Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Echlinville House


THE RT REV DR ROBERT ECHLIN (1576-1635), fourth or fifth son of Henry Echlin, of Pittadro, Fife, removed from Staffordshire into Ulster about the time of the Reformation.

Dr Echlin was consecrated Lord Bishop of Down & Connor in 1613, and made a free denizen of Ireland.

On the death without issue of his nephew, Captain Henry Echlin, Bishop Echlin became the head and representative of the Echlin family.

He married, in 1600, Jane, daughter of James Seaton, of Latrisk, in Scotland, and had issue,
Hugh (1606-41), m Magdalen, dau of R Cowell, Co Armagh;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Margaret, m Ven R Maxwell, ancestor of EARLS OF FARNHAM;
Isabel, m A Stewart, of Ballintoy;
Jane, m H Maxwell, of Finnebrogue.
The Bishop was brutally murdered at Balruddery, en route to Dublin, in 1635, and his widow and family immediately withdrew to England.

His eldest surviving son,

JOHN ECHLIN, of Ardquin, made a free denizen of Ireland in 1633, married Mary, daughter of Sir Francis Stafford, Knight, of Mount Stafford, County Antrim, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Francis, of Clonown, Co Antrim;
Jane; Elizabeth; Mary.
The elder son,

ROBERT ECHLIN (1628-57), of Ardquin, married Mary, daughter of Dr Henry Leslie, Lord Bishop of Meath, formerly of Down and Connor, having by her (who wedded secondly, Sir Robert Ward Bt) had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Henry, cr a baronet, 1721;
Robert, lieutenant-general;
His eldest son,

JOHN ECHLIN,  of Ardquin, married, in 1678, Hester, daughter and heir of William Godfrey, of Coleraine, and had, with other issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
ROBERT (Rev), s his brother;
Godfrey, of Marlfield;
James, of Echlinville;
Mary; Jane; Hester; Elizabeth; Rose.
The eldest son,

CHARLES ECHLIN (1682-1754), MP for Dungannon, 1727-54, espoused, in 1709, Ann, daughter of Thomas Knox, of Dungannon, and had an only son, THOMAS, who dsp.

Mr Echlin was succeeded by his brother,

THE REV ROBERT ECHLIN, of Ardquin, Incumbent of Newtownards, County Down, who wedded, in 1722, Jane, one of the daughters and co-heirs of James Manson, of Tynan, County Armagh, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Mr Echlin, whose will was proved in 1761, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN ECHLIN (1723-89), of Thomastown, High Sheriff of County Down, 1758, who married his first cousin, Hester, daughter of Godfrey Echlin, of Marlfield, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Robert, died unmarried;
Godrey, died in infancy;
JOHN, successor to his brother;
James, died unmarried;
Jane, m G Matthews, of Springvale (Ballywalter Park).
John Echlin,  Photo Credit: Ulster Museum

Mr Echlin was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES ECHLIN, of Echlinville, County Down (which latter place he inherited from his great-uncle, James Echlin), High Sheriff of County Down, 1777, who married firstly, Miss Anne Newburgh, of Ballyhaise House, County Cavan, by whom he had issue, a daughter, Letitia, who died unmarried.

Mr Echlin wedded secondly, Miss Anne Graham, by whom he had issue, CHARLES GRAHAM, who died in infancy, and three daughters, all of whom died unmarried.

He died in 1817, and was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN ECHLIN (1757-1825), of Echlinville, who married, in 1786, Thomasine Hannah, daughter of George Fleming, of Dublin (of the family of the Barons Slane) and had a son, JOHN, his heir, and a daughter, Thomasine.

He was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN ECHLIN JP DL (1787-1842), of Echlinville, who wedded, in 1809, his cousin, Thomasine Margaret, daughter of John Armstrong JP, of Dublin, High Sheriff of County Down, 1827, and had issue,
JOHN ROBERT, his heir;
George Fleming;
Elizabeth; Hester; Thomasine Margaret; Jane; Margaretta; Harriet.
The elder son,

THE REV JOHN ROBERT ECHLIN JP (1811-91), of Eclinville and Ardquin, married firstly, in 1836, Jane, third daughter of James Pedder, of Ashton Lodge, Lancashire, and had issue,
John Pedder (1837-8).
He wedded secondly, in 1841, Mary Anne, daughter of Ford North, of The Oaks, Ambleside, Westmorland, and had further issue,
JOHN GODFREY, his heir;
Frederick, Captain RN;
Alfred Ford (Rev);
Edith Althea; Thomasine Mary.
Mr Echlin espoused thirdly, in 1878, Henriette Wilhelmine Louise Margarethe, eldest daughter of Richard Von Oertzen, of Upper Lusatia, Germany, but had no further issue.

