County Down

Banbridge Workhouse 1841-1851

(by David Griffen)

For Photographs & History of Banbridge Workhouse & Hospital please click,


Banbridge workhouse was part of a national system created to tackle the problem of poverty in  Nineteenth century Ireland The poor law act of 1838 committed Ireland to following the English example despite the protests of Irish M.Ps of every shade of opinion. Opponents of the proposal argued that the Irish problem was on a far greater scale, as there was no work for a large proportion of the population, a system based on indoor relief, could not be effective. However in 1839 Ireland was divided into 130 Poor Law Unions, based on the main market towns and the building of workhouses began. Each workhouse was to provide for all the old, sick,  disabled and able-bodied poor. Those who entered the workhouse could not own more than one quarter acre of land, and no outdoor relief was to be provided.  Beggars   were to be sent to prison, Each workhouse was to be situated within one days walking distance (10miles) of all parts of the union.

Almost all the workhouses were built to a standard plan by George Wilkinson, the architect  employed by the Irish poor law commissioners, and they offered varying  accommodation from the  smallest of about 200 inmates to the greatest with over 1,000 places. Irish workhouses were  cheaper to build than the English workhouse as the floors were of mortar or earth, the dormitories  consisted of raised platforms, the walls were  unplastered and there were no ceilings. At the front of  each workhouse was an entrance block and remains of the walls can still be   indentified  on the way  into Banbridge Hospital. Here details were taken, clothes exchanged for workhouse garb, new  inmates deloused and separated from their  familys

Banbridge  workhouse opened on the 14th of June 1841, situated on the present site of  Banbridge  Hospital it occupied just over 5 acres and cost £10,037 to complete. It was built to accommodate a  maximum of 800 paupers and served a population of  87, 323 (1841) in an area stretching from   Tandragee  in the east, Leitrim  in the west, Dromore  in the north and  Glaskermore  in the south.

In the early 1840s the number of occupants seldom passed 300, this was no doubt due to the employment provided  by the linen industry, although agricultural prices had fallen and the wages in the linen industry were low (weavers earned from 3 shillings a week to 8 shillings a week) there was no shortage of work, as Charles Magee, the Whyte estate agent, stated in evidence before the Devon commission on the 30th March 1844, here there is scarcely anyone that need want employment if they are willing to work.

Eighteen miles along the Bann between the  Corbet   and Guildford seemed to guarantee relative  prosperity for all, the   Ordnance  Survey Memoir for  Seapatrick  Parish (1834) seems to confirm  this picture "to the man with comfortable cottages, the snowy appearances of the bleach  greens  and noisy manufactories with the growing   villages around them and the noise of the busy shuttle,  which may be heard in nearly  every house, will fully compensate for the want of picturesque   beauty".

However this picture was soon to change as the effects of the failure of the potato  crop began to be felt. Perhaps a third of the rapidly growing population of the   Banbridge  poor law Union, depended on the potato and they were soon flooding to the workhouse, by November 1846 numbers in the workhouse had passed 500 . Fortunately the wealth of the area was such that the guardians had normally a balance of £1,000 in hand in the bank. Prominent among the guardians   were landlords  Whyte  and Reilly and linen merchants Lindsay, Crawford and Law.

The winter of 1846-7 was  particulary  harsh and by January 1847 further admissions to the  workhouse were halted on the advice of the medical officer, "Whooping cough, influenza and  dysentary  are prevalent - and on this account he thinks more than 800, nor even that number could  not be attended without the greatest exertions of the officers," ( 2nd January ) however 4 were  taken in  "who cannot be rejected without safety" and the guardians did provide dinner and a half  pound of bread for each of the 54 paupers turned away.

The board of guardians now faced with a crisis   immediately set up a committee to investigate the  possibility of renting the brewery as additional temporary accommodation. At the same time two storey sheds were erected in both the  men and woman's wards, and galleries in all those parts of the workhouse suitable (Jan 1847), a temporary fever hospital which had been erected at the back of the workhouse was also overcrowded, Smallpox was spreading in  Banbridge, there were cases of Cholera in  Dromore and for three successive weeks the master, Mr Sheridon was forced to turn away more than 300 applicants. Food continued to be given to those who were rejected, despite advice from the Poor Law Commissions in Dublin, against the continuation of this practice.

On the 13th March 1847 the board of guardians advised the master to call in the aid of the constabulary to disperse paupers from the gates and further admissions were stopped for the present, unless in cases of fever, 170 were rejected ,some of whom had come a distance of 9 miles and all in a state of extreme destitution, once again the Guardians agreed to give a portion of food to help the unfortunates return to their hovels. Again on the 10th April 1847, 62 paupers were refused, although all the applicants exhibited  symptoms  of starvation and some even of death. Numbers had reached 898 of whom 183 were in the workhouse hospital and 23 in the fever hospital. Deaths were averaging 14 a week, the increasing cost of extensions and providing for the large number of inmates now forced the Guardians to borrow £2,000 from the Poor Law Commissions.

However there was  a lighter side to life as on the 15th May 1847 ,the master reports that singing and dancing  is carried on in the fever hospital and so great a noise made that the patients cannot get their rest, particulary on saturday  nights, complaints were also made concerning the sale of clothes to local pawnbrokers, and the presence of a man in the female ward. However the major scandal was the dismissal of the clerk of the union, Robert McClelland for embezzlement, the Clerk was in fact the highest paid official , with a salary of £60 per annum ( other salaries included - Master £40, Matron £25, all  Chaplins £25, Surgeon £50, Schoolmaster £20, Schoolmistress £15, Nurse £10 and Porter £10 per annum )

Problems continued to multiply and in September 1847 the Guardians were advised to discontinue the practice of burying paupers in the workhouse ground, there was also continuing difficulties with the water supply, sanitation  and overcrowding. At last on 27th November an agreement was completed for the use of the brewery. Three hundred boys were  immediately  moved from the workhouse to the brewery, meanwhile conditions in the countryside had deteriorated  further and on 1st January 1848 a letter from the Poor Law Commissioners stated that, "from the prevalence of   distress in the Union they consider they would not be justified in permitting any further delay to take place in commencing outdoor  relief," soup kitchens were set up in  each electoral district and as many as 11,000 received food in the rural area in one day. Admissions continued apace and  reached their peak on the 8th February 1848, when the workhouse contained  1,464 inmates, thereafter a slow but significant decline in numbers began and in August 1848 the Guardians ceased to use the brewery, however throughout 1848 and  until  summer 1849, numbers in the workhouse never fell below 1,000.

In the summer of 1848 a scheme for sending female pauper orphans from Ireland to Australia  was put into effect and among those unfortunate girls were 36 from Banbridge workhouse, of these 17  travelled on the first sailing, aboard the Earl Grey arriving in Sydney on the 6th October 1848 some of the girls were the subjects of unfavourable comment and the Belfast girls were described as notoriously bad in every sense of the word, However, in evidence before a committee of inquiry, the matron Mrs. Maria Cooper praised the Banbridge girls for their exemplary behaviour, free passage was also provided for numbers of children whose parents had been transported.

Conditions inside the Workhouse in those years were harsh. Work was provided in various forms knitting, spinning and weaving (both linen and wool), milling corn, picking oakum, and breaking stones (even for woman). Those who failed to work satisfactorily were discharged, punishments for  indiscipline included breaking 5cwts of stones a day, however, Workhouse production and sale of goods were discouraged as they were not permitted to compete with independent producers. The Schoolmaster and School mistress taught the children from 9am to 1pm each day but illiteracy was common among the inmates.  During 1849 and 1850, as conditions in the countryside improved, numbers continued to fall and the lofts and galleries which had been erected in 1847 were taken down, in March 1851 numbers had fallen to 426, during the years 1846-1850 there were over 5000 admissions to the Workhouse. As the register is missing we cannot tell from which part of the Poor Law Union the unfortunates came or whether the same persons were admitted more than once. Some 1000 inmates died during the famine years.

There are only 13 names on the surviving page of the Banbridge Workhouse admission register.
10th January 1844.

Elizabeth McGlogan age 63 Roman Catholic widow admitted by the board Jan 15th, almost starved and infested with vermin present condition in fever hospital.
Martha Dunbar age 65 Presbyterian single admitted Feb 5th almost starved clothing dirty and in rags present condition in good health.
Ann and Margaret McClure, age 10 and 7 protestants orphans admitted Feb 5th both almost starved clothing in rags present condition healthy in female school.
Hugh McBride age 50 Presbyterian labourer widower 4 children alive admitted Feb 26th bodily infirm almost starved and nearly naked present condition in men's ward.
James Burns age 70 Roman Catholic labourer widower 7children still alive admitted Feb 26th almost starved naked and infested with vermin present condition good health in men's ward.
Mary Ann, Patrick, David and Daniel Doherty, aged 11, 9, 7, and 4, Roman Catholics orphans  admitted Mar.4th all in dirty clothing, in rags and infested with vermin present condition good health at school.
Robert Hamilton age 13 Protestant orphan admitted Mar 4th almost starved dirty and clothing in  rags present condition healthy in men's ward.
John Craig age16 Protestant single admitted Mar 4th mentally infirm hungry clothing in rags dirty  present condition in good health in male idiot ward.
Mary Rowan age 60 Presbyterian widow admitted Mar 4th bodily infirm almost starved clothing  dirty and infested with vermin present condition in female ward.
Mary Ann Lyle age 53 Presbyterian married deserted by husband admitted Mar11th with her child age 8 both almost starved clothing dirty and in rags present condition in good health.
Hugh Firey age12 Protestant orphan admitted  Mar 12th almost starved and naked present  condition good health in men's school.
Margaret Buckley age 30 Protestant married deserted by husband admitted Mar 13th almost  starved clothing infested with vermin (since dead).
Robert Kilpatrick age 75 Protestant single admitted Mar 25th almost starved naked and infested with vermin present condition in men's hospital.

