There is a vast and fascinating history tied to Castle Upton which encapsulated the changing times of Northern Ireland, Ireland and Britain through the ages.
The area itself has been inhabited as far back as 450 A.D. when St. Patrick reportedly visited during his Irish mission, establishing a Church and the Holy Well of St. Patrick.
The first Castle or Priory as it was also known was built in 1200 A.D. by the Knights of St. John. Part of this building still remains incorporated into the basement of the modern Castle Upton and the small tower, “St. John’s Tower”, is said to have been built during his reign.
The Knights remained there until 1568 when they were driven out by the Protestant Reformation. The ‘Priorate or Castle of the Knights of St. John’ was granted to Captain Humfred de Norton whom by 1611 had already built a large portion of the present Castle. (This date is above the front door).
In 1625 Captain Henry Upton purchased the house and lands of ‘Castle Norton’ as it was then called and gave it the name of Castle Upton. Upton had come to Ireland as part of the Earl of Essex’s army. He became the M.P. for Carrickfergus in 1636. During the 1641 Irish Rebellion, the rebels kept all the Protestant inhabitants of the district on the defensive inside the Castle. They finally received aid in 1642 from the Scottish Army which remained on duty at Templepatrick until 1646.
The property remained in Upton hands for many generations. They suffered many premature deaths in the family and the Castle frequently passed down a line of brothers, not all of whom were interested in living there. The Upton who inherited in 1768 was the youngest of three brothers and had made his home in London. He was the Comptroller of the Household of the Princess Dowager of Wales and became the 1st Baron Templeton. It was he who commissioned his friend Robert Adam to make improvements to the Castle in 1770.
Robert Adam made considerable changes some of which were the addition of the great banqueting hall and the drawing room. He remodelled the main hall with a heightened ceiling and designed the wood work and the ceiling decorations. Adam also built the beautiful double stable yard.
By the late 1920s the Castle was in disrepair and sold in 1923 to a timber merchant and subsequently to a business entrepreneur. He made his own changes to the Castle removing some of the Crenellations and pepper pot turrets; he also reduced the south front by one storey.
When the Kinahan family purchased the Castle in 1963 both the Castle and the Adam yard were in various stages of neglect.
They immediately started a restoration project which began with the Castle and the gardens. Slowly they were both returned to their former glory.
Location and Amenities
Castle Upton is located in the peaceful and appealing village of Templepatrick, 12 miles northwest of Belfast city centre, 5.6 miles from Belfast International Airport and conveniently on the Airport to Belfast bus route.
There is plenty on offer in the village itself with a number of hotels including the neighbouring Hilton Templepatrick Golf and Country Club. The Hilton boasts excellent amenities such as the 18-hole championship parkland course (formally part of the Castle Upton Estate) together with a state of the art Health Club (comprising a gym and swimming pool and hair and beauty salons) and a restaurant. Templepatrick is excellently positioned to enjoy all that Northern Ireland has to offer. The thriving Belfast city centre, with all its culture and leisure facilities, is a mere 15 minutes’ drive away.
Under an hour away, situated on the North Antrim Coast is the World Heritage Site of the Giants Causeway, one of the most visited attractions in Ireland. This is combined with the spectacular coastline and heritage walks along the cliffs.
Other close by amenities including sailing at a choice of the Antrim Boat Club, Carrickfergus Sailing Club or the award winning marina in Bangor (the largest in Northern Ireland). There is an excellent choice of golf courses in the vicinity, in addition to the adjoining Hilton Golf Course, there is the Holywood Golf Club, the Massereene Golf Club and Ireland’s oldest established course, the Royal Belfast Golf Club.
Set deep behind the original estate walls, Castle Upton sits proudly amongst its glorious gardens and mature parkland. Castle Upton is essentially a Castle with a rural setting and yet central to the village, a few minutes off the M2 motorway and 12 miles from the city centre.
An impressive fortified gateway at the centre of the village leads to the Castle. The front avenue leads through mature woods over a stone bridge and opens out to parkland giving the first glimpse of Castle Upton.
The house is impressive in character with a charming appeal. On entering the hall there is an immediate sense of welcome and admiration of the unusual architectural and decorative features.
Throughout the house are numerous features which are of historical and architectural importance. The hall boasts a double height ceiling with intricate plasterwork displaying the Upton family crest. There are three principal reception rooms and a cosy family room. The reception rooms all have their own unique characteristics. The drawing room is spacious and bright with a beautiful circular shaped inset in the chimney piece. The ballroom is an elegant room with a sprung floor and an Italian marble chimney piece, formally at Downhill Castle near Castlerock. The dining room has a quatrefoil ceiling with Maltese cross designs and Wedgwood inspired plaster reliefs depicting classical scenes. The recessed windows of the dining rooms clearly demonstrate the great thickness of the exterior walls. The light and spacious bedrooms are found on the first and second floors.
