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Altnachree (Ogilby's) Castle Liscloon House, Donemana, Co. Tyrone, 8 March 2020, v1 Short

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posted by Aidan Devlin alias aidandevlin on Monday 23rd of March 2020 11:38:01 PM

Two miles from Donemana stands the impressive ruin of Altnachree Castle, one of the finest Victorian mansions to have been constructed in Ireland. Located on the main B49 Longland Road from Donemana (Donemanagh or Dunamanagh) to Claudy, Altinaghree Castle or Liscloon House known locally as Ogilby's Castle was built around 1860 by William Ogilby (1804-1873). William Leslie Ogilby (1804 - 1 Sept 1873) William Ogilby, Justice of the Peace (JP) and Bachelor of Laws (LLB), (1804-1873; many authorities say 1808-1873) was born at Liscleen House, Donemana. Only son of Leslie Ogilby Esq. of Liscleen (Liscloon), Co. Tyrone. William was an Irish Barrister and Zoologist whose family roots lay in Aberdeenshire. Educated at Macclesfield and Trinity College Cambridge (BA 1829, MA 1832) and was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn on 20th November 1832 and practiced as a barrister in London to 1846 living in Portman Square, Marylebone, London before settling back in Ireland. He wrote such papers as "Descriptions of Mammalia and Birds from the Gambia" (1835), “Exhibition of the Skins of Two Species of the Genus Kemas” (1838), and "Observations on the History and Classification of the Marsupial Quadrupeds of New Holland" (1839), all published in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. He was a Fellow of the Linaean Society of London (the world’s oldest active biological society) and was an Honorary Secretary of the Zoological Society of London (London Zoo) for seven years from 1839 to 1846 where he crossed swords a number of times with John Edward Gray (1800–1875) of the British Museum. He was well known to Charles Darwin, and served with him on a committee of the British Association for the Advancement of Science charged with drawing up rules for standardising zoological nomenclature. He was a member of the scientific elite of his day and it is likely that he took part in early discussions about the significance of fossils in the lead up to the publication of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” in 1859. (Desmond, p.314, Correspondence of Charles Darwin, 1847-50, 1860, p.215, p.437). He was also High Sheriff of County Tyrone in 1852. At the birth of James Douglas’, the family was living in Belfast. Thereafter they moved to a location between Dunamana and Ballyneaner, County Tyrone. There William undertook the construction of the family home. He started building Altnachree Castle in the 1840s, just as the Great Famine (1845-1851) struck. The castle was completed in the 1860s. Unlike many landlords, William kept on all his workers and fed them by importing grain. Seemingly, he carried out intensive land improvements and is reputed to have planted 11 acres of Cedrus Deodara at Altinaghree castle, which is a species of cedar trees that live in the western Himalayas and eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and north-central India. He was reputed to be a descendant of the notable family of Ogilby of Ardnargle House, Limavady and Pellipar House, Dungiven. William aged 22 married Matilda Doria di Spineto) aged 20. His wife Matilda was born circa 1810, in Cambridge, England and who died on 29th October 1849, aged 39 at Rockfort House, Buncrana, County Donegal. Matilda’s father was Marquis Doria di Spineto, born in 1774, in Italy and her mother was Elizabeth Doria di Spineto (born Campbell 1787, in Scotland). They had one daughter, Matilda Doris Ogilby (2nd). At the age of 43 William married, Adelaide Charlotte Douglas on 7th February 1851, in Donagheady, Co. Tyrone, who was daughter of the Honourable and Reverend Charles Sholto Douglas of Earls Gift (Donemana) (brother of George Sholto Douglas, 17th Earl of Morton - 23 December 1789 – 31 March 1858), by his first wife, the Lady Isabella Douglas (born Gore), daughter of Arthur Saunders, 2nd Earl of Arran. Adelaide was born on 16th June 1830, in Liscloon (Liscleen) House, Donaghedy. They had 8 children: 1.Claude William Leslie Ogilby (3rd Nov 1851-1894) 2.James Douglas Ogilby (16 Feb 1853 - 11 Aug 1925) 3.William Charles Ogilby (aged 3 weeks 16 Dec. 1855 - 8 Jan 1856 in Liscleen, Donamana, Tyrone); 4.Adelaide Charlotte Ogilby ii (17 May 1855 – 28 Jun 1935) 5.Isabella Caroline Ogilby (unknown – unknown) 6.Beatrice Emma Elizabeth Ogilby (22 Feb 1858 - 4 May 1938) 7.Louisa Ogilby (29 May 1860 - unknown) 8.Edith Sophia Ogilby (unknown – unknown) William passed away on 1st September 1873, at age of 65 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Claude William Leslie Ogilby. Adelaide died at the age of 72 on 16th March 1903 at Donaghadee, Co. Down. Claude William Leslie Ogilby (3rd Nov 1851-1894) Williams oldest son, Claude William Leslie Ogilby is listed as the castle occupier in 1876. Claude wed his cousin, in 1875, Bessie Henrietta Douglas who was daughter of Captain William Grant Douglas (died 25 Feb 1824), in a childless marriage. Not much information is available on Claude, however I believe he was a Lieutenant in the 31st Regiment of Foot. The 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment of the British Army, raised in 1702. Under the Childers Reforms it amalgamated with the 70th (Surrey) Regiment of Foot to form the East Surrey Regiment in 1881. Claude William Leslie Ogilby who is listed as the castle occupier in 1876 was reputed to be something of a spendthrift and fell heavily into debt. Claude, died at the early age of 43, but apparently left the castle 6 years before his death for a room in a public house in Donemana. The fact that his affairs were in the hands of trustees suggests that he was bankrupt. A contemporary newspaper article implies that the upkeep of a large castle had perhaps proved overwhelming, following Gladstone’s Land Acts of 1870 – 1909. A house first appears on the site on the second edition Ordnance Survey map of 1853, captioned ‘Liscloon House’. By the third edition, this has been replaced by a different structure, captioned ‘Altinaghree Castle’, surrounded by a wall. ‘Liscloon Cottages’ and a ‘Lodge’ are also shown nearby. On the fourth edition the castle is shown in ruins. Griffith’s Valuation (1856-64) lists a ‘house, offices and land’, with buildings initially valued at £62, and eventually reduced to £14. The reduction appears to be due to separating off farm, outbuildings and cottages from the main house. Buildings listed include stables, a garden house, stalling house, granary, cow house, steaming house and piggery. The house is owned by William Ogilby in fee. In 1861, Annual Revisions note, ‘This house is throwing down. Mr Ogilby is building a very fine new house, value when completed’. A further note reads, ‘Value new house in 1864’. The house has been valued by 1865 at £190 and is listed as a house, offices, gate lodge, land and plantation. However, from 1888 when the house is listed as ‘vacant’ and leased from the Trustees of Claude W Ogilby, the building deteriorates and decreases in value. The first reduction is to £78, then to £70 in 1889, when the house is first described as a castle. In 1892 it is described as ‘dilapidated’ and the value is reduced to £5. Samuel A.C. Eaton becomes the lessor in 1905. A note of 1909 reads, ‘floors and windows gone, a ruin’ and in 1910 it is deleted from the record altogether, although the gate lodge continues to be occupied. A box of documents in PRONI Ref: LR 1005/8/1 also contained sale documents of land in townlands of the parishes of Drumragh and Dromore. All the documents related to sales under the Irish Land Commission and all were dated between 1901 to 1904. Each document begins " In the matter of the estate of William Grant Douglas, Gordon Douglas and James Hannay, trustees for the sale of the estate of Claude William Leslie Ogilby under deed dated 28 Nov 1877." The sale includes lots of land as small as 3 acres (Samuel McGonigle Liscloon Lower) to larger plots 187 acres (James Throne, Tirkernaghan). The land was located in the townlands of Ballyneanor, Ballynacross, Gortaclare, Carnagribbin, Claggan N, Glenmorning, Liscloon Lower, Liscloon Upper, Lisloon Lower, Moneycannon & Tirkernaghan. Note: It is not clear from the document whether one William Robinson bought several parcels of land, or whether there was more than one William Robinson. Documents marked #1 signed by J Mark, Solicitor, as a witness 3 Aug 1904, and Those marked #2 were witnessed by J Stack Murphy, Barrister, 22 June 1904. “Entered through a porte-cochere (this is currently not evident) on the side along the axis of the central corridor, with the three main rooms strung out along the garden front. The main staircase set into triple-arched composition, but taking up the minimum of space, all like an office block. Four-storeyed towers in the centre of each front; three floors elsewhere. A note of 1909 reads, ‘floors and windows gone, a ruin’; and in 1910 it is deleted from the record altogether, although the gate lodge continues to be occupied. Bessie wed a 2nd time in 1895 at St Pancras, London by marrying a Friedrich Wilhelm Hugo Bartels who was born in Germany in 1863. Bessie died 12th October 1938. James Douglas Ogilby (16 February 1853 – 11 August 1925) He received his early education at Winchester College, England between the ages 13 to 16, and for a year between 1871-72 (ages 18 to 19) from Trinity College, Dublin. Douglas, as he was called excelled at athletics, winning many medals, chiefly for running and was also noted as being neat and precise. After he completed his studies, James Douglas sought and obtained a position with the