|Alcock of Wilton|
Wilton Castle, Wexford
|Wilton Castle before the 1923 fire, from an old postcard.|
Nothing is known of the architecture of the house built at Clogh-na-Kayer or Kayer (as the estate was formerly known) in 1599 by Edward Butler. When William Alcock bought the estate in 1695 he built a new classical house in the William & Mary style, and a classical doorway with a segmental pediment, reused in the stable yard, is presumably the front door of this building. The house of the 1690s was enveloped in a much larger and more ornate building designed by Daniel Robertson of Kilkenny in 1836-38 as a spectacular castle built on a moated platform surrounded by parapet walls and sham fortifications. The house is heavily battlemented and machicolated, and consists of a three-storey main block and two-storey wing, all dominated by a tall square tower at one end (added after 1840) and a tall polygonal tower and turret at the other. The porch has an oriel window over it.
The Victorian house was burnt by arsonists during the Troubles in 1923, and unusually we have a contemporary account of the sad process in the Irish Times, 7 March 1923 (p.7):
'Wilton Castle, the residence of Captain P.C. Alcock, about three miles from Enniscorthy, was burned by armed men on Monday night. Nothing remains of the beautiful building but smoke-begrimed, roofless walls, broken windows, and a heap of smouldering debris. The Castle was occupied by a caretaker – Mr. James Stynes – the owner, with his wife and family, having gone to England about a year ago. Shortly after 9 o'clock on Monday night the caretaker was at the Steward's residence…when he was approached by armed men, who demanded the keys to the Castle. When he asked why they wanted the keys, one of the armed men said: "We have come to burn the place. We are sorry". The raiders told the caretaker that he could remove his personal belongings from the part of the Castle that he occupied, but they would not allow him to remove the furniture. Fearing that the Castle might be burned, however, Captain Alcock had removed the most valuable portion of his furniture some weeks ago, but a good many rooms were left furnished. When the caretaker had removed his property he was ordered back to the Steward's house. Soon the noise of breaking glass was heard. It appears that the armed men broke all the windows on the ground floor, and having sprinkled the floors with petrol, set them alight. They did not hurry over their work of destruction, and they did not leave the Castle until near 12 o'clock, when the building was enveloped in flames. About thirty men took part in the raid. After the raiders left, the caretaker and Steward, with what help they could procure, tried to extinguish the flames, but their effort was hopeless".
|Wilton Castle as a ruin|
|Wilton Castle: the main part of the house containing the family rooms remains to be restored.|
Image: © Celine Pollard. All rights reserved.
The Alcocks of Wilton Castle
Alcock, John (d. c.1690), of Downpatrick. He married and had issue:
(1) William Alcock (d. 1706) (q.v.);
(2) Rev. Alexander Alcock (1665-1747) (q.v.);
(3) Simon Alcock (d. 1727) of Dublin; m. August 1680, Rose Kelly, but died without issue; will proved 27 April 1727;
(4) Elizabeth Alcock, m. 1680 her kinsman, John Alcock of Kells (Meath);
(5) A daughter, m. Godfrey Williamson;
(6) A daughter, m. Robert Rowan.
His date of death is unrecorded.
Alcock, William (d. 1706), of Wilton Castle. Eldest son of John Alcock of Downpatrick. He married, August 1670, Jane (1650-1713), daughter of John Bamber of Bamber Hall (Lancs), sometime sheriff of Dublin, and had issue:
(1) Mary Alcock (b. 1671), m. Richard Leigh of Collinmore (Westmeath);
(2) Elizabeth Alcock, m. Robert Haley
(3) Alice Alcock (b. 1674), married, August 1695, Michael Moore of Drogheda and had issue four daughters;
(4) Richard Alcock (b. 1675), died without issue;
(5) Jane Alcock (b. 1677), m. Patrick Lattin of Morristown Lattin and had issue two sons and five daughters.
(6) William Alcock (1681-1739) (q.v.);
(7) John Alcock (b. 1682);
He purchased the the Kayer estate (Wexford) from the Thornhill family in 1695, renamed it Wilton Castle, and rebuilt the house.
He died and was buried at St. Audeon, Dublin, 25 February 1705/6.
