A graphic of a blue unicorn.The Family of Kemmis

Edition 3.3 - 5 June 2020

Kemmis of Shaen

The Manor of Shaen, formerly also known as Syan, lies in the parishes of Straboe and Coolbanagher, Queen's Co., and is situated some four miles north of the town of Maryborough. In 1571, Queen Elizabeth granted Shaen, together with Killeen and other lands, to John Whittney in tail male; and on 23rd May 1640 Charles I by letters patent granted the Manor of Shaen to his descendant Robert Whitney. From the Whitney family these lands appear to have passed to the Byrne's (alias Leycester's), as in 1755 they sold "all the Several Manors or lordships of Shaen, Tymogue and Kilmurry" to John Petty, Earl of Shelburne. Shaen remained in this nobleman's family until 1801, when the Marquis of Lansdown sold the Manor to Cornelius, Lord Lismore. Between 1731 and 1738 Thomas Kemmis obtained a lease - probably for 21 years - of a portion of the lands of Shaen. Prior to 1744 he held in addition 290 acres in Killeen, also by lease. He resided at Shaen until 1757, when he removed to Killeen - apparently in consequence of his lease of the former lands having expired, since the next year C. H. Coote Esq. obtained a lease of Shaen demesne, 688 acres, for three lives. At the sale of the freehold of these lands in 1801 C. H. Coote Esq. is mentioned as holding Shaen demesne at a rent of £321. 0. 0., also Straboe and Derrygarron, 560 acres, at £234. 0. 0. per annum: Thomas Kemmis Esq. Kilmainham and Killeen, 544 acres plantation measure, at a rent of £226.0.0. by lease of three lives from 1757, and John Kemmis Esq. 184 acres in Eyne, at a rent of £115.9.4. by lease for 21 years from 1794. It is also stated that the Manor of Shaen was entitled to an unlimited right of Commonage over the great Heath of Maryborough, and that the then house of Shaen was a substantial building erected by the late Dean Coote, whilst there were also good family houses with proper offices upon Strabo, Killeen, and Ballydavis, occupied by John Kemmis Esq., Captain Warburton and Mr. Fitzgerald.

On 10th February 1808 Thomas Kemmis, third son of Thomas Kemmis previously referred to, purchased from Lord Lismore "The fee simple and inheritance of the Castle, Manor, towns and lands of Shaen, alias Syan, alias Shrin, in the Queen's Co.," together with its several sub-denominations and an unlimited right of commonage belonging to the said Manor on the lands called the Great Heath adjoining thereto, with all right etc: belonging to the said Castle and Manor etc. Among the sub-denominations referred to arr Kilmainham, Killeen, Eyne, Shaen demesne and wood, Straboe, Ballydavis, etc.

Little now remains of the ancient Castle save a few remains which mark where it stood upon an eminence near the present mansion. From an engraving dated 1779 it appears to have been at that date a square keep with a more modern building attached to it. It was used as a residence by Thomas Kemmis Senior until he remove to Killeen in 1757, but probably its place was then taken by the new house which, as already mentioned, Dean Coote built during his tenancy, and which was situated at the foot of the Castle hill. Between 1811 and 1827 the Rev. Thomas Kemmis erected the present mansion upon the site of Dean Coote's house, a portion of which he incorporated in the building; his father having about 1810 built the wall around the demesne.

The ruins of an ancient church - within which is a family place of burial - are to be seen at Straboe. The house a Straboe, previously referred to, was removed by the present owner of Shaen.

Footnotes to Kemmis of Shaen

Beginning of Document
Table of Contents
Kemeys of Bertholey
Kemmis of Port Philip

John L. & Irene Kemmis