Saturday 6 January 2018

(316) Bagwell of Marlfield and Eastgrove

Bagwell of Marlfield
Like so many Anglo-Irish families, the Bagwells claimed descent from a captain in the Cromwellian army who settled in Ireland in the 1650s. This ancestor, John Bagwell or Backwell, is said to have been the brother of a London banker and it is true that there was a prominent London goldsmith and banker called Edward Backwell (c.1618-83) at the right time, who had an elder brother called John. Unfortunately, this John seems to have had no connection with Ireland, and lived at Tyringham in Buckinghamshire, where he died in 1703. There is indeed, no reason to suppose that the family's surname was changed when they came to Ireland, and it seems probable that the first of the family to settle in Ireland - who may well have been a Cromwellian soldier - came from the Devon-Somerset area, where the name Bagwell is historically most common.

It is, however, easy to see why the family came to connect their origins with Edward Backwell, because within three generations the Irish Bagwell family were certainly bankers themselves, at Clonmel (Tipperary). John Bagwell (d. 1754), who is also recorded as a draper and merchant, was probably the first of the family to move into banking, as a way of usefully employing the capital he had accumulated from his other business ventures. He acquired an estate called The Burgagery which a little later was said to be worth £20,000. His son, William Bagwell (c.1728-56), married the heiress of the Harper family, who were the leading banking family in Cork, and when he and his wife both died young it was the Harper family who brought up their children. Like many of the leading merchants of Clonmel and Cork at this time, the Bagwells and the Harpers were Protestant nonconformists, and Col. John Bagwell (1751-1816) was brought up in this tradition. He soon recognised, however, that he needed to conform to the Church of Ireland if he was going to realise his political and social aspirations. He set out to use the wealth generated by the family bank to buy influence and social status in an unusually direct way, so that his career - and to a lesser extent that of his sons - is a textbook illustration of the venality and patronage of 18th century politics. He bought an estate at Marlfield and build a remarkably grand new house there which proclaimed his wealth and claims to social consideration. His key step, however, was to invest in properties which brought a controlling interest in some of the small local boroughs, and then to ensure his own election and that of his two eldest sons to parliament in 1799. The Government was keen to push through the union of Britain and Ireland in that parliamentary session, and needed to achieve a majority in the Irish House of Commons to achieve this. The vote was close, and the Government resorted to promising favours to shore up its vote, in the way of appointment to positions of influence or salaried posts (many of which were complete sinecures) for MPs, their families and friends. Bagwell and his sons had initially opposed the Union, and by operating as a block they could make a difference of six votes between the two sides, and were thus much courted. They eventually agreed to support the Government in exchange for posts worth £9,000 a year, although there were rumours that the Government might be outbid at the last moment. In the end, however, they kept their word and voted for the Union.

In return for his support over Union and subsequent key issues, John Bagwell's ultimate ambition was to secure a peerage, but in this he never succeeded, as his background in commerce - and in particular the nicknames he gained as a result - were held to threaten the dignity of the peerage. He did, however, gain a range of appointments for his sons in the army, politics and the church. His eldest son, William Bagwell (1776-1826) made a career in parliament, and became a privy councillor in 1809. He held a sinecure appointment as Muster Master General for Ireland, with a salary of £4,000 a year, and when the value of this appointment was reduced by administrative reforms, he was additional appointed as a trustee of the Irish linen manufacture. William died unmarried, and his estates passed to his nephew, John Bagwell (1811-83), who came of age in 1832. The properties John inherited included not only Marlfield, but also his great-aunt's houses at Belgrove and Eastgrove, on an estate on the Great Island in Cork Harbour, which had belonged to the Harper family. Belgrove was let, but Eastgrove formed an agreeable summer retreat for the family, which was much used in the 19th century. Like his uncle and grandfather, John became a long-serving MP, sitting for Clonmel between 1857 and 1874 in the reformed Westminster parliament. For three years he held office as a member of the Liberal government, serving as one of the Lords of the Treasury.

