Thursday, 28 June 2012

Origin and Characteristics of The Population in The Counties of Antrim and Down.


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Ulster Journal of Archæology, Vol. 1, 1853.

This article and the accompanying maps occupy some 44 pages of the Journal, and deal with the antiquity of the district, importance of the district, topographical outline, physical peculiarities, condition of the country before the Plantation of Ulster, position of ancient districts, the Plantation of Ulster, English settlements in Antrim and Down. The title of the article is rather misleading, as the author confines himself exclusively to the English settlement, practically ignoring the existence of the strong Scottish element which predominates in both counties.

In Ulster the people of Anglo-Saxon ancestry are found in greatest numbers, and there the modes of thought and habits of action bear the closest resemblance to those which are found in Great Britain. There is the stronghold of the United Church of England and Ireland; and there also are found the numerous Presbyterian communities which claim proximate or remote relationship to the Established Church of Scotland. In Ulster, too, partly as a consequence and partly as a collateral fact, law and order are respected, life and property are secure. The wheels of commerce and social life move smoothly on; allowing for slight exceptional cases, property and population maintain a steady increase; and the visitor of enlarged views finds that, as in Scotland, a soil which was naturally unproductive has nourished a population of high promise. In short, except geographically, Ulster is not Irish at all.

What Ulster is to Ireland, Down and Antrim are to Ulster. Within their limits every favourable influence exists in the greatest force, and the elements of civilisation and progress have arrived at the greatest maturity. For three centuries the history of Ulster, and in a less degree of the whole island, belongs mainly to these two counties. They lie in the pathway to Scotland, from which the largest tide of immigration flowed; and they opened their arms to the gallant adventurers of England who risked danger and difficulty in the permanent purchase of title and estate. Whenever blood has flowed in Ulster, whether for the defence of civil liberty or in the deadly feuds of race and creed, the fields of Antrim and Down have been moistened; and in guarding their own hearths and homes, as well as in affording more than a fair proportion for the public service, their sons have never been found wanting.

One reason for the variety of population which these two counties contain is the fact that they were always regarded as a sort of sanctuary. The Huguenot of the Seine felt that he might thank God and take courage, not only in Portarlington, but on the banks of the Lagan. The persecuted Cameronian, fleeing from the enemy or the avenger, hung up his claymore in peace in a farmhouse of Ahoghill or Ballyeaston. The crest-fallen cavalier in the days of Cromwell, and the stern Puritan in the days of "the Merry Monarch," pledged their respective toasts without molestation in Dromore, Carrickfergus, or Ballymena. And later still, the songs of the expatriated Jacobites were sung over the loom and plough by those who little knew what inflammable materials they were handling "while George III. was king."

When the guns of Thurot in 1760, and those of Paul Jones in 1778, woke the echoes around Belfast Lough, they acted as a call to arms of the people in the neighbouring district. Many a "village Hampden" who found a new home in the Western States of America, and many a grey-haired patriarch on the plains of Australia, has secured the breathless attention of an humble auditory as he related with pride how his father rushed to the mustering at the "Maze Course," or in the market-place of Newtownards.

Topographical Outline.

Several of the baronies are sub-divided, for the sake of convenience, into upper and lower districts.

The explanation of this is, that the terms were not fixed by the local inhabitants, nor with relation to the assize town of each county, but by authority and in relation to Dublin. The metropolis of every county is figuratively a head, and provincial districts are the members; so that we are said to go up to the former, and down to the latter. Thus we go up to London, which lies in a basin, and is connected with the sea by a navigable river; we go down to the Scottish border, or to the region of Snowdon. In like manner, in Ireland we go up to Dublin, which is on the seaside, from Croagh-Patrick or Mangerton; we go down to Knock-Layd or Slieve Donard. If therefore, we take the Metropolis as our point of view, even the apparent anomaly vanishes. In every case the district known as "Upper" is nearer to Dublin in geographical position, or at least by the ordinary route for reaching it; and that which is called "Lower" is more remote.

The ecclesiastical arrangements in Antrim and Down differ in some respects from the civil ones. There are three dioceses, which are almost co-extensive with the two counties, but embracing a few additional parishes. The Dioceses of Down and Connor existed distinct from each other from about A.D. 500 to 1441, that is for a period of nine centuries; and as their union took place before the Reformation, they are united at present in the arrangements both of the Established and the Roman Catholic Churches.

Dromore existed as a separate diocese from about 550 to 1842, or during thirteen centuries; it is still so in the Roman Catholic Church, but in the United Church of England and Ireland it forms part of the union of "Down and Connor and Dromore," in accordance with the Church Temporalities Act of 1833.

