Family - Bantry Connection - Whites

The White Family and Bantry House


Bantry House seen from the Harbour

Even if you read nothing else in this Connection, I beseech you to read Irish Aesthete for an excellent account of the family history, an appraisal of the appalling prospect of much of their heritage of furniture, paintings and objets d'art being auctioned in Oct 2014 in order to pay off bank loans and keep this wonderful mansion open to the public, and a great many unique photographs of its wondrous interior.

Even the most ardently egalitarian, republican, anti-imperialist amongst us would, I suspect, admire the massively magnificent portrait of King George III (and another of his delightfully wacky consort Queen Charlotte), for example, that will be going under the hammer. Art like this just doesn't happen any more:


Those who have already seen the Hutchins & Ardnagashel link will recollect that Bantry House was originally known as Blackrock, and was built by Samuel Hutchinson in about 1720. It was subsequently sold to Richard White in 1755 ± 11, who renamed it Seafield House. Only in 1816 (as far as I recall) did it become known as Bantry House.

Over the next half-century, especially after the 2nd Earl got into gear following his Continental Grand Tour, it was greatly enlarged and elaborated, so much so in fact that the Earls themselves often preferred the less formal milieu of "Lord Bantry's Cottage", nowadays known as Glengarriff Lodge, the hunting lodge built in 1815 by the 1st Earl, in the awesome area now designated as the Glengarriff Nature reserve.


And coincidentally, whilst her parents were waiting for Ardnagashel House to be renovated after the Second World War, my wife remembers a lengthy sojourn In Glengarriff Lodge (and also, less favourably, the Eccles Hotel), a magical place, with first-storey balconies running the length and breadth of the house, which itself was filled with all kinds of stuffed animals and other curiosities and treasures.

But time and chance wreak havoc with our memories, or rather, with the erstwhile realities that they represent. The Lodge has now successfully reached its second or even third reincarnation.


Apart from the information readily available from the family gravestones in Bantry's Abbey Cemetery, I've been heavily reliant on the following websites for details of the White family history tabulated below:

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
0Simon White

of Knocksentry,
Co Limerick
  Capt Richard White
1Capt Richard White

moved from Limerick to Whiddy Island in 1690
  Richard White
(b 1701)
2Richard White
(b 1701)

of Whiddy Island

farmer, fisherman, counsellor (barrister)
Martha Davis
(m 1734)

daughter of Very Rev Rowland Davis, Dean of Cork and Ross
Simon White
(1739 – 1776)

Margaret White
(d Apr 1809)
3Simon White
(1739 – 1776)

of Seafield House
Frances Jane Hedges-Eyre
(1748 – 1816)
(m 1766)

daughter of Richard Hedges-Eyre of Mountedges and Macroom Castle

descended from the O'Sullivan Beares, the Earls of Desmond, the McCarthy's (Lord Muskerry), & the Brownes (Viscount Kenmare)
Col Simon White
(1768 – 1838)

Hamilton White
(d 1804)

Helen White

Martha White
(d 1841)

Frances White

Richard White
1st Earl of Bantry
(6 Aug 1767 – 2 May 1851)
3Margaret White
(d Apr 1809)
Richard Longfield
1st Viscount Longueville
(9 Oct 1734 – 23 May 1811)
(m 8 Nov 1756)
4Col Simon White
(1768 – 1838)

of Glengarriff Castle
Sarah Newenham 4 children
4Richard White
1st Baron Bantry,
1st Viscount Bantry,
1st Viscount Berehaven,
1st Earl of Bantry
(6 Aug 1767 – 2 May 1851)

of Bantry House

Lady Margaret Anne Hare
(1779 – 19 Jan 1835)
(m 3 or 25 Nov 1799,
with dowry of £30,000!)

eldest daughter of William Hare,
1st Earl of Listowel
Richard White
2nd Earl of Bantry
(16 Nov 1800 – 16 Jul 1868)

William Henry Hare (White) Hedges-White
3rd Earl of Bantry
(10 Nov 1801 – 15 Jan 1884)

on 7 Sep 1840 his surname was legally changed to Hedges-White by Royal Licence

Lady Maria White
(10 Nov 1805 – Jun 1807 or 1817)

Hon Simon White
(Mar 1807 – 1837)

