Drumilly Estate

Mrs Diana Cowdy nee Cope, the last Cope to live at Drumilly

Mrs Diana Cowdy nee Cope, the last Cope to live at Drumilly

Landau Coach awaiting a Cope passenger c1900

Landau Coach awaiting a Cope passenger c1900

Painting of Drumilly House by Evelyn McConville-Parish Art Class

Painting of Drumilly House by Evelyn McConville-Parish Art Class

This   opening in the wall was one of many entrances to the Drumilly Estate. There   is no longer any physical evidence of the Copes at Drumilly. Part of the   estate is now Loughgall Country Park and the Cope’s magnificent residence,   Drumilly House, approximately a quarter of a mile from here, was demolished   in 1966. The origins of this house date back to the 17th century. It must   have been shortly after it was built that Oliver Plunkett was apparently   given refuge by Walter Cope. It was Walter’s great grandson, another Walter   Cope, who was said to have been known as ‘the proud curate’ due to his   practice of driving out in a coach pulled by four black horses when he was   curate at Loughgilly. He went on to become Bishop of Ferns, even though   Archbishop Robinson was reported to have said that he would remain a curate   as long as he, the good archbishop, remained in office. An interesting   article found in old newspaper archives clearly shows how up until the late   19th century married women were their husband’s property. In the early 1840s,   a former Miss Cope of Drumilly took her husband to court to challenge a   decision by a lower court to reinstate his conjugal rights after she left him   for ill treating her and apparently being a naughty  boy with ‘ladies of the night’. A very   detailed account of the proceedings is given, and unfortunately the court   decided to affirm the decision of the lower court. What happened after that   we will probably never know! One member of the Drumilly Copes who has   generally been overlooked by historians of the family is Mary Edith, second   wife of John Garland Cope, who was prominent in women’s suffrage circles in   the early 20th century. As well as being the driving force in the Armagh   Suffrage Society, she became a vice-president of the Irishwomen’s Suffrage   Federation, an umbrella body representing suffrage societies throughout the   island. Drumilly was used as a military base for British and/or American   soldiers during both World Wars. Following WWII Diana (née Cope) and her   husband ran a guest house. The following advert appeared in the Aberdeen   Journal in July 1949. ‘Country Holiday, -Paying Guests, modernised large   country house, grounds with lake, coarse fishing, bathing, tennis, lawn,   golf, good food, h (heat) and e (electricity). From Renfrew by plane and   train in about three hours, £4 return’ The property was passed to the State   in lieu of death duties in the early 1960s at which time the family moved to   Summerisland, the Cowdy family home. It was then passed to the Ministry of   Agriculture who expanded their operations at Loughgall.

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