The boundary line of the Diocese of Dromore coincides with the county boundary near Lough Neagh; then making a circuit north of Aghalee and south of Hillsborough, it includes Anahilt, Magheradrool, Drumgooland, and Kilmegan. This includes the nominally "exempt jurisdiction of Newry and Mourne," of which the Earl of Kilmorey is the lay Lord Abbot. The Diocese of Dromore also includes the portion of Armagh cut off by the upper Bann, and which, therefore, naturally belongs to the County Down. In this is situated Seagoe, reaching to within a mile of Portadown; Moyntaghs, a wilderness of bog on the shore of Lough Neagh: and Shankill, in a portion of which, belonging to Down, the Belfast canal joins Lough Neagh. The only parish in Antrim which belongs to this diocese is Aghalee, which, with the two parishes of Aghagallon and Magheramesk in the Diocese of Connor and County of Antrim, forms a union. A Roman Catholic tradition partly explains this exceptional fact. It is said that Aghalee was formerly like Moyntaghs, and uninhabited, and that it was united, to the Diocese of Dromore as a circumstance of no practical importance.

The Diocese of Down comprises the remainder of the county of that name; except portions of Blaris (i.e., Lisburn), Lambeg, and Drumbeg, which lie across the county boundary, but are included in Connor. In each diocese of the union there is but one archdeaconry, which is, of course, co-extensive with it; and it is a curious fact that the Archdeacon of Down, which is ex-officio rector of Hillsborough, resided till 1842 in the parish adjacent to the Bishop of Dromore. A design once existed, to bring the two episcopal residences into closer proximity. The first Marquis of Downshire, a man of great public spirit, who died in 1794, was the contemporary of Bishop Dickson of Down and Connor. When his Lordship had erected the magnificent church of Hillsborough, which is his noblest monument, he was desirous to induce the Bishop to fix his residence in that town. With the Consistorial Court at Lisburn (only three miles distant), there would certainly have been concentration of offices -- though not at the most convenient point.

The Diocese of Connor is as large as Down and Dromore together. It includes the whole County Antrim (Aghalee excepted), small portions of Down, as we have seen, and part of Londonderry. Following the natural boundary, as the Diocese of Dromore does, It includes Coleraine and Agherton or Ballyaghran, both of which lie wholly within the "Liberties of Coleraine." Within the same limits lie also the principal portions of the parishes of Ballyrashane, or St. John's Town, and Ballywillin, or Milltown; the remaining portions of which are in Antrim. The parish of Ballyscullion, lying west of Lough Beg and the Bann river, is mainly in the County Derry, yet in the Diocese of Connor. A small portion of it, together with the Grange of Ballyscullion, is situated in Antrim.

Parishes are also ecclesiastical divisions, though used for civil purposes.

Since neither diocese nor parishes conform to the limits of counties, it is not to be expected that the latter will be regulated by divisions of a subordinate kind. Accordingly, we find that many parishes are situated partially in each of two baronies.

In Antrim, the parishes of Billy, Killagan, Antrim, Shankill (Belfast), Derriaghy, and Templepatrick are examples of those which extend to two baronies.

The names of parishes are usually those of townlands within their respective limits, each being usually named from that one which contains the church or village, or both. The name of the village often supplants that of the ancient townland, and sometimes both preserve collaterally a dubious claim to notice.

In the parish of Saintfield, the name of Tonaghnieve has disappeared; but there can be little doubt that that was the name of the townland originally, especially as the fraternal name of Tonaghmore still survives. It is not improbable that the ancient name of Dromore parish was Ballymaganlis, from the townland of that name; but the name of the town has naturally superseded it. In Hillsborough parish, the ancient name of Camlin or Crumlin has long ceased to possess any official existence. It is still, however, traditionally known in connection with the ancient burial-ground, now forming part of the lawn of Hillsborough Castle, and its position is marked by the well-known Kate-Rush tree. Hillsborough Church was removed to its present position in 1662, but occasional interments took place in Crumlin burying-ground for nearly thirty years after. The name Shankill, derived from a townland which included a burying-place, is more than obsolescent; except to the inquirer, it may be regarded as obsolete. The town of Belfast constitutes so important a portion of the whole parish that its name has taken precedence; and instead even of the townland of Shankill we read "Edenderry."

Blaris parish is named from an obscure townland in the County Down; and Lisnagarvey, an equally obscure one in the County Antrim, gave name to a town within its limits. The latter was nearly burnt down, and was thence called Lisburn; and the little parish being united with one on the other side of the Lagan, the whole took the name of Blaris.

Moira (also written Moyrath, Moiragh, St. James of Moira, and Magh-Rath) is a name known for more than 1,200 years; yet the name of the townland in which the village is situated is Carnalbanagh and the parish was only constituted from portions of Magheralin and Hillsborough in 1725.

The townlands in Ireland are equivalent to the townships in England; in Scotland the same purpose is generally served by a minuter naming of farms and houses. The townlands are civil divisions; but in one respect they coincide with the ecclesiastical; for all parishes are composed of several of them complete. Their names are very peculiar; in short, the history of their names might almost be made a history of the country.

