Thursday 2 May 2013

Jeremy Taylor and Killultagh


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 Edited by JAMES CARSON. 
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Rev. W. H. DUNDAS, B.D.

In this paper are collected some notes on places connected with the residence of Bishop Jeremy Taylor in Killultagh. He was born in Cambridge probably in 1613, in which year he was baptised. Having graduated at the University of Cambridge, he became Rector of Uppingham in 1638. During the Civil War he took the King's side and was expelled from his rectory, a "preacher" being put in his place. He was prisoner of the Parliament in 1645, and afterwards found refuge with the Earl of Carbery at Golden Grove, in South Wales, where, with two friends, he conducted a school.

In 1658 Lord Conway, the third Viscount and first Earl of the name, was anxious to strengthen the influence of the Anglican Church in his Manor of Killultagh, which included the parishes of Blaris (or Lisburn), Magheragall, Ballinderry, Aghalee, Aghagallon, Magheramesk, and Glenavy. At that time the Episcopal clergy had been dispossessed, and an Independent -- Andrew Wyke (or Weeke) -- was in possession of Blaris, having been appointed by the Commonwealth in 1651. Conway, by the advice of Evelyn, invited Dr. Taylor to come over, and offered him the post of assistant lecturer at Lisburn. Taylor, however, was not willing to come; he was not attracted by the prospect of lecturing under Wyke, and the stipend was very small. Further, the trouble and expense of moving his family to Ireland would be considerable. He also had a very unfavourable report of the social conditions of this part of Ireland from Major George Rawdon, Lord Conway's brother-in-law, who commanded the garrison at Lisburn. However, Conway was not to be refused, and at last Dr. Taylor consented to come. The Calendar of State Papers gives some interesting letters in this connection.

On April 2nd, 1658, Major Rawdon wrote to Lord Conway from Carrickfergus: -- "On 23rd ministers of these parts are appointed to attend at Dublin to be placed and receive their maintenance in tithes and not by salaries; but I hope it is only where the Commonwealth hath the patronage. I am told that you have assured Dr. Taylor £200 a year for his own life and his children's. You should not be mistaken in your expectations. Captain Roma's part of Ballinderry and Portmore yields now only £22 10s at 2s 6d per acre; if let at 4s an acre, as rest is, it would amount to no more than £36 a year. The cess is paid by your Lordship for those tenants that pay 4s. Sam Dawson and four English farmers have the rest of the lands of Ballinderry in leases for 41 years. The tithes do not come to above £80 a year."

Preparations were being made for his comfort at Portmore Castle, where he was to reside, for on May 26th Rawdon wrote from Dublin:-- "I have had the ill way paved from the mill at Ballinderry to the house that Dr. Taylor may pass the winter." He also says:-- "I have withheld the tithes of Lisnagarvy from Dr. Wyke, and took the land from him, and petitioned the tithes might go towards building a free school at Lisnagarvy. He went up with the 3rd Chief Baron . . . but prevailed not and now does not make account he can stay at Lisnagarvy."

On June 2nd he wrote:-- "The idea of Dr. Taylor coming over is much disliked by all the ministers in their assembly here lately. At dinner on Saturday at Chappellizard Dr. Hamilton, who sat next me, told me what offence it would give. There is great crossness among the ministers, but they are all agreed in this. If, therefore, he comes, he must he well provided with His Highness' pass or some other, that he be not subject to the trouble of petulant spirits. The ministers are now settling to receive their tithes themselves and not salaries."

The Lord Protector was induced to give him a pass, and a protection for himself and his family, and Conway helped turn to acquire a farm of 40 acres at Magheralin "at great advantage."

Before the end of the summer of 1658 he removed to Portmore, from which probably once a week he went to Lisburn to give his lecture. He also occasionally visited Hillsborough. Rawdon writes from that place on October 15th, 1658:-- "Dr. Taylor preached excellently this morning. Dr. Tandy is also considered a rare preacher, and is liked in the parish."


Tandy was destined to give Dr. Taylor trouble in the near future. He was, I believe, the Philip Tandy who was instituted as Vicar of Magheragall in 1638, and also of Glenavy in the following year, just as John Wilkinson was admitted Vicar of Magheragall and Glenavy about 1616-18, and Meredith Gwilliams Vicar of these two parishes, with Ballinderry also, in 1623. Tandy had previously held the position of schoolmaster in Lisburn, and also of agent or librarian to Lord Conway. In 1635 he wrote to Rawdon: -- "I am setting Lord Conway's books in alphabetical order, and give all the time to them that I can spare from my school. I classify them also by volumes and sciences. In the Christmas holidays I unchested the chested books and put then into the drawing-room, where they often aired by good fires. I lately tried to have an usher, but my school is not large enough to maintain one." In a letter of 1636 he says he is sending some books which Major Rawdon had asked for, and among them are a number of Latin works. This valuable library was burned at Brookhill House in Magheragall Parish by the rebels in 1641, to which place it had been moved for safety.

Tandy seems to have been removed from Magheragall by 1650, for Dr. Weeke begins to receive the tithes in that year. The reference above cited may point to his having been Commonwealth minister at Hillsborough in 1658. There is a note in the Commonwealth Papers in the Record Office, Dublin, that he was to receive £60 as schoolmaster at Lisnagarvy from 10th of July, 1658 "as an addition to his tithe." It looks as if he was a "trimmer," and tried to keep in the good graces of the Government of the day.

