Thursday, 27 April 2017

Laganview House

Bank of Ireland Chambers

93-95, ANN STREET, BELFAST, occupies a corner site which returns to 1, Oxford Street.

It comprises a three-storey, L-shaped, red-brick block with an attic floor.

The southern elevation is abutted by a three-storey building; whereas the western side comprises four storeys.

The ground floor has a door to the west with a sandstone pediment on brackets above the moulded granite architrave.

Dormer copings (below) boast octagonal finials, panels with relief carvings of urns and foliate decoration over dentilled cornices.


The building is situated on a prominent corner of Ann Street and Oxford Street, facing the river Lagan and Queen's Bridge.

Riddel's Warehouse, at 87-91 Ann Street, stands directly beside Laganview House.

Ann Street elevation

The building was constructed in 1899 and designed by the architects Millar & Symes.

Construction of the Bank of Ireland (Queen's Bridge branch) began in the same year.

Aside from operating as a bank branch, the upper floors of Bank of Ireland Chambers were utilised as office space for a variety of local firms and organisations.

In 1907, for instance, the offices were occupied by insurance firms, grain merchants, and the headquarters of the Belfast Boys' Brigade, among others.
By 1918, the upper offices were occupied by the same Insurance agencies and merchants; however, the Boys' Brigade had vacated the site, whilst new occupants included an engineering firm and a boiler-making company.
During the 2nd World War the upper floors were occupied by the Northern Ireland Port Area Grain & Flour Committee, the Royal Liver Friendly Society, and Government offices.

By the 1950s, many of the upper offices were occupied by the Belfast Mersey & Manchester Steamship Company, a shipping and ferry firm that navigated the route between the two cities.

In 1993, the bank was described by Marcus Patton OBE, in his excellent historical gazetteer of central Belfast, as a
three-storey building in red brick on red sandstone ground floor and grey granite plinth, with attic gable and full height canted bay at chamfered corner entrance; ground floor pilasters with small rosettes at capitals.
In more recent years an attempt to demolish the former bank with the sole retention of the listed facade was rejected by the Planning Appeals Commission.

The former Bank of Ireland Chambers was occupied by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive until 2013.

OX Restaurant

1 Oxford Street is now the premises of the acclaimed restaurant OX.

I passed the premises on a Sunday morning; traffic was light, which made it easy to snap away to my heart's content.

Housing Executive signage remains at the main corner entrance to the block.


The outline of Bank of Ireland signage can still be discerned.

OX restaurant has a simple, unpretentious, almost austere aspect.


A simple sign hangs from the wall.



Its prospect is of the Beacon of Hope sculpture at the Queen's Bridge, at what was known as Canal Quay.

In July, 2013, there was a proposal for a six-storey building comprising restaurant and bar at ground and mezzanine level and 24 apartments on the five floors above, including retention of the existing facade and demolition of the building behind.

Laganview House, as it became known, was sold in January, 2017.

First published in April, 2015.

The Murlough Acquisition

SELECTIVE ACQUISITIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND

PROPERTY: Murlough Nature Reserve, near Dundrum, County Down

DATE: 1967

EXTENT: 430.27 acres

DONOR: 8th Marquess of Downshire

*****

PROPERTY: Murlough House and lands

DATE: 1975

EXTENT: 265.79 acres

DONOR: Messrs RBS and John Hawkins

First published in January, 2015.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Fellows Hall

THE ARMSTRONGS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ARMAGH, WITH 2,279 ACRES

EDWARD ARMSTRONG, of Dublin, son of William Armstrong, by Jane Garver his wife, married, in 1760, Grace Jones, and had issue,
WILLIAM JONES;
Edward;
Hugh.
The eldest son,

