Thursday 13 November 2014

(147) Annesley of Castlewellan, Mount Panther and Donard Lodge, Earls Annesley

Annesley, Earls Annesley
Over several generations this branch of the Annesley family had a passion for building and gardening, and thanks to a succession of good marriages and the profits of law and public office, they had the means to indulge it. They built up a substantial estate in the south of County Down, with fine views of the Mourne Mountains. 

The founder of the line was William Annesley (c.1709-70), the sixth son of Francis Annesley (1663-1750) of Thorganby (for whom see the previous post). William became a barrister in Dublin, where he had the reputation of being an honest man, although fond of accumulating money. He served as MP for Midleton (Co. Cork) in the Irish parliament, 1741-58, and on his retirement was advanced to the peerage as Baron Annesley. In 1766 he was promoted to be 1st Viscount Glerawly (the title was intended to be 'Glenawley' but was written incorrectly in the peerage patent). In 1741 he purchased from Anthony Magennis the freehold of the Castlewellan estate in Co. Down, which his family had leased since the late 17th century, and six years later he bought the adjoining estate at Newcastle, also from Magennis. He is thought to have built a new house at Castlewellan in the 1750s, but very little is known about this building. His son, Francis Charles Annesley (1740-1802), 2nd Viscount Glerawly, was MP for Downpatrick from 1761 until he inherited his father's peerage. In 1772 he purchased the Mount Panther estate, close to Castlewellan, and altered the house there which had until recently been occupied by Mary Delany and her husband Patrick, who was Dean of Down. His marriage was childless, and so when in 1789 he was created Earl Annesley, he arranged a special remainder in the patent to his younger brother, Richard.  From the 1780s he took a succession of mistresses by whom he had at least seven illegitimate children. In 1797 he went through a bigamous marriage with Sophia Connor, the wife of his brother's gardener.  After he died in 1802, she fought a protracted legal battle with Richard over the descent of the title and estates, which was only finally settled in 1819, when she gave up her claim and accepted an annuity; she died in Paris in 1850.

Richard Annesley (1745-1824), 2nd Earl Annesley, was a barrister and MP like his father, and derived a substantial income from his appointments as a Commissioner of Customs and later of Excise. He married an heiress, but lived chiefly in Dublin rather than on his estates. It was probably he who was responsible for building a single-storey house known as The Cottage at Castlewellan, which the family presumably used as an occasional summer residence. His eldest son and heir, William Richard Annesley (1772-1838), 3rd Earl Annesley, had an unsatisfactory first marriage which ended in 1819 when his wife eloped with a young soldier; he was granted a divorce by Parliament in 1821. After inheriting the estates he married again, more happily, and built a handsome seaside villa, Donard Lodge, on his coastal property at Newcastle. His children by his second marriage were all very young when he died in 1838, but as soon as his heir, William Richard Annesley (1830-74), 4th Earl Annesley, came of age, he began building a new house at Castlewellan to the design of William Burn.  Alongside the house he laid out gardens and began planting an arborteum. Amid the excitement of these occupations, he neglected to marry, and although he became engaged to a young widow, the Marchioness Camden, who was a daughter of the Duke of Marlborough, he died of a heart attack at the age of 44 before the marriage could take place. The estates passed to his brother, Lt-Col. Hugh Annesley (1831-1908), 5th Earl Annesley, who after an eventful military career (he was badly wounded in the Crimea) had become MP for County Cavan. The 5th Earl was a pioneering amateur photographer and a keen gardener, who continued the development of the arboretum and gardens at Castlewellan and even published a book about the rare trees in his collection.

The 5th Earl's only son, Francis Annesley (1884-1914), 6th Earl Annesley, did not long survive his father, being one of the earliest air casualties of the First World War.  The title then passed to a grandson of the 3rd Earl, whose became the 7th Earl (and is now held by descendants of a younger son of the 2nd Earl), but the Co. Down estates passed to his widowed sister, Lady Mabel Annesley (1881-1959), who preserved the estates through the troubled years of the early 20th century when so many houses were lost. During the Second World War, however, Castlewellan was requisitioned for military use and Lady Mabel was bombed out of her house in Belfast. Donard Lodge too was burned out during the war (and the ruins were demolished in 1966). In 1941 Lady Mabel handed over responsibility for the estate to her son, Gerald Annesley (1904-92) and emigrated to New Zealand. Gerald worked tirelessly to restore the arborteum at Castlewellan, but in 1965 sold the castle and grounds to the Northern Ireland government, which opened the grounds as a forest park.  The castle has been a Christian conference centre since 1974. Sadly, the condition of the arboretum has deteriorated in recent years, and a major restoration is once more required. Gardening is clearly still in the blood, however: Gerald's daughter, Margaret Ogilvie (1929-2014), was responsible for creating the garden at House of Pitmuies (Angus) after 1966.

