Bram Stoker Estate



The Authoritative Resource for Information about Bram Stoker’s Life and Work


Murray Hornibrook

B. 10 July 1873 at Hampstead, Middlesex, England

D. 9 September 1949 at Etretat, Normandy, France

Attended Trinity College Dublin for two years, then received a BA from

St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1898.

Was awarded the Royal Humane Society Medal 15 November 1900, for saving the life of Miss Christy at Kilkee, County Clare, Ireland.

Resident magistrate, Templemore, County Tipperary, 1905

Best known for his collection of dwarf conifers at his home Knapton House, near Abbeyleix, and for being the first author to collect in one book, all the many forms known in cultivation and recorded in literature. His Dwarf and Slow-growing Conifers (1923) revised and enlarged in 1939, in which he records about 500 forms, became and remains the standard.

Art collector, tennis player, private secretary to the Attorney General of Ireland.

Some of Murray Hornibrook’s art collection “was looted during the German invasion of France, and much of what remained was sold at auction. The National Gallery in London now holds several pieces of his collection.”

                                                                              Based in part, on research by Dr. Roger Willoughby,

                                                                             the complete version of which is due to appear in his

                                            forthcoming book Saved Lives.


Knapton House

A mention in an article “The British rock garden in the twentieth century”

Brent Eliott, May, 2011, The Lindley Library, The Royal Horticultural Society, London

“But this was not the first use of peat blocks; Murray Hornibrook, whose wife appears to have been the real innovator, had developed the idea after moving to Knapton, near Abbeyleix in Ireland, in 1906:

Close beside us was a large peat bog; the workpeople on the various estates had the right to cut peat – “turf” – on it. In doing so they first cut off the top spit which consisted of yard square blocks of peat full of heather roots and exposed to the air for ages. My wife proposed that, failing further supplies of large stones, we should utilise these blocks of peat to retain the ordinary soil in place. We did so with excellent results and next season, finding that the majority of the plants appreciated the peat, we experimented further, making “Rock works” entirely of peat – the retaining “stones” being these top spit blocks and the soil being sometimes peat mixed with leaf mould but more often pure peat... In course of time these peat “rock-works” spread over the remainder of the available space and I ceased to use ordinary soil, anything that did not like the peat being put into one of the Moraines’(Hornibrook, 1938: 2–3).”