Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Great Conflagration in Lisburn. 1707.



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An antique stone taken from the old structure has been preserved and prominently placed, high up on the front of the new building, now occupied as business premises by George Duncan and Sons, Limited. It bears the following curious inscription, which records not only the date of the building, but also the date of the great fire which demolished Lisnagarvey.

                          I. H. I.
     The year above this house erected;
          The town was burned ye year before;
     People therein may be directed:--
          God hath judgments still in store;
               And that they do not Him provoke
               To give to them a second stroke.
                    The builder also doth desire
                    At the expiration of his lease,
                    The landlord living at that time
                    May think upon the builder's case

The owner of the lease, who was having the building erected, is evidently here meant by "builder," as he was looking forward to a renewal at the expiration of the lease then held.

Bradshaw, in his directory, 1819, and Pigot and Co. in 1824, mention a Jamel Ward, as bookseller and stationer, Market Square.

Bayly in his History of Lisburn, 1884, states:--

In 1707 the town was burned to the ground by an accidental fire. The Castle a noble edifice, built by the Earl of Conway shared the same fate as the other houses and was never rebuilt. Mr. Ward's house (next to the Market House) was the first built after the fire. It has the following inscription:--

     The year above this house was erected,
          The town was burnt the year before,
     People therein may be directed,
          God hath judgments still in store:
               And that they do not Him provoke
               To give to them a second stroke.

The stone which the builders rejected the same is become the head of the corner!

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Market Square Presbyterian Church was entirely consumed. Except the wooden tower that stood at the west end of the Cathedral, that sacred building escaped serious injury. The splendid set of musical bells presented by the Countess Conway, were melted into masses of metal In 1752 the Marquis of Hertford had the fused metal of Lady Conway's set of bells which had been preserved from the time of the great fire, sent to an eminent founder in Dublin, and, with a large increase of silver, the whole was re-cast, and when finished turned out one of the richest and soundest toned bells in the kingdom. In the course of the casting the words "Francis, Earl of Hertford," were inscribed on the outside.

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The following curious account of the fire is believed to have been written and first published in Australia. The original document bears no date, but the style of the printing, composition and spelling point to its being of considerable antiquity.

Particular Relation of the Burning on Lisburn -- a Town in Ireland -- in a most Dreadful and Extraordinary manner, by Fire from Heaven: Attested by good Vouchers, lately come from Ireland.

Upon the Lord's Day, the 20th April, 1707, a little before 12 o'clock, while People were at Church, a Fire broke out in Lisburn, alias Lisnagarvie, a very neat well situate small Town, in the County of Antrim in Ireland, about 6 miles above Belfast, which burnt with great fury along both Sides of the Streets, consuming an along as it went.

People running out of the Church, in great confusion, carried out what Effects they could to the Church-yard, as a place of Safety, it being very large and not near to any House except the Church; but the File having Seized upon the Church also descended likeways upon the Goods in the Church-yard, and consumed them entirely.

Within less than 3 Hours the whole Town was burned down, together with the Castle, the place of Residence of my Lord Conway, except only the Town-House, a House belonging to one Roger, and a Smith's-House: And that which, is very remarkable, is, That after the Fire had seized upon the Castle, a Coal was carried from it by the wind, over the River, to a Village at about half a miles distance, which also consumed the same entirely.

The Town, Castle and Village, being burned as aforesaid, enquiry was made in what manner the Fire broke out, but none within the Town could give any manner of Account how it began, but some People who were in the Neighbouring Fields, having reported, that they saw a Flame of Fire in the form of a great Sheet, descend from Heaven, and fall upon the Town, they were brought before Mr. Justice Hornbie, my Lord Connoway's Chamberlain, and upon Oath declared, That they Saw the Flame descend from Heaven, in manner aforesaid. And this is all the Account can be got of the Burning of the Town.

That which makes this more credited, is, The extraordinary fierceness of the Fire, which burnt with great violence, and did flee from House to House, tho at a great distance, and over-took the goods brought into the Church-yard for safety, where every body believed them to be Secure, and even upon a May-pole which stood at a great distance from any House, which was burned within two yards of the Ground.

Tho the Fire had broke out in the ordinary manner, it must be owned to be of Divine permission, as a Judgment upon such as suffer by it, but how much more must this Flame immediately descending from Heaven be acknowledged to be a Judgment upon the Inhabitants of the Place consumed, and ought to be taken as a warning by others.

Possibly some may think the Inhabitants of this Town have been very Impious and compare the Possessors of the 2 Houses that are saved, to Lot, who escaped when all his neighbours were destroyed. But not knowing anything of the matter of Fact, either of the Impiety of the one, or Sanctity of the other, I shall say nothing of it.

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Kirkpatrick in his work "Presbyterian Loyalty," 1713 -- refers to the devastation wrought by the fire and the attempt made to raise funds to alleviate the distress. Out of the distribution of these Funds arose a controversy and certain charges were made against Presbyterians in general, and those of Lisburn in particular, in a pamphlet entitled "The Conduct of the Dissenters in"Ireland."

Kirkpatrick's book is a reply to these insinuations. Numerous charges were made, but the Sixth is the only one of local interest -- that the Presbyterians confined their charity and alms-deeds to those of their own persuasion. Two cases are cited -- Belfast and Lisburn. After some preliminary explanations the account of the controversy opens in so far as it concerns Lisburn, with a certificate by two clergymen regarding the collection in Belfast for the sufferers in Lisburn.

We do Certify that having on Monday April 21, 1707, seen the ruinous condition of Lisburn by a dreadful fire which happened on the day before, and commiserating the case of many of its inhabitants thereby, reduced to the last extremity for want of bread and houses: We the subscribers, with Mr. Henshads, deceased, did on Tuesday the 22nd of said month go through the town of Belfast, and presented the same to all our neighbours we could meet with, and in less than 12 hours collected about £54 for suppling the present straits of said distressed inhabitants of all persuasions without any distinction though of the said sum there was £51 15s given by those of the Presbyterian persuasion.

That the said sum was immediately carried to Lisburn, and by order of the Bishop of Down and Connor, and Dean Wilkins, paid to the two churchwardens and two of the elders of the Presbyterian congregation, to be distributed as aforesaid.

That some time after, in pursuance of Her Majesty's Letters Patent for a collection to Lisburn, the Presbyterians of Belfast gave near £47 to the minister and churchwardens, as by the list may appear, though their proportion was never intended to be computed, nor their charity to be published till now, that their candor and impartiality, as well as loyal are arraigned by a late pamphlet entitled "The Conduct of the Dissenters in Ireland et." Given under our hands at Belfast, September the 10th. 1708.


Kirkpatrick proceeds to refer to Arthur Maxwell, Esq., Drumbeg, and the Rev. Alexander M'Crackan, minister of First Lisburn Presbyterian Church, and quotes long letter by Mr. Maxwell, part of which only is "extracted."

I come next to show, that the instances he pretends to give of that kind in the case of the collections for Lisburn are very unlucky mistakes, though he is pleased to call them both notorious and scandalous: he calls them frequent instances, but mentions only two, relating to and fixing this supposed guilt upon Arthur Maxwell of Drumbeg, Esq.; and Mr. Alexander M'Crackan, Presbyterian minister in Lisburn. Mr. Maxwell is known to be a gentleman of that probity and worth as sets him above such calumnies, which are so much the more inexcusable, because Mr. Maxwell had the honour to be one of her Majesty's Trustees (in conjunction with several other gentlemen both Episcopal and Presbyterian) nominated in her letters patent, for the distribution of that public charity. I have seen a letter from him to his friend, fully vindicating himself from this aspersion, the true copy whereof is as follows.