By David Griffen

Return of Infants born in the workhouse and during the years 1872, 1873,and 1874

Union workhouse & christian & surnames of infants born in the workhouse or admitted healthy under 12 months Year Discharged Healthy In Hospital Dead
Banbridge Union Workhouse          
Francis McClung 1872 - - - 1
Kerr, (Male) " 1 - - -
Daniel Gorman " 1 - - -
McPoland, (Male) " 1 - - -
Sarah Erwin " 1 - - -
Catherine McAteer " - - - 1
Mary Brannon " 1 - - -
Martin McSpadden " 1 - - -
Robinson, (Male) " 1 - - -
Elizabeth Jane Darragh " - 1 - -
Mary Jane Trimble " 1 - - -
Henry Baines " 1 - - -
Elizabeth Kerr " 1 - - -
Sarah Ann Hawthorne " - 1 - -
Joseph Wilson " 1 - - -
Francis Henry McMahon " - - - 1
Sarah Weir " 1 - - -
David Hillan " 1 - - -
Annie Cunningham " - - - 1
Robert Sterling " 1 - - -
Annie Mateer " -   - 1
John McCoy " 1 - - -
Robert John McDowell " - - - 1
David Hillan " 1 - - -
A Foundling (Female) " 1 - - -
Margaret Ann Shevlin " 1 - - -
John McCaw " 1 - - -
Mary Jane Grimley " 1 - - -
Sarah Ann McSpadden " 1 - - -
David McConnell " 1 - - -
Jemima McDowell " 1 - - -
Mary Ann Taylor " 1 - - -
Michael Savage " 1 - - -
Mary McMahon " 1 - - -
Eliza McClotchy " 1 - - -
Mary Jane Taylor " 1 - - -
Burns, (Female) 1873 1 - - -
Mary Comick " 1 - - -
Burns, (Female " 1 - - -
Margaret Smith " 1 - - -
James Greenaway " 1 - - -
Bryson, (Female) " 1 - - -
Samuel Boyd " 1 - - -
Annie Marie Cunningham " 1 - - -
Lucindia McCully " 1 - - -
Kinney, (Male) " 1 - - -
Margaret Moore " - - - 1
Sarah Ann Hawthorne " - - - 1
Jemima McDonnell " 1 - - -
Catherine Hamill " 1 - - -
Eliza Sarah McMurray " - - - 1
Ellen Lavery " 1 - - -
Mary Jane Caherty " 1 - - -
Michael Savage " 1 - - -
Mary Jane Trimble " 1 - - -
Mary McMahon " 1 - - -
Margaret Murphy " - -   1
John Tobin " 1 - - -
Joseph Wilson " 1 - - -
Mary Comick " 1 - - -
Eliza McClotchy " - - - 1
Victoria Field " - - - 1
James McMallen " - - - 1
Ellen Maginn " 1 - - -
Thomas Baxter " 1 - - -
Samuel Cully " 1 - - -
Elizabeth Guthrie " - - - 1
Ellen Hamilton " 1 - - -
John McCallister " 1 - - -
Julia McCloughley " 1 - - -
James Magill " - - - 1
Sarah McKeown " 1 - - -
William McCoy 1874 1 - - -
Martha Nixon " 1 - - -
Elizabeth White " - - - 1
John White " - - - 1
Samuel Reid " - - - 1
Samuel Coramack " 1 - - -
William James Shillington " 1 - - -
Elizabeth Jane McDonnell " 1 - - -
John Alexander Burns " 1 - - -
Annie Donaldson " 1 - - -
John Cully " - - - 1
Elizabeth Cully " 1 - - -
Mary Arnold " 1 - - -
Bickerstaff, (Male) " - - - 1
John Maginness " - - - 1
Mary Ellen Moore " 1 - - -
William McConnell " - - - 1
William McCoy " 1 - - -
John McAllister " 1 - - -
John Chambers " - - - 1
Mary Anne McCoy " 1 - - -
Mary Jane McCreedy " 1 - - -
George Brown " 1 - - -
Thomas Ervin " - - - 1
Lucindia McCully " - - - 1
William James Finnegan " 1 - - -
Ruth Guiney " - - - 1
Alexander Malloy " 1 - - -
James McClughan " - - - 1
Anthony Todd " 1 - - -
William Trimble " 1 - - -
Ellen Currans " 1 - - -
Robert Trainor " 1 - - -
Joseph Anderson " 1 - - -

State of the lunatic poor in Ireland

Minutes of the Board of Guardians of the Union of Banbridge

5th.June 1843

That the clerk be directed to apply to the Governor of the County Down Infirmary for the admission of Samuel Hutton,
a dangerous lunatic a native of Sheepbridge, County Down

12th.June 1843

Letter from the Govenor of the County down Infirmary, stating that lunatic's are not admissible into that establishment,
as there is a District lunatic asylum at Belfast for such cases.

Reply,28th.June 1843

Iam directed by the poor law Commissioners to acknowledge the receipt of your letter relative to the case of Samuel Hutton.
a dangerious lunatic referred to in the minutes of the Banbridge Union, and to state for the information of the Board of Guardians

that they should request the medical officer to make oath before two justices at the Petty Sessions that the inmate referred to is a dangerous lunatic
and the justices will then commit him to the County goal, where he will remain untill there is room for him in the lunatic asylum


 Dec 03 March 1896

 Mr, M. McCartan, (Down.S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether his attention has been called to the deportation of a pauper lunatic, named John Smith, from Glasgow to the workhouse at Banbridge, County Down, on the 14th February 1896; whether the attendants who accompanied him used handcuffs; whether there was any legal warrant for sending Smith under restraint to the workhouse; and, whether he will consider the existing law as to deporting from England and Scotland to Ireland natives of Ireland who have spent the best days of their lives in England or Scotland and then become paupers, and will introduce a Bill to have the law on this subject amended?

 Mr. Gerald Balfour, Leeds Central

The medical certificate which accompanied the removal warrant in the case of this man described him as a dangerous lunatic suffering from homicidal mania, and he was accompanied to Ireland by two attendants who had been instructed to use handcuffs if necessary. I presume the Scotch authorities were actuated by humane reasons in using restraint in the removal of the man, and the mere fact of his being a lunatic would not render his removal illegal provided a certificate was given, as in the present case, that he would not suffer bodily or mental injury by being removed. Smith was sent to the District Lunatic Asylum upon his arrival at Banbridge. I am not in a position to say whether I shall be able this Session to introduce legislation in the direction suggested, as the matter is still the subject of correspondence between the authorities in Ireland, England and Scotland, and must await the result of this correspondence.


 A service of dedication was held on Saturday 12 September 2009 to mark the opening of ‘Gate Lodge Memorial Park’ in Banbridge, dedicated to the memory of the many paupers who were laid to rest in the grounds of the former Banbridge Workhouse between 1841 and 1847.
 The Council committed funding of £220,000 for the Memorial Park which along with its public art and interpretative signage tells the story that this was once a place where young and old were forced to go if they were poor and destitute.
 The remains of the walls, which formed an entrance block into the workhouse, have been incorporated into the Park’s elevated seating area

Banbridge and District Historical Society Journal

Volume 4

Verses on Banbridge,
The Burn Hill of Yesterday
Edenderry Works
Hugh Porter
Lenaderg mans Ozonemeter
A visit to Banbridge District
Gilford's Children
Battle of Guildford Castle
Billy the beggar man
The Tullylish Accordionists
Book Review
Ode to Sea Patrick Parish Church
The Street Singer
Tribute to Charlie McClean
Recollections of Friars Place School
Magennis Clan Rally
Faithful Service
Banbridge Heritage Development Limited
Old Banbridge Football Team
Banbridge Choral Society
Emigrant Sons of The Bann
A.C.s and Banbridge
Interior of  Scarva  Street Presbyterian Church
Jaunting Car at Brookfield
The Late J. Harris  Rea
Banbridge Mixed Choir
Old Reilly Street
Banbridge & District Historical Society Members and Office Bearers

Volume 5

Land of Beauty & Tragedy
Where no Shuttles Fly
The Right Rev. Bishop William Shaw Kerr
Stanley Woods
Run down to Cecil's
Tribute to J. F. Jack  Hamilton
A Browse through the Banbridge Chronicle
Our Field Day
Tribute to Wilson Emerson
Banbridge Heritage Development
Water Power from the Upper Bann
Old Newry Road
An Ulster Childhood at Sea Patrick Rectory
Sound Patterns in the Air
The Trevor's of Rose Trevor
The Cut is an Eyesore
Newry Street
Downshire  Road
Book Reviews

Volume 6

My Town
The Naval Career of  F.R.M. Crozier
The Downshire Bridge Saga
Come Home To County Down
Life in A Mud Hut In Ireland
The Banbridge Workhouse, 1841-1851
The Father of Modern Banbridge Wm.Logan, O.B.E, J.P.
VE. Day the 50th Anniversary
Tandragee  and The Dukes of Manchester
Headstones to the Past
The Ghost Of  Gillhall
Local Dialect
Banbridge - The Earliest Baptist Church, in County Down
Banbridge Brass Band
Book Reviews
Banbridge Heritage Development
Members List

Volume 7

Croziers Lament
Thread Making At Sea Patrick
The Central Bar
The Gigs And Giggles
The Quarter Days Of The Celtic Year
Tullylish Pottery (Formerly Bannford  Bleachworks)
Old Banbridge Town
The Ulster Bar
Obituary - Earnest Connor Gordon
The Molyneux Family Of Castle Dillon
Characters & Skilled Craftsmen From Days Long Gone
William Blacker
Death of Overseas Member and Former Local Rector
The Wee Arch
Towns Hockey Club, Jubilee Year 1946
The Lumper - An Analysis of its role in the Irish Famine 1845-1850
Walkers Factory
Marjorie Burnett
Harry Ferguson - A tribute
Bakeries and Breadmen in Banbridge District 1930-1940
Membership List

These Journals provide an insight into life in and around Banbridge district in the past and present, There are some photographs that would be of interest to exiles from the Bann, the journals can be purchased from, Jason Diamond, at the Heritage Centre, the address is at the top of this page.