THE REV WILLIAM JONES ARMSTRONG (1764-1825), Rector of Termonfeckin, County Louth, wedded, in 1786, Margaret, third daughter of Alderman John Tew, Lord Mayor of Dublin (by Margaret Maxwell his wife, grandniece of John, 1st Lord Farnham), and granddaughter of Alderman David Tew, Lord Mayor of the same city, 1752, by whom he had issue,
WILLIAM JONES, his heir;
John Tew;
Thomas Knox, of Fellow's Hall, JP;
Helen; Anne; Diana Jane.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM JONES ARMSTRONG JP DL (1794-1872), of Killylea, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1840, espoused, in 1842, Frances Elizabeth, widow of Colonel Sir Michael McCreagh CB KCH, and only daughter of Captain Christopher Wilson, of the 22nd Foot, and had issue,
WILLIAM FORTESCUE, 7th Hussars (1843-71);
HENRY BRUCE, of whom hereafter.
His younger son,

THE RT HON HENRY BRUCE ARMSTRONG JP DL (1844-1943), of Killylea, and Dean's Hill, both in County Armagh, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1875, and High Sheriff of County Longford, 1894, married, in 1883, Margaret, daughter of William Leader, of Rossnalee, County Cork, and had issue,
William Fortescue, lieutenant RA;
Michael Richard Leader;
Henry Maxwell;
JAMES ROBERT BARGRAVE, of whom hereafter;
Christopher Wyborne;
Frances Margaret Alice; Dorothea Gertrude; Margaret Helen Elizabeth.
The fourth son,

JAMES ROBERT BARGRAVE ARMSTRONG (1893-1980), of Fellows Hall, Killylea, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1960, Barrister, North Irish Horse, 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars, wedded, in 1930, the Hon Kathleen Marion Napier, daughter of Edward, 4th Baron Napier of Magdala, and had issue,
Henry Napier;
John Fortescue;
Frances Evelyn; Kathleen Mary Perceval; Florence Margaret.
Mr Armstrong was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY NAPIER ARMSTRONG DL (1936-2014), of Fellows Hall, Barrister, Lieutenant, Royal Engineers (TA), who married, in 1967, Rosmarie Alice, daughter of Harold Ducket White, and had issue,
Bruce William, b 1970;
Mark Harold Napier, b 1978;
Antonia Kathleen, b 1974.
Photo credit: http://www.stonedatabase.com


FELLOWS HALL, Killylea, County Armagh, is a Victorian-Italianate reconstruction of a house of 1762 (which itself was rebuilt in 1752).

It comprises two storeys over a basement, with a five-bay front.

Round-headed windows conatin keystones in the upper storey.

The doorway is tripartite, with a triple window above.

The Hall passed through marriage from the Maxwells to the Armstrong and Stronge families; thence to the McClintocks.

The Armstrong Papers are held at PRONI.

First published in April, 2015.

Boyd of Ballycastle

THE BOYDS OWNED 5,304 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ANTRIM

THE REV WILLIAM BOYD, Vicar of Ramoan, 1679-81, married Rose, great-granddaughter of Hugh McNeil.

Hugh McNeil, who was appointed 1st constable of Dunynie by Randal MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim, was granted lands which formed the basis of the Ballycastle Estate.

The Vicar's second son,

COLONEL HUGH BOYD (1690-1765), born at Drumawillan House, Glentaise, inherited his father's estate in 1711, aged 21.

Colonel Boyd became manager of Ballycastle Colliery Salt Works and Company, and quickly began expanding the business. In 1737, he was granted £10,000 by the Irish Parliament for the establishment of a harbour at Ballycastle. 

Colonel Boyd also built Holy Trinity Church in the town, in 1756, at a cost of £2,769.

HUGH BOYD, of Ballycastle, County Antrim, MP for County Antrim, 1794-96, married and had issue, an only son and daughters.

This Hugh's second daughter, Harriet, wedded Sir John Boyd Bt in 1818. 
His second son,

ALEXANDER BOYD (1791-1886), Lord of the Manor of Ballycastle, espoused, in 1821, Ann, daughter of Henry Huey.

His eldest son,

HUGH BOYD, of Ballycastle (1826-91), married Marianne, elder daughter of James McKinley, of Carneatly.

The eldest son,

ALEXANDER BOYD JP (1865-1952), of Ballycastle, married, in 1903, Letitia, fifth daughter of John Nicholl, of The Orchard, Ballycastle.

