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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Browne's Hill House

Co. Carlow

(Click on images to enlarge)
Browne's Hill House. Built 1763.
Browne's Hill House.
Source: Introduction To Architectural Heritage County Carlow
Browne's Hill House. c.1990.

Browne’s Hill mansion occupies the site of an ancient religious establishment called St. Kieran's Abbey. The Browne family moved from Essex and quickly became one of the most influential families in County Carlow. Built in 1763, Browne’s Hill is one of the few surviving Georgian mansions in the county and should thus be considered as a work of considerable historical value. It was probably designed by the Georgian landscape architect, Matthhew Peters. This fine house originally comprised a detached six-bay three-storey over-basement structure, built in the Neo-Classical style with a granite ashlar façade. the house 'quickly became the flagship seat in the county and the property which all others tried to emulate or outbuild'. It was renovated by Thomas Cobden in the 1830s, with a pedimented central breakfront on the front and a full-height canted bay extended to the rear. The park wall and nearby house at Viewmount were built using material from the original quondam abbey, while the high wall around the estate was built as part of a Famine Relief project in the 1840s.

(Click on images to enlarge)
Part of the Robert Clayton Browne, Esq estate map produced in 1841 and covers Kernanstown and Chapelstown.
Source: Michael Purcell c.2009
Browne Clayton of Browne's Hill, Co. Carlow.
Motto: Fortiter ed fideliter

The following are a group of private pictures are the property of Jacqui Udy and they are been donated to the Carlow website with her permission. Pictures were taken around 1860/70

Her Great Grandfather was Richard Walsh from Russeltown, Urglin and he worked as a steward on the Browneshill estate.He lived in one of the lodges on the estate.

The rear of Browneshill House
A lodge at Browneshill
The Urn at Browneshill
The Gardens at Browneshill
Thomas Walsh
Lower Pollerton Road 1926
Richard Walsh, Steward at Browneshill estate.
Brownes Hill Gates Source:

Note from Michael Purcell

Unfortunately much of the Browne and Browne-Clayton archives have been lost or destroyed, meaning much of the family history may be lost forever. In the present archive is a letter from the family's Dublin based solicitor, dating to the 1880s, in which he apologizes for the fact that his cellar has flooded with the result that certain boxes of Browne deeds and papers had been damaged beyond recognition. A number of papers were burned shortly before the family left Browne's Hill in the1950s. When Frank Tully, the present owner of Browne's Hill House, moved in during the late 1950s, he found wine in the cellars, oil paintings on the walls and a large pile of Browne-Clayton family documents in one of the rooms. Some documents relating to land in the area were duly framed. The remaining documents were removed by the builder and destroyed. Following the death of the Carlow solicitor Hugh O'Donnell in the 1960s, one witness recalled seeing a young man burning all the papers and deeds relating to O'Donnell's clients, including the Browne-Claytons. This same witness points out that we are thus extremely lucky that there is anything left of the Browne-Clayton papers at all.

Source: Michael Purcell

Its alleged that the main gates were removed and erected at the entrance to Lyons Estate in Co Kildare.

Note from J.J. Woods: The gates were purchased by UCD and erected at the entrance to the Lyons estate which they owned (their faculty of agriculture and/or horticulture I think). The estate was purchased by Michael Smurfit with a view to building another golf course beside (or close to) the K Club. This didn't work out and the estate was then purchased by the late Tony Ryan of Guinness Peat Aviation / Ryanair. He spent many millions restoring the house to its former glory and it is now for sale again. I have a poor quality photograph of the gates being dismantled which, when I find it, I will scan and send on to Michael.

J. J.

Comment from Michael Purcell

There is more 'New Information' that has come to light and I have arranged to visit the NLI this week (28 Oct 09) to view this new material for myself..

We await further comments!

[ Robert Browne of Browneshill ] [ Browne-Clayton of Browne's Hill ] [ William Clayton Browne-Clayton ]

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