County Down


Paper Making at Ballymagart
by Dorothea Nicholson

Rags make paper,
Paper makes money,
Money makes banks,
Banks make loans,
Loans make beggars,
Beggars make Rags.
Anon, l8th.C.

Ballymagart Mills are situated in a valley to the west of Ballyardel Road; near the White Water River (Grid Reference J 277143). They are reached by a lane which in earlier days resounded to the rattle of horses and carts bringing flax to be scutched, and grain to be ground. In still earlier days, the carts' contents would have been quite different. Probably there would have been bundles of rags of all colours and shapes, for then Ballymagart was the site of a paper mill, the only one in Mourne.

Paper Making

Undoubtedly the first paper makers were wasps. These small insects, without the use of any equipment, nibble at raw wood and transform it, through their digestive processes, into a paste-like substance resembling paper, and use it to make their nests. The first successful human attempt to manufacture something resembling paper was made in ancient Egypt using papyrus. Paper making, as we would recognise it now however, is said to have been mastered by Ts'ai Lun. a Chinese court official, in 105 AD.

Cellulose is the basic material for making paper. All natural plant materials contain it in varying amounts; cotton contains almost 100% cellulose. In the early days of paper making, its main source was rags, of linen or cotton. An abundant supply of clean water was also essential. In the paper mill, the rags were sorted according to colour and material, and objects such as buttons and fastenings removed. The rags were then cut into suitably sized pieces, and soaked with water and allowed to ferment for some time. When rotted sufficiently, the rags were then placed in troughs, and beaten into a pulp by wooden stampers with rough iron teeth or spikes at their tips. The stampers were lifted and let fall by the passage of a camshaft, usually a continuation of a shaft from the waterwheel which powered the mill. Water was allowed to run into the troughs and this cleansed the rags; the dirty water flowed out through holes at the side of the troughs, woven horsehair screens preventing the material escaping as well.'

A second pounding took place in another trough into which fresh water was added. In a third trough, where the stampers beat the 'half stuff' as the pulp was now called, no water was added in case the pulp would be lost through the strainers. The third set of stampers was made from plain wood without metal facings. With the development of the Hollander in the 1600s, the rotting of the rags ceased in some mills, and the pounding process was accelerated through the action of metal blades which macerated the rags. By now the rags, reduced to a porridge-like consistency, were transferred to vats, some of which were originally huge oak wine casks. A pole, with a perforated wooden disc at its tip, agitated the pulp to keep it from settling out. In later times this was replaced with a mechanical paddle wheel, or 'hog'.

From here, the vat man lifted some of the pulp on a wire-mesh mould, the top of which was framed by a deckle which acted as a fence to keep the pulp in shape. He gave it a two-way rolling shake to 'throw off the wave', thereby distributing the pulp evenly over the mould and intertwining the short fibres of the pulp. A watermark could be created by sewing a wire shape into the sieve of the mould. This created a thinner layer of pulp, which when held up to the light, appeared as a transparent image.

Having removed the deckle, the vat man passed the mould to the coucher who inverted what was now damp paper onto a damp woollen felt. There were two moulds and one deckle to each vat, so allowing the vat man to form the next sheet whilst the coucher removed the other. Having done this, another felt was placed over, and the process repeated. The process of dipping and couching continued until a pile or 'post' had been made. This usually consisted of six quires, or 144 sheets, and was put into a screw lever press and as much water as possible squeezed out.

A layman then removed the pressed sheets from the felts. The paper had then to be dried, one of the most important operations of the process. The sheets were hung in 'spurs' of four or five sheets (single sheets would have wrinkled) over lines of rope covered with horse or cow hair to prevent staining the paper. Sliding wooden shutters would be been opened in the walls to allow air to circulate around the sheets. If to be used for writing paper, the dry sheets would then be sized by being drawn through a solution of gelatine, then re-dried, surfaced by a pressing hammer (later replaced by wooden glazing rolls), and packed. Other uses of paper included wall papers, linen wrapping paper (blue paper), and ordinary brown wrapping paper.

The demands for rags was intense in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. To save linen and cotton rags, Parliament decreed in 1666 that only wool was to be used for burying the dead; in one year 200,000 lbs of linen and cotton were thus saved. As late as 1855, when rags were scarce during the American Civil War, Augustus Stainwood  imported shiploads of Egyptian mummies to his mills in Maine; each had some 300 yards of linen around them.

There were many experiments, using all kinds of substances, to find a cheap and readily available substitute for the costly rags. All kinds of substitutes were tested: cabbage leaves, thistles, straw, bog grass, even potatoes. It seems strange to us that no one thought of using wood However, it was only with the invention of Keller's wood grinding machine in 1840 that its use was feasible. Within a very short time, wood was being used everywhere for making paper; not only did it replace rags, but also increased the scope and variety of papers available.

