Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Extracts from the Records of Old Lisburn - Heterogenea, 1803.


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(For the benefit of the Poor.)
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Printed at Downpatrick in 1803 by James Parks.
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Mr. Johnston was born at Portmore Park, in the County of Antrim, in the year 1747. He appears to have resided at various times in the vicinity of Ballynahinch, Glenavy, and Lisburn. From 1764 till 1780 he acted as assistant to William Higginson, Agent to Lord Hertford. In the latter year Mr. Higginson having been removed from the agency, Mr. Johnston became receiver on Lord Moira's Ballynahinch Estate, which position ho continued to occupy after the estate was purchased by David Ker and Matthew Forde. Montalto, Ballynahinch, was up till about 1793 one of the seats of the Earl of Moira, when it passed into the hands of the Ker family. The town of Ballynahinch was founded by the Right Hon. Sir George Rawdon, Bart., ancestor of the Earl of Moira, in the reign of Charles II. "He died at Lisburn in August, 1684, in the 80th year of his age, and was buried there with great magnificence."

The Author of Heterogenea was evidently a man of romantic and philosophical tastes, as the volume is full of poetical effusions and philosophical disquisitions. The reader anxious to partake of the poetry and philosophy must be referred to the book itself, as space will not permit of going beyond the subject matter in hand -- the history of the Town of Lisburn and District.

The plea, however, put forward by the Author, in the Introduction, for publishing the book is so quaint, not to say ingenious, that a paragraph is worth quoting -- "I intended to have left in my last will ten pounds to the poor, for each of the Parishes of Lisburn, Ballinderry, and Magharadroll (Ballynahinch), but on second thought judged it more judicious to apply that sum to their benefit in my life-time; and by publishing a Book by subscription in order to raise a larger sum, to purchase houses or lands for ever, would be more eligible and beneficial: the profits to be paid annually to them:-- the Minister, Church Wardens, &c.; Trustees or a Committee to conduct the business. Every one I have spoken to on the subject approves of the plan. It will in some measure preclude the necessity of calling upon the opulent, charitable and well disposed in future should there happen in the course of providence times of scarcity as in 1801; by this means there will be a permanent fund for their support. . . . Arise then ye great ones of the County, and help forward the designs of divine providence: true charity ever dwells with an elevated soul, etc., etc."

The response to the appeal was generous, and must have produced a very considerable sum of money. The Marquis of Hertford appears for £20; Matthew Forde, Seaford, £11 7s 6d; David Ker, Montalto, £22 15s 0d; Earl of Moira, £5; the Author, £30 and 500 copies of the Book. There were almost 600 subscribers and contributors applying for over 800 copies, not including those taken by the Author. Still no complains -- "A few persons of rank and fortune declined to subscribe. I shall leave them to their own serious contemplation when they have time to reflect. I fear too many live in dissipation, vicious pleasure, and make a God of this world."

The Author of the Heterogenea gives numerous, instances of longevity that came under his notice, dealing quite freely with ages of 100, 104, 108, 111, and 114 years. He writes of an ancestor of his own -- "John Johnston, who married a niece of the Rev. James Mace, Rector of Lisburn, and settled at Ballinderry, near Portmore, in 1670; he died there in 1740 aged 101 years." Also another member of the family -- "William Johnston, who settled at Lisnatrank, near Lisburn, and who was very active in defending that town in 1641 against Sire Phelim O'Neill's adherents; he died in 1700 aged 100 years. His son William Johnston, Doctor of Physic, Warwick, England; about 1711 sold the townland of Lisnatrunk to Mr. Merrifield of Lisburn."

The volume,, notwithstanding its obvious imperfections and absurdities, is an interesting contribution to the history of Lisburn and district. It contains some 318 pages, including the introduction and list of subscribers. In addition to the following extracts, the contents embrace a description of Magheradroll Parish, Ballynahinch, Memoirs of the Earl of Moira, Memoirs of the Author, Resolutions of the Parish of Magheradroll, Poems, Letters, Essays, etc. etc. The Book is aptly described by the Author as a Medley.

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A Description of the upper half Barony of Masseerene, &c. in the county of Antrim, comprising the Territories or Manor's of Kilultagh and Derryvolga.

