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Updated on July 11, 2013

Northland Row, Dungannon - importance of Landlord in town development 1770-1834

The Northland Row area illustrates the importance of the landlord, Thomas Knox, later his son Thomas Knox the Younger, as it is an interesting row of houses.

When Thomas Knox the Younger suceeded his father in 1769 he started almost immediately to improve the town of Dungannon; he rebuilt and extended the site. By 1819 Dungannon was nearly complete, thanks to Thomas Knox the Younger.

If Knox had not wanted Dungannon to be expanded he could have prevented this.

Knox leased out building ground in Northland Row to developers; he made maps, and generally improved the whole town. It is likely that the leases he made were quite strick as the houses in Northland Row are similar, although not identical.

For one particulare lease in Northland Row for house number 20, which was set to Rev Edmund Knox in 1803 the yearly rent was three pounds and six shillings. He had to build a house which was 33 feet at the front, three storeys high, and be made of stones and lime or bricks and lime; there must be a slate roof, and a footpath which had to be the same width as "Rev Wm James Armstrongs house". Normally the developers had to build inside two years or else pay an amount stated.

House numbers 6 and 8 Northland Row were leased in 1797 but were not built until about 1820. this may have been because Thomas Knox the Younger did not set a very strict lease for both houses, or it may have been that McAvoy, the lease owner, did not wish to build so instead he decided to pay the amount due.

Northland Row was not the only site to develop between 1770 and 1834, Newtownwelles was also developed. Newtownwelles consists of lower Scotch Street, William Street, Georges Street and John Street.

The plan of Moy was drawn up by the Earl of Charlemont, in about 1763. If it had been built about seven years later it would come into our period of time, but it was probably hastened by the fact that limestone quarries were discovered just outside the town.

Cookstown began to be improved in 1750, by William Stewart. By 1832 the frontages along the main street had been built up.

Dublin was next to London in size and magnificence in 1800. The Knox family resided in Northland house, in Dawson Street, in Dublin, when they visited that area.

A jail in Armagh was built in 1780 and almost 30 years later the county Courthouse was erected.

Limerick was another town that was developed between 1770 and 1834. This was the town that Diana Jane Pery lived in until she married Thomas Knox 1st Earl.

Thomas Knox the Younger had therefore plenty of ideas to try because so many other places were being developed around about the same time as Northland Row (ie about 1792).

All this development could not have taken place if the people were not wealthy.

Prosperity was taking place in 1819 as a Savings Bank was erected by Lord Northland (ie Thomas Knox).

One reason for prosperity is that agriculture was doing well. We know this because a Yarn-hall was set up; it was at the corner of William Street and Georges Street.

Brown linen was also doing well, as there were about 1200 weavers, and from 100 to 120 buyers who attended Dungannon market weekly.

Dungannon was "one of the most prosperous towns in the North of Ireland in the linen trade"

The linen industry in County Tyrone was increasing daily; much flax was grown, and weaving was being done at nightime.

The linen industry was doing remarkably well, but by 1820 it had started to decline.

As the linen market declined that was less prosperity and many houses were occupied, and therefore building came to a complete stoppage. Expansion had stopped.

Methodist Church Dungannon

The Methodist Church was built about 1786, but today we can see a date of 1850 on it, so it must have been rebuilt.  It may have been too small for the congregation, or it may have been delapidated.
The Methodist Church was built about 1786, but today we can see a date of 1850 on it, so it must have been rebuilt. It may have been too small for the congregation, or it may have been delapidated.

Early 19th century Ulster Towns

Knox was the owner of Dungannon. It belonged to the Knox family since 1692, when Thomas Knox bought it for £7190. they lived in Northland House until 1927, when they left Dungannon.

In 1770 Northland Row, Northland Place, Howard Terrace and many other buildings were not built. At this time there was a town park; a town park is a field rented out the to townspeople.

Ranfurly remembered Dungannon as a "petty village".

According to the 1819 Directory "houses were built of stone, and covered with shingles or straw" in 1750. It also reports that by 1819 Dungannon was "nearly rebuilt and widely extended".

When Thomas Knox suceeded Dungannon in 1769, he started almost immediately to improve the town.

He created new roads to make it more convenient to get to Northland Row. He made Ranfurly Road and Circular Road before 1815.

Most of the houses in Northland Row and Northland Place have footscrapers, which means that the road conditions must have been below our standards.

Northland House - Royal School Dungannon

Northland house was a large building with trees around it. It was built in Georgian style.

It was probably built in 1786, as it is shown in the 1815 map, and it was not finished in time for the marriage of Thomas Knox's son, which took place in June 1785.

Knox sold Northland House to a group of contractors in 1927; these contractors took the valuable articles from it, so that eventually only the shell of the house was left. ~The was then knocked down.

There are no remains of Northland House left. The site where it was situated is used as a rugby pitch for the Royal School Dungannon.


The Gatelodge was probably built in 1842.

Although this date would suggest that the style of the Gatelodge would be Victorian, it is not.

The Gatelodge is Greek Revival.

It was probably built in this style so that it would match Northland House.

It is possible that the Gatelodge was built for the gardener, gate-man, or butler, but as we have little evidence we are not certain who, if anyone, lived in the Gatelodge.