Ballymagart Paper Mill

In Bradshaw's Directory of 1819, the following men are described as paper makers at "White River" - Bernard McCullough. Owen Lappin, Bernard Galagher, Michael Hogan; William Clark Emerson is listed as "paper manufacturer". It would thus seem that paper making was in progress in the earlier part of the 19th century at Ballymagart. Life in the mill would have been anything but easy. Work probably began at 6am, ending at 6pm. The mill would have been cold, the lighting poor, and the atmosphere damp and gloomy. Great physical endurance was needed to form the sheets on the mould. The work was often monotonous and the apprenticeship long. It is said that the old paper makers could readily be distinguished by their red muscular arms and hands, and sloping backs.

By 1834, Ballymagart mill belonged to Alex McDonald, but is described as being "five years out of use"; a scutch mill seems to have been established shortly afterwards. In 1853, the property was on the market in an Encumbered Sale. Amongst the property's details is the following:

Upon the lands and premises there are now erected and standing, a corn-mill with three pairs of stones, good machinery of the most modern construction, an excellent kiln and ample storage for carrying on an extensive trade, the whole erected in 1846. The Water Wheel is 24 feet in diameter, 6 feet broad, having a fall of 20 feet, and well supplied with water in the driest seasons. The Water Wheel and principal part of the buildings being originally Intended for a different business, is well adapted for a Spinning mill, Bleach mill, Paper mill, or any business requiring a supply of pure water, either river or spring; the dwelling houses and office-houses are fit for the reception of a respectable family.

Although it would appear that the site was suited to paper making, later documentation indicates that no further paper making ever took place, only flax scutching and corn milling occurring thereafter. It is as corn and flax mills that the complex as we now know it appears. The wheel referred to above, and which powers the cornmill, has on it the inscription "1837 Alex McDonell". As this is sometime after the cessation of paper making, the "different business" referred to need not necessarily have been paper manufacture. Indeed, nothing of the original paper mill appears to have survived, a careful survey of the site suggesting that these later buildings were erected more or less on the exact spot of the former paper mill.

Subsidy Roll Down for 1663

The Lordship of Newry And Mourne Roll

(The (P)? opposite the name indicates Protestant)

L s d   Parish of Kilkeel Mourne Barony    
20 0 0   Nicholas Bagnall Esq.    
16 0 0   Inde Domini Regis    
£ s d   Taxation of Goods Modern Townland  
5 0 0   Patrick M'Donald O'Dowran of Drumandoney Drumandoney        
8 0 0   Richard Price Esq.   (P)?
4 0 0   Hugh O'Flavin of Ballymacadurby Ballymaderphy  
5 0 0   Patrick Moder O'Hoyne of Lisneery ? Lisnacree  
5 0 0   John Orr of Ballyeshatney Ballynahatten       (P)?
3 0 0   Aughley Odurran of Rurgan Reach Lurganreagh  
4 0 0   Edmund OQuigin of Drumin Mourne Drummanmore  
4 0 0   Neese M'Ilepatrick of Ballygoan Ballygowan  
3 0 0   Shane O'Slewan of Caricay Corcreaghan  
4 10 0   Edmund O'Dorran of Balliruggan Ballyrogan  
3 10 0   James Caroan of Dreeg Derryoge  
4 10 0   Richard Huston of Cranfield Cranfield (P)?
3 0 0   Francis Newell of Dunavelly Dunnaval (P)?
4 0 0   Ninian Barcly of Benash Benagh (P)?
3 10 0   Colin Wachope Esq. of Kilkeel Kilkeel (P)?
4 0 0   Edmund O'Durran of Aghenury Aughnahoory  
4 0 0   Walter White of Ballyran Ballinran  
5 0 0   Patrick O'Durrin of Letrim Leitrim  
4 0 0   Owen O'Goreny of Achrim Aughrim  
6 10 0   Thomas Ro M'Canaghan of Drumcree Drumcro  
5 0 0   Thomas MD Spence of Glassedrdman Glassdrumman (P)?
4 10 0   Robert Mcdowell of Mullertown Mullertown (P)?
4 10 0   Arthur Monepenny of Moneydoragh Moneydorragh (P)?
4 10 0   Oughty Houston of Ballymartin Ballymartin (P)?
3 0 0   Edmund Savage of Bracanagh Brackenagh (P)?
3 0 0   Michael Garvey of Ballyreigh ? Ballyveagh  
6 0 0   Shane M Tieve of Crewstwn ? Creeve Newry  

