Friday, 17 April 2020

Lisgoole Abbey


MICHAEL JONES, of Lisgoole Abbey, County Fermanagh, was father of

MICHAEL OBINS SEELY JONES (c1829-78), who wedded, in 1846, Kate Elizabeth Anne, daughter of Travers Homan, and had issue, an only child,

KATE MARY BARRETT JONES (1847-1929), who espoused, in 1871, Edward Willoughby Fowler, son of the Rev Luke Fowler, and had issue,
Willoughby Jones, Lieutenant-Colonel in the army;
Cecil Arthur;
Edward Gardiner, CBE, Lieutenant-Colonel in the army;
Charles Knox;
Mildred Eleanor.
 AT THE TURN of the 19th century Lisgoole was acquired by the Johnston family:-

ANDREW JOHNSTON, of Derrylin, County Fermanagh, married M Johnston, and had issue,
Andrew, of Beech Hill, Derrylin;
HUGH, of whom presently;
Robert, of Lisgoole Abbey, d 1913.
The second son,

HUGH JOHNSTON (1825-1912), of Beech Hill, Derrylin, wedded, in 1877, Caroline Henrietta, daughter of Richard Arnold, of New York, and Babylon, Long Island, USA, and had issue,
ROBERT WILLIAM, of whom we treat;
Alfred Andrew, of St Angelo, County Fermanagh (1883-1918);
Teresa, b 1885.
The eldest son,

ROBERT WILLIAM JOHNSTON JP DL  (1882-1971), of Lisgoole Abbey, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1920, married, in 1911, Jane Thallon, daughter of William Teele JP, of Dunbar, Enniskillen.

LISGOOLE ABBEY, near Killyhevlin, County Fermanagh, has quite a lengthy, not to say interesting, history.

An entire chapter is devoted to it in W Copeland Trimble's History of Enniskillen, published in 1919.

During the late 18th century Lisgoole was inhabited by the Armstrongs.

John Armstrong, a junior officer in the Fermanagh Militia, sold Lisgoole to a Mr Jones in 1819 for £12,300 (about £1 million today).

A certain Captain Michael Jones was an officer of the parliamentary army in Ireland.

The Armstrongs and Joneses might have been connected though intermarriage, because Mrs Isabella Diana Jones, who died in 1892 aged 72, declared in her will that Lisgoole be sold for the benefit of certain charities, including the Fermanagh Protestant Orphan Society.

It was subsequently purchased by Robert Johnston, of Stuttgart and New York, a descendant of the Johnstons of Derrylin.

Do the Johnstons still reside at Lisgoole?

The present house is an early 19th century Gothic villa comprising two-storeys and three-bays, with a battlemented tower at one end.

The tower, with perhaps some of the range of buildings extending behind it, is said to be all that remains of the abbey, all re-worked.

It contains one large square room lit by an enormous tripartite window on the main front.

There is a fan-lighted doorway, with a large window inserted later in the bay to the right of the doorway.

A substantial Wyatt window is in the base of the tower.

The interior is a surprise, for the house was decorated about 1910 by Waring & Gillow, who provided elaborate plasterwork, a curving main stair, and an Elizabethan-style fireplace.

at the same time battlements to match the tower were added across the front of the house, making it even prettier.

Lisgoole was once a monastic site.

There are references to a garden belonging to the first owner after the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, but no evidence of this remains.

The present demesne plan is much as it appears on the 1830s OS map, together with early 19th century Gothic-style house at the lough shore.


THE PARKLAND undulates and the house is approached by a winding avenue.

There is mature planting in the shelter-belt and some parkland trees, including exotics, though the area is intensively farmed and many parkland trees had gone by the beginning of the 20th century.

A maintained ornamental garden at the house has a rose-garden, originally developed in 1905 and replanted with 400 new roses in 1982; and a pergola.

An area of specimen trees and shrubs set in grass lies to the north of the house.

These plantings date from the early 20th century, with later reinforcements.

The part-walled garden is maintained with box hedges, fruit, vegetables and flowers but not to the original layout.

The mid-19th century gate lodge has a modern extension.

The Farm Museum contains old farm machinery and gardening equipment used on the estate in the past.

Other demesne buildings are in good order.

First published in September, 2010.    Photograph courtesy of Udo Vogel.

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