Sunday, 5 April 2015

(163) Archbold of Davidstown House

The family of Archbold (sometimes written as Archibald) had a number of branches in the Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Wexford area, one of which was established at Timolin in Kildare by the 17th century. It is not clear when they first acquired the Davidstown estate or built a gentry house here, but it was perhaps in the early 18th century. The family's descent can only be traced with any confidence from the time of Robert Archbold (d. 1737), who is perhaps to be identified with the Robert Archbold who in the 1690s sought to recover the Co. Kildare lands of his father, Capt. William Archbold, which had been confiscated for his participation in King James II's army in Ireland.  Robert's eldest son, William Archbold (d. 1753), was High Sheriff of Co. Kildare in 1738, which must imply that he had conformed to the Protestant religion, but later generations of the family seem to have reverted to Catholicism and were excluded from public office until the relaxation of the anti-Catholic laws in the early 19th century.

In 1789 the estate passed from John Archbold to his kinsman, James Archbold (d. c.1804), who is sometimes described as a cousin, although the precise relationship remains obscure. He married the eldest daughter of Thomas Kavanagh of Borris House (Carlow), and perhaps in order to accommodate her in the style to which she was accustomed, I think it was he who built the present Davidstown House in the last years of the 18th century. He died at a relatively young age and his eldest son, Robert Archbold (d. 1855) can barely have been of age at the time of his inheritance.  Robert grew up to be a leading figure amongst the Catholic gentry in Ireland and for ten years from 1837-47 he was MP for the county. He was also an agricultural improver, and a noted breeder of shorthorn cattle, which he popularised in the south Leinster area, and he managed to sustain prosperity among his tenantry throughout the famine years of the 1840s.  When he died his heir was his nephew, another Robert Archbold (1843-76) who was a child of twelve. The estate was leased during his minority, but by 1865 it was back in the family's hands and there were extravagant celebrations to mark Robert's coming of age. Unfortunately, little more than a decade later, Robert died unmarried and his heir was his sister, Eleanor Frances Archbold (d. 1927). She inherited an estate of some 3,075 acres but seems to have sold some land during her long tenure.  After she died, the Irish Land Commission acquired much of the estate for redistribution, but the the house and demesne lands passed by descent to Gerald Patrick Gallwey (1920-2010), whose relationship to the Archbolds I have been unable to trace.

Davidstown House, Kildare

The Davidstown demesne, from the Ordnance Survey 6" map of Ireland

Davidstown House
A plain three storey Georgian block, with a five bay front and sides of five and four bays. The house is extended at the rear by two-storey wings which enclose a small courtyard.  The entrance front has a fine doorcase with a baseless pediment supported on engaged Ionic columns extending over the doorway with its delicately leaded fanlight, and side-lights. Inside, the house has late 18th and 19th century plasterwork.

Descent: Robert Archbold (d. 1737); to son, William Archbold (d. 1753); to son, John Archbold (d. 1789); to cousin, James Archbold (d. c.1804); to son, Robert Archbold MP (d. 1855); to brother, James Archbold; to son, Robert Archbold (1843-77); to sister, Eleanor Frances Archbold (d. 1926); by inheritance to Gerald Patrick Gallwey (1920-2010).

Archbold family of Davidstown House

Archbold, Robert (d. 1737). Possibly the son of Capt. William Archbold. He married and had issue:
(1) William Archbold (d. 1753) (q.v.);
(2) Gregory Archbold;
(3) Michael Archbold (d. 1780) of Finglas (Dublin).
He inherited Davidstown House from his father.
He died in 1737.

Archbold, William (d. 1753). Eldest son of Robert Archbold (d. 1737). High Sheriff of Co. Kildare, 1738. He married Ann (d. 1765) [surname unknown] and had issue:
(1) John Archbold (d. 1789) (q.v.).
He inherited Davidstown House from his father in 1737.
He died in 1753. His widow died in Dublin 1765.