John Bagwell divided his property been his two sons, with the elder, Richard Bagwell (1840-1918), who trained as a barrister and later held several senior posts in the civil service, receiving Marlfield, and the younger, William Bagwell (1849-1928), Belgrove and Eastgrove. Richard's principal claim to fame was as an historian, and his books Ireland under the Tudors and Ireland under the Stuarts were for long standard works on the history of those troubled times. As the struggle for Irish independence gathered momentum in the early 20th century, he also emerged as a stalwart defender of Unionism, and by the time of his death he held office as Chairman of the Southern Unionist Committee. Taking such a public stance in a highly charged and frequently violent debate, he must have known that he was putting his life and property at stake, but in fact he felt no repercussions. He left Marlfield to his son, John Philip Bagwell (1874-1946), who was a senior manager in the Irish railway industry. When the Irish Free State was established in 1922, he became a Senator in the upper house of the new Irish parliament, and it was this appointment which unleashed violence on the family. In January 1923, a group of 30-40 men from an anti-treaty IRA faction broke into Marlfield at night, gave Mrs. Bagwell and the servants ten minutes to gather together some personal possessions, and then burned the house down. A few weeks later, Mr Bagwell was kidnapped at gunpoint on the road near his Dublin home, and after several days in captivity (during which the Government threatened reprisals if he was not released) he either escaped or was allowed to escape, and wisely left the country until tensions had eased. The Irish state paid compensation for the damage to Marlfield, which was rebuilt in 1925, and remained in the family until it was sold in 1981, after the death of his son, Lt.-Cdr. William Bagwell (1905-79).

Eastgrove and Belgrove passed in 1883 to William Bagwell (1849-1928). Belgrove continued to be let to the Gumbleton family until 1911, but once they gave up their lease it proved increasingly difficult to find suitable tenants.
Millbrook House, Straffan (Co. Kildare). Image: NIAH.
Eastgrove remained the family home, and passed in due course to Lt-Col. John Bagwell (1884-1949), who retired from the army after the First World War and devoted himself to a life of sport: hunting, polo, golf and sailing -for which last Eastgrove was admirably situated. By the time his son, William Edward Gumbleton Bagwell (1919-85) inherited, Belgrove had long been unoccupied and was in poor condition. Mr Bagwell took the decision to demolish the old house, and sold off its site and grounds, on which a smaller new house was subsequently built. A few years later, he also sold Eastgrove, and bought instead Millbrook House at Straffan (Co. Kildare), a modest three-bay house of about 1840, which was more convenient for his work as a stockbroker in Dublin. Millbrook House remains in the family today.

Marlfield House, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

Marlfield House: entrance front, as rebuilt with a flat roof in 1925.
A late 18th century house built in about 1785-90 by Col. John Bagwell MP (1751-1816), consisting of a centre block of three storeys over a basement joined to single-storey wings by long, partly curving links. The entrance front had seven bays, with a three-bay breakfront, and a fanlighted doorway with sidelights and two engaged columns. The links to the wings consist of short one-bay sections and then curved sweeps with blind arcading and niches; the wings each have a breakfront centre of blind arcading and niches, surmounted by a blind panel and an urn, with one bay either side. 

Marlfield House: garden front, facing across lawns to the River Suir.

On the garden front, the centre block has one bay either side of a broad central bow, with a conservatory (made by Richard Turner) on one side and a single-storey wing on the other. In 1833 the estate was given handsome entrance gates with twin Doric lodges to the designs of William Tinsley of Clonmel. The centre block of the house was burnt in 1923 and rebuilt in 1925 with a flat roof and a simplified pedimented doorway on the entrance front with no fanlight. 

Marlfield House: entrance hall
Marlfield House: saloon on the garden front.

The interiors of the principal ground floor rooms were recreated to an exceptional standard. After the house was sold by the family in 1981, the upper floors were converted into apartments, but the whole house is currently for sale with potential for reconversion to a single dwelling.

Descent: Col. John Bagwell (1751-1816); to son, Col. the Rt. Hon. William Bagwell (1775-1825); to nephew, John Bagwell (1811-83); to son, Richard Bagwell (1840-1918); to son, John Philip Bagwell (1874-1946); to second son, Lt-Cdr. William Bagwell (1905-79); to widow, Mary Bagwell, who sold 1981 to Dennis English; for sale 2016-18 and again 2023.

Eastgrove, Cobh, Co. Cork

Eastgrove House, seen from the waters of Cork Harbour
An early 19th century house in a sub-cottage orné style, on the edge of the Ballinacurra River, a heavily-wooded backwater of Cork Harbour. It was built for Dorcas Bousfield on land which had belonged to her mother's family estate at Belgrove, probably soon after she was widowed in 1805. The house has shallow gables with bargeboards and a trellised iron veranda on the front. A low polygonal drum tower with an pyramidal roof was added at one end of the house a few years later; its name, the Waterloo Tower, suggests a date of about 1815-16. It contains a large and impressive dining room with curved walls, and an elaborate plaster ceiling with an unusual geometric pattern suggestive of a net. 

