Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Loughanmore House


This is a scion of the ancient family of ADAIR.

Early in the 17th century Captain James Adair settled at Loughanmore, County Antrim.

He married Annabel Blair, and dying about 1686, left issue, a son,

BENJAMIN ADAIR (1655-1730), of Loughanmore, who married Anne, daughter of Waterhouse Crymble, of Ballygallagh, County Antrim, was father of

THOMAS BENJAMIN ADAIR (1705-65), of Loughanmore, who wedded Margaret, eldest daughter of Charles Crymble, of Ballygallagh, County Antrim, and had (with two other sons, Benjamin and William Robert, and two daughters, Anne and Elizabeth) an eldest son and successor,

CHARLES ADAIR (1737-1810), of Loughanmore, who espoused, in 1776, Millicent, eldest daughter of Henry Ellis, of Prospect, Carrickfergus, County Antrim, and had issue,
The elder son,

THOMAS BENJAMIN ADAIR (1776-1855), of Loughanmore, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1801, Mayor of Carrickfergus, 1832, married, in 1806, Amelia, second daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin Adair, Royal Marines, and had issue,
CHARLES, died unmarried;
HENRY, succeeded his brother;
Benjamin Clements, died unmarried;
Thomas Benjamin, in holy orders; died unmarried;
William Robert, died unmarried;
AMELIA SOPHIA, succeeded her brother;
ELEANOR MARGARET, succeeded her sister.
The second son,

HENRY ADAIR JP DL, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1871, who restored Donegaore Parish Church in 1871, died unmarried, and was succeeded by his sister,

MISS AMELIA SOPHIA ADAIR, who, in turn, was succeeded by her sister,

MISS ELEANOR MARGARET ADAIR, who married the Rev James Hunt, Rector of Ahascragh, County Galway (who predeceased her).

Mrs Hunt died on the 13th April, 1909, without having had issue, whereupon the Loughanmore estate (including some property near Ahoghill) devolved upon General Sir William Thompson Adair KCB,  a great-great-grandson of Benjamin Adair (1655-1730).

LOUGHANMORE HOUSE, near Donegore, County Antrim, was built in 1798 by Thomas Benjamin Adair.

It was remodelled following Henry Adair's succession to the estate in 1866, when it was crenellated, towered, and turreted.

A tower was in course of erection in 1870 when flags were hoisted on it to celebrate the visit of Prince Arthur to nearby Castle Upton (as recorded by Peden in 1878).

Further alterations were carried out after the property was bought by Charles MacKean in 1920, designs being prepared for him by Guy Elwes, architect of London, in 1936, for a new dining-room with canted end, new stairs and landings, and the removal of the front tower.

In 1961 more renovations were carried out under the direction of the Belfast architect Arthur Jury, when the top floor was taken down and crenellations were removed.

Finally, in 1988, the house was demolished.

It was described in the first survey in 1972 as
A two-storey, five-bay house with basement, much altered in 19th century, now partly restored to original appearance. 
Windows are plain sashed; on first floor, central window is surmounted by a triangular pediment, side windows by segmental pediments. 
Ground floor windows are in eaved architraves; extensions have splayed ends; keystones on ground floor of main roughcast block have sculptured masks. 
There are modern lamp-holders before this block and a Doric porch front service entrance.
The 1857 Ordnance Survey map shows a gate lodge at that south-west entrance, on the opposite side of the road from it, as well as a lodge and main entrance to the north-east, rebuilt in 1929.

There is another gate lodge further to the north-east (demolished to make way for the M2 motorway about 1967).

In 1880 the demesne wall was built.

Other structures on the estate include an ice house surmounted by a columnar tower and a garden tower with spire, both of uncertain date.

General Sir William Thompson Adair KCB (1850-1931)

The Adair family connection ceased when General Adair sold the estate to Charles MacKean of Larne in 1920.


The former stable block, coach-houses and outbuildings survive.

The exact date of building is uncertain as the structure evolved over a period of time.

The courtyard layout appeared on a map of 1832, and most of the blocks to the rear may be taken to date from then.

Most of the front block presumably dates from 1866, when Henry Adair succeeded to the estate and is known to have begun alterations and improvements.

The architect for the remodelling of the stable block seems to have been John Boyd of Belfast, who is known to have been involved in re-roofing the stable offices for Henry Adair in 1887.

Incidentally, Boyd was employed by Adair in the virtual rebuilding of Donegore Parish Church in 1871, and was in charge of building the demesne wall for him at Loughanmore in 1880.

Following Henry Adair's death in 1887, a chapel was created out of a coach-house, in the mid-to-late 1890s, to the right of the clock tower.

This chapel was converted to domestic purposes about 1984, when the stained-glass windows were removed to Donegore Parish Church, and the entire front block was renovated to become the main residence on the estate.

The chapel had been built in consequence of the unfriendly conduct of the then clergyman of Donegore Parish Church toward the Adair family, and was instituted as a memorial to the Rev James Hunt, of Loughanmore, who had married a daughter of Colonel Benjamin Adair, and who had died in 1894.

There seems to be no record of its consecration.

The chapel's congregation, which comprised about twenty family and staff, preferred to worship there in severe weather rather than walk up to the parish church.

It had an organ, communion table, reading-desk, chairs, and a communion service of silver.

When General Adair sold the estate to Charles MacKean in 1920 he offered to pass the furnishings to the tenant for life of Loughanmore if the chapel's function was intended to be continued.

The date when the crenellations were removed from the clock tower of the stable block is uncertain, but may have been connected to the renovations to Loughanmore House in 1961.


The setting for the former dwellings is a fine and extensive parkland, with mature shelter belts, clumps, avenue trees and new planting.

Former productive and ornamental gardens that were in a partially walled garden decorated with crenellations, have now gone but a stone tower and weather vane remain.

Three of four gate lodges survive: two of pre-1832 and the Arts-and-Crafts gate lodge of ca 1910.

The lodge of ca 1860 is listed.

First published in February, 2018.


Anonymous said...

That tower must have appeared, in the words of Prince Charles, as a 'monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved friend'. Quite hideous. VC

Timothy Belmont said...

VC, looks as if it ought to have had a big bell!