In the courtyard behind the Castle is a large self-contained office which was formally used as an art gallery and easily suits many purposes. The office wing connects to the main house at basement level which has a series of useful rooms and a one bedroom staff apartment.
In the past 20 years the Castle has benefited from further renovations including re-roofing, re-wiring and re-plumbing.
Castle Upton Accommodation (Please refer to floor plans)
The Main Hall features a tiled floor, part wood panelled walls, decorative panelled ceiling featuring the Upton family crest. Part of the hall has a double height ceiling. A short flight of stairs leads to the upper hall level giving access to the main staircase and there is also access to the basement from the main hall.
The cloakroom has a timber floor, wood panelled walls, corniced ceiling, 2 x wc’s, 2 x whb’s and built in storage.
The sitting room has a carpeted floor, wood panelled walls and decorative panelled ceiling with the Upton family crest. There is an Adam fireplace and door to the drawing room.
The drawing room has a timber floor, corniced ceiling and decorative timber fireplace with a beautiful circular shaped inset framed by marble.
Double doors lead into the ballroom which has a sprung maple dance floor, a corniced ceiling with decorative frieze and 2 centre roses. It has a part wood panelled wall and a magnificent large decorative white marble fireplace with gilded friezes. The ballroom has access to two separate towers.
The dining room has a timber floor, quatrefoil ceiling with Maltese cross designs and Wedgwood inspired plaster reliefs on the walls, black marble fireplace and door leading to the kitchen.
The kitchen has built in kitchen units both at floor and eye level. A four door oil fired Aga, a Bosch electric oven with 4 rings, stainless steel sink, Amtico flooring and a door leading to steps into the garden.
Bedroom 1 has a marble fireplace and is currently used as a sitting / ironing room. The master bedroom has a carpeted floor, corniced ceiling and large timber fireplace with marble inset. The en suite bathroom has a carpeted floor, part wood panelled walls, a roll top bath, separate shower, storage cupboards, wc, whb. The adjoining dressing room has a carpeted floor and built-in wardrobe.
There are 6 bedrooms at this level and two bathrooms. Bedroom 3 is a large bedroom over the drawing room and has a marble fireplace. Directly beside bedroom 3 is found the shower room and separate wc.
Bedroom 4 has a carpeted floor and a timber fireplace. Up a short flight of stairs brings us to bedroom 5 which has a carpeted floor, corniced ceiling and a marble fireplace. Another short flight of stairs brings us to the upper landing with access to the attic. Bedroom 6 has a carpeted floor and built in wardrobe.
Bedroom 7 has a carpeted floor, timber decorative fireplace. The bathroom has a tiled floor, bath, wc, whb. Bedroom 8 has a carpeted floor, corniced ceiling and a large en suite bathroom with a carpeted floor, an enormous roll top bath, separate shower, wc, whb.
The attic spans the length of the house and is an enormous storage space with easy access.
There are a series of useful rooms at basement level including the laundry room, wine cellar, wood store and two workshops, many of the rooms have access directly into the courtyard.
Also at basement level is found the self-contained staff apartment with kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom.
The office / gallery is a bright spacious room, very possibly the oldest part of the Castle, its vaulted ceilings and white painted stone walls, add to its immense character. It has direct access to both the courtyard and the gardens and is an excellent room with enormous potential.
Two gate lodges sit either side of the main Castle gates and are currently held in a lease by the architectural charity, HEARTH. The term is 50 years with approximately 35 years remaining.
Gardens and Grounds
The Castle is surrounded by wonderful gardens which have been a labour of love for the Kinahan family since 1963. To the front and side of the Castle there are expansive lawns interspersed with herbaceous borders, flower beds and shrubbery, all of which are framed by ancient specimen trees. An old stone fountain is the central point on the west lawn and today it is planted with an array of flowers. At the front of the house they built a ha-ha out into the field and also established an ornamental lake. To the rear of the Castle is found the tennis court which is surrounded by high beech hedges, shrubberies and fruit trees. It leads directly into the rear garden with an ornamental pond and lawns.
In all the Castle is set on 21 acres / 8.5 ha of which there are 4 acres in gardens and the remainder is parkland interspersed with woodland.
FIXTURES & FITTINGS
All fixtures and fittings are excluded from the sale including; garden statuary, light fittings and other removable fittings, although some may be available by separate negotiation.
Mains water, electricity, OFCH, private soakaway system, intruder and fire alarm.
From Belfast: Take the M2 Northbound and continue for 11 miles. Take exit 5 (signed for Templepatrick / Belfast International Airport / A57). Continue for 0.9 miles and at the roundabout take the 2nd exit. Drive a couple hundred yards and Castle Upton is the first entrance on the right hand side. The main entrance is further along and it is an imposing fortified arched entrance flanked by two gate lodges.
GENERAL REMARKS AND STIPULATIONS
Strictly by appointment with Savills