History and Genealogy
More photographs of Banbridge can be viewed from "Photos" on the main website index page nav bar
(Landowners in 1876 can be got from the index on the main page of the website under Land Deeds)
Hawthorne's, History and Photographs
If anyone that has information concerning the Banbridge District and would like it put on this website please email me.
The advent of Banbridge itself belongs to the early eighteenth century. According to James A. Pilson, in his Notices of the most important events connected with the County Down, a bridge was erected over the River Bann in 1712, "on the formation of a new line of road from Dublin to Belfast". This bridge and its surroundings changed the name of the locality to 'Banbridge' in popular usage and away from `Ballyvally', the name of the townland in which Banbridge was originally situated.
The River Bann allowed for the development of the linen industry along its banks and by the middle of the eighteenth century we have evidence of many bleach yards along the river for the purposes of linen manufacture. The Earl of Hillsborough, in turn, granted sections of land at nominal rent to encourage building in the vicinity of the Bann bridge and was responsible for the laying out of the original town. According to records of the Hillsborough Estate Office, Letters Patent for the holding of a weekly market and four fairs annually were granted in 1727. By the mid 1700s, Banbridge had a thriving Church of Ireland community and, also, an expanding Presbyterian Church. According to the parliamentary return of Rev. James Dickson, Church of Ireland Rector of Seapatrick Parish, writing on 24th. April 1766: "There is neither Popish Priest nor Friar in this parish, but the papists here go to Mass in a neighbouring parish." As mentioned above, a Catholic parish of Seapatrick was not to be re-established until almost a century later.
An Extract taken from the History of Banbridge.
The Linen Trade:
BANBRIDGE is justly famed for its manufacture of Linen. For nearly 200 years the textile trade has flourished here, Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary, published in 1837, says "Even when almost every port was closed against the introduction of Irish linens, and the trade was nearly lost to the country, those of Banbridge found a ready market and when the energies of the linen merchants on the old system were nearly paralysed by foreign competition, the merchants of the place created a new trade, by commencing as manufacturers on an extensive scale, and opening an intercourse with America and other ports. The numerous falls on the river, and the uniform supply of water, appear to have attracted the attention of manufacturers; and soon after bleaching became a separate branch of trade; and shortly after the application of machinery to this department, several mills were erected on its banks." In 1816 in the open linen markets held here, the average sales per weekly market were £120. 0s 0d. The following extract from the returns of the Sealsmasters exhibits the value of linens sold in the Banbridge market in four successive years :
The Banbridge linen houses had about the year 1835 manufactured for them 66,000 webs annually. In 1834, the several bleaching concerns here turned out 185,710 webs, being nearly equal to the whole quantity bleached in all Ireland at the end of the eighteenth century. Of late years the introduction of power looms in the manufacture of linen, has wrought almost an entire change in the manner of conducting this important business. So early as 1834, the late Frederick Hayes had an extensive establishment for weaving union cloths by machinery at Seapatrick village, at which time he employed 100 looms, impelled by a water wheel, 15 feet in diameter and 22 feet broad. At present we have within the municipal boundary three large power-loom factories which employ some 600 looms. Wills, Earl of Hillsborough, used the influence of his high official position to advance the linen trade of Ulster, and especially of Banbridge, His lordship's efforts in this direction are well known.
Note :- Atkinson in his " Ireland Exhibited
to England " writing in 1823 says referring to Banbridge" One of the
best markets in this province, for the sale of fine lawns and linens, is held
here," and further says :" This town is provided with an excellent
hotel, a dispensary, a reading room and other useful public accommodation and
on many accounts has a claim to eminent distinction in the history of Downshire.
By the Editor.
The growth of Banbridge is due to the growth of the linen trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the former century weaving was carried on by hand-looms throughout the thickly populated country districts, Bleaching flourished along the banks of the Bann on various farms. Some larger bleaching firms were at work towards the end of this century. The Belfast News-Letter of 11th April, 1783, contained an account of Assizes for Co. Down when Patrick Gordon, alias McGurnaghan was sentenced to be executed at Drumbridge, and Steven Gordon to be executed at Castlewellan, for stealing linen out of the bleach-green of Walter Crawford of Ballievy. John Wright was sentenced to be executed at Banbridge for stealing linen out of the bleach-green of James Clibborn (1) of Banbridge and John Holmes to be executed at Downpatrick for receiving said linen knowing it was stolen. Several others were also sentenced to death. The NewsLetter commented" It may be hoped that the example of these unhappy wretches will prevent the practice of robbing greens, so injurious to a manufacture on which the poorest as well as the highest classes of the inhabitants of this country so much depend." The credit for abolishing such savage penalties is largely due to Mr. John Handcock of Lisburn.
(l) This firm afterwards became Clibborn & Co., and by taking a nephew into partnership, Clibborn, Hill & Co. It had property at Daisy Hill and Solitude.)
