Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB23/07/001 B

Extent of Listing:
Visitors Centre

Date of Construction:
1840 - 1859

Address :
Local Heritage and Visitor's Centre Bangor Castle Castle Park Avenue Bangor Co Down BT20 4BN


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Recreational Club

Former Use
Stable yard

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J5046 8114

Owner Category

Local Govt

Exterior Description And Setting

A split-level (one- and two-storey) Jacobethan style former courtyard stable block dated 1852; erected in conjunction with the adjoining Bangor Castle (HB23/07/001A). Architect disputed with attribution made to both William Burn and Antony Salvin. Located north of Castle Park, at the end of Castle Park Avenue, off Abbey Road in the centre of Bangor. Natural slate pitched roof with clay ridge tiles and lead valleys. Cast-iron rainwater goods; semi-circular guttering and circular downpipes. Large stone square and octagonal, singular and clustered chimneys-stacks. Ashlar sandstone walling with moulded corbel table and detailing. External windows; 6/6 and 4/4 timber sliding sash arranged as single, bipartite and tripartite transomed and mullioned; chamfered surrounds with label mould and stops. Windows facing courtyard; chamfered surrounds with stone cills and voussoired flat arch. Replacement timber sheeted Tudor arched doors with chamfered sandstone surrounds. The principal elevation faces south and is asymmetrically arranged. Single-storey gable end to right hand side with square chimneys rising from gable apex. Louvered square-headed openings located centrally in gable head. Square-headed sheeted timber door with fixed light over located left of gable in existing wall, now acting as entrance to modern section of visitor centre. 1 ½ storey section to left hand side with Tudor-arched gated coach entrance with gabled upper floor projecting over stone corbel brackets with stone detailing over. The west elevation is asymmetrically arranged and comprises two gable ends flanking a single storey courtyard wall, now acting as external wall to modern restaurant infill. On the right; double height three-stage castellated octagonal tower embracing the south-west corner; arrowloop openings on alternating facets with moulded string courses. Adjoining left of tower is a symmetrical two-story gable end with three-stage lateral buttress centrally located; flanked by tall arrowloop windows to ground floor with sliding sash to first floor; smaller arrowloop centrally located within apex; moulded gable rising to poppy finial over apex stone; diagonal buttress to left hand side. Single-storey wall; five two-stage lateral buttresses; central two-bays stepped up; moulded coping over. On left hand side is 2 ½-storey gable-ended projecting block; the south face is abutted by the courtyard wall and comprises Tudor-arched door to ground floor with two windows to first floor. The west gable face is symmetrical; flanked by three-stage diagonal buttresses; tripartite window to ground floor; bipartite to second floor and single window to attic level with small arrowloop located in gable head. The north face is abutted by adjoining building HB23/07/001A. The north elevation is abutted by adjoining building HB23/07/001A. The east elevation comprises the side of a long single-storey block with intermittent piers with a cluster of three squared chimneys braking through eaves level, right of centre. The courtyard, now landscaped, is enclosed on all sides by single and two-storey buildings with varying window and door sizes throughout; partially infilled by a double height modern restaurant. The block addressing the north facade of the courtyard forms part of the accommodation of the adjoining building HB23/07/001A. Abutting single-storey historic accommodation located to the east side of the court-yard. Setting Abutting the Castle(HB23/07/001A) to the north. Wooded landscape of Castle Park located to the south and west. Car park located to the east with Bangor Leisure Centre and Bangor Academy beyond. Roofing: Natural slate Walling: Sandstone Windows: Timber RWG: Cast-iron


Salvin, A Burn, W.

