County Westmeath - Tue Sep 18 17:20:37 IST 2018

Main Record - County Westmeath

Kildevin House, Streete, County Westmeath
15400210
General view from the east.
Reg. No.15400210
Date1830 - 1840
Previous NameN/A
TownlandBALLYKILDEVIN
CountyCounty Westmeath
Coordinates234834, 272207
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC HISTORICAL
RatingRegional
Original Usecountry house
In Use Ashouse
 
Description
Detached three-bay two-storey over a basement (to rear) country house, dated 1833, with projecting three-storey semi-circular bow to centre of front façade (northwest) and a four-storey (over basement) semi-circular bow to the centre of the rear façade (southeast), containing the staircase, both with balustraded parapets. Currently being restored after been derelict for a number of years and in use as a private dwelling. Hipped natural slate roof with cut stone eaves cornice with paired brackets to eaves and ashlar limestone chimneystacks having decorative terracotta chimney pots over. Constructed of squared coursed limestone rubble. Square-headed window openings with six-over-six pane timber sliding sash windows, three-over-three pane to top level of bow projection to front and three-over-six to top storey of bow to rear. Square-headed doorcase to front bow (northwest) having cut limestone doorcase, which curves around bow, having Doric pilasters on square-plan supporting emphatic cornice over. Sheeted timber double doors having inscribed limestone lintel over with 'Robert Sproule 1833'. Front door reached by flight of cut stone steps flanked by balustraded parapets to either side. Curved screen walls with balustraded parapet run away from house to either end of the entrance front (northwest). Set back from the road in extensive mature grounds to the north of Streete with extensive collection of outbuildings to the rear (15400211) and with main entrance gates to the west and northwest.

Appraisal

A very fine and quite distinctive county house, which retains its early character and form. There is a boldness to the design of this house, with the dramatic full height bows making it a building that could well be of a unique design. The appearance of this structure is quite imposing and, perhaps even a bit daunting, with the projecting towers giving it an appearance that has been described as being 'vaguely naval' and 'institutional'. It is built using robust local limestone, which is almost ashlar in quality, and this helps to reinforce the robust nature of this structure. Kildevin house is currently undergoing a very thorough and sensitive restoration, of which the present owners must be complimented. This house was built to designs by the original owner, Robert Sproule, who was a magistrate in the Streete area during the mid nineteenth-century. Sproule was an authoritarian figure of much local notoriety and, apparently, he used the basement of Kildevin House as a temporary prison from time to time. Cast-iron chains and restraining devices are still insitu according to local information. A 'police station' was located to the west of the house, within the grounds of Kildevin, adjacent to the main road in 1837 (Ordnance Survey Map). Perhaps the curious designs to Kildevin House can be attributed to the authoritarian nature of Sproule as he could have used the balustraded towers to keep an eye on local activities and, subsequently, for intimidation purposes. It was later the home of the Tyndall Family and of an Edith Wise, a cousin of William Butler Yeats and it is believed that Yates stayed in the house on several occasions. Kildevin House forms the centrepiece of an interesting group of related structures with the outbuildings to the rear (15400211) and the main gates to the west and constitutes an important element of the architectural heritage and history of the area.
 
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