Friday 29 March 2024

Saintfield House


NICHOLAS PRICE, of HOLLYMOUNT, near Downpatrick, County Down, wedded Catherine, daughter of James Hamilton, MP, and widow of Vere Essex Cromwell, 4th EARL OF ARDGLASS, by whom he had a son,

MAJOR-GENERAL NICHOLAS PRICE (c1665-1734), of Hollymount, MP for Downpatrick, 1692-3, County Down, 1695-1714, who married Dorcas, fourth daughter of Roger West, of The Rock, County Wicklow, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Cromwell, of Hollymount; MP for Downpatrick, 1727-60;
NICHOLAS, succeeded his brother;
Sophia; Margaret; Anne
This distinguished soldier was a senior officer in CHARLES I's army, defended Londonderry ca 1692; changed the place-name from Tawnaghneeve to Saintfield; was half-brother of the Lady Elizabeth Cromwell; and leased Hollymount Demesne, 1695.

His eldest son,

JAMES PRICE, wedded Frances, natural daughter of the 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, and had issue, two daughters,
Catherine, m 1st J Savage, of Portaferry; and 2ndly, Very Rev E Baillie;
Dorcas, m Dr Whittle, of Lisburn.
Mr Price died without male issue, when the family estates devolved upon his brother,

NICHOLAS PRICE (c1700-42), of Saintfield, MP for Lisburn, 1736-42, who married firstly, Mary, daughter of Francis, 1st Baron Conway of Ragley, Warwickshire, and had issue, a son,
FRANCIS, his heir.
Mr Price espoused secondly, in 1732, Maria, daughter of Colonel the Hon Alexander Mackenzie, second son of 4th Earl of Seaforth, and had further issue.

He was succeeded by his son, 

FRANCIS PRICE (1728-91), of Saintfield, MP for Lisburn, 1759-76, High Sheriff of County Down, 1753, who espoused, in 1752, Charity, daughter of Mathew Forde, of Seaforde, County Down, and had issue,
NICHOLAS, his heir;
Christian Arabella; Harriet Jane; Mary.
Mr Price was succeeded by his son,

NICHOLAS PRICE JP DL (1754-1847), of Saintfield House, who married, in 1779, the Lady Sarah Pratt, daughter of Charles, 1st Earl Camden, and had issue, an only daughter,

MISS ELIZABETH ANNE PRICE (1780-1867), who wedded, in 1804, James Blackwood, of Strangford, County Down (a descendant of BLACKWOOD of Clandeboye), who assumed, 1847, the name and arms of PRICE,  and had issue,
Nicholas, 1805-19;
JAMES CHARLES, of whom presently;
William Robert Arthur;
Sarah; Mary Georgiana; Sarah Elizabeth; Elizabeth Catherine.
The grandson of Nicholas Price,

JAMES CHARLES PRICE JP DL (1807-94), of Saintfield House, High Sheriff of County Down, 1859, married, in 1840, Anne Margaret, eldest daughter of Patrick Savage, of Portaferry, and had issue,
Nicholas, 1842-89;
JAMES NUGENT, of whom hereafter;
William Charles, died in infancy;
Francis William;
Harriet Anna; Elizabeth Dorcas; Catherine Anne.
Mr Price was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JAMES NUGENT BLACKWOOD-PRICE JP DL (1844-1927), of Saintfield House, High Sheriff of County Down, 1902, who wedded, in 1869, Alice Louisa, daughter of William Robert Ward, and had issue,
Conway William, b 1872;
Edward Hyde (Rev), b 1875;
ETHELWYN MARY, of whom hereafter.
Mr Blackwood-Price's only daughter,

MISS ETHELWYN MARY BLACKWOOD-PRICE (1871-1933), married, in 1901, Richard Douglas Perceval, of Downpatrick, and had issue,
Richard John Perceval-Price, b 1902;
Michael Charles Perceval-Price, Lt-Col, MC JP DL (1907-2002); High Sheriff, 1951.

SAINTFIELD HOUSE, near Saintfield, County Down, was built ca 1750 by Francis Price.

It is a double gable-ended house of three storeys over a basement.

It has a five-bay front and a three-bay rear.

The house had single storey three-bay wings which ended in two-storey two-bay pavilions with high pyramidal roofs and central chimneys.

One of these has been demolished.

To the west of the house is a large stable-block.

It has been greatly modified but retains a small bell-cot, with bell, over the gateway.

Beside it is a tall cylindrical brick water-tower which is now in need of repair.

This largely walled demesne in drumlin country, approximately one mile north of Saintfield, dates from 1709, when the property was purchased by Nicholas Price of Hollymount.

The site of the original house has not been established, but it most probably lay close to the present stables & farmyard, parts of which belong to this period.

