Woodfield House


*About Woodfield House


Woodfield House was originally the townland house of Ryane, and in the past consisted of an 800-acre estate, with an orchard. It is an unusual stone and earthen 17th century farmhouse. The 6-bay, 2-storey dwelling, which now has a slated, hipped roof, was originally thatched. Old maps show the main entrance onto the yard behind the house. The wide traditional open fireplace, with its stone bread oven, is still in the kitchen, surmounted by the original heavy beam. Wattle and daub has been used in construction in this part of the house. Marl holes on the land indicate the source of the mud for the actual building of the house. The extensions, which are apparent on the maps of 1831, are built of stone. An altar once stood in an upstairs room, which was used as a chapel during the penal times, in the early 1700s. The same altar was later donated by the Whelehan family to the the local National school in Oylegate.

For many generations the house was owned by the Suttons, a family of Norman origin, a single branch of which settled in Oylegate in the late 17th century.

The deeds indicate a dwelling house from as far back as 1697 and local headstones confirm a Sutton of Ryane who died in 1760 aged 73. Two later Sutton brothers became priests, and one extension is named in their honour, known still to this day as 'The Priests Parlour'.
Allegedly they were both educated in Louvain, from where they brought back 'trunkloads' of books. They took opposing sides in the rebellion of 1798 and their remains are now interred in separate local graveyards.

The Sutton family were related to the distinguished Ryan family of Tomcoole, and it seems that at the end of the 19th century there was a remarkable visitor to the house, in the form of the most famous Irish designer of all: Ms. Eileen Gray of Brownswood.

Towards the end of the 20th century, the house became empty, fell into disrepair and was vandalised.

In 1996, it was purchased by Catriona & Dick Whelehan who restored the property and outbuildings sympathetically.


Extracted from: 'Irish Cntry Homes'

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