‘O’Cahan’s country’ was chosen because of its abundant natural resources, raw hides, tallow, beef and iron ore. The fishing stocks of the Bann and the Foyle were an additional allurement, offering vast quantities of eel and salmon. Just as enticing for the London Companies, however, were the region’s vast forests, at a time when the production of pipe staves was critically important to the economic development of England as a maritime nation. Despite the enticement of prospective riches, it was by no means certain that the London Companies would jump at the opportunity offered. Lingering fears that the Earl of Tyrone would return from the continent and overthrow the Plantation were widespread.
To the great relief of James I, London Companies were persuaded to become involved. At the outset, considerable initial investment in buildings and equipment was required. At first, rapid progress was made. Sir John Davies, an eyewitness, memorably drew a classical allusion having observed building work at Coleraine during the summer of 1610. Commenting on the ‘ferment of activity’, Davies compared the scene to the building of Carthage in Virgil’s ancient classic, The Aeneid.
Despite such early signs of progress, the London Companies soon ran foul of the crown authorities for failing to meet their Plantation commitments. Year after year, the native Irish populace was allowed to remain working the land, whereas it had been stipulated that they should have been transplanted elsewhere for security reasons. By late 1612, King James I had had enough, notifying his Irish viceroy that he had learned that while the Londoners ‘pretend to great expenditure…there is little outward appearance’. The London Companies were accused of being more interested in profiteering than in fulfilling their settlement commitments, cutting down vast swathes of forest to export as pipe staves. While such criticism was to some extent justified, in other respects the sluggish progress of the Plantation reflected the fact that realisation of the Ulster Plantation greatly exceeded expectation in the short term, the objectives proving much too optimistic. Indeed, it was a measure of the difficulties involved that labourers on the estates of the London Companies worked ‘wth the Sworde in one hande and the Axe in thother’, such was the fear of attack.
With time, the London Companies made substantial progress, leaving a profound mark on the area. For instance, the infant ‘city’ of Derry was renamed Londonderry and the county also became known as Londonderry as a result of its association with London. The impact of the London Companies remains in many ways, in place names such as Draperstown, but most conspicuously by the walled city of Londonderry.
(BBC, The Plantation of Ulster)
|7||Ballyaghran||19||Cumber Lower||31||Kilcronaghan||43||Tamlaght O'Crilly|
The parish is situated on the shore of Lough Neagh, by which it is bounded on the east, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 33,504 statute acres, of which 21,000 form part of Lough Neagh, and 56 are in small islands. The greater portion is under tillage, and there are some tracts of good meadow, about 50 acres of woodland, and 1000 acres of bog. The system of agriculture is improved; the soil is fertile, and the lands generally in a high state of cultivation. There are several large and handsome houses, the principal of which is Elogh, the residence of Mrs. Mackay.
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin: the tithes amount to £507. 13. 10 1/2. The church, a neat small edifice, was erected in the reign of William and Mary, on a site two miles westward from the ruins of the ancient abbey. The glebe-house is a handsome building; and the glebe comprises 212 acres.
On the western shore of Lough Neagh are the ruins of the ancient abbey, which form an interesting and picturesque feature; and the remains of an old church, of which the walls are standing. Near them is an ancient ornamented stone cross in good preservation.
It contains, according to the Ordnance survey, 20,962 3/4 statute acres, of which 18,679 1/4 are in the county of Londonderry, including 2181 1/2 in Lough Neagh, 317 1/2 in Lough Beg, and 26 1/2 in the river Bann. The soil is very various; the land is chiefly arable, and is fertile and well cultivated, especially around Moneymore, on the estate belonging to the Drapers' Company, and on that belonging to the Salters' Company round Ballyronan. There are several extensive tracts of bog in various parts, amounting in the whole to nearly 3000 acres, and affording an ample supply of fuel. Freestone of every variety, colour and quality, is found here in abundance; and there is plenty of limestone.