The word linen is derived from the Latin for the flax plant, which is linum, and the earlier Greek linon


The term "linen" refers to yarn and fabric made from Flax fibres; however, today it is often used as a generic term to describe a class of woven bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles because traditionally linen was so widely used for towels, sheets, etc. In the past, the word also referred to lightweight undergarments such as shirts, chemises, waistshirts, lingerie, and detachable shirt collars and cuffs. Linens were manufactured almost exclusively of fibres from the flax plant Linum usitatisimum. But textiles made of cotton, hemp, and other plant fibres have also been referred to as 'linen' which can make the exact referent of the term somewhat unclear.

Highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat, linen fabric feels cool to the touch. Linen is the strongest of the vegetable fibres with 2 to 3 times the strength of cotton. It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint free, and gets softer the more it is washed. However, constant creasing in the same place in sharp folds will tend to break the linen threads. This wear can show up in collars, hems, and any area that is iron creased during laundering. Linen has poor elasticity and does not spring back readily explaining why it wrinkles so easily.

Linen textiles may be the oldest in the world. Their history goes back many thousands of years. Fragments of straw, seeds, fibers, yarns and various types of fabrics which date back to about 8000 B.C. have been found in Swiss lake dwellings. Linen was used in the Mediterranean in the pre-Christian age. Linen was sometimes used as currency in ancient Egypt. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen because it was seen as a symbol of light and purity, and as a display of wealth. Some of these fabrics, woven from hand spun yarns, were extremely fine and cannot be matched by modern spinning techniques.

Today linen is usually an expensive textile and is produced in relatively small quantities. It has a long "staple" (individual fibres length) relative to cotton and other natural fibres.

 Properties of flax

Linen fabrics have a high natural luster and their natural color ranges between shades of ivory, tan, or grey. Pure white linen is created by heavy bleaching. Linen typically has a thick and thin character with a crisp and textured feel to it, but can range from stiff and rough to soft and smooth. When adequately prepared, linen has the ability to absorb and lose water rapidly. It can gain up to 20% moisture without feeling damp.

When freed from impurities it is highly absorbent and will quickly remove perspiration from the skin. Linen is a stiff fabric and is less likely to cling to the skin and when it billows away it tends to dry out and become cool so that the skin is being continually touched by a cool surface. It is a very durable, strong fabric and one of the few that are stronger wet than dry. It does not stretch and is resistant to damage from abrasion. However, because it has very low elasticity it can break if it is folded at the same place repeatedly. Mildew, perspiration, and bleach can also damage the fabric, but it is resistant to moths and carpet beetles. Linen is relatively easy to take care of since it resists dirt and stains, has no lint or pilling tendency and can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed. It can withstand high temperatures and yields only moderate initial shrinkage. Linen wrinkles very easily and must be ironed often to maintain smoothness. It should not be dried too much by tumble drying, and is much easier to iron when damp. Nevertheless this tendency to wrinkle is often considered part of the fabric's particular "charm".

A characteristic often associated with linen yarn is the presence of "slubs", or small knots that occur randomly along its length. However, these are actually defects associated with low quality. The finest linen has very consistent diameter threads with no slubs.


The standard measure of bulk linen yarn is the Lea. This is a specific length, or indirect grist system, i.e. the number of length units per unit mass. A yarn having a size of 1 lea will give 300 yards per pound. The fine yarns used in handkerchiefs, etc. might be 40 lea, and give 40x300 = 12,000 yards per pound. The symbol is NeL. More commonly used in continental Europe is the Metric system, Nm. This is the number of 1,000 m lengths per kilogram.

In China, the English Cotton system unit, NeC, is common. This is the number of 840 yard lengths in a pound.

Production method

The quality of the finished linen product is often dependent upon growing conditions and harvesting techniques. To generate the longest possible fibers, flax is either hand-harvested by pulling up the entire plant or stalks are cut very close to the root. After harvesting, the seeds are removed through a mechanized process called “rippling” or by winnowing

The fibers must then be loosened from the stalk. This is achieved through retting which uses bacteria to decompose the pectin that binds the fibers together. There are natural retting methods that occur in tanks and pools or directly in the fields. There are also chemical retting methods which are faster but are typically more harmful to the environment and to the fibers themselves.

At this point, the stalks are ready for “scutching” which takes place between August and December. Scutching removes the woody portion of the stalk by crushing them between two metal rollers so that the parts of the stalk can be separated. The fibers are removed and the other parts such as linseed, shive, and tow are set aside for other uses. The short fibers are separated by “hackling” or combing them away, to leave behind only the long, soft flax fibers.

After the fibers have been separated and processed, they are typically spun into yarns and woven or knit into linen textiles. These textiles can then be bleached, dyed, printed on, or finished with a number of treatments or coatings.

An alternate production method is known as “cottonizing” which is quicker and requires less equipment. The flax stalks are processed using traditional cotton machinery; however, the finished fibers often lose the characteristic linen look.


Flax is grown in many parts of the world, but top quality flax is primarily grown in Western Europe. In very recent years bulk linen production has moved to Eastern Europe and China, but quality fabrics are still confined to niche producers in Ireland, Italy and Belgium.


Over the past 30 years the end use for linen has changed dramatically. Approximately 70% of linen production in the 1990s was for apparel textiles whereas in the 1970s only about 5% was used for fashion fabrics.

Linen uses range from bed and bath fabrics (table cloths, dish towels, bed sheets, etc.), home and commercial furnishing items (wallpaper/wall coverings, upholstery, window treatments, etc.), apparel items (suits, dresses, skirts, shirts, etc.), to industrial products (luggage, canvases, sewing thread, etc.) It was once the preferred yarn for handsewing the uppers of moccasin-style shoes, loafers, but its use has been replaced by synthetics.

A linen handkerchief, pressed and folded to display the corners, was a standard decoration of a well-dressed man's suit during most of the first part of the 20th century.

Currently researchers are working on a cotton/flax blend to create new yarns which will improve the feel of denim during hot and humid weather, Linen fabric is one of the preferred traditional supports for oil painting. In the United States cotton is popularly used instead as linen is many times more expensive there, restricting its use to professional painters. In Europe however, linen is usually the only fabric support available in art shops. Linen is preferred to cotton for its strength, durability and archival integrity.

In the past linen was also used for books (the only surviving example of which is the Liber Linteus. Due to its strength, in the middle ages linen was used for sheilds and gambeson much like how in Classical and Hellenistic Greece linen was used to make multi-plied Hoplite Suirasses. Also because of its strength when wet, Irish Linen is the best wrap of pool/billiard cues, due to its absorption of sweat from hands. Paper made of linen can be very strong and crisp, which is why the United States and many other countries print their currency on paper that is made from 25% linen and 75% cotton.

Linen's history

Linen has been used for table coverings, bed coverings and clothing for centuries. The exclusivity of linen stems from the fact that it is difficult and time consuming to produce (flax in itself requires a great deal of attention in its growth). Flax is difficult to weave because of its lack of elasticity, and therefore is more expensive to manufacture than cotton. The benefits of linen however, are unmatched.

Due to the parallel arrangement of its fibers, linen is a stronger, sturdier fabric than cotton. In addition, linen is highly absorbent (perfect for dish towels and napkins). Due to its insulating qualities, linen coverings (such as smocks) provide cooling benefits, ideal for warm kitchens. The subtle combination of firmness and softness of linen make this fabric a favorite.

Linen can be machine-washed (and grows softer with time and use) and then ironed while still damp with a hot iron. Linen products tend to outlast cotton, enduring up to 20 years of use.

The Living linen Project was set up in 1995 as an Oral Archive of the knowledge of the Irish linen industry still available within a nucleus of people who were formerly working in the industry in Ulster . There is a long history of linen in Ireland.

The use of linen for priestly vestments was not confined to the Israelites, but from Plutarch, who lived and wrote one hundred years after the birth of Christ, we know that also the priests of Isis wore linen because of its purity.

 The Antiquity of Linen

In the Belfast Library there is preserved the mummy of "Kaboolie,' the daughter of a priest of Ammon, who died 2,500 years ago. The linen on this mummy is in a like state of perfection. When the tomb of Tutankamen was opened, the linen curtains were found intact.

Earliest Linen Industry

The Phoenicians, who, with their merchant fleet, opened up new channels of commerce to the peoples of the Mediterranean, besides developing the tin mines of Cornwall, introduced flax growing and the making of linen into Ireland before the birth of Christ, but the internal dissensions, which even in those early days were prevalent in Erin, militated against the establishment of an organized industry, and it is not until the twelfth century that we can find records of a definite attempt to systematize flax production.

When the Edict of Nantes was revoked, in A.D. 1695, many of the Huguenots who had to flee the country settled in the British Isles, and amongst them was Louis Crommelin, who was born, and brought up as a weaver of fine linen, in the town of Cambrai. He fled to Ulster, and eventually settled down in the small town of Lisburn, about ten miles from Belfast.

