Country House No Rescue
At the turn of the 21st century Edenderry Church of Ireland published a short history of its parish in the Diocese of Derry. Or Derry-Londonderry-Derry. The authors were Sue Darling and David Harrow. Back then Mrs Darling was châtelaine of Crevenagh House on the outskirts of Omagh County Tyrone. Not long afterwards she sold the seat and the furniture in it, innit.
Darling Harrow, ‘In 1656, John Corry purchased the manor of Castle Coole from Henry and Gartrid St Leger. His great granddaughter, Sarah Corry, in 1733, married Galbraith Corry, son of Robert Lowry and, about the year 1764, assumed the name Corry in addition to that of Lowry. From this union are descended the Earls of Belmore, and, most if not all, the townlands of the parish passed to the Belmore family. In 1852 and 1853, the following townlands were sold to the Encumbered Estates Court: Arvalee, Aghagallon, Cranny, Crevenagh, Edenderry, Galbally, Garvaghy, Lisahoppin, Recarson and Tattykeel.’
Townland and Country
P McAleer in Townland Names of County Tyrone and their Meanings, 1936, writes that Crevenagh means ‘A branchy place’. It still is. Like most Irish townlands, the name has had a few variations: Cravana, Cravanagh, Cravena, Cravnagh, Creevanagh before landing on Crevenagh.
Crevenagh House was the seat of the Auchinleck family. David Eccles Auchinleck was born on 16 October 1797 and died on 3 March 1849. He was the youngest son of the Reverend Alexander Auchinleck and Jane Eccles of Rossory, County Fermanagh. In the early 19th century David bought land at Crevenagh from Lord
Belmont Belmore to build a home. Later he bought more land from the good Lord to build a church, Edenderry Church. Said church was consecrated two years before David’s death.
On 16 January 1837 David’s eldest son Thomas Auchinleck was born. He married Jane Loxdale from Liverpool. Thomas died on 1 February 1893, leaving Jane a widow at Crevenagh House for the next 24 years. Their son David married Madaline Scott of Dungannon. He was killed in action at Ypres in 1914 while serving with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His widow stayed with her mother-in-law until she died in 1921 and then on her own until her death in 1948.
Matters of the Heart
On the demise of Mrs Auchinleck (Aunt Mado to all) her nephew Colonel Ralph Darling inherited Crevenagh House. He got hitched to Moira Moriarty of Edenderry. In 1953 the Colonel and Mrs Darling threw a Coronation Party for the young people of Edenderry Parish. Ralph died five years later.
Gerald Ralph Auchinleck Darling inherited Crevenagh House from his father. Although he continued his career as a barrister in London, Gerald considered Crevenagh his home, returning there as often as possible. In 1954 he married Susan Hobbs from Perth (nope not Scotland). They had two children, Fiona and Patrick. Gerald retired from London in 1990 six years before his death.
Gerald was a cousin of Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, 1884 to 1981 (The Auk to all). The Auk was a frequent visitor to Crevenagh House. The Field Marshal is commemorated in Edenderry Church: ‘The plaque, the design of which is identical to the memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral, was erected beside others to members of the Auchinleck family, most of whom were killed in action.’
Crevenagh House is an architectural delight. Pure joy. Tight and bipartite and tripartite and quadripartite windows shimmer against cut stone walls that dramatically darken in the dripping Irish rain. Crimson coloured window frames and doors resemble the red rimmed eyes of an aging beauty peering across an unsettling landscape, weeping as time goes by. The charming formal symmetrical entrance front gives way to quasi symmetrical side elevations before finally wild abandon bleeds across the asymmetrical rear elevation.
Wine Dark Sea of Homer
A perky pepperpot gatehouse signposts the main entrance to the estate. The house is approached via a gently curving driveway up the hillside. To the left, views of it romantically unfold. Unusually, Crevenagh is twice as deep as it’s wide thanks to one owner ambitiously fattening the size of the original block. Over to Mark Bence-Jones,
‘A two storey house built circa 1820 by D E Auchinleck, great uncle of Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck. Three bay entrance front with Wyatt windows in both storeys and projecting porch. Three bay side with central Wyatt window in both storeys. A slightly lower two storey range was subsequently added by D E Auchinleck’s son, Major Thomas Auchinleck, behind the original block and parallel with it; its end, which has a single storey bow, forming a continuation of the side elevation, to which it is joined by a short single storey link. The principal rooms in the main block have good plasterwork ceilings, and the hall has a mosaic floor depicting the Seven Ages of Man. There are doors made of mahogany from the family plantations in Demerara.’
Lot 1a Crevenagh House (12.56 acres): ‘A tree lined avenue leads from the public highway to the house which faces south and west over its own grounds. The Georgian house, built circa 1820 for the Auchinlecks, is a fine example of a period residence, set in rolling lawns and woodland. The house has remained in the same family ownership since it was built.
There is a self contained and separately accessed staff or guest accommodation to the rear of the house. To the south of the stable block there is a south facing walled garden of approximately two acres surrounded by a brick wall, stone faced on the exterior. The southern boundary is formed by a pond.’
Lots and Lots
Lot 1(b) Stable Block (0.25 acres): ‘The stables are located within the grounds of Crevenagh House and provide an opportunity to purchase and develop attractive stable buildings and a yard for residential purposes. Planning permission was granted on 26 October 1999 for conversion into three residential units.’
Going Going Gone
Lot 2 Hill Field (9.84 acres): ‘An area of south sloping pasture land divided into two fields. The fields are zoned for housing within Omagh development limits: Omagh Area Plan, 1987 to 2002. A planning application has not been submitted and prospective purchasers should rely on their own inquiries of the Planning Authority.’
Lot 3 Orchard Field (8.92 acres): ‘This area of approximately nine acres lies to the east of Crevenagh House and is bordered by woodland. The south facing lands are not presently allocated for development but there may be longer term potential.’
Until the End of Time
Lot 4 The Holm (9.73 acres): ‘This field, with access from Crevenagh road under the old railway bridge, is bordered by the Drumragh River. The lands are presently used for agricultural and recreational purposes. Parts of this Lot will be affected by the new road throughpass but a portion of the remainder may have some development potential, subject to planning approval.’