The Territories of Kilultagh and Derryvolga, are bounded on the North by lower Masserene and upper Belfast, in the County of Antrim, on the East and South, by Castlereagh and lower Iveagh, in the County of Down, and on the West by Lough-neagh. These Manors contain about eighty thousand acres english, divided into eleven parishes, viz. Lisburn, Lambeg, Derriaghy, Magheragall, Magheramesk, Aghalee, Aghagallon, Ballanderry, Glenavy, Camlin and Tullyrusk, the whole being the estate of the Marquis of Hertford, who has the presentation to all the parishes except Lambeg, Derryaghy and Magharagall, which are the Bishop's. The Revd. Dr. Snowdon Cupples, is the present rector of Lisburn; the Revd. Phillop Fletcher, Vicar of Magheramesk, Aghalee and Aghagallon; Revd. John Connor, Vicar of Ballanderry; (who resides in England) Revd. Thomas Edward Higginson Curate; (who is a most exemplary and primitive Clergyman) Revd. Saumerez Dubourdieu, Vicar of Glenavy, Camlin and Tullyrusk; the Rev. Philip Johnston, Vicar of Derriaghy; the Revd. Francis Patten, Vicar of Magharagall and Revd. Mr. Wolsely of Lambeg. It is but justice to say, that Lord Hertford and the several incumbents, are very moderate in the article of tithe, which is fettled for their lives on an average not more than 7d. an Acre. Lisburn is the chief town in these districts, and by many esteemed the handsomest inland town in Ireland; is situated seven miles south of Belfast and seventy three north of Dublin, on the river Lagan which divides the Counties of Antrim and Down. Before the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Lisburn (then called Lisnegarvy) was a small village, the proprietor of the territory of Kilultagh, in which this town stands, was one of the O'Neils, a branch of the then Earl of Tyrone's family. In the reign of King James the first the town was much improved, the streets laid out in their present form, and the houses covered with shingles or thatch, Sir Fulk Conway, who obtained a patent of Kilultagh, &c. from King James gave great encouragement to English and Welsh tenants to come over and settle here, which a great number did. (The town of Conway in Wales, was the property of said Sir Fulk Conway.) The following are the names of the tenants who built the town, (the number of houses then were exactly fifty-two,) viz. Henry Culghanson, John Norris, John O'Murrey, Thomas Date, Simon Batterfield, John Slye, John Golly, Hugh Montgomrie, Marmaduke Dobbs, Richard Dobbs, Thomas Paston, John Tippen, Steven Richardson, Christ. Calvert, Ann Morgan, George Rose, Edward Steward, Henrie Wilson, Robert Browne, William Averne, John Dilworth, Kath. Bland, Geo. Davies, John Savage, Jerome Cartwright, Robert Taylor, Symon Richardson, Hump. Dash, William Smith, John M'Nilly, Askulfe Stanton, Henric Hollcote, Francis Bueke, Thomas Symonson, Richard Howle, John Housimen, Patt. Palmer, Robert Warton, William Cubbage, John Ap Richard, Owen Ap Hugh, Antonie Stotthard, John Mace, Humfry Leech, Richard Walker, Henric Freebourne, Edward Gouldsmith, John O'Murrey, Robert Bones, William Edwards, and Peter O'Mullred. The river Lagan is now navigable from Belfast to to Loughneagh, by a new canal  lately finished, (by Mr. Richard Owens,) from Lisburn to the Lough, at the expence of the late Marquis of Donegall, which opens a communication to the Counties of Armagh, Tyrone, Derry, &c.

The following brief relation of the miraculous victory, over the first formed army of the Irish,

ON THE 28th OF NOV. 1641

at Lisnegarvey, soon after their rebellion, which broke out the 23rd of October, 1641, is taken from the Church registry of Lisburn: "Sir Phelim O'Neill and Sir Con. Magenis, their Generals then in Ulster, and Major General Plunket, having enlisted and drawn together out of the Counties of Armagh, Tyrone, Antrim and Down, eight or ten thousand men, which were formed into eight regiments, and a troop of horse, and two field-pieces, did rendezvous, on the 27th of Nov. 1641, at a house of Sir George Rawdon, at Brook-hill, throe miles from Lisburn, in which town they knew there was a garrison of five Companies, and Lord Conway's troop of horse. They made their attack in three divisions, at the end of Castle-street, Bow-street and Bridge-street, more than two hundred of the rebels were slain in Bridge-street, and three hundred in Castle-street, and in the meadows behind the houses, whereby they were so much discouraged, that for almost two hours, their Officers could not get any more parties to adventure a second assault upon us; but in the main space they entertained us with continued fire from their body, and their field-pieces, till about one o'clock, that fresh parties were issued out, and beaten back as before, which they supplied with others till dark; when they fired the town, which was in a few hours turned into ashes. The slain of the enemy were found to be more than thrice the number of those who fought against them. Their two generals quit their station; their two field pieces were thrown into the river, or in some mosspit which could never be found; and in their retreat, or rather flight, they fired Brookhill house, and the Lord Conway's library in it, and other goods to the value of five thousand Pounds. All our horse, which did most execution, were not above 120, via -- Lord Conway's troop, and a squadron of Lord Grandison's troop. We got about fifty of their colours and drums. They were so enraged at this defeat that they murdered many hundreds of protestants, whom they had kept prisoners in the counties of Armagh, Tyrone, &c.

