(139 Portugal Cove Road, St. John's)

Known locally as Dunluce, this house was originally built as a summer home for an Irish watchmaker around the middle of the nineteenth century.


© 1998 Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Alexander Whiteford, the watchmaker, bought the parcel of land that Dunluce now stands from the estate of farmer John McGrath. It was one of several country houses built on the outskirts of St. John's at that time. When the house was finally completed around 1859, Whiteford named the house Dunluce after a castle of the same name in County Antrim, Ireland.

During the time the Whitefords used Dunluce as a summer home, they were also taking care of a small boy named James McNeilly. The Whitefords, along with the McNeillys and another family, the Rogersons, were the families primarily associated with the house up until 1948. The most famous may have been Isabella Whiteford Rogerson, a poetess of some fame in the St. John's area. In fact, several of her poems focused on the gardens around the home, which were famous locally for their beauty.

After 1948, Rex Renouf, a prominent local lawyer, historian and politician, bought the house. It was after Renouf bought the house that it became a full-time residence for his family. Over 20 years later, Renouf's daughter, Andrea Gillies bought the house and now lives in it with her husband, William.

The house known as Dunluce is located at 139 Portugal Cove Road and sits on a 2.5 acre plot of land filled with many old and beautiful trees. While the house was once located well outside the city, it is now firmly within its boundaries.

Dunluce is a modified wooden Cape Cod that stands one and a half storeys with a centre hall plan. The house's most notable feature is its dormer treatment. It has five-sided Scottish dormers, a style more common in Nova Scotia than in Newfoundland. The back of the house also has a tall classical window.

Dunluce was recognised as a Registered Heritage Structure in May 1993. The Newfoundland Historic Trust in 1996 awarded the owners the Southcott Award for its restoration.

Registered Heritage Structures