Monday, 12 July 2021

WILLIAM III at Lisburn



After breakfasting at Belfast, His Majesty resumed his advance towards the Boyne; but about two miles on his way to Lisnagarvey (Lisburn) he was overtaken by a heavy shower of rain.

Observing some very large trees near the road, a short distance within the avenue-gate of "Cranmore", the King, with the habit of an old campaigner, took shelter under one of them.

Cranmore House in 1888 (Image: W A Green)

Mr Eccles, however, the gentleman who at that time resided at the place, requested the King and his staff to honour him by making use of his house.

The invitation was accepted, and His Majesty partook of some refreshment; some barrels of home-brewed ale being sent to such of the escort as remained under the trees.

Cranmore House passed from John Eccles to his grandson, Captain Jones; and then to another grandson, Benjamin Legge, of Malone, whose grandson, John Templeton, inherited the property. Following John Templeton's death, the house passed to his son and four daughters. It was subsequently inhabited by Michael McGovern.
The Eccles family came from Ayrshire. Gilbert Eccles (1602-94) was high sheriff of counties Fermanagh and Tyrone. His son was John Eccles (1632-1705); whose only son, Sir John Eccles (1664-1727) held the office of Lord Mayor of Dublin.

As the rain continued without abating, and the King was suffering from severe headache, he consented to repose himself for some hours; after which, as the weather improved towards evening, he resumed his march.

The said house became known as "Orange Grove", a name very probably given to it soon after the King's visit.

The tree which sheltered the King was long an object of interest to his admirers: it was blown down, however, during a violent storm in 1796, the same which dispersed the French fleet off Bantry Bay.

As the King passed through the village of Lambeg, near Lisburn, he was addressed in French by René Bulmer (Boomer), a Huguenot.

Lambeg House

The King stopped at Lambeg House, then belonging to the Wolfendens, later the property of Mr Richard Niven.

It was necessary to cross the River Lagan at this part by an ancient ford, and here one of the wagons broke down, which caused some delay.

It was repaired with timber furnished from the neighbouring manufactory of Mr Wolfenden.

There is an entry on record in the Vestry Book of Lisburn Cathedral, stating that His Majesty King William III and army marched through that town in 1690, and encamped at Blaris, on his way to the Boyne; but did not stop there, as he proceeded to Hillsborough.

The army encamped on Blaris Moor, on the part which is now intersected by the road to Dublin; and the place where the cavalry were stationed from this circumstance retains the name of "Trooper Field".

Extracts have been taken from the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Volume One. 

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