Rokeby Hall, Co. Louth

By 1820 the 4th Count and Countess needed space to entertain and their family had outgrown the house on their Armagh estate at Tandragee.  In 1821 they took the lease of Rokeby Hall, where they lived, between frequent visits to London and the Continent, until the Count’s death in 1836.

Rokeby Hall had been built in the 1780s by Archbishop Robinson, Primate of Armagh, and was designed initially by Thomas Cooley who died in 1784.  It was constructed and the design finished under the supervision of a young architect, Francis Johnston, whose later projects include Townley Hall, County Louth and St George’s Church, Dublin where he is buried.

During the Count and Countess’s time at Rokeby, the house contained a fine collection of paintings ‘by some of the old masters’ including at least one portrait of the Primate by Sir Joshua Reynolds and a dozen other paintings which the Countess appears to have bought from the Archbishop’s nephew, Sir John Robinson. 

Ball-1829-Morning-PostBall-1829-Belfast-Newsletter Click on image to enlarge.

When the Countess’s kinsman, Henry McClintock, attended a ball held there on 1o November 1829, with his wife, Bessy and his eighteen year-old daughter Marianne, he recorded in his diary that he ‘returned home to Drumcar at half-past four’.*   This was considerably earlier than when, on a previous occasion three years earlier (6 February 1826), he went with his friend, Capt Thomas Eastwood, (and apparently without Bessy or Marianne), and had returned home at half-past six in the morning.

* Pádraig Ó Néill (ed.),  Journal of Henry McClintock (Dundalk, 2001)

After the Count’s death in 1836, the Countess relinquished the lease and removed to the Count’s house at Dawley in Middlesex. Many of the contents were sold. Auction-1837

Press cuttings are displayed by courtesy of www. britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk; photo: courtesy of Jean Young.

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