In the lower parts of Antrim, along the river margins, are to be sought the past and present sites of marshes. The parish of Moyntaghs, in Armagh, has its corresponding townland of Moyntaghs in Aghagallon; both of which will disappear in time, so that the philologist may have to inquire hereafter for the reason of the name. The Bogs of Kilwarlin, the Maze Moss, Blaris Moore, and many such places have become fertile fields; and the numerous names (such as Moss-side, where there is now no moss) are historical as well as topographical.

(To be Continued.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 28 June 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.)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Huguenot Settlement in Lisburn


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The History of the Huguenot Settlement in Ireland,
By Thomas Gimlette, D.D. -- 1888.

This work was, unfortunately, never finished owing to the death of the author, and only brings the narrative down to about the year 1690.

The story of the persecution, suffering, and exile of the Huguenots in France is told, and their wanderings traced. The whole is an awful record of bigotry, folly, and inhuman cruelty (embracing the years 1540-1690), whereby the best blood of a mighty nation was shed on the altar of clerical intolerance and stupidity.

There is little in the work bearing directly on the Huguenot settlement in Lisburn. An account of the well-known meeting between the French refugee René Bulmer and King William III. is given. The Wolfenden family at Lambeg is also referred to.

In 1508 the great Henri of Navarre promulgated the Edict of Nantes, which made every Frenchman a freeman in matters of faith. This just and equitable measure was, however, violently opposed and unfairly carried out by his lieutenants and by his successors. For more than a century the French Protestants still struggled for their rights. At last, crushed by the bigoted and despotic Louis, the lamp of the Divine truth was all but extinguished, and by 1685 the edict of freedom was revoked. Three hundred and fifty thousand voluntary exiles then left the shores of their native land. Switzerland, German, Russia, and America received many of the persecuted strangers with open arms. A considerable number found shelter in England. Holland afforded homes for some of the wealthiest, and employment for the most enterprising. In William, Prince of Orange, they found a kind protector. Many of them followed his fortunes when he succeeded to the throne of Great Britain, and in Ireland the greatest of his victories was attained by the steady bravery of the French Protestant refugees.

The Huguenot Colony at Lisburn,
By Dr. Purdon,

This interesting article may be seen in the Ulster Journal of Archæology, vol. 1, 1853. It contains valuable information regarding the colony, and, in addition, extensive notes relating to individual families -- Crommelin, De La Cherois, Dubourdieu, De Lavalade, Roche, Geneste, De Blackquicre, Perrin, Gullot, Jellett, Saurin, Mangin, Goyer, Bulmer, Dupre.

Louis Crommelin.

A concise sketch of his life and work appears in the Dictionary of National Biography and in the "Northern Whig" of July 13, 1885.

The Huguenots In Ulster,
By R. A. M'Call, K.C.
("Lisburn Standard," 21st May, 1915.)

This article contributes practically no new matter of local interest to the narrative of the settlement in Lisburn as given by Hugh M'Call, 1870, and Samuel Smiles, 1889.

From the Ulster Journal of Archæology.

In the "Rounds" on the other side of the mill-race adjoining the Castle Gardens, Lisburn, there is a very fine lime-tree walk, and on one of those lime-trees -- the eleventh on the south-east side -- is clearly cut the following:--

Saumarez Dubourdieu
Aug. 28, 1789.

The cutting has been very carefully made and is in a good state of preservation. On the same tree is also clearly cut the year, 1764. It is considered that this Saumarez Dubourdieu was a grandson of the Rev. Saumarez Dubourdieu, being a son of John Dubourdieu, who was rector of Anahilt. The Rev. Saumarez Dubourdieu, who died in 1812, was minister of the French Huguenot Church in Castle Street, Lisburn, for almost half a century, and subsequently was presented with the living of Lambeg.

The Huguenots and their Settlement in Ireland,
By C. D. Purdon, M.D. -- 1869.

This pamphlet, of some sixteen pages, contains a general history of the Huguenot settlements in the various districts of Ireland. It records numerous items of local interest.

Laval, in his History of the Church of France, has an appendix of one hundred pages, in which he describes in detail the seven different ways they tried to force the reformed to change their religion. Many of the highest rank and station were consigned to the galleys, where they died, under the hands of their task-masters, after having lived in chains many years, However, numbers escaped out of France into the adjoining countries, and were kindly welcomed in each.

Those that escaped into Holland received the patronage and protection of William. Several regiments were formed of the refugees, who accompanied him into England, whence they went to Ireland, grouped into three regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, who did their duty so well that Schomberg, writing to King William, said that from them William had more service than from double the number of others. It is almost unnecessary to mention that to these regiments  the victory of the Boyne was, in a great measure, owed. When old Duke Schomberg, pointing to the Irish and French troops, said to them, "Come my friends, bear in mind your courage and resentment -- yonder are your persecutors," which so animated them that they impetuously charged and broke through the French regiments opposite them, commanded by the Duke de Lauzun; and it was after this charge that the aged warrior received his death-wound, and fell in the arms of his chaplain, the Rev. John Dubourdieu, a relative of the old French pastor of Lisburn.

