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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB12/11/077 A

Extent of Listing:
House and walling

Date of Construction:
1860 - 1879

Address :
Castletown House Monea Enniskillen Co Fermanagh BT93 7AR

Castletown Monea

Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
28/07/1994 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Country House

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
H1645 4977

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

19thC house with extensive outbuildings set in a large demesne containing the ruined, plantation Monea Castle. DEMESNE Castletown Demesne is situated SE of Monea village. It is accessed from the Leighan Road to W. Here is a much altered single storey L shaped gate lodge (of little interest). From lodge a Beech tree lined driveway runs E to the gates of the house. Octagonal one-piece stone gate piers and have small rounded stone bollards to prevent gates swinging too far open. Rubble stone wall to either side runs N enclosing the garden, with lane running up to the rear yards. Wall at gates has moulded masonry coping which seems to have been the upturned cornice of an earlier structure. There are more similar pieces in the flower garden walls (see later). Modern cattle grid. To right the boundary fence continues S along the edge of a second beech tree lined driveway which runs to the ruined plantation castle to the S. From the gates a short gravel driveway runs E to the front of the house. A curving driveway at W links front of house to its rear yard. Immediate W of house is planted in mature shrubs, small front (S) area is lawned and steps down into former front lawns (now a field). To N of the house is a small domestic yard and to its immediate N is a larger (extends further W) farmyard. To E of the house is a flower garden, enclosed to S and W by a rubble stone wall, to E by a steep fall in the ground level, and to N by a hedge. Hedge separates the flower garden from the vegetable garden, which is enclosed to W and N by a stone wall, and to the E again by the steep fall in ground level. MAIN HOUSE Two storey/ three bay 1870s house. Principal elevation faces S. Rear returns of house are earlier in date and likely to be the earlier Monea Cottage (see historical description). U-shaped hipped natural slate roof (base of U facing S) with hipped stairwell return advancing from centre of N elevation. Advanced ashlar eaves course carries moulded metal rainwater goods. There are four chimneys, two to front ridge and one on each side ridge. All are ashlar masonry with projecting copings. Front and side elevations are lined rendered and unpainted with a chamfered ashlar base course, stepped V-channelled ashlar quoins and a stucco stringcourse above first floor windows creating a plain eaves frieze. Principal elevation is symmetrical. It has a central single storey bow fronted porch with three similar bowed stone steps to front. Concealed flat leaded roof. Wall is as façade with a slightly projecting moulded cornice, and single stucco pilasters (with moulded heads and bases) framing its three openings. Central door has windows to either side. Window openings have fine moulded architraves with a very slight semi-elliptical head and moulded cill. Windows are 1/1 sliding sash with horns (as are all others unless otherwise stated). Four panelled (replacement) door is stained timber, with plain transom over and has a decorative cast-iron knocker and knob. Left and right bays at ground floor have a single window with moulded corbelled cills, moulded architraves and decorative consoles supporting a classical hood. Left and right bays at first floor have single 2/2 sliding sash windows (in line with those below and diminished in height) with shallow segmental heads. They have corbelled cills and fine architraves. To central bay, over porch, are three narrow semicircular-headed 1/1 sash windows with moulded architraves. Left (W), and right (E) elevations are symmetrical with three windows to each floor, all detailed as those to left and right bays of façade. E elevation is painted. Rear (N) elevation is wet dashed and painted, with basecourse, quoins and eaves as façade. To extreme left at ground floor two steps lead to a four-panelled