This page is very much a work in slow progress.
Bloomfield with floodlit St Donard's
This page content listing will grow ... in due course!

John Agnew advertised his home, Bloomfield House, for sale during his last term in office as Sovereign and Chief Magistrate of Belfast. However, it remains unclear as to when he actually left Bloomfield (perhaps for Donaghadee where he died in August 1844). He may have remained 'in residence' at Bloomfield almost right up to his death.

As noted on the previous webpage (see Agnew 1831-1844), 'New Hay, belonging to John Agnew, Esq., Bloomfield, was sold in our market on Wednesday' (Belfast News-Letter, Friday 16 June 1843, page 4). So John Agnew's farm was still in business on his account. The Belfast Street Directory for 1843 has a listing for 'Agnew, John, Esq., Bloomfield'.
The following advertisement, with a rider stating 'To be inserted once a week', had appeared in the Belfast Commercial Chronicle from early September 1840 through to mid-February 1841.  Bloomfield House clearly didn't sell at that stage.

The 1831 lease mentioned in the advertisement surely refers to John Agnew's original purchase; but what is the 1838 lease about?
Eligible Residence near Belfast

THE Mansion-House of BLOOMFIELD, and LANDS connected therewith, containing 79 Acres and 3 Roods, English Statute Measure, held under SAMUEL CLELAND, Esq. by two Leases, for unexpired terms of one, and two young lives and 31 years, one lease commencing from November, 1831, the other from November, 1838.
This most desirable residence is situate in the Parish of HOLYWOOD, adjoining Orangefield, and within one mile and a half of the Town of Belfast. The House is quite new, beautifully situated, and capable of accommodating a large family. The Grounds are extensive, and in the finest order.
For particulars, apply to the Proprietor, at BLOOMFIELD; or to RICHARD DAVISON, Esq. Solicitor, Belfast.
'The House is quite new ...' is a surprise. How does this 'new house' from, say, around 1838, match up to (Spoiler alert!) the 1845 complaint from the next owner, Robert Boyd, that  'The dwelling house and offices were in a very dilapidated state'?

So the next chapter in the history of Bloomfield House belongs to Robert Boyd (1803-1869) ... BUT ...

Before delving into his family genealogy to find where he came from, it’s necessary to explain that he was the ‘Boyd’ in the important Belfast trading company Sinclair & Boyd, founded c.1822 - so a short digression is necessary!

Belfast had several important Sinclair families. This particular ‘Sinclair’ was William Sinclair jun., of Brookvale (sometimes 'Brookvale Lodge'), New Lodge Road, north Belfast. The house is clearly marked on the map of Belfast made by James Williamson in 1791, though its then resident is named as Mr Warren.
A somewhat abbreviated genealogy for this particular Sinclair family reveals that a John Sinclair was born in 1740 to William and Anne (née Officer) Sinclair.  John Sinclair (1740-????) married Mary Harper and they had three children: William (1758-1842), Henry (1761-1847) and James (1767-1849).
That William (William sen. for our purposes) married Elizabeth Montgomery (c.1764-1834) .
They lived at Brookvale, Belfast. Their surviving children were (or included):

Jane (1801-1878) who married Robert Simms in 1827;
William jun. (c.1804-1841) - more of him below;
John (1808-1856) who married Eliza Pirrie in 1835 -  
Sinclair Seamen's Church in Belfast was built in his memory;
Mary (1809-1842) who married Samuel Gibson in 1829;
and Thomas (1810-1867) of Hopefield House who
married (i) Sarah Archer (1800-1849) in 1835 and (ii) Elizabeth Sydney Edgar in 1855.
RH pic: Belfast Commercial Chronicle, Mondays, June 1846.       Below: Banner of Ulster, Friday 21 September 1849.
Brookvale to be let, 1849
William jun. married Mary Gibson (c.1806-1887), 'only daughter of the late James Gibson, Esq. Belfast', on 03 October 1826 in the First Presbyterian Church, Rosemary Street. (Mary was likely the sister of Samuel Gibson who would marry Mary Sinclair in 1829.)
It was this William Sinclair who was the business partner with Robert Boyd in Messrs. Sinclair and Boyd, East and West India merchants.
By several accounts, Sinclair and Boyd was established in 1822, but the first mention I can find in the press was this report on page 2 of the Belfast Commercial Chronicle for Saturday  5 August 1826:
Yesterday, a fine brig, called the Emulous, about 200 tons burthen, built of British and Sierra Leone oak, was launched from the Ship-yard of Messrs. RITCHIE & McLAINE, and went off the stocks in a desirable style, amidst the cheers of a vast concourse of spectators. She was built for our respectable young Townsmen, Messrs. SINCLAIRE [sic] & BOYD, and is intended for the West India Trade.
Thereafter there are many advertisements for Sinclair & Boyd, revealing the breadth of their business. Here are just a select few:
Above: Belfast Commercial Chronicle, Saturday 07 October 1826, page 3

