Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Moyola Park


LORD ADOLPHUS JOHN SPENCER-CHURCHILL CHICHESTER JP DL (1836-1901), of Moyola Park, Castledawson, County Londonderry, youngest son of Edward, 4th Marquess of Donegall, married, in 1872, Mary, only child and heir of Colonel Robert Peel Dawson, of Moyola Park, and had issue,
Edward Brownlow Dawson;
Augustus John Bruce MacDonald Dawson.
Lord Adolphus, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1882, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT PEEL DAWSON SPENCER CHICHESTER JP DL (1873-1921), of Moyola Park, Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Irish Rifles, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1911, who espoused, in 1901, the Rt Hon Dame Dehra Kerr DBE JP MP, and had issue,
Robert James Spencer (1902-20);
Colonel Chichester was succeeded by his daughter,

MARION CAROLINE DEHRA, MRS BRACKENBURY, of Moyola Park, who wedded firstly, in 1922, Captain James Lenox-Conyngham Chichester-Clark DSO JP DL MP, Royal Navy, of Largantogher, County Londonderry, elder son of Lieutenant-Colonel J J Clark.

Captain Clark assumed the additional surname and arms of CHICHESTER in 1923.

She had issue by her first husband,
JAMES DAWSON, of whom hereafter;
Robin (Sir);
Penelope, MBE.
Mrs Chichester-Clark wedded secondly, in 1938, Charles Edward Brackenbury.

Her elder son,

THE RT HON JAMES DAWSON CHICHESTER-CLARK  DL (1923-2002), of Moyola Park, and Largantogher, Major, the Irish Guards, PRIME MINISTER OF NORTHERN IRELAND, 1969-71, was created a life peer, in 1971, in the dignity of BARON MOYOLA, of Castledawson, County Londonderry.

He wedded, in 1959, Moyra Haughton, widow of Captain Thomas Haughton, of Cullybackey, County Antrim, and had issue,
Fionab 1960; m William Rodney David Fisher, in 1994.
Tara Oliviab 1962; m Edward Thomas Whitley in 1984.
Moyola Park House (Image: William Alfred Green)

MOYOLA PARK, adjacent to the village of Castledawson, County Londonderry, is a handsome two-storey, 18th century house of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings.

It has a five-bay entrance front and a three-bay pedimented breakfront.

There is a three-sided bow in the side elevation; a solid roof parapet; flush quoins.

Moyola Park House (Image: Postcard by Butler of Carndonagh)

In 1870, Moyola Park comprised 2,618 acres.

This is a well designed and attractively situated demesne parkland, through which the Moyola River flows.

There are good stands of mature trees in shelter belts and woodland.

Although extensively remodelled in the mid-19th century, the demesne has early 17th century origins.

The property was acquired by THOMAS DAWSON from Sir Thomas Phillips in 1622, and at some time afterwards a house was built close to the present chapel of Ease.

By 1835, little remained of this building 'but foundations of the walls and terraces'.

A second house, built by Joshua Dawson in 1694 and possibly remodelled in 1713, was located some distance to the north-east.
This had an associated formal landscape, including a straight lime avenue approach (still present) and avenues of Scotch firs; a Pinus Sylvestris Scotia mentioned in Elwes & Henry, Trees of Great Britain and Ireland Vol III (1908), as being 80 feet high and 11feet in girth in 1906 may be part of the early 18th century landscape.
There are four of these original trees remaining.

South-east of the 1694 house there was also 'an ancient avenue three miles in length opening to a magnificence view of Lough Neagh to which it extends'.

The adjacent town seems to have been created in its present form from 1710-14; it was in 1710 that Joshua Dawson built the Mansion House in Dublin's Dawson Street.

The present house at Moyola, known originally as The Lodge, was built in 1768 for Arthur Dawson (1698-1774) on a new site north-west of the 1694 house.

The informal parkland was subsequently created as a setting for this house.
Planting by Arthur Dawson's nephew, Arthur Dawson (1745-1822), is referred to in the Register of Trees in County Londonderry 1768-1911, supplementing the exisiting ancient oak woodlands. Paired yews on the riverside walk may belong to this period.
However, it was Arthur's son, the Rt Hon George Robert Dawson (1790-1856), brother-in-law to Sir Robert Peel, who remodelled both the house and the parkland and renamed it Moyola Park.

This work was largely undertaken during the 1840s and early 1850s.

Most of the parkland planting to the south and south east of the house belongs to this era, as does the suspension bridge and village gate lodge.

Exotic planting from this time includes a cryptomeria known to have been planted in 1851.

Additional gate lodges at the Hillhead entrance and at the Drumlamph entrance were added in the 1870s by Colonel Robert Dawson, from whom the property passed to the Chichester family through marriage.

In the 20th century, woodland areas and a disused quarry were cleared for ornamental gardens created from the 1960s to the north of the house.

These are fully maintained and often open to the public for charity.

A football playing field and an associated building occupies an area west of the lime avenue; while part of the southern portion of the park is now a golf course linked to the Gravend golf course west of the river.

Moyola Park today extends to some 450 acres.

First published in September, 2013.


evebabs said...

Would anybody know how to acquire a photograph of Lord Adolphus John Spencer Churchill Chichester? I am a direct descendent through his illegitimate son Algernon Campbell Chichester and would love to know what my great great grandfather looked like.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

I think i can help you with that. Can you post your email or other contact details so i can contact you directly?

Timothy Belmont said...

Quinntessence said...

Does anyone know of a photograph or illustration depicting Largantogher House in Maghera?

nigel brown said...

my grandmother used to work there,her name was evenlyn trainor n my my granddad was albert trainor.they lived just outside main gates n are buried in the local graveyard,my mother was married in local uncle robin trainor managed moyola park football club aswell my cousins also played for the club.