Stradbally (Waterford)

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Woodhouse in April 1950
Woodhouse in April 1950

At the end of the 13th century Thomas An Apa Fitzgerald left Woodhouse, or Tigh na Coille (house in the woods), to his younger son Sir Thomas of Athasell. Though this is all the information we have about Woodhouse in this period, the name still gives us an idea of the settlement: clearly there was a building by this stage, and the existence of woodland (and therefore fuel) suggest the possibility of industrial activity as well.

Woodhouse remained in Fitzgerald hands and, at some point during the Munster Plantation, Woodhouse was rented to the Englishman James Wallis. By the time of the rebellion of 1641, Wallis had been renting Woodhouse for a considerable period and still had the lease for another sixty years. He had clearly invested a lot in Woodhouse, for his deposition reveals that he had built a great stone house with barns, stables, kitchens, outhouses, salmon weirs and ditches. He had also planted gardens and orchards.

Though Wallis had been ousted from Woodhouse by rebelling Catholics, the property continued to remain in Fitzgeralds' hands until 1724, when Woodhouse was sold to the wealthy Uniacke family of Youghal and Mount Uniacke for £8000.

Around 1775, the grand detached two-storey house with Classical proportions and features was built. It was extended slightly in the mid-nineteenth century and still exists, recently restored to excellent condition by its current owners, to this day.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Uniacke family built St James’ National School, one of the oldest schools in the country, close to the Church of Ireland, for the children of the estate workers.

In 1844 The last Uniacke of Woodhouse, Frances Constantia, married George John Beresford, great-nephew of the Marquess of Waterford, of Curraghmore House. Though they had many children, they had no grandchildren, and so in 1933, their daughter Lady Emily Hodson left Woodhouse to her relative, Lord Hugh Beresford. She had considered giving it to two other relatives beforehand. The first was unable to grant her modest request that she be able to stay in Woodhouse whenever she liked -- he had intended to sell it! Vexed by this, she offered it to Hugh's older brother William, who turned it down because he already had a house of his own.

Lord Hugh Beresford however, did not enjoy Woodhouse for long. In 1941 he died at sea at the Battle of Crete and Woodhouse passed to his older brother William.

William managed the estate and farm as best he could, but his failing health meant that in 1971 Woodhouse was sold out of the hands of the Beresford family.

~ Have you an Ancestor associated with this building or estate? If so, you can connect them by adding Woodhouse to their Ancestor Chronicle here ~


The Woodhouse Estate Ireland VIEW SOURCE

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