Sunday 2 September 2018

Templeview House
Easkey, Co. Sligo

The decay of Templview over five years
Copyright ICHC

Templeview House located outside Easkey in Co. Sligo is a well-known property, glimpsed occasionally from the road through the gaps in the high stone wall that surrounds it. However most will find it surprising that this forgotten house in the Sligo countryside has a surprising connection, as the money that financed its construction originated in Mexico. Described as a gentleman’s residence with large distinctive bargeboards that give the house, what estate agents now call, ‘kerb appeal’. Admired by many who dream of restoring this house to its former glory. The rear elevation overlooks the Atlantic Ocean which was crossed by members of the Hale family from Easkey in the 1800s. They returned to their native homeland extremely wealthy men and displayed their affluence by building a house, which they named Templeview.

Templeview House in 2018
Copyright ICHC

Templeview in the nineteenth century was associated with the Hale family and was built by Peter Hale, a native of Easkey in Co. Sligo who had emigrated to Mexico. His will dating from 1864 gives an interesting insight in to the wealth of the man who built Templeview. It states that he leaves all his real and personal estate in New Orleans, Louisiana and Mexico to his nephew James Hale of Matamoras, Mexico except for five thousand pounds that was to be distributed amongst his relatives and charitable purposes. Peter Hale had lived in the Republic of Mexico for more than twenty years and for a majority of that time between 1837 and 1851 he managed Hale & Co. at Matamoras which had been established over forty years earlier. After his retirement Peter was succeeded by James Hale, his nephew, who manged the company for a further ten years. Hale & Co. was one of the first companies to establish cotton factories in Northern Mexico and at the time of Peter’s death the company still had considerable interests throughout the country. The Hales were a wealthy and well-connected family, who were cousins of the Milmo family who owned the banking house of D. Milmo & Co., Webb County in Texas. A cousin of the Hale family, Patrick Milmo eventually became the President of the Bank of Mexico.  It is said that James Hale traveled from Easkey out to Mexico a number of years prior to the death of his rich and unmarried uncle. Peter Hale had returned to Easkey in Sligo in the 1850’s and purchased the Irwin estate in the townland of Killeenduff in the Landed Estate Court for £4,100. In 1855, Peter built the house that came to be known as Templeview however due to his early death, his estate in Ireland as well as Mexico also passed to his nephew James. The demesne around Templeview in Easkey extended to 54 acres which was surrounded by a high wall accessed by the nearby gate and adjacent gate lodge that reflects the style of the house. Peter Hale’s estate in Ireland at the time of his death amounted to £7,000.00 which was a sizeable sum for the time but did not reflect the substantial assets held by the deceased outside of Ireland. After the death of his Uncle, James returned to Ireland, married and initially settled in Dublin before relocating to Templeview in Sligo. In May 1866, the birth of James Hale’s son, Edward Joseph is recorded as having taken place at 32 Waterloo Rd. It is noted on the birth certificate that James’s wife, Jane, was formerly a member of the Howley family, a family who also originated in the locality surrounding Easkey. In June of the same year, an Edward Howley of Belleek Castle in Ballina died, his widow is mentioned as being Priscilla Howley of Stone House in Dunleer in Co. Louth. Jane Hale is mentioned as being one of the respondents of the will together with her husband James. It was around this time that the philanthropic nature of the Hale family came to the fore when they established a schoolhouse for the benefit of the local children near Templeview. James managed the school, which was unusual for a time as most schools had a religious connection. This arrangement became more unusual for the times when his wife Jane took over after his death.

The Franciscan Abbey in the heart of the town of Easkey where members of
the Hale Family of Templeview are interred         
Copyright ICHC

In April 1869, the death occurred at Templeview of Edward Joseph, the three-year-old son of James Hale who  was ,at that time, the High Sheriff for the county of Sligo. However, this tragedy was followed the following year in April 1870 by the birth of a daughter to James and his wife at Parry’s Hotel in Monkstown, Dublin. In May 1871 another son named Edmund James was born to the Hales at Templeview followed in July 1872, by a daughter whom they named Adelaide. The family at this time were also living in Woodpark in Upper Rathmines and James profession is listed as a landed proprietor. In 1876, the Templeview estate extends to 2,952 acres however despite being a sizable estate the neighbouring estate of Fortland was substantially larger extending to 6,730 acres. Sadness was never far away from Temple View as James Hale died in March 1875. His obituary mentions that in his youth he was educated in the ‘highest Catholic schools and colleges’ and during his lifetime that nearly every school and chapel in the Dioceses of Killala ‘can testify to the substantial aid he rendered towards their creation.’ He gave £1,300 to the Convent of Mercy in Ballina and £250 towards the building of a chapel in the College of Maynooth which was once his alma mater. His funeral mass was presided over by the Bishop of Killala, the Most Reverend Dr. Conway and fourteen priests, indicating that the Diocese of Killala was grateful for James Hale’s benevolence over the years. He was laid to rest within the walls of the Franciscan Abbey in the heart of the town of Easkey where his memorial stone is still visible on the wall today. The following month it was announced that the representatives of the late James Hale had instructed for the cattle, sheep and horses to be auctioned on the 24th April afterwards it was noted that James’s Irish estate amounted to under £35,000.00.

