Historic Building Details


HB Ref No:
HB24/04/028


Extent of Listing:
House and decorative ballustrades and walls to the front and rear.


Date of Construction:
1840 - 1859


Address :
Ballywalter Park House & garden walling Ballywalter Park Springvale Ballywalter Newtownards Co. Down BT22 2PP


Townland:
Springvale






Survey 2:
A

Date of Listing:
12/20/1976

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:
150/13

IG Ref:
J6237 6899





Owner Category


Private

Exterior Description And Setting


Large, three storey, hipped roof Italianate mansion with single storey side wings and port cochere, which took its present form in the late 1840s when Charles Lanyon remodelled and extended an earlier house of early 18th century origin itself remodelled in c.1803. The house is roughly rectangular in plan and consists of a central three storey block with large single storey wings to north and south, with two later wings to the far north side including a three storey (partly) service wing set within a low level yard. The house is almost entirely finished with painted render with a mixture of plain and vermiculated chamfered quoins. The property is set within a large estate less than one mile south of Ballywalter. The central block is covered with a Bangor blue slated hipped roof and there are tall rendered, panelled and bracketed chimney stacks with decorative cream clay pots. The roof overhangs and is supported on a decorative modillion cornice. The main central block of the house consists of three storeys. In the centre of the ground level front (E) elevation of this main central block is a large port cochere with flat roof, twinned Doric columns, vermiculated corner piers and ornate parapet. Within this is the timber panelled double entrance door, encased with panelled pilasters, plain entablature and pediment on console brackets. To either side are stucco balustrades matching the parapet of the port cochere and enclosing a narrow area at the front of the house. The windows to the E and W facades of the block are all sash, with Georgian panes, with tripartite sash windows to both far right and far left on the ground and first floor of the E elevation. All of the ground and first floor windows on both E and W facades have decorative surrounds including cornices on console brackets. There are cill courses to all windows and panelled aprons below those to the first floor, on both E and W elevations of this block. On the exposed second floor section of the S facade of the block there are four small sash windows, with simple surrounds, as second floor front. The exposed N elevation has a similar window at each end with the central portion broken by a large greenhouse-like glazed section which stretches from the pitch of the roof. This glazed section covers a glass dome which lights the main stairwell. Attached to the N and S sides of the large central block are single storey wings, each with a hipped roof largely hidden behind a decorative balustrade. The E elevation of both wings contains a single tripartite sash window, with Georgian panes. These windows are heavily decorated with Corinthian pilasters at each side and Corinthian columns in front of the mullions, all supporting a plain entablature and pediment with modillions. Both windows rest on a cill course and have plain aprons. A decorative balustrade continues at ground level from the central port cochere around the front of the E facades of both wings. The W facade of each wing consists of a curved bay each with three sash windows (with panes as before) with simple panelled surround, entablature and modillioned pediment on console brackets. Cill course with brackets to windows. The S elevation of the S wing has five similar windows, but with a cornice to each rather than a pediment. The middle ‘window’ actually doubles as a doorway and is encased with Corinthian pilasters with entablature, cornice and blocking course. To the N side of the N wing the ground level drops substantially to reveal that this wing actually has three levels with various sash windows, much as before, but with no surrounds. Attached to the E side of this wing (and set at a right angle to it) is a long three storey wing, which is later than the rest of the house (c.1902 to designs by W.J. Fennell) and much plainer. Its E facade has two storeys, sash windows with simple surrounds, and is rendered but unpainted (unlike the rest of the house). The W rear facade is largely informal and has a large recessed section. This wing was originally twice the length it is now but its northern half was demolished in the early 1960s, due to its poor condition. As a result the remainder of the wing now has a plain gable end to the N with a small lean to section at ground level. To the W of this wing (attached to the W side of the W wing of the main house) is an ‘L’ shaped section, added largely in c.1863. The S section of this ‘L’ shape (which houses a billiard room) is two storey to the N and E but single storey when viewed at the higher ground level to the W and S. The W facade of this S section is sandstone built and has a series of Corinthian pilasters to the sides of a series of arched recesses, with sash windows (with Georgian panes) in three of the arches. This section is topped with a decorative balustrade and is largely flat roofed, with a central raised skylight section. The N section of the ‘L’ is an ornate sandstone built conservatory with a semicircular projection in the centre of the S elevation, topped with a glazed ogee dome. The entire S elevation, as well as that to the W, is glazed with sash windows, between which are Corinthian pilasters. This section is also capped with an decorative balustrade, but with a hipped glazed roof.. To the rear (N and E sides) of the intersection of the ‘L’ shaped section is a two storey hipped roof section, with an oriel window to the N, added c.1902. The upper floor of this section (which is level with the billiard room and the conservatory), was built as a smoking room, serving also as an internal link to the conservatory. There is a decorative unpainted stucco balustrade around the forecourt of the house and a similar balustrade enclosing a small area to the rear. To the N of the house is a long high rubble wall which encloses the stable yard. To the NW of this is another long high brick wall, which encloses a large garden with green houses.

