Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Mausoleum & railing

Date of Construction:
1840 - 1859

Address :
Cleland Mausoleum St. Elizabeth Parish Church of Ireland Church Green Dundonald County Down

Church Quarter

Survey 2:

Date of Listing:

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J4183 7394

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

Free-standing neo-classical stone mausoleum, dated 1842. Square on plan and positioned to the northwest of the graveyard of the former Dundonald parish church (HB25/05/003), and to the south of Upper Newtownards Road. Square plan, Greek Doric pedimented structure with four equal sides on stepped granite base. Futed engaged Doric columns to each corner and V-jointed granite ashlar walls, surmounted by palmettes to the acroteria of each pediment and blocking course above. Four pedestals, supporting urns with swags, frame a drum base and domed tempietto. The tempietto includies six Ionic columns supporting entablature and dome while housing a sarcophagus. The south face includines a plaque stating; 'CLELAND MAUSOLEUM 1842'. The mausoleum is surrounded by fine scat iron railings. Setting: Positioned to the northwest of the graveyard to the former Dundonald parish church (HB25/05/003, to the south of Upper Newtownards Road. Roof Granite ashlar Walling Granite ashlar RWG N/A Windows N/A


Not Known

Historical Information

The mausoleum commemorates the death of Samuel Cleland in 1842 and is situated within the churchyard of St Elizabeth’s in Dundonald. The church occupies an ancient site dating back to the 1306 taxation, the present churches dating from 1771 and 1966. (Clergy of Down and Dromore) Associated with the site is a motte/castle that was attacked by King John in 1210. The Irish Pipe Roll of 1211/12 records that a new bridge, grange and pig-sty were constructed near the castle. However, by 1333 the castle was in ruins and no traces remain. (Archaeological Survey of County Down) The ‘Monument’ is first shown, captioned, on the second edition OS map of 1858. On subsequent editions the caption is ‘Mausoleum’. Curl has described the present structure as, “One of the largest mausolea in Ulster and one that commands a specatacular site...The combination of church, tower, mausoleum and vast motte is an unforgettably dramatic composition.” (Curl) The Cleland family of Stormont were local landowners and the main benefactors of the parish in the nineteenth century, owning the land on which the church is built. John Cleland (1755-1834) was the son of a gentleman and was employed as a tutor by Robert Stewart who was later to become Viscount Castlereagh and the Marquess of Londonderry. Cleland’s fortunes rose with his patron’s and he was ordained into the established church and then became agent for the Stewart estates. It was in this capacity and as a magistrate that he became ‘one of the most hated men in County Down’ and an attempt was made on his life in 1796. In 1797/8 he was able to fatally weaken the United Irish organisation by persuading one of their number to identify others, at least one of whom was hanged. Cleland accumulated great wealth from his land agencies and from sinecures in the established church, and married Esther Jackson, heir to Mount Pleasant in 1805. The couple improved the house and c1830 changed its name to Stormount (later Stormont). Their son Samuel Jackson Cleland (1808-42) and his son John Cleland (1836-93) continued the improvements and it was John Cleland who built in the 1850s the castle that is now the seat of Northern Ireland government. (Brett; Dictionary of Irish Biography) Samuel Cleland was killed by falling masonry while demolishing ‘with his own hands the house formerly occupied by his head groom, who had been caught defrauding him’ (Brett). This incident is not referred to, however, in a contemporary newspaper account, where the death is attributed to Cleland giving directions to some workmen about the removal of an old building. Cleland is described as an ‘estimable resident landlord’. “He kept the best pack of hounds and horses in the kingdom, hunting being his favourite amusement in the season when work and improvements were necessarily suspended; and after partaking of the amusements of the chase, his hospitable hall was thrown open to his numerous friends and guests to likewise partake of his princely munificence. In this way he spent his time and fortune at home, absenteeism having no seductive charms for him...[On] Monday the 23rd...at a very early hour the crowd began to assemble, and the lawn and grounds of Stormont were filled with crowds of tenantry and labourers; soon after, the road leading from Belfast was perceived to be one immense cavalcade of gentry and people of every grade from that town – the whole, when assembled formed the greatest funeral procession ever witnessed in the north of Ireland, all creeds and parties vying with each other to pay the last spontaneous tribute of respect to departed worth.” (The Morning Post) Samuel’s 25-year-old widow, who expended the vast sum of £2000 on the mausoleum, is said to have built it high so it could be seen from her house at Stormont. (Brett) References: Primary Sources 1.PRONI OS/6/3/5/1 – First Edition OS Map 1834 2.PRONI OS/6/3/5/2 – Second Edition OS map 1858 3.PRONI OS/6/3/5/3 – Third Edition OS Map 1901-2 4.PRONI OS/6/3/5/4 – Fourth Edition OS Map 1919-20 5.PRONI OS/6/3/5/5 – Fifth Edition OS Map 1938-9 6.The Morning Post, 28th May 1842 Secondary Sources 1.Brett, C.E.B. “Buildings of North County Down” Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 2002 2.Curl, J “Mausolea in Ulster” Belfast: Ulster Achitectural Heritage Society, 1978 3.McGuire, J and Quinn, J, eds “Dictionary of Irish Biography” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and Royal Irish Academy, 2009 4.Ministry of Finance, Government of Northern Ireland “An Archaeological Survey of County Down” Belfast: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1966 5.Rankin, F., Leslie, Canon, J.B., Swanzy, Dean H.B. “Clergy of Down and Dromore” Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation, 1996

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

Z. Rarity V. Authorship X. Local Interest


Large neo-classical stone mausoleum, dated 1842 complete with fine set of cast iron railings. Positioned to the northwest of the graveyard to the former Dundonald Parish church (HB25/05/003) on the south of Upper Newtownards Road. A remarkable mausoleum executed in an academic Greek Doric style and occupying a prominent site. The craftsmanship is of the highest quality. It has group value with the former rectory (HB25.05.001) where Andrew Cleland the rector of Dundonald Church of Ireland lived.

General Comments

Additional Listing criteria that apply: R - Age; S - Authenticity; T - Historic Importance; U - Historic Associations

Date of Survey

Wednesday, March 30, 2011