Castlewellan Castle, Co. Down

The Annesley family leased the Castlewellan estate from the late 17th century and bought the freehold in 1741.  Their first house was built in the 1750s by the 1st Viscount Glerawly, and presumably stood near The Grange, the surviving group of 18th century farm and stable buildings set around three courtyards, which was described thus by Mary Delany in 1758:
‘three large courts – round the first which is arched around a kind of piazza are houses for all his carriages and over them granaries; the next court are stables and cow houses and over them haylofts, the third court two such barns as I never saw, floored in oak and finished in the most convenient manner for all purposes of winnowing etc and in the court are stables for hay and corn’
A straight lime avenue close to the Grange survives from the 1750s formal landscape, and may have been aligned on the house.

Castlewellan Cottage. Image: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (T3390/5/69)

Probably in the years after 1802, when the 2nd Earl inherited, the 1750s house was taken down and replaced by a small single-storey villa in the park, known as Castlewellan Cottage, which survived into the age of photography but was in turn demolished in about 1860. 

Gothic Temple, Castlewellan, demolished c.1855
Image: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (T3390/4/30)

A Gothic Temple was built nearby 'for rest and pleasure' in about 1820, and 'lifted its spheric cone among the mountains with great grandeur', for about 35 years, but it was demolished to allow a new great house, Castlewellan Castle, to be built on the site for the 4th Earl Annesley.

Castlewellan Castle, by William Burn, 1852-59. Image: JPSgallery. Some rights reserved.

The new house was designed in 1852-54 by the Scottish architect, William Burn, and was built in 1856-59 at a cost of £18,128. It is a large and somewhat austere Scots Baronial pile of local granite, but picturesquely composed. The house is mainly of three storeys plus an attic of dormer-gables, and with a massive four-storey tower to one side and a rather slender round tower and turret on the other. Typically of Burn's work, the castle air is all in the massing and silhouette; the house has large sash windows and few specifically Gothic details, and it stands high on two long terraces looking down to a lake, with views from the windows to Slieve Donard and the Mountains of Mourne.  From the highest points of the grounds a view opens up across Dundrum Bay to the Isle of Man. 

Castlewellan demesne and arboretum, looking south to the Mountains of Mourne. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The demesne is of great beauty, and contains a famous arboretum. Work began on the gardens when William Annesley first bought the estate in the 1740s, and the walls of the kitchen garden date from that time. The arboretum was begun by the 4th Earl while the castle was building, and he planted exotics such as wellingtonias, monkey puzzles and rhodedendron ponticum. Nearer the house was an Italian garden on the central axis, with a fountain and formal topiary.  The 5th Earl continued the development of the gardens, planting subtropical species, creating a three mile drive around the lake, extending the grounds to the east into Ballymaginalty Wood, and building 'summer houses galore', including a Moorish Tower on a rocky ledge high above the lake (now ruined).  There were no less than nineteen heated glasshouses, some of them dating from the 4th Earl's time. The 5th Earl and his gardener, Thomas Ryan, publicised the gardens widely, and Lord Annesley published a book, Beautiful and Rare Trees and Plants in 1903.

When Lady Mabel Annesley emigrated to New Zealand, the house passed to Gerald Sowerby, a nephew of the 6th Earl, who assumed the name of Annesley. He restored the arboretum but sold the estate to the Northern Ireland Government in 1965, while remaining on the committee responsible for managing the arboretum.  The demesne is now a forest park.  The house stood empty for ten years but was then restored as a Christian conference centre.

Descent: Anthony Magennis sold 1741 to William Annesley, 1st Viscount Glerawly (c.1710-70), 1st Viscount Glerawly; to son, Francis Charles Annesley (d. 1802), 2nd Viscount Glerawly and 1st Earl Annesley; to son, Richard Annesley (1745-1824), 2nd Earl Annesley; to son, William Richard Annesley (1772-1838), 3rd Earl Annesley; to son, William Richard Annesley (1830-74), 4th Earl Annesley; to brother, Lt. Col. Hugh Annesley (1831-1908), 5th Earl Annesley; to daughter, Lady Mabel Annesley (1881-1959); to son, Gerald Annesley (né Sowerby) (1904-92), who sold 1965 to Northern Ireland Government; leased 1974 as a Christian conference centre.

Mount Panther, Co. Down

Mount Panther from the air, before the removal of the roof.

Mount Panther probably began as a five-bay two-and-a-half storey house with giant pilasters at the angles and a broader central bay, built about 1740 for the Rev. Dr. Matthews. The centrepiece has a Diocletian window in the top floor, a Palladian window on the first floor, and a tripartite doorcase below. This building no doubt represents the 'elegant new brick house remarkably well-built, four and five rooms on a floor' recorded in 1771. It was bought in 1772 by the 1st Earl Annesley, who added the three bay wings and applied stucco to the front and return elevations.  Inside, he created a series of rooms with fine Adamesque plasterwork by the best Dublin stuccadores, especially a very fine ballroom which was widely admired by contemporaries and in the 20th century. Tragically, the owner removed the roof in the 1960s to avoid paying rates on the property, and sold as many of the internal fittings as possible, with the result that only the shell survives today. Moulds were taken of some of the plasterwork and were used to cast plasterwork for the drawing room of Malone House in Belfast, when it was restored by the City Council.

