Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Ballygawley House


ANDREW STEWART (commonly styled Captain Andrew Stewart), who, with Andrew, 1st Baron Castle Stewart, to whom he was related, and his (Andrew's) brother James, who afterwards fixed his abode at Ballymenagh, County Tyrone, went from Scotland to Ulster about 1627.

On his marriage (mentioned hereafter), he obtained from Lord Castle Stewart the greater part of the manor of Castle Stewart; but afterwards built, and resided at, another residence, called Gortigal, near Stewartstown, County Tyrone.

Captain Stewart served with Colonel the Hon Robert Stewart, of Irry, in defence of the forts of Dungannon and Mountjoy; and at the rising of the rebels at Artclea, County Tyrone, for the purpose of destroying the Protestant families of that county, his house was attacked; but with a few Scots followers he defended it for two days, when assistance was sent to him from Mountjoy Fort.

He married Sarah, eldest daughter of Lord Ochiltree, and sister to Mary, Countess of Suffolk, and had issue,
Captain Stewart, having long been a gentleman of vengeance, for his zeal and loyalty he evinced in the royal cause, was at length put to death by rebels in 1650.

The second son,

THE REV DR HUGH STEWART (1711-1800), of Athenree, County Tyrone, Rector of Termon, wedded Sarah, daughter of the Rev Dr Andrew Hamilton (Rector of , by his wife, the only daughter and heir of Sir William Conyngham Bt, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Andrew, East India Company;
Henry (Rev), Rector of Loughgilly, Co Armagh;
Ann; Sarah; Amelia.
Dr Stewart was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON JOHN STEWART (1757-1825), of Ballygawley, who having attained eminence at the Bar, was appointed attorney-general for Ireland in 1799, and sworn of the privy council of that kingdom. 

Mr Stewart, MP for Augher, 1794-7, Bangor, 1797-1800, was created a baronet in 1803, designated of Athenree, County Tyrone.

Sir John espoused Mary, daughter of Mervyn Archdale, of Castle Archdale, and had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
Barbara; Mary; Phœbe Julia.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HUGH STEWART, 2nd Baronet (1792-1854), MP for County Tyrone, 1830-35, who wedded firstly, in 1826, Julia, daughter of Marcus Gage, and had issue,
JOHN MARCUS, his successor;
He wedded secondly, in 1837, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev Henry Lucas St George, and had issue,
Henry Lucas St George;
Elizabeth; Mary; another daughter.
Sir Hugh was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN MARCUS STEWART, 3rd Baronet (1830-1905), DL, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1858, who married, in 1856, Annie Coote, daughter of George Powell Houghton, and had issue,
Albert Fortescue, d 1925;
HUGH HOUGHTON, his successor;
GEORGE POWELL, successor to his brother;
John Marcus;
Charles Gage;
Cosmo Gordon;
Julian Leslie (Rev);
Annie Coote Houghton; Mary; Madeleine Delamont; two other offspring.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR HUGH HOUGHTON STEWART, 4th Baronet (1858-1942), JP DL, Brigadier-General in the army, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1903, who married twice, though the marriages were without issue.

Sir Hugh was succeeded by his brother,

SIR GEORGE POWELL STEWART, 5th Baronet (1861-1945), Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who wedded, in 1895, Florence Maria Georgina, daughter of Colonel Sir James Godfray, and had issue,
John Houghton (1895-1915) killed in action;
HUGH CHARLIE GODFRAY, his successor;
Sir George was succeeded by his surviving son,

SIR HUGH CHARLIE GODFRAY STEWART, 6th Baronet (1897-1994), DL, of Loughmacrory Lodge, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1955, who espoused firstly, in 1929, Rosemary Elinor Dorothy, daughter of George Peacocke, and had issue,
Elinor Godfray.
He married secondly, in 1948, Diana Margaret, daughter of James Edmund Hibbert, and had further issue,
Jane Diana;Hugh Nicholas (Nick).
Sir Hugh was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR DAVID JOHN CHRISTOPHER STEWART (1935-), 7th and present Baronet, who lives in Somerset.

Nick Stewart, half-brother of the present baronet, has kindly sent me two old photographs of Ballygawley House taken by his father in the winter of 1914.

At that time the demesne was known as Greenhill.

Photo Credit: Kenneth Allen

BALLYGAWLEY HOUSE, near Ballygawley, County Tyrone, was set in its own parkland, was a Classical mansion of two storeys, with a two-storey portico supported by two giant Doric columns and a shallow dome.

It was built for the 2nd Baronet between 1825 and 1833, to the design of John Hargrave.

Seemingly, the mansion suffered an accidental fire during the 1920s and the Stewart family never returned to it. 

First published in December, 2009.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining the background to that ruin which I have seen for decades from the road and wondered about its history.

Was the fire really accidental?

SandyWilson said...

Hi Tim,
I am a decendant of the Stewart family from Ballygawley. My great great grandfather Sir George Vesey Stewart (born in Ballygawley) brought the first Irish settlers to New Zealand. He was a prolific businessman and land owner here and is brother Sir Hugh Stewart (and his wife Adela), built a homestead in Athrenee (NZ) and called it Mount Stewart. We have recently completed a full restoration of the homestead and in 2004 celebrated its 100 years.
My 2nd cousin Sir David Stewart is the current marquess and lives in London.
My mum's maiden name is Stewart and I have fond memories of her childhood stories of growing up in KatiKati and playing at the homestead in Athenree.
I have studied the Stewart family history and tree but welcome any information you may have.


Richard Stewart said...


I too am a descendant of George Vesey Stewart. I am in Christchurch. Is is possible to maybe collect some of this information from you?


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Nick Stewart still has his BSA C15 chopper? He and I and Ricky Moore had great times tearing around the roads on our motorbikes in our younger days.

Laura said...

Hi Tim, who owns the building now? And what do you think could happen it in the future? It would be great to see it restored

Anonymous said...


Ann Allen said...

Fascinating to learn something about this grand old ruin, which I too have observed from the main road all my life and been intrigued by! Only found out the name "Greenhill" today. Wonderful to learn a little about the people who lived there. Many thanks for sharing the wonderful old photographs. I, too, hope the shell of this gracious building will someday be restored to its former glory.

Unknown said...

Hi Sandy Wilson & Richard,

I'm the great-great-great grandson of Adela and Hugh Stewart. I was just at the old restored estate this last Christmas with my wife and it looked incredible! I'd love to exchange notes some time!

Probably most secure way to reach me is via

Unknown said...

Was this house not burned by the IRA in the 1920?

Unknown said...

The man in the picture walking up the drive is Joe Somerville, my great grandfather

Unknown said...

I am the granddaughter of Sir David Stewart, 7th Baronet Stewart of Athenree. So interesting to learn of my family history and see family from all over commenting too. I was gifted a signet ring for my birthday this year and now I am digging into the ancestry.