Florence Court is a large 18th century house and estate located 8 miles southwest of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It is located at the foot of Cuilcagh Mountain. The nearby village characterized by a word name Florence Court. It is owned and managed by the National Trust and is a sister property near Castle Coole. The other National Trust property in County Fermanagh is the Crom Estate.


Florence Wrey (died 1718), daughter of Sir Bourchier Wrey, 4th Baronet (c. 1653-1696) and his wife Florence Rolle. She was married to John Cole in Enniskillen, builders of Florence Court, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Her grandmother was one of the earliest English women to wear the name Florence Rolle (1630-1705), daughter and arvtagerskaDenys Rolle (1614-1638), avStevenstone and Bicton in Devon.Insamling by the National Trust, Florence Court

The history of the building of the Florence Court is subject to guesswork and the current building was constructed in at least two, if not three, phases. [1]The first house on the site was built by John Cole, Esq. (1680-1726) and named after his wife Florence Bourchier Wrey (died 1718). [2] She was the daughter of Sir Bourchier Wrey, 4th Baronet (c. 1653-1696) of Tawstock, Devon. An anonymous history Fermanagh written in 1718 describes John Cole’s house as “very expensive and luxurious” [3] , but in 1739 Rev. William Henry described this building as “though small, is just left wing of a large building, designed by Mr. Cole, who he did not live to perform.” [4]

The architects behind the current house is unknown. [3] The central block was built and various dates from 1730 to 1764 is offered for its construction.It has been attributed to the German architect Richard Castle who worked at the nearby castle Hulme in 1728-9 and Florence Court shares similarities with some of the castle’s other Irish houses. [3] An estate map of 1768 shows the central block, standing alone, which has a heavily framed oculus window (instead of the current pair of windows and large, squat niche) on the second floor. This was a recurring unit in Castle’s work. [3] was involved Castle, dating the initial phase of building for 1730 can be reasonable. On the other hand, Mr Henry account nine years later, not to mention it’s a new house, newly built. Rowan suggests the plans could have been taken up by the castle, but not until much later, pointing to the “old” style of the house; and reflects the “design for all its charms, is far too gauche for [Castle]. [5]

Baroque ornamentation in the library and study at the front of the house seems to date from an earlier period to the rich rococo ornaments in the dining room, lounge and staircase hall on the west side of the house, and the boards of these two rooms differ in width from those elsewhere in house. It is believed that the central block can be implemented in two phases, with rooms at the back of the house, along with the Venetian rooms, complete with in 1764, when John Cole’s son, Lord Mount Florence, held a famous housewarming. [3]

Colonnades and pavilions were built c. 1771 and is attributed to the Italian engineer and architect Davis Ducart. [5] These are built of dressed sandstone as opposed to the reproduced limestone rubble of the central block. The southern and stable laps are Bricklayers Andrew Lambert. In the introduction to Enniskillen Paper suggests that there may have been an additional stage to complete the front we know today, pointed out that the heavily rusticated window dressings may have been “a reflection of a different, less skilful hand”. They are not on the facade that appears on the 1768 estate map; introduction suggests further work may have been “a vain attempt to harmonize [the central block] with the sophisticated cut-stone of the links and pavilions.” [3]

If there was a final stage is a matter of conjecture. 1979 National Trust guidebook points out the similarity between the unusual pedimented door frame at Florence Court in a frame of the now vanished Nixon Hall near Bellanaleck (built c. 1780). [6] Major improvements have been made on the farm c. 1778-1780. Among other garden of the park by William King and his exposition of the new unit, and the construction of the Grand Gates.

Florence Court was the seat of the Earls of Enniskillen to 1973. The 5th Earl of Enniskillen transferred the house and fourteen acres surrounding it to the National Trust in 1953. In 1955, a devastating fire destroyed the upper floors of the house. Sir Albert Richardson was entrusted to lead the National Trust restoration and extensive work has since returned Florence Court to much of its former glory. Some rooms on the upper floors, but remains closed.


The house has exquisite rococo decoration and fine Irish furniture, many pieces acquired for the property of the National Trust and other borrowed from other Irish houses. The majority of the original furnishings were removed when the Cole family moved to Perthshire in 1973 but many were back in the heritage of the Dowager Countess of Enniskillen on her death in 1998.

The house is framed by Benauglin and Cuilcagh hills of a 18th century landscaped park, landscaped c. 1778-1780 by William King. 18th century walled garden (extended in 1870) has a rose garden, rose cottage (the former head gardener home, now let by the National Trust as a vacation), orchards and a working kitchen garden. A working water-powered sawmill standing in the garden, and nearby there is a carpenter’s workshop and Victorian hydraulic cylinder is used to pump water up to the house. The grounds also contain an ice house, eel house bridge and a natural spring well. The pleasure garden contains displays of both temperate and semi-tropical plants, mainly rhododendrons galore.

The Larganess and Finglass rivers flow through the estate, most of which is occupied by pastures and forest, mostly larch. Glenwood Reserve is a semi-natural oak woodland preservation of the forest service near old deer park on the edge of the estate. The most notable trees in the yard is Florence Court Yew, survivors of the two original copies of the Irish Yew (Taxus baccata fastigiata) was discovered in 1764 at nearby Cuilcagh berget.Som the Irish Yew can be propagated only from cuttings, this tree and its sister (who died in the 1860s) are the progenitors of all Irish Yew found worldwide.


