Tuesday 26 October 2010

Extracts from the Records of Old Lisburn - Heterogenea, 1803 (oart 2)


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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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The following are the names of the Hectors of this parish of Lisburn since the reign of King Charles the first, the Revd. James Mace, Silvanus Haslam, Dean John Wilkins, Anthony Rogers, Richard Dobbs, Thomas Higginson, William Trail, and Doctor Snowdon Cupples, the present Rector. There are few houses of note in this parish; the late Mr. Closes of Plantation, a short mile from the town, occupied by Mr. John Barbour, who carries on the Cotton manufactory, &c. near this is a Seceding Meeting-house Messrs. Thomas Mussons and William Frazers of Largymore, Mr. Edward and Thomas Carletons of Blairis, Hugh Moors Esq. of Eglentine, Counsellor Pollocks and Mr. Kinkeads Carnbane, Captain William Pattens Rosevale, Mr, Thomas Garretts, late Dr. Tates, now Mr. Richardsons, where is a Bleach-green, late David Wilsons Esq. near the mill, a rural seat behind which are large fir groves, &c.


ground is situated in this parish, I suppose there is not a more eligible place for a camp in this Kingdom, bounded on one side by the river Lagan, (which divides the Counties of Antrim and Down,) and on the other by the new canal. 'Tis a fine level of about three hundred acres, and composed of a body of red sand for many feet deep, which absorbs the most heavy rain in a short time. The prospect from Ballymullen-hill in this parish is most delightful, having a full view of Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castle-Dobbs, the Sea, Mr. Stewarts, Willmount, Windsor, Mr. Johnstons Seymourhill, Mr. Durham's Belvidere, Lambeg-house, Mr. Bells, Mr. Henry Waring's Collin, Wm. M'Cance's Esq. Moira-castle, Hillsborough, Revd. Mr. Johnston's Ballymacash, &c. the valley from Moira to Belfast and Carrickfergus [-- ? --] miles in length, and from four to six in breadth, and for the same extent, there is not perhaps so beautiful a spot both from nature and art, in the three Kingdoms. From Lisburn to Belfast and along the along he shore from thence to Carrickfergus, is nearly like a town, the houses are so elegant and numerous, and the smallest cottage white. I have travelled from Dublin to Cellbrige, which has been reckoned the handsomest part of Ireland. There are many elegant Mansions -- Lord Carhampton's, (now Luke White's Esq.) Mr. Vesey's, Duke of Leinster's, Mr. Connolly's, &c. but upon the whole that part of the Country is not equal to this. From this hill of Ballymullan, (my own estate) one can see the spires of eleven parish Churches, viz. Warringstown, Maralin, Moira, Hillsborough, Magharagall, Lisburn, Derriaghy, Lambeg, Drumbeg, Drumbo, Newtownbreda, and Belfast. Here is also a full view of the beautiful range of Mountains, called Devish, Collin, the white Mountain, Castle-robin, Plover-plain, &c. which are in general a body of white limestone, the surface smooth and always green. The whole is so beautifully sublime, that I may say, a flood of Glory bursts upon our view; and intoxicates the soul with rapture. But soon will these transitory scenes, the baseless fabrick of a vision or cloud pass away, if we do not honor God, and his righteosus laws obey: if we do, shall enjoy more sublime raptures for ever.

I shall mention an instance here of the honor and goodness and generosity of the late Lord Hertford. Prior to the year 1771, several tenants had built houses in different parts of the town of Lisburn, without having any promise from his Lordship to grant them leases; but his Lordship happened to come over from England in 1771, took a walk through the town, was pleased with the buildings and improvements, and said "by George, they should all have leases," and ordered them to be filled for three lives renewable for ever, at 6d per foot. His Lordship granted me a lease also for the same term of a thatched cabin, which I had purchased the tenant right of, on my promising to build a good house and slate it, which I did two years after, three stories high. From what I can learn I am induced to believe, that the present Marquis is equal, if not superior to his noble fathor in every respect. As a proof I find that his Lordship has lately granted leases of all the lands at will in his estate (excepting town parks,) and but for the party opposition, and contested Elections that took place, he would grant leases for building in the town also, no doubt. When the late William Higginson, Esq. was agent, I was in that office under him from 1764 to 1780, the late Lord Hertford, was reckoned one of the best Landlords in this Kingdom, and hod Mr. Higginson's judicious, liberal mid disinterested conduct been afterwards followed, by his successor, there would not have been any contested elections, which distracted and so much confused the town, as the whole tenantry looked upon him as a father, and all adored him.

    A man he was, to all the Country dear,
    And only had, three hundred pounds a year;
    His like again I ne'er perhaps shall see,
    His greatest fault was much generosity.

In the parish of Magharamisk is Trumry-house, which had been one of the seats of the Spencer family, since the reign of Queen Elizabeth until their lease expired a few years since; it is at present the seat of Philip Stewart, Esq.


granted a lease of ten Townlands about 2500 acres, to Captain Henry Spencer, for 95 years from 1623, at the yearly rent of 40l. which was afterwards renewed for three lives. Captain Spencer had been a contemporary Officer with Sir Fulk Conway, in the Queen's army, and Governor of the fort of Inchloughlin, near Spencer's bridge: his son Brent Spencer, Esq. was member of Parliament for Lisburn. Broomount the seat of Stafford Gorman, Esq. This was built by Dr. Edward Walkington, Bishop of Down and Connor about 1695, afterwards much improved by Dean Welsh and Mr. Gorman. There are many other good houses in this parish! In a great part the parish there is a body of white Limestone under the surface. In the parish of Aghalee, Mr. James Hunter, Miss Usher, Mr. Moore, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Hastings Manson, John Waters, Mr. Frier, Mr. Wm. Fairis, Mr. Hall, &c. have good houses. In the parish of Aghagallon, elegant houses are too numerous to particularize. Messrs. Joseph Thurkilds, John Ushers and Thomas Skillingtons, are the best. There is a large tract of Turf bog in this parish, which supplys the country around with fuel. In the parish of Ballanderry, is Laurel-lodge, the country seat of William Smith, Esq. who is agent to the Marquis of Hertford; also the houses of Dr. John Ravenscroft, James Campbell Lieutenant of the Ballanderry Yeomen, Messrs. Thomas and William Blizard, Roger Haddock, Henry and Vernon Hopes, James Neilson, Thomas Johnston, Samuel Hall, John Moore Esq. Mr. Edward Byrne, Robert Thompson, Isaac Wright, Edward Bunting, Edward Weatherhead, Edward Connor, John Cinnamond, &c. There is an elegant Moravian Chapel adjoining the village of lower Ballenderry, neat gardens, &c. Portmore castle stables &c. formerly so celebrated, stood near this on the verge of Loughbeg adjoining Portmore deer-park and Loughneagh; Loughbeg is a beautiful lake of an oval form, containing about one thousand Acres, stored with Pike, Bream, Trout, Perch, Roach, Eels, &c. also a variety of wild fowl, on a narrow neck of land which separates Loughbeg from Loughneagh, the late Arthur Dobs, Esq. who was agent to the Lord Hertford, prior to 1740 erected a windmill in order to drain Loughbeg, but did not succeed. The following lines were written at that time:

    "Squire Dobbs' was ingenious,
         He framed a windmill,
    To drain the christal fountain,
         Where water runs still."

Mr. Dobbs was uncle to Counsellor Dobbs, member of Parliament for Carrickfergus, and afterwards governor of North Carolina in America, where he died. I may as well say something here upon the present state of Loughneagh, as any where else.


being cast by nature into a very ground, all the chief rivers of the five counties Armagh, Derry, Down, Antrim and Tyrone; that is of almost all Ulster, have descending courses from the opposite seas and mountains, till they all meet in this low center, from which they have no way out, but only by one long straight and obstructed passage of the lower Bann, which besides all the increasing obstructions of its own sand and mud, hath two high rocks across its way, one at Portna, the other near Colerain; and a third raised by art for the sake of the Eel-wears, and ought to be removed into a deeper place in the water. I shall mention the names of rivers that flow into it, from the mountains and morasses. The upper Bann, it arises near the Sea out of the mountains of Mourne, and opposite to this not far from the northern Sea, the main water comes out of the large marsh between Loughgeel and Killaggan, and runs through Rasharkin parish, thence to Gilgoram and into the lake below Randles-town near Shanes-Castle. The river Blackwater and a lesser opposite to it, which outer the Lough at Antrim; the Blackwater comes from the Mountains of the Fews in the County of Armagh; from thence to Charlamont and from thence to the Blackwater foot, where it emptys itself into the great lake; the six-mile water comes down by the mountain Slemish, then to Templepatrick and enters into the Lough at Antrim: the opposite rivers enters the lake near Crumlin-bridge, second rises out of the Black-mountain near Belfast, passes through Glenavy and runs into the Lough near Rams-island. The next rivers are three that come southerly, the Coagh, Artree, near Moneymore, and the Moyola that comes by Dawsons-bridge: and opposite to them are three or four that came from behind Castle-Robin near Lisburn, and enter the lake near Portmore and Lurgan. There are other smaller rivers also, about twenty large and small which run into the lake, and but one river to vent or convey all the water of these rivers to the Sea, which is impossible in its present state, unless the rocks at Portna, &c. and the Eel-wares and walls built on the lop of them &c. were removed and the river widened from the Lough to the Sea at Colerain. I am surprised that the noble-men and gentlemen of the five counties whose estates are adjoining to the Lough, do not take this great case into their most serious consideration, and prevent the loss of more good land, and hopes of gaining perhaps many thousand Acres of much better land than they have any where else round about it. Supposing the river were blown up, I cannot imagine it would injure the fisheries, were they sunk three or four feet, wears and other apparatus might then be built and carry on the fisheries as before, but if not the Imperial Parliament could grant money, or even the proprietors of estates round the lake; could purchase the leases from the proprietors of the fisheries, and then sink and widen the river, so as to vent the superfluous water and keep the Lough always down to a proper level. I suppose the Marquis of Hertford for one, would gain one thousand Acres, as his Lordship's fine estate is bounded by the lake for many miles on one side.

About thirty years ago


was a fine level, in extent about half a mile every way, in Summer (one of the most delightful and beautiful places to bathe at I ever saw, the bottom a fine white sand and smooth as possible,) but by the overflowing of the Lough, the Surge and westerly winds in Winter; it has gained on the land since that time about a quarter of a mile, and thrown up large sand banks as fine and white as meal. I must observe that I am concerned myself in this matter, as also my brothers James and Bunting Johnston, who have farms which run along Loughbeg shore about half a mile, where Portmore Castle and Stables stood; when Loughneagh rises it overflows Loughbeg and all the low lands adjacent, by which all suffer near the lake. From the heavy rains this Summer, (1802) part of my meadows and grazing land were covered with water. Now in order to have this grievance redressed and removed, (if the noblemen and gentlemen, of landed property round the lake, and the members of Parliament of the five counties,) do not exert themselves in this business, I would recommend it to all the tenantry who suffer by the inundations, to petition the Imperial Parliament for redress, and have no doubt of success, as I place greater confidence in that Parliament acting uprightly, than ever I did in our own Irish one; which will be one instance (if successful) of the benefit that will result to this Kingdom from the union,

(To be Continued.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 27 October 1916 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other with some other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

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