Lecale Historical Society

Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland - Co. Down


CASTLEBUOY, or ST. JOHNSTOWN, an extra parochial liberty, in the barony of ARDES, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (N.E.) from Portaferry; containing 744 inhabitants. This place is situated on Cloghy bay, and, according to the Ordnance survey, comprises 1358 and a quarter statute acres. A commandery or preceptory of St. John the Baptist of Jerusalem, dependent on the priory of Kilmainham, was founded here by Hugh de Lacy, in 1189, which continued till the commencement of the fifteenth century; the building is now in ruins, and the family of Echlin possesses several townlands in freehold which have always enjoyed exemption from tithe and church cess, and also a manor which belonged to the commandery, the court of which is now held once in three weeks. The manor is called Cloghy, and the court has jurisdiction over the liberty of Castlebuoy, the parishes of Slanes and Ballytrustin, and part of Witter, and any sum not exceeding £5 is recoverable in it, either by attachment or civil bill process. The lofty tower of the castle and ruins of the church are situated in one of the most secluded and fertile vales in the Ardes. On a chain of rock in the channel, three miles east from the shore, is the South Rock or Kilwarlin lighthouse. There is a private school in which are about 70 boys and 60 girls.


CASTLEWELLAN, a market and post town, in that part of the parish of KILMEGAN which is in the barony of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN,, and province of ULSTER, 9 miles (W.S.W.) from Downpatrick, and 641 and three quarters (N. by E.) from Dublin; containing 729 inhabitants. This place is situated on the mail coach road from Newry to Downpatrick, on the side of a small lake, and though partly surrounded by mountains, occupies rather a conspicuous site. The town is well built, and consists principally of an upper and lower square connected by a street, containing 122 houses, most of which are neat structures. There are barracks for two companies of infantry, a detachment from the military depot at Newry, usually stationed here. The bleaching of linen, which is the principal trade of the place, was first introduced here by Mr. Moffat, in 1749, since which time it has greatly increased, and several large bleach greens have been established. Those of Messrs. Murland are capable of bleaching and finishing 20,000 pieces annually, and those of Mr Steel, 8000; a large proportion of the linen is sent to the American and West India markets, the remainder to England and Scotland. There is an extensive mill for spinning linen yarn, erected in 1829, and the first for fine yarns ever established in Ireland; it is worked by steam and water power, and lighted with gas made on the premises; another is in course of erection on a very large scale, to be propelled by a water wheel 50 feet in diameter and 10 feet on the face. In these several establishments more than 500 persons are constantly employed. The manufacture of linen is also extensively carried on by Mr. J. Murland and Mr. Steel, the former employing 450 and the latter 300 persons. There are also some large corn mills, and mills for dressing flax. The market is on Monday, and is amply supplied with provisions and pedlery, and large quantities of brown linen and linen yarn are brought for sale every market day. Fairs are held on the first of February, May, June, and September, the 13th of November, and the Tuesday before Christmas. The market house, situated in the centre of the upper square, is a neat building, with a belfry and clock, surmounted by a spire. A constabulary police force is stationed here, a manorial court, having jurisdiction over nine townlands in this parish and that of Drumgooland, is held every three weeks, in which debts to the amount of £10 are recoverable; and petty sessions are also held in the market house every alternate Tuesday. Divine service, according to the rites of the Church of England, is performed every Sunday in the market house. There are also in the town a R. C. chapel and places of worship for Presbyterians and Wesleyan Methodists. A schoolhouse was built and endowed by J. Murland, Esq., for the gratuitous instruction of children of both sexes; and a school is supported by Earl Annesley. At the foot of Slievenalat, and on the border of the lake, is an elegant cottage, built by Earl Annesley, and ornamented with gardens and pleasure grounds tastefully laid out, in which is a temple, commanding a fine view of the surrounding scenery. Earl Annesley enjoys the inferior title of Baron of Castlewellan, in the peerage of Ireland. See KILMEGAN.


