Creator(s): Lords Dufferin and Marquesses of Dufferin and Ava, County Down
Administrative History ↴
The Blackwoods are of Scottish settler stock. The family had established themselves in Co. Down by the early 17th century, and over the next two centuries they steadily increased their landed property and social and political influence, by 'good sense and sagacity [and sometimes by sharp practice], by advantageous marriages, by caution in politics and conservative temper'. Among their marriages were a late 17th and a mid-18th alliance with the Hamilton family of Killyleagh Castle, Co.Down, formerly Viscounts Claneboye, alias Clandeboye, and Earls of Clanbrassill, from whom they inherited considerable property.
By the late 18th century they were a prominent, though far from dominant, landed family in the county. A large bloc of their acreage lay within the rectangle cornered by the small towns of Killyleagh, Comber, Saintfield and Crossgar, which nestled in the drumlin topography to the west of Strangford Lough. The family also held three other estates in the extreme north-eastern corner of the county. One was on the shores of Belfast Lough, west of the seaside town of Bangor. This estate centred around the family seat of Ballyleidy, later re-named Clandeboye. The smallest estate of all was on the other side of Bangor, at Ballyholme, and the last property - somewhat isolated from the rest - lay on the Irish Sea coast of the Ards Peninsula, composed of a group of townlands in the neighbourhood of the village of Ballywalter. The estate at its fullest extent comprised some 18,000 acres, with a rental of c.£7,000 a year in 1800 and of c.£18,000 a year at the coming-of-age of the 5th and most famous Lord Dufferin in 1847.
In 1763, the Blackwoods (who had parliamentary influence behind them because they controlled the return for the borough of Killyleagh) were created baronets. A recreation of one or other of the extinct Hamilton peerages of Clandeboye and Clanbrassill became the next object of family ambition, but it was as Barons Dufferin that they entered the peerage of Ireland in 1800. This was an Act of Union peerage. But the Blackwoods performed the remarkable feat of securing the peerage, and at the same time perpetuating the myth that they had indignantly refused it!
Source: Dr. A T Harrison 'The 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava: Whig, Ulster Landlord and Imperial Statesman' (New University of Ulster, 1983)
- Extracted from a full account of the Dufferin and Ava Papers and family in the PRONI catalogue: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/proni
Archival History ↴
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Lords Dufferin and Marquesses of Dufferin and Ava, County Down ↴
The Dufferin papers comprise c.96,000 documents and c.850 volumes, 1605, 1630 and 1651-1940, relating to the estates and political achievements of the Blackwood family of Clandeboye, near Bangor, Co.Down, Lords Dufferin and Marquesses of Dufferin and Ava. Estate and financial papers, personal and political papers of the 1st-4th Marquesses of Dufferin and Ava.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
D1071/A Estate and household papers
D1071/B Family papers: general and early
D1071/D Papers of Price, Lord Dufferin
D1071/F Papers of Helen, Lady Dufferin
D1071/G Papers of Earl of Gifford
D1071/H Papers of Frederick, 1st Marquess of Dufferin
D1071/J Papers of Hariot, Lady Dufferin
D1071/K Letters of the Blackwood children
Conditions of Access & Use
The collection can be consulted in the reading room in PRONI in accordance with PRONI's rules and regulations.
Conditions Governing Reproduction
Items may be copied for personal research use only. If a researcher wishes to publish any documents from this collection, a request must be submitted in writing to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
c96,000 documents + c850 volumes
Material Language Script
A descriptive list is available to search online at: http://www.proni.gov.uk/
Archive Web Link →
PRONI has obtained from other institutions microfilm copies of material relevant to the 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava's Syrian mission. Researchers should be aware of: PRONI MIC/320, which contains correspondence with Colonel A.J. Fraser, obtained from the British Library; and PRONI, MIC/392, which contains correspondence between Dufferin and Lord John Russell (from Russell's private papers), relating to the Syrian crisis, obtained from the Public Record Office, Kew. These private papers (PRO30/22/94) duplicate in part material in Dufferin's official Foreign Office correspondence which is held by the PRO under the reference FO.78, volumes 1624-1630, one of which has been copied by PRONI - MIC/381. There is also a certain amount of overlap and duplication between both the Russell private and Foreign Office official papers and the correspondence at D/1071H/C/3/46.
PRONI also holds in the Clanwilliam-Meade collection some of the papers of Robert H. Meade (who was later knighted), the Foreign Office official who acted as Dufferin's official private secretary in Syria. Relevant Syrian papers from this collection are Meade's 1860 diary and his Syrian letter book, PRONI D/3044/J/7 and /J/13.
Descriptive Control Area
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.
UK Archival Thesaurus (UKAT)