The memorial stone of James Hale who died in 1875 and his
young son who died a number of years earlier
Copyright ICHC

After his death James’s widow was held up as an ‘noble example’ of a landlord in the local press as she had made a reduction of twenty percent on the rent of her tenants and ten percent to the leaseholders. In August 1887, Mrs Hale’s second son Edmund James passed his examinations in the first division from Beaumount College. Edward was the youngest taking the examination being only a few days over the age of 16. In July 1888, it was further demonstrated the high esteem in which the Hale family were held in by the local community when a reception was given by the local tenantry on the accession of James Hale to the property left to him by his father, James was said to be the second eldest son. The tenants of the estate proceeded to Templeview House for the purpose of paying their respects to the new landlord. The tenants were accompanied by large contingents from the neighbouring properties as well as deputations from the Easkey branches of the National League and Gaelic Athletic Association. At Templeview, James Hale was presented with a ‘happily worded address’ on behalf of the tenantry. Mr. Hale thanking them for their kindness and that he hoped ‘the cordial relations that has always existed between his family and the tenants would continue’. It is also said that the present proprietor of Templeview was related on his mother’s side to Colonel Howley of Cooga Lodge which was located nearby. In September 1888, Mrs. Hale and her youngest daughter were involved in accident when returning to Easkey from Enniscrone when their pony and trap became unmanageable. When crossing the bridge at Easkey, the pony caused the trap to collide with the side of the bridge causing the trap to capsize, throwing the occupants to the ground. The ladies were unconscious, but a doctor soon arrived on the scene and in several days, they had recovered. In April 1894, Alice Hale, daughter of James Hale married, in Florence, to Mr. Charles M. O’Connor from Roscommon. After the mass there was a reception at the residence of the bride’s mother after which the happy couple departed for Rome.

From 1900 onwards it appears that the Hale family had departed the house and at the time of the 1901 census, John Quinn aged 30 and his 35 year old wife Anne are resident in the house. John born in Sligo and is a general labourer while his wife Anne is a domestic servant. In October 1906, more than 700 acres of the Hale Estate was vested in the Congested Districts Board, after this, the house served many purposes including being the home of the parish priest, a police barracks and a dispensey. By the time of the 1911 census, John and Anne Quinn are still living in Templeview. John is now aged 41 but strangely the age gap between him and his wife has extended to ten years, it is also recorded that they have been married nineteen years. John is now listed as a steward are they are living in the sixteen roomed house owned by James Hale.

In March 1919, it is reported that James Howley Hale of 152 Ashley Gardens, London died in Kingstown Dublin, it is said in his death notice that he originated from Templeview and was the last surviving son of James Hale. On the 5th June 1919, the death occurred of Jane Hale, a widow, formerly of Templeview, Easkey, Co. Sligo and 32 Clarinda Park, East, Kingstown, in Dublin. Her daughter is mentioned as being Adelaide Hale, a spinster and that Jane has left £200 for Masses to be said for the repose of her soul and £100 for the benefit of the poor of the Diocese of Killala. In March 1920, an advertisement appeared stating that Templeview House and demesne in Easkey was to be sold with immediate possession. The lands around the house extended to 54 acres, while the house contained four reception room and seven family bedrooms. The advertisement states that all furniture and effects in the house at this time are to be sold also.

In September 1937, Templeview appeared on the market again under the instructions of the executors of the late Dr. P.J. O’Connor. The house now stands in 17 acres and 10 perches and includes a ‘well laid out’ kitchen garden and orchard while the entire house and grounds are enclosed within solid masonry walls. It is said that the house is designed and built regardless of cost and presents ‘a very pleasing appearance’. The house is listed as having an entrance hall, large dining room, drawing room, eight bedrooms, servant’s quarters, kitchen and scullery together with bathroom and lavatory accommodation.  The house was to be sold by auction and the contents of the house were to go under the hammer afterwards. Also offered in the sale was a 12-horse power motor car, a Wolsley Hornet.  In August 1938, the owners of Templeview House have offered a portion of the premises and two acres of land as a site for Easkey Vocational School for £600. The offer was considered but turned down however it was suggested that maybe the house should be first rented for establishing a school to see if it would have been a successful venture. However, when two inspectors from the department visited the house, it was found to be unsuitable.

Templeview House in 2018
Copyright ICHC
In May 1939, it was reported that Mr. James Devaney, Fortland, Easkey was the purchaser of Templeview House and lands. After 1940, the wing to the rear of the house was demolished due to the level of rates imposed on the property. In December 1950, Adelaide Howley Hale, a spinster aged 76 died at 68 Merrion Rd., it is noted that she is of independent means she was a daughter of James and Jane Hale of Templeview in Easkey.
In 2004, Templeview appeared on the market now situated in just seven acres, the house did not sell and appeared on the market again in 2010 with a guide of €350,000. The house has continued to languish in its derelict state and in recent years the decline of this once magnificent property has accelerated. With each passing winter the state of the roof becomes more precarious with larger and larger holes allowing the ingress of water, eroding whatever is left of its original interior.

Since 2018, I have documented the continued decline of this house, and on a number of occasions its plight has been highlighted in the local press using these photographs. Contact was made with Sligo County Council, highlighting the supposedly protected status of the house and its continued decline however no response has been forthcoming. By the winter of 2023, a large section of the roof had collapsed and the decorative barge boards are no more.

The decay of Templeview House over a five year period
Copyright ICHC