Marks of Time
At the next roundabout turn right to what is sign posted as the ‘plantation village of Eglinton’. This is dominated by its former courthouse, standing opposite the access road to the village which is now used as a credit union. This was built in the 1820’s and held a petty sessions court on the first floor and a market space among open arcades on the ground floor with a medical dispensary to the rear. The buildings real use, however, was an important architectural set piece at the heart of the village signifying the taste and sophistication of the Grocer’s Company of London. Though they had been granted the surrounding area by King James I in the Seventeenth Century, as part of the Ulster Plantation, they had leased the land to agents until the lease came up again upon the death of George III in 1820. They, like many of the other London Companies with lands in the county, then took direct control and a period of architectural competion ensued with direct investment in villages like Eglinton, Ballykelly, Draperstown, Moneymore, and Kilrea. As part of the plan, in this village, two complementary buildings were built on either side of this focus. The Manor House to the left remains in fine condition. The Glen House to the right has unfortunately been heavily renovated, following a period of use as a hotel, and has lost much of its character. The court house has been recently well conserved and is well worth a visit. On the wall to one side is the arms of the Grocer’s Company who gave up their involvement with the village following the land reforms of the 1890′s.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West of Ireland and further afield with a little information about their history.