A Topical Dictionary Of Ireland,
Comprising The Several Counties, Cities, Boroughs, Corporate, Market, And Post Towns, Parishes And Villages,
With Historical And Statistical Descriptions.
BY SAMUEL LEWIS.
Published By S. Lewis & Co. 87, Aldersgate Street.
A market and post-town, in the parish of SHANKILL, barony of ONEILLAND EAST, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 13 1/2 miles (N. E.) from Armagh, on the road to Belfast, and 67 1/2 (N.) from Dublin; containing, in 1831, 2842 inhabitants, since which period the population has very much increased. This place formed part of the territory of the O’Nials, and on the settlement of Ulster was, with the lands of Dowcorran and Ballenemony, together comprising 2500 acres, granted by James. I. to William Brownlow, Esq., who erected a handsome house at Dowcorran, and shortly after built the town of Lurgan, in which, in 1619, were 42 houses, all occupied by English families. On the other parts of the estate were 45 families, and the colony continued to flourish till the war in 1641, when the town was burned by the insurgents, who converted the church into a garrison, and afterwards demolished it; they also destroyed the mansions of Dowcorran and Ballenemony. After the restoration the town was rebuilt, but was again destroyed by the army of Jas. II., and its proprietor declared an outlaw. It was, however, restored in 1690, when a patent for a market and fairs was obtained, and soon afterwards an important branch of the linen manufacture was established here, which has continued to flourish till the present time. The town is situated in the midst of a fertile and well-cultivated district, and consists of one spacious street, containing 482 houses, substantially built of stone and roofed with slate, many of which are large and handsome. The manufacture of diapers was introduced here by William Waring, Esq., M.P. for Hillsborough, during the whole of the reign of Anne; and the Lurgan and Waringstown manufacturers have always been eminent in this branch of the trade. Damasks of superior quality, and cambrics, are made here in large quantities, and sold in the market weekly, to the amount of from £2500 to £3000; and there is scarcely a family in the district that is not more or less connected with the linen trade. There are two large tobacco-manufactories, two ale-breweries, and an extensive distillery, in which 15,000 tons of grain are annually consumed. A facility of intercourse with Belfast is afforded by Lough Neagh and the Lagan navigation, and the trade of the town is progressively increasing. The market is on Friday, and is abundantly supplied with provisions; and great quantities of linens are sold on the market days in the brown linen-hall, a spacious building, erected by subscription in 1825. Fairs are held on Aug. 5th and 6th, and Nov. 22nd and 23rd. A chief constabulary police force is stationed in the town; a manorial court is held every three weeks, and petty sessions every Friday; the quarter sessions for the county are also held here. The court-house is a large, handsome, and well-arranged building; and there is a district bridewell, containing 7 cells, with day-rooms and airing-yards, and well adapted for classification. The parish church, a handsome edifice with a tower surmounted by an octagonal spire; the R. C. parochial chapel, a neat Gothic building; and meetinghouses for Presbyterians and the Society of Friends, are in the town. A mendicity society and a voluntary poor fund have been established, to which Mr. Brown-low contributes £100 per annum. Near the town is Lurgan House, the residence of the Rt. Hon. Charles Brownlow, now being rebuilt on an extensive scale and in the Elizabethan style, with freestone brought from Scotland; the approach is by a handsome lodge and gateway of the same character, and the demesne, which is very extensive, is embellished with a profusion of stately timber, and with an artificial lake of 100 acres; there are various other seats in the vicinity, which, with the schools and other institutions, are noticed under the head of SHANKILL.
A parish, partly in the barony of LOWER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, but chiefly in that of ONEILLAND EAST, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, on the mail coach road from Belfast to Enniskillen; containing, with the post-town of Lurgan, 7758 inhabitants. This parish comprises, according to the Ordnance Survey, 6584 statute acres, of which 4931 1/2 are in the county of Armagh, and 1652 1/2 in Down; of these, 59 1/2 acres are in lakes at Lurgan, and 362 in Lough Neagh. The lands are of good quality and chiefly under tillage; the system of agriculture is greatly improved, and the parish is generally in an excellent state of cultivation; there are some quarries of whinstone, which is chiefly used for building, and for repairing the roads. The principal seat is Lurgan House, the splendid residence of the Rt. Hon. Charles Brownlow (proprietor of the parish), a spacious structure in the Elizabethan style, beautifully situated in a richly wooded demesne with two fine artificial lakes, and embellished with timber of luxuriant and stately growth; the approach is by a handsome lodge and gateway of corresponding character, the whole of freestone brought from Scotland. The other seats are Woodville, the residence of G. Greer, Esq.; Silverwood, of Thos. Cuppage, Esq.; and Grace Hall, of C. Douglas, Esq.: there are also numerous handsome residences in the town of Lurgan. The linen manufacture is carried on to a great extent throughout the parish, in connection with the large establishments in the town; and diapers, lawns, and cambricks of very superior quality are made in great quantities. The Lagan navigation from Belfast joins Lough Neagh in that part of the parish which extends into the county of Down. Fairs are held at Lurgan on Aug. 5th and 6th, and Nov. 22nd and 23rd. There is a chief constabulary police station, and manorial courts and petty sessions are held in that town, as noticed in the article on Lurgan.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Dromore, and in the patronage of the bishop: the tithes amount to £210. 16. The glebe-house, a handsome edifice, occupied by the Rev. Edw. Kent, was built in 1821, at an expense of £1384. 12. 3 3/4., of which £92. 6. 1 3/4. was a gift, and £969. 14. 7 1/2. a loan from the late Board of First Fruits; and the glebe comprises 170 statute acres, valued at £325 per annum. The church, situated in the town of Lurgan, a handsome Grecian edifice with a lofty tower and octagonal spire, was built in 1712 and enlarged and repaired in 1828, for which purpose the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £800, and the Rt. Hon. C. Brownlow gave £100; it has recently been further repaired by a grant of £282 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners: the congregation averages 600. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also parts of the parishes of Donaghcloney and Maralin: the chapel, a handsome edifice in the later English style, is situated in the town. There are places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the second class, for the Society of Friends, and for Wesleyan and other Methodists. About 500 children are taught in five public schools, of which the parochial male and female schools are in connection with the trustees of Erasmus Smith’s charity, who allow a salary of £20 to the master and £14 to the mistress; in the former are 120 boys and in the latter 100 girls, who are also clothed by a collection made at a charity sermon, and the incidental expenses of firing, &c., are defrayed by a subscription from the resident gentry. There are seven private schools, in which are about 230 children; and five Sunday schools. A mendicity society and a voluntary poor fund have been established, towards the support of which Mr. Brownlow contributes annually £100; and there are various other charities for the relief of the poor, to which Mr. Brownlow also contributes. The Rt. Hon. William Brownlow, ancestor of the present proprietor, and for more than 30 years a distinguished member of the Irish House of Commons till the Union, was a native of this place.