"Sir -- The author of "The Conduct of the Dissenters in Ireland, etc.," suggests against me, that I applied the collections raised for the poor inhabitants of Lisburn who suffered by the fire, wholly to the use of the Presbyterians, whereas the collection, pursuant to the Queen's Letters Patents was to be general, and disposed of by the Commissioners to the inhabitants according to the proportion of their losses without respect to persons. To which I answer, that the very reading of the Letters Patents will discover this to be an imposing upon his reader, for the Queen's Letters Patents require the minister and churchwardens to raise the collections within their several and respective parishes: How then could Mr. Maxwell apply the money raised by them to the use of the Presbyterians or of any else unless the said minister and churchwardens had given the same to him, contrary to their duty and the direction and appointment of the said Letters Patents; which I believe, for their sakes, he will not affirm. All the colour the author can have for this calumny, is that there were some private charitable collections raised from the dissenters only, for rebuilding the meeting house of Lisburn that had been burnt, and accordingly applied to the said use, as other voluntary subscriptions at the same time from the Churchmen were to the rebuilding of the Church, without any relations to the Letters Patents and before they had any existence. His censure should have been bestowed on both promiscuously. Etc., etc., etc.


As to Mr. M'Crackan, and what the author says against him as if he had been guilty of unfair practices about the public collections for Lisburn; I have seen a full narrative not only of that matter, but of the other facts laid to his charge by this author, under his own hand; of which I shall give a short abstract as they come to be considered in their proper places. The Presbyterians in Ulster were so far from being partial in their collections for Lisburn, that the author could hardly have fixed upon an instance that could have done them more service, for demonstrating that they did not confine their charity to those of their own persuasion. For immediately after the burning of Lisburn, the Church people and Presbyterians there entered into a concert that both church and meeting house should be re-built out of the public collections, and the remaining part of the said collections should be distributed amongst the distressed inhabitants, without any distinction of persuasions; and in consideration hereof, that each party should use their best interest with those of their own persuasion both in England and Ireland for exciting them to make liberal and generous contributions for theses ends, which agreement was entered in their books. And in pursuance of it, the dissenters of Lisburn applied in June following to the Presbyterian ministers of the North of Ireland then met in their general annual meeting, who approved of the christian and amicable agreement between the Protestant inhabitants of Lisburn of all persuasions, and accordingly used their best interest with their own people at home and with their friends in England, for encouraging the collections; which is a demonstrative proof that they did not confine, their charity to those of their own persuasion. Upon this encouragement, the dissenters of Lisburn fell presently to work, re-built their meeting house, and borrowed money for defraying the expense hoping to be enabled by the public collections to repay it, but they soon found themselves miserably disappointed, for when the collections came in, the trustees finding that they were far short of what was expected, did not think it expedient that either church or meeting house should be re-built out of that fund, and allowed them only the proportion that would have fallen to them as private houses in cumulo with the rest. In this case the dissenters of Lisburn, being disabled by the fire to defray the expenses of their meeting house, were obliged to apply again to their friends for assistance; but most of them having given so liberally before to the Protestants of Lisburn at large, were incapable of giving more for that end; though some people of better circumstances contributed towards it.

In the meantime, while the dissenters in Lisburn were receiving and procuring from their friends what assistance they could, some were pleased to take umbrage from this practice as if they had in a clandestine manner got into their hands some of the money that was collected upon the foot of the public brief, and appropriated it to the re-building of their meeting-house. But after several conferences between them and their neighbours, for removing all ground of suspicion, the principal managers and overseers about the meeting house gave their voluntary oath, the true copy whereof I shall here insert, taken from the original all written with the Bishop's own hand, and subscribed by those who took it; which is likewise subscribed by four gentlemen of the church to show that they were not guilty of any unfair practices in that matter,  at the end of each of their four names I have added the letter (C). And the order of the trustees upon the said voluntary oath is likewise copied from the original, subscribed by seven of them, whereof the first four are of the Established Church, viz. -- the Bishop of Down and Connor, Dean Wilkins, Dr. Lesly, and Mr. Haltridge.

Lisburn, 26th September, 1710,

I do swear, that I will pay to the treasurer for the time being any sum or sums of money whatsoever, that came to my hands for the use of sufferers in general by the late dreadful fire at Lisburn. That I will discover to the Commissioners for the benefit, of Lisburn or any person authorized by them any money that I know or shall hereafter know to be collected for the said sufferers, in whose hands it is, how much there is, or was of it, and to what use it was, or is to be applied, if it has not already been paid, or shall not be hereafter paid to the said treasurer. That whatever money has been collected for the said sufferers, and has been or shall be applied to any other use whatsoever, I will faithfully and honestly make a discovery thereof immediately. That no money raised for the said sufferers has to my knowledge been applied to the meeting house, or any building about it, or any use relating to it; and if it shall be hereafter be applied, to my knowledge, I will make an immediate discovery of it to the said Treasurer. That if any money has come to those of my persuasion in general, or to me in particular, I will declare it to the Treasurer. That in order to have the money given to the said sufferers fairly applied according to the intention of the donors, I will use my best endeavours to know the design of such donors, and to see the money given by them applied accordingly. And all this I swear voluntarily and freely upon the faith of a Christian, without any evasion, equivocation or mental reservation, so help me God

Ralph Smyth (C)
Val. Jones (C)
E. Wogan (C)
Ed. Obrey (C)
Edward M'Comfey.
William Rothell.
Alex Taylor.
Will. Livingstone.
Daniel Kenley.
John Charters.
Richard Grainger.
Jo. Martin.

At a meeting of the trustees for Lisburn brief this 26th day of September, 1710: concluded for the ending of some suspicions and disputes about private collections, that the Oath in the annexed leaf taken voluntarily by every person concerned shall entitle him so taking it to his proportionable share and part of all such money that is already come in, and shall hereafter come in for the use of the sufferers in general, and that such as refuse to take the said oath shall be excluded from such share and part till further order.

Arth. Maxwell.
Edward Brice.
John Chalmers.
Edw. Down & Connor.
Jos. Wilkins.
Hen. Lesly.
John Haltridge.

It must be owned, that there can not be a more solemn vindication of the innocence of the dissenters of Lisburn, with respect to this matter, than what is contained in this Oath, which gave full satisfaction to the Bishop and the rest of the trustees; and no man ought to tax them with any unfair practices about the public collections, unless he allow himself the uncharitable liberty of calling them perjured. And seeing no money could be laid out for the meeting house, but what must come through the hands of these men, and be narrowly enquired into by them, their Oath amounts not only to a personal vindication of themselves, but also of Mr. M'Crackan and of all the dissenters in Lisburn. I would fain believe, for our author's credit, that when he wrote his book he was ignorant of the history I have given of this oath and the order of the trustees upon it; otherwise he could not have been so hardy, as to have published a mistake in a point wherein a public record doth so plainly refute him.

Oath of Allegiance.

There is a curious reference in Kirkpatrick's book to certain Lisburn men who were said to have refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to Queen Anne.