After Francis Price, MP for Lisburn, succeeded his father to the property in 1742, he built the present mansion, a tall five-bay gable-ended double pile house of three storeys over a basement.

The flanking wings, which incorporated high pyramidal roofs, were added by his son Nicholas, former Black Rod in the Irish Parliament, after he sold the family's Dublin residence ca 1800.

The interior has been altered at various times, with the hall being given a ceiling of Adamesque plasterwork ca 1900.

Little trace of the early and mid-18th century formal landscape survives, though some of the woodland planting doubtless has its origin in this period.

The core of the present informal landscape park was created by Nicholas Price from the 1760s, with most of the work probably taking place in the years after his marriage to the Lady Sarah Pratt in 1779.

This landscape process involved building an extensive demesne wall, closing public roads, putting down new winding carriage drives, building a ha-ha in front of the house and making a small lake with island in a glen to the south.

Once used as a fish-pond, this lake was created by damming a stream where it emerged from a marshy hollow.

New woodland blocks were planted, including perimeter belts and screens, and many of the original stone-faced banks built to protect these survive.

To the south, beyond the glen, an oval hillock was specially adapted for training and racing horses.

The large walled garden, located south of yard, was probably built ca 1760-80, but assumed its present form, being divided into three parts, in the 1840s.

The glasshouses, no longer extant, lay against the south facing north wall (by the yard) and overlooked an ornamental garden with curved southern stone wall (lined with brick on south side).

The two enclosed, walled areas to the south were devoted to kitchen and cold frames (in the south- east corner).

The parkland area immediately around the house had largely assumed its present appearance by the time "insurgents" occupied the place for three days in June, 1798.
After the Union, possibly around 1810, gate lodges were built at the town gate and the west gate, the latter being placed opposite the entrance; both lodges, which have been sold, are in a Regency-Gothic style with hipped roofs, distinctive canted bays and naive, Y-tracery lancet windows; both may be the work of George Dance, the Younger.
In 1847, a new Saintfield-Belfast road was laid down on the east side of the demesne and this work was followed by additional landscaping on the east side of the park.

This included the planting of a large woodland block, laying down a new main avenue approach though this wood and building a highly ornate Tudor-Picturesque-style gate lodge, possibly designed by James Sands, since demolished.

A more modest gate lodge, now sold, was also built facing the new road on the north side of the demesne, giving access to the kennels and yard.

Venerable trees were lost and damage caused to the woods by the Big Wind of January, 1839.

During later Victorian times, exotics were planted in the pleasure grounds to the south of the house and some of these survive.

The demesne woodlands are managed, rhododendron ponticum is being cleared and trees planted.

First published in July, 2010.


peter said...

Just a quick note,my gg-grandfather was Francis George Price,born approx 1805.On his marriage cert 1848,his father is noted as Nicholas Price- gent.Frances married Elizabeth Patricia(Im sure ive seen this as pratt on some of my other paperwork)Lepper.Francis is noted as a deputy judge(legal records).Francis and Elizabeth had 6 children in Ireland,before moving to England about 1857,there having 3 more children.In 1861 they moved to Jersey.Frances died in jersey 1895,Elizabeth 1901.They also had a son called Francis who is on the 1911 census for jersey.1 of the other children Jane Price married Edward Langtry,she subsequently died and Edward went on to marry Lillie Le Breton.Lillies brother William married another of the price family Elizabeth,Lillie was a bridesmaid.
Almost certain we are talking same price family,if so am now 2/3 generations further back in my family history.Sorry not so short
yours peter warland

Anonymous said...

Prices still there. Are you thinking of Watsons of Stramore?


christopher read. norfolk england said...

i am christopher read from norfolk england i was an underkeeper at saintfield demanse in the early eighties assisting nigel mc mullen the head keeper at that time,

i thouroughly enjoyed my time there and was treated very well by bill price , i have carried on in the keepering /shooting proffession , i wont forget , the people were so friendly and welcoming, and the countryside was beautifull /

peter said...

A follow up to my note on the 13.6.2011.Have since found out that Francis Price,born 1804 was the first of 7 illigitimate children that Nicholas Price esq had,all with the same woman,a Mrs Martha Montgomery(of whom i have little info).These children were apparently all born at Lessans House,on the Saintfield Estate.Does anybody know where this would have been.
All 7 children were born before the death of his wife Lady Sarah Pratt in 1817.The family eventually moved into the main house.
Around 1840 Nicholas dau Elizabeth Anne moved back into the house with her husband James Blackwood,who on condition that he took the name Price would inherit the house and land.Martha was subsequently evicted from the house.
As a 16year old Francis Price was admitted to Kings Inn Dublin as an Attorney Apprentice,having been educ at Gracehill,Ballymena,Co Antrim.Any clues to Mrs Martha Montgomery or the exact location of Lessans House.(A lot of this info was originaly got from Col M Percival Price via family diary entry dated 22nd Aug 1880).
yours Peter Warland.

