Bantry Estate Collection

Repository: UCC Library Archives Service

Identity Statement

TitleBantry Estate Collection
Archive ReferenceIE BL/EP/B
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1671-1980s
Extent Medium214 boxes + outsize material


Creator(s): White/Leigh-White/Shelswell-White family of Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork

  • Administrative History ↴

    BL/EP/B are the estate and family papers generated by the White/Leigh-White/Shelswell-White family of Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork. The archive contains the formal records regarding the legal, financial and general administration of this large house and estate over a period of 300 years, and also the more personal records relating to the lives and personalities of the family who owned the estate. However not all of the original records have survived. Due to a fire in the Estate Office in early 1900s a significant part of the original collection was lost. Principally, there are no rental ledgers for the 19th century. However there are Rental Sheets for 1840, 1856/57, 1865-1866 and 1881 which provide information for certain areas of the Estate. Similarly very few records survive for the design and development of the magnificent gardens at Bantry House. These were presumably destroyed prior to the transfer of the archive. By the end of the 18th century the Whites held most of the land in Bantry and the Beara Pennisula, becoming the largest landowners in this part of Cork. In 1796 Richard White was instrumental in alerting the English Army Headquarters in Cork to the appearance of French ships in Bantry Bay. He gathered intelligence of the enemy’s movements, organised local resistance and opened his house, then known as Seafield, to the Army and made it their Headquarters. He was rewarded in 1797 by being created Baron Bantry. In 1801 the title Baron Bantry was advanced to Viscount and in 1815 Richard White assumed the title Earl of Bantry. Richard married Margaret Anne Hare, daughter of the 1st Earl of Listowel in 1799. It was his son who, while still Viscount Berehaven, laid the plans for the magnificent house and gardens extant today. The White family throughout the 19th century intermarried with other well known landed families including the Herberts of Muckross House, Killarney and the Guinness family of Dublin.
  • Archival History ↴

    On the 20th May 1997 the owner of the Bantry Estate, Egerton Shelswell-White, formally donated the Archive to UCC.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: White/Leigh-White/Shelswell-White family of Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork ↴

    The Bantry Estate Collection falls naturally into two main parts. Firstly formal records regarding the legal, financial and general administration of this large Irish country house and estate. Secondly, less formal records containing personal and social information about the personalities and lives of the family who ran the estate and who shaped its orientation and character.The Collection is divided into nine sections, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I, each containing records of similar origin and content.

    Section A, Estate Ownership is further divided into seven sub- sections. It begins with 1-2 Deeds of Title (Pre-White Ownership and White Ownership); 3. Wills (White Family/Associated Families), Marriage Settlements (White Family/Associated Families), and Trusts (White Family); 4. Land Sales and Transfers; 5 Legal Case Papers with counsels’ opinions, affidavits, costs and searches; 6. Re-settlement of the Estate, which included the appointment of Receivers; and finally 7. the Bantry Estates Company (est. 1964).

    Section B, Estate Administration, contains financial records of the working of the Bantry Estate; rentals, leases, ledgers, tenancy agreements, accounts, sundry estates, industry within the estate; and information on the family’s two residences, Bantry House and Glengarriff Lodge. Of particular value are two rental ledgers belonging to Richard White (grandfather to the 1st Earl of Bantry) dating from 1755-1775 (BL/E/B/440 & 441). Not many employee records still survive but there are workmens’ account sheets, insurance and tax payments and some correspondence from the twentieth century.

    Copious correspondence relating to the administration of the estate in the twentieth century is described in this section. The White family was assisted in the administration of their property by a succession of Agents. There is a marked absence of correspondence from the early part of the twentieth century compared to later years. There also seemed be a practise of re-using paper within the Estate office, so letters dating from 1911-1919 are found within later correspondence files from the 1950s; the reverse of a mss letter having been typed on. Where possible, this has been noted within the item description.

    Also in Section B is material relating to Bantry Town, its history and the development of tourism in the area.

    Estate maps and surveys complete this section. These are mainly official Ordinance Survey maps of the immediate and surrounding areas of Bantry, Glengarriff and Castletownbere. In many cases, tenancy plots are highlighted. The Collection holds a hardback book of original OS 6″ maps of Cork County (West Riding) (BL/E/B/2049). However there are some unique maps; of the plowlands of Killcaskane, Barony of Beare, dating from [1655] (BL/E/B/2041); and a coloured paper map of Inchiclough Demesne dating from 1791 (BL/E/B/2042) this item in particular is a lovely example of aesthetic cartography.