Architects


Lanyon, Charles Fennell, William J

Historical Information


Ballywalter Park is built around an earlier dwelling called Springvale House. Springvale House, which was itself originally known as Ballymagowan and may have been of late seventeenth century origin, was acquired by a naval captain named George Matthews in 1729. By 1744, Matthews had (according to Walter Harris), ‘improved and rebuilt’ the property, and by in c.1803 the house was once again renovated, re-styled (and perhaps extended) by his son, George Matthews. The 1834 OS map, the 1836 Valuation records and the OS Memoirs, give us some indication of Springvale’s appearance, a south facing, largely square, two storey Georgian house with semi-basement, end bays to the front and small projecting bays at the rear. George Matthews died in 1839, leaving a complicated and disputed will which was eventually placed in the hands of the Court of Chancery who decided in 1843 that the entire estate should be sold. Three years later the house, park and all the Ballywalter interests of the estate were bought by Andrew Mulholland of Belfast for £23,500. Mulholland was a younger son of John Mulholland, a Belfast textile dealer of humble origins, who upon his death in 1820 bequeathed to his children a thriving cotton business. Due to the accidental burning down of their York Street Mill in 1828, the elder of the brothers, John and William, decided to recommence trading as linen manufacturers, a decision which was to prove the making of the family’s fortune. Upon the death of John in 1830, and the subsequent migration of William to Jamaica to pursue further commercial interests, Andrew and the youngest brother, St. Clair Kelburn, took over the family business. Over the next fifteen years Andrew rose to become one of Belfast’s leading businessmen and Lord Mayor of the town in 1845. Upon acquiring Springvale the following year, he commissioned his fellow town councillor, and architect of growing repute, Charles Lanyon, to completely remodel the house. Between 1846 and c.1852 the old Springvale House was transformed into Ballywalter Park. Lanyon took the existing south facing square structure, added wings to the north and south, placing the new entrance, with port cochere, on the remodelled east facade. Somewhat influenced by the designs of Sir Charles Barry, Lanyon gave the ‘new’ house a distinct Italianate look with decorative balustrades, modillions to the main roof, cornices and pediments to many of the larger windows, and a liberal sprinkling of Doric and Corinthian columns and pilasters. The interior followed on this theme with the large central hall or saloon, reminiscent of the interior Barry’s Reform Club in London. Elsewhere within the park, which Mulholland had largely landscaped and wooded, Lanyon added two gate lodges and at least two ornamental garden bridges, and, in 1863, was given a further commission to add a billiard room and conservatory to the north east corner of the house itself. Andrew Mulholland died in 1866 and Ballywalter Park passed into the hands of his son, John, who was raised to the peerage as Baron Dunleath in 1892. John’s interests lay mainly outside the fields of architecture, though he was responsible creating the house’s magnificent library interior as well as stocking it. The last major addition to the building was the so called ‘cricket’ wing, which was built to designs by W.J. Fennell, in 1902. This, as its name suggests, was constructed to house visiting cricket teams, cricket being a particular passion of Henry, 2nd Lord Dunleath. By the early 1960s, however, this wing had outlived its usefulness and had partly fallen into disrepair, all of which prompted the 4th Lord Dunleath to demolish a large section to the north in c.1963. In the 1970s, the 4th Lord also set about restoring much of the house, a task made all the more difficult by a fire in the north east portion in 1975. Today much of the damage caused by the fire has been repaired and rooms restored, and although work has still to be carried out to the billiard and smoke rooms, this magnificent mansion stands largely as it did in the mid 1800s. References- Primary sources 1 PRONI OS/6/3/12/1 OS maps, Down 12, 1834 2 PRONI VAL/1B/39 First valuation, Ballywalter, c.1834-38 3 PRONI VAL/2B/3/9 Second valuation, Ballywalter, c.1859 4 PRONI OS/6/3/12/2 OS maps, Down 12, 1860 5 PRONI VAL/12B/23/6a-f Annual valuation revision books, Ballywalter, 1866-1929 6 PRONI VAL/12E/84/1 Valuation plan, Ballywalter, 1902-35 Secondary sources 1 Lord Dunleath et al, 'Ballywalter Park' (Belfast, UAHS 1985) 2 Alistair Rowan, "Ballywalter Park, Co. Down- I, II" in 'Country Life', vol.CXLI, No.3652, 2nd March 1967, pp.456-60: No.3653, 9th March 1967, pp.516-20 3 J.A.K. Dean, 'The Gate lodges of Ulster- a gazetteer', (Belfast, 1994), pp.11, 23, 63, 74. 4 Derek Patton, "The Village of Ballywalter- A brief history" in 'Journal of the Upper Ards Historical Society No.14' (1990), pp.10-15 5 A.J. Hughes and R.J. Hannan, 'Place-Names of Northern Ireland Vol. Two, County Down II- The Ards', (QUB, 1992), pp.71-73

Criteria for Listing


Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form E. Spatial Organisation H+. Alterations enhancing the building I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

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



Evaluation


Large, three storey, hipped roof Italianate mansion with single storey side wings and port cochere, which took its present form in the late 1840s when Charles Lanyon remodelled and extended an earlier house of early 18th century origin itself remodelled in c.1803. The house is roughly rectangular in plan and consists of a central three storey block with large single storey wings to north and south, with two later wings to the far north side including a three storey (partly) service wing set within a low level yard. The house is almost entirely finished with painted render with a mixture of plain and vermiculated chamfered quoins.

General Comments




Date of Survey


Tuesday, November 11, 1997