The gate lodge from the Antrim Road

The Castle in the 19th century

One side of the main street through the village of Templepatrick in Co Antrim consists of the demesne wall of Castle Upton. It is relieved by a fortified gateway at the centre of the village which leads up to the Castle itself. Closer inspection of the tower reveals that one of the turrets is actually a chimney, and that there are narrow slit windows near the gateway. Discreetly positioned behind the wall is a gate lodge consisting of two rooms, one on either side of the gate. Over the years it had been extended to make a larger house, but it was still necessary to cross the gateway to get from the living room to one of the bedrooms - not a very satisfactory layout, although one which was very common in 19th century gatehouses.

The gate lodge, its tower and the demesne wall of which it is part are all the work of the distinguished architect Edward Blore, but they are only part of the much larger complex of Castle Upton.

The core of the main house is a tower house with walls up to five feet thick, erected in 1611 by Sir Robert Norton and originally known as Castle Norton. It was purchased in 1625 by Captain Henry Upton, who became MP for Carrickfergus in 1634 and renamed the building. His descendants, the Viscounts Templeton, who owned Templepatrick, added a wing of fine apartments to the north. The resulting mass was described in the Ordnance Survey Memoir of 1837 as "somewhat baronial and interesting, and its extent rather considerable". The memoirs also mention a "handsome battlemented wall has been built [by the 3rd Viscount Templeton] along that side of the demesne bounded by the village and turnpike road" that is obviously the wall in which the present Tower is set. Indeed it must be the "magnificent entrance, somewhat resembling a barbican, in the Saxon style of architecture" which the Memoirs describe, although they say it is of "punched granite, with white porphyry quoins, mouldings and pinnacles". The architect is recorded as "Mr Blower of London", obviously Edward Blore.

Robert Adam was responsible for two earlier phases of building at the castle - for the 1st Lord Templeton he extended the house, and for his son the 2nd Viscount he added the faintly Gothic stables in 1788. The classical Templeton Mausoleum near the other entrance to the estate, now owned by the National Trust, is also by Adam. Blore added oriel windows to the castle and designed much of its present interior as well as the arched gateway of the lodge. His drawings for work at the house, while not exactly as executed, are in the Victoria & Albert Museum (A.182.S. 8731-9).

Hearth negotiated a lease of the lodge from the present owner of Castle Upton, and has extended each of the original rooms to become the core of a separate house, so that two houses rather than two rooms share the entrance. The gate still serves Castle Upton itself, although its main entrance is now elsewhere.

Since the houses are screened from the street by the demesne wall, there is no external evidence of the extension work, and inside the grounds they building is screened by trees. Nevertheless the extensions were built in rubble basalt to match the original lodge, and window openings were framed in cast stone with exposed aggregate to match the weathered granite of the original windows. There were no original windows left in the building, but cast iron lattice casements were made, in keeping with the style of the building, and secondary glazing was provided to reduce possible condensation problems. A culvert below the building was diverted and extensive restoration carried out on the tower.

The view from the road is unchanged...

..but there are now two lodges behind the tower

Client: Hearth Housing Association
Architect: Hearth
Main Contractor: JS Dunlop, Ballymoney.
Restored: 2003
Accommodation: Two two-bedroom houses
Assisted by loans and grants from: Heritage Lottery Fund, Housing Association Grant, Historic Buildings Grant and own capital.

For more details of the restoration of this building, click here.

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