Mount Panther in 2012: little survives except the facade and major cross-walls.
Image: Ulster Architectural & Heritage Society. Some rights reserved.

Further changes were made in the mid 19th century, when the rather incongruous floating labels were added above the ground and first floor windows and the cornice was given Italianate bracket mouldings. The most striking aspect of the exterior is the contrast between the grandeur of the entrance front and the rustic simplicity of the rear elevation: this really is a house that is "Queen Anne in front and Mary Ann behind". At the rear is a large stable court, apparently dating mainly from the later 18th century.

The house has been for sale since 2008, but no owner rich and courageous enough to take on the task of reconstructing the house has yet appeared.  It seems probable that the structural condition of the house is now such that any restoration would have to be more or less a rebuilding, but for such a grand house this would be worthwhile. And with the survival of some plasterwork fragments, the moulds used at Malone House, and good descriptions of the plasterwork, some of the main interiors could yet be recreated.

Descent: Rev. Dr. Matthews (fl. 1740)...Rev. Bernard Walsh (fl. 1743-65), who let to Very Rev. Patrick Delany (husband of Mary Delany) (fl. 1744-60); sold 1765 to John Smyth; sold 1772 to Francis Charles Annesley (d. 1802), 2nd Viscount Glerawly and 1st Earl Annesley; to Rev. Charles William Moore, rector of Moira... Hugh Moore... sold 1822 to Maj. William Henry Rainey; sold 1832 to John Reed Allen (d. 1875); to son, George Allen (d. 1929); to cousin, Lt-Col. Thomas Gracey; sold 1931 to Paddy Fitzpatrick (d. 1957); to son, Seamus Fitzpatrick...Richard Fitzpatrick, who offered the ruin for sale in 2008.

Donard Lodge, Newcastle, Co. Down

Donard Lodge, from an old postcard.

An eleven-bay two-storey Classical house of granite ashlar, built in 1829-32 by the 3rd Earl Annesley as a marine residence.  It was said to be so close to the sea that visitors could be caught in spray while waiting at the door. The architect at first was John Lynn, who designed and built the garden front, but later acted merely as contractor, carrying out plans by Thomas Duff of Newry and his partner, Thomas Jackson of Belfast, for the entrance side. The entrance front had a central projecting bay and a boldly-projecting three-sided bow at either end, linked to the centre by a short Doric colonnade. The right-hand colonnade served as the entrance portico, the door being in one side of the central projection.  

Donard Lodge: end elevation and garden front, showing the semicircular conservatory added in 1832

The garden front had curved and canted bows and round-headed ground-floor windows, and there was an elegant semi-circular conservatory by John Lynn on one end of the house, added in 1832.  The house was burnt down during the Second World War and the ruins demolished in 1966.  The grounds, on the slopes of Slieve Donard in the Mourne mountains, are today part of a landscape park. An ice house, built 250 feet up near the River Glen, survives and has been restored by the National Trust.

The beautiful demesne of Donard Lodge. Image: Sarahj2107. Some rights reserved.

Descent: Anthony Magennis, sold 1747 to William Annesley, 1st Viscount Glerawly (c.1710-70), 1st Viscount Glerawly; to son, Francis Charles Annesley (1740-1802), 2nd Viscount Glerawly and 1st Earl Annesley; to brother, Richard Annesley (1745-1824), 2nd Earl Annesley; to son, William Richard Annesley (1772-1838), 3rd Earl Annesley; to son, William Richard Annesley (1830-74), 4th Earl Annesley; to brother, Lt. Col. Hugh Annesley (1831-1908), 5th Earl Annesley; to son, Francis Annesley (1884-1914), 6th Earl Annesley; to sister, Lady Mabel Annesley (1881-1959).

