Waller, of Allenstown House

Allenstown House is located to the west of Navan near Bohermeen.  It was a large two storey house erected by William Waller about 1730.  The house and estate was purchased by the Land Commission in the 1930s and the house was demolished in 1938.  Mary Waller married Daniel Beaufort in 1767 and Daniel interested himself in later Charlesfort House modifications.  Robert Thomas Waller was the first of the family to come to Ireland in the early 1600s.  His son, John, became established at Kilmainham Castle, Kells.  John Waller received some of the Barnewall lands at Kilmainham, Kells, following the Cromwellian confiscations.  John Waller died 1713 aged 74.  John's son, Robert, purchased lands at Allenstown from Prestons of Navan and also purchased lands from Trinity College at Athgaine.  Robert Waller sheltered priests in his house while priest hunters were about in the Penal Days. The Wallers intervened to protect Fr. Barnewall P.P. Ardbraccan on a number of occasions.  Robert died 1731 aged 59 and was buried in Martry cemetery.

The noted Irish artist, Charles Jervas, painted portraits of three of the Waller family; Mary, William and Robert, in the early part of the eighteenth century.  Jervas died in 1739.  William Waller, born in 1710, was High Sheriff of Meath and it was he who erected the house at Allenstown.  In 1733 William Waller married Anna Maria Smyth, daughter of James Smyth, Archdeacon of Meath.  The Wallers were close associates of the Tisdalls, acting as executors to their wills and advisers on estate management.  William lived until 1796 when he died aged 86.  William Waller left 20 guineas to the poor of Ardbraccan and Martry and "4 guineas per annum to his poor, drunken, but honest servant, Pat G… (if in my service at the time of my demise) to keep him from starving, as I am sure no one will hire him after I am gone‟.

At the start of the 1800s many families around Kells had their own packs of foxhounds but about 1816 they amalgamated the packs and called them the Clongill Hounds, which in 1832 became the Meath Hounds.  The Waller family kept the Meath hounds initially at Allenstown, but around 1880 they were moved to new kennels built by John Tisdall at Nugentstown.

Mary Waller married Daniel Augustus Beaufort, rector of Navan, in 1767. Their son was Admiral Francis Beaufort, devisor of the Beaufort Windscale.  Their relative, the novelist, Maria Edgeworth, visited Allenstown.  William's successor, Robert, died in 1809 without an heir and the property devolved to William‟s grand-nephew, Rev. Mungo Henry Noble, rector of Clongill who took the name and arms of the Waller family.  In 1812 Edward Wakefield said Mr. Waller of Allenstown had 1300 acres wasted with thistles and ragworth.  In 1837 Allanstown, the seat of W. H. Waller was described as a handsome residence situated in a well planted demesne of about 700 acres, including a deerpark.

In the demesne was Faughan Hill, the summit of which was planted.  James Noble Waller was High Sheriff of Meath in 1845.  In 1838 he married Julia Tisdall from nearby Charlesfort.  Their son, William Newcombe Waller, was born in 1839 and was High Sheriff of Meath in 1880.  The second son, James Henry Waller, became an engineer and died in Banda Oriental, South America, in what is now called Uruguay.  In 1883 William N. Waller held 2687 acres in county Meath.  In 1895 he began a herd of pedigree Hereford cattle.  In 1901 William N. Noble was living at Allenstown with four servants. In 1877 Edmund Noble Waller, son of James Waller, married Maria Louisa Noble, daughter of Robert Noble, rector of Athboy.  In 1911 Edmund Waller and his wife, Maria, lived at Allenstown with three servants.

In 1920 the final family owner was Vice-Admiral Arthur William Craig who took the name Waller in 1920 in order to inherit the estate from his distant relative.  Craig had served in the Navy and been in command of a ship at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.  Vice Admiral A. Craig Waller presented a perpetual challenge cup to Bohermeen Cycling Club in 1937.  In the late 1930s the property was sold to the Irish Land Commission and the estate broken up. The house was demolished in 1938.  Craig Waller died in 1943. His son, Commander Michael Waller Beaufort Craig Waller, served in World War II and also the Korean War.