During the late war Cambrai became well known as one of the centers of the most desperate fighting. The name "cambric" is derived from this town.

Although the linen industry was already established in Ulster, Louis Crommelin found scope for improvement in weaving, and his efforts were so successful that he was appointed by the Government to develop the industry over a much wider range .than the small confines of Lisburn and its surroundings. The direct result of his good work was the establishment, under statute, of the Board of Trustees of the Linen Manufacturers of Ireland in the year 1711.

Flax & Making Linen


In the late summer the countryside around Banbridge was permeated by the all pervasive stench of rotted flax being lifted out of flax dams, which were at the bottom of the fields. It was spread out along the banks of the dam then piled high on the stout orange-painted farm carts and taken off to the mills. For a hundred and fifty years the linen industry flourished along the banks of the Bann. At every turn in the river between Banbridge and Portadown, there seemed to be a small factory using water to process some stage of linen manufacturing. In the fields along the Lurgan road huge strips of linen lay stretched across the grass on the bleach greens. The factory whistles or hooters marked the daily routine for hundreds of local people employed in the factories. Long hours were also worked, including Saturday mornings, All these sights and sounds, which the children of fifty years ago accepted as part of the everyday fabric of life in and around Banbridge, have gone, how strange they would appear to our present generation, R.Wilson.

During the month of August the countryside used to reek with a foul stench as the flax dams were opened and the flax was removed to make linen. Linen is made from fibres found inside the flax plant, Flax was a greedy crop it took a lot of nourishment out of the soil so it was usually grown in a plant succession following potatoes where the ground had had a lot of manure added to it. The type of flax most commonly grown had pretty blue flowers and the ground was carefully prepared. It was ploughed three times to make sure that the soil had a sufficiently fine tilth. Flax seeds are difficult to sow evenly because they are shiny so tend to slip too easily out of the hand and as they are small and light they are easily blown by the breeze. Well prepared ground is usually relatively free from weeds, but the crop was weeded when the plants were about 9cm high. It was ready to be harvested about three months after planting, that is about a month after the first flowers appeared. The flax was harvested by being pulled out by the roots, the plant fibres go from the tip to the roots so cutting the crop would have reduced the length of the threads. Harvesters grasped the plant about halfway up the stem and pulled it upwards and slightly to one side, it was hard work.

Four handfuls of flax were tied into a beet or sheaf, then the immature seeds were removed by a process called ripling by being pulled through a structure called a rippling comb. The seedless beets were put into flax dams, also called lint holes. A typical flax dam was about 26 m by 2.5 m , it was narrow so that workers could throw beets into the water from both sides of the structure. The beets were weighted down by large stones. The outer parts of the flax plant decayed in the water so that the linen threads could be removed, the length of time the flax was kept in the dam depended on the temperature, the quality of the water and the type of flax. At last the flax was deemed to be ready and the dam was opened, removing the flax from the dam was a most unpleasant task. The men had to get into the water and they became very smelly. The smell was so persistent it could be detected on the skin two weeks later so only young boys and old men would get into the water, that is males who were not interested in chasing woman!.

Once the flax was taken out of the dam it had to be dried, then it was taken to a scutch mill so that the unwanted parts of the plant could be knocked off linen threads which were then spun and woven into linen. The linen was a dull brown when it was first woven so it was spread out on fields called bleaching greens. The linen was valuable so people were hired to watch it and prevent it from being stolen or destroyed by stray animals. One of the old watch towers which used to be found at Tullylish and which used to house a linen watcher has been reconstructed in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

Doreen McBride

I can remember with my mother and father pulling flax at Jack Magills up the Scarva road, quite a few of the families from Reilly street, Scarva Street, and around that area worked at the flax pulling, to help supplement the family income.
Raymond Kelly, ex Friars Place, Banbridge.

The working conditions of adults and children in the Banbridge bleaching mills 1854

 1854 - 1855 , Volume 18
| Report of the Commissioner, H. S. Tremenheere, appointed to inquire ... (into) the better regulation of mills and factories for bleaching works .


Mr.Robinson, Ballydown cambric Bleach Works, Banbridge. I employ about 40 to 50 females, who work chiefly in the stove: and about 15 to 20 men. The regular hours of work are from 6 to 6 in the summer, though seldom so long, and in winter from daylight till dark. The temperature of the stoves is 8deg. on an average, sometimes we work overtime, but not as a general thing, only when we have a quantity of cloth to get ready for a certain day. In those cases we may go on till 8 or 9 o'clock, seldom later, we never like night work, as the work is never so well done, and we sometimes have to do it over again. The few boys we have about 10 in all are employed upon the field, and have generally done work from 3 to 6.In the lapping room the hours are the same as in the stoves, but we seldom work over hours there, we have no regular set of females in that room, when they are wanted we bring them in from the stoves.

Mr.Crawford has a linen bleach work above, but they do not employ females, only a few boys on the field, about 15 or 16 people are employed.

The Acts Relative to factories to Bleaching works,&c.

Mr.John Mullen, foreman (Mr. Hill,  Linen bleach works, Banbridge,) we employ about 20 people, no females or boys

Messrs, John Smith,Weir & Coy.Linen cloth bleach works, Milton, Banbridge.We employ no females and only one boy, we bleach only heavy goods

Mr.William Meek, foreman (Mr. Hayes, Millmount, Banbridge.We bleach linen cloth and diapers, and employ about 30 people,
of whom four are boys under 18,we employ no females, the boys are employed in beetling engines and when required they take
 their night turn every other night with the men.The usual hours of work are from 6 to 6 with 2 hours for meals, and the same on Saturdays.

Mr.McClelland, Barville, Banbridge, we bleach linen cloth only and employ no females only a boy.

Messrs, J.& W.Uprichard, We bleach linen cloth, diaper and damask,and employ about 90 people, of whom  only three are females, and about 14 boys,

ten of the boys are employed in the beetling machines and work time and half time, turn and turn about, i.e., every other night. They begin work at 6 a.m.

and work till 6 p.m. for the regular day, every other night they go on till 6 the next morning, but have occasion to attend the machines for half an hour in every three,they can sleep the rest of the time, six are from 13 to 16 and four from 16 to 18. In the lapping room we have four females neither of them very young, they do not work extra hours one night in a month, even when trade is brisk.

My opinion is that as the boys at the beetling machines at night have so much time to sleep, it is not injurious to them

Directory of Banbridge 1819



Merchants, Traders Etc. 1819

Adair Robert, Horse Dealer
Amberson James, Schoolmaster
Amberson Samuel, Publican
Anderson George, Grocer
Anderson Joseph, Shoemaker
Anderson John, Shoemaker
Anderson Thomas, Publican
Ardray William, Publican
Ardray Robert, Publican & Butter merchant
Armour James, Carpenter
Arthurs Mary, Grocer

Banen,- Surgeon
Beatty Rev.Thomas, Vicarage
Bell Mrs Mary,
Bell John, Publican & Grocer
Black George
Blizard  John Esq. Bannview
Boyle Mrs, Innkeeper, Downshire Arms
Bradford John, Gent
Bradford Robert, Cooper
Bradford Robert, Place of Entertainment
Brownlow  Hugh, Grocer
Bryson Samuel, Hostler
Buckley Bernard, Publican
Byrne Hugh, Publican
Byrne Hugh, Tailor
Byrne John, Tailor
Byrne P.C.Esq. Ardbien
Byrne Thomas, Paver

Campbell John, House of Entertainment
Campbell Samuel, Victualler
Campbell James, Victualler
Card James, Cart & Plough-maker
Card William, Cart & Plough-maker
Cleborn Edward, Linen & Flour Merchants
Christy James, Esq.Lawrencetown House
Closs James, House of Entertainment
Cochran James, Esq. Coushill
Craig ary, Haberdasher
Crawford George, Esq.Ballyeivy
Crawford Andrew, Esq. Milltown
Crawford Walter,Esq. Ballyeivy House
Creily James, Plasterer
Crothers & Henry, Haberdashers
Crozier George, Solicitor

Davis Rev Henry, Henry-Hill
Dickson John
Degney Bridget, Fruit Seller
Douglas Hugh, Place of Entertainment
Downes Thomas, Shoemaker
Downes Robert, Shoemaker & Publican
Drennen Samuel, Victualler
Dunbar Hugh, Grocer

Edmonson Joseph, Brickmaker
Evans John, Wheelwright
Evans Robert, Shoemaker
Evans William, Sawyer

Fair Alexander, Mail Coach Agent
Farrell, Surgeon
Finley John, Grocery & Spirit stores
Flanagan William, Lock & Gunsmith
Fowler James, Esq. Bannville
Frazer Hugh, Attorney
Frazer David, Blacksmith

Gardner Thomas, Linen Merchant
Gibson Andrew, Labourer
Gilmore & Chapman, Merchants
Glass Samuel, Grocer
Glass John, Slater
Gorman Patrick, House of Entertainment
Graham Samuel, Hide merchant
Gribbon John

Hamilton Maxwell, Publican
Hawthorne George, M.D.
Hayes William, Esq. Millmount
Heron John, Grocer
Hopkins Andrew, Wheelwright
Hosack Hannah, Publican
Hudson William, Esq. Ballydown
Hughes Patrick, Linguist
Hughes Patrick, Blacksmith
Hutchinson Thomas, Blue-dyer & Grocer

Johnson Rev John, Master of the Academy
Johnson James, Tailor
Joice Esther, Publican

Kearns Phillip, Baker
Kelly Robert, Shuttlemaker
Kelly Misses, Dress makers
Kelly Robert ,Esq. Eliza-hill
Kenear John, Grocer & Leather seller
Kennedy Hugh, Mason
Kerr Hamilton, Publican
Kirk William, Carter

