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History of Clonturk 2

See also History of Clonturk 1 and History of Clonturk 3

From the Stuart to the Hanoverian Succession

John Bathe, to whom William Bathe surrendered at the close of Elizabeth’s reign his inheritance, was the chancellor of the exchequer’s second surviving son by his first wife, and at the time of the surrender to him he was 33 years of age. He was then residing at Balgriffin, and continued for many years to do so.

Meantime, Drumcondra Castle was occupied by his step-mother, Lady Warren. She was reputed to he very hostile to the English government, and was said to have often entertained at Drumcondra the Earl of Tyrone, who was in communication with her after his flight through one of her sons. In 1614 she married as a third husband Sir Terence O’Dempsey, who was created afterwards Viscount Clanmalier, but she died three years later.

After her death her stepson, John Bathe, is described as of Drumcondra Castle, and resided there probably until his death, which occurred in 1634. He was twice married first to a daughter of a legal worthy, Thomas Dillon, chief justice of Connaught, and secondly to the daughter of a civic worthy, Alderman Patrick Gough, who had been previously married to one of her paternal kinsmen.

During the rebellion Drumcondra as well as Finglas was occupied by the forces under Luke Netterville. At the close of the month of January, 1642, a patrol from Dublin was induced, by a man whom they met, to cross the Tolka in the hope of capturing at Drumcondra a small body of insurgents, but found themselves confronted by about 500 men, from whom they escaped with difficulty and a few days later reinforcements were said to be flocking to Drumcondra from Drogheda.

The inhabitants suffered all the horrors of war. Francis Eccles, with his wife Tabitha, was forced to flee into Dublin, where he died from the hardships that he had undergone, and John Bathe’s widow, who was residing in a house near Clonturk Church, was obliged to send her cattle to Balgriffin to save them from being raided.

At that time Drumcondra, Drishoge, and Ballybough were the property of John Bathe’s eldest son by his first marriage, James Bathe, who married a daughter of Sir William Warren. The premises at Drumcondra were returned as a castle, with a slated stone-house, a barn and gate-house, also slated, and three thatched houses, and were valued at £500, more than the value placed on Dunsoghly Castle and on the Drishoge lands there was a fair brick-house “with a slate roof, which was valued at £140 pounds.

The lands were mainly arable, out of 400 only 80 being described as meadow or pasture. The lands of Clonturk belonged to John Bathe’s eldest son by his second marriage, Robert Bathe, who was then residing at Balgriffin. On these there was the house occupied by his mother, which is described as “a fair slated stone-house,” with offices, and was valued at £200, and their extent was returned as 200 acres, all but a fourth being arable. At Donnycarney the Hetheringtons appear to have been still in occupation when the rebellion broke out, one of them, Richard Hetherington, having married about that time a sister of James Bathe ; but complicity in the rebellion no doubt terminated soon afterwards their tenure. The lands comprised 100 acres under crops and 50 under grass, and on them there was a new slated house, built of brick, which 100 years later was superseded by the erection of Marino House, and several other houses and cottages.’

Within a year from the outbreak of the rebellion Robert Bathe’s mother died. Her will is mainly occupied by directions for her funeral, which she was, however, afraid it might not be possible in those difficult times to carry out with all the pomp that she desired. Her sons, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law, the last in prospective as well as in existence, were to be clothed in mourning suits, and 30 poor children and 40 poor women were to be provided with mourning gowns, stockings, bands and hats. As her bequests show, dress was a vanity from which she was not free, and special care is taken by her in the disposal of her golden hatband, her pearl hatband, and her hatband with gilt buttons. To Walter Enos she leaves silver to make a chalice, together with the vestments, stole, and alb that he daily used, and she mentions John Long, who was also evidently a clergyman, as her special friend.

During the Commonwealth the castle at Drumcondra declined in importance, and Donnycarney came more into notice. Before the Parliament had long established its power in Dublin the Corporation began to worship the rising sun, in the person of the governor of the city, Colonel Michael Jones, and decided in the autumn of 1648 to confer on him the freedom of the city, and to entertain him at a banquet, on account of “the love and affection” which the citizens were said to feel for him. Emboldened by these marks of their favour, Jones looked for a more substantial reward, and proposed that the lands of Donnycarney might he leased to him.

The suggestion was adopted, and the lands were granted to him at a rent of five rounds, subject to his sending to the mayor a fortnight before Christmas ”a good brawn,” eight days before that feast twelve barrels of wheat, and before the end of March six barrels of malt, ”heaped and well conditioned,” and 18 barrels of oatmeal.

To this lease was soon added one of the lands of Clonturk, on condition that the city was secured against any claims from the Bathes, and on Jones’s death in the winter of 1649 these leases came into the possession of his sister, Mary Elliott, who in making her will six years later mentioned them with “her flaxen wheel” and other chattels.

At that time Donnycarney House had become the residence of William Basil, who for the first nine years of the Commonwealth was attorney-general, and for the last two years chief justice of the chief place in Ireland. He belonged to an English family, of which more than one member had received legal training at Lincoln’s Inn, but he was connected by property with the north of Ireland, and married as a first wife a sister of the first Lord Kingston, and as a second a sister of the third Lord Charlemont.

