Monday, 21 March 2016

Belleek Manor

THE KNOX-GORE BARONETS OWNED 22,023 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY MAYO

JAMES KNOX (1774-1818), third son of Francis Knox, of Rappa Castle, County Mayo, was called to the Bar in 1797, and returned by the borough of Taghmon to the last Irish Parliament.

He settled at Broadlands Park in County Mayo, and became a magistrate in 1803, and deputy governor of that county.

In 1813, Mr Knox assumed by sign manual, in compliance with the will of his maternal grandfather, Annesley Gore, the surname and arms of GORE in addition to those of KNOX.

He married, in 1800, the Lady Maria Louisa Gore, eldest daughter of Arthur, 2nd Earl of Arran, by Anna, his second wife, daughter of the Rev Boleyn Knight, of Ottley, Yorkshire, and had issue,
FRANCIS ARTHUR, his heir;
James;
Henry William;
Annesley;
George Edward;
Anna Maria; Louisa Maria; Eleanor Adelaide; Charlotte Catharine.
Mr Knox-Gore, who was Ranger of the Curragh of Kildare, was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS ARTHUR KNOX-GORE JP (1803-73), of Belleek Abbey, Lieutenant-Colonel of the North Mayo Militia, who wedded, in 1829, Sarah, daughter of Charles Nesbitt Knox, of Castle Lacken, and had issue,
CHARLES JAMES, his successor;
Jane Louisa; Matilda.
Colonel Knox-Gore, Lord-Lieutenant of County Sligo, 1831-68, succeeded to the estates of his great-grandfather, Annesley Gore, brother of the 1st Earl of Arran, on the demise, in 1821, of the Rt Hon Henry King, who had a life interest in the property.

He was created a baronet in 1868.

Sir Francis was succeeded by his son,

SIR CHARLES JAMES KNOX-GORE, 2nd Baronet (1831-90), of Belleek Manor.

The baronetcy expired following the decease of the 2nd Baronet.


BELLEEK MANOR (now Belleek Castle Hotel), Ballina, County Mayo, is a large Tudor-Gothic mansion built about 1825 for Francis Knox-Gore, later 1st Baronet.

It has a symmetrical front with three stepped gables flanked by slender, polygonal, battlemented turrets and pinnacles.

There are oriels at the sides; and the central porch is surmounted by a twin corbelled oriel.

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Belleek Manor and its parkland are described by the NIAH thus:-

A COUNTRY HOUSE erected for Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Francis Arthur Knox-Gore (1803-73), first Baronet; widely accepted as a particularly important component of the early nineteenth-century domestic built heritage of County Mayo with the architectural value of the composition, 'a noble mansion in the later English style of architecture' (Lewis 1837 II, 189);


confirmed by such attributes as the deliberate alignment maximising on panoramic vistas overlooking manicured lawns and the broad River Moy; 
the symmetrical frontage centred on a Tudoresque door-case showing pretty Georgian Gothic glazing patterns; 
the construction in a deep grey limestone offset by sheer dressings not only demonstrating good quality workmanship, but also compounding a ponderous monochrome palette; 
the diminishing in scale of the openings on each floor producing a graduated visual effect with the principal "apartments" defined by handsome bay windows;


and the elongated pinnacles embellishing a multi-gabled roof-line: meanwhile, although traditionally attributed to John Benjamin Keane of Mabbot Street [James Joyce Street], Dublin, strong comparisons with the contemporary Coolbawn House (1823-39), County Wexford, put forward Frederick Darley, Junior (1798-1872), as an equally likely design source. 
Having been well maintained, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with substantial quantities of the original fabric, both to the exterior and to the interior where contemporary joinery; 
and decorative plasterwork enrichments, all highlight the considerable artistic potential of the composition. 
Furthermore, an adjoining stable complex; the nearby Knox-Gore monument; and an eye-catching gate house, all continue to contribute positively to the group and setting values of a much depleted estate having historic connections with the Knox-Gore family, including Sir Charles James Knox-Gore, 2nd Baronet; 
and the succeeding Saunders-Knox-Gore family, including Major-General William Boyd Saunders-Knox-Gore (née Saunders) (1827-1902); 
and Matilda Saunders-Knox-Gore (née Knox-Gore) (1833-1912); Lieutenant-Colonel William Arthur Gore Saunders-Knox-Gore JP DL (née Saunders) (1854-1925); and Lieutenant-Colonel William Arthur Cecil Saunders-Knox-Gore JP DL (née Saunders) (1888-1975).
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THE KNOX-GORES continued to live at Belleek Manor until the 1940s.

Marshall Doran, a merchant navy officer and an avid collector of fossils and medieval armour, acquired the run down property in 1961.

He proceeded to restore the house and opened it as a hotel in 1970.

Some of the rooms are in 19th century style, whilst most of the interior design has a medieval and nautical theme.

Today Belleek Castle Hotel is owned by the Mayo Trust and managed by Marshall’s son, Paul Doran, and Ms Maya Nikolaeva.

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