Friends, the owner of the works now in the possession of Messrs. Richardson, Sons, and Owden. A meeting of bleachers was held in Belfast John McCance in the chair in December, 1810, when resolutions were passed praying for the " doing away with such death sentences." Next year the old law was repealed, Machinery driven by water for beetling linen was introduced to Ulster in 1725. Henceforth the Bann was utilised to great advantage. McCall tells that the process of whitening was slow even in the largest concerns. Towards the close of the XVIII century "considerable advance was thought to have been made in the course of finish when brown webs sent to the field in May were ready for the white warehouse at the end of the following August." In the development of the linen trade of the Bann towards the end of the eighteenth century the families of Mulligan, Crawford, Lindsay, Hayes were pre-eminent. The Mulligans were long established up the river in the Corbet district. George Crawford, son of Gilbert Crawford of Gilford, married Elizabeth Bradshaw in 1769 and settled at Ballievy, One of his daughters Margaret married William Hayes of Millmount in 1796. Another daughter Catherine married John Lindsay of Bally down. His son George married Olivia daughter of Dr, Henry of Dublin in 1837. William Hayes (1770-1827) came as a young man to Banbridge and took over Millmount and its lands in Edenderry from W. E. Reilly on a lease of 900 years. The McClellands were his predecessors in Millmount. A corn mill stood there with special manorial rights on the Reilly estate. He turned it into a bleach-green and acquired glebe land at Seapatrick and on the opposite side of the river. There he established his third son Frederick W. who built Seapatrick House. Wm. Hayes had ten children.
(1) Paternal grandfather of Walter Lindsay of Ballydown. The Lindsay family was founded in Tullyhenan about 1680 by David Lindsay. He came from Scotland with General Monro's Army. His son interviewed King William in 1690 and is recorded to have sold him £300 worth of cattle. A grandson, David, of the original David Lindsay took up residence in Hilltown. The family is connected with the Crawfords, Simms, Mulligans and many other well known families throughout the North of Ireland. The once famous firm of Crawford and Lindsay took over Hudson's Ballydown Bleaching Works in 1822 when they also carried on linen manufacturing.
His eldest son Richard who succeeded him in Millmount, died in 1864 when the place was let to the Malcolmson firm. His second son, George Crawford Hayes, was a partner of the Lindsays of Ballydown, His eldest daughter Jane married Samuel Law, a cousin of Rt. Hon. Hugh Law, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Another daughter Margaretta married Rev. Daniel Dickinson. Another daughter Isabella married Rev. Theophilus Campbell, Rector of Lurgan and Dean of Dromore. Emily married Dr, Duncan of Dublin, Richard, the eldest son, married Henrietta Grace Greene, daughter of Major Greene of the 61st Foot, and had three children. Elizabeth who married Robert Joy, J.P son of Robert Joy, Q.C., Dublin ; William Arthur who married a daughter of James Moore of Dublin. He was for several years Rector of Dromore and Chancellor of the Cathedral. Richard's third son was Richard, afterwards Dean of Derry and Canon of St. Patrick's Cathedral. He was a scholar of T.C.D., The Millmount Bleach Works are now carried on by Messrs. Anthony Cowdy & Sons, Proprietors. Frederick W. Hayes at first carried on weaving at Seapatrick but in a short time turned the works into a yarn spinning and linen thread mill. He married a daughter of Mr. Boyd of the old Belfast Foundry (Boyd, Rider & Co Donegall St.). At his death in 1853 his son William succeeded and extended the firm until it gained an almost world-wide reputation. He married Miss M.M. Law of Hazelbank, his cousin. After his death in 1876 the firm became a private company under the managership of C. H. McCall (son of the linen historian, Hugh Mc Call, Lisburn. The firm of F. W. Hayes & Co. was merged in the Linen Thread Co. in 1899.
Banbridge figures in the famous controversy about the appointment of Sealmasters in 1762 when riots took place in Lisburn, Lambeg, Hillsborough and other towns. The weavers soon realised that the change was really for their benefit, A meeting of the weavers of Newry, Loughbrickland and Banbridge districts was held in Banbridge that year when a resolution was passed as follows:- ''' We confess there was some hot-headed persons among us who did not at first see the good your honourable Board designed in this just law; but a short experience has convinced us of its benefits, for we have been greatly imposed on by many of the drapers when they had the measuring of the cloth in their own power. .... But now, thank God and your honourable Board, we are released from these unjust and heavy burdens. The Board referred to was the Board of Linen Trustees which regulated linen affairs from 1711 to 1828, Wakefield, in his account of Ireland, 1808, writes of Banbridge that the twenty bleach-greens on the Bann bleach on an average 8,000 pieces each. The ground cost is 50s. The bleaching of all yard-wide linens cost 8s,, that of cambrics 7s.; profit 8 per cent. Goods arc brought hither from Tyrone and Antrim. The 8,000 pieces multiplied by twenty gives 160,000 as the total number of pieces which at 58s. each amounts to £464,000 ; 8 per cent. profit makes the total value of the linens annually finished on the Bann to be £502,666. In the Linen Board Report for 1817, giving the tour of their Secretary, James Corry, through Ulster in 1816, he tells that Banbridge was the largest linen market in Co, Down, the average price of webs was Coarse linen, £1 ; fine linen, £2 Is. ; lawns and cambrics, £1 13s. 4d. All webs came to the market in a brown state, but the yarn before weaving was boiled with potash and spread on the grass for a few days by the manufacturers. The coarse linens sold in this market were mostly half-bleached in the neighbourhood and exported to the North of England as shirting linen for mechanics and labourers. The fine linens were generally bleached in Down and Antrim, the finer fabrics went to the Dublin market and to the West Indies and America, the stronger kinds to London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The price of flax yarn in the market, from two-and-a-half to five hanks to the pound, sold from 5d. to 7d. per hank. Tow yarn from 16 to 20 cuts. to the pound from 4d. to 6d. and 7d. a hank. Corry was in Banbridge on Monday, 21st October. The annual value of linens sold at the markets there was £53,976. The corresponding amounts for Armagh were £197,600; Lurgan, £96,200; Dungannon, £208,000; Lisburn, £260,000; Tanderagee, £2,000; Newry, £47,944.
Among those who received bounties for the manufacture
of sail cloth, canvas, and duck from mill spun yarn was Wm. Hudson, Ballydown,
1809, for 1,047 yards. The principal buyers at Banbridge were Thos. C. Wakefield,
Moyallon ; James and T.. Uprichard, Moyallon ; George Darley, Mount Pleasant;
Christy & Dawson, Lowertown, Gilford ; Joseph Law, Corries (? Coose), Banbridge;
James Foot, Banford; Thomas Crawford, Milltown; William Hayes, Millmount ; Edw.
Clibborn, Banbridge; Wat. Crawford, Ballievy; Phil, Mulligan, Ballievy; Hugh
Burns, Banbridge; Coslet Waddle, New Forge, Moira.
In the same year the application of Hugh McClelland for Banbridge market was supported by many signatures, including several Mulligans, Weir, and. McClelland, H. McMordie, R,B ; Conway Blizzard, Moses Bodell, R.B. Mr. John Hudson of Banbridge applied in 1805 to be appointed a linen factor. He presented a testimonial- "We know the memorialist and believe him fully qualified for the situation of a linen factor. W. and Robert Hayes," In 1802 there was an investigation into supposed injurious methods of bleaching, Mr. William Hayes gave evidence on oath" Says he lives in Millmount. Co. Down. and it strikes him it would be a material injury to prohibit the use of murietic acid and the detergent salt," In the account of unmerchantable linens settled by reference or otherwise compromised in the years 1800 and 1801 this entry occurs" Complainant, Shaw ; sealed by John Birch : Residence, Banbridge: Alleged tender; Compromised." In 1819 Samuel Greer, Banbridge, made application for five sets of interior works of scutch mills. Grants were made in 1824 for flax mills; additional scutches David Stewart, Rosehall, Banbridge, post town; Michael Barry, Lisnaliggan, Banbridge, post town.
When the dissolution of the Linen Board was being considered certain leading linen merchants from each county were consulted, Those selected to represent County Down were William Hayes, Banbridge ; Brice Smyth & Sons, Banbridge ; Richard Coulter, Newry; William Murland, Castlewellan; James Murland, Castlewellan ; John Andrews, Comber. Professor Conrad Gill in his " Rise of the Irish Linen Industry " states that the five great fairs for linen yearly in Banbridge were constantly attended by factors from England. He writes: "Nearly all the farmers were bleachers." This point may be illustrated from the census returns of 1821 for " the parish of Seapatrick which includes most (sic) of the town of Banbridge and a stretch of five miles of the River Bann bordered with a succession of bleach greens. "The following list gives the chief farmers in this parish with the area of their land and the description of their work given in the returns :
THE UPRICHARD FAMILY
Although much has been written about the linen industry in Northern Ireland and the workers in the mills, not much seems to have been written about the families behind the industry. A wealthy industrial elite, many of these families were involved not only in running their factories, but also in the politics of Northern Ireland and particularly Unionism. To coin a phrase, these people have been described as the ‘linenocracy’ and one family, which typifies this almost neglected history of the industry, were the Uprichards of the “Springvale Bleachworks”.
Originally of Welsh extraction, the Uprichard family – James, Thomas and Henry arrived in Ireland in the 19th Century to the Silverwood area of Lurgan. Described as linen drapers, the three brothers bought the old ‘Millpark Bleachworks’ from a long established linen family in the Tullylish area, the Christys. It was here that they built their “Springvale Bleachworks”.
Of the three brothers, James married and had four children, one of whom, William, married twice, firstly to Sarah Jackson and secondly to Maria Malone. It was with their eldest son, Henry Albert that the Uprichard family came into their own.
At this point in time their main home was Bannvale House in the village of Gilford, though there was a fine house at Millpark, still standing and still owned by the last of the Uprichard line – Henry Albert III, now in his 82nd year. However, this changed in 1884 when Henry Albert married Emily Green, daughter of Forster Green, a prominent and wealthy Belfast businessman and like the Uprichard family, a Quaker. It just so happened in that year, the nearby Elmfield (often referred to today as Elmfield Castle though as Albert and one of his cousins, Mrs Rosemary Bryson nee Sinton, say – “It was always simply Elmfield; none of this castle business”) came on the market.
It was one of three sister houses in the Banbridge/Gilford area all built for members of the same family, the Dicksons who were partners in the giant “Dunbar McMaster” linen mill in the village itself situated on land that was once owned by the Uprichards. Only recently the present Albert discovered that he still owns the tailrace that runs from the old mill and back into the River Bann at Bannvale.
James Dickson, who had made a fortune in the linen trade thanks to the boom caused by the American civil war, had the Glaswegian architect, Thomas Spence, design Elmfield. Unfortunately the Dicksons wealth was not to last, one factor being the legal wrangle over the firm when the senior partner, Hugh Dunbar, died with no male heir to take over. In its day, this court case was quite famous, only being resolved by the House of Lords, the Dicksons losing.
