Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Necarne Castle


or IRVING, Laird of Bonshaw, in Dumfriesshire, commanded JAMES IV of Scotland's light horsemen at the battle of Flodden, and was slain on that disastrous day.

From this Christopher lineally descended

CHRISTOPHER IRVINE, barrister, who resided in Essex, until he removed to Ulster, upon a grant from JAMES I of a considerable landed property in County Fermanagh, and there erected Castle Irvine.

During the civil wars, Mr Irvine was firm in his devotion to the royal cause, and suffered severely in consequence.

He wedded his cousin Blanch, daughter of Edward Irvine, Laird of Stapleton, by Mary Graham, his wife, of the family of Preston; and had, with several daughters, three sons,
Christopher (Dr) (1618-93), of Edinburgh;
Gerard, 1st Baronet;
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
Lancelot, died unmarried;
Margaret; Marion.
The third son,

WILLIAM IRVINE, of Ballindullagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1681, was a cavalry lieutenant under CHARLES II, at the battle of Worcester, where he was wounded.

He wedded firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Herbert Gledstanes, a colonel under GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS, King of Sweden, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, of whom we treat;
John, of Killadeas;
Elizabeth; Margaret; Mary; Katherine; Magdalene.
Mr Irvine espoused secondly, Anne Armstrong, and by her had further issue,
The eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER IRVINE, commonly called COLONEL IRVINE, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1716, succeeded (on the failure of the issue male of his uncles, Dr Irvine and Sir Gerard Irvine) to the Castle Irvine estates, 1714.

He married firstly, in 1683, Mary, daughter of the Rev Dr Bernard, and by her had two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth; and secondly, in 1693, Dorothy Anne, daughter of Jeffry Brett, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
Mr Irvine died in 1723, and was succeeded by his elder son,

CHRISTOPHER IRVINE (1697-1755), of Castle Irvine, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1725, wedded firstly, in 1718, Dorcas, daughter of Colonel Alexander Montgomery, but had no issue.

He espoused secondly, in 1727, Elinor, daughter and ultimately co-heir of AUDLEY MERVYN, of Trillick, County Tyrone (by the Hon Olivia Coote, daughter of Richard, 1st Lord Collooney), and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Olivia; Mary; Elizabeth; Elinor.
Mr Irvine was succeeded by his elder son,

COLONEL WILLIAM IRVINE (1734-1814), of Castle Irvine, MP for Ratoath, 1769-76, 1790-7, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1758, County Tyrone, 1768, who married firstly, in 1755, Flora Caroline (d 1757), daughter of John, 1st Baron Mount Florence, and had issue, a son, Christopher, who died young.

He wedded secondly, in 1760, Sophia, daughter of Gorges Lowther, of Kilrue, County Meath, and had eight sons and eight daughters,
GORGES MARCUS, his heir;
William Henry (Rev);
Christopher Henry Hamilton, Royal Navy;
George St George, major in the army;
Henry William;
Audley Mervyn;
John Caulfeild, captain in the army;
Hugh Lowther;
Sophia Maria; Elinor Jane; Florence Elizabeth Anne; Olivia Emily;
Frances Mary; Harriett; Patricia St Patricia Mervyn; Elizabeth Henry.
Colonel Irvine was succeeded by his eldest son,

MAJOR GORGES MARCUS IRVINE (1760-1847), of Castle Irvine, who espoused, in 1788, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Judge D'Arcy, of Dunmoe Castle, County Meath, and had issue,
WILLIAM D'ARCY, his heir;
Richard, East India Company;
Gorges Marcus (Rev);
St George;
Somerset, Royal Navy;
Louisa; Elizabeth; Susanna Amelia; Sophia; Letitia.
Major Irvine was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM D'ARCY IRVINE (1793-1857), of Castle Irvine, Lieutenant, 1st Dragoon Guards, married, in 1817, Maria, daughter of Sir Henry Brooke Bt, of Colebrooke, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
WILLIAM, heir to his nephew;
Elizabeth; Maria.
Mr Irvine, who assumed the additional name of D'ARCY, was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY MERVYN D'ARCY IRVINE (-1870), of Castle Irvine, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1851, who wedded, in 1862, Huntly Mary, eldest daughter of the Hon Francis Prittie, and had issue, an only son,

HENRY HUNTLY D'ARCY IRVINE (1863-82), of Castle Irvine, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his uncle,

WILLIAM D'ARCY IRVINE JP DL (1823-1913), of Castle Irvine, Captain, 67th Regiment, High Sheriff, 1885, who espoused, in 1858, Louisa, daughter of Captain Cockburn, Royal Artillery, and had issue,
William D'Arcy, died unmarried;
The elder son,

CHARLES COCKBURN D'ARCY IRVINE (1863-1910), Major, North Irish Horse, High Sheriff, 1886, married firstly, in 1884, Fanny Kathleen, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Jesse Lloyd, of Ballyleck, County Monaghan, and had issue,
CHARLES WILLIAM (1885-1915);
Henry Cockburn, b 1886;
Violet Kathleen, b 1888;
He wedded secondly, in 1912, Mildred, youngest daughter of Henry Haward, of Bramford, Suffolk.

