Rathnally House

Rathnally House is downstream from Trim on the north bank of the Boyne. It was constructed in the early eighteenth century for Thomas Carter, Master of the Rolls. The house was much altered in the nineteenth century. The eighteenth century character can be seen in the garden and the front and river elevation. The three storey house was designed by Edward Lovett Pearse.

Thomas Carter married a first cousin of Edward Lovett Pearce.  Pearce was MP for Ratoath and designed the Houses of Parliament in Dublin, now the Bank of Ireland. There was a four storey block in existence at Rathnally, and Pearce designed a block to the rear. He captured a view of the Boyne in the four windows of the drawing room. Below the drawing room is a vaulted kitchen and above a coved bedroom.

Carter's town house on Henrietta Street was also designed by Edward Lovett Pearce.

The architecture of Edward Lovett Pearce and his connection to Rathnally is explored in an article by Jeremy Williams in the Irish Arts Review Yearbook 2001.

Thomas Carter served with distinction at Derry and the Boyne. He managed to capture the books and writings of James II at the Battle of the Boyne. He acquired a large estate of confiscated lands at Robertstown, Ashbourne, after the Battle of the Boyne. Thomas married Isabella, the dowager Countess Roscommon in 1702 by which marriage he acquired the extensive Roscommon estates in and around Trim. Thomas acquired an estate at Castle Martin, Co. Kildare.

His son, the Rt, Hon. Thomas Carte was a very active parliamentarian. He was a major political figure in the mid eighteenth century in Ireland, becoming MP for Trim, Co. Meath 1719-27. He was then returned for Hillsborough, Dungarvan, and Lismore, choosing to sit for Hillsborough 1727-61. Thomas Carter was made Master of the Rolls in Ireland in 1731, a position he held until 1754.

Thomas Carter was noted for his rudeness and his loathing of English interference in Irish affairs. His satirical lampooning of political opponents earned him the nickname 'Vicious Carter.' He opposed Wood's Halfpence. In 1729 he was a leading figure in one of the early road acts. He was a founder member of the Dublin Society, later the RDS. In 1763, the Dublin Journal recorded that he built some very useful mills. A mill house stands close to Rathnally House.

Thomas Carter married Mary Claxton in 1719 at St Anne's, Dublin. She was the first-cousin of Edward Lovett Pearce. Carter's son-in-law, Philip Twisden, Bishop of Raphoe, was shot dead allegedly masquerading as a highwayman in London. Twisden's daughter, Frances, Carter's grand daughter, became countess of Jersey and mistress to King George IV of England.

Thomas Carter died at Rathnally in 1763, and is buried at St Patrick's Cathedral, Trim.

Carter‟s eldest son, also Thomas married Anna Armytage, twelve days after his father's death. They had only one child, a daughter, Amma Maria who married Skeffington Thompson in 1779. Skeffington was the son of Thomas Thompson of Muckamore, Co. Antrim. Their son, Robert, joined the church and was rector of Navan and Athlumney for a period. In 1802 Skeffington Thompson unsuccessfully stood for parliament in the county Meath constituency. Skeffington Thompaon of Rathnally died in 1810 and was succeeded by his son, John.

John Thompson was High Sheriff of Meath in 1824. In the 1830s Rathnally was described as the seat of J. Thompson, Esq., and pleasantly situated in a well-planted demesne on the banks of the Boyne. John Thompson died unmarried in 1858 and was succeeded by his brother Willam. William was recorded as holding 2154 acres in county Meath in  1876. William was High Sheriff of Meath in 1896 and died in 1901.

Francis d'Arcy Thompson was born in  1865 and educated at Cambridge. He was a descendant of the Rev. Skeffington Thompson, son of Skeffington of Rathnally, who had married a d'Arcy of Westmeath. In 1908 Francis married his cousin, Annie Eleanor, only daughter of William Thompson of Rathnally and came to live at Rathnally. In 1911  Frances D‟Arcy Thompson and his family lived at Rathnally. Mrs A.E.d'Arcy Thompson was a noted breeder of poodles and exhibited at Crufts.

Major d'Arcy Percival Pelham Thompson served in the Second World War. He inherited Rathnally from his aunt in  1952 . His wife founded a flower show at Rathnally. Major Thomson died in 1973. At that stage the estate amounted to 200 acres.

Source: meath-roots.com