door with bolection mouldings, decorative knocker and a small bootscraper. Rest of elevation is blank and abutted to centre by a return containing the stairwell, and to its left by a block linking the main house to the return. STAIRWELL RETURN Stairwell roof is hipped and detailed as the rest of the main roof and its walls are wet dashed. Its N facing elevation is abutted at ground floor by a return (see later) and three semicircular headed windows to half landing level (as those to façade). Its right cheek of central bay has a 1/1 window to ground floor. Its left cheek is blank. LINK BLOCK Small two storey link block to rear return is aligned N-S. It has a pitched natural slate roof with lower eaves level (its ridge is level with eaves of main block). Its E wall is dashed with basecourse as main block. It has two small 1/1 windows with horns to each floor. Its S gable abuts the main house. Its N gable abuts the rear return. Its W elevation is abutted by the stairwell return. REAR RETURN Two storey / single bay rear return has pyramidal natural slate roof aligned W-E, with a chimney (as others) on S pitch at join with link block. It is detailed as the link block which abuts its blank N wall. Its E wall has a 2/2 sliding sash on each floor (that to first floor is diminished in height. Its N wall is abutted to centre and left by single storey lean-to pantry, and to right by the N wing. Its W wall is abutted by the N wing also. PANTRY Pantry (a later addition) has a pitched lean-to artificial slate roof with a tiny cast-iron skylight and half round plastic gutters. Walls are smooth rendered. Its E wall has a six-paned casement window. Its W cheek is abutted by the N wing (see later), and its N wall is blank. NORTH WING This block is aligned N-S and also partially abuts the W elevation of the rear return. It is two storeys high and two bays wide, but is set lower than the return. Pitched natural slate roof with concrete coped brick chimney between the two bays. Stone ridge tiles, advanced masonry eaves course, and half round plastic rainwater goods. Dashed and painted walls. Ground level rises to cill level of its N and W ends. E elevation is abutted by pantry to ground floor left. To left end of remaining wall at ground floor is a two-paned casement window without cill. To its right is a t+g sheeted door. To left and right of first floor are 3/6 sliding sash windows. At ground floor of its N gable is a modern window opening containing a pair of casements with a transom over. Its transom is set between first and second floor level and its cill is almost at ground level. W elevation is abutted to S end by the W wing (see later) it has a pair of modern side hung casements to ground floor right, and to left and right at first floor are single 3/6 sliding sashes. WEST WING The W wing is aligned W-E. Its E gable abuts part of the W wall of the return and part of the W wall of the N wing. Its S wall abuts the ground floor of stairwell return. Pitched natural slate roof with stone ridges, advanced eaves course and ridge is at eaves height of rear return. S pitch has two cast-iron skylights. Walls are dashed and painted. N wall (yard facing) has a 6/6 sliding exposed box sash window to extreme left (at join with N wing) and above is a small window opening containing a pair of 2/2 side hung casements. To right of centre at ground floor is pair of modern side hung casements with transom over. W gable (garden facing) is in line with the W elevation of the main house. It has a modern doorway with sidelights to centre and 3/6 sliding sash window in the gable above. S wall is blank. ENTRANCE WALLING Octagonal one-piece stone gate piers and small rounded stone bollards to prevent the gates swinging too far open. Rubble stone wall to either side runs N enclosing the garden, with lane running up to the rear yards. Wall at gates has moulded masonry coping which seems to have been the upturned cornice of an earlier structure. There are more similar pieces in the flower garden walls . Modern cattle grid. To right the boundary fence continues S along the edge of a second beech tree lined driveway which runs to the ruined plantation castle to the S. SETTING: Setting includes the domestic yard (HB12/11/077D), farmyard (HB12/11/077E) and walled gardens (HB12/11/077F)


