Edited by JAMES CARSON.
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HISTORY OF KILLULTAGH.
Rev. W. H. Dundas, B.D.
January 28, 1916.
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HISTORY OF KILLULTAGH.
Rev. W. H. Dundas, B.D.
January 28, 1916.
Sir George Rawdon -- Battle of Lisburn.
The most influential man in Killultagh in the 17th century was undoubtedly Sir George Rawdon. He was born at Rawdon Hall, near Leeds, and held office under the first Viscount Conway, who was Secretary of State. After his death Major Rawdon came to Ulster and took up the management of the estate. He was a prominent man in the confused politics of his time, an officer of the British Army in Ulster, and M.P. for Belfast in 1639. Although he was a Royalist at heart, he nevertheless was able to work with the Republicans and Cromwellians when they were in power. Probably some would cal him a trimmer, but trimmers may be useful in times of upheaval and ever-changing fortunes of parties. In 1639 he was employed as a Commissioner for administering the "Black Oath" to all the Scotchmen and women in the province, and says "he was never in so troublesome a business in his life." This was an oath of obedience and loyalty to Charles I., and was intended to defeat the National Covenant. In 1640 he got a lease from Conway of certain manors and lands which must have included Brookhill; it is said to have received its name from Sir Francis Brooke a colonel in Elizabeth's army. In the following year, on October 23rd, the great Rebellion began. There was much fighting in Killultagh, but having examined the Depositions in Trinity College Library I do not think there were many massacres; by this time the English were too strong in the district. Lisnegarvy became a plane of refuge for the flying Protestants, and on Sunday, November 28th, the Irish made a fierce attack upon it because it barred their way to Carrickfergus. Sir George Rawdon was in London on October 23rd, and at once left on hearing the news. The roads were almost impassable in many English shires, and it was three weeks before he reached a Scotch port. He landed at Bangor on November 26th, and got to Lisnegarvy late next evening, where he found the men drawn up in the market place expecting the rebels. There is a most interesting account of the affair in the Cathedral Vestry-book. The Irish leaders, Sir Phelemy O'Neill, Sir Conn Magennis, and Major-General Plunkett, met at Brookhill, where they seized a brick house of Mr. Rawdon's. They had eight or nine thousand men drawn from Armagh, Tyrone, Antrim and Down, and other counties in Ulster, with two field pieces and plenty of ammunition, having seised 50 barrels of powder in the castle at Newry, which they surprised the first night of the Rebellion. The defenders of Lisnegarvy consisted of five companies newly raised, "poor stript mea that had made their escape from the rebels." Lord Conway's troop of horse, a squadron of Lord Grandison's troop (the rest of them having been murdered at their quarters in Tanrogee), and about 40 of a country troop newly raised, and two small field pieces taken out of Lord Conway's house (State Papers). During the fight they, received some reinforcements, consisting of the Earl of Donegal's troop and a company of foot commanded by Captain Boyd, and also powder sent by post in mails in horseback and after the other from Carrickfergus. Scouts sent out discovered the enemy at Mass, but Immediately they quit their devotions and beat drums and marched directly to Lisnegarvy, "and before ten o'clock appeared drawn up on the warren and sent out two divisions of 6 or 7 hundreds apiece to compass the town, and pieced their field pieces on the highway to it before their body, and with them and their long fowling pieces killed and wounded several of our men as they stood in their ranks in the market place, and some of our musketeers were placed in windows to make the like return of shot to the enemy. A squadron of horse with some musketeers was commanded to face the division that was marching on the north side and keep them at a distance as long as they could, which was so well performed that the other division which marched by the river on the south side come in before the other, time enough to be well beaten by the horse, and more than 200 of them were slain in Bridge Street and in their retreat. By this time the enemy had forced in our small party on the north and was marching down Castle Street, which our horse (so) well charged there that at least 300 of the rebels were slain in the 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. About one o'clock fresh parties were issued out and beaten back as before, and so till night, when they fired all the town, which was in few hours turned to ashes, making a fresh assault in the confusion and heat of the fire." Captain Boyd and 25 or 26 men were slain; Sir George Rawdon was wounded and had his horse shot under him; also Captain St. John and Captain Burley and about 30 men. The slain of the enemy were found to be more than thrice the number of the defenders. About 10 or 11 o'clock their two generals quit their station and marched away in the dark, their two field pieces were thrown into the river, or in some moss-pit, and could never be found. In their retreat they burned Brookhill House, in which were Lord Conway's library and other goods to the value of £5,000 or £6,000, and they carried off or destroyed some 1,000 ozs. of ancient plate which has been placed there for safety (Young's Town Book of Belfast). The Cathedral record adds -- "It is to be remembered with much regret yt ye loss and overthrow did so enrage ye rebels yt for sevl days and weeks after they murder'd many hundreds of Protestants whom they had kept prisoners in ye Counties of Armagh, Tyrone, and other parts of Ulster."
