Gate lodges of Ulster, The

J A K Dean 1994

A Gazetteer
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    A4, xxv & 168pp, Paperback, 452 b&w illustrated

    Ely Lodge, Enniskillen:

    Ely

    (2): A much visited and admired demesne by intrepid 19th century travellers. It spread to an island on the Lower Lough Erne, where the Loftus family moved after deserting the neighbouring Castle Hume (qv). It was Sir Charles Tottenham who assumed the arms and name of Loftus when the estates devolved upon him from his uncle. He was created Marquess of Ely in 1800 and it was his son the 2nd Marquess, John, who set about building what was variously described as an ordinary or small handsome villa where "...the situation is most enchanting and fairly entitled to be called a little Paradise". He employed as his architect the Dubliner William Farrell to design the new house and two porters' lodges.

    On the main Enniskillen-Ballyshannon road impressive entrance gates and an elegant Classical gate lodge in a design too sophisticated to have been by Farrell whose domestic architecture is not always noted for its excellence of proportion. The identity of the real author of this design is to be found at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. At one of the entrances to the great park is Eagle Lodge, identical in every respect to the lodge here. This can be explained by the marriage in 1810 of the 2nd Marquess to Anna Maria daughter of Sir H W Dashwood who was a close friend of the 5th Duke of Marlborough and MP for the little town of Woodstock by Blenheim's gates. Eagle Lodge would date from c.1815 when the architcct Henry Hakewill was employed by the Churchills. The client was impressed enough to bring the idea back to he located at Ely Lodge and supervised by Farrell. 

    A perfectly symmetrical single storey lodge on a T plan in grey ashlar below a hipped roof with an extended eaves. The windows are square paned Georgian in moulded surrounds set into recesses formed by a plinth, Tuscan pilasters and entablature. Central to the three bay front elevation is a bow-fronted portico supported on two Tuscan columns. The circle completed in a recess in which is the panelled entrance door delightfully flanked by semicircular-headed niches each of which contains a Classical goddess (something which Eagle Lodge cannot boast). The rear return and a trio of tapering chimney pots which rise off the party wall are a plan form and feature which Farrell was to copy at the other Ely Lodge gate the two Colebrooke (qv) lodges and probably that to Castle Irvine (qv) all in Co Fermanagh. Alien extension to the rear. The extensive gate sweep approach has good ironwork culminating in cut stone pillars in the form of Greek stellae with tapering recessed panels and cappings of four-sided pediments. An important entrance its white ironwork contrasting nicely with the grey ashlar.


    Bridge lodge (c.1820): 

    Ely 2

    Architect William Farrell. "The mansion is approached over a strait of the lough by a handsome bridge, at the end of which are massive iron gates, well barricaded, and committed to the custody of a porter." Thus recorded Binns in 1835. These gates are no longer extant but the pretty little gate lodge survives. Again Farrell employs the plan form of the main lodge but here the elevations are dressed up in Tudor Picturesque guise. 

    Another single storey cottage with a three bay front under a shallow hipped roof. In stuccoed walls are pretty label moulded window openings each of which contains a pair of pointed lights with latticed panes. The central doorway is sheltered below a gabled canopy supported on two quatrefoil section cluster posts. Characteristic of this period in the architect's career, the chimney stack rises from the back wall of the main lodge. The accommodation extends in a hipped roof structure to the rear. The guttering is carried on nice cast iron curled brackets. Farrell's house was destroyed by explosives in 1870, partly to mark the 21st birthday of the 4th Marquess, and never replaced as intended. The stables were converted into a residence but the family continued as absentee landlords residing at their main seat, Loftus Hall, Co Wexford. Both lodges remain well tended. 

    Refs: Colvin (1978); Bence-Jones (1988); Barrow (1836); Rowan (1979); Binns (1837).

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