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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB20/04/042 A

Extent of Listing:

Date of Construction:
1800 - 1819

Address :
Shane's Castle Camellia House Shane's Castle Park Antrim Co Antrim

Shane's Castle Park

Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
20/09/1974 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Glass House

Former Use
Glass House

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J1163 8796

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

A rectangular single storey building with an entrance at each end and a long arcaded glazed front. Main entrance faces south-west, in one end. Main front elevation, facing south-east, consists of a crenellated ashlar stone façade, of what appears to be Portland stone, containing 13 moulded semi-circular arched openings with triple clustered columns rising from moulded bases to small scalloped caps supporting each arch; bases stand on a deep cill projecting over a low plinth at ground level; arches are surmounted by a continuous arcaded drip moulding. Windows are of timber, in two large rectangular lights with six rectangular pane divisions in each, with each division containing four panes, each pane overlapping the one below and cut with a segmental shaped bottom edge; all surmounted by semi-circular fanlights, radially glazed with seven pane divisions each; each pane division contains two panes of overlapping segmental shaped type; fanlights are bottom-hung and open in. Windows are set in moulded timber frames rising from smooth rendered base blocks which sit behind the clustered columns and have smooth rendered panels between them. Above the arched drip moulding is a projecting moulded stringcourse, surmounted by a crenellated parapet. A number of the windows have broken glazing and all have later timber framed protective metal mesh panels affixed. At the right-hand extremity the walling is of exposed brickwork where an adjoining block remains incomplete, with a canted basalt and sandstone bay projecting from it, left unfinished. At the left-hand extremity is a slightly projecting rectangular end bay in finely jointed ashlar stone, with a projecting plinth, and similar string course and parapet to top; it contains a blind arrow loop slit. End elevation, facing south-west: single storey, containing the main entrance. Main entrance comprises a central semi-circular arched doorway set in a rectangular panel of ashlar stone which projects slightly from the centre of a projecting bow with snecked basalt rubble sides which curve back to join a taller flanking tower to each side. Flanking towers are of basalt rubble with stone quoining to the outer extremities; projecting moulded string course and crenellations to all three elements; some ashlar stone blocks of the parapet have been repaired in brickwork and render. Flanking towers each contain a Gothic arched window at low level; Gothic arched timber fixed lights with horizontal pane divisions, set in splayed reveals and cill, with moulded label. Doorway consists of a pair of rectangular timber glazed and panelled double doors, surmounted by a rectangular 4-pane glazed panel with a semi-circular 7-pane radially glazed fanlight over that; all set in a moulded timber frame recessed behind a moulded semi-circular arch carried on twin clustered columns with scalloped caps, similar to main elevation; doorstep of cement. Rear elevation is of one storey on a basement storey: of random rubble with some brickwork, including brick dressings to small rectangular window openings; sandstone crenellations to top of parapet; basement area contains large rectangular recesses with timber lintels surmounted by flat brick arches. At right-hand extremity is a projecting brick buttress at junction with side of terminal turret on main entrance elevation; segmental brick arched open doorway at basement level of turret; doorway opening leads into a vaulted chamber with earthen floor and a narrow flight of stone steps at the rear which is blocked off at the top. A number of truncated basalt rubble cross walls project from the rear wall at basement level, the remains of an adjacent basement area either fallen into ruin or part of an unfinished rebuilding of the main house. End elevation facing north-east: single-storey, three-bay, consisting of a central segmental arched entrance recess containing a semi-circular arched doorway, flanked each side by taller semi-circular arched recesses, all in brickwork except for top portion of basalt rubble surmounted by stone crenellations. Doorway contains a pair of rectangular timber double doors, each 2-panel, surmounted by a 2-pane semi-circular fanlight. Three cast iron downpipes from concealed gutters. This was originally to have been an internal wall surface, forming part of the unfinished suite of new rooms along the south front of the castle. It faces into a rectangular enclosure which leads on to other rooms laid out with internal doorways on axis with this one; enclosing walls range from cill height to mid-storey height. SETTING: The building stands at the rear of a gravelled early 19th century battlemented terrace overlooking Lough Neagh, with the ruins of an 18th century country house to the rear (HB20/04/051), and the unfinished ruins of early 19th century country-house extensions (HB20/04/041) attached to one side.


Nash, John

Historical Information

Built for Lord O'Neill c 1812-16 as a conservatory, apparently to the designs of the architect John Nash of London. Designed as part of a scheme of additions to Shane's Castle which comprised also a battery and terrace on which the conservatory stands, all completed, and a suite of rooms, intended to provide a southern aspect to the old castle, which remains in an unfinished state after work was abandoned in 1816 following a fire which destroyed the old castle. It was described in the 1830s as "stocked with some rare exotics besides some remarkably fine orange and lemon trees", and presenting "a handsome front of 13 Saxon windows". It has housed camellias from approximately the 1870s, and has been known as the 'Camellia House' since at least 1970. Stylistically it is reportedly similar to the long conservatory which Nash had built for himself at his home, East Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight, started in 1798. The building stands within the area of an ancient monument, no. ANT49:29. References – Primary Sources 1. OS Map 1829 & 32, Co Antrim 49. 2. Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Vol 19: Parishes of County Antrim VI, 1830, 1833, 1835-8 (Belfast, 1993), pp 36, 48. Secondary Sources 1. J.A. Pilson, History of the rise and progress of Belfast, and Annals of the County Antrim (Belfast, 1846), p 156. 2. UAHS, West Antrim (Belfast, 1970), pp 19 and 21. 3. D. Barzilay, Shane's Castle Railway and Nature Reserve: Official Guide (Antrim, 1975), pp 17-23. 4. E. Malins and The Knight of Glin, Lost Demesnes: Irish Landscape Gardening 1660-1845 (London, 1976), pp 82-3. 5. M. Bence-Jones, Burke's Guide to Country Houses, Vol 1: Ireland (London, 1978), pp 257-8. 6. R. Pierce and A. Coey, Taken for Granted (NIHBC, 1984), p 175. 7. Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Committee, Heritage Gardens Inventory (Belfast, 1992), AN/064. 8. C.E.B. Brett, The Buildings of County Antrim (UAHS, Belfast, 1996), pp 266-7.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

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

Historic Interest

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


This is an early 19th century conservatory in a delicately detailed 'castle style' designed by the prominent English architect John Nash as part of a group of additions to Shane's Castle. It enjoys an unspoiled setting within a well wooded demesne overlooking Lough Neagh from its position on a broad terrace and along with it and the other structures with which it is associated, it forms part of a group of considerable architectural and historic interest.

General Comments

This record was originally numbered as HB20/04/042

Date of Survey

28 November 2000