CARYSFORT PARK Origin of th e Title and the Carysfort House Connections .
A brief history of Carysfort Park, the origins of the name and the people behind the Titles, the Lands and the House. Presented on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Carysfort Park Residents Association.
28th June 2013
This presentation history of Carysfort Park is based largely on the research and a talk given by a Vincentian Priest, Tom Davitt in 1996 to the Blackrock Society. Carysfort Park Residence Association have elaborated on the information to include more details on Carysfort (Grey) house and the Carysfort Estate.
CARYSFORT PARK Origin of t h e Title and the Ca rys fo rt Ho use Co nne c tio ns .
INTRODUCTION The talk this evening concerns a man who wished to perpetuate his memory and thought up, and carried out, a scheme to do so. We will discuss the history of a family, up to a certain point in time. We will then discuss another family up to this point in time, at which a member of each family married each other and thereby united the two families, namely the Allens and the Probys. And finally we will talk of other families and subsequent events that connect with Carysfort House. ONE MANâ€™S PLAN The first man in question is Henry Cary, 1st Viscount Falkland (1575 â€“ 1633) was an English landowner from Hertfordshire and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1601 to 1622. He was created Viscount Falkland in the Scottish peerage in 1620. Cary was the son of Sir Edward Cary and his wife Catherine Knevet, daughter of Sir Henry Knevet, master of the jewel office to Queen Elizabeth 1st and King James, and widow of Henry Paget, 2nd Baron Paget. Henry Cary entered Exeter College, Oxford in 1593 at the age of sixteen. By all accounts, with the aid of a good tutor Cary became highly accomplished. Subsequently he served in France and the Low Countries, where the English were fighting with the Dutch against the Spanish. He was taken prisoner by Don Louis de Velasco, probably at the siege of Ostend (a fact referred to in the epigram on Sir Henry Carey by Ben Jonson. On his return to England Cary was introduced to court, and became a Gentleman of the Bedchamber. He was knighted in 1599. In 1601 he was elected Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire. He was a J.P. for Hertfordshire in 1601. He became joint Master of the Jewels with his father on 21 June 1603. He was re-elected MP for Hertfordshire in 1604 and again in 1614. At the investiture of Charles Prince of Wales in 1616 he was created a K.B (Knight Bachelor). In 1617 he became Comptroller of the Household and a Privy Councillor. He succeeded to the family estates on the death of his father in 1618. He was created Viscount Falkland in the county of Fife, in the Scottish peerage on 10 November 1620 (the title, with his naturalisation, was confirmed by Charles 1st by diploma in 1627). In 1621 he was reelected MP for Hertfordshire. Chiefly through the favour of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, Cary was appointed to succeed Sir Oliver St John, 1st Viscount Grandison, as Lord Deputy of Ireland. He was successful in this and his patent was sealed in March 1622 and he was sworn in on 18th September 1622. In office however, he showed himself both bigoted in his opinions and timid in carrying out a policy which continually dallied with extremes. Although he was conscientious, he was easily offended, and he failed to conduct himself with credit when confronted with any unusual difficulties. Henry Cary, now Viscount Falkland was greatly distressed at the number of priests in Ireland and their influence over the people. He was influenced by a sermon of James Ussher on the text "He beareth not the sword in vain", and issued a proclamation on 21 January 1623, ordering their banishment from the country. This proclamation was highly inappropriate at the time because of the negotiations for the proposed marriage of Prince Charles and Infanta Maria Anna of Spain, the daughter of Philip III. In February 1624 Henry Cary
received an order from the English Privy Council to refrain from more extreme measures, other than preventing the erection of religious houses and the congregation of unlawful assemblies. Falkland convened an assembly of the nobility of Ireland on 22 September 1626, on account of the difficulties of maintaining the English army in Ireland. He laid before the assembly a draft of concessions promised by Charles, which were subsequently known as the "Graces". They promised the removal of certain religious disabilities for Catholics and the recognition of sixty years possession as a bar to all claims of the crown based on irregularities of title. Falkland however did not conduct the negotiations with great skill, and for a long time there seemed no hope of a satisfactory settlement. Finally in May 1628, a deputation from the nobility agreed, before the king and Privy Council at Whitehall, on certain additional