(Irish Grid Reference: H963404)

From its inception as a plantation estate until the commencement of the twentieth century, Gosford Estate was a working concern for the Acheson family and their tenants. The land around the estate was strewn with farm buildings and tenant cottages. Sadly, over the course of the last century these buildings were demolished to make way for car-parking facilities. However, still within the estate grounds there is a small occupied dwelling known locally as Sharp's House.

The two-storey building was likely build at the close of the eighteenth century and certainly predates the present castle. An estate map of 1754 marks several dwellings in the vicinity but it is impossible to be certain if one of these is the house in question. In terms of architecture the house is very much in the style of a number of houses built in Armagh City in the 1770's.

The house was named after its long-term resident Mr.Sharp but was left vacant for many years and fell into disrepair. When the forestry commission purchased the estate it was hoped that the house would be restored but the forestry commission remit did not extend conservation to the buildings of the estate.

Such was its condition that an application was submitted to demolish the listed building. Instead, the Hearth Revolving Fund opened negotiations for its purchase and restoration.

The house was restored in 1995/6 with assistance from the Environment and Heritage Service. Most of the doors and windows were replaced but the staircase with its saddle back ramped handrail was carefully restored. New plastic cornice was added, moulded from remnants of the original.

The house was sold to its present owner in 1996 on the condition that the house be carefully maintained.

Listed B (15/7/28)
Brett, CEB, Buildings of County Armagh (Belfast, 1999)
Particulars of Sale: Hearth Revolving Fund (www.hearth.nireland/Sharps.html)

The Agent's House, Gosford Demesne. The Agent's House, Gosford Demesne.