From the 12th to the 16th centuries, Cistercian monks
expertly farmed the lands around a monastery located at the existing St. Patrick’s Church
in nearby Marlfield village. They named the area Inis Leamhnachta ‘The River Meadow of the New Milk’. While archaeologists believe there is evidence of habitation on the estate dating back to the Bronze Age, the earliest surviving human imprint is an early Christian ring fort, probably of the Uí Faoláin clan.
Shortly after the infamous Siege of Clonmel
, the lands at Marlfield, named after the fine-grained rock, or ‘marl
’, found in the area, were bought by the Bagwell family. Marlfield House, the centrepiece of the estate, was completed in 1785 by Colonel John Bagwell MP. The property remained in the Bagwell family, who played a distinguished role in Irish history, for nearly 200 years.
The surrounding estate was sculpted into majestic rolling countryside in the early 1800s in the style of the famous English landscape gardener Capability Brown
; many of Marlfield’s grand old oak, beech and walnut trees date from this period. The main entrance gates are guarded by handsome twin Doric lodges designed by William Tinsley of Clonmel; they are considered the finest examples of their type in Ireland. The magnificent conservatory was built by Richard Turner
, who built the Palm House at Kew gardens in Surrey, and designed the Botanic Gardens in Belfast and Dublin.
After a fire in 1923 the house was rebuilt with enormous care and attention, and at great expense to retain its gracious Georgian splendour.