concessions in the "Graces" and then confirmed that Ireland should provide a sum of ÂŁ4,000 to the Kings army for three years. Falkland believed that his difficulties with the nobility had been largely due to the intrigues of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Adam, Lord Loftus, After the dissolution of the assembly of the nobility in 1627, he brought a charge against Loftus of malversation, and of giving encouragement to the nobility to refuse supplies. After the case had been heard in London, Lord Loftus was allowed to return to his duties pending further inquiry. Falkland had for some years been engaged in tracking out what he supposed was a dangerous conspiracy of the Byrnes of Wicklow, and in August 1628 was able to announce to Charles I that the result of his protracted investigations had been successful, a true bill having been found against them at the Wicklow assizes. The aim of Falkland was to set up a plantation in Wicklow on the confiscated estates of the Byrnes, but as his designs were disapproved of by the commissioners of Irish causes, the king appointed a committee of the Irish Privy Council to investigate the matter more fully. Falkland took deep offence because one of the members of committee was the lord chancellor, Loftus and he refused to afford any assistance in the investigation on account of the "high indignity" offered to himself. When, as the result of the inquiry, it was discovered that the Byrnes had been the victims of false witnesses, Falkland was, on 10 August 1629, directed to hand over his authority to the lords justices on the pretext that his services were required in England. Charles I, recognising his good intentions, continued him in favour. Cary broke his leg, which then had to be amputated, and as a result, he died in September 1633. He was buried on 25 September 1633 at Aldenham in Hertfordshire. He had been lord-deputy of Ireland from 1622 until 1629. Wishing to leave some obvious memorial to his period of Deputyship after him, he decided that he would build a castle for himself and layout a new village around it. For the site of this he selected an area in Co. Wicklow called Macreddin, He did manage to find some pretext for confiscating the necessary land, and he succeeded in this. He took about 2,000 acres, two thirds of it being fertile land and the remaining being m ountain and bog. This is where Henry Cary, Lord Falkland d ecid ed to built his castle. As his family name was Cary he called the castle Cary's Fort, and the name was extended to the village as a whole. In 1629, the last year of his Deputyship, King Charles 1st gave the village a royal charter and made it a royal borough, under the name of Carysfort. It was to have twelve burgesses and would return two members to parliament. It is not known how much of the proposed village was actually built, apart from the castle, nor is it known what size this castle was. In 1680, roughly half a century after it was built, a travelling Englishman wrote of having seen the castle. Just a century later, in 1790, a report stated that there was only one house in the borough, which would seem to imply that the castle had vanished by then. The borough still returned its two members to parliament, right up to the Union. In 1833 a report stated that at that time there was not "a vestige of any fort or military establishment to be found in the village or its neighbourhood". In 1889 an 83 year old man gave evidence to a commission that he never remembered any trace of the original fort or castle. So, the name Carysfort comes from a fort or castle built in the 1620s which had a very short life. It gave its name to a village which may never really have come into existence, but which became a royal borough and returned two members to parliament. Theoretically they were elected, but in practice they were appointed. As an interesting historical connection, Henry Caryâ€™s Great Grandson, Anthony Cary (1656â€“ 1694) was the sponsor of an expedition to Patagonia, which was blown off course and landed on the South
Atlantic islands that now bear his name, yes the ones that Margaret Thatcher went to war over to reclaim them from Argentina in 1982.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ONE FAMILY The family in question was named Allen. They were English, but the family had been settled in Holland for about 200 years. John Allen Esq. was sent to Ireland as a factor for the Dutch. He settled in Dublin and became a well-known architect and builder. His son also called John Allen (1660â€“1726) inherited a fortune from his father and was also a wealthy merchant who became Lord Mayor of Dublin and was knighted. When James II came to the throne John Allen, returned to England and became a supporter of William of Orange. He organised the transport of William's troops to Ireland. After the Battle of the Boyne he returned to Ireland, and recovered his estates which had been confiscated during the