Newbay House Wexford
History of Newbay House
According to Hore’s History of Wexford there was a township called ‘Newbane’ consisting of a castle and 60 acres of land in the tenure of Patrick Roche and belonging to the Prioy of Selskar situated at what we now call Newbay. Around 1641 198 acreas of land at Newbane was owned by John Roche but ended up forfeited to Cromwell and was given to one of his officers Colonel Thomas Scott who still had possession up to 1674. In 1715 Henry Hatton, a former Mayor of Wexford, owned Newbay and it remained in the Hatton family for the next century.
Newbay House as it is now was the product of Architect John Meason whom worked on the house for Henry Hatton between June 29th 1822 and November 13th 1824. Notable additions during this time were the present front avenue and gatelodge. However by 1853 it was now owned by the Dowager Countess of Donoghmore and consisted of 138 acres leased to four tenants with Henry Lyster residing in the big house. The Countess herself lived at Belmont.
Thomas Jefferies of Carne House purchased the house, offices and land at Newbay on Friday 16th July 1869 when he paid £1030 for it at a public auction in the Landed Estates Court in Dublin. He officially gained ownership on November 1st 1869. Jeffries added a wing to the house circa 1886. Jefferies daughter Annie Elizabeth married George Arthur French in 1899 and it was via this matrimony that the house and lands now passed to the French family.
Circa 1952 the porch was taken down and the door was replaced by the existing front facing window. The present porch was built from the doors and windows of the old one and the same granite steps.
Also around this time mains electricity was brought to the house and it was in 1955 that drinking water was provided from a well dug in the garden. (Prior to this it had been brought by pony and cart to Newbay from Clonard Hill).
In 1959 a flat was made for Mrs French who was the first member of the French family to be born in Newbay – on March 11th 1870. She died September 3rd 1963.
Mrs French was the last surviving member of the family of seven. Mrs French was described as “one of the most beautiful women in County Wexford in the last century and she retained her lovely looks right up to the end of her long and very Christian life” in her obituary in The Free Press (September 6th 1963). Mrs French’s last surviving son, Lieutenant-Colonel George French died at Newbay in 1979. Four years later his two son’s Dominic and Arthur sold the house to Paul Drumm from Dublin. Drumm opened the house and began accommodating guests and tourists.
In 1996 Jane Coyle purchased and refurbished Newbay House, reopening its doors as a country house hotel in 1999.