Wednesday, 26 August 2015

(181) Armstrong (later Watson-Armstrong) of Cragside and Bamburgh, Barons Armstrong

Armstrong, Baron Armstrong
of Cragside
This post concerns two families, the Armstrongs and the Watsons, who were so closely connected that their stories cannot really be told separately. William Armstrong (1778-1857) was born in humble circumstances in Cumberland and brought up on the Losh family's Wreay estate in that county. As a young man he moved to Tyneside to work in one of their family firms, and when his employers ceased trading in 1803 he set up in business on his own account as a corn merchant, taking on some of their contracts. 

Over time, William became part of Newcastle's merchant elite, and in the 1820s he moved to a house called The Minories or South Jesmond House in the fashionable Jesmond area of the city. After the passing of the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, he became an elected member of the town council, and in 1850 he was Mayor of Newcastle. From childhood he had a gift for, and a passionate interest in, mathematics, and he built up a valuable library of mathematical books, most of which were bequeathed at his death to the Literary & Philosophical Society of Newcastle, of which he was one of the early members. He married a daughter of William Potter of Walbottle Hall, one of the local minor gentry families which had mining interests, and he moved easily between their world and that of the merchant elite. One of his close friends and neighbours at Jesmond was the splendidly named Armorer Donkin, who was one of the leading solicitors in Newcastle, and through his business dealings and his friendship with Donkin he came to see the law as the best passport to success and wealth.  He therefore insisted that his only son, William George Armstrong (1810-1900), later 1st Baron Armstrong of Cragside, should be educated for the law even though his natural bent was for mechanics and engineering. He also steered his only daughter, Anne Armstrong (1802-28) into marriage with another lawyer, William Henry Watson (1796-1860), who after a brief but exhilarating career in the army had entered Lincolns Inn in London. It seems likely that Watson was known to his father-in-law through contacts in the corn trade, as both his uncle, William Watson (1757-1814) of Adderstone Hall and his grandfather had been large-scale corn suppliers to the Government, from their bases at Berwick-on-Tweed and near Bamburgh. Sadly Anne's marriage was ended prematurely by her death in 1828 and she did not live to see her new husband qualify as a barrister, go on the eminent and lucrative rank of Queen's Counsel, or become a judge and be knighted. Their only son, John William Watson (1827-1909) would follow in his father's footsteps as a lawyer and eventually buy the freehold of Adderstone Hall, which his ancestors had leased in the 18th century.

William's son conformed to his father's wishes and qualified as a solicitor after training in his brother-in-law's chambers in London and with Armorer Donkin, and then went on to become a partner in Donkin's practice.  He married in 1835 and built a new house at Jesmond Dene, close to the homes of his parents and his partner, Armorer Donkin, where he and his wife gradually expanded their grounds and began landscaping the Jesmond Dene valley. In the mid 1840s, W.G. Armstrong finally followed his inclinations and made the move from a legal career into industry, where he began by exploiting his inventions in hydraulic power, but soon diversified into armaments and naval shipbuilding. By the late 19th century, his firm, W.G. Armstrong & Co., was one of the power-houses of the Empire, and Armstrong's wealth increased to match; at the time of his death he was worth some £1.4m (about the equivalent of £1.3bn today*). With the wealth came national recognition, in the form of a knighthood in 1859 and a peerage in 1887.

From the 1860s and especially after 1871, Armstrong withdraw from the active management of the business and focused his considerable energies in other areas. In 1863 he acquired land at Rothbury on which he built a shooting box which he called Cragside.  After the railway reached Coquetdale and he could travel into Newcastle quickly, he enlarged Cragside into a full-time country residence with the assistance of the architect Norman Shaw. There were three campaigns of work in 1870-72, 1872-77 and 1883-85 and he made further additions in the 1890s. Alongside the expansion of the house, and the extension of the estate, he and his wife also embarked on the formidable task of making a garden in the bleak and boulder-strewn landscape around the house.  When his wife died in 1893 he took on a new project, buying and restoring Bamburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast, with the intention that it should become a convalescent home in her memory, although work was still in progress when he died in 1900, aged 90, and his heirs retained the castle as a seat.

Lord & Lady Armstrong had no children of their own, and the heir to almost the entire estate was his great-nephew, William Henry Fitzpatrick Watson (1863-1941), who added the surname Armstrong to his patronymic in 1889. In 1903 he was also raised to the peerage as 1st Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside, in what was effectively a recreation of his great-uncle's peerage. Watson-Armstrong was the grandson of Lord Armstrong's sister, Anne, and the lawyer, Sir William Henry Watson. His father, John William Watson (1827-1909), was also a lawyer, who bought Adderstone Hall near Bamburgh in the 1890s. Even though Cragside continued to be the principal seat of the family, the long association of the Watsons with the Bamburgh area, and with Adderstone in particular, may have prompted the new Lord Armstrong to retain Bamburgh Castle in his ownership, and if his conscience was troubled by not honouring his great-uncle's intention to make it a convalescent home, it was no doubt eased by his munificent gift of £100,000 in 1900 (about £95m today*) towards rebuilding the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The 1st Lord Armstrong of the second creation died in 1941 and was succeeded by his only son, William John Montagu Watson-Armstrong (1892-1972), 2nd Baron Armstrong, who after fighting in the First World War and standing unsuccessfully for Parliament, lived in Canada for the more than twenty years, where he acted as a consul for the Siamese and Dutch governments. He returned to England in about 1946 and lived at both Cragside and Bamburgh Castle. When he died in 1972, however, his son, William Henry Cecil John Robin Watson-Armstrong (1919-87), 3rd Baron Armstrong, decided to live at Bamburgh and gave Cragside with 911 acres to the Government in lieu of death duties. The house was transferred to The National Trust through the auspices of the National Land Fund in 1977, and he made a further generous gift to the Trust to provide an endowment. The 3rd Lord Armstrong had no children of his own, but adopted a son and daughter, to whom his remaining estates passed at his death, although the peerage became extinct. In 1991 the National Trust acquired further land at Cragside including the formal terraced gardens, glasshouses, and parkland, and Bamburgh Castle is now also open to the public.

* Comparisons of economic power and cost from Measuring Worth.



Jesmond Dene, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northumberland


Jesmond Dene: the house was built for the Armstrongs on land given to them as a wedding present in 1835.

The house called Jesmond Dene (sometimes Jesmond Dean and not to be confused with Jesmond Dene House, which belonged to Andrew Noble, one of Lord Armstrong's business partners) was built for the Armstrongs on 16 acres of land which they were given as a wedding present in 1835, in what was an increasingly fashionable area for the villas of Newcastle industrialists overlooking the valley of the Ouseburn. 


By 1858, when the 6" Ordnance Survey map was first published,
'Jesmond Dean' was one of several villas above the Ouseburn.



Jesmond Dene on the 6" OS map of 1895.
The name of the architect is not known. As his wealth increased, Armstrong acquired more and more of the valley floor, and subtly improved its natural beauties to create a dramatic landscape. This area was linked to the house and its pleasure gardens by tunnels under Jesmond Dene Road which still survive. In 1860-62 the elderly John Dobson designed a Italianate Banqueting Hall overlooking the valley, which Armstrong used for entertaining business visitors and occasionally his workers too. In 1869-70 a separate entrance to the gardens was made on Jesmond Dene Road, and a gatehouse in late Tudor style was built there to the designs of Norman Shaw (then working at Cragside). 


Jesmond Dene: an early engraving of the banqueting house and, above, Norman Shaw's gate lodge.

In 1883, having moved to Cragside, Armstrong gave the valley to Newcastle Corporation as a public park, which was opened the following year by the Prince of Wales as part of a three-day visit to the north-east during which he stayed at Cragside. 


Jesmond Dean: the landscaping of the valley after it became a public park.
During his lifetime and for some time afterwards, Lord Armstrong was revered in his home city for the employment he brought and for his philanthropic initiatives, and Jesmond Dene continues to be a popular park. Time has been less kind to the buildings within the landscape, however: Lord Armstrong's house, Jesmond Dean, was demolished in about 1930 and the Banqueting Hall was unroofed in the 1970s, although the Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust currently has hopes of restoring it.

Descent: William George Armstrong (1810-1900), 1st Baron Armstrong... demolished c.1930.

Cragside, Rothbury, Northumberland

Cragside began as a relatively modest hunting lodge and occasional residence built for Lord Armstrong in 1864, on what was then a remote estate. After the arrival of the railway at Rothbury, however, it became feasible for Armstrong to live at Cragside and commute into Newcastle to supervise his business interests, and the house was gradually developed into a full-time residence. The architect for this transformation was Richard Norman Shaw, who is said to have sketched out his plans in one day, although the whole scheme required three phases of work in 1870-72, 1872-77 and 1883-85 for full realisation.  


Cragside: the original small house, photographed in 1866 before Norman Shaw began to enlarge it.

Shaw's design incorporated the existing house (although one is hardly aware of it now externally) but responded to the dramatic setting with a dashingly Picturesque Tudor-inspired design of stone and semi-timbering. It is a large but not enormous house, but because of its constricted site and staged development it rambles in an engaging way. The entrance side, largely the creation of the second phase of work in 1872-77, has stone walls crowned on one side by semi-timbered gables and on the other side carried up into a tower. 


Cragside: the entrance front.

The ground floor of the tower range is pierced by an archway leading into a courtyard now surrounded by rather pedestrian later wings of the 1890s, which are thought to have been designed by Lord Armstrong himself but could perhaps be the work of C.J. Ferguson, his architect at Bamburgh, or Frederick William Waller of Gloucester. To the right of the tower, the drawing room wing of 1883-85 projects at second-floor level, built on the sandstone crag which enfolds the house on this side. Behind it is the billiard room added by Waller (whose unexpected appearance in Northumberland is explained by his enjoying a particular reputation for designing billiard rooms) in 1895, and above this again is a strange detached chimneystack fed by subterranean flues.  The towering main front, which looks out across the Debden Burn, is again a complicated design with lots of movement and further half-timbering. The north side of the house, shaded by trees, is quieter and the gabled gateway of 1874 was originally more or less detached.


Cragside: the west front from the gardens. Image: Saxman

The main entrance into the house takes one into the old part of the house, where the rooms, including Lord Armstrong's study and the Japanese Room, are relatively small. A narrow majolica-tiled passage leads to the library and dining room on the north front, which are part of Shaw's additions of 1870-72, and introduce the larger scale of his work. 


William Morris figure of Autumn
from the dining room inglenook
The library has striking William Morris glass in the top lights of the windows, and the dining room has a big inglenook fireplace with much carving and further stained glass. Also of the 1870-72 phase are the big kitchen (extended in 1885) and the basement below the library, which was necessitated by the ground levels but which is utilised to provide a Turkish Bath suite.


Cragside: the main staircase. Image: Trip Advisor
From the entrance hall, a surprisingly modest staircase leads up to the first floor, where the boudoir and the white and yellow bedrooms belong to the original house, and the morning room, bamboo room and red bedroom to the additions of 1870-72. Further steps lead up from the staircase landing to the first floor rooms behind the entrance front. This space was originally created as Lord Armstrong's personal museum, and gave access to his observatory in the tower, but in the final campaign of work in 1883-85 it was converted into a gallery, leading through the tower to be vast new drawing room beyond. 


Cragside: the gallery created in 1883-85
to provide access to the new drawing room beyond
The drawing room is dominated by an astonishing Italian marble chimneypiece designed by W.R. Lethaby and carved by Farmer & Brindley in a Mannerist style which echoes early 17th century work at Hatfield and Hardwick. Beyond the drawing room is Waller's billiard room, somewhat anticlimactic after the pomp of the drawing room, but a well-preserved example of this quintessentially Victorian country house requirement.


Cragside: drawing room. Image: Trip Advisor.












Lord Armstrong was a passionate inventor, and his house exhibits various innovations which display his ingenuity in the use of water-power, including an hydraulically operated spit and dumb waiter in the kitchen. Cragside was also the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power, provided by plant which he designed in 1881 to make use of the natural resources of the estate.


Norman Shaw's design for the main front of the house.
This Victorian lithograph gives some impression of the bleakness of the original setting.
The house was originally set in a dramatic position but in a very bare and bleak landscape, and only the application of a vast team of Victorian gardeners has produced the present softened and planted scene. The gardens seem to have been the joint creation of Lord Armstrong and his wife, who had a passion for plants. The process of transformation was eloquently described by T. Raffles Davison in The British Architect in 1881:
Imagine a great hill covered from bottom to crest with huge grey boulder stones, and half-way up, cut out of a steppe on the hill side, the site and placing of a building of the most picturesque kind imaginable. Then having chosen the site and placed the house, call forth your gardeners by the hundreds, and bid them make amongst and around those crags and boulders winding walks, every one formed of steps of the natural grey stone. Then bring your evergreens and rare heather by the tens of thousands, plant them over and about the place till there is hardly a spot of bare soil left; then with the rarest and commonest ferns plant every crevice among the boulders. Form two artificial lakes in the valley near the house, so that you can defy suspicion of the manufacture. Make a carriage approach from opposite ends of the valley, so easy and pleasant that it might be transplanted from Hyde Park; and beside these, let there be rolling along the hill, at two heights above, carriage drivers that for views and healthful breezes shall be immaculate. Along the valley let there be a brooklet teeming with fish, and covered and bordered with trees and rocks forming a veritable glen: span the stream by rustic and iron bridges, which form the centres of a score of perfect pictures.
The iron bridge referred to was made at Armstrong's Elswick Works in the 1870s, and does indeed provide the centrepiece for many views of and from the house.
Cragside: the view from the house into the gardens, with the 1870s iron bridge.

In 1977 the house at Cragside was accepted by the Government in part-settlement of death duties, and was transferred to The National Trust, with a substantial endowment from the 3rd Lord Armstrong. There followed a long process of restoration, and in 1991 the formal gardens, glasshouses and parkland were also acquired and reunited with the rest of the estate.

Descent: William George Armstrong (1810-1900), 1st Baron Armstrong; to great-nephew, William Henry Fitzpatrick Watson-Armstrong (1863-1941), 1st Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside; to son, William John Montagu Watson-Armstrong (1892-1972), 2nd Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside; to son, William Henry Cecil John Robin Watson-Armstrong (1919-87), 3rd Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside, who gave to the Government in lieu of tax; allocated to The National Trust, 1977.

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland


Bamburgh Castle from the seaward side
Bamburgh Castle from the landward side, with the keep in the middle and the Victorian castle beyond

The castle stands on a long and narrow coastal outcrop of rock, just south of Lindisfarne. The site, which is naturally defensive, has in fact been continuously occupied since prehistoric times, when there is believed to have been a hillfort here. In the Saxon period it was an important fort and royal palace.
Bamburgh Castle: plan from Ordnance Survey 25" map,
showing the site before the 1890s restoration.
The present buildings consist of a 12th century keep and three baileys (the West, East and Inner Wards), with the main buildings around the inner ward having been extensively restored and altered in the 18th and 19th centuries, although they have medieval origins
.

