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Clogher Parish, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland in 1837
Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland

Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by
Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia
len_swindley[at]hotmail.com

CLOGHER, an incorporated market and post-town, a parish, and the head of a diocese (formerly a parliamentary borough), in the barony of Clogher, county of Tyrone, and province of Ulster, 7 miles (W.) from Aughnacloy, and 82½ (N. W. by N.) from Dublin; containing, with the towns of Augher and Five-mile-town, and the village of Newtown-Saville (all separately described) 17,996 inhabitants, of which number, 523 are in the town. This place is said to have derived its name from a stone covered with gold, which in pagan times is reported to have made oracular responses. The Cloghor, or “golden stone,” was preserved long after the abolition of paganism; for McGuire, canon of Armagh, who wrote a commentary on the registry of Clogher, in 1490, says “that this sacred stone is preserved at Clogher, on the right of the entrance into the church, and that traces of the gold with which it had been formerly covered by the worshippers of the idol called Cermaed Celsetacht are still visible.” There is still a very ancient stone lying on the south side of the cathedral tower, which many believe to be the real Cloghor. It appears to have some very ancient characters engraved on it, but is evidently nothing more than the shaft of an antique cross of rude workmanship, of which there are several in the ancient cemetery. Clogher is called by Ptolemy Rhigia or Regia; and according to some authors, St. Patrick founded and presided over a monastery here, which he resigned to St. Kertenn when he went to Armagh, to establish his famous abbey there; but according to others, it was built at the command of St. Patrick in the street before the royal palace of Ergal, by St. Macartin, who died in 506, and from its vicinity to this palace both the abbey and the town appear anciently to have been called Uriel or Ergal. In 841, the abbot Moran Mac Inrachty was slain by the Danes. In 1041 the church was rebuilt and dedicated to St. Macartin. In 1126 the Archdeacon Muiread-hach O’Cuillen was killed by the people of Fermanagh. Moelisa O’Carrol, Bishop of Clogher, in 1183, on his translation of the archbishoprick of Armagh, presented to this abbey a priest’s vestments and a mitre, and promised a pastoral staff; he also consecrated the abbey church. Bishop Michael Mac Antsair, in 1279, exchanged with the abbot the episcopal residence that had been built near the abbey by Bishop Donat O’idabra, between 1218 and 1227, for a piece of land outside the town, called Disert-na-cusiac, on which he erected another episcopal palace. His immediate successor, Matthew Mac Catasaid, erected a chapel over the sepulchre of St. Macartin. In 1361 the plague miserably afflicted Ireland, particularly the city of Clogher, and caused the death of the bishop. In April 1395, while Bishop Arthur Mac Camaeil was employed in rebuilding the chapel of St. Macartin, the abbey, the cathedral, two chapels, the episcopal residence, and 32 other houses, were destroyed by fire; but the bishop applied himself with unwearied diligence to the rebuilding of his cathedral and palace. In 1504, another plague ravaged Clogher and caused the death of the bishop. Jas. I, in 1610, annexed the abbey and its revenues to the see of Clogher, by which it was made one of the richest in the kingdom. Between 1690 and 1697, Bishop Tennison repaired and beautified the episcopal palace; and his successor, Bishop St. George Ash, expended £900 in repairing and improving the palace and lands, two-thirds of which was repaid by his successor. Bishop Sterne, in 1720, laid out £3,000 in building and other improvements of the episcopal residence, £2,000 of which was charged on the revenues of the see. The town is situated on the river Blackwater, the source of which is in the parish, and consists of one row of 90 houses, the northern side only being built upon. Some of the houses are large, handsome, and well built with hewn stone, and slated. The episcopal palace is a large and handsome edifice close to the cathedral, on the south side of the town, and consists of a centre with two wings: the entrance is in the north front by an enclosed portico, supported by lofty fluted columns. It is built throughout of