Thursday, 4 March 2010

Brief Newtownards Visit

Seeking out one of those chainsaw sharpening file-guide contraptions I saw yesterday, I used this as a convenient excuse (as if I needed one) to venture to that fine market town at the head of Strangford Lough in County Down: Newtownards.

For the benefit of some readers, Newtownards is relatively prosperous. There was a cattle market on Mondays; and a annual harvest fair in September. There are numerous houses made of the distinctive pink Scrabo sandstone; and a large, Georgian town hall - formerly the market-house - at Conway Square, which was where I took two photographs of the town's most distinguished Son, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Blair "Paddy" Mayne, DSO.

I ambled in to Warden's department store and, although they did sell the files, the essential sharpening "guides" were missing! I see one on Ebay, anyway. I enjoyed a little repast in Knott's: roast, stuffed pork with all the trimmings.

At the eastern end of the High Street is the old market cross, somewhat the worse for wear. It was set up in 1636 by the founder of Newtownards, Sir Hugh Montgomery, afterwards 1st Viscount Montgomery of the Great Ardes. Lord Montgomery's successors were further elevated as Earls of Mount Alexander (which was associated with the Manor of Comber). Both titles became extinct on the death of the 5th Earl in 1757.

This cross has a chamber inside, once used by the local watch (police); though the stone-work with coats-of-arms has almost totally worn away.


Unknown said...

Lord Belmont. the nest time you are in the 'fine market town' of Newtownards, you should call into Molly Brown's Kitchen and Bar on South Street, just down the street from the main square!

Stephen said...

Thanks... my home town... there's a little basement window in the main building on Conway Square, looking out from what used to be a Gaol... there are very well defined finger prints where the inhabitants used to stand with their hands leaning, looking out... at least there used to be, maybe it has been plastered over... sadly they could use with reopening this "accomodation" at weekends then the pubs shut!

Timothy Belmont said...


I know where Molly B's is - at the corner where another bar used to operate, the Haw or something?

I had no idea it was part of Botanic Inns. Is Molly infatuated with Horatio? :-)


Fascinating. I'll have a look next time, if I remember!