Tollymore Forest Park is one of Northern Ireland's favourite visitor attractions, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 British picnic sites for 2000. It has a sound Ulster-Scots connection, through a Captain William Hamilton:
- Sir James Hamilton of Bangor (Viscount Clandeboye), had a brother called William. William came over to Ulster, and lived at Newcastle in the Ards (near Cloughey). [update - in the early days, Newcastle was an alternative name for Bangor, see Hamilton Manuscripts)
- This William had a son, also called William (he may have been born in Ayrshire rather than Ulster). The younger William became a Captain in the Army, he fought in the defence of Drogheda in 1642, protecting the town from the Irish uprising. His brother James was killed at Benburb in 1646 and was buried at Benburb Church.
- He moved to Erenagh near Downpatrick, where in 1676 he received a patent which defined his lands as "the Manor of Hamilton's Hill (Ballydargan)". Ballydargan is a townland five miles south of Downpatrick, in the parish of Bright.
- He married Ellen Magennis of Tollymore estate, and when her brother died sometime in the 1660s, Hamilton inherited Tollymore. The Hamilton family owned the estate for four generations, from then until 1798.
- William Hamilton died on 26 January 1680, and was buried in Down Cathedral.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Posted by Mark Thompson at Thursday, June 04, 2009