hewn freestone, and standing on elevated ground commands extensive views over a richly planted undulating country. Its erection was commenced by Lord John George Beresford, Primate of Armagh, while Bishop of Clogher, and completed by Lord Robert Tottenham, the present bishop, in 1823. Attached to the palace is a large and well-planted demesne of 566 acres, encircled by a stone wall; and within it are the remains of the royal dwelling-place of the princes of Ergallia, a lofty earthwork or fortress, protected on the west and south by a deep fosse; beyond this, to the south, is a camp surrounded by a single fosse, and still further southward is a tumulus or cairn, encircled by a raised earthwork. The market is on Saturday; the market-house was built by Bishop Garnett. Fairs for live stock are held on the third Saturday in every month. The market was granted to the bishop by letters patent dated April 20th, 1629: he was also authorised to appoint two fairs and receive the profits of the market and fairs. The old fairs, which are supposed to have been granted by the charter, are held on May 6th and July 26th, At the solicitation of Bishop Spottiswood, Chas. I., in 1629, directed that, “for the better civilizing and strengthening of these remote parts with English and British tenants, and for the better propagation of the true religion, the lord-lieutenant should by letters patent make the town of Clogher a corporation.” This was to consist of a portreeve and 12 burgesses, to be at first nominated by the bishop; the portreeve was afterwards to be elected on Michaelmas-day, by and from among the burgesses. No freemen were created, and the bishops appear to have connected a burgess-ship with each of the stalls in the cathedral. Prior to March 29th, 1800, the bishops had nominated the members of parliament for the borough without opposition, and the seneschal of their manor had been the returning officer; but at that time the Irish House of Commons resolved that the limits of the borough were coextensive with the manor, and as the freeholders of the manor had tendered their votes in favour of two candidates, they were declared by the Irish parliament to be duly elected, and the bishop’s nominees were unseated. At the Union, the £15,000 granted as compensation for abolishing the elective franchise was claimed by the bishop, the dean and chapter, and prebendaries of the cathedral, and the Rev. Hugh Nevan, seneschal of the manor; but their claim was disallowed and the money paid to the Board of First Fruits. By the charter a grant was to be made to the corporation by the bishop of 700 Irish acres near the town, for which a rent of 8d [pence] per acre was to be paid. Out of the profits of 200 acres of this land the corporation was, within two years, to erect a school-house and maintain a school-master, with a servant, for a grammar school. English was to be taught by the master, who was always to be appointed by the bishop. The portreeve was to have 200 acres of the grant assigned for his support while holding the office, and for the payment of a steward and Serjeant or bailiff; and the profits of the remaining 300 acres were to be divided among the burgesses. This grant appears not to have been made. The charter granted a civil court of record to the corporation, with a jurisdiction extending to a circle of three miles in every direction round the cathedral, and to the amount of £5 English, with a prison for debtors. Since the death of the last seneschal, about 1823, this court has not been held. Quarter sessions are held here twice a year in the sessions-house, alternately with Dungannon, for the baronies of Dungannon and Clogher; and there is a bridewell.

The parish is of great extent, and comprehends the manors of Augher, in which is the town of that name; Clogher (granted by Chas. I. to the bishop), in which is the town of Clogher; Blessingburne, in which is the town of Five-mile-Town; Mount-Stewart; and part of the manor of Killyfaddy, granted to Sir Wm. Cope, and the rest of which is in the adjoining parish of Donaghcavy: there are eight townlands of the manor of Clogher, called abbey lands, which are tithe-free. It contains 49,761 statute acres, according to the Ordnance survey, of which 30,000 are good arable and pasture land, 213¼ are water, and 19,7 61 are waste heath and bog, the greater part of which is, however, highly improvable; of its entire surface, 43,754 acres are applotted under the tithe act. The land in the vicinity