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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB06/05/013 B

Extent of Listing:
Country house, including wall and entrance screen to yard and outbuildings within yard.

Date of Construction:
1600 - 1649

Address :
Red Hall Larne Co Antrim BT38 9JL


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
16/12/1975 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Country House

Former Use
Country House

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J4499 9497

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

A three-storey, three-bay house with single storey wings, and an attic storey, all on a basement which is revealed on the sides and rear. Main entrance faces west. West front symmetrical, with projecting single storey porch. Walling of central block is smooth cement render, with rusticated quoins, moulded string courses at each floor, and moulded cornice to parapet. Some traces of dark red paint remain on parts of surface. String course at second floor level has chipped edge in places; string course at first floor level broken at one point to reveal red brick within. Blocking course to parapet has lead covering. Roof of Mansard form, slated: Bangor blue slates in regular courses, with lead covering to ridges. Prominent central chimney, smooth cement rendered, with moulded offset, string courses and cornice on shaped brackets; swept cap. Windows rectangular timber sliding sash, vertically hung, 1 over 1, with horns; sash boxes exposed. Second floor windows set in moulded rectangular surround, with shaped brackets below string course cill. First floor windows set in similar surrounds but surmounted by small semi-circular raised panel in stucco containing radiating fan-like motif. Central window on first floor has glass obscured by patchy paintwork. Ground floor windows set in similar moulded surrounds but set in turn with a cornice and bracket surround with sunken panels to each side; projecting moulded cill on shaped brackets, with moulded string course immediately below; cornice profile swept corresponding to cap of chimney. Porch stuccoed as main block: central door, two leaf, dark stained unvarnished oak, below plain rectangular fanlight; each leaf has tall round-headed glazed panel over smaller raised and fielded panel; ornamental bronze handles and escutcheons. Doorway recessed between coupled pilasters of unfluted Doric, or Tuscan order; moulded frieze on shaped brackets returning back along sides, with finial to each extremity. North side of porch contains one window, a semi-circular headed timber fixed light with moulded arch and keystone, moulded pier jambs, and projecting cill on shaped brackets, all inset between Tuscan pilasters, coupled to outside end away from house, with ball finial over each pilaster. On north side of porch near base: a PVC downpipe emerges, runs below porch window and returns along front wall to left to discharge into basement lightwell. Sandstone flags to area across front of porch, with rough tarmac and stony ground covering beyond, with no basement visible to right hand side of porch, but basement area visible to left hand side where area is bounded by low moulded cement walling and iron railings. Basement walling to left has channelled rustication, battered at base. One window, in line with ground floor window above: timber sliding sash, vertically hung, 6 over 6, without horns, set in plain jambs, with projecting cill. Other three inner faces of basement lightwell faced with glazed white brick; lightwell occupied by iron tank. Wing to left is set back slightly from main block: three windows wide, to a higher storey level than ground floor of main block. Windows rectangular timber sliding sash, vertically hung, 1 over 1, with horns, set in moulded rectangular surrounds with projecting moulded cill on two shaped brackets. Each window surmounted by a sunken rectangular panel containing a circular wheel motif and scrolling foliate designs modelled in stucco; designs incorporate shamrocks, flower heads, and fleur de lys. Walling of wing is similar to main block with rusticated quoins to extremities. Frieze and projecting cornice above panels, with ball finial to outside extremity of blocking course. Basement storey of left-hand wing visible within deep lightwell bordered by low moulded stucco wall. Area overgrown with ferns. Three windows to basement, in line with ground floor windows: windows sashed 6 over 6, without horns, with projecting sandstone cill, as previous basement window to main block. Roof of wing not visible behind parapet; seen from above it is hipped, slated as previous, with lead covering to ridges, and incorporates new roof vents in lead. Wing to right-hand side similar except no ball finial to blocking course, no basement visible, and roof is visible: hipped roof of Bangor blue slates in regular