Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The Capper Series: III

Drum Manor,  Photo Credit: Ashley McLean

Wilfrid Merydith Capper MBE (1905-98) was a former Northern Ireland civil servant whose true passion was for the preservation and conservation of the countryside.

He conceived and created The Ulster Way.

The following article is a selective extract from Caring for the Countryside: A History of 50 Years of the Ulster Society for the Preservation of the Countryside, published in 1987.


I AM afraid the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Division, had not a very good record when it came to preserving old mansions.

Those at Tollymore, Clonelly, and of course Belvoir (where the young Duke of Wellington spent his school holidays) were all demolished.

No doubt they had all varying degrees of dry rot, woodworm or general decay, but were they really so bad that with a little money spent on them and treated by modern methods they could not have been saved?

I suppose it was largely a question of money.

Whether the Department had any practical use for the buildings or not must have been a factor.

The job of the Department was to produce timber, not preserve historic buildings.

A number of smaller buildings like the shooting lodge at Ballypatrick Forest which was not in bad condition, were similarly pulled down.

Drum Manor, near Cookstown, was perhaps too far gone when acquired but if the Department had been able to purchase it a year or two sooner it is probable it could, and probably would, have been preserved.

Now only the tower and some walls are left.

Apart from this matter of old buildings the Forestry Service has always been of the greatest help to us.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Good to see a picture of the Richardson-Brady house at Drum Manor showing its scale.