The Restoration of Frizzell's Cottage

Frizzells Cottage, new lease of life

One substantial legacy gift, a dedicated team, two years and hundreds of mud bricks saved Frizzell's Cottage from total ruin.

The Grade B1 listed building, located at the entrance to Ardress House along the lady's Mile walk, is believed to have been constructed circa 1740. The mud brick, thatched cottage typical of houses that were popular throughout South Ulster during the mid-18th century. 

Before the work started
Frizzell's Cottage
Before the work started

the years had taken their toll on the mud-walled thatch. Overgrown vegetation, scorched by fire damage and boarded up with metal grills, the building was in such a state of disrepair it had been added to the 'at risk' register for listed buildings in Northern Ireland. 

The project, which was fully funded by a legacy gift of £334,000 commenced in 2017 and two two years to complete. 

Frizzell's Cottage during restoration
Frizzell's Cottage during restoration
Frizzell's Cottage during restoration

Believed to have been originally constructed circa 1740, with a few later alterations in the 1950’s, the cottage passed to the Trust in 1996 but was last lived in during the 1980’s when two elderly sisters of the name Frizzell resided there.

Having laid uninhabited for almost 30 years, time had not been kind to this mud-walled thatch; overgrown with vegetation, scorched by fire damage and boarded up with metal grills, the building had fallen into a state of disrepair, resulting in it being added to the ‘at risk’ register for listed buildings in Northern Ireland.

The project story

Working in conjunction with Chris McCollum, Heritage Building Surveyor, and Robert Weir, builder, we aimed to restore this hidden gem using traditional techniques and materials, such as mud-brick and thatch.

Many of the mud-bricks at Frizzell’s needed to be replaced, and we were delighted to welcome a team of enthusiastic staff and volunteers on site who mixed clay with straw and water, vigorously ‘puddling’ this together with their feet, before putting the mixture into moulds to make the new bricks.  

Mud Bricks, constructed by our staff and volunteers in the traditional way
Frizzells Cottage Mud Bricks
Mud Bricks, constructed by our staff and volunteers in the traditional way

Other conservation works to restore the cottage included roof timber repairs followed by re-thatching; lime render; new sash windows, doors and floors; and a new extension to side and rear.

The project took 18 months and every care has been taken to maintain the several notable ‘vernacular’ features surviving within Frizzell’s Cottage that reflect the period style of the region; for example the brace beam across the central bay and the jamb wall with spy hole.

Protecting special places for ever, for everyone

Frizzell’s Cottage is now a beautiful building that respects the character and tradition of the original design, while incorporating modern-day comforts to create a unique two-bedroom property and is now a cosy, unique home to our tenants.

Frizzells Cottage, new lease of life
Frizzells Cottage, new lease of life
Frizzells Cottage, new lease of life