Top right: Belfast Commercial Chronicle, Wednesday 12 September 1827, page 3
Bottom right: Belfast Commercial Chronicle, Wednesday 27 February 1828, page 3 (20 Feb - 08 March)
Page 1 of the Belfast News-Letter, Tuesday 01 January 1828, carried a listing ‘From Cramsie’s Belfast Mercantile Register’ of Belfast Shipping. It was in two sections: (i) Foreign Trade (46 ships) and (ii) Engaged in the British and Coasting Trade (126 ships). The name of each vessel was followed by the Tons Register and the Owners.
Under Foreign Trade, the largest was the Thomas Gelson, 441 tons, owned by ‘John Martin & Co. and others’ (John Martin & Co – presumably without ‘others’ – also owned the Edward Downes, 322 tons, and the Hope, 168 tons); the smallest was the Hopewell of 101 tons owned by Henry Joy Holmes, who also owned the Henry Tate of 258 tons.
Included in the list was the Emulous, 194 tons, of Sinclair & Boyd.
In the second list, Margaret, 67 tons, was owned by J. Holmes and others.

Business began to expand with new ships:
RH pic: Belfast Commercial Chronicle, Monday 31 March 1828, page 3
Sinclair & Boyd's new ship Brilliant, 1828
The firm of Sinclair and Boyd was certainly a prominent one in Belfast trading. It also provided plenty of work for the Belfast shipbuilders, Charles Connell and Sons.

The following report is from page 2 of the Belfast News-Letter, Friday 15 May 1835:
LAUNCH — Yesterday forenoon the Shipyard of Messrs. Chas. Connell and Sons was a scene of great and unusual attraction, in consequence of the intended launch of one of the largest vessels ever built in Ireland. The day having been highly favourable, immense crowds assembled about 11 o’clock, and completely filled every vacant space in the neighbourhood of the quays, from which a sight of the vessel could be possibly obtained. The vessels and boats in the river were also similarly crowded, and the attraction of the scene was heightened by the presence of the excellent Band of the 46th, who attended on board by permission of Colonel Campbell, and performed a number of favourite pieces of music.

At length, after various preparatory signals, at half past 11 the vessel launched in gallant style, and the discharge of numerous pieces of ordnance both on board and on the shore. The ceremony of “christening” was then gone through, and the ship was appropriately named the “HINDOO”. She is intended for the East India and China trade, and is fully 800 tons burthen. The owners, we understand, are Messrs. Sinclaire [sic] and Boyd, Messrs. John and Thos. Sinclaire, and J. Macnamara and Co.
An uncredited newspaper article from 13 June 1941, from the Irish Emigration Database (ID 9806768, PRONI D 2015/5/5), also deals with the same Belfast shipbuilding firm and mentions several of their ships, along with the loss of Sinclair & Boyd's Hindoo:
... Next in succession was launched the Tickler, Hindoo, Brigand, and Splendid.  Of these four vessels the Hindoo was outstanding, and she made a record by being the first full-rigged ship ever built in Ireland.  She was built [in 1835] for the China and East Indian trade, and was supposed to be of 800 tons, and was also one of the largest vessels built in Ireland up to that time.
Her owners were Messrs. Sinclair & Boyd, Messrs. John and Thomas Sinclair [brothers of William Sinclair], and J. McNamara [sic].  Her career was a short one.  On August 9 in the following year she was lost in a heavy gale in Regedopore Bay, 38 miles south of Bombay, and became a total wreck.  It is mentioned that for a period of seventeen days the sun had not been seen at Bombay, an almost unprecedented experience there. (This date would be about the change of the Monsoons).

