How is the original Belfast Poor House, a country estate outside Lisburn and a National Trust property connected? Well, through the merchant banking Mussenden family!
Daniel Mussenden was an early promoter of the Belfast Charitable Society’s scheme to build a Poor House and Infirmary for the town of Belfast. Whilst Daniel was philanthropically minded, he was also a business man with many varied interests. He was involved in opening the first bank in Belfast, Mussenden Adair & Bateson, in 1753, the year after the inaugural meeting of the Belfast Charitable Society. Daniel was responsible for the building of the original section of the house that stands at Larchfield Estate in the 1750s.
Daniel Mussenden’s son, named after his father, went on to marry Frideswide Bruce. Frideswide was the cousin of 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry who built Mussenden Temple on the North Coast for her. This building ultimately became a memorial to her when she died aged only 22 years old and is now in the care of the National Trust.
(Image: Daniel Mussenden, National Gallery of Ireland, McNeill Bequest)