IN MARCH 1707,

this town has entirely consumed by an accidental fire, whence it has taken the name of Lisburn, its ancient name being Lisnagarvey. At present it contains about eight hundred Houses, mostly built of brick, in an handsome manner forming three good Streets, at the junction of which stands a good Market-house, with a Ball room over it, where an assembly is held every fortnight. The Church is large, with a good Spire, a Clock and a set of Bells, (the gift of the present Marquis of Hertford) but no otherwise remarkable, except for having a large and very genteel congregation; the principal inhabitants being of the established religion -- there are likewise a reputable body of Quakers in this town and parish, who have an elegant Meeting-house, and a short distance from it (on Bason-hill) a great boarding school for the education of children of all denominations, established by a large legacy left by the late John Handcock, Esq. of Lisburn, a member of that community. The late Mr. John Gough was head master many years, who was also a preacher amongst the Quakers. The present Mr. John Handcoek son to the above named Gentleman, has lately withdrawn himself from the society of Quakers, which has made a division among them -- he was also a preacher. There are also a large body of Presbyterians and Methodists, who have each an elegant Meeting-house, and some Roman catholics, who have also a good Chapel. The houses are now in general three stories high -- Mr. James Ward, has a good Bookseller and Stationers shop the only one in the town -- Mr. Culson carries on the manufacturing of damask table cloths &c. very extensively -- the trade of this town is very considerable, both in the manufacturing of Linen and Cotton, as also in the Shop-keeping line -- fairs are held on the 21st of July, and 5th of October -- the late Mr. Hunters, William Rogers, Delacherois Crommelin, Roger Johnston Smyths, Samuel Delacherois's Jacob Hancocks, William Darbys and John Sheperds, Esqrs. have elegant houses. -- Samuel Heron Esq. has a good villa in the Castle garden, from which there is a fine view of the river, and part of the County of Down. The Linen-hall erected at the expence of the late Marquis of Hertfort, is a large square court, surrounded by a piazza of brick. There is a very great market for Linen-cloth, &c. held here weekly on Tuesday. The present Marquis of Hertford in 1796, built a very good Shambles, on a small rivulet at Smith-field, where a great number of black Cattle are exposed to sale every Tuesday. The principal inns are kept by Mr. Samuel Waring and Mr. Shaw. There was a noble Castle here formerly built by the Earl of Conway, (who died in 1690) which was burned down in 1707, but never rebuilt. Vitriol is made here at present by Doctor Alexander Crawford, a Physician of eminence and respectability; the works were first erected about thirty years ago, by Messrs. Thomas Greg and Weddell Cunningham of Belfast. The town is supplied with water by pipes from a bason above it, where it is conveyed fountains in Castle-robin, and Mountains about three miles from the town. The Streets are wide and well paved, and lighted with globe Lamps at proper distances. Lisburn now returns one member to the imperial Parliament, since the union. I must remark here that I look upon the late union to be one of the most important, and salutary measures for the peace and permanent happiness of this Kingdom at large, that ever was accomplished. It has struck off all small or rotten Boroughs as they were called, which is a complete Parliamentary reform, what we have all being crying, barking, yelping or squalling for these many year's past. It has in a great measure put down party also, as a proof of this, witness the late general Election, how few contests there were, a circumstance at which all good men should rejoice; for how was this and other towns formerly torn and distracted by contested Elections, what drunkenness, perjury, idleness, and deaths did they, not cause!

(To be Continued.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard as part of a series which began in October 1916 and ran in that paper each week over the next year. The text along with other with some other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

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