His eldest son,

HUGH ALEXANDER BOYD, of Islandview, Ballycastle, married and had issue, his eldest son,

ALEXANDER JOHN BOYD, born in 1940.



THE MANSION, Ballycastle, County Antrim, is a mid-18th century building.

It had an archway above which was set a statue of an Indian river god, presumably supplied by Major-General Hugh Boyd, of the Bengal Army, at the time of the mutiny,

"Boyd - Major-General Hugh - Bengal Army - died 24th December 1876. Ensign Hugh Boyd, 62nd Native Infantry) served at Bhurtpore 1826 (medal and bar).

Memorial at Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland - "In memory of Major General Hugh Boyd. Who died 24th December 1876 aged 76 years. General Boyd (of the Late Bengal Army) served with his regiment and on the General Staff throughout India for a uninterrupted term of 32 years from January 1824, a period of India's history as eventful in military successes and glory as any preceding it, returning to India after a short furlough in 1856.

He closed his military career commanding a brigade throughout the memorable Sepoy Mutiny of 1857-58."

There is a stable block with cut-stone window surrounds.


The Manor House became a Barnardo boys' home.

Little remains of the original house.

First published in April, 2013.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Athavallie House

THE LYNCH-BLOSSE BARONETS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MAYO, WITH 22,658 ACRES

The family of LYNCH was of great antiquity in the province of Connaught, being amongst the very early settlers, denominated the Tribes of Galway.

In an old manuscript in Ulster King-of-Arms' office, William le Petit is stated to be the common progenitor of all the Lynches of Ireland.

The founder of the honours of the family, however, was

HENRY LYNCH, Mayor of, and MP for Galway (eldest of twelve sons of Nicholas Lynch, also Mayor of Galway).

Mr Lynch was created a baronet in 1622.
This gentleman was the son of Nicholas Lynch fitz Stephen (Mayor 1584–1585) and great-grandson of Mayor Arthur Lynch (died 1539); land agent for Richard, 4th Earl of Clanricarde; mentor to Patrick D'Arcy and Richard Martyn, later senior political figures of Confederate Ireland.
He was stepfather to D'Arcy and married to an aunt of Martyn. He was among the first of his family to become a lawyer, and several of his younger sons followed him into this profession, as did, under his influence, D'Arcy, Martyn, Geoffrey Browne and subsequent generations of The Tribes of Galway.
Sir Henry married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Martin, and widow of James D'Arcy, by whom he had three sons and three daughters.

He died in 1635, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBUCK LYNCH, 2nd Baronet, who represented Galway in parliament in 1639 and 1641, and was resident counsel for Connaught during the rebellion.

He wedded Ellis, daughter of Sir Peter French, Knight, by whom he had two sons, and was succeeded on his decease, 1667, by the elder, 

SIR HENRY LYNCH, 3rd Baronet, a lawyer of eminence, and one of the barons of the exchequer, in 1689.

Sir Henry wedded firstly, Margaret, daughter of Sir Theobald Bourke, 3rd Viscount Mayo, but by that lady had no issue; and secondly, and had (with a younger son) his successor,

SIR ROBERT LYNCH (-c1720), 4th Baronet, who espoused Catherine, daughter of Henry Blake, of County Mayo, by whom he had, with two daughters, a son and heir,

SIR HENRY LYNCH (-1762), 5th Baronet, of Carracastle, who married Mary, daughter of John Moore, of Brees [sic], County Galway, and had one daughter and an only son, his successor,

SIR ROBERT LYNCH-BLOSSE, 6th Baronet, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Francis Barker, heir of Tobias Blosse, of Little Belstead, Suffolk.

He assumed the surname of BLOSSE, in addition to, and after, that of LYNCH.

It was a condition of the marriage that Robert would assume the additional surname of BLOSSE and conform to Protestantism.

The issue of this marriage were, HENRY, who succeeded to the title; and Francis, who wedded Hatton, daughter of John Smith, and had issue, Robert, who, succeeding his uncle, became the 8th Baronet.

