Friday, 3 January 2014

(100) Allen of Lisconnan House

Allen of Lisconnan
Samuel Allen (c.1742-1820) was a successful linen merchant from Larne (Co. Antrim) who built a bleach mill and drying ground at Millbrook in 1776, which he operated until 1801.  His parentage is unclear, but he was apparently related to Mary Allen of Springmount, Clough (Co. Antrim), who married William Higginson in about 1746.  In 1788, Samuel bought the Lisconnan estate, and between then and 1808 he built the earliest part of the present house there.  His son, Dr. Samuel Allen (1778-1835), was educated as a gentleman and became a doctor of medicine; he also built up an important library at Lisconnan which remained in the house until 1920.  He seems to have been responsible for building the entrance front of the house, perhaps needing the extra space for his large family.  His eldest son, Samuel, predeceased his father, dying in Paris after making a Grand Tour which took him as far as Palestine, and another son was an early emigrant to Australia.  Lisconnan passed to Henry Ellis Allen (1808-74), and thence to his son, Samuel Allen (1842-1919), who enlarged the house again in 1886 and added the porch about 1900. Samuel was a barrister, and perhaps not at Lisconnan very often; his son, Samuel Allen (1891-1942), was a bachelor and seems to have let the house and lived elsewhere, perhaps because it was too big for him rather than for any reason associated with the Troubles.  He died during the Second World War, and his younger brother returned to Lisconnan after retiring from the army in 1946.  When he died in 1977 the house was sold, bringing to an end a connection of two hundred years with the estate.

Lisconnan House, Dervock, Co. Antrim

The house, of cream-washed roughcast, is an irregular H-shaped block, with a seven bay two storey entrance front forming one side of the H, the oldest part containing the staircase forming the cross-range and the service wing forming the other main range.  The present building replaces a 17th century house. 

Lisconan House: a 19th century drawing of the house before the second storey was added to the right-hand part of the house.

The entrance front seems all to date from around 1820, but originally consisted of a four bay two-storey part with a lower three-bay wing; the single-storey part was raised to match the rest in 1886 and the central porch, with a very wide plain segmental fanlight, was added about 1900.  These additions were, however, so well done that the facade looks all of one date now.  Inside, there are a well-proportioned hall, drawing room, and dining room, and a charming room upstairs with a coved ceiling; the detailing is generally good, with reeded doorcases, shutters and dummy doors.  The Venetian window on the first floor over the porch is better detailed inside than out.

Descent: Francis Andrews (d. 1774); to mother (d. 1780) and then George Gamble (fl. 1784) who sold 1788 to Samuel Allen (c.1742-1820); to son, Dr. Samuel Allen (1778-1835); to son, Henry Ellis Allen (1808-74); to son, Samuel Allen (1842-1919); to son, Samuel Allen (1891-1942); to brother, Lt. Col. Henry Adair Allen (1893-1977); sold after his death.

Allen family of Lisconnan House

Allen, Samuel (c.1742-1820), of Lisconnan.  Parentage unknown; born 1742.  A successful linen merchant, who built a bleach mill at Millbrook in 1776; High Sheriff of Co. Antrim in 1790. He married, 1774, Frances, daughter of James Higginson of Lisburn (Antrim) and had, among other issue:
(1) Dr. Samuel Allen MD (1778-1835) (q.v.).
He lived at Allensbrook, Larne (Antrim) and Bellisle, Dervock before purchasing the Lisconnan estate in 1788.
He died 4 May 1820.

Allen, Dr. Samuel (1778-1835), of Lisconnan.  Son of Samuel Allen (1742-1820) of Lisconnan and his wife Frances, daughter of James Higginson of Lisburn (Antrim), born 1778.  Doctor of Medicine; gave a site for the building of a Catholic church in Dervock.  He formed a notable library which was dispersed at a Sothebys sale in 1920, after the death of his descendant and namesake in 1919. He married, 14 November 1798, Millicent Mary, daughter of Ven. Conway Benning, Archdeacon of Dromore, and had issue:
(1) Anne Allen (1805-90); married Edmund Alexander Douglas (d. 1846), son of Rev. Charles Douglas, and had issue four sons and one daughter; died 23 February 1890; will proved at Belfast, 27 August 1890 (effects £370);
(2) Samuel Allen; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1817); made a tour of Palestine in 1826 and died in Paris;
(3) Henry Ellis Allen (1808-74) (q.v.);
(4) Conway James Allen (1812-49);
(5) George Allen (1816-98); of Geelong (Australia);
(6) Thomas Allen (1819-49);
(7) Ellen Allen; died unmarried;
(8) Amelia Allen; died unmarried;
(9) Jane Allen; died unmarried;
(10) Frances Allen (1823-97); married, 4 December 1849, Rev. Charles Edward Dighton, vicar of Maisemore (Glos) and had issue; died 28 March 1897.
He inherited Lisconnan House from his father in 1820.
He died 9 October 1835.

