Julianstown StamullenCounty Meath

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Harbourstown, Caddell and Nicholl-Caddell
Harbourstown, Caddell and Nicholl-Caddell


"Harbourstown" is a 19th Century corruption of the original placename: Herbertstown. Herberd was a family name that came to Ireland during the Cambro-Norman invasion. Hence Herberd's Town ... Herbertstown. It appears as Herbertstown in 14th Century monastic records and again in the Preston family records of 1408


Herbertstown (aka Harbertstown / Harbetsson alias Darleston alias Damsellston / Harbourstown) in the parish of Stamullen has a long association with the Caddell family who had resided at the at the Naul, Co. Meath since at least the early 16th century. The "White Castle aka Snowton Castle" at Naul Park was reputedly built by Richard Caddell in the 13th century (no longer extant). A William Caddell of Harbourston was called upon by King Edward to furnish troops for the Scottish War.   

"Richard Caddell de Nall" is recorded in The Court Book of the Liberty of Saint Sepulchre 1586-1590. The Irish Fiants of the Tudor Sovereigns (1521-1603) lists grants, commissions and pardons to Caddells of Stablerstown, The Naul, Moymed, Surdwalston, Ballaghan, Drogheda, Nailton, Tyrow, and Herbertstown, Co Dublin



In 1641,  the time of the Down Survey, this townland was recorded as Herbertstowne* (347 profitable plantation acres) the property of Richard Caddelle Sr. (Protestant) who also owned the adjacent townland of Damselstown (DS: Damsellstowne; 124 plantation acres) and the townland of Heathtown

* Not to be confused with Hazardstown (civil parish of Naul) which was the property of a John Caddell (Protestant) who forfeited his castle at "Haggardstown" in 1641

In 1642, when Sir Phelim O'Neill and the Ulster "rebels" were unsuccessful, Richard Caddell of Harbourstown was noted among the consequent out-laws.  

In 1649, en route to Drogheda,  Cromwell's forces, under General De Fyne passed through Herbertstown and evicted the Caddells. The house was plundered and sacked and they desecrated the chapel, lopping off the arms of a life-size statue of the Redeemer taken down from the Cross. During the night, while camped in one of the fields, Cromwell's soldiers and horses were over-run by vermin and stricken with a foul disease. Hence the field became known as "the Lousy Lea". 

Petty's 1659 Census recorded a population of 34  (English: 27; Irish: 7) at Herbertstown, with the "Titulado" Thomas Hill, Gent. recorded as the resident squire.

Titulados were a small Protestant garrison, placed throughout Ireland as tenants of the great grantees under the Act of Settlement.  They held land by limited tenures, in order to assist other Cromwellians (to whom lands had been assigned) in keeping down the Catholic inhabitants. The Civil Survey 1654-58 shows Caddells in Moorestown, Swords, Herbertstown and The Naul (Co. Dublin) and at Dameselstown, Heathstown, Baronstown, Great and Little Mooresydes, and Flemingstown (Co. Meath).

By 1671, Herbertstown, Damsellstown and Heathtown were owned by James FitzRobert Caddelle. A Caddell residence was built at Herbertstown in the latter half of the 17th century.



The "Big House" at Herbertstown aka the Great Harbourstown House, was an early 18th-century construction.  This chiselled stone, Georgian structure was a splendidly built at a cost of £20,000. A portion of the older 17th-century house was retained to the rear.  Caddell's Gazebo (still extant) was built circa 1760. 

The house at "Harbertstown" appears on Taylor and Skinners 1778 Maps of Naul [pg.42] denoted "Caddell Esq."  At this time it was the seat of Richard O'Farrell Caddell Esq. (1780-1856). Snowton Castle was still extant and the gazebo was depicted as a "Tower".



In 1837, “Harbourstown" the home of Mr. O'Farrell Caddell was described by Lewis as "a handsome modern mansion, with a demesne comprising more than 400 acres tastefully laid out and well-planted, and commanding an extensive view from the summit of a tower within the grounds, which forms a conspicuous landmark to mariners". 

The first Ordnance Survey of Herbertstown (mapped between 1829 and 1842) included a "Turret" representing Caddell's Gazebo (built circa 1760). Richard Caddell reputedly stood on the roof of this gazebo to view the Bellewestown Races (after refusing to attend, due to a falling-out with the organisers). 

Still extant today, it is known locally as “Caddell's Folly”. During the Great Famine (1845-51) poor relief construction projects such as roads in the middle of nowhere were all termed 'famine follies’. Online references to this gazebo being a Famine Folly are mistaken. 

In 1856, Robert O'Ferrall Caddell (1806–1887), the only son, inherited Harbourstown House along with 1,372 Co Meath acres, 3,341 Co Roscommon acres, 4,816 Co. Galway acres and a further 3,464 Co Sligo acres. The Caddell Co. Galway estate of 4,816 acres was sold in the Encumbered Estates' Court in 1858. Caddell was a magistrate for Co. Meath and on the roll for High Sheriff in 1872. His sister, Cecilia Caddell was a writer of fiction devoted to Irish history and the Catholic faith. Following his death at Tachbrook, Bournemouth, England in 1887, the male line died out. The assets of his will exceeded £60,000.

The Caddell family vault can be found at Stamullen Churchyard (St. Christopher's Chapel)

Harbourstown House and the Caddell estate was then inherited by his sister Sophia Mary Margaret Caddell (–1899) who married Arthur William Jerningham (1807-1889) and had 3 children. 

In 1899, the house and estate passed to their daughter Agnes Mary Stanley Jerningham (d. 1921) who married Stanley Edward George Cary



In 1921, Harbourstown passed from Agnes Mary Cary-Caddell to her great-nephew Robert Arthur Francis Nicholl (1900-1941) aka Lt. Cdr. Robert A.F. Nicholl-Caddell who died in active service during WWII. 

 "Robert never looked after the land that belonged to Harbourstown, the farmlands were left uncultivated, the woods over-grown, etc. In such cases, after some time the government requisitioned the property and the house was pulled down."

Herbertstown House was demolished circa 1944. One account says the stones were removed by Cistercian monks to their monastery in Collon. Co Louth.  Still extant are the former gate lodges, some outbuildings, and Caddell's Gazebo (all dating back to 1760).


[Research by Rua Mac Diarmada 2017]



Richard O'Farrell Caddell Esq. of Harbourstown Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Estate Record: Caddell (Landed Estates Database) Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Herbertstown PLACENAME archive Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Herbertstown History (Mid-Louth Independent) Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Caddell in Ireland (Irish times) Ireland VIEW SOURCE
The Caddells of Herbertstown (Dúchas Collection) Ireland VIEW SOURCE

Communities Associated with this Building