Tuesday 8 October 2013

(79) Alexander of Caledon House, Earls of Caledon

Alexander of Caledon
The second son of John Alexander (d. 1747) of Ballyclose (Derry) was Nathaniel Alexander (1689-1761).  He inherited from his father the estate at Gunsland (Donegal) which the latter had bought in 1717 and became an alderman of Londonderry.  He had five sons and two daughters, and his third son, James Alexander (1730-1802) joined the East India Company in 1752, and over the next twenty years as a merchant in India and a company official amassed a fortune which he estimated at £150,000, which was probably an under-estimate.  On his final return to Ireland in 1772 he bought an estate at Moville (Donegal) and also Boom Hall near Derry, which he rebuilt as a seven by five bay house to the designs of Michael Priestly; this was only a start, however, and in 1775-76 he bought the 9,000 acre Caledon estate on the borders of Tyrone and Armagh from the Earl of Cork & Orrery for around £90,000.  Caledon House in turn was also rebuilt on a new site in 1779 to the designs of James Wyatt and Thomas Cooley.

Alexander became MP for Derry city in 1774 and in 1790 was advanced to the peerage with a barony, followed by a viscountcy in 1797 and the Earldom of Caledon in 1800.  After the acquisition of Caledon House, Boom Hall was apparently given to his elder brother Robert Alexander (1722-90) and passed to the latter’s son Henry Alexander MP (1763-1818) before returning to the senior line in the time of the 3rd Earl and being sold in 1849.  Robert’s fourth son, James Alexander MP (1769-1848), followed his uncle to India and likewise made a fortune as a partner in the merchant bank of Gardner, Mosscrop & Alexander and later in the Bank of Hindustan.  He returned to England in 1812 and was elected as MP for Old Sarum in his cousin’s interest.  He served as MP for twenty years, eventually becoming the patron himself after an exchange of lands with his cousin.  In 1819 purchased Somerhill House (Kent), which he restored and extended with the help of Anthony Salvin; but the house was sold after his death and did not pass to his sons.

When the 1st Earl died in 1802 the title and estates passed to his only son, Du Pre Alexander (1777-1839), 2nd Earl of Caledon, who spent the years 1806-11 in South Africa as the first Governor of the Cape of Good Hope after its reconquest by the British, and who maintained an interest in the affairs of the colony after his return to the UK.  He was a representative Irish peer in the House of Lords from 1804 and Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, 1831-39.  During his absence in South Africa he remodelled Caledon House to the designs of John Nash, who was also consulted about the supply of materials for new public buildings in the Cape Colony.  In 1825 he altered the house again, adding the top storey, perhaps using plans drawn up by Nash over a decade earlier, as Nash certainly advocated the addition.  Finally, in 1832-33 he moved the main entrance from the colonnade to the end of one wing, where a new porte-cochere was built, and made the old entrance hall into a saloon.  Subsequent owners have made only minor changes to the house.

The 2nd Earl was succeeded by his only son, James Du Pre Alexander (1812-55), 3rd Earl of Caledon, who was a representative Irish peer from 1841-55, but died leaving three sons and a daughter under ten.  In 1861, during the minority of James Alexander (1846-98), 4th Earl of Caledon, his guardians bought the extensive but remote Castlederg estate (Tyrone) to add to the Caledon property.  The 4th Earl seems to have shared the adventurous spirit of the first two: in his youth he spent some time ranching in the American mid-west and brought back a menagerie of animals, including black bears, who roamed the park at Caledon in the late 19th century.  He then joined the army and fought in the Egyptian campaign of 1882 before settling down to marriage and raising a family, and taking up deep-water yatchting.  At his relatively early death the Caledon estate passed to his eldest son, Eric James Desmond Alexander (1885-1968), 5th Earl of Caledon, who never married, although he is reputed to have had an unrequited passion for the wife of another local landowner.  At his death Caledon passed to his nephew, Denis James Alexander (1920-80), 6th Earl of Caledon, and from him to the present owner, Nicholas James Alexander (b. 1955), the 7th Earl, who has been Lord Lieutenant of County Armagh since 1989.

The third son of the 4th Earl was Field-Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander (1891-1969), who after successfully managing the British 1st Army in North Africa and Italy was created 1st Viscount Alexander of Tunis in 1946 and 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis in 1952.  He served as the last Governor-General of Canada in 1946-52 and was Minister of Defence in Churchill's last government, 1952-54, and from 1941 lived at Tyttenhanger House (Herts), which came into the family in 1834 through the marriage of the 2nd Earl and was occupied chiefly by female members of the family until the 1940s. 

Boom Hall, Londonderry

The unusual name of the house comes from it being placed near a boom was placed across the River Foyle during the Siege of Derry as part of the blockade of the city.  

Boom Hall: garden front photographed by Alexander Ayton (d.1900) in the late 19th century.

The original house was rebuilt in c.1772 by Michael Priestly for James Alexander, later 1st Earl of Caledon as a rectangular block of two storeys above a rather low basement, with a fairly high hipped roof on a plain cornice.  The entrance front was of seven narrow bays with a three-bay breakfront centre, the sides of five bays, and the garden front had a broad canted bay in the centre and a single bay either side.  It was built of dark ashlar stone but the canted bow on the garden front and the three-bay centrepiece on the entrance front were rendered.  A projecting porch was added later to the entrance front.  Inside, the house had a cubic central hall.  The house was abandoned and decayed in the 1960s and gradually became a ruin after a fire c.1970.  It is now a rather romantic shell, but is perhaps not wholly beyond reconstruction if anyone was inspired by its views over the Foyle estuary. The City Council who now own the building have, however, given few signs of interest in such a proposal, and it continues gently to deteriorate.

