Contents
The London Companies
Securing adequate finance to underpin the Ulster Plantation was one of the key problems affecting the success of the grandiose plans to colonise six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster. Seeking to ensure a cornerstone for the entire settlement project, the Plantation strategists in London devised a novel plan to ensure that substantial private funding was invested in an early version of a private-public partnership. A large tract of land consisting mainly of what was known as "O’Cahan’s country" was set aside to lure investment by a syndicate of 12 London Companies which later became known as ‘The Honourable The Irish Society’.

‘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)

County of Derry Civil Parishes (Note 4)
Derry Civil Parishes
Derry Civil Parishes (Click to enlarge)
1 Aghadowey 13 Balteagh 25 Drumachose 37 Lissan
2 Aghanloo 14 Banagher 26 Dunboe 38 Macosquin
3 Agivey 15 Bovevagh 27 Dungiven 39 Maghera
4 Arboe 16 Carrick 28 Errigal 40 Magherafelt
5 Artrea 17 Clondermot 29 Faughanvale 41 Tamlaght
6 Ballinderry 18 Coleraine 30 Formoyle 42 Tamlaght Finlagan
7 Ballyaghran 19 Cumber Lower 31 Kilcronaghan 43 Tamlaght O'Crilly
8 Ballymoney 20 Cumber Upper 32 Kildollagh 44 Tamlaghtard
9 Ballynascreen 21 Derryloran 33 Killelagh 45 Templemore
10 Ballyrashane 22 Desertlyn 34 Killowen 46 Termoneeny
11 Ballyscullion 23 Desertmartin 35 Kilrea 47
12 Ballywillin 24 Desertoghill 36 Learmont 48
County of Derry Roman Catholic Parishes (Note 5)
Derry RC Parishes
Derry Roman Catholic Parishes (Click to enlarge)
Arboe (Ardboe) Parish
ARBOE, or ARDBOE, a parish, partly in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, but chiefly in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (E. N. E.) from Stewartstown; containing 8148 inhabitants. A monastery was founded here by St. Colman, son of Aidhe, and surnamed Mucaidhe, whose reliques were long preserved in it: it was destroyed in 1166, by Rory Makang Makillmory Omorna, but there are still some remains.

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.

Parishes: Ardboe, Derryloran & Tamlaght
Ardboe, Derryloran & Tamlaght Parishes (click to enlarge)
The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel, a spacious and handsome edifice, is situated at New Arboe; and there are two altars in the open air, where divine service is performed alternately once every Sunday. There is a place of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Seceding synod. There are four public schools, in which about 320 boys and 240 girls are taught; and there are also five private schools, in which are about 140 boys and 50 girls, and five Sunday schools.

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.

Ardboe Co. Tyrone
Ardboe Monastry
Ardtrea (Artrea) Parish
ARDTREA, or ARTREA, a parish, partly in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and partly in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER; containing, with the district or perpetual curacy of Woods-chapel, and the greater part of the market and post-town of Moneymore, 12,390 inhabitants, of which number, 7471 are in the district of Woods-chapel. During the rebellion of the Earl of Tyrone, in the reign of Elizabeth, this place was the scene of numerous conflicts; and in the parliamentary war, in 1641, it was involved in many of the military transactions of that period. In 1688-9, a sanguinary battle took place here between the adherents of Jas. II., who were in possession of the forts of Charlemont and Mountjoy, and the forces of Wm. III., commanded by Lord Blayney, who, having possession of Armagh, was desirous of assisting the garrisons of Inniskillen and Derry, and for this purpose determined to force a passage to Coleraine, which he accomplished, after defeating a detachment of the enemy's forces at the bridge of Ardtrea. The parish, which is also called Ardtragh, is situated partly on Lough Beg, but chiefly on Lough Neagh, and is intersected by the Ballinderry river and by numerous roads, of which the principal are those leading respectively from Armagh to Coleraine, from Omagh to Belfast, and from Stewarts-town to Money-more.

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.

Artrea Parish
Ardtrea Parish (click to enlarge)
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 £738. 9. 3 3/4. The church, an elegant edifice in the later English style, was erected in 1830, near the site of the ancient church; the principal entrance is a composition of very elegant design, and, from its elevated site, the church forms a very pleasing object in the landscape. The glebe-house is a large and handsome residence, built of hewn freestone by the late Dr. Elrington, then rector of the parish and subsequently Bishop of Ferns, aided by a gift of £100, and a loan of £1050, from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 115 1/4 acres. The district church, called Woods-chapel, is situated at a distance of 10 miles from the mother church: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Rector.

