of Crannagael (Armagh) and had issue two sons and one daughter; married 2nd, Oct-Dec 1930, Florence Mabel (1889-1938), apparently the daughter of James A. Clift, commercial traveller (although she later claimed her father had been a clergyman and rector of Churchill (Worcs)), and widow of Rev. Ernest John Whittall (1870-1925); died in Tunbridge Wells (Kent), 2 January 1932; will proved 27 February 1932 (estate in England £11,648) and sealed in Belfast, 19 April 1932 (effects in Northern Ireland £99);
(5) Ynyr Henry Atkinson (1861-1943), born 4 April 1861; emigrated to USA, 1882; married, 1886 in Iowa (USA), Rose A. (1863-1929), daughter of Edward McGolderick and had issue one son and one daughter; died in Seattle, Washington (USA), 24 January 1943.
He inherited Crowhill from his father in 1842 and came of age the following year.
He died 10 October 1903; his will was proved at Dublin, 23 December 1903 (estate £14,414). His widow died 4 August 1906; her will was proved 8 January 1907 (estate £922).

Atkinson, Joseph (1845-1916). Eldest son of Joseph Atkinson (1822-1903) and his wife Judith Charlotte, daughter of Richard Barnsley, born 4 July 1845. An officer in the 67th Regiment, 1867-71 (Ensign, 1867; Lt., 1869); JP for Co. Armagh; Secretary to Armagh County Council, 1899-1903. He married 1st, 18 April 1871 at Christ Church, Kensington (Middx), Annie Edith (1851-97), daughter of John Jervis Broadwood of Buchan Hill (Sussex) and 2nd, 2 June 1898, Kathleen Mary (d. 1941), fourth daughter of Henry Blake Mahon of Belleville (Galway), and had issue:
(1.1) Joseph Jervis Atkinson (1873-1951) (q.v.);
(1.2) Walter Hope Johnston Atkinson (b. 1875) of Rush Hall, Limavady (Derry), born 17 March 1875; a seaman in the merchant navy (second mate, 1896; first mate, 1899); married, September 1913 at Christ Church, Limavady, Elizabeth Mary (d. 1964), daughter of B.H. Lane of Rush Hall; 
(1.3) John Broadwood Atkinson (1894-1915), born 1 October 1894; educated at Oundle; an officer in the 5th Battn, Royal Irish Fusiliers (2nd Lt., 1914; Capt., 1915); wounded at Gallipoli and died of enteric fever, 24 December 1915; buried at Chatby War Cemetery, Alexandria (Egypt);
(2.1) Judith Mary Atkinson (1900-69), born 6 February 1900; married, 16 April 1925, Surgeon-Capt. Arthur Campbell Vaughan Green (1889-1969), RN, and had issue two sons; died 6 August 1969; will proved 24 November 1969 (estate £46,971);
(2.2) Bryan St. John Mahon Atkinson (1903-62), born 24 June 1903; farmer and mine owner in Southern Rhodesia; married, 12 January 1939, Eleanor Margaret (1904-84), second daughter of William Henry Gregory Eyre, and had issue one son and two daughters; died in London, 31 August 1962; administration of goods with will annexed granted 15 February 1963 (effects in England, £520).
He inherited Crowhill from his father in 1903.
He died 17 September 1916; his will was proved in Armagh, 8 November 1916 (effects in Ireland, £18,825) and sealed in London, 28 November 1916 (estate in England, £13,675). His first wife died 27 May 1897; administration of her goods was granted in Dublin, 28 June 1898 (effects in Ireland, £661) and sealed in London, 30 August 1898 (effects in England, £397). His widow died 16 April 1941; her will was proved 1 September 1941 (effects in England, £3,565) and sealed in Belfast, 1 September 1946 (effects in Northern Ireland, £407).

Atkinson, Joseph Jervis (1873-1951). Eldest son of Joseph Atkinson (1845-1916) and his first wife, Annie Edith, daughter of John Jervis Broadwood of Buchan Hill (Sussex), born 25 April 1873. Educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School. He served in the South African War as a non-commissioned officer with the Imperial Yeomanry (Paget's Horse), 1899-1901 and worked in India and later in England as an electrical engineer, 1902-12. JP and DL for Co. Armagh. He married 1st, 5 November 1907 at Darjeeling, Bengal (India), Beatrix Pearl (1884-1927), only daughter of Edwin John Webb, and 2nd, 5 December 1928, Gladys Gwendoline (1886-1965), daughter of James Tucker of Whitchurch (Glam.), corn merchant, and widow of William Lewis Watkins Howard (1863-1920), and had issue:
(1.1) Nathalie Joan Atkinson (1911-2003), born 7 October 1911 and baptised at Pyrford (Surrey), 17 February 1912; married, 8 December 1943, Robert Gerald Darby (1914-2002) and had issue one son; died in Brighton, 12 November 2003 aged 92; will proved 2 January 2004;
(1.2) Cicely Edith Atkinson (1918-2016), born in Dublin, 20 February 1918; married, 22 March 1947, Geoffrey Ernest Spence (1921-2012), son of Ernest William Spence of Brighton (Sussex), and had issue one son; died in Brighton, 3 May 2016.
He inherited Crowhill from his father; it was sold in 1952 after his death. His widow lived subsequently at Roshnara, Annalong (Co. Down).
He died 12 May 1951; his will was proved in Belfast, 8 July 1952 (estate in Northern Ireland £7,654) and in London, 26 July 1952 (estate in England, £15,789). His first wife died 3 January 1927; her will was proved in Belfast, 3 May 1927 (effects £246). His widow died at Hayes (Kent), 5 June 1965; her will was proved 22 July 1965 (estate £13,512).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1958, p. 38-39; C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of County Armagh, 1999, pp. 170-71; K.V. Mulligan, The buildings of Ireland: South Ulster, 2013, pp. 81, 326.

Location of archives

Atkinson family of Crowhill: deeds and estate papers, 1778-1920 [Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, D1815]

Coat of arms

None recorded.

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 information about the ownership of Crow Hill since it was sold in 1952?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 31 October 2016 and was updated 17 and 24 March 2019. I am grateful to Muriel Rogers for additional information.


  1. Crowhill was acquired by a Mr Leslie Greenaway. Died maybe ten years ago. His son now lives there. Information provided by Mrs P Dougan


  2. I, Harriet Mary Rössger, née Spence, am the granddaughter of Cicely Edith Spence, daughter of her son Martin Broadwood Spence (19 March 1951 -), and live in Berlin. I have a son, Charles Broadwood Rössger, born on 27 August 2017.

  3. Addendum: I was born in Chichester on 10 June 1979


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.