In 2006 Noel and Judith Conn started the restoration project of a derelict Georgian Town House, 7 Seven Houses.
In 1616, a plot of land in English Street on the northern corner of College Street, then a lane down to the Commons (later the mall), was leased by a Captain (later Sir) Edward Doddington. It was inherited by his widow Anne who then married Sir Francis Cooke and the site passed in 1669 to her nephew Sir Tristam Beresford.
On this site leased from the Primate, a terrace of seven identical houses was built about 1770. Known as the Seven Houses and numbered from the corner they were erected for the Reverend Richard Averell, Rector of Tynan who was subsequently elevated to the Bishop of Limerick. He had them built so that his seven sisters could have one each.
Behind them were yards, stables and coach houses separated from the long gardens to the rear by a service lane. Now this passage has been opened to Lonsdale Road and named "Loudan's Mews" as at number four the Loudan family were proprietors of the Imperial Hotel, had a posting establishment and were also undertakers in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These gardens ran down to the former Lonsdale Street.
The Seven Houses, listed as 45-55 English Street, are described in "The Buildings of Armagh"; R McKinstry et al., (Belfast 1992) p. 108, as "handsome three storey buildings, with basements, of coursed random conglomerate with parapet walls to roof. Sash windows retained in all houses, glazing bars notably in no's 49 and 51. Noble doors with architraves and bracketed over doors all in ashler stone. Handsome railings with corner columnette balusters on pedestals surmounted by urns, unfortunately removed from no. 53. The intrusion of a three sided "Quality Street" shop front extension to no. 53 somewhat debases the currency. Interesting "front door" in the basement of no. 45 with a segmental arched fanlight and fluted columns".
Of course this description only deals with no's 2-7 as no. 1 or 43 English Street was burned in 1955 and demolished and so it is disregarded. It had a semi circular stair turret at the rear and a slated gable to College Street.
Each house had six or seven acres of land in Mullinure Townland to the east of Drumadd and South of the Portadown Road but these appear to have been leased or sold off in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries and houses like Avon Lodge, Melvale etc were built on them.
It is difficult to trace the sequence of occupiers as early directories do not often give names or numbers for premises in English Street. Number Seven was the Catholic Club from the late 19th century well into the twentieth century.
DRM Weatherup 31.03.08