Glenville House, Glenville, Ardagh, Co Limerick V42 X225

contact: Owen O’Neill
Tel: 086-2541435
Open dates in 2023: Apr 1-28, May 2-31, June 1-10, Tue-Sat, Aug 11-20, 9.30am-1.30pm

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €3, child free

Glenville House, Limerick, August 2022.
An old photograph of Glenville.

We visited Glenville during Heritage Week 2022. Owen and his wife were very welcoming! There was one other couple who joined us on our tour.

We drove up a long drive with fields on either side, to a stone courtyard entrance, with geraniums in tubs on either side of a fine carriage entrance. The farm buildings have semi-circular lunette windows in the upper level and brick surrounds to the windows. A Keystone reads: ‘WM/AD/1803’ and the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage tells us that Glenville was built in 1803 by William Massey (1747-1830). [1]

The Massy family are descended from a Cromwellian soldier Captain Hugh Massy (d. 1691) who was granted 3,055 acres in County Limerick, for his military services. He came over to Ireland in the 1600s and helped to quell the 1641 uprising against the Crown. His grant included the lands of Duntrileague, County Limerick, where the Massy family settled. [2]

Hugh (d. 1691) had a son, also named Hugh (1658-1701), of Duntrileague, whom married Amy Benson and had several children.

His son William (1680-1768) purchased Stoneville, in County Limerick. Stoneville was built in 1730 as a hunting lodge for Henry Southwell and bought by William Massy in 1758 (it still stands and is privately owned [3]). It was the branch descended from William (1680-1768) of Stoneville who lived in Glenville.

Stoneville, County Limerick, photograph courtesy of National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (see [3]).

The Massys were a prominent family in the area.

Another son of Hugh (1658-1701) of Duntrileague, Colonel Hugh Massy (b. 1685), was father to Hugh (1700-1788) who was was created 1st Baron Massy of Duntrileague, Co. Limerick. Another son of Colonel Hugh, Eyre Massy (or Massey), distinguished himself in the military and was created 1st Baron Clarina of Elm Park, Co. Limerick (Elm Park no longer stands but there remains an impressive gate lodge [4]).

Hugh (1658-1701) of Duntrileague’s daughter Margaret married William Baker (c. 1680-1733), who purchased Lismacue in County Tipperary, another Section 482 property which we may never be able to visit as it is only listed for whole house accommodation so is not open to visitors.

Another son of Hugh (1658-1701) of Duntrileague, Reverend Charles Massy (1688-1766), held the office of Dean of Limerick between 1740 and 1766, and was father of Hugh Dillon Massy (d. 1807), 1st Baronet Massy, of Doonass. Co. Clare.

William Massy (1680-1768) of Stoneville, County Limerick married the Anne, daughter of John Bentley who had received land at Hurdlestown, County Clare. William’s oldest son Hugh (d. 1790) inherited Stoneville. [5]

Another son of William (1680-1768) of Stoneville, John (c. 1720-1812), purchased the estate of Glenville. [6] He held the office of Treasurer of Limerick. He married Mary Agnes Studdert, daughter of Reverend George Studdert who was Rector at Kilpeacon and in Rathkeale in County Limerick (we will be visiting the rectory at Rathkeale later this year, another section 482 property!).

Glenville House, County Limerick, August 2022.

The current owners, Owen and his wife, told us that the oldest part of the house, the kitchen, was built in 1750, so this must have been built by John Massy.

Along with his heir, William (1747-1830), John and Mary Agnes had a son Hugh who joined the military (1748-1814), daughter Anne who married Richard Yeilding of Belview, County Limerick (no longer exists) and Mary Agnes who married William Yeilding, a cousin of her sister’s husband.

We entered the house through this door, directly into the kitchen, the oldest part of the house. The door faces into the large stableyard.
The kitchen dates from 1750.

John’s son, William (1747-1830) added later additions to the house at Glenville in 1803. He married Ann Creagh, daughter of Andrew Creagh of Cahirbane, County Clare. They had as many as twenty-three children, several of whom died young. Some of his sons joined the military and some others, the clergy.

