Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Heraldry in Monaghan

A short stroll around the Diamond area in Monaghan draws attention to a few coats of arms on nearby buildings.
Monaghan Courthouse

Monaghan courthouse dates from 1827 and is by Joseph Welland. Described by Mulligan as a classical box built on the site of the old Gaol. It is one of the few classical buildings attributed to Welland. The pediment bears the royal arms carved in portland stone.

The Buildings of Ireland: Sourh Ulster, Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan by Kevin V. Mulligan.

The courthouse was constructed using large blocks of creamy-coloured Carnmore Sandstone quarried at Eshnaglogh, 15km to the north-west of Monaghan. Completed at a cost of £10,000, the new courthouse was described by Samuel Lewis (1837) in effusive terms as 'a handsome modern building of hewn stone, containing spacious court-rooms and all requisite offices, and in every respect well adapted to its purpose'.  The centrepiece of the courthouse, a lofty portico addressed by a broad flight of steps, carries in its tympanum the quartered Royal coat-of-arms of the United Kingdom with three lions passant in the first and fourth quarters for England, a lion rampant in the second quarter for Scotland and a harp in the third quarter for Ireland.  The inescutcheon or smaller shield, was removed from the coat-of-arms when Queen Victoria succeeded the throne in 1837 and this dates the courthouse to the reign of King George IV.  The coat-of-arms survives today as a reminder that the nineteenth-century court system was an agent of the Crown.


Monaghan Court House

The Royal Arms on the Courthouse at Monaghan

The inescutcheon of pretence carries the arms of Hanover, that contains the white stead of Saxony (Hanover), the blue lion for Luneburg and the two lions for Brunswick.

In 1801, when George III renounced his title as King of France under the Treaty of Paris, the French quartering was removed from the royal arms and replaced by the arms of England which then occupied the first and fourth quarters, the arms of Scotland the second, and the arms of Ireland the third. For Hanover, there was an escutcheon overall surmounted by the electoral bonnet, which was replaced in 1816 by a Royal Crown (when Hanover became a Kingdom). In 1837, the Hanoverian escutcheon and crown were removed because Queen Victoria, as a woman, was unable to succeed to the throne of Hanover under Hanoverian law. The royal arms have remained unchanged since then.

The arms of George IV can be seen at:


Market House, Monaghan

The Market House was designed in 1792 by Samuel Hayes. Mulligan says it is highly pleasing Neoclassical building by an accomplished amateur for his friend, Robert Cuninghame. The building carries the inscription, "Dedicated to the convenience of the inhabitants of Monaghan by the Rt. Hon. Lieu. Gen. Robert Cuninghame M.D.CC.XC.II S.H. of Avondale Del." The S.H. of Avondale refers to Samuel Hayes. In the pediment at the west facing side, the date is carved in the frieze and pediment contains the arms of Cuninghame impaling those of Murray for Robert Cuninghame and his wife Elizabeth Murray.

The Markethouse at Monaghan

Elizabeth Murray was born c. 1733 and was the daughter of Colonel John Murray and Mary Cairnes. She married Lt-Gen Robert Cuninghame, ist Baron Rossmore son of Colonel David Cuninghame and Margaret Callader on 29 May 1754. She died in 1824/50. As a result of her marriage, Elizabeth Murray was styled as Baroness Rossmore on 19 October 1796. Elizabeth's sister, Harriet Murray married Henry Westenra, son of Warner Westenra and Lady Hester Lambart, on 29 November 1764. Lord Rossmore died childless and was succeeded according to the special remainder by his nephew Warner William Westenra, the second Baron.

The impaled arms of Cuninghame and Murray and the family crest.

The Westerna arms and the Town Hall

The Westenra Arms was by William Hague who had canvassed the Rossmore agent for the commission in 1872. The same architect also added the Town Hall into the narrow site to the east. The pediment carries the Rossmore arms in red sandstone.

The arms are described on page 647 in Debrett's Peerage 1847.

or can be found in GoogleBooks under Baron Rossmore Westerna

Even though part of the arms are missing in the pediment of the 'Hall' the arms appear to match those depicted on the stained glass window in Monaghan Church of Ireland. They are the quartered arms of Westerna and Cairnes with an inescutcheon for Murray.

The arms at the Westerna Hotel (Monaghan Town Hall)

The 'Rossmore' Stained-Glass Window at Monaghan Church of Ireland

The Rossmore Achievement of Arms at Monaghan carrying the quartered arms of Westerna and Cairnes along with an inescutcheon of pretence for Murray.

The inscription on the Rossmore Window at Monaghan.

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