CLONALLON, a parish, in the barony of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 6 miles (S. S. E.) from Newry, containing, with the town and district parish of Warrenspoint, 8630 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the bay of Carlingford, by which it is bounded on the south and west, and on the road from Newry to Rosstrevor, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 11,658 and a quarter statute acres, of which about 200 acres are woodland, 150 bog, 200 mountain (including about 100 acres of bog on the summit), and 173 and a quarter under water; of the remainder, nearly two thirds are arable and one third pasture. A very extensive and lucrative, oyster fishery is carried on, employing a great number of boats, and herrings are occasionally taken in large quantities. The gentlemen's seats are Narrow Water House, the residence of R. Hall, Esq., a splendid mansion of hewn granite quarried upon the estate, and built in the Elizabethan style; Drumaul Lodge, that of James Robinson, Esq.; and Clonallon House, that of the Rev. J. Davis. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Dromore, united by charter of the 7th of Jas. I. to the rectory of Drumgath, together constituting the union of Clonallon and the corps of the chancellorship of Dromore, in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £450, and the gross annual value of the benefice, tithe, and glebe included, is £961. 10. The parish church is a very ancient edifice in good repair, and a church has been recently erected at Warrenspoint, which has been made a district curacy. The glebehouse is situated on a glebe of 190 acres of profitable land, valued at £339. 10. per annum. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recommended the dissolution of the union on the next avoidance, leaving Clonallon alone as the corps of the chancellorship. The R. C. parish is coextensive with that of the Established Church; there are three chapels, situated respectively at Mayo, Burn, and Warrenspoint. There are a handsome new meetinghouse for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, one for those in connection with the Remonstrant Synod, and one each for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. The parochial school is aided by the rector; and at Mayo is a national school, in which together are about 140 boys and 80 girls; and there is an infants' school of 30 boys and 40 girls. Here are the ruins of a square castle. Close to the ferry of Narrow Water, Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster and lord deputy of Ireland, built a castle in 1212, which remained entire till 1641; but the present remains are more probably those of a castle erected by the Duke of Ormonde in 1663. Not far distant was a small spot surrounded by the sea, called Nuns' Island, on which were formerly considerable ruins; but the embankment now in progress for defending the channel has obliterated every vestige of them, they were probably the ruins of a religious establishment, which gave name to the island, or perhaps those of the castle of De Lacy.


CLONDUFF, or CLANDUFF, a parish, in the barony of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 2 ¾ miles (S.) from Rathfriland; containing, with the village of Hilltown, 79l6 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the river Bann, and on one of the roads leading from Newry to Downpatrick; and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 21,241 and three quarter statute acres, of which 889 are mountain, with a portion of bog, and the remainder good arable and pasture land, the former producing excellent crops. Eagle mountain, at the southern extremity of the parish, is 1084 feet above the level of the sea. The gentlemen's seats are King's Hill, the residence of W. Barren, Esq., Cabra, the property of A. McMullan, Esq., recently. Gennis family; and Hilltown Parsonage, the residence of the Rev J. A. Beers. About a mile from the village of Hilltown, and on the river Bann, is a bleach green, the first or uppermost on that river, which in its course becomes a most important stream to bleachers and manufacturers of linen. The parish anciently formed part of the possessions of the abbey of Bangor, and by an inquisition in 1605 was found to comprise 22 townlands, now increased to 25, which, with the exception of four within the bishop's court at Dromore, are within the jurisdiction of the manorial court of Rathfriland. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Dromore, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory, with the exception of the tithes of four townlands, which belong to the vicar, is impropriate the Earl of Clanwilliam. The tithes amount to £364. 1. 7., of which £164. 4. 3. is payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the incumbent. The glebehouse is a handsome residence at Hilltown : the glebe comprises 21 acres of very good land. The church is also at Hilltown, which see.. The R. C. parish is coextensive with that of the Established Church; there are two chapels, one at Cabra, and one in the village of Hilltown, where is also a place of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the third class. Besides the parochial school at Hilltown, there are schools at Tamrye, Drumnascamph, Ballycashone, and Ballynagrapog, and a national school near Hilltown; and there are two pay schools, in which are about 100 children. About a mile to the east of Hilltown are the ruins of the old parish church, in a large and very ancient burial ground, in which were interred, in 1809, John and Felix O'Neill, supposed to have been the last male descendants of the once powerful sept of TirOen. A very handsome antique chalice, now in the possession of A. Murphy, Esq., of Rathfriland, and also the north bank, is a low square tower mantled with ivy. Near Liclash castle are two curious caverns in the limestone rock, also a large rath or fort.


