Rathkenny House

Rathkenny House is located 4 miles northwest of Slane. The house was probably erected by Stafford Hussey about 1750. An extension was added about 1780 and in the late 19th century more extensions were added at the rear. Described as a handsome and sophisticated house it has two storeys over basement. There is a fine dining room with wooden floor, pine panelled walls and original marble fireplace and a large drawing room. The windows in kitchen are ten feet from floor level so servants could not look out to see the family or guests. The house has nine bedrooms. To the rear of the house is a stone and brick courtyard with overhead lofts and a series of traditional outbuildings and dog kennels. North of the house lies the walled garden. In the grounds are some of the largest yew trees in Ireland today. To the east of the house stands a portal tomb.

The Hussey family arrived in Ireland with the Normans and quickly established themselves as Barons of Galtrim, an area south of Trim which had been granted to them by Hugh de Lacy. In the early fifteenth century Matthew Hussey, baron of Galtrim, married Margaret, heiress to the Petit estate of Rathkenny. As early as 1640 the Husseys were at Rathkenny. In 1640 Henry Hussey of Galtrim held the townlands of Rathkenny, Driominstown, Horsetown and parts of Chamberstown and Coghalstown. Stafford Hussey, Baron of Galtrim and his wife, Mary Anne, were interred at Rathkenny under a tabletop tomb in the 1770s.

The tombstone reads: “Here lyeth the body of Mary Anne Hussey, otherwise Kirwan, wife of Stafford Hussey, Esq., Baron of Galtrim; she departed this life at twelve at noon, on the 9th of July, 1774; she had every quality that could endear her to a husband, with whom she lived forty-five years in an uninterrupted harmony; she was a tender parent, and the real friend of the poor and distressed. May her soul rest in peace. Here also lyeth the body of Stafford Hussey, Baron of Galtrim, who lived respected and died regretted the 13th January, 1776, in the 74th year of his age.”

The Husseys were a Catholic family and Bishop Plunkett of Meath stayed at Rathkenny on his visitation of 1787. At his visitation of Rathkenny in 1799 Dr. Plunkett offered "congratulations on the male and female schools established and supported by Baron Hussey and his Lady." John Hussey, son of Stafford, signed a petition to the King for the relief of Catholics in 1795. Dying in 1803 without children, he was succeeded by his brother, Thomas, who had eloped to marry Lady Mary Walpole, youngest daughter of the Earl of Oxford. Thomas was a stopgap M.P. of Aylesbury between 1809 and 1814. In Parliament he supported Catholic Relief in 1812. His only son, Edward Thomas, succeeded at Rathkenny.

In 1833 the land steward of Edward Thomas Hussey and a tenant were shot dead, it was presumed that it was a case of mistaken identity as the perpetrators had intended to kill Hussey. Three local men were brought to trial in 1834. One of the men was found guilty. Click for a report of this case.

Edward was succeeded by his son, Edward Horatio. Born in 1807 Edward married Frederica Maria Louisa Irby, daughter of the 4th Lord Boston. In 1876 Edward Hussey of Rathkenny held 2917 acres in County Meath. Their son, Horatio George succeeded but he died unmarried in 1902 and was succeeded by his brother, Algernon Frederick Edward Thomas, who was born in 1849.

The estate was sold under the Windham Land Act of 1903. Owners since then have included the Tiernan, Lane, Hornsby and Mullin families. In 1997 the house on 79 acres was sold for £350,000 to the Prince and Princess of Croy and Solre of Belgium, who were directly related to the Belgium royal family. The house was back on the market two years later with a price tag of £900,000.

Source: meath-roots.com

 

Rathkenny Parish.

RATHKENNY, a parish, 4 miles north west of Slane, and formerly in the barony of Lower Navan, but now in that of Upper Slane, co. Meath, Leinster. Length, southward, 3 1/4 miles; extreme breadth, 2 3/4; area, 5,496 acres, 10 perches. Pop., in 1831, 1,995; in 1841, 2,177. Houses 395. The surface consists of good land; and is traversed by the road from Navan to Drumcondra, and by that from Slane to Nobber. The chief seats are Rathkenny house in the north, and Mullagha house in the south; and the principal hamlets are Rathkenny, Windy harbour, and Mullaghmore.

This parish is a vicarage, and a separate benefice, in the dio. of Meath. Vicarial tithe composition and gross income, £19. 16s. 3 3/4d.; nett, £175 8s. 4 3/4d. Patron, Thos. Hussey, Esq. The incumbent holds also the perpetual, curacy of Ballymakenny, in the dio. of Armagh; and is non resident in Rathkenny. A curate receives a salary of £69 4s. 7 1/2d. The rectorial tithes are compounded for £193 2s. 1 1/2d., and are impropriate in Andrew Caldwell, Esq.
The church is situated at the village of Rathkenny, but is of unknown date of erection. Sittings 80; attendance, from 6 to 20. The Roman Catholic chapel has an attendance of from 1,200 to 1,500; and, in the Roman Catholic parochial arrangement, is united to the chapels of Slane and Stackallen. In 1834, the Protestants amounted to 48, and the Roman Catholics to 2,030; and a hedge school had on its books 39 boys and 23 girls. In 1843, a boys' school and a girls' school at Rathkenny were salaried with £15 and £9 6s. 8d. from the National Board, and had on their books 132 boys and 137 girls.
Source:
Irish Parliamentary Gazetteer 1845.