Forster Green decided to buy Elmfield as a wedding present for his daughter Emily and it was from then on that Elmfield became the Uprichard family’s main seat. Here they lived in great style, their leisure time being centred mainly on horses. Together Emily and Henry Albert had five children before Emily’s untimely death from TB, probably one of the reasons behind her father’s decision to found the Forster Green Hospital at Newtownbreda. Emily was laid to rest in the little Friends’ Meeting House at Moyallan. Henry Albert was to marry again, to an English lady, Beatrice Taylor with whom he had one daughter, Beatrice Eileen. His sister Hannah Maria married F W Woods of Dublin, members of which family include the gentleman credited with the invention of the pneumatic valve, the famous motorcyclist Manliff Barrington who died a couple of years ago and Lt/Col A D Woods, now in his 84th year, the youngest officer in his day to be awarded the Military Cross, as well as being ADC to Field Marshal Montgomery. Lt/Col Woods’ two aunts Edith and Hannah Maria, both married into the Sinton linen family of Banford House, Tullylish; both married Frederick Buckby Sinton who was the father of the previously mentioned Rosemary Bryson. Edith and Hannah Maria are buried on either side of their husband in the Friends’ graveyard at Moyallan, a charming little building dating from the late 1700s. The headstones in the graveyard here read like a “Who’s Who” of the linen industry, with names like Turtle, Sinton, Bell and Richardson all featuring. One interesting aspect to this graveyard is that, although all Quakers are considered equal in the eyes of God, the Richardsons have their own private burial plot, hedged off from the main burial ground, prompting the saying that although all Quakers are equal, some are more equal than others! The Richardsons were one of if not the wealthiest of the linen families in Northern Ireland and owned a large mill at Bessbrook, now an army base.
The children from Henry Albert’s first marriage were – William Forster Uprichard, Henry Albert Uprichard, Forster Green Uprichard, Emile Llewllyn Uprichard and Mary Green Uprichard. In Willie Uprichard’s time at Elmfield there was a polo field, he and his brothers forming their own polo team, two tennis courts (cork for all weather and grass for the summer), a badminton hall, which doubled as a roller skating rink and perhaps most extravagant of all, a replica of the Punchestown Racecourse laid out in the grounds. Willie, who was educated at Shrewsbury public school and Cambridge, was an expert horseman, training horses for other people as well as his own. In 1921 he won the Punchestown Gold Cup with a horse called “The Monk”. At the minute, Punchestown are hoping to get the cup on loan from Willie’s grandson, David Hill, who still has it in his possession.
Of course, one thing the linen barons around the Banbridge area were well known for was hunting and the Uprichards were no exception. Brian Faulkner, the last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and good friend of the present Albert Uprichard, acknowledges the fact in his biography. It was Albert who taught him how to hunt, Faulkner mentioning how the Uprichard’s had hunted for generations. Willie was Master of the Iveagh Harriers, as was his son, the previously mentioned Henry Albert who was Master of the Iveaghs for twenty-five years.
Of the four Uprichard brothers, Willie married Nancy Kane, daughter of the Rev R R Kane, Church of Ireland Rector at Tullylish, fervent Orangeman and Irish speaker. One of his sons, Paddy Kane, was Governor of Fiji, quelling a rebellion there by sitting in his deck chair and reading “The Times”! The marriage of Willie and Nancy connected the Uprichard family with two other prominent linen families – the Browns of Edenderry in Belfast (“John Shaw Brown & Sons”) and the Rogers family, two of Nancy’s sisters marrying George Brown and Sidney Rogers. Willie’s sister, Mary (May), married Mickie Bland and were the grandparents of Sir Christopher Bland, one time Chairman of the BBC and the recently appointed Chairman of BT. Willie’s sister from his father’s second marriage, Beatrice Eileen, married Lieutenant-Commander Kenneth Kirkpatrick whose family owned one of the oldest and largest bleachworks in Ireland – “Kirkpatrick Brothers” of Ballyclare. The Commander attended Dartmouth Naval College along with the Queen’s father, with whom he was friendly. The Commander and his family lived at Church Hill, Maghera, Newcastle, in the study of which there is a picture of a young King George VI in naval uniform and a small picture of his father, King George V’s charger. Diana Kirkpatrick, his daughter, studied ballet in Paris, her tutor having been the mistress of the last Tsar of Russia. Diana left when the Second World War broke out, returning home where she ended up working for the American Navy as a driver. The Kirkpatricks moved in the highest social circles, the Commander having been Master of the East Down Foxhounds and the County Down Staghounds.
Looking through Miss Kirkpatrick’s photograph albums you’ll come across pictures of Princess Margaret, the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn (great-grandparents of Diana, Princess of Wales), the Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry and their daughter, Lady Mairi Bury, the Earl and Countess of Clanwilliam, the Earl and Countess of Roden (Lady Clodagh Roden being one of the Kennedy girls of Bishopscourt, Co Kildare, whose father bred the famous racehorse Tetrarch. Lady Roden was also a renowned beauty), ‘Ginger’ Wellesley, kinsman of the Duke of Wellington, Lord Glentoran, Lady Brookeborough, the Closes of the now demolished Drumbanagher House, considered the Scottish architect William Playfair of Edinburgh’s finest country house, the Viscount Bury otherwise known as Derek Keppel, heir to the Earldom of Albemarle who died before he inherited the title. Interestingly, it was his niece, Judith Keppel, who was the first person to win the £1 000 000 on the ITV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. Lord Bury married Lady Mairi Vane-Tempest-Stewart, youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Londonderry who still resides at their Irish seat, Mountstewart. Lady Mairi Bury is the great-aunt of Jemima Khan née Goldsmith. However, perhaps the most interesting two photographs in these albums are of Errol Flynn at a meet of the East Down Hunt, Dromara, Miss Kirkpatrick relating that the horse he was riding was the horse that pulled O’Reilly’s hearse, the local publican and undertaker.
One of the people who enjoyed following the hunt was ‘The Yellow Devil” - Harry Ferguson, who wasn’t spared the Commander’s riding crop across the roof of his yellow car (hence the nickname) if he got in the way of the field. However, one of the benefits of having Harry Ferguson around according to Mrs Vera Stephenson, a member of another well known linen dynasty, was that if you got separated from the field you only had to look out for “The Yellow Devil” to see whereabouts they were.
