Thursday, 4 March 2010

Great Antrim Landowners

County Antrim has doubtless had many country estates: some relatively large; many more modest in size. I intend to concentrate on the largest estates, in terms of acreage, initially at least. Of course, the biggest estates were not, necessarily, the most beautiful nor the finest. Nevertheless, I hope that my series shall provide the reader with a fair indication of the most important demesnes in the county.

Dundarave, residence of the Macnaghten Baronets, which sits right beside the fine village of Bushmills, is worthy of a place on my top list.

Kilwaughter Castle, near Larne, was at the centre of a substantial estate. Now ruinous, it dated from 1807 and was built for E J Agnew, Esq.

Antrim Castle and demesne was beside the town of Antrim, parts of which dated from 1613. Seat of the Viscounts Massereene and Ferrard.

Castle Upton, at Templepatrick, originally called Castle Norton, became the seat of 1st Viscount Templetown; then home to the Kinahan family.

Lissanoure Castle, near Killagan, was built for the 1st and last Earl Macartney. The estate now belongs to the Mackie family.

Garron Tower, at Garronpoint, was once thought to have been built to rival Glenarm Castle, a few miles away. It originally belonged to Frances, Marchioness of Londonderry.

Lord Donegall still owned almost 15,000 acres in the county, a tiny amount of land compared to what the Donegall family formerly possessed. They relocated from Ormeau Park in the southern outskirts of Belfast to Belfast Castle, to the north of the city.

The Langford estate near Crumlin, including Langford Lodge, passed to the Pakenhams through marriage of 2nd Viscountess Langford's daughter to 2nd Earl of Longford. Now demolished.

The Earl of Antrim's historic Glenarm Castle and estate was one of the largest in the county; one of what I call The Big Three.

Sir Richard Wallace, 1st and last Baronet, natural son of the 4th Marquess of Hertford, inherited his father's Ulster estates making Sir Richard the penultimate landowner in the county.

The Lords O'Neill, whose seat was Shane's Castle, between Antrim and Randalstown, were the largest landowners in the county, with vast estates extending to 64,163 acres. This made the O'Neills amongst the largest landowners in Ulster, too.

The Houses of County Antrim, a guide by the late Sir Charles Brett CBE is probably the definitive work on the subject.


Anonymous said...

Lots of smaller ones too, which are also interesting; Leslie Hill, Moore Lodge (& Moore's Grove, Moore's Fort, etc.), O'Harabrook... Oddly enough there's a Quaker connection to a lot of those estates, given their plantation origins. Probably none of them were much over 1,000 acres though.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget Benvarden and Lord Rathcavan's Cleggan estate - smaller places but still interesting.

Timothy Belmont said...

Many thanks, W & Anon for the suggestions. Perhaps I'll include them next time round.


Anonymous said...

You'll find the Moores particularly interesting.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of Belmont in County Antrim? My Magee descendants came from there and I have been unable to locate it.
Mary Forbes

Timothy Belmont said...

Can't say I have. That's not to say that there isn't a townland or place called Belmont.