In 1603, Sir Arthur Chichester was granted expansive lands in Ulster, including all of the County Antrim side of the River Lagan from Carrickfergus to Dunmurry and the site of the future city of Belfast.
The date of the grant marks the date of the foundation of the town.
The ford as indicated on the Donegall estate map of 1770 was situated just below the tidal limit and provided a crossing point for carts.
From Lambeg the way leads direct to Belfast, which is all along for the most part furnished with houses, little orchards and gardens and on the right hand the Countess of Donegall hath a very fine Park well stored with venison and in it a Horse Course of Two Miles, and may be called an English Road.A Donegall family document of 1692 more precisely defines the deer park: "...100 acres were then enclosed in a Deer Park, and called Stranmellis Park".
They later acquired the freehold and, in 1857, sold the property to Thomas Batt, a director of the Ulster Bank who, within a year, rebuilt Stranmillis House in the Gothic-Revival style.
Batt was from one of Belfast’s most prominent business families, founders of the Belfast bank and owners of Purdysburn House (later the hospital).
They also gave their name to Batt’s Mountain in the Mournes.
South Belfast, including Stranmillis, developed rapidly in the latter half of the 19th Century and especially during the 1870s.
Cart traffic moving south took the Malone Road to avoid Stranmillis hill and it was not until 1882 that the city's tram line was extended to Stranmillis.
The Victorian Stranmillis House was built for Thomas Batt by Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon.
Originally it had an open belfry and ogee pyramidal roof on the corner tower but these have been removed.
The original entrance porch and low wing to the north have been replaced by a large extension in simplified Elizabethan style in 1924 after the house became part of Stranmillis (University) College.
About 46 acres of undulating grounds are walled in.
The demesne originated in the early 17th century, though the present house dates from ca 1855.
It replaced an earlier house of ca 1801 and much of the present planting is associated with these two buildings.
The site became a college in 1922 and was subsequently adapted.
The well developed and attractively planted ornamental grounds enhance the many buildings that now occupy the site, many of which are listed - the main building of 1928-30; two gate lodges of 1933 and 1940s.