History of the House / 1961 to 1969 - Knowles

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Earlscliffe Residents 1961 to 1969

In 1961, Earlscliffe was purchased by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Knowles.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Knowles

Family History

Knowles Family Tree
Knowles family tree

Andrew Knowles was born in Brailsford in Derbyshire, England on the 17th Feb, 1897. [1] His parents were Robert Knowles and Hanna Fenton.

Early years - from the First World War

In the first world war, Andrew served with the Royal Scots Greys and reached the rank of Lieutenant.

On leaving the army he became an amateur jockey in England where he rode in the Grand National and got a second place Foxhunters' Chase. He gave up racing after that but was known to ride with the Dove Valley hunt in Derbyshire. [2]

On April 21st 1924, Andrew married Elizabeth Evelyn Hurt in Belper, Derbyshire, and they had one son, Peter Andrew, on 12 Dec 1927.

In 1934 he moved to Ireland where he rode regularly with a number of hunts. He also rode many point-to-point winners before the second World War, the two best known being Shaun Rhu and Toi Denis, on which he won the Kilmallock Gold Cup. [2]

Second World War and beyond

In the second world war, Andrew again served with the British Army and lost an eye on the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940.

After the war, he returned to live in Ireland and became a racehorse owner and a member and steward of the National Hunt Committee. [2]

Andrew was a keen gardener, and In the 1950s, he lived at Reen-na-Furraha (or Reenafura), Sneem, Co.Kerry * with his second wife, Olga. [3]  

Olga Mabel Knowles (née Johnston)

Olga Mabel Johnston was born on the 12th June 1916 in Gloucester, England. Her father was Major Charles Ernest Johnston who had married Olga's mother, Mabel Frances Irene Schultz on the 14th Feb 1909. [4]

Two years after Olga was born, her father was killed in action in France in the First World War on 23 March 1918. [5]

Olga's mother, Mabel, went on to marry again in Sept 1922 to Air Commodore Raymond William Ryan. Ryan was a medical doctor who served in the second world war with the RAF, presumably as a medic.

It is not known when Olga married Colonel Andrew Knowles, but we presume that they were married by 12th March 1956 as both Olga and Andrew are listed as passengers on the RMS Hubert docked in Liverpool after a trip round the Caribbean! [6]

Move to Earlscliffe

Andrew bought Earlscliffe from Margaret Woods on 31st May, 1961 and moved in soon after with his second wife, Olga.

Being a keen gardener, Andrew brought many plants from his previous house in Sneem, Co. Kerry to his new home at Earlscliffe.  [2]

We don't know much more about the Knowles' life at Earlscliffe, however, sadly, Andrew died on the 3rd March 1967 at the age of 70.

Mabel Frances Irene Ryan

Olga Knowles continued to live at Earlscliffe after her husband's death and was joined by her mother, Mabel Frances Irene Ryan. Sadly, Mabel later died on March 27 1968  [7] and is buried in Kilbarrack, Co. Dublin.

After her Mother's death, Olga put Earlscliffe up for sale in May 1969.  [8]

Olga lived until she was 85 and died in July 2001 back in her birth town of Gloucester in the UK. [1]


(* As an aside, in 1969, eight years after Andrew and Olga moved out of Reenafura in Sneem and into Earlscliffe, French president Charles De Gaulle visited Kerry. He was due to stay at Parknasilla, an old country house on the ring of Kerry that is now a luxury hotel. However, it was felt that he could be best protected under heavy security next door in the secluded Reenafura!) [9]

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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  .


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