Willie Uprichard’s two sons, Rutledge Kane Uprichard and Henry Albert, kept up the tradition of horsemanship in the family. Rutledge was considered the best amateur jockey in Ireland, even being picked to ride in the Grand National, though a kick from a horse the day before prevented him entering. The horse he was meant to ride came in at 44-1. Albert described his elder brother as a modern day Regency buck and any ladies that remember Rutledge describe him as being “very handsome” and much sought after. The two brothers often raced against one another in point-to-points, Rutledge usually winning, though Albert had his moments as newspaper reports at the time testify, winning one race when he was only fourteen. Albert was a superb huntsman whose name still carries a lot of weight in such circles today, whilst his cousin Diana still carries on the Kirkpatrick connection with the East Down Foxhounds.
It was through hunting that Albert became friendly with the last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner. Every Saturday Albert would go to the Faulkners’ house for dinner and a discussion of the week’s hunting. He relates that there wasn’t really much love lost between Brian Faulkner and Captain Terence O’Neill, recalling a story of how, one day whilst out hunting in the Armagh area he and Faulkner accidentally crossed the border ending up in a farmyard. A gentleman with a Southern brogue approached them, pointing at Faulkner saying, “I know you; I know you I do – you’re that Terence O’Neill!” Faulkner just agreed and he and Albert left pretty quickly! Albert also considered Terence O’Neill to be not just as liberal as the history books portray him.
According to Albert, Faulkner would judge the members of his cabinet by how he thought they would ride to hounds. An interesting letter in Albert’s possession from Brian Faulkner throws some light on his character as it says he considered it a greater honour to be asked to become Joint Master of the Iveagh Harriers than when the Prime Minister asked him to join the Cabinet.
Albert’s hunting stories could fill a book in their own right, many sounding as if they came straight from the pages of Somerville and Ross. There was ‘Crash and Bang’ a husband and wife so called because he would crash through hedges calling to his wife, “Come on darling, have a bang at that!” Crash wearing a monocle. There was the story of Howard Ferguson of the Ferguson linen family; he and Albert came into a farmyard to be greeted by a proud mother and her many children lined up according to age and height. Howard Ferguson asked the lady, “Madam, are all these children yours?” the proud mother replying, “Yes sir, they are indeed sir” to which Howard retorted, “Bloody ridiculous!” and rode off.
Another favourite sport of Albert’s was and is boxing. He still runs the Halls Mill Boxing Club to which Wayne McCullough paid a visit and fitted in some sparring a couple of weeks ago. It was at school (Mourne Grange Preparatory and Sedbergh Public School) he gained his love for this sport, though as he says today, if the politicians have their way, they’ll end up banning his two passions – hunting and boxing.
During the Second World War, unlike most people of his class, Albert joined up in the ranks. As you would expect from someone whose life revolved around horses, he joined the North Irish Horse, eventually ending up training for the Paras. This consisted of going up in a balloon, sometimes at night, which had a hole in the middle of the basket and seats for the soldiers round the outside. The soldiers then jumped through the hole, a frightening experience in the dark, says Albert, as you were jumping into nothingness. Once, they were doing a jump near Coalisland and though this was meant to be secret, Albert managed to get word to his mother who came to watch. That evening he invited a few of his comrades over to Elmfield for dinner; except one. This was a Welshman who had grown up in a mining village and was very socialist. Although he and Albert were great friends, Albert thought that if he invited him to dinner at Elmfield and the Welshman saw how he lived, then he would lose the friendship. Much to Albert’s regret, his Welsh friend found out that everyone else had been invited except him, took offence and they fell out anyhow.
Rutledge was with the British Expeditionary Force and was one of the few officers who managed to get back to England with their guns. He was also awarded the MBE, his medals having been given to the “R R Kane Memorial Orange Hall”, Tullylish, the corner stone of which was laid by a very young Rut.
Another Uprichard who hasn’t been mentioned yet is Rut and Albert’s sister, Maureen, described by Colonel Woods, MC, as “the Grace Kelly of her day.” An early boyfriend of Maureen’s was Sir George (Tony) Clark whose family were partners in the “Workman and Clark” shipping company, second only to “Harland and Wolff.” He and his father before him were heavily involved in Unionist politics and the Orange Order, Maureen recalling that the Clarks “threw the most wonderful parties.” Maureen ended up marrying Captain Duncan Hill, DSO, Naval attaché to Moscow after the war. Maureen’s son David was born there. When they returned to England, Maureen and her family went to live at Stoneleigh Abbey, home of Robin, Lord Leigh and one of England’s finest stately homes. Indeed, Maureen remembers the night of the fire at Stoneleigh and the servants having to be rescued from the roof.
Unlike his contemporaries, Albert’s politics would tend more to the nationalist view, perhaps something to do with the life he has led - from mixing in the upper echelons of society and Unionist politics through his family and hunting to, through his love of boxing, the “common man”, so to speak. One person Albert did come into contact with was Prince Nicolai Chebotarev, a White Russian émigré who was staying at the nearby Moyallan House (home of the Richardsons) and who would come to Elmfield to go riding. A recently published book has claimed that Prince Nikolai was none other than the Tsarevitch who had somehow escaped being murdered along with the rest of the Russian Royal Family. Albert has his doubts!
After his brother’s death, Albert sold the Elmfield estate of some 250 acres, the contents of the house being auctioned off (the portrait of his great-grandfather, Forster Green, which once hung in the dining room, is now in the Forster Green Hospital). He also inherited Lawrencetown House, home of his Uncle Forster, which he also sold. He himself lived, along with his mother and butler, Dawson, at Millpark, though he often says his heart is still at Elmfield.