Several Protestant noblemen had printed papers circulated in France to induce the Protestants to come and settle on their estates. Many of them took advantage of these invitations, and came over, who afterwards were joined by others from England and Holland, and, with the officers and soldiers, settled at Belfast, Lambeg, Lisburn, Dundalk, Portarlington, Dublin, Wicklow, Waterford, Kilkenny, Youghal, Innishannon, Bandon, Tallow, Cork, Carlow, and Killeshandra; and we divide these places into two classes -- viz., those that had chapels, and those that had none. In the former we include Lisburn, Dundalk, Portarlington, Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Innishannon, and Cork. Amongst the latter, Belfast, Lambeg, Wicklow, Youghal, Bandon, Tallow, Carlow, and Killeshandra. I may mention that this division was caused by the Government providing endowments of £60 per annum for chaplains to minister to them, when this number exceeded sixty souls; consequently many of these mission settlements very soon merged into larger ones. We shall now take up the first class, and amongst them we find Lisburn holds the chief place, and as we owe to this settlement the present position of the linen trade throughout Ulster, it may be interesting to enter into the cause of its origin more fully than we otherwise would. This settlement derived its prosperity from the fact that the Government of that day, yielding to the representations of the English, were desirous to discourage the woollen manufacture in Ireland, and after having succeeded in almost suppressing it, they, in return, passed a bill to foster that of linen; but though this was passed there was no one left in the country who was able to instruct the Irish in the perfect way of manufacturing linens, notwithstanding that it was formerly used largely by the Irish, and that Lord Strafford had promoted its production in every way. So after this AC was passed, according to the representations of the "Commissioners of Trade," the King, who took a great interest in this manner, invited over from Holland Louis Crommelin, a "Huguenot," whom he appointed "overseer of the Linen Manufacture of Ireland," and encouraged him to bring over others of his countrymen both of high and low rank, to take part in establishing the manufacture and instructing the natives, who were induced by the Act, which gave £10 to every female "who should before the Judge, Sheriff, and Foreman of the Grand Jury at every Summer Assizes spin the best thread on the double wheel, and also receive a certificate as a mistress spinner; and also every weaver was to receive £10 for the best piece of cloth."  Crommelin having accepted the King's offer, and also the premium of £5 for every loom that was kept going, brought over from Holland 1,000 looms and spinning wheels of improved construction, and a good number of Huguenots, who formed this colony. Neither were their spiritual wants unprovided for. The Rev. Charles Lavalade, who was a connection of the family, was appointed their pastor, and a church was built for them, and on their assembly each Lord's Day they could join in the worship of the sanctuary in their usual manner, repeating in the beloved language the prayers of their church, and thankful in being able to serve Cod according to their consciences. The reminiscences of this colony are very numerous, but we shall only select two of them -- namely, one respecting the Dubourdieu family, and Peter Goyer. The former one is, that when the son of the last pastor was at the taking of Martinique, the commanding officer of the French, in surrendering his sword to him, said: "My misfortune is the lighter as I am conquered by a Dubourdieu, and a beloved relation. My name is Dubourdieu." This individual was in after years an admiral of France. The latter incident was that Peter Goyer, after having seen his brother killed by Louis' soldiers, who added to their cruelty the mockery of tearing a leaf out of his Bible and forcing it into his mouth before he was killed, escaped concealed in a wine cask. This colony existed for upwards of 80 years, and gradually became extinct by its members moving to other places, by inter-marriages with the original inhabitants, and by joining the Established Church; and though nothing exists of the colony except a few tombstones in the churchyard and kindly recollections of the older inhabitants, yet the fruits remain in the present state of the North of Ireland, towards the prosperity of which it largely contributed in forming the linen and cambric manufacture.

Of the Belfast settlement, some went to Lisburn, where they had their worship celebrated in their native tongue; others remained here, no doubt being influenced in their selection by the appointment of the Rev. M. Saurin as the vicar. But nothing now remains of this settlement. The Lambeg settlement consisted of a few workers who brought their skill with them, and the only tradition we have respecting them is René Bulmer and his wife, who met, along with others, William III. on his route to the Boyne. René requested permission to detail his grievances to the King, which request his Majesty kindly granted. He then requested permission to salute the King's cheek, which was also granted, and then King William jumped off his horse, saying: "And thy wife also;" and she being a very pretty woman, the King kissed her, as the old chronicle says, "right heartilie." This colony was speedily absorbed into the Lisburn one.

(Next week: Origin of the People of Killultagh.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 21 June 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.)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

"Fathers Beware" – A Father's Day Story from 1931

So... did you know the dandelion is the symbol for Father's Day?

