The Grange, Ballyragget
Family seat of the Stannard family




Other sources

  1. Burke's Guide to Country Houses, published by Burke's Peerage, 1978
  2. Various correspondence and conversations with Richard Lee Bancroft, relative of Lady Frances Dowdall
  3. Various correspondence and conversations with Mary Mulcahy, owner from 2005

Family trees

Stannard family tree
Family trees of the Stannard and Wilson families

Also showing the MacAdam family


Other information

The Grange, Ballyragget
The Grange, Ballyragget
The Grange, Ballyragget

Photo and text: Burke's Guide to Country Houses

The Grange, Front


Classical frontage, showing ornamented window over door

The Grange, Ceiling


Ceiling decoration in the Lady Dowdall bedroom

Grange Mochu church

The unusually-named church which stood behind the house was presumably the parish church of Grangemacomb.13 It was probably Roman Catholic, but its age is nowhere hinted at. Most of it was removed in 1847 to make way for the new Stannard-Lanigan family vault,10 but the church was a ruin long before that. Only the west gable now survives (see final photo on the introductory page for the Stannard family).

The Grange


The Grange, Ballyragget, in 2018

The Grange is an 18th-century manor house in the townland of Grange near Ballyragget, seven miles north of the town of Kilkenny in County Kilkenny.1 It was here that John Lanigan Stannard and his descendants established themselves as one of the major landowning families of the district, and the house still retains the feel of an elegant country mansion.

The Grange is one of a few 'ancestral residences' I have been fortunate enough to visit (in 2018), and I am grateful to Mary Mulcahy for her kind hospitality and wealth of information, and to Larry O'Reilly for a memorable tour of the family graveyard.


The townland (effectively: village) of Grange is in the civil parish of Grangemacomb, and in the church parish of Ballyragget (or Donaghmore), in the barony of Fasadining, diocese of Ossory. (The locations of many of the places mentioned here are shown on the map of Ireland - southern section.) The population in 1834 was overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, with a small minority (1.5%) of Protestants, to which the Stannard family belonged.2

The Grange was originally an early 18th-century farmhouse,3,4 rebuilt and extended as a Georgian manor house, possibly in the 1790s by John Lanigan Stannard (1762-1823), or by its previous owner, Capt. James Warren.3 (See the page on the Stannards of Kilkenny for details of the family.) It is mentioned in the website of the late Edward Law of the Kilkenny Archeological Society,5 although it is not always clear if house or townland are referred to. The house features a number of very fine rooms at the front, with the older portion at the back used for kitchens and domestic offices. There are details reminiscent of Robert Adam, such as medallions on the walls of the staircase, and the window over the main door. One unusual feature is the large octagonal dovecote in front of the house, now sadly without a roof following a storm. Next to the house is a farm with stables, and a beautiful garden. The house is now a hotel.6

The Grange, back


The Grange, back view
Farm, The Grange


Farm and stables
Drawing room, The Grange


Drawing room
Bedroom, The Grange


Lady Dowdall bedroom

The description from Burke's Country Houses is shown left.i The names Lannigan, Stannard and Dowdall refer to John Lanigan Stannard or his father, and to Lady Frances Dowdall (1861-1962), the widow of John's grandson Henry (see page on the Rev. Henry Stannard). The name Bancroft refers to Clare Bancroft (see below).

The Grange, Ornament


Ornament on the main staircase
The Grange, Ballyragget


The Grange, with dovecote
The Grange, Ornament


Ornament on the main staircase

Another (quite similar) manor house in the same townland, Eland Mount (or Mount Eland), was the seat of the Mossom family.7 (Eland Mossom8 1709-1774 and his son Charles Eland Mossom). This house, also mentioned in the Edward Law website, is probably late 18th century.5


John Lanigan Stannard lived at The Grange with his wife and eight children from about the late 1790s (he married in 1796) until his death in 1823. His sons William and Robert Rogers stayed on there, as did various of his grandchildren at various times - Henry and William George, and probably Jane and Catherine MacAdam. After John's grandson Lieut.-Col. Henry Stannard died in 1904, his widow Frances lived in the house. In 1914 she married Sir Lawrence Dowdall, who died in 1936; Frances, now Lady Dowdall, lived on there until she died in 1962 aged 101 (see also page on the Rev. Henry Stannard).

Clare Bancroft grave


Gravestone for Clare Bancroft, The Grange

"In loving memory of Clare Bancroft - Pena, 4th March 1949 - 9th May 2005"

After the death of Lady Dowdall in 1962, there were no descendants of the immediate Stannard family to inherit the house. The next in line was in fact one Catherine Clare E. Bancroft, born in 1949, the granddaughter of Florence Adolphine Bancroft (née Jackson), who was the daughter of Frances's elder sister Arabella. (The details of the lineage, shown on the Family Tree (left), can be traced using the excellent Peerage website.9) Clare, who was thus the great-great-niece by marriage of Frances Dowdall, was at that time living in California, but came to Ireland and lived for a time at The Grange, starting a horse farm there. She and her brother Richard had known the house from childhood days when their aunt Frances lived there.ii Clare sold The Grange in the mid-1970s. She sadly died in a car accident in 2005, and is buried (or at least commemorated) in the Stannard plot.iii

After Clare Bancroft, the house went through various owners with no connection to the Stannard family, among them, fortunately, people who were prepared to spend time and money on this fine building. I believe the original Stannard family would have been as proud as I was to see their home so lovingly restored and beautifully kept, by the owner Mary Mulcahy (see also page on the Stannard family).

Stannard grave plot


The Stannard grave plot


In a field behind The Grange are the ruins of a church (see side note), with its associated graveyard. A fenced enclosure contains the graves and tombs of the Stannard family: John Lanigan Stannard's sons William and Robert Rogers, daughter-in-law Eleanor, grandsons Henry and William George and Henry's wife Frances; also Frances's third husband Lawrence, a possibly unrelated Robert Stannard, and Clare Bancroft. The occupant of the large tomb at the centre of the plot has not yet been identified.

This family burial plot was created in 1847, as mentioned in a history of place-names of Kilkenny by Owen O'Kelly, which refers to a 'Stannard family vault'.10 A history project by a local school confirms this, with interesting photos of the tomb without its present ivy covering.11 Two local historians also visited the graveyard in 2019, and their report makes interesting reading.12 It would seem that some of the ruins of the chapel were cleared away to make space for the family graveyard, but the details are not yet clear. Also unclear is 'why then?', i.e. what event in 1847 prompted the building of the vault?

One possibility is that John Lanigan's widow Elizabeth died in 1847, and that it is she who lies in the central tomb. (John Lanigan himself was buried at Rathbeagh church, a mile further south.)

Details and photos of the individual graves are on the pages of the Stannards of Kilkenny and the Rev. Henry Stannard. I am grateful to Larry O'Reilly for showing us these romantic and essential parts of family history.