Monday, 10 August 2015

Ballygawley House


CAPTAIN ANDREW STEWART, a native of Scotland, settled in Ulster about the year 1627, and marrying Sarah, eldest daughter of Andrew, 3rd Baron Castle Stewart, and sister to Mary, Countess of Suffolk, had three sons.
Captain Stewart obtained from his father-in-law the greater part of the manor of Castle Stewart; but he afterwards built, and resided on, another seat called Gortigal, near Stewartstown, County Tyrone, immediately adjoining the residence of the Castle Stewart family.
He served with Colonel Robert Stewart, of Fry, in defence of the forts of Dungannon and Mountjoy, in 1641; and at the rising of the rebels at Artree, County Tyrone, for the purpose of destroying the Protestant families of that county, his house was attacked; but with a few Scots' followers he defended it for two days, when assistance was sent to him from Mountjoy Fort.
Captain Stewart, having long been an object devoted to vengeance for the zeal and loyalty he evinced in the royal cause, was, at length, put to death by rebels about the year 1650. 
His second son,

HUGH STEWART, married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Morris, of Mountjoy Castle, and was succeeded by his elder son,

THE REV HUGH STEWART, rector of Termon, County Tyrone, who wedded Sarah, daughter of the Rev Andrew Hamilton, by his wife, the only daughter and heir of Sir William Conyngham Bt, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Andrew, an officer in the East India Company;
Henry (Rev), DD, rector of Loughgilly;
Ann; Sarah; Amelia.
The Rev Hugh Stewart was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON JOHN STEWART (c1758-1825), of Ballygawley, who having attained eminence at the Bar, was appointed attorney-general for Ireland in 1799, and sworn of the privy council of that kingdom.

He subsequently represented counties Down and Tyrone in parliament, and was created a baronet in 1803.

Sir John espoused Mary, daughter of Mervyn Archdale, of Castle Archdale, and by her had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
Sir John was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HUGH (1792-1854), 2nd Baronet, who represented Tyrone in parliament from 1830-34.
  • Sir Hugh, 2nd Baronet (1792–1854);
    Sir John Marcus, 3rd Baronet (1830–1905);
    Sir Hugh Houghton, 4th Baronet (1858–1942);
    Sir George Powell, 5th Baronet (1861–1945);
    Sir Hugh Charlie Godfray, 6th Baronet (1897–1994);
    Sir David John Christopher, 7th Baronet (b 1935). 
Sir Hugh, 6th Baronet, of Loughmacrory Lodge, County Tyrone, was a major in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; High Sheriff, 1955, and DL for County Tyrone in 1971.

The 7th and present Baronet, Sir David, lives in Somerset.

Nick Stewart, whose half-brother is the present baronet, has kindly sent me two old photographs of Ballygawley House taken by Sir Hugh in the winter of 1914.

At that time the demesne was known as Greenhill.

Photo credit: Kenneth Allen

BALLYGAWLEY HOUSE, near Ballygawley, County Tyrone, was set in its own parkland, was a Classical mansion of two storeys, with a two-storey portico supported by two giant Doric columns and a shallow dome.

It was built for the 2nd Baronet between 1825 and 1833, to the design of John Hargrave.

Seemingly, the mansion suffered an accidental fire during the 1920s and the Stewart family never returned to it. 

First published in December, 2009.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining the background to that ruin which I have seen for decades from the road and wondered about its history.

Was the fire really accidental?

Timothy Belmont said...

Hello Anon,

I'm afraid I don't know the circumstances of the fire. Many country houses belonging to prominent landowners were, of course, deliberately burned.
My research is that it was accidental; though I'd like to know more about it myself.


SandyWilson said...

Hi Tim,
I am a decendant of the Stewart family from Ballygawley. My great great grandfather Sir George Vesey Stewart (born in Ballygawley) brought the first Irish settlers to New Zealand. He was a prolific businessman and land owner here and is brother Sir Hugh Stewart (and his wife Adela), built a homestead in Athrenee (NZ) and called it Mount Stewart. We have recently completed a full restoration of the homestead and in 2004 celebrated its 100 years.
My 2nd cousin Sir David Stewart is the current marquess and lives in London.
My mum's maiden name is Stewart and I have fond memories of her childhood stories of growing up in KatiKati and playing at the homestead in Athenree.
I have studied the Stewart family history and tree but welcome any information you may have.


Richard Stewart said...


I too am a descendant of George Vesey Stewart. I am in Christchurch. Is is possible to maybe collect some of this information from you?


pegsandtails said...

I wonder if Nick Stewart still has his BSA C15 chopper? He and I and Ricky Moore had great times tearing around the roads on our motorbikes in our younger days.

Laura said...

Hi Tim, who owns the building now? And what do you think could happen it in the future? It would be great to see it restored

Timothy Belmont said...

Laura, likely a local farmer. It's sad to see such a noble building in its present state.

Anonymous said...


Ann Allen said...

Fascinating to learn something about this grand old ruin, which I too have observed from the main road all my life and been intrigued by! Only found out the name "Greenhill" today. Wonderful to learn a little about the people who lived there. Many thanks for sharing the wonderful old photographs. I, too, hope the shell of this gracious building will someday be restored to its former glory.