Eastgrove House: dining room in the Wellington Tower
Eastgrove House: drawing room

There is also a large and handsome drawing room set behind a bay window. To the north of the house is a range of castellated outbuildings with a slender tower like a folly, and there is another tower in the woods. The house was restored and modernised for Lewis Glucksman in 2000-03 to the designs of FMP Architects.

Descent: Dorcas Bagwell (c.1750-1829), wife of Benjamin Bousfield (d. 1805); given to nephew, Rt Hon. William Bagwell (1776-1826); to nephew, John Bagwell (1811-83); given to son, William Bagwell (1849-1928); to son, John Bagwell (1884-1949); to son, William Edward Gumbleton Bagwell (1919-85), who sold 1958 to Robin Jenkinson; sold to Dermot Griffith...sold 2000 to Lewis Glucksman (d. 2006); to widow, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, who sold 2012. 

Belgrove, Cobh, Co. Cork

Belgrove: the view across the Ballinacurra River to Belgrove in the early 19th century
Belgrove: the house in the late 19th century
A Georgian house consisting of a two-storey main block with a long curved wing overlooking the Ballinacurra River. The house had an impressive and graceful bifurcating timber staircase, and fine gardens, with an 18th century terrace. In the later 19th century, the house was famous for its experimental gardens, where William Edward Gumbleton (1840-1911) undertook trials of new plant varieties and published the results in the gardening press. After the house reverted to the Bagwells in 1911, it proved difficult to find long-term tenants, and after it had been empty for many years, it was demolished c.1954. The site was subsequently sold and a smaller modern house built there for James Butler.

Descent: John Harper... Dorcas Bousfield (c.1750-1829); given to nephew, Col. Rt Hon. William Bagwell (1776-1826); to nephew, John Bagwell (1811-83); to son, William Bagwell (1849-1928); to son, John Bagwell (1884-1949); to son, William Edward Gumbleton Bagwell (1919-85), who demolished it; site sold to James Butler and a new smaller house built. The estate was let for much of the 19th century to Rev. G. Gumbleton and his son, William Edward Gumbleton (1840-1911).

Bagwell family of Marlfield

Bagwell, William (c.1728-56). Second son of John Bagwell (d. 1754) of Clonmel and Burgagery (Co. Tipperary), draper, merchant and banker, and his wife, daughter of the Rev. [forename unknown] Shaw, a Presbyterian clergyman, born about 1728. He was made a Freeman of Fethard (Co. Tipperary) in 1737 and of Clonmel, 1748. MP for Clonmel in the Irish Parliament, January-July 1756. He married, 1749 (settlement 9 April), Jane, daughter and co-heiress of John Harper (head of the Harper & Armistead bank, Cork), of Belgrove (Co. Cork), and had issue:
(1) Dorcas Bagwell (c.1750-1827) [for whom see below, Bagwell family of Eastgrove];
(2) Col. John Bagwell (1751-1816) (q.v.);
(3) Jane Bagwell; married, June 1769, John Kelly of Lismore (Co. Waterford);
(4) Isabella Bagwell (b. 1754); married, 26 March 1770, Arthur Gethin Creagh (1746-1833) of Laurentinum, Waterford, and had issue four sons and five daughters; living in 1796.
He probably lived The Burgagery, Clonmel.
He died in 1756. His wife is said to have died in 1753.