Other contemporaries of Albert’s and other linen families who led just as interesting lives include the previously mentioned Rosemary Buckby Bryson, now in her nineties and a daughter of Frederick Sinton who left some £200 000 when he died in 1944 (his elder brother Maynard leaving a fortune of £96 000 when he died the year before).
Rosemary went to school in Dublin, before being sent to school in Switzerland recalling how on a school trip to Italy she and her fellow pupils got to meet the Pope. Her two elder sisters Dorothy and Maud married into the Ferguson linen family, Dorothy marrying Thomas Dickson Ferguson whilst her sister Maud married Stanley Carr Ferguson. Rosemary herself married George Herbert Bryson of the famous linen firm “Spence Bryson”. Rosemary’s brother Frederick Maynard married Janet Simpson whose family were the owners of the shop named after them in Piccadilly, London. Another member of a London shop owning family to have married into a linen family from Banbridge and who lived in the town was Susan Stewart-Liberty of the famous “Liberty” store in London. She married John B Cowdy whose family owned the “Millmount Bleachworks” where Albert served his time. One of the Sintons ‘cousins’ was Professor Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton who jointly won the Nobel Prize for Physics in the 1920s for his pioneering work in atomic physics. His daughter Marion taught at Methodist College and lives on the Malone Road.
Rosemary Bryson’s younger brother from her father’s second marriage, Arthur Buckby Sinton, married Vera Smyth. Vera was a member of the Smyth linen family, one of the oldest in Banbridge. They owned the “Brookfield” linen factory. Her father was David Wilson Smyth, whose sister Eva married Thomas Spencer Ferguson, cousin of Thomas Dickson Ferguson and Stanley Ferguson. D W Smyth married Vera Gordon, a member of the famous Barbour linen dynasty. Vera Gordon was a cousin of Nellie Andrews who had married Thomas Andrews of “Titanic” fame. The family still has a book, a small biography of Thomas Andrews, signed “To Vera, lots of love, Nellie”. The present Vera also has a photograph of her father with the Duke of Windsor on the steps of Royal County Down, he having been picked to play with the Duke on a visit to Ireland. Vera also remembers going to visit Sir Milne Barbour at his house, Conway, though she said her father didn’t have much time for the Barbour connection. Her cousin Elise Coburn (née Barbour), however, remembers Sir Milne and Conway very well as she spent a lot of her youth there. Vera’s first cousin, Jean Gordon, married Colonel James Dickson Ferguson, brother of Thomas Dickson Ferguson who had married Dorothy Sinton. The Ferguson family would take another couple of pages in their own right and include amongst their members the composer Howard Ferguson who helped organise the wartime concerts in the National Gallery with Dame Myra Hess during WWII and who died last year aged ninety. Howardy’s (as he was known in the family) sister Daisy was a renowned lady golfer. Another of his sisters married one of the Sinclair family, Professor of Greek at QUB and brother or cousin of Maynard Sinclair, the politician. A first cousin was the artist Tom Carr. Through the Carr connection the Fergusons were linked to the previously mentioned Workman family. They also boasted a connection, through the marriage of a Ferguson daughter, to the Murland linen family of Castlewellan.
The above is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider we have only mentioned half a dozen or so linen families, the majority from the Banbridge area alone. As can be seen, it is a subject that has been very little investigated. Perhaps some day these families will be recognised for the contribution they have made to Northern Irish history, but it will have to be done soon as the majority of the people who remember it how it was are in their late 70s, early 80s and some in their 90s; once they go, that will be it.
& Co/s Directory for 1824
Ed.C. Clibborn, George Crawford, Ballydown.
Brice Smyth (i) Edenderry : (i) Greatgrandfather of D. Wilson Smyth, D.L., Brookfield Banbridge, and Malone Park, Belfast.
John Waugh, Whitehill.
The Belfast Post Office Directory of 1843-4 includes
the new names of James Carson, thread manufacturer; the address of Brice Smyth
& Sons is now given as Brookfield ; George Chapman, linen manufacturer;
Hugh Dunbar, linen manufacturer, has the address Huntley Glen; Frederick Hayes,
linen manufacturer, Seapatrick; Charles Lockhart, thread manufacturer, Rosehall;
David Lockhart, thread manufacturer, Halls Mill; Jonathan Matchett, thread manufacturer,
Leeburn ; John Mc Clelland, linen manufacturer, Banview; Wm. Robinson, linen
manufacturer, Rockview (1) ; John Smyth & Co., linen manufacturers, Milltown
; Wm. Waugh, linen manufacturer, Seapatrick.
(1) Now known as The Rock, Dromore Road.
Dickson & Co., Brown & Liddell, H, Matier & Co., Clibborn, Hill & Co. Among the spinners he mentions the (I highly attractive show of yarns and a still more diversified display of threads " by Dunbar, Mc Master & Co, McCall gives high praise to Hugh Dunbar, a Banbridge man, the founder of this firm -- "Fifty years ago (ie., about 1805) that now famous seat of industry (Gilford) was a mere village surrounded by a wide range of bleach-fields, manufacturers' residences and weavers dwellings . . . Sometime about that period Mr. Dunbar, founder of the famous firm of Dunbar, Mc Master & Co, commenced the manufacture of thread in the town of Gilford. Like the elder Mr. Barbour, this gentleman was of the old school. Steady and persevering in his business habits, he looked on success as the goal of his ambitions and permitted no doubt or difficulty to stand in the way. But while he pushed onwards and exercised judgment as well as enterprise in the details of his affairs, he never forgot that the workpeople in his employment had positive claims on his liberality."