Hon Robert (White) Hedges-White
(b 31 Mar 1810)

presumably his surname was also legally changed to Hedges-White by Royal Licence
5Richard White1  2
2nd Baron Bantry,
2nd Viscount Bantry,
2nd Viscount Berehaven,
2nd Earl of Bantry1  2
(16 Nov 1800 – 16 Jul 1868)

of Bantry House

Lady Mary O'Brien
(d 19 Jul 1853)
(m 11 Oct 1836)

second daughter of William O'Brien, 2nd Marquess of Thomond
5Col William Henry Hare Hedges-White
3rd Baron Bantry,
3rd Viscount Bantry,
3rd Viscount Berehaven
3rd Earl of Bantry
(10 Nov 1801 – 15 Jan 1884)

of Bantry House
Jane Herbert
(d 7 Jan 1898)
(m 16 Apr 1845)

fourth daughter of Charles Herbert of
Muckross House, Co Kerry
Emily Anne Hedges-White
(d 5 Sep 1860)

Lady Elizabeth Mary Gore Hedges-White
(29 Jan 1847 – 1 Oct 1880)

Lady Olivia Charlotte Hedges-White
(25 or 27 Aug 1850 – 13 Dec 1925

Lady Ina Maude Hedges-White
(20 May 1852 – 8 Jun 1907)

William Henry Hare Hedges-White
4th Earl of Bantry
(2 Jul 1854 – 30 Nov 1891

Lady Jane Frances Anna Hedges-White
(2 Aug 1857 – 13 Feb 1946)
5Hon Robert Hedges-White
(b 1810)
Unknown Richard White
(c 1864 – 18 May 1886)
6Lady Elizabeth Mary Gore Hedges-White
(29 Jan 1847 – 1 Oct 1880)
Egerton Leigh
(13 Jul 1843 – 18 Oct 1928)
(m 5 Aug 1874)

eldest son of Egerton Leigh, of Jodrell Hall, Cheshire
Margaret Elizabeth Egerton Leigh
(d 24 Nov 1955)

Edward Egerton (Leigh) Leigh-White
(23 Jun 1876 – 28 Feb v1920)

on 26 Jul 1897 his surname was legally changed to Leigh-White by Royal Licence.
6Lady Olivia Charlotte Hedges-White
(25 or 27 Aug 1850 – 13 Dec 1925
Sir Arthur Edward Guinness
1st & last Baron Ardilaun of Ashford
(1 Nov 1840 – 20 Jan 1915)
(m 16 Feb 1871)

son of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, 1st Bt.
6Lady Ina Maude Hedges-White
(20 May 1852 – 8 Jun 1907)
Sewallis Edward Shirley, 10th Earl Ferrers
(24 Jan 1847 – 26 Jul 1912
(m 24 Oct 1885)

2nd son of Washington Sewallis Shirley, 9th Earl Ferrers

and Lady Augusta Annabella Chichester
6William Henry Hare Hedges-White
4th Baron Bantry,
4th Viscount Bantry,
4th Viscount Berehaven
4th Earl of Bantry
(2 Jul 1854 – 30 Nov 1891)

of Bantry House

All his titles became extinct at his death, and Bantry House passed via his deceased eldest sister Lady Elizabeth Mary Gore (Hedges-White) Leigh to her son Edward Egerton Leigh.
Rosamond Catharine Petre MBE
(25 Aug 1857 – 5 Feb 1942)
(m 18 Feb 1886)

daughter of Hon. Edmund George Petre
6Lady Jane Frances Anna Hedges-White
(2 Aug 1857 – 13 Feb 1946)
Edward Maxwell Kenney-H(u/er)bert
(10 Dec 1845 – 24 Jan 1916)
(m 6 Jan 1876)

youngest son of Rev Arthur Kennedy-H(u/er)bert
7Margaret Elizabeth Egerton Leigh
(d 24 Nov 1955)
Lt Col Richard Oliver Marton CMG DSO
(1872 – 12 May 1945)
(m 4 April 1899)

2nd son of Col George Blucher Heneage Marton
7Edward Egerton (Leigh) Leigh-White
(23 Jun 1876 – 28 Feb 1920)

of Bantry House
Arethusa Flora Gartside Hawker OBE
(1890 – 14 Feb 1959)
(m 27 Apr 1904)

eldest daughter of Peter James Duff Hawker of Longparish House, Hampshire
Clodagh Elizabeth Maude Leigh-White
(b 8 Apr 1905)

Rachel Veronica Rose Leigh-White
(9 Oct 1906 – 1985 or 1987)
8Clodagh Elizabeth Maude Leigh-White
(8 Apr 1905 – 16 Mar 1975 or 1978)

of Bantry House
Geoffrey Henry (Shelswell)
(Feb 1897 – 21 Nov 1962)
(m 23 Oct 1926)

Assistant District Commissioner of Zanzibar

son of Henry Shelswell

in 1927 his surname was legally changed to Shelswell-White by Deed Poll
Delia Rosamund Shellswell-White
(14 Mar 1928 – 31 Jul 1990)

Oona Veronica Leigh Shellswell-White
(23 Sep 1930 – 2006)

