Knox’s Folly

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Close to the shores of Lough Conn and from there looking not unlike a ‘cottage’ constructed for the Vanderbilts in Newport, Long Island, this is Errew Grange, County Mayo designed in the early 1870s by James Franklin Fuller for Granville Knox following the latter’s marriage to heiress Ellen Farrer. Unfortunately Mrs Knox’s resources proved not to be limitless and by the mid-1880s her husband was declared bankrupt: he and his family are believed to have emigrated to Nova Scotia and the newly-completed Errew Grange – otherwise known as ‘Knox’s Folly’ – was seized by bailiffs. After which the building had a somewhat chequered career, serving on several occasions as an hotel (in which capacity it might almost have been the model for the fictional Majestic in J.G. Farrell’s 1970 novel Troubles) and for a short period as a convent school. In 1949 Errew Grange was gutted by fire and the shell thereafter stood empty until some years ago the property was converted into what were intended to be luxury apartments: this scheme appears to have failed since it now stands empty and rather desolate.

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4 comments on “Knox’s Folly

  1. Pity the luxury apartment scheme didn’t work out – looks like a very cool place to live!

  2. Bob Frewen says:

    Thank you Robert, it’s nice to see the building as it is now, but poor old Fuller – that building is ‘unbalanced’ from what he designed, one wing being extended. Supposedly the original building cost £2,000 and its stone came from Westmeath. Some traces of Fuller’s heraldic interest/detail remain on the present building, although an armorial shield in a gable appears to have been replaced with a round window when the dormer attic conversion took place. The builder of the original house was Henry Sharpe, a contractor regularly used by Fuller and employed on a couple of dozen Fuller projects, ranging from Mayo to Kerry. Some of the Fuller / Sharpe collaborations in that region are Mount Falcon (the home of Granville Knox’s brother), Ashford Castle and the church at Kylemore Abbey.

    • Thanks for your comments and information: yes, the building is now not as originally designed by Fuller due to the extension to the rear. But it can ever have been especially handsome: not one of Fuller’s better designs I fear…

  3. Kelly says:

    so beautiful!!

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