The source for that report was clearly the following news story (below, left) from the Northern Whig, Thursday 08 December 1836, page 3. The earlier advertisement (below right) is from page 3 of the Belfast Commercial Chronicle, Wednesday 24 June 1835.
The following paragraphs are from another unidentified newspaper, this time from 1942, are sourced from the Irish Emigration Database, ID 9803528 (PRONI D 2015/5/4) and there'll be more later:
The Emulus [sic] had a long career and was a tribute to her builders.
The Lina was another of the firm’s [Sinclair & Boyd's] ships. She was built by Charles Connell & Sons in 1847. A young girl was killed at her launch by a piece of ordnance that was fired as she came off the stocks. In 1851 this vessel arrived at Belfast from Barbados with a cargo of sugar, having made the round voyage, loaded with a full cargo both ways, in two months and 26 days. They were also the owners of the beautiful little schooner Cree, built by Charles Connell in 1840, and said to be the smallest vessel that ever cleared out of this port for a voyage across the Atlantic.
In 1844 their brig the Morgiana made the record passage of the season from Belfast to Miramichi.
Another of their West India traders was the brig Parrsboro. She sailed the day after the mail steamer and arrived at our quay on June 9, 1843, the same day that the mail steamer arrived at Falmouth. In 16 hours she discharged her full cargo of sugar and inside a week sailed again fully laden for a West India port.
The firm were also owners of the barque Rebecca, built by Alen McLaine [=Alexander MacLaine (1774-1856)] in 1834; the Lady May [=Mary] Fox and the Waringsford. The latter vessel went missing in 1851. In nearly all the vessels I have mentioned, a Mr. James Macnamara, of Holywood, had a financial interest with Mr. Robert Boyd.

Despite the occasional and tragic loss of ships, business for Sinclair & Boyd seems to have flourished, whether selling 50,000 US barrel staves; Pockets of Sussex Hops 'sold cheap'; Puncheons of Scotch Grain Whiskey [sic]; Hogsheads and Barrels of Trinidad Sugar; Butts, Hogsheads and Quarter Casks of Sherry Wine; Pipes, and Hogsheads of Port, Madeira, Teneriffe, Cape, Claret and Port Wines in Bottle, 1,000 Bushels of Grass-Seed ... the list goes on.
The 1840s marked new directions for Robert Boyd, shortly to take up residence in Bloomfield House.
This next one presumably came as a considerable shock:
William Sinclair death 1841
LH notice from the London Gazette, 24 August 1841.
John was William's younger brother; Robert Simms was the husband of William's sister Jane; James was probably a brother of William's wife.
Things moved quickly in Belfast at that time.
The Northern Whig reported on 12 August that Hugh Magill 'of the respectable house of Messrs. John S. Ferguson & Co., has been proposed as a candidate to fill the situation in the Corporation for the Improvement of the Port and Harbour, caused by the death of Mr. William Sinclair'.

William Sinclair was just 38. His 'younger son', James Gibson Sinclair, had died the previous year (April 1840), aged three; William's father, William Sinclair sen., died the following year (August 1842), aged 84.
A second James, born in 1841, died in November 1842, aged 15 months.
All were buried in Belfast's Clifton Street Cemetery.

For completeness sake, William Sinclair jun., was survived by a son, also called William (c.1827-1881) and a daughter, Sarah (described in her 1851 marriage notice as 'eldest daughter', so there must be another daughter out there!).
Long before the death of business partner William Sinclair, there was another long-standing business associate of Robert Boyd who appears often in news reports. He was James Macnamara of Holywood whose appointment as a magistrate in July 1836 caused a controversy, seemingly stirred up along sectarian lines. It's encouraging to note that Robert Boyd, a member of Belfast's First Presbyterian Church, Rosemary-street, was a liberal thinker who supported Catholic emancipation. As indeed were the Steen family, the Sinclairs and William Radcliff of the Beers'-bridge Mill (Owen O'Cork), amongst many others.

The following PDF tells of the controversy, lists the Belfast townspeople who signed the supportive petition and also reports on the 'Great [Daniel] O'Connell Demonstration in Belfast' held in the theatre in June 1844 and features both Robert Boyd and James Macnamara.
RH pic: The pre-Euro £20 Irish bank-note featuring Daniel O'Connell, 'The Emancipator'.

