A SECTION OF PUTLAND ROAD IN BRAY COUNTY WICKLOW
Putland Road was laid out as a Famine Relief Scheme. It was known as “The Road of Ten Houses” because that was the number of houses at Putland Villas. A few years later the road took on the name of the Putland family, the local landlords who lived in Bray Head House. I think that the ten houses are at Sydenham Villas.
Charles Putland (1785–1859) was the youngest son of George Putland and Constance Putland (née Evans), niece of the 2nd Baron Carbery. Charles was educated at home and TCD, where he graduated BA in 1804. That year he entered King’s Inns, but never practised as a barrister.
In 1812 he married Constance Massy (d. 1842) and lived for a time in Blarney, Co. Cork, where he gave a site and £100 in cash for the building of a Catholic church. After inheriting the family estates at the age of 56, he proved a committed, progressive landlord, greatly interested in agricultural improvement. In 1845, at the start of the famine, he wrote to the Freeman’s Journal reporting the results of his experiments for combating blight. The following year he was experimenting with new strains of wheat; his excellent early wheat was praised by the Freeman’s Journal in 1849, as were his proposals for encouraging employment by modifying the poor law rating system. His political views were equally progressive, given his class. He had voted for the liberal/repealer ticket in a Dublin city election in 1835, and when Daniel O’Connell passed through Bray in 1845, Putland was only prevented by illness from being on the welcoming platform. He sent his apologies to the meeting, gave all his men a day’s holiday, and authorised the cutting of greenery from his shrubberies to decorate the town. In 1849 he granted an unsolicited 25 per cent rent reduction to his Wicklow tenants.
Charles Putland died on 25 December 1859, leaving assets of £25,000. He had seven children.
His eldest son, Charles Putland (1813–76) did not follow his father, uncle, and grandfather to Trinity. As a young man he got into financial difficulties, and local Bray tradition refers to his gambling debts as a factor in the sale of Sans Souci. In June 1857 he made headlines when he was charged with knocking unconscious, at Bray railway station, a Mr John Edwards who was paying unwelcome attention to his sister. He lived at Sarsfield Court, Cork, but returned to Bray after his father’s death. He continued his father’s policies, reducing rent when tenants’ cattle died, financially encouraging the fertilising and draining of land, contributing to the extension of the catholic chapel in Blarney, and supporting the local national school. In March 1861 he opened access to Bray Head but withdrew this two months later, after a fire broke out on his lands. He contributed to the building boom in Bray, opening (1862) a road in his demense from Newcourt-Vevay to the strand (initially called Newcourt Road, it was later renamed Putland Road) and leasing the one-acre Elsinore (Strand Hotel) site for the construction of sea-front residences.