Lavery John, Grocer & Leather seller
Lawson Rachel, Haberdasher
Law Samuel, Esq. Hazle-bank
Law Joseph, Esq.Cousville
Leech, Painter & Glazier
Lindsay Elizabeth, Fruit seller
Little, Surgeon
Little Andrew, Brush maker
Little Mrs, Roseville
Locke John, House of Entertainment
Love John, Grocer
Lowry Alexander, Esq. Linen-hill

Macklin Thomas, Grocer
Magee Dudley, Bailiff
Magill John, Publican
Main John, Woolendraper
Major Mrs, China, Glass & Delf warehouse
Mackin Patrick, House of Entertainment
Malcomson, Surgeon
Matier Hugh, Wheelwright
Merren William, Postmaster
Mitchell Henry, Joiner
Mitchell James, Painter & Glazier
Moore William & James, Nursery & Seed merchants
Moore Matthew, Publican
Moore Thomas, Publican
Morron James, Victualler
Morron John, Victualler
Morton George, Publican
Morton Joseph, Publican
Morton Andrew, Grocer
Morton Misses, Milliners
Mullen Daniel, Gent.
Mulligan Gilbert, Esq.Ballyeivy
Mulligan John, Esq. Parkmount
Mulligan James, Charleville
Mulligan John, Esq. Tullyconnaught
Mulligan Hugh, Grocer
Munn James, Joiner

McAlinden Henry, Cabinet warehouse
McAlinden John, Carter
McAlister Robert, Shoemaker
McBride Hugh
McCampton Daniel, Tailor
McCariston James, Grocer
McClelland Andrew, Woolendraper
McClelland John, Esq. Gospelville
McClelland William, Haberdasher
McClelland Samuel, Publican
McClelland Robert, China & Delf merchant
McClelland John, Hosiery & Shoe Shop
McClelland Thomas, China & Delf warehouse
McClelland Thomas, Bailiff
McConnell Charles, Publican
McCormick Robert, Saddler
McCreight Rev. James, Seapatrick Glebe
McCrory David, Publican
McCrumb John, Tailor
McDonald John, Chandler
McDonald John, Cooper
McDonald John, Tobacco- spinner
McFadden Hugh, Gent.
McGarry Hamilton, Grocer, Baker & Spirit dealer
McGrath James, Publican
McKinstry William, Sawyer
McMordie Hans, Esq. Bannview
McMordie John, Hosier
McTair James, Nailer
McWilliams William, Merchant
McWilliams, Mrs
McWilliams Robert, Grocer
McWilliams James, Publican
McWilliams Anne

Neill Robert, Shoemaker
Nelson Joseph, Watchmaker & Jeweller
Nelson James, Watchmaker
Nelson Mrs Anne

O,Flagherty F. Grocer & Seed merchant
O,Neill John, Cabinet maker & upholsterer
O,Neill David, Turnpike-Gate keeper

Parker Henry, Sexton
Parker John, Nailer
Pentland James, Grocer
Pettigrew William, Esq. Lenaderg House
Potts Richard, Publican,Delf & Glass warehouse

Quinn Daniel, Grocer,soap-boiler, chandler & Tobacconist

Rankin Nathaniel, Blacksmith
Raw Patrick, Confectioneer
Reid John, Musician & Dancing master
Ross Robert, Yarn merchant
Rotley Daniel
Rutherford Rev. John, Elizaville

Salts Robert, Publican
Saunderson, Surgeon
Savage William, Nursery & Seeds-man
Scott John, Woolendraper
Scott Robert, Grocer, Baker & Spirit dealer
Scott William, Publican
Scott James, Victualler
Scriven Captain, Ballymony Lodge
Seawright Mrs.
Sergeant, Shuttle-maker
Shannon James, Haberdasher
Shields James, Teacher of the Lancasterian school
Sloan James, Grocer
Sloan Miss, Confectioner
Steel James, Grocer & Soap-boiler
Spence William, Esq. Ballygowan Lodge

Titterington Matthew, House of Entertainment

Wallace William, Sawyer
Waugh John, Esq. Whitehill
Weathers James, Mathematician
Wier Jane, Grocery & Spirit store
Wier Mr. William, Lenaderg
Wier Hugh, Tailor
White George, Grocer & Publican
White Richard, Baker
Willis William, House of Entertainment
Wilson James,
Woods Moses, Ballyvarley House
Woods James, Ballyvarley House
Woods Moses, Solicitor
Woods John, Grocer,Spirit & Hardware merchant
Wright Samuel, Carter