Historical Information

The current building is not separately identified in valuation records. However castle and outbuildings are first shown on the second edition OS map of 1858 and appears, with few changes, through subsequent editions. ‘Bangor Castle’ is listed in Griffith’s Valuation (1856-64) as a ‘house, offices, steward’s-house, gate-lodges and land’ valued at £230 and owned in fee by Robert E Ward. By the first Annual Revision of 1866 the steward’s house has been removed from the description and the entire property is valued at £200. (Annual Revisions, Patton, p.33-5) A house belonging to the Ward family or their antecedents, the Hamilton's, has occupied the site since at least 1611, when Sir James Hamilton was first granted lands in Bangor. This first mansion appeared on Raven’s map of 1625 and subsequently underwent several phases of rebuilding and remodelling culminating in a late eighteenth century gothic ‘castle’ which is depicted in at least two paintings dating from the 1830s. The first edition OS map of 1833 shows this substantial building captioned ‘Bangor Castle’ which is listed in the Townland Valuation (1828-40) at £54 and owned by Colonel Ward. Following the death of Colonel Ward in 1837, his son Robert Edward Ward demolished the old castle, some accounts stating that he disliked it and others that the castle had been destroyed by fire. According to Patton, there is some uncertainty surrounding the architect or architects responsible for the current building. A foundation stone of 1848 names William Burn who was credited with the designs in his obituary. However, Anthony Salvin is also credited in his obituary with a ‘new house or substantial alteration’ for Robert Edward Ward. It also appears that William Walker, an architect of Monaghan, was consulted by Ward and produced some plans, but these were never executed. There is a visible difference in style, with regard to the stonework and detailing, between the main castle and the stable block and it may be that both Burn and Salvin had a hand in the design of the building with Burn perhaps designing the main house and Salvin the stable block. The obituaries of both men state that the cost of the building was £9,000. Several photographs have survived depicting the castle with chimney stacks intact and the interior as it appeared when inhabited as a private mansion. (Wilson, p.46-8) Patton states that the first floor consisted of bedrooms each with a tin bath painted in a colour to match the hangings and the basement of kitchens and servants’ quarters. Children’s accommodation was in the attic. (Patton, p.46) In Robert E Ward’s census return of 1901 he records himself as ‘landlord’ and the return shows that he was then, at the age of 82, presiding over a very substantial household. His son-in-law Lord Clanmorris was present, as were three of his ten grandchildren, their rank described as ‘honourable’. The staff of sixteen comprised a groom, two nursemaids, a housekeeper, five housemaids, a cook, two laundresses, a butler, two footmen and another male domestic servant. The majority of the staff were of English or Scottish extraction. (1901 census) There are few changes in Annual Revisions, but the property passed to Baroness Clanmorris in 1908 on the death of Robert Ward, Lord Clanmorris having married Ward’s daughter in 1878. (Annual Revisions, Patton, p.33-5) This is also confirmed by the 1911 census as it is now the home of Lord and Lady Clanmorris. The Clanmorris children were all away from home at the time of the census, the youngest of them perhaps still at school. Again, a substantial staff of thirteen was employed at the house, a noteworthy addition being the chauffeur who was employed in addition to a groom. By now the majority of staff employed were of local or southern Irish birth, apart from the butler and the housekeeper who were both English. The Clanmorrises employed laundresses, housemaids, a cook, a kitchen maid, a lady’s maid and an ‘odd man’ in addition. (1911 census) The arms of both the Ward and the Clanmorris families appear in the castle stonework. The porch bears a plaque reading, ‘Erected by Robert Ward 1852’ and Ward’s monogram also appears on rainwater hoppers. When Baroness Clanmorris died in 1941, much of the castle grounds were sold to Bangor Council and the demesne wall was taken down. In 1952 the castle became Bangor Town Hall and it is subsequent to this that most of the chimney-stacks were removed. The large saloon where Ward held music recitals is now the Council chamber, the organ having been sold off. Stained glass windows in the chamber include depictions of Edward III from whom the Wards claimed descent. (Patton, p.37, Brett, p.123, Information leaflet) At the time Brett was writing in 2002, the castle was undergoing an extensive programme of stonework restoration. (Brett, p.122) The Visitors’ Centre, which was opened in 1984, is housed in the former stable, laundry and service courtyard of Bangor Castle. Architects McAdam Design have adapted parts of the former stable yard and the laundry to the east of it to serve as the new centre and have infilled the stable yard with a large modern extension housing the restaurant. (Patton, p.36) References: Primary Sources 1.PRONI OS/6/3/2/1 – First Edition OS Map 1833 2.PRONI OS/6/3/2/2 – Second Edition OS map 1858 3.PRONI OS/6/3/2/3 – Third Edition OS Map 1901 4.PRONI OS/6/3/2/4 – Fourth Edition OS Map 1919-26 5.PRONI OS/6/3/2/5 – Fifth Edition OS Map 1939 6.PRONI VAL/1/A/3/2 – Townland Valuation Map (1828-40) 7.PRONI VAL/1/B/31 – Townland Valuation (1828-40) 8.PRONI VAL/12/B/23/7A-K – Annual Revisions (1866-99) 9.PRONI VAL/12/B/23/9A-S – Annual Revisions (1900-1930) 10.PRONI VAL/12/E/129/1 – Annual Revisions Town Plans (c.1864-1899) 11.PRONI VAL/12/E/129/2 – Annual Revisions Town Plans (1898-c.1916) 12.Griffith’s Valuation online 13.1901 census online 14.1911 census online Secondary Sources 1.Brett, C.E.B. “Buildings of North County Down” Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 2002 2.“The Town Hall Bangor Castle” Information leaflet (2006) 3.Patton, M, “Bangor, An Historical Gazetteer” Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 1999 4.Wilson, I “Bangor, Historic Photographs of the County Down town” Belfast: Friar’s Bush Press, 1992

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

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

Historic Interest

V. Authorship W. Northern Ireland/International Interest


A one- and two-storey former courtyard stable block dated 1852; erected in conjunction with the adjoining Jacobethan style Bangor Castle (HB23/07/001A) the former residence of Robert Edward Ward. Architect disputed with attribution made to both William Burn (who also designed Castlewellan Castle (HB18/12/001)) and Antony Salvin, although William Burn may have designed the main house and Antony Salvin the stable yard. Although the buildings have undergone adaptation including modern additions to the entrance and restaurant area, historic character has survived in the quality of materials and style. It has group value with the adjoining Bangor Castle (HB23/07/001A) and gate lodge(HB23/07/001C). It is also of national importance as the former stable yard of one of the finest Victorian residences in Northern Ireland designed by prominent architects for the Ward family and later occupied by the Clanmorris family.

General Comments

Date of Survey

Wednesday, September 08, 2010