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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
House, gates and piers

Date of Construction:
1860 - 1879

Address :
14 Kearney Village Kearney Road Kearney Portaferry Co Down BT22 1QP


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
07/09/1976 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J6491 5178

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

Simple, two storey vernacular house of perhaps c.1860s set in a shaded area in the north side of Kearney Village (itself c.3 miles E of Portaferry). Front (N) façade is asymmetrical. To the right of centre is a timber panel door. To the left and the right of the doorway is a sash window, with three similar, unevenly spaced, windows to the first floor, all with smooth cement surrounds. Large timber garage door on to the left side of the north elevation (flush with front of house). E gable has two first floor windows as before, with garage extension with mono-pitch corrugated iron roof and single fixed light window (to E elevation). W gable has two first floor windows as before with one to right of ground floor, slightly taller than previous. ‘Crude’ chamfered plinth to gable. Flush with W gable, is a lean-to extension attached to rear of house, which has a window as before. To the rear of extension (S) is a hipped roof and window as before to left, with small timber conservatory on east elevation. To right of extension on ground floor of main house is window as before, with similar, but smaller, window in centre of first floor, with small two pane window to its left. Roof of main house gabled and pitched with Bangor blue slates, stone parapets and two yellow brick chimney stacks. Entire house finished in rough cast render, with chamfered quoins to front and gables. Cast iron gutters and down spouts. Low rendered wall around front garden.


Not Known

Historical Information

A large L-shaped building is shown on this site on the OS maps of 1834 and 1860, which suggests that the present dwelling dates from some time after this. KEARNEY VILLAGE In early medieval times, the townland of Kearney was a possession of the McKearneys, a family possibly distantly related to the O’Neills of Tyrone. During the later medieval period this land came into the possession of the Gaelicised Norman family of the Savages, who appear to have leased much of it to the Smiths, a dependent family of similar origin. A lease from Patrick Savage to Patrick Smith from 1643 mentions what was then one of the most lucrative aspects of Kearney, ‘the mill, mill ponds and watercourses’, from which the landlord received at not inconsiderable income. By the later 17th century the Savages had leased much of Kearney to the Ross family (of Rosstrevor) who continued in possession of the lands throughout the 18th century. It is from a lease of March 1729 that we have the first indication of a substantial settlement on the site of the present village. This settlement was to grow throughout the remainder of the century, with locals employed on the local farms and the two near by flax and corn mills, whilst supplementing their incomes by salvaging the not infrequent shipwrecks, and perhaps smuggling. Wrecking may have taken place also. The village probably reached its greatest extent in terms of population and activity in the 1830s, when there were 33 families, two schools (one C of I and Catholic, the other Presbyterian), and a ‘ceilidh house’. Most of the buildings we see today appear to have been present at this time, but as most were exempt from rating, very little is recorded of the village in the 1836 valuation in terms of house dimensions and occupiers*. The only dwellings which are mentioned are three single storey houses, occupied by Hugh and John McNabb and Widow Hasty (who owned the close by windmill). The slow decline in Kearney’s fortunes began in the latter half of the nineteenth century and by 1900 the population had halved, many seeking more prosperous lives in the towns, or emigrating. By 1938 most of the Kearney farms and cottages had passed into the possession of Hugh Orr, who had established a model farm close by. The decline continued unabated, however, so that by 1945 only three houses were occupied by a total of seven residents. When the National Trust acquired the village twenty years later (with money collected during the Enterprise Neptune campaign), it was practically a ghost town. Since 1965, the Trust have attempted to restore and reconstruct Kearney based on the plan of the village as shown on the 1834 OS Map, when the settlement had probably reached its zenith. Most of the houses are now occupied as full time homes once more, with a few as holiday residences, with all properties leased from the Trust. Currently only one of the original dwellings lies vacant awaiting imminent restoration. *The second valuation poses similar problems for the buildings in the village are not individually numbered on the valuation map, thus making it very difficult (if not impossible) to put the name of an occupant to a dwelling. References- Primary sources 1 PRONI D.552 Savage/Nugent Papers 2 PRONI OS/6/3/32/1 Ordnance Survey Maps, 1st ed., 1834, Down sheet 32 3 PRONI VAL/1B/38 First valuation, Parish of Ballytrustan, 1836 4 PRONI OS/6/3/32/2 Ordnance Survey Maps, 1st rev., 1860, Down sheet 32 5 PRONI Second valuation, Parish of Ballytrustan, 1861 (in print) 6 PRONI OS/6/3/32/3 Ordnance Survey maps, 2nd ed., 1899-1900, Down sheet 32 7 Admiralty Chart of Strangford Lough, surveyed by Richard Hoskyn Master R.N. 1859-60, with small corrections 1918-38 (HMSO) Secondary sources 1 The above history was mainly compiled from various articles kindly supplied to the authors by the National Trust, in particular one by Mrs. M.A.K. Garner, charting the early history of Kearney 2 Jim Blaney, "Mary Ann Donnan of Kearney" in 'Journal of the Upper Ards Historical Society No.3' (1979), pp.24-5 3 Reta Lyttle, "Kearney" in 'Journal of the Upper Ards Historical Society No.4' (1980), p.15

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

X. Local Interest


Simple, two storey vernacular house of perhaps c.1860s, with garage extension to gable. As well as its intrinsic value this house also has group value with the other listed buildings in Kearney

General Comments

Date of Survey

11 August 1997