Eddie Mc Fall said...

I had the privilage of growing up on Saintfield House estate, my dad was the gardener. It was a fantastic childhood,I even learnt to drive courtesy of two men called Davy Mc Coy and Tommy Spratt. The landstewart was John Mateer. As to where Lessans House is I'm not sure but it must be somewhere near where the Auction Mart is now. We always called the gate lodge at that entrance "Paddy Magills". If you read this Margaret or Tony do get in touch. My email is

Tim Scott said...

Hi Peter

To follow up on your June 2011 note.

Is the Lilly le Breton you have referred to in your note the same person as Lilly Langtry, mistress to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales?

Tim Scott said...

As far as I can remember Lassans House is on the Southern end of Windmill Road in Saintfield town, just before it joins Station Road. There is a straight drive running due North to the front door of the house.

peter said...

Hi Tim
sorry to take so long to reply.Yes we are talking of the same Lillie[Lily] Langtry,there is quite a bit of detail in the book Lily and the Prince.
Thankyou also for that detail on Lassans House,hopefully it is one and the same.

Unknown said...

Re: Lessans.

A quick look on Google maps solves the mystery.

Lessans Road runs along the north of the contiguous estate.

You can see from the mapping where it crosses the A7 - Belfast Road. Note that the Lessans Road used to run straight at this point. It is now a staggered junction. It is safe to assume Lessans Road pre-dates the A7. Follow Lessans Road up to the point it is traversed by the Monlough Road. At this point Lessans Road suddenly becomes the Monlough 'loop' Road. It looks to me that a private estate road or lane was later adopted and wrongly given the moniker Monlough.

Follow the wrongly named Monlough 'loop', until you reach a fork. Turn left to continue around the Monlough 'Loop' or turn right to follow what we shall now call the continuation of Lessans Road.

Lo. Lessans Road ends at a large farm. There is a modern house situated next to a much older property clearly visible on the aerial. Google Maps calls this farm - Lessans.

This house - Lessons has a drive that runs down to the A7 which meets the north gate lodge.

Two potential routes for a lecherous land-owner.

(fyi the complete Lessans Road looks much like an estate boundary when you zoom out).

Case closed :-)

Tony F said...

Actually Mark this might not be as conclusive as you thought :-)

If you take a look at PRONI's Historical Map Viewer there are a number of old OS maps available as layers. The first edition (1832-46) shows a few collections of buildings around the Lessans Road area, unnamed. In the second edition (1846-62), one of them to the north of Lessans Road shows the name "Lessans Cottage". Then in the third edition (1900-07) a clump of buildings on the opposite side of the Belfast road (now A7) gains the moniker "Lessans House". This is left on the Monlough loop of which you speak, not right.

The "Lessans" label on Google appears to be for a riding & livery stable which appears to have taken its name from the townland, not from the nearby house.

peter said...

Hi Mark and Tony F thank you for your reply I shall look at both replies in some detail

Poonster said...

Hello Peter,

I'm a descendant of Nicholas Price and Sarah Pratt and I've recently had my DNA tested on About 10 high quality DNA cousin matches have come through but I don't recognise any of the surnames. Due to you being descended from a different "wife" we would appear further away as it were. Curious to know if you've had your DNA tested/loaded to Ancestry or Myheritage.


Unknown said...

Hi Tony F;

It looks like you are right. The historical mapping is a great resource!

A couple of additional points:

- Upon closer inspection the Monlough Loop does not seem to exist at all. Google Street View shows the 'road' is private and gated. Possibly a naming mistake by Google.

- The house is situated on top of a hill and is orientated directly toward the main house. True love. Lmao.



Jean Price said...

Jane Clanney, my great great grandmother, was a servant at Saintfield House when she married Peter Fawcett on the 13 February 1851. The couple left Ireland almost immediately travelling on the "Steadfast" which left Gravesend on the 27 February. They arrived in Canterbury New Zealand on the 8 June

Unknown said...

Hi am interested to know was there a Richard Percival born at Saintfield house around 1902 died in 1982

Anonymous said...

Hello All, my name is Simon Giles Fitzsimons Price. I was born in Portadown in 1970. My father is Lt Col Francis William Price of the Royal Irish regiment. His father was Bill or William Price an officer of the same regiment. When I was a child we holidayed in Ardglass at Easter and summer holidays. I have no idea if I am related in any way to any of the above mentioned, but was curious as there are Williams, Francis, and Bill's mentioned. Best regards. Simon

Anonymous said...

Hi, I own a Nora welling doll... from the saintfield estate...Demense.... I was gave it as a young child from a woman a long time ago... I am 47 now.... I would love to know the history of the doll... all the markings are on the mother worked for Percival price...