Situated on a level landscape. According to the Civil Survey (1654) in 1641 the manor of Kilbrew with 366 acres was owned by Patrick Barnwall of Kilbrew, who forfeited the property. On the premises were a stone house in ruins, a stable and barn of stone in repair, a stone quarry, an orchard, a church, a water mill and 12 tenements (Simington 1940, 94). The house is represented as a two storey oblong structure with a tower at either end on the Down Survey (1656-8) barony and parish maps. The property was granted to Robert Gorges, who had come to Ireland as the secretary of Henry Cromwell, the fourth son of Oliver Cromwell and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1657-59. Robert’s son, Richard, is thought to have built Kilbrew House (ME038-029001-), a two storey house incorporating the older structure c. 1700. The Gorges family retained the Kilbrew property throughout the eighteenth century but they sold up shortly after the 1798 Rebellion and emigrated to America (Gorges 1944). Kilbrew house was owned by W. Murphy of Dublin in the 1830s (Lewis 1837, vol. 2, 54), but it was already derelict.
One E-W wall (L c. 5m; T 0.96m) from the Barnwall structure survives incorporated into a cross-wall of the W wing of the developed Gorges house on the N side. On its S face at the first floor a limestone fireplace (Wth of front 1.35m; Wth of back 1.2m; D 0.85m; H 1.55) with punch-dressing survives complete. It has a flat elliptical mantel with a moulded edge. Its flue projects on the N face of the wall and this is carried to ground level. Just to the E of the fireplace on the S face of the wall is a blocked pointed doorway (Wth at base 0.59m; H 1.66m). The form of the Barnwall structure is not absolutely certain but it did not have vaulting and is more likely to be a house rather than a defensive tower house.
See the attached representations from the Down Survey barony (_1, N at top) and parish (_2 N at top) maps courtesy of the National Library of Ireland
_3 the fireplace and doorway
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload: 14 April 2022
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage