History of Stranocum Hall

- The Hutchinson family
- Archibald Hutchinson 1659-1740
- The United Irish Rebellion of 1798

- Stranocum Hall restored
- Stranocum Raths

Stranocum House

The Hutchinson family
Stranocum Hall was built by the Hutchinson family in the mid-eighteenth century. They lived here until 1848 and over this period many Hutchinsons held important positions within the community.

Derrykeighan ChurchyardThe family can trace their Ulster ancestry back to William Hutchinson who settled here from Glasgow in 1598. He is buried in Derrykeighan Old Churchyard. Photograph: Derrykeighan Old Churchyard

Famous members of the family include Archibald Hutchinson (c.1659-1740), a celebrated Whig MP for Hastings, and a magistrate named George Hutchinson who helped quell local involvement in the 1798 United Irish Rebellion.
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Archibald Hutchinson (c.1659-1740)Archibald Hutchinson
The only son of Archibald and Christian Hutchinson of Stranocum, Archibald established himself in England as a meticulous lawyer. He led a colourful life and was married four times. On his death, he left £17,000 to relatives in Ireland which was disputed for years. He is buried in St James’ Church in Westminster.

Aged 29 years, Archibald Hutchinson was appointed Attorney General of the Leeward Islands in 1688 and was overseas during the turbulent years leading up to the Battle of the Boyne (1690).

Home on leave in 1697, he married his first wife, Mary Smith, but she died in child birth a year later. The mother and two infants are buried in St Martin’s in the Field churchyard, London.

Archibald finished his term of office in the Leeward Islands in 1702. He married a rich widow Dame Mary Gayer (gaining her £30,000 inheritance) in 1715. The same year, he was appointed an MP for the first time, for the constituency of Hastings, and he became a close colleague of the British Prime Minister Walpole.

He is most celebrated for investigating the South Seas Company financial scandal of 1720, which caused the first collapse of the British financial markets and nearly bankrupted England.

Following the death of his second wife, he married again (Rebecca, buried in St Martin’s Church, London) before marrying a final time, to Elizabeth Stewart (widow of Sir Robert Stewart of Montserrat), in 1729.With thanks to Peter Hutchinson, Melbourne, Australia.
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The United Irish Rebellion of 1798
George Hutchinson's graveAt the time of the 1798 Rebellion, both George Hutchinson and his brother Richard were loyal to King George III and served as officers in the Dunluce Yeomanry Corps. On the night of the 8th June the brothers were on duty with the Yeomanry when Stranocum Hall, Richard’s home, was attacked and looted by United Irishmen.Photograph: Burial place of George Hutchinson, Ballymoney Old Church Graveyard.

The Rebels stole a horse on which their Commander led them to join other forces at Ballymena. A servant, James Crosbie, was also taken hostage and brought to the Rebel camp at Kilraghts.

When the uprising failed, George Hutchinson was responsible for arresting and sentencing the Rebels, a role for which he became notoriously remembered as ‘Bloody’ Hutchinson. Much of the town of Ballymoney was burned by the Crown forces who believed it a Rebel stronghold. George Hutchinson’s house was lost in the fire, although he received very generous compensation in return.

Hutchinson's giftDue to his actions in crushing the Rebellion, George Hutcinson is still regarded in the North Antrim area as a sinister figure of hate. However, contrary to popular opinion, George's actions were probably less severe than other magistrates in Ireland at this time. Indeed, his descendants retain to this day a carved coconut, presented to George by a convict whose sentence he is believed to have had repealled. Photograph: Carved coconut presented to George Hutchinson by a convict he aided. Courtesy Peter Hutchinson, Melbourne, Australia.
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Stranocum Hall restored
Stranocum Hall remained in the Hutchinson family until the death of James Reynolds Hutchinson in1856. With no direct heir, the estate was inherited by William Ford. Ford was a distant relative of the Hutchinson's by marriage, and he was granted the estate on the condition that he, and his heirs, adopted the surname Hutchinson.

The Ford Hutchinsons lived at Stranocum Hall until the 1950s. Sadly the house gradually fell into disrepair and was eventually left derelict. In 1997 a restoration project began. The following year the newly restored house was bought by Ballymoney born businessman, Billy O'Neill. It is Billy's vision that has created this amazing visitor attraction and ensured the future of this beautiful Georgian house.
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Stranocum Raths

rath(Left: an artist's impression of a rath.)
A rath, or ring fort, was an ancient fortified area in which communities lived. Raths were built in Ireland from the early Christian period, c.350AD through to around 1,000AD. They are the most numerous archaeological monument found in Ireland and are often associated with souterrains, underground chambers in which inhabitants hid from attack.

The raths close to Stranocum Hall are excellent examples of these ancient monuments. One of raths has produced remarkable finds including a souterrain and the skeleton of a tall, well built adult male.

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