Springhill House, Moneymore, Co. Londonderry

The 17th-century plantation settlement at Springhill House near Moneymore, Co. Londonderry housed troops from the Royal Artillery and several US Army units.

Springhill House

20 Springhill Road


Co. Londonderry

BT45 7NQ

United Kingdom

Springhill House in Moneymore, Co. Londonderry is often described as one of the prettiest houses in Ulster. This is in no small part due to the conservation work carried out by the National Trust on the old Lenox-Conyngham family home. The Lenox-Conyngham family lived in the 17th-century plantation house from 1680. Generations of the family lived at Springhill until the estate began to fall into decline in the 20th-century.

In 1938, William Arbuthnot Lenox-Conyngham died and passed the estate to his elder – but sickly – son. This was Captain William Lowry Lenox-Conyngham. In 1940, he was invalided from the National Defence Corps and began leading the local Ulster Home Guard. By this stage, the family’s finances were in trouble. Neither William nor his brother had any children on to whom they could pass the estate.

Springhill House at War

During World War Two, Springhill House and the surrounding grounds served as billets for several military units. With the family involved in the war effort, the Government requisitioned the house and grounds. The grounds around the Tower Hill filled with Nissen Huts, while the laundry became a Sergeants’ Mess, and the Harness Room became an Orderly Room. Concrete foundations of 5 of the Nissen Huts remain visible in the Tower Hill Camp area.

Springhill House served as the Regimental Headquarters of the 145th Field regiment of the Royal Artillery (Royal Berkshire Yeomanry) from May 1941 to November 1941. Among those at Springhill were Colonel H Crosland, his second-in-command, Sir James King, Captain David Ormsby-Gore, and Captain Birchall. The 119th Regiment of the Royal Artillery followed soon after.

The next move was to Moneymore, a charming sleepy little town in County Derry, just west of Lough Neagh. It was here that the regiment had the best of relations with the locals. They were good to us. It was summer and everyone was happy.

Regimental History of the Berkshire Yeomanry 145th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.

US Army in Moneymore, Co. Londonderry

In 1942, the United States Army arrived in Moneymore. They occupied the grand rooms and Nissen Huts vacated by the British troops. They also made use of the courtyard, not only for drill but also for religious services of both Protestant and Catholic denominations. During such events, a piano places on the steps of the house accompanied the singing of hymns.

112th Engineers arrived in 1942. Company L 519th Quartermaster Regiment arrived next, leaving on 23rd December 1943. Company D 544th Quartermaster Service Battalion arrived on 17th October 1943, staying until 27th December 1943. Their replacements 3991st Quartermaster Truck Company arrived on 23rd December 1943, staying until 18th May 1944.

In 1942, the United States Military remained segregated and at Springhill House, this was evident. The plantation house saw use by officers and predominantly-white units. The Nissen Huts of Tower Hill Camp at the opposite end of The Beech Walk were home to the black soldiers of the Quartermaster units.

After the War

In December 1944, the Government derequisitioned the house and it returned to the Lenox-Conyngham family. By this stage of the war, most United States Army troops had left Northern Ireland. Those based at Springhill House engaged in campaigns at Normandy and across Europe. After the house returned to private use, German prisoners of war undertook work in the grounds. They tidied up the grounds and cut down some large trees barked and killed by soldiers over the years.

In 1956, William Lowry Lenox-Conyngham entered negotiations with the National Trust with a view to handing over the house. Today, visitors to Springhill House can enjoy the charm of the old family home. It contains period portraits, furniture, and costumes from the 17th to 20th centuries. You may even catch sight of the Springhill Ghost.