Upon the call of the roll of such persons, who were judged best qualified to serve, one Richard Grainger, merchant at Lisburn, at the head of several ruling elders, and other Presbyterians, upon the said Mr. Spencer's tendering the Oath of Allegiance, absolutely refused to take the said oath to Her Majesty; in which they all concurred to a man, saying that there was something in that oath relating to the Prince of Wales, and that God forbid, they should swear, that he was not King James's son upon which they desired time to consider it, and went immediately out of the court and in a short time returned again, and said they had considered of it, and finding nothing in it relating to the Prince of Wales, were willing to take it, and accordingly did.

To this Mr. Grainger hath replied in a letter to his friend as follows:--

Lisburn, September 8th, 1713.

Sir -- According to your desire, I here send you what I can remember, at such a distance of time, with respect to what concerns me in the "Conduct of Dissenters" (p. 35, 36) especially considering that I never dreamed the passage should be printed. Upon the calling the roll in the Market House of Lisburn, I do perfectly remember, James Whittell who lives in this town and I were called, and we desired time to consider the Oath before we took it, which was easily granted by Mr. Spencer and Mr. John Peers: if there were any elders while I was in court, I do not remember that I saw them: but this I can say as if I were upon oath, that my neighbour, James Whittell, and I only sought time to consider the said Oath, and about half an hour after; we came and pleasantly look the Oath, and I declare I am as free to take the Oath against the pretended Prince of Wales, as any:

     I am,
          Sir, Yours, etc.,
               RICHARD GRAINGER.

Mr. M'Crackan about 1710, preached at sermon in Anahilt Church which gave great offence to the Established Church party and which is fully dealt with in the book under review.

(Lisburn News-room, 1886: and Maze Races, 1839, Next Week.)


(To the Editor of the "Lisburn Standard")

Sir -- History ought to be historical, that is, it ought to be an impartial record of facts. Measured by this standard the reference in the "Records of Old Lisburn," in your issue of last week, to the revival of 1859 comes short. The account there given would show it to have been a movement worthy only of ridicule and contempt. But this account no more represents the facts about the revival of 1859 than would an account of the spots on the sun represent the facts about the superb orb of day. The serious thing about it is, that it is calculated to give the present generation an utterly misleading and untrue impression of a movement of the spirit of God, all over this land, which produced the most beneficent and far-reaching effects. no doubt, many were opposed to it, as many have ever been and many still are opposed to the manifestations of the Divine Spirit. In Paul's day "they were foolishness unto them."

It is true that the Rev, Isaac Nelson wrote about it as "the Year of Delusion," but it needs to be remembered that Isaac Nelson was in the ecclesiastical world of the day very much like John Rea in the legal. They were both men of extraordinary abilities arid extraordinary idiosyncrasies. They were each possessed of an erratic genius, and scarcely the men to be consulted where serious and dispassionate judgment were required. But the outstanding fact is that the foremost Christian men of the day threw themselves with ardour into the work of the Revival. To name but a few in the Presbyterian Church -- The Revs. Drs. Morgan, Edgar, Johnston, Meneely, Hanna, and many others in Belfast; the Revs. Drs. John Hall, Kilpatrick, and Hamilton Magee in Dublin; Dr. Wilson of Limerick; Dr. Magill, of Cork; Dr. Denham and Dr. Richard Smyth of Derry, Dr. Wilson, of Cookstown; Mr. Berkeley of Lurgan, and hosts of other clergymen. Among laymen the Hon. Thos. Sinclair, William Laird Finlay, Dr. M'Cosh of Queen's College, and hosts of others of the sturdiest sons of Ulster were enthusiastic workers in connection with the movement.

If one possessed of the historic sense would take the trouble to enquire, how many of the ministers and elders of the Presbyterian Church alone were in their respective offices, during the last 40 years of the last century, through the Revival of 1859, he would find the number, especially of elders, exceedingly large.

All over the land, men and women of the finest type were to be met who could speak of the blessings they and others had I received in '59.

No doubt there were in some places -- in some more than others -- both physical and mental manifestations that were abnormal and anomalous -- many of them most extravagant and reprehensible. History manifestations of the Divine presence and power amongst men, there have frequently been simultaneous manifestations of the power of the Evil One. For example, during the plagues of Egypt, the whole time of our Lord's earthly ministry, on the day of Pentecost and afterwards, and in connection with almost all the great revivals.

The Revival of 1859 was a time of very extraordinary spiritual blessing, the Divine Spirit convincing of sin and turning to the sinner's Saviour great multitudes, all over this land, whose transformed lives were the abundant proof and evidence of the reality of the movement. At the same time the Devil, too, was in many parts, busy, and there were extravagances and delusions that ware plainly his off-spring. But it is too late in the day to try to discredit the great Revival of 1859, to do so brings one perilously near being one with those who, on the day of Pentecost, characterised that wonderful revival as being due to drunkenness -- "others mocking said, they are filled with new wine."

One feels that those responsible for the account of the Revival in your issue of last week would not willingly offend numbers of your renders, or give an erronious impression in regard to one of the happiest periods in the history of Ulster.

     Yours, in the interests of truth,


(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 25 May 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Revival Movement in Lisburn, 1859.



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The "Strikings Down" and "The Marks" Vindicated by

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." -- Shakespeare.

The year 1859 was one of extraordinary mental excitement or disturbance in the North of Ireland. It was, and is, known as the year of "The Great Revival." A wave of religious enthusiasm passed over the country, expressing itself in strange physical phenomena or manifestations. These manifestations were to a large extent confined to women. They occurred frequently at religious or revival meetings and consisted of "Strikings Down," in which the individual became hysterical, took convulsions, swooned, or, fainted, "The Visions" in which strange revelations were supposed to be received, and "The Marks."

Many divines and laymen, including the author of "The Year of Grace" and Alexander M'Cann, believed firmly that the movement was from above. Others equally reliable, including the Rev. Isaac Nelson, who wrote "The Year of Delusion," The Rev. William Breakey, First Lisburn Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Mr. Hall, the Cathedral; and the Rev. William Molloy, Methodist minister, had grave fears that the moving influence might have been from a different direction.

Mr. Breakey delivered a lecture setting forth his views on the matter. Later, Mr. Hall, Mr. Molloy, and Mr. Breakey, wrote letters, which were published, denouncing the manifestations. Hence Mr. M'Cann's pamphlet, which runs to some 64 pages.

M'Cann tells how, he secured an interview with Mr Breakey in Mr. Reilly's shop and how after some conversation, Mr. Breakey left, "insinuating I was going mad."

Mr. Breakey denounced the manifestations as "most dangerous superstitions." Mr. Molloy -- "shocking frauds and absurdities." Mr. Hall -- "I have no hesitation in pronouncing at once that the so called "Marking" had been done with a blue-bag or something similar."

Mr. M'Cann demands in his pamphlet:--
Is the present revival movement, including the "Strikings Down," "The Visions," "The Marks," the work of the Devil? of man? or of God?

And proceeds to answer these questions carefully and minutely to his own satisfaction.

The following is an extract from his account of "The Marks" --
Having frequently been an eye-witness to those marks coming forth on the body I find no difficulty whatever, in giving an account of the proceedings. During the time the person is getting "The Marks," she is quite awake and conscious of the pain. The time occupied in marking varies according to the number of marks put on. Sometimes there is but one word, for instance, the word "Lord" upon the arm, and several words on the legs, such as "I am God," Remember Me," while the words are being put on no one must be allowed to interfere with, or touch them till they have been finished. Once finished and up to the appointed hour previously named for their departure, no power on earth could obliterate or remove them.
"The Marks" are thus put on, the person who has been "Stricken Down" several times -- or, as it may be, only once before -- is in an unexpected moment, and without any previous intimation thereof, "Stricken" again and, as I am aware, often drops down suddenly on the floor, and there she lies to be gazed upon and wondered at by person who may happen to be present. Some twenty or thirty minutes may have any elapsed, when that "still small voice" which has now become so familiar to the "Stricken" one, whispers to her "Doubt not." Immediately she finds the arm, the leg, the forehead, or the breast, being operated upon, and, to use her own expression, just as if it were something like a steel pen pricking.

He enters further into minute details regarding the process and its variations.

On one occasion Mr. Breakey and Mr. Hall hearing of a case proceeded to the house to investigate They found a girl under the influence, and were informed "The Marking" was in progress. The girl and those present refused to allow "the Marks" to be seen till they were flushed. The clergymen, however, insisted and saw marks on the body, but demanding water and soap they washed them off, and left declaring a blue-bag had been used, and that the whole affair was a fraud. The pamphlet makes strange reading in this year of grace, 1917. Who Alexander M'Cann was does not appear, but he was probably the same Alexander M'Cann who took such a prominent part in 1863 in connection with the petition against the return of Mr. John D. Barbour to Parliament.

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Francis William Crossley was born at Glenburn, Dunmurry, in 1839, and in partnership with his brother founded the firm of Crossley Brothers, gas engine manufacturers, Manchester.

Mr. Crossley, on his mother's side, was directly descended from the De la Cherois--Crommelin families, so closely connected with the early history of Lisburn. The book is a religious biography of entrancing interest. The opening words of the preface written by the Rev. Alexander M'Laren, are:--
Frank Crossley was a nineteenth-century saint whom Francis of Assisi might have recognized as a brother in faith and spirit.

The chapter on the Huguenot settlement in Ireland and the De la Cherois and Crommelin families is valuable and of considerable local interest.

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A Review of the Origin and History

Her Earlier Colonial Settlements,


This little volume of 78 pages is of no value in so far as the records of Lisburn are concerned. It deals with a period commencing some centuries before the Deluge and ending about the year 1300 B.C. Its only local interest is that the author was a Lisburn man, and that a large portion of the book was originally delivered, as a lecture, before the old Lisburn Literary Society.

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This little book of 122 pages is a religious biography, and history of Methodism, in the Maze district of Lisburn. James Carlisle was born in 1815, and died in 1889. His father, George Carlisle, had the privilege of hearing the Rev John Wesley preach. The book is a simple and homely record of the doings and aspirations of a large number of well-known people and families in the district. Preserved in its pages is an interesting letter written by Sir Robert Hart, from Peking, in 1889, to the Rev. J. J. Thornton:--

Peking, 21st July, 1889.
Dear Mr. Thornton,
I am glad you thought of writing to me in connection with the "Zion" jubilee, for, long as it is since I left that part of the world, I still have an affectionate recollection of the place and people; of course, like many a child, I hated to be forced to attend service there when not in the humour, but now time has mellowed me, and the memory is simply a delight. As I write, how well some faces and sounds come up. I can see some one going round to snuff the candles after the sermon. I can hear the women on one side, after the men finish on the other, singing that very pathetic tune -- 
       'I'll creep before Him as a worm,
                And see Him die for me.'
I can follow the steady, solemn voice of dear James Carlisle,, as he delivers an affectionate Watch-night address. I can see down the hill, and over the bridge, and away along the broad straight road, with high trees on each side, having on one hand. Carlisle's house, and on the other the lane that led up to Sam Jones's, and which, after passing the Phenix's and Bradbury's, touches the Maze and turns off by Knox's; indeed, as I write, it is astonishing how forty years ago comes back again! I suppose it is the same with all who go far from home and Work in foreign lands; we never forget, and a sound, or a smell, or a sight brings up cradle-days, and all the dear surroundings of Home sweet Home. I have had to stop here for a moment; the tears get into my eyes; fancy weeping in 1889, in Peking, over recollections of Priesthill in 1849; but so it is, and it's good to have one's memory roused and one's heart touched, and awake from the loneliness and worldliness of age! Yes --
     'We may build more lofty habitations,
      Fill our halls with paintings and with sculptures,
      But we cannot buy with gold
                The old associations.'
Looking over the list of subscribers, I do not see many of the old names. Among them I see the name of Ralph, -- I wonder who he is! I also recognise the names of Phenix, Shields Hinds, and of course, David Carlisle. Although no longer one of your neighbours, I am glad to have the opportunity of once more showing the old friends that I have not forgotten the old place, and so I enclose a cheque for £100; you can give £60 or £70 to the chapel fund, and the rest you can divide among the poorer members of your congregation. A pound here and a pound there may be of service, especially coming when not looked for, and James Carlisle can help you in choosing the recipients. It is not a charity this, mind you! but simply a loving gift, from an old friend who has done well, to others who can be helped by help, and who worship-in the old place.
My return to Europe is again delayed; I am a slave to work here, and, till it is done with, I do not consider myself, free to move. But if ever I do see the north of Ireland again, I shall certainly have a stroll along the banks of the canal, look at the kids among the whins, and spend an evening in Zion Chapel. Give my love to Carlisle, and with kind regards to all who knew my father or remember my name.
               Very truly yours,
                    ROBERT HART.

Bishop Jeremy Taylor died at Lisburn 1667. His second wife, Joanna Bridges, was a daughter of Charles I. It is stated that Charles, when very young, married the daughter of a country clergyman, Joanna's mother. For reasons of state this marriage was annulled. She brought some fortune and a number of valuable pictures to the divine, who was afterwards made Bishop of Dromore, at the Restoration. Jeremy Taylor and Joanna Bridges had issue, a daughter, also named Joanna, who married a Mr. Jones of Lisburn. She brought to her husband an interesting collection of pictures. These pictures seem to have been divided amongst Mrs. Jones's descendants. Some of them are still in possession of Mr. Clarke, Roseville, and other members of the Clarke family, and of the Wilson, Bruce, and other families, descendants of Joanna, daughter of Jeremy Taylor. (Condensed from article by John Ward, F.S.A. Notes and Queries, November, 1910.)

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The Carleton Bequest.

The Rev. John Carleton, D.D., commenced his ministerial duties as curate of the Lisburn Cathedral, when the Rev. Snowden Cupples, D.D., was rector. About 1792 Lord Hertford induced Mr. Carleton to go to England and presented him with the living of Arrow, Warwickshire.
He died unmarried in 1818 and among other legacies, left £2,000 on trust to the rector and curate of Lisburn, and their successors in all time, the capital to be invested in good security, and the interest distributed on each St. Thomas' Day among deserving poor householders of all denominations in Lisburn Parish, the parish priest, and the Presbyterian minister doing each his share in the good work.

Dr. Carleton was the descendant of an old family that claimed as its founder Christopher Carleton, the collector of customs in Belfast, to whom William the Third, during his sojurn at Hillsborough in June, 1690, addressed his letter, empowering the collector to pay £1,200 a year in aid of the income of Presbyterian ministers in Ireland.

(The "Great Fire" 1707, next week.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 18 May 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ireland Exhibited to England, 1823 - Lisburn and Hillsborough. (part 2)



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Exhibited to England in a Political and Moral Survey of her Population.




This villa, the residence of Mr. Robert Garratt, is another of those valuable improvements, which give to the Hertford estate so distinguished and respectable a position on the map of Antrim. It comprises a neat dwelling-house, and about 60 acres of an improved farm, commanding a pleasing prospect to the towns of Hillsborough, Lisburn, and Moira, to Eglantine, the seat of Hugh Moore, Esq., and to the lofty mountains of Sleibgh-crube and Sleibgh-donard, in the county of Down, which bound the landscape in front of this concern. In this capacious landscape, the neat cottage and plantations of Mrs. Young (in the plain beneath Redhill) present themselves to the eye of the benevolent stranger, as no mean specimen of the system of improvement which pervades this estate, in common with the surrounding country; and by which the province of Ulster is raised high in the scale of civilized and social life, above the general level of the other provinces.

Redhill stands on the road last noticed, 72 miles north of Dublin, and two from Lisburn, which is the post-town to it.

Carleton House.

This seat of Mr. Cornelius Carlton is also a feature of improvement on the Hertford estate. It comprehends a good new built house, and 140 acres of a light sandy soil, of which 30 acres are very profitably occupied under a warren or rabbit-borough.

The soil, though light and sandy, as we have noticed, in wet seasons will produce tolerably good crops of potatoes, oats and rye.

This farm stands on a road which opens a communication with the road from Lisburn to the Maze (a celebrated race-course) 73 miles north of Dublin, and three miles from Lisburn, which is the post-town to it.


This also stands on Lord Hertford's estate. It comprises a neat mansion house in the villa style, and 173 English acres of demesne, enriched with eleven acres of wood, and some young plantations of an ornamental character. The upper soil, which stands on a substratum of limestone gravel, though light,  produces wheat of good quality, and tolerable crops of every other species of grain. In point of prospect, Moira wood and the parish church of Aghalee, are the best objects in its view. This seat stands on a county road, which opens a communication between Lurgan and the county of Armagh, and Lisburn in that of Antrim, 70 miles north of Dublin, 14 south of Belfast, and two miles from Moira, which is the post-town to it. Whether the Hertford estate is indebted for this improvement to the present resident, Mr. Gorman, or to his predecessors our information does not enable us to decide; but, as improvement is a gradual work, each party has, in all probability, contributed his quota of assistance to its present aspect.


Lambeg is the name of a small, but interesting village on the Hertford estate, situated, between Lisburn and Belfast, on the great northern road. It has been distinguished by a woollen manufactory, whose history we have given in a subsequent part of this work (under the head, "Trade of the county") and a handsome seat and bleach-yard in its immediate vicinity, founded, we believe, by a branch of the Hancock family. This village is also the seat of a cotton factory, the property of Mr. Robert Gemmill, a native of Scotland, in which the raw cotton is spun and manufactured into muslin and calico, and afterwards bleached and finished for the public market; so that the whole process of the cotton trade is carried on here in high perfection. Several thousand pounds have been expended by Mr. Gemmill, on this property, on a very short, but we shall not say uncertain, tenure, since the confidence reposed by Lord Hertford's tenantry, in the justice and honour of his family, has so far been fully justified by his lordship's conduct. Lambeg cotton factory and farm is situated on the banks of the river Lagan, in a section of the country emphatically distinguished for its pre-eminence of beauty and improvement. Five hundred of the labouring population are said to derive employment and support from this establishment, the products of which, composed of brown and white muslins and calicoes, are chiefly disposed of in the home market. Water twist (the strongest class of spun cotton) the produce of this house, has also been disposed of by one of its agents in Glasgow for the Russian market, where, we learn, that large quantities of English spun cotton are regularly consumed.

Lambeg is situated two miles north of Lisburn, which is the post-town to it, five south of Belfast, 75 north of Dublin.


This is the seat of a thread manufactory, established by Mr. Barbour, a native of Scotland, who has the merit of founding this branch of trade, on the Hertford estate, where he continues to conduct it with success. Hitherto, to the great discredit of our country, Ireland has been a depot for Scotch thread; but, if Mr. Barbour's example shall be followed up with spirit, in the north of Ireland, we shall not be long dependant on a foreign market for a supply of this useful article. Here, about 200,000 hanks of native yarn are spun annually, into threads of all classes; in the manufacturing and bleaching of which, 122 of the population of this neighbourhood find daily employment.

Whether, therefore, we regard this factory, in its relation to the trade of Ireland, or as an establishment conducing to the improvement and prosperity of the Hertford property (through which we are now passing) in either of these relations it has a just claim to public notice; and should our brief exhibition of its history remind other great landed proprietors, of the interest which they have in encouraging useful manufactures on their estates, and diminishing the dependence of their country on foreign markets, we shall not lament the insignificance of the auxiliary instrument, by which so useful an object is kept afloat in the public mind.

The demesne of Plantation, including the bleach yard, which is its most useful and picturesque feature, comprehends 78 English acres of a light gravel soil, situated on a country road, which communicates between the villages of Ballynahinch and Saintfield, at the distance of one mile from Lisburn, which is its post-town, and 74 miles north of Dublin.

Having now given our readers some valuable specimens of improvement on the Hertford property, we shall conclude our visit to this rural kingdom, with the following brief review.

The Hertford Estate.

This property (which includes the town of Lisburn in its dominion) is bounded on the west and south by the river Lagan, and by lands of the Belfast estate, in the opposite direction. It is said to contain 75,000 English acres, and to be let for the short tenure of one life or 21 years. In this estimate are probably included 8 or 900 acres of bog, which the proprietor has reclaimed, at an expense of £2,546, producing, in the first letting, an annual increase to the value of this property of between 3 and 400 pounds sterling, (upwards of 12 per cent, for the money expended) and was expected to advance considerably in value, 10 or 12 years since, when this improvement was completed. What a valuable work was this, taking it in every point of view. A large sum expended in the employment of the poor. A large tract of land reclaimed from a barren waste for their accommodation. The face of the country beautified; and the proprietor amply repaid for his improvement by the gratitude of his people, the increased value of his estate, and a liberal addition to his present, income.

The Hertford estate with the exception of gentlemen's seats, is let in farms of various extents, say from 5 to 60 English acres, at an acreable rent of from 20 shillings to two guineas. The first of these prices (considering the highly improved district in which this property is situated, and its proximity to the best markets in Ulster) is low. The last, as produce now sells, would be considered a very high rent by the mere farmer; but, as our information was collected several year's since, when land and its produce rated high in this country, two guineas for an English acre of land in such a district, and with such a market as Belfast for the sale of its produce, was then in a ratio, with the value of its productions, and with the comfort and convenience of the occupier. At the prices which farming produce brought at that period, we are certain, not only that the farmer could pay his rent with ease, but, that on a well managed farm of 50 or 60 acres, he could lay something handsome by, as a provision for future contingencies. The scene, however, has since taken an awful shift, and the farmer's interest is labouring under the pressure of a national calamity, we do not think that Lord Hertford's tenantry will be the worst off. This conclusion we think ourselves justified in drawing, from the premises with which the Hertford estate furnished us. There, Lord Hertford's name was mentioned with universal respect as that of a good landlord:-- there, the aspect of his lordship's rural territory precluded the suspicion of oppression -- there, contentment appeared to reign, and there both the plough and the loom flourished. We could not hear that Lord Hertford, when renewing a lease, had in any instance, taxed his tenant's farm, with the value which it derived from his own industry, or that of his progenitor. If, therefore, our information of two guineas for an English acre of land has been correct, we may safely presume, that the native soil of that acre, abstracted from all the artificial improvements of the tenant, was, during the recent prices of produce, a good bargain at that rent; and, we conclude without information, that, in such a time of depression as the present, when agriculture and manufactures deeply languish , that reductions to those who are exclusively dependent on the soil and on the loom, will be made, in a manner quadrating with the circumstances of the times, on a property governed by those just and equitable principles, which appear to us to form, not the accidental and occasional accompaniments, but the essential principle and basis of the Hertford social code.

It is possible that some may object to this eulogy, on the principle, that a tenant presuming to assert his political independence, by an opposition to his landlord's parliamentary interest, would be made to feel the rectitude of that policy by which the Hertford property is governed, when he came to renew his lease. That Lord Hertford would not be likely to renew for such a tenant, we have no doubt, and, we have as little, that very few will try his lordship's temper in that way, (for we only heard of one solitary example) but as this objection is equally applicable to almost every landlord the dependence which it censures, is inseparable from the the present order of things, we do not feel that social policy of the Hertford estate, which we have noticed with approbation, in the least affected by this objection. Against that absentee system, however, which the Marquis of Hertford sanctions by his example, we do protest, as being of material injury to  Ireland; although the truth of history obliges us to confess, that, we have not seen the prosperity of any Irish estate, less affected by the absence of its proprietor, than in this instance. To Lord Hertford's official situation in the King;s household, his perpetual absence from Ireland, may be attributed; but whatever may have been the cause, his character, as a landlord, stands unimpeached; and although we know his lordship only by report,and have seen no other portrait of his character, than that which sparkles in the living features of his estate, yet in this we have seen enough to command our unpurchased admiration, and, in the same disinterested spirit in which we do it justice, we recommend it to the notice and imitation of those absentees, (or presentees, no matter which) that have the honour to govern an ignorant and starving population.

From Hertford property we proceeded to Belfast, through that beautiful section of the Belfast estate, which is situated between Lisburn and this rising sea-port.

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"Ireland Exhibited to England " -- 1823 Counties of Antrim and Down. Those Supplies a fairly comprehensive list of Country Seats and Residences in the falling within the postal districts of Lisburn and Hillsborough are "extracted" and given here. Some 20 pages of this book are devoted to Hillsborough.


Ashmount -- Mr. John Hall.
Brook-hill -- James Watson, Esq.
Broom-mount -- Stafford Gorman, Esq.
Ballydrain -- J. Younghusband, Esq.
Ballylesson -- Rev. Marcus Faloon.
Belvedere -- Andrew Durham, Esq.
Broom-hedge -- Mr. John Bennett.
Colon -- Mr S. Waring.
Carleton-house -- C. Carleton, Esq.
Demi-villa -- William Shaw, Esq.
Deneight -- John Hall, Esq.
Dame-ville -- Mr. William Shaw.
English-town -- Mr. M'Clune.
Edenderry -- Alex Wilson, Esq.
Grier's-town -- Mr. Arthur Grier.
Hilden -- Rev James Norwood.
Hall's-town -- Mr. Joseph Hall.
Hamoro -- Major Gayer.
Harmony-hill -- R. and J. Wolfenden.
Hill-hall -- Mr. John Turner.
Kilrush -- Dr. Crawford
Knockmore -- Mrs. Patten.
Larch-field -- D. Mussenden, Esq.
Lakefield -- Mrs. Stewart.
Moss-vale -- ------ Agnew, Esq.
Mullagh-carton -- Rev. William Whitlaw.
Murusk -- Mr. James Wright.
Myrtlefield -- Thomas Carlton, Esq.
Pear-tree-hill -- Thomas Lamb, Esq.
Plantation -- John Barbour, Esq.
Pine-hill -- C. Casement, Esq.
Red-hill -- Robert Garrett, Esq.
Rose-vale -- Lieutenant Patten.
Seymour-hill -- Robert Johnston, Esq.
Shamrock-vale -- Lieutenant Clarke.
Springfield -- Major Haughton.
Stoney-ford -- James Boyes, Esq.
Stream-ville -- Rev. C. Patten.
Trummery -- Mr. J. S. Condron.
Trench -- William Malcolm, Esq.
Trooper-field -- Mr. Robert Oliver.
Will-mount -- John Stewart, Esq.
White-hall -- Mr. John Boomer.


Agnes-ville -- Mr. John Anderson.
Blaris-lodge -- Sir George Atkinson.
Ballylintagh -- Samuel Cowan, Esq.
Ballyknock -- Mr. George Stannus.
Ballyworfy -- Mr. William May.
Blundel-hill -- Mr. Thomas Leathern.
Carnbane-house -- Joseph Pollock, Esq.
Clintagh -- Rev. Thompson
Culcavey -- Nathaniel Monk, Esq.
Carnbane -- R. J. Fowler.
Corcreeny -- Mr. John M'Elevey.
Cuppage-hall -- Mr. John Green.
Eden-vale -- Rev. T. M'Clure.
Eglantine -- Hugh Moore, Esq.
Flat-field -- Mr. James Megarry.
Growell -- Andrew Cowan, Esq.
Homra-house -- Marcus Corry, Esq.
Holiday's-bridge -- Mr. James Woods.
Loughaghry -- Mr. William Magill.
Maze -- Captain Craig.
Maze-course -- Mr. Samuel Bradberry.
Mill-vale -- Mr. Arch. Henderson.
New-port -- Mr. J. Harvey.
Orr-field -- W. and J. Orr.
Oglesgrove -- Mr. George Davis.
Rocks-hill -- Mr. William Archer.
Rose-hill -- George Crickhard, Esq.
Spire-hill -- Lieutenant William Cowan.

(The 1859 "Revival" next week)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 11 May 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Ireland Exhibited to England, 1823 - Lisburn and Hillsborough. (part 1)



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 Exhibited to England in a Political and Moral Survey of her Population.


This work is in two volumes. It devotes some thirty pages to Lisburn and district. Six pages are occupied with a record of the Battle of Lisburn, 1641.


This town is situated in the Barony of Massarene, on the River Lagan (which separates it from the county of Down), and is probably the handsomest inland town in Ulster. It exceeds Antrim, the shire-town of this county, in its trade; it contains an immensely larger population, a people more wealthy, and, in the beauty of its aspect, there is no competition between them. Lisburn returns one member to Parliament, since the legislative union. It is a market, fair, and post-town; is very considerable in the fine lawn and linen trade, and has been long distinguished as the seal of one of the most eminent diaper and damask manufactories in the world. Goods are here finished for several of the crowned heads and most eminent men of Europe, with all those devices drawn in the loom, which are emblematic of their rank and achievements. This is a new kind of type for the celebration of events; and the manufacturers, being also printers and publishers of these works, give additional celebrity to their name. Indeed, as printers and publishers in damask folio, the Messrs. Coulson rank among the first artists in the world, but, to their customers, we presume, must be attributed the merit of the composition of those histories, which they publish in such neat editions.

But Lisburn is not dependent, for its celebrity, upon mere works of art: it is distinguished as having been for some time the theatre of a genius -- Miss Owenson, Lady Morgan -- that has since raised its beam in all the refulgence of wild Irish talent upon the republic of letters. Conformable to the usual intelligence of country towns, and that sickening pride by which their paltry distinctions are maintained, this star of the emerald isle is said to have been unnoticed and unknown at Lisburn (from whence we infer, that our brother drapers of that town, in their devotion to the loom, have forgotten the science of astrology). To use the expression of a facetious inhabitant of Lisburn (who spoke without a figure, concerning the visit of this fair genius to Ulster, and her opinion of its inhabitants), "She came a stranger amongst us," said the wit, "and we thought to have parted with her as such, but she would not let us." It seems not, since she used the privilege of an old acquaintance, to tell you her opinion of your character. "The people of the North" said this talented lady (as the story proceeded), "by the country of their residence are Irish; by their religion, and the country of their forefathers, they are Scotch; but, by their character and actions, they are neither one nor the other. They are destitute of the generous hospitality of the native Irish, and appear to be wholly swallowed up in the vortex of their trade. They are destitute of the literary taste having that kind of information only which can be rendered useful in the pursuit of gain." Such, we have heard, was the opinion of this lady, whose tour in the north of Ireland, was not attended with all that eclat, with which Fortune, in a fit of Justice, has since thought proper to crown her talents -- talents (in defiance of the English reviews) that are now acknowledged to confer a distinguished honour upon the country which produced them. A tour in humble life would, however, so far as country towns are concerned, have been attended with similar marks of distinction in any other nation, (for mankind have not yet learned to place naked merit in its true niche). Could the lady in question have exchanged her talents for a title and suite in livery, her personal attendants in a more, fortunate tour through the republic of letters, it is probable her reception (even in enlightened Lisburn) would have been more flattering; but, as the world is now constituted, those days of patriarchal simplicity, when man was regarded for his own sake; or those of Roman or Spartan virtue, when talent and the love of country were the only passports to distinction, are not likely soon to return -- no, not even in this brave and generous land!

We understand that much attention has been paid, by the ladies of this town, to the interests of education, but chiefly by those of the Hancock family, whose unremitting attention to this important instrument of civilisation, and we have no doubt, to other public charities, is deserving the imitation of their country. We wish the Irish ladies, generally, would take up a peasantry improvement society, embracing within its circle all the wants of their parish. We fear, without them, it will never become fashionable; and we are sure that, separate from them, its duties will never be faithfully and universally performed.

Being desirous to render this work an accurate portrait of the country, and consequently, in our history of each district, to preserve a record of its public men, it becomes our duty to notice the name of John Hancock, a native of this town, who has long distinguished himself as one of its active and useful citizens, and who, some years since, addressed himself to the Irish public, in a course of essays, explanatory or his views of religious and moral truth.

Vitriol Island, Lisburn.

This is a small patch of ground, comprehending nearly three acres, in the immediate vicinity of the town, on which an extensive vitriol manufactory has been erected by Messrs. Conyngham and Gregg, and which was the property of Dr Crawford, when we visited that place in 1817. It furnishes employment to about twenty hands; and notwithstanding the depression under which most branches of trade then laboured, this establishment was advancing in the quantity of its manufacture a pretty conclusive argument of the satisfaction derived by the bleachers of this district from the quality of its acid.

Lisburn stands on a position considerably elevated above the Dublin Road, from which you ascend to it by a most steep and fatiguing hill. The country around it- is highly improved; but, in the direction of Belfast, it is one continued chain of plantation beauty. We think it is scarcely possible to bring any country to a state of higher perfection than this district of Antrim.

A minute description of all the works of art and nature, which combine to produce this perfection, would be incompatible with the limits of a sheet; but, when the reader presents to his imagination a magnificent landscape, bounded in front by the Belfast mountains, watered by the River Lagan, besprinkled with beautiful villas, bleach-yards upon the mountain side, glistening in the dancing ray; cottages, white as snow, with cropped hedges, inclosing gardens bending under the weight of their productions; vallies teeming with the gifts of Ceres, and all in full view of the traveller, over a charming road, which passes through demesnes and villas of incomparable beauty; forming one continued chain of rich plantation from Lisburn to Belfast, he will have formed some idea of the country, to whose natural and artificial history we are now introducing him.

The road we have just noticed is the last and most beautiful section of the grand coast road, to which we alluded in our survey of Downshire. as opening a communication between the ports of Dublin and Belfast, and on which Lisburn stands, 73 miles north of Dublin, and seven south of Belfast.

This town, which for size and population is now the second town in the county of Antrim, was. in the reign of Elisabeth, only a small village, and, at that time, called Lisnegarvey. The original proprietor of the territory of Kilultagh, in which it stands, was an O'Neil of the Tyrone family. In the reign of James I. Sir Fulk Conway obtained a grant of it. He induced a number of English and Welsh families to settle there. From a plan of the town taken, it is thought, some time in that reign, and preserved in the Marquis of Hertford's office, it appears, that there were then 53 tenements in the place, besides the Castle. From this plan it is evident, that the centre of the town (all, that was then in existence) has undergone but little alteration in shape, except what has been occasioned by the buildings near the market-house; nor, for many years after, does it seem to have made any great progress; for, in 1635, it is thus described by an English traveller:-- "Linsley Garvin, about seven miles from Belfast, is well seated, but neither the town, nor country thereabouts, were planted (inhabited), being almost all woods and moorish, until you come to Dromore. The town belongs to Lord Conway, who hath a good handsome house there."

Lisburn is remarkable for a victory gained over the Irish rebels, commanded by Sir Phelim O'Neil, Sir Con Magenis, and General Plunket, on the 28th of November, 1641, a little more than a month after the breaking out of the rebellion; Sir George Rawdon, who commanded the King's forces, having arrived at Lisburn on the evening before the battle.

In 1662, the inhabitants of the town of Lisburn, on account of their loyalty to Charles the First and Second, were, (by the same patent which erected the church of Lisburn into a cathedral for the united dioceses of Down and Connor, dated. October 27th of that year,) empowered to return two burgesses to parliament for ever; the sheriff of the county of Antrim, upon all summonses to elect a parliament, was obliged to send his precept, to the seneschal of the manor of Kilultagh, who was made the returning officer, notwithstanding the inhabitants were not a corporate body.

In 1707, this town was burned to the ground. The castle, a fine building, shared the same fate as the other houses, and was never, rebuilt. Part of the garden walls are still remaining, and the great terrace affords a most agreeable promenade, being well sheltered from the north by young plantations, and kept in the best order.

But that which more particularly contributed to the rise of the town of Lisburn was the settlement of many French refugees there (after the repeal of the edict of Nantz) who had been bred to the linen manufacture. Mr. Lewis Cromelin obtained a patent in 1699, which was afterwards renewed in the reign of Queen Anne, for establishing a manufacture of linen; and also, among other grants, one for £60 per annum for a French minister. In consequence of this he settled in Lisburn, and many of his countrymen also. The virtuous conduct and civilized manners of these good people, were of great advantage to this place; and their skill and industry set an example to those who were concerned in the same business, which soon had the effect of raising the quality of their manufacture to a degree of excellence unknown till then; and the linens and cambrics made in this neighbourhood, and sold in Lisburn market, have, until this day kept up their superior character.

