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This week we begin a series of occasional articles focusing on costumes from the Museum Collection which have been on display in the Museum’s Costume Case over the past few years. We begin with a Deputy Lieutenant’s uniform which is part of the Reside Collection but was made for, and worn by, Arthur Charles Innes-Cross (1834 – 1902) who lived at Dromantine House, near Newry.

The Deputy Lieutenant’s uniform worn by Arthur Charles Innes-Cross on display in Newry and Mourne Museum in 2012. The uniform went under an intensive programme of conservation cleaning by a textile conservator before display. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
The Deputy Lieutenant’s uniform worn by Arthur Charles Innes-Cross on display in Newry and Mourne Museum in 2012. The uniform went under an intensive programme of conservation cleaning by a textile conservator before display. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

Born on 25th November 1834, Arthur Charles Innes was educated at Eton. His father died when he was an infant and the estate was run by his mother, Mary Jervis Wolseley Innes, until Arthur Charles attained his majority in 1855. In 1858 he married Louise Leticia Brabazon from County Meath and set about rebuilding Dromantine House in the fashionable Italian Renaissance style. As well as providing a fine house for himself, he also donated land for the building of Glen Chapel in 1863.

Dromantine House pictured in Spring 1921. John McCurdy, a Dublin architect, was responsible for rebuilding Dromantine House in the Italian Renaissance style in the 1860s. The work cost £6,000.  Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
Dromantine House pictured in Spring 1921. John McCurdy, a Dublin architect, was responsible for rebuilding Dromantine House in the Italian Renaissance style in the 1860s. The work cost £6,000. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

Arthur Charles Innes was elected Conservative M.P. for Newry in 1865 and remained so until 1868. He was also a member of the Newry Board of Guardians, a Justice of the Peace and became a Deputy Lieutenant for County Down in January 1886. His wife died in the same year and, in September 1887, Arthur Charles married Jane Beauchamp Cross from Dartan in County Armagh and assumed her name by Royal Licence. They had three children, Arthur Charles Wolseley (born 1888), Marion Dorothea (born 1892) and Sydney Maxwell who was born in 1894. Arthur Charles died in April 1902 and the estate was inherited by his eldest son. Most of the estate was sold to the tenants c.1908 and the Innes family remained at Dromantine House until late 1920. The contents were sold at auction in May 1921. The house bought in 1926 by the Society of African Missions who now use it as a retreat and conference centre. 

A Deputy Lieutenant assists the Lord Lieutenant of a county in his or her duties as the personal representative of the Sovereign. Lord Lieutenants were first appointed in England and Wales in the 1540s by Henry VIII and, in 1715, this office was extended to Ireland. 

View of the Drawing Room at Dromantine House in which the contents are evidently being prepared for the auction which took place in May 1921. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
A view of the Drawing Room at Dromantine House in which the contents are evidently being prepared for the auction which took place in May 1921. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

Originally responsible for the local militia, the duties of the Lord Lieutenant gradually became more ceremonial. Duties now include arranging Royal visits to the county and escorting members of the Royal family, presenting awards on behalf of the Sovereign and leading the local magistracy. Originally drawn from the aristocracy and landowning classes in the county, Deputy Lieutenants are now appointed from a wide variety of backgrounds. They are usually appointed for life and women are also now chosen as well as men. The uniform worn by Lords Lieutenant and their Deputies has always reflected military ceremonial dress of the time. Today Deputy Lieutenants usually wear civilian dress with a Deputy Lieutenant’s badge when performing official duties. 

The uniform worn by Arthur Charles Innes was based on late Victorian military ceremonial dress. It comprises a red woollen jacket with tails, decorated with an oak leaf and acorn motif in silver thread on the collar and sleeves and a shamrock motif on the tails. The black woollen trousers are decorated with silver braid with a shamrock motif. The uniform is accompanied by a beaver bicorne hat with a feather plume and cap decorated with silver braid. The cap was worn on less formal occasions. The uniform was made by William Buckmaster & Co, a military tailoring firm in Dublin.

Next week we will be featuring a Burton’s suit made in the late 1940s.

Newry and Mourne Museum is temporarily closed.

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