Sunday 22 October 2017

Inside this €1.1m refurbished Georgian home where many original period features are still intact

Refurbished Georgian house was first built for an Anglican clergyman

The period property sits on over 52 acres
The period property sits on over 52 acres
The front door with fanlight
One of the bedrooms
Dining room
Reception hall
Dual-aspect drawing room with cornicing detail and high ceilings that are throughout the property
An impressive window at the turn of the stairs

Eithne Tynan

When the Anglican Bishop of Meath toured his parishes in the late 18th century, he found much to complain about. The congregations were insufficiently devout, for one thing. There were "women shouting and groaning at every word the priest says", and the children, questioned in catechism, "'seemed to answer like parrots".

There were other problems too: altars here and there were too high; new missals were needed; the linen was generally not all that clean; vestments needed repair; chalices were dirty, and there was too much talking in chapel.

The Church of Ireland incumbent in the parish of Killallon was also without a parochial house, but he was clearly an enterprising fellow. Taking matters into his own hands, he spent £300 improving a property near his church, hoping the bishop would "effect his intention of converting it into a glebe house".

But in 1812, when Napoleon Bonaparte was rampaging across Europe, a dedicated glebe house was eventually built in the parish, aided by a gift of £100 and a loan of £750 from the Board of First Fruits. Depending on which source you believe, that sum of £850 would be worth something around €70,000 today.

Dining room
Dining room

The Glebe House is still there, in a wooded setting close to the border between Meath and Westmeath, although needless to say you could neither build it nor buy it for 70 grand today.

It's a handsome, imposing Georgian house standing on over 52 acres with lovely old outbuildings, wooded grounds and a walled garden.

The church sold out of the property in 1901 and it's now been in the ownership of the same family for many years. In the past five years or so it's been refurbished but the period features are intact, including six-over-six-pane sash windows with shutters, high ceilings with cornicing, and fireplaces.

There are two avenues leading into the property. The main one is to the south, all spruce and neat with iron railings and electric gates opening to a 200-metre avenue. The back entrance is to the north, where there's a lovely wooded entrance surrounded by both old and young trees, leading towards the courtyard and outbuildings.

The house faces southwest and stands at 5,000 sq ft on two storeys over a raised basement. A short flight of steps with railings leads up to the fanlit front door.

Inside is a wood-floored entrance hall, L-shaped, with the three main reception rooms organised around it.

Reception hall
Reception hall

To the right is the dual-aspect drawing room, with windows facing due south west and southeast, and a grand old fireplace.

To the left is the library, while straight ahead is the third of the reception rooms - a dining room with a fireplace and a huge sash window at one end of the room. The dining room opens into the L-shaped kitchen and breakfast room, which is fitted with a wooden floor and wooden cabinets. Beyond this is another hall with a second, servants' staircase, and off this hall there's both a pantry and a utility room.

There are seven bedrooms upstairs on the first floor, past a striking arched window on the turn of the stairwell. The two biggest bedrooms both have en suite showers, and there's also a separate shower room and a bathroom on this floor.

The basement has mostly storerooms and offices but it also has what used to be the kitchen, where the servants would have dressed the clergy's daily mutton, back in the old days. It measures 21ft by 15ft and is now used as a games room.

The lofted outbuildings behind the house include former staff accommodation consisting of a sitting room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom.

Elsewhere, the grounds are in parkland dotted with mature trees. In the walled garden there's a terrace and a greenhouse, as well as flowerbeds and shrub borders.

Dual-aspect drawing room with cornicing detail and high ceilings that are throughout the property
Dual-aspect drawing room with cornicing detail and high ceilings that are throughout the property

Farther afield the acreage is in pasture, used for grazing sheep and cows and stretching as far as the Stoneyford River along the boundary of the land.

It's an easy walk from the Glebe House to the nearby town of Clonmellon, which is only two kilometres away although it's in County Westmeath.

It has a national school, shops, pubs and two churches, both of which are of architectural interest; the Anglican one built by the Board of First Fruits and used by the former vicar of Killallon has been disused for years but it's still well worth a look.

Kells is about 15 kilometres away and Navan about 30 kilometres.

Dublin is also within easy reach, being about an hour's drive away via the M3 motorway.

The Glebe House, Killallon, is for sale with Savills Country, (01) 663 4350, and has an asking price of €1,100,000.

Glebe House

Killallon, Co Meath

Asking price: €1.1m

Agent: Savills Country, (01) 663 4350

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