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Benvarden House (also known as Benvardin House)

Introduction

Benvarden House is an 18th-century country house, remodelled in the early-19th century, in a demesne of late-17th-century origin. The house is set in a landscape park on a river site with trees, walks, pond and an ornamental bridge of about 1870. The walled garden is fully cultivated with ornamental and productive sections and glasshouses, and has been extensively remodelled during the 20th century. There is also a lodge.

The site is approached via a lodge and a landscape park, with a white iron ornamental bridge over the River Bush. The house is surrounded by ornamental planting.

The walled kitchen garden has been partly remodelled in the 20th century as an ornamental garden, with a box-edged parterre, a double herbaceous border and a rose garden including bush and shrub roses. The remainder of the kitchen garden remains cultivated with fruit and vegetables

There are riverside walks with woodland garden planting. A pond is framed with Florence Court yews and rhododendrons.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The garden is open June to August daily 12-5.30 pm, or by appointment.

Directions

Six miles east of Coleraine on the B67.

Owners

Mr & Mrs Hugh Montgomery

History

The Benvarden demesne was established during the late-17th century on the banks of the River Bush.

During the 18th century the present house was built for the Macnaghten family, who improved the grounds and established the walled kitchen garden.

In 1798 the demesne was bought by Hugh Montgomery, a banker who had returned to Ireland from Virginia. Montgomery extended and remodelled the house and developed the grounds. In the early-19th century the house stood in a landscape park approached by three lodges, one of which remains.

In 1870 an ornamental iron bridge was added, spanning the river. An oval pond was formed, framed by Florence Court yews and rhododendrons.

In the 20th century the walled kitchen garden was partly developed as an ornamental garden. Riverside walks adorned with decorative planting were laid out.

Part of the demesne was developed as a safari park and is now in separate ownership.

Period

18th Century

Features & Designations

Designations

  • Environment and Heritage Service of Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Inventory

  • Reference: An 011

Features

  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: The walled garden is fully cultivated with ornamental and productive sections.
  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Gate Lodge
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The central part of the house is of the mid-18th century and includes a double-height central curved bay on each front. The house was extended after 1798, when canted bays were added at either end, together with additional rooms.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Pond
  • River
  • Riverside Walk
  • Glasshouse
Key Information

Type

Landscape Park

Purpose

Ornamental

Period

18th Century

Survival

Extant

Open to the public

Yes

References

References