    Information on the two principal homes of the family, Bantry House and Glengarriff Lodge, can be found in Section B.7.

    Section C, Family and Personal Papers contains those records generated by members of the White/Leigh-White/Shelswell-White families, which related to their day to day lifestyle. Letters, diaries/journals, accounts, awards, personal memorabilia, etc. are all grouped under the name of their originator/recipient and cross-referenced where necessary. Descriptions in this section are in date order and begin with the records of Richard White ([1701] – 1776) which are business orientated showing consolidation of his Estate.

    Section D, Records of Associated Individuals deals with material generated by relatives or acquaintances of the White’s which for various reasons was stored in Bantry House, and became integrated with the family collection there. The Eyres of Galway and Macroom are a prominent example of a family which married into the Whites in the eighteenth century, in fact Macroom Castle was the home of William White Hedges until he became the 3rd Earl of Bantry on the death of his brother Richard White. Another such family is the Longfields of Castlemary and Mallow. As mentioned previously Margaret White married Richard Longfield in 1756, who later became Viscount Longueville. He held leases in the Bantry area. A descendant, Richard Edmund Longfield ([1843] – 1933) was made a Trustee of the Bantry Estate from 1875 by the third Earl, remaining on until Clodagh Shelswell-White came of age in 1926. One item in the Hawker section is that of a first-hand account of conditions experienced by an individual who fought in the [Crimean] War (BL/E/B/3208). It is dated Sept. 1854, and on its reverse a sketch of the position of ships, the regiments and commanders in each, and their distinguishing flags.

    Other items of interest in this section; the Conferring of title Baron Ardilaun of Ashford to Sir Arthur E. Guinness (BL/E/B/3071); and the personal diaries of William Somerville of Co. Wicklow, who served in the British Army in Malta and India (1899-1909).

    The section is completed with legal documents of various individuals that happened to have been preserved with the Collection.

    In Section E, Official Papers are found documents relating to associations the Leigh-White/Shelswell-White families were involved in, eg – The Nursing Association; the Bantry Voluntary Aid Committee; the Scouts and Girl Guides Association; The Red Cross; the Catholic Committee for Relief Abroad and the Cork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA).

    Section F, Family History relates to research undertaken primarily by Geoffrey Shelswell-White in the 1950s on the White family and their related families through marriage – the Herberts, the Eyres, and the Hawkers. Charts, crests and family trees can also be found here.

    In Section G, Maps and Plans there are general and nautical maps that do not directly relate to the running of the Bantry Estate (see Section B.11). Items of interest – a map of Cheshire, England (1748); maps of Europe, Asia, Africa and North America (1878-1802); a survey of Muckross Abbey and Burial Ground, Killarney, Co. Kerry (1908); and of Zanzibar, Europe and Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s. In the nautical section there is an interesting book of maps of the Mediterranean belonging to William 3rd Earl of Bantry from [1764] (BL/E/B/3255). The remaining maps show the coastlines of the British Isles. The second part of the section is devoted to Plans, architectural and construction.

    Sketchbooks and drawings belonging to the Whites throughout the nineteenth century can be found in Section H, Printed and Pictorial Material, showing scenes and individuals from Ireland, England and Europe. Other items in this section are newspapers gathered by the family relating to them, the Estate and Irish history. A large number of photographs have been preserved, again showing the family through generations, family friends and relations and their houses. Many were not identifiable and so have been placed together, marked accordingly. There are also a large number of postcards from around the world.

    Finally, in Section I, Miscellaneous, there are documents that do not directly relate to the Bantry Estate or the White family. There are a number of interesting items; a letter from Bat Sullivan to his family from Macroom, Co. Cork, whilst serving with the British Army in Portugal and Spain in 1811; and a collection of letters belonging to an individual named [London/Landon]. They include items from Disraeli, Maria Edgeworth, and Rudyard Kipling to name but a few. It is likely that it is a type of autograph collection (notably BL/E/B/3708).