At a short distance from the church, on the road to Cookstown, is an extraordinary whin-dyke, which rises near Ballycastle in the county of Antrim, passes under Lough Neagh, and on emerging thence near Stewart Hall, passes through this parish and into the mountain of Slievegallion, near Moneymore. Spring Hill, the pleasant seat of W. Lenox Conyngham, Esq., is an elegant and antique mansion, situated in a rich and highly-improved demesne, embellished with some of the finest timber in the country. The other principal seats are Lakeview, the residence of D. Gaussen, Esq.; Warwick Lodge, of W. Bell, Esq.: and Ardtrea House, of the Rev. J. Kennedy Bailie, D.D.
The farm-houses are generally large and well built; and most of the farmers, in addition to their agricultural pursuits, carry on the weaving of linen cloth for the adjoining markets. There is an extensive bleach-green, which, after having been discontinued for some years, has been repaired and is now in operation. The primate's court for the manor of Ardtrea is held at Cookstown monthly, for the recovery of debts under £5; and its jurisdiction extends over such lands in the parishes of Lissan, Derryloran, Kildress, Arboe, Desertcreight, Ardtrea, Clonoe, Tamlaght, Ballinderry, and Donaghendrie, as are held under the see.
In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, called Moneymore, which comprises this parish and part of that of Desertlyn, and contains three chapels, one at Moneymore, one at Ballynenagh, and a third at Derrygaroe. There are two places of worship for Presbyterians at Moneymore, one for those in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the first class, built by the Drapers' Company at an expense of £4000; and one for those in connection with the Seceding Synod, of the second class, built by subscription on a site given by the Drapers' Company, who also contributed £250 towards its erection.
There are three schools aided by the Drapers' Company, and one at Ballymulderg, the whole affording instruction to about 170 boys and 170 girls; and there are also two pay schools. An ancient urn very elaborately ornamented was found in a kistvaen, on opening a tumulus in the townland of Knockarron, in 1800, and is now in the possession of John Lindesay, Esq., of Loughry.-- See MONEYMORE, and WOODS-CHAPEL.
The greater part belongs to the Salters' Company, of London; part belongs to the see of Derry; and some of the lands are held under Cromwellian debentures, and are the only lands in the county of Londonderry, west of the river Bann, that are held by that tenure. A castle was built by the Salters' Company at Salterstown, in 1615, soon after they had obtained the grant of those lands from Jas. I.; and in the insurrection of 1641 it was surprised by Sir Phelim O'Nial, who put all the inmates to death, with the exception of the keeper, who, with his wife and family, effected their escape to Carrickfergus, where, taking refuge in the church, they were finally starved to death. It continued for some time in the possession of the insurgents, who, being ultimately driven from their post, destroyed it, together with the church adjoining. Nearly the whole of the land is arable and under an excellent system of cultivation; a valuable tract of bog produces excellent fuel, and there is no waste land.
There are several large and well-built houses in the parish; but the only seat is Ballyronan, that of J. Gaussen, Esq. The inhabitants combine with agricultural pursuits the weaving of linen and cotton cloth; and at Ballyronan an extensive distillery has been lately established by Messrs. Gaussen, situated on the shore of Lough Neagh, close to the little port of Ballyronan.
The parochial school, in which are about 40 boys and 20 girls, is aided by a donation of £10 per annum from the rector; and there are three Sunday schools, one of which is held in the R. C. chapel, and three daily pay schools, in which are about. 80 children.
The ruins of the castle at Salterstown, situated on the margin of the lake, present a picturesque and interesting appearance, but are fast mouldering away. Adjoining the bridge over the river are the remains of an ancient iron forge, erected by the Salters' Company in 1626, but which soon after fell into disuse. At Salterstown, near the site of the old church and close to the shore of Lough Neagh, is a chalybeate spring, which has been found efficacious in cutaneous disorders, and was formerly much resorted to; but having become mixed with other water, its efficacy is greatly diminished. At Ballyronan is a large ancient fortress in good preservation.
On the plantation of Ulster, these lands were granted by Jas. I. to the Irish Society, and by them transferred to the Vintners' Company of London, who founded the castle and town of Bellaghy, described under its own head. At a very early period a monastery was founded on an island in Lough Beg, about two miles from the shore, then called Ynis Teda, but now Church island, from the parish church having been subsequently erected there: this establishment continued to flourish till the dissolution, and some of the lands which belonged to it are still tithe-free.
