Bellaghy Bawn from the Air
A Stunning High Resolution Image of Bellaghy Bawn
Enjoy a birds eye view of Bellaghy Bawn from the Air in this stunning high resolution image. The Bawn was constructed by the English in Ulster and was formed as a defended courtyard with walls usually built of stone, but sometimes of brick, clay, timber and sod.
The word “Bawn” is derived from two Gaelic words; “Ba”, Irish for cow (or cattle) and “Dhun”, meaning “fort”, translating roughly into “cow-fort” or “cattle-fort”
So the anglicised form of “badhun”, was “Bawn”.’ The Bawn as constructed by the English in Ulster was a defended courtyard with walls usually built of stone, but sometimes of brick, clay, timber and sod. They protected the house, the family, and property of the plantation’s principal landlord. The house could be free-standing in the centre of the bawn or, as was the case at residences built by the Vintners’ Company at Bellaghy and by the Salters’ Company in Magherafelt and Salterstown, positioned up against one of the peripheral walls.
These walls usually met at small corner flankers, from which the entries to the complex could be adequately monitored and if necessary defended from the ‘wild Irish,’ who … preferred to ‘live like beastes, voide of lawe and all good order,’ being ‘more uncivill, more uncleanly, more barbarious and more bruttish in their customs and demeanures, then in any other part of the world that is known.'”
The Bawn at Bellaghy was started circa 1614 by John Rowley on part of the lands granted to the Vintners Company of London as part of the ‘Plantation of Londonderry’.
Rowley died quite soon after beginning the project in 1617. In order to keep things moving, the Vintners Company relocated another agent, Baptist Jones, from his previous duty of building Salterstown.
Some accounts have it that he was about to be dismissed from that project anyway for being far too slow. Baptist Jones died six years later in 1623 in debt to the Vintners Company. This time the company appointed a new agent called Henry Conway to take over Jones’ affairs. He certainly did that, including marrying Jones’ widow and taking over his debts to the company! Conway obtained a new lease for Bellaghy in 1625.
The Original Bawn was virtually destroyed in the 1641 rebellion when the greater part of Bellaghy was burnt to the ground. During the seige Henry Conway brought all his local paying settlers/residents of the Bellaghy village inside the Bawn walls to protect them from the Irish who were rampaging. A local division of Irish troops led by Peter O’Hagan arrived at the gates to take the Bawn by force. Conway went outside to negotiate with the troops and instead made a personal deal with O’Hagan, ensuring a safe escape for himself and his family. Conway was never seen again. He left the local residents to their own devices against the Irish onslaught.
The Bawn was subsequently rebuilt in 1643. A completely new house was built in its place around 1791. One of the original flanker towers still remains today.
Tours of the Bawn can be arranged with InSite Tours Ireland for group visits.
In the meantime, you can purchase this stunning high resolution image of Bellaghy Bawn from the Air on this page.
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