Gerrard of Gibbstown

Gibbstown House was situated south-east of Kells near Clongill.  The lands originally belonged to the Plunketts but came into the ownership of the Gerrard family.  Thomas Gerrard settled at Gibbstown and died in 1719.  His son, John, was his heir at Gibbstown.  Another son, Thomas, lived at Liscarton.  A third son, Samuel, lived at Clongill.  Samuel was a friend and correspondent of Swift and Pope.  In 1780 Arthur Young called at Gibbstown, where Mr. Gerrard had one of the most considerable farms in the country.  Mr. Gerrard explained his system of management to Young who recorded it in his book which he hoped would help improve agriculture in Ireland.  John Gerrard married Margaret Flood of Castleknock and was succeeded by his only son, Thomas.  His eldest son, John, succeeded him but the property then went to Thomas, the son of the third son who had settled at Boyne Hill.

John had married Marcella, daughter and heiress of Frederick Netterville of Longford, Co. Galway but they had no children.  Marcella Gerrard eventually came to inherit a large estate in county Galway.  As she died in 1865 without an heir the Courts decided that her estates should be divided into three portions for different relatives.

In 1837 Gibbstown was described as a gentleman's seat situated in a well-planted demesne of about 1270 statute acres.  Thomas succeeded his uncle and went on to be High Sheriff of Meath in 1863 and of Cavan in 1893.  Thomas died in 1913 and as he had no children his two sisters, Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Collins inherited.  Thomas Gerrard replaced the original house with a very impressive Italianate house, constructed 1871-72.  The house complete with a campanile was constructed of Ardbraccan limestone.  Designed by W.H. Lynn of Belfast the house had 63 bedrooms and a terraced garden.  The house was badly damaged by fire in 1912 and re-built 1912-14.  The Dublin Fire Brigade came to put out the fire, travelling the thirty six miles in one hour and twenty minutes.  It took seven and a half hours to put out the fire, the top floor was destroyed but the ground floor saved.  It was the first major use of motorised fire brigade in the county.

A new church at Donaghpatrick was constructed in 1895, funded by Thomas Gerrard and his sisters, Mrs. Collins and Mrs. Johnston, of Gibbstown House.  The medieval tower was incorporated into the new structure.  Major Thomas Collins-Gerrard bred Troytown, winner of the Grand National in 1920.  The win was celebrated by bonfires in Navan and on the road to Gibbstown.  Gibbstown was designated a Gaeltacht area in the 1930s when migrants from Mayo, Kerry, Donegal and Cork Gaeltachts settled in the area.

The house was demolished in 1965 and the fabric of the house was purchased by the monks at New Mellifont, Collon who intended to reconstruct the entire building.  The stones were numbered for re-erection but the project never took place.  A cast-iron aviary from the house was reerected in the West End arcade in Drogheda.  An extensive farmyard complex of stone and brick buildings, a red brick gate house and two semi detached red brick houses erected by Thomas Gerrard, and a number of cottages survive from the estate.  The grandiose set of circular cast-iron gates at the entrance to the house is now a protected structure.

There is a Gibbstown in New Jersey and an ale called St. Peter's beer was first brewed by an innkeeper named Thomas Gerrard at Gibbstown near Philadelphia.


Gerrard and Netterville

The descendants of a younger son of the 1st Viscount Netterville established an estate at Lecarrow, parish of Killosolan, near Mountbellew, county Galway, in the early 18th century.  Nicholas Netterville of Lecarrow was married twice.  Marcella Gerrard was descended from his first marriage to Mary Burke of Glinsk and James Netterville 7th Viscount of Coarsefield from his second marriage to Mary Beytagh.  The process whereby Marcella Gerrard eventually came to inherit the Netterville estate in county Galway is well recorded by Charles Synnott.  As Marcella Gerrard appears to have died intestate there were many claimants to her large real and personal estate following her death in 1865, including members of the Davies, Netterville, Lawrence and Fallon families who were all related to her.  The estate was eventually divided into three parts which were given to Arthur James Netterville, 8th Viscount, John Fallon and Sir Samuel Bradstreet.  The county Tipperary estate of the the Viscount Netterville was located in the parish of Baptistgrange, barony of Middlethird.  In the 1870s the 8th Viscount Netterville owned 1,713 acres in county Galway, 72 acres in county Mayo, 1,202 acres in county Tipperary and 417 acres in county Meath.

A book by John J. Fallon entitled A Better Deed, is a fictional history of this estate.  Ellen Mary Netterville offered for sale 180 acres of her estate in the barony of Castlereagh, County Roscommon, in the Landed Estates' Court in 1860.

Source: meath-roots.com