Monday, 18 June 2012

Galgorm Castle

YOUNG OF GALGORM

WILLIAM YOUNG (1792-1854), thrice married, graduated as a Doctor of Medicine and lived at Galgorm. His elder son,

THE RT HON JOHN YOUNG JP DL (1826-1915), of Galgorm Castle, married twice, was High Sheriff of County Antrim in 1863. He was also a Privy Counsellor and a Doctor of Law (LL.D.). His eldest son,

THE RT HON WILLIAM ROBERT YOUNG DL (1856-1933) married Mary Alice Macnaghten, daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Francis Macnaghten Bt; was partner of J. & R. Young, linen merchants at Belfast; a Privy Counsellor, 1921.
 
In 1893 the Galgorm estate, near Ballymena, County Antrim, comprised almost 2,000 acres.

When John Young died in 1915, William and Mary Young succeeded to the castle and estate. 

In her background and interests Mary Young was  an enthusiastic and accomplished photographer. Between 1890 and 1915 she took over a thousand photographs, often experimenting with light and composition in her work.

Nearly all these were concerned with her family and life on the Galgorm estate.

The subjects included family groups, the estate workers, the castle and grounds and friends and relatives enjoying themselves at croquet, tennis, fishing or other popular pastimes of the period.

Her photographs provide a valuable personal insight into the life-style of the gentry in the decades prior to the first world war.

The Youngs had in fact been prosperous merchants in Ballymena in the early 19th century and had bought Galgorm only in 1850 from the 3rd Earl Mount Cashell.

But clearly they had no difficulty in integrating into gentry circles. Mary's father-in-law was a Privy Counsellor, a deputy lieutenant and a justice of the peace.

The family was on good terms with many of the other landed families in County Antrim and there was much coming and going between Galgorm and other county houses, especially among the younger people for parties and outings.

Most of the Youngs' land was sold to the tenants under the terms of the 1903 Wyndham Act, but the family retained the castle and about 300 acres of gardens, woods and farmland.

This did not have much immediate effect on life in the castle.

Until the 1st World War, there were never fewer than six domestic servants. Labourers, coachmen, gardeners and gamekeepers on the estate usually numbered around fifteen.

A governess came daily from Belfast to teach the Youngs' only child, Hilda Grace, born in 1896.

For Mary Young, life at Galgorm must have been quite busy. Her husband's stepmother had died shortly before she and her husband moved to the castle and she took over supervision of the household.

Besides her husband, daughter and father-in-law, her husband's five brothers and seven sisters frequently stayed at the castle.

When the war came she occupied herself organising comforts for the troops, and it seems to have been this which caused her to give up her photography, through lack of spare time. She died in 1946.

Galgorm passed eventually to the widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur O'Neill Cubitt Chichester OBE MC (1889-1972), Mrs Hilda Grace Chichester (nee Young). As a matter of record, Chichester was awarded the Military Cross  
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while in command of his battalion. He was on his way back, wounded, when he saw a party of men almost isolated. He returned and rallied them against the attacking enemy".

Galgorm Castle is now a thriving golf club owned by the Hon Christopher Brooke, younger brother of 3rd and present Viscount Brookeborough.

Mr Brooke's son Archie will eventually succeed to the Viscountcy of Brookeborough, the baronetcy of Colebrooke and Colebrooke Park, County Fermanagh.
 
Galgorm Castle is a  three-storey 17th century house in a fortified enclosure - or bawn - built ca 1645 by the Rev Alexander Colville.

The early oak stair with turned balusters and large round heads on the newels still survives.

The estate passed by inheritance to the Earls Mount Cashell, the 3rd Earl altering and modernizing the Castle ca 1830; and more work done subsequently.

These alterations gave the Castle regular fenestration, with sash windows in brick surrounds; and a roof-line of curved battlements, with a curvilinear "Dutch" gable as the central feature of the five-bay entrance front.

The gable surmounting the entrance front was repeated on a projecting porch, which was given a Renaissance door-case by Sir Charles Lanyon, who also designed the door-cases inside the Castle and the dining-room fire-place.

Lord Mount Cashell sold the estate ca 1843, through the Encumbered Estates Court, to Dr William Young.

The present site, comprising 220 acres, includes remnants of the ancient Irish fort of the McQuillan clan.

Building of the original Castle was started in 1618 by Sir Faithful Fortescue and it is recognised as one of the finest examples of early Jacobean architecture in Ulster.

The private chapel close to the Castle, also dating from the time, was used by the family until it was burnt down by the United Irishmen in 1798. After this, services, including baptisms, were held in the Castle's kitchen.

As well as the architecturally important Castle and Courtyard, the estate includes two further listed buildings: a small roundhouse, formerly the home to a labourer and his four children and a beautiful cottage on the Sourhill Road.

The demesne bustled with life, employing over thirty people in the house, garden, stables and farm.

The Youngs, who bought the estate from Lord Mount Cashell in 1843, also owned the Braidwater Mill.

They were forward-thinking pioneers who ensured the prosperity of the estate by adopting innovative new farming methods such as building flax dams, a water wheel and tank.

At the time Galgorm was one of the premier agricultural estates in the Province.

Coinciding with the industrial revolution and mechanisation of the farming ca 1900, the estate’s fortunes began to decline.

The existing layout was perfectly suited to traditional methods, but totally inappropriate for the new mechanised approach.

The Courtyard, part of which dates back to the early 17th century, suffered the indignity of an attempted conversion/update using the Victorian approach which involved unsympathetic demolition of walls.

Galgorm is on the site of a pre-1600 castle, the demesne dating from the early 17th century. The fine Jacobean house remains, having been altered and modernised in 1830 and 1850.

There are mature trees in clumps in the parkland between the rivers Main and Braid and in wooded areas near the house.

The shelter belts to the west, along the River Maine, are post-1858.

226 acres of the parkland is a golf course. The walled garden is disused. There is a small enclosed cultivated garden in the area of the bawn, which retains its Victorian formal bedding.

This layout succeeded an earlier garden. A wide grass-lined approach leads to the house.

The offices and stables are listed with the house and have been converted to commercial units. The gate screen, bawn and walled garden are included in the listing. The gate lodge was added in 1852.

First published in December, 2010.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now owned by the Brookes (mother was a Chichester)!

W.

Chekov said...

There is a rather picaresque and silly legend about how Colville 'cheated the devil' to raise money to build the castle.

Anonymous said...

possibly the most beautiful building featured on your blog (in my humble opinion). Such a pity it was built so close to Ballymena, otherwise the owners may have been inclined to keep it and not turn the grounds into a golf course.

Anonymous said...

There is a plaque on the wall at Galgorm Castle to Rose Young (Rois Ni Ogain, 1865-1947), daughter of William Young, who was a Gaelic scholar and author. Roger Casement stayed with the Young family when he went to nearby Ballymena Diocesan College in the 1880s. They are all mentioned in his diaries.

Anonymous said...

Hilda Chichester always had dozens of very small dogs which sat on the sofas...it was tricky to sit down without smothering several of them at one fell swoop.

Paul Louden-Brown said...

Can you confirm please the Christian name of John Young's daughter? She launched a ship in August 1880. All I have is Miss Young, Galgorm Castle.