reign of King James. We are interested in only one section of his estates, which he had bought not very long before its confiscation. I t was a large area bounded by the presentday Mount Merrion Avenue, Stillorgan Road, Newtownpark Avenue and Blackrock town. He intended to build a mansion for himself on this estate, but died before he could do so. T h e son, John Allen, carried out his father's plan in 1695. He called it Stillorgan House, and it was in the grounds of the present property of the St John of God Brothers. I t was demolished in the 1880s. This John Allen became Baron Allen of Stillorgan and Viscount Allen of Kildare. His second son Robert was given a seat in parliament for the Borough of Carysfort. The first Viscount Allen was succeeded by his son, also John, who erected the Obelisk which s t i l l stands today at the top of Carysfort Ave. This Obelisk was intended as a mausoleum for his wife Lady Allen but was never used as such by all accounts. It was built in 1727 within the deer park to provide employment during a period of famine. The Carysfort Obelisk was designed by the architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearse, who also designed the Irish houses of Parliament, now the Bank of Ireland at Dame St. Lovett Pearse took his inspiration from an obelisk by Bernini, located in Rome. J o h n A l l e n was succeeded by his son, again called John, who was mugged in Dublin by some soldiers in 1745 and died of his injuries. He was unmarried. His mother and three sisters, the eldest of whom was named Elizabeth, left Dublin to live in London. A BRIEF HISTORY OF ANOTHER FAMILY The Probys were originally from Wales, but the branch of the family in which we are interested started in England towards the end of the 15th century when one Randolph Proby settled in Huntingdonshire. His son Peter purchased property between Oundle and Peterborough, right on the border between Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire. This became the seat of the Probys, and their house was called Elton Hall. An 18th century descendant of this Peter Proby, named John, married Elizabeth Allen in London in 1750, and so the Allen and Proby families became linked. This also meant that the Allen estates in Ireland came into the possession of the Probys. SUBSEQUENT DEVELOPMENTS Two years after his marriage, in 1752, John Proby was created a baron in the peerage of Ireland. He took as his title Baron Carysfort of Carysfort in the County of Wicklow in the Kingdom of Ireland. The AlIens had a lot of land in Co. Wicklow, most of it around Arklow, but as far as is known they did not own the land on which the Borough of Carysfort was situated. With his marriage to an Allen, John Proby acquired a very large amount of land in Co. Wicklow, so that is perhaps why he took his new title from somewhere in 4
that county. At least two of his wife's family had been members of parliament for the Borough of Carysfort, and that was probably why he chose that particular place in Co. Wicklow for his title. Baron Carysfort’s Irish residence was not Stillorgan House. It is thought however that members of his wife’s family continued to live there. The Carysfort residence was on the former Allen lands near Arklow, which they had bought from the Duke of Ormonde in the early 18th century. The residence on the Arklow estate was called Kilcarra Castle. st
In 1789 John Joshua Proby was created 1 Earl of Carysfort. This meant that he could continue to represent an English constituency in the House of Commons until he was created a baron in the British peerage in January 1801. His new title was Baron Carysfort of Norman Cross in the county of Huntingdon. Norman Cross is a small village near his English seat of Elton Hall. Around the end of the 18th century Carysfort sold off the lower portion of the Stillorgan estate for building development. This was land from present day Convent Road to Blackrock Village. It was at this time that Carysfort Avenue was laid out. I t was also at this time in 1804 that Proby had the house in which we are in here this evening and was then known as Carysfort House (later as Grey House) was built. John Joshua Proby died in 1828 and was succeeded by his son John Proby, 2nd Earl of Carysfort. However, it is fairly certain that that the Carysforts never intended this house as a residence for themselves. Their purpose in building it was as an investment property. It was available for renting by members of the nobility or other wealthy people who needed suitable temporary accommodation in the d esirab le location of Blackrock. Indeed the house was leased to the Right Hon. William Saurin, one of the most distinguished lawyers the Irish Bar has ever known, and was occupied by him and his family for the greater part of Nineteenth century. William Saurin (1757 – 1839) was Attorney General for Ireland from 1807 till 1822, the Saurins were a Huguenot family who had fled to Ireland in the early 