The Rev J R Echlin was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN GODFREY ECHLIN (1843-), of Ardquin, who wedded, in 1870, Anna Medici, elder daughter and co-heir of the Rev John Wrixon, Vicar of Malone, County Antrim, youngest son of Captain John Wrixon, by his wife Anne Arabella, daughter and co-heiress of Rear-Admiral John Dawson, of Carrickfergus, and had issue,
Godfrey Cecil, Lieutenant RN;
Bertram Wrixon, RNR.
His eldest son,

JOHN STAFFORD ECHLIN (1872-1952), married, in 1906, Georgina Hedwig Ida, daughter of John Albert Faller, of Crefeldt, Germany, and widow of Charles James Heddon, of Aldbourne, Wiltshire.

His uncle,

CAPTAIN FREDERICK ECHLIN RN, of Echlinville House, Kircubbin, County Down, had an only son,

FREDERICK ST JOHN FORD NORTH ECHLIN (1889-1916), who was killed in action.

The deceased officer was in the Malay States on the break of the war, and came home and volunteered for service.

He married a daughter of Major Saumarez Dobree Ronceval, of Guernsey, and granddaughter of the Dean of Guernsey.
"ECHLIN - On the 26th Sept., FREDERICK ST JOHN FORD NORTH ECHLIN, 2nd Lieut., Royal Fusiliers, and Royal Flying Corps, only son of the late Capt. Frederick Echlin, RN., formerly of Echlinville, Co. Down, and of Mrs Echlin, Wellfield, Walton-on-Thames, and dearly-loved husband of Dorothy Echlin (nee Dobree'), of Guernsey, CI." 
JOHN GODFREY ECHLIN (1843-), of Ardquin, married, in 1870, Anna Medici, elder daughter and co-heir of the Rev John Wrixon MA, Vicar of Malone, had issue, 

JOHN STAFFORD ECHLIN, born in 1872, resided at Dunluskin, near Carrickfergus, County Antrim. 

ECHLINVILLE HOUSE, near Kircubbin, County Down, was built by Bishop Echlin before his decease in 1635, and was known as The Abbacy, which still stands in ruin at Ardquin in the upper Ards, where the family estates were largely concentrated.

The estate was bought by the Rev Hugh Maxwell in 1748 from Charles Echlin, great-great-grandson of the Bishop, in trust for his brother James, High Sheriff of County Down, 1742, who died in 1755.

The present house, near Kircubbin, County Down, is on the site of a late 17th century house, of which the late 18th library addition survives.

The present house dates from about 1850.

The library, a four-bay pavilion with Ionic pilasters and Gothic astragals in its windows, survives from the earlier house; inside is a vaulted ceiling with two floating domes.

Within the inner walls of Echlinville House lie sections of the fabric of a much older building of about 1725, which itself was probably constructed around a house of 17th century origin.

It remained in possession of this family until about 1848, when it appears to have been sold to a James Cleland who, ca 1850, rebuilt the house in the Italianate form we see today and renamed it "Rubane House" (the former name of the townland of Echlinville).

The old house was Jacobean-Queen Anne in style, with two two-storey ogee-gabled bays flanking the main entrance.

It was added to throughout the later 18th century.

Of these additions, the most significant was the library to the north-west, an element of the older structure which remained in place after the rebuilding of the main house.

Rubane House later passed into the hands of the Maxwell family; and, by 1880, was in possession of the Warnock family, relations of the Maxwells, who may have embellished the property.

During the first half of the 20th century the house played host to a number of different occupants, among them the Belfast timber merchant, J P Corry.

In 1950, Rubane and its accompanying lands were purchased by the De La Salle Brothers, and between this date and 1985, the house was run as a home and school for orphaned and special needs boys.

