Eustace Families Association

Our Eustice family comes from Ireland.  We do not know which city they emigrated from or when.  But our guess is around 1840`s and the city of Dublin.

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Barretstown near Ballymore Eustace

Map showing location of Barretstown

The adjoining townlands of Barretstown, Dowdenstown (Great and Little) and Elverstown, in Tipperkevin Parish, are located about two miles north of Ballymore Eustace, and until the Dissolution in 1547 formed part of the Ballymore estates of the Archbishop of Dublin. (There is liable to be confusion between these two townlands (near Ballymore Eustace) and those of Dowdingstown and Barrettstown (south and west of Naas), which were also Eustace lands; see Castlekeely).

Barretstown stands on the site of a late 12th century Anglo-Norman Castle and is rumoured to have been built around the original keep of that ancient edifice. The core of the castle is a old Eustace Tower house which guarded the pale. The present early Victorian castle was built around the old Eustace tower house by the Borrowes family in the early 19th century.

 

In Archbishop Allen’s Register it is recorded for the period 1256-66 that “Eustace son of Godfrey” paid wax- rent, with a note by the Archbishop “perhaps for Barretstown.” (If Eustace, son of Godfrey was a member of the Eustace family, this is certainly one of the earliest references

 

 to the name.)

 

The Castle was held by the Eustace family on a series of ‘permanent leases’ for about two centuries. In 1532, Oliver Eustace held Barretstown in a lease directly from the Archbishop while the head-rents of adjacent Dowdenstown and Tipperkevin were paid to the Eustaces of Confey by James, John and Henry Eustace.

 

Barretstown Castle is mentioned in a 1547 inquisition held after the suppression of religious houses, when Barretstown Castle was listed as the property of the Archbishop of Dublin, from whom it was promptly confiscated by the English crown. The fate of these lands at the time of the Dissolution is not known but by the mid-sixteenth century we find constant references to Eustaces settled in this area.

 

Walter of Elverstown and Alexander of Dowdenstown lost their estates in 1641, but Alexander who died in 1643 was declared in 1663 to have been an innocent Papist and the lands restored to his son Walter Eustace. (Walter Eustace’s lands included 403 acres in Tipperkevin partly from Baltinglass forfeitures. They included Morganstown, Elverstown (180 acres), Burgagemocle (10 acres) and 42 acres near Ballymore Eustace called Talbot’s and Bennett’s lands. The estate contained four castles. Forenaughts Great had been mortgaged to Alexander in 1640 to save it from confiscation.)

 

Walter Eustace appears to have been succeeded by a nephew Colonel Richard Eustace of Dowdenstown and Barretstown, son of Maurice who died in 1660. Colonel Richard Eustace, having been commissioned an ensign in 1673 and captain in 1681, he was lieutenant-colonel and second-in-command of Lord Gormanston’s (the 9th) Regiment in King James’s army, and was wounded at both Derry and Aughrim. His lands, forfeited in 1690, were restored under the Treaty of Limerick. Richard Eustace first married in 1670 Dorothy Hill, great-aunt of Viscount Hillsborough (father of 1st Marquess of Downshire), and their daughter, Anne, married James Eustace of Yeomanstown. He married secondly Margaret, daughter of Thomas Aylmer of Lyons, by whom he had a son Maurice Eustace on whose death the estate passed from the family. (Margaret Eustace, nee Aylmer claimed in 1719 against the estate of Sir Maurice Eustace of Harristown for a legacy bequeathed to her son Maurice, and also for a debt owed jointly to him and Richard of Naas (deceased vide p. 336).

 

Honour Eustace together with Richard Eustace of Dowdenstown, are listed on the Convert Rolls when they converted from Catholicism to Protestantism. Both were enrolled in February 1765.

 

Early in the 18th century the Borrowes family, Baronets of Giltown, acquired the Barretstown estate, and retained possession for some 200 years. The Borrowes family housed the Kilcullen effigy (q.v.), now housed in St John's Church at Ballymore Eustace, until they left Ireland and vacated Barretstown in 1919.

 

Unlike the Eustaces of the 16th and 17th centuries, the five Burrowes Baronets who spanned the 19th century played no part in public life. This quiet aristocratic reign ended with the flamboyant Sir Kildare, 10th Baronet (1852-1924), whose father Rev. Sir Erasmus Borrowes, 8th Baronet, had significantly modified the residence in a medieval, romantic, asymmetrical style.

 

In 1918/19, Barretstown was purchased from the Borrowes by Sir George Sheppard Murray, a Scotsman who converted the estate into a fine stud farm, and planted many of the exotic trees that dominate the landscape.

 

In 1962 Elizabeth Arden, perfume manufacturer, who acquired the Castle from the Murray family. Over five years, Ms Arden applied her famous talents for beauty and style to an extensive reconstruction, redecoration and refurnishing of the Castle. Her influence dominates the look of the house to this day. The door of Barretstown Castle is reputed to have been painted red after her famous brand of perfume 'Red Door', and remains so to this day.

 

After Ms Arden’s death in 1967, the international biscuit tycoon Garfield Weston took up residence. Under his ownership the grounds were significantly improved, particularly through the addition of a magnificent lake in front of the Castle.

 

The Weston family, which owns Dublin’s famous department store Brown Thomas, presented the estate to the Irish Government in 1977, during which time it was used for national and international conferences and seminars, as well as being used as a part of the Irish National Stud. Barretstown Castle is now a "Gang Camp" for children afflicted with serious illnesses such as cancer, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, HIV/AIDS, and many other life-threatening disorders. Children of all ages attend. The Gang Camp is sponsored by the film actor Paul Newman. This camp was the first outside of the U.S., and is located in a castle in County Kildare, Ireland. More than 1,000 children ages 7 to 16 from 20 different countries attend camp there each year. The multi-lingual, multinational staff members provide a safe, supportive environment.

If you know any more about Barretstown's past or have photos please email us or call 00 353 45 864115.

These pages Ronald Eustice, 2008