Early on the morning of March 22, 1955, a fire broke out on the first floor landing at Florence Court, adjacent to Lady Enniskillen’s [7] bedroom.Although firefighters had almost control the fire by 9:00, dry weather helped re-ignite the fire. Flames reached the roof of the building crashed down the hall, so that by the evening, around two thirds of the Florence Court interior lay in ruins.

Lady Enniskillen, born Mary Cicely Nevill of Marquesses in Abergavenny, discovered the fire, which broke out during one of her husband’s rare absences from home. After rushing down to the servants quarters to raise the alarm, she went to nearby Killymanamly House call older 5th Earl of Enniskillen] (1876-1963), [8] which was the Ulster Club in Belfast, to tell him that the house was on fire. He is said to have shouted, “What the hell do you think I can do about it?”.

A large part of the damage to the interior of Florence Court was caused by gallons of water is pumped on the flames. The dining room, with its exquisite plasterwork decoration, was saved only by the quick action of local builders Bertie Pierce and Ned Vaughan on behalf of Viola Grosvenor, later Duchess of Westminster, drilled six holes in the flat part of the roof to let the water that had accumulated on the floor above to quickly drain away and thereby prevent the roof collapsing. Two of these holes are still evident in the dining room today. [9]

The fire was just one of a series of events in the 1950s and 60s at the Florence Court that marked the end of an era for the house and family. After World War II, falling agricultural prices, rising labor costs, inheritance tax and a drastic reduction in the size of the demesne, the lifestyle of the 5th Earl of Enniskillen and his second wife Mary (née Nevill) was increasingly difficult to maintain. To secure the long term future of the house, Lord Enniskillen gave Florence Court to the National Trust in 1953. It opened to the public the following year.

In 1956, the 5th Lord Enniskillen only son and heir Michael, Viscount Cole,[10] died suddenly aged 36; He was unmarried. 1961, which is the restoration of the house nearing completion, Hurricane Debbieödelade farm. In 1963, the 5th Lord Enniskillen and his wife, Lady Enniskillen, died within three months of each other.

The 5th Earl, at his death, was succeeded by his nephew, Captain David Lowry Cole, MBE (1918-1989), in 1963, which became the Rt. She. The 6th Earl of Enniskillen. David Enniskillen (as he is popularly known) had spent much of his life in the colony of Kenya, having been elected a member of the Legislative Council in Kenya in early 1960, shortly before independence. In 1955, he was divorced from his first wife Sonia (born Syers), step-daughter of his uncle 5th Earl (who died in 1963 with his wife, Sonia’s mother). Through her, he had problems. A son and a daughter [11]

David Enniskillen and his second wife, Nancy, Countess of Enniskillen (born Nancy MacLennan, a former diplomat with the US Foreign Service), moved back to Florence Court, living there from 1964 to 1973. During that year, during the first years of unrest, Earl and Countess of Enniskillen left Florence Court, move over to Kinloch House Kinloch, Perthshire, United Kingdom.David Enniskillen became the last Earl of Enniskillen to actually live in Florence Court. He was succeeded by his only son Andrew, who was the 7th Earl of Enniskillen in 1989. Andrew Enniskillen continues to live on a large estate in Kenya.


In spring 2012, the BBC filmed parts of Hastings , a television comedy, at Florence Court. Most of the series, however, was filmed at Crom Castle. The series was first broadcast on BBC 1 in January and February, 2013.


  1. Jump up ^ Rowan, Alistair, buildings Ireland: Northwest Ulster (Comprising the counties of Londonderry, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone), Penguin, London, 1979 p.299
  2. Jump up ^ http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/631037
  3. ^ Hoppa upp till:a b c d e f“Ennis Papers” (PDF) . Public Record Office i Nordirland . 2007.
  4. Jump up ^ quoted in the parietal Wood, Adrian, County Fermanagh, National Trust, 1998, p.19
  5. ^ Jump up to: ab Rowan, Alistair, buildings Ireland: Northwest Ulster (Comprising the counties of Londonderry, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone), Penguin, London, 1979 p.300
  6. Jump up ^ plate between pages 68 and 69 show similar painting of Nixon Hall, with pedimented door frame and Venetian window above, from Swanzy, Henry Biddall, families, French Belturbet and Nixon in Fermanagh and their descendants, A.Thom & Co. , Dublin 1873
  7. Jump up ^ “- Personal Page 7880”. Thepeerage.com.
  8. Jump up ^ “- Personal Page 7880”. Thepeerage.com.
  9. Hoppa upp^ “Florence Court, County Fermanagh” . Irelandseye.com .
  10. Jump up ^ “- Personal Page 7881”. Thepeerage.com.
  11. Jump up ^ Cracroft-Brennan, Patrick. “Enniskillen, Earl of (Ireland, 1789).” Cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Retrieved January 5, 2013. The Ennis entry is somewhat outdated in depicting Arthur Gerald Cole is still alive in 2013; He died in 2005, and his son, Berkeley is the current heir presumptive.
  1. 50 years ago Fire – An exhibition to celebrate the reconstruction of Florence Court, Print Factory: Enniskillen (not in print)