The National Inventory tells us that Glenville is a :”Detached three-bay two-storey country house, dated 1803, having six-bay block to north (rear) elevation, extending to east of main block and adjoining L-plan multiple-bay two-storey outbuilding. Central full-height breakfront to south (front) elevation. …Flat arched opening to east elevation with cut limestone surround, voussoirs and keystone, and double-leaf timber battened door… Lunette [i.e. half-moon] openings to first floor, east and west elevations, having tooled limestone sills, red brick surrounds and timber framed windows…

…Its size and massing make it a very notable feature on the landscape and the regular façade and restrain in ornamentation adds to the imposing appearance. The retention of timber sliding sash windows and limestone sills is significant, and adds to the architectural significance of the site. Symmetry is evident in the design and is enhanced by the hipped roof, central chimneystacks and breakfront. The outbuildings, walled garden to the rear, and gate lodge all serve to add context to the site. Keystone reads: ‘WM/AD/1803’.” (see [1])

The front entrance to the house. The stable courtyard lies behind. It is a three-bay two-storey country house with a six-bay block to north (rear) elevation.

The owners have restored the house beautifully. They showed us photographs of the house from when they purchased it, and it shows how much work they have accomplished.

Limestone carriage arch into the stable yard, with lunette windows in the upper level.
The keystone of the arch has the date 1803 and initials, WM.

It is interesting to see that the Massys added the courtyard to the rear in Stoneville and it has features similar to Glenville. In Stoneville there is an ornate limestone carriage arch surround with date plaque of 1802, and lunette windows.

Stoneville’s carriage arch, and lunette windows similar to Glenville. Photograph courtesy of National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
The keystone on the carriage arch in Stoneville, County Limerick, also installed by the Massy family. Photograph courtesy of National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

William’s son, John (1773-1846), lived in Glenville, with his wife Mary Anne Travers and family. He was a captain in the British Army. His son William (c. 1801-1863) then inherited the property. He sold it then to his uncle Eyre Massy (1786-1869).

Eyre Massy had married Mary Bruce in 1818, daughter of Reverend Jonathan Bruce of Milltown Castle, County Cork (no longer standing although some outbuildings remain). The next generation to live at Glenville was Eyre’s son Jonathan Bruce Massy (1821-1903). He was a Justice of the Peace, and he married Frances Catherine Bruce, a first cousin, daughter of his mother’s brother George Evans Bruce. They had two daughters, Frances Mary Massy (1867-1956) and Mary Bruce Massy (1869-1935).

The property of Glenville passed through the male line rather than to Jonathan Bruce Massy’s daughters. It passed to a son of Jonathan Bruce Massy’s brother, Henry Eyre Massy (b. 1830), who had emigrated to Australia. This son, Eyre Henry Massy (b. 1868) sold Glenville in 1912 to one of Jonathan Bruce Massy’s daughters, Frances Mary Massy (1867-1956).

Frances Mary had married Thomas Crawford Coplen-Langford in 1903, the same year in which her father died. Her husband died just two years after she purchased Glenville from her cousin in 1912. His family was from Kilcosgriff Castle in County Limerick.

The Landed Estates database tells us that the house came into the ownership of the Langford family, relations of the Massys in the early 20th century and they were still resident there in the 1970s. [7] The Langford family was related to the Massys via the Coplen-Langford family.

The current owners purchased the property after it had been lived in by two single elderly ladies, who were Langfords.

The fanlight over the front door is mirrored by one inside the front hall. One of the doors is false, and is there for symmetry.

The fireplace reminds me of that in the basement of Strokestown in County Roscommon, made of limestone, surrounded with what looks like Kilkenny marble.

Upstairs has a lovely landing, with this conversation chair, suitable for courting couples and a chaperone! The current owners found the paintings in the house. They belonged to the previous owners, the Langfords.
One of the bedrooms has a lovely four poster bed.

The house has a walled garden, and a lovely walkway by the river.

There is a sulphur well on the property, of the sort used for healing baths such as in Lisdoonvarna.

It may be difficult to see but this is an old bridge, over the river, and it was the original road. The Massys had the road moved, presumably to skirt around their property.





[5] William Massy and Anne Bentley had several daughters who married into families in County Limerick.

Amy (d. 1784) married Anthony Parker of Castle Lough, County Tipperary.

Elizabeth Massy married Charles Minchin of Ballygibbon and Greenhills, County Tipperary

Margaret Massy married Garret Fitzgerald of Kilgobbin, County Limerick.

Catherine Massy married William Greene of Ballymacreese, County Limerick

and Anne married William Finch of County Cork.

[6] The Peerage quotes Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd’s Burke’s Irish Family Records. (London, U.K.: Burkes Peerage Ltd, 1976).


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