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.

Ballinderry Parish
BALLINDERRY, or BALLYDERRY, a parish, partly in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, but chiefly in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 7 miles (S. E. by E.) from Moneymore; containing 3163 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the Ballinderry river, which here separates the above-named baronies and counties, and falls into the north-western portion of Lough Neagh. It comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 8177 statute acres, of which 2268 1/2 are in the county of Tyrone, and 5908 1/2 are in Londonderry; 2978 acres form a portion of Lough Neagh.

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.

Map Unavailable
Ballinderry Parish (click to enlarge)
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate: the tithes amount to £192. 6. 2. The church, a large edifice in the later English style of architecture, was erected in 1707. The glebe-house, nearly adjoining, was built at an expense of £980, of which £100 was a gift from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1795: the glebe comprises 413 acres of well-cultivated arable land. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; there is a chapel at Ballylifford, and at Derryaghrin is an altar in the open air. Near the church is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists.

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.

Ballyscullion Parish
BALLYSCULLION, a parish, partly in the barony of UPPER TOOME, county of ANTRIM, but chiefly in that of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER; containing, with the post-town of Bellaghy, 6453 inhabitants. This parish, which is intersected by the roads leading respectively from Castle-Dawson to Portglenone, and from Maghera to Bellaghy, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 12,750 1/4: statute acres, of which 10,617 1/4are in the county of Londonderry, 2406 are part of Lough Beg, and 72 3/4 part of "the river Bann, which here forms the boundary of the parish, barony, and county.

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.

Ballyscullion Parish
Ballyscullion Parish (click to enlarge)
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £350. The church, situated in Bellaghy, is a large and handsome edifice, erected in 1794 on the site of a former church built in 1625: it is in the early English style, with a lofty and beautiful octagonal spire erected at the expense of the Earl of Bristol, and is about to be enlarged by the addition of a north aisle. There is a chapel at Castle-Dawson belonging to the Dawson family, by whom it was built and endowed; it is open to the inhabitants. The glebe-house is about a quarter of a mile from the town on a glebe comprising 70 acres; and there is also a glebe of 84 acres at Moneystachan, in the parish of Tamlaght-O'Crilly, all arable land.

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.

Derryloran Parish
DERRYLORAN, a parish, partly in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, but chiefly in that of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, on the road from Armagh to Coleraine, and from Omagh to Belfast; containing, with the post-town of Cookstown, 8406 inhabitants. It comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 12,100 1/4 statute acres, of which 9656 1/2 are in Tyrone, and 2443 3/4 in Londonderry.

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.

Parishes: Ardboe, Derryloran & Tamlaght
Ardboe, Derryloran & Tamlaght Parishes (click to enlarge)
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate : the tithes amount to £552. 8. The glebe-house was built in 1820, by aid of a gift of £100 and a loan of £1050 from the late Board of First Fruits. The glebe consists of 71 acres. The church, situated in Cooks-town, was built in 1822, by aid of a loan of £3000 from the same Board, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £283 for its repair. In the R. C. divisions the parish is united to that of Desertcreight, and contains a chapel at Cookstown, where are also four dissenting meeting-houses.

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.

Desertlyn Parish
DESERTLYN, or DYSERTLYN, a parish, in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, on the road from Dublin to Coleraine; containing, with part of the post-town of Moneymore, 3318 inhabitants. It comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 5561 statute acres, of which 4977 are applotted under the tithe act and valued at £3243 per annum.

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.

Desertlyn Parish
Desertlyn Parish (click to enlarge)
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the gift of the Lord-Primate : the tithes amount to £230. 15. 4 1/2. The glebe-house was built in 1831, on a glebe of 200 acres. The church, which was built at Moneymore, in 1766, by aid of a gift of £424 from the late Board of First Fruits, is disused; and a beautiful church, in the Norman style of architecture, was erected by the Drapers' Company, in 1832, at an expense of £6000. In the R. C. divisions the parish is partly in the union or district of Lissan, and partly in that of Ardtrea. There is a place of worship for Baptists.

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.

Desertmartin Parish
DESERTMARTIN, a parish, in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 2 miles (W.) from Magherafelt, on the road from Armagh to Coleraine, containing 4934 inhabitants, of which number, 257 are in the village. This parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 9580 statute acres, of which 6952 are applotted under the tithe act. Within its limits is Lough Insholin,which gives name to the barony; it contains several islands, and is nearly dry in summer. The soil is every where good, and the system of agriculture improved; the lands are chiefly in tillage, producing abundant crops; there are some valuable tracts of bog.

