HISTORIC COUNTRY RESIDENCE SET ON A TOTAL OF APPROXIMATELY 135.9 ACRES
Agivey House is a beautiful period home located in a private setting on approximately 135.9 acres with a wonderful outlook over the countryside and the Agivey River. Nestled among tall, mature trees, Agivey House is a detached country residence approached via a short sweeping driveway leading to the front of the property, with ample parking provided.
The current owners undertook a complete renovation of Agivey House in 2005 during which the property was re roofed, re-plumbed and re-wired. The current property offers generously proportioned and flexible accommodation over four floors, including a basement, and retains period features throughout such as cornicing and Georgian sliding sash windows. The ground floor comprises a drawing room, dining room, sitting room, kitchen with pantry, utility room and WC. The dining room features an original 18th century grey marble and mosaic fireplace, which is one of only eight unique chimney pieces saved from the nearby Downhill House, formerly home to the Lord Bishop of Derry and currently an empty ruin on the North Coast.
Four bedrooms are located on the first floor including the master bedroom with a large dressing area, a study, bathroom, WC and shower room. The second floor / attic provides extensive storage space and has been converted into a home office, with the potential for further bedroom(s). The property also benefits from a spacious basement that currently features a snug, playroom, wine cellar, WC and storage room, however has the potential to be converted to a self-contained apartment subject to the relevant permissions. A full layout of the accommodation is displayed on the adjoining floorplans.
Externally the property features a front and rear lawn which have been beautifully manicured and are bounded by tall mature trees offering a private and secluded setting.
Supplementing the accommodation at Agivey House is a one and-a-half storey former farm cottage in need of refurbishment. The cottage is located at the courtyard immediately adjacent to the main dwelling and can be accessed via the main access as well as a separate laneway leading off the Bann Road. This courtyard also features extensive storage barns including a hay shed, former pig shed, a garage with two car ports, and a further standalone storage barn. Agivey also benefits from an additional farmyard adjacent to the courtyard which has been recently modernised with new cattle sheds, a large silo and grain store. This farmyard is also accessed off a separate laneway included within the ownership.
The agricultural land extends to approximately 112.05 acres in total and is located to the North and South of the B66 Bann Road. The lawn field extending to approximately 2.27 acres is included in Lot 1 and is located to the south of Agivey House. Also included in Lot 1 is approximately 4.3 acres of woodland around Agivey House. The land to the south of Bann Road comprises Lot 2 and extends to approximately 74.2 acres, of which 1.8 acres is woodland. The land is currently laid in grass and is laid out over 11 fields, with an internal farm track leading to the fields to the east of the boundary. The land to the north of Bann Road comprises Lot 3 and extends to approximately 52.5 acres, of which 12.1 acres is woodland. The land is currently laid in grass and is laid out over 6 fields of pasture as well as 2 fields of woodland, with each generally of a good shape and size for modern agriculture. The land at Agivey is bounded by the River Bann, which is one of the longest rivers in Northern Ireland and features valuable salmon and eel fisheries. Agivey House has direct access to the Agivey river and benefits from riparian rights.
In 1614, the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers was granted almost twenty thousand acres of land in Aghadowey. George Canning, the first agent charged with managing the Ironmongers' vast new property, was given precise instructions to oversee the 'fencing of lands, establishing boundaries, letting land, collecting rents and keeping accounts'. Canning also built bridges, erected a mill, repaired a church, and - on the same site of the current Agivey House - constructed his castle and bawn.
Thirty years later, during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, the original Agivey Castle and its mansion house were destroyed by Manus Roe O'Cahan's army. In 1654, George Canning's son, Paul, wrote to the Ironmongers Company and detailed the extent of the damage: the castle and manor house had bee 'totally demolished and destroyed'. As well as razing the existing castle, the skirmish left its mark on the grounds. The land was littered with English and Irish musket balls from the battle, and other artefacts such as later buttons emblazoned with 'Agivey Militia' have also been found.
While the castle was never rebuilt, Paul Canning did construct a new house on the site. In 1663, a Hearth Money Roll - a method of tax appraisal based on the number of fireplace hearths in a house - identified Agivey as the only house in the district with more than one fireplace. And in 1705, the Canning family renewed the lease for a further 21 years. Later in 1725, the Ironmongers engaged George Pyke to carry out a survey of the lands and the mansion house. Pyke reported that 'the present house has two floors, each of six rooms' and that the 'lower floor does not rise higher than the earth and is only seven feet high within, while the second floor is only garrets all lying within the roof so that the whole appeared no better than a cottage and is much out of repair and unsafe to live in'.
In 1726, Canning was outbid for the lease by a local syndicate. The syndicate included a linen merchant, James Cunningham, who is thought to have likely repaired or reconstructed the house: the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1836 describe a 'gentleman's seat' at Agivey 'built about 150 years ago by Conningham Esq'. By 1842, the house was in such a state of disrepair that the Ironmongers required that any new lease would only be granted if the current house was pulled down and rebuilt; and so it is believed that the present Agivey House was constructed sometime after that lease renewal.
In 1844, Captain George C. Beresford Stirling bought the lease of Agivey House, and later married Sarah Gage, the daughter of Marcus Gage of Streeve Hill, in May 1846. When the couple advertised the mansion house for sale in 1863, the Coleraine Chronicle described it as 'beautifully situated near the River Bann new and in excellent order with cold and hot water baths on the newest principles'.
The 1901 census indicates that Henry Herbert Gahan, a civil engineer, lived in Agivey House with his wife Mehetabel Elizabeth, their two daughters, a governess, a cook, a parlour maid, a house maid, and a coachman. By 1911, the census had been updated: the daughters no longer required their governess and the coachman had presumably been replaced by the motorcar.
During WW2, the house and gardens were occupied by the Royal Engineers: today, the attic doors remain painted in the same military green, with useful inscriptions of '2 Men' and '4 Men' providing a reminder of the living conditions of that time.
Agivey House has been owned by the same family since 1951, operating as a family home and the nexus of a busy and bustling active farm. The house was extensively refurbished in 2005, and continues to be enjoyed by the family today.
View payable Stamp Duty for this property