The Belfast Newsletter Index Database Search Page, 1737 to 1800

28 Documents Retrieved
Displaying documents 1 -10



63768 29 July 1766 3 =Ardfert,Dean/of.
=Bayley,Rev. rector +Kilkeel +Kilmigan Co. +Down +Ireland Majesty
71613 11 Jan. 1771 3 +Ballymoney =Shields,Robert +Colerain. =Craig,John =Stirling,John +Lisburn
+Bridge!St. +Carrickfergus +Bowman,George =Craig,Samuel =Jackson,William
+Donaghadee. =Agnew,James +Bangor =Cutchon,Samuel +Holywood. +Antrim +Belfast
+Downpatrick =Redmond,John +Clough =Doran,Redmond apothecary +Kilkeel.
+Larne =Forbes,Hugh +Glenarm. =McMurray,Samuel +Clough!Mills =Orr,John
+Saintfield =Sloan,Alexander +Newtownards =Clark,John +Greyabbey.
=Agnew,Robert. druggist +Killileagh medicines sells retail wholesale
=Cabeen,Robert +Broughshane =Mitchell,Alexander +Ballymena. +Armagh
=Hannah,William Market-house =Murray/and/Searson =Searson Golden Key Anvil
=McCullagh,John +Dromore. =McFaden,Alexander +Hillsborough =Cuffy,John
=McDowell,Samuel +Maghera. +Donegall =Stevenson,James +Rhapho tried north
=McKee,John +Rathfryland +Stevenson,George +Newry =Watson,James +Banbridge
=Moreland,John +Portaferry =Wallace,Robert +Ballywalter =Beatty,Henry
=Morris,Francis/Anderson +Lurgan. +Londonderry +Stevenson,William
=Tosh,Samuel +Rich!Hill =Fairiss,Thomas +Tandragee =Gillespy,Mrs.
Scotch pills eye-water lip salve. sold merchants Co. +Down =Kelly,James
anti-scorbutic drops rectify blood. cephalick royal imperial golden snuff
purge eyes tinctura odontalcia tooth-ache gums. =Turlington balsam life
shopkeeper seal coat arms. disorders worm-destroying sugar cakes physick old
young cure. ointment scurvy scald heads itch eruptions smelling
73211 2 Jan. 1770 3 +Clogh!Mills =Boyd,John +Ballymoney +Armagh =Tosh,Samuel Black Bull +Richhill
+Lisburn =Hannah,William +Market!Place +Belfast =Bowman,George +Carrickfergus.
+Portaferry =Sloan,Alexander +Newtown!Ards =McCollough,John +Dromore
=Agnew,Robert druggist +Killileagh Co. +Down medicines sells retail wholesale
=Faris,Thomas +Tanderagee =Herron,Archibald +Banbridge.
=Gady,Edward =Field,Thomas voided =Melvin,Hans. child invirons arrivals wind
=Mitchell,Alexander +Ballymena =Cabeen,Robert +Broughshane =McMurray,Samuel.
=Redmond,John +Clough. =Doran,Dr. +Kilkeel +Mourn =McKee,John +Rathfryland
=Stevenson,George bookseller +Newry. +Antrim =Sterling,John +Bridge!St.
bruises wounds Scotch pills receipt =Anderson,Patrick/Dr. water lip salve
destroying sugar cakes. purge infallible cure scurvy scald head itch ointment
lungs cephalick Royal imperial golden snuff. eyes chymical oil ears deafness
merchants =Murray,John +Saintfield =Kelly,James +Downpatrick =Patterson,James.
palms hands smelling. antiscorbutic drops purifying blood strengthen comfort
shopkeepers. allowance seal coat arms directions apply nature disorders worm
tinctura odontalgia toothach gums teeth =Turlington balsam life. remedy gravel
virtues people veracity account services =Mallart,Robert. rheumaticks children
