a lovely 18th century manor is an enlargement by the
Dublin architect George Ensor, George married the heiress Sarah
Clarke in 1760 and decided to settle at Ardress with his wife in
1778 upon his retirement as Clerk of Works to the Surveyor General.
The original house was built built by his wife's family sometime
around 1670, in the house there are some particularly fine examples
of stucco plaster work by Dublin master craftsman Michael Stapleton,
the ceiling designs are considered to among the best he produced,
comprising a plaque representing Aurora in 'The Chariot of the Dawn'
surrounded by foliate and urn motifs. Stapleton's original drawings
of the design survive in the National Library of Ireland, the present
colour scheme is derived from these drawings
Ardress House acquired its present appearance
between 1790 and 1810 when the property was inherited by George
Ensor (1772-1845) in 1803. Two bay windows were added to each end
of the house new wings were built to the north and east side, the
dining room was located in the latter.
In 1845 the third George Ensor inherited
Ardress House, this George Ensor died unmarried in 1879, the property
then passed to his nephew Charles Ensor, later to his son Captain
Charles Ensor, who was active in the UVF, in the first World War
led his men in the Battle of the Somme in which he was wounded and
fourhundred men from the nearby town of Portadown were killed. Captain
Charles Ensor sold Ardress House and the one hundred acres in which
it stands to the National Trust in 1960.