Boom Hall: the entrance front c.2008.  Image: Derry Ghosts

Descent: sold c.1770 to James Alexander, 1st Earl of Caledon (1730-1802); given or sold to his brother, Robert Alexander (1722-90); to son, Henry Alexander MP (1763-1818)... James Du Pre Alexander, 3rd Earl of Caledon (1812-55), who sold 1849 to Daniel Baird (c.1795-1862); to widow, Barbara Baird (1806-80) and then to grandson, Daniel Maturin-Baird (1849-1924), who both leased it; to son, Charles Edgar Maturin-Baird (fl. 1924-46), who leased and in 1949 sold it to Michael Henry McDevitt (d. 1969); to niece, Helen Mary McCann; sold 1996 to Derry City Council.

Caledon House, Tyrone

The present house is probably the fourth to have stood on what is one of Northern Ireland's great estates.  The first was the medieval castle of Kinard, destroyed in the 17th century and replaced by a strong house in a bawn of lime and stone, built by Turlough O'Neill about 1619. That house was itself destroyed after the Battle of Benburb in 1646 and replaced in the late 17th century by one described in 1738 as ‘old, low, and though full of rooms, not very large’.  In 1748 Mrs. Delany records that the 5th Earl of Cork & Orrery intended to replace it with a new house about a mile away where there were 'all the advantages of water, wood, and diversified grounds', but nothing was done before the 7th Earl sold the house c.1775 to James Alexander.

Caledon House: a view showing clearly the three phases of the house's development.

James, later 1st Lord Caledon, a wealthy ‘Nabob’, bought the estate on his return from India, and replaced the existing house with a new building on a different site in 1779-84.  He is thought to have obtained initial designs from James Wyatt which were implemented and no doubt altered by Thomas Cooley; the Dublin architect Whitmore Davis, then at the beginning of his career, appears to have been involved too, perhaps as clerk of works on site.  

The new house as first built was a villa of two storeys above a semi-basement, with a seven-bay entrance front with a pedimented breakfront centre and Diocletian windows; the garden front had one bay either side of a broad central curved bow, the ground-floor windows in the side bays being of ‘Wyatt’ type, set under a relieving arch.  The side elevations were of five bays, making the house very similar in form to Boom Hall, if rather better proportioned. This house essentially survives with its interior decoration intact, although it has been much extended and was given an extra storey and revised fenestration on the entrance side by Nash in 1806-13.  The plan has a strong resemblance to that of Mount Kennedy (Wicklow) of 1772 - another house where Cooley was executing Wyatt's designs.  

Caledon House: saloon c.1910

The large entrance hall (now saloon), 34 x 27 feet, has a screen of yellow scagliola Doric columns at its inner end, a Doric plaster frieze, and restrained plasterwork on the walls and ceiling; the chimneypiece with a satyr and nymph draping garlands along its transom is presumably an alteration by Nash.  The hall opens into an oval drawing room extending into the garden front bow, which was redecorated by Nash as one of the most perfect Regency interiors in Ireland, with friezes of gilt Classical figures and mouldings in cut paper, elaborately shaped drapery pelmets and mirrors supported by swan-necked consoles.  

Caledon House: drawing room c.1910

Caledon House: dining room chimneypiece c.1910
On one side of the drawing room is the dining room; on the other a square boudoir with a very fine and delicate plasterwork ceiling, with spandrels carrying a shallow saucer-dome exquisitely coloured in chocolate, scarlet, apple-green and tortoiseshell, and incorporating a circular painted medallion by Angelica Kauffmann; the walls of the room are hung with an apple-green hand-painted Chinese wallpaper once thought to be original but now believed to date from c.1820-30.  The plasterwork here and in the former entrance hall was executed by Edward Robbins in 1781-82.  The staircase is east of the hall, and has the original 18th century wrought iron banister rail with alternating straight and acanthus-scroll supports, and leads up to an elegant gallery articulated with pairs of delicate Ionic pilasters.

Caledon House: the boudoir, c.1910
Caledon House: the boudoir ceiling c.1910

In 1806-13, the 2nd Earl enlarged and embellished the house to the design of John Nash (who came in person at least twice, in 1808 and 1810).  Nash added two single-storey domed wings or pavilions at either end of the entrance front and projecting forwards from it; these were joined by a colonnade of coupled Ionic columns to form a long veranda, a feature said to have been suggested by the stoeps of the Cape of Good Hope, where the Earl was Governor in 1807-11 while building work was in progress, but more credibly influenced by Wyatt's similar alteration to Frogmore House (Berks) of 1792-95.  The west wing contains a grand library, with an octagonal coffered dome over the central section, which is divided by Corinthian columns of porphyry scagliola from ends with coved ceilings. In contrast with the magnificence of his library and drawing room, Nash's domes were already leaking by 1812, and settlement of his final account was delayed for some years while he found a solution to this problem.  Nash also advised that the area round the old house should be arched over to hide the basement, and that an extra storey should be added to the main block to increase the accommodation.  By September 1810 the contracts for the cost of the works had risen to £9,537, and this may have been why the addition of the attic storey was delayed until 1825, when Nash himself was no longer involved.  Lord Caledon certainly still continued to admire his work, as the London town house at 5 Carlton House Terrace which he leased in 1829 was designed by Nash in 1827.

Caledon House: a mid 19th century engraving of the house as altered in the 1830s

The architect who supervised the addition of a top storey in 1825 does not appear to have been recorded, but it may have been Thomas Duff of Newry, who with his partner Thomas Jackson of Belfast, was certainly responsible for the 2nd Earl's last alterations of 1832-33, when the entrance was moved to the east end of the house, where a single-storey extension containing a domed octagonal hall, fronted by a hexastyle Ionic porte-cochere, was built. Unlike the rest of the house, which is stuccoed, these additions are of dressed sandstone ashlar.  

