Gosford Castle stands near the village of Markethill, Co. Armagh. In modern times, the property has fallen into disrepair and changed hands many times. The Norman style frontage of the grand country house also featured as a setting for the hit H.B.O drama 'Game of Thrones'.
Built in the 19th-century for the 2nd Earl of Gosford, the house design is ‘Norman Revival’. The designer was London-based architect Thomas Hopper. Today, the building remains one of Ulster’s largest Grade A listed buildings. The Earls of Gosford continued to occupy Gosford castle until the death of the 4th Earl of Gosford in 1922.
During the Second World War, authorities commandeered the large house and grounds for use by British and American troops. The grounds also saw use as a German Prisoner of War Camp towards the end of the war.
Duke of Kent in Markethill
On 27th November 1941, Prince George, Duke of Kent accompanied by Lieutenant General H.R. Franklyn inspected Battalions of the British Army at Gosford Castle.
The following American forces were based at the Co. Armagh castle between 1943 and 1944.
|Start Date||End Date||Unit|
|18th October 1943||11th April 1944||Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Infantry Division Artillery|
German Prisoners of War
Little remains of Prisoner of War Camp No. 10 on the grounds of Gosford Castle. In the public car park stands a small stone tower constructed by prisoners. A plaque tells more of the story:
This tower was built by German Prisoners of War who were confined here at Gosford from 1042 to 1945. It was originally built as a model windmill but was never finished.
At 1030hrs on both 27th November 1946 and 28th November 1946, an auction took place at Gosford Castle, Markethill, Co. Armagh. For sale was the contents of the former military site and Prisoner of War Camp. The seller was local auctioneer William Acheson.
Contents of the 1947 Auction
|Standard Nissen Huts||154||16' x 36'.|
|Large Huts||24||Various sizes ranging from 38' x 38' to 24' x 102'.|
|Brick Buildings||15||Various Sizes with Asbestos Roofing.|
|Ablution Huts and Benches|
|Dog Kennels||Brick Built.|
|Coils of Barbed Wire||4,000|
Following the end of the war, the Acheson family, descendants of the Earls of Gosford, sold Gosford Castle to the Ministry of Agriculture. Over the following decades, the grounds became the 590-acre Gosford Forest Park. The castle itself has served as a storage facility for Northern Ireland’s Public Records Office, a military barracks during the modern “Troubles”, a hotel, a filming location, and private dwellings.