Friday, 24 December 2010

Tynan Abbey

The other day I was browsing through The Buildings of Co Armagh, a beautifully produced book which was written by the late Charles Brett and published by the UAHS in 1999. 

It includes Tynan abbey, which was the home of the Stronge family but on the night of 21 January 1981 the Provisional IRA murdered Sir Norman Stronge Bt and his son James, who were both former MPs, and then burned the 230-year old mansion.  The ruin stood for some years but was finally demolished in 1998.

The estate passed into the ownership of the Stronge family when Rev John Stronge, prebendary of Tynan, married Eleanor Manson.  According to Burke's Peerages, Rev John Stronge was a descendant of a certain Matthew Stronge of Strabane who was a scion of 'Strang of Balcaskie' in Fife, and who had been warden of Lifford in county Donegal.

The Stronges or Strangs were therefore of Scottish origin  and they were not the only Scottish family to become major landowners in the area.  Charles Brett noted that:
The Tynan Abbey demesne of the Stronge family in county Armagh; the Caledon demesne of the Alexander family in county Tyrone; and the Glaslough demesne of the Leslie family, just across the border in county Armagh; together comprise a very considerable area of parkland, woodland, farmland and lakes, through which twine the rivers Tynan, Cor and Blackwater.
The three families, Stronge, Alexander and Leslie, were all of Scottish origin and the three estates constitued a large area in south Ulster.


  1. A most heinous crime. I have written an article, including a tribute to Sir Norman and James Stronge, on my blog:-

  2. An interesting collection of Viking items known as the 'Tynan Hoard' is on display at the Armagh County Museum on loan from Sir Norman's heirs. Among other things the bumpf states that Sir Norman was the last inhabitant of the Abbey and that he died in 1981 but, apparently so that no one might be offended, no mention is made of the circumstances. That's all right then.