18th century. He incurred the enmity of Daniel O'Connell, who called him " the mortal foe” and an "insolent transplanted Frenchman". Saurin's effective control of the Dublin administration was well known to and long tolerated by the British Government; in time however his inflexible opinions and unpopularity made him a political liability. The publication of a letter he wrote to John Toler, the Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas, urging him to use his influence with Protestant juries to secure conviction of Catholics, damaged them both. In due course the decision was taken to remove him but compensate him by appointment to the Bench. In 1822 st the new Lord Lieutenant, Lord Wellesley, (older brother of 1 Duke of Wellington) offered him the vacant position of Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench for Ireland; when Saurin, who had never shown any interest in the Bench, refused he was dismissed outright. Saurin's anti-Catholic bias is also said to have offended Wellesley's future wife, Marianne Patterson, who was a Catholic. Daniel O'Connell exulted in "the downfall of our mortal foe". Wellesley, accused of treating Saurin harshly, said that short of offering him Wellesley's own job he did not see what more he could have done for him. Saurin retained some indirect political influence until the grant of Emancipation finally ended his political career. Despite his increasing age he returned to private practice for some years, and became "Father of the Bar". Other members of the Saurin family became eminent clergymen and William married Mary O'Brien , sister of the 2nd and 3rd Marquesses of Thomond and widow of Sir Richard Cox 4th Baronet. They had three sons Edward an Admiral in the Royal Navy, James and Mark Anthony. Another branch of this family had an estate in Pembrokeshire. One of William’s sons, Mark Anthony Saurin purchased Carysfort House from Lord Carysfort, he married Anna Maria Saurin (formerly Poore; nee Dawson) a widow from Coombe in Enford, who brought her children to live with her in Carysfort House. Anna Maria was wealthy in her own right, having inherited a share of slave plantations in Jamaica from her mother’s family. We know from a manuscript account in the form of a memorial by a governess, of the short illness and death from
appendicitis at the age of 13 of Nina Louisa Poore, daughter of Anna Maria, at Carysfort House, in 1849. Mark Anthony Saurin was Attorney General for Ireland and we know from a report in the London Gazette that he was appointed High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, by her Majesty Queen Victoria at her residence st at Osborne House on the Isle of Wright on the 1 of February 1868. Later the ownership of Carysfort House transferred to another highly prominent figure, Right Hon. Rickard Deasy PC (1812 – 1883) was an Irish lawyer and judge. Deasy was elected as Member of Parliament for County Cork on 23 April 1855 in a by-election following Edmond Roche's elevation to the peerage. He was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1859 and then made Attorney-General for Ireland in 1860, being also appointed to the Irish Privy Council (on 21 February). On the death of Richard Wilson Greene in 1861 Deasy was raised to the bench as a Baron of the Exchequer, and was appointed to the Irish Court of Appeal in 1878. His name is permanently associated with the Landlord and Tenant Law Amendment (Ireland) Act 1860, universally known as Deasy's Act, which as Attorney General he steered through Parliament. This Act made contract law the basis for tenancies and abolished any feudal rents paid by services to a landlord or by payments in kind. It is also probably around this time that the name changed from Carysfort House to Grey house. Grey House was later acquired in 1891 by Mother Ligouri Keenan, Sister of Mercy and was run as an industrial school for girls. The red brick buildings were added just before the turn of the century. In the 1901 Census the Industrial school had 136 inhabitants, all female and Roman Catholic, buildings included 2 stables, 2 coach houses, 1 Harness room, 2 Cow houses, 1 Calf house, 2 Dairies, 5 Piggeries, 10 Fowl Houses, 3 Boiling Houses, 2 Potatoes Houses, 4 sheds, 4 stores and 1 Laundry. The industrial school was closed sometime in 1903 and the children were moved out to the Industrial laundry run by the Sisters of Mercy at Goldenbridge in Inchicore. Carysfort House then became Carysfort Training College. The property was substantially developed to include the Novitiate, East and West Hall Residence buildings by the 1930’s. Noted past academics at the college include Seamus Heaney, Eoin MacNeill and Eamon de Valera. The Carysfort Training College continued its expansion in the 1970’s with the addition of the restaurant, sports and other academic facilities to the campus, however the training of national school teachers in the college at Carysfort ceased in the summer of 1988.