British Museum in London. Sharing his knowledge of Ireland, he contributed notes on Irish fishes and birds that were published in the Zoologist (a respected publication for naturalists in the United Kingdom) over the period of 1874 to 1876. One of the most important aspect of his time spent in London is that he met and fell in love with Mary Jane Jamieson (died 1894), a seamstress working in a local factory. He introduced her to his family and announced their intention to wed. James’ mother Adelaide forbade the marriage, believing Mary Jane to be beneath her son’s station in life, and sent James to live in Texas around 1875. Not much is known about his time in America, but it is known that he was not happy. He continued in his interest in nature (eventually having a paper, Catalogue of the Birds obtained in Navarro County, Texas published in the Scientific Transactions of the Royal Dublin Society in 1883), but his love for Mary Jane was still strong. He returned to Ireland from America in 1884 and on November 24th of the same year, at age 31 married the 20-year-old Mary Jane at Donagheady parish church, Donemana, County Tyrone. James knew that his bride would be unaccepted by his family so shortly after their marriage, they emigrated to Australia, arriving sometime before the end of 1884 where later he attained an appointment as scientific assistant (zoology) to the Australian Museum, Sydney. James began work at the museum on 14 February 1885 at a salary of £250 and proved an enthusiastic and energetic worker, publishing numerous notes, papers and reports on reptiles and mammals as well as fish. The following year he compiled the catalogue of fishes for the report of the Commissioners of Fisheries for New South Wales and in 1887 published Catalogue of Fishes and Other Exhibits at the Royal Aquarium, Bondi. That year he was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society of London. Dismissed in 1890 after many warnings for drunkenness on the job, Ogilby continued his prodigious research activities outside the museum on a contract basis; he published a valuable ‘Catalogue of Australian Mammals’ in 1892 having described over 7,000 new species. He was the author of numerous scientific papers on reptiles, and he described a new species of turtle and several new species of lizards and Edible Fishes and Crustaceans of New South Wales in 1893, prepared for the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago. Between 1885 and 1899 he published over eighty papers and notes (including twenty-two with E. P. Ramsay) in the Proceedings of the local Linnean Society. Tragically, in 1894, Mary Jane Ogilby died in Sydney at the age of 29. The marriage had produced no children, and James would remain a bachelor for the rest of his life. About 1903 James moved to Brisbane; he was employed as an ichthyologist by the Queensland Museum where the specimens were happily preserved in formalin and not alcohol! In 1913-16 he published a series of papers on the edible fish of Queensland in the Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. For a time, he belonged to the Royal Society of Queensland. James Douglas Ogilby was primarily a taxonomist but his work had important commercial significance. His research, like that of his friend and collaborator A. R. McCulloch, was described by the noted American ichthyologist David Starr Jordan as of 'a very high order'. James died after a long illness in Diamantina Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland on 11 August 1925 and was buried in the Church of England section of Toowong cemetery. For some years he had been honorary museum curator for the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of Queensland which perpetuated his memory by erecting the “J. Douglas Ogilby Cottage” for the use of its members on Bribie Island, a popular fishing resort in Queensland. When finished Ogilby’s Castle was vast and beautiful, lavishly furnished and with a banquet room that was reported to be unequalled throughout Tyrone, boasting among its guests Bishops and Politicians from London, Dublin and Belfast. Despite its short existence, it was associated with two significant figures in natural history, William Ogilby and his son James Douglas Ogilby, and these two survive in the memories of those in the locality. A house first appears on the location on the second edition of the Ordnance Survey map of 1853 captioned ‘Liscloon House’. By the third edition, this has been replaced by a different structure, captioned ‘Altinaghree Castle’, surrounded by a wall, Liscloon Cottages’ and a ‘Lodge’ are also shown nearby. On the fourth edition the castle is shown in ruins. Griffith’s Valuation (1856-64) lists a ‘house, offices and land’, with buildings initially valued at £62, and eventually reduced to £14. The reduction appears to be due to separating off farm, outbuildings and cottages from the main