Best Family

Biography/History

The Du Bordieu (or Dubourdieu) Best family are of Hugenot descent, the Du Bordieus having settled in Ireland sometime in the early part of the 17th century. Although no documentary evidence exists to establish the exact date, or the means by which they left France, the family tradition is that the Rev. Jean Armand Du Bordieu was, in his infancy, smuggled from France into England. As an adult, he came to Ireland about 1690 and was chaplain to Field Marshal Schomberg when the latter lost his life at the Battle of the Boyne. His son, Rev. John Du Bordieu, came to live in Ireland and his family claim him to be the progenitor of the Du Bordieu Bests in this country. A descendant of his, also called Rev. John Du Bordieu, was rector and vicar of Drumgorland and Drumballyroney, Co. Down from 1821 until his death in 1839. However, he is best remembered as an author of some distinction having written the 'Statistical Survey of the County Down' in 1802 and the 'Statistical Survey of the County Armagh' in 1812. Saumare,Z the eldest son of Reverend John, was born in Lisburn in December 1780 and was the British commander in 1802 when Martinique in the French West Indies was captured from the French. Over time, the family gradually dropped the "Du Bordieu" part of their name, reverting for whatever reason – probably marriage - to Best. They became substantial tenant farmers in the parish of Aghagallon, Co. Antrim, under the Marquess of Hertford, under whom they purchased the leases of a number of smaller tenants during the 19th century before securing the estate of ‘The Cairn’ in Aghalee, Co. Armagh under the Land Purchase Act of 1885. In the twentieth century , the family seat was occupied by Robert Dubourdieu Best who led an active life in the field of agriculture and as treasurer of Aghalee parish Church for fifty years. Upon his death in the early 1970s, ownership passed to his son, William, who, in the tradition of his great-uncles, served in the British army and was decorated by King George VI for bravery in the Second World War. Today, the family tradition is still alive and the manor-house is occupied by William's son, Robert.