The keep stands between the east and inner wards, and is the main survivor of the Norman castle, although some of the castle walls also have masonry of the same period. There are accounts for work here in 1164, but the amounts spent suggest that they were for alterations, not new building, and it was perhaps first built a little earlier, when the area was under Scottish rule; there are similarities of plan and design to Carlisle Castle, which dates from the 1150s. The keep has a high moulded plinth, with square turrets at the corners and buttresses further strengthening the walls, but the main entrance is unusually at ground-floor level, showing the confidence the builders felt in the impregnability of their site and walls. Inside, the basement and first-floor armoury preserve their vaulting, and the armoury has an apsidal end, suggesting it may have begun life as the chapel.


Samuel & Nathaniel Buck's view of the castle in 1716 shows the extent of later restoration

The rest of the castle has Norman origins but now dates largely from later rebuildings. The medieval fabric was in ruins when it was bought by Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, in 1704. Lord Crewe left his estates for charitable purposes and in 1757 his Trustee, Dr. Sharp (who demonstrated his Gothick credentials at his vicarage in Hartburn), began restoring the castle to house a remarkable series of charitable bodies, including schools, an infirmary, accommodation for shipwrecked sailors, a free lending library, a granary which sold flour to the poor at intervention prices, a lifeboat station and a safety beacon.
Bamburgh Castle: view by S.H. Grimm c.1790. Image: BL
The buildings along the south side of the inner ward were rebuilt to house these activities, and a windmill was built at the west end of the castle for grinding corn for the granary operation. But alongside these practical steps, large parts of the curtain walls were rebuilt and given pasteboard battlements, including the long section forming the south side of the west ward, and the keep was tricked out with fanciful turrets.


By the late 19th century, the castle's charitable functions were deemed no longer necessary, and the Crewe trustees sold the building to Lord Armstrong, for whom the Carlisle architect, C.J. Ferguson, created a series of grand baronial interiors over a decade from 1894. The state rooms and apartments along the south side of the inner ward stood on the site of the original great hall, kitchens and captain's lodgings, and a few medieval features are preserved amid the acres of new sandstone and brown panelling. Lord Armstrong intended the castle to house a convalescent home in his wife's memory, but it was not finished before his death and later owners used it as a secondary seat. 


Bamburgh Castle: the vast baronial spaces created by C.J. Ferguson, 1894-1904. This view of 2011 looks from the King's Hall into the Cross Hall. Image:  Ian Fulton.
The style is a free early Tudor and some individual spaces, such as the King's Hall, with its false hammerbeam roof, or the Cross Hall, with its stone overmantel and bay windows overlooking the village are undoubtedly impressive. Overall, however, I have a sneaking sympathy for Avray Tipping's judgement that the restoration represented the 'acme of expenditure with a nadir of intelligent achievement', and perhaps because the purpose of the restoration was changed half-way through building, or because Ferguson was a more pedestrian architect than Shaw, the interiors lack coherence and disappoint after those of Cragside.

Descent: sold 1704 to Nathaniel Crewe (1633-1721), 3rd Baron Crewe, Bishop of Durham; to Lord Crewe's Charity, which sold 1894 to William George Armstrong (1810-1900), 1st Baron Armstrong; to great-nephew, William Henry Fitzpatrick Watson-Armstrong (1863-1941), 1st Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside; to son, William John Montagu Watson-Armstrong (1892-1972), 2nd Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside; to son, William Henry Cecil John Robin Watson-Armstrong (1919-87), 3rd Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside; to adopted son, Francis W.P. Watson-Armstrong (b. c.1966).


Adderstone Hall, Northumberland


Adderstone Hall
An early 18th century house built for Thomas Forster (d. 1725) was replaced in 1819 by the present Greek Revival building of five by three bays with a large porte cochère and a lower service wing to one side, designed by William Burn and built by John Howison (d. 1862), who also built Milburn Hall. The client was Thomas Forster, who seems to have repurchased the estate after it was sold by order of Chancery in 1789, and to have gained possession after the death of William Watson in 1814. Inside, the house has a full-height top-lit domed central hall, with balconies on either side with scrolled iron balustrades, and an open-well cantilevered staircase. The drawing room has a white marble fireplace with wreaths and a Greek key design. 

Descent: Sir Matthew Forster (fl. 1637); to grandson, Col. Thomas Forster (d. 1673); to son, Thomas Forster (d. 1725); to second son, John Forster (1688-1745); to son, Thomas Forster (1743-63); to cousin, John William Bacon-Forster (d. 1767); after whose death sold by order of the Court of Chancery, 1789 to Thomas Forster (fl. 1819-38), who built the new house in 1819; sold 1849 to Dr. George Wilson of Alnwick; to daughter, Mrs. Willetts (fl. 1893), who sold, apparently after 1893, to John William Watson (1827-1909); to widow, Margaret Godman Watson (d. 1922); to daughter, Susan Dorothea FitzPatrick Watson (1873-1961), wife of William Noel Villiers (1864-1950); sold after her death.... The property was let in the late 18th and early 19th century to William Watson (1723-1808) and his son, William Watson (1757-1814), and later to Fairfax Fernley, 1853-68 and Stephen Sanderson, c.1870-79.



Armstrong (later Watson-Armstrong) family, Barons Armstrong




William Armstrong 1778-1857
Image: National Trust
Armstrong, William (1778-1857). Son of a shoemaker, born at Stanwix (Cumbld), 1778 and brought up on the Losh family estate at Wreay (Cumbld). In the mid 1790s he moved to Newcastle to work as a clerk in the counting house of Losh, Lubbren & Co., merchants; when they went bankrupt in 1803 he set up in business as a corn merchant on his own account, rising to be a leading member of the Newcastle social and cultural elite. He was a member of Newcastle Corporation, 1835-39 and 1842-57 (Alderman, 1849-57 and Mayor 1850) and a Tyne Commissioner, 1850-57. He married, 25 November 1801 at St John, Newcastle, Anne (1780-1848), daughter of William Potter of Walbottle Hall (Northbld) and had issue:
(1) Anne Armstrong (1802-28); married, 17 August 1826, William Henry Watson (later Sir William) (1796-1860) (q.v.); died 1 June 1828;
(2) Sir William George Armstrong (1810-1900), 1st Baron Armstrong of Cragside (q.v.).
He lived at Shieldfield near Pandon Dene and from the 1820s at The Minories (or South Jesmond House), Jesmond Dene.
He died 2 June 1857; administration of his goods was granted in June 1857 (effects under £5,000). His wife died 9 June 1848.


Sir William George Armstrong,
1st Baron Armstrong
Armstrong, Sir William George (1810-1900), 1st Baron Armstrong of Cragside. Son of William Armstrong (1778-1857) of Newcastle-on-Tyne, born 26 November 1810. Educated at Whickham School, Bishop Auckland, and at the behest of his father in the offices of his brother-in-law, William Henry Watson in The Temple, 1828-33. An articled clerk and later partner with his father's friend, Armorer Donkin, solicitor of Newcastle, 1833-47. Despite his father's insistence on his undertaking a legal training and career, his passion was for engineering and mechanics, and from the 1830s he was regularly experimenting and publishing in the fields of hydraulics and electricity; in 1846 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. The shift in his career from the law into industry was accomplished in the mid 1840s, when he became Company Secretary of the Whittle Dene Water Company, which was formed to construct reservoirs west of Newcastle to provide a new clean water supply to the city. His colleagues in this venture - his uncle, Addison Potter; the shipowner, George Cruddas; and the wine merchant, Richard Lambert - also joined him in forming the Newcastle Cranage Co., which was set up to apply Armstrong's invention of an hydraulic crane to speeding up the loading and unloading of vessels in the port of Newcastle. Finally, in 1846, he formed W.G. Armstrong & Co. to manufacture the cranes, and established a small works on a site at Elswick, which quickly expanded greatly as the firm's business grew and extended into the manufacture of hydraulic pumps and engines. During the Crimean War he developed lighter and more accurate rifled field guns to replace the heavy cannon then still commonly in use, and in 1859 he was appointed CB and knighted for his services to the country in this regard. At the same time, he was appointed Engineer of Rifled Ordnance at Woolwich, with a remit to modernise the Ordnance factories at Woolwich for production of the new guns; in the meantime he established (with Government capital of £85,000) an ordnance factory at Elswick to meet the immediate demand. After public criticism of his monopoly supplier position and differences of opinion with conservative elements in the army, he resigned his position at Woolwich in 1863, merged the two Elswick factories into one company, and successfully sought export orders for the Armstrong gun. The hydraulics business also grew, with the expansion of the railways and port facilities, and the extension of products to include hydraulic lifts and swing bridges, all manufactured at Elswick. For some time, Armstrong had been interested in naval guns, and in 1868 his firm entered into partnership with the naval shipbuilders, Charles Mitchell & Co. of Walker-on-Tyne to build armed vessels for the navies of the world. The two firms merged in 1882 and Armstrong constructed a new deep-water dockyard at Elswick to which naval production could be moved, and also introduced the cruiser as a new type of lighter, high-speed naval vessel which was soon being produced for navies around the world, from Japan to Chile. Armstrong remained Chairman of the company until his death, but his active involvement was scaled back from 1863 onwards and especially from 1871, when he led unsuccessful employer resistance to a damaging strike in favour of a 54-hour working week, which damaged his personal reputation and that of his firm. His gradual withdrawal gave more time for other interests: building and gardening at Cragside and later Bamburgh Castle, travel (he visited Egypt in 1872), philanthropic work and a string of honorary offices. Although politics were not a large part of his life, his opposition to Irish Home Rule led him to stand as a Liberal Unionist candidate for Newcastle in 1886. He was defeated but was raised to the peerage as Baron Armstrong of Cragside, 6 July 1887.  He served as High Sheriff of Northumberland, 1883. He was President of the British Association in 1863 and 1883, President of the Institute of Civil Engineers, 1882 and three times President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was awarded honorary degrees by the Universities of Cambridge (LL.D) and Oxford (DCL), and also held many foreign orders, including the Japanese order of the Sacred Treasure of the Rising Sun. He was a collector of contemporary art, and owned works by Millais, Wilkie, J.M.W. Turner, Rossetti, Lord Leighton and many others. He published A visit to Egypt, 1873; Electric movement in air and water, 1897, and many pamphlets and journal articles on scientific subjects. He married, 1 May 1835, Margaret (c.1807-93), only daughter of William Ramshaw of Bishop Auckland (Durham), but had no issue.
He and his wife built Jesmond Dene after their marriage in 1835 and laid out the grounds, which they eventually presented as a public park to the City of Newcastle in 1883. They built Cragside between 1864 and 1895, and again laid out the estate and gardens. After his wife's death Lord Armstrong also bought and restored Bamburgh Castle.  
He died 27 December 1900 (when his barony became extinct) and was buried at Rothbury; his will was proved 16 February 1901 (estate £1,400,682). His wife died 2 September 1893 and was also buried at Rothbury.


Watson and Watson-Armstrong families of Adderstone Hall and later of Cragside and Bamburgh Castle



Watson, William (1723-1808) of Adderstone Hall. Son of Joseph Watson (1702-78) of Kyloe (Northbld), born 1723. Corn merchant, and a large Government contractor during the wars with France; in 1783 the Admiralty paid him to erect Waren Mill near Budle to ensure supplies of wheat for the navy. He married, c.1755, Jane Chatto (c.1717-84) of Kelso (Berwicks) and had issue (possibly among others):
(1) William Watson (1757-1814) (q.v.);
(2) Capt. John Watson (1759-98) (q.v.).
He leased Adderstone Hall, but at the time of his death was living in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
His will was proved at Durham, 5 September 1808. His wife died in 1784, aged 67 and was buried at Kyloe (Northbld).


William Watson, 1757-1814.
Image: National Trust
Watson, William (1757-1814) of Adderstone Hall. Elder son of William Watson (1723-1808) and his wife Jane Chatto, born 1757. Corn merchant and Government contractor. He married, 1 January 1782 at Belford (Northbld), Dorothy (1760-1822), daughter of Clement Yelloly of Ditchen (Northbld), and had issue:
(1) William Watson (1782-1864), baptised 14 April 1782; merchant; married, 22 April 1815, Elizabeth, youngest daughter and co-heir of William Howard of St. Osyth (Essex) and had issue six sons and three daughters; what may be his portrait is at Cragside; died 16 November 1864; will proved 12 December 1864 (effects under £200);
(2) Clement Watson (1784-85); died in infancy, 7 March 1785;
(3) John Yelloly Watson (1785-1844); an officer in the army; what may be his portrait is at Cragside; settled in Ireland after 1815; died at Forgeny (Longford), 1844;
(4) Chatto Watson (b. & d. 1786); died in infancy, 26 December 1786;
(5) Clement Chatto Watson (1788-1814); wine and brandy merchant; bankrupted in 1810; died 24 July 1814;
(6) Adam Yelloly Watson (1792-93); died in infancy, 17 March 1793;
(7) Joseph Yelloly Watson (1794-1817); joined East India Company as a clerk, 1812; died at St. Helena, 1817.
He leased Adderstone Hall, probably until his death, although at the time of his death he was living in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
He died 4 August 1814.

Watson, Capt. John (1759-98). Younger son of William Watson of Adderstone Hall and his wife Jane Chatto, born 1759. He was an officer in the 76th Regiment (Capt., 1793), which was based in India in support of the East India Company throughout his service. He married, 13 August 1795, Dorothy Henrietta (1760-1850), daughter of Henry Grey of Shoreston House, Bamburgh (Northbld) and had issue:
(1) Sir William Henry Watson, kt. (1796-1860) (q.v.).
He died 8 October 1798 at Nottingham. His widow died in Kensington (Middx), Apr-Jun 1850, aged 90.

Watson, Sir William Henry (1796-1860), kt. Only son of Capt. John Watson (1759-98) and his wife Dorothy Henrietta, daughter of Henry Grey of Shoreston House (Northbld), born 1 July 1796. Educated at the Royal Military College, Marlow, and served in the 1st Royal Dragoons (Ensign, 1811; Lt., 1812) 1811-14 and later in the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, 1814-16; he fought in the Peninsular War campaigns and was at the Battle of Waterloo, 1815 and at the entry of the allied armies into Paris. After the cessation of hostilities with France he retired on half-pay in 1816 and retrained for the law at Lincolns Inn (admitted 1817; called to bar, 1832; QC 1841; Bencher, 1843). He worked as a special pleader in London until he was called to the bar and thereafter was a barrister on the Northern Circuit; he was appointed to the bench as a Baron of the Exchequer, 1856 and knighted, 28 November 1856. He was distinguished as an advocate by honesty and earnestness rather than eloquence, but was a sound lawyer and the author of two (for a time) standard professional works, A treatise on arbitration and award, 1825 (3rd edn. 1846) and A treatise on the law relating to the office and duty of sheriff, 1827 (2nd edn., 1848). A Liberal in politics, he was MP for Kinsale, 1841-47 and later for Hull, 1854-56; he also stood unsuccessfully for Newcastle in 1852. He married 1st, 17 August 1826, Anne (1802-28), daughter of William Armstrong (q.v.) of Newcastle and sister of 1st Baron Armstrong (q.v.), and 2nd, 5 August 1831, Mary (1806-78), daughter of Anthony Capron (later Hollist) of Midhurst (Sussex), and had issue:
(1.1) John William Watson (1827-1909) (q.v.);
(2.1) Col. William Henry Watson (1834-99) of Minsted, Stedham (Sussex), born 26 May and baptised 25 June 1834; Colonel in the Royal Artillery; married, 25 August 1866, Amy Maria Philippa (1844-1929), daughter of Nathaniel Weekes of Guillards Oak, Midhurst (Sussex) and had issue; died in London, 28 December 1899; will proved 28 March 1900 (estate £58,808).
He died suddenly of apoplexy, 13 March 1860, while addressing the Grand Jury at Welshpool (Montgomerys) and was buried there, 17 March 1860; administration of his goods was granted 7 April 1860 (effects under £50,000). His first wife died 1 June 1828. His widow died 12/13 December 1878; her will was proved 3 January 1879 (effects under £30,000).


John William Watson
Image: National Trust
Watson, John William (1827-1909) of Adderstone Hall. Elder son of Sir William Henry Watson (1796-1869) and his first wife, Anne, daughter of William Armstrong of Newcastle-on-Tyne, born 23 May and baptised at All Saints, Newcastle-on-Tyne, 4 September 1827. Educated at Eton, Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1845; BA 1849) and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1849). He followed his father in being a Special Pleader. JP for Northumberland, 1896. He married, 5 May 1859, Margaret Godman (1833-1922), eldest surviving daughter of Patrick Pearse FitzPatrick of FitzLeet House, Bognor (Sussex) and had issue:
(1) William Henry Armstrong FitzPatrick Watson (later Watson-Armstrong) (1863-1941), 1st Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside (q.v.);
(2) Margaret Henrietta FitzPatrick Watson (1864-65), born 5 December 1864; died in infancy, 16 January 1865;
(3) Mary Edwina FitzPatrick Watson (1869-71), born 21 April 1869; died in infancy, 15 January 1871;
(4) Susan Dorothea FitzPatrick Watson (1873-1961); married, 7 December 1903, William Noel Villiers (1864-1950), third son of Rev. Charles Villiers, rector of Croft (Yorks NR); inherited Adderstone Hall in 1922; died without issue, 15 March 1961; will proved 10 August 1961 (estate £86,523).
He purchased Adderstone Hall probably about 1894. At his death, it passed to his widow for life, and then to his surviving daughter. It was sold after her death in 1961 for the benefit of her nephews and nieces.
He died 30 January 1909; his will was proved 2 March 1909 (estate £60,872). His widow died 18 August 1922; her will was proved 19 October 1922 (estate £26,374).


1st Baron Armstrong
of Bamburgh & Cragside
Watson (later Watson-Armstrong), William Henry Fitzpatrick (1863-1941), 1st Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside. Son of John William Watson (1827-1909) of Adderstone Hall (Northbld) and his wife Margaret Godman, daughter of Patrick Pearse FitzPatrick of FitzLeet House, Bognor (Sussex), born 3 May 1863 and baptised at St Gabriel's, Warwick Square, London. Educated at Eton, 1877-82 and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1882; BA 1885; MA). Served in the Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry (Major, 1902). CC, JP and DL for Northumberland and JP for Newcastle-on-Tyne; High Sheriff of Northumberland, 1899; a Tyne Commissioner. In 1900 he made a donation of £100,000 for the rebuilding of the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Awarded Hon. DCL, Durham University; Hon. Freeman of Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1901; Grand Cordon of the Order of Medjidie. He assumed the additional surname of Armstrong by royal licence, 1889, and was created Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh and Cragside, 4 August 1903. On his great-uncle's death he joined board of Armstrong-Whitworth, as the family firm was then called, but his co-directors were so concerned about his unsuitability for business that he was forced off the board in 1908 'for the good of the firm'. He was practised upon by many fraudsters and unscrupulous business men, and lost a fortune in unwise speculations, as a result of which there were substantial land and asset sales to meet his debts (including the Farne Islands, sold in 1924, which became a nature reserve). He married 1st, 15 June 1889, Winifreda Jane (1860-1914), eldest daughter of Sir John Miller Adye GCB; 2nd, 31 August 1916, his children's former governess, Beatrice Elizabeth (1863-1934), daughter of Jonathan Cowx of Tudhoe; and 3rd, 7 October 1935 at Rothbury, (Lucy) Kathleen (1898-1970), daughter of Rev. Charles Thorpe England, and had issue:
(1.1) William John Montagu Watson-Armstrong (1892-1972), 2nd Baron Armstrong (q.v.);
(1.2) Winifreda Margaret Watson-Armstrong (1894-1912), born 27 September 1894; died suddenly of meningitis, 20 March 1912.
He inherited Cragside from the 1st Lord Armstrong of Cragside in 1900.
He died 16 October 1941; his will was proved 8 July and 8 October 1942 (estate £216,845). His first wife died 5 December 1914; his second wife died 4 November 1934 and was buried at Rothbury; his widow married 2nd, 18 February 1947, Lorne Campbell-Robson (1881-1976) and died in 1970.

Watson-Armstrong, William John Montagu (1892-1972), 2nd Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside. Only son of William Henry Armstrong FitzPatrick Watson-Armstrong (1863-1941), 1st Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside, and his first wife, Winifreda Jane, daughter of Sir John Miller Adye GCB, born 10 October 1892. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1911; BA 1914; MA). Served in 7th Battn., Northumberland Fusiliers in WW1 (Capt.), 1914-17 and was severely wounded and mentioned in despatches in 1915. In 1918 he stood unsuccessfully for Parliament as a Conservative candidate for Berwick-on-Tweed. He later lived in Canada, where he was Consul for Siam, 1924-42 and Consul for the Netherlands in British Columbia and the Yukon, 1942-46. He married, 27 October 1917 at Bushey (Herts), Zaida Cecile (1896-1978), eldest daughter of Cecil Drummond-Wolff of the Thatched Cottage, Bushey Park (Middx) and had issue:
(1) William Henry Cecil John Robin Watson-Armstrong (1919-87), 3rd Baron Armstrong (q.v.).
He inherited Cragside from his father in 1941. After his death his widow lived at 37 Shrewsbury House, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea (Middx).
He died 6 July 1972; administration with will annexed was granted 26 January 1973 (estate £28,210). His widow died 16 February 1978; her will was proved 18 May 1978 (estate £47,031).

Watson-Armstrong, William Henry Cecil John Robin (1919-87), 3rd Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside. Son of William John Montagu Watson-Armstrong (1892-1972), 2nd Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside and his wife Zaida Cecile, daughter of Cecil Drummond-Wolff, born 6 March 1919. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He married, 16 August 1947, Maria-Theresa (1915-99), daughter of Gen. Fabrizio Enea Chiodelli-Manzoni and former wife of Baron Jean Marie Ghislain Alphonse Jules du Four, but had no issue. The couple adopted two children:
(A1) Francis W.P. Watson-Armstrong (b. c.1966) of Greenhill Farm, Bamburgh; educated at Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester (Dip. Ag.); arable farmer; married, 1988 (div.), Sarah, daughter of Dr. B. Gray of Twyning (Glos), and had issue one son and two daughters; now living;
(A2) Isabella J.T. Watson-Armstrong; married, 1988, William John Riddell, son of Thomas J. Riddell of Belford (Northbld).
He inherited Bamburgh Castle and Cragside from his father in 1972, but transferred Cragside to the Government in lieu of death duties in 1977, and made a substantial grant to the National Trust as an endowment for its maintenance. At his death, the remaining estates were left to his adopted children, who sold further land at Cragside to the National Trust.
He died 1 October 1987, when the barony of Armstrong of Bamburgh and Cragside became extinct; his will was proved 21 June 1988 (estate £4,421,587). His widow died 15 March 1999; her will was proved 1 December 1999.


Sources


History of Northumberland, vol. 1, Bamburgh parish, 1893, pp. 219-27; J. Grundy, G. McCombie, P. Ryder, H. Welfare and Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Northumberland, 2nd edn., 1992, pp. 154-57, 244-46; B. Cleary, Bamburgh Castle - the finest castle in England, 2005; H. Heald, William Armstrong: magician of the North, 2012; ODNB entry on W.G. Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong.


Location of archives


Armstrong family, Barons Armstrong: deeds, 1707-1872 [Tyne & Wear Archives, DF.A]; Cragside and Bamburgh estate papers, 20th cent. [Northumberland Archives, 02302]
Armstrong, Sir William George (1810-1900), 1st Baron Armstrong:  correspondence and papers, 1819-1913 [Tyne & Wear Archives, DF.A]
Armstrong, William John Montagu (1892-1972), 2nd Baron Armstrong:  journals, 1915-24 [Northumberland Archives, 09361]


Coat of arms


Watson of Adderstone: Argent, a fesse raguly between two crosses bottony in chief and a martlet in base, all gules.
Armstrong, Baron Armstrong of Cragside: Gules a tilting spear in fess or headed argent between two dexter arms embowed in armour fesswise proper, hands of the last.
Armstrong, Barons Armstrong of Bamburgh & Cragside: Quarterly, 1st & 4th, gules a tilting spear in fess or headed argent between two dexter arms embowed in armour fesswise proper, hands of the last; 2nd & 3rd, argent, a fesse raguly between two crosses bottony in chief and a martlet in base all gules.


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 supply a better photograph of the Armstrong house at Jesmond Dean, or of Adderstone Hall?
  • Can anyone provide an ownership history for Jesmond Dean after Lord Armstrong moved to Cragside? Was the house sold in Lord Armstrong's lifetime or after his death?



Revision and acknowledgements


This post was published 26th August 2015.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

(180) Armstrong of County Offaly and Nancealverne

Armstrong of Ballycumber
This post concerns the four related families of Armstrong of Ballycumber; Armstrong of Gallen Priory; Armstrong of Garry Castle and Castle Iver; and Armstrong of Nancealverne. The family is also said to be related to the Armstrongs of Kippure Park (Wicklow) but the connection, if there is one, has not been traced. The Irish seats of this family were mostly in Co. Offaly, or King's County as it was known until the partition of Ireland (the modern name is used throughout below). All their houses were fairly small, but the existence of several different branches of the family over a long period, and their notable tendency to produce sons, made them a force to be reckoned with in Offaly out of all proportion to their wealth and status.

It is said that the family of Armstrong came originally from Mangerton in Liddesdale in the Scottish borders, and that the first of the family to move to Ireland was William Armstrong, who participated in the settlement of Ulster during the reign of King James VI and I. He was followed to Ireland by his nephew Andrew Armstrong (c.1576-1671), who was the progenitor of all the families discussed below. The Armstrongs of Gallen Priory descended from the eldest son of his second marriage; the Armstrongs of Ballycumber from the second son of that marriage; and the Armstrongs of Garry Castle and Castle Iver from the younger son of his third marriage. The Armstrongs of Nancealverne descended from a cadet branch of the Armstrongs of Ballycumber in the 19th century.  The longevity and vigour of some of the early generations of the family were remarkable: Andrew Armstrong himself died at the age of 95 and sired his youngest son, Archibald Armstrong, at the age of 79; and Archibald in turn lived to the age of 92. There cannot be many families in which two generations span 171 years!

Edmund Armstrong (fl. 1638-73), who settled at Stonestown (Kildare), was the eldest son of Andrew Armstrong's second marriage. He was probably born in about 1618, and was thus of the generation which was most closely involved in the fighting of the Civil War, being himself taken prisoner at the second Battle of Worcester in 1651. Many of his eight sons grew up against the backdrop of war and it is hardly surprising therefore that most of them became soldiers in turn, three reaching the rank of Colonel. One, Lt-Col. Charles Armstrong (c.1646-c.1731) bought an estate in Kildare and built Mount Armstrong there in the early 18th century; another, Capt. Thomas Armstrong (1661-1748), bought a house at Ampthill (Beds) after he retired from the army, and married into the Thompson family who were closely connected with the Alston family and  Annesley, Earls of Anglesey about whom I have written previously. Edmund's property at Stonestown passed, however, to his eldest son, William Armstrong (c.1638-1717/18), who married into the ancient Irish family of Coghlan. It would appear that through his marriage he acquired the Gallen estate in Offaly, which had been vested in the Coghlans since the dissolution of the monasteries.

William's son, Edmund Gallen (d. 1745), was fortunate enough to inherit not only the Gallen estate but also the Kildare properties and fortunes of two of his uncles, and this access of wealth seems to have given him the resources to build a new house at Gallen some time in the 1720s or 1730s. His son, Andrew Armstrong (1730-c.1786), who sired no less than six sons and nine daughters, left the estate to his eldest son, Edmund Armstrong (1754-1827), who was of a more academic bent than most of his family. He became a barrister and stood as a candidate for Parliament on one occasion, albeit unsuccessfully. Two of his younger sons fought in the Peninsula Wars, where one died and the other distinguished himself so much that he was knighted on his return to Ireland, although he died shortly afterwards while a mature student at Cambridge.  Edmund's eldest son, Andrew Armstrong (1785-1863), obtained the lucrative post of Receiver-General of Stamp Duties in Ireland and when this office was abolished as part of civil service reforms in 1841 he was made a baronet in compensation, and he was elected as MP for Offaly in the same year. His youngest son, Charles Nesbitt Frederic Armstrong (1858-1948), was briefly the husband of the great Australian opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba, although they were separated in 1884. Charles and his father, incidentally, between them lived for 163 years, which is a record almost to rival that of the first Andrew and his son Archibald.

The Gallen estate passed, however, to Sir Andrew's eldest son, the Rev. Sir Edmund Frederick Armstrong (1836-99), 2nd bt., who was a clergyman in Co. Leix for over twenty years, although he seems to have lived at Gallen after retiring in 1887. When the position of Anglo-Irish landowners deteriorated in the early 20th century, his son, Sir Andrew Harvey Armstrong (1866-1922), 3rd bt. joined the exodus from Ireland. In 1912 Gallen was leased to a convent, and Sir Andrew divided his time between England and the antipodes; he died in 1922 while on a fishing trip to New Zealand, and his younger brother, the 4th bt., who was a seaman in Australia, promptly sold the freehold of Gallen to the convent. The baronetcy still survives, and is now held by the descendants of a younger son of the 1st baronet.