CLOUGH, a post town, in the parish of LOUGHINISLAND, barony of KINELEARTY, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (S. W.) from Downpatrick, on the road to Newry, and 68 ¾ miles (N. by E.) from Dublin; containing 309 inhabitants. Here is a constabulary police station, and fairs are held on May 27th, July 5th, Oct. 21st, Nov. 22nd, and Dec. 23rd. In the vicinity are Seaforde House, the splendid mansion of M. Forde Esq., Mount Panther, the beautiful seat of J. Reed Allen, Esq.; and Ardilea, that of the Rev. W. Annesley. Here is a large Presbyterian meetinghouse in connection with the Synod of Ulster, but it has been closed several years.See LOUGHINISLAND.


COMBER, or CUMBER, a post town and parish, partly in the barony of UPPER, but chiefly in that of LOWER CASTLEREAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 14 miles (N. by W.) from Downpatrick, and 91 (N. by E,) from Dublin; containing 8276 inhabitants, of which number, 1377 are in the town. St. Patrick founded an abbey here, of which nothing is now known. Brien Catha Dun,, from whom the O'Nials of Clandeboy descended, and who fell by the sword of Sir John de Courcey„ about 1201, also founded an abbey to the honour of the Blessed Virgin, and supplied it with monks of the Cistertian order from the abbey of Albalanda, in Carmarthenshire. John O'Mullegan was the last abbot, and voluntarily resigned the abbacy in 1543. The site and lands were granted, in the 3rd of Jas. 1., to Sir James Hamilton, afterwards Lord Clandeboy, whose successors used the greater part of the materials in erecting a mansion near the town, called Mount Alexander, which is now a heap of ruins, and the parish church occupies the site of the abbey. This place derives its name from the river on which it is situated and which flows into Strangford Lough, on the east side of the parish. The town, which is tolerably well built, forms three streets and a large square, on the road from Belfast to Downpatrick. Messrs. Andrews and Sons have an extensive Topographical here, where 20,000 pieces of linen are finished annually, principally for the London market; they have also large flour mills and corn stores. There are two distilleries one of them, which is the property of Messrs Millar & Co., is among the oldest in the North of Ireland, having been erected in 1765. The tide from Strangford Lough flows to within half a mile of the town, and at a trifling expense might be made very beneficial to it. Great advantages would also result from the erection of a pier near Comber water foot; vessels of 200 tons might then come in with every tide. Coal is at present brought up in small lighters, but the principal fuel is peat, there is a very extensive bog, called Moneyreagh, or the Royal Bog, from which great quantities are sent to Belfast and other places. Fairs are held on Jan. 5th, the second Monday in April, June 19th, and Oct. 28th, principally for farming horses and cattle. Here is a constabulary police station. A manorial court is held here every third Thursday, for the manor of Comber, or Mount Alexander, which has jurisdiction in debts not exceeding £2 over 30 townlands in the parish of Comber, Barnemagarry, in the parish of Kilmud, and Ballycloghan, in that of Saintfield. There is also a court for the recovery of debts not exceeding £20 late currency. The parish, which includes the ancient parish of Ballyricard, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 17,420 statute acres, of which 16,134 are in Lower Castlereagh; about 20 are common, 117 water, and 150 or 200 bog; the remainder is arable and pasture land, of which three fourths are under tillage. Agriculture is in a very improved state, and the soil is very productive. There are some good quarries of freestone, equal in fineness and durability to the Portland stone; and coal has been found in three places, but no mines have been opened. There are several gentlemen's seats, the principal of which are Ballybeen, the residence of J. Birch, Esq.; Ballyalloly, at present unoccupied; Killynether House, the residence of T. McLeroth, Esq.; and Maxwell Court, of J. Cairns, Esq. The living is an impropriate curacy, in the diocese of Down, and in the patron age of the Marquess of Londonderry, in whom the rectory is impropriate. The parish is tithe free, with the exception of the townlands of Ballyanwood„ Ballycreely, and Ballyhenry, the tithes of which are paid to the Marquess of Londonderry, who pays the curate's stipend. A glebehouse was built in 1738, towards the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits gave £100 : the glebe consists of eleven acres. The church is a small ancient building, in the later style of English architecture, and contains some neat marble monuments, particularly those to the memory of the Rev. Robert Mortimer, Capt. Chetwynd, Lieut. Unet, and Ensign Sparks, of the York fencible infantry, who fell in the battle of Saintfield, during the disturbances of 1798, and of the Rev. Messrs. Birch, father and son, the former of whom died in 1827, the latter in 1830, whose monument was erected by the subscriptions of 520 of their parishioners. Some fragments of the abbey are incorporated in its walls. There are a meetinghouse at Comber for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the first class; another at Moneyreagh, connected with the Remonstrant Synod, of the same class; and a third at Gransha, connected with the Seceding Synod, of the second class : there is also a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. The parochial school, in which about 100 boys and 70 girls are taught, was built in 1813, at the joint expense of the Marchioness of Londonderry and the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity; the building is kept in repair by the Marchioness, who, in 1832, erected a house for the master. There are also national schools at Ballymaglaff, Tullygiven, and Ballystockart . More than 300 children are educated in these schools, besides which, 740 are taught in 12 private schools. A house of industry was founded in 1824, by the Marquess of Londonderry, who subscribes £25 annually towards its support: it affords an asylum for 12 of the aged poor, and also distributes meal, potatoes, &c., to 60 families at their own dwellings. There is a large druidical altar in Ballygraphan, the table stone of which, now lying on the ground, measures 19 feet by 6 and is 4 feet thick: the five upright stones are in an adjoining hedgerow. Numerous forts and raths are scattered over the parish.