Robert Boyd continued to run the business, retaining the name Sinclair & Boyd.  But where was he from?
The PDF document, below right, is an attempt at a family tree for this particular Boyd family. I'm indebted to Lawrence H Boyd for his initial draft which was originally available online but has long since disappeared.
The earliest Boyd we have is our Robert Boyd's grandfather and grandmother, the 18th century James Boyd, born 1726, and his wife, Susannah Browne - both said to be from Coleraine. In 1795, their eldest son, Robert Boyd (1772-1846), married Martha Lina Turkington (1773-1843) and they settled at Marlacoo Beg, between Richill and Tandragee in Co Armagh (though perhaps by then, Marlacoo Beg was already the home of Robert's father, James).
Boyd, Robert, family tree.pdf Boyd, Robert, family tree.pdf
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The family seems to have been comfortably 'well off', building (or maybe rebuilding) a dwelling house in 1815.
Marlacoo House, a fine
two storey, three bay, Georgian building, still stands in the townland of Marlacoo Beg in the parish of Mullaghbrack, Co Armagh, beside Marlacoo Lake. Do check out the photographs and a spoken introduction to the house here.
The children of Robert and Martha Boyd erected a fine memorial to their mother in nearby Mullaghbrack Church.

It reads: To the memory of Martha Lina Boyd, wife of Robert Boyd of Marlacoo, born May 1773, died Nov. 1843.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Matt.5.8.
Erected by her children
as a testimony of their regard and affection.

LH pic: The Boyd Memorial in St John's Parish Church, Mullaghbrack (or Mullabrack), photograph courtesy of Primrose Wilson.
The 1838 Ordnance Survey Memoirs mention two flax mills in the townland, both the property of Robert Boyd: one is described as having a wheel '10 feet in diameter and 3 feet in breadth. It is a breast wheel and machinery of wood, built 1837'. The other has a wheel '16 feet in diameter and 3 feet in breadth, the machinery [also] of wood'.
RH pic: Marlacoo House, 1815.  For the use of this photo I am grateful to Primrose Wilson and the Bygones and Byways local-history website about Markethill and District in mid-Armagh.
Do check out more photographs and a spoken introduction to the house here on the Bygones and Byways website.
As already noted, Martha Boyd died in 1843. Her husband, Robert Boyd sen., died in 1846. It was the end of an era.
The house and lands were advertised for sale across August to November 1846. It wasn't a quick sale. The contents were advertised in May 1848 as an unreserved sale by auction on the first and second of June: 'the entire Household Furniture, &c., &c., &c., of Marlacoo House, the Residence of the late ROBERT BOYD, Esq.'  The headline mentioned a piano, gig, car, farming implements, &c.
The following advertisement, with occasional variances, appeared frequently in the Northern Whig and the Newry Telegraph between August and November, 1846:
THE TOWN AND LANDS OF MARLACOO-BEG, with its sub-denominations, situate in the Parish of MULLABRACK, Barony of O’Neiland, and County of Armagh, containing 208 Acres, Statute measure, or thereabouts, including about 11 Acres under water, held in fee, and subject to neither Quit nor Crown Rent.

The Lands are adjacent to the public road from Armagh to Tandragee, which runs past the entrance gate leading to the Mansion-house, a little more than 5 miles from the former and not 3 from the latter town, about 11 miles from Newry, 8 from Lurgan, 4 from Portadown, 2 from Markethill, and in a most respectable, quiet neighbourhood. They are all of prime quality, well sheltered and watered; upwards of 140 Acres of them are held by a respectable, industrious, and solvent tenantry, at fair rents, producing £206 per annum, as will appear by the published Rentals. The remaining portion was held by ROBERT BOYD Esq., deceased, the late Proprietor, in his own hands, and is in the best possible condition. There are Five Acres of this portion occupied by Ornamental and other Planting; and the late Mr. BOYD, on it, built a Capital and Comfortable RESIDENCE, for the Family of a Gentleman, with suitable OFFICES, GARDENS, &c., situate in an extensive Lawn, terminated by a Lake, of great extent and considerable beauty. The House and Offices are in good order, and fit for the immediate reception of a Respectable Family. There are Two Falls, of Sixteen Feet each, on the Lands, at present used by the Mills for the Dressing of Flax.

