[Extracts from the East Down list by C E B Brett, published by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society in 1973.]
The List covers Ardglass, Clough, Dundrum, Killinchy, Killough, Killyleagh, Loughinisland and Seaforde.
One of the most interesting groups in the county, tucked between harbour and rocky shore. Originally this was a range of early 15th century fortified warehouses, some 70 yards long, of two storeys, with three protective three-storey square towers overlooking the harbour; facing the quay were thirty ground-floor openings, alternately pointed and square-headed. The whole is built of split-stone rubble: originally there was a wall walk along the top. About 1790, a large part of the building was turned into a mansion by Ogilvie's step-son Lord Charles Fitzgerald, perhaps to designs by Charles Lilly, as suggested by the Archaeological Survey, though the design is of uncharacteristic romanticism. Dubourdieu in 1802, wrote that it had been "converted by Lord Lecale into a most elegant habitation, who has with great judgment and taste preserved the antique castellated appearance." Sam Burdy spoke of it with some admiration:
"The castles now I leave, and next survey
A curious fabrick on the sounding sea,
Whose length extends two hundred feet, and more,
From the rough confines of the craggy shore.
New Work 'tis call'd, but no one under heaven
Knows why this name's to the old mansion given ...
Three lofty towers three antique walls defend,
One in the midst, and one at every end ...
Next to the land are doors and windows wide,
But gloomy spike-holes next the flowing tide.
The doors and windows all alternate plac'd,
The windows square, the doors with arches grac'd.
Of solid stones are form'd their hardy frames,
That long defied the tempests and the flames.
Here, it is thought, some merchants us'd to show
Their costly ware, and range them in a row ...
Tho' of this edifice now part i9 chang'd
To a fine house with genuine taste arrange'd,
Yet e'en diffus'd around the splendid dome
We still perceive a solitary gloom ... "
The principal fanlighted door faced the harbour: the windows
on this front have most unusual and delightful Gothick glazing,
though many of the doors and windows have been most unsuitably
altered, and the courtyard is encumbered with miscellaneous rubbish
of every kind.
In 1911, the building was turned into a golf club-house. The curious heavy arched window-frames in the southern facade, and the unfortunate porch, may date from 1911, or may be earlier; they are at any rate preferable to the modern bar window inserted in one of the pointed arches. Internally, not much of interest survives - only the damaged southern doorcase, with pilasters, paterae, and festoons, perhaps not beyond restoration; the staircase and balustrade; and a single room with a plaster frieze, incorporating olive sprays and a repeated bust - can it possibly be that of Lord Edward Fitzgerald?
A startling and immediate transformation in the appearance of this building would be brought about if all the woodwork were to be painted white, instead of the present rather bilious green. The restoration of the Georgian glazing-pattern, the renewal of the harling of the walls, and perhaps a discreet colour-washing, would work wonders. There can be few golf clubs in Western Europe which have a building of such interest and importance for club-house.
Refs: Archaeological Survey pp.220, 316; Grose, Antiquities p.95; Harris p.2; Dubourdieu p.297.
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'Six handsome almshouses erected by Colonel Forde'; an incised
stone above the central doorway, 'These Almshouses were Erected
and Endowed at the request of the Late Mrs. Forde A.D. 1828.'
One end, for many years, incorporated the village court house.
These are charming single-storey roughcast-over-rubble buildings
in a sort of sub-Tudor style: the doors set sideways into projecting
gabled porches: label mouldings: heavy stone chimneys: and lattice-work
in the upper panes of the windows. Oddly, the crude ends of brick
partition walls are visible through the porch-windows; all of
the houses stand in sad need of care and aiiection, as does the
shared front garden; happily, they have recently been acquired
for restoration by the HEARTH housing association jointly sponsored
by the National Trust and the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.
Two terraces of very pleasant early l9th century workers' houses
in the Jacobethan manner, tall gables and taller triple chimneys;
incorporating the abandoned smithy. Although some of these houses
are now near-ruinous, all have recently been acquired by HEARTH
for rehabilitation. It is to be hoped that congruous infill may
be undertaken in the gaps between the terraces; and that the garishness
of the petrol station and the pub at the two ends of the street
may be softened somewhat as part of a facelift scheme for the
Refs: Lewis II p. 547; Specification and drawings in the possession of P.Forde Esq.
