Friday, 5 June 2015

Graymount House

THE FAMILY OF GRAY OWNED 4,531 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ANTRIM

GEORGE GRAY, of Graymount, formerly Lisnabreague, County Antrim, was father of

WILLIAM GRAY, of Graymount, who married Mary Ann, daughter of James Harden DL, of Harrybrook, County Armagh, and was succeeded by his son,

GEORGE GRAY JP DL (1814-79), of Graymount, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1859; major, Antrim Artillery Militia.

Mr Gray wedded, in 1866, Elizabeth Emily Sophia, daughter of the Very Rev James Stannus, Dean of Ross and Rector of Lisburn, and had issue,
HAROLD WILLIAM STANNUS, his heir;
Millicent Georgina Mabel;
Beatrice Caroline Geraldine.
His son and heir,

SIR HAROLD WILLIAM STANNUS GRAY KBE JP (1867-1951), formerly of Graymount, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1895, espoused, in 1894, his cousin Rowena Elizabeth Dorothea, daughter of Thomas Robert Stannus JP, of Maghraleave, Lisburn, County Antrim, and had issue,

TERENCE JAMES STANNUS GRAY (1895-1986).

Former seats ~ Graymount House, County Antrim; Gog Magog Hills, Cambridgeshire; Glenada House, Newcastle, County Down.



GRAYMOUNT HOUSE, Greencastle, County Antrim, is a five-bay, two-storey, Regency-style, house of ca 1835.

It was designed by Thomas Jackson for William Gray, who re-developed the former Greencastle House and constructed the adjacent bleaching mill.

Mr Grey was a prominent linen merchant and a director of the Ulster Railway Company.

The house has a single-storey entrance portico to the east.

Graymount House was one of the earliest buildings Jackson designed.

A chart recorded that Graymount possessed a west-facing rear return; a block of outbuildings to its south-west side; and a gate lodge at the entrance of the Shore Road (all of which have been demolished).

The bleach-works of William Gray & Sons were located to the west of the mansion house and were considerably larger than Graymount itself.

William Gray originally leased the site from Lord Donegall.

He lived at Graymount until his death ca 1860, when the property passed to his son, Captain George Gray.

Following his decease, about 1880, the estate was administered by the Trustees, James and Acheson Gray.

Graymount appeared to remain vacant from about 1880 until 1907, when it was occupied by Sir Thomas Dixon (1868-1950), the son of Sir Daniel Dixon Bt.

In the following year the house was acquired by Jonathan Vint, a local wine merchant, who proceeded to rename it Mount Moan.

Graymount House was, at the time, assessed as being
a first-class dwelling consisting of 15 rooms, possessing a stable, coach house, fowl house and shed as its sole outbuildings, located to the south-west side of the mansion.
Greymount continued to be owned by the Gray family until at least the 1970s.

It was inhabited by the Vint family until the 1940s, though the house was subsequently converted into a school administered by Belfast Corporation (now Belfast City Council).

The school, known as Graymount Intermediate and Open Air Special School, was expanded from the 1950s with the construction of modern school blocks.

Graymount House was listed in 1987 and in that year was described by Larmour as
a very fine Regency house built on a slope overlooking Belfast Lough. A typical Jackson house of the period, finished in stucco with coupled pilasters across the front and a central Ionic tetrastyle portico. Very fine Neo-classical detailing to interior with bold panelled ceilings and good marble fireplaces. An Ionic hall screen leads to an impressive double return stair with a big spacious lantern soaring above.
A modern annex to the rear of the building was demolished in 1992 and replaced with the present two-storey, five-bay extension of ca 2005.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency states that
The building retains much of its original character including fine Neo-Classical detailing, rusticated walling and Greek entrance portico, all of which are of fine architectural quality. Internally much of the historic detail has survived in excellent condition. 
Greymount is now Hazelwood College.

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