courses with tiled ridges. Cills badly damaged with corners broken off and stucco upper surface missing in places to reveal red brick and slates used in construction. Windows are rectangular timber fixed lights of two panes each with clear glass, revealing smooth painted cement render of solid wall immediately behind, and are thus false windows. Extending to left of left-hand wing is a smooth rendered screen wall to yard beyond, attached to wing by a clasping rusticated pier with ball finial; three lengths to screen wall, stepping down to left; first length partly overgrown with creeper; second length ending in plain pier with broken ball finial; third length terminating in large square pier with badly damaged cornice, and ball finial missing. North elevation comprises north side of main block which has a projecting square tower to left-hand side of two second floor windows, with the lower area of main block obscured by the projecting wing and adjoining block. All walling smooth cement render as previous with main block largely retaining red coloration. Main block windows to second floor are as on entrance front. Cast iron downpipe to right-hand side. Roof slated as previous with two dormers; dormer to left segmental headed giving access to parapet walk; larger dormer to right has pitched roof, slated as main roof, with white painted woodwork and two-light window. Tower is square in plan with moulded cornice on shaped brackets at level with main block cornice; extends up above main block to a further storey with semi-circular headed windows in each face, detailed similar to windows in entrance porch. Above a frieze and bracketed cornice, is a steep pitched pyramidal roof, slated as previous, surmounted by an elaborate ironwork weathervane. Cast iron downpipes affixed to north face of tower. North face of north wing is blank, with broad projecting central chimney, detailed as previous to main block, with sunken panels; ball finial to each extremity of parapet of wing. Cast iron downpipe alongside iron ladder, to left-hand side of chimney breast. Weathered offset in cement render to basement area. Set back beyond projecting wing, and obscuring lower stages of tower is a hipped roof block bearing strong traces of red coloration, with an upper window, sashed 1 over 1, with horns, with plain recessed jambs, projecting sandstone cill, and projecting string course stepped over it; rusticated quoins to left-hand extremity; cast iron downpipes. Basement area obscured by lean-to projection with rectangular ledged timber door and rectangular window, sashed 6 over 3, without horns; Bangor blue slates in regular courses to roof, with moulded cast iron gutter on white timber fascia. The north elevation overlooks a long yard flanked on the east by the two-storey brewhouse (HB06/05/013A) and on the west by a succession of lean-to outbuildings of no architectural quality. Yard outbuildings, between north wall of north wing and screen wall to yard, comprise from left to right: rectangular single-storey lean-to with roof swept down to form verandah across front; smooth rendered walls with brick core; one doorway, rectangular timber, ledged; one window, rectangular timber sliding sash, 6 over 3, without horns; lean-to roof of Bangor Blue slates in regular courses, carried on two circular cast iron posts; cast iron gutter and downpipe; underside of verandah roof in poor condition; next is a lower single-storey lean-to block, used as a stable, smooth rendered but red brick core much exposed; two half-doors and two windows, sashed 6 over 3, with horns; cast iron gutter and downpipe; slated roof as previous; next is a lower single-storey block crudely constructed of brickwork, concrete blockwork and render, with a half-door and wooden slatted double doors; felt covering to roof. The yard is entered by a screen wall across the north side, returning from the west, and connecting with the brewhouse (HB06/05/013A) at the eastern extremity: screen wall is tall, of single-storey height, and comprises a pair of large rendered piers with moulded bases, cornices and ball finials, marking a vehicular entrance now missing gates; a pedestrian archway connects gateway with the brewhouse to left; segmental arch with plain moulded surround and projecting keystone, all in smooth render, bearing traces of red paint; short length of screen wall, similar to right of gateway, terminating in a square pier with damaged cap and ball finial missing; inner faces of gatescreen and walling smooth rendered and bearing traces of red paint. East elevation comprises the rear facade of the main block, four storeys to this side due to the lower ground level compared with the entrance front, with the two-storey rear facade of the south wing well set back behind to the left, and the three-storey wall of projecting block set slightly back to the right. East facade of south wing is similar