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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB09/06/024 B

Extent of Listing:
House, detached wings, basement area wall and Ha-Ha

Date of Construction:
1650 - 1699

Address :
Springhill House 20 Springhill Road Moneymore Magherafelt Co Londonderry BT45 7NQ


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
01/10/1975 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Country House

Former Use
Country House

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
H8676 8278

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

A symmetrical composition of 2½ storey, 5 bay wide house with basement and detached wings with a N W aspect. The main house is composed of 3 parts, the house proper and detached wings which form a court in front of the main entrance. As the house is approached by the direct avenue the wings present a duality of “Dutch” gables and frame the principal façade. The house proper: symmetrical with a central doorway approach across the basement area by a broad bridge gained by a flight of 4 steps contained by low curved walls on each side. The entrance door has 9 moulded panels within its framing, with brass ironmongery, around the square headed door opening a well moulded sandstone architrave rising from blocking pieces. On each side single narrow 8 pane double hung sliding sash windows lighting hall within. Beyond these to the left 2, 12 pane double hung sliding sash windows with painted cills and to the right 2, 15 pane double hung sliding sash windows lighting the library. Cills lower than other side. Above these at 1st floor 7 no. double hung sliding sash windows, those over the hall windows 8 pane, others 12 pane. At basement level 4 no. 12 pane double hung sliding sash windows with protective iron bars. Under the entrance bridge a sheeted door and small window. Steeply pitched roof with natural slates, a central gabled dormer with tripartite double hung sliding sash window, lead ridge and sturdy red brick gable chimney stacks, right hand one composite. To left and right of central block a single storey large canted bay each facet having a 12 pane double hung sliding sash window. Window heads slightly higher than centre block. Eaves line level with 1st floor cills, roof natural slates, hipped and leaded. Roof apex joined to centre block gable by pitched roofs. Walls harled and painted white no overhang, but continuous corbel under ½ round metal gutters. These drain to a variety of trunkheads and round downpipes. The rear or SE elevation is the antithesis of the entrance front, completely asymmetrical with a marvellous Scottish flavour and not unlike a Rennie Mackintosh house. The elevation is dominated by the projecting central 3 storey gabled main staircase, whose round headed 17 pane double hung sliding sash landing window gazes up the beech walk to the tower stump of former windmill. Below the window a panel door leading from the main staircase hall. Up in the gable but centred a 12 pane vdouble hung sliding sash window lighting an attic. To the right of the main stair block, the quadrant curve of the servants spiral stairs punctuated with a variety of double hung sliding sash windows. Further to the right the rear wall of the main block with 2 no. 12 pane double hung sliding sash windows directly over other but of different height. One has the impression here of a deep recess but in reality the back roof slope has a great overhang and appears to span from the spiral stair wall to the wing. This wing changes height from single storey on main front (though originally it was 1½ storeys with dormer window) to 2 storeys at rear with clever roof adjustment. It terminates on rear with a great semi-circular bay punctuated with 2, 12 pane double hung sliding sash windows at each floor though of different heights. Windows at basement level similar but with segmental heads. To the left of the main stairblock a similar projection but storey less in height, gabled with 2 no. 12 pane double hung sliding sash windows at ground level and a single 12 pane double hung sliding sash central at 1st floor. To the far left, a single storey gabled projection of the 18th cent. dining room with 2, 12 pane double hung sliding sash windows. Red brick chimney stack. The rear wall is mainly rubble stone, whitewashed or painted white, giving a pleasing texture. The N E Wall of the main stair has slate hanging in varying hues. The S W side which are walls of the dining and sitting room has 3, 12 pane double hung sliding sash windows which light the sitting room. Under 3 square blank recesses. Towards the entrance front a screen wall projects and continues to join the SE detached long wing. Through by a flight of steps to a door leading to the basement area at the front. The NE side has a blank wall with the exception of a single 12 pane double hung sliding sash window lighting a bedroom to the warden’s accommodation. Changes of level occur in the basement area here. On the other side of this basement area are the former slaughter and laundry areas. Roofs are of natural slates with gradated slating over the circular bay. The 2 wings on either side of the forecourt are similar in their elevation to it. Each has 3, 9 pane pointed windows with criss cross astragals. Each has a chimney, Dutch type barges with flat apex for urn and quasi-kneeler with shelf for urn. The wings on the SW side are 2 storey on the lower side and was the former harness block. Springhill House is sited in a small estate with woodland and open fields. Originally it extended to the SE side of the Springhill Road and is supposed to be sited on the edge of the former Glenconkyne forest of late mediaeval and early Plantation times. Ranges of outbuildings extend in parallel lines SW and NE and closeby the farmyard a large walled kitchen garden. To the SE along the beech walk and forming a deliberate vista from the staircase window, a ruin of a former windmill. The beech walk lined each side with trees was greatly reduced in c1962 and replanted roughly from the line of the stone faced ha-ha. There are 2 avenue approaches from the Springhill Road with gate lodges at each. The grounds contain some splendid trees including a yew and cedar of Lebanon. Wall garden areas abound because of the geometric pattern of the outbuildings layout. In one of these enclosures adjacent to the great barn is a rose called the McCartney rose brought from China by its namesake. The estate wall continues from the 1st gate lodge to a little beyond the pigeon house.