of the town is remarkably fertile and well cultivated; freestone and limestone are abundant, and there are indications of coal and lead ore. Clogher is situated on a lofty eminence, in the midst of a rich and diversified country encircled by mountains, which on the south approach within one mile, and on the north within two miles of the town, and the highest of which is Knockmany. Slieve Beagh, on the southern border of the parish, rises to an elevation of 1254 feet above the level of the sea. Besides the episcopal palace, the parish contains several fine residences. The deanery or glebe-house, which is about a quarter of a mile west of the cathedral, is a handsome house in a fertile and well-planted glebe. Not far distant from it is Augher Castle, the splendid residence of Sir J. M. Richardson Bunbury, Bart.; Cecil, the seat of the Rev. Francis Gervais; Corick, of the Rev. Dr. Story; Killyfaddy, of R. W. Maxwell, Esq.; Blessingburne Cottage, of Col. Montgomery; Daisy-hill, of A. Millar, Esq.; Fardross, the ancient seat of A. Upton Gledstanes, Esq.; Ballimagowan, of A. Newton, Esq.; Waring Bank, of J. McLannahan, Esq.; and Corcreevy House, of Lieut.-Col. Dickson. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Clogher, constituting the corps of the deanery of Clogher, in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes amount to £850, and the income of the dean, including tithes and glebe, is £1,374.17. 3. The cathedral, which is dedicated to St. Macartin, and from time immemorial has been used as the parish church, was built in the ancient style of English architecture by Bishop Sterne, in 1744, at his own expense, but was remodelled in the Grecian style by Dean Bagwell, in 1818, who erected stalls for the dignitaries and a gallery for the organist and choir, also galleries in the two transepts; and about the same time the whole was newly roofed and ceiled. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently made a grant of £197 for repairs. It is a large and handsome cruciform structure, with a lofty square tower rising from the west front, in which is the principal entrance: the throne, which is very beautiful, occupies the western angle of the south transept, and the whole of the interior is handsomely fitted up. There are several elegant monuments, among which are Bishop Garnett’s, who died in the year 1783, and Bishop Porter’s, who died in 1819. The chapter-house is near the entrance, on the right. There are two chapels of ease in the parish, one at Five-mile-Town, or Blessingburne, and one at Newtown-Saville; and divine service is regularly performed every Sunday in the market-house at Augher, in several of the school- houses in distant parts of the parish, and also at Lislie during the summer. The glebe-house, or deanery, is about a quarter of a mile from the cathedral. The glebe comprises 556a. 1r. 24p. statute measure, of which 100a. lr. 28p. are annexed to the deanery, and 455a. 3r. 36p. are leased, at a rent of £337. 15. 6½. and renewal fines amounting to £20. 7. per annum. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and there are chapels at Aghadrummond, Escragh, and Aghentine; there are also places of worship for Presbyterians at Longridge and Aghentine. The free school in the town is under the patronage of the Bishop: the master’s salary is derived from the proceeds of a bequest of £420 by Bishop Garnett, which the existing bishop augments to £40 per annum. The school- house was built in 1780, by Bishop Garnett, at an expense of £300. At Beltany there is a male and female school, on Erasmus Smith’s foundation, endowed, with two acres of land by the Rev. F. Gervais, who, in conjunction with the trustees of that charity, built the school-house, at an expense of £658. 19. 6. There are a female school at Cecil, built and supported by Mrs. Gervais; and schools for both sexes at Escragh, supported by Capt. Maxwell at Five-mile-Town, supported by Col. Montgomery, and at Ballyscally, supported by J. Trimble, Esq., all under the National Board; there are also four other schools. In these schools are about 490 boys and 330 girls; and there are seventeen private schools, in which are about 540 boys and 350 girls, and thirteen Sunday schools. A dispensary is maintained in the customary manner. At Lumford Glen is a deep ravine, in which a small stream of water flows through a cleft in the rock and forms a beautiful cascade. A carriage drive, edged with fine plantations, has been made to this waterfall.