History of Banbridge
Chronology of Events 1618 - 1980


1618 - (10th Sept) Patent granted to Sir Marmaduke Whitechurch for holding Fairs and Markets at Ballykeel In the Parish of Seapatrick
1630 - Thomas Fairfax appointed Rector of Seapatrick.
1670 - Parish Church built In townland of Kilpike, Parish of Seapatrick, on the site of an older edifice, which was destroyed In 1641.
1690 - (22nd June) William 111 and army crossed the Bann near Banbridge, at Ballykeel.
1691 - Outlawry Court held at Banbridge.
1712 - New bridge erected over the River Bann at Banbridge, the old bridge was a wooden structure.
1720 - First Presbyterian Minister appointed In charge of Seapatrick Congregation.
1733 - Act of the Irish Parliament (Seventh of George II) passed this year, "for repairing the road leading from Dundalk to the Bridge over the River Bann, commonly called Bannbridge".
1735 - Seapatrick Glebe House built.
1735 - The first considerable contingent of emigrants from Seapatrick and Banbridge left for the British North American Colonies.
1744 - Lurgan Road (Church Street) Presbyterian Church erected.
1761 - Act of the Irish Parliament (the first year of George III) amending the act of the 7th of George II.
1762 - Great Meeting of Linen Weavers held at Banbridge.
1767 - Patent granted to Lord Hillsborough for holding Fairs and Markets.
1768 - Market House and Hotel erected by Lord Hillsborough.
1768 - William Kennedy, the famous blind piper, born at Banbridge.
1770 - Bridge Street Flour Mills erected.
1782 - (10th April) Meeting of the inhabitants of the Parish of Seapatrick In support of the Dungannon Resolutions.
1784 - Post Office opened.
1784 - Banbridge Academy opened (Library Lane).
1788 - A Four horse mail coach commenced running between Belfast and Dublin, stopping at Banbridge.
1789 - Battle of Lisnagade.
1790 - Ballydown Presbyterian Church erected.
1791 - Crozier House erected.
1791 - (12th July) Lisnagade Fight.
1791 - 2nd Troop 14th Light Dragoons quartered at Banbridge.
1793 - Andrew Mullan, the distinguished Headmaster of Banbridge Academy, was born 16th September.
1795 - Banbridge Reading Society established.
1796 - Captain Crozier born, Crozier House, Church Square.
1798 - (4th June) Meeting of the Provincial Executive of the Society of United Irishmen held In the house of Mr. Sterling to arrange for the Intended "Rising."
1804 - Hon. Judge Hayes born at Millmount.
1805 - Methodist Chapel (Gospel Lane) opened.
1806 - Edenderry Bleach Works erected, owned by the Hayes family.
1812 - New Ballydown Corn Mill erected.
1815 - (15th Oct.) Lancasterlan School opened in the Market House occupying an apartment, in the upper story.
1815 - Seapatrick Village School built. The cost of its erection was contributed by the Society for Discontinuing Vice, and William Hayes of Millmount.
1816 - Downshire Arms Hotel built.
1817 - Linen Hall opened.
1818 - James Moore, a millionaire Iron Master, of Philadelphia, was born at Banbridge, 7th August.
1819 - Joseph Scriven, wrote "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" was born in Banbridge.
1820 - 'The "FairTrader" a Four horse coach, commenced running between Belfast and Dublin.
1826 - Mulligans Bridge (Tullyconnaught) was built.
1826 - An agency of the Belfast Bank, known as Gordons Bank, doing some business in the town, probably in existence some years prior to this date.
1830 - Tullyconnaught School erected, costing £150, which same was bequeathed by Mary Mulligan.
1830 - Market House and Town Hall erected by Lord Downshire.
1830 - Presbyterian Church, Scarva Street, erected.
1830 - Primitive Methodist Chapel (Scarva Street) built.
1830 - Scotts four-horse coach commenced to ply between Banbridge and Belfast.
1832 - (24th June) Branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland opened.
1834 - Parish Church (Church Square) foundation stone laid.
1834 - Municipal Government established.
1834 - The "Cut" and Bridge completed.
1835 - Scotts one horse car commenced running between Banbridge and Newry.
1835 - Great Flood in the Bann (known as the "Comet" flood from the appearance of a comet at that time).
1836- Banbridge News-room established.
1836 - Bann Reservoir Company constituted by Act of Parliament. Received Royal assent 4 July.
1837 - Parish Church consecrated.
1837 - Ulster Bank opened.
1838 - Post and Money Order Office opened.
1839 - Roman Catholic Church built.
1839 - (6th Jan.) The "BigTree" of Banbridge blown down (last remnant of the forest which once occupied the site of the town. It was an ash tree).
1840 - Brewery built. Applied to bleaching purposes, 1853.
1841 - Union Workhouse opened.
1841 - Formation of the Banbridge Presbytery.
1844 - Presbyterian (non-subscribing) Church built.
1846 - Baptist Church built.
1849 - Banbridge supplied with gas.
1849 - Church Square Unitarian Church built (now used as a Masonic Hall).
1850 - (28th Jan.) Great Tenants' Right Meeting held at Banbridge.
1853 - Banbridge Literary Society established.
1858 - Presbyterian School-house erected, Scarva Street.
1859 - Banbridge Junction Railway (Scarva Line) opened.
1859 - (13th Oct.) Public Meeting, Town Hall, for the purpose of Promoting the erection of a Memorial to Captain Crozier.
1860 - James Withers, Poet and Journalist, died at Glasgow, native of Banbridge.
1860 - Volunteer Fire Brigade established.
1860 - First Grass Seed Market held.
1862 - Crozier Monument erected, cost £700.
1863 - Banbridge and Lisburn Railway opened.
1863 - Post Office Savings Bank opened.
1864 - (14th Aug. Classes (Science and Art Dept., London) opened in connection with the Literary)' Society.
1864 - Banbridge made a Quarter Sessions Town.
1865 - Towns' Improvement Act (1854) adopted. Town Commissioners were: William Walker, Chairman; William Waugh, H. Moore, Thomas Ervin, D. Leonard, Thomas Strong, Alexander Main, Patrick McMahon, J.H.O'Flaherty, J. Maitland; James Young, Clerk; John McCormick.
1865 - (26th Dec.) Celebration of the coming of age of the Earl of Hillsborough.
1866 - Branch of Northern Bank opened.
1866 - Kenlis Street opened.
1866 - Bannside Presbyterian Church built.
1866 - Friars School Buildings erected.
1867 - (11th Oct.) Great Festival held on the occasion of the marriage of Lady Alice Hill, daughter of the fourth Marquis of Downshire, to Lord Kenlis.
1868 - (June) Serious Party Riots.
1869 - Victoria Street opened.
1870 - Banbridge Chronicle established.
1871 - Downshire Road Methodist Church erected.
1873 - County Court-house erected.
1876 - (April) Temperance Hall opened.
1876 - (Dec.) Big Flood in the Bann.
1876 - Roman Catholic Institute built.
1876 - (Sept) Banbridge Horticultural Socletys first Show held this year in Solitude Grounds.
1877 - First Cattle Show held in Downshire Arms Hotel yards.
1879 - Poplar trees planted in Bridge and Newry Streets.
1880 - Memorial erected in the Vestibule of Downshire Road Presbyterian Church to the memory of the Dunbar family.
1881 - St. Patricks Chapel of Ease, Seapatrick village, consecrated.
1881 - Science and Art Exhibition opened on the 5th April.
1882 - (18th Aug) New Public Markets opened.
1885 - Bridge over the "Cut" rebuilt and named "Downshire Bridge".
1888 - Banbridge Academy and Banbridge United Soccer Clubs founded.
1892 - (26th Nov) Memorial Stones, Downshire Bridge unveiled.
1897 - Banbridge Hockey Club founded.
1899 - (Jan) First meeting of Banbridge Urban Council.
1902 - (Sept) Banbridge and Portadown Joint Water Board constituted.
1902 - Banbridge Free Library and Technical School opened.
1904 - Church Street Schools rebuilt.
1906 - Memorial Fountain to Dr. R.B. McClelland (J.P.) erected.
1906 - (5th July) Fofanny Water Supply laid on.
1907 - (June) Waterworks taken over by the Portadown and Banbridge Joint Water Board.
1909 - F.E. McWilllam born Newry Street, Banbridge.
1910 - Fofanny Reservoir completed.
1910 - (14th Nov) Ferguson Annexe to Free Library and Technical School opened.
1912 - Cinema opened.
1912 - Golf Club founded.
1912 - Shops Act (half holiday) adopted.
1914 - (Sept) Members of the Banbridge Companies Ulster Volunteers enlist for war service.
1914 - St. Patricks Hall erected.
1919 - Electric light Introduced.
1923 - (30th June) War Memorial and Survivors' Roll of honour unveiled, cost £3150.0s 0d.
1920 - Ireland v. Scotland International Hockey Match played at Banbridge.
1925 - Childrens Playground opened at Hill Street by Rev. F.J.O'hare P.P.
1926 - Mountpleasant Housing Scheme (26 houses) completed, cost £11,056 11s 11d
1926 - Banbridge Rugby Club founded.
1927 - (Sept) Extension to Technical School opened.
1930 - Golf Terrace Housing Scheme (30 houses) completed, cost £8,600.
1930 - (March) Banbridge Workhouse pulled down to be replaced by District Hospital.
1931 - Edenderry Gardens Housing Scheme (50 houses) completed, cost £16,000.
1931 - Gas Works close down.
1932 - (18th Aug) Abercorn P.E. School opened by the Duke of Abercorn K.P., Governor of Northern Ireland, cost £15,000.
1933 - (11th Jan) Banbridge District Hospital opened by the Duchess of Abercorn.
1933 - Mr. Brice Moore, BA., LL.B., retired to be succeeded by Dr. W. Haughton Crowe, as Headmaster of Banbridge Academy.
1934 - (Feb) Childrens Playground. Castlewellan Road, opened by Urban Council.
1940 - (June) Banbridge Bowling Club founded.
1945 - Mr. J. McWhirter appointed Principal Banbridge Technical School.
1946 - Banbridge Boys' Club founded.
1947 - St. John Bosco Youth Club founded.
1947 - Banbridge Town Football Club founded.
1948 - Banbridge Hospital taken over by Northern Ireland Hospital Authority.
1948 - BanbridgeWomens Hockey Club founded.
1951 - (June) Visit of H.M. Queen Elizabeth and H.R.H. Princess Margaret.
1951 - (Sept) Official opening of new Academy buildings at Edenderry House by Lord and Lady Brookeborough.
1952 - Iveagh Cinema opened.
1962 - Civic Week Festival.
1962 - Mr. Frank Dornan, B.Sc., appointed Headmaster of Banbridge Academy.
1962 - Opening of new Banbridge Technical College.
1964 - Edenderry Primary School opened.
1967 - (28th May) Down Shoe Factory opened by H.R.H. Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon.
1968 - (29th May) Down Shoes Social Club opened.
1969 - Visit of their Excellencies Lord and Lady Grey for the opening of Ballygowan Park Housing Estate.
1970 - Crozier House Senior Citizens Club opened.
1973 - Renovated Banbridge Courthouse opened.
1975 - Banbridge Festival week.
1975 - Swimming Bath opened by Lady Brookeborough.
1977 - Celebration of the birth of Rev. Patrick Bronte, A.B. (Bicentenary).
1978 - Opening of No.1 Banbridge Nursery School at Edenderry.
1978 - Opening of Community Health and Social Centre.
1978 - (14th May) St. Teresas R.C. Church opened.
1978 - New Baptist Church opened.
1980 - New Library opened.
1980 - Opening of Banbridge No. 2 Nursery School, Primrose Gardens.
1980 - Festival Week.
1980 - Banbridge second place in Best Kept Large Town Competition organised by the Central Garden Association.

Newspaper Clippings



Author: Van Rensselaer, Cortlandt, 1808-1860.
Title: Signals from the Atlantic cable. An address delivered at the telegraphic celebration, September 1st, 1858, in the City hall, Burlington, New Jersey.
By Cortlandt Van Reusselaer.

Great Britain And Ireland

The meeting of the Irish General Assembly in the Presbyterian Church Londonderry, the election of Rev. John Johnston, of Banbridge, Ireland, Moderator, with a fine portrait. Also a full account of the proceedings.

 Author: Chicago Relief and Aid Society.  

Report of the Chicago Relief and Aid Society of disbursement of contributions for the sufferers by the Chicago fire. Publication date: 1874


Dec.1st. 1871. Citizens, by Robert McClelland

Bassetts Directory 1886 for Loughbrickland and farmers, and landowners



Anderson Geo, Greenan
Beck James, Cascum
Boggs Hans, Creevy
Boggs W. D'Drummuck
Brown S., Coolnacran
Bryson John, Ballynagarrick
Bulla J.A., Brickland
Burns D Sen.,Glaskerbeg W
Burns D.Jun., Glaskerbeg
Byrne D.,Glaskerbeg W
Campbell H., Legananny
Campbell R, Bovennett
Campbell W., Drumnahare
Carswell R.H.,Drumsallagh
Carswell S., B'Carattymore
Chambers James, Meenan
Copeland J.A.,Tullymore
Copes Thomas, Brickland
Cowan J.,B'Carattymore
Cranney P.,Lisnatiemey
Cromie David, Greenan
Cupples A.,Shankill
Cupples J.,Brickland
Dale John, Brickland
Douglas J.A.,Ballymacratty
Fitzpatrick E.,Drumsallagh
Fulton Samuel, Drumsallagh
Geoghegan Jn.,Legananny
Geoghegan Jas., Legananny
Gordon Hugh, Brickland
Gordon S.,Shankill
Hagan P., Drumnahare
Haughey John, Meenan
Henry S.A.,D'Drummuck
Hudson J.,Legananny
Hutchinson T.,Drumnahare
Ingram J.,Drumnahare
Jardine S.J.,Creevy
Little Alex.,Brickland
Little George, Shankill
Little J.,Glaskermore
Livingstone J.,Shankill
McAlden T.,Ballinteggart
McAlister J.,Glaskermore
McCammon H.,D'Drummuck
McClelland T.,Drumsallagh
McConville H.,Coolnacran
McConville W.,Lisnatierney
McComb R,Lisnatierney
McCullough Francis, Creevy
McEwen Thomas, Meenan
McGivern O.,Drumsallagh
McKain Wilm.,Shankill
McNaughton G.,Caskum
McRoberts J.A.,Ballinteggart
McCauley J.,Legananny
Magill D.,D`Drummuck
Maguire Eugene, Loughbrickland
Main J.,D'Drummuck
Marshall A.,B'Carattybeg
Marshall Geo.,B'Camttybeg
Marshall H.,Loughadian
Megaw Hugh, Meenan
Megaw Thomas,Meenan
Mehaffy J.,Drumsallagh
Middleton J.,Ballinteggart
Millar Wilm. Loughbrickland
OHagan P.,Drumnahare
OHare P.,Lisnatierney
Patterson J.,Lisnagade
Porter John, Drumnahare
Spiers Wihn.,Shankill
Shannon J.,Tullymore
Stokes Wilm. Creevy
Strain James, Creevy
Todd D., Glaskerbeg W
Todd Joseph, Shankill
Todd J.,Glaskerbeg E
Todd Ralph, Ringclare
White W.J., Ballynaskeagh
Wright Rt.,Ballinteggart
Whyte J.J.(J.P.) Loughbrickland House


