Gilford Castle Estate, Gilford, Co. Down

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Region £2,300,000 (€2,624,672)

Detached House
6 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, Detached House

Contact Name: James Butler

Agent: Savills Country Homes

PSR Licence Number: 002223

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Key Features

Exceptional residential
Agricultural & sporting estate
Magnificent castle
About 207 acres/84 hectares
For Sale as a Whole or in 5 Lots
Stable yard
Walled garden
Farm building
Driven pheasant shoot

Property Description

Spectacular estate with an imposing baronial castle and productive farmland

Gilford Castle Estate is an exceptional residential, agricultural and sporting estate with amenity extending to about 207 acres (84 hectares) in total. The historic, category " B1" listed castle occupies a commanding position within the heart of the estate and dates from circa 1865. It is constructed in the Scottish baronial style and includes well proportioned principal accommodation, plus two flats. Adjoining the castle is an extensive range of traditional outbuildings, including a former farm yard, sawmill and kennels. There are two flats within an impressive tower which formerly served as the coachman' s quarters and forms part of the traditional outbuildings. The estate includes attractive formal gardens, a walled garden and parkland. The agricultural element of the estate comprises productive arable land which is presently let on a Conacre basis and lies in a contiguous block. There is a general purpose farm building. Due to the topography, the established woodlands provide the foundation of an exciting driven pheasant shoot. The River Bann, Northern Ireland' s longest river, passes through the estate and provides fishing. The estate is partially enclosed by a traditional stone wall. There are many lovely walks within the estate, with a network of paths and tracks to follow, which are particularly attractive by the river.

The agricultural element is a key feature of Gilford Castle Estate. Situated within a contiguous block, the land lies on either side of the River Bann. It rises from about 100 feet above sea level on the River Bann and to about 200 feet above sea level on the southern boundary. The topography is undulating and a feature is the excellent access throughout the estate, via the public road and a network of internal roads and tracks. The arable land is generally free-draining and is laid out in fields of a good size and shape for modern agriculture. The depth and quality of the soil make it capable of growing a wide variety of arable crops, which have, in recent years, included potatoes, beet, cereals and excellent grass swards. The farmland is let on a Conacre basis to a number of local farmers.

The land can be classified as follows:
Land Type Acreage
Arable/pasture 127
Woods 63
Road, yards, buildings, river, etc 17
Total 207

The woods at Gilford Castle Estate include some outstanding specimen trees which provide shelter, shooting coverts, amenity, timber and privacy. Extending to about 63 acres in total, they are spread throughout the estate and are a key part of the landscape. The woods comprise a variety of mixed, mature deciduous species and some younger plantations. The estate enjoys a wide array of colour throughout the year from the varied plants, shrubs and trees.

The topography and woods at Gilford Castle Estate form the basis of an exciting driven pheasant shoot. The estate also has the capacity to enjoy less formal walked-up days. The shooting rights are presently let to a shooting syndicate and are shot in conjunction with adjoining land. There are reported bags of 160pheasant on driven days. The estate has single and double river bank frontage on the River Bann. The fishing rights are presently leased to Gilford Angling Club. Information regarding the shoot and fishing is available from the selling agent on request.

Gilford Castle Estate is being offered for as whole or in 5 lots.

Gilford Castle stands in a glorious position above the River Bann, on the fringe of the village of Gilford in County Down. The estate enjoys a private setting - in large part thanks to its beautiful trees and woodlands - and yet is only 29 miles from both Belfast City Centre and Belfast International Airport. The A1 is situated 6 miles to east and connects Belfast with Dublin. The village of Gilford is renowned for its linen industry and provides for everyday amenities including a greengrocers, cafe, post office, public house, restaurant, pharmacy, petrol station and health centre. The village has two primary schools. Though nestled in a private setting, the estate lies a short distance from the Down-Armagh county boundary and is convenient for the towns of Tandragee (3 miles), Banbridge (6 miles) and Portadown (6 miles), which offer a wide range of shops, services and secondary education. Portadown has a train station with regular services to both Belfast and Dublin. Lurgan train station provides services to Newry and Belfast. The port of Larne is 52 miles to the north east and provides daily sailings to Scotland. There are also regular crossings to Scotland from Belfast. The vibrant and thriving capital city of Belfast is within daily commuting distance (via the M1) and offers the complete range of selection of shopping, educational and cultural facilities. The area has plenty of sporting opportunities. In addition to a selection of golf courses locally, the Championship course of Royal County Down is 26 miles to the south east. There is sailing both on Lough Neagh and Strangford Lough. For those with equestrian interests, Down Racecourse is 16 miles distant and there is a number of hunts within boxing distance of the estate. The area is characterised by its rolling hills of productive farmland interspersed with impressive country houses arising from the wealth created from the local linen industry. There are many attractive walks locally, while the Mountains of Mourne (situated at the south east of the county) provide more challenging walks.

