In 1676, WILLIAM LEGGE, an officer in the army, with recommendations from JAMES II, then Duke of York, served under the Duke of Schomberg in Flanders, and accompanied him to Ireland, 1690.
WILLIAM LEGGE, settled at Malone, County Antrim, and acquired land from Arthur, 3rd Earl of Donegall, where he operated a farm and built houses.
Specifically mentioned are house, sugarhouses, warehouses and other houses.
WILLIAM, his heir (d 1821);
Elinor, m Hill Wallace; mother of WILLIAM;
Marcella, m Anthony Semple.
WILLIAM LEGGE, High Sheriff of County Antrim, died in 1821, and was succeeded by his nephew,
WILLIAM WALLACE, his heir;
Florence Wallace, m 1861, 6th Viscount Harberton.
Mr William Wallace Legge was succeeded by his son,
Harberton Avenue, Drive and Park, Belfast, are all named after the 6th Viscount Harberton, who owned the land.
|The Neo-Georgian Malone House today|
One member of the Legg family, Benjamin Legg, was a prosperous merchant and sugar refiner during the 18th century in Belfast. His premises were at Legg's Lane, now Lombard Street; and the sugar-house was located at the corner of Rosemary Street and North Street.
A keen landscaper, Legge designed and planted most of the demesne, which remains relatively unchanged today. Legge's daughter Florence married, in 1861, the Hon James Spencer Pomeroy (1836-1912), son of the 5th Viscount Harberton, and had issue, Ernest Arthur George, 7th Viscount Harberton.
In the 1870s the Malone estate extended to a considerable 8,565 acres, when Mrs Legge was the owner.
The Legges have a plot at Drumbeg Church where the inscription reads:-
To the memory of Alexander Legge of Malone, Esq. son of William Legge, Esq., who departed this life on the fifth day of September 1777, aged 71 years and of Mary, his wife who departed this life, on the first day of March 1783, aged 63 years. Also of their son-in-law, Hill Wallace, Esq., Captain 14th Regiment of Foot who departed this life, on the 29th day of April 1794, aged 40 years. Also of Ellen Legge, wife of the above Hill Wallace, Esq. died in London aged 90 years and their daughter, Ellen Wallace died, and was interred, at Cheltenham on the 12th of April 1879 in her 91st year.
Some other homes were built within it containing families of English and Irish settlers.
He built a fort in the area where the present house is situated. In the rebellion of 1641 the house was burnt.
Alexander Legge probably built the second Malone House, which was on the site of the old stables of the present house. The house at this point was a large farm-house.
They part-owned the old sugar house in Rosemary Lane, which was Belfast’s first factory.
Legg’s Lane, which later became Lombard Street, was named after them.
WILL OF ALEXANDER LEGG, OF MALONE, BELFAST, GENT.
‘To Gilbert Mathews his children my house and lands in Malone’.
‘To my nephew Robert Legg my farm in Kilwarlin, County Down’.
‘To John Rice of Malone £30 out of my personal estate’.
‘To my little cousin Alexander Legg my Bay Golding’.
‘To my natural daughter Esther Legg £10’.
‘To the poor of the parish of Belfast £3’.
Executors William Legg and Gilbert Mathews. I desire my executors to have me buried in a decent manner in the Church of Drumbo.
Witnessed by Matt McLorinan, Dan: Cunningham, Patrick McCormick, St. John Turnley.
Probate granted December 15, 1729, to Gilbert Mathews (William Legg renounced).
Alexander Legg appears to have purchased the Mulligan farm in 1725 and the lease he purchased fallen in by 1735, when his nephew, Robert Legg took out a new one in his own name. Interestingly, one of his the lives named in his lease is Patrick Mullican.
He married late in life and his only son was a wild young man who squandered his money and was disinherited.
Donegall Estate records tell the progress of the Legge lands during the late 18th century: 260 acres in 1775 became 400 acres by 1810.
|Malone House in the 1950s|
The third Malone House was built ca 1825.
Even before inheriting his uncle's property in 1821, William Wallace Legge, builder of the third house on the site, had been fascinated with buildings and landscape.
A sketchbook survives from 1816 in which he made a series of over seventy neat pencil drawings of topographical subjects in the Malone area and the Lagan valley, and also around the home of another uncle and aunt, Anthony and Marcella Semple at Malahide.
His predecessors found it convenient to live close to the main coach road between Belfast and Dublin.
Their house was clearly visible at the end of a short drive.
Such simplicity, or rather, lack of subtlety, held little appeal for W W Legge.
He chose to build anew on the site of the old fort.
Nevertheless the public thoroughfare still seemed too close for proper privacy, and so, with an uncomplicated efficiency which might be expected of the son of an army officer who happened to be high sheriff for the county at the right moment, he moved the road away.
Though unimpressed with the remains of the fort, Legge recognised the advantages of the site.
His new entrance front was to face a wide prospect past the old house to the north-west, while the main rooms were to enjoy views across the Lagan valley.
Its main façades are clear essays in classical symmetry.
The repetition of equal openings, the severely simple Tuscan portico, the dominating cornice and parapet, and the firmly regimented chimney stacks, all combine into a rather stark unity.
External window shutters, though now comparatively rare, were briefly popular in late-Georgian Ulster.
Those at Malone, likely to be original for they appear in an Edwardian photograph, give the house a rather colonial flavour.
The present house has not been precisely dated, nor has the involvement of any architect been discovered, but such evidence as there is suggests that the building was erected in the late 1820s.
He was a renowned academic and she was an early feminist supporting votes for women, wearing bloomers (a kind of trouser suit for women)!
He died in 1943 and left the house and grounds to the city of Belfast.
There were concrete air raid shelters built alongside the house, one of which still remains with its front removed.
The layout retains an early 19th century ‘landscape’ style, which was developed round the site of the present house.