Two townlands in the parish belong to the see of Derry, and the remainder has been leased in perpetuity by the Vintners' Company to the Marquess of Lothian, the Earl of Clancarty, Lord Strafford, and Sir Thomas Pakenham. There are from 400 to 450 acres of bog, part of which in summer affords coarse pasturage for cattle; a portion of it lying remote from the Bann is of a blackish colour, and capable of cultivation for rye and potatoes; the other part, which from its white colour is called "flour bog," is quite incapable of cultivation till it has been cut away for fuel, when the subsoil appears, varying from 5 to 10 feet in depth. The land is fertile, and under the auspices of the North-West Agricultural Society, of which a branch has been established here, is generally in an excellent state of cultivation; mangel-wurzel, rape, turnips, and other green crops, are being introduced with success.
There are indications of coal in several parts, particularly on the Castle-Dawson .estate; but there is no prospect of their being explored or worked while the extensive bogs afford so plentiful a supply of fuel. Of the numerous seats the principal are Castle-Dawson, the seat of the Right Hon. G. R. Dawson; Bel-laghy Castle, the residence of J. Hill, Esq.; Bellaghy House, of H. B. Hunter, Esq.; Fairview, of R. Henry, Esq.; and Rowensgift, of A. Leckey, Esq. The splendid palace built here by the Earl of Bristol, when Bishop of Derry, one of the most magnificent in the country, was scarcely finished at his Lordship's decease, and was soon after taken down and the materials sold: the only entire portion that has been preserved is the beautiful portico, which was purchased by Dr. Alexander, Bishop of Down and Connor, who presented it to the parish of St. George, Belfast, as an ornament to that church. A small portion of the domestics' apartments and a fragment of one of the picture galleries are all that remain.
There are some extensive cotton-mills at Castle-Dawson, also flour, corn, and flax-mills; and about a mile above the town is a small bleach-green. Fairs for cattle, sheep, and pigs are held at Bellaghy on the first Monday in every month; and a manorial court is held monthly, for the recovery of debts not exceeding £2.
In the R. C. divisions this parish comprehends the grange of Ballyscullion, in the diocese of Connor, in which union are two chapels, one at Bellaghy and the other in the grange. At Ballaghy are places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, Methodists, and Seceders. There is a male and female parochial school, aided by annual donations from the rector and the proprietors of the Bellaghy estate, who built the school-house; and there are five other schools, which afford instruction to about 300 boys and 240, girls; also three private schools, in which are about 100 boys and 20 girls.
Here is a dispensary conducted on the most approved plan; and the proprietors of the Bellaghy estate annually distribute blankets and clothes among the poor. The ruins of the old church on Ynis Teda, or Church island, are extensive and highly interesting; and close to them a square tower surmounted by a lofty octangular spire of hewn freestone was erected by the Earl of Bristol, which is a beautiful object in the landscape. A large mis-shapen stone, called Clogh O'Neill, is pointed out as an object of interest; and not far distant is a rock basin, or holy stone, to which numbers annually resort in the hope of deriving benefit from the efficacy of the water in healing diseases.
There are 400 acres of woodland and 100 of bog; the remainder is arable and pasture land: the Drapers' Company of London are the chief proprietors. The soil is fertile and well cultivated, and the bog is very valuable as fuel. The parish is well fenced and watered by the river Ballinderry, and ornamented with the plantations of Killymoon and Loughry, which, with the other seats, are more particularly noticed in the article on Cooks-town, which see.
Besides the schools in Cooks-town, there are schools for both sexes at Ballygroogan, Tubberlane, Killycurragh, and Derrycrummy, aided by annual donations from Lord Castle-Steuart; two at Cloghoge; and one at Gortolery, aided by collections at the R. C. chapel.
There are several bogs, and the soil is variable but generally good and well cultivated. The linen manufacture is connected with agriculture, and affords occasional occupation to the inhabitants. Coal and freestone are visible in several places, but the seams of coal are too thin to pay the expense of working, while turf is cheap. Limestone is also abundant and extensively worked.
The principal seats are those of the Hon. and Rev. J. P. Hewitt, Rowley Miller, Esq., and James Smyth, Esq.
In addition to the parochial schools, a large and handsome school-house at Larrycormick was erected and is chiefly supported by the Drapers' Company; there are two others within the parish. They afford instruction to about 320 children, exclusively of those in the Sunday school at Moneymore.