Or that not everyone was for a Father's Day to begin with?

This little extract transcribed from a story in the Hull Daily Mail of Saturday 25 July 1931 posted by the British Newspaper Archives is rather telling.

Hmm... and is that a forwarning of Twitter in there... 

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FATHER has long been the butt of stage humorists. His peculiarities have been shown up to an almost distressing degree, but somehow he always comes out trumps by virtue of the fact that he pays the bill for whatever is needed by his up-to-date sons and daughters. Often enough his wife has a modicum of sympathy for the Head of the house -- perhaps because she knew him when he was quite as smart, and quite as up to date, according to the times, as the progeny who now twit him with his alleged shortcomings. Love, coupled with common-sense, conquers a whole heap of supposed frailties and shortcomings.

The latest horror coming to fathers, however, is something the specie should stand up against. It is nothing less than a Father's Day, to be known as Remembrance Day. The idea is American, of course, for no other country could think of such a thing. It is a shopkeepers' follow-up of the Mothers' Day -- successful, we believe, because of the very natural love every human being must bear for a mother. In this case, however, there is a snag -- and very substantial snag -- in that the scheme is engendered by haberdashers, tobacconists, and others who deal in men's goods. Being of American origin, the poor but honest purveyor of spirituous liquor does not find a place in the programme. It does not need much imagination to realise what hopeless things in the way of shirts and pyjamas daughters just fresh from college will produce on Remembrance Day, to say nothing of the "smokes" the son and heir thinks would suit dad, who will, of course, have to pay for it all, indirectly if not otherwise.

Remembrance Day is too terrible a picture to conjecture. If there is any real means to put it on a firm basis in England, then fathers must at once band together to repel it. Many less horrors have caused revolutions. It is hard enough in these days to find money for father's real needs, let alone what supercilious sons and daughters thinks he needs. The only redeeming feature about this hundred per cent. tradesmen's outfit is that the emblem chosen for the day is the dandelion -- a flower which grows better for being trampled on. No truer token could possibly have been picked.

See the original BNA post here.   Image from Found in Moms Basement.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Huguenots by Samuel Smiles


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The Huguenots in England and Ireland, by Samuel Smiles, LL.D. -- 1889.

I sing of the noble Refugee,
     Who strove in a holy faith,
At the altar of his God to bow,
     When the road was marked with death.

How vain was the flight in the wild midnight
     To the forest's inmost glade,
When the holy few, to those altars true,
     On the green sward knelt and prayed!

When the despot's sword and the bigot's torch
     Had driven him forth to roam
From village, and farm and city, and town,
     He sought our Island Home.

And store of wealth and a rich reward
     He brought in his open hand,
For many a peaceful art he taught,
     Instead of the fireman's brand.

And boldly he fought for the land he'd sought
     When the battle-storm awoke.
In the tented field of the guarded fort,
     Or on board or "Hearts of Oak."

And dear to him now is the red crossed flag
     (His ancient hate and fear);
And well does he love his adopted land
     And the friends who've welcomed him here.

The Northern counties of Down and Antrim were, more than any other parts of Ireland, regarded as the sanctuary of the refugees. There they found themselves amongst men of their own religion -- mostly Scottish Calvinists, who had fled from Stuart persecutions in Scotland to take refuge in the comparatively unmolested districts of Ulster. Lisburn, formerly called Lisnagarvey, about ten miles south-west of Belfast, was one of their favourite settlements. The place had been burnt to the ground in the civil war of 1641; but with the help of the refugees, it was before long restored to more than its former importance, and became one of the most prosperous towns in Ireland.

The government of the day, while they discouraged the woollen manufacture of Ireland because of its supposed injury to England, made every effort to encourage the trade in linen. An Act was passed with the latter object in 1697, containing various enactments calculated to foster the growth of flax and the manufacture of linen cloth. Before the passing of this Act, William III., invited Louis Crommelin, a Huguenot refugee, then temporarily settled in Holland, to come over into Ireland and undertake the superintendence of the new branch of industry.

Crommelin belonged to a family that had carried on the linen manufacture in the various branches in France for upwards of 400 years. He had himself been engaged in the business for more than thirty years at Armancourt, near Saint Quentin in Picardy, where he was born. He was singularly well fitted for the office to which the King called him. He was a man of admirable business qualities, excellent good sense, and remarkable energy and perseverance. Being a Protestant, and a man of much foresight, he had quickly realised what he could of his large property in the neighbourhood of St. Quentin, shortly before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes; and he had migrated across the frontier into Holland before the bursting of the storm.

In 1698 Crommelin, having accepted the invitation of William, left Holland, accompanied by his son, and shortly after his arrival in England he proceeded into the North of Ireland to fix upon the site best but adapted for his intended undertaking. After due deliberation he pitched upon the ruined village of Lisnagarvey as the most suitable site for his purpose. Crommelin's first factory was at the foot of the wooden bridge over the Lagan, and his first bleaching-ground was started at the place called Hilden. The King approved of the selection, and authorised Crommelin to proceed with the operations, appointing him "Overseer of the Royal Linen Manufactory of Ireland." In consideration of Crommelin advancing £10,000 out of his own private fortune to commence the undertaking, a grant of £800 per annum was guaranteed to him for twelve years -- being at the rate of 8 per cent. on the capital invested. At the same time, an annuity of £200 was granted to him for life, and £120 a year for two assistants, whose duty it was to travel from place to place and superintend the cultivation of the flax, as well as to visit the bleaching-grounds and see to the proper finishing of the fabric.

Crommelin sent invitations abroad to the Protestant artizans to come over and join him, and numbers of them responded to his call. A little colony of refugees of all ranks and of many trades was soon planted at Lisburn, and the place exhibited an appearance of returning prosperity. With a steadiness of purpose which distinguished Crommelin through life, he devoted himself with unceasing zeal to the promotion of the enterprise which he had taken in hand. He liberally rewarded the toil of his brother-exiles, and cheered them on the road to success. He imported from Holland a thousand looms and spinning-wheels of the best construction, and gave a premium of £5 for every loom that was kept going. Before long he introduced improvements of his own in the looms and spinning-wheels, as well as in the implements and in the preparation of the material. Every branch of the operations made rapid progress under the Huguenot chief -- from the sowing, cultivation, and preparing of the flax through the various stages of its manipulation, to the finishing of the cloth at the bleachfield. And thus by painstaking skill and industry, zealously supported as he was by his artisans, Crommelin was shortly enabled to produce finer sorts of fabrics and had ever before been made in Britain.

Crommelin, amongst his other labours for the establishment of the linen trade, wrote and published at Dublin, in 1705, "An Essay towards the Improving of the Hempen and Flaxen Manufactures of the Kingdom of Ireland," so that all might be made acquainted with the secret of his success and enabled to follow his example. The treatise contained many useful instructions for the cultivation of flax in the various stages of its planting and growth, together with directions for the preparation of the material and the several processes of spinning, weaving, and bleaching.

Though a foreigner, Crommelin continued throughout his life to take a warm interest in the prosperity of his adopted country; and his services were recognised, not only by King William, who continued his firm friend to the last, but by the Irish Parliament, who from time to time voted grants of money to himself, his assistants, and his artizans, to enable him to prosecute his enterprise; and in 1707 they voted him the public thanks for his patriotic efforts towards the establishment of the linen trade in Ireland, of which he was the founder. Crommelin died in 1727, and was buried beside other members of his family in the churchyard at Lisburn.

The French refugees long continued a distinct people in the neighbourhood. They clung together, associated and worshipped together, frequenting their own Huguenot church, in which they had a long succession of French pastors. [The Rev. Saumarez Dubourdieu, grandson of the celebrated French pastor of the Savoy church in London, was minister of the French church at Lisburn for forty-five years, and so beloved in the neighbourhood that, at the insurrection of 1798, he was the only person in Lisburn whom the insurgents agreed to spare. The French congregation having become greatly decreased, by deaths as well as intermarriages with Irish families, the chapel was at length closed. It is now used as the courthouse of Lisburn. The pastor Dubourdieu joined the Established Church, and was presented with the living of Lambeg. His son, rector of Anahilt, County Down, was the author of "A Statistical Survey of the County Antrim," published in 1812.] They carefully educated their children in the French language, and in the Huguenot faith, cherishing the hope of being enabled some day to return to their native land. But that hope at length died out, and the descendants of the Crommelins eventually mingled with the families of the Irish, and became part of parcel of the British nation.

Among the other French settlers at Lisburn was Peter Goyer, a native of Picardy. He owned a large farm there, and also carried on an extensive business as a manufacturer of cambric and silk, at the time of the Revocation. When the Dragonnades began, he left his property behind him and fled across the frontier. The record is still preserved in the family of the cruelties practised upon Peter's martyred brother by the ruthless French soldiery, who tore a leaf from his Bible and forced it into his mouth before he died. From Holland, Goyer proceeded to England, and from thence to Lisburn, where he began the manufacture of articles for which he had acquired so much reputation in his own country. After a short time he resolved on returning to France, in the hope of being able to recover some of this property. But the persecution was raging more fiercely than before, and he found that if captured he would probably be condemned to the galleys for life. He again contrived to make his escape, having been carried on board an outward-bound ship concealed in a wine-cask. Returned to Lisburn, he resumed the manufacture of silk and cambric, in which employed a considerable number of workmen. His silk manufacture was destroyed by the rebellion of 1798, which dispersed the workpeople; but that of cambric survived, and became firmly founded at Lurgan, which now enjoys a high reputation for the perfection of its manufactures.

(To be Continued.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 14 June 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.)

