Kilmorey papers

Repository: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Identity Statement

TitleKilmorey papers
Archive ReferenceGB 0255 PRONI/D2638
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1552-1960
Extent Mediumc 4,400 documents + c 220 volumes


Creator(s): Needham family, Earls of Kilmorey, County Down

  • Administrative History ↴

    The founder of the Kilmorey family's Irish estates, Sir Nicholas Bagenal, fled from Staffordshire to Ireland in 1539, having killed a man in a brawl. He entered the service of Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone, who obtained a royal pardon for him in 1544. By 1550 his prowess as a soldier had earned him the office of Marshal of the King's Army in Ireland and a place on the Irish Privy Council. Nicholas’s son Sir Henry married, in 1577, Eleanor, third daughter of Sir John Savage of Rock Savage by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Manners, of Rutland. His eldest son, Arthur, [was] a minor [when his father was killed leading a disastrous attack on his brother-in-law, Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, at the Battle of the Yellow Ford, near Armagh, in 1598]... . Arthur Bagenal married Magdalen, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Sir Richard Trevor of Trevallyn. The only issue of this marriage was a son, Nicholas, who married, in 1671, Sydney, daughter of Roger Grosvenor of Eaton, in Cheshire, ancestor of the present Duke of Westminster. In 1686 he married secondly Lady Anne Charlotte Bruce, sixth daughter of the 2nd Earl of Elgin. They had one child, Elizabeth, who married Rev. Henry Rowlands, author of Mona Antiqua. Nicholas Bagenal was Member for Anglesey in 1673 and died leaving no male issue, thus ending the male line of his family. By his will, dated 13 November 1708, he divided all his estates in Anglesey, Carnarvon and elsewhere in England and Wales, and also in Down, Louth and Armagh in the Kingdom of Ireland, to his cousins, Edward Bayly of Gorsewen in the county of Carnarvon, and Robert Needham of the Isle of Jamaica. In 1715/16 a partition of the estate took place by which Sir Edward Bayly took the Carlingford [estate] and a moiety of some [Co. Down] townlands with the Welsh property, while ... Needham took the Newry and Mourne estate. ... The genealogy of the senior, or Kilmorey, branch of the family is well-documented in successive Peerages; and as the Kilmoreys did nothing in particular during the 17th and 18th centuries (except die young) Following the original grant of the Lordships of Newry and Mourne to Sir Nicholas Bagenal in the reign of Edward VI, a patent of 1613 (D2638/A/9) confirmed '... to [his grandson] Arthur Bagenal Esq., his heirs and assigns, the town of Newry, with all the demesne lands ... of the dissolved monastery, the manor, lordship, and castle of Greencastle, the lordship, country or territory of Mourne with two islands in the main sea; the manor of Carlingford with the monastery and its appurtenances, and the lands of Cooley; the ferry between Carlingford and Killowen; the customs and anchorage, and certain customs of goods and merchandise imported into or exported from Carlingford; the territory of Omeath, and all wrecks of sea happening on these properties. By virtue of his patent the proprietor is entitled to the tithes of the Lordship of Newry, and has the right of presentation to the rectory ...'.{D2638/E/6-7.} After the partition of 1716 and whatever sales of land took place in the 1760s, the townlands in the Mourne, or Kilkeel and Greencastle, estate of the Needham family, as itemised in a rental of 1810 (D2638/G/81) -Extracted from a full account of the Kilmorey Papers in the PRONI catalogue:
  • Archival History ↴

    Although the largest single deposit of papers - particularly family correspondence - was received in 1993, over a long preceding period components of the archive had been deposited in PRONI by various members and agents of the Kilmorey family, under the reference numbers D1268 and D2965 (part) as well as D2638. These have now all been merged under D2638. This leaves only two other components of the archive, which 'strayed' into the possession of depositors other than the Kilmorey family and, their agents, and bear reference D3514 and T1513 respectively.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Needham family, Earls of Kilmorey, County Down ↴

    The Kilmorey archive consists of c.4,400 documents and c.220 volumes, 1552-1993, deriving from the Needham, or Nedham, family of Shavington, alias Shenton, Shropshire, and Mourne Park, Kilkeel, Co. Down, Viscounts Kilmorey (from 1625) and Earls of Kilmorey (from 1822).
    The biggest single section of the archive is the leases and conveyances (even allowing for the retention for business reasons of c.500 such documents), 1731-1945. The Newry leases, which begin in the former year, are important to an understanding of the development of the town (though, in fact, the really important town-planners of Newry were the Needhams’ cousins, the Hill family, Earls of Hillsborough and Marquesses of Downshire, who began to lay out what is now the centre of Newry, c.1740). The Newry leases are arranged alphabetically, mainly by street.
    The wills and testamentary papers run from 1710 to 1960 and the correspondence section of the archive runs from 1791 to 1961. Newscutting books and scrapbooks run from 1876 to 1950, and relate to births, deaths, comings-of-age and marriages in the Kilmorey and Huntingdon families, the Third Home Rule Bill crisis and the UVF, royalty, hare-coursing and Mourne Park, etc, and the photographs and photographs albums, 1877-1939, cover the same topics.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    D2638/A Title Deeds
    D2638/B Leases etc. These are arranged according to Street, then townland, in alphabetical and chronological order
    D2638/C Wills
    D2638/D Correspondence and related family papers
    D2638/E Newspaper cuttings
    D2638/F Photographs
    D2638/G Rentals
    D2638/H Accounts and Inventories
    D2638/J Maps and plans
    D2638/K British Legion

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The collection can be consulted in the reading room in PRONI in accordance with PRONI guidelines.
Conditions Governing ReproductionItems 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.
Creation Dates1552-1960
Extent Mediumc 4,400 documents + c 220 volumes
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids A descriptive list is available to search online at: Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Publication NotePhilip H. Bagenal, Vicissitudes of an Anglo-Irish Family, 1530-1800 (London, 1925)

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NotePRONI Archivist
Rules/ConventionsISAD(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)
Date of Descriptions41699