CONTROVERSY The closure and sale of the college was not without controversy. For example, the state had invested several million Irish pounds in the college in the years immediately prior to the closure. The Sisters of Mercy, as the owners, had the property valued at IR£20 million which included all the lands and buildings - this led to a major scandal at the time and eventually after some difficult negotiations the nuns paid some compensation to the state to the tune of IR£3 million. The lands at Carysfort were much sought after, there was much speculation that a Regional Technical College would be developed on the site, football and sports clubs lobbied to have access to the land and there was even a rumour that the college had been bought by Opus Dei. Despite all this speculation and even several debates in the Dail, the most developed 20 acres of the 90 acre estate were eventually bought by Pino Harris, a truck importer and supporter of Charlie Haughey, who paid £6.25 Million and very soon afterwards sold on the college to UCD for the sum of £8 Million. – There was much controversy at the time as it was claimed that the University College was forced to purchase a property by the then Taoiseach, Charles J Haughey, that it neither needed nor wanted - especially as its Belfield campus nearby was more than adequate for any future expansion. Castlethorn Construction which had been formed by four former site managers of Manor Park Homes, paid £6.5Million for the substantial part of the remaining 70 acres, and went on to develop Carysfort Park and Avoca Park with the remaining lands developed by William Nevill & Sons a Wexford based contractor.
EXTINTION OF THE EARLDOM Earldoms and other peerages normally descended from father to eldest son. In this respect the Carysforts were very unfortunate. The first earl was succeeded by his second son, the first having died. This man was a career officer in the British army, becoming a full general in 1846. He never married, and died in 1855. The earldom then went to his younger brother, the third son of the first earl. This third earl was a naval officer and at one stage served with Nelson on the Victory. When he died in 1868 he was succeeded by his second son, the first having died. This fourth earl was seriously injured in a fall from his carriage. He went to Egypt for the winter as part of his convalescence. On the return journey h e died in Florence in 1 8 7 2 , a g e d 47. He was m a r r i e d but t h e r e were no c h i l d r e n , so h e w a s succeeded b y his brother. This fifth earl was also childless, and when he died in 1909 the earldom o f Carysfort and the male line of the Proby family b o th became extinct. If the direct male line of the Proby family became extinct, how is it that there are still Probys in Elton Hall and until relatively recently also here in Ireland? The fourth and fifth earls were sons of the third earl. The third earl also had daughters. One of his daughters m a r r i e d a man named Hamilton; they had a son whom they named Douglas J a m e s . He married t h e daughter o f the Earl of Donoughmore, and they had four sons and one daughter. In 1904 the fifth earl was 64, married a n d childless. It was arranged that the Hamilton family,
descended from a female Proby, would change their name by Royal Licence back to Proby. The senior male member of this family, Colonel Douglas James Proby, inherited the Glenart estate and other Irish properties, and also Elton Hall and other English properties. He could not, though, i n h e r i t the earldom a s he was descended t h r o u g h th e female line.
OTHER INTERESTING CONNECTIONS The Carysfort name is not unique to the former estate lands in Wicklow and in Blackrock, six nautical miles east of Key Largo, Florida lies Carysfort Reef, with the oldest functioning lighthouse of its type in the United States, which was erected in 1852. The reef is so named after “HMS Carysfort”, a Royal Navy 28 gun frigate post ship that ran aground on the reef in 1770. The ship survived and went on to see much action in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. HMS Carysfort is one of a series of five Royal Navy ships to have the Carysfort name and cover a period from 1766 up until 1970. The first was called after John Proby, Earl of Carysfort and Lord of the Admiralty.
Right, HMS Carysfort Captures “The Castor” in 1794
CARYSFORT HOUSE This house is a period, three storeys over basement building with a bow bay to the east façade while the front elevation overlooks Dublin bay. An impressive flight of granite steps lead to the entrance porch which is Palladian in style with tetrastyle portico. The house includes an impressive entrance hall, reception rooms and features typical of a house of this era, including spacious rooms, high ceilings with ornate cornicing, marble fireplaces and sash windows. Rather unusually, the drawing room has gently curved niches on either side of the fireplace. Since 1991, the house itself remained out of general use due to the poor building condition and safety issues. However after considerable renovation in 2005 Carysfort House once again has become an active and vibrant household. Under the careful supervision of Fitzgerald Kavanagh Architects, the extensive redevelopment of the House required the replacement of the cement render façade with St-Astier lime and Wexford sand, with oxide in a warm pink brown hue. This breathable overcoat has enhanced the appearance and health of the building. Careful restoration of original internal features included stabilising and conserving the decorative ceilings, reinstatement of doors, floors and stairs while removing unsympathetic partitions and other ad-hoc developments. The parterre Italian sunken garden has been restored to a Victorian scheme and flourishes today within the environs of Carysfort House, offering a picturesque setting for this period piece. 8
Photos of Carysfort House and Park, kindly supplied by John Fitzsimmons.