The following Depositions referring to the 1641 Massacre bear on this subject:--
Margett Erwin, living at Brookhill, in Co. Antrim, aged 30 years or thereabouts, deposed -- "At he beginning of the Rebellion the Lord of Aghadowey, in the Co. of Antrim, with one Mr. Houghton and her master, being fearful of the enemy, left her with his children and went to Lisnegarvy, and most of his fears was of Cullo M'Nogher, because there was some falling out between them formerly. She heard Cullo M'Nogher, who made his braggs and boasted, and swore that if he had Mr. Houghton there he would do the like to him, and that he did not care for the killing of any Englishman -- whelps, and said that he had been at Lisnegarvy with Sir Phel., and that he mist his brother, but if his brother was lost he would kill Mr. Houghton's children and dash their heads against the stones; but one James M'Gilmurry answered him and said he should not kill the poor innocent children, but he said he would for they were of the English blood. This examinee further saith that a little after the defeat the enemy got at Lisnegarvy that there came to the house the said Cullo M'Nogher, Edm. M'Gilmurry, and others, and the said Edmund took this examinee out of doors and told her that they had been killing five women and two boys between Ballinderry and Glenavy by their own houses, who said he was sorry for a gritty youth who was there killed with flaxen hair; he made such a pitiful cry and the youth ran away, but the they followed him and knocked him down and killed him, and hanged the women, one being Jane Carudders and (?) Ed. Hogg's wife Margarett Cassee, Ed. Hogg's -----, and Jennett Bell, and further saith not."
Turlogh Marchy, of Ballinderry, deposed -- "John Carudders and Edw. Hogg, two of his neighbours, told him that their two wives were killed and two women more the first winter in the Rebellion at Ballyelwash, in the parish of Ballinderry, and that Owen M'Irelany and Nellie M'Irelany and two of the Davyes and others were actors in the said murders." (I cannot identify this place; it appears as "Ewaysh," and was part of Sir Fulke Conway's property, at an Inquisition held at Carrickfergus in 1625.)
In 1646 we find Major Rawdon buying horses in England for Colonel Hill's cavalry in Ulster; he paid £7 10s apiece, and was allowed 30s apiece for taking them from London to Liverpool. In 1649 He got a new lease of Brookhill, now rebuilt, for sixty years, from Lord Conway, in return for his services, with the six townlands of Ballymoney, alias Kilcorig, Ballynadolly, Ballyeloughy, Ballycarrickmaddy, Ballycloughmelough, and Ballymeoner (Ballymave), also 50 acres of Aghenahogh and Knocknedawney lying outside the park pale, and 80 acres of the townland of Magheragall, together with the water mill or millstead, and free liberty to build up a watermill or windmill upon some or any of them. Rent to be 52s (an acre) a year; after the death of George Rawdon to be raised to £80. He does not appear to have lived much there, as in 1654 he was getting a house built in Lisburn, having married in that year as his second wife Dorothy Conway, sister of the second Viscount.
In 1657 Lady Conway was in ill-health, and was in search of a very curious remedy which was to be made from the moss which grew on dead men's skulls. Rawdon was asked to procure it for her, and in June he wrote -- "I have sent almost all Ulster over for moss of slain men's skull and have got none yet but two. I expect better accounts shortly of the matter from others. There is enough in churchyards, but these are not valued as to our Lady's purpose by our chirurgeons" (surgeons). Next month, however, he had got a good proportion of most. Dobbs says (1683) that in a churchyard on an island in Lough Begg (near Toome) may be had stores of moss that grows on dead men's skulls, useful in staunching blood and said to be a great ingredient in making sympathetic powder.
In the same year he acted on a Commission appointed by the Cromwellians for rearranging parish boundaries, so that each minister might have £100 or at least £80 a year, and yet not so large that any part should be above three miles from the church. The Presbyterians, however, were suspicious of Rawdon and esteemed him "one of the horns against the Kirk." The effect of the recommendations of these Commissioners would have been to add a part of Magheragall to Lisburn, a part of Ballinderry to Glenavy, and to make a new church and parish called Lackey (near Megaberry) for the remainder of Magheragall, Ballinderry, Aghalee, Aghagallon, and the Chapellry of Magherameske; but the restoration of Charles II. in 1660 saved these parishes from extinction. Rawdon was then summoned to London, and for his services he secured a grant of several thousand acres in the territory of Moira which had belonged to the O'Laverys. He was elected M.P. for Carrickfergus, and was made a baronet with the title of Sir John Rawdon of Moyra House.
(To be Continued.)
(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 23 August 1918 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week for several years. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)