Taylor wrote to Evelyn on June 4, 1659: "I fear my peace in Ireland is likely to be short, for a Presbyterian and a madman have informed against me as a dangerous man to their religion, and for using the sign of the Cross in baptism. The worst event of the information which I fear is my return to England." The use of the plural "have" in the above, seems to imply two accusers, so we cannot be sure whether Tandy was the "Presbyterian" or the "madman." A letter of Lord Conway mentioned him by name in this connection:-- "I received a letter yesterday from Dr. Taylor which hath almost broken my heart. Mr. Tandy hath exhibited articles against him to the Lord Deputy and Council, so simple (as Col. Hill writes) that it should come to anything, the greatest scandal being that he Christened Mr. Bryers' child with the sign of the Cross. I have written to Hyrne to supply him with money for his vindication as if it were my own business. I hope, therefore, when you come over you will take him (Tandy) off from persecuting me, since no one knows better than yourself whether I deserve the same at his hands . . . The quarrel is, it seems, because he thinks Dr. Taylor is more welcome to Hillsborough than himself."

Elsewhere he says:-- "Mr. Tandy may have enough of these (Annabaptists and Quakers) to set himself against, without troubling his peaceable and best neighbours." (quoted in Heber's Life of Jeremy Taylor.) Hence it seems likely that Tandy was the "Presbyterian."

The Hearth Money Rolls for Magheragall Parish in 1666 give's Mr. Edward Brears; he is the only person in the parish who had more than one hearth (he had two), and, therefore, was most likely living at Brookhill, and the father of the child whose baptism is referred to.

In a copy of Harris' Ware in T.C.D. Library there is a MS. note taken from the "Book of General Orders by the Commissioners of the Commonwealth for ye Govt. of Ireland" from 22 June to 12 Dec., 1659. It inns:-- "Ordered that Lt.-Col. Bryan Smith, Gov. of Carrickfergus, do forthwith upon sight hereof cause the Body of Dr. Jeremy Taylor to be sent up to Dublin under safe custody, to the end he may make his personal appearance before the sd Commrs. (of Govt.) to answer unto such things as shall be objected agst. him in behalf of the Commonwealth. Dated at Dublin 22 Aug. 1659."

Dr. Taylor was sent to Dublin according to this Order, but as no further entry appears in the minutes. "it is probable that his friends had power to obtain his speedy discharge." (Heber.)

Lord Conway's character appears in a pleasing light when we read that Rawdon found a note among Tandy's papers (apparently after his death) that he (Conway) intended to give him £400 of his "arears." Rawdon adds-- "This will be a charity to his children, as his adventure land being put under the Doubling Ordinance will be cut short." The Cathedral Register of Lisburn records that Mrs. Mercy Tandy (probably his wife) was buried in 1703, aged 85 years, close before the Castle seat. She had been a member of the congregation, for in 1698 Mrs. Dorothy Lovel was "buryed before Mrs. Tandy's Pew in the old Ile."

Jeremy Taylor was consecrated Bishop of Down and Connor on January 18, 1661; he was also Administrator of Dromore, the election of a Bishop being temporarily suspended. He had removed to Hillsborough in the previous year, as a letter from him to Lord Viscount Montgomerie of Ardes shows. (Transcripts of Carte Papers, xxxi. 36. Record Office, Dublin.)

Letter to Montgomery of Ards.

Hillsborough. Jeremy Taylor to Lord Viscount Montgomerie of Ardes, General of the Ordnance in Ireland, Oct. 27, 1660.

My Lord, -- You are truly welcome to Ireland; your presence gives life to us in the North already, for the very expectation of your Lordship here puts sober thoughts into the heads of many, but your presence here would enable yr Lordship to give to his Majesty a better account of this country than I can yet doe, but our state is --

Here follow some very severe strictures on Presbyterians, ministers and people. No doubt the Bishop was writing under considerable provocation, but no good purpose would be served in recording here the animosities of the ancient feud. Proceeding, he says:--

I was a week since treated at Carrickfergus with great civility and nobleness by the officers, civil and military, and with great ceremony received. The delay of the consecration of the Bishops makes the ministers fancy that the King intends no Bishops in Ireland, and that keeps them off from complying. But they generally say that if they must have Bishops they are very glad they have fallen into my hands. I do not doubt, if God give me blessing and his Majesty any countenance to me and assistance by his civil officers, I shall reduce this Diocese to good temper and quiet uniform religion according to the lawes. But our delay does all the mischief that is done.

My Lord, concerning your son I remember my promise, and am very ready to perform it, and shall esteem it a blessing to me if I might have the supervision of all the young nobility of the North, and much more of your son, whom for his father's sake I must diligently serve and take care of. In order to which I must tell your Lordship my present condition. I am shut up in a little house, where I have not room for my servants to lodge, but I am close to Hillsborough Castle, and it your Lordship will be pleased to let your son have a lodging in the Colonel's house with my chaplain, who lives there and who shall teach him under my eye and perpetual conduct, and this only till the Colonel or myself or your Lordship cause a chamber to be built for Mr. Hugh at my little house -- I will then send for him speedily and take the same care of him as of my owne. This winter I am forced to this bad shift, but as soon as I can get a house convenient I shall then put your Lordship to no further trouble, but be answerable to God, the King, and to your Lordship for the education of the child, and shall esteem it a favour that your Lordship will trust me with your jewel, whom I will keep and, I hope, restore to you with lustre and advantage . . . .

(It is said that the house in Hillsborough at present used as the curate's residence was at one time occupied by Jeremy Taylor.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 2 May 1919 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.)

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