Francis Chute (b. 1929)
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Francis Chute (b. 1929)


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Track 1: Francis Chute now lives in Sussex after a life spent working in the oil business. He was bequeathed material on the Chute family history, with a view to writing a book about the family. The English side of the Chute family died out in 1827 and his great-grandfather, William Wiggett, inherited the estate on condition that he take the Chute surname. Chute family members still live in Ireland but not many records remain. The first Irish Chute was George Chute from Kent, who came as a soldier during reign of Elizabeth I in the 1590s. Francis Chute gives a brief description of George’s descendants and family connections in Ireland. Challoner Chute served in the Munster Fusiliers and was killed in August 1914 in France. Francis says that he got most of his information about the Irish Chutes from Desmond Chute, son of Challoner Chute. Track 2: Francis explains that Chute Hall near Tralee was sold just after WWI, and gradually fell into disrepair. The Chutes apparently sold the property having been informed that their lives were in danger. The earliest Chutes appear to have lived around Suffolk and Somerset in England and Francis details their family history. He explains that Desmond Chute died about 6 years ago leaving one surviving son who resides in Scotland. The Chute house at Tullygarron near Tralee was a large Georgian style house which had not been modernised at the time Desmond left it in the 1920s. Francis outlines the family connection with Lord Ventry and a discussion ensues on the ogham stones in the drive of Chute Hall. Track 3: Francis relates some stories of family entertainments at Chute Hall, Tullygarron and he reads from an article in The Irish Times of August 1899 that reported on a ball at the house. There are several connections between the Chute and Waller families which Francis outlines and he also details links with the Blennerhassetts and the Dennys. From what he could understand from Desmond, the Chutes had a good reputation locally and there were stories of the family’s sheltering of threatened Catholic priests in earlier days. However, events caused Francis Blennerhassett Chute to leave for England but his sons, Richard and Desmond, stayed on. Another brother, Arthur, left for California. Eventually, due to threats, the family had to leave the country. Desmond became a professional soldier in the British Army but Francis remembers that he always remained emotionally attached to Ireland. Track 4: Francis speaks of his researches into the Chute family history in libraries and archives. He relates the story of the house named ‘The Vyne’ in Hampshire, built by Sir William Sandys, purchased by Challoner Chute and eventually inherited by his descendants after legal difficulties. When it was inherited by his great-grandfather William Wiggett Chute in 1827 he found the building to be in such a parlous state that he was faced with rebuilding the Tudor mansion. It was fully restored by the National Trust after 2000. Track 5: Francis states that the English Chutes were more political than military and he outlines their activities in Tudor times. Track 6: Francis mentions members of his own family, including his American mother from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He recalls his maternal grandfather Francis B. Keene, who was educated at Harvard with Teddy Roosevelt. Later Roosevelt invited him to become U.S. Consul in Florence and Geneva and later U.S. Consul General in Zurich and Rome. Francis’ father left school at 16 and was trained as a railway engineer. During WWI he was responsible for narrow-gauge railways in France which brought munitions to the frontline. He was gassed so badly during the war that he could not return to this career but bought a property in the Chiltern Hills. Francis’ own particular wish was to become an opera singer but instead (having six children to support) went into the more lucrative oil business, working around the world.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

8.41 MB, 10.55 MB, 11.73 MB, 9.98 MB, 7.53 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The Chute family of Tralee

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore