© Alex Watson 2017 All rights reserved.
HISTORIC IRISH MANSIONS
No. 194 : Seskinore, Co. Tyrone
BY JAMES FLEMING
COLONEL JOHN KNOX McCLINTOCK’S RESIDENCE
TYRONE COUNTY is the largest and most central fragment of that region which formed the ancient principality of the O’Neills, and is associated intimately than any other counties in Ulster, with the history and traditions, the rise and fall of that princely house.
“And O’Neill who is throned in Emania afar, And gave Kings unto Tara for ages, For the earldom of Ulster has bartered, through fear, The Kingdom of heroes and sages.”
In the year 1584 that portion of the O’Neill territory, which lies south of the Blackwater, was shired off and became the County of Armagh; and in the following year another great fragment lying between the Bann and the Foyle Rivers became Coleraine County. In 1608 a third and very valuable portion, known as the Barony of Loughinsholin was taken from what had been the principality, containing not less than 751,387 English acres, is now known as the County Tyrone.
Soon after “the flight of the Earls’” and a few years prior to the plantation of Ulster, this great county was “treated” by the Lord Deputy (Carew) to remarkable proclamation regulating the rates for the wages of artificers, labourers, and household servants within its bounds.
Value of Labour in 1600
This curious and interesting document enjoined that: “all manner of persons being under the age of fifty years, not having the value of £5 sterling of their own proper assets, shall be compelled to labour for their living.
“No labourers or servants shall depart out of one barony into another without leave of a Justice of Peace. No person not having the eighth part of a plough shall keep any servant in his house, but shall labour and do his work himself.
“No person shall have any servant for less than a year, No servant shall depart from his master without a quarter’s warning before witness, and at the end of his term the master shall give him a certificate of good behaviour upon pain of 40s.
“Every plough holder shall have wages by the quarter. 6s 8d, ster., with meat and drink. Every leader of the plough shall have by the quarter 5s. with meat and drink. Every beam holder shall have by the quarter 3s. 4d. with meat and drink
“A good servant maid by the year 10s. A cowboy for two heifers 1d. Every labourer shall be hired by the day with meat, 2d.; without meat, 4d.
A master carpenter or mason shall have meat and drink 6d. ; without 11d.
“For the largest pair of broughs 9d.; for women’s broughs 6d.
“Everyone refusing or leaving his work because of these rates is to be fined 40s., or imprisoned until he be content.”
The rates of wages represented in Carew’s proclamation are not, however, so astonishing as they may at first sight appear, when it is remembered that the value of money in those days was about one-eighth to one-tenth the present day’s rates.
Plantation Commissioners Divide Omagh Barony
When the Plantation Commissioners reached Tyrone they found that all the lands in the area belonged to the Crown except the Church lands and about 5,000 acres which had been granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir henry Oge O'Neill. These lands comprised the ancient Irish territory known as Mointerburn, and were the inheritance of Sir Phelim Roe O'Neill of Kinnaird, on the Blackwater.
Of the Undertakers among whom the precincts of Omagh was divided the principal recipient was George Tucket, Lord Audley, who was granted an estate of 3,000 acres ; but this favourite of James I., having neglected to erect castles and settle British subjects on the lands, according to the articles of plantation. The grant ultimately reverted to the Crown.
“The Lord Audley,” reports Sir George Carew, twelve months after the division of the lands of the Omagh lands, “has not appeared,l nor any for him ; nothing done.” His Lordship had come from Audley, in Staffordshire, and was the eighteenth Baron Tucket. His 3,000 acres in Omagh included 2,000 for himself and 1,000 for his wife, Elizabeth who was the daughter of Sir James Mervyn, of Fontmill. In Wiltshire.
He was created Earl Castlehaven in 1616 but only lived a few months afterwards.
When this property was sold after his death it was found that, besides the original 3,000 acres of meadow, 3,000 acres of pasture land, 2,000 acres of wood, 2,000 acres covered the bramble and furze, and 200 acres of bog, all of which had been thrown in gratuitously to his proportion as waste and unprofitable lands.
A considerable proportion of the lands.
James Perry Acquires Estate in Omagh!