Alcock, William (1681-1739), of Wilton Castle. Second (but eldest surviving?) son of William Alcock (d. 1706) and his wife Jane, daughter of John Bamber of Bamber Hall (Lancs), born 1681. He married, 13 May 1701, Henrietta, third daughter of Sir John Mason of Waterford and had issue:
(1) Col. William Alcock (1702-79) (q.v.);
(2) Henry Alcock of Nymph Hall, co. Waterford (1716-c.1780), m. 1748 Jane Sheppard (d. 1806) but died without issue;
(3) Elizabeth Alcock;
(4) Anna Maria Alcock;
(5) Alice Alcock;
(6) Susannah Alcock;
(7) Anne Alcock;
(8) Hannah Alcock;
(9) Mary Alcock.
He inherited Wilton Castle from his father in 1706.
He died in 1739 aged about 58 and his will was proved in 1739.
Alcock, Col. William (1702-79), of Wilton Castle. Elder son of William Alcock (1681-1739) and his wife Henrietta, daughter of Sir John Mason of Waterford, born 1681. Colonel of the Waterford Regiment of Militia. He married, 1 May 1734, Hon. Mary Loftus (d. 1779), eldest daughter of Nicholas Loftus, 1st Viscount Loftus and sister of 1st Earl of Ely, and had issue:
(1) Henry Alcock (1735-1811) (q.v.);
(2) Maj. William Alcock (d. c.1808) of Springfield House (Wexford); Major in Wexford Militia; married 1st, Miss Goldfrap and had issue two sons and two daughters, and married 2nd, Beata Turner and had further issue a further three daughters; died after 1808;
(3) Sir John Alcock, kt. (1739-99), mayor of Waterford; knighted, November 1785; married, 7 April 1777, Sarah (d. 1825), daughter of Rev. William Dennis of Coolroebeg, co. Waterford and had issue one son and four daughters; will proved 7 May 1799;
(4) Mary (or Ann) Alcock, m. James, son of Richard Kearney of Waterford and had issue a son;
(5) Henrietta Alcock (d. 1830), married, December 1785, John Burchall (d. 1822) of Waterford; at her death left bequests for the founding of Burchall's Asylum in Waterford.
He inherited Wilton Castle from his father in 1739.
He died 19 March 1779 and his will was proved 15 May 1779.
Alcock, Henry (1735-1811), of Wilton Castle. Eldest son of Col. William Alcock (1702-79) and his wife, the Hon. Mary, daughter of Nicholas Loftus, 1st Viscount Loftus, born 1735. An officer in 13th Light Dragoons; MP for Clonmines (Wexford), 1761-68, Waterford City, 1783-98, and Fethard (Wexford), 1798-99 in the Irish Parliament. He married 1st, 1 June 1764, Philippa Melosina (1743-65), daughter of Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Chenevix DD, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore; and married 2nd, 6 September 1766, Elizabeth Katherine (b. 1746), youngest daughter and co-heiress of Beverley Ussher MP and had issue:
(1.1) a son, b. & d. 14 May 1765;
(2.1) Ussher Alcock (b. 1767), died unmarried;
(2.4) Eliza Jane Alcock (b. 1773; fl. 1834); lived at Wilton Castle; probably died unmarried;
(2.5) Mary Anne Alcock (b. 1775);
(2.6) Henrietta Alcock (b. 1786), married, January 1804, James Wallace of Waterford;
(2.7) Harry Alcock (1792-1840) (q.v.).
He inherited Wilton Castle from his father in 1779.
He died in 1811, aged about 76.
Alcock, William Congreve (1771-1812), of Wilton Castle. Eldest surviving son of Henry Alcock (1735-1811) and his second wife, Elizabeth Katherine, daughter of Beverley Ussher MP, born 1771. MP for Waterford in Irish Parliament, 1798-1800 and in UK Parliament, 1801-03; fought a duel with John Colclough, his opponent, on the eve of poll in 1807 and killed him, but was elected the following day; however I have found no record of his sitting as an MP after 1803; tried and acquitted for murder, 1808; his mental health deteriorated and he died 'under restraint'. He was unmarried.
