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Building of the Month - August 2010

Gate Lodge at Anne's Grove, ANNESGROVE Td., County Cork

Anne's Grove 01 - Representative View 

Figure 1: A view of the gate lodge erected on the edge of the Anne's Grove estate for Richard Grove Annesley (1815-92).  The gate lodge has been compared favourably to the contemporary gate house at Dromore Castle (1849), County Limerick, also designed by Benjamin Woodward (1815-61) of Dublin

The origins of the Anne's Grove estate can be traced back to the early seventeenth century when William Grove expanded his family's landholdings in 1628 by purchasing lands including the townland of Ballyhimock [Ballyhemmock].  A house is known to have been erected in the eighteenth century, possibly by Robert Grove JP (d. 1764) on the occasion of his marriage to Mary Ryland (d. 1758), and was visited by Arthur Young (1741-1820), the noted agriculturalist and writer, in the 1770s.  Samuel Lewis, however, describes Anne's Grove in 1837 as 'the elegant seat of Lieutenant-General the Honourable Arthur Grove Annesley…a handsome mansion, recently built by the proprietor, on the verge of a precipitous cliff rising from the river Awbeg' (Lewis 1837 I, 312), confirming that the present country house was constructed or reconstructed for Lieutenant General Arthur Grove Annesley JP (1774-1849) following his inheritance of the estate from Mary Annesley (née Grove) (d. 1791), Countess Annesley.  Previously titled Ballyhemmock after the adjoining townland, the house was allegedly renamed Anne's Grove as a pun on the proprietor's surname.

A gate lodge is indicated on the north-western extremity of the estate on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1841; published 1844).  On succeeding to the estate in 1849, however, Richard Grove Annesley (1815-92) commissioned Benjamin Woodward (1815-61), a distant relative, to design a replacement gate lodge which today makes a dramatic visual statement in a lush sylvan setting (fig. 1).

Cited by Jeremy Williams as a variation on Woodward's earlier gate house (1847) at University College Cork, and by Frederick O'Dwyer as remarkably similar to the gate house (1849) at Dromore Castle, County Limerick, the gate lodge adopts the appearance of a medieval castle in miniature form, the picturesque Gothic Revival theme in stark contrast to the sober Queen Anne Classicism of the nearby country house.  Despite its diminutive scale, the plan form is inventive and heightens the architectural interest of the composition.  A two-stage square tower contains one room on each floor, the bedroom at first floor level accessed from the parlour at ground floor level by way of a battlemented polygonal stair turret: a separate staircase rises to the battlemented wall-walk spanning a deeply-rebated gateway.

Constructed in rough cut limestone, sheer limestone dressings frame the door and windows: also fashioned from limestone is the Annesley coat-of-arms.  Cusped window openings define the principal apartments while faux defensive "gun loops" light the stair turret.  Internally, the lime plastered walls are accentuated by yet more limestone dressings including a Tudor-arched chimneypiece.

Anne's Grove 02 - Window Anne's Grove 03 - Window

Figures 2-3: A view of the parlour window pre and post restoration

Vacated in the 1940s, the gate lodge had deteriorated by the end of the twentieth century.  When taken on by the Irish Landmark Trust in 1995 the gate lodge was considered to be structurally sound but in poor condition and required an extensive restoration.  The roof was repaired reusing the original slate where possible.  The stone work on the wall-walk was repointed, as were the coping stones on the battlements, while the upper portion of the chimney stack was carefully rebuilt paying particular attention to maintaining the fine joints.  The windows were also restored with lattice work reinstated and, where necessary, new frames installed (figs. 2-3).

Anne's Grove 04 - Window Anne's Grove 05 - Bedroom

Figures 4-5: A view of a window restored by the Irish Landmark Trust.  The restored bedroom on the first floor of the tower features a tooled limestone chimneypiece and a vaulted ceiling

The gate lodge at Anne's Grove is now a successful Irish Landmark Trust property and is particularly popular with couples seeking a romantic getaway.

Mary O'Brien, Executive Director, The Irish Landmark Trust

Click here to view the record for the gate lodge at Anne's Grove in the NIAH North Cork County Survey

Click here to view the gate lodge at Anne's Grove on the Irish Landmark Trust website

FURTHER READING

Bence-Jones, Mark, A Guide to Irish Country Houses (London: Constable Press, second edition 1988)

Hajba, Anna-Maria, Houses of Cork Volume I: North Cork (County Clare: Ballinakella Press, 2002)

Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland Volume I (London: S. Lewis and Company, 1837)

O'Dwyer, Frederick, The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (Cork: Cork University Press, 1997)

Williams, Jeremy, A Companion Guide to Architecture in Ireland 1837-1921 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1994)

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