Historic Building Details


HB Ref No:
HB02/11/002 A


Extent of Listing:
House, offices, land stewart's house,balustrade


Date of Construction:
1840 - 1859


Address :
Drenagh House 15 Dowland Road Fruithill Limavady Co Londonderry BT49 0HP


Townland:
Fruithill






Survey 2:
A

Date of Listing:
3/28/1975

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Country House

Former Use
Country House

Conservation Area:
No

Industrial Archaeology:
No

Vernacular:
No

Thatched:
No

Monument:
No

Derelict:
No




OS Map No:
29/2SE

IG Ref:
C6885 2357





Owner Category


Private

Exterior Description And Setting


A large two storey ashlar sandstone faced house with slated roof and lead ridges and hips. Main entrance with single storey portico on south east facade. Lower two storey U plan return from north east face which encloses a court with a covered gateway access. A further two storey return extends from latter terminated by the land steward’s two storey house. The main entrance consists of a delightful tetra Ionic portico with double columns at each side in the middle of a five bay block. These support an entablature with detailed cornice and above it a balustrade returned to the main plane of the facade. All crisply detailed though the frieze is marred by the washers of tiebars ensuring that the portico will not part company with the main wall. The columns are unfluted and taper gracefully from the base to the necking which is decorated with classical motifs. The outer columns are reflected on the main wall with double pilasters complete with Ionic capitals and necking. The entrance door with semi-circular fanlight has narrow roundheaded windows on either side. Between the ground floor and first floor windows two string courses encompass the principal facades; one lines with the cills of the upper windows while the other, a sort of railway track, continues the line of the entrance portico cornice. The ground floor windows are chaste Georgian affairs with a mere chamfer running along the outer edges of the reveals. The higher windows sport an architrave with curved lugged bottoms and a thin cornice on top. Above, the wall terminates with full entablature (kept simple), the cornice part displays the details of the portico. Over the cornice is open balustrading in four bays and with a solid infill in the centre piece. This is the most successful composition of the house. Its symmetry is contested by a much lower two storey six bay wing to the north east similarly sandstone faced. Windows are smaller but still 12 pane. The south west facade has six bays and the centre two form a positive breakfront unfortunately decorated with a distyle arrangement of Roman Doric pilaster above which is an unadorned pediment. The balustrading carries round this side, stopping momentarily at the pediment. Round to the north west Lanyon becomes more chaste and the five bay facade is modelled only by two almost clumsy canted bays on either side of a ground floor french window with elliptical fanlight. This gives access to a vast stretch of flat lawn bounded eventually by a lengthy balustraded wall. Beyond the wall a ha-ha separates it from the pleasant rolling landscape of the demesne. To the north east of the canted bays lies the lower wing of the northern return, which further extends to provide offices and the land steward’s house. The northerly return is not without architectural interest. Its north east side is punctuated by a breakfront centrally placed gateway with elliptical arch over which rises a three storey part terminated with plain pediment containing a clock face. The facade is again faced with pink ashlar sandstone seven bays wide, its storey heights are defined by plain and moulded stringcourses. Through the gateway is a paved court surrounded by the more utilitarian offices of the house. Three of the walls here are finished with rubble stonework with brick trimmed openings, that next the main house has a smooth rendered and painted finish. In the courtyard are outside steps leading to a basement which extends under one third of the main part of the house, and semi-circular depressions to basement windows. See HB02/11/002B to K for recorded items within estate grounds. Former road bridge and Drumachose church ruins listed separately.

Architects


Lanyon, Charles

Historical Information


The property of Drenagh formerly known as Fruithill was inherited by a Col. Robert McCausland agent of William Conolly d. 1729 who purchased the estate from the Phillip’s family. Conolly, one time Speaker of the Irish Parliament acquired his riches buying and selling estates. McCausland erected the first house several hundred yards south east of the present edifice overlooking the Glen Plantation c 1730s which house was extended in 1796 and though described in Ordnance Survey Memoirs “as good and commodious” it was also considered old-fashioned. Nevertheless it had a fine demesne with well laid out walks and plantations and the walled garden of that period (HB02/11/002D) is still retained along with one barn and a gardener’s house (HB02/11/002C). The house had a different avenue approach from the old Coleraine Road (now Dowland Road) and this can still be discerned from the early maps. Before the old house was abandoned a new avenue approach was made to the house from the new Coleraine Road (now Broad Road). This avenue followed a more romantic route adhering to the Robinsonian approach to gardening and landscape. At this time c 1830 W Hargrave was commissioned to consider designs for a new house which was three storey with canted bays. However before these could materialise into buildings both McCausland and Hargrave died and the present gate lodge known as Logan’s Lodge or the east lodge (HB02/11/002G) c 1830 is all that was built of Hargrave’s designs. Next heir commissioned Charles Lanyon, who arrived in Co Antrim as surveyor in 1836, to prepare designs for house, offices and outhouses and these appear to have reached fruition c 1840. At the same time the west avenue approach was changed and the west lodge (HB02/11/002H built to Lanyon’s plans. Pleasant gardens were extended in the Glen with viewing platform having impressive niche and fountain below and beyond pool and parterre (now much overgrown)(HB02/11/002E). Nothing remains of the former house. References: The making of Modern Ireland 1603-1923; J C Beckett Ordnance Survey Memoirs Vol. 9 Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary 1857 UAHS Buildings of North Derry by Girvan Gate lodges of Ulster J A K Dean Guide to Irish Country Houses M Bench-Jones UAHS Northern Gardens Ordnance Survey Sheets 1830, 1860, 1900

Criteria for Listing


Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form E. Spatial Organisation I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

V. Historical Association/Authorship W. National/International Interest



Evaluation


An imposing large Victorian country house built in a classical manner with restrained Georgian taste externally and fine decorative and architectural detailing internally. First country house commission of the eminent architect Charles Lanyon 1812-89. The house enjoys a handsome setting in a good landscaped demesne.

General Comments




Date of Survey


Tuesday, November 11, 1997