Mr Robinson was a stockbroker, and initially settled on the Antrim Road, Belfast. He conducted his business at 67 High Street. His commercial prowess and acumen were such, that he purchased land at Craigavad, County Down.
Most of the stone came from Scotland by boat, landed at Portaferry, and was conveyed by horse and cart to the Craigavad site.
The mansion took two years to build, during which time the Robinsons lived in a modest cottage within the grounds.
Culloden House, named after his widow, Elizabeth Jane Robinson (née Culloden) was presented to the representative body of the Church of Ireland.
At the end of the 19th Century, Culloden House duly became the official residence of the Lord Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore, and was known as The Bishop’s Palace.
Ardtullagh, Knocknagoney, near Holywood, was the previous episcopal palace, but this property was acquired in 1886 by the War Department (Ministry of Defence) for use as a military barracks. The barracks is still in use today by the Army and is known as Palace Barracks.The Rt Rev Thomas James Welland was the first prelate to live at Culloden, in 1898.
In subsequent years, three further bishops lived at Culloden.
During the tenure of Bishop Crozier (later Archbishop of Armagh), a private chapel, the Jeremy Taylor Memorial Chapel, was dedicated within the house.
During this period, the celebrated songwriter and entertainer Percy French often stayed there (Bishop Crozier was godfather to French’s second daughter).
In the 1920s, the Church of Ireland sold Culloden House to Sir John Campbell MD FRCS LL.D, a well-known Belfast gynaecologist and MP.
In 1959, Culloden was purchased from Sir John’s son, Robert, for £10,000, by Thomas C Reid, sometime chairman of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association.
Mr Rutledge White, proprietor of White’s Home Bakery, purchased Culloden in 1962.
It was opened as a hotel, comprising eleven bedrooms, the following year, under the management of Mr White’s son-in-law, Mr Roberts.
The hotelier Sir William Hastings, CBE, purchased the premises in 1967, and Culloden House is now the Culloden Estate and Spa, Northern Ireland's longest-established five-star hotel.
First published in October, 2012; revised.