He inherited Wilton Castle from his father in 1811 but was then mentally incapacitated.
He died in 1812 (or by some accounts, 4 September 1813), aged about 41.
Alcock, Harry (1792-1840), of Wilton Castle. Youngest son of Henry Alcock (1735-1811) and his second wife, Elizabeth Katherine, daughter of Beverley Ussher MP, born 22 February 1792 [His date of birth is given as 1792 by all the sources and this agrees well enough with the date of his marriage and the births of his children; but it was 21 years after his next brother, which seems improbable if feasible. The correct date could be 1772, in which case he was 46 at marriage and 68 at death]. He married, 10 September 1818, Margaret Elinor (d. 1867), daughter and heiress of James Savage of Kilgibbon (Waterford) and had issue:
(1) Col. Harry Alcock (1821-93) (q.v.);
(2) Ussher William Alcock (1825-1914), born 7 April 1825; Lt. in 83rd Regiment and Bengal Lancers; married, 14 September 1857, Aphra Belinda (d. 1912), daughter of Richard Daxon of Co. Antrim and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 9 September 1914;
(3) Col. Philip Savage Alcock (1828-86) (q.v.);
(4) Rev. George Augustus Alcock (b. 1829), born 12 August 1829; married, 31 July 1860, Katherine, daughter of Rev. Robert Fishbourne, rector of Ferns (Wexford) and had issue one son;
(5) Elinor Catherine Alcock, died unmarried, 1 November 1908;
(6) Henrietta Alcock (d. 1892), married, 29 November 1853, William Russell Farmer (d. 1871) of Bloomfield (Wexford) and had issue; died 28 October 1892;
(7) Elizabeth Louisa Alcock (d. 1888), m. July/August 1856 Henry Eckersall, eldest son of Rev. Henry Wynne, rector of Ardcolm (Wexford) but died without issue, 16 May 1888;
(8) Margaret Charlotte Alcock, m. 1851 David Beatty (d. 1881) of Borodale (Wexford);
(9) Sarah Alcock (d. 1872); married, 23 March 1848, Sir Thomas John Fetherston (1824-69), 5th bt. of Ardagh (Longford) and had issue; died 28 January 1872.
He inherited the Wilton Castle estate from his elder brother in 1812 or 1813, and extensively remodelled the castle to the designs of Daniel Robertson, 1836-38.
He died 3 December 1840, aged 48.
Alcock, Col. Harry (1821-93), of Wilton Castle. Eldest son of Harry Alcock (1792-1840) and his wife Margaret Eleanor, daughter of James Savage of Kilgibbon (Waterford), born 27 July 1821. JP and DL for County Wexford; High Sheriff of Co. Wexford, 1846; Hon. Colonel of the Wexford Militia. He was unmarried.
He inherited the Wilton Castle estate from his father in 1840, and added the square tower to the house (this may have been work unfinished at his father's death). At his death he bequeathed the estate to his nephew, Philip Clayton Alcock.
He died 12 July 1893, aged 71.
Alcock, Col. Philip Savage (1828-86), of Park House (Wexford). Third son of Harry Alcock (1792-1840) and his wife Margaret Eleanor, daughter of James Savage of Kilgibbon (Waterford), born 24 May 1828. Captain in 95th Regiment; JP; Colonel of Wexford Militia. He married, 16 April 1857, Katherine Annette (d. 1909), second daughter and co-heiress of Richard Clayton Browne-Clayton of Adlington Hall (Lancs) and Carrigbyrne Lodge (Wexford) and had issue:
(1) Philip Clayton Alcock (1861-1949) (q.v.);
(2) Arthur Henry Alcock (1872-1940), born 14 June 1872; died unmarried, 14 June 1940;
(3) Katherine Annette Pauline Alcock (d. 1893), married, 24 April 1879, Rev. Thomas J. Yarde of Culver House, Chudleigh (Devon) and had issue two daughters;
(4) Clothilde Alcock (d. 1950); died unmarried, 20 November 1950;
(5) Edith Mary Alcock (d. 1919); died unmarried, 25 August 1919.
He died 20 May 1886, aged 57.