Annesley family of Castlewellan, Earls Annesley

Annesley, William (c.1709-70), 1st Baron Annesley & 1st Viscount Glerawly. Sixth son of Francis Annesley (1663-1750) of Thorganby and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Joseph Martin, kt. He was a barrister at law in Dublin; MP for Midleton (Cork), 1741-58; High Sheriff of Co. Down, 1750; created Baron Annesley in the Irish peerage, 20 September 1758 and Viscount Glerawly, 14 November 1766; the title was intended to be Glenawley but was incorrectly given in the patent.  He and his wife were described by Mary Delany in 1752: "they are very rich and know it, and spend their lives in increasing not enjoying their fortune; but he is a very honest man in all his dealings, still would be more agreeable as well as more useful if he thought less of his possessions. His lady suits him exactly; she does not want sense, and is comical enough in a satirical way", although earlier (in 1744) she had formed a less favourable impression of Lady Glerawly: "...such another slatternly ignorant hoyden I never saw, and the worst of it is she is very good humoured, but will be familiar; her husband is very like the Duke of Bedford, and well enough." He married, 16 August 1738 at St Mary, Dublin, Anne (d. 1770), eldest daughter of Marcus Beresford, 1st Earl of Tyrone and had issue:
(1) Hon. Catherine Annesley (c.1739-70); married, 14 July 1760, Arthur Saunders Gore (1734-1809), 2nd Earl of Arran and had issue two sons and four daughters; died 23 November 1770; 
(2) Francis Charles Annesley (1740-1802), 2nd Viscount Glerawly and 1st Earl Annesley (q.v.);
(3) Maj. Marcus Annesley (1743-80), born 17 April 1743; an officer in the army (Major, 1778); died unmarried, but apparently leaving illegitimate issue including two sons (Sir James Annesley c.1774-1847 and Major Marcus Annesley c.1779-1843); will proved at Dublin, 1780;
(3) Richard Annesley (1745-1824), 2nd Earl Annesley (q.v.);
(4) Very Rev. & Hon. William Annesley (1747-1817) of Oakley Park (Down), born 3 March 1747; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1763); vicar of Kilkeel and later Drumgooland; Dean of Down, 1787-1817, where he was responsible for the restoration of the cathedral under the supervision of John Lilly of Dublin, architect; bought Oakley Park near Downpatrick, 1789 which he remodelled to the designs of John Lilly; married, January 1789, Jane, daughter of John Digby of Landenstown (Kildare) and had issue two sons; died 1817 and buried at Kilmegan.
He purchased the Castlewellan estate, which his family had leased since the late 17th century, in 1741 and the Donard estate in 1747.
He died 12 September 1770 at Clontarf (Dublin), aged 60. His wife died 12 May 1770.

Annesley, Francis Charles (1740-1802), 2nd Viscount Glerawly & 1st Earl Annesley. Eldest son of William Annesley (c.1709-70), 1st Viscount Glerawly and his wife Anne, daughter of Marcus Beresford, 1st Earl of Tyrone, born 27 November 1740. High Sheriff of Co. Down, 1750; MP for Downpatrick in the Irish parliament, 1761-70; succeeded his father as 2nd Viscount Glerawly, 12 September 1770; created Earl Annesley (with a special remainder to his brother), 17 August 1789.  He married, 8 February 1766, Mary (d. 1791), daughter and heiress of Richard Grove of Ballyhimmock (Cork), but had no legitimate issue. The Earl had a number of mistresses. By Dorothy McIlroy he had issue in his wife's lifetime:
(X1.1) James Annesley (b. c.1781; fl. 1819); educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1797);
(X1.2) Henry Annesley (fl. 1819);
(X1.3) Charles Annesley (fl. 1819);
(X1.4) Francis Annesley (fl. 1819).
In November 1795, the Earl went to dine with his brother and heir presumptive, Richard Annesley, and on the way up the drive he was 'much struck with the appearance' of one Sophia Connor (née Kelly) (d. 1850), the wife of his brother's gardener, and '... remained for some time in conversation with her ... in the short time that such conversation lasted, the said Sophia was so dazzled by the rank and splendour of the said Earl ... that, in violation of her marriage vow, she consented to elope... with the said Earl on his return to Dublin that evening. This promise she accordingly fulfilled, and was on the evening of the said day taken off by the said Earl in his phaeton to Dublin.' Two years later, on or about 29 September 1797, Lord Annesley went through a form of marriage with Sophia Connor – illegally, in view of her previous marriage to the gardener, although sworn statements were subsequently made in an effort to prove that the marriage was not valid or if it was valid that it had not been consummated. Subsequent to his marriage, Lord Annesley went to great trouble to fabricate a story that Sophia was a gentlewoman with a fortune of £2,000 and paying it to himself. The thinking behind all this must have been that possession of a marriage portion distinguished the honest from the kept woman. After the Earl's death, Sophia contested his brother's right to succeed to the title and estates, but eventually settled in 1819 for an annuity of £400.* The Earl had issue by Sophia Connor:
(X2.1) William Arthur Annesley (1797-c.1804), born, before the reputed marriage of his parents, 12 March 1797; died young.
(X2.2) George de la Poer Beresford Annesley (c.1799-1814), sometimes styled 'Lord Glerawly' in his father's lifetime as the first son born after his parents' marriage; born c.1799; educated at RMC Sandhurst; died unmarried and was buried at Sandhurst, 18 February 1814;
(X2.3) Francis Charles Annesley (c.1800-03); died in infancy, 9 March 1803.
He inherited the Castlewellan and Donard estates from his father in 1770, and in 1772 he bought the Mount Panther estate, where he remodelled the house.
He died 10 December 1802 at Mount Panther and was buried at Kilmegan (Down). His wife died 25 August 1791. Sophia Connor died in Paris in 1850.
A.P.W. Malcolmson, The pursuit of the heiress: aristocratic marriage in Ireland 1740-1840, 2006, pp. 7-8

