Categories of Special Interest
Architectural, Artistic, Historical, Social
In Use As
1765 - 1770
Detached five-bay three-storey double-pile over part raised basement country house, dated 1769, on a Palladian plan with three-bay single-storey wings abutting single-bay two-storey "pavilions" on square plans. Vacated, 1798. Occupied, 1901; 1911. Pitched double-pile (M-profile) slate roof; pyramidal slate roofs ("pavilions"), clay ridge tiles, lichen-spotted coping to gables with slate hung chimney stacks to apexes having cut-granite corbelled stepped capping supporting terracotta or yellow terracotta pots, slightly sproketed eaves, and cast-iron rainwater goods on cut-granite "Cavetto" cornice retaining cast-iron downpipes. Fine roughcast walls on cut-granite chamfered cushion course on fine roughcast base with rusticated cut-granite quoins to corners. Round-headed central door opening approached by flight of six cut-granite steps between wrought iron railings, cut-granite lugged surround with "Cyma Recta" or "Cyma Reversa" open bed pediment on fluted consoles framing nailed timber panelled door having fanlight. Round-headed niches centred on square-headed window opening (first floor) with cut-granite sill, and cut-granite monolithic surround framing six-over-six timber sash window. Square-headed window openings with cut-granite sills, and cut-granite monolithic surrounds framing three-over-six (basement), one-over-one (ground floor), six-over-six (first floor) and three-over-six (top floor) timber sash windows. Square-headed central door openings (wings) with two cut-granite steps, and cut-granite block-and-start surrounds centred on keystones framing timber panelled doors. Square-headed window openings ("pavilions") with cut-granite sills, and cut-granite monolithic surrounds framing six-over-six timber sash windows. Interior including (ground floor): central hall retaining carved timber lugged surrounds to door openings framing timber panelled doors, and moulded plasterwork cornice to ceiling; elliptical-headed opening into staircase hall with Classical-style surround centred on fluted keystone; staircase hall (west) retaining timber panelled staircase on a dog leg plan with turned timber balusters supporting carved timber banister terminating in volute, carved timber surrounds to window openings to half-landing framing timber panelled shutters, carved timber lugged surrounds to door openings to landings framing timber panelled doors, and moulded plasterwork cornice to ceiling; dining room (south) retaining carved timber lugged surrounds to door openings with carved timber surrounds to window openings framing timber panelled shutters, cut-fossilised black marble Classical-style chimneypiece, and picture railing below moulded plasterwork cornice to ceiling; drawing room (north) retaining carved timber lugged surrounds to door openings with carved timber surrounds to window openings framing timber panelled shutters, cut-black marble Classical-style chimneypiece, and picture railing below moulded plasterwork cornice to ceiling; and carved timber lugged surrounds to door openings to remainder framing timber panelled doors with carved timber surrounds to window openings framing timber panelled shutters. Set in landscaped grounds including "haha" with part creeper- or ivy-covered wall having lichen-spotted cut-granite "saddleback" coping.
A country house erected by Goddard Richards (1717-95) representing an important component of the mid eighteenth-century domestic built heritage of County Wexford with the architectural value of the composition confirmed by such attributes as the deliberate alignment maximising on scenic vistas overlooking wooded rolling grounds; the neo-Palladian plan form centred on a Classically-detailed doorcase not only demonstrating good quality workmanship in a silver-grey granite, but also recalling the "improved" Ballymore House (see 15701612); the definition of the principal floor as a slightly elevated "piano nobile"; and the diminishing in scale of the openings on each floor producing a graduated visual impression. Having been well maintained, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with substantial quantities of the original fabric, both to the exterior and to the interior, including some crown or cylinder glazing panels in hornless sash frames: meanwhile, contemporary joinery; restrained chimneypieces; and sleek plasterwork refinement, all highlight the artistic potential of the composition. Furthermore, adjacent outbuildings (----); a walled garden (----); a "faux" Irish tower house eye-catcher (1822); a so-called "Cistercian Fishpond" [SMR WX018-037----]; and a Georgian Gothic gate lodge (see 15701802), all continue to contribute positively to the group and setting values of an estate having historic connections with the Richards family including Reverend John Richards (1757-1828); Goddard Hewetson Richards (1798-1829); John Francis Richards (1824-60) 'late of Grange [sic] in the County of Wexford…who died at Killane [sic] Glebe County of Wexford' (Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1861, 259); and Edward Moore Richards (1826-1911); the Orpen family including Goddard Henry Orpen JP (1852-1932), 'Barrister [and] Writer of History [including "Ireland Under the Normans" (1911-20)]' (NA 1901; NA 1911); and Adela Elizabeth Orpen (née Richards) (1855-1927), 'Writer of Novels [including "Perfection City" (1897) and "The Jay-Hawkers" (1900)]' (NA 1901; NA 1911); and Edward R. Richards-Orpen (1884-1963) 'who inherited Monksgrange House from his mother [and] began building a wing…according to his own design [containing] a new hall and other large rooms… Work on the new addition was interrupted by the Great War [and] resumed in the 1920s [but] with the outbreak of the Second World War the work finally ceased' (Bence-Jones 1978, 208-9).