Alcock, Philip Clayton (1861-1949), of Wilton Castle. Eldest son of Col. Philip Savage Alcock (1828-86) of Park House (Wexford) and his wife Katherine Annette, daughter of Richard Clayton Browne-Clayton of Adlington Hall (Lancs) and Carrigbyrne Lodge (Wexford), born 26 June 1861. Educated at Uppingham and Sandhurst; JP (1898) and DL (1910) for Co. Wexford; High Sheriff of Co. Wexford, 1900; Captain in the Gloucestershire Regiment. He married, 2 December 1914, Kathleen (d. 1957) ARAM ARCO JP, daughter of Thomas Robinson of Dulwich (Kent) and had issue:
(1) Kathleen Annette Alcock (1916-2001), born 16 February 1916; died unmarried;
(2) Philippa Alcock (1917-75), born 1 July 1917; married, 15 August 1939, Gerald Edward Curtis of Cwm Bach Lodge, Glasbury-on-Wye (Herefs) and had issue one son and one daughter;
(3) Mary Clayton Alcock (1919-2006), born 2 June 1919; Major in ATS during WW2; married, 19 May 1948, Wray Bury Galloway (d. 1993) of Annestown (Waterford) and had issue two sons;
(4) Dr. Margaret Savage Alcock (1922-61), born 3 March 1922; served in WAAF in WW2; educated at London Hospital (MB BS DPH); married 1st., 22 July 1943 (div. 1947), Charles Francis Alwyn Compton Cavendish, and 2nd, 7 November 1953, Horace Field Parshall TD (c.1904-86) (who m.1, 1929 (div. 1942), Ursula Mary Bathurst (1900-75) and m.3, 1965, Phyllis Gore) of Southridge House, Streatley (Bucks) and had issue one son and two daughters; died 22 August 1961; will proved 7 December 1961 (estate £18,716).
He inherited the Wilton Castle (Wexford) estate from his uncle in 1893, but moved to England in 1922 because of the Troubles. Wilton Castle was burned by arsonists in 1923; his lands were seized and redistributed by the Irish Lands Commission. He owned Overton Lodge (Salop) from c.1938 until his death, when he was succeeded by his widow.
He died 6 January 1949, aged 87, and his will was proved 21 February 1949 (estate £69,986). His widow died 3 July 1957; her will was proved 24 October 1957 (estate £20,969).
Image: W. St. M. Shiel.
(1) Henry Alcock (b. 1699); married, 8 September 1748, Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Jocelyn of Waterford but died without issue;
(2) Rev. John Alcock (1704-69), Dean of Ferns; married Catherine, daughter of Thomas Burgh of Oldtown and had issue three sons (including Alexander Alcock (d. 1807), Archdeacon of Kilmacdauagh and Lt-Col. John Dormer Alcock) and two daughters; died 14 November 1769;
(3) Rev. Alexander Alcock (1710-87), Archdeacon of Lismore; married Jane or Sarah Jocelyn of Waterford and had issue four sons and two daughters;
(4) Jane Alcock;
(5) Elizabeth Alcock (b. 1707), m. Mr. Hickey.
He died in 1747.
Since I published this post, a kind correspondent has sent me a copy of a 19th century pedigree of the Alcock family, which with his permission I reproduce here. In so far as it relates to the Alcocks of Wilton, the pedigree agrees fairly well with the details given above, and it both adds some information and omits other details. Unfortunately it includes no dates, which makes the information it contains difficult to verify quickly, so I have felt it best to provide the information it contains in its raw form for the benefit of users. I will incorporate details from the pedigree into my account of the family as I am able to verify them, and would be most grateful to users for any corroborative information they are able to provide.
Location of archives
No significant archive is known to survive. The family papers may have been destroyed in the fire at Wilton Castle in 1923.
Coat of arms
Argent, a fesse between three cocks' heads erased sable, membered gules.
Revision & Acknowledgements
This account was first published on 10 September 2013 and was revised 7 May 2014, 28 April 2016, 22 February 2017, 20 October 2020 and 16 April 2021. I am most grateful to Stephen Fuller, Harry Parshall and William St. Maur Shiel for help with this account.