77591 26 Oct. 1770 3 +Banbridge =McCullagh,John +Dromore. =McFaden,Alexander +Hillsborough
+Bridge!St. =Bowman,George +Carrickfergus. =Jackson,William +Larne
+Donaghadee. =Agnew,James +Bangor =Cutchon,Samuel +Holywood +Antrim +Belfast
+Down =Kelly,James +Downpatrick =Redmond,John +Clough =Doran,Redmond apothecary
+Kilkeel. =M''Kee,John +Rathfryland =Stevenson,George +Newry =Watson,James
=Agnew,Robert druggist +Killileagh medicines retail wholesale shopkeepers
=Cuffy,John +Saintfield =Sloan,Alexander =Newtown!Ards =Clark,John +Greyabbey.
=Forbes,Hugh +Glenarm =McMurray,Samuel +Clough!Mills. =Orr,John +Ballymoney
=Hannah,William Market House. =Murray/and/Searson =Searson Golden Key Anvil
=Moreland,John +Portaferry =Wallace,Robert +Ballywalter =Beatty,Henry
=Morris,Francis/Anderson +Lurgan detail tried +Ireland character
=Shields,Robert +Colerain =Craig,John =Stirling,John +Lisburn. +Armagh
=Tosh,Samuel +Rich!Hill =Fairiss,Thomas +Tandragee =Gillespy,Mrs.
=Turlington balsam life Scotch pills eye-water lip salve sold merchants Co.
Imperial golden snuff purge eyes tinctura odontalgia toothach gums.
allowance. seal satisfaction directions apply nature disorders worm destroying
hands smelling anti-scorbutic drops restorative rectify blood. cephalick Royal
sugar cakes physick young old cure. ointment scurvy scald heads itch eruptions
95493 27 - 30 June 1775 3 +Ballygowan. +Lecale =Wallace,John +Hollymount. +Ards =Orr,Robert +Kircubbin
+Dufferin =Lindsay,Thomas +Tullavera. +Newry =Hughes,Arthur. +Mourne
+Hillsborough. +Castlereagh =Jackson,John +Knocknagonny =Orr,Thomas
=Halyday,John +Kilkeel. Treasurer county warrants assizes. apply
=Maclune,Busby +Downe duplicates rising court executions order.
=McMinn,Francis +Donaghadee. +Kinalarty =Nelson,George +Craigdough.
=Price,John +Banbridge lower. =Knox,John/Jr. +Drumanockan =Rennison,Charles
Co. +Down list High Constables. upper +Iveagh =Dickson,John +Castlewellan
98709 12 - 15 Oct. 1773 2 +Mourne =Nedham,William lease 14 =Hamilton,Gawin.
Co. +Down =Donnelan,Ralph plaintiff =Kirkpatrick,John city +Dublin hosier
defendant sold sheriff house =Fisher,John innholder town +Downpatrick 30
returnable right title interest lands +Glassdrummon parish +Kilkeel barony
virtue writ fieri facias issued court King''s Bench. seal test 29 June
104217 26 - 30 May 1775 2 +Belfast accident +Kilkeel +Newry servant girls folding press-bed child
sleeping smothered.
113762 26 - 29 Oct. 1773 2 +Dublin attorney =Gibson,Thomas +Capel!St.
bankrupt =Hanter,John +Kilkeel Co. +Down merchant surrender 5 6 Nov. Tholsel
115798 27 June 1769 2 22 stolen merchant shop +Newry web brown linen cloth yards. sealed
=Trimble,Richard +Kilkeel +Down fold stained piece blue reward =Moore,James
115955 8 Aug. 1769 3 =Davis,John +Christ!Church!Yard +Dublin chain steel brass key. return
=Halyday,William =Fivey,David +Loughbrickland =Halyday,John reward 4.
dropt stolen +Newry +Kilkeel +Mourne Co. +Down 23 silver watch maker name