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴


    1. Deeds of Title (Pre-White Ownership)

    2. White Deeds of Title
    2.1 Releases
    2.2 Deed Poll/Freehold
    2.3 Mortgages
    2.4 Grants

    3. Wills, Settlements and Associated Documents
    3.1 Wills
    3.1.1 White Family Wills
    3.1.2 Wills of Associated Families
    3.2 Marriage Settlements and Associated Documents
    3.2.1 White Family Settlements
    3.2.2 Settlements of Associated Families
    3.3 Trusts
    3.3.1 White Family Trusts

    4. Land Sales and Transfers
    4.1 The Irish Land Commission
    4.2 Castletownbere
    4.3 Glengarriff Forestry
    4.4 Gulf Oil Terminals (Ireland) Limited
    4.5 East Wall, Church Road, Dublin
    4.6 6/7 South William Street, Dublin
    4.7 Dunnamark, Bantry
    4.8 Keelneruvane, Bantry
    4.9 Other Sales

    5. Legal Case Papers
    5.1 Legal Cases
    5.1.1 Samuel Hutchinson v. Richard White et al
    5.1.2 Robert Warner & Richard White (a minor) v. Hamilton White
    5.1.3 Thomas Leahy v. Richard White
    5.1.4 Westropp v. Spread
    5.1.5 Ingham v. Richard 1st Earl of Bantry
    5.1.6 Hutchins v. Richard 1st Earl of Bantry
    5.1.7 Baillie & Taylor v. 1st Earl of Bantry & Viscount Berehaven
    5.1.8 Robert Hedges Eyre/Viscount Berehaven v. O’Sullivan
    5.1.9 Richard, 1st Earl of Bantry et al v. O’Leary & [Falvey]
    5.1.10 Herbert v. Viscount Berehaven et al
    5.1.11 The Queen v. Michael Murphy
    5.1.12 Browne v. Dillon
    5.1.13 Capt. Edward R. White v. Warren
    5.1.14 Longfield et al v. William 3rd Earl of Bantry et al
    5.1.15 The Shelswell-White Estate v. Costigan
    5.1.16 [The Shelswell-White Estate v. Bird-Warner]
    5.1.17 Guardi Paintings
    5.2 Counsels’ Opinions
    5.3 Affidavits
    5.4 Costs
    5.5 Searches

    6. Re-Settlement of the Estate
    6.1 Appointment of Receivers
    6.2 Re-Settlement of the Estate

    7. Bantry Estates Company
    7.1 Correspondence
    7.2 Accounts
    7.3 Valuation Reports

    1. Rentals
    1.1 Ledgers
    1.2 Rental Sheets
    1.3 Receipt Books
    1.4 Day Books

    2. Leases and Tenancy Agreements
    2.1 Leases
    2.1.1 Sub-leases
    2.2 Fishing and Shooting Rights
    2.3 Tenancy Agreements
    2.4 Government Permits to Cut Trees

    3. Disputes with Tenants and Evictions

    4. Accounts and Financial Records
    4.1 Account Books
    4.2 Cash Books
    4.3 Debit and Credit Vouchers
    4.4 Income and Expenditure Records
    4.5 Rates
    4.6 Income Tax Payments
    4.7 Insurance
    4.8 Invoices
    4.9 Receipts
    4.10 Stocks, Shares and Investments
    4.11 Release of Capital
    4.12 Estate, Death and Succession Duties
    4.13 Bantry Town Tolls
    4.14 Accounts

    5. Estate Correspondence

    6. Employee Records
    6.1 Workmen’s Account Sheets
    6.2 Insurance and Tax Payments
    6.3 Related Correspondence

    7. Family Residences
    7.1 Bantry House
    7.1.1 History
    7.1.2 Tourism
    7.1.3 Insurance Records
    7.1.4 Valuations and Inventories of Tapestries and Heirlooms
    7.1.5 Occupation (Military and Medical)
    7.1.6 Maintenance and Building Works
    7.2 Glengarriff Lodge
    7.2.1 History
    7.2.2 Insurance Records
    7.2.3 Maintenance and Building Works
    7.2.4 Lettings, Sales and Inventories