AUGHER, a market-town (formerly a parliamentary borough), in the parish and barony of CLOGHER, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 2 miles (N. E. by E.) from Clogher, and 75¼ (N. N. W.) from Dublin; containing 726 inhabitants. Of the origin and early history of this place but very little is known. In the reign of Elizabeth, Lord-Deputy Mountjoy placed in it a powerful garrison to defend the pass through the valley in which it is situated, that retained possession for some time, constantly harassing the army of the Earl of Tyrone till his final surrender at Mellifont. From this place the queen’s army marched when it crossed the mountains to give battle to the earl at Magheralowney, where that chieftain’s principal magazine was taken, in June 1602. At the time of the English settlement of Ulster, by virtue of a decree by James I. in 1611, Sir Thomas Ridgway, Knt., Treasurer at War for Ireland, received, in 1613, a grant of 315 acres of land in the barony of Clogher, under an agreement that he should, within four years, settle on a parcel of land called Agher twenty Englishmen or Scots, chiefly artificers and tradesmen, to be incorporated as burgesses and made a body politic within the said four years; and should set apart convenient places for the site of the town, churchyard, market-place, and public school; he was likewise to assign to the burgesses houses and lands and 30 acres of commons. Sir Thomas received also, in 1611, the grant of a market and two fairs to be held here; and in 1613, the town and precincts, with the exception of a fort and bawn called Spur Royal castle, which had been erected, were created a borough. Besides the 315 acres of land on which he was to found the borough, Sir Thomas received a grant of 2000 acres called Portclare; and according to Pynnar’s report in 1619, it appears that, besides the fort and bawn, he had built 16 houses of stone in the town, which were inhabited by English artificers who were burgesses, and had each two acres of land, and commons for their cattle. In 1630, Sir James Erskine, Knt., then proprietor of the manor, received a grant of two additional fairs. On the breaking out of the war in 1641, a garrison was stationed here by Col. Chichester and Sir Arthur Tyringham, and the castle was gallantly defended against the insurgent forces, who, in an attempt to take it by storm, were repulsed. This defeat so exasperated their leader, Sir Phelim O’Nial, that in revenge he ordered his agent, Mac Donnel, to massacre all the English Protestants in three adjacent parishes. Sir James Erskine dying without male issue, the extensive manor of Portclare, which in 1665 was confirmed in the family by Chas. II., under its present name of Favour Royal, was divided between his two daughters, who married into the families of Richardson and Moutray, and the respective portions are still in the possession of their descendants, of whom the present proprietor of Augher castle has assumed the additional surname and arms of Bunbury. The castle was finally dismantled by order of parliament, and continued in a state of dilapidation and neglect till 1832, when it was restored and a large and handsome mansion built adjoining it by Sir J. M. Richardson Bunbury, Bart. The ancient building consisted of a pentagonal tower surrounded by a wall 12 feet high and flanked by four circular towers: the wall has been removed, but one of the round towers has been restored; and the entrance gateway has also been removed and rebuilt on an elevated situation commanding some fine views, in which the remains of the old castle form an interesting object: the mansion is situated in a well-wooded demesne of 220 acres, and upon the margin of a beautiful lake. The town is situated on the river Blackwater, over which is a bridge adjoining it, and in a fertile valley between two ridges of lofty mountains clothed with verdure to the summit, of which the highest, Knockmany, is covered on its south side with thriving plantations. It consists of one principal street, from which another branches at right angles on the south leading to Clogher; and has a penny post to Aughnacloy. Several new roads have been lately formed; and not far distant is an excellent bog. The lands in the neighbourhood are well cultivated. Besides Augher Castle, there are several gentlemen’s seats near the town, described in the article on the parish of Clogher, which see. The market is on Monday, and has lately become a good market for oats; and fairs for the sale of cattle, sheep, pigs, and other commodities, are held on the last Monday in every month, in the market-place set apart under the original grant at the bottom of Clogher street; the market-house is the only public building in the town. The collection of tolls and customs has been discontinued by the proprietors of the manor. Here is a chief station of the constabulary police. The charter granted in 1613 incorporated the inhabitants under the style of “The Burgomaster, Free Burgesses, and Commonalty of the Borough of Agher,” with the privilege of holding a civil court of record with jurisdiction to the extent of five marks, and of returning two members to the Irish parliament, which they continued to exercise till the Union, when the £15,000 compensation money for the abolition of its franchise was awarded to James, Marquess of Abercorn. Since that period no corporate officers have been appointed, and the town is now entirely within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold petty sessions irregularly. The seneschal of the manor holds a court here every third Monday, for the recovery of debts to the amount of 40s., the jurisdiction of which extends into the parishes of Errigal-Kerogue, Errigal-Trough, Ballygawley, and Clogher; and a manorial court leet is held once in the year. Divine service is performed in the market-house every Sunday by the officiating clergyman of Clogher. A school for boys was built on part of the Commons Hill, or Fair Green, granted by the proprietors of the manor to the deans of Clogher, in trust for a school-house, and with funds provided from the “Lord-Lieutenant’s School Fund:” it is supported by private subscriptions and by a weekly payment of 1d. from each pupil; and a school for girls is supported in a similar manner.