[Note: Both Almshouses and workers' houses were duly restored by Hearth in the early 1980s, and are now managed as social housing. part of the back gardens of the houses were sold to the N I Housing Executive for it to develop further new social housing for the village without impinging on the street frontage. Sadly, Hearth was not able to acquire the gap site (which had originally been occupied in part by a thatched cottage at one time), and a modern house stands there.
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Shrigley is (or was) a small satellite industrial village about
a mile north-west of Killyleagh. It grew up around the large six-storey
cotton mill built in 1824 by John Martin; in 1836, Shrigley mill
had more power looms than any other factory in Ireland. In the
following year, Samuel Lewis described it at length: 'Some large
mills were built upon a copious stream, in 1824, by Messrs. Martin
& Co., and were greatly enlarged in 1828: in these works are
13,798 spindles, employing 186 persons, and 244 power-looms attended
by 156 persons, constantly engaged in weaving printers' cloths
for the Manchester market; and connected with this manufactory
are more than 2000 hand-looms in the neighbouring districts. The
buildings, which are very spacious and six storeys high, are lighted
with gas made on the premises, and the proprietors have erected
a steam-engine of 35 horse power.' The original mill was burned
down in 1845; it was replaced by a flax-spinning mill, now occupied
by United Chrometanners Limited. The Grecian gate pillars, and
some of the subsidiary stone buildings, were probably survivors
of the original mill, and stood until quite recently. Naturally,
the mill became the principal source of employment in the locality.
Most of the workers lived in Killyleagh, but a number of blackstone
workers' cottages, by no means unattractive though of course lacking
modern conveniences, were built in a cluster along the three streets
at the mill gate.
During his lifetime, the people of the district resolved to commemorate the contribution John Martin had made to their prosperity; a competition was held in 1870 for designs for a clock tower and drinking fountain in his honour; the premium was awarded to Timothy Hevey, a young Belfast architect apparently then working with Pugin and Ashlin in Dublin. The work was executed in 1871, and a truly remarkable, and typically High Victorian, monument was erected at the heart of the village - at the cross-roads outside the mill gate. John Martin died in 1876 at the age of 79; Timothy Hevey died in 1878 at the age of 33. Posterity took less than a century to make nonsense of what both had wrought.
Between 1968 and 1972, in the neutral words of the Downpatrick Area Plan, 'a very extensive redevelopment project was completed involving the replacement of the early industrial village, the construction of 154 houses and two shops'. In short, the village as a village was entirely swept away; not one of the original workers' houses remains. The people were all rehoused in a housing estate on the opposite hillside. It is very much a housing estate, and very much not a village. The houses, of course, have modern amenities; they have hard standings and garages; they have neat gardens behind wooden palings; they are all, without exception, built of grey concrete bricks; they have uniform detailing; they are laid out exactly like a suburban estate on the outskirts of a city. There is no variety, and there is no attempt to provide any kind of focus or heart to the community. There is not one element in the new estate which preserves or even recalls the identity of the old village; it is entirely inappropriate to its setting in the rolling drumlin country side of County Down.
Only the Martin monument still stands, in isolation, at the mill gate: derelict, sprouting vegetation, with a number of its stones fallen, neglected, abandoned by the community which John Martin created: in its present state, a decrepit eyesore. Si monumentum requiris, circumspice, indeed!
1871, designed by Timothy Hevey. A remarkably imposing monument
of brown stone, in three layers; the design has much in common
with, but is rather grander than, the Rossmore Memorial of about
the same date in the Diamond of Monaghan town. The base, surrounded
by iron railings, originally with an elaborate lamp at each corner,
is square. Upon this, an octagonal arcade of round-headed arches,
carried on columns with Ruskinian foliated capitals, surrounds
the central shaft which incorporates the drinking-fountain. Above
this rises a square tower, supported by eight flying buttresses
springing from pinnacles; in each face is a triple pointed opening
divided by small foliate-capitalled columns. Above these openings
are large circular oculi in which the clock (now entirely disappeared)
displayed its four faces. The tower is surmounted by acute angled
gable-pediments, with five-lobed ogee centre pieces; four corner
pinnacles, the crockets now missing; and a pyramidal roof terminating
in ornate cresting.
There are few High Victorian monuments of equal merit and importance in Ulster, and this one well deserves to be repaired and restored.
Refs: BNL 29 December 1870; Scrapbook in possession of Dr. A. Rowan.
[Note: The Martin monument remains in parlous condition and continues to be the subject of sporadic debate by the villagers and the Housing Executive which is now responsible for the estate.]
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