Source: meath-roots.com


Michael Waller Beaufort Craig-Waller was born in Allenstown, Meath, Eire, in April 1911, the son of Captain Arthur Craig-Waller, R.N., who would be advanced to Vice-Admiral and awarded a C.B. for his command of the battleship H.M.S. Barham at Jutland.
Assistant Gunnery Officer - the “Altmark” incident:

Young Michael was appointed a Midshipman in the Royal Navy in September 1929 and, by the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, was serving as a Lieutenant and Assistant Gunnery Officer in the destroyer Cossack, then under Commander R. St. V. Sherbrooke, R.N., who would win a V.C. for the Battle of Barents Sea, but later still under Captain Philip Vian, R.N. And it was with Vian in command on 16 February 1940 that Cossack hit the headlines for her part in boarding and capturing the German auxiliary Altmark in Josing Fjord, Norway - the latter’s holds being crammed with some 300 British merchant seamen.

As a result of the unfortunate delays caused by the implications of the Altmark being in neutral waters, and the presence of two Norwegian torpedo-boats ordered to prevent British intervention, Vian had patiently awaited Admiralty orders before embarking on his desperate mission, but when they arrived, with all the hallmarks of the First Sea Lord, Winston Churchill’s hand upon it, he moved swiftly. Vian’s account takes up the story:

‘Having placed Cossack in a position from which our pom-poms could play upon Norwegian decks, whilst their torpedo tubes were no instant menace to us, I said we could parley no longer, and must board and search the Altmark forthwith, whether we fought them or not. Kjell’s captain decided that honour was served by submitting to superior force, and withdrew. On rounding the bend in the fjord, Altmark at last came into view. She lay bows inshore, encased in ice, her great bulk standing black against the snow-clad mountains.

Thoughts of the six-inch guns with which the Altmark was said to be armed were naturally in our minds. Though our own guns were manned we were obviously an easy target, and the enemy’s first shots might well immobilise us at once.  here was nothing for it, however, but to go ahead and get to grips as quickly as possible.

The Altmark Captain was determined to resist being boarded.  On sighting Cossack, he trained his searchlight on our bridge to blind the command, and came astern at full power through the channel which his entry into the ice had made.  His idea was to ram us.  Unless something was done very quickly the great mass of the tanker’s counter was going to crash heavily into Cossack’s port bow.

There followed a period of manoeuvring in which disaster, as serious collision must have entailed, was avoided by the skill of my imperturbable navigator, McLean, and by the speed with which the main engine manoeuvring valves were operated by their artificers.

Lieutenant Bradwell Turner, the leader of the boarding party, anticipated Cossack’s arrival alongside Altmark with a leap which became famous.  Petty Officer Atkins, who followed him, fell short, and hung by his hands until Turner heaved him on deck.  The two quickly made fast a hemp hawser from Cossack’s fo’c’s’le, and the rest of the party scrambled across.

When Turner arrived on Altmark’s bridge he found the engine telegraphs set to full speed in an endeavour to force Cossack ashore. On Turner’s appearance, the captain and others surrendered, except the third officer, who interfered with the telegraphs, which Turner had set to stop. Turner forbore to shoot him.

It was now clear that as a result of her manoeuvres Altmark would ground by the stern, which she did, but not before Cossack, the boarding party all being transferred, had cast off, to avoid the same fate. It was expected, with the surrender of the German captain, that the release of our prisoners would be a drawing-room affair.  That this was not so was due to the action of a member of the armed guard which Graf Spee had put aboard.  He gratuitously shot Gunner Smith, of the boarding party, in an alleyway.  This invoked retaliation, upon which the armed guard decamped; they fled across the ice, and began to snipe the boarding party from an eminence on shore.  Silhouetted against the snow they made easy targets, and their fire was quickly silenced by Turner and his men.