COPELAND ISLANDS, a cluster of three islands, situated at the south entrance of Belfast Lough, and in that part of the parish of BANGOR which is in the barony of ARDES, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, called respectively Copeland Lighthouse and Mew islands. They derived their common name from the family of the Copelands, who settled here in the time of John de Courcey, in the 12th century, and of whose descendants, some are still to be found in the tract called Ballycopeland, on the mainland. Copeland island, the largest of the three, called also Big island and Neddrum, is 2 miles (N. N. E.) from Donaghadee, and about one mile from the mainland; it comprises about 200 acres, and contains 15 houses near a small inlet, called Chapel bay, are the ruins of a church, with a burial ground. About halfway between this island and the mainland is a rock, called the Deputy, on which a buoy is placed; and at the west end of the island is the Katikern rock, always above water, from which run two ledges about a cable's length, and on which a stone beacon has been erected. There is good anchorage on the west side of the island, and in Chapel bay on the south of Katikern, in from two to three fathoms of water, in all winds but those from the southeast. Lighthouse, or, as it is also called, Cross island, is about 1 mile (N. E.) from Copeland island, and is one furlong in length and about half a furlong in breadth, comprising about 24 acres. The Lighthouse from which it takes its name is a square tower, 70 feet high to the lantern, which displays a light to the southeast, to guide vessels from the north and south rocks, which are 3 and a half leagues distant, and to the northwest, to guard them from the Hulin or Maiden rocks lying between the mouths of Larne and Glenarm. The lighthouse is situated in lat. 54º 41' 15" (N.), and lon. 5º 31' (W.), and the light is plainly seen at Portpatrick and the Mull of Galway, in Scotland, from the latter of which it is 10 leagues distant. Mew island is a quarter of a furlong (E.) from Lighthouse island, and comprises about 10 acres of rocky pasture; it lies very low, and is extremely dangerous to mariners, in the sound between it and Copeland island is a flat rock with only three feet of water on it, called the Pladdens; and a rapid tide sets through the sound. Off this island the Enterprise, of Liverpool, a homeward bound vessel from the coast of Guinea, was totally wrecked in 1801; she is said to have had on board £40,000 in dollars, which, with all her cargo, lay buried in the sea, till 1833, when Mr. Bell, by means of a diving apparatus, succeeded in recovering about 25,000 of the dollars, five brass guns, and other valuable property.


CROSSGAR, a village, in that part of the parish of KILMORE which is in the barony of UPPER CASTLEREAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (N.) from Downpatrick, on the road to Belfast; containing 474 inhabitants and about 125 houses, mostly very small. It is noted only for its fairs, which are held on the second Wednesday in every month, and are well attended, particularly for the sale of horned cattle and pigs. It has a penny post to Downpatrick, and in the vicinity is Crossgar House, the residence of — Hamilton, Esq., also that of the late E. S. Ruthven, Esq., and the handsome house and demesne of Redemon.— See KILMORE.