house. Buildings listed include stables, a garden house, stalling house, granary, cow house, steaming house and piggery. In 1861, Annual Revisions note, ‘This house is throwing down. Mr Ogilby is building a very fine new house, value when completed’. A further note reads, ‘Value new house in 1864’. The house has been valued by 1865 at £190 and is listed as a house, offices, gate lodge, land and plantation. William died in 1873, not long after completing Altinaghree Castle, when it then passed to his eldest son, Claude William Leslie Ogilby who is listed as the occupier in 1876. William Charles Ogilby (aged 3 weeks, 16 Dec 1855 - 8 Jan 1856) Information extracted from Donagheady Parish Death Announcements, 1786-1869 Deaths recorded in the parish of Donagheady, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, extracted from personal notices inserted in the Strabane Journal, Strabane Morning Post, Dublin Evening Post, Londonderry Journal, Londonderry Sentinel, Londonderry Styandard & Tyrone Constitution January 11 1856: OGILBY. At Earlsgift, on Tuesday, the 8th inst., WILLIAM CHARLES, the infant son of MR. and MRS. OGILBY, aged 3 weeks Adelaide Charlotte Ogilby 2nd (17 May 1855 – 28 Jun 1935) Was born in Tyrone, Northern Ireland on 17 May 1855 to William Ogilby and Adelaide Charlotte Douglas. Adelaide Charlotte Ogilby ii married Reginald Charles Moore Miller and had 6 children. She passed away on 28 Jun 1935 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Isabella Caroline Ogilby (unknown – unknown) Beatrice Emma Elizabeth Ogilby (22 Feb 1858 – 4 May 1938) Born in Glen View House, Formoyle, Longford, Ireland on 22 Feb 1858 to William Ogilby and Adelaide Charlotte Douglas. Beatrice Emma Elizabeth Ogilby had 6 children. She passed away on 4 May 1938 in Cross Cottage, Bovey, Tracey, Devonshire, England. Louisa Ogilby (29 May 1860 - unknown) Louisa Ogilby was born in Liscloon (Liscleen) House, Donaghedy on 29 May 1860 to William Ogilby and Adelaide Charlotte Douglas, However. Edith Sophia Ogilby (unknown – unknown) The Strabane Weekly News of 4th January 1975, reports on some of the local stories surrounding the castle, which was built entirely of cut stone and surrounded by a wall of the same type. The stones were brought by horse and cart from Dungiven, County Londonderry. Stonecutters from the Baronscourt Estate, Newtownstewart, Co, Tyrone were employed at the castle. Masons were paid one shilling per day, and labourers paid 10d. According to the Natural Stone Database, the stones used are local Dalriadan Schist and Barony Glen Sandstone. When finished, its banqueting room was said to be unequalled throughout the county. Ogilby was known locally simply as a successful farmer and proprietor who entertained on a lavish scale, bringing in cooks from Belfast and Dublin for his banquets, although it is not clear whether it is the older, William Ogilby or the younger, Claude Ogilby that is remembered in this way. I suspect it was probably the latter. “In the possession of the present owner, Mr S.A.C. Eaton…is an invitation card, dated 12 December 1872, requesting his grandfather and his wife to attend a dinner party”. Dinner was to be served at 3pm. The mansion was said to be splendidly appointed and had a banqueting room. Altinaghree was abandoned in 1885 after falling into disrepair, a mere twenty-five years after its construction. Today as you can see, 160 years later, only a shell survives, it cannot be listed because it’s roofless. The ruin of Ogilby's Castle can be seen clearly from the public road, it’s on private farmland and can be visited but it’s suggested permission should be sought from the land owner. St.James Church, Donagheady, Donemana There has been an Anglican Church in the parish of Donagheady since the early 17th century, when a church at Church Hill was built during the plantation of Ulster. All that remains of this church is one gable wall and a small graveyard. Around 1790 a new church, St. Michael’s, was constructed in what is now known as St. Michael’s cemetery and again a portion of the gable wall remains standing to this day. In the late 19th century urgent repairs to St. Michael’s were needed and an approach was made to Mr. Claud Ogliby of Altinaghree Castle to request financial assistance. Mr. Ogiliby refused this request but instead offered £500.00 towards the building of a new church. On 28th November 1879, St. James, Donemana was consecrated by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, the Rt. Rev.William Alexander. Two carved stone coats of arms are located, one on each side of the main entrance. The one on the left has the motto “LOCK SICKER” meaning ‘Be Sure’ and relates to the seat of Shoto Douglas, Earl of Morton. The other coat of arms on the right-hand side has the motto “FOXGITE SURGAT” which I am currently unable to identify or translate. 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