Egerton Richard Geoffrey Shellswell-White1  2
(3 Dec 1933 – 9 Dec 2012)
9Oona Veronica Leigh Shellswell-White
(23 Sep 1930 – 2006)
Reginald George Vane Yarrow
(m 24 Aug 1954)

son of William Yarrow of Wimbledon
Veryan Lani Oona Yarrow
(b 19 Mar 1956)

Reginald Leigh Yarrow
(b 18 Sep 1959)

Lynette Susan Vane Yarrow
(b 19 Jul 1963)
9Egerton Richard Geoffrey Shellswell-White
(3 Dec 1933 – 9 Dec 2012)
Jill East Dumeresque
(m 2 Dec 1961)

younger daughter of J S Dumeresque of Warren House, Herts.
Edward Egerton Shellswell-White
(b 27 Nov 1962)

Eva Jane Shellswell-White
(b 27 Feb 1965)
Brigitte Kleihs
(m 1981)
Sophie Maria Shellswell-White
(b 6 May 1981)

Sam/Simon Shellswell-White
(b 5 Jan 1984)

Anna Shellswell-White
(b 21 Jan 1987)

Julie Shellswell-White
(b 14 Mar 1990)
10Edward Egerton Shellswell-White
(b 27 Nov 1962)
Elly Mixsell
(m Oct 1993)
Victoria Shelswell-White
(b 20 Feb 2002)

Catherine Shelswell-White
(b 13 Nov 2003)
10Sophie Maria Shellswell-White
(b 1981)

since 2010, general manager of the Bantry House estate on behalf of her parents

Joshua John Luttrell
(m 28 Sep 2013)
Jacob Sam Luttrell
(b 6 Jan 2011)

Narrative history


Rear aspect of Bantry House and view across the bay

As follow-ups to the Irish Aesthete link above, please click below to see various accounts of Whiddy Island, Bantry, the White family and Bantry House from earliest times up to the present day.

Late-night musings

Probably due to some law of physics, every human enterprise or institution carries within itself the seeds of its own decline, downfall or destruction. Every career ends in failure, absolute or relative. Every human being has their individual Achilles heel. And their telomeres, to dictate how much more or less than three score and ten they are destined to survive. Organisations definitely seem to have some analogous tipping point at which they rapidly unravel – we've probably all heard about that list of the 100 largest US corporations in 1900, all of which had ceased to exist by the end of the 20th century.

Family dynasties are no exception. Rags/clogs to rags/clogs in four generations are familiar generalisations. Perhaps the "law" of Reversion to the Mean is at work, though that's extremely unfair to those individuals who fight a heroic rearguard action against the forces of economics, barbarism or infertility. Think of those now almost forgotten Roman generals in the dying days of the empire who held (for a while) the encroaching hordes from the north and the east at bay.

But calamity can be averted – cometh the hour, cometh the man (or of course woman). After Neville Chamberlain died, there were two candidates for UK leadership – Churchill, who got the job as any fule kno, or the cheese-eating appeasement-monkey Lord Halifax. Churchill's emotive oratory is usually given credit for his ultimate success, but his private mantra whenever all seemed lost was "KBO" or "Keep Buggering On", and of course it did actually work, eventually!

Getting to the point, what was it about the Earls of Bantry and their near-contemporaries the almost equally successful Hutchins family that gradually eroded their wealth and prestige? During the middle and later parts of the nineteenth century, both families sold-off large parts of their considerable estates in order to keep their finances in the black. Eventually, there was little left to sell, and they had to retrench.

To quote from the Irish Aesthete once again:

Over the preceding century or more, Bantry's resources had been steadily depleted. It is clear that the second earl's lavish expenditure on the house was not without consequences: in November 1853, over 33,000 acres of the Bantry estate were offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court, and a separate sale disposed of Bere Island. The following year more than 6,000 further acres were sold, again through the Encumbered Estates Court. Nevertheless in the 1870s the third earl still owned 69,500 acres of land in County Cork. Within decades most of this had gone: by March 1916 Edward Egerton Leigh-White had accepted an offer from the Congested Districts' Board had been accepted for 61,589 tenanted acres of the estate. What remained was thereafter sold until a mere hundred acres remained. Meanwhile the vast house continued to demand large sums to be spent on its maintenance, money that could only come from the gradual sale of its contents.

And as I've mentioned infertility, what was it about the last Earl of Bantry and his successors that militated against male offspring?

A digression is in order. A mile or two offshore from Bantry is Whiddy Island, of course, famous for the richness of its soil – mainland farmers used to swim their horses and cattle out there each spring to fatten them up on the lush grass that grew there. There are also several much smaller islands in between – Chapel Island, Horse Island, Hog Island and Coney Island (and somewhere or another the Maccurragh Rock, which sounds rather barren). Coney Island was legendary for its plump rabbits, needless to say.

