From the Hornridge family to present day
Tulfarris House derives its name from the land it is situated on. Tulfarris comes from the Gaelic ‘Tulach Fherghuis’ meaning Fergus’ Hill.
From a document known as the Faints, which contains legal judgements from the Tudor period, it is clear that the lands known as Tulfarris were included with the manor of Rathmore, Co. Kildare. This estate was in the possession of Gerald Fitzgerald (Garret Oge), 9th Earl of Kildare. Until 1534, the Fitzgerald dynasty dominated both the lands and events that occurred in much of Ireland. The rebellion of Gerald’s son Thomas, popularly known as Silken Thomas, resulted in the confiscation of the entire estate by the crown. In 1541, the crown to Walter Troot, Vicar of Rathmore, leased the manors of Rathmore, including Tulfarris.
Shortly afterwards in 1545, the lands were granted in full to Sir John Travers, a knight from Monkstown, Co. Dublin. Sir John Travers had an heir by his first marriage, Henry. Henry married Gennet Preston, daughter of the third Viscount of Gormanstown. Henry however, died young leaving two daughters, Mary & Catherine. John Travers died in 1562 and the lands were inherited by Henry’s daughters, Mary & Catherine.
Mary married James Eustace, 3rd Viscount of Baltinglass. After James played a leading role in the Desmond Rebellion of 1579, The Baltinglass estate including Mary’s share of Rathmore, were confiscated by the crown. Mary managed to have her share of the estate returned to her in her husband’s lifetime.
Her sister Catherine married John Cheevers of Macetown, Co. Meath. Catherine’s share of the Rathmore Estate included Tulfarris and was inherited by Catherine’s son Henry. Henry in turn married Catherine Fitzwilliam and their son Walter inherited the title to Tulfarris. Inquisitions dated 24th September 1640, detail the size of the estate at the time of Henry Cheever’s death. According to this document, Tulfarris contained one ruined Castle, 20 messuages, 70 acres of land and a manor.
Tulfarris’ turbulent history continued and in a list of outlaws intended for the House of Lords and dated 1641-1647, five entries for Tulfarris were found. During that time, the crown again confiscated Tulfarris.
Tulfarris and other properties were granted to Colonel Randall Clayton on 15th October 1667, in trust for the officers of the Cromwellian soldiers of 1649. Tulfarris was subsequently granted to Captain John Hunt of the Cromwellian soldiers of 1649. His son, Vere Hunt, later sold the land to John Borrowes of Ardenode, Co. Kildare. In 1713, Robert Graydon of Russellstown held Tulfarris. The means of transfer of ownership between Borrowes and Graydon is uncertain, however, Borrowe’s niece and granddaughter both married Graydons.
Much of the house’s more recent history is associated with the Hornridge family who held the land from the early eighteenth century until the 1950’s. James Hornridge came to Ireland from Gloucseter with Cromwell’s parliamentary Army in 1659 and settled in Colemanna in Co. Carlow.
The Historical information regarding how the Hornridge’s came to own Tulfarris is unclear. His son Richard Hornridge married Hester Hogshaw of Burgage, Blessington Co. Wicklow in 1699. It is most likely that Tulfarris came into the Hornridge’s possession through this marriage.
The Hornridge Family
The Hornridge family had firmly settled in Tulfarris by the time Richard Hornridge’s death in 1740. Richard left Tulfarris in his will to his son Richard. In 1759 Richard married Mary Wetherelt and their son, also Richard inherited the estate. Richard, a major, was active in Wicklow Yeomanry at the time of the 1798 rebellion. Ownership of Tulfarris passed to Major Richard’s eldest son, Richard Joseph (1803-1859). Tulfarris and its inhabitants from that era are regularly referred to in the Irish Journals of Elizabeth Smith, 1840-1850,
The Hornridges, like the other local gentry, were frequent guests at Baltyboys and Russborough, and socialised regularly with their neighbours. This social circle included the Marquis of Downshire, owner of Blessington and one of the principal landlords in the country.
Richard Joseph was succeeded by his brother Edward (died in 1874) and then by Edward’s son, also called Richard Joseph (1863-1911). Captain Edward Stuart Hornridge (1887-1965), Richard Joseph’s son was the last of the line at Tulfarris. In the late 1950’s, he moved to Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin with his second wife, Thelma Stannus, sister of the choreographer Dame Ninnette De Valois, who celebrated her 100 birthday in 1998, and the author of the ballet photographer Gordan Anthony, all of whom were born at Baltyboy’s House.
Creation of Beautiful Blessington Lakes
In the late 1930s, Dublin (and most of Ireland) had a very poor infrastructure when it came to supplying water to the thousands of people living in the city. The new Government at the time decided to create a reservoir in Blessington to provide Dublin with water. The lake was therefore man-made with the construction of the Poulaphouca Dam and hydroelectric station. The move was not without controversy at the time as communities were uprooted and not all farmers in the area were fully reimbursed for the loss of land. The reservoir is still active today, supplying water and electricity to Dublin and the surrounding areas. Despite initial reservations, the lakes provide great resources to the local area and enhance the natural beauty of Wicklow.
One fascinating fact about the lakes that isn’t very widely known is that there is an old town under the water. Think of the ancient deserted town of Pompeii, without the lava and tragedy of course! As water levels rose, the lakes gradually submerged over 5000 acres of farmland, bog and even a town which was home to 70 families. In the summer of 2018, an extremely hot and dry summer which had a detrimental effect on Ireland’s water supplies, our staff reported that the walls of the houses, bridges, piers and the remnants of old farm machinery become visible. The village was originally called Ballinahown and some of the people who used to live in the town are still alive today and living locally.
James Hornridge Moved to Ireland
James Hornridge came to Ireland from Gloucseter with Cromwell’s parliamentary Army in 1659 and settled in Colemanna in Co. Carlow.
Richard Hornridge married Hester Hogshaw
His son Richard Hornridge married Hester Hogshaw of Burgage, Blessington Co. Wicklow. It is most likely that Tulfarris came into the Hornridge’s possession through this marriage.
Richard’s Son Inherits Tulfarris
The Hornridge family had firmly settled in Tulfarris by the time Richard Hornridge’s death in 1740. Richard left Tulfarris in his will to his son Richard. Yeomanry at the time of the 1798 rebellion
Richard III married Mary Wetherelt
In 1759 Richard married Mary Wetherelt and their son, also Richard inherited the estate. Richard, a major, was active in Wicklow
Ownership passed to Major Richard’s eldest son
Also named Richard Joseph, he managed the estate until his death in 1859
Estate is inherited by brother Edward
Do we know anything about his time or life?
Creation of Blessington Lakes
Mullens family last to live in estate
House converted into a 4 star luxury hotel