to entrance front except that cills to main windows are formed by a continuous moulded string course. Basement walling is of channelled rustication with three windows, in line with main windows; semi-circular headed timber sliding sash, 2 over 2, with horns; continuous plain arched surround set within rustications, with elongated keystone and radiating channels to rustication around arch; projecting stuccoed cill. Main block of house has walling similar to entrance front except channelled rustication to basement. Windows similar to entrance front on corresponding floors, except cills to ground floor windows formed by continuous string course without brackets. Left-hand ground floor window has projecting balcony in sandstone: arcaded with diminutive square piers carrying semi-circular arches with decorative sunken circular holes in each spandrel; some spalling to end piers; balcony carried on a pair of large shaped sandstone brackets embellished on each face by carved acanthus scrolls. Basement storey of main block has battered profile; walling is channelled rustication in smooth render. Three windows, in line with upper window: rectangular timber sliding sash, vertically hung, 6 over 3, without horns, set in plain recessed surround with projecting cill, surmounted by elongated pseudo voussoirs in rusticated stucco. Roof as previous to entrance front, with central chimney and a small modern flush rooflight, but central windows of main block not in line with chimney. Window spacing wider on this facade due to incorporation of corner tower in rustications of basement. Ground floor, and first floor of tower marked off by rusticated quoins to each side, linked by semi-circular arch at first floor level; ground floor blank but one small window in first floor, square timber top hung, possibly later insertion; second floor of tower blank; third floor which projects above parapet of main block, has semi-circular headed window as previously described. South face of top storey of tower has a doorway opening onto parapet walk. Three-storey projecting block to right-hand side, obscuring rear facade of north wing, has channelled rustication to basement storey, vertical in plane, with smooth stucco to upper floors. Two windows to basement, rectangular timber sliding sash, 6 over 3, without horns, with ‘flat arch’ rusticated voussoirs and a projecting sandstone cill; one window to each two floors above, of similar character to top floor of main block; cast iron downpipes, unpainted rusted surface. Extending to right-hand side, and stepped forward is a two-storey range of building called the brewhouse (HB 06/05/013A). South elevation comprises south side of main block with part of lower storeys obscured by projecting south wing. Walling similar to previous facades. Roof of main block slated as previous, with two dormer windows, pitched roof and glazed as previous. Two chimneys appear beyond. Two windows to second floor of main block, symmetrically arranged, but window to left blank, blocked in stucco; window to right has iron framed balcony giving access to iron escape ladder from parapet above onto roof of lower wing. Cast iron downpipe and hopper to left of ladder. One window to each lower floor of main block, to right-hand side, sashed as on entrance front but without elaborate cornice and bracket surrounds at ground floor. Basement storey has a rectangular two-leaf French window with plain glazed panels, surmounted by rusticated stucco voussoirs. South facade of south wing is symmetrical: contains canted bay on a high base with terraced grass sloping down from left to right. Rusticated quoins to extremities of wall with projecting cornice over; shaped brackets to cornice of bay. Rectangular timber fixed lights, of two panes, to canted sides of bay, with broader, two-leaf French window below two-light fanlight to central face of bay. Projecting sandstone cill continuous around bay, giving access in centre to timber steps on iron frame descending into garden. Setting: the house stands on a sloping site in the centre of its own extensive estate with a driveway passing across its front and grassy lawns to the rear, all surrounded by mature trees. Farm buildings (HB06/05/013C) lie to the north within sight of the house. To the east is the main driveway running east-west, lined by mature trees. At each end on south side is an iron gate into a field with scrolling finials and fluted cast iron posts; similar gateway at intermediate position on north side; similar gates (one derelict) set in two pairs of short stone pillars on south side with basalt boulder and ramped earth construction of boundary to driveway clearly exposed adjacent to them: none of this of special merit or interest. Pair of gate piers (HB06/05/013E) and garden turret (HB06/05/013F) at west end on south side. Front entrance gatelodge (HB06/05/012) at east end on north side.