The park at Caledon was first landscaped by the 5th Earl and Countess of Cork & Orrery in the 1740s. Mrs Delany recorded their improvements:
It is a fine place by nature, and they are both fond of the Country.  She delights in farming and he in building and gardening, and he has very good taste... Nothing is completed yet but an hermitage, which is about an acre of ground - an island, planted with all the variety of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in this country, abundance of little winding walks, differently embellished with little seats and banks.  In the midst is placed an hermit's cell, made of the roots of trees.  The floor is paved with pebbles; there is a couch made of matting, and little wooden stools, a table with a manuscript on it, a pair of spectacles, a leathern bottle; and hung up in different parts, an hourglass, a weather glass and several mathematical instruments, a shelf of books, another of wooden platters and bowls, another of earthen ones, in short everything you might imagine necessary for a recluse.  Four little gardens surround this house - an orchard, a flower garden, a physick garden and a kitchen garden... I never saw so pretty a whim so thoroughly well executed.
Nothing survives of the hermitage, but in the park there are the remains of an 18th century Bone House, its pillars and arches faced with ox bones, which was being planned by Lord Orrery in 1747.  He had then already built a banqueting house in the park, about a mile from the hermitage, with a single big entertaining room and a kitchen, bedroom and cellar behind. Much of this Rococo landscape was presumably swept away when the grounds of Caledon were landscaped by John Sutherland in 1807 and the terraces on the south front were added on the advice of William Sawrey Gilpin.  Towards the end of the 19th century the park was inhabited by wapiti and black bears, brought back by the 4th Earl who had hunted and ranched in the Wild West.

Descent: John Boyle, 5th Earl of Orrery and later 5th Earl of Cork (1707-62); to son, Hamilton Boyle, 6th Earl of Cork and Orrery (1730-64); to brother, Edmund Boyle, 7th Earl of Cork and Orrery (1742-98), who sold c.1775 to James Alexander, 1st Earl of Caledon (1730-1802); to son, Du Pre Alexander, 2nd Earl of Caledon (1777-1839); to son, James Du Pre Alexander, 3rd Earl of Caledon (1812-55); to son, James Alexander, 4th Earl of Caledon (1846-98); to son, Eric James Desmond Alexander, 5th Earl of Caledon (1886-1968); to nephew, Denis James Alexander, 6th Earl of Caledon (1920-80); to son, Nicholas James Alexander, 7th Earl of Caledon (b. 1955), the present owner.

Somerhill House, Kent

An ambitious Jacobean mansion, built on a hilltop for the 4th Earl of Clanricarde, who by marrying the widow of the Earl of Essex in about 1603 came into possession of the South Frith estate, part of the demesne of Tonbridge Castle.  Work began fairly soon afterwards, and the fine rainwater heads, similar to those at Knole, are dated 1611 and 1613.  

Somerhill House in an 18th century engraving

The exterior, of local sandstone ashlar, remains almost untouched, but almost nothing of the early 17th century survives inside.  The plan was provided by John Thorpe, and survives, titled ‘Lo: Clanrickard’ in his book of drawings; it agrees with what was built except for the form of some window bays, and was derived from Palladio’s plan for Villa Valmarana at Lisiera.  The house is H-shaped and has the hall axially across the depth of the central range, as at Charlton House, Greenwich and earlier at Hardwick Hall.  By contrast with this advanced planning, the elevations though symmetrical on all four sides are almost vernacular in their restrained sequence of straight-sided gables with inconspicuous finials, and tall brick chimneystacks.  There are shallow battlemented windows bays on the wings and in centre, but otherwise the windows are simple cross-windows, largely renewed.  The shallow battlemented porch has a round-headed doorway between Doric pilasters and a triglyph frieze; the only classical features on the house.  To the north is a contemporary service court, with a two-storey north range and slightly later single-storey east and west sides, all with gabled dormers and four-centered doorways.  

Somerhill House today.  Image: Wikimedia Commons

In the 18th century the house was abandoned and became derelict until it was restored by Wyatville c.1824 and then extended 1828-38 by Anthony Salvin for James Alexander MP.  After his death in 1848 it was sold to the Goldsmid family and extended again, so there are now huge 19th century extensions to the north, comprising a stable court, clock tower and guest wing.  Local sandstone and the Tudor style are used in harmony with the mansion, but symmetry is abandoned, allowing big stone oriels to belly out here and there as required.  In the gable over the west arch to the stable yard are the initials of Julian Goldsmid and on several rainwater heads the date 1879; but work continued as late as 1897.  The interior of the house has been reworked several times.  Early 17th century plasterwork (foliage trails bearing pomegranates growing from a central mound) survives on the soffits of the bay windows in the great chamber in the centre of the first floor, and a downstairs room in the north range retains its complete early 17th century wainscot, panelling frieze and arcaded overmantel.  Nothing seems to remain of the early 19th century remodelling for James Alexander, said to have been ‘in the most costly style’. The present great staircase and the plaster ceilings, wainscote and two-tier columned chimneypieces were all installed for Sir Osmond D’Avigdor-Goldsmid by Hoare & Wheeler c.1920.  The house suffered from neglect and storm damage after being sold by the d’Avigdor-Goldsmids and was restored by Fielden & Mawson from 1988 under the supervision of English Heritage; it became the home to a group of three schools in 1993 and relatively tactful new buildings have been built in the grounds.

Descent: Richard Bourke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde (1572-1635); to son, Ulick de Burgh, 5th Earl of Clanricarde (1604-57); sequestrated 1645 and given first to Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex (1591-1646) and then in 1646 to John Bradshaw, the regicide; returned in 1660 to Ulick’s daughter Margaret, Viscountess Muskerry (d. 1698); to son, John Villiers (‘Earl of Buckingham’), who sold to – Dekins; sold to – Cave; who sold 1712 to John Woodgate of Penshurst; to son, Henry Woodgate (1787) who abandoned the house in 1769; to nephew, William Woodgate (d. c.1817), whose executors sold 1819 to James Alexander MP (1769-1848); sold 1849 to Sir Isaac Goldsmid, 1st bt. (1778-1859); to son, Frederick Goldsmid (d. 1866); to son, Sir Julian Goldsmid (later d’Avigdor-Goldsmid), 3rd bt. (1838-96); to nephew, Sir Osmond d’Avigdor-Goldsmid, 1st bt. (1877-1940); to son, Sir Henry d’Avigdor-Goldsmid, 2nd bt. (1909-76); to daughter, Chloe Teacher (fl. 1980), who sold 1979/80 to Mr & Mrs Weir; sold 1984 and twice more before becoming a school.

