Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Magheramena Castle

THE FAMILY OF JOHNSTON 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 that county in 1679, attainted in 1689, had five sons, of whom the fourth,

THE REV HUGH JOHNSTON, of Templecarne, County Fermanagh, left a son,

FRANCIS JOHNSTON, who left issue, his fifth son,

CAPTAIN JOHN JOHNSTON, who 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 dying in 1833, left issue,

JAMES JOHNSTON JP DL (b 1817), of Magheramena Castle, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff, who married, in 1838, Cecilia, daughter of Thomas Newcomen Edgeworth, of Kilshrewly, County Longford; and by her had issue,

ROBERT EDGEWORTH JOHNSTON, of Glencore House, born in 1842, High Sheriff, 1877.

He wedded, in 1873, Edythe Grace, daughter of John Reynolds Dickson, of Woodville, and Tullaghan House, County Leitrim, and by her had issue,

CAPTAIN JAMES CECIL JOHNSTON (b 1880), of Magheramena Castle, and of Glencore House, both in County Fermanagh,
High Sheriff of Fermanagh, 1910; 14th Hussars; 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.
He married Violet Myrtle, daughter of S A Walker Waters, Assistant Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary.

Mr Johnston was killed in action during the 1st World War, having had issue,
1. MYRTLE, born in 1909; a novelist; 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.

2. Marjorie Helen, born in 1911.

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 of 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, indeed, Ulster, in 1921, following the untimely death of Captain Johnston and the creation 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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