JOSHUA MacGEOUGH, of Drumsill, County Armagh, made his will, dated June, 1755, which was proved in June, 1756:
"an Old Gentleman of the County of Armagh [who] had by laudable industry, acquired a small Real Estate, and a considerable personal fortune worth in the whole about £100,000".
He married Anne, only daughter and heir of Brigadier-General the Rt Hon William Graham, and had issue,
WILLIAM MacGEOUGH, of Drumsill, who married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Walter Bond, of Bondville, County Armagh. He died about 1791.
His only son,
JOSHUA MacGEOUGH (1747-1817), of Drumsill, married Anne, daughter of Joseph Johnstone, of Nappa, County Armagh, and had two sons. The younger son,
WALTER MacGEOUGH-BOND, of Drumsill, Silverbridge, and the Argory, County Armagh; High Sheriff, 1819; Barrister-at-Law; assumed, by Royal Licence, 1824, the name and arms of BOND in addition to his own.
He married, in 1830, Anne, 2nd daughter of Ralph Smyth, of Gaybrook, County Westmeath. He died in 1866, having had, with other issue,
1. JOSHUA WALTER MacGEOUGH, of Drumsill.
2. Ralph MacGEOUGH-BOND-SHELTON, of The Argory.
4. Robert John MacGEOUGH JP, of Silverbridge, born in 1838; married, in 1869, Alice, daughter of James Sivewright, of Brighton.
The eldest son,
JOSHUA WALTER MacGEOUGH-BOND JP DL, of Drumsill; High Sheriff, 1872; MP for Armagh, 1859-65; late 49th Foot; born in 1831; married, in 1856, Albertine Louise, daughter of Frederick Shanahan, Barrister-at-Law. He died in 1905, leaving issue,
WALTER WILLIAM ADRIAN MacGEOUGH-BOND, of Drumsill; Vice-President of Court of Appeal at Cairo, Egypt; born in 1857; wedded, in 1901, Ada Marion, youngest daughter of the late Charles Nichols, of Dunedin, New Zealand,, and had issue,
WALTER ALBERT NEVILL MacGEOUGH-BOND DL, born 1908.
THE EARLIEST document relating to the MacGeoughs' Argory lands - then known as Derrycaw - dates from the 1740s, when Joshua foreclosed the mortgage on the property from a family named Nicholson, who stayed on as tenants.
When Joshua died in 1756, his house and estate at Drumsill passed to his elder son, William.
Joshua MacGeough, William's only son, rebuilt Drumsill House between 1786-8, apparently to the design of the master mason, William Lappan. He commissioned Francis Johnston to add wings to it in 1805-6, shown in two signed drawings now at the Argory.
Isabella died later in the same year, leaving Walter her jointure of £10,000, but Mary-Ann and Eliza lived on as rich spinsters at Drumsill (with £20,000 each) for the rest of their lives.
Walter MacGeough, who had become a barrister after graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1811, must have realised that his sisters were unlikely to marry, or to give up Drumsill. He therefore lost no time in adding to the land he had inherited at Derrycaw, and building a new house there - later to be known as the Argory.
Since Walter's eldest son, Joshua Walter, had already inherited Drumsill from his spinster aunts, The Argory was left to the second son Ralph, or Captain Shelton, who adopted the additional name of Shelton after a distant relation who may have left him some money.
He moved most of the contents of Drumsill to The Argory and sold Drumsill in 1917.
Long a student and patron of the Arts, his and his family's interest in music is reflected throughout the Argory. He formed a large personal art collection, including many works by Ulster artists.
Quoting selectively from The MacGeough Bonds of The Argory, by Olwen Purdue:
"Sir Walter was The Argory's most reluctant owner. He had worked as a judge in Cairo, Egypt and was knighted for his efforts and, like Captain Shelton, had an unwelcome culture shock on coming to The Argory.
He was also an unenthusiastic Moy resident and wrote: The Argory is not a desirable residence for me on account of the excessive dampness of the valley of the Blackwater.I have, as you know, been advised by high medical authority to avoid a damp climate. And avoid it he did, spending as much time as possible in Rome and Nice.
He even brought an Italian man, Secondo Belucci, to work in The Argory. Some members of the local Orange Order found this really offensive and wrote this nasty letter to him saying basically 'we've got perfectly good Protestant people here, why don't you get them to work for you?"
Dr Purdue says that Sir Walter oversaw the sale of much of the family's lands in the final stages of land reform, choosing safe investments for the proceeds of sale. He had married Ada Nicholls in 1901.
Their marriage was deeply unhappy and, again, they lived separate lives. Sir Walter's wife Ada, Lady Bond, was known to leave The Argory and stay in a hotel whenever her husband was expected home.
The National Trust's cafe at the Argory is called "Lady Ada's [sic] Tearoom", though Lady Bond was not the daughter of a duke, marquess or earl.
Their son Nevill inherited The Argory and lived there for 30 years, becoming towards the end an "increasingly isolated and eccentric addition to the community".
Like his father, he hated the damp weather, spending his summers in Jamaica, and only ventured into the chilly St James's Church in Moy, wrapped in several coats.
"The Troubles" deeply affected Nevill. His friends in Tynan Abbey, Sir Norman Stronge and his son, James, who was in the RUC, were murdered by the IRA on January 21, 1983.
Nevill's driver, Frederic Lutton, was also ambushed and shot dead by the IRA in 1979, inside The Argory's grounds.
A bullet was fired at Nevill and embedded in the door of the car. Terrified, he stayed away for a time. In addition, The Argory was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain, so Nevill decided to give the house to the National Trust:
"It was a very hard thing... having been in the family for these generations, for him to have to be the one to pass it out of the family,"
Dr Purdue continues: "But basically the family line died out with him and there wasn't going to be anyone else that would step in."
The grounds are fully maintained with fine mature trees, shrubs and lawns.
There is an enclosed early 19th century sundial garden at the house, with box-edged rose beds.
An ilex avenue leads to the walled garden, which is made of brick and not cultivated. Of the three gate lodges, two of ca 1835 are occupied; and an earlier lodge of ca 1825 is not used.