Tyttenhanger Park, Hertfordshire

Tyttenhanger House in 2011.

The Tudor house built for Sir Thomas Pope was rebuilt (perhaps to the designs of Peter Mills) in 1654-55 as a compact three-storey nine bay red brick house with a hipped roof, consisting of a five-bay centre and projecting two bay gabled wings.  Externally this is well preserved, and retains the original cross-windows.  Internally it was altered in the early 18th century and restored by Sir John Soane in 1783 and 1789, although the original main stair, rising through all three storeys, survives.  The house also has a chapel with 17th century fittings on the second floor and a long gallery in the attic.  The house was converted into offices after 1973, and is now used partly as a wedding venue.

Descent: Crown granted 1547 to Sir Thomas Pope (d. 1559); to widow, Elizabeth, Lady Pope (d. 1593), later wife of Henry Paulet; to nephew, Sir Thomas Pope Blount (1552-1638); to nephew, Sir Henry Blount (1602-82); to son, Sir Thomas Pope Blount, 1st bt. (1649-97); to son, Sir Thomas Pope Blount, 2nd bt. (1670-1731); to son, Henry Pope Blount, 3rd bt. (1702-57); to sister, Katherine, wife of Rev. William Freeman; to daughter, Catherine Freeman, wife of The Hon. Charles Yorke; to son, Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke (1757-1834); to second daughter Catherine Yorke (d. 1863), wife of Du Pre Alexander, 2nd Earl of Caledon (1777-1839); to daughter-in-law, Jane Alexander (née Grimston), Dowager Countess of Caledon (d. 1888); to daughter, Jane Charlotte Elizabeth Alexander (1860-1941), wife of Capt. Edmund Barker van Koughnet RN (d. 1905); to nephew, Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (1891-1969); sold 1973 after his death.

The Alexanders of Caledon

Alexander, Rev. Andrew (d. 1641?).  Youngest son of John Alexander (c.1587-1662) of Eridy (Donegal) [see previous post].  A Presbyterian minister.  He married Dorothea, daughter of Rev. James Caulfield DD and had issue:
(1) Capt. Alexander Alexander (b. c.1640) (q.v.).
He predeceased his father, and is reputed to have died in 1641.

Alexander, Capt. Alexander (b. c.1640), of Ballyclose and Gannochy.  Only son of Rev. Andrew Alexander (d. 1641?) and his wife Dorothea, daughter of Rev. Dr. James Caulfield, born about 1640.  Captain in the Army; and one of the Protestant landowners attainted for treason by the Irish Parliament in 1689.  He married 1st, [forename unknown], daughter of Sir Thomas Phillips and m.2, [forename unknown] Hillhouse and had issue: 
(1.1) Jacob Alexander, married 1692 Margaret (Jane), daughter and heiress of John Oliver of The Lodge, Newtownlimavady (Derry) and had issue four sons; ancestor of the Alexanders of Newtownlimavady and Ahilly; 
(2.1) John Alexander (d. 1747) (q.v.).
He inherited his grandfather's estate at Eridy (Donegal) in 1662 and acquired the Gannochy estate in Errigal (Derry).  In 1666 he was granted the lands of Ballyclose near Newtownlimavady (Derry) by Sir Thomas Phillips, his father-in-law.
His date of death is unknown.

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); married Sarah, daughter of Alexander Macaulay of Co. Antrim, and had issue; ancestor of the Alexanders of Milford (who will be treated in a future post);
(2) Nathaniel Alexander (1689-1761) (q.v.);
(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, Nathaniel (1689-1761) of Gunsland.  Second son of John Alexander (d. 1747) of Gunsland and his wife Anne, daughter of John White of Cady Hill (Derry), born 1689.  Alderman of Londonderry, 1755.  He married Elizabeth, second daughter of William McClintock of Dunmore (Donegal) and had issue: 
(1) William Alexander (d. 1774); married, 1 January 1753, Charlotte, daughter of Messenger Monsey
(2) Robert Alexander (1722-90) (q.v.); 
(3) James Alexander (1730-1802), 1st Earl of Caledon (q.v.); 
(4) John Alexander; died young;
(5) Nathaniel Alexander; died young;
(6) Mary Jane Alexander, married 1st, 1750,  Joseph Weld (d. 1758) and had issue; married 2nd, 1762, Hamilton McClure and had further issue; 
(7) Rebecca Alexander (d. 1800), m. 1766 Josias du Pré (d. 1780) of Wilton Park (Bucks) and had issue;
(8) Elizabeth Alexander; died young;
(9) Ann Alexander; died young;
(10) Jane Alexander; died young;
(11) Jane Alexander; died young.
He inherited his father's estates in Donegal and Derry in 1747.
He died 22 September 1761.

Alexander, Robert (1722-90), of Boom Hall.  Second son of Nathaniel Alexander (1689-1761) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of William McClintock of Dunmore (Donegal), born 1722.  Merchant in Londonderry.  He married, 1759, Anne (d. 1817), daughter of Henry McCullough of Cloudymore and Ballyarton and had issue: 
(1) Rt. Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Alexander (1760-1840) of Portglenone (Antrim), born 12 August 1760; educated at Harrow and Stanmore Schools and Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1778; BA 1783; MA 1787; DD); precentor of Armagh Cathedral, 1796-1802; Bishop of Clonfert, 1802-04, Killaloe, 1804. Down & Connor, 1804-23 and Meath, 1823-40; member of the Privy Council of Ireland; built Portglenone House c.1800; married, 18 May 1785, Anne, daughter of Richard Jackson MP of Coleraine, and had issue seven sons and four daughters; died 21 October 1840;
(2) Henry Alexander (1763-1818) (q.v.); 
(3) Lt-Gen. William Alexander (1768-1824), sometime Mayor of Derry; married 1793, Martha, daughter of Sir Robert Waller, 1st bt. and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 1 January 1824;
(4) James Alexander (1769-1848) (q.v.); 
(5) Joseph Josias du Pré Alexander (1771-1839), a Director of the East India Company; MP for Old Sarum, 1820-32; married, 1 February 1808, Mary, daughter of Rev. Thomas Bracken and had issue two sons and eight daughters; died 20 August 1839;
(6) Elizabeth Alexander; married, about 1795, Sir Andrew Ferguson, 1st bt. (1761-1808) and had issue two sons and four daughters; 
(7) Jane Alexander; 
(8) Anne Alexander (d. 1865), married Maj-Gen. Alexander Scott; died 18 September 1865;
(9) Rebecca Alexander; 
(10) Dorothea Alexander.
He was given the Boom Hall estate near Londonderry by his younger brother James in about 1775.
He died 27 March 1790, aged about 68.  His widow died 20 January 1817.