Bagwell, Col. John (1751-1816). Only son of William Bagwell (d. 1756) and his wife Jane, daughter and co-heiress of John Harper of Belgrove (Co. Cork), born 1751. Orphaned at the age of five, he was raised by his mother's family, the Harpers of Cork, in the nonconformist tradition, though he subsequently conformed to the Church of Ireland. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (admitted 1768; MA 1771). MP for Co. Tipperary, 1790-1800 in the Irish Parliament and 1801-06 in the UK Parliament, in which capacity he exhibited an exceptional appetite for favours to secure his vote and that of his sons. Col. of the Tipperary Militia, 1793-1805, when he resigned in favour of his eldest son. Governor of Co. Tipperary, 1793-1816 (jointly, 1793-6 and 1800-16); High Sheriff of Co. Tipperary, 1793-94. Although he was not himself in trade, his background in commerce and his construction of flour mills early in his career told against him in Society; he attracted several nicknames, including 'the miller', 'Old Bags' and 'Marshal Sacks'. Perhaps as a consequence, he was sensitive of his honour as a gentleman and fought at least three duels, and it was his background as 'a low man' rather than his political venality that meant he was thought not sufficiently 'proper' for the prize he desired most, an Irish peerage. He married, 4 February 1774, Mary (1752-1812), eldest daughter of Richard Hare of Ennismore (Co. Kerry) and sister of 1st Earl of Listowel, and had issue:
(1) Margaret Bagwell (b. 1775), born about 10 January 1775; married, September 1800, John Keily of Belgrove (Co. Cork);
(2) Col. the Rt. Hon. William Bagwell (1776-1826) (q.v.);
(3) Very Rev. Richard Bagwell (1777-1825) (q.v.);
(4) John Bagwell (c.1778-1806); an officer in the army (Capt., 1794; Maj., 1794; Lt-Col., 1796; retired on half-pay, 1803; deputy adjutant-general, 1803); MP for Cashel, 1801-02;  died near Exeter, 4 March 1806, being killed outright by a fall from his horse;
(5) Jane Bagwell; married, 25 August 1805, as his second wife, Lt-Gen. Sir Eyre Coote MP (1759-1823), kt., of West Park (Hants), and had issue one son;
(6) Catherine Adeline Bagwell; married, 14 September 1807, John Croker JP (1784-1858) of Ballynagarde and Raleighstown (Co. Limerick) and had issue one son;
(7) Mary Bagwell; married, 3 July 1807 at Clonmel, as his second wife, Henry Grace Langley (1756-1821) of Brittas Castle (Co. Tipperary), but had no issue;
(8) Benjamin Bagwell (d. 1832); an officer in the Tipperary militia (paymaster, 1806; Lt-Col. by 1811); High Sheriff of Co. Tipperary, 1811-12; Collector of Customs, 1820; married 'privately and unknown to any person save the clergyman who performed the ceremony and one witness', 1826, Anne Carew of Clonmel, and had issue two daughters; died near London, 'after a tedious illness', 8 April 1832; will proved in the PCC, 13 April 1833.
He purchased the site of Marlfield in 1784 and built corn mills and a biscuit factory there; he built Marlfield House c.1785-90. In 1800 he purchased the whole town of Clonmel from the Earl of Ormonde's trustees; an investment that was said to be worth £18,000 a year by 1812.
He died 21 December 1816. His wife died 14 February 1812.

Bagwell, Col. the Rt. Hon. William (1776-1826). Elder son of Col. John Bagwell of Marlfield and his wife Mary, eldest daughter of Richard Hare of Ennismore (Co. Kerry), born March 1776. Educated at Westminster Sch. and in Germany. MP for Rathcormack, 1798-1800 in the Irish Parliament; and for Clonmel, 1801-19 and Co. Tipperary, 1819-26, in the UK Parliament; sworn of the Irish Privy Council, 17 January 1809. He was initially opposed to the Union of Ireland and the UK, but followed his father in changing sides when a sufficient inducement was offered by the Government. At Westminster, he was a consistent supporter of the Pitt and Portland ministries; though he ceased to oppose Catholic Emancipation after 1810, apparently with a view to securing election for Co. Tipperary. He was rewarded for his parliamentary support with a number of sinecure posts, including Muster Master-General for Ireland, 1807-26 (with a salary of £4,000 a year) and the colonelcy of the Tipperary Militia (Lt-Col., 1794-1805; Col. 1805-25), where he succeeded his father. After reform reduced the value of his sinecures, he was also made a trustee of the Irish Linen Manufacture, 1818-25. He was Governor of Co. Tipperary, 1807; Mayor of Clonmel, 1825; and was appointed a Director of the Provincial Bank of Ireland, 1825. In 1819 he fought a duel with the Earl of Donoughmore. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Marlfield from his father in 1816 and appears to have been given Eastgrove and Belgrove by his aunt before her death in 1829. At his death, his estates passed to his nephew, John Bagwell (1811-83).
He died at Eastgrove, 4 November 1826.