The parish contains several raths, and a remarkable cairn on the top of Slieve Gallion.
A great portion of the mountain of Slieve Gallion, is within the parish; notwithstanding its great height, it affords excellent pasturage nearly to its summit. Limestone abounds, and some very valuable quarries are worked for building and for agricultural purposes. Freestone of excellent quality is also quarried for building; and numerous thin seams of coal have been discovered, but not of sufficient depth to pay the expense of working them. Dromore House is the residence of the Hon. and Rev. A. W. Pomeroy. The inhabitants combine with their agricultural pursuits the spinning of flax and the weaving of linen to some extent in the farm-houses. The village contains about 40 houses, most of which are well built, and, though small, it is remarkably clean and has a very neat and pleasing appearance. Fairs were formerly held here, but they have been for some time discontinued.
The parochial school is chiefly supported by the rector, who also gives a house rent-free both to the master and mistress; the school-house, a handsome slated building, was erected in 1820. There are schools at Inniscarran and Cranny, founded and supported by the Drapers' Company, also three under the National Board. In these about 500 boys and 370 girls receive gratuitous instruction; and there are also a pay school, in which are about 30 boys and 20 girls, and five Sunday schools. Some remains of the old church exist on the bank of a small river near the village; and on the opposite bank are the remains of a fort, evidently raised to defend the pass of the river; a portion of the old church was taken down in 1820, to supply materials for building the parochial school-house.
The greater portion is in the manor of Ardtrea, belonging to the see of Armagh, and part is in the manor of Moneymore and the property of the Drapers' Company of London. In the war of 1641, the castle, which at that time was the property of the Staples family, to whom it was granted on the plantation of Ulster, was seized by Nial O'Quin for Sir Phelim O'Nial, who plundered the house of Sir Thomas Staples while rendezvousing at Moneymore castle, and compelled the men employed in his iron-works on the Lissan water to make pikes and pike-heads from the stores of their master.
The land is mountainous and boggy; about one-third is under tillage and produces excellent crops, and the remainder affords good pasture; the system of agriculture is improved, and much of the bog is of valuable quality; limestone abounds and is extensively quarried for agricultural uses. The mountain of Slieve Gallion has an elevation of 1730 feet above the level of the sea; the surrounding scenery is strongly diversified and in some parts very picturesque.
The principal seats are Lissan Park, the residence of Sir Thos. Staples, Bart., a noble mansion in an extensive demesne embellished with thriving plantations, an artificial sheet of water with cascades, and a picturesque bridge, built by the celebrated Ducart; Muff House, of the Rev. J. Molesworth Staples; and Crieve, of W. Maygill, Esq. The linen manufacture is carried on to a great extent by the whole of the population, who combine it with agricultural pursuits.
About 400 children are taught in five public schools, of which the parochial school, for which a house was built by the Rev. J. M. Staples, at an expense of £500, and a school at Grouse Lodge, for which a house was built by Mrs. Wright, who endowed it with an acre of land, are supported under the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity; a school at Crevagh was built and is supported by Sir T. Staples, Bart., and one at Donaghbreaghy is aided by the Drapers' Company. There are also a private school, in which are about 30 children, and four Sunday schools.
This place suffered materially in the war of 1641; the town was plundered by the insurgents, who destroyed the church, put many of the inhabitants to death, and carried off several of the more wealthy, with a view to obtain money for their ransom. In 1688 the town was again plundered, but on the approach of the assailants, the inhabitants took refuge in the Carntogher mountains, and subsequently found an asylum in Derry; on this occasion the church, having been appropriated by the enemy as a barrack, was preserved. The town, which is large and well built, consists of a spacious square, from which four principal streets diverge at the angles, and from these branch off several smaller streets in various directions; the total number of houses is 276, most of which are of stone and roofed with slate.
