Rossmore Papers

Repository: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Identity Statement

TitleRossmore Papers
Archive ReferenceGB 0255 PRONI/T2929
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1610-1959
Extent Mediumc 5,200 documents + c 55 volumes


Creator(s): Westenra family, Barons Rossmore of Rossmore Park

  • Administrative History ↴

    Because of an extremely complicated family history, the Westenras, Lords Rossmore, though their ancestor in the female line had acquired the estate as long ago as 1680, did not actually come into full possession of the Rossmore estate, County Monaghan until 1827. It belonged successively to Sir Alexander and Sir Henry Cairnes between 1680 and 1743; in part to Mary Cairnes, Lady Blayney, from 1743 to her death in 1790; in part to her eldest daughter, Frances Murray, Countess of Clermont, from 1764 to 1790, and more or less in whole from 1790 to Lady Clermont's death in 1820; and between 1820 and the death of the last of Lady Clermont's aged sisters in 1827, its ownership was shared in a rather bewildering fashion between and among the old ladies and Warner William Westenra, 2nd Lord Rossmore. Since 1805 he had been in the extraordinary position of acting as Governor (or Lord Lieutenant) of Co. Monaghan, though technically without owning much or any land in the county. In 1854 William Deane Butler produced plans for remodelling the house, which were not executed but which are helpful in indicating the extent and appearance of the Morrisons' work. Four years later the house was remodelled and awkwardly enlarged to designs of Lanyon & Lynn of Belfast. The north front and servants' wing were then much altered, but the south elevation of Morrison's design remained substantially intact. During the 1940s Rossmore Park became unoccupied. It was unroofed after the Second World War and the ruin demolished in 1975. -Extracted from a full account of the Rossmore Estate in the PRONI catalogue:
  • Archival History ↴

    Although the papers bear the PRONI prefix 'T', which usually denotes photocopies, they are present in the original. The only exceptions are c.25 important architectural drawings, the originals of which were destroyed when Lord Rossmore's house in the demesne of Rossmore Park was burnt down by terrorists. The rest of the papers in the house would have shared the same fate, but for the very fortunate accident that they had been lent to PRONI for conservation and photocopying (which is why they were given a 'T' number). Following the destruction of his house, Lord Rossmore generously decided that his best course of action was to allow the originals to remain with PRONI. This deposit of 1972-1973 consisted of personal and political papers which came originally from Rossmore Park. It was followed, nearly twenty-five years later, by a further deposit from the office of Messrs Martin & Brett, Mill Street, Monaghan, solicitors (and former tenants) to successive Lords Rossmore. This latter deposit of estate office-type material, from 1703 onwards, is in the main rather late and disappointing: that from Rossmore Park, though very largely 19th century and therefore late, is far from disappointing.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Westenra family, Barons Rossmore of Rossmore Park ↴

    The archive, with the exception of a little late 17th and 18th century correspondence, and the recently deposited leases and deeds dating from 1703, is 19th and 20th century in date. The list of the rentals section of the archive, T2929/38, sets out how – from c.1892 onwards – the estate was arranged and managed, and what were its component townlands and streets in the town of Monaghan.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:
    T2929/1 Letters to Peter Westerna, MP for Athboy, Co. Meath
    T2929/2 Letters to the Cairnes family, mostly to Sir Alexander Cairnes, 1st Bt
    T2929/3 Letters from Henry R. Westenra, MP for Co. Monaghan to his father
    T2929/4 Miscellaneous political correspondence of the Westenra family
    T2929/5 Political letters and papers of the 2nd Lord Rossmore
    T2929/6 Letter between 2nd Baron Rossmore with Lord Grey and the heads of Irish administration
    T2929/7 Letters of 2nd Baron Rossmore as Lord Lieutenant of Co. Monaghan
    T2929/8 Letters to the 2nd Lord Rossmore about the political affairs of Kings County and Co. Monaghan
    T2929/9 Political papers of the 2nd Lord Rossmore, relating to the ‘Catholic Question’ etc
    T2929/10A Papers on the Co. Monaghan General Election of 1826
    T2929/10B Papers on the Co. Monaghan General Election of 1826
    T2929/11 Political letters of Henry R. Westenra, 3rd Lord Rossmore, mainly about Co. Monaghan elections and patronage
    T2929/12 Political letters and papers, mainly printed of the 3rd Lord Rossmore
    T2929/12A Letters and papers of Henry R. Westenra, 3rd Lord Rossmore, as Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Co. Monaghan
    T2929/13 Newspaper cuttings, printed matter and some correspondence of the 5th Lord Rossmore, relating mainly to the Orange Order
    T2929/14 Correspondence of the 5th Lord Rossmore, almost all on non-political subjects
    T2929/14A Letters regarding appeals by Bishop James Donnelly of Clogher to the 5th Lord Rossmore, Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Lloyd and Lady Rossmore
    T2929/15 Printed Voters’ Register for Emyvale, Co. Monaghan, valid until 1 January 1878
    T2929/16 Letters and papers of the 2nd Lord Rossmore about the ‘turf’
    T2929/17 Letters of the 2nd Lord Rossmore about a charge
    T2929/18 Miscellaneous papers about the ‘turf’ and horseracing
    T2929/19 Letters of the 5th Lord Rossmore about the ‘turf’ and horseracing
    T2929/20 Legal and estate correspondence, mostly of the 2nd Lord Rossmore
    T2929/21 Letters of the 2nd Lord Rossmore and his second wife, Augusta, mostly with Mr Robert Smith, about financial and estate affairs
    T2929/22 Letters of the 2nd Lord Rossmore and his wife about bequests and title and about the administration of property
    T2929/23 Letters of the 2nd Lord Rossmore and his wife with Montague Newland, their London attorney, about estate and financial matters
    T2929/24A Letters to the 2nd and 3rd Lords Rossmore about Family and Financial Affairs
    T2929/24B Letters to the 3rd Lord Rossmore and the 2nd Lord about the 2nd Lord’s will
    T2929/24C Letters to the 3rd Lord Rossmore about the broken engagement of his niece and ward to Sir Marcus Somerville
    T2929/24D Letters mainly to the 3rd Lord Rossmore, about the ill-treatment of Clara Williams, by her husband, B.B. Williams
    T2929/25 Letters and Papers of the 3rd Lord Rossmore concerning the building of a church in Monaghan
    T2929/26 Family letters from H.R. Westenra, later 3rd Lord Rossmore, to his wife, Annie, illegitimate daughter of the 8th Duke of Hamilton
    T2929/27 Letters of H.R. Westenra, afterwards 3rd Lord Rossmore, with the 12th Lord Louth and Mr and Mrs Purcell
    T2929/28 Quit-rent receipts for the Westenra estates in King’s and Queen’s Cos and Essex, England
    T2929/29 Household and Estate bills, Accounts and Receipts
    T2929/30 Letters and papers relating to Rossmore family history and other major family events
    T2929/31 Estate Papers, mostly relating to canals, railways, mining, agricultural improvement, Poor Law administration, etc
    T2929/32 Military Papers and Correspondence of the 2nd Lord Rossmore, plus a bundle of 13 Admiralty pay-slips to William Westenra, of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), 1917-1920
    T2929/33 Poems and other works by members of the Rossmore family
    T2929/34 Photocopied and Original Architectural and other drawings relating to Rossmore Park, Monaghan, Co. Monaghan (formerly known as Cortolvin Hills)
    T2929/35 Empty envelopes and wrappers, plus miscellaneous scraps
    T2929/36 Leases, Conveyances, Agreements, Fee-Farm Grants, Deeds of Indemnity, Surrenders and Renewals of property leased by the Lords Rossmore in Monaghan Town, Co. Monaghan, and the adjoining area
    T2929/37 Deeds of Title, Settlement and Mortgages relating to the Westenra family, Lords Rossmore, of Monaghan Town
    T2929/38 Rentals relating to the Estates of the Lords Rossmore in and around Monaghan Town
    T2929/39 Legal Case Papers and Miscellaneous Accounts relating to the estates of the Lords Rossmore in Co. Monaghan
    T2929/40 Irish Land Commission Papers relaitng to the estates of Derrick Warner William, 5th Lord Rossmore, and William, 6th Lord Rossmore
    T2929/41 Wills and testamentary papers
    T2929/42 Maps and Papers relating to the Rossmore Estate in Co. Monaghan and the Rossmore Golf Club

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 Dates1610-1959
Extent Mediumc 5,200 documents + c 55 volumes
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids A full descriptive list is available to search online at: Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Copies InformationGB 0255 PRONI/MIC624 Volume of maps of the estate of the Earl of Clermont, Co. Monaghan, surveyed by Arthur Richards Neville
Publication NoteA.P.W.Malcomson, 'The Earl of Clermont: a Forgotten County Monaghan Magnate of the Late Eighteenth Century', in Clogher Record, vol. xiii (1973). E.P. Shirley 'History of the County of Monaghan' (London, 1877-1878) Lord Rossmore 'Things I Can Tell' (London, 1912) The Irish Architectural Archives's catalogue raisonne, The Architecture of Richard Morrison (1767-1849) and William Vitruvius Morrison (1794-1838) (Dublin, 1989), contains an important section on the building of Rossmore Park, almost entirely based on T2929.

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