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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
House and outbuilding

Date of Construction:
1800 - 1819

Address :
Lissan Rectory 150 Moneymore Road Cookstown BT80 9UU


Survey 2:

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

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Rectories/ Manses etc

Former Use
Rectories/ Manses etc

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
H8279 8084

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

A two-storey building in Italianate villa style of roughcast walls and hipped and gabled roofs, with an entrance tower to the front and a stone arcade to the rear. It stands in a rural area set well back from the public road within its own grounds. The main entrance faces north, away from the public road. The north elevation is assymmetrical, comprising a flat roofed square entrance tower of two storeys plus an attic, flanked on the left by a two-bay two-storey set-back, and on the right by a two-storey two-bay wing, gabled at the outer bay, with a modern flat-roofed single storey garage extending to the right. Pitched roofs are slated rising to a flat roofed top. Walling is of roughcast render, with a moulded stone cornice to the tower. Rainwater goods are mainly of cast iron, but also include some in upvc. Windows in the set-back to the left of the tower are semi-circular headed timber sliding sashes, 6 over 6 to the ground floor and 6 over 2 to the first floor, without horns, with radial lights to the head, and exposed sash boxes, set in semi-circular headed openings. Windows in the wing to the right of the tower are similar except for one in the first floor next to the tower which is sashed 2 over 2 with curved Y-tracery lights to the head. The tower contains an open porch on the ground floor, entered through a large semi-circular stilted stone archway, which has rendered walls, and a plain plastered ceiling, and stone flagged floor. The main entrance in the rear of the porch consists of a rectangular timber eight-panelled door surmounted by a blind tympanum panel all set in a moulded surround. Above the porch in the first floor of the tower is a sashed window similar to those of the set-back, and above that, in the attic is a triplet of small rectangular timber vertically hung sliding sash windows, 2 over 2, without horns, with exposed sash boxes, set in a wide rectangular opening. In the ground floor of the exposed east face of the tower is a narrow round-headed window similar to the others, but sashed 4 over 4 with curved Y-tracery lights to the head. The garage is of entirely modern character with a timber fascia board, a rectangular flush timber door, and a wide rectangular vehicular door. The east elevation is of roughcast with a pitched roof as previous, lined and blocked, containing a smooth cement rendered chimney, which has one pot. There is one small rectangular window opening, at first floor level at the left hand extremity in the screen wall of the south front verandah. It contains unglazed lozenge pattern wooden glazing bars. The south elevation is asymmetrical and comprises a two-storey gable to the left, carried through from the north elevation, with a two-storey wing to the right recessed behind an open ground floor arcade and an open balcony above. Walling of the gable is roughcast as is the return extremity of the wing to the right, while the recessed walls of the wing are of smooth render painted white. Roofs are slated as previous, with plain timber barge boards. Rainwater goods are of upvc. The gable contains a triplet of large semi-circular headed windows to the ground floor similar to those on the north elevation, and a small single window in the first floor. The arcade consists of six semi-circular arches of ashlar sandstone carried on monolithic square piers of sandstone stop-chamfered to form octagonal shafts, set on square sandstone bases all on a sandstone plinth. The loggia has a flat plain plastered ceiling. The recessed ground floor of the wing behind the arcade contains three sets of double doors, glazed and panelled with radial lights to semi-circular fanlights, all set in fluted surrounds. There is also one semi-circular headed sashed window similar to those of the gable. The first floor of the wing contains two semi-circular headed sashed windows similar to gable, and a set of double doors, panelled and glazed with a radial fanlight, which leads out onto the balcony. The balcony is fronted by new modern steel railings, and also has three flush rooflights incorporated in the slated roof which sweeps down over it from the main block of the building. The west elevation is of roughcast. Its slated roof contains two smooth rendered chimneys which have old and new pots. The wall contains one semi-circular sashed window, 3 over 3 with radial lights, and one modern rectangular timber window comprising a fixed light and opening top vent. The garage projecting from this wall contains three windows of modern type. SETTING: The house is approached by a long driveway from a modern gateway which terminates in a parking area in front of the house. On the north and east sides of the house are lawns, bounded by rubble stone walls, with fields beyond on the north and west sides. The grounds contain a number of mature trees as well as shrubs and bushes. To the north of the house is a two-storey building of rectangular plan, built of rubble stonework, rendered to the front and sides, with a hipped slated roof, and a large segmental arched recess on the entrance front flanked by modernised rectangular windows, originally an outbuilding of uncertain function contemporary with the main house and therefore attributable to Nash. Its interiors do not appear to contain anything of architectural significance. To the rear of that is a large modern corrugated metal farm shed.