This property is advertised by Messrs. WILLIAM STEEN and ROBERT BOYD, of Belfast, and by Mr. JAMES BROWN BOYD, of Balleer, Armagh, Trustees and Executors of the late Proprietor, under the trusts of his will; and they, or Mr WILLIAM PEEBLES, North Frederick-Street, Dublin, or Dungannon, their Law Agent, will afford every information to a purchaser, who, by application to Mr. PEEBLES, can see the abstract of Title and Title Deeds, and also the Map, Rental, &c., of the Estate.
Rentals are in course of publication, and will shortly be ready for delivery.
The Lands will be Sold by PUBLIC AUCTION …
Dated this 29th day of October, 1846
The sale was unsuccessful. In 1848, the house, garden and orchard, &c., (what a multiplicity of things is contained in these ampersand etceteras!) were being advertised ‘To be let’ (e.g. Northern Whig, Saturday, 1 April 1848, page 3).  I recall reading somewhere, and I haven’t managed as yet to retrace my steps, that the house was finally sold in 1856 (perhaps sold as part of the Encumbered Estates’ Court. PRONI has 'An Incumbered Estates Court rental of the lands of Marlacoobeg Co. Armagh, the property of Robert Boyd, deceased; 1856' - ref. D958 ).

The 1839 Belfast Street Directory has Sinclair & Boyd, ship owner and general merchant, at 45 Donegall Quay and Robert Boyd himself living at 7 Great George's Street - a house which must have been almost 'above the shop'.

Having grown up in Marlacoo House, and with a business partner, William Sinclair, 'of Brookvale', it's no wonder that Robert Boyd aspired to his own mansion house.

His appetite was whetted by the 1840/41 newspaper advertisements for a  'most desirable residence', viz. the Mansion-House of Bloomfield and its 79 acres of land, with its landlord Samuel Cleland.
The Cleland family certainly merits another short digression. And it begins with Samuel’s father, Rev John Cleland (1755-1834), who tutored young Robert Stewart (eventually Lord Castlereagh) from the age of ten at Mount Stewart, home of Robert’s father, also Robert, who became Lord Londonderry.
Cleland, the Rector of Newtownards (1789-1809), was a family friend of the Londonderrys and also Lord Londonderry’s land agent. 1796 was an eventful one for Cleland. He was appointed Chancellor of Lismore; his friends and employers were lampooned in the clever satire Billy Bluff and Squire Firebrand published in the Northern Star that year; and an unsuccessful attempt was made on his life. 

‘Black John’ was certainly no friend to the United Irishmen.
For the record, the Northern Stars satire consisted of seven anonymous letters attributed to 'A Presbyterian'.

‘Billy Bluff’ was William Lowry, bailiff on the Greyabbey estate;
‘Lord Mountmumble’ was Robert Stewart, later Lord Londonderry; ‘Squire Firebrand’ was Hugh Montgomery of Rosemount, Greyabbey, and not, as some have thought, John Cleland.
In 1797 Cleland was accused of packing juries against suspected United Irishmen and of passing on information to the authorities about known United Irishmen. As Judge Advocate he oversaw many trials which resulted in sentences of death, transportation or flogging. It was he who sentenced the Rev James Porter, the dissenting minister of Greyabbey, to death in 1798. Porter had been in favour of parliamentary reform and catholic emancipation and he was the author of Billy Bluff. Porter was hung atop a hill in full view of his meeting house and his home on 2 July 1798. He was just 45.
LH pic: a copy of Billy Bluff sold by Forum Auctions, London, 27 September 2017.
Cleland was further disliked for his harsh treatment of tenants when he was collecting rents, profiting all the time for himself. In 1802 he was appointed Precentor of Armagh (which came with being the Rector of Killeavy), an appointment like that of Chancellor of Lismore which he retained for life. The role was ‘presented by the Crown’, presumably as a reward for his role in helping defeat the United Irishmen. The Belfast News-Letter reported that the Rev John Cleland was claiming tithes on the marshes of Newry (BNL, 16 August 1808).
This was the man who, much to his advantage, in 1805 married Esther Jackson (1785-?) of Storm Mount (aka Mount Pleasant, Ballymiscaw, Dundonald). Cleland moved from Newtownards to Storm Mount. In 1830 he built there ‘a large plain house with very little planting about it’. He also acquired more land in the area (Ballymiscaw, Killeen and Ballyhackamore which included Bloomfield), and Rose Park, the more substantial neighbouring house to Storm Mount. The couple had two sons and a daughter.
When Rev John died on 25 June 1834, he was succeeded by his eldest son Samuel Jackson Cleland - the 'Samuel' mentioned in the lease of Bloomfield House.
That same year, Samuel, b.1808, married Eliza Joyce of Thornhill and they had four sons and a daughter.
Alas, while Samuel was helping to demolish part of Rose Park in 1843, he died when a wall fell on him.
This report is from the Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail - Saturday 28 May 1842, page 7:
An accident, which has proved fatal in its results, occurred on Friday, about two o’clock, to Samuel Cleland, Esq., at his residence, Stormount, within a short distance of Belfast. It appears he had employed a number of men in pulling down an old house, lately occupied by one of his own servants. While the men were proceeding with the work, as Mr. Cleland was superintending their operations, the gable of the house suddenly gave way, and coming down with a tremendous crash, buried the unfortunate gentleman beneath its ruins. He expired almost instantaneously. Deceased was a magistrate of the counties of Down and Antrim. One of the labourers was also seriously injured by the falling of the house, so that he lies in a very dangerous state, his life being despaired of.         
                                                                                                                                       Ulster Times.          
Samuel’s eldest son, John (1836-1893), would oversee the transformation of his grandfather’s ‘plain house’ into ‘Stormont Castle’ in 1858, thanks to a considerable enlargement and redesigned exterior in the fashionable Scottish Baronial style, courtesy of the Belfast architect Thomas Turner.
But we shall meet eleven-year-old John again very shortly in the Robert Boyd story of Bloomfield.
John's mother Eliza ensured that a fine mausoleum would be built in memory of her husband (and indeed of his father, the Rev John Cleland) in St Elizabeth’s Church Graveyard, Dundonald.
The Mausolea and Monuments Trust has described it thus:
Limestone mausoleum built 1842.  Square in plan with a canted-stepped podium.  A Doric temple front with crowning urn finials supports an Ionic cupola complete with box tomb.  Lugged inscription plaque to east elevation reads:
‘This mausoleum was erected by Eliza Cleland to the memory of her husband Samuel Cleland of Stormount, Esq. who died the 20th May 1842 aged 34 years.  His earthly remains with those of his parents and several of his progenitors are here entombed.’
Above pics taken on 18 February 2013. © David Byers.

John Agnew, the previous owner of Bloomfield House, died in August 1844. The following court case confirms that Robert Boyd signed his lease for Bloomfield House in January 1845. It reveals much, much more.
Robert lost no time in spending a considerable sum of money on both the property and the land.
It is difficult to reconcile the wording used in those 1840-41 'For Sale' newspaper advertisements with the revelations in the court case.
'The House is quite new'; 'most desirable residence';  'Grounds ... in the finest order' all sit uncomfortably with statements in court that 'The dwelling-house was, at that time [January 1845], in wretched repair. The land, also, was in a very bad state, requiring to be drained and improved, in a variety of ways, to make it profitable.'
Or with this: 'Witness described the farm as a "wilderness" when Mr. Boyd came to it, but it was now like a "garden".'
The main reason for the court case of BELFAST AND COUNTY DOWN RAILWAY v. ROBERT BOYD. ESQ., was that the new railway line would cut across the newly improved, manured and drained lands of Bloomfield.

Robert believed the compensation already offered was insufficient. 
He also wanted an extension to his lease at much the same rent as before, in recognition of his considerable outlay expended on so many improvements. This was in line with the Ulster custom of tenant-right, particularly practised in Cos. Antrim and Down, which gave tenants  a reasonable expectation of security of tenure as long as they paid their rent and improved their property. It also allowed them to pass on their property to another tenant acceptable to the landlord.
This custom would not be supported in law until the 1870 Irish Land Act, so this court case was an important one.
That was recognised by the Northern Whig which reported at length on the case, prefacing it with this statement:
This case of arbitration, which took place in Belfast, a few days since, is one of considerable interest, both on account of the amount of property involved, and the manner in which the question of tenant-right was raised.
The PDF transcription below of the Northern Whig's report makes fascinating and highly recommended reading.
It lays out the arguments clearly.

