Abandoned ireland


Glyde Court,

Co. Louth

Documenting our Heritage

Glyde Court, County Louth.

A late 18th Century house with a long elevation remodelled in late Jacobean style in the 19th Century. The long elevation has curvilinear gables and 2 curved long bows, the entrance is in the shorter front with 2 gabled projections joined by an arcaded cloister. Glyde Court was remodelled in 1868.

The Foster Baronetcy, of Glyde Court in the County of Louth, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 30 September 1831 for the diplomat Augustus Foster. The title became extinct on the death of the fourth Baronet in 1947.

Some family members associated with Glyde Court are among the most famous and infamous of the period.

The Foster family of Glyde Court stemmed from the Rev. Dr Thomas Foster, rector of Dunleer, younger brother of the Rt Hon Anthony Foster, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer. Dr Thomas Foster's son, John Thomas Foster, married Lady Elizabeth Hervey

From her marriage to John Thomas Foster, Lady Elizabeth bore two children, Frederick and Augustus and a daughter Elizabeth, who was born premature on 17 November 1778 and lived only 8 days.

The marriage however was not a success, and the couple separated within five years, plausibly after Foster had a relationship with a servant. Foster retained custody of their sons, and did not allow the boys to see Bess for 14 years.

In May 1782, Lady Elizabeth (Bess) met the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in Bath, and quickly became Georgiana's closest friend.

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, her life and relationships was recently documented in the Hollywood film 'The Duchess' starting Keira Knightley.

From May 1782 Lady Elizabeth (Bess) lived in a menage au trois with Georgiana and her husband, William, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, for about twenty-five years. She bore two children by the Duke, a son, Augustus (later Augustus Clifford, 1st Baronet), and a daughter, Caroline St. Jules, who were raised at Devonshire House with the Duke's legitimate children by Georgiana.

Lady Elizabeth (Bess) finally married the Duke in 1809, three years after the death of his first wife, during which time she had continued to live in his household.

Bess is also said to have had affairs with several other men, including Ercole Cardinal Consalvi, John Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset, Count Axel von Fersen, Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond, and Valentine Richard Quin, 1st Earl of Dunraven. There is some evidence that Quin fathered an illegitimate son by her, who became the noted physician, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin.

Bess also had literary pretensions, and was a friend of the French author Madame de Stael, with whom she corresponded from about 1804.

Glyde Court,


The Duchess of Devonshire and Lady Elizabeth

Augustus Foster, the younger son of John Thomas Foster and Lady Elizabeth (Bess) went on to have a career as a diplomat, as well as accumulating property in county Louth. The career of Augustus Foster is dryly summarised in an early version of the Dictionary of National Biography:

'Through the influence of his mother, who remarried William, 5th Duke of Devonshire, was appointed secretary to the legation of the Rt Hon. Hugh Elliot at Naples. In 1811 he was nominated Minister Plenipotentiary to the USA. His manners where not conciliatory, and he did nothing to stave off the war which broke out in 1812. In that year he returned to England, and was elected MP for Cockermouth, and in May 1814 he was nominated Minister Plenipotentiary at Copenhagen. He remained in Denmark for 10 years and in 1815 married Albina Jane, daughter of the Hon. George Vere Hobart. In 1822 Foster was sworn of the Privy Council, and in 1824 he was transferred to the Court of Turin, and was knighted and made a GCH in the following year. He was further created a baronet of 'Glyde Court', county Louth in September 1831. He remained in Turin for a further 16 years. In 1840 he retired from diplomatic service. On 1st August 1848 he committed suicide by cutting his own throat, in a fit of temporary insanity, at Branksea Castle, near Poole, Dorsetshire, England.

'Sir Augustus Foster was succeeded in the baronetcy by his eldest son Frederick George, who died unmarried in 1857. The baronetcy then passed to Frederick's brother Cavendish Hervey Foster.

However it was another brother, Vere Foster (1819-1900), the philanthropist and educationalist, who was the member of the family to achieve the greatest celebrity.

Vere Henry Louis Foster was one of the greatest Irishmen ever. He was born in Copenhagen on April 25, 1819, while his father was serving as British Minister to Denmark. Vere was educated at Eton and Oxford and after graduation, entered the Foreign Office where his promising career as a diplomat was put aside once he returned to Ireland, in 1847.

The rest of his life was dedicated to helping his countrymen. There was some controversy concerning the behaviour of both the crew and the females under Mr Foster's care, and it was later reported that many of those 'ladies' from the City of Mobile became common prostitutes, a situation which gave rise to some very purple prose in the newspapers. In the long-term, Foster considered education to be the way forward. He contributed towards building school houses in rural Ireland - he devised cheap but very effective school books, and tried to better the lot of the poorly paid Irish school teachers. He was amongst the original promoters of the Belfast School of Art where, in addition to his annual donations, he guaranteed the headmaster's salary for a number of years. Several young students were put through college at his expense. The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast was another institution which benefited from his generosity. For over forty years Vere Foster gave freely of his own money until his death in 1900. During his life he assisted  around 25,000 people to start a new life in the Americas and it is believed he spent approximately 100,000 pounds sterling on other charitable endeavours while he himself lived on the equivalent of 100 pounds a year. He died, on December 21, 1900, in a cheap lodging house in Belfast.

Vere Foster

In 2002 we find Glyde Court being reported as 'Fast becoming a ruin' 'The recent vandalism and dereliction of Glyde Court House is regrettable, making its reinstatement much more difficult to achieve'

December 2008 - Glyde Court is abandoned - derelict and forgotten.