Sir Robert died in 1775, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HENRY LYNCH-BLOSSE, 7th Baronet (1749-88), upon whose demise, without issue, the title reverted to his nephew, 

SIR ROBERT LYNCH-BLOSSE (1774-1818), 8th Baronet, who wedded firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of William Gorman, of Carlow, by whom he had FRANCIS, the next baronet, with several other children.

He married secondly, Charlotte, daughter of John Richards, of Cardiff.

Sir Robert  was succeeded by his son,

THE REV SIR FRANCIS LYNCH-BLOSSE (1801-40), 9th Baronet, who wedded, in 1824, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Lord Plunket, and had issue,
ROBERT, 10th Baronet;
William Conyngham, b 1826.
*****

Sir Richard Hely Lynch-Blosse (b 1953), 17th and present Baronet, lives in Oxfordshire.


ATHAVALLIE HOUSE, near Castlebar, County Mayo, is a long, low, plain, two-storey residence, its main block of five bays, with an entrance door set in a broad stone arch.

The front is extended by a four-bay range of the same height, though set back.

In 1894, Athavallie House was recorded as the seat of Sir Henry Lynch-Blosse, 11th Baronet (1857-1918), and most likely the last of the family to reside there.

In 1920, the Sisters of St Louis founded a school which catered for girls only.

It was a boarding school-cum-day school until the St Louis Sisters left in 1978 and the school became co-educational under the control of the local community.

Balla Secondary School is based here now.

Athavallie House still stands but is no longer used for educational purposes.

It was used as a military hospital during the 1st World War.

Other former seat ~ Castle Carra, County Mayo.

First published in April, 2013.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Crom: Walled Garden

Although it's one of the most remote parts of the Province and almost as far from Belfast as you can get, I've been to Crom Estate in County Fermanagh many times.

I first visited it in about 1977, when the estate manager took us on a guided tour of the Castle - I'd written to Lord Erne in advance, requesting a visit.

The Walled Garden lies deep within the grounds of Crom.

You cross the White Bridge and walk several hundred yards until it appears, the former head gardener's lodge being opposite it.

Its old, red-brick walls are in good condition, the National Trust having re-built at least one side some years ago.

It extends to roughly three acres in size; and it has been utterly overgrown since its demise after the second world war.

I've no doubt that the Trust intends to revive this magical place as and when funds become available.

Many fruits and vegetables were grown here for the big house.

Exotic fruits, which are nowadays taken for granted, were a rarity then and only the wealthiest families could afford to cultivate them.

In fact many people may never have seen a pineapple or a peach or known they existed.

On one side of the Walled Garden there were raspberries; and strawberries on another.

Heated glasshouses contained peaches, nectarines, pineapples, grapes and tomatoes; not to omit lettuce, marrows, cucumbers and orchards with apples, plums, pears and greengages.

There were also beehives, sweet-pea, daffodils, dahlias and magnolias.

In the middle of the garden there was a large palm-house, now sadly gone, about thirty feet high, where the weather-reading was taken every morning.

The whole garden swarmed with butterflies, bees and other wild insects; birds flitted in and out to help themselves to Nature's goodness.

It must have been heavenly.

Of course the main purpose of the walled garden was to maintain an abundant supply of produce, including flowers, for the Castle: a barrow was wheeled manually up to the Castle with fruit, vegetables and flowers twice daily.

When the family were staying at their London home, the freshly-picked produce was loaded on to the train at Newtownbutler station and taken to Belfast or Dublin; then put on a ferry for its long journey to the metropolis, where it would have been delivered to the Ernes' house the next day; and that was in Victorian times!

I have been in the Walled Garden and my imagination always escapes to those halcyon days, dreaming of what it must have been like.

My fervent hope is that the enchanting walled garden of Crom is resurrected back to life again some day.

