Ireland & England Moment


These snippets are big enough for a Facebook read I think! The idea is to compare similar architectural styles and histories from roughly the same period between these islands. England, with the best-preserved architecture on these islands punches way above its weight in style, longevity and diversity for a bunch of reasons. However, some gems stood and still stand that are comparable in many ways that stood on each side of the Irish Sea. Have a read, I’ve put some scraps of interesting stuff for the neutral too!

Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire

Nunnington Hall

Internal structure is 16th century but what you see is 17th century alterations.

An Elizabethan house with a later 17th century façade. Nunnington Hall was once owned by a Richard, 1st Viscount Preston. He was an interesting character as he was a member of the English Parliament in the 1680’s and he converted to Catholicism and backed the ousted King James II. He was one five men entrusted with running what was left of James’ government when he fled. Eventually, our Viscount was caught and brought to the Tower, stripped of his peerages and under a little torture spilled the beans on a few of his buddies!

Below is Ireland’s architectural comparison to Nunnington Hall in Ballinsperrig House, County Cork. (


Why is it black and white? Because it only survives in early photos such as this one above. It was built by the Cotter Family in the late 1680’s. An interesting fact about a member of the Cotter Family was that James Cotter (1630-1705) spent a lifetime tracking down the regicide killers of King Charles I (1600-1649) who got his head chopped off in 1649! He was a dedicated man and Cotter travelled to Lausanne, Switzerland to kill the big prized scalp of John Lisle in a church courtyard. That’s worth a visit! He was in charge of James II’s forces in Munster during the Williamite Wars (1690’s) and James himself even stayed in Ballinsperrig House a couple of times.

The comparisons of the two families wasn’t just a dedication to Catholicism or Royalism but to the architectural influence between the two buildings. They both have flanking wings or more commonly known as projecting gables that step out enough to categorise it as a style. Ireland has a number of buildings from the 17th century with similar attributes and in England it is a rarity. Maurice Craig, arguably the authority on 17th century architecture believes that there is a correlation between the early ‘flanker’ Tower Houses (flanking towers on each of the four corners of a Tower House 1580’s – 1640’s) and the unfortified buildings or Manor Houses above. With some more research both houses may have family connections or even a direct influence on the style that was chosen.




Published by Steve

I'm interested in all things 17th century Ireland and one if those things is architecture. The 17th century in Ireland was, in my opinion, the most important century is Irish history. Unfortunately schools don't see this but they'll get it at some point! I've been working in the heritage sector for well over 10 years and six of those have been with the National Trust in Northern Ireland. I work in caring for historic collections within a 17th century Irish house and I suppose this has to contribute to my love for buildings from the period. This site will help the viewer to search through the 17th century Irish houses I've collated from many sources. However, it will be an ongoing process and when I'm finished I believe it will be the best and easiest platform to find houses from the period.

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