History of the House / 1952 to 1961 - Woods

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Earlscliffe Residents 1952 to 1961

After the Stanley-Clarkes moved into Shiel, Earlscliffe was purchased by Margaret (Peggy) Rosita Woods (née Roper), who was married to Dr Robert Rowan Woods.

Margaret (Peggy) Rosita Woods & Dr Robert Rowan Woods

Family History

Woods Family Tree
Woods family tree

Peggy Woods taken outside Earlsciffe in 1961
Peggy Woods in 1961 outside Earlscliffe

Margaret (Peggy) Rosita Woods

Margaret (Peggy) Rosita Roper was born in Oct 1911 and came from a family of lawyers. Her grandfather, father and both her brothers were all solicitors.

Peggy had no formal professional qualifications but was talented and interested in the visual arts.  [1]

Dr. Robert Rowan Woods

Dr Robert Rowan Woods
Dr Robert Rowan Woods

Her husband, Robert (Bobby) Rowan Woods was born in 1902 in Dublin. His father was Sir Robert Henry Woods, a Trinity graduate and former president of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland who was head of the ear, nose and throat department of Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, Lower Grand Canal Street, Dublin 2. Dr Robert Henry Woods was also a Unionist MP for Dublin from 1918 to 1921 and had been knighted for his contribution to medicine. [2] [3] [4]

Robert Rowan Woods entered Trinity in 1921 to study medicine and had a brilliant academic career, passing his medical examinations in 1926.[5]  He later became a student at Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital and went on to study in Vienna. On his return to Ireland he succeeded his father as head of the ear, nose and throat department in Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, a post he kept for 25 years.

In 1946, Dr Robert Rowan Woods, who had studied in New York, brought back to Ireland a controversial new technique for curing a particular form of deafness. The technique, known as fenestration was successfully used to cure hundreds of so called 'incurable' patients and Dr Woods became a leading expert in this area.  [3] 

Move to Earlscliffe

The Woods moved into Earlscliffe on 31st January 1952. [6]

During the time they lived there, Peggy made some radical changes to Earlscliffe House. She lowered the very high Victorian ceilings, moved an original ornate fireplace out of the main living room and replaced it with a more modern 1950s style one, and exchanged the three main bay windows that looked over the sea with large plain square windows with window seats.[7]

Whilst Dr Woods was at Earlscliffe he used to have a surgery in one of the main rooms and treated many patients there.

Peggy subsequently sold Earlscliffe to Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Knowles in May 1961.

Sadly, Peggy only lived for another two years and died on September 16, 1963.

Dr Woods remarried around 1965, but sadly he died on August 20th, 1971. [8]

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List of Earlscliffe Residents

1844 to 1864 - Cornelius Egan
1864 to 1878 - Bunbury McClintock
1878 to 1896 - The Knox family
1896 to 1901 - John Randal Plunkett
1901 to 1922 - John Pentland Mahaffy
1922 to 1924 - CT Ovenden
1924 to 1927 - Robert Rooney
1927 to 1930 - Dr Ella Webb
1930 to 1945 - Sir John Lumsden
1945 to 1949 - William Martin Murphy
1949 to 1950 - Lily Margaret Graham Gough
1950 to 1952 - Stanley-Clarke
1952 to 1961 - Woods
1961 to 1969 - Knowles
1969 to today - Robinson & Foley family 

Disclaimer. Parts of the data found in these history pages are derived from sources currently available on the internet. In researching the previous owners of Earlscliffe, certain assumptions have been made as to the validity and accuracy of this internet data. If you believe that some of this data is inaccurate or should not be published on this website, please contact  .


  • [1] From correspondence with Mark Hely Hutchinson on Sept 9th 2020. Mark was married to Margaret Woods, daughter of Peggy & Bobby Woods who owned Earlscliffe in the 1950s..
  • [2] Taken from the booklet "1711-2011 School of Medicine Trinity College Dublin" found here: http://www.medicine.tcd.ie/tercentenary/assets/pdf/Trinity%20Medicine.pdf
  • [3] Irish Times obituary for Dr Robert Rowan Woods, August 24, 1971, page 9.
  • [4] "British Society for the History of ENT - Abstracts from meeting 28th September 2001, City Hospital, Birmingham UK", The Journal of Laryngology & Otology, May 2002, Vol. 116, pp. 404–407
  • [5] Irish Times, Examination results, March 25, 1926, page 9
  • [6] Title deeds and other legal documents that are currently in the possession of Karen Foley
  • [7] From conversations with Jane Broxham, who lived in Earlscliffe in the 1940s with her parents, William and Norah Martin Murphy. Jane visited Earlscliffe with her husband Patrick on Wednesday 29th April 2009. The Martin Murphy's were good family friends with the Woods.
  • [8] As noted in https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/156840539/robert-rowan-woods seen 03-Oct-2021

This page was last updated on 27-Jul-2023 .