A much earlier view of the same house from the far side of the Barrow, with the missing adjoining terrace still intact.
This terrace comprised some of the fabled 'Huguenot'
houses of Portarlington which were reputedly 'built with their backs to the street, in the French manner'
I've lifted the image from Ronnie Mathews' local history, 'Portarlington,The Inside Story'
and on a recent foray into the midlands, I met the wonderfully knowledgeable Mr. Mathews and put that oft quoted description to him. If I had to sum up his response in one word, it would be derision! 'The French don't build their houses with the backs to the street !
Exactly why the terrace clearly had very few window openings onto the street (at least in more recent times) is not immediately clear, and now that the houses have been demolished, we may never find out.
On the Wellington connection, more cold water I'm afraid. Mathews' history recounts that Lord Mornington sent two elder sons to Mr. Willis' school in Portarlington, where their names are recorded on the school rolls, but their younger brother, who later became the Duke of Wellington, never attended any school in the town, but apparently proceeded to Brown's establishment in Chelsea, directly after leaving the Diocesan School in Trim, and before going on to Eton.
This is a pity because, discovering that Wellington (as a small boy) may have acquired a hatred of the French while attending a Huguenot school in Laois, and for this to have contributed to the downfall of Bonaparte, is the stuff of local history legend!