Historic Building Details


HB Ref No:
HB03/12/028


Extent of Listing:
House and boundary walling


Date of Construction:
1650 - 1699


Address :
Liffock House (a.k.a Hezlett House) Liffock Coleraine Co Londonderry BT51 4TW


Townland:
Liffock






Survey 2:
A

Date of Listing:
5/25/1976

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Gallery/ Museum

Former Use
Thatched House

Conservation Area:
No

Industrial Archaeology:
No

Vernacular:
Yes

Thatched:
Yes

Monument:
No

Derelict:
No




OS Map No:
12/6

IG Ref:
C7722 3489





Owner Category


Heritage

Exterior Description And Setting


The house is located behind a low stone wall, and lawn facing east across the road that leads northwards from Liffock Cross Roads to Castlerock on the way from Coleraine to Limavady by the coastal route about 5 miles from the former town. The one and a half storey building is thatched between parapet gables. The eaves exhibit a slight rise to accommodate the fanlight over the main entrance and three rows of scollops are exposed at the ridge. Each gable rises to a chimneystack and there are three further stacks on the ridgeline, all with corbelled tops and with an applied finish to match the roughcast of the house. The front elevation is pierced by eight openings. Starting from the left (south) corner the succession is as follows: - A 6/6 vertically sliding sashed window, a timber double diagonally sheeted door with three pane fanlight, a 6/6 vertically sliding sashed window, a tripartite 2/2, 6/6,2/2 vertically sliding sashed window, a tripartite 2/2, 6/6, 2/2 vertically sliding sashed window, a timber double diagonally sheeted door with radial fanlight below the raising of the eaves, a tripartite 2/2, 6/6, 2/2 vertically sliding sashed window and a 6/6 sashed window. At the upper level the south gable has a 2/2 vertically sliding window with sashes divided into two vertically. There is a 2x2 top hung window at upper level in the north gable, without a sill, and with a 6/6 vertically sliding widow lighting the ground floor. Starting from the right (south) at the rear there is a small vertically sliding window with sashes divided into two vertically. The elevation is then interrupted by an enclosed garden area from which may be seen the fenestration of the rear of the house, reading from the right (south) consisting of a 3/6 vertically sliding window, followed by a pair of plain sashed windows and then a 3x3 casement. A second enclosed area forms a yard into which the window of the house faces. This has single vertical division of the sashes. The windows that light the house are provided with curved sash stops and sills are of traditional depths.

Architects


Not Known

Historical Information


This house is believed to have been built either as a clergyman’s residence, or converted from an earlier farmhouse for that purpose. Dendrochronology tests carried out by QUB have dated the felling of the roof timbers to around 1690. The property served as the rectory for the Archdeacon of Derry, Rev. Roger Fford, from 1693 to 1719 and for four of his successors up until 1761. After this it was purchased by a local farmer, Isaac Hezlett, whose descendants remained there for over two centuries. The property was acquired by the National Trust in 1976. When originally built, the house consisted of the gable walls enclosing five cruck trusses, forming a structure of six bays. The spaces between the crucks are infilled with rubble stone construction and a core of sand and earth. The walls exhibit a batter with the bases wider than the tops. Following the marriage of (another) Isaac Hezlett to Jane Swan of Bannbrook House in 1823, an addition was made to the south end of the house, in order to accommodate Isaac’s mother and sisters. The Georgian style windows and the fanlight over the main entrance may date from this time also. The walls of the addition are not as thick as the original structure. Although the building is noted in the first valuation of c.1833 and that of 1856, no dimensions are supplied by either, nor, unusually, do the valuers give any indication of the property’s (considerable) age. The spaces between the crucks that form the skeleton of the building are infilled with rubble stone construction and with a core of earth and sand. The walls exhibit a batter with the bases wider than the tops. The thickness of the walls of the addition at the south end is reduced. The Georgian style windows lighting the southern part of the house and the fanlight over the main entrance are later insertions probably dating from early 19th century. The fenestration of the northern part has had similar glazing patterns inserted in recent times. A scheme was carried out in 1982-83 which included restoration of the oak cruck trusses, repairs to chimneys and re-thatching (by Gerry Agnew). In the course of these works it was discovered that no thatch had ever been removed at any point in the building’s 300 year history; a fresh layer was simply added when it was considered necessary. As a result, at one end of the house the thatch reached a depth of seven feet. It was calculated that the crucks had been bearing the weight of some 40 tonnes. After a fire in 1987 further restoration was required, and although as much of the remaining structure was re-used, some replication was required. The building was re-thatched in 2000. References- Primary sources 1 PRONI VAL/1A/5/2 OS map, County Londonderry sheet 2, with valuation
references, (1831 / 32-c.38) 2 PRONI VAL/1B/55A-B First valuation, Dunboe, (c.1833) 3 PRONI VAL/2A/5/2 Revised OS map, County Londonderry sheet 5, with valuation references, (1856 / 57) 4 PRONI VAL/2B/5/5A Second valuation, Dunboe, (1856) Secondary sources 1 McCourt, Desmond, and Evans, David, “A seventeenth-century farmhouse at Liffock, County Londonderry” in ‘Ulster Journal of Archaeology’ 3rd Series, no.35 (1972), pp.48-56 2 Girvan, W.D., ‘The Buildings of North Derry’ (Belfast 1975), p.58 3 Dixon, Hugh, ‘An Introduction to Ulster Architecture’ (Belfast 1975), p.30 4 Pierce, Richard, Cooey, Alistair and Oram, Richard, ‘Taken for Granted…’ (Belfast, 1984), p.79 5 Gailey, Alan, ‘Rural Houses in the North of Ireland’ (John Donald, Edinburgh, 1984), pp.86, 88, 128, 194, 294, 297 6 Gallagher, Lyn, and Rogers, Dick, ‘Castle, Coast and Cottage- The National Trust in Northern Ireland’ (Belfast, 1986), p.65 7 Report by Peter Marlow concerning fire damage to Hezlett House, in ‘Northern Ireland Magazine’ (Spring 1987) 8 Information gathered from National Trust website, (May 2004) 9 EHS files. Other references 1 EHS Monitoring of Thatched Buildings, report by Michele McFaul to EHS, 18 April 1994


Criteria for Listing


Architectural Interest

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

Historic Interest

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



Evaluation


The house is located in a prominent position a short distance from Castlerock, just off the main Coleraine/ Limavady coast road. Dentrochronological investigation by the Palaeoecology Department of Queen’s University, Belfast has dated the felling of the timber used in the construction of the building to around 1690 thus confirming its origin. There is little doubt of an English ancestry for the house but in the use of scarfed crucks rather than those with continuous blades it is thought that the craftsmen employed may have been influenced by local conditions. Taking into account the quality of the original detailing and the efforts that are made to conserve the house together with its historical development provides the basis for an evaluation of the house as of outstanding interest.

General Comments




Date of Survey


Tuesday, March 13, 2001