Richard Annesley,
2nd Earl Annesley
Annesley, Richard (1745-1824), 2nd Earl Annesley. Third, but second surviving son of William Annesley (c.1709-70), 1st Viscount Glerawly and his wife Anne, daughter of Marcus Beresford, 1st Earl of Tyrone, born 14 April 1745. Barrister in Dublin (called to bar, 1770); High Sheriff of Co. Down, 1783; MP in the Irish parliament for Coleraine, 1776-83, St Canice, 1783-90, Newtownards, 1790-96, Blessington, 1797-1800, Clogher, Feb-Mar 1800 and Midleton, Apr-Dec 1800, but was regarded as a poor speaker, let down by the weakness of his voice and poor oratorical skills; appointed to Privy Council for Ireland, 1798. Commissioner for Customs in Ireland, 1786-95, 1802-06 and for Excise in Ireland, 1795-1810. He succeeded his brother as 2nd Earl Annesley, 10 December 1802. He married, 25 September 1771 at Swanlinbar (Cavan), Anne (d. 1832), only daughter and heiress of Robert Lambert of Dunlady (Down) and had issue:
(1) William Richard Annesley (1772-1838), 3rd Earl Annesley (q.v.);
(2) Hon. Robert Annesley (1773-1825), born 1 June 1773; married, 12 March 1798 at St George's Dublin, Mary Anne (d. 1845), daughter of James Gandon of Canon Brook (Dublin), the architect, and had issue four sons and three daughters; died 21 April 1825;
(3) Lt-Gen. Hon. Arthur Annesley (later Grove-Annesley) (1774-1849) of Ballyhimmock, born 9 November 1774; inherited the Ballyhimmock estate from his aunt, 1792; married, 28 December 1814, Elizabeth, daughter of John Mahon and had issue six sons and eight daughters, from whom descend the Grove-Annesleys of Annes Grove, who will be the subject of a future post; died 7 November 1849;
(4) Capt. Hon. Francis Charles Annesley (1775-1832), born 21 November 1775; Captain in the Royal Navy; married, 31 July 1813, Mary (who m2, April 1834, Rev. J. Dickson and died 1854), daughter of William Radcliffe, and had issue five sons and three daughters; died 5 August 1832;
(5) Lady Catherine Annesley (1776-1830); married, January 1801, Sir Neale O'Donnell (d. 1827), 2nd bt. of Newport House (Mayo) and had issue three sons and five daughters; died 17 July 1830;
(6) Lady Anna Maria Annesley (1778-1835); married Rev. George Holwell McDowell-Johnstone of Ballywhill House (Down), but died without issue, 1835.
He inherited the Castlewellan and Donard estates from his brother in 1802 but lived chiefly in Dublin. He probably built the Cottage at Castlewellan after 1802
He died 9 November 1824 at Clontarf (Dublin); his will was proved 23 December 1824. His widow died 30 June 1832.

William Richard Annesley,
3rd Earl Annesley
Annesley, William Richard (1772-1838), 3rd Earl Annesley. Eldest son of Richard Annesley (1741-1824), 2nd Earl Annesley, and his wife Anne, daughter of Robert Lambert of Dunlady (Down), born 16 July 1772. Educated at Dr. Thompson's School, Kensington and Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1789). Whig MP for Downpatrick, 1815-20; High Sheriff of Co. Down, 1822; Captain of Castlewellan Infantry, 1817; succeeded his father as 3rd Earl Annesley, 9 November 1824. He married 1st, 19 May 1803, Lady Isabella St. Lawrence (d. 1827), daughter of 2nd Earl of Howth, who eloped with Lt. Henry John Burn in 1819 and from whom Parliament granted him a divorce in 1821, and 2nd, 15 July 1828, Priscilla Cecilia (d. 1891), daughter of Hugh Moore of Eglantine House (Down), and had issue:
(1.1) Lady Mary Annesley (1804-37), born March 1804; married, 16 February 1828, William John McGwire of Rostrevor (Down) and had issue; died 1837;
(2.1) William Richard Annesley (1830-74), 4th Earl Annesley (q.v.);
(2.2) Hugh Annesley (1831-1908), 5th Earl Annesley (q.v.);
(2.3) Hon. Robert Annesley (b. & d. 1833), born 10 and died 12 March 1833;
(2.4) Hon. Robert John Annesley (1834-54), born 15 February 1834; officer in 11th Hussars; died 28 September 1854;
(2.5) Hon. Arthur Annesley (1835-81), born 20 September 1835; Captain in Grenadier Guards; married, November 1867, Clara (d. 1923), only daughter of George Weston of Norwich, but died without issue, 25 April 1881;
(2.6) Hon. George Annesley (1837-1903) of Castlewellan (Down), born 22 February 1837; educated at Downing College, Cambridge (admitted 1855); married 1st, 23 February 1859, his cousin Anna Clementina, daughter of James Annesley, and had issue a daughter; married 2nd, 2 June 1861, Georgina Henrietta (d. 1892), daughter of William Henry Daniel of Auburn (Westmeath); died 4 September 1903 and was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin;
(2.7) Hon. William Octavius Beresford Annesley (1838-75) of Painswick (Glos), born 29 November 1838; married, 16 May 1860, Caroline (d. 1869), daughter of John Mears of Bagshot (Surrey) and had issue one son (later 7th Earl Annesley) and three daughters; died 20 July 1875; will proved 2 February 1876 (estate under £2,000).
He inherited the Castlewellan and Donard estates from his father in 1824, and built a new house, Donard Lodge, on the coast near Newcastle (Down).
He died 25 August 1838 and his will was proved 2 August 1838. His divorced first wife died in April 1827. His widow died 29 March 1891; her will was proved 6 May 1891 (estate £5,580).