Bagwell, Very Rev. Richard (1777-1825). Second son of Col. John Bagwell (1751-1816) of Marlfield and his wife Mary, eldest daughter of Richard Hare of Ennismore (Co. Kerry), born 1777. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1793; BA 1797). MP for Cashel, 1799-1800, but accepted the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds when he was ordained and thus ceased to be eligible to sit as a member of Parliament, 1800. Vicar of Urney and Annagelliffe, 1804-05; Dean of Kilmacduagh, 1804-06; Precentor of Cashel, 1805-25 and Dean of Clogher, 1805-25; Mayor of Clonmel, 1803; Member of Royal Irish Academy. He married, 1808, Margaret (1786-1863), elder daughter of Edward Croker of Ballynagarde (Co. Limerick), and had issue:
(1) John Bagwell (1811-83) (q.v.);
(2) Margaret Bagwell (c.1812-84), born about 1812; married, 4 August 1838 at St Peter, Dublin, Joseph Gore (d. 1847) of Derrymore (Co. Clare) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 28 August 1884; will proved 23 September 1884 (effects £10,272);
(3) Mary Bagwell (c.1814-91), born about 1814; married, 26 October 1835 at Cork, George Gough (1814-94) of Birdhill (Limerick) and later Woodstown (Co. Limerick), eldest son of Maj. George Gough of Woodstown, but had no issue; died Apr-Jun 1891;
(4) Jane Bagwell (c.1816-91), born about 1816; married, 13 November 1842, Benjamin Bunbury Frend (1813-75) of Rocklow and Ardsallagh (Co. Limerick) and had issue one son and two daughters; died 12 March 1891; will proved 22 April 1891 (effects £4,615);
(5) Edward Bagwell (later Bagwell-Purefoy) (1819-83), born 2 August 1819; educated at Harrow; JP and DL for Co. Tipperary; an officer in 3rd Dragoon Guards (Cornet, 1838; Lt., 1843; Capt. 1847), Lt. Col. of Tipperary Militia; High Sheriff of Tipperary, 1856; assumed name of Purefoy by royal licence in 1847 on succeeding to estate of Col. Purefoy (d. 1846) at Greenfields (Tipperary); married 1st, 10 July 1854, Isabella Petronella (d. 1859), youngest daughter of Maj. Henry Langley of Brittas Castle (Co. Tipperary) and 2nd, 20 July 1861, Charlotte (d. Nov. 1881), daughter of John Green Wilkinson DL, and had issue three sons and one daughter by his second wife; died 2 July 1883.
He died 25 December 1825 and was buried in the churchyard of Clogher Cathedral; his will was proved in Dublin, 1826. His wife died in 1863; her will was proved at Waterford, 1863.

John Bagwell MP (1811-83)
Bagwell, John (1811-83). Elder son of Very Rev. Richard Bagwell (1777-1873), Dean of Clogher, and his wife Margaret, elder daughter of Edward Croker of Ballynagarde (Co. Limerick), born 3 April 1811. Educated at Winchester. JP and DL for Co. Tipperary; High Sheriff of Co. Tipperary, 1834; Liberal MP for Clonmel, 1857-74; a Lord of the Treasury, 1859-62. He married, 21 June 1838 at St Ann, Dublin, Hon. Frances Eliza (c.1814-1901) (who was granted the style and precedence of the daughter of a Baron by Royal Warrant 1855), youngest daughter of Hon. Francis Aldborough Prittie DL MP and sister of 3rd Baron Dunalley, and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Bagwell (c.1839-86); lived in Chelsea (Middx); died unmarried, 2 August 1886; will proved in London, 3 November 1886 (effects in England £6,451), and sealed in Dublin (effects in Ireland £6,147);
(2) Richard Bagwell (1840-1918) (q.v.);
(3) Margaret Bagwell (c.1842-1904); married, 17 July 1862 at St Ann, Dublin, John Thornton Rogers (1834-1900) of Riverhill (Kent) and had issue one son and three daughters; died 23 June 1904; will proved 12 August 1904 (estate £7,140);
(4) Emily Bagwell (1843-1926), born 7 November 1843; married, 5 August 1873 at St Ann, Dublin, John Carrington Ley (c.1841-1932), barrister-at-law and HM Inspector of Schools, and had issue three daughters; died 8 November 1926; will proved 24 December 1926 (estate £642);
(5) William Bagwell (1849-1928) [for whom see below, Bagwell family of Eastgrove].
(6) Fanny Bagwell (1853-1944), born 12 November 1853; died unmarried aged 90, 20 July 1944; will proved 16 September 1944 (estate £11,504).
He inherited Marlfield, Eastgrove and Belgrove from his uncle in 1825, and came of age in 1832.
He died 2 March 1883. His widow died 17 April 1901.

