Friday, 2 July 2021

Walworth House

THE BERESFORDS OF LEARMOUNT PARK OWNED
10,420 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY LONDONDERRY


THE RT HON JOHN BERESFORD MP (1738-1805), of Abbeville, County Dublin, and Walworth, County Londonderry, second son of MARCUS, 1st EARL OF TYRONE (third creation) by his wife, the Lady Catherine Power, Baroness La Poer in her own right, daughter and heiress of James, last Earl of Tyrone (second creation), married firstly, in 1760, Anne Constantia (d 1772), granddaughter of the Count de Ligondes, and had issue,
Marcus (1764-97);
George de la Poer (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh;
John Claudius (1766-1846);
Charles Cobbe (Rev), Rector of Termon;
Annette Constantia; Jane; Catherine.
He wedded secondly, in 1774, Barbara, daughter and co-heir of Sir William Montgomery Bt, of Magbie Hill, Peebles, and had further issue,
James Hamilton (1782-1806);
HENRY BARRÉ, of whom we treat;
Anna.
The youngest son,

HENRY BARRÉ BERESFORD (1784-1837), grandson of Marcus, 1st Earl of Tyrone, was born at Walworth House.

Much has already been written about the Beresfords, their immeasurable influence and largesse, so I shan't elaborate on it.

Suffice it to say that Barré Beresford spent his youth in Dublin, where the family lived in splendour at Tyrone House, Marlborough Street; and his adult life was spent in County Londonderry, where he managed the Beresford estates as agent (his cousin was the Marquess of Waterford).

For several years Henry Barré leased BROOK HALL from his brother-in-law, the Rt Hon Sir George FitzGerald Hill, 2nd Baronet.

Towards the end of his life, Henry Barré took an increasing interest in LEARMOUNT PARK, an estate in south Derry that his family had acquired through marriage.

Work had barely begun on the new Learmount Castle when, in 1837, Henry Barré Beresford died, in London.

Beresford Memorial at St Marylebone Parish Church, London
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

He was interred at St Marylebone Parish Church.

*****

WALWORTH has of one the few remaining examples of a London livery company 17th century bawn, bawn wall and flankers remaining in County Londonderry

They were erected by the Fishmongers' Company.

The original Walworth house or castle and bawn were established between 1617 and 1631, when the house was occupied by James Higgins, George Downing, and later, in 1654, by Captain Lane.

The topographical dictionary of 1837 tells us that "the remains of Walworth Castle, erected by the Fishmongers' Company, in 1619, shew [sic] it to have been a large and spacious edifice, defended by a bawn and flankers, three of which are still in a tolerable state of preservation."

The original dwelling was rebuilt ca 1730 in Georgian style, replacing the old castle.

"Old" Walworth House c1880 (Image: Aaron Callan)

This fine residence (above) comprised two storeys, and was ten bays in length and three bays in depth.

The roof was quite steeply pitched, with prominent chimneys.

It was altered in 1800 and extended in 1900.

The west and south walls of the old bawn and the south-west flanker were removed.

Although Old Walworth House has gone, the former agents' residence remains today.

Circa 1823,  the present house was occupied by James Stirling, agent; and in 1858 Arthur Sampson is stated as resident.

The Ingram family occupied the house until about 1931.

The Brown family have occupied it since.

The gardens surround the remains of the fortified manor built for the Fishmongers' Company ca 1609.

The parkland contains mature trees dating from the early 19th century.

The present walled garden was designed in 1989.

The Rev George Vaughan Sampson, in the Statistical Survey of The County of Londonderry, 1802,  remarked, "… one of the best and earliest gardens of the county, well walled, and stored with excellent fruit trees."

The walled garden is today open to visitors by prior arrangement.

The Follies Trust published a very good booklet in 2015 entitled The Beresford Obelisk.

I have obtained invaluable information from this booklet which, at the time of writing, is freely available at Limavady tourist information office.

I also wish to express my gratitude to Aaron Callan for his assistance.

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