William Richard Annesley,
4th Earl Annesley
Annesley, William Richard (1830-74), 4th Earl Annesley. Eldest son of William Richard Annesley (1772-1838), 3rd Earl Annesley, and his second wife, Priscilla Cecilia, daughter of Hugh Moore of Eglantine (Down), born 21 February 1830. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1847). Conservative MP for Great Grimsby, 1852-57; succeeded his father as 4th Earl Annesley, 25 August 1838; served as a representative Irish peer in the House of Lords, 1867-74. He was unmarried (although engaged to the Marchioness Camden at the time of his death) and without issue.
He inherited the Castlewellan and Donard Lodge estates from his father in 1838 and built Castlewellan Castle to the designs of William Burn. He also began laying out the park and planting an arboretum.
He died of a heart attack at Cowes (Isle of Wight), 10 August 1874. His will was proved 15 September 1874 (estate in Ireland under £35,000) and 3 October 1874 (estate in England under £6,000).

Hugh, 5th Earl Annesley
Annesley, Lt-Col. Hugh (1831-1908), 5th Earl Annesley. Second son of William Richard Annesley (1772-1838), 3rd Earl Annesley, and his second wife, Priscilla Cecilia, daughter of Hugh Moore of Eglantine (Down), born 26 January 1831. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Dublin (BA 1851). Served in the 43rd Foot and later Scots Fusiliers, 1851-71 (Capt., 1855; Lt-Col. 1860) and saw action in the Kaffir War, 1851-53 (severely wounded) and the Crimea, 1854 (severely wounded). Conservative MP for Co. Cavan, 1857-74; succeeded his brother as 5th Earl Annesley, 10 August 1874, and was an Irish representative peer in the House of Lords, 1877-1908. He was a pioneering amateur photographer, and 35 albums of his photographs are in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.  He was also a keen gardener, and published Beautiful and Rare Trees and Plants, 1903. He married 1st, 4 July 1877, Mabel Wilhelmina Frances (d. 1891), eldest daughter of Col. William Thomas Markham of Cufforth Hall (Yorks) and 2nd, 2 July 1892, Priscilla Cecilia (1870-1941), daughter of William Armitage Moore of Arnmore (Cavan), and had issue:
(1.1) Lady Mabel Marguerite Annesley (1881-1959) (q.v.)
(1.2) Francis Annesley (1884-1914), 6th Earl Annesley,born 25 February 1884; served as Sub-Lt. in Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in WW1; married, 14 September 1909, Evelyn Hester (who m3, 15 May 1919, Guy Aylwin), daughter of Alfred Edward Miller Mundy of Shipley Hall (Derbys) and formerly wife of Capt. Hugh Robert Edward Harrison of Caerhowel (Montgomerys); killed in action in an aeroplane over Ostend, 5 November 1914;
(2.1) Lady Clare Annesley (1893-1980), born 30 June 1893; pacifist and socialist; engaged to Sir Hugh Lane (1875-1915), founder of the Dublin Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, who died when the Lusitania was sunk; stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate in the 1920s and 1930s; died unmarried, 1980;
(2.2) Lady Constance Mary Annesley (1895-1975), born 24 October 1895; educated at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London; social reformer, actress (as Colette O'Neil) and writer; author of autobiography, After Ten Years, 1931, two novels, and a volume of autobiographical travels in Scandinavia, 1946; married, 6 May 1915 (div. 1924), William Miles Malleson (d. 1969), the celebrated character actor, son of Edmund Taylor Malleson, but soon afterwards became the mistress of Bertrand Russell; died without issue, 5 October 1975.
He inherited the Castlewellan Castle and Donard Lodge estates from his elder brother in 1874, and continued the development of the gardens at Castlewellan.
He died 15 December 1908; his will was proved in Belfast, 16 July 1909 (estate £75,093). His first wife died 17 April 1891. His widow died in Bath, 9 October 1941.