The second son of the second marriage of Andrew Armstrong (c.1576-1671) was Thomas Armstrong (d. 1690), who like his elder brother was taken prisoner at the second Battle of Worcester in 1651. Once he regained his liberty he returned to Ireland and settled at Banagher (Offaly), where he was several times mayor. In the turbulent months of 1689-90 he was several times attacked by Irish Catholic forces, and eventually decided he needed to move his household to a place of greater safety with the garrison at Mullingar (Westmeath). Setting out to get there, however, he was caught on the road by some of the MacGeoghegan's soldiers, and in the ensuing fracas, he was shot in the thigh. Although the wound was dressed promptly, septicemia set in and he died shortly afterwards.  

His eldest surviving son was Andrew Armstrong (1669-1717/8), who acquired the Ballycumber estate from the Coghlans in about 1700. His sons were mostly military engineers, and the youngest, John Armstrong (1706-58) was stationed for some years at Minorca, of which he published the first history in any language in 1752. Ballycumber passed, however, to Andrew's eldest son, Warneford Armstrong (1699-1767), who was no doubt responsible for rebuilding the old Coghlan castle there as the present handsome five-bay house. True to Armstrong form, he had a large family (14 children that I have traced, by three wives), and it may have been with thoughts of providing for the nine sons among them that he invested in further property, acquiring Clara House and apparently also (on lease) Pallas House (Galway). The eldest son, Andrew Armstrong (1727-1802) inherited Clara House, which passed in turn to his son and grandson before being sold after the latter's death in 1834. Ballycumber passed to George Armstrong (1734-80), who may have been the next eldest son to survive his father, and who married a daughter of his distant cousins at Gallen Priory. He apparently sold it before his early death, but it was bought back by his son Andrew George Armstrong (1773-1821) when he retired from the army. His brother and heir was John Warneford Armstrong (1770-1858), who as a young army officer certainly held atheist, and may have held republican, opinions. In due course he was cautiously approached by the Sheares brothers to join the United Irishmen ahead of the planned 1798 uprising, but he secretly reported all his conversations with them to his superior officers, and after they were arrested he was the chief and most damaging witness at their trial. Irish independence activists took a dim view of what they saw as his treachery, and held him responsible for the execution of the Sheares brothers, and for many years his life was so threatened in Ireland that he was obliged to live abroad. By the 1830s, he had returned to Ballycumber, and he lived there until his death in 1858, when the house passed to his younger daughter, Anne Frances (1817-78) and her husband, William Bigoe Buchanan. It seems to have been sold after her death.

The eldest son of Warneford Armstrong (1699-1767) and his third wife was John Armstrong (1761-1835). He was a Major in the 5th Dragoon Guards and retired to a house called Priestlands at Lymington (Hants). He had a sickly younger son, William, who on the advice of his doctors was sent at the age of about eleven to live in Penzance (Cornwall) and indeed died there in 1832.  It seems likely that it was while visiting William that his brother, Rev. John Armstrong (1810-62) first met his future wife, Mary Anne, the daughter of Col. John Scobell of Nancealverne, a villa on the edge of Penzance. Mary Anne, who survived until 1900, inherited Nancealverne from her brother in 1883, and the house remains the property of her descendants, having passed in turn to her son, John Scobell Armstrong (1842-1929), grandson, John Warneford Scobell Armstrong (1877-1960), who was a County Court judge in Plymouth and Cornwall, and great-grandson, John Hamilton Scobell Armstrong (1927-2001). All of these later generations have displayed literary and academic tastes, and the last-named was a schoolmaster at Eton and a literary critic.

The fourth branch of the family was the most complex. As we have seen, Archibald Armstrong (1655-1747) was the youngest son of Andrew Armstrong (c.1576-1671). In the family tradition, his sons pursued military careers (and one of his grandsons was the Chief Royal Engineer, General John Armstrong), but over several generations various members of the family bought, married into, or inherited estates and small country houses.
General John Armstrong with the Duke of Marlborough,
discussing the siege of Bouchain. Attrib. to Enoch Seeman.
His 
youngest son, Thomas Armstrong (d. 1750), acquired the Ballylin (Offaly) estate, although nothing is known about the house that stood there at this time (and which seems to have been rebuilt in the later 18th century, perhaps for the King family). Andrew Armstrong (c.1723-89), a grandson of Archibald, inherited Castle Armstrong from his first cousin once removed, Lt-Col. Charles Armstrong (c.1646-1731), and passed it to his son, Thomas Armstrong (1765-c.1802), who let the estate from about 1792 onwards. When he died his children were left as orphans, and the Court of Chancery directed that Castle Armstrong should continue to be let to provide an income for their support. Despite this provision, only one of the daughters survived to maturity, and she and her husband sold the estate in 1823, albeit to a distant Armstrong relative.

Archibald Armstrong's fourth son, Andrew Armstrong, was for a time Comptroller of the household of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and perhaps from the profits of that office acquired the Garry Castle estate in the early 18th century. One of his younger sons, Edmund Armstrong (1735-97) was a courtier in London and bought Forty Hall at Enfield on the outskirts of the capital, but it was sold again after his death. Andrew's heir was his namesake, Andrew Armstrong (1732-92?), who is said to have been wounded at the Battle of Louisberg (Canada) in 1758 and to have retired from the army on a pension as a result. He was perhaps responsible for building the small 18th century house among the ruins of the medieval Garry Castle, but this was little if anything more than a farmhouse and can never have accommodated his fourteen children. Nonetheless, it was apparently not until the early 19th century that his heir, Thomas St. George Armstrong (1765-1844), built the house known as the Garden House at Garry Castle, which for the first time provided a country house on the Garry Castle estate. His first and third sons, Carteret Andrew Armstrong (1797-1869) and William Bigoe Armstrong (1800-66), seem to have lived at Garry Castle, perhaps each holding one of the two houses there. Carteret was childless, and left the estate to William Bigoe Armstrong's eldest son, who was tactfully named Carteret Andrew Armstrong (1838-93). The second and fourth sons, Thomas St George Armstrong (1797-1875) and John Priaulx Armstrong (1802-79), were sent out to Argentina in 1817 to establish a merchant and banking house in Buenos Aires. John eventually returned, married one of his Priaulx cousins from Guernsey, and settled at Beachy House on that island. Thomas, however, remained in Argentina, where he displayed enormous commercial acumen and made a fortune from trading, banking, railway development and urban property. He remained a Protestant but married a Catholic, and partly as a result, found himself a trusted emissary between the British and Argentine governments over many years; something that the resulted in the offer (which he rejected) of a knighthood. He invested his wealth in Argentine estates, the greatest of which was the magnificent estancia Santo Tomas at Santa Fe. At his death he left large charitable bequests in Argentina, and divided his estates between his children. His youngest son, a third Thomas St. George Armstrong (b. 1846), married a Portuguese noblewoman and was in the service of the Portuguese state in Argentina for much of his life. In 1890, however, he bought the Garry Castle estate from his cousin, Carteret Andrew Armstrong (1838-93), perhaps just to keep it in the family. The estate was presumably sold after his death (which I have not been able to trace), as his only daughter was married to a French count on diplomatic service in Buenos Aires and had no personal links with Ireland at all.

The fourth son of Andrew Armstrong (1732-92?) was William Bigoe Armstrong (b. 1768), who seems to have inherited the Castle Iver estate from a distant kinsman. He served as County Treasurer for Offaly, and was followed in both this office and the Castle Iver estate by his son, James Ferrier Armstrong (c.1801-66) and grandson, William Bigoe Armstrong (1839-90), but the estate was sold by order of the Court of Chancery in 1885, no doubt to settle the debts which this branch of the family had accumulated.

None of the many Irish estates owned by the Armstrongs in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries therefore now remains in family hands, and their English property, Nancealverne, is now let as holiday accommodation and is not currently occupied by the family.


Ballycumber House, Offaly


Ballycumber House

A five-bay house of two storeys, to all appearances of the 1730s or 1740s. The present house replaces a castle built in 1627 from which there survives on the rear elevation a carved stone date plaque with the inscription 
'IHS Dermot Coghlan Made This Castell In Anno Dni 1627'. The house has a hipped slate roof, timber sash windows with tooled stone sills, and pebbledashed walls with the quoins and eaves course in plain render. The entrance front has a tripartite doorcase treated like a Venetian window, with a round-headed door opening flanked by square-headed sidelights with pulvinated friezes and moulded cornices. The house is now used as holiday accommodation.


Ballycumber House: the gazebo in the grounds
It stands in landscaped grounds beside the River Brosna, probably created in about 1820, and there is a ruined circular Gothick stone gazebo with rocket-fin buttresses on a mound in the grounds, which is likely to be contemporary with the landscaping. 

Descent: Dermot Coghlan (fl. 1627)...Andrew Armstrong (1669-1717); to son, Warneford Armstrong (1699-1767); to son, George Armstrong (1734-80); who apparently sold... John O'Connor sold to Andrew George Armstrong (1773-1821); to brother, John Warneford Armstrong (1770-1858); to daughter, Anne Frances (1817-78), wife of William Bigoe Buchanan...




Gallen Priory, Ferbane, Offaly


Gallen Priory in c.1900, before the addition of the modern wings.

A two-storey seven-bay 18th century house, perhaps originally built for Edmund Armstrong (d. 1745). The house was tricked out with Gothick additions in the early 19th century, including turret-like buttresses surmounted by singularly primitive pinnacles, a steep central gable, and a rather blocky first-floor oriel window. After the house was sold by the Armstrongs in 1922 it became a convent, and the house was vastly extended and given a grossly inappropriate modern flat-roofed porch. Some of the external features seem to have been crudely rebuilt and the house now seems to be painted a sickly pink. The house is now used as a nursing home.

Descent: Edmund Armstrong (d. 1745); to son, Andrew Armstrong (1730-86?); to son, Edmund Armstrong (1754-1827); to son, Sir Andrew Armstrong (1785-1863), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Edmund Frederick Armstrong (1836-99), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Andrew Harvey Armstrong (1866-1922), 3rd bt.; sold after his death as a convent; later converted as a nursing home.


Mount Armstrong, Kildare


A small gentry house, now known as Mount Windsor, appears to have been built or remodelled in the early 18th century for Lt-Col. Charles Armstrong. The estate was sold after Edmund Armstrong's death in 1745 to Edward Sherlock, who built the present Mount Armstrong House on a new site to the south. This is a mid to late 18th century house with a five bay entrance front that has a centrepiece of a tripartite pedimented doorway with a triple window above.  Inside, the hall has a simple plasterwork frieze, and a doorway with an internal fanlight that leads into the staircase hall.

Descent: sold before 1710 to Lt-Col. Charles Armstrong (c.1646-c.1731); to nephew, Edmund Armstrong (d. 1745); sold after his death to Edward Sherlock... William Sherlock (fl. 1795) who let to Rev. John Digby (fl. 1798)...sold c.1854 to Gerald George Aylmer of Donadea Castle...Christopher Rynd (d. 1882); to son, Fleetwood Rynd... Alfred Chester Beatty (fl. 1950); sold c.1965 to William Francis Conolly-Carew (1905-94), 6th Baron Carew.


Garry Castle, Banagher, Offaly


The ruins of Garry Castle in 1840.
Some ruins remain of a medieval castle of the Coghlan family, with a bawn and gate tower and a simple white three-bay 18th century house set into the bawn wall. 
Castle Garden House

In the early 19th century, a new five-bay two-storey house, known as Castle Garden House, was built nearby, no doubt for Thomas St George Armstrong (1765-1844). This has a half-hipped roof, rendered walls and sash windows, and a segmental-headed doorway, but is now derelict. The remains of a walled garden stand nearby. 

Descent: Andrew Armstrong (1732-92?); to son, Thomas St. George Armstrong (1765-1844); to son, Carteret Andrew Armstrong (1797-1869); to nephew, Carteret Andrew Armstrong (1838-93), who sold 1890 to his cousin, Thomas St. George Armstrong (b. 1846); probably sold after his death...




Castle Iver (now Balliver House), Banagher, Offaly

A three-bay double-pile house of two storeys over a basement, built c.1730, perhaps for Thomas Armstrong. Later in the 18th century a pair of full-height bows were added to the south front, probably for William Bigoe Armstrong. 

Castle Iver: the west front
The house has a hipped slate roof with terracotta ridge tiles and conical roofs on the bows, timber sash windows, and the walls are finished with lined render on the main front and roughcast on the rear and side elevations. There is a glazed porch on the east front and a late 18th century columned porch between the two bows on the south front. 


Castle Iver: the south front with its late 18th century bows
South-west of the house is a walled garden and the entrance gates north-west and south-east of the house survive. 

Descent: Thomas Armstrong (b. c.1700)... William Bigoe Armstrong (b. 1768); to son, James Ferrier Armstrong (d. 1866); to son, William Bigoe Armstrong (d. 1890); sold by order of the Court of Chancery, 1885.



Clara House, Offaly


Clara House

A compact Georgian three-by-three bay house, built about 1800. It has two storeys, with a rusticated ground floor and French quoins at the angles, but it is now curiously ill-proportioned: the upper floor is in scale almost an attic but has full size windows. These feel like a later alteration, perhaps replacing smaller square windows that would have given the front better proportions, but the details of the sashes look early. The projecting porch with columns and corner piers is an addition of c.1820, so perhaps the windows were altered at the same time. 

Descent: Andrew Armstrong (1727-1802); to grandson, Edward George Armstrong (1788-1834); sold to Edward Cox... Goodbody family...



Nancealverne, Penzance, Cornwall


Nancealverne House

A five-bay late 18th century house of coursed granite with a slate roof and a rather pretty central glazed porch, hunkered down in its landscape setting against the prevailing winds. It was apparently built for a Mr. Carveth. The house is now separated by the Penzance bypass from its early 19th century entrance lodge, which is single-storey at the front but two-storeyed at the back because of the way the land falls.

Descent: built for John Carveth; sold to Usticke of Botallack; to daughter, wife of John Scobell (c.1778-1866); to son, John Usticke Scobell (1804-83); to sister, Mary Anne (1817-1900), wife of Rev. John Armstrong (1810-62); to son, John Scobell Armstrong (1842-1929); to son, HH John Warneford Scobell Armstrong (1877-1960); to son, John Hamilton Scobell Armstrong (1927-2001); to widow, Diana Armstrong (b. 1930).



