A DERELICT Dunmore House (October 2022). Photo: Mary Burke

Legacy of a colonial past

Part 2 of the history of Dunmore House

THE comfortable privileged lives of the Shee family were far removed from that of their tenants. Indeed, the rental income from their Dunmore estate was hardly a contributing factor in funding their lavish lifestyle, with the family’s wealth derived from independent trading in India and their service to the British Crown.

By contrast, many of their impoverished tenants endured great hardship trying to meet their twice-yearly rental payment. For 19th century landlords like George Shee, his purchase of the estate was a symbolic indicator of his economic strength and social status.

In March 1783, Shee was employed in India and courting a young lady called Elizabeth Maria Crisp. He wrote a long and indiscreet letter to Elizabeth Marsh, mother of Miss Crisp, outlining the course of his feelings towards her daughter and the reasons for his unwillingness to commit to marriage earlier in their courtship.

He admitted that his initial feelings for her daughter were “without meaning”, but went on to say that concern about the scale of his fortune and the uncertain state of his prospects were a factor in his hesitancy…

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