Saturday 26 May 2018

House once part of the estate that hosted David and Victoria Beckham's wedding on the market for €1.5m

Restored Diswellstown House was a 17th-century dower house for nearby Luttrellstown Castle

The property was once part of a great estate - that of the nearby Luttrellstown Castle, which hosted David and Victoria Beckham's wedding.
The property was once part of a great estate - that of the nearby Luttrellstown Castle, which hosted David and Victoria Beckham's wedding.

Gabrielle Monaghan

Violet Crawley, Downton Abbey's acid-tongued Dowager Countess of Grantham, has delivered some of the driest ripostes ever heard in period drama.

Played by actress Maggie Smith, the Edwardian matriarch is unfamiliar with middle-class concepts such as a "weekend", loathes new money types, and struggles with the arrival of new-fangled inventions like electricity and democracy.

Diswellstown House, Castleknock, Dublin 15 has an asking price of €1.5m.
Diswellstown House, Castleknock, Dublin 15 has an asking price of €1.5m.

As widow of the Earl of Grantham, she lives in the dower house, part of Downton Abbey's fictional Yorkshire country estate. Violet dismisses her 6,000-sq ft home as a "little cottage". Perhaps she would have been happier with Diswellstown House, a 8,396-sq ft pile in Castleknock that served as a dower house for the Luttrells in the 17th century.

Like Downton Abbey's dower house, the property was once part of a great estate - that of the nearby Luttrellstown Castle, which was twice visited by Queen Victoria and in 1999 hosted David and Victoria Beckham's wedding.

Recently restored, the house is now being offered for sale, giving buyers a chance to own their own Downton dowager style mansion in Dublin for an outlay of €1.5m.

In 1616, Thomas Luttrell married Alison St. Lawrence, and eventually, upon his death left Diswellstown House to her as his widow.

The back of the recently restored house.
The back of the recently restored house.

According to A History of the County Dublin by the historian Francis Elrington Ball: "To his widow he left, in addition to her jointure, Diswellstown, in the parish of Castleknock, as a dower house; and besides much plate and household stuff he bequeathed to her twenty great cows with their calves, three hundred sheep, six rams of the English breed, and fifteen farm horses, as well as her riding horse and three horses to carry the servants in attendance upon her."

A map of Dublin by John Rocque shows that in 1760, Diswellstown had a house with bowed ends, walled gardens and outbuildings. The 1843 Ordnance Survey indicates there had been significant alterations and additions to the house, and that part of the 18th-century structure had been removed.

David and Victoria wed in 1999 and their photographs featured in OK! magazine
David and Victoria wed in 1999 and their photographs featured in OK! magazine

Diswellstown was named after the family Deuswell, who were in Castleknock in the 13th century. Had the Castleknock property come on the market in the 1970s or 1980s, it might have been cleared by the wrecker's ball to make way for new estates.

Lately these homes have been better protected, converted into apartments or, more recently, restored back to individual dwellings as with Neptune House in Blackrock, Albany in Killiney, and Bolton Park in Rathfarnham.

The living room at Diswellstown House, Castleknock, Dublin 15.
The living room at Diswellstown House, Castleknock, Dublin 15.

Arranged around Diswellstown House's 1.2-ac grounds today is Diswellstown Manor, a scheme of 118 three, four and five-bed homes initially launched in October 2015. The renovation of the big house itself has been funded by Nama.

The project was carried out by Corcom, on behalf of a receiver, David Carson of Deloitte.

To maintain privacy, the period residence has a two-metre wall to the rear, and a new private gate entrance. A walled garden that once supplied food to the kitchen has been reconfigured to create a sweeping wooded avenue.

At the entrance a cut-stone doorcase is flanked by columns and topped with fanlight forms. The two-storey five-bay home has semi-circular bowed ends. Inside, a number of the original sash windows were retained.

The hall stairs
The hall stairs

Most of the fabric of the house dates back to the 18th century. It has five reception rooms, a large kitchen, six bedrooms - three with ensuites - several storage areas with new floors and doors, outhouses, and a wine cellar.

Inside, there is a reception room either side of the entrance with marble fireplaces, but the ceilings are plain, apart from modest decorative cornicing.

To return Diswellstown House to its original glory, conservation architects had to repair the leaky roof and let the fabric of the house dry out, before moving onto tackling dry rot in the interior and restoring the property's features. They also removed late 20th-century timber-stud subdivisions.

Hooke & MacDonald is handling the sale of Diswellstown House, and as stated, the guide price is €1.5 million. As a large period 18th-century home in Castleknock, it is a rarity. The contents are not included in the price, but a purchase could be arranged.

Diswellstown House

The dining area
The dining area

Castleknock, Dublin 15

Asking price: €1.5m

Agent: Hooke & MacDonald

(01) 6610100

Indo Property

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