One side of the main street through the village of Templepatrick in Co Antrim consists of the demesne wall of Castle Upton. It is relieved by a fortified gateway at the centre of the village. This leads up to the Castle itself, which dates from 1611 when it was built by Sir Robert Norton.
Closer inspection of the tower reveals that one of the turrets is actually a chimney, and that there are narrow slit windows near the gateway. Discreetly positioned behind the wall is a gate lodge that consisted originally of two rooms, one on either side of the gate. Over the years it was extended to make a larger house, but it was still necessary to cross the gateway to get from the living room to one of the bedrooms – not a very satisfactory layout, although one which was very common in 19th century gatehouses.
The gate lodge, its tower and the demesne wall of which it is part are all the work of the distinguished architect Edward Blore, who was employed by the 3rd Viscount Templeton in 1837 to improve the Castle and give it a new entrance gateway. This is described in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs (who record the architect as ‘Mr Blower of London’) as a ‘handsome battlemented wall’ with a ‘magnificent entrance, somewhat resembling a barbican, in the Saxon style of architecture’. They describe it as built of ‘punched granite, with white porphyry quoins, mouldings and pinnacles’.
Hearth decided to remove the later extensions and to create a new symmetrical plan with new rooms added in basalt to create two separate houses in place of the sadly divided original one. This was done using housing finance, while the Heritage Lottery Fund provided the crucial funding for necessary repairs to the gateway tower itself. New latticed casement windows were provided in cast metal, with secondary glazing, and the top of the tower was largely rebuilt to remove tree roots and deal with structural problems arising probably from sulphate formation in the mortar. A culverted stream running under the lodge was investigated and its bridge repaired. The existing tenants have been rehoused in one of the resultant houses, and a new house was created that is virtually invisible from the village. The scheme was awarded a Commendation in the RICS Conservation Awards 2005.