Old Bawn house was built in 1635 by Archdeacon William Bulkeley, son of Launcelot Bulkeley the Archbishop of Dublin. The house was of a late Tudor style designed in a H shape with high pointed gables. It had many windows and twelve chimneys which was unusual at that time and it also had interesting internal features such as a chimney piece and a carved oak staircase both of which are now in the National Museum. The chimney piece reached to the ceiling and apparently depicted the building of the walls of Jerusalem, it was dated 1635.
This house was built at a time when the normal residence for a gentleman in such a remote district was a fortified castle, however the house was enclosed by a wide fosse and probably provided with a drawbridge. To the south of the house there was a large pleasure garden laid out with walks, ponds and avenues of trees.
Old Bawn House was damaged in the rebellion of 1641. It was restored immediately at a cost of £3,000, a huge amount for the time. A census in 1660 reveals that there were thirty occupants in the house when, in addition to the Bulkeley family, there were servants such as a dairy maid, a porter, a brewer, a gameboy and a stabler. Elsewhere in Old Bawn there were others who worked on the estate such as a gardener, steward, smith, carpenter, miller and labourers, revealing a thriving village economy based around Old Bawn House.
After the Bulkeleys, the house passed to Lady Tynte who leased it and in 1830 Old Bawn was bought by the Mc Donnell family who established a paper mill behind the house. This was one of many mills along the Dodder in the nineteenth century. The house fell into disrepair during the early 1900’s it was used as a storehouse when the lands were being developed in the 1960’s, and eventually what remained of Old Bawn was demolished in 1976.
Did you know?
In 1641 William Bulkeley reported that his mother-in-law Elizabeth Maynwaring was compelled “by force of armes” to marry a Catholic, “one Mr. Phillip Pursell of Ballyfoyle, a Papist & a Rebell” during the rebellion. He claimed that his wife lost her inheritance as a consequence and applied for £1,000 compensation.
You can see the depositions from the 1641 Rebellion online at http://www.1641.tcd.ie/. Search under the name Bulkeley for those relating to Old Bawn tenants.
For more on Old Bawn House, see Source.