Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Ringdufferin House


DAVID BAILLIE, of Lamington, Lanarkshire, second son of Sir William Baillie, of Lamington, and Marion his wife, daughter of Sir John Seton, of Seton, was father of

ALEXANDER BAILLIE, of Dunragit, Wigtownshire, born ca 1540, an officer in the English army, who purchased the lands of Innishargy, near Kircubbin, County Down, and had a son,

ALEXANDER BAILIE (1587-1682), of Innishargy and Ringdufferin, County Down, who changed the spelling of his surname, and left issue,
John (1623-87), of Innishargy;
EDWARD, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

EDWARD BAILIE, settled at Ringdufferin, and married Elizabeth, sole daughter and heiress of James Dunbar, of Toye, County Down.
Ringdufferin was mortgaged from James, 1st Viscount Claneboye, in 1636. Edward Bailie came over and settled there.
Sir James Hamilton had granted Toye, at an annual rent of £5, to James Dunbar; and, on his father-in-law's death, Edward Bailie succeeded to Toye, and obtained a further mortgage of Ringdufferin from Henry, 2nd Earl of Clanbrassil, in 1668.
Mr Bailie was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER BAILIE, who became the absolute purchaser of Ringdufferin, 1674, and was succeeded by his son,

EDWARD BAILIE, of Ringdufferin, High Sheriff of County Down, 1730, who died in 1774.

His second son,

JAMES BAILIE JP (1735-1810), of Ringdufferin,  Deputy Governor of County Down, wedded, in 1793, Sophia Loudon, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES BAILIE JP DL (1797-1863), of Ringdufferin, a barrister, who wedded, in 1821, Charlotte, daughter of the Very Rev Peter Carleton, Dean of St Patrick's, Dublin, by whom (who died in 1825) he had a son,
JAMES, his heir.
He espoused secondly, in 1829, Harriet Alice,  daughter of the Rev Henry Mahon, and had further issue,
Louisa Anne;
Sophia Emily;
Harriet Alice Gertrude.
Mr Bailie was succeeded by his only son,

MAJOR JAMES BAILIE JP (1823-96), of Ringdufferin, who inherited a small portion of the old Innishargy estate.

Major Bailie served in the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers; the 60th Rifles; ten years' service in India, where he was awarded a medal for the Indian mutiny.

In 1850, Major Bailie married his cousin, Charlotte Jemima, eldest daughter of Captain William Cossart Carleton, fourth son of Dean Carleton (see above), and had issue,
Edward Robert, died in infancy, 1855;
Harriett Louisa b 1852;
Kathleen, b 1856;
Louisa, 1861-1941.
Major Bailie was buried at Killyleagh churchyard.
I have written about Miss Louisa Bailie, the last of the family to live at Ringdufferin.

RINGDUFFERIN HOUSE, Toye, near Killyleagh, County Down, is a large gentleman's residence dating from ca 1790-1800, though likely incorporating parts of an earlier house.

The entrance front is Georgian, with an Adamesque doorway.

There is a hipped roof concealed behind a parapet, with Classical statues.

A three-storey return is behind this, with a rubble facade; having, however, a plain, rendered section to the north-west side, which might represent part of an earlier house.

The south-west elevation has a considerably smaller two-storey wing, possibly added later in the 19th century.

To the north of the house there is a walled garden.

To the east there are outbuildings, including stables, a blacksmith's forge, a piggery, boat house, and ruins of what appears to be a watch tower.

The mansion house is built close to the site a tower-house of ca 1600.


THE earliest reference to Ringdufferin occurs ca 1602, alluding to a castle built by John White "on a neck of land", leased to him by Sir Ralph Lane, called Randuffren.

The exact position of the original castle is uncertain; the consensus, nevertheless, including most maps of the area since 1859, favours a site close to the present house.

However, the existence of Castle Island, at the end of the isthmus just to the south of this, may indicate otherwise.


IN 1636, Alexander Bailie acquired the lands of Ringdufferin on mortgage from the 1st Viscount Claneboye.

In 1945, Ringdufferin estate was purchased by the Mackie family, who continue to live there today.

Arthur Patrick Pringle (Paddy) Mackie was appointed MBE in 2004 for services to wildlife in Northern Ireland.

The remains of a windmill exist within the grounds, the north face of which has a doorway and small window.

The grounds of Ringdufferin include outbuildings, walling, old watch-tower, and gates, built by James Baillie, who succeeded to the property in 1774.

The House stands on a naturally beautiful site on the shores of Strangford Lough, County Down.

Mature trees lie to the east and west.

The planting was increased during the mid 20th century.

Native and exotic trees are planted, as specimens, in mown grass to the south-west of the house and along the avenue, which winds along the shore.

There is an informal shrub area in an old oak wood to the west of the house, with a pond.

Castle Island, a peninsula to the south, was planted with two semi-circles of trees at some period prior to 1834.

The walled garden is fully cultivated and maintained, including a glasshouse.

There are gravel and grass paths, wide borders, mature yew features, wall fruit and many interesting plants.

There is a former land steward’s house.

First published in November, 2018.

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