Armstrong family of Ballycumber House and Clara House



Armstrong, Andrew (c.1576-1671). Said to be the grandson of Christopher Armstrong of Mangerton (Roxburghs) and to have been born c.1576. Educated at Glasgow University. He followed his uncle William Armstrong to Ulster and participated in the Protestant settlement there in the reign of James VI & I, settling in Co. Fermanagh. At the outbreak of the Civil War he is said to have served as an officer of horse in the army of Charles I for several years, despite being 66 years of age when the Civil War started. He married 1st, [forename unknown] Alexander, 2nd, probably c.1616, Elizabeth, daughter of M. Johnston, and 3rd, c.1650, Mrs. Jane Stephenson, and had issue:
(1.1) Andrew Armstrong; married and had issue one son and two daughters;
(1.2) A daughter;
(2.1) Edmund Armstrong (b. c.1618; fl. c.1673) [for whom see the Armstrongs of Gallen Priory below];
(2.2) Thomas Armstrong (d. c.1690) (q.v.);
(2.3) William Armstrong; married and had issue three sons and two daughters;
(2.4) Robert Armstrong (d. 1716); married Lydia (1650-1715), daughter of Michael Howard of Ballyard (Offaly) and had issue three sons (including General John Armstrong (1674-1742), Chief Royal Engineer) and two daughters; died 23 May 1716;
(2.5) John Armstrong; died unmarried;
(3.1) Michael Armstrong (b. c.1652); married and died at Banagher (Offaly);
(3.2) Archibald Armstrong (1655-1747) [for whom see the Armstrongs of Garry Castle below].
He died in 1671, aged 95.

Armstrong, Thomas (d. c.1690).  Son of Andrew Armstrong (d. 1671) and his wife Elizabeth Johnston; he is usually said to have been born in Co. Fermanagh, 1639, but must have been born earlier, perhaps c.1625. He fought and was captured at the Battle of Worcester, 1651, and was taken as a prisoner to London. He subsequently returned to Ireland and settled at Banagher (Offaly), of which town he was one of the burgesses, and several times mayor. He married Grissel (d. 1680), sister of Capt. Charles Beatty of Co. Longford, and had issue:
(1) John Armstrong (c.1667-1704); a Lieutenant in Lord Barrymore's regiment of foot; killed at the siege of Gibraltar;
(2) Andrew Armstrong (1669-1717) (q.v.);
(3) James Armstrong; died unmarried at Ghent, aged 23.
(4) Margaret Armstrong (b. 1671); married, 1701, Capt. William Charleton of Mount Charlton (Meath) and had issue one son and one daughter;
(5) Catherine Armstrong (d. 1750); married Oliver Crofton (1688-1709) of Lissanarre (Limerick), youngest son of Sir Edward Crofton, 2nd bt. and had issue one son, born after his father's death; died 6 May 1750;
(6) Anne Armstrong; married William Beatty esq. and had issue;
(7) Elizabeth Armstrong; married Mr. Courts;
During the civil war of 1689-90 following King James II's abdication, he was repeatedly attacked by the native Irish, and sought to escape to safety with the garrison at Mullingar (Westmeath); however, he was caught on the road by part of MacGeoghegan's regiment and in the ensuing fracas he was shot in the thigh, and died from septicemia resulting from the wound. His wife died in 1680 and was buried at Banagher.

Armstrong, Andrew (1669-1717). Second but eldest surviving son of Thomas Armstrong (d. c.1690) and his wife Grissel, sister of Capt. Charles Beatty of Co. Longford, born 1669. He married, 9 June 1697, Lucy (c.1671-1733), eldest daughter of George Charnock esq. (eighth son of Sir George Charnock, kt., of Gloucestershire) and widow of William Mason, an officer in King William III's army, and had issue:
(1) Warneford Armstrong (1699-1767) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Armstrong (b. 1700; fl. 1770); married, 1718, Edward Wallen (d. 1776) of Snugborough (Offaly), and had issue four sons and one daughter; living in 1770;
(3) Grissel Armstrong (b. 1701), born at Ballykealy Castle, 1701; married Alexander Armstrong, second son of Col. Robert Armstrong, and had issue;
(4) Thomas Armstrong (b. 1702), born 22 August 1702; probably an officer of the Royal Engineers, but readily confused with a cousin of the same name and profession; he purchased the estate of Murock but died unmarried;
(5) Jane Armstrong (b. c.1703); married Capt. Supple but died without issue;
(6) George Armstrong (1705-52), born January 1704/05; clerk-in-ordinary to his cousin, Col. John Armstrong (1674-1742), the Surveyor-General of Ordnance; married, 17 November 1740 at St Paul, Covent Garden, London, Isabella, daughter of S. Holmes of London, distiller and widow of [forename unknown] Lucas, but died without issue, 27 July 1752;
(7) John Armstrong (1706-58), born 2 February 1705/6; military engineer and author; engineer-in-ordinary to Board of Ordnance; an officer in the 18th Regt. of Foot, with whom he saw service in Minorca, 1738-42; author of The history of the island of Minorca, 1752; died unmarried and impoverished at Swan Tavern, Chelsea, 27 March, and was buried at Chelsea Old Church, 31 March 1758;
(8) Letitia Armstrong (c.1708-78); married 1st, 1747, George Slaughter and had issue one son; married 2nd, 4 September 1753, Rev. George Wallen (d. c.1767); buried 20 September 1778.
He acquired the estate of Ballycumber.
He died 14 May 1717, aged 48; his will was proved 23 May 1717 but was challenged in 1719 by his widow, who died 15 September 1733, aged 62, and was buried at Rahan church.

Armstrong, Warneford (1699-1767). Eldest son of Andrew Armstrong (1669-1717) and his wife Lucy, daughter of George Charnock esq., born at Ballykealy Castle, 27 September 1699. JP for Offaly and High Sheriff of Offaly, 1738. He married 1st, 15 March 1719, Elizabeth (d. 1739), eldest daughter of Milo Bagot esq. of Newtown, 2nd, Jane, eldest daughter of Lewis Jones of Dublin, and 3rd, January 1760, Fanny (d. 1807), daughter of William Grey esq., and had issue:
(1.1) Margaret Armstrong (1720-), born 8 January 1720; married Frank Brown of Riverstown (Kildare), barrister-at-law, and had issue;
(1.2) Andrew Armstrong (1727-1802) (q.v.);
(1.3) Caroline Armstrong (1728-91), born 14 November 1728; married, 2 April 1752, Thomas Drought esq., eldest son of John Drought esq. (1722-82) of The Heath (Offaly) and had issue two sons; died 19 April 1791;
(1.4) Milo Armstrong (1729-51), born 19 March 1729; an officer of the East India Co.; died in Bengal, 27 September 1751;
(1.5) Thomas Armstrong (b. 1731), born 23 October 1731; made two voyages to China; died unmarried at Clara and was buried at Banagher;
(1.6) George Armstrong (1734-80) (q.v.);
(1.7) twin, John Armstrong (b. 1736), born 28 June 1736; died in infancy;
(1.8) twin, Elizabeth Armstrong (1736-1810), born 28 June 1736; married Richard Vicars, son of Richard Vicars esq. of Levally (Leix) and had issue; died at Clifton, 19 January 1810;
(2.1) A son; died in infancy;
(2.2) A son; died in infancy;
(3.1) Fanny Armstrong (d. 1834); died unmarried
(3.2) Lucinda Armstrong; died in infancy;
(3.3) John Armstrong (1761-1835) [for whom see the Armstrongs of Nancealverne below];
(3.4) Col. William Armstrong (b. 1763); an army officer (Major in 80th Regiment) who served in America and India; inspecting field officer of yeomanry for Co. Longford; married, August 1791, Charlotte, fifth daughter of Very Rev. Arthur Champagnè of Portarlington, but apparently died without issue.
He inherited the Ballycumber estate from his father in 1717 and was probably responsible for remodelling the house in the mid 18th century. 
He died in 1767. His first wife died 23 October 1739. His widow died in Dublin, November 1807.

Armstrong, Andrew (1727-1802). Eldest son of Warneford Armstrong (1699-1767) and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Milo Bagot esq. of Newtown, born 28 May 1727. He married, 9 September 1756, Deborah (d. 1808), daughter and heiress of Samuel Simpson esq. of Oatfields (Galway), and had issue:
(1) Andrew Armstrong (d. 1798) (q.v.);
(2) Samuel Armstrong (1762-1832), born 16 September 1762; resided for some time at Clara House, and subsequently at Spring Garden; JP for Offaly; he married Euphemia Frances Wright of Co. Longford and had issue two sons and two daughters; died at Erry, 16 March 1832;
(3) Margaret Armstrong; married William Hodson esq. of Dublin, brother to Sir Robert Hodson, bt. of Holly Park (Wicklow) and had issue;
(4) Elizabeth Armstrong (d. 1835); married John Hardiman Burke esq. of St. Clerans (Galway) and had issue; died at Castle Hacket, 3 January 1835.
His father settled the town and lands of Clara (except the house and demesne) and the lands of Raheen (except the deer park) on him and his heirs for ever.
He died 16 July 1802. His widow doed April 1808 and was buried at Liss.

Armstrong, Andrew (d. 1798), of Clara. Elder son of Andrew Armstrong (1727-1802) and his wife Deborah, daughter and heiress of Samuel Simpson of Oatfields (Galway). JP for Offaly and captain of the Kilcourcy corps of yeomanry cavalry. He married Eleanor, daughter and heir of Edward Briscoe esq. of Scraggan and had issue:
(1) Edward George Armstrong (1788-1834) (q.v.);
(2) Eliza Armstrong; married, 18 September 1809, Rev. Francis Jones, rector of Fermoy, and later of Macroom (Cork) and Middleton (Cork);
(3) Deborah Armstrong.
He died 25 August 1798, in the lifetime of his father.

Armstrong, Edward George (1788-1834). Only son of Andrew Armstrong (d. 1798) and his wife Eleanor, daughter and heir of Edward Briscoe esq. of Scraggan, born 1788.
He inherited his grandfather's property at Clara in 1802.
He died unmarried, 23 July 1834.

Armstrong, George (1734-80). Fourth son of Warneford Armstrong (1699-1767) and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Milo Bagot esq. of Newtown, born 19 June 1734. He married Constantia Maria (1752-1826), eldest daughter of Andrew Armstrong esq. of Gallen Priory, and had issue:
(1) John Warneford Armstrong (1770-1858) (q.v.);
(2) Andrew George Armstrong (1773-1821), born 12 September 1773; Captain in the 104th Regiment, from which he sold out, and returning to Ireland, purchased from John O'Connor the house and demesne of Ballycumber; died unmarried, 26 September 1821;
(3) Constantia Armstrong; probably died young;
(4) Elizabeth Armstrong (d. 1799); died unmarried;
(5) Frances Armstrong (fl. 1805); married, 25 April 1805 at Parsonstown (Offaly), Samuel John Bever esq. of 38th Regiment, and had issue.
He inherited Ballycumber House from his father, but apparently sold it before his early death; it was repurchased by his son in the early 19th century.
He died at Leixlip (Kildare), 23 August 1780 and was buried at Liss (Offaly). His widow died in April 1826.

Armstrong, John Warneford (1770-1858). Elder son of George Armstrong (1734-80) and his wife Constantia Maria, daughter of Andrew Armstrong esq. of Gallen Priory, born 28 August 1770. An officer of the Somerset, South Middlesex Supplementary, and later the Co. Offaly Militia, he was recruited into the United Irishmen to whose cause he was believed to be sympathetic, 10 May 1798, but he reported all his conversations with the Sheares brothers to his superiors and was subsequently a chief witness at their trial for treason. JP for Offaly. He admitted holding atheist opinions and was suspected of being a republican, although he denied this when cross-questioned at the Sheares' trial. He married, 1806, Anne (d. 1869), daughter of William Turner of Gloucester and had issue:
(1) Mary Drought Armstrong (c.1808-1902); married, 12 July 1837, Capt. Charles Edmund Wilkinson of Royal Engineers, son of Jacob Wilkinson of Springfield House (Somerset) and had issue two sons and two daughters; died in Dublin, 1 June 1902, aged about 93; will proved in Dublin, 29 September 1902 (effects £6,577 in Ireland and £5,444 in England);
(2) Anne Frances Armstrong (1817-78), baptised at British chaplaincy in Geneva (Switzerland), 8 November 1817; married, 17 December 1844, William Bigoe Buchanan but had no issue; died 21 March 1878; will proved 18 April 1878 (effects under £1,500).
He lived in exile for many years after his involvement in the Sheares trial, but inherited the Ballycumber estate from his younger brother in 1821 and was resident in Ireland again by the 1830s. After his death the house passed to his younger daughter.
He died 20 April 1858; his will was proved 15 June 1858 (effects under £1,500). His widow died 3 June 1869; her will was proved 29 July 1869 (effects under £500).


Armstrong family of Gallen Priory, baronets



Armstrong, Edmund (fl. 1638-73) of Stonetown (Kildare). Eldest son of Andrew Armstrong (d. 1671) and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of M. Johnston, perhaps born c.1618. He was, with his younger brother, taken prisoner at the Battle of Worcester, 1651. He married Mary, daughter of William Hamilton of Liscloony (Offaly) and had issue:
(1) William Armstrong (c.1638-1717/18) (q.v.);
(2) Lt-Col. Philip Armstrong (c.1641-1711); an officer in the army, who fought at Sedgemoor and Blenheim; he died unmarried at Ghent (Belgium);
(3) twin, Col. Andrew Armstrong (c.1642-1722) of Morristown (Kildare); an officer in the army, who served with credit under the Duke of Marlborough; married 'Lady Westray of the noble family of Sandilands in Scotland', but had no issue; died 1722 aged 80;
(4) twin, Hugh Armstrong (c.1642-c.1724); died at his house Stonestown aged 82;
(5) Lt-Col. Charles Armstrong (c.1646-c.1731); an officer in the army; in 1721 purchased an estate in Co. Kildare and built a residence called Mount Armstrong there; married 1st, [forename unknown], daughter of Sir Robert Gostwick, bt. of Wellington (Antrim) and had issue a son; married 2nd, [forename unknown], widow of Robert Constantine, alderman of Dublin; he died in 1730 or 1731 in his 85th year; by his will he left Mount Armstrong to his nephew, Edmund Armstrong, and a pecuniary legacy to his son, Laurence Armstrong (d. 1739), Lt-Governor of Nova Scotia;
(6) Thomas Armstrong (1661-1748), born at Stonestown, 1661; captain of a troop in his brother Philip's regiment; retired from the army in 1717 and lived at his house at Ampthill (Beds); JP and commissioner of land tax for Bedfordshire; married, 7 April 1705 at Acton (Middx), Frances, daughter of John Thompson, Lord Haversham and widow of Francis Wyndham esq of Felbrigg Hall (Norfolk) and had issue two sons and three daughters; died 7 January 1748 aged 86;
(7) Rev. Edmund Armstrong (d. 1744); rector of Kilcolgan (Galway); married Isabella (d. 1751), daughter and co-heir of Capt. Thomas Armstrong and had issue three sons and five daughters; died 1744;
(8) John Armstrong, of Usher's Quay, Dublin, merchant; married Elizabeth Handy and had issue two sons;
(9) Mary Armstrong; married Rev. Edward Parkinson, minister of Ardee (Louth) and had issue four sons and one daughter;
(10) Margaret (b. 1673); married, c.1700, Col. Milo Bagot (d. 1739) of Newtown (Offaly) and had issue one son and two daughters.
His date of death is unknown.