In the end German casualties were few, six killed and six badly wounded.  The boarding party had none, save unlucky Gunner Smith, and even he was not fatally wounded. Resistance overcome, Turner was able to turn to the business of the day. The prisoners were under locked hatches in the holds; when these had been broken open Turner hailed the men below with the words: “Any British down there?”  He was greeted with a tremendous yell of “Yes! We’re all British!” “Come on up then,” said Turner, “The Navy’s here!” I received many letters from the public after this affair: a number wrote to say that, as I had failed to shoot, or hang, the captain of Altmark, I ought to be shot myself.’

In point of fact Vian and his crew were hailed as heroes the land over, Winston Churchill setting the pace with mention of their exploits in an address to veterans of the Battle of the River Plate at the Guildhall just four days after the Altmark had been boarded:

“To the glorious action of the Plate there has recently been added an epilogue - the rescue last week by the Cossack and her flotilla - under the noses of the enemy, and amid the tangles of one-sided neutrality - the rescue of British captives from the sunken German raider - your friend, the one you sunk.  Their rescue at the very moment when these unhappy men were about to be delivered over to indefinite German bondage, proves that the long arm of British sea power can be stretched out, not only to foes, but also to faithful friends.  And to Nelson’s immortal signal of 135 years ago:  ‘England expects that every man will do his duty’ - there may now be added last week’s not less proud reply: ‘The Navy is here!’ ”

Vian and Turner were awarded the D.S.O., two officers the D.S.C., and eight ratings the D.S.M., and though not himself honoured, we may be sure Craig-Waller played a significant part in the affair in his capacity as Cossack’s Assistant Gunnery Officer.

Atlantic and Pacific
In March 1940, he was appointed Gunnery Officer of the destroyer Zulu, a component of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, commanded by his old boss Philip Vian, still in Cossack, and was subsequently employed on escort work in the Atlantic.

Having then been borne on the books of the submarine depot ship Maidstone from September 1940 until February 1941, and held a short lived appointment in Drake, he joined the cruiser Dorsetshire as Gunnery Officer in June 1941, aboard which ship he was advanced Commander in January 1942, but from which he was transferred to hospital shortly before her loss to Japanese aircraft in the Indian Ocean.

Returning home, Craig-Waller next served at the Londonderry base Ferret from August until December 1943, in addition to another shore appointment in Excellent in the period April to June 1944.  But two months later he returned to sea in the cruiser Newfoundland, in which ship he served with the British Pacific Fleet, and was present in operations supporting the 6th (Australian) Division in the Aitape-Wewak campaign and in the attack on the Japanese naval base at Truk in the Caroline Islands.

Having then taken part in the bombardment of the city of Kamaishi on 9 August 1945, Newfoundland formed part of the British force that took control of the naval base at Yokosuka.  Moreover, on 2 September 1945, she was present in Tokyo Bay when the Instrument of Surrender was signed aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. Craig-Waller was mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 11 June 1946 refers).

Korea and beyond
Advanced to Commander in December 1947, he was appointed captain of the frigate Whitesand Bay in February 1952, in which capacity he was awarded the D.S.C, for his leadership and gallantry off Korea, where she was deployed with the Allied Task Group off the west coast for blockade, patrol and bombardment duties.  Having then undergone a refit at Singapore, Whitesand Bay returned to the west coast of Korea in early 1953, where she came under fire from enemy shore batteries in the Paengyong-do area and delivered a 50 round response, and she was en route to the Haeju Estuary for the planned withdrawal of R.O.K. troops when the Armistice was declared that October.  In the interim, she had attended the Coronation Day ceremonies in Hong Kong.

Craig-Waller, who received his D.S.C. at an investiture held on 27 October 1953, was placed on the Retired List in April 1961, and died in Kensington, London, in July 1998.


ALLANSTOWN, a conspicuous hill on the left of the great road from Dublin to Enmskillen, 4 miles northwest of Navan, co. Meath, Leinster. It is partially wooded, and forms a remarkable feature in the landscape for many miles round. The demesne of Allanstown includes the hill, and stretches along its northern base.

Ballybeg the oldest and most extensive tree nursery in Ireland, in the neighbourhood of the hill of Allanstown, a few miles from Navan, on the road thence to Dublin.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer 0f Ireland, 1844-1845 Vol.1.