Mr. Dunbar was baptised in the old Presbyterian Church, January 23rd, 1789, the son of Robert Dunbar and Mary McWilliam. He died at Huntley, 17th June, 1847. His obituary notice in the Irish Unitarian Magazine states "few men in the middle rank of life have left more decisive or creditable memorials than he, of superior talents, judicious enterprise, unbending integrity of principle, enlarged philanthropy and general usefulness". He was extraordinarily generous. He is described as giving princely subscriptions to public relief funds at a time of distress. "He had a list of fully four hundred paupers whom he weekly served at his own house with pecuniary aid". (Perhaps we may find here the origin of the phrase "Banbridge Beggars.") And it was " while in the act of dispensing his alms " that he died. The piece of money he was about to give was found still in his hand after death. In 1844 he laid the foundation stone of the present Unitarian Church. He was unmarried. It is claimed that the first person to make weaving by steampower a success in Belfast was Mr. Abraham Walker Craig. He was born in Tandragee in 1813 and served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Brice Smyth & Sons, Brookfield. Going to Belfast he owned " Craig's Mill " which with his Falls Factory was merged in the Northern Spinning & Weaving Co. now represented by the New Northern. Other distinguished apprentices of Brookfield were Sir John Preston and Henry Matier (H, Matier & Co.) In writing of the linen trade of Banbridge homage must always be paid to the River Bann that made it possible. The natural supply of water in this river has been preserved and regulated by engineering skill. A paper read in 1874 before the British Association by John Smyth, jr., C.E., F.C.S., of Milltown, gives a lucid account of the work of the Bann Reservoir Company.
He quotes Sir Robert Kane that " the Upper Bann is the most fully economised river in Ireland "from its source in the Deer's Meadow to Moyallon flour mill is 31 miles long. There is no record of when first mills were erected on it ; some of the weir dams found in old maps seem very ancient. From the junctions of the Muddock River to the outlet from Corbet Lough the fall is 441 feet and from the latter point to the level of the tail water at Moyallon mill the fall is 168 feet. In 1772 he estimates there were 26 bleach mills on the river. The undershot wheels, however, only utilised about 25%, of the theoretical useful effect of the falls. About 1833 Mr. Law of Hazelbank applied to Sir William Fairbairn, F.R.S,, the celebrated hydraulic engineer, He erected an iron breast wheel which was then a great improvement. It was used for driving linen beetling machines. Afterwards Sir W. Fairbairn erected a similar one at Seapatrick (Mr. Hayes) for driving beetling engines and power looms. In 1835 the principal mill-owners took steps to procure a more regular supply of water. The Committee appointed was Thos. Crawford, Geo. Mulligan, Edw. Clibborn, Rich. Hayes, Hugh Dunbar, Fred. Hayes, John Smyth Sen.., Samuel Law, Benj. Haughton, Isaac Stoney, John Christie, Thos.Wakefield Jun.. They consulted Sir W. Fairbairn and J. F. Bateman, F.R.S., who in their report advised the construction of two impounding reservoirs, Lough Island Reavy and Deer's Meadow, with an auxiliary one at the Corbet Lough. The Bann Reservoir Co. was then. formed and the Lough Island Reavy reservoir constructed in 1839.
The Company was involved in ruinous lawsuits by farmers whose lands were flooded. The appeals went to the House of Lords and were regarded as legal precedents. The Corbet Reservoir proved a difficult undertaking and was not finished until 1847. " The Deer's Meadow Reservoir was abandoned as the works were of a heavy character and the gathering ground being small it was feared there would not be sufficient water to fill it." Lough Island Reavy cost for engineering works £15,000 and for land £6,000. Mr. Smyth gives the following list of weirs occupied in 1874 Ballyroney :
Mrs. Murphy, corn and scutch ; Linen Hill.
The tendency of later years is for the manufacture,
spinning and bleaching to be concentrated in fewer and larger firms. The old
firms of Smyth of Brookfield and Smyth of Milltown still continue. In McCall's
" Ireland and her Staple Manufactures " (1855) there is an interesting
incident recorded of Brice Smyth who had died previously. He "was another
instance of the acuteness which want of sight imparts to those who labour under
that privation. This gentleman had been brought up in the midst of manufacturing
enterprise, and so admirably schooled was his sense of touch that he could have
told the 'set' of a linen web by running his hand over it. He was also able
to examine the brown webs as they were brought into his warehouse by the weavers,
and in doing so he could have formed an accurate judgment as to whether or not
the cloth had been correctly woven. On one occasion, and when busy attending
to the department of the business, a weaver who was in the brown warehouse stole
some hanks of weft, which had been lying on the counter beside him. Mr. Smyth
immediately went to another part of the concern and called on an assistant to
seize the delinquent, stating that he suspected some article had been stolen.
The man was charged with having taken part of the yarn from off the counter,
and when searched a parcel of weft was found concealed under his coat. Some
time afterwards Mr. Smyth was asked how he became aware of what was going on,
and he replied that he knew by the man holding in his breath for a few moments
that all was not right." John Smyth, brother of Brice Smyth of Brookfield,
founded the Milltown bleaching works not later than 1824. He was born in 1798.
William Waugh started his factory in 1830. William Walker who was his partner built in 1865 the power-loom factory. It occupies partly the site of the old Clibborn factory, Prospect Terrace having been erected where the Clibborn warehouse stood. After Walker's death Hamilton and Robinson bought the business out of Chancery. It was afterwards taken over by Messrs. Robinson and Cleaver, the well-known Belfast firm, whose linens are famous through the world. The Bann Weaving Co. was built at Belmont by Robert McClelland & Sons in 1865. It is now disused.
