Midleton College, County Cork was originally endowed in 1696 by Elizabeth Villiers, Countess of Orkney, former Maid of Honour to Mary Stuart (who had died two years earlier) and former mistress of the latter’s husband, William III. He had granted Lady Orkney large tracts of land in Ireland, and some of these were used to endow the institution, intended for the education of Protestant boys. The building itself appears to have been constructed some 20 years later, the first schoolmaster, the Rev. George Chinnery, being appointed in August 1717. As originally constructed, the building consisted of an H-plan block of two storeys over basement; writing in 1750, Charles Smith referred to a ‘handsome dome’ over the centre but this has long-since disappeared. On the ground floor, the centre of the property was occupied by a school room, lit by the large arched windows on either side of the main entrance approached by a broad flight of steps; the dormitory, lit by three oculi, was directly above, and the schoolmaster lived in one of the wings. The side elevations are of eight bays, the four central ones slightly advanced. The rear of the house shares many features with the facade. The architect is unknown, although the name of Benjamin Crawley, who was involved in the building of a couple of country houses in the south-east of Ireland during this period, has been mentioned. However, the interiors were thoroughly altered in the early 19th century and then later extensions added to the block, so only the exterior bearssome re semblance to the college’s appearance when first constructed.
Surprised that William the Third had a Mistress.Rather thought that his interests were else where,so to speak.
It is an unusual and attractive building. Appears well cared for.