The Perry Knox Gore Family, Foxford in Co Mayo

The family was very wealthy and very successful, and they had the respect of the local people as Sir Arthur had looked after the people very well during the famine. He had brought in at least one shipful of grain and one of seed potatoes for the people.

There was a boat house at the river and another one at Knockmore on the shores of Lough Conn, and the local people were used to seeing the gentry drive off in great style for boating trips on the lake. No doubt they regularly crossed the lake to visit the BoydSaunders Knox Gores at Pontoon, as they were their cousins.

The fishing was a wonderful source of income at Coolcronan with average catches of 2500 salmon caught at the weirs in the years 1890-1895.

From 1920 onwards Major Myles Perry was the owner. He married Mrs Gundred Forbes from County Sligo. She had a son named Pat Forbes who was subsequently injured during the war. Whilst married to Myles Perry she had another son named Simon.

During those years the ice-house and the salmon smoking operation were very profitable. It was on record during those years that the annual rents from the tenants was in the region of 7000 pounds per annum. Combined with inherited wealth the family were believed to be very well off.

Lavish lifestyles were the order of the day for the Perry Knox Gores. Lavish balls were held at the big house, from which the locals were barred. However, it was in the benefit of the locals that the curtains were deliberately left open for them to have a good view of the proceedings and of the Ladies and Gentleman dressed up in their finery.

The servants were well treated but rules were kept at all cost. For instance, no servants were ever to use the front stairs. The cleaning of the stairs would have to be carried out while the guests were still in bed in the morning. Fires would be lit in the guest bedrooms in the mornings and breakfast was served to the guests in bed.

The family would entertain large numbers of guests for the hunting and shooting season, and the locals got very well paid and fed for beating the grass ahead of the shooters.

The family would go in turn to stay with Lord Oranmore and Brown for the hunt and shooting parties. Also to Cong and to estates in Wicklow, and other parts of the country.

The war years saw a huge drop in all revenues, the salmon market in England was gone and the tenants were impoverished. To make matters worse, Major Myles Perry went away to the war. The days of the big house were numbered. He came home occasionally on holidays from time to time, friends came to fish and stay at the house during his absence and they would leave their cars garaged there when they returned home.

One local man was employed to service the cars from time to time. In fact he had permission to use one of the cars - owned by a lady who used to spend time fishing in Coolcronan every year - on his wedding day to go to the church in Knockmore.

While Major Myles Perry Knox Gore was away at war the Land Commission took over quite a sizeable part of the Land to the North of the house and also in the direction of Knockmore. He was separated from his first wife around that time and remarried in the late 1940's.

From his second wife he had a daughter, Sarah, and a son named Mark. Major Perry found the rates to be too much to pay and so he took the roof off a large section of the house at the time of his marrige to Ingrid Frence Davis. He had most of the house demolished except one section which he then renovated.

Researched by Mary Faughnan, Coolcronan 2000

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