So granted to Lord Castlehaven and sold after his death, fell to the possession of Sir Audley Mervyn, brother-in-law of Colonel Rory Maguire who married Deborah, daughter of Colonel Audley Mervyn, and relict of Sir Leonard Blennerhassett.
On the 26th June, 1662, Sir Audley made a fee-farm grant of the lands of Moyloughmore to James Perry, a gentleman of Welsh descent, who had three sons-viz., Francis, Samuel and George.
Francis married Elizabeth, fifth daughter of John Lowry, of Pomeroy, and died without issue, Samuel married first, Catherine, eldest daughter of the said John Lowry, of Pomeroy, and by her had issue. He married secondly Isabella, only daughter of Hector Graham, of Lea Castle, Leix, and Coolmain Castle, Co. Monaghan, and by her had a son and a daughter-viz, Edward , Captain in the Army, and Catherine.
James Perry's third son George of Moyloughmore married Angel, daughter of the Rev. James Sinclair of Holyhill, near Strabane, by whom he had two sons; Samuel and George; and two daughters, Margaret and Letitia.
The elder son, Samuel Perry, of Perrymount and Mullaghmore, married Miss Olphert, of Ballyconnell House, Co. Donegal, and had by her a son George and a daughter Mary.
George Perry, born in 1762, Cornet of Horse married Mary, daughter of John Burgess, but died without issue, when the Perry estates passed to his nephew, Samuel McClintock, son of his sister Mary, who married, in December, 1781, Alexander McClintock of Newtown House, Co. Louth, and by him has issue, with three daughters, two sons-viz., John, who died unmarried in 1845, and Samuel.
The McClintocks of Donegal
The McClintock family are of ancient Scotch origin, the first of whom to settle in Ireland being Alexander, who purchased the Rathdonnell estates, Co. Donegal, in the year 1597, which he devised to his only son and heir, Alexander McClintock of Trintagh, Co. Donegal.
This representative of the Irish branch of the McClintock family married, in 1648, Agnes Stenson, daughter of Donald MacLean, by whom he had two sons-viz., John, his heir, and William. He died on the 6th September, 1670 and was succeeded by his son John, of Trintagh.
This gentleman married, 11th August 1687, Janet, daughter of John Lowry, of Ahenis, Co. Tyrone, by whom he had the following issue; John, who died young; Alexander, of Drumcar, Co. Louth; John, of Trintagh, and Robert. He died on the 3rd of September, 1707 and was succeeded by his eldest, surviving son, Alexander of Drumcar, Co. Louth, who died without issue on the 25th March 1775, having devised his his Drumcar estates to his nephew John, third son of his brother, the above named John, of Trintagh.
The last-named John married Susannah Maria, daughter of William Chambers, of Rock Hall, Co. Donegal, by whom he had,the following issue; William, James, of Trintagh; John successor to his uncle at Drumcar; Alexander, of Newtown, Co. Louth; Francelina, Rebecca, Catherine and Anne.
His third son, John of Drumcar, M.P., married on the 11th May, 1756, Patience, daughter of William Foster, M.P., by whom he had with other issue, a son and heir, John McClintock, M.P., of Drumcar, whose son, also named John, was created, 21st December, 1868, Baron Rathdonnell.
Discoverer of Sir John Franklin's Fate.
The younger son of the marriage of John McClintock, M.P., and Patience Foster, was Henry, who filled the office of Collector of Customs at Dundalk for the long period of thirty years. He married Elizabeth Melesina, daughter of Archibald Fleury, of Waterford, by whom he had several children; one of whom, Alfred H. McClintock, M.D., F.R.C.S.I., was Master of the Rotunda Lying-in Hospital, Dublin.
Henry McClintock's eldest son was Francis Leopold; and no memoir of the family of the McClintocks would be complete if special mention was not made of the name of this illustrious Irish gentleman.
Francis Leopold McClintock entered the Royal Navy in June, 1831, in which Service his distinguished conduct, especially in the hazardous field of Arctic exploration, earned for him besides many other honours, a knighthood, “in a manner,” says Dalton in his History of Dundalk, “to disprove the assertion of Edmund Burke, that the age of chivalry was gone,”
He served in four Arctic expeditions ; first, in 1848, he was among the officers of the ship which set out on its fruitless quest for traces of Franklin and his messing companions ; again, in 1850-1, he served under Captain Austin, when another attempt was made. This also returned after an unsuccessful voyage.
