Wednesday, 7 February 2018

King's Castle

THE RUSSELLS OWNED 417 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN


The family of RUSSELL was seated very early in Ireland, in the counties of Cork, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford; and also in counties Dublin, Kildare, Louth, and Meath.

The Russells of Killough, County Down, came to Ulster with John De Courcy.

It appears by the records that in all these places they held their lands by noble tenure, and occupied the highest rank in society.

The Ulster branch of the family always bore arms similar to those of the noble house of Bedford; and although the precise connection cannot now be ascertained, there can be no doubt of their having a common origin with that family.

Thomas Russell, feudal Baron of Killough, 1316, is supposed to have been fifth in descent from the companion of De Courcy.

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CHARLES RUSSELL, of Killough, County Down, son of George Russell, of Ballystrew, County Down, married firstly, in 1784, Rose McCoy, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir.
He wedded secondly, Anne, daughter of Thomas McEvoy.

Mr Russell died in 1828, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

ARTHUR RUSSELL (1785-1845), of Scafield House, Killowen, Down, Down, a brewer, who espoused, in 1825, Margaret, daughter of Matthew Mullin, of Belfast and had issue,

CHARLES ARTHUR RUSSELL (1832-1900), 1ST BARON RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN GCMG PC QC DL, who married, in 1858, Ellen, daughter of Dr Joseph Stevenson Mulholland, of Belfast, and had issue, five sons and four daughters.


KING'S CASTLE, Ardglass, County Down, is an imposing, early 19th century castellated house, built on a commanding situation in the middle of Ardglass.

The house was possibly erected on the site of an earlier building, though this is today indiscernible.

King's Castle must have been abandoned shortly thereafter, because it was occupied as "a temporary barrack".

By 1845, it was "much dilapidated, and rapidly loosening towards extinction".

The house itself is square and uses black stone in its composition.

One corner has a square tower; while another is octagonal.


The Castle was for sale in 1973, with offers invited in the region of £65,000 (about £750,000 in today's money).

It was then owned by Mr and Mrs Louis Gilmore bought the Castle about 1967, and it has been their intention to convert it into a hotel.


Mr Gilmore, a retired building and civil engineering contractor, had plans drawn up and given planning approval, bit his failing health has prompted him to give up development of the property.

The castle stands in more than six acres of elevated grounds on the highest part of Ardglass and looks across the harbour and out to sea.

During the 19th century it was the home of the Russell family.

The Russells had substantial property in the Ardglass and Killough area and one of them, Charles William Russell (1812-80), became president of St Patrick's College, Maynooth; whose nephew Charles, 1st Baron Russell of Killowen, became Lord Chief Justice of England.

It is believed that the Russells sold King's Castle prior to the 1st World War.

Since then it has been used as a hotel, a residence and a monastery.

The castle contains three reception rooms, ten bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Today the castle operates as a private nursing home.

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Charles Russell (1838-91), of King’s Castle, Ardglass, married, in 1876, Frances de Palatiano.

Their third son, Henry Russell, added his maternal grandfather’s surname to become Henry Hartley Russell in the 1920s.

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