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Abbey Leix House (Abbeyleix House) (Abbeyleix Castle)

  • Built / Designed For: Thomas Vesey, 1st Viscount de Vesci and 2nd Baron Knapton

    House & Family History: Designed in 1773 by the noted English architect James Wyatt for Thomas Vesey, 1st Viscount de Vesci and 2nd Baron Knapton, Abbey Leix is one of the most important 18th century houses in Ireland. The house was built on a site originally occupied by French Cistercian monks, who settled on the banks of the River Nore in the 12th century. Between 1859 and 1860 the library, the conservatory, and terraces were added. At the same time the house was enclosed within an entrance court and the whole fitted out with a Victorian Italianate veneer. The Vesey family were here from 1675 until 1995, when the estate was sold to Sir David Davies, the banker son of a Welsh industrialist, who beautifully restored the house. In the summer of 2021 Sir David sold the house, together with 1,120 acres, for €20 million to Stripe founder John Collison.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Abbey Leix has one of the most important collections of trees in Ireland, including some of the country’s most notable remaining ancient woodland. Spanning 1,100 acres today, the Abbey Leix Estate includes primeval forests of willow, alder, oak, and birch.

  • Architect: James Wyatt

    Date: 1773-76
    Designed: House for 2nd Lord Knapton

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    Architect: Thomas Henry Wyatt

    Date: 1859
    Designed: Refaced exterior of House

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  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pg. 1114
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Unknown

    Park Listed: Unknown

  • Current Seat / Home of: John Collison; here since 2021.

    Past Seat / Home of: Thomas Vesey, 1st Viscount de Vesci and 2nd Baron Knapton, early 18th century; John Vesey, 2nd Viscount de Vesci, 19th century; Vesci family here from 1675 until 1995. Sir David Davies, 1995-2021.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No