Armstrong, William (c.1638-1717/18) of Stonestown. Eldest son of Edmund Armstrong (fl. c.1638-73) and his wife Mary, daughter of William Hamilton of Liscloony (Offaly). He married Alice, daughter of Francis Coghlan of Kilcolgan Castle (Offaly) and had issue:
(1) Edmund Armstrong (d. 1745) (q.v.);
(2) Philip Armstrong; married, 1747, Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Judge esq. and had issue a daughter;
(3) Elizabeth Armstrong (d. 1776); married, 1731, John Cusack (c.1711-76) of Rathgar (Co. Dublin) and had issue a daughter;
(4) Barbara Armstrong; married Rev. William Smith of Oldcastle (Meath).
He presumably acquired the Gallen estate through his marriage.
He died in 1717 or 1718 'in his eightieth year'.

Armstrong, Edmund (d. 1745) of Gallen. Elder son of William Armstrong (d. 1717/18) and his wife Alice, daughter of Francis Coghlan of Kilcolgan Castle (Offaly). JP for Offaly; High Sheriff of Offaly, 1730 and Kildare, 1731. He married, 1722, Elizabeth, second daughter of George Holmes MP of Liscloony (Offaly), and had issue:
(1) Andrew Armstrong (1730-c.1786) (q.v.);
(2) Anne Armstrong; married, 22/24 April 1750 at Whitchurch (Salop), Dennis Kelly (1720-94?) of Castle Kelly (Galway) and had a numerous family;
(3) Ally [recte Alison?] Armstrong.
He inherited the Gallen estate from his parents, and also property in Co. Kildare from his uncles Andrew and Charles. He probably built the new house at Gallen.
He died 15 April 1745.

Armstrong, Andrew (1730-c.1786) of Gallen. Only son of Edmund Armstrong (d. 1745) of Gallen and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of George Holmes MP of Liscloony (Offaly), born at Kilcolgan Castle, 2 May 1730. JP for Offaly; High Sheriff of Offaly, 1751. Colonel of the Offaly Volunteer Cavalry and Infantry. He was a noted horse-breeder, whose stud was sold by auction after his death. He married, 24 September 1751, Constantia Maria (b. 1730), second daughter of John Pigot of Brockley Park (Leix) and had issue:
(1) Constantia Maria Armstrong (1752-1826); married George Armstrong (1734-80) of Ballycumber (q.v.);
(2) Edmund Armstrong (1754-1827) (q.v.);
(3) Elizabeth Armstrong (b. c.1755); probably died young;
(4) Fanny Armstrong (b. c.1756); died young;
(5) Belle Armstrong (b. c.1757); died unmarried at Gallen;
(6) John Armstrong (b. 1758), born 29 August 1758; a Lieutenant in 35th Regiment at St. Lucia; died unmarried;
(7) Mary Armstrong (1759-1843); married, 28 January 1782 in Scotland, Charles Robert Skerrington esq. and had issue;
(8) Alicia Armstrong (1761-1839);
(9) Andrew Armstrong (b. 1762), born 13 July 1762; died young;
(10) William Armstrong (b. 1763), born 14 September 1763; died young;
(11) Anne Armstrong (c.1765-1824); married, 1793, Andrew Armstrong esq; died 1824;
(12) Dennis Armstrong (1766-91); born 12 July 1766; Lieutenant in 36th Foot; killed at Sattimungulum (East Indies) c.1791; died unmarried;
(13) Maj. Philip Armstrong (1767-1806), born 13 December 1767; served in 8th Foot and was later Major in Offaly Militia; drowned in the sinking of the 'King George' packet boat at Hoylake, 1806;
(14) Lucinda Armstrong (1769-1845); married, 1795, Robert Mills of Malahide, fifth son of Rev. Richard Mills, rector of Annaclone (Down) and had issue;
(15) Fanny Armstrong (b. c.1770); married, 1800, Capt. Joseph Barnes (d. 1843), Royal Artillery, and had issue.
He inherited the Gallen estate from his father in 1745.
He died before 12 April 1786.

Armstrong, Edmund (1754-1827) of Gallen. Eldest son of Andrew Armstrong (1730-c.1786) of Gallen and his wife Constantia Maria, daughter of John Pigot of Brockley Park (Leix), born 14 December 1754. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1771). Barrister-at-law (called to bar, 1779); stood for Parliament in Offaly, 1783; High Sheriff of Offaly, 1818. He married, 4 February 1783, Elizabeth (d. 1825), third daughter of Frederick Trench of Woodlawn (Galway) and sister of Frederick Trench, 1st Baron Ashtown, and had issue:
(1) Sir Andrew Armstrong (1785-1863), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(2) Edmund Armstrong (1786-c.1812), born 25 September 1786; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1804); an officer in the 4th Dragoons; died unmarried c.1812 at Castel Branco (Portugal) while serving with his regiment;
(3) Constantia Maria Armstrong (1788-1836), born 9 July 1788; married, 31 October 1815 at Ferbane (Offaly), Rev. William Hervey and had issue two daughters; died 28 November 1836;
(4) Sir Frederick Armstrong (1789-1821), kt., born 25 January/June 1789; educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge (admitted as a mature student, 1820); an officer in the army who served with great distinction under Wellington during the Peninsular War; awarded the Order of the Tower & Sword (Portugal) and knighted on his return to Ireland, 28 April 1819; died unmarried and was buried at St James, Pentonville, London, 21 October 1821;
(5) Frances (k/a Fanny) Armstrong (1790-1839), born 25 June 1790; married, 31 March 1830, George Parkhouse (d. 1865?) of Eastfield Lodge (Hants) and had issue a daughter; died 29 September and was buried at South Stoneham (Hants), 7 October 1839;
(6) Rev. John Armstrong (1791-1856), born June 1791; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1808; BA 1813; MA 1832); rector of the united parishes of Lickmolash, Ballinabrill and Leitrim (Galway), 1818; Dean of Kilfenora (Clare), 1847-56; married, 25 July 1822, Ellen, daughter of Jacob Willan of Carrighill (Co. Dublin) and had issue eight sons and four daughters; died 16 June 1856;
(7) William Armstrong (b. 1797); died young;
(8) Mary Armstrong (c.1800-51); married, 26 November 1823 at St Mary, Southampton, as his second wife, Henry Anthony Hardman (d. 1859) of Bellevue Lodge, Bitterne (Hants) and had issue a daughter; probably the person of this name buried at Southampton, 7 November 1851.
He inherited the Gallen estate from his father.
He died 12 December 1827. His wife died in 1825.

Armstrong, Sir Andrew (1785-1863), 1st bt., of Gallen. Eldest son of Edmund Armstrong (1754-1827) of Gallen and his wife Elizabeth Trench, born 19 October 1785. MP for Offaly, 1841-52; High Sheriff of Offaly, 1811, 1836; Capt. in Offaly Militia; Receiver-General of Stamp Duties in Ireland, 1831-41. He was created a baronet, 18 September 1841. He married, 1 January 1835, Frances Fullerton (1814-90), daughter of George Alexander Downing Fullerton of Westwood (Hants) and Ballintoy Castle (Antrim) and had issue:
(1) Rev. Sir Edmund Frederick Armstrong (1836-99), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Mary Ann Elizabeth Armstrong (b. c.1837); married, 30 May 1865 at Rustington (Sussex), Rev. Edward Withington (b. 1837), youngest son of T.E. Withington of Culcheth (Lancs) and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(3) Eliza Armstrong (b. c.1838); probably died young;
(4) Frances Georgina Armstrong (b. c.1840); married, 3 November 1864, John Alexander Bell esq. of Grinboa, Darling Downs, Queensland (Australia) and had issue one son and two daughters;
(5) George Alexander Armstrong (1843-91), born 5 December 1843; married, 1877, Elizabeth Patricena (d. 1887), daughter of Very Rev. John Armstrong, Dean of Kilfenora; died without issue, 21 July 1891;
(6) Andrew Charles Armstrong (1845-95), born 5 February 1845; educated at Royal Military College, Sandhurst; served as Lt., 2nd Foot; Capt., 3rd Battn, Prince of Wales' Leinster Regt; later one of HM Factories Inspectors; married 1st, 5 February 1874, Alice Maria (d. 1881), youngest daughter of Sir Thomas William Clinton Murdoch, kt. and had issue one son (from whom the present baronet is descended) and three daughters; married 2nd, 25 July 1888, Annie Beatrice (d. 1949), daughter of John Lorimer of Aylestone (Leics) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 5 October 1895;
(7) Frederick William Armstrong (b. & d. 1846), born 19 February 1846; died in infancy;
(8) Constantia Mary Anne Armstrong (b. c.1846); married, 22 September 1868, Rev. Eckesall Nixon, vicar of Aghmacart (Leix) and had issue two sons and three daughters;
(9) Florence Nesbitt Armstrong (c. 1847-49); died in infancy and was buried at St Peter, Hammersmith (Middx), 22 August 1849;
(10) Emily Jane Armstrong (b. 1849), baptised at Hammersmith (Middx), 18 August 1849; probably died in infancy;
(11) Montagu D'Oyly Fullerton Armstrong (1852-1926), born 8 March 1852; married, 3 April 1873, Florence Angelica Sophia (d. 1936), daughter of Charles John Proby, consul at Florence, and had issue four sons and four daughters; died 9 February 1926;
(12) Agnes Blanche Catherine Armstrong (b. c.1854); probably died young;
(13) Charles Nesbitt Frederic Armstrong (1858-1948), born 25 January 1858; married, 22 December 1882 (sep. 1884 and div. 1900), Dame Helen Porter [better known as Dame Nellie Melba, the singer] GBE (d. 1931), daughter of David Mitchell of Melbourne and Doonside, Richmond (Australia) and had issue one son; died September 1948, aged 90.
He inherited the Gallen estate from his father in 1827.
He died 27 January 1863. His widow died 19 March 1890.

Armstrong, Rev. Sir Edmund Frederick (1836-99), 2nd bt., of Gallen. Eldest son of Sir Andrew Armstrong (1785-1863), 1st bt., and his wife Frances, daughter of George Alexander Downing Fullerton of Westwood (Hants) and Ballintoy Castle (Antrim), born 27 May 1836. Ordained deacon, 1859 and priest, 1860; vicar of Sheirke (Leix), 1864-74; rector of Borris-in-Ossory (Leix) 1874-87 and Rural Dean. He married, 14 June 1865, Alice Anne (d. 1875), eldest daughter of William Windsor Fisher and had issue:
(1) Sir Andrew Harvey Armstrong (1866-1922), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Beatrice Frances Armstrong (1868-1958), born 6 July 1868; died unmarried, 7 December 1958, aged 90;
(3) Gertrude Adelaide Armstrong (1871-1962), born 30 December 1871; married, 8 February 1906, Sir Francis Hare Clayton (d. 1956), eldest son of Charles Hare Clayton of Ditton Hill (Surrey); died 11 February 1962, aged 90;
(4) Constantia Jessie Armstrong (1873-1965), born 3 February 1873; died unmarried, 24 November 1965, aged 92;
(5) Katherine Edith Armstrong (1874-1948), born 18 April 1874; died unmarried, 12 September 1948;
(6) Sir Nesbitt William Armstrong (1875-1953), 4th bt., born 3 July 1875; seaman; married, 1910, Clarice Amy, daughter of John Carter Hodkinson of Maryborough, Victoria (Australia) and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 21 September 1953.
He inherited the Gallen estate from his father in 1863.
He died 24 April 1899. His wife died 8 December 1875.

Armstrong, Sir Andrew Harvey (1866-1922), 3rd bt, of Gallen. Elder son of Rev. Sir Edmund Frederick Armstrong (1836-99), 2nd bt., of Gallen, and his wife Alice, daughter of William W. Fisher, born 23 May 1866. JP for Offaly; High Sheriff of Offaly, 1914. Captain in 3rd Battn, Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians); T/Capt. 5th (Serv) Battn, Connaught Rangers Imperial Yeomanry in Boer War, 1900-01. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Gallen estate from his father in 1899 but leased it to the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny from 1912. At his death it passed with his title to his younger brother in Australia, who sold the estate the same year.
He died while on a fishing holiday in New Zealand, 3 June 1922.


Armstrong family of Castle Armstrong, Garry Castle and Castle Iver



Armstrong, Archibald (1655-1747). Youngest son of Andrew Armstrong (d. 1671) and his third wife, Mrs. Jane Stephenson, born 1655/58. He married, 1681 at Crea, Letitia, youngest daughter of Col. Edward Playsted, and had issue (perhaps among others who died young):
(1) William Armstrong (b. 1691) (q.v.);
(2) Edmund Armstrong; a Captain in the East India Co. service; married and had issue;
(3) Charles Armstrong; an officer in Gen. Wynne's regiment of Dragoons; married 1st, [name unknown] and had issue two sons; married 2nd, 1716, Martha, sister of James Hampton of Bishops Waltham (Hants) and had two further sons and a daughter; killed in a duel near Birr by his opponent's second;
(4) Andrew Armstrong (fl. c.1690-c.1740) (q.v.);
(5) Thomas Armstrong (d. 1750) of Ballylin; JP for Offaly; High Sheriff of Offaly; inspector-general of barracks; married 1st, [name unknown] and had no issue, and 2nd, Lucy, third daughter of George Holmes, by whom he had issue three sons and three daughters; died 1750;
(6) Margaret Armstrong; married George Brereton and had issue;
(7) Elizabeth Armstrong; married Matthew Hyde of Newton (Offaly) and had issue.
He lived at Lusmagh and later at Endrim.
He died 18 April 1747, aged about 92.

Armstrong, William (1691-). Son of Archibald Armstrong (1655-1747) and his wife Letitia, daughter of Col. Edward Playsted, born 1691. He married, 1715, Rebecca, daughter of Bigoe Henzell, and had issue:
(1) Archibald Armstrong (b. 1716), born at Barnagratty, 1716; married Rebecca, daughter of Capt. Michael Armstrong, and had issue three sons and two daughters;
(2) William Armstrong (c.1722-1784); an officer in the army; married 1st, 3 July 1747, Mary, daughter of William Hunt of Petworth (Sussex) and had issue four daughters; married 2nd [forename unknown] Hill, sister of Col. Hill of London; died 10 October 1784, aged 62;
(3) Andrew Armstrong (c.1723-89) (q.v.);
(4) Edmund Armstrong (b. 1724) of Clara House, born 14 June 1724; JP for Offaly; married Anne, daughter of William McEvoy of Co. Longford and had issue eight sons and one daughter;
(5) Rebecca Armstrong; married Frank Conrahy of Birr (Offaly), son of Thomas Conrahy of Ballinahinny (Leix) and had issue one son and one daughter.
His date of death is unknown.

