[Extract from the Mourne list by P J Rankin, published by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society in 1975.]
The List covers Annalong, Bryansford, Castlewellan, Kilkeel and Newcastle.
Post-1777, but with none of the brittle elegance discernible
in the Bryansford Gate and such a feature of the Wyatt style:
known as the Barbican Gate since before 1800. Of rubble stone
lightly rendered, a circular turret either side of a pointed-arched
central gateway. Pointed-headed footway through turret on one
side, stair to upper level in other, granite string-course and
granite-dressed trefoil above. In the spandrel either side of
the central arch are granite-dressed quatrefoils/ loopholes. On
top of all, an oversailing battlemented parapet supported on a
well-spaced blocking course. Plain wrought iron gates.
The Barbican Gate is not marked on the Bernard Scale maps of 1760 and 1777. Like Horn Bridge, it is with little doubt after a design by Thomas Wright. The Gothick entrance at Wallington, which Mrs. Harris puts in the 1760s, has circular castellated turrets on either side of a central pointed-arched gateway, smaller pointed arched doorways in the intervening screen walls surmounted by label-moulds, quatrefoils and loopholes, all very similar to the Barbican Gate and Horn Bridge, and also to details of the Clanbrassill Barn. Thomas Wright taught Lord Clanbrassill, then aged 16, mathematics and drawing at Dundalk during the winter of 1746-47. It may therefore be that the buildings linked with Wright's name which were put up after 1758 are to the designs not so much of Wright himself as of Lord Clanbrassill inspired by Wright while his pupil at Dundalk.
The gate is approached from the road by the remains of an avenue of limes with fine beeches behind on the north side. Inside is an avenue of Himalayan cedars planted between 1835 and 1859 and a magnificent older-looking Spanish chestnut, but the effect is now not as it should be due to the dense forestry planting behind.
[The List also includes a full history of Tollymore Park and details of the many other bridges and follies in the grounds].
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On the 1835 OS map called Wood House demesne. Very similar in appearance to Derrymore, County Armagh. Cottage ornée of early-19th century appearance: no house is marked on an estate map of 1776. The east wing was built, probably in the late-18th century, by Theodosia Magill, 1st Countess of Clanwilliam (died 1817): it was reputedly built in 6 weeks, as a stopping place on the road south from Gill Hall, when there was an outbreak of disease at Rathfriland, where she normally stayed. Lady Clanwilliam, daughter and heiress of Sir John Hawkins Magill of Gill Hall from whom she inherited estates at Rathfriland and Burrenwood, all originally Magennis property, left her property at Rathfriland and Burrenwood to her son General Robert Meade: he left the army in 1817 and built the present house about 1820. However, he live mainly in London and used Burrenwood solely as a summer cottage. After his death in 1852 no Meade lived in the house for 80 years.
Much work was done in the wood in 1830, and in 1834 some thousands of larches and other trees were planted, also 100 laurels and 20 rhododendrons. Some of the furniture still in the house, including hooped four-poster beds, was brought from Gill Hall at the beginning of the l9th century. (see typescript of c.1934 by Mrs. Meade: copy in PRONI).
The entrance front of the house faces north, from which wings run south on either open at its southern end. The north front is of three bays, a door in the centre with rectangular Georgian glazed fanlight over, slightly projecting, coupled log supports/columns to either side of the projection; in the small gable dormer above is a tiny window. On either side of door is a large tripartite window, Georgian glazed in large panes, the window on the left slightly canted. Hipped roof, extending at east and west sides over small loggia areas supported on east by four log supports, on west by three small Georgian-glazed dormer windows in either end of roof. East wing is of nine bays the two at the south end blank, the remainder Georgian glazed with small dormers over 3, 4, 5 and 6. The west wing, attached to the main block only by a low flat roofed link, has large double Georgian-glazed window with a horizontally-sliding sash, and a gabled roof with slight overhang above the window. All of coursed rubble, brick dressings, deep eaves, tall roofs, square brick chimneys, some corner-ways on, all with little flat-stone tops.
The house was thatched until the second world war, when the thatch was taken off temporarily and replaced by the present corrugated iron. Inside are simple late-Georgian mantelpieces; some nice brass drop handles to the doors; and an unexecuted design for rebuilding the house in a grand baronial style, by Lanyon Lynn and Lanyon 1863.
The beeches are very fine and of considerable age, but laurel and rhododendron cover all the ground below them. A map of the Burrenreagh part of the Rathfriland estate of the Earl of Clanwilliam 1776, 415 acres Irish measure, gives the woodlands as including alder, birch, ash and oak.
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