Shortly before the Restoration the inhabitants of full age on the Donnycarney lands were returned as eight of English and six of Irish descent, Basil and one Peter Vaughan being the only persons of position and after the Restoration Donnycarney House, which was still occupied by Basil, appears as rated in 1664 for eight and in 1667 for 15 hearths.

Before the Restoration Drumcondra, which included possibly Clonturk and Drishoge, had a population of over 100 persons of full age, 27 being English and 86 Irish, the chief resident being John Smyth; and after the Restoration there are returned under the denomination of Drumcondra seven houses with one hearth each, besides the castle, which contained eight, and was occupied by Nicholas Gernon. At the latter time the house on the Clonturk lands, which had been occupied by John Bathe’s widow, was in the possession of Peter Bathe, a son of her step-son James Bathe, and was rated for seven hearths ; and besides it there were some 12 other houses on the Clonturk lands, several of these being rated for two or three hearths each.

At Ballybough the principal resident then was Andrew Cave, whose house was rated for three hearths, and besides it there were some five houses rated for one hearth.

But in the first decade after the Restoration Drishoge became the most prominent place in the parish as the site of a house to which the name of Belvedere was afterwards attached. It was rated for 11 hearths, a house occupied by John Griffin which it superseded having been rated for three, and it was the residence of one of the most notable of the Irish judges of that day, Sir Robert Booth, who at the time of his death was chief justice of the king’s bench. In regard to wealth as well as to ability, he had with perhaps one exception no rival on the Irish bench.

He had been born heir to the Salford estate, now in the possession of Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, and after his early education at the grammar school in Manchester he was entered as a fellow-commoner at Cambridge. In the opening years of the Commonwealth he was called to the bar, and a few mouths after the Restoration, when he appears to have been residing in Dublin, he was promoted at the age of 34 to the Irish bench as a justice of the common pleas.

While holding that office he visited England more than once, taking with him no less than six horses, and on one of these visits he received from Charles the Second the honour of knighthood. Ten years after the Restoration he was promoted to the chief seat in the common pleas, and he would have been transferred a few years later to the chief seat in the king’s bench but for opinions which he had imbibed from a clergyman of puritanical views, whom his mother had married as a second husband.

Under the terror of the Popish plot his opinions became, however, an asset in his favour, and on the chief justiceship of the king’s bench becoming again vacant, he was appointed to it. His reputation was then so high that his transfer to the English bench was considered not improbable, but his health had necessitated two years’ absence from work, and very soon after his elevation to the king’s bench, in the year 1681, his death occurred.

At Belvedere Sir Robert Booth, who left four daughters and no son, was succeeded by Sir John Coghill, judge of the prerogative court, and one of the masters in chancery. He was the head of an old Yorkshire family, seated at Coghill Hall, near Knareshorough, and had come to Ireland after the Restoration in the train of his compatriot, Archbishop Bramhall. His father, as well as more remote members of his family, had received legal training, and after some years’ study at Oxford and in Gray’s Inn, he had himself been called to the bar just before he came to Ireland.

After his arrival in Ireland Sir John Coghill, who received his knighthood from Lord Clarendon, married one of the Cramer family, who were allied to the Stearnes, and he left on his death, in 1699, several children, who will be subsequently noticed.

Before the Revolution Drumcondra had become a favourite outlet of Dublin, and a year before the battle of the Boyne a brewery belonging to the widow of one Giles Martin was carrying on a trade that necessitated the employment of seven horses.

Afterwards the attractions of Drumcondra are mentioned by John Dunton as interfering with the assiduity of a bookseller known as Nat Gunn, who had recommended himself to Dunton by bidding generously at his auctions and by declaring himself an enemy “to Popery and slavery.” At Drumcondra, as well as in Dublin, Gunn was probably famous, as he was evidently a great character, personifying, it is said, the art of stenography, in which, as well as in book-binding, he was skilled.

After the Revolution the castle at Drumcondra appears as the residence of Captain Chichester Phillips, who represented the borough of Askeaton in the Irish parliament. He held the castle under a lease of it given in 1677 to Giles Martin by James the Second, to whom the Drumcondra lands had been granted after the Restoration, and during the sale of the forfeited estates in 1703 he purchased the fee.

The premises were then described as a castle with a dwelling-house, which was of brick, a stable, coach-house, and malt-house, another house of brick, and five cabins. Attached to these there were a garden and a yard surrounded by a wall, and lands estimated to contain 260 acres.

Captain Phillips was a grandson of Sir Thomas Phillips, who was prominent in the plantation of Londonderry, and was father of a clergyman whom Swift befriended. Swift’s interest in the young man was on account of his mother, who as a Miss Handcock was nearly related to Swift’s friends the Rochforts. From a reference in Swift’s correspondence it is evident that Captain Phillips had been somewhat prodigal.

During the summer of 1712 Donnycarney House was visited several times by the great George Berkeley, then a junior fellow of Trinity College, in order that he might see the children of his friend Sir John Perceval, afterwards first Earl of Egmont, who were staying in it during their parents’ absence in the south of Ireland.

In writing to his friend, Berkeley speaks of his walk from Trinity College to Donnycarney as a lonely one, and alludes to the surroundings of Donnycarney as beautiful. He mentions a gallery in the house, in which he walked up and down with “the esquire,” a boy of 15 months, and refers to the garden and avenue, where he took also a walk with the same “brisk young gentleman.”

From “A History of the County Dublin” by Francis Elrington Ball (c. 1920).

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