Lady Mabel Annesley, 1898
Annesley, Lady Mabel Marguerite (1881-1959). Eldest surviving child of Lt-Col. Hugh Annesley (1831-1908), 5th Earl Annesley, and his first wife Mabel Wilhelmina Frances, daughter of Col. William Thomas Markham of Cufforth Hall (Yorks), born 25 February 1881. She studied at the Frank Calderon School of Animal Painting in London in the 1890s and was a talented wood engraver and watercolour painter. After her husband's death she reverted to her maiden name. During the Second World War, Castlewellan House was taken over for military use and in 1941 she was bombed out of her Belfast house, so she emigrated to New Zealand. Her unfinished autobiography was published as As the Sight is Bent in 1964; a biography by D.A. Egerton, Artist and aristocrat, was published in 2010. She married, 14 January 1904, Lt. Gerald Sowerby RN (d. 1913), youngest son of Thomas Charles Johnson Sowerby of Gainford (Durham) and had issue:
(1) Gerald Sowerby (later Annesley) (1904-92) (q.v.).
She inherited the Castlewellan Castle and Donard Lodge estates from her brother at his death in 1914, and seems to have settled them on her son around the time of his marriage, although she was much in evidence at Castlewellan in the late 1930s and 1940s until she went to New Zealand. She returned to England in 1953 and settled in Suffolk. 
She died 19 June 1959; her will was proved 12 November 1959 (estate £25,098). Her husband died 5/6 November 1913; his will was proved in Belfast, 29 May 1914 (effects £344).

Sowerby (later Annesley), Gerald Francis (1904-92). Only son of Lt. Gerald Sowerby RN (d. 1913) and his wife Lady Mabel Marguerite, daughter of Hugh Annesley, 5th Earl Annesley, of Castlewellan Castle (Down). He took the name Annesley when his mother reverted to her maiden name in 1913. He stood unsuccessfully as an Independent Nationalist in the South Down constituency at the UK parliamentary election, 1951, opposing the partition of Ireland. He married 1st, 3 August 1927 (div. 1940), Lady Elizabeth Jocelyn (1907-82), daughter of Robert Soame Jocelyn, 8th Earl of Roden, 2nd, 1941 (div. 1954), Mary Patricia (c.1921-2012), daughter of Maj. Donald Ramsay MacDonald of Hollymount (Carlow), and 3rd, 1957, his housekeeper, Mary Elizabeth (k/a Lil) Cromwell (d. 2012), and had issue:
(1.1) Margaret Elizabeth Annesley (1929-2014), born 21 December 1929; married, 1957, Douglas Farquhar Ogilvie (d. 1983) of House of Pitmuies (Angus), son of David Douglas Ogilvie, and had issue one son and two daughters; developed a famous garden at House of Pitmuies after 1966; died 11 May 2014; obituary in The Scotsman;
(1.2) Patricia Mabel Annesley (b. 1933); married, 1954, Peter Saunders, son of Philip Keith Saunders of New York (USA) and had issue two sons and two daughters;
(2.1) (Francis) Rory Annesley (b. 1942); married, 1964, Althea, daughter of Kenneth Leslie Urquhart of New Abbey, Kilcullen (Kildare) and had issue;
(2.2) (William) Richard Annesley (b. 1945); married, 1968, Haidée, daughter of Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Grayson Rawlinson, Baron Rawlinson and had issue one son and one daughter;
(3.1) twin, James H. Annesley (b. 1957), born 10 April 1957;
(3.2) twin, William Francis Annesley (1957-94), born 10 April 1957; died August 1994.
His mother made over the Castlewellan and Donard Lodge estates to him when she emigrated to New Zealand during the Second World War. In 1965 he sold them to the Northern Ireland Government.
He died in April 1992. His first wife married 2nd, 31 August 1940 (div. 1949), Hon. Charles Dudley Anthony Ross and had further issue; she married 3rd, 15 April 1954 Cdr. Warden Sydney Learmonth Gilchrist RN (d. 1958) and 4th, 11 July 1967, Brig. Edward Maxwell Tyler DSO MC. His second wife married 2nd, 1976, Maj. the Hon. Bernard Bruce (1917-83), son of the 9th/13th Earl of Elgin & Kincardine. His widow died 4 March 2012.

Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 2003, pp. 107-10; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 1990, pp. 79, 105, 216; A.P.W. Malcolmson, The pursuit of the heiress: aristocratic marriage in Ireland 1740-1840, 2006, pp. 7-8; D.A. Egerton, Artist and aristocrat, 2010, passim.

Location of archives
Annesley family, Viscounts Glerawly and Earls Annesley: deeds, estate, family and legal papers, 17th-20th cents [Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, D1503, D1854]; estate maps, 1813-92 [Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, T2452]

Coat of arms
Paly of six argent and azure, over all a bend gules.

Revision & Acknowledgements
This account was first published 13 November 2014 and was revised 16 November 2014, 24-25 July 2015, 2 March 2016, 10 March  and 10 November 2017, and 13 March 2018.  I am grateful to Peter Williamson, Antony Malcolmson and Stephen Scarth for assistance with the story of the 1st Earl's marriages and information about Maj. Marcus Annesley, and to Diane Egerton, M.A. Adams and Peter Williamson for additional information and corrections.


