Having been born in Northern Ireland, when I saw reference to a residence called ‘Dunluce’ in Brighton it attracted my immediate attention. Dunluce is the name of a now ruined medieval castle (picture below, courtesy of Wikipedia) on the north coast of Northern Ireland, not far from Coleraine were I lived for a number of years.
Back to Brighton.
This house, built in 1912 for the Reverend Alexander Macully who was rector of St Jude’s Church in Brighton, was modelled on a wing of Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland. While the grounds today are of a more modest size, the original grounds were 12 acres and accommodated stables and a coach house.
The Reverend Macully obviously had access to external funds as he did not receive a salary from St Jude’s which he looked after between 1905 and 1908 – though not, it would appear, sufficient funds to pay the last £100 owing to the builders of St Jude’s which had been built in 1855 but not consecrated until 1977 because of the outstanding debt – yes, 122 years after it was built!
Local folklore would have it that there may have been smuggling tunnels leading to and from Dunluce. If this is the case, what was the good Reverend up to? The current owners have, apparently, noticed sections of the garden subsiding over the years.
Macully, who claimed to have been born in Armagh, Northern Ireland (some records suggest he was born in Australia and just studied in Trinity College, Dublin where he developed a lasting love for Ireland), was certainly an interesting chap. From what I can ascertain, he was a Professor of Elocution, an Anglican priest, a poet, an interpreter of Shakespeare and, for a short time, a bankrupt. The short lived bankrupt component occurred during the 1890s’ depression.
In later life Macully developed dementia. He died in 1921 and is buried at St Jude’s Cemetery.
In 1926, five years after Macully’s death, one of his daughters became the first recorded shark attack fatality in South Australia. She and her work are remembered in not one but two memorials on the Esplanade next to the jetty here in Brighton. See my separate review – A tribute to a noble woman.
I am not suggesting that you go out of your way to visit Dunluce ‘Castle’ though I do hope you found this story of its origin and its colourful original owner of interest.
Dunluce is located at 12 Yester Avenue, Brighton. It is a private residence though I understand that the current owners have occasional open days.