The linen manufacture is carried on very extensively by the Messrs. Walker, who employ more than 1000 persons in weaving at their own houses; and nearly 100 on the premises in preparing the yarn and warps; the manufacture is rapidly increasing. There is also a very large ale and beer brewery near the town. The principal market is on Thursday, and is abundantly supplied with all kinds of provisions; great quantities of pork, butter, and flax are exposed for sale. There are also very extensive markets on alternate Thursdays for linen and yarn, which are sold to the amount of £33,000 annually; and a market on Monday for barley and oats, and on Wednesday for wheat. Fairs, which are among the largest in the county, are held on the last Thursday in every month, for cattle, sheep, and pigs. The market-house is a handsome building of hewn basalt, situated in the centre of the square; in the upper part are rooms for transacting public business. The quarter sessions for the county are held here in June and December, and petty sessions on alternate Wednesdays; a manorial court is also held monthly by the seneschal of the Salters' Company, for the recovery of debts under £2; and there is a constabulary police station. The court-house is a commodious edifice, and there is a small bridewell for the confinement of prisoners charged with minor offences.
The parish, which is situated on the river Moyola, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 8290 1/4 statute acres, of which the greater portion is very good land, and the system of agriculture is improved. The principal substratum is basalt, which, in the townland of Polepatrick, has a columnar tendency; limestone of good quality is abundant, and coal is found in some parts.
The principal seats are Millbrook, the residence of A. Spotswood, Esq.; Farm Hill, of Capt. Blathwayt; Glenbrook, of S. J. Cassidy, Esq.; Prospect, of the Rev. T. Wilson; and the glebe-house, of the Rev. T. A. Vesey. Considerable improvements are contemplated, tending greatly to promote the prosperity of the surrounding district. The lands immediately around it belong to the Salters' Company, and are at present leased for a limited term of years to the Marquess of Londonderry and Sir R. Bateson, Bart.; other lands, in the manor of Maghera, belong to the see of Derry; some, in the manor of Moneymore, to the Drapers' Company; some, in the manor of Bellaghy, to the Vintners' Company; and the manor of Castle-Dawson to the Rt. Hon. G. R. Dawson.
A free school was founded here by Hugh Rainey, Esq., who, in 1710, erected a school-house, and bequeathed money to purchase an estate for its endowment; the estate was afterwards sold under an act of parliament, subject to an annual payment of £175 Irish currency, with which the school is endowed; it is under the patronage and direction of the Lord Primate and John Ash Reiny, Esq., who resides at the school; 14 boys are clothed, boarded, and educated for three years, and afterwards placed out as apprentices with a premium. About 400 children are also taught in four other public schools, of which the parochial schools are supported by the rector, the Marquess of Londonderry, and Sir Robert Bateson, Bart.; and a female work school by the Marchioness of Londonderry and Lady Bateson, by whom the school-house was built: there are also four private schools, in which are about 130 children. A dispensary and a Ladies' Clothing Society have been established in the town. There are several forts in the parish, but none entitled to particular notice.
There are several quarries of good limestone, much of which is burned for manure. A little westward of the church are seen strata of white limestone, which enter from Seagoe and Maralin, in the county of Down, pass under Lough Neagh, nearly due east and west, and here emerging from their subterranean bed, continue to the neighbourhood of Money-more, and so on to the Magilligan strand. Here were formerly two extensive bleach-greens in full operation, neither of which is now worked. Tamlaght was created a parish in 1783, by Primate Robinson, by separating 6 townlands from the parish of Ballyclog, in the barony of Dungannon, and 5 1/2 from that of Ballinderry, in the barony of Loughinsholin: the Primate also built the church and purchased the glebe, with which he endowed it, together with the tithes of the 11 1/2 townlands.
The parochial schools at Tamlaght are supported by the rector, who also contributes to the support of a school at Aghery; and there is a school at Coagh, supported by W. L. Cunningham, Esq.; in these schools are about 280 children. There are also three private schools in which about 90 children are educated; and four Sunday schools.
On the glebe stands a cromlech called Cloughtogel, composed of a stupendous table stone of granite, weighing 22 tons, raised 13 feet above the ground on six uprights of basalt, and under it there is a chamber or vault of considerable extent: there were formerly several other cromlechs connected with this, extending in a line due east and west, the whole surrounded by a circle of upright stones; but, in the process of fencing and other alterations, all have been removed except the first-named. In a field called the "Honey Mug," not far distant, is a large upright pillar of marble of a singular kind, beneath which is an artificial cave: and there are other remarkable stones in the neighbourhood.