From "Dungannon and Cookstown by Architectural Heritage" it states that in 1971 the Gatelodge was "shockingly delapidated" so it must have been repaired as it is in reasonable condition today.

There are still some similarities with the original building:

Most of the iconic columns remain

It has Georgian glazed windows

It has "high quality ashlar" - ashlar is sand stone that has been shaped into blocks

Royal School

The old part of the Royal School was built about the same time as Northland House (ie 1785).

This old part is Georgian style.

The Royal School used to be Doctor Murray's school.

Royal School Dungannon 2013

Northland Row, Dungannon, County Tyrone

Northland Row got its name after the Northlands, who were the owners.

It was built around 1792, in Georgian style.

He probably built it because he wanted richer neighbours.

Thomas Hannygton was the agent for these buildings.

Northland Row has changed very little from that time. All the houses are similar, but not identical. This is probably because Lord Northland laid down rules concerning the building of each house eg style, size and height.

One particular lease says that a house must be built up within three years; be made of stones and lime, or bricks; be at least 13 feet high, and have a slate roof.

If the person does not build he has to pay £50 at the end of the three years, which was quite a large sum in those days.

Although this lease is for Irish Street, it is likely that a similar lease would be given to the tenants in Northland Row.

All the houses in Northland Row are three storey, and have a basement. None of them have a garden, and have all got Gibbs style doorway.

Most of them have sash windows, and Chippendale style fanlight.

House number 22 has a replacement fanlight because it was bombed. It is smaller than the original fanlight. It still matches the other fanlights.

House number 14 has changed the most since it was built. It may have been changed because the wood may have rotted, or it was possibly burned, or maybe it was for personal decoration. There are only nine panes of glass on each top window, but there are twelve panels on the rest; this is probably because it was aesthetic (it looked well), or it was perspective.

Northland Row

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Corner protector at 20 Northland Row Dungannon

This photo shows a corner protector.  It was probably used to protect the railings from the horses and carts, as they turned the corner.
This photo shows a corner protector. It was probably used to protect the railings from the horses and carts, as they turned the corner.
There was probably a corner protector at most houses, but this one, at number 20, is the only one remaining.  At the basement of this house there is a well.  This probably means that they had no piped water supply.
There was probably a corner protector at most houses, but this one, at number 20, is the only one remaining. At the basement of this house there is a well. This probably means that they had no piped water supply.

Northland Place Dungannon

There are five houses in Northland Place, Dungannon.

These five houses were built at nearly the same time as Northland Row.

It there were any rules laid down about the building of each house they must not have been as strict as those for Northland Row.

All the houses have slate roofs, and one plastered.

There houses are so different that it necessary to look at each house separately.

House number 5 used to be the UDR centre. It is detached, and has a semi-circle fanlight. There is no sign of a basement from outside, but it has a cellar. House number 5 is opposite the gatelodge. It was probably built in 1793, which is two or three years after the other four houses in Northland Place were built. There is a fence around this house.

House number 4 is detached, and has a basement. It has a small garden with a wall, and is used for private residence. It has nine sash windows and a plain fanlight. This house was built in 1791. It also has quoin stones, and a decorative footscraper. The railings are missing on it, and it has been extended on the right hand side.

House numbers 3 and 2 are in a row, and are similar. Numbers 2 and 3 are two storey, and do not have a basement. They have an entrance leading to the doors, with no garden, They contain sash windows. They are used for private residence.

House number 1 is in poor condition, the plaster is peeling, and is made of stone. This probably means that house numbers 2 and 3 are also made of stone since all three are in a row. This house is alos for private residence. It was built in 1790. The footscraper at house number 1 is in the railings.

Date stones

The date stone at the back of house number 26 in Northland Row shows "1792".

Date stones are not always accurate, but this particular one is. We know this because we have evidence that Northland Row was built about 1792.

This house is the only one which is used for its original purpose ie private residence. The majority of them are used for offices.

It seems likely that no one wanted the site of house number 20 and 22, so it was given to Thomas Knox the younger's sons, whose names are Rev Edward Knox and Honble Vesey Knox. This was probably because Thomas Knox the Younger was eager to make one large terrace rather than two separate terraces.

Northland Row Dungannon 2013

Howard Terrace Dungannon

Howard Terrace was probably built to fill in the space between Northland Row and Circular Road.

It was not built until about 1880. It is Victoria Gothic style.

It is called Howard Terrace after Samuel Howard, its developer. It was built for middle class people, who were mainly solicitors.

All the houses are two storey and have dormer windows. The roofs are made of slates. Some of the windows are bay windows.

The main difference between Northland Row and Howard Terrace is the different styles.

Another difference is that Howard Terrace has carved heads, and Northland Row has not. Some of the carved heads are missing.

The reason why some carved heads are missing may be that the carver died, or maybe the tenant had no more money. Another possibility is that the carved head may have been off a particular person, and this person may have died, so the tenants did not put the carved head on.

There used to be railings on Howard Terrace as we can see the holes in which they were placed. Today there are no railings in any of the houses in Howard Terrace.

This made be that the railings, which would have been made of iron, were used for the World War.

Houses 28-32 in Howard Terrace measure 14.7 metres, but from 34-46 the houses are only 7.2 metres. This is probably because in those days people lived in fairly small houses, so there would not be many people wanting the large houses.


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