In 1852 he set forth northward again, as commander of the Intrepid, with an expedition (three ships), under the command of Sir Edward Belcher. C.B. This was a disastrous venture ; the ships had to be abandoned in the ice, but Belcher, with his officers and crews, were rescued, sailing home in the autumn of 1854, They had not ascertained the fate of Sir John Franklin and his party, never-less, Lady Franklin and many another anxious wife hoped on.
Captain McClintock's Success
The Government of the day declined to make another effort, on the ground that “after so many failures they would not be justified in risking the lives of brave men in a hopeless case.”
Franklin's devoted wife did not yet despair. Her ceaseless solicitude caused her to devote her means to the purchase of a screw yacht “Fox,” 177 tons, and to fit out for its perilous journey into the frozen North in a final attempt to discover her gallant husband's fate. She selected Captain McClintock to take command. This intrepid Irish sailor's able and successful achievement of the almost superhuman task which at Lady Franklin's request he “undertook is vividly described in his work, “The Voyage of the “Fox” in Arctic Seas: A Narrative of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and his companions.”
The “Fox” sailed from Aberdeen on the 1st July, 1857, and as McClintock's interesting narrative relates, convincing evidence was found at Point Victory, on the north-west coast of King William's Land, on the 30th May following, that “Sir John Franklin died on the 11th June 1847.” On the same day a large boat was discovered, in which were portions of human skulls, five watches, books, a bible, spoons and forks with Franklin's crest were also found. With those precious memorials, carefully preserved, the expedition set forth homeward.
The “Fox” reached Blackwall Dock on the 23rd September, 1858 and immediately, from every quarter, honours, thick and fast, were showered upon Captain McClintock. On the 31st6 October, 1859, his fellow-townsmen of Dundalk presented an address, accompanied by a massive silver salver and claret jug of the same metal. The Round Room of the Mansion House, Dublin was crowded with “an array of rank, beauty and worth,” when on the 27th December the Lord Mayor presented the national address, but had his bust sculptured by Kirke and placed in the Society's magnificent museum. Knighthood and the Freedom of the City of London followed, while promotion to the highest rank in the service which he adorned so conspicuously crowned the career of this brave scion of the house of McClintock.
A Soldierly Family
Returning to the issue of the marriage of Alexander McClintock of Newtown House, Co. Louth and Marty Perry, it is on record that their son Samuel, on the death of his father, sold Newtown House, and came to live at Seskinore on the Perry estate, to which he succeeded. He is the first of the McClintocks mentioned as having taken up residence in the old Perry Mansion.
Samuel McClintock was born in 1790, was High Sheriff of Louth in 1843, and Leiutenant in that famous old regiment, the 18th Royal Irish. He married, first, Jane, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Lane. She died in 1837, and he married secondly, in January 1939, Dorothea, daughter of John Knox, by whom he left at his decease, 13th December, 1852, two sons, viz ; George Perry and Samuel John. The latter died in 1856.
The elder son Lieutenant-Colonel George Perry McClintock of Seskinore, was High Sheriff of Co. Tyrone in 1886, when he was succeeded by his son, John Knox McClintock, who changed the name to the “Tyrone Hunt.”
Lieutenant -Colonel McClintock acted as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Abercorn and Earl Spencer, Lords Lieutenant of Ireland and married, on the 2nd May 1860, Amelia Harrietta [sic], daughter of the Rev. Samuel Alexander, of Termon, Co. Tyrone, by whom he had the following issue:- Beresford George Perry, who died without issue, 31st January 1876; John Knox, Harry Edward, died 2nd April, 1866; Augustus, Captain and Brevet-major, D.S.O., who died on the 25th June, 1912 ; Leopold Arthur, Captain, Royal Inniskilling Fusilliers, died 11th June. 1906; Herbert [sic], ([Hubert) Victor, 4th Royal Inniskillings, who married , 19th February, 1902, Charlotte Fraser (died 9th March, 1936) daughter of George Pim Malcolmson, and the following issue:- Herbert [sic], (Hubert) Victor Perry, Lieutenant-Commander, R.N.; Samuel Perry (died in 1910), and James Leopold.