List of Residents in Banbridge and neighbourhood who signed a petition to Parliament (1828) in favour of Catholic Emancipation


John Love, Richard Arthew, James Morrow, William Parr, John Harcourt, James Nelson, Robert Nelson, George Mahood, James Malcomson, James Stuart, John Robinson, James Fleming, Norton Downs, James Withers, Pat.Downs, John Mulligan, David McMain, Robert McCormick, Henry McCormick, James McCullough, John Fivey, William Major, William Holliday, James Shannon, Hamilton McGarvay, Robert Scott, Conway Carleton, Hugh McClory, Thomas Macklin, Alex. Sterling, James Morrow, John Campbell, Andrew McClelland, Daniel Quinn, Peter Quinn, William Hayes, James Clibborn, James Steel, Joseph Anderson, John Fletcher, Thomas McClelland, Nathaniel Hosack, William Rea, David McClory, William Morrow, John McClelland, John Fivey, Hamilton Kerr, Dan Mullan, Alex. Pentland, William McWilliam, Thomas H.Carleton.

Rockvale, Robert Boyd
Milltown, Thomas Crawford
Banoge Mills, John Murphy



A LIST of the several FAMILIES in the parish of SEAPATRICK in the diocese of Dromore, in the County of Down, returned by the Rev James Dickson, Dean of Elphin, and Vicar of said parish, to the Clerk of the House of Lords, in obedience to an order of the said House ; distinguishing, which are Protestants, and which are Papists.

The Rev Mr. Thos Frickelton David Willis
James Dickson George Rogers Henry Herron
Mr William Williams George Hall Robert Grahams
Mr James Law Sam Wallace James Carr
Mr John Fleming Willm Dobbin Archibald Herron
Joseph Seawright Andrew Dick Jno Majore
John Porter David Copelton Thos Lawson
Marlow Reilly Samuel Bredford John Neil
Thos M` Cleland Alex Gilmore William Matchet
John M` William Mrs Barber William Oughterson
Robt M` Knaight Willm Bradford William Grahams
Jno Metland Willm Atkinson Archd Scott
John Willson Jas Guttery James Armor
widow Majore Robert Harrison James Glass
William Gillis Robert Duff Jno Eager
Willm Hannah Hamilton Corbett David M'William
Thos Burns Jas Skelly Philip Grahams
Archibald Henderson Willm Anderson James Henry
Joseph Coulter Matchw Phenix William Wisdom
John Coulter Fergus Morehead William Best
James Fogo Hans Wallace Jno Hillis
Hugh Gibson Joseph Hopkins Robert Bradford
Sam Graham James M'William Jane Simpson
Elizabeth Emberson Robert Ardery John Magill
Jno Harrison William Gibson James M` Knaight
Jno Robinson Philip M` William John M` Knaight
Alex M'Millan Samuel Gadas George Willson sen
Jas Drainey Walter Reed George Willson jun
Robert Majore James Murray John Hamill
Jno Dunbar James Jackson Hugh Campbell
Joseph Darragh Jno Brice John Preston
William Deal William Scott James Mathews
Adam Cairns David M'Veen Robert Erwin
Hugh M'Bride John Hosack Thomas Pilson
Hannah Speer John Lennan Robert Pilson
William Spence Aughtry Shaw Hugh Diatt
James Bell Robt Ferguson James Thompson
John Morton William Russell widow Boddle
John Bradford Daniel King William Rew
John M'Comb William Blackburn John Knaight
George Parker Robert Coruthers John Fox
William Hamill James Coruthers Jane Thompson
Francis Bell Thomas Wilson Saml Coruthers
Alex Templeton Alex Coruthers James Rogers
Robert Templeton William Fleming Hugh Mulligan
Peter Ridley Alexander Flinn Moses Lister
Thomas Dunn widow Lyons Nefin Stewart
John Robinson Andrew Lyons Hugh Codon
Jane Taylor John Lyons James Gibson
Willm Hosack James Coruthers Hugh Mathews
Boyd Bullock John Cowan William Burns
James Dempsey Charles Cowan James Smyth
Alexander Morrison James M'Cleland Andrew Gibson
James Wright Robert Bell Jno.Dunn
Mathew Wills John Dennan James Edmison
Robert M'William Hugh Rowan Thomas Coruther
Richard Grahams Thomas M'Clong William Allen
Gawen Adams Archibald M'Cullogh John Cochran
Robert Adams Joseph Wright William Evans
John M'Mahon Jno Willson Edwd Mills
Samuel M'Mahon Robert Adair James Hull
Robert Correy Hugh Bell Samuel Black
William Briggs George Bell jun Joseph Little
Robert Sleth George Bell sen Alex Fullerton
John Kyle Francis Erwin Meacom M'Conne
James Shells William Erwin David Tenon
Thos Shells Jno Scott Anthony Magenis
James Hawthorn Jno Millar Phelemy Magenis
Edwd Hanlon widow Scott James Burns
Robert Dick widow Wright Jno Flanigan
John Dick William Dobbin James Duff
William Robinson Thomas M'Cleland James Hawthorn
Alex Gracey James Cobrath Henry McCarriston
Jno Edmaston Saml Tweedy James M'Cleland
Jno Massey widow Wallace James Vance
Thos Biggam Archd Mathews Thos Hillis
Hugh Shanks William Matchet John Mulligan
Robt Taylor Jonathan Matchet James Mulligan
James Henry Hugh Dunbar John Wright
Daniel Glass Saml Coruthers David Martin
Matthew Glass widow Biggam. Pedlar Shaw
Isaac Glass Saml Kelly James M'Murray
Saml Glass Andrew Smyth Danl Mulligan
Brice Smyth Andrew Morrow James Mulligan
Willm Waugh David Baxter George Kinneir
James Law William M'Elroy James Mulligan
Saml Goorly James Smyth widow Mulligan
Willm Goorly widow Smyth widow M'Mordv
Hugh Maffet John Lowry Richard Finlay
James Shaw Alex. Hillis Hans McMordy
Archibald McDowell James Fordice Geo.& Walter Crawford
Francis McDowell Widow Dodds Willm Walker
William Porter Thomas Chambers Jno. Wright
Jno.Anderson Widow Robinson Jno. Wright
Andrew Anderson Samuel Dodds Samuel Wright
Jno. Clugston John Finlay John McMullan
Willm. Anderson William McCrumb Widow Robinson
Oliver Kelly Angus McKeown Ezekiel Martin
Robert Glew David McWilliam Jas. Hook
Robert Hempton Robert Stirling John Lyons
Robert Wilson George Brown John Gillispie
John English James Herron James Gillespie
John Robinson Archibald Knight James Chambers
John English Samuel Kain James Gillespie
Widow Johnston David Herron John Steenson
Thomas English James Burns James Steenson
Thomas Alexander James Johnston Samuel Forsyth
John Forster William Beacon Widow Forsyth
John Robinson William Gamble Wilm. McCormick
Thomas Robinson George Mulholm Samuel McBride
Robert Cooke Widow Mulholm Thomas McBride
Robert Brown John Gordon Raphael Wallace
Henry Adamson John Gamble Andrew Dick
Christopher Fell John Fryar Mary Anderson
John McCone James Wright William McAtier
Andrew Ross Charles Mulligan Wilm. McCleland
James Willson Hugh Mulligan William Gardiner
William Piercy Alexander Martin Jno.Coplin
Gilbert Piercy James Mitchel Thomas Coplin
James Wollsey James McKenna Chas.Stuart
George Robinson Patrick Brown Willm Wallace
Arthur Roney Patrick Boys James Kyle
Wm Thompson Daniel Magill Thos Henderson
Thos Dickson James Mathews Jno White
Alex Arnett Robt Herron Saml Craige
Hugh Lindsay Andrew M'Cracken Thos M'Clean
Thos Moore Saml Jackson Andrew Rea
James Moore Robt. Anderson Henry Smyth
Jno Robinson Jas Anderson Alex Smyth
Jas Lindsay Widow orey Widow Graham
Willm Lindsay Ezekiel Bullock James Menish
Robt Martin James Makee Robt Shanks
Willm Boyd Hugh Gordon widow Shanks
John Barrin James Mathews John M'Mordy
Robt Campbell senior Jos.Anderson,Sen. John Seawright
Robt.Campbell ,Jun. Willm Wright Jno Kyle
John Leviston Willm Anderson Robert Wilson
John Lindsay Willm Park Richd Brown
Willm Lindsay John Jameson Philip Lowry
John Heale Richd Titterington Willm Magill
Francis Heale widow Thompson Archd Lowry
James Heale John Cowan Archd Gray
Richd Heale Henry M'Dead' Alex Porter
Nichs Walker John Coruthers Thomas Moreland
Robt Harris Philip Graham William Brawfort
John M'Comb Robert Graham John Thompson
James Hapkin John Ewart Robert Hamilton
Banjamin Hapkin Arthur Forbes Nichs Wiley
Edwd Woods Saml M'Crumb John Smyth
Robt M'Faddin Philip M'William James Coruthers
John M'Cleland Thomas Gibson Bernard Neil
John Knox Willm Junkun John Bell
John Morgan Edwd Hendron James M'Mordy
Patrick Ferran John Graham Thomas Barr
John Templeton John Makee Henry M'Carriston
Robt Templeton Willm Smyth Alex M'Chesney
widow Willson Willm Meek Roger Drainey
Mary Bailey Samuel Mulligan John Quaile
John Mount John Lowry Bernard Fitzpatrick
widow Magill
John M'Keown Bryan Hughes Bryan Murphy
Daniel Burns Ronald McDonald Dennis McQuiggin
Owen McBrinn Widow Shaw Phelemy Magenis
Edward Mkinney Patrick Murphy Daniel McClean
Patrick Berry Danl. Burns Patrick Lavell
Charles Burns John McLindon Edwd. McComish
Cornelius Daly Barney Burns Michael Turley
John Tegart Jas. Diamond John Brown
Danl.Burns Peter Diamond Wilm. McElboy
Edward McCardell Barney McMahon Francis Develin
Wilm. Kelly Mark Burns Edward Develin
John Reilly Owen Diamond Jno. Develin
Patrick Strain Arthur Diamond Charles McGavron
Alex. McDonald Danl. Diamond Patrick Lapin
Peter Develin James Diamond Patrick McQueal
Roger McGrah James Magiveran Patrick McConnell
John McGrah John Kearney Michael McCoun
Patrick McQueal Hugh McStea Martha McAtier
Charles McCartey John McStea John Harkin
Patrick Burns James McCone John Morgan
Peter Morgan Widow Dowd Willm. Magenis
Arthur McDonald John Sweeny Hugh Burns
Ferdinand Magenis