Not Known

Historical Information

William Conynghan, a Scots migrant, who had land in Counties Armagh, Londonderry and Tyrone purchased 350 acres in the townland of Ballindrum in 1666. His son Good-Will Conyngham built the first house at Springhill, which remains the core of the present house, “a convenient dwelling house of lime and stone, two stories high, with necessary office houses, gardens and orchards”. Tree ring dating of the attic roof timbers suggest a date of c 1697 and the detached wings forming the forecourt date from the same decade. The butt purlin roofs of the structures were introduced into Ireland in the 17th cent. This late 17th cent. house consisted of the core, 7 windows wide, one room deep with the spiral stair and the 2 detached wings forming the forecourt. Col. William Conyngham inherited the property in 1765 and he renovated the house, creating the gun room, providing the decoration in the hall and added the wings with the canted bays, that to the SW being a new dining room and presumably had the new grand staircase created. In 1788 Lenox was added to Conyngham when George Lenox inherited the estate. His son, known as “Wims” adding the present dining room in 1820 and the former dining room became the present drawing room. The fireplace in this new dining room, said to have been brought from Ireland by the Earl Bishop Hervey, who was a friend of the family and who visited and stayed at Springhill, must have been in another room of the house before its present position or else it was purchased later. In 1882 Sir William Fitzwilliam Conyngham was appointed agent to the Draper’s Company. In 1957 Captain W.L. Lennox-Conyngham gave the Springhill Estate to the National Trust. The O.S. Memoirs describes Springhill when William Lenox-Conyngham was in residence “The house, which is rather low and old fashioned in its appearance, is said to have been built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, though it bears no characteristic of the architecture of that age. It is 2 storey and from each end a wing extends forwards forming 3 sides of a sort of court ….. the ornamental and pleasure grounds are extensive and well laid out, as is also the garden. The house was built in 1658 by Colonel William Conyngham, the wings about the year 1780”. The wings presumably were the canted bays. These were 1½ storeys over basement as an early illustration shows each with a central dormer window. Historic Gdns. no. Springhill L/021. References Primary Sources 1. O.S. Map 1832 Londonderry sh. 2. O.S. Memoirs of Ireland, Parishes of Co Londonderry I, 1830, 1834, 1836 p. 8. Ed by Angelique Day and Patrick McWilliams Q.U.B. 3. Mid Ulster Houses, National Trust. p. 23-28. 4. Lenox-Conyngham, Mina. .Springhill - An Old Ulster Home and the People who lived in it. Ulster Histirc Foundation,. p. 57, 189, 203 ill. Frontspiece. Second edition March 2005. 5. Bence-Jones M. A Guide to Irish Country Houses p. 263-4. 6. U.J.A. 3rd Series Vol. 1 (1938) p. 81-83. 7. Notes, 1st Survey, E.H.S. Hill Street, Belfast 8. Springhill. National Trust Guide. 1990. National Turst 9. Gallagher, Lyn and Rogers, Dick. Castle, Coast and Cottage: The National Trust in Northern Ireland. Blefast, 1986. 10. Lenox-Conyngham, Mina. 1946. An Old Ulster House, Springhill, County Londoderry. Dundalk, 1946. 11. Rowan, Alistair. 1979. The Buildings of Ireland, North-West Ulster. Pevsner ed. Harmondsworth. 12. Baillie, Michael. 'A dendrochronological study in Ireland with reference to dating of medieval and post mediebal timbers'. PhD Thesis, QUB, 1973. Secondary Sources 1. Lewis, Topographical History of Ireland Vol. I p. 59. 2. Rowan A, North West Ulster, Buildings of Ireland p. 425.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

V. Authorship Z. Rarity W. Northern Ireland/International Interest


A fine example of a late 17th cent. house, added to in the 18th and early 19th cent. to great effect with impressive architectural quality in its setting, in its approach composition and by contrast its interplay of parts, forms, shadows in the SE elevation looking towards the Beechwalk and windmill tower. It has a fascinating history of a Scottish plantation family who retained possession down to the middle of the 20th cent., entertaining famous names in Anglo Irish history like the Beresfords and the edifying bishop, Earl of Bristol.

General Comments

This building was recorded under HB09/06/025 in the first survey.

Date of Survey

15 November 2000