Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Bettyfield House

Beechy Park

Ricketstown or Bettyfield, Co Carlow

Bettyfield House a Georgian period mansion (c.1760 to 1800)
OS Map's of the estate sourced from Buildings of Ireland website
Map c.1840

OSi Map 2011

A detached five-bay three-storey over basement house, c1780, with carved granite dressings including door cases and Diocletian windows to front and to rear. Renovated, c.1825, with portico added, granite window surrounds added to centre and interior remodelled. Stable complex, c.1825, to site.

It was once owned by Benjamin D'israeli, the uncle of the man of the same name who made quite a name for himself as Prime Minister of Great Britain. D'israeli (the elder) purchased Beechy Park in 1800. I can't find any information about who originally built the house.

Benjamin D'Israeli of Beechy Park, Rathvilly, bequeathed 3000 for the establishment and support of a non- denominational school "for the education of the poor of Rathvilly". Bough School was completed in 1826 and still stands today, not far from Beechy Park. I think I'm right in saying D'Israeli won some form of early 19th century lottery. The house was later the home to the Rev. Quintin Dick Hume (1806-1871), son of Captain Fitzwilliam Hume of Humewood, Co Wicklow (see: )

Source: Irish Independent, The Irish Times, Buildings of Ireland, Bill Gawne & Turtle Bunbury

Benjamin D'Israeli

by John Keogh

In the year 1766, Benjamin D'Israeli was born in England. There are conflicting reports concerning his early childhood and this matter is still under investigation. It is reported that he came to Ireland with his mother at a very early age. Benjamin started to serve his apprenticeship with Richard Bayly at the tender age of seventeen. Mr. Bayley was identified with the running of Lotteries, Stockbroking, Moneylending and Insurance. His new apprentice proved himself both diligent and honest. Concerning the lottery system, by buying a lottery ticket for 7.10s, one had two chances of winning 20,000.

This draw was not confined to Ireland but also extended to England. Having completed his apprenticeship, Benjamin acquired a licence on the 12th February, 1788 to run lotteries from the Right Honourable Stephen Ratcliffe, Judge of His Majesty's Court of Prerogative in Ireland. Following this he opened an office at 105 Grafton Street, Dublin. As a result of his business transactions, D'Israeli acquired property in Suffolk Street, Grafton Street, Summer Hill and Essex Street. Having accumulated vast amounts of property and money, Benjamin D'Israeli turned his interests to the country area.

On the advice of a friend of his, namely Wm. Hoare Hume of Humewood Castle, he purchased Betty-field House and lands (now Beechy Park, presently owned by Mrs. V. Burgess). Circumstances did not allow him to take up residence at once, consequently he leased the property to one George Pilsworth in 1804. After a period of five years, he took up residence himself and became one of the landed gentry. Benjamin D'Israeli was appointed High Sheriff of Carlow by the Lord Lieutenant in 1810, evidence of this to be found in the minute book of Kiltegan Vestry dated 16 April, 1811.

As the years progressed, he transferred his interest from Lotteries to Stock-broking. Five days before his death at Beechy Park he bequested 3,000 towards the erection of a school for the education of the poor at Bough, Rathvilly. The school was built 12 years after his death. For one hundred and fifty years this lovely structure has been in use, thus fulfilling its purpose. Benjamin D'Israeli died 1814 aged 48 years and was laid to rest in Saint Peter's Churchyard, Dublin.

In his will he also left a sum of 500 to the church wardens at Rathvilly which was to be invested in Government Securities and the interest to be distributed to the poor of Rathvilly Parish every Christmas. This is still the practice today. Benjamin D'Israeli will be remembered as a man of generous nature, with the poor of the district ever present in his heart. May he rest in peace.

REF: Dublin Chronicle 28/10/1 788. Kil. Jour. Arch. Soc. Vol. V. P329. R.S.A.I. Vol. LXXVIII 1948.

Source: Carloviana 1983. Vol 2. No. 31 p.10 & 11.

D'Israeli School

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