Nash, John

Historical Information

Built in 1807 to the designs of John Nash, architect of London, for Rev John Staples, the son of a local squire, Rt Hon John Staples MP, of Lissan House, speaker of the Irish House of Commons, and a cousin of William Stewart MP, of Killymoon Castle which had been designed by Nash in 1802. Built at a cost of £1313, 14 shillings and 5 pence, of which £100 was a gift, £650 was a loan from the Board of First Fruits, and the balance came from Staples. Originally the building was set in its own miniature parkland. Stylistically it was a smaller and less successful version of Cronkhill of c 1802, and Sandridge of 1805, two houses by Nash in England. The plan and elevations of Lissan rectory are reportedly to be found in George Repton's notebook held in the RIBA collection. A west wing which terminated in a circular tower has now been demolished and reportedly all original chimney pieces have been removed, although the one in the front porch may be original. The first floor balcony roof is modern erected in the post-war era while its railings are new, erected c 2007. An original plan by the Nash office for the building published by M. Mansbridge in 1991 shows a kitchen court to the north of the house which is closed on the north side by a rectangular building which has a wide recessed porch, like the outbuilding standing in the same position today. Professor M. Jope remarked (1956, p123) that 'The house is a varant on the same theme of Italianate villa elements as used by Nash at Cronkhill and though combined a little less skilfully, is a pleasing house to find set in this mid-Ulster countryside. The entrance passes through a large four-centred arch under the square tower which acts as a porch; the loggia here faces south only and the round tower with low-pitched conical roof and wide eaves, and oval windows, just below them, so significant at Cronkhill through its grouping in the central mass, is at Lissan rather lost to the composition by being relegated to the far end of the long kitchen wing'. He noted that at the time of writing (1956) the round tower was neglected. Sir John Summerson, in a letter to Jope at this time, stated that 'It was Nash who under the influence of the "picturesque" landscaping movement of the late 18th century, introduced the Italian type of villa exemplified in Lissan Rectory, a type intended to evoke the atmosphere of Claude's landscapes. In England there is but one surviving example of this type by Nash, its creator (Cronkhill, Shropshire). Lissan Rectory is therefore an important house of its period, significant to the whole story of British architecture'. References - Primary Sources 1. S. Lewis, A topographical dictionary of Ireland (London, 1837), Vol 2, p, 287. Secondary Sources 1. T. Davis, The architecture of John Nash (London, 1960), p 71, plate 105, plan 13. 2. T. Davis, John Nash: The Prince Regent's Architect (London, 1966), pp 52, 107, fig 11. 3. Irish Times, 2 January 1970. 4. M. Bence-Jones, Burke's Guide to Country Houses: Vol 1: Ireland (London, 1978), p 188. 5. A.J. Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North-West Ulster (Harmondsworth, 1979), pp 362-3. 6. J. Summerson, The life and work of John Nash, Architect (London, 1980), pp 42 and 192. 7. M. Mansbridge, John Nash: A complete catalogue (London, 1991), pp 136, 137. 8. Jope, E. M. 1956. 'Lissan rectory. Kilwaughter Castle and the buildings in the north of Ireland, designed by John Nash'. Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Volume 19, pp121-130 [includes ground plan, p123].

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form H-. Alterations detracting from building I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

W. Northern Ireland/International Interest V. Authorship


This is an early 19th century building in an Italianate villa style designed by John Nash, one of the leading architects of his time. It has close similarities with Nash's Cronkill in Shropshire,, though sadly Lissan is now bereft of its original kitchen wing on the west side where it once terminated in a circular tower like that at Cronkill. Sir John Summerton, one of the great architectural historians of the last century, remarked that Lissan was an 'important house of its period, significant to the whole story of British architecture'. He noted in particular that it was Nash who, under the influence of the 'picturesque' movement, introduced the Italian style [a type intended to evoke the atmosphere of Claude's landscapes] so exemplified by both Lissan and Cronkill. Lissan has lost some original interior features such as plasterwork details and fireplaces, as well as suffering changes to its roof-form, including the removal of a pyramidal roof to the tower and the addition of a covered balcony above the loggia, but enough original features and overall form survives to make it still a valuable addition to this very famous architect's body of work in both Britain and Ireland.

General Comments

Date of Survey

06 February 2008