Between 30 and 40 years ago, many new houses were built, in Lisburn, and some have been built since, but at present it seems stationery in that particular; and though its vicinity to Belfast, and its circumstances as an inland town, render it unsuitable for a great foreign trade, yet there is a vast deal of business done in it in various ways. On market days it is much frequented, from the quantity of linen and other things brought to it, and it is well known as the first place to meet with oats of the best quality for seed; there is also a cattle market every Tuesday, besides its two fairs. A few years ago a fine spire of cut stone was added to the church; and lately, a steeple and cupola to the market-house, the rooms of which the Marquis of Hertford fitted up anew, with some additions, as the place of assembly for the town. The houses of worship are, a spacious church, a Presbyterian meeting-house, a Quaker meeting-house, a handsome Catholic chapel, and a Methodist chapel. To the north of the town, there is a school for children of the Society of Friends or Quakers, built, we believe, and endowed with certain lands, by the late John Hancock; and about the year 1810, a fine school was established on the Lancasterian plan, of which two young gentlemen of the town, Messrs. Cupples and Crossely, undertook the management; and the latter (who died of consumption in a few years after) is said to have fallen a victim to close confinement, and to an intense application of his faculties to the improvement of this infant establishment.

Another very laudable institution is, the Humane Society, for the restoration of suspended animation, in persons who have either been immersed in water (as frequent accidents in this way occur from the nearness of the river and canal), or from any other cause.

The county infirmary contains twenty beds, and gives relief to a number of externs. It is situated in an airy part of the town, where the duties of the surgeon were skilfully and conscientiously discharged, some years since, by Dr. Stewart.

Each governor can recommend 40 externs per year, and as many for advice as they think fit. They also recommend for interns whenever there is a vacancy.

Lisburn contains about 800 houses, and perhaps, at a moderate computation, population of 6,000 souls.

Eminent Men.

Among the eminent men of which this section of the county makes its boast, we must not omit to mention the name of Dr. Jeremiah Taylor, who by his religious writings and attachment to the cause of loyalty, has transmitted to posterity a name of high eminence on the page of history. He was chaplain to Charles I; and in 1660, in recompence of his attachment to the house of Stuart, or to the cause of monarchy, we know not which, he was promoted to the sees of Down and Connor, to which was annexed the administration of the bishopric of Dromore. Previous to this he had been honoured with a seat in the privy-council of Ireland, and the university of Dublin conferred on him the office of their vice-chancellor. This good bishop did not long enjoy his elevation: he died in August, 1667, at Lisnegarvey (now Lisburn).

This prelate is said to have written some of his deepest works in a sort of summerhouse, in a small island, in Lough-beg (the property, we presume, of Lord Conway). A situation like this, in the centre of a fine land and water scene, secured almost from the possibility of interruption and where nature herself was pregnant with tranquility, was very much in unison with the meditations of this good bishop; when composing those spiritual works, which have given celebrity to his name on the page of history.

In the parish of Ballinderry, where this island is situated, it is said that his name is held in veneration to this day.

The principal work which he finished at Portmore was the "Ductor Dubitantium," of Rule of Conscience, as it is dated from thence.

His "Holy Living and Dying" was, written during his retirement in Caermarthenshire, in the time of the Protectorate. He left that situation, where he had experienced great domestic misfortunes (a circumstance well calculated to improve his own character, and to give his virtuous mind a deeper relish for the spiritual subjects on which he wrote), and went to reside in London, where he officiated to a congregation of loyalists. At this time he formed an acquaintance with Edward, Lord Conway, who appears to have been so much pleased with his manners and conversation, that he solicited him to accompany him to his seat at Portmore, in the county of Antrim, where he continued until the Restoration.

We have been anxious to collect the names of other inhabitants of this county, who have distinguished themselves in the state, or in the world of letters, and have so far succeeded, as to be able to present the public with the names of a few of the greatest men of this and the last age; nor have we been inattentive to the services which some individuals in private life have rendered to their country, by the exercise of superior virtue.


Among the numerous fine features by which the Hertford property is distinguished, that of Springfield, the seat of Major Haughton, particularly attracted our attention, as a model of English neatness and beauty. The vermilion roof of Springfield Lodge, being happily combined with the snowy whiteness of its walls, and with the verdure of its lawns and plantations; to the traveller near Hillsborough, this unusual combination of colours renders it very distinguishable from the other seats of the Hertford property.

It comprehends 80 English acres of soil, in good heart, including a very handsome and spacious lawn in front of the house, which, with the lodge and plantations that inclose it, are the most attractive features of this seat.

Springfield is situated on a plain, and consequently does not command a very extensive prospect of the neighbouring country; but, the limited tract which it does command, being richly improved, and the Mourne mountains presenting a grand outline to the southern view, in some measure renumerate the eye and imagination for the absence of that fine tract of country, on which they had previously feasted at Brookhill, a seat beautifully elevated above Springfield, which shall be next noticed in these memoirs.

Springfield stands on a road which opens a communication between Lisburn and Lough Neagh, 74 miles north of Dublin, and three and a half north-west of Lisburn, which is the post town to it.


This finely elevated position, for the enjoyment of a rich and extensive scene, may be considered as the pride of the Hertford villas. It comprehends a neat white-washed lodge, and about 300 English acres of an highly improved farm, of which that part in the immediate vicinity of the house, has been richly wooded, by the grandfather of the present proprietor, to the English style), is indebted for its best improvements. But the woods, however valuable and graceful to this property, have not presumed to place themselves in competition with the beauties of the distant prospect. Over their waving foliage, is distinctly seen, the wide landscape, spreading its dew-bespangled carpet up to the very summit of the Mourne mountains. Not a gem nor a dew-drop -- no, nor even the slightest tint of verdure in Natures's pencil escapes the eye. Satiated with the enjoyment of a scene so widely extended and teeming with the rich simplicity of nature, the wandering instrument of vision rests its powers on the modest wood beneath, in silent admiration of that conscious dignity, that proudly turned on its own axis, and needed not, by an envious interposition of its shade, to rob the lowly violet in the valley of its legitimate claim to praise, in the grand festive scene that nature has here provided for the eye, that pants for the enjoyment of her simple treasures.

Besides the Mourne mountain scene, which we have just noticed, as tinged with the deepest verdure of nature, and as eminently pregnant with the gems and dewdrops of her art, this grandly elevated seat also presents you with an incomparable view, in the opposite direction, over the crystal bosom of Lough Neagh to the Derry and Tyrone mountains, which form the magnificent boundaries of a plain sparkling with beautiful villas, and with farm-houses and cottages, that evidence the advancement of civilisation, and the existence of a happy and prosperous population.

Brookhill (and several other parts of Lord Hertford's estate) is reported to be a sound lime-stone soil; a class always constituting a good sheep-walk and corn-soil; and, in this property equal in the quantity as well as the quality of its produce to most soils in Ulster. The lands, however of this province, are usually light; and in the production of beef, wheat and potatoes, those great articles of the human stamina, cannot be placed in competition with the marrowy feeding soils of Limerick Tipperary, and Meath.

Brookhill stands on the road adverted to in our description of Springfield, as opening a communication between Lisburn and Lough Neagh, 74 miles north of Dublin and four miles from Lisburn, which is the post-town to it.

To be continued.

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 4 May 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)