Alexander Stewart of Acton, Co. Armagh

No Dates


Biography

Son and heir of Alexander Stewart of Ballylough (q.v.), and shown as owner of Fort Stewart in St George Jamaica between 1761 and 1764, when he appeared as 'Alexander Stewart of Ireland'. He appears in secondary sources as Alexander T. or Thomas Stewart, nicknamed 'Graceless'. His death-date is uncertain. In 1781 administration of his father Alexander Stewart of Ballylough's will was granted to the representative of Alexander Stewart the son, implying that Alexander Stewart of Acton was still alive at that point. The Rev. George Hill gives a death-date of 1790 for Alexander Stewart son of Alexander [T.] Stewart, and implies that Alexander [T.] Stewart of Acton had already died before his son's death in 1790. It is not clear whether the portrait described below is of Alexander Stewart of Acton or of his son, also Alexander.

  1. There is a portrait of 'Alexander Stewart of Acton' by Joseph Wilson in the Armagh County Museum. An inscription on the back of the portrait is reported to read: 'This picture was painted by Mr Joseph Wilson of Belfast for Alexander Stewart Esq. of Acton in the County of Armagh. He built the Mansion House at Acton and also the village of Poyntzpass together with the Church and Chapel. He afterwards disposed of the estate to Mr. Hanna, a merchant of Newry. Mr Stewart died in Dublin about the year 1802. The Acton estate has since been purchased by Major Close for nearly £100,000’.

  2. Alexander Stewart of Acton undertook the development of coal mining and shipping at Ballintoy: 'In 1757, he petitioned the Irish House of Commons for aid in assisting to open coal mines at Ballintoy, stating that he had ''discovered a large body of coals in his lands there, great quantities of which had been exported to Dublin and other parts of the kingdom", that he had "expended £500 in an attempt to construct a quay at Ballintoy, but was not able to proceed with the work unless aided by Parliament; that such structure, when completed, would be of great advantage to the kingdom in general, and to the North of Ireland in particular, the same being the only harbour of safety between Larne and the Lough of Deny." To accomplish this work, he asked for the sum of £2,000 from the public purse. His petition was referred to a committee of sixty members, which committee, after examining three witnesses (viz., Daniel MacCollum, John MacCay, and Thomas Moon), reported that there was a " large fund of coal in the colliery of Ballintoy, that a safe and commodious harbour might be made there, and that the sum of £2,000 should be granted for that purpose." This sum was voted for the purpose above-mentioned. In 1759, Mr. Stewart petitioned again, stating that he had expended £1,734 on the works, and asking for £1,234 to complete the quay. The committee reported favourably on this application also, and with this grant ended the project of a quay and colliery at Ballintoy. Stewart was soon afterwards obliged to sell his entire property in Ballintoy, for which he received £20,000 from Cupples of Belfast.'

  3. Jane, the daughter of Alexander Stewart of Ballintoy and Acton, married in 1773 Francis Dobbs, who has an entry in the ODNB as 'politician and barrister.'

Sources

  1. ST. JOSEPH’S CHURCH, POYNTZPASS & ITS PARISH PRIESTS AND CURATES 1788 - 2002, BY MICHAEL ANDERSON, POYNTZPASS AND DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY, http://www.poyntzpass.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/St-Josephs-Church.pdf [accessed 02/08/2017]. This source suggests that the portrait is of Alexander T. Stewart, and presents an indenture signed in 1792 by Alexander Thomas Stewart.

  2. George Hill 'The Stewarts of Ballintoy: With Notices of Other Families of the District in the Seventeenth Century. The Stewarts of Ballintoy' Ulster Journal of Archaeology Second Series, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Jan., 1901), pp. 9-17.

  3. David Lammey, ‘Dobbs, Francis (1750–1811)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/7712, accessed 2 Aug 2017].


Further Information

Absentee?
British/Irish?

Associated Estates (2)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1761 [EA] - 1764 [LA] → Owner
- 1817 [LA] → Previous owner

Registered to heirs of Alexander Stewart. This might refer to Alexander Stewart of Acton or possibly to his son. The estate was in receivership by this time.


Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Dock
Quay at Ballintoy, Co. Antrim [Built] 
description →
Alexander Stewart, with the aid of grants from the Irish Parliament, developed open-cast coal-mining and an associated quay at Ballintoy Co. Antrim c....
notes →
George Hill 'The Stewarts of Ballintoy: With Notices of Other Families of the District in the Seventeenth Century. The Stewarts of Ballintoy' Ulster Journal of Archaeology Second Series, Vol. 7, No....

Relationships (1)

Son → Father

Addresses (1)

Acton, Co. Armagh, Ireland