Bagwell, Richard (1840-1918). Elder son of John Bagwell (1811-83) of Marlfield and his wife Frances Eliza, youngest daughter of Hon. Francis Aldborough Prittie DL JP MP, born 9 December 1840. Educated at Harrow, Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1859; BA 1864; MA 1872) and Inner Temple (admitted 1862; called to bar, 1866). An officer in the Tipperary Artillery (Capt.). Barrister-at-law; Special Local Government Commissioner, 1898-1903; Commissioner for National Education, 1905-18; DL for Tipperary (from 1884) and JP (from 1872) for Tipperary and Waterford; High Sheriff of Tipperary, 1869-70. Historian and author of Ireland under the Tudors, Ireland under the Stuarts etc.; he was awarded honorary doctorates of literature by the University of Oxford and Trinity College, Dublin. In politics he was active in the cause of Unionism and in his last years was Chairman of the Southern Unionist Committee. A freemason from 1862. He married, 9 January 1873, Harriette Philippa Jocelyn (c.1852-1937), fourth daughter of Philip Jocelyn Newton JP DL of Dunleckney Manor (Co. Carlow), and had issue:
(1) John Philip Bagwell (1874-1946) (q.v.);
(2) Emily Georgiana Bagwell (1877-1943), born 29 August 1877; died unmarried, 15 May 1943; will proved 29 November 1943 (estate £8,267);
(3) Margaret Bagwell (1884-1949), born 23 June 1884; died unmarried, 8 or 14 July 1949; will proved 29 November 1949 (effects in Ireland £2,842);
(4) Lilla Minnie Bagwell (1888-1974), born 10 June 1888; married, 4 October 1915, Capt. John Perry MC (d. 1965) of Birdhill, Clonmel (Co. Tipperary) and had issue one daughter (who married, as his second wife, her first cousin, Lt-Cdr. William Bagwell (q.v.)); died 30 August 1974; will proved 16 January 1975 (estate £1,186).
He lived at Innislonaght House, Clonmel, from his marriage until he inherited Marlfield from his father in 1883.
He died at Clontarf (Dublin), 4 December 1918 and was buried at Marlfield; his will was proved in Dublin and sealed in London, 25 August 1918 (effects in England £243). His widow died 12 February 1937; her will was proved 26 May 1937 (effects £3,860).

Bagwell, John Philip (1874-1946). Only son of Richard Bagwell (1840-1918) and his wife Harriette Philipps Jocelyn, daughter of Philip Jocelyn Newton JP DL of Dunleckney Manor (Co. Carlow), born 11 August 1874. Educated at Harrow, 1888-91 and Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1893). An officer in 4th (militia) Battn, Royal Irish Regiment (2nd Lt., 1900; Lt., 1900). JP and DL for Co. Tipperary. Asst. Superintendent of Line, Midland Railway, 1905-09; Superintendent of Passenger Service, 1910-11; General Manager, Great Northern Railway of Ireland, 1911-26; Independent Senator of Irish Free State, 1922-36. In January 1923 Marlfield was burned by an anti-treaty faction of the IRA, and at the end of the month he was kidnapped by a similar group, prompting a proclamation by the Irish government that if he was not released unharmed, reprisals would be taken; he was released or (by his own account) escaped five days later. He married, 23 January 1901 at Holy Trinity, Chelsea (Middx), Louisa (1862-1948), youngest daughter of Maj-Gen. George Shaw CB, and had issue:
(1) Richard Bagwell (1901-55), born 21 October 1901; educated at Harrow, Brasenose College, Oxford and Inner Temple (admitted 1923); Assistant Commercial Manager, Midland Region, British Railways; lived latterly at Thornleigh, Wetheral (Cumbld); died unmarried, 26 January 1955; administration of goods granted 28 January 1957 to his brother (estate £75);
(2) Lilla Cecily Bagwell (1902-72), born 26 October 1902; died unmarried, 5 March 1972; administration of her goods granted to her brother William (estate in England & Wales, £6,366);
(3) Lt-Cdr. William Bagwell (1905-79) (q.v.).
He inherited Marlfield from his father in 1918, but the house was burned by the IRA on 9 January 1923, destroying the important library built up by his father; he claimed compensation from the Irish state (eventually settled at £36,000) and rebuilt it in 1925. He also had a house near Dublin.
He died 22 August 1946; his will was proved 21 December 1946 (estate £13,411). His widow died 13 March 1948; her will was proved 5 May 1948 (estate £125).

