(Supposed location: Irish Grid reference H995362)

Along the Bessbrook Road outside of the village of Mountnorris stands a roughcast and whitewashed farmhouse built some time ago by farming brothers James and John Magowan. The Magowan family have farmed in the Mountnorris area for seven generations.

The farmhouse itself is elegant in its traditional simplicity. Whitewashed in the style of Georgian rural homesteads the house is architecturally simple and has three lights Georgian windows over two.

Behind this rural homestead are the outbuildings of the farm. These are of much older origin than the farmhouse itself and in fact are thought to have been a part of the Fort of Mountnorris.

In the reign of Elizabeth I, the Earl of Tyrone rebelled against the royal authority and fought a nine-year war against the English. At strategic junctures in the countryside Elizabeth ordered the construction of strongholds to check the movements of the rebels.

A fort was constructed at Mountnorris at that time and was named after General Norris. The fort brought much prestige to the rural area and, indeed, it was once considered as a site for the establishment of a Royal School.

The barns were built while the fort was still in use and may have been used as storage facilities for the garrison's ammunition supply.

Brett, CEB, Buildings of County Armagh (Belfast, 1999)

In the accompanying audio recording, Dr. Neil McGleenon, retired headmaster and local historian, talks about the establishment by Mountjoy of a fort near present-day Mountnorris, as part of his strategy to defeat O'Neill in the Nine Years War.

Photo of Neil McGleenon in 2003.

Use the audio controller to listen to this talk, given in 2003.

The Magowan home.

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