Castle Ward, in a stunning location overlooking Strangford Lough, was built in 1763. It has a front and back in two different architectural styles, one Palladian and the other Gothick. The former was said to be preferred by Bernard Ward (1719–1781), 1st Baron and 1st Viscount Bangor, who can be seen holding a drawing of the classical elevation in his c.1767 portrait by the studio of or after Francis Cotes, and the latter by his wife, née Lady Anne Bligh (d.1789), whom he had married in 1747. It was accepted by the Government of Northern Ireland in part payment of death duties after the death of Maxwell, 6th Viscount Bangor (1868–1950), and transferred with an endowment to the National Trust. The finest of the portraits is of the Right Honourable Sir John Parnell (1744–1801), 2nd Bt, brother-in-law of Bernard, 1st Viscount Bangor and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer (1785–1799) by Batoni and 'A Woman in a Green Velvet Hood' by Jan Lievens. A curious overmantel picture, referred to as 'Vertumnus and Pomona', is a copy after a 1665 picture by the Palatine Princess Louise Hollandine (1622–1709) by Mary Hotchkiss and is now thought to show the 1st Viscount Mordaunt of Ryegate [Reigate] and Avalon (1626–1675) attempting to abduct the daughter of one William Tayler or Taylor, for which he was prosecuted in 1666–1667.
National Trust, Castle Ward
Strangford, Downpatrick, County Down BT30 7LS Northern Ireland
Please remember to double-check the opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit