Part of the original Edgeworthstown Estate, the original manor house was built in 1672 by Richard Edgeworth. It was a modest building with tiny windows.
In the 1770’s Richard Lovell Edgeworth enlarged and remodeled the house. He made the bigger rooms brighter by adding additional windows, and made use of more novel building techniques to create curved walls, curved rows of columns and an oval shaped hall.
The estate during that period is described as cheerful and attractive, with lush grounds accented by trees, shrubs, flowers and garden paths.
Richard Edgeworth was a gifted inventor. He created some useful items that made the home more comfortable, including a central heating system, a series of leather straps that kept outer doors from banging shut, and a farmyard water pump that carried water into the house. It was powered by a handle often turned by beggars, who automatically received coins after they worked it for a specific amount of time.
Edgeworthstown House remained in the family until 1876, when it was sold by C.F. Montague to a Mr. Noonan. He gave the house, already separated from much of the property of the original estate, to the Sisters of Mercy. They converted it into a nursing home, which it remains to this day.
Maria Edgeworth, daughter of Richard the inventor, was a famous Irish writer. Born in 1768, she was about fifteen years old when the family moved in, and loved the house dearly.
Maria chose to spend as much time as possible at home, even after she became an adult. Many of her books were written here, including Castle Rackrent, Tales of Fashionable Life, Patronage and Ormond.
Maria was well known in the literary arena, and at her house entertained such notables as Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth. The house was described as a warm and friendly residence filled with books, maps, family treasures, pictures and mementoes of the travels of the other Edgeworths.
Maria Edgeworth died in 1849 and was buried in the ancestral churchyard at Edgeworthstown.