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HAZELWOOD HOUSE INFORMATION PANEL The Hazelwood House Information Pane has now been sited in front on the former Wynne residence, along the roadside for all to see on the Hazelwood Estate. The HHS group before their visit to Lissan House took the opportunity to view the panel that gives details of this notable Sligo estate and the family that was so important to the history and culture of Sligo. The panel reads : Owen Wynne II, whose forefathers came from Wales after the Cromwellian times, built Hazelwood house. Generations of the Wynne family lived in succession in the house. All of the male heirs were called Owen, with the exception of one called John. Many were active in politics some local, where they were either burgess or High Sheriff, and others who were elected to represent Sligo at Westminster. As burgess they were allowed to collect taxes, customs duties, tolls and levies on all business transactions including fairs, and markets. They also looked after their tenants, staff and the community, building the original hospital, the Poor house, the Charter school on the present Grammar school site, as well as Calry church on the Mall, and the Asylum, now St Columba's hospital. They gave employment to a huge number of people, both directly within the household, and on the estate. They farmed the land, improving it considerably by good husbandry as well as draining huge areas of wet ground. The family travelled widely in Europe, particularly in the 1800's. The ladies painted scenes in water colours in Italy, while the men brought back specimens of plants, trees, and shrubs from India, China and Nepal. These were later incorporated into the gardens The Wynnes tightly controlled local politics and affairs for both town and county. As part of the Hazelwood land purchase, Owen Wynne II and his family also acquired Sligo's rights to fairs, markets, tolls and customs, a substantial source of income for them. Hazelwood House was designed by German architect John Cassels and built in 1722 of cut and polished limestone, in an Italian style, with a four storey facade and two lateral curving wings. The Hall door is reached by climbing a flight of stone steps leading onto a spacious platform which offers fine scenic views. The house is a large Palladian mansion, in its day it was a leading example of a new architectural style, and today is still a very important Georgian building Systematic forestation was carried out on the Wynne estate and in other lands taken on long leases by an Act of the Irish Parliament of 1783/84, a financial advantage was offered for the planting of trees, and for this purpose the landowner had to make annually a sworn return stating the varieties and numbers of trees planted during the previous twelve months. The record of these returns extends in time from 1785 to 1835 and thus relate to Owen IV and Owen V. During this fifty years period the number of trees planted is just short of 200,000. Twenty-three different varieties were included, the largest number being Scots fir, alder and ash, with oak and beech not far behind. Lt. General Owen Wynne II (1664-1736/7) of Hazelwood, the third son of Owen Wynne I of Lurganboy, was born in 1664 or 1665. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied for the Bar. In 1722, Owen bought the family's estates in Co. Sligo [comprising in total c.14,500 acres] for £20,000. The conveyance included parts of Sligo town, together with the town's fairs, markets, tolls and customs. At Hazelwood he built his house, to the designs of the German architect, Richard Cassels Owen Wynne II died in 1737. He left his estate to his nephew, Owen Wynne III. Colonel Owen Wynne III (1686-1755) When Owen Wynne III succeeded his uncle in 1737 he was the first of the Wynnes to combine in one ownership the family lands in Counties Leitrim, Cavan and Sligo. Owen III was High Sheriff of Co. Sligo in 1723 and 1745, he filled the same office in Co. Leitrim in 1724. Owen III died in 1755 and was succeeded by his second son, Owen IV. Right Honourable Owen Wynne IV ( 1723 - 1789) Owen Wynne IV was elected in 1749 M.P. for Co. Sligo in the Irish Parliament. He became an Irish Privy Councillor in 1756; allowing him the title of Right Honourable. Owen IV died in 1789 leaving six sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Owen, succeeded to the family estates. Owen Wynne V (1755-1841) Twice High Sheriff of Co. Sligo during his father's lifetime. Above all Owen V was a notable agricultural pioneer, intent on bringing the benefits of the English agrarian revolution to Ireland. In 1822 the potato crop failed and the production of oats fell. It is probable that Owen's lead in improving the standard of his tenants' agriculture and stockbreeding was of some assistance outside the town; at least he had helped to diversify agriculture away from the potato. The Rt Hon. John Arthur Wynne (1801-1865) In 1830 John Wynne succeeded his father as member of Parliament for the borough. In 1843, as famine became more severe, John Wynne reduced his rents. Wynne was re-elected in 1859, but advancing ill-health caused him to resign a year later. He had served his community well. He was chairman of the Board of Guardians, the body responsible for poverty relief between 1847 and 1852. He helped to found the Sligo mental hospital. He continued his father's work in agriculture and forestation. He died in 1865 at the age of 64. Owen Wynne VI (1843-1910). Owen Wynne VI succeeded to the family estates in 1865 at the age of twenty-three. In his youth he had served as a lieutenant in