Not Known

Historical Information

In 1609 William Edmonstone of Duntreath, Stirlingshire, secured a lease from John Dalway. In what form the house was at that time is not known, but it would appear from the thickness of some walls and the batter of the base that Edmonstone repaired and modernised an existing castle or tower house which had been owned by the O’Neills and dated from at least the mid 16th century, if not earlier. Dating from the 17th century remodelling are the oak staircase of the Jacobean period; the roof timbers; and a panelled room in late 17th century style. Panelled ceilings in the first floor have been ascribed to c 1730 due to the style of clothes represented in the plaster figure panels. In 1784 the estate was bought by Richard Gervase Ker who in 1793 added the wings to each side to create drawing and dining room, with a kitchen in the basement, and also probably was responsible for remodelling the main block, including building a parapet around it and adding a four-columned porch in front of a newly positioned central entrance. R.G. Ker was succeeded by his nephew David S. Kerr in 1822, who is recorded as having built the nearby threshing mill to the west of the house in 1835. In 1830 the house was described as “very plain in its architecture, stone finished on the outside without anything ornamental in its structure or appearance ... The garden is small but the demesne ornamental and pleasure grounds are very extensive, and the plantings of firs, larch and beech very tastefully varied and laid out.” In 1869 the estate was bought by John McAuley, to whom may be attributed the present rendered finish to the exterior incorporating quoins, rustications, string courses, and surrounds to windows; the small balcony on the east elevation; the canted bay added to the south wing, the square turret added at the north-east corner; the replacement of the small-paned windows by plate glass; and banks, terraces and stone steps around the house, all apparently between 1871 and 1875. The internal plasterwork ceilings in the entrance hall and morning room, and plasterwork details in the dining room and drawing room may also be attributed to McAuley. The present porch was in position by 1871 when it had a small pediment over it; builder not known. An addition by McAuley, subsequently removed, was a large central chimney on the south parapet of the main block. In 1902 the estate was brought by W.J. Porrit who was responsible for the red painted finish to the exterior of which only traces now remain. In 1918 it was bought by George Reade who inserted dormers into three of the attics; it was probably he who removed McAuley’s south chimney. In 1927, after lying empty for some years, it was bought by Vice-Admiral J.W.L. McClintock, and in 1939-45 it was requisitioned for military use. In the grounds, the avenues of trees running to the east of the house which has led to the front gate lodge since the late 19th century, appears on the OS map of 1831; although apparently not leading anywhere at that time, before the main coast road from Carrickfergus to Larne was built, it was on a direct line to a causeway connecting with Islandmagee; the continuation of the avenue to the west of the house, now disconnected and isolated, also appears on the OS map of 1831. It may be surmised that these avenues formed the most northerly direct route between Islandmagee and the original road from Carrickfergus to Larne in previous centuries, one which appears to have run directly past the north face of a predecessor of the present Red Hall. The house is a scheduled monument, no. ANT 47:4. References - Primary Sources 1. Transcript of Red Hall lease of 26th May 1609 between John Dalway and William Edmonstone, in possession of J. O’N. McClintock, owner of Red Hall in 1998. 2. OS Map 1831, Co Antrim 47. 3. OS Map 1858, Co Antrim 47. 4. Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland: Parishes of County Antrim X, Vol 26 (Belfast, 1994), pp 85-86, 94, 96-97, 127. 5. S. Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (London, 1837), p 603. 6. Old photographs in Larne Historical Centre. Secondary Sources 1. J. Richardson, The Parish of Templecorran and Islandmagee, ND [1937], pp 20-21. 2. D.A. Chart, Ed., Preliminary Survey of the Ancient Monuments of Northern Ireland (HMSO, Belfast, 1940), pp 38-39. 3. A. Dowlin, Ballycarry in Olden Days (Belfast, 1963), pp 23-24. 4. M. Bence-Jones, Burke’s Guide to Country Houses, Volume 1: Ireland (London: 1978), p 241. 5. C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of County Antrim (U.A.H.S., Belfast, 1996), pp 76-77. 6. Typescript notes on ‘Broadisland and Templecorran’ compiled by J. O’N. McClintock. Old photographs in Larne Historical Centre.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form F. Structural System H+. Alterations enhancing the building I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Z. Rarity


This is a building in a classical style which displays on its exterior the distinctive proportions of the Georgian period, overlaid by ornamentation characteristic of the Victorian period. Its plan form is of interest as providing clues to the origins of the building, while the spatial organisation reveals a planned three dimensional relationship between spaces. In its exposed roof timbers of 17th century date it displays a structural system of considerable interest, while its timber staircase, also of 17th century date, exhibits an innovatory quality in the context of domestic design in the province. The building has been added to over the centuries and the successive alterations serve to illustrate an historic development of considerable interest, while the survival of a number of fine interiors from various periods is a crucial factor in the building’s architectural importance. The building is enhanced by its very fine setting at the centre of its own unspoiled estate, and together with other estate buildings it forms part of an important group. Historically it enjoys a degree of importance due to its association with the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century, as its recorded history begins with the sale of the lease by John Dalway to William Edmonstone in 1609 during a crucial period in the development of the province. Of local interest and some social importance as the centrepiece of a large country estate, which has given its name to the townland, the building is also of national interest as being an unusual instance of an essentially 17th century house still in use, whose original roof structure and staircase are rare survivals from that century in Northern Ireland.

General Comments

Date of Survey

12 August 1998