During this period extensive building work was carried out in the immediate grounds of the house with the construction of modern classrooms, gymnasiums, wood and metalworking rooms and chalets; playing fields and tennis courts laid out to the north and north-west.

A small section of the modern school buildings was occupied briefly by another religious order  about 1990, but for most of the late 1980s and early 1990s the entire site was left mainly vacant and Rubane House itself fell prey to vandals, who caused some minor damage.

The property was bought in 1992 by the present owner, who has subsequently demolished almost all trace of the modern classrooms etc. around the house and carried out extensive restoration work to the house itself.

This work is now virtually complete and much of the grounds to the south have been landscaped.

The stables to the north are to be restored.

The Eclinville Distillery operates on the estate.

The small garden pavilion of 1787 originally had open arches and Coade stone embellishments.

About 1800, with the building of the stable block to the north-east, walls were placed to the north-west and north-east of the pavilion, the arches blocked, a new entrance opened to the north-east.

As well as this an internal wall, fireplaces and, presumably, the small chimney stack, were installed.

Windows were also added to the south-east and north-west arches. 

Some distance away, at a stream, there are remains of the 1740s designed landscape; a stone bridge, retaining a Coade stone head and face.

Nearby is an unusual structure known as the Pebble House, which has a richly modelled front, niches, battlemented parapet and domed roof with lantern finial.

The garden's buildings formed part of an important Rococo-style layout of ca 1740, recorded in some detail in James Williamson's survey map of 1790.

It shows extensive ornamental planting, with sinuous woodland paths, a pond with island, artificial meandering 'rivers' and other landscape features.

Part of the early layout extended across the road to the east, where it incorporated a long canal, which still exists.

This was labelled 'fish pond' on the 1790 map.

Much of Echlinville's layout survived into the mid-20th century, but subsequently it lost a great deal of its tree planting.

Much, nonetheless, survives of this historically important landscape.

Echlin vault at Templecranny, Portaferry (Image: Mark Thompson)
First published in August, 2012.


Anonymous said...

According to the Irish Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 16,
Bishop Robert Echlin was the 2nd of 3 sons of Henry Echlin.
Also other records suggest Sir Henry Echlin was the great grandson of Bishop Robert Echlin (not grandson)

Michael said...

Do you know if there are any Echlin Estate papers surviving? I believe some were deposited at PRONI but the last time I'd checked they had not been catalogued and were not open for consultation. Very much enjoy the posts! Best wishes, Michael

Linda Schulz said...

So interesting to hear about the 'hidden' houses of Ulster

j.echlin@virgin.net said...

Michael if you ever come back to this post I confirm I deposited with PRONI many estate papers which had been in the basement of family solicitors in Dublin for may centuries. Some papers went back to 1740, paper- drafts?, some parchment, rent books, mortgages, other letters. These were asked for as many Irish estate papers were lost in Dublin in 1916. I and members of my family have an interest in the families ties to Ulster. I have been in contact with the current owner of Rubane House, Shane, and his whisky distillery. I have been in contact with members of the diocese concerning Down Patrick Cathedral where there are items presented by the family. I am also in contact with the organisers of the refurbishment of Templecranny church and family vault. John Echlin

Irishmanc said...

As a child I attended Glastry High School, I left in 1984, l had a history teacher called Mr Mc Master and we had to do a project on our family I chose to do my mother's side. My Mum's family were of a farming background and she gave me a book about their family home which was called Echlinville which detailed all the history unfortunately I can't remember any of this now and my Mum has passed on but my history teacher was very interested and I remember giving him the book and as far as I can remember my Mum allowed him to keep it as he was going to explore the history of the house and area. His name was Earl Mc Master and I'm not sure if he ever completed anything. My Mum's family were Collins and from what I was told after the death of my grandfather my grandmother was unable to keep the property as none of the children were interested in farming and the house and land were sold. I remember being taken to the old house as a child but it was in total disrepair and not much could be seen of it and in all honesty I wasn't really interested as we lived in Kircubbin and I was more interested in sailing and the singing, dancing and acting I did as a child.

Gerald said...

In the middle of the wooded area, there was another small castle type building, flat roof, this was knocked down as an act of destruction by 2 of the resident boys in Rubane House at this time, I remember it causing an uproar at the time as it was been inspected by historians at the time...this was about 1967-8