Armstrong, Andrew (c.1723-1789) of Castle Armstrong. Third son of William Armstrong (b. 1691) and his wife Rebecca, daughter of Bigoe Henzell. He married Mary (d. 1781), daughter of [forename unknown] Bidwell and widow of George Scot, Governor of Bengal and had issue:
(1) William Armstrong; a writer with the East India Co. in India, where he married and died;
(2) Thomas Armstrong (b. 1765) (q.v.);
(3) Andrew Armstrong (d. 1805); married and had issue; died at St. Croix, 1805;
(4) Rebecca Armstrong; married Nicholas Gamble of Derrinboy and had issue;
(5) Harriet Armstrong; married, 1796, George Armstrong.
He acquired or inherited Castle Armstrong.
He died 31 July 1789, aged 65. His wife died 2 July 1781.

Armstrong, Thomas (1765-c.1802) of Castle Armstrong. Son of Andrew Armstrong (d. 1789) of Castle Armstrong and his wife Mary Scot, born 1765. JP for Offaly; Store-keeper of Athlone. He married, November 1791 at Sans Souci, Dublin, Elizabeth, daughter of John Puget of London, banker, and had issue:
(1) Esther Armstrong (fl. 1803); probably died young;
(2) Elizabeth Armstrong (fl. 1803-23); married, 1817, Thomas (b. 1790), eldest son of Robert Raikes of Welton House (Yorks) and had issue two sons and two daughters; inherited the Castle Armstrong estate but sold it in 1823 to Col. William Armstrong;
(3) Clementina Armstrong (fl. 1803); probably died young;
(4) William Armstrong (fl. 1803); died young.
He inherited Castle Armstrong from his father in 1789, but lived mainly in Dublin, and let the estate from 1792. After his death the Court of Chancery ordered his estates to be let to provide an income for his children.
He is said to have died 20 August 1802. His wife predeceased him.

Armstrong, Andrew (fl. c.1690-c.1740) of Garry Castle. Fourth son of Archibald Armstrong (1655-1747) and his wife Letitia, daughter of Col. Edward Playsted. Treasurer of Co. Offaly; Comptroller in the household of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He married, 1 August 1724, Alphra (d. 1783), youngest daughter of Bigoe Henzell of Barnagratty and had issue:
(1) Archibald Armstrong (1726-93), born 1726; married Margaret, daughter of John Bagot of Ard (Offaly) and had issue; died 13 June 1793;
(2) Rebecca Armstrong (b. 1728); married Thurlough Magrath and had issue;
(3) Thomas Armstrong (1729-95), born 27 December 1729; an officer in the army; lived at Derrycooly and later at Ballycumber; married [forename unknown], daughter of Hugh Campbell and widow of Hugh McLaughlin and had issue a daughter; died 7 November 1795;
(4) Andrew Armstrong (1732-92?) (q.v.);
(5) Edmund Armstrong (1735-97) of Forty Hall, Enfield (Middx); army agent; Gentleman Usher, Quarterly Waiter to King George III and Groom of the Privy Chamber, 1794-97; DL for Middlesex; Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London; married 1st, Jane, daughter of Robert Macky of Hertford, by whom he had one son and one daughter (both died young); married 2nd, about December 1769, Frances (b. 1750), daughter of William Armstrong of East Greenwich, and had issue two sons (from the elder of whom descended the Armstrong baronets of London) and one daughter; will proved in the PCC, 7 November 1797;
(6) Bigoe Armstrong (1737-56); died unmarried, 1756;
(7) Lucy Armstrong; married Humphrey Ellis and had issue.
He acquired the Garry Castle estate.
His date of death is unknown and he may have predeceased his father. His wife died in 1783.

Armstrong, Andrew (1732-92?) of Garry Castle. Third son of Andrew Armstrong (fl. 1724) and his wife Alphra, daughter of Bigoe Henzell of Barnagratty, born 1732. Said to have been an officer in the 14th Regiment who was severely wounded at Louisberg (1758) and to have retired from the Army as result; however, the 14th was not at the Battle of Louisburg in 1758 and so he may have served with another regiment. County Treasurer of Offaly and JP for the county. A small portrait of him in uniform was one of a group of Armstrong family portraits sold by Christies in 1998. He married, 5 May 1756, Elizabeth (c.1741-1813), only daughter of Capt. James Buchanan of Craigavern and Dromakill (Scotland) and had issue:
(1) Margaret Armstrong (b. 1757), born 25 January 1757*; probably died young;
(2) Andrew Armstrong (b. 1758), born 18 September 1758*; died young;
(3) Robert Armstrong (b. c.1760); probably died young;
(4) Catherine Rebecca Armstrong (b. 1762), born 14 March 1762*; married, 27 January 1784, Hugh Conrahy, and had issue;
(5) Archibald Armstrong (b. 1763), born 1 November 1763; Captain in the East India Co. service; died without issue;
(6) Andrew Armstrong (b. 1764), born 20 October 1764; Lieutenant in 54th Regiment; married, 14 January 1793, Anne, daughter of Andrew Armstrong of Gallen and had issue two sons and two daughters;
(7) Thomas St. George Armstrong (1765-1844) (q.v.);
(8) William Bigoe Armstrong (b. 1768) (q.v.); 
(9) James Armstrong (b. 1769), born 20 August 1769; an officer in the army (Lieutenant in 46th Regiment, 1796; Paymaster of 67th Regt, 1814 (half-pay from 1817)); married in the West Indies and later lived in France; perhaps the person of that name and age who was living at Cheltenham in 1851, in which case he married Frances [surname unknown];
(10) Thomas Armstrong (1770-1807);
(11) Edmund Armstrong (1772-1809), born 10 January 1772; Major in the East India Co. service; married Leonora Lucas and had issue one son and three daughters; died in India, 1809;
(12) Mary Armstrong (b. 1773), born 17 April 1773*; married, 1792, Capt. William Grant of the Clare Militia, son of James Grant, and had issue;
(13) Bigoe Charles Armstrong (b. 1775), born 17 May 1775; Captain in 57th Regiment; died unmarried;
(14) Elizabeth Armstrong (b. 1776), born 5 May 1776*; married, 1794, Lt. John Armstrong of Co. Fermanagh, an officer in the Royal Irish Artillery, and had issue.
He inherited the Garry Castle estate from his father.
His is said to have died at Garry Castle, 27 August 1792*. His widow died 21 September 1813.
*The dates marked with an asterisk are from an unverified but plausible Internet source, and should be treated with caution.

Armstrong, Thomas St. George (1765-1844). Third son of Andrew Armstrong (1732-92?) of Garry Castle and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Capt. James Buchanan of Craigavern and Dromakill, born 14 November 1765. A Captain in the 8th Regiment of Infantry; commanded the Garry Castle Yeomanry. JP and Deputy Governor of Offaly; High Sheriff of Offaly, 1809. He married, 14 February 1792, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Priaulx of Guernsey, and had issue:
(1) Carteret Andrew Armstrong (1797-1869) (q.v.);
(2) Thomas St. George Armstrong (1798-1875) (q.v.); 
(3) William Bigoe Armstrong (1800-66) (q.v.);
(4) John Priaulx Armstrong (1802-79), of Claremont, born 21 January 1802; emigrated to Argentina with his elder brother in 1817 but subsequently returned to the British Isles and lived at Beachy House (Guernsey); married, 20 November 1827, his cousin Emma, sixth daughter of Thomas Priaulx of Montville House, Guernsey and had issue five sons and one daughter; died 1879.
He inherited the Garry Castle estate from his father and was presumably responsible for building the Castle Garden House there; in 1809 he was living at Mount Carteret (Offaly).
He died 22 December 1844.  His wife's date of death is unknown.

Armstrong, Carteret Andrew (1797-1869) of Garry Castle. Eldest son of Thomas St. George Armstrong (1765-1844) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Priaulx of Guernsey, born 19 May 1797. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1812; BA 1817) and Grays Inn (admitted 1818; called to Irish bar, 1821); barrister-at-law. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Garry Castle estate from his father in 1844. At his death it passed to his nephew, Carteret Andrew Armstrong (q.v.).
He died 7 April 1869.

Armstrong, William Bigoe (1800-66). Third son of Thomas St. George Armstrong (1765-1844) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Priaulx of Guernsey, born 13 April 1800. He married 1st, c.1837, Elizabeth (c.1817-49), daughter of Christopher Banko; and 2nd, 1 June 1853 at Rynagh (Offaly), Anna/Katherine Mona Elizabeth (b. c.1826) , daughter of Robert Semple of Dublin, and had issue:
(1.1) Carteret Andrew Armstrong (1838-93) (q.v.);
(1.2) twin, Thomas St. George Armstrong (1845-75), born 5 February 1845; died unmarried, 1875;
(1.3) twin, John Le Marchant Armstrong (1845-83), born 5 February 1845; died 18 October 1883;
(1.4) Elizabeth Priaulx Armstrong; married, 28 August 1883 at Montreux (Switzerland), Col. James Crawford of Madras Staff Corps;
(1.5) Justa Honoria Villaneuva Armstrong; married, 18 February 1865 at Parsonstown (Offaly), Thomas Augustus White (d. 1897) of Ballybrophy (Leix);
(2.1) William Bigoe Armstrong (1856-1914); married, 17 August 1885, Ana Soler (b. 1857), widow of Count Alexis de Manow, but had no issue; died 22 July 1914 in Buenos Aires;
(2.2) Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx Armstrong;
(2.3) Isabel Elortondo Armstrong.
He died at Garry Castle House, 2 October 1866 and his will was proved in Dublin. His first wife died 11 August 1849 at Beachy House (Guernsey).

Armstrong, Maj. Carteret Andrew (1838-93) of Garry Castle. Eldest son of William Bigoe Armstrong (1800-66) and his first wife, Elizabeth Banko, born 25 November 1838. An officer in the 10th Regiment (Ensign, 1855; Lt., 1861; Capt., 1861; retired 1865) and 3rd Battn, East Lancs Regiment (Capt., 1871; Major; retired 1882); Aide de Camp to the Commander of British Forces in the Cape of Good Hope. He stood as a Conservative candidate in the King's County parliamentary election, 1868, but was defeated; JP for Offaly; Hon. Secretary of the Primrose League for North Devon; a senior freemason. He married, 3 September 1863 in Manchester Cathedral, Ellen (1837-1904), daughter of Hugh Dawson of Leyland and West Cliff (Lancs), but had no issue.
He inherited the Garry Castle estate from his uncle in 1844, but sold it in 1890 to his cousin, Thomas St. George Armstrong (b. 1838). In retirement he lived at Hillsborough Terrace, Ilfracombe (Devon).
He died suddenly at Ilfracombe, 15 February 1893; his will was proved 13 April 1893 (effects £261). His widow died 9 April 1904; her will was proved 7 May 1904 (estate £3,699).


Thomas St George Armstrong
(1797-1875)
Armstrong, Thomas St. George (1797-1875). Second son of Thomas St. George Armstrong (1765-1844) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Priaulx of Guernsey, born 29 November 1797 and baptised April 1798. In 1817 he and his brother John were sent by their father to Argentina to set up and run the merchant and banking house of Armstrong & Co.; in 1859 he founded the Argentine Insurance Co. He was co-founder of the Argentine stock exchange, and was a Director of the Buenos Aires Provincial Bank (which he made in effect the central bank of Argentina), and the financial agent of the Argentine Government. He formed a close friendship with Fr. Anthony Fahy, a Catholic priest who lodged in his household, and through this relationship he gained the trust of the Argentine business community and government. He was also enabled to act as an 'honest broker' in dealings between the British and Argentine governments for over forty years, and after he helped to thaw relations between the two countries in 1857 he was offered a knighthood by the British government, but declined the honour. In 1863, the government of Buenos Aires province accepted his proposal to build the Southern Railway, and he was subsequently involved in the construction of railways to Luján, Central Argentino, and Ensenada, and served as their director. He also established rural colonies, particularly in Santa Fe province, where he managed his own estancia, and he was the founder of the Stranger's Club in Buenos Aires. He married, 12 July 1824 and again 31 July 1824 in St John's Anglican cathedral at Buenos Aires (Argentina), Dona Justa de Villanueva (1799-1876), daughter of Don Pedro de Villanueva, a Castillian settled at Buenos Aires (Argentina) and had issue:
(1) Gabriel George Armstrong (1828-44), born 12 and baptised 14 April 1828; sent to Ireland to be educated c.1834; died at Garry Castle, 14 December 1844;
(2) Isabel Armstrong (1829-99), baptised 16 October 1829; married, 3 November 1853 at St. Ignacio, Buenos Aires, Federico Elortondo (1828-85), farmer and banker and had issue one son and four daughters; died 1 July/August 1899;
(3) Emma Armstrong (1831-1900), baptised 24 January 1831; died unmarried, 24 August 1900;
(4) Thomas Andrew Armstrong (b. & d. 1835), baptised 19 January 1835; died in infancy, 17 June 1835;
(5) Justa Josefa Armstrong (1837-88), baptised 1 October 1837; died unmarried, 24 April 1888; by her will established the Armstrong Foundation;
(6) Juan de la Cruz Armstrong (b. 1840), baptised 13 November 1840; died in infancy;
(7) Maria Dolores Armstrong (b. 1842), baptised 24 January 1842; married, 23 May 1861, Carlos Enrique Dosé of Le Havre (France) and had issue one son and one daughter;
(8) Thomas St. George Armstrong (b. 1846) (q.v.);
From 1817, he lived in Argentina, returning to Ireland only twice, in 1826 and 1858. In 1829 he bought lands at Ibicuy on the R. Parana in Entre Rios; in 1839 an estancia on Arroyo Pavon, and in 1850 the magnificent estancia Santo Tomas in Santa Fe. He also owned substantial urban property in Buenos Aires.
He died 1 June and was buried at the Victoria Cemetery, Buenos Aires, 10 June 1875; his funeral cortege was the largest seen in the city up to that time. At his death he was extremely wealthy and while he bequeathed his estates to his five surviving children he also made generous charitable bequests, including $15,000 to the Irish Sisters of Charity, $20,000 to an orphanage and $50,000 to the poor of Buenos Aires. His widow died 18 January 1876 at San Jose de Flores.