the 61st Foot Regiment and, as one would expect, he was High Sheriff of Co. Sligo in 1875 and of Co. Leitrim in 1881. At the age of 27 he married Stella Fanny, the younger daughter of Sir Robert Gore-Booth of Lissadell, the 4th baronet. On Sunday 27 February 1887, Mrs Wynne suffered a serious carriage accident which caused her death. Owen Wynne VI died in 1910 aged 67. The great estates of 15,000 acres of Leitrim and 14,000 acres in Sligo had for the most part been sold. Since he had no male heir, with his death the line of the Wynnes of Hazelwood came to an end. The house and surprisingly large remaining estate were sold by the last Wynne descendant to own it in 1937. Wynne Family Timeline Owen II WYNNE 1664 - 1736/7 Owen III WYNNE 1686 - 1756. Married Catherine FFOLLIOT (children Hannah, Lucy, James, John, Owen IV WYNNE; Death of son James 1748) Owen IV WYNNE 1723 - 1789 Married Anne Maxwell (children Henry Rev Elder, Elizabeth, Judith, John, Richard (Rev) Owen V ,Robert, Catherine, William Henry) Owen V of Hazelwood MP WYNNE 1755 - 1841 Married Lady Sarah Elizabeth Cole (children Owen, Anne, Sarah Frances, Florence, Elizabeth, John Arthur, William Willoughby (Rev) John Arthur WYNNE 1801 - 1865 Married Lady Anne Wesforde Butler (children Sarah, Grace Florence, Owen VI, James) Lt. Owen WYNNE VI 1843 - 1910 Married Stella Fanny GORE-BOOTH 1870 (children Muriel Caroline Louisa, Evelyn Mary, Dorothy Adelaide, Madeline Mary)
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HHS Recieves ‘GATHERING’ Certificate Signed By Irish President At a reception held in the Sligo Park Hotel on Nov 25th HHS Hon.Sec Irene Allen and Committee Member Kate Bell joined representatives from many and varied Sligo societies, groups and individuals as ‘The Gathering’ officially came to a close. On behalf of the Hazelwocod Heritage Society they received a certificate, signed by President Michael D. Higgins, stating that the HHS had taken part in the Irish Gathering endeavour of 2013.
Hazelwood House Information Panel Champion of Sligo Gathering Certificate
HARRY KEANEY Sligo Champion Article: CHAMPIONS OF SLIGO : BEATRICE MACDONALD Defender of a great estate. Beatrice Macdonald has a deep- rooted passion for Hazelwood BEATRICE MACDONALD is passionate about Hazelwood House. Sited along the tree- co vered banks of the Garavogue, it's where she grew up. There's also a strong family connection. "We lived along the river when I was a child," she said. "Hazelwood House was nearby. My mother, Hazel Bracken, and my grandparents worked on the estate. My grandfather, Richard Bracken and my great- grandfather, one of a family of 11, were gamekeepers on the estate. Gamekeeping was what the Bracken family did. "There were Bracken gamekeepers on all the estates in Ireland: Hazelwood, Markree, Ahamlish in Galway, Castletown in Kildare. Gamekeeping was in their blood. Those days it was important the owner of an estate had a good shoot and produced birds for shooting. People would come for maybe a week, with horses and carriages. It was ver prestigious to have a good shoot. And that would improve the estate owner's prestige. Owners of Hazelwood Estate were the Wynne family, who, for generations, were powerful in the political and economic life of the region. The sixth Owen Wynne was the last Wynne to occupy Hazelwood House. He died in 1910 without a male heir. The house now lies empty, a relic of a bygone age. But Beatrice said: "It would grieve me to see it fall into disrepair or that nobody would care about it. On the architectural side, it is very important. It's Cassels first Palladian style building in Ireland." While Beatrice grew up in the shadow of Hazelwood House, her life was to take her away - for a time. In 1962 she went to Dublin to start her nursing career.She trained in Liverpool, followed by midwifery in Gloucestershire Royal Infirmary. She got married and had two sons, Alasdair and Stuart. In 2000 she returned home. It was a few years before the last occupant of the Hazelwood site, Korean video- tape maker Saehan Media, sold it to a development group called Foresthaze. AIB has since appointed Grant Thornton as joint receiver for Foresthaze Developments Limited, whose plans for the estate were turned down by " Sligo County Council. Beatrice recalled: "I was busy re-establishing my career here. After Hazelwood was sold, it was all over the papers that Foresthaze had bought it and was applying for planning permission for a major development. "So a number of us got together and asked what were we going to do about it?" That was the start of the Hazelwood Action Group, chaired by local man Michael Flanagan. It has now become Hazelwood Heritage Society. As for the society's aims, Beatrice said: "We want to see the house preserved and restored. "We would like to see it used as a cultural, educational and tourist amenity for the area. As to how this can be done, she said: "First of all, we have to get AIB to gift it to a trust fund being set up by Hazelwood Heritage Society. "Then we set up a visitor centre in the stable yard with the usual books, CDs, cup of coffee, and take people on tours around parts of the house that are safe. People could go down to the river, where there are two piers and go for a cruise around Lough Gill. People would have a lovely tourist experience from Ireland and the north west." As for the likelihood of AIB gifting the house, Beatrice said: "We live in hope. We are in discussion with groups such as the Irish Georgian Society, An Taisce, the Heritage Council. Everything will happen, even in slow motion, if the house can be gifted to the trust.