Alexander, Henry (1763-1818), of Boom Hall.  Second son of Robert Alexander (1722-90) and his wife Anne, daughter of Henry McCullough of Cloudymore and Ballyarton, born 1763.  Educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1779), Trinity College, Dublin (translated 1779; BA 1783) and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1779; called to Irish bar, 1785); MP in the Irish Parliament for Newtown, 1788-90, Askeaton, 1790-97, and Londonderry, 1798-1800; MP in the UK Parliament for Londonderry, 1800-02, Old Sarum, 1802-06; Chairman of the Committee of Means and Ways.  Colonial Secretary for the Cape of Good Hope, 1806-18. He married, 14 February 1807, Dorothy (d. 1864), daughter of Francis Rivers and had issue: 
(1) Gen. Robert Alexander (d. 1879), married Charlotte, daughter of Col. Josiah Stewart and had issue three sons and three daughters; died 16 May 1879; will proved 13 June 1879 (estate under £12,000);
(2) Mary Alexander (c.1808-84) of New Park, Moville (Donegal) and later of Stone House, Dorking (Surrey); died unmarried, 13 August 1884; will proved 26 September 1884 (estate £5,534);
(3) Ann Alexander (1809-51), married, 3 September 1839, Maj-Gen. George Rowlandson and had issue; died 6 April 1851
(4) Catherine Alexander (d. 1886); died unmarried;
(5) Eliza Alexander; presumably died unmarried;
(6) Frances Alexander (fl. 1884); died unmarried;
(7) James Alexander (1813-51), born 12 January 1813; judge of Bengal Supreme Court, married, 6 November 1849, Catherine (d. 1879), daughter of Richard Harvey but died without issue, 28 February 1851.
He inherited Boom Hall from his father in 1790.
He died at Cape Town, South Africa, 6 May 1818, aged about 55, and was buried at the Dutch Reformed Church, Adderley Street, Cape Town.  His widow died in Co. Donegal, 10 December 1864

Alexander, James (1769-1848) of Somerhill House.  Fourth son of Robert Alexander (1722-90) and his wife Anne, daughter of Henry McCullough of Cloudymore and Ballyarton, born 1769. He joined the East India Company, 1784 (Lieutenant 1785; resigned 1792); and became a partner in the merchant bank of Gardner, Mosscrop & Alexander and later in the Bank of Hindustan; returned to England in 1812 with a substantial fortune; MP for Old Sarum, 1812-32.  He married 1st, 1804, in Calcutta (India), Eliza (1785-1806), daughter of Capt. Ralph Dundas (1738-97) and 2nd, 8 March 1813, Charlotte Sophia (c.1783-1870), daughter of Thomas Dashwood and widow of Hon. Charles Andrew Bruce (son of 5th Earl of Elgin) and had issue: 
(1.1) Elizabeth Charlotte Alexander (1805-82), born 31 December 1805; married, 3 September 1825, Stratford Canning (1786-1880), 1st Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe of Frant Court (Sussex) and had issue one son, who died young; died 25 November 1882; will proved 13 March 1883 (estate £1,431);
(2.1) Charlotte Sophia Alexander (1813-97) of Edwinstowe Hall (Notts), born 1 December 1813; died unmarried, 20 January 1897; will proved 20 March 1897 (estate £25,885);
(2.2) Robert Alexander (1815-63) of Upavon (Wilts), born 10 February and baptised 10 May 1815; married 23 July 1844 Julia Charlotte (d. 1903), daughter of William Fane and had issue one son and two daughters; died 23 October 1863; will proved 13 November 1863 (estate under £45,000);
(2.3) Anne Alexander (1817-85), born 7 August and baptised 16 September 1817; died unmarried, 9 December 1885; will proved 16 January 1886 (estate £25,877);
(2.4) Emma Alexander (1818-43), born 23 November 1818 and baptised 31 March 1819; died unmarried at Hastings, Oct-Dec. 1843; 
(2.5) James Alexander of Oakbank, Sevenoaks (1822-1914), born 7 May 1822; married, 13 May 1845, Anna Maria Julia (d. 1910), daughter of Maximilian Dudley Digges Dalison and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 21 October 1914, aged 92.
He purchased the Somerhill House estate (Kent) in 1819 and restored the house after long neglect; in 1828-38 he employed Anthony Salvin to enlarge the house.  Somerhill was sold after his death.
He died 12 September 1848, aged about 79.  His first wife died 5 February 1806 in Calcutta, aged 21.  His widow died 11 April 1870; her will was proved 26 May 1870 (estate under £30,000).

