Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Manor of Florida: II

 HRH The Duke of Kent visits the Sexton's House, Kilmood, with the
Rev Dr Stanley Gamble, Vicar of Kilmood (Image: Diocese of Down & Dromore)

FROM Florida Manor we drove the short distance, along windy, narrow, country roads, to Kilmood, a historic village or hamlet.

We parked opposite the parish church, in a car park beside the former school-house.

Stanley took me across the road to see the former sexton's cottage, a delightful, tiny, two-room dwelling.

Sexton's House prior to Restoration (Image: St Mary's Kilmood Festival of Flowers)

This stone cottage, restored ca 2019, has pointed windows and door, with Georgian window glazing.

The photograph at the top was taken in 2019 during a visit by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, accompanied by the Vicar of Kilmood, the Rev Dr Stanley Gamble.

Stanley pointed out the features in the two rooms, including an open fireplace with griddle.

It was hard to imagine a family of seven once living here, though we can assume that they were almost always out-and-about at work or play during the day.

This rustic cottage was built about the same year as the church, and its architecture isn't dissimilar to a gate lodge at Florida Manor.

Thence we walked across the road to see the old schoolhouse.

The Old Schoolhouse (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

This is a single-storey, whitewashed building with a projecting porch, pointed windows, and Gothic glazing.

This former school was established by the Erasmus Smith institution, and opened in 1822 with the assistance of David Gordon, of Florida Manor, and Lord Londonderrry.

It is believed that the schoolhouse also contained a teacher’s dwelling as well as the schoolroom.

I'm told that as many as 45 pupils were taught here at one stage.

The premises were renovated in 1972 and converted to a parish hall.

Today, 2021, the old schoolhouse serves as a children's playgroup centre.

The Old Courthouse (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

A little further along the road, perhaps 30 yards, is the former manor courthouse, today a private home.

This distinctive building is deceptive in appearance because, although it seems to be single-storey, it has a kind of undercroft at the rear, once used as a coach-house with stabling for horses.

The central bay above the entrance is crow-stepped, with finial-like features at the ends, and a sort of bellcote at the apex.

Crow-stepped Entrance (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

There's also a roundel with the inscription "Florida Manor Court House Date of Patent 1638.

This building was, in fact, built in 1822 and remained in use as a courthouse for almost exactly one hundred years.

In 1922 it became a private dwelling.

In 1984 Nick and Kathy Price purchased the old courthouse from the parish and it was reincarnated as Nick's restaurant.

The Courthouse ca 1984 (Image: Nick Price)

Nick and Kathy closed the restaurant in 1989 and opened a new establishment in Hill Street, Belfast, called Nick's Warehouse.

The old courthouse continued to operate as a restaurant under new management for about three years.

Today the old courthouse is a private home.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Great articles on Forida Manor, Tim.

HCS, Monaghan.