Armstrong, Thomas St. George (b. 1846). Only surviving son of Thomas St. George Armstrong (1797-1875) and his wife Dona Justa, daughter of Don Pedro de Villanueva of Buenos Aires (Argentina), born 26 November 1846. Gentleman in waiting to the King of Portugal and Minister Plenipotentiary in Buenos Aires; Knight Commander of the Royal and Military Order of the the Conception of Christ (Portugal); Knight of St. John of Jerusalem (Malta). He married, 14 June 1886 in Paris (France), Maria del Carmen Portugal de Faria (b. 1862), daughter of Viscount Augusto de Faria and Marie de Portugal (related to the Royal House of Paz and de Godoy of Spain), and had issue:
(1) Maria Helena Justa (b. 1887), born 9 April 1887; married, 18 August 1906, Francisco Carlos de Chateaubriand (d. 1922), Count of Gallerande, Secretary of the French Embassy in Buenos Aires, and had issue a son.
He purchased the Garry Castle estate from his cousin, 16 May 1890.
His date of death is unknown.

Armstrong, William Bigoe (b. 1768; fl. 1838) of Castle Iver. Fourth son of Andrew Armstrong (b. 1732) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Capt. James Buchanan of Craigavern and Dromakill, born 19 July 1768. Treasurer of Offaly, -1829. He married, 4 April 1796, Jane Wilhelmina (c.1764-1829), only child of Gen. James Ferrier RE and had issue:
(1) James Ferrier Armstrong (c.1801-66) (q.v.).
He acquired the Castle Iver alias Balliver (Offaly) estate.
His date of death is unknown. His wife died 16 April 1829 and was buried at Banagher.

Armstrong, James Ferrier (c.1801-66) of Castle Iver. Only child of William Bigoe Armstrong (1768-) and his wife Jane Wilhelmina, daughter of Gen. James Ferrier. Treasurer of Offaly, 1829-63; JP for Offaly. He married, 14 January 1836 at North Stoneham (Hants), Honoria (1809-95), daughter of John Willis Fleming MP of Stoneham Park (Hants) and had issue:
(1) William Bigoe Armstrong (1839-90) (q.v.).
He inherited the Castle Iver estate from his father.
He died 13 April 1866; his will was proved in Dublin, 26 May 1866 (effects under £8,200 in Ireland) and sealed in London, 27 November 1866 (effects in England under £3,000). His widow died 31 July 1895; her will was proved 16 September 1895 (effects £541).

Armstrong, William Bigoe (1839-90) of Castle Iver. Only child of James Ferrier Armstrong (d. 1866) and his wife Honoria, daughter of James Fleming MP of Stoneham Park (Hants), born 30 November 1839. Served in the Kings County Loyal Rifles (Ensign, 1859; Lt., 1862). Treasurer of Offaly, 1863-. He married 4 April 1866 at Stillorgan (Dublin), Anna Maria de Courcy (b. 1845; fl. 1895), second daughter of James Freeman Hughes of The Grove, Stillorgan, but had no issue.
He inherited the Castle Iver estate from his father in 1866, but it was sold by order of the Court of Chancery in 1885.
He died in London, 8 January 1890; his will was proved 26 February 1890 (estate £4,962).


Armstrong family of Nancealverne



Armstrong, John (1761-1835). Elder son of Warneford Armstrong (1699-1767) of Ballycumber and his third wife, Fanny (d. 1807), daughter of William Grey, born 15 September 1761. Major in 5th Dragoon Guards. He married, 6 March 1806 at St George, Hanover Square, London, Mary Anne (1781-1858), daughter and co-heir of Jonathan Gurnell of Ealing (Middx) and had issue:
(1) Mary Anne Gurnell Armstrong (1807-75), born 20 October and baptised at Uplyme (Devon), 27 October 1807; married, 27 April 1838 at Dinder (Somerset), Rev. Charles Atmore Ogilvie DD (1793-1873), Canon of Christchurch and rector of Ross and had issue two daughters; died at Redhill (Surrey), 2 October 1875;
(2) Frances Armstrong (1809-83), baptised at Queen Camel (Somerset), 28 December 1809; married, 13 October 1841 at Wookey (Somerset), Capt. Thomas Aylmer Pearson of 43rd Light Infantry, and had issue three sons and one daughter; died at Reigate (Surrey), 22 October 1883;
(3) Rev. John Armstrong (1810-62) (q.v.);
(4) William Armstrong (1813-32), perhaps baptised at Bruton (Somerset), 24 September 1813; lived at Penzance from about 1824 "with but short intervals... on account of his health"; died unmarried, 11 February 1832, and was buried at Madron (Cornwall).
He lived at Priestlands, Lymington (Hants), which was sold after his death.
He was buried at Madron (Cornwall), 1 June 1835; his will was proved in the PCC, 20 June 1835. His widow died at Upton St. Leonards (Glos), 30 June 1858; her will was proved 17 July 1858 (effects under £600).

Armstrong, Rev. John (1810-62). Only surviving son of John Armstrong (1761-1835) and his wife Mary Anne, daughter and co-heir of Jonathan Gurnell of Ealing (Middx), born 2 April 1810. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford (matriculated 1829; BA 1835; MA 1836) and travelled in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, 1833-34. Ordained deacon, 1835 and priest, 1836; Rector of Dinder (Somerset), 1836-62 and Prebendary of Wells Cathedral, 1845-62. He married, 20 October 1836 at Madron (Cornwall), Mary Anne (1817-1900), daughter of Col. John Scobell and sister and heiress of John Usticke Scobell (1804-83) of Nancealverne (Cornwall), and had issue:
(1) Mary Ann Army [sic] Armstrong (1838-1927), born Apr-Jun 1838; married, 15 April 1874 at St John, Weymouth (Dorset), Rev. George Metcalfe Fenton (1826-79) (who m1, Mary Frances, daughter of Rev. Francis Gregory) but had no issue; died in Bath (Somerset), 11 June 1927, aged 89; will proved 8 September and 8 December 1927 (estate £733);
(2) Frances Charlotte Armstrong (1839-1930), baptised at Madron (Cornwall), 13 October 1839; died unmarried, 13 October 1930, aged 91; will proved 9 December 1930 (estate £4,365);
(3) Susanna Peyton Armstrong (1840-1935), baptised at St Cuthbert, Wells (Somerset), 27 October 1840; died 16 June 1935, aged 94; will proved 30 July 1935 (estate £2,896);
(4) John Scobell Armstrong (1842-1929) (q.v.);
(5) Rev. William Armstrong (1844-80), born 17 December 1844 and baptised 2 February 1845; educated at London College of Divinity, Highbury; ordained deacon, 1874 and priest, 1875; curate of Fisherton Anger (Wilts) and later of Iver (Bucks); married, 11 January 1876 at All Saints, Highgate (Middx), Mary Georgina (1851-1919) (who m2, 1892, Edmund Ashby (1841-1934), brick manufacturer), daughter of Rev. Andrew Jukes, but had no issue; died 14 October 1880; will proved 11 December 1880 (estate under £550);
(6) Alice Constantia Gurnell Armstrong (1847-1941), baptised 18 November 1847; died unmarried, Jan-Mar 1941 aged 93;
(7) Archibald Warneford Armstrong (1850-51), baptised 11 June 1850; died in infancy, Jan-Mar 1851;
(8) Mabel Armstrong (1851-1924?), baptised 7 June 1851; probably unmarried; possibly the person of this name who died at Woodstock (Oxon), Oct-Dec 1924;
(9) George Warneford Armstrong (b. 1852), baptised 26 September 1852; probably died young;
(10) Florence Mary Armstrong (1854-1938), baptised 12 February 1854; married, 3 April 1905, Lt-Col. Bernard Arthur Beale (1845-1918) of Queen's Regiment; died 16 November 1938; will proved 3 January 1939 (estate £10,450);
(11) Edmund Archibald Armstrong (1859-1925), born 17 February and baptised 27 April 1859; educated at Haileybury, Jesus College, Cambridge (matriculated 1878; BA 1882; MA 1885) and Inner Temple (admitted 1882; called to bar 1885); barrister-at-law on Western circuit; took up journalism and was editor of Black & White and later on staff of The Lancet, writing on medico-legal issues; he also wrote stories for many other magazines and published a novel, Under the Circumstances; he was knowledgeable about modern art and was for a while manager of the Fine Art Society's galleries; married, 16 September 1890, Fanny Isabella, daughter of Rev. John Lancelot Errington (later Turbutt), vicar of Midgham (Berks) and had issue a daughter; died in London, 5 October 1925; will proved 7 December 1925 (estate £471);
(12) Agnes Margaretta Armstrong (1861-1914), baptised 26 January 1861; died unmarried, 31 March 1914; will proved 4 July 1914 (estate £2,312).
His wife inherited the Nancealverne estate from her brother in 1883.
He died 10 January 1862; administration of his goods was granted 3 February 1862 (effects under £9,000). His widow died 14 January 1900; her will was proved 3 May 1900 (effects£2,142).

Armstrong, John Scobell (1842-1929). Eldest son of Rev. John Armstrong (1810-62) and his wife, Mary Anne, daughter of Col. John Scobell, born 31 July and baptised at Dinder (Somerset), 27 October 1842. Educated at Marlborough. Served with Indian Civil Service, 1865-92, at first as magistrate in charge of the Buxar district of Bengal; and later as head of the customs department, Calcutta, 1883-92 and a Port Commissioner, 1887-92. He was a liberal in politics and held mildly republican views. He was widely read, and the author of some poetry and translations, some of which were published by his son. He married, 25 November 1865 at the British Embassy in Paris (France), Fanny Emma Elizabeth (1836-1932), only daughter of Lt. Daniel Woodruffe RN and had issue:
(1) Cecil Mary Josephine Armstrong (b. & d. 1868); born in India and died in infancy;
(2) John Warneford Scobell Armstrong (1877-1960) (q.v.).
He inherited the Nancealverne estate from his mother in 1900.
He died 6 May 1929 and was buried at Madron (Cornwall) where he is commemorated by a monument in the churchyard designed by F. Rousseau Emandel; his will was proved 9 July and 31 August 1929 (estate £34,646). His widow died 8 January 1932.

Armstrong, His Honour John Warneford Scobell (1877-1960) CBE. Only child of John Scobell Armstrong (1842-1929) of Nancealverne and his wife Fanny Emma Elizabeth, daughter of Lt. Daniel Woodruffe RN, born 1 March 1877. Educated abroad and at Inner Temple (admitted 1902; called to bar, 1905). Barrister-at-law on Western Circuit; Assistant Postal Censor, 1914-15; in military intelligence, 1915-19; Legal Adviser to Reparations Claims Dept., Board of Trade, 1920-22; County Court Judge for Plymouth and Cornwall 1940-50; Chairman of Cornwall Quarter Sessions 1945-53. Officer of Académie Francaise; appointed CBE 1920; author of The Trade Continuation Schools of Germany, 1913; War and Treaty Legislation 1914-22 affecting British property in Germany and Austria and Enemy Property in the United Kingdom, 1922; and The Taxation of Profits, 1937. Like his father he was also a poet and published Verses and Translations by JWSA and JSA, 1931; Victorian Verses, 1950; Yesterday, 1955. He married, 23 October 1926, Winifred Amy (1901-78), younger daughter of Rev. Douglas Christopher Fisher Hamilton, rector of Weston (Notts) and had issue:
(1) John Hamilton Scobell Armstrong (1927-2001) (q.v.).
He inherited the Nancealverne estate from his father in 1929.
He died 2 March 1960; his will was proved 27 June 1960 and 13 June 1961 (estate £44,049). His widow died 26 July 1978; her will was proved 17 November 1978 (estate £17,757).

Armstrong, John Hamilton Scobell (1927-2001). Only child of John Warneford Scobell Armstrong (1877-1960) of Nancealverne and his wife Winifred Amy, daughter of Rev. Douglas Christopher Fisher Hamilton of Weston (Notts), born 15 August 1927. Educated at Marlborough and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1945); assistant master at Manchester Grammar School, 1956-66 and later at Eton College; author of The Paradise Myth, 1969. He married, 1950, Diana (b. 1930), daughter of Idris Deane Jones, Senior Tutor of Merton College, Oxford and had issue:
(1) Alice L. Scobell Armstrong (b. 1953), born Oct-Dec 1953;
(2) Christopher I. Scobell Armstrong (b. 1956), born Oct-Dec 1956;
(3) Gweneth M. Scobell Armstrong (b. 1960), born Oct-Dec 1960.
He inherited the Nancealverne estate from his father in 1960.
He died 25 May 2001; his will was proved 30 January 2002.


Sources


State Trials, vol. 27, pp. 259-359; Irish Architectural Archive, The architecture of Richard Morrison and William Vitruvius Morrison, 1989, pp. 31-33, 43-45; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 2nd edn., 1990, pp. 23, 84, 130, 132, 212; D.E. Pett, The parks and gardens of Cornwall, 1998, p. 54; J. Lyttleton, 'Faith of our fathers: the Gaelic aristocracy in Co. Offaly and the Counter-Reformation', in J. Lyttleton & C. Rynne, Plantation Ireland, 2009, pp. 182-206; http://www.irlandeses.org/dilab_armstrongt.htmhttp://cementeriobritanico.org/Prueba/thomasstgeorgearmstrong.htmlhttp://seamuscullen.net/townland_mountarmstrong.html


Location of archives


Armstrong family of Clara and Ballycumber: correspondence and papers, 1749-1827 [Trinity College, Dublin MS 11360]; diary of John Warneford Armstrong (1770-1858), 1792-1851 [Trinity College, Dublin MS 6409]
Armstrong family of Nancealverne: correspondence, family, genealogical and literary papers, 18th cent.-1959 [Cornwall RO X819]
Armstrong families of Gallen and Garry Castle: no substantial archives are known to survive.


Coat of arms


Armstrong of Ballycumber and Clara: Gules, three dexter arms vambraced proper, the fists closed.
Armstrong of Gallen, baronets: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, argent, issuing from the sinister side, a dexter arm, habited, gules, the hand grasping the trunk of an oak tree, eradicated, and broken at the top, proper; 2nd and 3rd, argent, three pallets, azure.


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.

  • I have been unable to trace the ownership of Ballycumber House from 1878 down to the present day. Can anyone provide more information about this period of the house's history, or provide more information about the early 19th century landscaping?
  • Can anyone supply an image of Mount Armstrong House or its predecessor, now known as Mount Windsor, or more information about the architectural development or ownership history of these houses?
  • There are many gaps in the genealogical records for these families. Please contact me if you have any further information about the people mentioned, and especially if you are able to fill in any of the missing information which I normally provide. Some particular mysteries are mentioned below.
  • Can anyone supply more information about the career and family of William Bigoe Armstrong (1800-66)? He seems to have retained his Irish property but his children are curiously absent from the record and since he obviously had South American connections he may have spent much of his life abroad.
  • Can anyone provide more information about the life and family of Thomas St. George Armstrong (b. 1846) or his career as a courtier in Portugal, or explain when he sold the house at Garry Castle, or tell me about the subsequent ownership of the Garden House?



Revision and acknowledgements


This post was first published 16th August 2015.