Monday 8 July 2024

Ardress Revisited

Ensor arms
On Sunday, July 7th, 2024, I paid another visit to the delightful National Trust property of Ardress in the orchard county of Armagh.

There weren't many visitors there during my four-hour sojourn.
In the hall of the house hangs what seems to be an embroidered coat-of-arms of the Ensor family; I asked the guide if I could photograph it, given that I had no images of the family's armorial bearings.
South front, Ardress House (Timothy Ferres, 2024)

Ardress is one of the Trust's most charming properties, comprising a very manageable 100 acres, including lovely woodland walks, apple orchards, a historic farmyard complete with hens, old machinery, and, not least, the house itself.

Ardress was originally a farmhouse: over three centuries ago it was a relatively modest five-bay farm dwelling, built by a family called Clarke.

The Clarkes are thought to have come to Ulster with other planters in the retinue of Sir Anthony Cope Bt.

Sarah Clarke, of Ardress, married George Ensor in 1760.

I took a tour of the house at noon; followed by a guided tour of the farmyard.

South front, Ardress House, 1960 (National Trust)

Whereas the east entrance front is the handsomest part of the house, the sunny south front is improved by curved walls at each side; the one to the right concealing the dummy screen wall of the front (eastern) entrance façade.

A little conservatory used to lean against this curved wall until the property was purchased by the Trust in 1960 from Charles Howard Ensor.

A back porch, a bathroom block, and the said conservatory were subsequently removed by the National Trust.


Anonymous said...

The coat of arms, did you take that picture? What was it on?

Robin said...

Hi, Tim
My father remembers visiting Ardress and its inhabitants as a child, when my grandfather was landscaping the Benburb Estate. Probably 1915 - 1920.
The last time I saw Ardress it was painted pink. The NT guide insisted that it was the authentic colour for its period - I don't know about that, but it looked better than the dirty white in your recent photo.

Timothy Belmont said...

Hello Robin, good to hear from you and hope you're all keeping well. I saw the house painted pink, and agree that it looked better in that colour; considerably better.

Timothy Belmont said...

Anon, the family coat-of-arms is hung on a wall facing the door in the hall. It looks as if it was embroidered. Tim.