Bagwell, Lt-Cdr William (1905-79). Second son of John Philip Bagwell (1874-1946) and his wife Louisa, youngest daughter of Maj-Gen. George Shaw CB, born 2 March 1905. Educated at Royal Naval Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth. An officer in the Royal Navy from 1918-32 (Lt; retired invalid, 1932) and 1939-41 (Lt-Cdr.; invalided, 1941). He married 1st, 6 November 1933, Evelyn Irene Hamilton (1896-1965), daughter of Arthur James Hamilton Wills of London and widow of Wilfred Francis Herbert Watson (by whom she had one son), and 2nd, 27 June 1972, his first cousin, Mary Lilla (b. 1919), only daughter of Capt. John Perry MC of Birdhill, Clonmel (Co. Tipperary) and widow of Ronald Gordon Barratt, and had issue:
(1.1) Hugh William Bagwell (b. 1934), born 26 November 1934; educated at Harrow; emigrated to New Zealand; married, 19 April 1961, Claire Erica, only daughter of Gerald C. Gallan of Havelock North (NZ) and had issue five daughters;
(1.2) Pamela Eve Irene Bagwell (b. 1938), born 18 June 1938; educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford (BA 1959; DipEd 1960); married, 30 December 1961, John Barnard Bush (b. 1937) of Fullingbridge Farm, Heywood (Wilts), Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, 2004-12, son of Barnard Robert Swanton Bush of Norton St. Philip (Somerset), and had issue one son and one daughter.
He inherited Marlfield from his father in 1946, but his widow sold it in 1981.
He died 24 May 1979; his will was proved in 1979 (estate £115,493). His first wife died 6 September 1965. His widow's date of death is unknown.

Bagwell family of Eastgrove

Dorcas Bagwell by A. Kauffmann
Bagwell, Dorcas (c.1750-1827). Eldest daughter of William Bagwell (d. 1756) and his wife Jane, daughter and co-heiress of John Harper of Belgrove (Co. Cork), born about 1750. Her portrait was painted by Angelica Kauffmann, probably when the painter visited Ireland in the autumn of 1771. She married, 1769 at Cork, Benjamin Bousefield (1748-1805) of Lakelands (Co. Cork), but had no issue.
She appears to have inherited Belgrove in the late 18th century, but let it and built Eastgrove House on part of the estate, probably soon after she was widowed in 1805. At her death she left both houses to her nephew, Rt. Hon. William Bagwell [for whom see above].
She died in 1829; administration of her goods was granted in 1829 to John Kiely, and a further grant was made 31 March 1865 of a portion of the estate left unadministered. Her husband died in 1805.

Bagwell, William (1849-1928). Younger son of John Bagwell (1811-83) of Marlfield and his wife Frances Eliza, youngest daughter of Hon. Francis Aldborough Prittie DL JP MP, born 5 March 1849. Educated at Harrow. An officer in the Rifle Brigade (Ensign, 1869; Lt.; retired 1878). JP for Co. Cork. He married, 1 June 1881 at St Ann, Dublin, Mary (c.1854-1923), daughter of C. Spring Rice of Marlhill (Co. Tipperary) and had issue:
(1) Dorcas Bousfield Bagwell (1882-1953), born 2 August 1882; lived at St Helens, East Farleigh (Kent); died unmarried, 18 August 1953; will proved 3 February 1954 (estate £4,346);
(2) John Bagwell (1884-1949) (q.v.);
(3) Frances Bagwell (1886-1977), born 11/13 February and baptised at Chelsea (Middx), 14 March 1886; lived at Jamesbrook House, Ballinacurra (Co. Cork); died unmarried, 26 April 1977.
He inherited Eastgrove and Belgrove from his father in 1883 (although he was probably resident at Eastgrove earlier) and gained possession of Belgrove in 1911.
He died of pneumonia, 27 December 1928; his will was proved 6 April 1929 (estate in England & Wales £2,843) and 16 April 1929 (estate in Ireland £18,317). His wife died 23 October 1923; her will was proved 20 December 1923 (estate in Ireland, £3,152) and 29 January 1924 (estate in England & Wales £1,878).