Alexander, James (1730-1802), 1st Earl of Caledon.  Third son of Nathaniel Alexander (1689-1761) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of William McClintock of Dunmore (Donegal), born 1730.  Officer of East India Company and merchant in India 1752-72, where he made a fortune he estimated at £150,000 and which was probably more; for details of his career with the East India Company see here; Tory MP for Londonderry in the Irish Parliament, 1775-90; visited Rome with his wife in 1777; High Sheriff of Co. Tyrone, 1780 and Co. Armagh, 1781; in favour of the Union of the UK and Irish Parliaments, which took place just before his death.  He was elevated to the Irish peerage as Baron Caledon, 1790; and further created Viscount Caledon, 1797, and Earl of Caledon, 1800.  He married, 28 November 1774, Anne (d. 1777), second daughter of James Craufurd of Craufurdsburn (Down) and had issue: 
(1) Lady Mabella Alexander (1775-1854), born 7 August 1775; married at Caledon House, Dublin, 5 July 1796, Lt-Gen. Andrew Thomas Blayney, 11th Baron Blayney (1770-1834) and had issue one son; died at Kingstown, Dublin, 4 March 1854;
(2) Lady Elizabeth Alexander (1776-1851), born 21 June 1776; died unmarried and without issue, 1851; 
(3) Du Pré Alexander (1777-1839), 2nd Earl of Caledon (q.v.).
He purchased the Boom Hall (Derry) estate and land at Moville (Donegal) and Ballycastle (Antrim) in c.1772.  He rebuilt Boom Hall, but gave it to his elder brother, Robert Alexander (1722-90) (q.v.) after he purchased the Caledon estate (Tyrone and Armagh) from the 7th Earl of Cork & Orrery in 1775-76.  He then rebuilt Caledon House to the designs of James Wyatt and Thomas Cooley in 1779-84.
He died at his house in Cavendish Row, Rutland Square, Dublin, 22 March 1802, aged 71. His wife died 21 December 1777, a week after the birth of her only son.

Alexander, Du Pré (1777-1839), 2nd Earl of Caledon.  Only son of James Alexander (1730-1802), 1st Earl of Caledon, and his wife Anne, daughter of James Craufurd of Craufurdsburn (Down), born at Gunsland (Donegal), 14 December 1777.  Educated at Eton (1790-96) and Christ Church, Oxford (matric 1796; BA 1799); MP for Newtownards in Irish Parliament, 1800; succeeded his father as Earl of Caledon, 1802; purchased the Parliamentary patronage of the rotten borough of Old Sarum (Wilts) in 1802, with a view to increasing his claim to some form of official employment, and was appointed Governor of Cape of Good Hope, 1806-11, being the first governor after its reconquest from the Dutch in 1806; KP 1821; representative Irish peer 1804-39; Chairman of the London-based Irish Distress Committee, 1831-35; Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone 1831-39; Col. of the Tyrone Militia.  He married, 16 October 1811, Lady Catherine Freeman Yorke (1786-1863), second daughter and coheir of Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke and had issue: 
(1) James Du Pré Alexander (1812-55), 3rd Earl of Caledon (q.v.).
He inherited the Caledon House estate from his father in 1802 and Boom Hall from his cousin after 1818.  He remodelled and extended Caledon House (alias Caledon Castle) to the designs of John Nash, 1806-13 and again in 1835.  He purchased an estate at Stratford near Salisbury (Wilts), to which the Old Sarum parliamentary borough was attached, in 1802, and later exchanged part of it (including the borough) with his cousin Joseph Josias du Pre Alexander (d. 1839), receiving in exchange the latter's Bounds estate near Tonbridge (Kent), which he probably sold later.
He died at Gunsland (Donegal), 8 April 1839, aged 61.  His widow died 8 July 1863.

Alexander, James Du Pré (1812-55), 3rd Earl of Caledon.  Only son of Du Pré Alexander (1777-1839), 2nd Earl of Caledon and his wife Lady Catherine Freeman Yorke, daughter and co-heir of Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, born in London, 27 July 1812. Educated at Wimbledon School, Eton College (1824-28) and Christ Church, Oxford (matric. 1830); served in the Army, 1833-41? (Captain, Coldstream Guards); served in Canada 1839-42, where he undertook a tour by canoe with Sir George Simpson, Governor of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, as far as the Red River, then on to the plains to join in the 
great buffalo hunt, ending up at St Peter, Minnesota; Colonel of Tyrone Militia; High Sheriff of Armagh, 1836; Conservative MP for Tyrone 1837-39; succeeded his father as Earl of Caledon, 1839; representative Irish peer, 1841-55.  He married, 4 September 1845, Lady Jane Frederica Harriot Mary Grimston (d. 1888), Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, 1858-78, fourth daughter of the 1st Earl of Verulam, and had issue: 
(1) James Alexander (1846-98), 4th Earl of Caledon (q.v.); 
(2) The Hon. Lt-Col. Walter Philip Alexander (1849-1934), born 9 February 1849; served with 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) and commanded them during Boer War, 1899-1900 (Queen's medal with 5 clasps); married, 13 April 1882, Margaret Katherine MBE (d. 1929), daughter of The Hon. & Rev. Francis Sylvester Grimston and had issue one son and one daughter; died 30 October 1934, aged 85;
(3) Lady Jane Charlotte Elizabeth Alexander (1850-1941) of Tyttenhanger House, born 1 May 1850; married, 1 September 1887, Capt. Edmund Barker van Koughnet CMG RN JP (d. 1905), son of Hon. Philip Michael Scott van Koughnet, Chancellor of Ontario, but died without issue, 23 June 1941;
(4) The Hon. Maj. Charles Alexander (1854-1909), born 26 January 1854; served in 3rd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; married, 1880, Kate (d. 1946), daughter of Charles Stayner of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and had issue one son and three daughters; died 27 October 1909.
He inherited the Caledon House estate from his father in 1839, but sold Boom Hall in 1849. In 1830 he took a lease of 5 Carlton House Terrace, London, which remained in the family until 1929 but was frequently sublet after 1863.
He died in London, 30 June 1855, aged 42, and was buried at Caledon.  His widow died 30 March 1888.