    8. Sundry Estates within the Bantry Estate
    8.1 General
    8.2 Montpelier Estate

    9. Estate Industry

    9.1 Timber Business, Glengarriff
    9.2 Berehaven Mines
    9.3 Glengarriff Fisheries

    10. Bantry Town
    10.1 History
    10.2 Improvements
    10.3 Tourism
    11. Maps and Surveys

    1. Richard White (1701-1776)
    1.1 Letters
    1.2 Accounts

    2. Simon White (1739-1776)
    2.1 Letter to his wife Frances Jane White (née Eyre)

    3. Frances Jane White (née Eyre) (1748-1816)
    3.1 Letters
    3.2 Family Accounts

    4. Hamilton White (1740-1789)
    4.1 Letters
    4.2 Legal Documents

    5. Margaret Longfield (née White) (1736-1809)
    5.1 Letters to Frances Jane White

    6. Richard White, 1st Earl of Bantry (1767-1851)
    6.1 Letters to his mother, Frances Jane White
    6.2 Letters on Political Matters
    6.3 Letters on the marriage of his son, Richard White, Viscount Berehaven
    6.4 Letters to his nephew William White Hedges
    6.5 General Correspondence
    6.6 Awards
    6.7 Accounts
    6.8 Personal Memorabilia

    7. Simon White (1768-1838)
    7.1 Letter to his mother Frances Jane White

    8. Edward Eyre White (d.1790)
    8.1 Letters to Family
    8.2 Letters relating to the circumstances of his death

    9. Martha Goold Adams (née White) (d.1847)
    9.1 Letter to her mother Frances Jane White

    10. Richard White, 2nd Earl of Bantry (1800-1868)
    10.1 Letters to Family
    10.2 General Correspondence
    10.3 Personal Accounts
    10.4 Journal
    10.5 Personal Memorabilia

    11. Mary White (née O’Brien), 2nd Countess of Bantry (1805-1853)
    11.1 Letter to [Mr. White]
    11.2 Journal/Diary

    12 William White Hedges, 3rd Earl of Bantry (1801-1884)
    12.1 Letters between Family
    12.2 Letters on Political Matters
    12.3 General Correspondence
    12.4 Personal Accounts
    12.5 Prescriptions
    12.6 Personal Memorabilia

    13. Jane White (née Herbert), 3rd Countess of Bantry (1823-1898)
    13.1 Letters to her husband William White Hedges, 3rd Earl of Bantry
    13.2 General Correspondence
    13.3 Letters on the Death of her daughter, Elizabeth Leigh
    13.4 Personal Accounts
    13.5 Personal Memorabilia
    14. Elizabeth Leigh (née White) (1847-1880)
    14.1 Letters to Family
    14.2 General Correspondence
    14.3 Journal/Diary
    14.4 Personal Memorabilia

    15. Egerton Leigh, husband of Elizabeth Leigh (née White)
    15.1 Letters to the White Family, Bantry
    15.2 Letters on the death of his wife, Elizabeth Leigh
    15.3 Personal Memorabilia
    15.4 Newspaper Obituary

    16. Olivia Guinness, Lady Ardilaun (née White) (1850-1925)
    16.1 General Correspondence
    16.2 Newspaper Articles

    17. Ina [Shirley], 10th Countess Ferrers (née White) (1852-1907)
    17.1 Letters to Family
    17.2 Personal Memorabilia
    17.3 Newspaper Obituary

    18. William White, 4th Earl of Bantry (1854-1891)
    18.1 Letter to his father William White, 3rd Earl of Bantry
    18.2 Letters to Col. Hawker
    18.3 Legal Documents
    18.4 Life Assurance Policy
    18.5 Personal Memorabilia

    19. Rosamund Petre, Lady Trevor (Wife of the 4th Earl of
    Bantry) (d.1942)
    19.1 Newspaper Obituaries
    20. Edward Leigh-White (1876-1920)
    20.1 Letters to Family
    20.2 General Correspondence
    20.3 Academic Reports
    20.4 Personal Accounts
    20.5 Awards
    20.6 Art and Poetry
    20.7 Personal Memorabilia
    20.8 Newspaper Obituary

    21. Arethusa Leigh-White (née Hawker) (1885-1959)
    21.1 General Correspondence
    21.2 Diaries
    21.3 Awards
    21.4 Personal Accounts
    21.5 Passports
    21.6 Personal Memorabilia
    21.7 Newspaper Obituaries

    22. Rachel Leigh-White (1906-1987)
    22.1 General Correspondence
    22.2 Diary
    22.3 Personal Accounts
    22.4 Personal Memorabilia
    23. Margaret Marton (née Leigh) (1875-1955)
    23.1 Newspaper Obituaries

    24. Clodagh Shelswell-White (née Leigh-White) (1905-1978)
    24.1 General Letters
    24.2 Diaries
    24.3 Personal Accounts
    24.4 Medical Records
    24.5 Personal Memorabilia