Saturday, 9 June 2012

What He Got Out Of It

He never took a day of rest --
He couldn't afford it;
He never had his trousers pressed --
He couldn't afford it;
He never went away care-free,
To visit distant lands, to see
How fair a place this world might be --
He couldn't afford it.

He never went to see a play --
He couldn't afford it;
His love for art he put away --
He couldn't afford it;
He died, and left his heirs a lot,
But no tall shaft proclaims the spot
In which he lies -- his children thought
They couldn't afford it.

(As published in the Lisburn Standard 7 June 1918)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Huguenot Settlement in Lisburn (pt3)


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By Hugh McCall -- 1870.


For a long period previous to the settlement of the French colony at Lisburn few improvements had been introduced into the cultivation of flax, and the manufacture of linen was carried with little regard to progress. The peculiar construction of looms introduced by Earl Strafford, and which enabled the weaver to produce in a given space of time much more cloth, and that of a better quality, than could be woven on the old machine, had found no favour with the people, and until the advent of the exiled Gauls the working of fine cambrics had rarely been attempted in any part of Ulster. The highest "set" of that variety of fabric woven in Antrim or Down did not-exceed 1400, and even this was not first-class work.

Another formidable difficulty stood in the way of advancement. Reed-making had not then been studied as a distinct art or separate branch of the trade, and the result was that great complaints were made about the inequalities of the cloth brought out for sale at the public markets. Monsieur Dupré, the first high-class reedmaker that settled at Lisburn, did good service to the weavers, as well as to the merchants, by introducing a description of work very superior to any previously known in that department of the trade, and which gave increased facilities to the manufacturers of fine fabrics.

In the course of working out his various projects and experiments Mr. Crommelin found able and expert assistants among the industrial ranks located around the scene of his enterprise. Lisburn and its neighbourhood had, by that time, been largely colonised by men of different lands and of diversity of language. William Edmundson and his family, the first of the followers of the far-famed George Fox that had ever settled in Ulster, resided there from 1676, and had made considerable way as linen manufacturers many years before the French exiles settled down in that quarter. Thus there was the impulsive Celt located side by side with the quiet Quaker; in one house resided the cool-blooded Hollander, and next door lived the light-hearted Frenchman. Across the street were sturdy Germans, hardy Norwegians, Welsh peasants, and Warwickshire farmers; and, as if to give full play to the commingling of new blood, there were also rough-looking Scottish Highlanders, flanked in by divers families originally raised in the shires of Ayr and Lanark; From the admixture of these different races sprung a people remarkable alike for their perseverance and their industry -- a people whose untiring labours gave new value to the soil, and whose enterprise inaugurated a most important era in the history of Ulster.

The erection of a bleaching concern in connection with his manufacturing establishment formed one of the principal objects of Mr. Crommelin soon after his connection with the French settlement. Lambeg --  Leamb Beg (the small hand), supposed to have been so named because five roads diverged from the centre of the village -- had been chosen as a site for the same purpose so far back as 1626, when a bleaching concern was erected by the joint influence of some English and Scotch families who had previously settled there. The exact spot where that establishment stood is said to have been on a tract of land close to the river side, and which, more than a century afterwards, became the property of Mr. Barclay, a very eminent linen merchant and extensive bleacher. Along the borders of the Bann, in the vicinity of Blackwater, and the large streams which ran in the lower parts of Antrim, Down, Tyrone, and Derry, there had also sprung up several minor "bleacheries," as they were called, but the total amount of business done in each of these was comparatively small. Mr. Crommelin's great desire was to erect a place of finish on a large scale, with all the latest improvements; and having applied to the lord of the soil for thai purpose, a grant of land was attained on the banks of the Lagan, and on the site now occupied by the Hilden flax-spinning and thread-manufacturing works. Besides this seat of finish, another plot of ground further down the river was afterwards taken for a like purpose. It was called New Holland, from the circumstance of several Dutch bleachers, who had been brought over by Mr. Crommelin, being the principal hands engaged in it.

After considerable difficulties had been surmounted in getting up the buildings for the indoor department of the process at the Hilden field, and also in the laying out of the lands for grassing the linens, the concern was set to work in the spring of 1701.

When the new concern commenced work the season for bleaching linen lasted only eight months in each year. From the close of October till the beginning of March the works were totally suspended, as it was considered that goods would be seriously injured if spread out on the grass during the prevalence of snow, or frost. The new bleachfield, however, was a great success, and its founder felt no little pride in it. Several years afterwards, and when writing a report of what had been accomplished, he requested these who were disposed "to erect bleacheries" to visit his concern at Hilden, adding, with excitation, that it would "serve them as a model."

