This is a unique manuscript map of Ardnasool Townland in the parish of Clonleigh, County Donegal. It was commissioned and was the property of Robert Montgomery of Convoy. Robert was born in 1780. His father was also called Robert of Brandrum in County Monaghan who died in 1833. Evidence of this townland with connection to the Montgomery family is inserted on the reverse of the artefact. It simply reads,
“Mr. Montgomery of Convoy, County Donegal 1842.”
The area is not particularly large having approximately 89 acres. It is surrounded by Backhill, Liskey, Gortinreagh, Tievebwee, Cloghfin, Lurganshannagh, Mullaghanny, Shannon and the subtownland of Lishybwee. The River Deele flows through the southern end of this townland boundary.
On the map, James Sinclair Esq.who owned Hollyhill Strabane and Bonnyglen Estate near Mountcharles, is named as landlord in 4 of the surrounding townlands which are Liskey, Cloghfin, Lurganshannagh and Mullaghanny with Lord Erne as landlord for Backhill, Shannon and Gortinreagh. Shandon, the ancient name for Shannon appears by a patent of James 1st. Some of the townland spellings are variant, for example, Liskey appears on the map as Lishy, Lurganshannagh as Lurganshaney and Mullaghanny as Mullaghaney. This was normal Anglicism of the many Irish placenames in the earlier centuries.
In 1842, the landlord of Ardnasool was Mr. Montgomery of Convoy, in this instance Robert Montgomery Esq., the son of Robert of Brandrum. It was the son who acquired the ownership through inheritance of 13 townlands in Convoy Parish. At that time it was recorded that he was the only gentleman’s seat in the vicinity who acted as Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Donegal. Sandy Montgomery owned the Convoy Estates, was never married, had no children and eventually the estates were willed to his cousin Robert. The Cashelogary Estate also belonged to the Montgomery family and according to Helen Meehan’s book Inver Parish, none of the family lived there. They resided in Convoy House.
Robert the son, married Maria Frances Stewart of Ards House, daughter of Alexander Stewart a brother of Lord Londonderry. This Robert died in 1846, four years after the Ardnasool survey was completed. Robert and Maria had a son whom they named Robert George. Their eldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth, married the Rev. Charles Boyton. Robert George Montgomery died in 1900 and the estate passed to the nephew , Charles, the son of Rev. Boyton and Mary Elizabeth Montgomery. Thus, the Montgomery Convoy Estate became known as the Boyton Estate through inheritance. Convoy House changed to Boyton House in the early 1900s, to accommodate the family of Boyton.
As proprietor and landlord of the townlands of Aughygault Lower, Aughygault Big, Calhame, Convoy Townparks, Convoy Demesne, Findrum (shared between him and a Mr. Clenahan), Greenfield, Glassley, Mc Meenstown, Milltown, Magheranappin, Stralongford and Trentaboy, he was certainly a very wealthy gentleman, a worthy inheritor of the Montgomery Convoy Estate and a progressive landlord.
Although small by comparison to the various lands on the list above, Ardnasool had several farming tenancies occupied by the following tenants:
Samuel Buchanon, J. Mc Fadden, Patrick Mc Fadden, Widow Alison, Widow Bess Alison.
These tenancies were divided over 47 field numbers with the main group of dwellings in numbers 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24. (Refer map extract of dwellings).
Just recently, a local historian implied quite innocently, that the Samuel Buchanon tenant might be a relative of the American President, James Buchanon. (Refer to map extract).
Ardnasool is located in Clonleigh Parish which is slightly puzzling, in that this singular townland came into the ownership of Robert Montgomery similar to those in Convoy. Did he alone purchase it or was it also part of his inheritance? Robert inherited the entire estate from his cousin Sandy Montgomery. Sandy’s brothers were John of Lisbon and Richard Montgomery who became a general in George Washington’s army. Richard was killed in the Battle of Quebec in 1775. After his death, Washington was in correspondence with the Montgomery family of Convoy whilst some sources indicated that a specific letter was held in Convoy House bearing Washington’s signature.
It was also noted that the family of Robert Montgomery was most generous and kind hearted to the local community of Convoy and Raphoe during the dreaded famine years through the distribution of food to those families in most need.
It is recorded that Robert was “a gentleman of great respectability and highly esteemed.” He was the successor of a certain Captain Alexander Montgomery who ceaselessly continued to improve tree planting and enclosing Greenfield to accommodate the farming potential by creating on-going development in his livestock.
Robert Montgomery had several townlands in the Raphoe parish also, which included Flemingstown, Tullydonnel Lower, Tullydonnel Upper and Deerpark.
In Convoy 1836, there existed a corn mill, with a flax mill attached, which were the joint properties of Robert and a Mr. Norman from Dublin. It is probable that the mills were acquired prior to 1833. Consequently, Robert Montgomery, the son of Robert Montgomery of Brandrum, became not only a conscientious and progressive landlord but quite a shrewd businessman in the process, even though a large portion of his success was based on inheritance. He seemed to handle this inheritance with a sensible approach and thoughtfulness towards the local community by establishing much needed jobs connected to the mills.
The map of Ardnasool 1842 is a rare artefact in the Montgomery Archive, with a direct connection to the Montgomery Family of the Convoy Estate. It reveals a family link to the world famous General Richard Montgomery of the Siege of Quebec and the underlying fact that the Mr Montgomery name on the reverse of the old map, is Robert, the cousin of the famous Richard.
I wonder whatever happened to the Washington Correspondence? In Philadelphia U.S.A. there stands a bronze monument of Richard Montgomery on horseback, in memory of his bravery in the American War of Independence. Thomas Montgomery (1700-1761) his father, must have been very proud of his son Richard.
Most of the lands which Robert Montgomery inherited were purchased earlier in history by John Montgomery including those of Raphoe and Croghan, near Lifford.
Some sources indicated that Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery (Monty) spent the first 14 years of his childhood in Boyton House.
THE ORIGINAL MAP OF ARDNASOOL CAN BE ASSESSED BY E-MAILING firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment to view the Archive.