An Móta aka Mote Park, just west of Elphin, Co. Roscommon (in the townland of Ballymurray) was the seat of the Crofton Family from the 16th century up until the 1940s.
It was first granted to John Crofton during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He was appointed Auditor General in 1584 and the first Elizabethan Settler here. In addition to this estate he also obtained extensive grants of lands elsewhere in the counties Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo.
The total holdings of the Crofton's in Co. Roscommon consisted of 11,053 acres, according to the Bateman Edition of Great Landowners of Great Britain and Ireland in 1883. The size of the Mote Park estate in Ballymurray consisted of c. 7000 acres. Although this was a sizeable estate, when compared with others such as the Essex properties consisting of the town of Roscommon itself and extensive lands to the north, totalling some 36,000 acres, it clearly was not the largest.
John Crofton, had 4 sons, EDWARD CROFTON (his heir) founder of the Mote Park family, John of the Lisadorn family, William of Temple House, county Sligo and Henry of Mohill, county Leitrim. Edward's son, GEORGE CROFTON, MP in 1639, erected the Castle of Mote. It was not until 1661 that a Crofton obtained a title however, when George's son, EDWARD CROFTON became a Baronet to Mote for services rendered to Charles II during the Cromwellian rebellion.
Tigh an Mhóta aka Mote Park House was built by the Crofton family in the later half of the eighteenth century, preceding the Castle of Mote erected by the family in 1620. The house was the most impressive of its type built in County Roscommon, and reflected the influence of neo-classicism prevalent at the time. It had a deep hall with a screen of columns, beyond which a door flanked by niches led into an oval library in the bow on the garden front. It was originally an irregular two-storey-over-basement house, to which the architect Richard Morrison adding six bays and an extra storey.
While the Croftons were not among the best examples of improving landlords, they did keep their rents low and endeavoured to help their tenants as much as possible during the Great Famine (1845-51). The estate was well managed and many volumes of rentals of the estate dating from 1834-1893, along with family records can be found at Roscommon Library.
In 1857, the time of Griffith's Valuation, Mote Park house was rated at £120. As with so many other estates, things had already started to go downhill. Arrears of rent increased and tenants made no effort to purchase their land, despite the Land Acts.
''Saunders Newsletter'' dated 17 May 1865 refers to a fire at Mote Park which badly burnt the house.
At the time of the 1901 Census, the house boasted 47 windows to the front, and 40 rooms in use (which had reduced in number by 1911). In 1906, it was home to Arthur E L Crofton (nephew of The 3rd Baron who died a bachelor in 1912) and valued at £140. The last of the Land Acts meant most of the estate was sold piecemeal in the early 20th century.
The 5th Baron, Edward Blaise, was the last of the Croftons to reside at Mote. He moved to England in the 1940s and was put up for public auction in October 1947.
The Irish Land Commission demolishing the house completely in the 1960s. Much of the beautiful woods surrounding the house were also felled, and the remaining land divided into smaller properties for families from nearby congested districts.
Mote Park is marketed now as a heritage walkway, almost ten miles in length and taking in whatever fine architectural of its original gardens remain today. A most splendid surviving feature is the original entrance gate consisting of a Doric triumphal arch surmounted by a lion with screen walls linking it to a pair of identical lodges. Roscommon Golf Club occupies part of the original Mote Park demesne.
Many volumes of rentals of the Crofton estate dating from 1834-1893, along with family records are held at Roscommon Library.