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.

Desertmartin Parish
Desertmartin Parish (click to enlarge)
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop : the tithes amount to £400. The glebe comprises 326a. 1r. 17p., of which, 105 are not cultivated; there is also another glebe belonging to the parish, called the townland of Lisgorgan, situated in Tamlaght-O'Crilly, and containing 179 acres. The church is a small edifice with a square tower, erected by aid of a loan of £800 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1820; and is situated on the glebe, about a mile from the village. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; there are two chapels, situated respectively at Munsterlin and Cullion. There is a place of worship at Lecumpher for Presbyterians in connection with the Seceding Synod, and of the second class.

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.

Lissan Parish
LISSAN, or LISANE, a parish, partly in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and partly in that of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (N. by E.) from Cookstown, on the road to Moneymore and on that from Omagh to Belfast; containing 6163 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the north by the mountain of Slieve Gallion, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 24,684 1/2 statute acres, including 147 3/4 in Lough Fea, and of which 12,917 1/2 are in the county of Tyrone.

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.

Map Unavailable
Lissan Parish (click to enlarge)
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate: the tithes amount to £500. The glebe-house was built at an expense of £1313. 14. 5., of which £100 was a gift and £650 a loan from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1807, and the remainder was paid by the incumbent; the glebe comprises 87 1/4 statute acres, valued at £67. 10. per annum. The church is a plain and very ancient structure, with an east window of stained glass. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also part of the parish of Desertlyn; the chapel is a neat edifice.

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.

Magherafelt Parish
MAGHERAFELT, a market and post-town, and a parish, in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 30 miles (N. W. by W.) from Londonderry, and 96 (N. N. W.) from Dublin, on the road from Armagh to Coleraine; containing, with part of the post-town of Castle-Dawson (which is separately described), 7275 inhabitants, of which number, 1436 are in the town of Magherafelt.

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.

Magherafelt Parish
Magherafelt Parish (click to enlarge)
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate: the tithes amount to £450. The glebe-house was built in 1787, at an expense of £574. 18., of which £92. 6. 1 3/4. was a gift, and the remainder a loan, from the late Board of First Fruits; the glebe comprises 403a. 2r. 17p. statute measure, valued at £270 per annum. The church, situated in the town, is a handsome edifice built in 1664, enlarged by the addition of a north aisle in 1718, and ornamented with a tower and spire in 1790; it has been recently repaired by a grant of £121. 0. 9. from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also parts of the parishes of Woods-chapel, Desertlyn, and Ballyscullion; the chapel is at Aghagaskin, about a mile from the town. There are places of worship for Presbyterians, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and Wesleyan Methodists.

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.

Tamlaght Parish
TAMLAGHT, a parish, partly in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, but chiefly in that of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 3 1/4 miles (S. by E.) from Moneymore, on the roads from Toome to Moneymore and from Cookstown to Magherafelt and on the river Ballinderry; containing 2854 inhabitants. The river here forms the southern boundary of the county of Londonderry, and on its south bank, close to its junction with Lough Neagh, stands the village of Coagh, which is described under its own head. According to the Ordnance survey, the parish comprises 4954 3/4 statute acres, 2447 3/4 acres being in the barony of Dungannon, and 2507 in that of Loughinsholin, all fertile land, except about 300 acres of waste and bog: about two-thirds of the surface are arable and the rest meadow and pasture; there is no mountain land. The inhabitants combine with agriculture the weaving of linen cloth, here carried on to a great extent.

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.

Parishes: Ardboe, Derryloran & Tamlaght
Ardboe, Derryloran & Tamlaght Parishes (click to enlarge)
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate; the tithes amount to £200. The glebe-house was built in 1781, at an expense of £496, of which £92 was a gift from the late Board of First Fruits, the residue having been supplied by the then incumbent. The church is a small plain edifice in the Londonderry portion of the parish. In Coagh is a meeting-house for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the second class; within the parish is a meeting-house for those in connection with the Associate Synod; and there are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists, the latter in the market-place of Coagh.

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.

Notes & References
  1. From Ireland
  2. PRONI Geographical index
  3. A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland Samuel Lewis (MDCCCXXXVII / 1837)
  4. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
  5. Ireland.com (The Irish Times)