Manor House and Estate

47

The   Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (Afbi), a leading provider of scientific   research and services to government, non-governmental and commercial   organisations, is located in the Loughgall Manor Estate. Its headquarters   building is the imposing Manor House which is linked to the Main Street by an   avenue of lime trees and splendidly ornate entrance gates. Afbi strive to   support and develop industry through mushroom research, apple research and   development, grass breeding programmes, potato breeding programmes,   agroforestry, specialist horticultural production and plant protection, short   rotation coppice and specialist analytical and diagnostic services. Once the   residence of the Copes, the Manor House dates back to the mid 19th century   but, of course, the family’s roots in the area go back much earlier, to the   17th century. The last member of the Cope family to live at the Manor House   was Helen Gertrude Sowter who took over the reins of the estate when her   unmarried brother, Francis Robert, died. She and her husband, an English   clergyman, Canon Francis Briggs Sowter of Salisbury Cathedral, took an active   interest in the village and spent much of their retirement there. Management   of the estate was in the hands of the Templer family, relations by marriage   and, when Mrs Sowter died in 1941, the parents of Field Marshall Sir Gerald   Templer took up residence in the Manor House for the next five years. It was   sold with the estate to the Ministry of Agriculture in 1946. Mrs Templer   planned to move into Beechville, on the main street, but the existing tenant   objected so she moved to Little Castledillon, just outside Armagh.
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