Far from run-of-the-mill: This €1.1m Cork home has maintained its historic character and form
The measure of a woman, it was once thought, could only be got by evaluating her performance in the domestic sphere.
By these lights, Mary Clugston Allman was an absolute paragon. When she died in October 1826, aged 73, her obituarist could not find enough good things to say about how sterling had been her conduct within her own four walls.
"As home is the proper sphere of female duty, and domestic virtues the best evidence of female principle, so the character of this excellent woman appeared to the greatest advantage in the well-ordered management of her household," he wrote.
Mrs Allman was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, and as with our new national value set, she got up early every single morning. She first devoted two hours to "useful reading and pious occupations", and thereafter attended to her household duties - all reportedly executed with activity, prudence and judgment. When it came to domestic virtue, Mrs Allman had no equal it seems.
But if one is to have one's virtue assessed, which of us would not prefer to have it assessed under circumstances that include fabulous wealth, an opulent estate and an unusually industrious husband?
Mrs Allman was the wife of George Allman, who established a great cotton mill near Bandon in 1805 and did so well that he was able to build three fine houses for himself and his sons - these houses were Overton, Mount Prospect and Miltown House - all within sight of each other. Whatever the unknown tests of Mrs Allman's goodness, penury cannot have been one of them.
After the cotton industry declined beyond the point of viability, the Allmans went into distilling instead. But by then Mary Clugston Allman was dead, and not in a position to deplore the deleterious effect of strong drink on the moral fibre of the community.
The mill at Overton is now a glorious ruin, as is Overton House itself. Mount Prospect still stands and so does Miltown, now known as Milton House. The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage describes Milton as "a fine, 19th-century classical house that has maintained its historic character and form".
It still has most of its authentic features including a fanlit front door, ceiling coving, an open-string curved staircase, original fireplaces and window shutters, and there are replacement timber sash windows.
It has gained some modern features too, though, such as en-suite bathrooms, a sauna, and a contemporary kitchen.
It's on two storeys over a basement and spans a floor area of 4,359 sq ft, having gained various extensions over the centuries. It's also gained extra living accommodation among the courtyard outbuildings, which have been converted to two guest lodges with two bedrooms apiece.
The dual-aspect kitchen is at entrance level, at the back of the house, and measures roughly 18ft by 13ft9. It's fitted with some unusual purple-painted cabinets and has a centre island along with two sinks, and there are French doors there to the garden.
Also at ground floor level are four reception rooms. Next to the kitchen is a dining room with a wood floor and an Aga, which overlooks the front of the property.
On the opposite side of the entrance hall is a drawing room, dual-aspect and with double doors to a lean-to conservatory to the south, where there's a rampant, grape-laden vine.
Finally there's a lounge or sitting room at the back of the house, about the same size as the kitchen, with a stove in the fireplace.
The basement, where the servants would once have meekly submitted to the instructions of the mistress of the house, has these days been made over to recreation instead. It has a games room with exposed stone walls and a timber ceiling, a study and a sauna, as well as a utility room and shower.
The four bedrooms are upstairs on the first floor; one has a washroom and wardrobe adjoining, and another has an en-suite and walk-in wardrobe. There's also a bathroom and separate toilet on this level.
It's on roughly 16 acres in all, some of which are in paddocks with agricultural outbuildings. The gardens include a patio, vegetable plots and an orchard. The two guest lodges each consist of a living room, a kitchen, and two bedrooms, and there's the gate lodge to consider as well.
Milton House is in the townland of Knocknagarrane, about four kilometres from Bandon and 30 kilometres south-west of Cork city. Nearby is Crossmahon National School, and even closer at hand is the local pub, Crossmahon Bar, which is also for sale. There are four secondary schools in Bandon including Bandon Grammar School, of which Graham Norton is a past pupil.
The agent for the sale of Milton House is Engel & Voelkers in Kinsale, (021) 477 3200, and the asking price is €1.1m.
Knocknagarrane, Bandon, Co Cork
Asking price: €1.1m
Agent: Engel & Voelkers in Kinsale, (021) 477 3200