After the Battle of the Boyne several Dutchmen who had been engaged in that campaign settled in different parts of Ulster. Two of those people, named respectively Mussen and Munts, selected Lambeg as their resting-place, and as each had been engaged in the finish of linen in Holland, their knowledge of the art of bleaching proved highly advantageous to the staple industry of that district. An interesting incident is related of René Bulmer, one of the French exiles, who had resided there for some time previous to the landing of King William at Carrickfergus. This person was a native of West Flanders, where he had attained much celebrity for his skill as a blacksmith, and also as a professor of the veterinary art. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes the elder Bulmer and his family were obliged to seek refuge in distant lands from the persecution that raged in their own country. When the Prince of Orange and his followers were on their way from Belfast to meet the army of King James, the troops arrived at Lambeg, from the centre of which five roads branched off in different directions. Seeing a person standing at one of the cottage doors, King William, who rode at the head of a troop, inquired, in language largely intermixed with French idiom, which of the roads led to Lisburn and Hillsborough. Mr. Bulmer, to whom the question was addressed, replied in genuine French. Evidently gratified at meeting so unexpectedly a native of Gaul, his Majesty entered into a friendly conversation with him for several minutes relative to his native place, and the circumstances that led to the exile of his family; and after paying a very gallant compliment to the young and handsome wife of this informant, who had come out to see the soldiers, the Royal traveller shook hands with each of them, and passed on with his troops towards their destination.

Throughout his reign, short as it was, William the Third continued to take the utmost interest in Ireland's linen manufacture, and for all those gentlemen who were so zealous in promoting its progress he entertained the highest regard. Two years before his death a patent was issued granting, for a specified period, the sum of eight hundred a year to. Mr. Crommelin as interest for the capital -- ten thousand pounds -- which he had advanced from his own private resources to carry on the different works in which he was engaged. In addition to this "grant" there were also allowed him an annuity of two hundred pounds, besides one hundred and twenty pounds a year for his three assistants. Each of these officials had a particular district under his charge. At one period of the season he watched over the culture of flax, at another he inspected the spinning and weaving departments of the trade, and through the summer his visits were frequent to the bleachfields.

The death of the King, which took place a few days after an accident arising from a falling off his charger, in February, 1702, deprived the Irish linen trade of its Royal patron. No cause was ever assigned for the ungracious act, but also immediately after the accession of Queen Anne the grant settled on Mr. Crommelin was cancelled by the Imperial Treasury. This was at once a most disgraceful proceeding and a flagrant breach of faith. The annuity could not be called a Royal pension, but rather a sum freely awarded as interest on the capital that Mr. Crommelin had invested for a public purpose, and which the late Monarch felt certain was permanently secured to that gentleman for the twelve years mentioned in the Royal patent.

When the Government of Queen Anne refused one portion of the supplies formerly handed over for the encouragement of the linen trade, Mr. Crommelin's ten thousand pounds were scattered throughout the country, in the shape of looms, spinning-wheels, machines for the preparation of flax, and bleaching apparatus, all of which had been lent to weavers, spinners, farmers, and owners of small bleachfields -- not more than one-half the value of which was ever repaid. It must, however, have been highly gratifying to the founder of the new system of linen manufacture to watch the growing success of his projects, and to see the gratifying results which extended profits and higher wages had produced in the circumstances of manufacturers and weavers.

In other quarters, too, there was abundant evidence to prove that his labours had not been in vain. The year after the appointment of the Board of Trustees the following notice was placed on the records of that institution:-- "Louis Crommelin and the Huguenot colony have been greatly instrumental in improving and propagating the flaxen manufacture in the North of this kingdom, and the perfection to which the same is brought in that part of the country has been greatly owing to the skill and industry of the said Crommelin." The dignity which that enterprising man imported to labour, and the halo which his example cast around physical exertion, had the best effect in raising the tone of popular feeling, as well among the patricians as amid the peasants of the North of Ireland. His love of industry did much to break down the national prejudice in favour of idleness, and cast doubt on the social orthodoxy of the idea then so popular with the squirearchy, that those alone who were able to live without employment had any rightful claim to the distinctive title of gentlemen. The industrial reformer, even unknown to himself, battled successfully against such fallacies. A patrician by birth and a merchant by profession, he proved, by his own life, his example, and his enterprise, that an energetic manufacturer may, at the same time, take a high place in the conventional world. This was the solution of an exceedingly knotty problem in the conventional ethics existing a century and a half ago, and on that question the Huguenot leader taught lessons scarcely less valuable than those which his more direct pupils were every day learning at his hands.

In that admirably conducted work, the "Ulster Journal of Archæology," there are to be found some very interesting records of the French exiles and their places of settlement in Ireland. Among the names of many families residing in Belfast and Lisburn there are still some which represent those of the Gallic settlers -- viz., Brethet, Bulmer, Chartres, Drewet, Dubourdieu, Dunville, Dulop, Duprey, Goyer, Jellett, Lascellas, Martine, Nobett, Perrin, Petticrew, Roche, Saurin, St. Clair, Sevigne, and Valentin.

(Next Week: The Huguenots, by Smiles)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 7 June 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.)