Archbold, John (d. 1789). Only son of William Archbold (d. 1753) and his wife Ann. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Davidstown House from his father in 1753.  At his death it passed to his kinsman, James Archbold.
He died in 1789.

Archbold, James (d. c.1804). Said to be the son of James Archbold (d. 1780) of Eadestown and his wife Elizabeth Lattin. He married, September 1782, Eleanor or Helena, daughter of Thomas Kavanagh of Borris House (Carlow), and had issue:
(1) Robert Archbold (c.1780-1855) (q.v.);
(2) James Archbold (c.1785-1854) (q.v.);
(3) John Archbold (b. c.1790; fl. 1860);
(4) Eleanor Maria Archbold (c.1793-1877); married, 31 July 1823, Robert Cassidy (1791-1858) of Monasterevin (Kildare) and had issue three sons and four daughters; died 1877 aged 84.
He inherited Davidstown House from his cousin in 1789 and was perhaps responsible for building the present house.
He died in about 1804.

Archbold, Robert (c.1780-1855). Eldest son of James Archbold (d. c.1804) and his wife Helena, daughter of Thomas Kavanagh of Borris House (Carlow). JP and DL for Co. Kildare; High Sheriff of Co. Kildare, 1830. Responsible for the agricultural improvement of the estate and a noted breeder of short-horn cattle. MP for Co. Kildare, 1837-47. He married 1st, Miss Copeland (d. 1842) and 2nd, 6 March 1848, Mary Clare (fl. 1868), daughter of Oliver D.J. Grace MP of Mantua House (Roscommon), but had no issue.
He inherited Davidstown House from his father c.1804. At his death the estate passed to his nephew, Robert Archbold.
He died suddenly, 23? February 1855. His first wife died 29 November 1842. His widow founded a monastic community into which she was received.

Archbold, James (c.1785-1854) of St. John's, Castledermot (Kildare). Second son of James Archbold (d. c.1804) and his wife Helena, daughter of Thomas Kavanagh of Borris House (Carlow). He married, 1842, Mary, daughter of Nicholas Mahon Power of Faithlegg (Waterford) and had issue:
(1) Robert Archbold (1843-76) (q.v.);
(2) Eleanor Frances Archbold (d. 1927) (q.v.).
He died 1 May 1854.

Archbold, Robert (1843-76). Only son of James Archbold (c.1785-1854) and his wife Mary Power, born 1843. JP for Co. Kildare, 1868; High Sheriff of Co. Kildare, 1869. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Davidstown House estate from his uncle in 1855 and came of age in 1865; the estate was let during his minority. In 1876 he owned 3,075 acres.
He died 8 December 1876 and was buried in a mortuary chapel in the churchyard of the Catholic church of the Blessed Trinity at Moone (Kildare); will proved 2 August 1877 (effects under £5,000).

Archbold, Eleanor Frances (d. 1927). Only daughter of James Archbold (fl. 1842) and his wife Mary Power. She was unmarried and without issue.
She inherited the Davidstown House estate from her brother in 1876. After her death the house and demesne passed to the Gallwey family and the estate was largely sold off by the Irish Land Commission.
She died 2 July 1927; her will was proved 26 January 1928 (estate £1,556).


M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 2nd edn., 1990, p. 100.

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to survive.

Coat of arms

The family are not known to have been armigerous.


  1. Sir,
    I believe the connection between G. P. Gallwey and the Archbolds lies in the Powers of Faithlegg. Burke's Irish Family Records lists Gerald Patrick Gallwey, Lt. Irish Guards, of Davidstown House, Castledermot, co. Kildare, as second son of Henry William Dayrell Gallwey, of Woodlands, Waterford, Lt. Somerset Light Inf., by his wife Eily Marie Eugenie, dau. of Hubert Power, D.L., J.P., of Faithlegg House, co. Waterford. As you included in your post on the family, several marriages between the Powers and Archbolds took place.

  2. Thank you for sharing all these details xxx


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