NECARNE CASTLE, otherwise Castle Irvine, near Irvinestown, in County Fermanagh, is a four storey, 16th century castle with round turrets and later battlements, to the front of which a two storey Tudor-Gothic range was added in 1833. 

The original castle rises above the centre of the more recent façade.

The newer Tudor-Gothic building has a Classical interior, with Corinthian columns of scagliola in the hall, which opens to form one long room with the rooms on either side.

The castle was built by Gerard Lowther as part of the plantation of Ulster.

In 1629, the lands were leased to Christopher Irvine and the Irvines remained there until 1922.

In 1925, Captain Richard Outram Hermon, from Sussex, bought the castle, turning it into a haven for shooting parties.

Hermon himself was Championship Marksman of Great Britain in 1936.

Captain Hermon was born in 1898, so he was only 27 years old when he acquired the Necarne Castle. 
Dick Hermon, as he was known to his friends, married Coralie Porter (whose family lived at Belle Isle) in 1927; and she set in train massive renovations to both house and gardens while they set off on a world cruise.
300 guests were invited to the house warming party, the first of many glittering social occasions that included garden parties, shooting parties and sports days. Captain Hermon, a former officer in the Coldstream Guards 1916-21, was reputed to be the best shot in the Province; in fact a butler recalled over 300 birds being bagged in the estate on one particular day.
Lord Mountbatten and Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands were once guests at Necarne.  

During the 2nd World War, Necarne was used as a hospital by the Royal Air Force and the American Navy.

In the castle grounds stands an easily-missed single stone mortuary slab from this time. 

After the War, the castle was never inhabited again.

Captain Hermon died in 1976. 

Fermanagh District Council bought the estate in 1981; and in 1988 The NI Department of Agriculture leased the estate on a long-term basis from them.

Well over £4 million was invested in the Necarne estate, creating one of the finest equestrian centres in Europe – the Ulster Lakeland Equestrian Park
To-day this includes an impressive indoor arena with two cobbled courtyards, housing a magnificent stable complex, bar and catering facilities, visitor accommodation, a unique all weather dressage and jumping arena, within a walled garden, specially prepared grass arenas for show jumping and cross country courses – all of which are complemented by the Castle itself.The attractive façade of Necarne Castle provides a majestic backdrop for all equestrian activities.
The demesne dates from the early 17th century, and was created shortly after the foundation of the adjacent town of Irvinestown.

An impressive range of yards was built on lower ground to the house rear, while a fine walled garden (2.8 acres) was built on the east side ca 1836.

The south front of the house faces onto magnificent sweeping parkland studded with fine mature specimen trees, with views of clumps and shelter belts in the far distance.

In the middle distance there is a carefully placed classical bridge over a stream which is both spectacular and also provides practical access to the other parts of the demesne.

The 17th and early 18th century formal geometric layout around the house was removed in the later 18th century to make way for the core of the present informal 'naturalistic' landscape park.

Following the house rebuilding in the 1830s, this park was considerably enlarged, possibly to a design of the famous landscape gardener James Fraser.

The pleasure grounds, incorporating flowering trees and shrubs and a conservatory, were created beneath the tree canopy in the area south of the walled garden, while walks from this area connected with the walled garden.

This walled garden itself is no longer planted with fruit, vegetables and flowers, but has become the focal point of the Equestrian Centre, for which the demesne was adapted during the 1990s.

Many of the out-buildings are listed and have been converted for present-day use.

First published in January, 2010.


Anonymous said...

Nice place, shame it's empty; could probably be fairly easily reinstated as a house.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it would take millions to turn it into a house, it doesn't look too big. Hotels are to be preferred to the cursed apartments, but it still rips the soul from a building. A house needs one family and dogs. In saying that, if one needed the money, the old Castle Leslie model of home and hotel wouldn't be quite so objectionable.

Anonymous said...

The Irvines shall return.