The Redmond family
One of the earliest Redmonds was Edward Redman, who crossed the river Tall from Drumannon and a built a house in Grange O’Neilland, Co. Armagh, which was demolished in 1843. George could have been his father, Philip his grandfather, and Robert his great grandfather (born c.1655), all apparently holding leases in Drumurry and Drumannon. Edward’s son was John “Old Jack” Redmond. He was a linen merchant who acquired a large fortune “by care and industry and a strict and undeviating regard to sobriety and industry” as noted in an obituary in 1826. Apparently he used a blunder-buss at the Battle of the Diamond in 1795.
Old Jack had several brothers. Robert took £500 and ran off with the preacher John Wesley, only to return when the money ran out. William (1762-1844) was a linen draper and yarn processor at Redmond’s Bridge. He and his wife died within eight days of each other after sixty years of marriage.
Old Jack married Eleanor and had two sons, George (1789) and Edward (1794). They were teenage lieutenants in the Crowhill Yeomanry in Co. Armagh, but both died of smallpox in 1811. His daughter Jane (born c.1795) married Abraham Walker of Richhill, and another daughter (Emily) married William Walker of Richhill, both in 1813. A third daughter, Ellen, married William McCrum of Kilmore in 1820. Old Jack also had another two daughters and a son by a “buckle-the-beggar” marriage (recognised by the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches, but not by the state) after their birth. Mary married John Greer of Megarity in 1829, and Jemima married Joseph Orr of Ballymagarney in 1832, both well-off local men. Old Jack had provided his daughters with very large dowries for the time.
Grange House was probably built around 1760-80 and extended by Old Jack in 1817: the front gates bear the initials “1817 JR”. After he died in 1826, his second wife lived there until her death about 1832. It was quite possibly tenanted for a few years until “The Night of the Big Wind” in early 1839, when many houses in Ireland were damaged. It was in 1840 that Ellen Walker married William Sinclair at Grange House, then the residence of her brother, John Walker Redmond Walker.
The house was considerably altered in 1843 and remained in the hands of John Walker Redmond until at least 1855. After that they may have moved to “The Brewery” in Richhill, better known as Moss Park House, but by 1870 they were living at Sandymount House, where John Walker Redmond farmed and had a flax scutching mill and continued to manufacture linen.
During the middle 1870s it seems that Grange House was tenanted again, but this time the fine drawing-room fireplace was stripped out and some floors taken up and burned.
About 1879 it was purchased by William Redmond’s grandson Johnston, whose family, through his son Joe and daughter Peggy, held it until her death in 1979. It continued in the hands of later Redmonds, but was finally sold out of the family in the 1990s. Since then it has been renovated by its present owners, securing it for another 150 years.