It is illuminating in its account of the monies involved, the different types of soil on the farm, the principles of manuring, the growing of turnips, the remaking and raising the banks of a river (the Conn's Water or the Knock river?), the removal of useless fences and the filling-in of brick-holes.  Interesting though, that there is no mention at all of the Great Famine.
However, Robert Boyd had clearly spared no expense on Bloomfield House and its farmland. 
The same applied to his court action in January 1848.
His barrister was Robert Holmes (1765-1859), the radical Irish lawyer who had once been imprisoned for challenging Henry Joy.
Holmes married the sister of Robert Emmet and, opposed to the Union, he turned down all Government preferments (Crown prosecutor, King's Counsel and Solicitor-General), remaining a member of the outer bar. He had the largest practice in the Irish courts and was a powerful and impressive advocate. His speech in defence of John Mitchel in May 1848 was an impassioned condemnation of English repression in Ireland.

Robert Holmes's father, Hugh Holmes, was a nephew of John Holmes I (see page 3 of the Holmes family PDF on the previous John Agnew   webpage).
RH pic: Robert Holmes, from Michael Doheny's The Felon's Track, 1849
Also mentioned is Edward Litton (1787-1870), the Master in Chancery from 1843, previously MP for Coleraine.

Sadly the specific evidence of the witnesses has not been recorded in the Northern Whig piece, but those witnesses themselves are worthy of note:
Dr. John Frederick Hodges (1815-1899) - on soils, manures and even turnips - was then Professor of Chemistry in the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, later becoming Professor of Agriculture and Lecturer in Medical Jurisprudence in Queen's College, Belfast. He was one of the founders of the Royal College of Chemistry in London and was employed by the government as an analyst.
Daniel Ferguson (c.1801-1864), Curator of Belfast's Botanic Gardens, would presumably address the gardens and landscaping at Bloomfield.
Thomas Jackson (1807-1890) was the architect who had already worked on St Malachy's Church and the Music Hall in May Street. In the 1860s he would be responsible for many of the 'big houses' in the Glenmachan area.
Did he help Robert Boyd in the rebuilding of Bloomfield House? He and perhaps Mr Montgomery (see below)  might have valued the property, 'with respect to the damages, etc.'
Alexander Montgomery, sen., is more problematical to identify. I thought he might be the Alexander Montgomery, a distinguished solicitor who lived at Bellmount (= Belmont) House nearby, was sometime vice-chairman of the Northern Horticultural Society and often a prize-winner, not least for his turnips. The only cloud on the identity horizon is that the solicitor of that name died on 24 April 1845 (see Belfast News-Letter, 29 April 1845, page 2)!
The PDF on the right is a transcript of the Northern Whig's report, dated Saturday, 08 January 1848, page 4.  It's a good read.
Boyd v BCDR and Cleland, 1848.pdf Boyd v BCDR and Cleland, 1848.pdf
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The following is a rather more succinct report of the same court case. 
Downpatrick Recorder - Saturday 15 January 1848, page 1
A case of arbitration between the above parties took place in Belfast a few days since.
Mr. Boyd claimed compensation, on several grounds, in respect of the lands of Bloomfield, the property of one of the Cleland family, minor, of which he had become the tenant, at a rent of £410 a-year. Evidence on both sides was gone into, during three days on which the arbitrators sat, and as they were unable to agree an award, the matter was referred to an umpire, who awarded Mr. Boyd, £700 with costs — the company undertaking to extinguish £24, 16s, 4d. of his rent.
The first part of the Belfast and County Down Railway’s vision for a rail network opened in August 1848 with the single-track line from Belfast’s Queen’s Quay to Holywood. In May 1850 the single-track line from Queen’s Quay, through Bloomfield, to Newtownards via Knock, Dundonald and Comber was opened.

Robert Boyd, having put up with the ‘great annoyance’ of the railway labourers ‘cutting up the farm from one end to the other’, would not live to see the Bloomfield station opened in 1879.
Interestingly, alongside the Marquess of Donegall, both Robert Boyd and his business partner, James Macnamara, J.P., were members in 1845 of the provisional committee of BCDR's rival for the lucrative Belfast to Holywood route: the  Atmospheric Railway Company. That company was eventually persuaded not to compete for the business, leaving the way open for BCDR.
Belfast News-Letter, 12 November 1852


Belfast News-Letter, 3 April 1869

Belfast News-Letter, 23 May 1874