This piece was first published in August, 2008. It is thought that the intention is to utilize part of the Walled Garden as community allotments.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Corick House

 THE STORY FAMILY OWNED 2,065 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY TYRONE


JOHN STORY (1648-1725), of Bingfield Hall, Hexham, Northumberland, settled in Ulster about 1697.
Mr Story was established on church land at Corick, County Tyrone, by the Rt Rev St George Ashe (1658-1718), Lord Bishop of Clogher.  He was the elder brother of the Rt Rev Joseph Story, Lord Bishop of Kilmore, sold his estate at Bingfield Hall and removed to Ulster  under the auspices of Bishop Ashe.
This John Story and his son Thomas acquired an estate within the See of Clogher, where they built their first residence.

He died at Corick in 1725, leaving issue,
THOMAS, of whom presently;
Joseph, ancestor of STORY of Bingfield;
John, b 1681;
Samuel, b 1683.
The eldest son,

THOMAS STORY (1678-1768), of Corick, wedded, in 1707, Rebecca ______, and had five sons and two daughters, of whom,
JOHN, of whom presently;
Joseph (Rev), rector of Monaghan (1711-84);
Thomas, 1715-44;
Benjamin, father of JOHN BENJAMIN, s his uncle.
The eldest son,

JOHN STORY (1708-80), died a bachelor and was succeeded by his nephew,

THE REV JOHN BENJAMIN STORY (1764-1844), of Corick, Canon Chancellor of Clogher, who married, in 1790, Jane, daughter of Alexander Young, of Coolkeiragh, County Londonderry, by Catherine his wife, daughter of Richard Hassard, of Gardenhill, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
JOHN BENJAMIN, his heir;
Alexander, died unmarried;
Anne; Kate; Elizabeth; Jane;
Letitia; Frances Thomasina; Maria.
The eldest son,

JOHN BENJAMIN STORY, of Corick, wedded, in 1840, Catherine, daughter of Captain Valentine Munbee, of Horringer, Suffolk; though  dsp in 1862, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

THE REV WILLIAM STORY, of Corick, Rector of Aghabog, who espoused Sarah, daughter of John Black, and had issue,
JOHN BENJAMIN, his heir;
William George Theaker, b 1863;
Marion Letitia; Alice Gertrude;
Emma Mary Geraldine.
He died in 1888, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN BENJAMIN STORY, MB, M.Ch, FRCSI, (1850-1931), of Corick, who married, in 1892, Blanche Christabel, daughter of the Rev J W Hallowell, and had issue,
Eleanor Constance;
Joan Blanche. 

 ***********

DR JOHN BENJAMIN STORY, of Corick, and of 6 Merrion Square North, Dublin,

was educated at Winchester; and Trinity College Dublin; Surgeon Oculist to GEORGE V in Ireland; High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1911; President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; and of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom, 1918-19.
"The King has appointed Mr John Benjamin Story, MB, FRCSI, to be Honorary Surgeon Oculist to His Majesty in Ireland, in room of Mr Charles Edward Fitzgerald, MD, deceased." 

CORICK HOUSE, near Clogher, County Tyrone, was originally built at the end of the 17th century, as a double gable-ended block of two storeys over a basement, with five bays.

In 1863, on the instructions of William Story, the house was enlarged and altered to the design of the Belfast firm of Sir Charles Lanyon.

A new garden front with a large canted bay in its centre and a three-storey tower with Italianate hipped slate roof were added. The original dining room remained unaltered.


The house sits on an elevated site above the River Blackwater, and is approached from the north by a straight avenue, laid down in the 1690s, lined with mature beech trees.

The enclosing parkland, some of whose trees were considered very fine as early as 1835, belongs to the later 18th century.

It is bordered to the south by the river Blackwater, and contains mature trees in set, undulating ground, including a planted rath.

The area around the house is enhanced by a maintained, ornamental garden.

The walled garden is partly cultivated, with a glasshouse.

There are three gate lodges, all of which pre-date the 1850s.

The last member of the Story family, a granddaughter of Dr John Benjamin Story, sold Corick to Mrs Jean Beacom; and the surrounding farmland to local farmers.

Corick House is now a country house hotel.

First published in January, 2013.