    25. Geoffrey Shelswell-White (1897-1962)
    25.1 Family Correspondence
    25.2 Letters relating to Family History
    25.3 Letters relating to Tourism in the Bantry Area
    25.4 General Correspondence
    25.5 Career Records
    25.6 Awards
    25.7 Invitations
    25.8 Accounts
    25.9 Personal Memorabilia
    25.10 Publications
    25.11 Newspaper Obituary

    26. Delia Shelswell-White (1928-1990)
    26.1 Family Letters
    26.2 Diaries
    26.3 Educational Records
    26.4 Medical Reports
    26.5 Personal Memorabilia

    27. Oonagh Yarrow (née Shelswell-White) (b.1930)
    27.1 Family Letters
    27.2 Personal Memorabilia

    28. Egerton Shelswell-White (b.1933)
    28.1 Family Letters
    28.2 General Correspondence
    28.3 Diary
    28.4 Winchester College Memorabilia
    28.5 Personal Memorabilia

    1. The Eyres/Hedges-Eyres of Galway and Macroom
    1.1 Richard Eyre, [Galway]
    1.2 Edward Eyre, [Galway]
    1.3 Capt. Richard Hedges
    1.4 Richard Hedges Eyre, (Macroom)
    1.5 Edward Eyre
    1.6 Robert Hedges Eyre, (Macroom)
    1.6.1 General Correspondence
    1.6.2 Leases Sub-leases
    1.6.3 Legal Documents and Accounts
    1.7 Margaret Burke (née Eyre)

    2. Annesleys/Earls of Anglesey

    3. Richard, Earl of Cork and Burlington

    4. John and William Gash

    5. The Levinges

    6. Richard and Margaret (née White) Longfield, Viscount
    6.1 Leases
    6.2 Sub-leases

    7. Catherine Herbert

    8. Peter Hawker

    9. John Puxley

    10. Somers Payne

    11. Sir Arthur Edward Guinness, Baron Ardilaun

    12. Robert Hedges Eyre White

    13. Lieut. Col. William Somerville

    14. Ernest Ellis

    15. Major Adelbert C. E. Salvin-Bowlby

    16. Richard Edmund Longfield

    17. Miscellaneous Individuals
    17.1 Legal

    1. Nursing Associations
    2. Bantry Voluntary Aid Committee
    3. Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)
    4. Scouts and Girl Guides Association
    5. The Civics Institute of Ireland
    6. The Irish Red Cross Society
    7. The Catholic Committee for Relief Abroad
    8. Irish Synod of the Church of Ireland
    9. Cork Historical and Archaeological Society
    10. Cork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    11. The Royal Horticultural Society

    1. The White Family
    1.1 General
    1.2 Family Tree
    1.3 Research
    1.4 Enquiries
    1.5 Family Crest

    2. The Herbert Family

    3. The Hawker/Tippinge Families

    4. Lord Thomond

    5. The Eyre Family

    6. Charts

    7. Others

    1. Maps
    1.1 General Maps
    1.2 Nautical/Coastal Maps

    2. Plans
    2.1 Architectural Drawings
    2.1.1 Individual Plans
    2.1.2 Lodges
    2.1.3 Filling Station, Bantry
    2.1.4 Westlodge Hotel, Bantry
    2.2 Town Plan
    2.3 Sites
    2.4 Construction

    1. Newspapers
    2. Sketchbooks
    3. Drawings
    4. Prints
    5. Postcards
    6. Miscellaneous Publications

    7. Photographs
    7.1 The White Family
    7.2 The Leigh-White Family
    7.3 The Shelswell-White Family
    7.4 Bantry House – exteriors
    7.5 Bantry House – interiors
    7.6 Glengarriff Lodge

    7.7 Related Families
    7.7.1 The Hawker Family
    7.7.2 The Marton Family
    7.7.3 Others
    7.8 Identified Individuals
    7.9 Unidentified Individuals
    7.10 Identified Buildings and Scenery
    7.11 Unidentified Buildings and Scenery

    8. Watercolours
    9 Oil-paintings
    10 Projection Slide

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by appointment with the Archives Service to holders of UCC Readers tickets.
Conditions Governing ReproductionSubject to copyright rules governing the reproduction of records of the Archives Service
Creation Dates1671-1980s
Extent Medium214 boxes + outsize material
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialIE BL/EP/B/A Bantry Estate Collection: Ancillary

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteEmer Twomey
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions37681