A LISTof the NAMES of all Protestant Housekeepers in the several Walks under the Inspection of Anthony Cope, Supervisor of Hearth Money of Armagh Survey, ANNO 1740, Loughbrickland Walk, Down County, Eveagh Barony, SEAPATRICK Parish.
John Finis, wid Daben, Wm. Longmore, Wm. Dring, wid M'Bride, Hu Dixon, John Daben, Mr Reily, wid Daben, Saml Raine, Wm Raine, Barth Harthwood, Hu Mulligan, Sam Moligan, Alex M'Mullan John Greer, Tho M'Claten, Alex M'Chesney, Rou Magill, Fran Shadock, Jos M'Clewean, Wm Ingram, wid Cogaran, Jam Admiston, Tho. Jordan, Tho. Scott, Margt Dick, Gan Adam, Robt Adam, Wm Briggs, Sam Briggs, John Law, Geo Glan, -wid M'Callum, wid Corother, Alex Corothers, Tho Corothers, John Lyon, wid M'Callum, Robt Carethers, Jos Lyon, John Gilaspy, Tho Gilaspy, Jam Chambers Sam Stinson, John Stinson, John Forsyth, Wm M'Cormick, Tho M'Bride, wid Campbell, Jos Harper, Wm Wallace, Wm Hamill, Geo Willson, wid Mathews, Tho Parker, Ed Campbell, John M'Callum, Tho M'Knight, Jam Bell, Hans Bell, wid Templeton, Nath Speer, Bry Hues, Tho Nisbit, Jos Campbell, Hu M'Bride, Tho Carother, Jam Henderson, Tho Roger, John Robinson, Jam Barber, Jam Shanklan, *John Seawright, Robt Major, And Kenady, John Major And Dick, Jane Holyday, John Major, Sam Seawright, And Robinson, 'Jam Seawright, And Gibson, Adam Marrow, Rob Forsyth *Wm Seawright, Wm Daben, Fran Hawthorn, John Cotter, Tho Fivey, Tho Aderton, Arch M'College, (M'Allister), Hu Bell, Hum Bell, John Adair, Jam Robson, wid Or, Am Robison, Gilb Craford, Sam Moligan, Wm Muligan, Jos Wright, wid M'Murdy, wid M'Murdy, Hance M'Murdy, Jam Bell, wid Thompson, Geo Gray, Jam Bradfoot, Alex Hamilton, Ar Ingram, Jam Porter, John Seawright, Rob Willson, Alex Lawry, Wm Wright, John M'Cormick, John Gordan, Geor Mahalem, Mick Hook, Jam Hook, Ed Shiliday, Do Martin, wid Smith, Jam Dennon, Geo Wright, John Molligan, Jam Piery, Wm Morton, Jam Muligan,* Alex Gordan, Isac Mathews.

*The name Seawright occurs in the subsidy Roll of County Down for 1663, thus " Gilbert Seawright of Tullycain " (Tullycairn), near Banbridge, A Francis Seawright was a commissioner for Affidavits (chancery) for County Down in 1766.

Alexander Gordon appears in the Subsidy Roll of Down, 1663, as a resident of Ballyvally, and in the map of 1728 John Gordon appears as a tenant holding 74 acres (Irish)

The Year of Grace

A History of the Revival in Ireland, A.D.1859
Author, William Gibson, 1808-1867


The town of Banbridge is one of the most important in the county in which it is situated. For the last few years an unwonted interest in religion has been created in the young men of the locality, mainly through the devoted labours of a Christian layman. As the result of his exertions, the most important moral and spiritual changes have been going forward, and the way seemed to be prepared for a still more extensive spiritual visitation.

The following brief statement of the origin and character of the awakening in Banbridge is interesting, not only for the facts it contains, but as being contributed by a devoted layman of the Episcopal Church, who, during a twelve year’s residence in Spain, in the capacity of a Civil engineer, applied himself, while constructing some of the leading railroads in that country, no less assiduously to the preparation of that “way of the Lord” along which the gospel chariot has even already commenced its onward progress in that land. I returned from Spain, says my esteemed correspondent, Wm. Greene, Esq.; towards the close of 1858. In the month of December I was invited to Banbridge, by a Christian friend, to a meeting of the Young  Men’s Association, we numbered about forty on that occasion. Several of us spake, and many earnest prayers that the Lord would pour out his spirit on that place were offered. The Lord was among us that evening, and we all seemed to feel His presence in no common way. Towards the close of the  proceedings I felt impelled to say that I was certain he was about to do a great work in that town. This was fully six months before the revival was experienced in this country.

Prayer-meetings were held from time to time, and month after month passed, but no sign was given. At  length I was present at a solemn meeting. I could not refrain from tears at the earnest spirit  envinced  by all . We parted, however, without having witnessed anything uncommon but intense earnestness, it was about three days afterwards, when the same persons were assembled, that the blessed showers came down to refresh the waiting hearts of Gods people. Such sights as were witnessed on that night it would not be possible to describe. Multitudes had their stony hearts broken under the subduing influences of the Divine Spirit.

Soon afterwards I was in the neighbourhood again, and went in the evening with the same friend to a prayer meeting. On our way, or about a half mile from the town, we went into two lowly dwellings; and, in a few minutes, there gathered around us eight or nine, who seemed to be filled with joy and peace. We remained but a short time to pray and exhort, and then went off, scarcely had we got to the door of the Presbyterian Church which was very full, when we met some sin-sick ones being carried, one after another, to the school house adjacent, crying and sobbing in indescribable agony. Some  received peace in answer to earnest prayer whilst there, and many were taken to their homes. I think it was on that night that a woman of the town, who had been pursuing her sinful course, standing on the bridge enticing the passers by as they came from the meeting, was shot by an arrow from the unerring bow. She was carried to her house, I was going to say her home, but what a home? Her bed of straw was on the cold ground. I visited her with my friend a day or two after. But the house of ill-fame was now a house of prayer, and never shall I forget the lowliness of that poor pardoned soul as she prayed by her bed of straw. This case attracted the attention of several persons of similar condition in the same street; and I have heard since that as many as twenty had given up their evil courses, although some have fallen away since. A good man, hearing the story of the unfortunate above mentioned, immediately opened his house to her, and from that time to this has supplied all her wants, such acts as this are worthy to be chronicled for the benefit of future generations.

The revival movement was slow in coming to Banbridge, but it has done a wonderful Work; and many facts prove with what power the spirit has been working there. A few months ago the travelling circus came to the town one market day. The Presbyterian minister, knowing the evil influence that generally accompanies this kind of show, gave notice of an open air preaching at the time of the morning entertainment . Only three people went to the show, so that it remained unopened, they were told to come again that evening, but so scanty was the attendance that the money received did not suffice to pay the rent of the ground on which the pavilion had been erected, the company struck their tents the following morning and decamped, having determined to leave the North of Ireland altogether, as theirs was a losing game among such people.

 Take another striking fact, a distillers agent, in collecting his money among the public houses in one quarter of the town,  found his half-years receipts from the sale of whiskey to be £500 less than from a corresponding period of the previous year. Last winter large sums were subscribed by the inhabitants for the poor, and scarcely a needy person was left without feeling that the Lords people were indeed like the Lord Himself, that He dwelt in them of a truth, clothing, and coals, and food being liberally supplied to multitudes. The Sabbath schools here in connection with the Presbyterian body number nearly five hundred children, and thanks, to the zeal and energy of the minister, and the devoted life of my friend, already referred to, together with the successful and self sacrificing labours of the Christian young men, a more flourishing school I have nowhere met than in this place. A variety of other excellent arrangements, such as a temperance hotel, a saving bank, etc., have been put in motion during this celebrated “year of grace”, 1859.

(The revival continued in the town of Dromara, the account of this is on the Dromara webpage)

I would like to thank the Digital Research Library,( Digital Library eXtension Service) for permission to use this material.