The remaining issue of Lieutenant Colonel McClintock of Seskinore are Guy Reginald, of Sydney, Australia, late Lieutenant, Royal Inniskillings, who served in the South African War, 1899-1902, and in the Great War, 1914-1918, with the Australian Expeditionary Forces. He married in 1913 Miss Ethel Spendlow.
The elder daughter, Dorothea Selina Navarra, married, October, 1891, Edward V. Thompson, M.P., F.R.C.S.I. She died on 3rd August, 1928; the second daughter , Amelia Charlotte Olivia, married, 23rd July 1902, John Willis, second son of the late Sir George Willis, C.G.B.; Eleanor Harriette Woodrop married, 12th September, 1901, Captain George Peacock, and died, 2nd February, 1925; Madeline Frances Edith died on the 20th January 1933; and Lieutenant-Colonel McClintock's fifth daughter, Florence Beatrice Hanna, married 23rd July, 1902, Captain Audley Willis, third son of General Sir George Willis, C.G.B.
Lieutenant-Colonel McClintock died on the 26th December, 1887 and was succeeded by his son, John Knox McClintock, C.B.E., the present owner of Seskinore.
This gentleman was High Sheriff of Co. Tyrone in 1891 ; he commanded the 3rd Royal Inniskillings 1909-1919, serving in the Great War 1914-18. He married in April, 1893, Amy Henrietta Frances, daughter and co-heiress of John Stuart Eccles, of Ecclesville, Co. Tyrone, and has issue a daughter, Leila Isobel.
The Arms of the McClintocks of Seskinore are, according to Burke's “Landed Gentry of Ireland”: Per pale gules and argent a chevron ermine between three escallops, that in the dexter chief or, in sinister argent, and in base per pale of the fourth, and last, quartering Perry.
Crest : A lion passant argent.
Motto : Virtute et labore.
The old and picturesque McClintock mansion of Seskinore lies in the Parish of Clogherny (Cloichearnach, an offshoot of Clocher, Cloharach, or Cloithreach, meaning a stony place, and anglicised (Clogherny), near the village of Seskinore (called in a Map of the Plantation, Shaskanoure, “pointing clearly,” says Joyce, “Sescennodhar—ie, Grey Marsh,” about six miles south-east of Omagh, in the historic barony of that name.
Anciently called Oigh-Magh, and Oigh-Rath, signifying the “Seat of the Chiefs.” origin as a town to an Abbey founded there in the year 792, which was converted into a house for the Third Order of St. Francis in 1464, and continued to flourish as such until the dissolution of the monasteries when it's site and possessions were granted to Sir Henry Piers.
There is no notice of the town as a fortress or place of defence until 1498, when Mac Art O'Neill, having taken up arms against the English Government, forfeited the Castles of Omy and Kinnaird ; against the former, which he captured and razed to the ground
In 1602 Lord Deputy Mountjoy placed a strong garrison in Omagh, under the command of Sir Henry Dowcra, and marched hence with all his forces against Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, whom he defeated.
“The Fort of Omey,” says Sir George Carew in his report, twelve months following the division of the Ulster lands, among the undertakers, “is a good fort, fairly walled with lime and stone, about 30 feet high above the ground, with a parapet, the river on one side and a large, deep ditch about the rest, within which is built a fair house of timber after the English manner. All begun by Captain Edmon Leigh and finished by his brothers, John and Daniel Leigh, at their own charges upon the lands of the Abbey of Omey, at which place are many families of Irish and English who have built them good dwelling houses which is a safety and comfort for passengers between Dongannon and the Lifferr. The fort is a place of good import upon all occasions of service, and fit to be maintained”
Twice Destroyed by Fire
In 1641 Sir Phelim O'Neill shortly after the commencement of the war, marched against the Castle of Omagh, which surrendered to him without a fight ; but it was not until the spring of the year 1689 that the ancient town experienced on of the greatest moments of terror. That catastrophe occurred after James II. Passed through the place on his march northward to Strabane. The garrison which that unfortunate monarch left behind was afterwards driven out, but before they evacuated the town the soldiers set it on fire and destroyed it, with its church and castle.
Again in 1743, having been rebuilt in the intermediate period, Omagh was destroyed by fire, two houses only escaping the flames. It was, however, soon rebuilt on a new plan, and has become a thriving and rapidly improving town.