Not Known

Historical Information

Monea castle is a plantation structure dating from 1619 and one of the most intact of its type in Ulster. The castle, its garden and tree lined avenue are scheduled monuments (SM FER 191-61). Monea Cottage was erected to replace it after it burnt down in 1750, on the site of the current house. The Manor of Monea was purchased in 1790 by Mr. J. Brien of Stralongford Co. Tyrone, who had a number of estates in the Province. On his death in 1811 it passed to his fourth son, Captain John Brien (born 1776). It may be that Captain Brien was already resident on the estate as the old school house was erected in 1802 by ‘Lieutenant J. Brien’ (datestone of this building is in domestic yard). Captain John Brien married Charlotte Dawson in 1814 and their son John Dawson Brien was born in 1815 and inherited the estate in 1856. It was he who built two gate lodges c1860, one to W and one to N. In 1869 he became High Sheriff / Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Fermanagh and it is then that he built the current main house. He died in 1881 and his wife Francis (nee Smith) had the local C of I Church (St. Molaise HB12/11/004) rebuilt in his memory. A plaque in the church states, ‘To the Glory of God/ and in affectionate memory of/ John Dawson Brien/ Castletown/ This church was erected/ by his widow/ and his two surviving sisters/ 1890’. Mrs Brien lived on in the house until her death in 1917. The estate was due to pass to John Henry Loftus Reade, but he had died in Flanders in 1914. It passed onto the Brien family, their two eldest sons had also dies in WW1 the house was inherited by one of their sisters. She lived in the house until her death c1974 when it passed to the present owner. The demesne has not been sold since purchase in 1790. The 1st edition OS map shows the current demesne, with lodge and main driveway to N. There is no W lodge but a schoolhouse is marked to the N of the driveway. There is no driveway running S to the original Castle. The house here is marked ‘Monea Cottage’ and is cruciform in plan with a range of T planned outbuildings to its N. The flower and vegetable gardens and their buildings are shown to immediate E of the complex. The 2nd edition OS map shows the W lodge and the main driveway being the W one, the former schoolhouse is no longer labelled, and a national school is shown outside the demesne to the NW. The demesne now has the tree lined driveway to the old castle. The outbuildings to N of house are more numerous and the farm yard more defined. The current OS map (surveyed 1963) shows the N lodge (now gone) to have been rectangular with a small return on its N end. Dean states that both lodges were built c1860 and shows plans of the single storey W lodge that has a hipped L-planned roof and gable to return. Small segmental headed windows and a door on its N elevation. This building was much altered and extended c1979. Following the erection of the main house, its rear returns (part of Monea Cottage) are L planned suggesting that the E and S wings of the cruxiform cottage were demolished for the erection of the present house c1870. The pieces of masonry frieze and cornice which cope the wall of the W drive and the wall of the flower garden may have been removed from the demolished parts of Monea Cottage. Primary Sources: 1. OS Map 1st Edition 1834, Co Fermanagh, sheet 15. 2. OS Map 2nd Edition 1857, Co Fermanagh, sheet 15. 3. OS Map Sheet 191-12, revised 1968 Secondary Sources: 1. M. Bence-Jones, ‘Country Houses of Ireland’ (London 1978), p.104. 2. A. Rowan, ‘North West Ulster’ (Penguin 1979), p.422. 3. J.A.K. Dean, ‘The Gate lodges of Ulster’ (Belfast. 1994), p.104. 4. Rev. J.B, Leslie ‘Clougher Clergy and Parishes’ (Enniskillen 1929). 5. G. Elliott, ‘Parishes of Devenish and Boho’ (Belfast 1990), p.119. 6. A. Day, ‘OS Memoirs of Ireland, Parishes of Co. Fermanagh II 1834/5 Vol.14 (QUB 1992), p.49.

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

W. Northern Ireland/International Interest


Impressive and well detailed 19thC century house combined with the historic castle, remains of Monea Cottage and outbuildings combine to create a very important demesne group. The earlier 18thC Monea cottage forms the rear returns of the 1870 house. It is a relatively humble structure and has been altered but retains a number of vernacular features. The yards and outbuildings to the north of this, complete the historic vernacular grouping, together with the flower and vegetable gardens and their buildings.The loss of the south and east wings of Monea Cottage does not obscure the original layout and the incorporation of the remaining wings within the later house clearly demonstrates a very interesting development and continuity of occupation on the site.

General Comments

Date of Survey

01 October 1999