Hazel Dolling: Last Chatelaine of Lissan

Hazel was born at Lissan on the 13th of June 1923, the elder of two daughters of Sir Robert George Alexander Staples, 13th Baronet of Lissan and Faughanvale.

Having no male heir, Sir Robert feared for the future of Lissan and often quipped “après moi, le deluge”. Whilst both his daughters spent much of their childhood at Lissan, his anxiety seemed well founded when both settled far from the family Seat. Hazel’s life took her away to school in England, to wartime service in the WRNS and a career aboard some of the world’s most famous ocean liners.

However, ever drawn back to the idyllic place of her golden childhood, Hazel Staples returned to her beloved Lissan in 1965 and married, in 1970, Harry Holbeche Radclyffe Dolling. The pair managed the Estate until Harry’s death in 1986 after which Hazel took on the gargantuan task of running Lissan alone. In later years Hazel echoed her father’s anxiety about the long term prospects of the Estate and in 1997 she established a charitable trust charged with the restoration and preservation of Lissan for the enjoyment of future generations.

Leading the campaign, Hazel brought Lissan to nationwide attention in the BBC Restoration TV series of 2003 and won huge support from a captivated public.

Though she did not live to see Lissan rejuvenated her vision endures through the work of of the volunteers and trustees of Lissan House.

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