Monday, 2 July 2012

heraldry at Borris House

Borris House, Co Carlow is home to the Kavanagh family, where the MacMurrough Kavanaghs resided. Andrew MacMurrough Kavanagh married in 1970 Tina Murray,  Morgan Kavanagh their son also lives on the estate.

The family church is beside the house, it was originally Catholic becoming Church of Ireland later on.

The Kavanagh arms are on monuments to various family members including the arms above. The plaster work in the house is attributed to Morrison. The following photograph is taken from the Borris House website:

Curiously the Kavanagh arms over the front door carry three crescents.

The stained-glass window at Borris House is to Thomas Kavanagh (1767-1837) and his two wives. He married first in 1799 Lady Elizabeth Butler, daughter of John, 17th Earl of Ormond and second in 1825 Harriet le Poer Trench, daughter of Richard 2nd Earl Clancarty. There are twelve quarters on the stained glass and the left-most four quarters represent the arms of Trench, the centre four quarters are for Kavanagh and the right quarters are for Ormond (Butler).

Sometimes families have an older coat of arms as well the one currently in use so it is common on stained-glass to represent both as in Borris.

The Kavanagh arms are described: argent (silver) a lion passant gules (red) in base two crescents gules. The other arms are: argent six annulets azure (blue) 3, 2 and 1, on a chief azure three mullets argent. These arms were borne by John Kavanagh in 1682 in Dublin (Funeral Entry).

The Trench arms are: argent a lion passant gules between three three fleur-de-lis azure on a chief (top part) azure the sun in splendour or (gold). The Keating arms are: argent a saltire azure between four nettles vert (green).
The Power arms are argent a bend (diagonal) engrailed (curved edges) gules, on a chief gules three escallops (shells) argent. There seems to be some slight differences at Borris but it is reasonable to assume the arms are for Power. The similar Trench arms are depicted on stained glass at Tuam as shown below which are very similar to those at Borris with a minor exception for Power. The position of the Trench arms in the 2nd and 3rd quarters at Borris is not usual, their position in the 1st and 4th quarters as at Tuam is more usual as Trench in this case is the main family involved.

The Trench quarters resemble those at Tuam shown below while the Butler (Ormond) quarters resemble those at St Canice's, Cathedral, Kilkenny also shown below. 

The same issue regarding the quarters occurs also for Kavanagh and Ormond at Borris. Following the Borris depiction, the second and third quarters are for Trench, the first quarter is for le Poer (Power) while the fourth quarter is for Keating. These arms were confirmed to William Power Keating Trench (first Earl of Clancarty) of Garbally, Co Galway on 11 October 1797 (GO Ms. 103 page 151). His father, Richard Trench married in 1732 Frances, daughter and heir of David Power (of Coorheen, Loughrea) and Elizabeth Keating. Through this marriage the Trench family acquired the Power estates in the Baronies of Leitrim, Dunkellin and Loughrea as well as the Keating estates in Leinster which Frances had inherited from her mother, Elizabeth Keating (Website 1).
David Power’s great-grandmother was Eleanor McCarthy (wife of John Power). She was sister of Donough McCarthy who was created Earl of Clancarty in 1658. The representation of that earl was in his own descendents and not those of Eleanor (Gibbs, vol iii, page 218). On that slender connection, the Earldom of Clancarty was regranted to the Trench family in 1802 when William Trench was further elevated as first Earl of Clancarty. O’Carolan’s concerto, a tune also known as Mrs Power was composed before 1728 by the blind Irish harper, Turlough O'Carolan in praise of Frances (Fanny), the daughter and heiress of his patrons David and Elizabeth Power of Coorheen (Website 2).
Reference for Trench and Keating.
Reference for Carolan’s concerto
 The Complete Peerage, edited by Vicary Gibbs, 1913.
 National Library of Ireland, Dublin:
Confimation of Arms to William Power Keating Trench (GO Ms 103, p. 151).

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