Monday, 4 May 2020

Derrymore House

WALTER GARUTH CORRY, of Dumfriesshire, born in 1620, settled in Ulster about the time of the Plantation.

His son,

WALTER CORRY, a cornet in the dragoons of the usurper Cromwell's army, was granted the Rockcorry estate in County Monaghan by CHARLES II in 1667.

Mr Corry, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1672, built the town and castle of Newtoncorry (later renamed Rockcorry).

His son,

ISAAC CORRY, born ca 1655 at Rockcorry, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, had a son,

ISAAC CORRY (c1691-1752), of Abbey Yard, Newry, County Down, merchant, who married Cæzarea Smyth, by whom he had he had seven children.

The third and youngest son, TREVOR, was born at Newry in 1724.

Mr Corry had further issue, twin sons,
EDWARD, of whom presently;
The elder son,

EDWARD CORRY (1723-92), MP for Newry, 1774-76, wedded Catherine, daughter of Captain Charles Bristow, of Crebilly, County Antrim.

His son,

THE RT HON ISAAC CORRY (1753-1813), MP for Newry, 1776-1800, CHANCELLOR OF THE IRISH EXCHEQUER, born at Newry, County Down, was unmarried, though had an intimate friendship with Jane Symms, who bore him three sons and three daughters.

DERRYMORE HOUSE, near Bessbrook, County Armagh, is a single-storey thatched cottage ornée of Palladian form.

It comprises a bow-fronted centre block and two flanking wings, joined to the main block by small canted links.

The central bow of the main block is three-sided and glazed to the ground, with astragals and mullions; flanked by two quatrefoil windows, under hood mouldings.

Each wing has a mullioned window.

Derrymore was built at some time prior to 1787 by the Rt Hon Isaac Corry, MP for Newry and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer.

In 1810, Isaac Corry conveyed the property to William Young, son of the Rev John Young, of Eden, County Armagh.

Young, a lieutenant-colonel in the East India Company, was created a baronet in 1821.

Sir William added an entrance hall on the north side of the U-shaped courtyard, thus enclosing it entirely.

About 1828, the Youngs moved from Derrymore to Bailieborough, County Cavan.

Derrymore was sold to Edward Smyth, of Newry, whose family retained the estate until 1859.

The demesne, which hosted 140,000 trees, was then bought by a wealthy merchant, Robert Glenny, of Trevor Hill, Newry, who in turn sold it onto the linen manufacturer John Grubb Richardson who lived in the adjoining estate, The Woodhouse.
Richardson was responsible for establishing the village of Bessbrook, and building Bessbrook Friends' Meeting House, which sits in the Derrymore demesne.
In 1952, John Stephens Wakefield Richardson donated Derrymore to the National Trust, and it was opened officially in 1957 by the Lady Wakehurst, wife of the Governor of Northern Ireland.

The National Trust subsequently undertook to repair Derrymore and to demolish Sir William Young's entrance hall and later accretions, thus restoring the house to its 18th century character.

Thatching with Norfolk reed had not been a success and in 1963 a native appearance using wheat straw and omitting the block ridge was restored.

During the Troubles, the house was bombed on five separate occasions between 1972-79.

The custodian, Edmund Baillie, carried out some of the bombs to the garden.

When interviewed in February, 2000, Mr Baillie confirmed that, due to the damage suffered by the structure, most if not all of the timbers had been replaced and that some changes had been made to the interior.

A re-thatching scheme using water reed with wheat straw for the block ridge was completed in 2003.


DERRYMORE'S parkland is attributed to John Sutherland, the leading designer of the day.

Thin belts of mature, mostly deciduous trees and woodland to the north-west of the house are the only reminders of the original planting.

The elms have died out, though replanting has taken place.

The parkland to the south and east of the house was used for Nissen huts during the 2nd World War.

The parkland trees were felled and concrete bases remain in what was always poor soil.

A pond was made in the quarry where stone was used for local building.

There is a small but charming ornamental garden at the house, which has a Victorian appearance.

The walled garden is part cultivated.

It was latterly an orchard used for The Woodhouse.

The head gardener’s house is called Hortus Lodge.

There are four gate lodges, described by Dean as, ‘...disappointingly nondescript’:

One, built pre-1834, two pre-1861 and one pre-1906.

First published in April, 2014.

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