Browne’s Hill mansion occupies
the site of an ancient religious establishment called St. Kieran's
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)
Browne's Hill House in 1842 with Robert Clayton Browne pictured
on horseback on the right.
- Part of the Robert Clayton
Browne, Esq estate map produced in 1841 and covers
Kernanstown and Chapelstown.
- Source: Michael Purcell c.2009 &
|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 Russelstown, Urglin and he worked as a
steward on the Browneshill estate.He lived in one of
the lodges on the estate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
We await further comments!
Browne of Browneshill ]
Browne-Clayton of Browne's Hill
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