Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Temple and service passage.

Date of Construction:
1780 - 1799

Address :
The Temple of the Winds Mount Stewart Newtownards Co. Down BT22 2RU

Mount Stewart

Survey 2:

Date of Listing:

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Estate Related Structures

Former Use
Estate Related Structures

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J5586 6913

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

Octagonal, two storey hipped banqueting house of c.1782-5 by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, based directly on the 1st century BC Tower of the Winds in Athens, a design made popular in the British Isles by Stuart through the publication of his Antiquities of Athens in 1762. The building is set on a promontory to the east of Mount Stewart house, affording commanding views over Strangford Lough. The main roof is pitched and has a central octagonal chimney. Both the main roof and that to the stair projection are slated. The building is octagonal and constructed in fine Scrabo sandstone. To the SE and SW faces are porticoes with entablature with dentilled cornice supported on two fluted Corinthian columns with respondent pilasters without bases, but with leaf capitals. Over the porticoes are balustrades which enclose small balconies. To the N face is a three-quarter-round stair projection which is slightly shorter than the main building and has a domed roof. Each face of the main section of the Temple has a sash window, with Georgian panes, to the ground and first floors. The portico entrances are filled with similar window frames. There are pediments to the windows above the porticoes, but the rest of the windows have narrow plain surrounds. At the base of the stair tower there are three openings with that to the E filled with a timber panelled double door and windows (as before) in those to the N and W. To the corresponding positions on the upper level are windows as before. There is a string course between the floors, an eaves cornice and the whole building rests on a stepped base. There is a basement level which can be glimpsed via light wells set into the stepped base above each of the basement windows. The basement is accessed via a subterranean passage the entrance to which is a few metres to the N.


Stuart, James 'Athenian'

Historical Information

The Temple of the winds is based on the Tower of the Winds, a Classical Greek building of the 1st century BC. It is the work of James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, one of the pioneers of neo-classical architecture in Europe. Stuart rose to fame through the publication of 'Antiquities of Athens', the earliest accurate survey of Classical Greek buildings which he wrote with Nicholas Revett and the first volume of which appeared in 1762. As an architect, Stuart was never prolific and probably only came to the attention of the then owner of Mount Stewart, Robert Stewart, through either James Gandon or through Robert’s brother in law, Lord Camden. From Robert’s account book for this period [PRONI] we know that Stuart was paid £54 3s 4d in June 1783 for the ‘Temple of the Winds for cost of the plan & designs for furnishing it’. The accounts also reveal that the chief masons were David McBlain and Michael Campbell, the carpenter, John Campbell, the plasterer William Fitzgerald, and that a chimney piece was sent from London and ‘orniments executed at Birmingham’ were also acquired. The Temple was given to the National Trust by Lady Mairi Bury in 1962 and was extensively restored soon afterwards with both main rooms redecorated. Further restoration wok was carried out on the building in 1994. For more historical information on the Mount Stewart estate and the Londonderrys see ref. HB24/04/052. References- Primary sources 1 PRONI D.654/H1/1 Londonderry Papers Robert Stewart’s account book 1781-89 2 W. Wilson 'The post-chaise companion or traveller’s directory through Ireland' (Dublin, 1786), pp.16, 488 3 A. Atkinson 'Ireland exhibited to England', Vol.I, (London, 1823), pp.222-229 4 'Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol.7: Parishes of County Down II', ed. Angelique Day and Patrick McWilliams (QUB 1991), pp.69-70 [1834] 5 PRONI OS/6/3/11/1 OS maps, Down 11, 1834 6 PRONI VAL/1B/33 First valuation, Greyabbey, c.1834-38 7 Samuel Lewis 'A topographical dictionary of Ireland' (1837) 8 Mr. & Mrs. S.C. Hall 'Ireland its scenery and character' (London, 1843), pp.14-15 9 PRONI 'Parliamentary gazetteer of Ireland' Vol.2 (1844-45) 10 J.B. Doyle 'A tour in Ireland' (Dublin, 1854), p.91 11 Durham County Record Office D/Lo/C/543. [This collection contains letters dating between July 1854 and March 1855 from the 4th Marquis to his step-mother Frances Vane-Tempest, in which he describes the poor state he found Mount Stewart upon his inheritance of the property in 1854.] References- Primary sources 12 PRONI VAL/2B/3/4 Second valuation, Greyabbey, c.1859 13 PRONI OS/6/3/11/2 OS maps, Down 11, 1860 14 PRONI VAL/12B/23/16a-f Annual valuation revision books, Greyabbey, 1866-1930 Secondary sources 1 G.C. Taylor, "Mount Stewart County Down I & II" in 'Country Life', Vol.LXXVIII, No.2020, 5 & 12 October 1935 2 'Archaeological Survey of County Down' (Belfast, 1966), pp.376-77 3 PRONI D.3084/C The H. Montgomery Hyde Papers 4 Grease Jackson-Stops, ‘Mount Stewart Co. Down Parts 1 & 2’ in 'Country Life', 6 & 13 March 1980 5 H. Montgomery Hyde, 'The Londonderrys' (London, 1979) 7 'Mount Stewart' (National Trust, 1986) 8 Anne Casement, 'Mount Stewart landscape study' (National Trust Northern Ireland Region, 1995). 9 Sir Banister Fletcher (ed. John Musgrave) 'A History of Architecture' [19th ed.] (London 1987), pp.144-45

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

V. Authorship X. Local Interest W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Z. Rarity


Octagonal, two storey hipped 'banqueting house' of c.1782-5 by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, based directly on the 1st century BC Tower of the Winds in Athens, a design made popular in the British Isles by Stuart through the publication of his Antiquities of Athens in 1762. This building is aesthetically the most important and the most beautiful structure within the Mount Stewart estate, surpassing even the house itself. In terms of design, authorship and the quality of its interior it is also one of the most important single pieces of architecture within Northern Ireland.

General Comments

Date of Survey

Monday, November 17, 1997