4th Earl of Caledon.  Image: PRONI
Alexander, James (1846-98), 4th Earl of Caledon.  Eldest son of James Du Pre Alexander (1812-55), 3rd Earl of Caledon and his wife Lady Jane Frederica Harriot Mary Grimston, daughter of 1st Earl of Verulam, born 11 July 1846. Educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford (matric. 1864); succeeded his father as Earl of Caledon, 1855; as a young man ranched in the Mid-West USA; served in the Army, 1867-90 (Captain in 1st Life Guards and Major in 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers); fought in the Egyptian campaign, 1882 (medal and clasp and Khedive's Bronze Star); a representative Irish peer, 1877-98; KP 1897; DL; a keen deep-water yatchtsman; Hon. Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve.  He married, 9 October 1884, Lady Elizabeth Graham Toler (1857-1939), second daughter of 3rd Earl of Norbury and had issue: 
(1) Eric James Desmond Alexander (1885-1968), 5th Earl of Caledon (q.v.); 
(2) The Hon. Herbrand Charles Alexander (1888-1965) (q.v.); 
(3) Harold Rupert Leofric Alexander (1891-1969), 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (q.v.); 
(4) Col. William Sigismund Patrick Alexander DSO (1895-1972), born 16 November 1895; educated at Harrow School and RMC Sandhurst; joined the Irish Guards (Colonel; retired 1936) and served in WW1 (wounded, mentioned in despatches); DSO 1917; served in WW2 in Irish Guards and General Staff, 1939-46; Major in Hon. Artillery Company; DL for Essex, 1956-67; married 27 June 1934 Jane Hermione (d. 1967), daughter of Cdr Bernard Buxton DSO RN and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 24 December 1972.
He inherited the Caledon House estate from his father in 1855.  During his minority his trustees bought the Castlederg estate (Tyrone) to extend the estate to about 30,000 acres.
He died in London of blood poisoning and pneumonia, 27 April 1898, aged 51; his will was proved in Dublin and sealed in London, 11 November 1898 (estate in England £20,805).  His widow died 6 October 1939; her will was proved 14 March 1940 and 12 December 1941 (estate £105,395).

The 5th Earl of Caledon in 1932.  
Image: PRONI
Alexander, Eric James Desmond (1885-1968), 5th Earl of Caledon.  Eldest son of James Alexander (1846-98), 4th Earl of Caledon, and his wife Lady Elizabeth Graham Toler, daughter of 3rd Earl of Norbury, born 9 August 1885. Educated at Eton (1899-1903) and Trinity College, Cambridge; succeeded his father as Earl of Caledon, 1898; a page at the coronation of King Edward VII, 1902; Major in 1st Life Guards; served in WW1 (wounded) and in Baltic on staff, 1919-21. He was unmarried.
He inherited the Caledon House estates from his father in 1898 and owned about 30,000 acres.
He died 10 July 1968, aged 82.

Alexander, The Hon. Herbrand Charles (1888-1965).  Second son of James Alexander (1846-98), 4th Earl of Caledon, and his wife Lady Elizabeth Graham Toler, daughter of 3rd Earl of Norbury, born 28 November 1888.  Educated at Harrow and RMC Sandhurst; Major, 5th Lancers in WW1 (despatches 3 times), Lt-Col. of Pioneer Corps in WW2.  He married, 1st, 11 February 1919 (div. 1927), Millicent Valla (1898-1979), only daughter of Sir Henry Bayly Meredyth, 5th bt., and 2nd, 1 July 1937, Ada Kate (1893-1994), second daughter of Hon. Richard Eustace Bellew (1858-1933) and formerly wife of Charles Barry Domvile (1894-1936), and had issue: 
(1.1) Denis James Alexander (1920-80), 6th Earl of Caledon (q.v.).
He lived at Tilshead House (Wiltshire).
He died 6 May 1965, aged 76.  His widow died in 1994, aged 101.

Alexander, Denis James (1920-80), 6th Earl of Caledon.  Only son of The Hon. Herbrand Charles Alexander (1888-1965) and his first wife, Millicent Valla, daughter of Sir Henry Bayly Meredyth, 5th bt., born 10 April 1920.  Educated at Eton and RMC Sandhurst; Major in Irish Guards; succeeded his uncle as Earl of Caledon, 1968; served in Ulster Defence Regiment, 1970-78 (retired as Brevet Lt-Col.).  DL for County Tyrone, 1974-80.  Chairman of Foyle Fisheries Advisory Council, 1973-80; Governor of Royal School, Armagh, 1978-80. He married, 1st, 6 April 1943 (div. 1948), Ghislaine Marie-Rose Edith (1922-2000), only daughter of Cornelius Willem Dresselhuys of Long Island, New York; married 2nd, 31 December 1952, Baroness Anne Louise (d. 1963), only daughter of Baron Nicholas Werner Alexander de Graevenitz; married 3rd, 4 August 1964, Marie Elizabeth Burton (c.1928-2021), previously wife of Maj. the Hon Iain Maxwell Erskine (1926-95) (later 2nd Baron Erskine of Rerrick) and daughter of Maj. Richard Burton Allen, of Benvheir House, Ballachulish (Argylls) and had issue: 
(1.1) Lady Tana Marie Alexander (b. 1945), born 2 March 1945; married, 1973, HH Judge Paul Everard Justus Focke and had issue two daughters; 
(2.1) Nicholas James Alexander (b. 1955), 7th Earl of Caledon, now of Caledon House; born 6 May 1955; educated at Gordonstoun School.  Succeeded his father as Earl of Caledon, 1980; Lord Lieutenant of Co. Armagh, 1989-date.  Appointed KCVO, 2015. He married 1st, 15 November 1979 (div. 1985), Wendy, younger daughter of Spiro Nicholas Coumantaros of Athens (Greece) and 2nd, 19 December 1989 (div. 2000), Henrietta (Hetty) Mary Alison, elder daughter of John Francis Newman of Compton Park, Compton Chamberlayne (Wilts) and had issue one son and one daughter;
(2.2) Lady (Elizabeth) Jane Alexander (b. 1962), born 28 March 1962; married 1st, 1981 (div. 1987) Rory F.A. Peck (1956-93), war cameraman, son of Julian Peck of Prehen House (Derry), and had issue two sons; married 2nd, 1990, (Richard Francis) Andrew Dobbs, eldest son of Sir Richard Arthur Frederick Dobbs KCVO of Castle Dobbs (Antrim) and had issue three daughters.
He inherited the Caledon House estates from his uncle, the 5th Earl, in 1968.  At his death they passed to his only son, now the 7th Earl.
He died 20 May 1980, aged 59. His widow died 9 August 2021, aged 93.