  1. The original portrait of Richard Annesley 2nd Earl, from which the lithograph (NPG) is taken hangs in "Annesgrove" co. Cork along with the portrait of Francis Annesley 1st Earl. I commissioned the NPG to photograph the lithograph many years ago, I have visited "Annesgrove" and also taken pictures of those portraits as well as a portrait of Lt Gen Arthur Grove Annesley. Regards GGG grandson of Georgianna Grove Annesley.

  2. Victoria Annesley8 November 2016 at 22:19

    This is so strange for me to read this, as these people are my ancestors, but I know I would disagree entirely with them.
    This was hidden from my siblings and myself by our mother, who didn't want us to know my father's family is actually got a "pedigree" surpassing her family. She was a terrible snob with an inferiority complex. I couldn't care less about that; but I love history.
    I plan to find out more about my family. Thanks, Vicky Annesley.

    1. Hi Vicky
      I am also a descendent and only interested in the history. I link to the Annesley family as a descendent of the Hon Maj Marcus Annesley (1743-1780), Maj Marcus Annesley (1779-1848) Marcus Annesley (1798-1836). I have a complete tree of the family going back to William the Marcus Annesley(b. 1798 d. 1836). I have a complete tree of the family going back to William the conqueror. Please feel free to contact me through my web site if I can help with your family search.

    2. Hello

      I have a portrait drawing of Lady Mabel Annesley probably produced in the late 1920 or 30's.

      If anyone is interested to know more.


      Paul Snoddy

    3. My partner is a decent of her. They all got the same eye's

  3. Hi Vicky,
    My family worked for your ancestors for many years here in Castlewellan demesne, now forest park, and I have a great interest in this estate and your family's history. I have got to know its history much better over time and its very interesting. I can tell you more about it if you want too. Robert trotter

    1. i am great x 3 granddaughter of Catherine Annesley, daughter of Richard Annesley, who married Neal O'Donnell of County Mayo. If anyone would like access to my quite comprehensive family website please email me at
      Chris Challis

  4. Very impressed with the level of detail, research, and historical sources used used including various references regarding the Annesley family of Castlewellan, where I live. This website is a must see for anyone interested like me in families with estates and land.

  5. thank you for this post. I dont know if you have read my website on the Annesleys re Tribalpages but I had this information to use in the past. They were my great great etc grandparents and through Catherine Annesley marrying an Irish baronet in County Mayo and their son coming to Australia, our line was created.

  6. My father Pierce Annesley Chamberlain III also let me know we are descendants of the Annesley Family. My wife and I are planning to visit Ireland and Scotland in June and trying to find out more about our family history and if there was anywhere we should really make an effort to see when we are over there. Thanks, Seth Chamberlain

  7. I am not sure if anyone is still addressing this post but I am interested to know about the Hon Robert John Annesley b1835, d Crimean War of Cholera. He was only 20 when he died and I am surprised there are no photographs or records of him only occasional brief mention. Does anyone have any information on him. He would have become the Earl but his brother Hugh took on that role. Would love to here if anyone knows of him.

    1. One of many young lives lost in that (now largely forgotten) conflict. He was younger than his brother Hugh who became 5th Earl, so he was not, in fact, the heir presumptive.

  8. I am now 73 and now living in Boston US.
    Growing up on King Street, Newcastle, I was told by my grandmother that the 5th Earl, Hugh Annesley, was involved with my great grandmother and was the father of her 3 sons. Looking at the 5th Earl’s photo, I do see a striking resemblance to my aunt, who would have been his granddaughter.
    I find it all very interesting- so many years ago and I have many grandchildren myself.

  9. Richard Annesley I remember when in 1968 he had a short stint at Ryarsh brick company,I wondered of his whereabouts now.
    His famous words were I wont be in tommorrow then we see in the paper's that he got married .

  10. I am hoping to write an MA dissertation on Hugh Annesley's photographic collections. Does anyone know of any more published (or unpublished!) writing on Hugh Annesley and his interest in photography? Was he in any scientific societies, for example, where he might have learned this skill, that I could research?
    Thanks for any help anyone can offer...just at the scoping phase...!

  11. If anyone has any information about Althea Urquhart Annesley I would greatly appreciate it. I am trying to connect her father, Kenneth Leslie Urquhart, to John Leslie and Beryl Urquhart, who I believe are his parents. I am hitting a wall and any help would be appreciated. Thanks for any help !

  12. Does anyone know the where Lady Florence Cecilia Proctor, daughter of William Octavius Beresford Annesley and Caroline, nee Mears is buried? She died at Penzance in Cornwall on 22 June 1959. Thanks for any help.

  13. Hi there Im looking for any information about the Annesley’s involvement,if any, in Murlough House and Murlough Farm based at Keel Point Dundrum


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.