Golden Grove House and Estate by Joe Coughlan
In the late 17th century the Vaughan’s who were originally of Welsh origin were granted lands at Knocknamaise or Golden Grove. They also were granted land in Laois and Limerick. They built Golden Grove house and in 1786 records show that the house was known as the seat of Mr Vaughan. As was common with the gentry of the time they mixed and married into the other estates in the area. In 1822 Martha Vaughan married John Lloyd of Gloster house. They had only one child a daughter who took over Golden Grove in 1842 and married Samuel Dawson Hutchinson of Mount Heaton House who was the son of William Hutchinson of Timoney house. Their son William married Elisabeth H Darby of Leap castle in 1869. In 1870 Vaughans of Golden Grove owned 3,748 acres in County Offaly and 498 acres in Tipperary.
Orange Hill or Golden Grove was originally known as Knocknamaise or the hill of the feast. The story goes that some of Cromwell’s army had a fort on top of the hill and the local rebels surrounded it and held it under siege for months. Eventually the army ran out of food and then ate the horses, when they ran out of horses they killed and ate the prisoners and the children.
In 1893 Paisley Lloyd Vaughan was president of the local orange lodge and on July 12th over 1500 members marched to the top of Orange Hill where resolutions were passed declaring “loyalty to the Orange institution and offering determined resistance to sever our island or any portion thereof from Great Britain and resolving to defend the act of union.”
A feature of golden grove house was the huge conservatory which housed many rare plants and in 1893 Mr Lloyd Vaughan won the principal prize at the Royal Dublin Society’s flower show. In 1902 Mrs Lloyd Vaughan laid the foundation stone for the new Methodist church on the Mall.
The Burning of Golden Grove House.
About 50 men took possession of the gate lodges of the Golden Grove estate in May 1922 and after one man attempted to escape and was fired upon as he ran towards the wood they tied up their captives and headed to the main house. When they tried to enter the main house they were not let in, so they proceeded to break the bottom windows and fired through the top. They did not succeed in entering the main house so they poured in petrol in several areas and set them alight. These included the conservatory which had many rare plants.
The men stayed until 2am and although they set many fires the servants after a long struggle got the fire under control. Mr Lloyd Vaughan was in bed ill at the time of the attack but escaped unharmed. They were able to save most of the house but a lot of damage was done to it and around the premises including the destruction of many of the statues that adorned the place.
The following day a large crowd from Roscrea arrived out with donkeys and carts and started to remove anything they could from the house, conservatory and gardens including many rare plants and statues.IRA irregular troops from Roscrea arrived in the afternoon and stopped the looting and began to protect the premises. In a search of some houses in the town a number many of the items were discovered and a number of people were detained. They were later released and a guard was put on the house.
The house was restored after the fire but eventually the estate was taken over by the Land Commission in the 1930s. The house was knocked and the land was divided. The fine conservatory was bought by Mr George Fasenfield who re erected it at his home in Monainsha house.
Here is a copy of a poem which was published in the Nenagh Guardian in 1892 ; author unknown.
Golden Grove Roscrea
The Sabbath casts its holy calm
Upon the lonely way
That leads to beauteous Golden Grove
Convenient to Roscrea
Springs garlands of the brightest blue
Were scattered everywhere
All nature in her richest robes
Seemed as if larking there
The little stars just peeped to see
The beauty in the stream
The music of which brought me back
To boyhoods happy dreams
The flowers with their vessels bright
Made vessels for the dew
The song birds sing their evening hymn
As through the groves they flew
A promised bride was by my side
My sister dear and kind
Youthful dreams of love and hope
Absorbed her soul and mind
She thought not of December’s blast
That blithes the gladsome may
Nor how all earthly pleasures fade
As night might follow day
And as we roamed through these bright spots
Where angels might repose
I stood and lifted from my path
A withered, shattered rose
When placing it upon my breast
She looked as if to say
Why not take one that’s blooming fresh
And let that sad one stay
Ah! Thoughtless maid I to her said
A withered flower brings
Sadness over me when I come
Where youth and beauty springs
For many human flowers bloom
To deck mans cheerless way
And when their love and hopes are woo
Their left but to decay.
The first picture shows golden Grove House and the conservatory , the second is the front of the house and the main entrance, the third shows the large piers into the estate.