1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
Image: Library & Archives Canada
Alexander, Field-Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric (1891-1969), 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis.  Third son of James Alexander (1846-98), 4th Earl of Caledon, and his wife Lady Elizabeth Graham Toler, daughter of 3rd Earl of Norbury, born 10 December 1891.  Educated at Harrow and RMC Sandhurst; served in the Army (Brigadier, 1934; Maj-Gen., 1937; General, 1942; Field-Marshal, 1944); served in WW1 (wounded three times, mentioned in despatches five times and awarded Legion d'Honneur); Commander of Nowshera Brigade India 1934–38 (despatches twice); commander, 1st Div Aldershot 1938–40, General Officer commanding, Southern Command 1940–42, Burma 1942, Commander-in-Chief in Middle East 1942, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces in N Africa 1943, Commander-in-Chief of Allied Armies Italy 1943–44, SAC Mediterranean 1944–45; Governor-General of Canada 1946–52, Minister of Defence 1952-54ADC to HM King Edward VIII, 1936, Col of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regt 1937; ADC-Gen to HM GEORGE VI 1944–46, Col Irish Gds 1947, Chancellor of the Order of St Michael and St George 1956–60 (Grand Master 1960–67), Constable of the Tower of London 1960–65, Lord Lieutenant of London, 1957-65 and of Greater London 1965-66; Governor of Harrow School, 1952–63, Hon Freeman and Liveryman of Mercers' Co, London; KStJ, Grand Cross Legion d'Honneur; many foreign orders and decorations; KG (1946), PC (UK and Canada 1952), OM (1959), GCB (1942, CB 1938), GCMG (1946), CSI (1936), DSO, MC.  He married, 14 Oct 1931, Lady Margaret Diana Bingham, GBE (1954), DStJ, JP (1956) (d. 1977), younger daughter of 5th Earl of Lucan and had issue: 
(1) Lady Rose Maureen Alexander (b. 1932), m. 1956 Lt-Col. Humphrey Crossman, son of Maj-Gen Francis Lindisfarne Morley Crossman, CB, DSO, MC and had issue one son and one daughter; 
(2) Shane William Desmond Alexander (b. 1935), 2nd Earl Alexander of Tunis, born 30 June 1935; educated at Harrow and Ashbury College, Ottawa; Lt Irish Gds (ret 1958), Govt Whip 1974, Patron British-Tunisian Soc 1979–99, dir Pathfinder Finance Corp (Toronto) 1980–, International Hospitals Group 1981–, chm Canada Memorial Foundation 1989–, Pres. of British-American-Canadian Assoc 1989–94, Freeman City of London 1964, Liveryman Mercers' Co, London; Freeman City of New Orleans, Order of Republic Tunisia 1995; married 1st, 14 July 1971 (div. 1976) Hilary, daughter of John van Geest, 2nd, 22 July 1981 Hon Davina Mary Woodhouse, LVO, youngest daughter of 4th Baron Terrington and has issue two daughters;
(3) Hon. Brian James Alexander (b. 1939) of Mustique, W. Indies, married 1999 Mrs Johanna W. Morris; 
(A1) (adopted) Susan Mary Alexander (b. 1948), m. 1970 Andrew Paulet Hamilton, son of Capt. Hubert Charles Paulet Hamilton and had issue one son and two daughters.
He inherited Tyttenhanger House (Herts) from his aunt, Lady Jane Charlotte Elizabeth Alexander, in 1941.  At his death it passed to his elder son, who sold it in 1973.
He died 16 June 1969, aged 77.  His widow died in 1977.


Successive editions of Burke's Peerage and Baronetage; Countess of Orrery, The Orrery Papers, 1903, ii, pp. 2-3; T.U. Sadleir & P.L. Dickinson, Georgian Mansions of Ireland, 1915, pp. 29-35 and pls. 11-19; Christopher Hussey, 'Caledon - Co. Tyrone', Country Life, vol. 81, 27 Feb, 6 Mar 1937, pp. 224, 250; A. Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North-West Ulster, 1979, pp. 161-64; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 2nd edn., 1988, pp. 45, 54-55; Garden History, (22:1), 1994, p. 80; Oxford DNB entries for 2nd Earl of Caledon and 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis; J.M. Robinson, James Wyatt, architect to George III, 2012, pp. 116-18, 327; E. de Bruijn, A. Bush and H. Clifford, 'List of Chinese wallpapers in British and Irish country houses', 2013 (pers. comm.); G. Tyack (ed.), John Nash: architect of the Picturesque, 2013, pp. 116, 160, 185;  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyttenhanger_Househttp://northernscrivener.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/notes-on-boomhall-londonderry.html.

Location of archives

Alexander family, Earls of Caledon: deeds, family and estate papers 17th-20th cent, with Old Sarum (Wilts) electoral estate papers c1802-29 (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, D266, D847, D2431-2433); Hertfordshire deeds and estate papers, 15th-19th cents (Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies D/ECd, D/EB, D/ECc and 79320-545)
Alexander, Du Pré, 2nd Earl of Caledon: correspondence and papers 1798-1839 (PRONI D2431-33)
Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis: correspondence and papers, 1941-45 (The National Archives, WO214); accounts of campaigns, 1942-48 (Library & Archives Canada MG27 IIIA1)
Alexander, James, 1st Earl of Caledon: papers relating to the East India Co., 1759-1801 (PRONI D2431-33)

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 and acknowledgements

This post was first published 8 October 2013, and was revised 11 March 2015, 10 May 2018, 8 September 2021 and 22 April 2023.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, as a descendant of the Clan McAlexander, a.k.a. Alexander, it's nice to see something of our relatives on the internet. I was beginning to think our line in Ireland had died out. I'm doing research on John Alexander of Eredy or Eridy. If anyone has information I don't already have, especially on his parentage, I would appreciate hearing it. I'm on Facebook as: Grand ArchDuke of Doggerland. - Sir Michael D. Barnes


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