Saturday, 15 September 2018

Ballymenoch Demesne

BALLYMENOCH HOUSE, a Georgian mansion, became the residence of Sir Daniel and Lady Dixon when he purchased it in 1863.

It was situated on the outskirts of Holywood, County Down (Ballymenoch Park is a municipal park).

Mr Dixon received a knighthood in 1892; and was created a baronet in 1903:-

WHITEHALL, September 7, 1903.

The King has been pleased to direct the preparation of Warrants under His Majesty's Royal Sign Manual, authorising Letters Patent to be passed under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, of Great Britain and Ireland, conferring the dignity of a Baronet of the said United Kingdom upon each of the under-mentioned Gentlemen, and the heirs male of their respective bodies lawfully begotten :—

The Right Honourable Sir Daniel Dixon, of Ballymenoch in the Parish of Holywood, in the County of Down, Knight, Lord Mayor of Belfast.

Sir Daniel's younger son, Herbert, was elevated to the peerage in 1939, in the dignity of BARON GLENTORAN, of Ballyalloly, County Down.

Ballymenoch House (above) and its grounds originally extended down to the sea, close to the present Sea Park.

It was bisected by the main Bangor Road.

The house itself was of two storeys with tripartite windows, bow fronts, portico and urns on the balustrade; numerous chimneys, too.

It dated from the late 18th century.

There were two charming lodges, locally known as "ink-wells" owing to their shape.

One of them was knocked down in the 1930s; the other in 1971.

It would appear that the first owners, in 1783, were called Hamilton; then the Holmes'; closely followed, in 1802, by Cunningham Gregg, a prosperous Belfast merchant from Macedon in County Antrim.

The Gregg family sold Ballymenoch to Daniel Dixon in 1863, who also bought the demesne and part of the coastline from Holywood pier to Clanbrassil in the 1880s.

In 1876, Thomas Gregg owned 492 acres at Ballymenoch and London, which provides us with an indication of the size of the demesne.

In 1913, six years after Sir Daniel's death, Ballymenoch House was burnt down.

The Eventide Home, its successor, was erected in a slightly different position by the industrialist, Sir Samuel Kelly.

First published in August, 2010.


John McConkey said...

My great grand-uncle Henry Magill lived in - and presumably owned - Ballymenoch House during the period 1900-1910. Henry was a sailing and steamship captain employed by the Lord Line of Belfast and frequently sailed to North America. A family story that his wife would watch departures and arrivals of his ship from the house fits with the depiction you show of a house with a "widow's walk". Henry died in 1910 and his funeral was attended by a Thomas Dixon who was a principal of the Lord Line (Daniel's son?). Do you know if the deeds to Ballymenoch have survived?

Anonymous said...

A photo of Ballymenoch House after its 1913 fire -