FIVE-MILE-TOWN, or BLESSINGBOURN, a post- town, in the parish and barony of CLOGHER, county of TYRONE , and province of ULSTER, 6 miles (West by South) from Clogher, and 79¾ (North West) from Dublin, on the road from Lisnaskea to Clogher, and on the confines of the county of Fermanagh; containing 758 inhabitants. This place has been sometimes called Mount-Stewart, from the name of its founder, Sir Wm. Stewart, to whom Jas. I. granted 2,000 acres of land, called Ballynacoole. Prior to 1619, Sir William had built the castle of Aghentine, and commenced the village, which was occupied by British tenants. He afterwards obtained a charter for markets and fairs; the latter are now held on the third Monday in every month. The town is gradually improving: it consists of one principal and two smaller streets, and comprises about 140 houses, several of which are modern and well built. A constabulary police force is stationed here, and petty sessions are held on alternate Thursdays. A neat chapel of ease, with a spire, was built in 1750, at the expense of Mr. Armor. A public school is supported by Col. Montgomery, who built the schoolhouse; and there are two other public schools. Near the town is Blessingbourn Cottage, the neat residence of Col. Montgomery. The ruins of Aghantine castle, in the neighbourhood, are boldly situated on elevated ground: it was destroyed by Sir Phelim O’Nial, in 1641

NEWTOWN - SAVILLE, an ecclesiastical district, in the barony of CLOGHER, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 4½ miles (N.) from Clogher, on the new road from Dublin to Omagh; the population is re- turned with Clogher. The lands were part of those granted by Jas. l, in 1610, to Sir W. Cope, then called Derrybard; and, in 1619, a bawn was built thereon. It comprises 13,768½ statute acres, and was formed, in 1820, by disuniting 29 townlands from the parish of Clogher, in the manors of Cecil and Cope, at which time the district was an entire waste of unenclosed and uncultivated common, having been since reclaimed by the judicious management of the proprietor. The land varies in quality, some being light, some indifferent, and some good, but there is none of the best description; a small portion is mountain: yet, in consequence of its judicious management, where nothing but bog and heath was to be found 20 years since, crops of corn, flax, and potatoes, and the richest verdure, are now general. The inhabitants combine spinning and weaving with agricultural pursuits. There are indications of coal, and pure specimens of carbonate of lead have been discovered: excellent freestone is found in several parts. Numerous escars run entirely through the district, curiously undulating, and rising into gentle swells consisting of sand and water-worn pebbles, principally of trap, greenstone, hornblende, quartz, porphyry and agate. The village is small, comprising only 17 poorly built houses: a court is held here, once a month, for the manor of Cecil and Cope, for the recovery of debts under 40shillings. Fairs were formerly held, but have been discontinued owing to the numerous quarrels to which they led. Cecil is the handsome residence of the Rev. F. Gervais, the spirited proprietor of the district; Raveagh, of Captain Edwards; and the glebe-house, of the Rev. H. A. Burke, around which are beautiful plantations. The living is a perpetual cure, in the diocese of Clogher, and in the patronage of the Dean, who appropriates £60 per ann. towards the income of the curate. The glebe-house was erected in 1824, by aid of a gift of £450, and a loan of £50, from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 15 acres, valued at £15 per annum. The church was built in 1815, at an expense of £895, of which the same Board gave £738, and the proprietor of the estate the residue: it is a neat edifice, in the Gothic style, with a lofty square tower. At Escragh is a R. C. chapel, and there is a meeting-house for Presbyterians in connection with the Associate Synod at Longridge. A school-house at Beltony, with a residence for the master and mistress, was built partly by the Rev. F. Gervais and partly by the trustees of Erasmus Smith’s charity; the school is endowed with two acres of land by the Rev. F. Gervais. Escragh male and female school is principally supported by the perpetual curate; Lislee school is supported by R. W. Maxwell, Esq.; Tullyvernon school was built and is supported by the Rev. F. Gervais; and there is one at Escragh Bridge in connection with the National Board, in which divine service is every Sunday performed by the curate, as it is 3½ miles from the church.