Sunday, 15 October 2017

Magheramena Castle

THE JOHNSTONS OWNED 7,157 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY FERMANAGH

This family was originally from Scotland.

WALTER ROE JOHNSTONE, of Mawlick, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1679, attainted in 1689, had five sons,
Francis, of Limerick;
James, of Magheramena, dsp 1731;
George;
HUGH, of whom hereafter;
Edward, of Leitrim.
The fourth son,

THE REV HUGH JOHNSTON, of Templecarn, County Fermanagh, made his will in 1691, and left a son,

FRANCIS JOHNSTON, of Magheramena, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1731-2, who died in 1737, leaving, by Frances his wife,
James;
Walter;
Hugh;
Francis;
JOHN, of whom we treat;
Mary; Grace; Lettice.
The fifth son,

CAPTAIN JOHN JOHNSTON, left by Anne his wife (married in 1756) two sons, of whom

ROBERT JOHNSTON QC, wedded, in 1806, Letitia, daughter of Sir William Richardson Bt, of Castle Hill, County Tyrone; and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Anna Maria, m, 1827, G Knox, of Prehen;
Harriette, m H Daniel, of Auburn;
Letitia Mary, m, 1835, J L Macartney.
Mr Johnston died in 1833, and was succeeded by his only son,

JAMES JOHNSTON JP DL (1817-73), of Magheramena Castle, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1841, who married, in 1838, Cecilia, daughter of Thomas Newcomen Edgeworth, of Kilshrewly, County Longford, and had issue,
ROBERT EDGEWORTH, his heir;
Letitia Marian; Rosetta.
Mr Johnston was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT EDGEWORTH JOHNSTON (1842-), of Glencore House, High Sheriff, 1877, who wedded, in 1873, Edythe Grace, daughter of John Reynolds Dickson, of Woodville and Tullaghan House, County Leitrim, and had, with other issue,

JAMES CECIL JOHNSTON (1880-1915), of Magheramena Castle and Glencore House, both in County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1910, who married, in 1903, Violet Myrtle, daughter of S A Walker Waters, Assistant Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary, and had issue, two daughters,
MYRTLE;
Marjorie Helen, b 1911.
Captain Johnston, Adjutant, Royal Irish Fuliliers, Deputy Ranger of The Curragh of Kildare, 1910, Master of the Horse to His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Aberdeen, 1910, was killed in action during the 1st World War.

His elder daughter,

MYRTLE JOHNSTON (1909-), a novelist, was born at Dublin and educated privately at Magheramena Castle.

The family moved to Bournemouth in 1921.

She published Hanging Johnny (1927), followed by Relentless (1930), The Maiden (1930), and A Robin Redbreast in a Cage (1950), amongst others.


MAGHERAMENA CASTLE, near Belleek, County Fermanagh, was a Tudor-Gothic house of ashlar, built between 1835-40.

It comprised two storeys, blind gables, and polygonal turrets with finials; a square battlemented tower at one corner; tall Gothic windows; quatrefoil decoration.


There was a single-storey battlemented wing terminating in a low round turret at the other end of the house.

It faced the River Erne to the south.

The entrance was to the north; and a conservatory to the east.

A small kitchen court faced westwards.

The main fa├žades were quite irregular, with big octagonal turrets and haphazard breaks from room to room.

A corridor running east to west connected the five principal rooms on the south front.

The house was constructed with cut stone.

A covered passage led westwards from the house to the 18th century stable-court and offices.



The Johnstons seem to have abandoned Magheramena and Ulster in 1921, following the untimely death of Captain Johnston and the establishment of Northern Ireland.

Thereafter, Magheramena Castle became a parochial house.

It was unroofed and partly demolished in the 1950s.


The estate lies between Belleek and Castle Caldwell.

First published in November, 2013.

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