Friday, 31 October 2014

A Palace fit for a Bishop.

Most people will be aware that what is now the Freemasons' Hall in Bishop Street Londonderry was originally the Bishop's Palace for the Diocese of Derry and subsequently for the combined Diocese of Derry & Raphoe, (1834) within the Church of Ireland. It was constructed in 1753 during the Episcopate of William Barnard with subsequent alterations in or about 1800.


I can't say that I find its elevations pleasing to the eye and at least one of its former residents, (The Earl Bishop), was of a similar mind. He much preferred the residence which he caused to be constructed at Bishop Street Without and known as the Cassino.


The map shown above was prepared in 1872 in connection with the vesting of the Palace and grounds in the Representative Church Body by the Commissioners of Church Temporalities in Ireland pursuant to their powers under the Irish Church Act 1869. Although it is hard to be certain from a map it does appear as if the gardens behind the Palace were very formal. Certainly no soft lines. A greenhouse with an attached boiler house can be seen in the top right hand corner of the garden.



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