King Harman Papers

King Harman Papers

Reference code: P3
Title: Papers of the King Harman estate
Dates: 1789-1951
Level of description: Fonds
Extent: 11 boxes, 1 map, 1 plan

Historical Statement

The King Harman family owned the largest estate in County Longford in the nineteenth century, with its seat at Newcastle House, near Ballymahon. The family descended from Nicholas Harman who settled in County Carlow in the reign of King James I (1603-1625). His great-grandson, Wentworth (died in 1719) of Castle Roe, County Carlow married secondly Frances Sheppard (died in 1766) of Newcastle, who was sister and heir of Anthony Sheppard.  Wentworth’s daughter, Anne married Sir Lawrence Parsons, 3rd baronet, Birr Castle, King’s County (Offaly) (she was his second wife). Their son, Lawrence Parsons-Harman (1749-1807), of Newcastle House, served as an M.P. and was created Lord Oxmantown in 1792, and earl of Rosse in 1806. He married Lady Jane King in 1772; she is still referred to in Longford lore as Lady Rosse. On Lawrence’s death, the title passed to his nephew Sir Lawrence Parsons, 5th bart., and his Harman estates to his only child, Lady Frances Parsons-Harman.  She married Robert Edward, 1st Viscount Lorton (died in 1854), in 1799. Frances died in 1841 and was succeeded by her second son Lawrence Harman-King (1816-10 October 1875) who assumed the additional name ‘Harman’ (becoming Lawrence Harman King Harman).

On Lawrence’s death, the property passed to his eldest son, Colonel Edward Robert (1838-10 June 1888), who served as an M.P. Edward’s only son, Lawrence Harman, died on 23 October 1886, so Edward was succeeded by his brother, Colonel Wentworth Henry King Harman (1840-1919). Wentworth’s son Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Wentworth King Harman (1869-1949) was the last of the family to live at Newcastle, and he died unmarried.

The parts of the King Harman estates in Longford were the ‘Newcastle estate’ in the Ballymahon area; the ‘Mosstown estate’, near Kenagh; the ‘Ballinamuck estate’, near Drumlish; and the ‘Smear/Smare estate’ in Colmcille parish. Smaller parts were the ‘Callows estate’ in Cashel parish; and the townlands of Corlea, Lisnanagh and Torboy.

Immediate source of acquisition

The King Harman Papers were mostly acquired by the Longford-Westmeath Joint Library Service, some probably from the late Patrick Canon Kearney P.P. The Lord Lorton rent book, 1838-1846, was deposited by Mr Luke Baxter and the final copy of the catalogue of contents of Newcastle House, 1951, by Ms Norma McDermott.

Scope, Structure and Content

The bulk of the collection dates from the period 1838-1951, but there are a small number of items prior to that period, including a map of Ballydrum townland, Killashee, 1810. Most of the collection concerns estate management, including: rent books, 1838-1919; account books, 1846-1948; a book with details of valuations of properties (presumably a draft of ‘Griffith’s Valuation’), undated; some items concerning tenant purchase, 1902-10; an inventory of Newcastle House, 1911; and copies of the catalogue for the sale of the contents of the house, 1951.

Conditions of Access and Use

Conditions governing access: Available in the reading room, Library HQ
Language: English
Finding aid: Descriptive list