An extract from the forthcoming book on the History of Moira:
Waringfield House and Pretty Mary’s Fort
As one travelled out of the village in the direction of Magheralin, there stood Waringfield House, another notable Georgian building. It was the residence of the Waring family who in 1876 owned more than two thousand acres at Moira. That house is long gone but the perimeter of the walled garden is still visible and included in the residential development now on the site.
Waringfield was clearly a beautiful location and nearby is “Pretty Mary’s Fort.” Canon Rudd in his book quotes this extract from the poem – “Pretty Mary’s Fort”
I have read about Killarney’s Lakes
I have seen Shane’s Castle Hall
But the beauty of you Waringfield
You far exceed them all.
Long may the name of Waring live there
In this ancient Hall to reign
And keep an eye unto the poor
That live round his domain.
We bid adieu to Waringfield
With it’s laurels ever green
And to the weeping willows
Down by the Lagan stream.
And to the Forth and Burns’ house
And pretty Mary’s well –
To describe the beauties of this place
No human tongue can tell.
Gabriel Beranger described a visit to Warringsfield (sic) with Miss Sharman.
I saw, for the first time, glass bee-houses; they are made conical and covered with cones of straw, to make them dark, otherwise, I was told, the bees would not work. The hives stand in a kind of wooden press, in the middle of a garden. This press had small holes in the doors, to let in the bees, from whence they enter the hives. To show them, the doors of the press are opened, and the straw covers taken off, when I saw the bees at work against the sides. Mr. Warring has got the method from France of taking the honey without destroying these useful and ingenious insects.
During the World War II, in June 1942, the Americans constructed a nine hundred bed convalescent hospital at Waringfield for the British Emergency Medical Service (EMS). It was to grow to one thousand beds the following year. Wounded soldiers from all parts of the world were treated at this hospital. Ambulances were always on standby awaiting the arrival of casualties at Megaberry Airfield. For some time Waringfield was also the `home’ of a Company of French soldiers.
When the Ulster Military Hospital was transferred to Musgrave Park Hospital, the Royal Army Medical Corps presented their flag to Moira Parish.
The buildings later became a chest Hospital and then a geriatric hospital. Waringfield House was destroyed by fire in the 1950s and finally demolished in the late 1980’s.
See the images taken in 1974 by a member of the RAMC who served in Waringfield and later became a pilot. http://www.moirahistory.uk/aerial1974/
© David McFarland. Not to be reproduced without permission
see a BBC news report on the disposal of the Hospital from 1960 http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/ni1960s/11711.shtml
James Boyce reports from the ruins of this former military hospital in the grounds of Waringfield House, near Moira. The facility is about to be broken up and auctioned off and an astonishing array of damaged machinery and disused implements is shown lying around the buildings as Boyce itemises some of the lots and reflects on the ‘crumbling hand of time’.