The Edenderry factory of Messrs. Thomas Ferguson & Co, has contributed greatly to the modern prosperity of Banbridge. It employs large numbers of the residents in the town and district. Thomas Ferguson, the founder, was born in 1820 and served his apprenticeship with Brice Smyth of Brookfield, like so many other leaders of the Ulster linen industry. About the year 1846 he began business in the hand-loom manufacturing. (This was before the power-loom era set in). Some ten years later he secured the first portion of the property on which the present works stand. In 1866 he built his powerloom works and made extensions to them on two subsequent occasions. In 1883 the firm was merged into a limited liability company and has so continued. In conjunction with Samuel Lament & Son, Ltd., of Belfast and Ballymena, this firm has lately become possessed of the Ballievy bleaching works and are carrying on bleaching there in spacious new buildings with modern machinery. Several smaller firms in previous times were engaged in Banbridge in the making of linen, among them, Robinson's of the Rock. The house that is prominently seen as one approaches Banbridge from Belfast was formerly part of their drying lofts. It now belongs to Mrs. Walsh, widow of the late John Walsh.
Residents in Banbridge according to Pigot's Directory 1824
Post Master :
Gentry and Clergy:
Surgeons & Apothecaries:
Atkinson, Miss (ladies boarding and day)
Inn and Hotels:
Downshire Arms (posting)-Margaret Boyle
In the Belfast Directory of 1843 many new residents in Banbridge occur of whom the following may be mentioned:-John and James Bodel, merchants; Nat. Brownlow, surgeon; Titus Burgess, Downshire Arms ; Robert Cathcart, James Cherry, watchmaker; Alex. Crothers, draper; John Davison, proprietor of the Belfast and Banbridge coach; James Edgar, auctioneer; Thomas Erwin, draper; S. Frackelton, merchant; Wm. Freeman, coach agent; Wm. Fryar, merchant; S. Glass, baker; Joseph Halliday, merchant; Robert Hamilton, do.; Isaac Harvey, do.; Wm. Hawthorn, surgeon; Hugh Herron, draper; Samuel Hill, merchant; Robert Kelso, surgeon; Rev. Edw. Leslie, Edenderry House; John Lindsay, J.P. Tullyhinna (sic), George Linn, merchant; S. Malcomson, surgeon; Rev. Wm. Metge, curate; John Mitchell, solicitor; Margaret Mitchell, postmistress; George Morton, merchant; John M'Cormick, Clerk of Petty Sessions; Fr. O'Flagherty, merchant ; Robert Shaw, watchmaker; Thomas Sheridan, Workhouse Master; John Welsh, J.P., Chinawley. - Editor.
The celebrated young Irelander, John Mitchel, author of the Jail journal lived for some years in Banbridge. His family were Covenanters, who left Scotland and took refuge in Tory Island, Co. Donegal. A John Mitchell became Presbyterian Minister 1810, and after ministries elsewhere came to Newry. He joined the Remonstrant (Unitarian) party and died in 1840. He bore a high character. His son, John, born 1815, obtained a T.C.D. degree, 1834. He was examined by the Armagh Presbytery as a candidate for Holy Orders and proceeded satisfactorily until set to write a sermon. He wrote no sermon and abandoned his clerical aspirations. Then he tried banking but gave that up too. In 1836 he entered Mr. Quin's office, a Solicitor, at Newry. He was arrested for eloping with a school girl of 15 years. The pair rowed out from Warrenpoint and caught the Liverpool ship. She was sent away, but he found her out and was married in Drumcree Parish Church. Becoming a partner with Mr. Fraser, a Newry Solicitor, he took charge of the Banbridge branch of the firm. He lived here from 1840 to 1845. He took an active part in the social and political life of the town, adopting the Repeal policy of Daniel O'Connell. He wrote (1844) to his friend, John Martin of Kilbroney, a glowing account of a meeting of Repealers he took part in at Tullylish, " of the people of the three parishes (sic) of Tullylish, Seapatrick and Clare." The chair was taken by James Fivey of Woodbank, near Gilford. Fivey, like Martin, was a graduate of T.C.D. " The Protestant public hereabouts, I assure you, look on with alarm at these doings. The police of Banbridge and Gilford were concentrated upon us at the meeting." Next year we have him voicing the old vain hope of his party. " Indeed I agree with you that Orangedom will come round; that is the' lower orders ' of it. After which the better classes may go to blazes unless they repent and do penance." In the same year (1845) he was offered by Charles Gavan Duffy a post on the editorial staff of the Nation. He removed to Dublin, a stage on his public and unhappy career. He quarrelled violently in turn with Duffy, O'Connell and Wm. Smith O'Brien. He was sentenced to fourteen years' transportation in 1848. The Banbridge Post-mistress, Miss Margaret Mitchell was his sister. - Editor
Banbridge & Area
Seapatrick Roman Catholic Records
Seapatrick Church of Ireland Records
Presbyterian Church Records
Banbridge, Scarva Street
Banbridge (1st) N. S. P.
Banbridge Methodist Church Records
Banbridge Baptist Church Records
Banbridge Town in the County Down
"The Star of The County Down is an old Irish Ballad set near Banbridge County Down, Ireland. The words are by Cathal McGarvey, 1866-1927, from Donegal, the tune of the song is similar to that of other works. The song is sung from the point of view of a young man who chances to meet a charming lady by the name of Rose (or Rosie) McCann, referred to as the "star of the "County Down". From a brief encounter the writer's infatuation grows until, by the end of the ballad, he imagines wedding the girl.
Near Banbridge town, in the County Down