Chapel Island is categorised navigationally into East and West, joined by some sort of spit probably visible only at exceptionally low tides. The island as a whole lies pretty well in the line of sight from Bantry House to Whiddy East. And there is evidence of a ruined chapel or shrine there ...

The story as my wife recounted to me decades back, was that the chapel had been levelled on the orders of the 4th Earl, who allegedly felt it spoilt his view. Little did he know or care that an aged local woman (whether from Whiddy itself or from Bantry by rowing boat) regularly prayed at the chapel, and was so angered by its destruction that she laid a curse on the White family that they should have no male heirs for three generations.

And nor did they? The 4th Earl, William Hedges-White, had no son; his successor Edward Leigh-White had no son, and his successor ... well, it doesn't seem to work, or else I've got the table badly wrong. Oh dear, maybe the story isn't really true after all.

The Rude Forefathers

There was, and in all probability still is, rather more to the White family tree than appears in the usual layout as tabulated above – more roots, in fact, and more branches, and once again the internet has lots to tell us.

The trail starts in the Paddy O'Keeffe notes about Whiddy Island cited above (he was also involved in investigating the layout of the graves in Garryvurcha Graveyard as mentioned in the Hutchins Connection). On p5 of these notes, one may read:


A google of Lettice White then rapidly unfolds the following background for Counsellor Richard White's wife Martha Davies, who we now see to have been grand-daughter, rather than daughter, of Dean Rowland Davies:

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
 Very Rev Rowland Davies LLD
(1649 – 11 Dec 1721)

Dean of Ross and later Cork
  Richard Davies
(24 Nov 1682 – 29 Apr 1736)

Michael Davies
 Richard Davies
(24 Nov 1682 – 29 Apr 1736)

of Blarney Castle

Vicar of Bantry
  Roland Davies
of Danstoun

Lettice Davies
= Henry White

Martha Davies
= Richard White

And then another of those serendipitous googles that I mentioned earlier produced a second, entirely unexpected, connection with Martha Davies:



This gives a much fuller picture of the earliest generations in the White family tree – the amendments are coloured in red for clarity – though Counsellor Richard White hasn't gained a sibling Henry for Lettice Davies to marry. Perhaps she married his Uncle Henry?

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
 Simon White
(d 1704)

of Knocksentry,
Co Limerick
(Miss) Shouldham Thomas White

Henry (Harry) White

Samuel White

Barry White

Capt Richard White
(d 1730/31)

John White

Mrs (White) Holland

Sarah White

Mrs (White) Cotton
Jane Hovell
(m 1680)
Benjamin White
(b 1682)
 Capt Richard White
(d 1730/31)

moved from Limerick to Whiddy Island in 1690
Margaret Hamilton Richard White
(1701 – 1776)

Sarah White

Margaret White
 Richard White
(1701 – 1776)

of Whiddy Island

farmer, fisherman, counsellor (barrister)
Martha Davis
(m 1734)

grand-daughter of Very Rev Rowland Davis, Dean of Cork and Ross
Margaret White
(1736 – Apr 1809)

Simon White
(1739 – 1776)

Hamilton White
(1740 – 1789)

Some interesting information about the family background of Margaret Hamilton has recently come to light and will be elaborated on when time permits.

Also most interesting is the line of descent from Hamilton White, and a fascinating article about his grandson's adventurous career in the early colonial Australian outback can be found at

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
 Capt Boyle White RN
(1777 – 1806)

natural son of Hamilton White
(1740 – 1789)
Honoria O'Sullivan
(m 22 May 1803, Kinsale, Co Cork)

in 1814 she remarried Capt George Henry Green RN
(1788 – Dec 1836)
George Boyle White1  2
(24 Aug 1802 – 25 May 1876)

born in Bantry


William (b 1806)
 George Boyle White
(1802 – 1876)
Maria Greig Mudie
(1811 – Apr 1856)
(m 17 Jun 1830)
Henry O'Sullivan White
(11 Nov 1831 – 1901)

Honoria White
(1833 – 1834)

Helena Isabella White
(1836 – 1928)

Boyle White
(1837 – 1926)

Maria Larnack White
(1844 – 1848)
 Boyle White
(1837 – 1926)
Sarah Devine
(1845 – 1927)
Amy Edith White
(1864 – 1926)

Boyle White
(1865 – 1933)

Henry O'Sullivan
(1868 – 1887)

Maria Greig White
(1872 – 1940)

John White
(1874 – 1939)

Catherine Theresa White
(1879 – 1968)

Ada White
(1880 – 1960)

Frederick Charles White
(1882 – 1964)

Edith Maude White
(1885 – 1977)

Helena White
(b 1889)

George Boyle White