Bagwell, Lt-Col. John (1884-1949). Only son of William Bagwell (1849-1928) of Eastgrove House, and his wife Mary, daughter of C. Spring Rice of Marlhill (Co. Tipperary), born 3 March 1884. Educated at Harrow and RMC Sandhurst; an officer in the Royal Norfolk Regt., 1903-18 (2nd Lt., 1903; Lt., 1905; Capt., 1912; Bt. Maj., 1914; retired, 1914; returned to colours, 1914; retired as Lt. Col., 1918) who served in Somaliland, 1908-10 and First World War (mentioned in despatches four times); in the Second World War he commanded the 1st Down Battn of Ulster Home Guard. Appointed MVO, 1909; MC 1916; and a Chevalier of Legion d'honneur; awarded Order of White Eagle of Serbia. He was a keen sportsman, hunting, playing polo and golf, and yachting; he was Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. He married, 27 April 1914 at Holy Trinity, Sloane St., London, Mary Ethel (1883-1975), younger daughter of Samuel Kingan DL JP of Glenganagh, Bangor (Co. Down), and had issue:
(1) Barbara Elspeth Mary Bagwell (1915-2003), born 19 February 1915; married, 25 April 1959, as his second wife, Dr. Bernard Wilson Roffey (1898-1980) of Fir Lodge, Hopesay (Shropshire), only son of James Robert Roffey RN of Havant (Hants), but had no issue; died 3 April 2003; will proved 31 July 2003;
(2) William Edward Gumbleton Bagwell (1919-85) (q.v.).
He inherited Eastgrove and Belgrove from his father in 1928.
He died of pneumonia, 4 July 1949; his will was proved 2 May 1950 (estate in Ireland £7,491). His widow died 3 September 1975 aged 92; her will was proved 5 December 1975 (estate in England & Wales £26,995).

Bagwell, William Edward Gumbleton (1919-85). Only son of Lt-Col. John Bagwell (1884-1949) of Eastgrove House, and his wife Mary Ethel, younger daughter of Samuel Kingan DL JP of Glenganagh, Bangor (Co. Down), born 5 May 1919. Educated at Harrow,  Balliol College, Oxford (BA 1948; MA 1948) and Inner Temple (called to bar, 1953). An officer in Royal Norfolk Regt. in Second World War (2nd Lt., 1939; Lt., 1945; Capt., 1946; wounded; retired disabled as Maj., 1946; mentioned in despatches; MC 1946). Stockbroker; partner in Goodbody, Dublin, 1968-85. He married, 11 June 1955 at Skibbereen (Co. Cork), Katharine Mary (b. 1932), only daughter of Brig. Morgan John Winthrop O'Donovan MC, The O'Donovan, of Hollybrook House, Skibbereen, and had issue:
(1) John Bagwell (b. 1956), born 12 March 1956; educated at Harrow; investment management professional living in London;
(2) Jane Mary Bagwell (b. 1957), born 26 August 1957; director in music promotion industry; married Apr-Jun 1983, Peter J. Busby, and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(3) William Henry Bagwell (b. 1960), born 7 August 1960; educated at Harrow; company director; married, Oct-Dec. 1987, Melissa Anne (b. 1959), daughter of Ivan Peachey of London, and had issue one son and one daughter;
(4) Rupert Thomas Richard Bagwell (b. 1963), born 13 June 1963; perhaps the artist of this name based at Liscannor (Co. Clare);
(5) Charles Edward Bagwell (b. 1968), born 26 April 1968; lives at Millbrook (Co. Kildare).
He inherited Eastgrove and Belgrove from his father in 1949, but demolished Belgrove in 1954 and sold Eastgrove in 1958. He lived subsequently at Millbrook, Straffan (Co. Kildare).
He died in London, 7 May 1985; his will was proved 18 September 1985 (estate in England & Wales, £506,184). His widow is now living.


Burke's Irish Landed Gentry, 1976, pp. 50-51; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 2nd edn, 1990, pp. 36-37, 118, 160, 203, 206; E.M. Johnston-Liik, History of the Irish Parliament 1692-1800, 2002, vol. 3, pp. 125-29.

Location of archives

Bagwell family of Marlfield: estate papers, rentals and accounts, 18th-20th cents. [National Library of Ireland]

Coat of arms

Paly of six argent and azure on a chief gules, a lion passant argent.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch. Can anyone:

  • Explain why Lt-Cdr. William Bagwell succeeded his father at Marlfield in 1946 rather than his elder brother, Richard?
  • Provide additional portraits or photographs of the members of the family whose names appear in bold above?
  • Supply fuller or corrected genealogical details for recent generations of the family?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 6 January 2018 and was updated 18 April 2020 and 14 July 2023.


  1. In 1783, my ancestors Captain Robert Evans and Dorinda (Swanton) Evans purchased from Benjamin and Dorcas (Bagwell) Bousfield their lease on the townalnd of Ardraly, in the Parish of Aughadown. Recent DNA matches between members of my immediate family and a descendant of Dorcas's brother point to a close blood relation between the Bagwells and either Robert Evans or his wife. Robert Evans's mother was an Erskine; Dorinda's mother was a Radcliffe. Can anyone shed any light on the connection between these families?

  2. Marlfield house is on the river suir not the Blackwater

    1. Thank you for the correction - now made above.


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.