Gilford Castle Estate is steeped in history. The present castle superseded another dwelling dating from the seventeenth century. In 1635 John Magill, a Scottish settler, acquired land around the present-day village of Gilford from the Magennis clan. The Magennis local stronghold was situated at Clare, close to Waringstown and they were to forfeit more land after the 1645 rebellion. John Magill strengthened his position locally and the village began to develop around " Magill' s Ford" , from which the name of Gilford was derived. The Magills based themselves at Gill Hall near Dromore but a branch of the family - the Johnstons - resided in Gilford and developed the village. The original castle is believed to have been built by the Johnston family close to the present-day bridge (situated at the north-west of the estate) which passes over the River Bann. Local entrepreneurs were encouraged and the Bann water lent itself to the development of the linen industry, resulting in the village expanding and prospering. In the 1772 the castle was the scene of an attack by a disaffected group known as the Hearts of Steel who were suffering from failure of the harvest and a rise in taxation. Raised to a baronetcy, the last Johnston - a bachelor - died in the 1840s and divided his property between his two sisters. In the 1860s the portion granted to one of the sisters was purchased by Benjamin Dickson, who at that time was a partner in the prosperous local linen thread company of Dunbar McMaster. He engaged the fashionable architect William Spence, based in Glasgow, to design the present-day mansion on a new site in the Scottish Baronial style, creating a majestic grouping of river, park and house. Circumstances dictated he never inhabited this magnificent creation, with Percy Jocelyn McMaster, younger brother of Hugh Dunbar McMaster (proprietor of Gilford Mill), believed to be the first occupant, leasing the house between 1887 and 1891. Miss Katherine Carleton purchased the estate in 1902 and subsequently sold it in 1913 to James F. Wright. It has remained in the Wright family' s ownership ever since. Under their stewardship the estate has been enhanced and maintained and it continues its central role in the life of the locality, as it has for nearly 400 years. James Wright was the son of a mill owner from Ballinode, Co. Monaghan who had become a successful Hong Kong and Manila merchant and stockbroker. His wife, Mary Menary, was the niece of Sir Thomas Jackson, third Chief Manager of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (now known as HSBC), who was responsible for financing the development of Colonial Hong Kong under the first large scale bank. She was staying with her uncle and his daughters in Hong Kong prior to her wedding at St John' s Cathedral in 1902. James and Mary furnished their Gilford home with memories of Manila and Hong Kong. It became an inspired blend of east meets west. They also furnished it with keepsakes and memories of the histories of their families, both of which had roots in Ireland going back at least 400 years. A news account at the time of James Wright' s marriage said he has had service in South Africa, where he was badly wounded, but has now forged his sword into a pruning hook, and means to pursue a domestic, peaceful life under his own vine and a big tree. In his decades at Gilford, it seems that James got his wish. On his death certificate, his profession was recorded as farmer.

From the A1 take the A26 exit to Banbridge. Continue on theA26 passing through Banbridge and after about 3.5 miles take the A50. Proceed for 3 miles towards the village of Gilford. Before reaching Gilford, the entrance to the estate is on the left.

The postcode for the property is BT63 6 DJ.

Belfast International Airport (
Belfast City Airport (

Railway Stations
The nearest railway station is at Portadown. For timetables call

Fixtures & Fittings
The fitted carpets and curtains in Gilford Castle are included in the sale.

Local Authority Armagh City,
Banbridge & Craigavon Council Customer Correspondence FREEPOST BEL 2081
Civic Centre
Co. Down
BT64 1 AL
Tel: 0300 0300 900
Email: [email protected]

This property was last updated: today, 6 hours ago

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Selling Agent

Savills Country Homes
33 Molesworth Street Dublin 2

Contact Name: James Butler

PSR Licence Number: 002223

Show Number
This Detached House located at Gilford Castle Estate, Gilford, Co. Down is currently for sale. This property was last updated by Savills Country Homes today. Gilford Castle Estate, Gilford, Co. Down is priced as: Region £2,300,000 (€2,624,672) and has 6 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms. View all properties for sale in Gilford, Co. Down. View properties for sale with 6 bedrooms in Gilford, Co. Down.
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