Allen, Henry Ellis (1808-74), of Lisconnan. Eldest son of Dr. Samuel Allen MD (1778-1835) of Lisconnan and his wife Millicent Mary, daughter of Ven. Conway Benning, Archdeacon of Dromore, born 25 February 1808.  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1825). Contributed to the building of a Catholic church in Dervock. He married, 8 February 1840, Jane, daughter of John Rogan of Kilkenny, and had issue:
(1) Samuel Allen (1842-1919) (q.v.);
(2) Marcus Allen (1843-1909); surgeon in Royal Artillery;
(3) Henry Allen (1845-1900); civil engineer; went to Canada;
(4) Col. George Burgess Allen (1846-1913), Royal Artillery; died at San Remo (Italy), 26 February 1913; will proved 2 July 1913 (estate in UK £414).
He inherited Lisconnan House from his father in 1835.
He died 6 November 1874; his will was proved 4 March 1875 (estate under £7,000).

Allen, Samuel (1842-1919), of Lisconnan.  Eldest son of Henry Ellis Allen (1808-74) of Lisconnan and his wife Jane, daughter of John Rogan of Kilkenny, born 22 July 1842. Educated at Middle Temple (admitted 1863) and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (admitted 1866; BA 1869; MA 1872; LLD 1885). Barrister-at-law; JP and DL for Co. Antrim; High Sheriff of Co. Antrim, 1886. He married, 15 January 1890, Florence Mary (c.1860-1927), daughter of Gen. Sir Charles William Adair KCB RM (d. 1897), of Southsea [see Adair of Loughanmore], and had issue:
(1) twin, Samuel Allen (1891-1942), of Lisconnan, born 5 June 1891. Educated at Aldenham. Captain in a rifle regiment; served in WW1 (Croix de Guerre); benefactor of St. Colman's church, Derrykeighan; died unmarried and without issue, 2 November 1942 and was buried at Derrykeighan, where he is commemorated by a monument;
(2) twin, Marjorie Allen (1891-1962), born 5 June 1891; died unmarried, 29 May 1962;
(2) Lt-Col. Henry Adair Allen (1893-1977) (q.v.);
(3) Cmdr. Conway Benning Allen (b. 1896), born 25 September 1896; educated at Royal Naval Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth; served in Royal Navy, including WW1 and WW2 (retired 1945); DSO 1943; married, 4 November 1927, Marjorie, daughter of James Brough Warren of Rathfarnham (Dublin) and had issue a daughter.
He inherited Lisconnan House from his father in 1874 and extended it in 1886 and c.1900. After his death it passed to his two elder sons in turn, and was let in the 1930s.
He died 1 July 1919; his will was proved 25 October 1919.

Allen, Lt-Col. Henry Adair (1893-1977), of Lisconnan.  Second son of Samuel Allen (1842-1919) of Lisconnan and his wife Florence Mary, daughter of Gen. Sir Charles William Adair KCB, born 18 July 1893. Educated at Bradfield and RMC Sandhurst. Served in Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1912-46 and was mentioned in despatches four times in WW1; DL for Co. Antrim, 1946; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1947.  He married, 9 February 1935, Sheila Gertrude, only daughter of James Young, and had issue:
(1) Samuel James Adair (b. 1938), born 2 April 1938; educated at Shrewsbury School; served in Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1957-59; director of Sao Paulo branch of Gestetner, 1973; married, 12 January 1965, Maria Rita, daughter of Gurgel Ribeiro of Indianopolis, Sao Paolo, Brazil and had issue one son and one daughter.
He inherited Lisconnan House from his elder brother in 1942, but let it in the 1930s.  It was sold after his death.
He died in 1977.


Burke's Irish Family Records, 1976, p.16; H.B. Swanzy, The families of French of Belturbet and Nixon of Fermanagh, 1908, p. 198; C.E.B. Brett, The buildings of County Antrim, 1996, p. 165;

Location of archives

Allen family of Lisconnan: family history, c.1920; estate papers, 19th-20th cents [Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, T690, D396]

Coat of arms

Argent, two chevronels azure on a chief indented azure a bezant between two escallops or.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published on 3 January 2014, and was updated 22 & 27 August 2015 and 8 and 31 August 2018. I am grateful to Julie Bythell-Douglas and Donnell O'Loan for corrections and additions to my account.


  1. Fascinating. I wasn't aware of this at all.

  2. Lisconnan is a very pleasant house, with many original period features. To the north of the house is the ring fort from which it derives its name, and adjacent to the house is a large stone-built dovecote. The house itself ìs said locally to be haunted.

  3. Iam the current owner of lisconnan estate including house .my grand father bought at three different time the 1940 again in 1955 and purchased the house and 50acres .in 1960. House was lease out up untill
    July 1999 .since then i and my family have lived in lisconnan house

    1. Thank you for getting in touch. Do let me know if you can add or correct anything in my account of the house. And I would be very happy to include a photograph of the building as it is today if you care to send me one. If you would like to do this, please send me a private message through the contact form in the right-hand side bar, or message me on Twitter @NicholasKingsle.


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.