116590 27 June - 1 July 1777 3 +Newry arable pasture moor. river falls overshot mills water driest season
grant =Nedham,Robert +Newcastle. tract mountain surveyed +Kilkeel +Dundrum
rent-roll survey hands =Willock,John attorney 26.
sold towns lands +Ballaghanary +Ballinran Barony +Mourne Co. +Down fee farm
turbary bog-timber tenants leases May 1783 limestone townlands. title-deeds
120859 7 Apr. 1769 2 26 =Kinshelagh,John renounced errors Popery parish church +Kilkeel embraced
Protestant religion.
172409 2 - 5 Nov. 1784 3 +Antrim =Comen,John +Ballyclare =Boyd,Andrew +Ramoan =Moreton,Alex.
+Ballyscullion =Porter,William =Boyd,William. =Johnson,John =Mitchell,John.
+Blairs =Smith,John =M''Pherson,Joseph =Carleton,Cor. =Bigham,James +Clanuff
+Comber =Lismerick,Wm. +Glendermot =Story,Wm. +Tamlaght!a!Crilly. +Tyrone
+Derryrain =Hoghey,Francis +Derrybeg =M''Connell,Wm. +Derrynuce =M''Call,Alex.
+Drumglass. =Greer,Thos. +Dungannon =Thompson,Wm. =Hatton,Robert
+Faughart =Neal,David =M''Dowall,Robert =Barrett,Jonathan +Piedmount.
+Keady =Williamson,Robt. =Montgomery,Hugh +Killead =McComb,Hugh +Killeavy.
+Mullabrack =McIlroy,John =Robson,Henry =Riley,Wm. =Graham,Robert =Lawson,Wm.
+Sego =McCollom,John =Makinson,John =Lutton,Wm. =Mitchell,Samuel.
+Tartaraghan =Thoraborough,Christ. =Hervey,Hugh =Hennan,John =M''Donnell,James
+Tynan. +Donegall =Campbell,James +Glen. +Down. =Bryor,Wm. +Aughaderg
=Adair,Robert +Drumara. =Gray,Andrew =Porter,Andrew =Sprott,Samuel
=Adams,John. =M''Comb,Murtough =M''Murrey,John +Clonallan =Grant,Patrick.
=Anderson,Robert +Kilbrony =Douglas,William +Kilcoo. =McComb,Jas. +Kilkeel
=Bell,Samuel =Beatty,John. =Huchman,James +Loughgall =Robinson,Wm.
=Carlin,Anthony =Irvin,John =Agnew,Alex. +Moira =Shaw,James +Maralin
=Collins,John =Simpson,Wm. =Best,Robert =Stewart,Samuel +Kilmore =Colvin,John
=Corrigan,Wm. =Robinson,John =Turley,John =Mackrill,Peter. =Griffith,John
=Coyn,Wm. +Clones =Wilson,Thos. +Derryvullon =Fallows,Edw. +Devenish
=Doran =McIlroy,Wm. =Ravy,Terence =Huston,John =Jackson,John. =Taylor,David
=Fehan,James +Carlingford =Montgomery,Francis =Mauhall,John. =Fehan,Terence.
=Gaham,Robert =Magenis,John. =Phenix,George =Adamson,Joseph =McComb,Dennis
=Gilmore,James +Arigle =M''Alister,Rich. +Artrea =Mulholland,Hugh
=Glendinning,Thos. +Killileagh =Quin,Richard +Kilmore =McCorry,Jas/Jr.
=Hurlip,George =Frizil,David. =Emerson,Joseph =Harshaw,David +Anaclone
=Irwin,James =Gray,James +Loughgilly. =Anderson,Philip +Newry =Martin,Josias
=Kean,David +Drumcree. =Russell,Robert =Donaly,Hugh =McVeigh,John
=Kennedy,James +Newry. =McCullogh,John =Morton,Willsam =Murdock,Andrew
=Kettle,Francis +Drummully. +Londonderry =Wallace,John. +Aughadavey
=Lester,Robert =Henry,James =Johnson,Robert =Campbell,Arch. =Wilson,James
=M''Minn,Robt. +Castlenegan =Jones,Nevan +Donaghmore. =Makinson,Thos. =Lowry
=Makinson,Andrew =Robinson,Wm. =Magoan,John +Shankill =Bryne,Francis
=Marin,Samuel. +Fermanagh =Brown,John +Aughalurcher =Palmer,John =Law,Andrew
=McBride,James. =McBride,Robert =Kinchey,Thomas =McCowan,John =Vogan,James
=McCan,Jas. +Aghalow =Woods,David =Fox,Patrick =Donally,David =Hatter,Robert
=McKee,John. =Gilliland,James =Sims,John =Steel,Thomas =McCracken,John
=McParlan,Peter +Clonfecle =Anderson,Henry =Paterson,Robert =M''Cartney,Geo.
=Montgomery,James =Connor,Patrick =Magra,Bryan +Cooley =M''Dowell,Robt.
=Moore,James +Ardkeen =Dickson,James +Bellee. =McKetian,Thos. =Starkey,George
=Mullen,Richard =Quin,Terence =M''Gill,Daniel. =Marlay,Robert =Swan,John
=Murphy,Barney +Portaferry =Henry,Alex. +Seapatrick =Adams,Robert
=Neill,Joseph =Wier,Nath. =Creighton,And. +Dromore =Lisburn,Hugh =Walker,John
=Porter,John =Ballymore =Linney,James =Jones,Robert. =Ferguson,John
=Scott,John =Wilson,Thomas =Wilson,Tobias. =Hart,James =Urgan,Thomas
=Sheals,Thos. =Davy,John =McKee,James +Tullylish =Robinson,Richard =Peary,Wm.
=Stevenson +Ballyhulbert =Groves +Ballyroney =Cromy,Joseph. =Brady,John
=Waddel,Jas. +Dundonald. =Bigam,Wm. +Garvaghy =Griffith,James
=Whitehead,John =Cross,Wm/Jr. =Dilworth,George +Killyman =Fox,John +Louth
Dec. +Dublin defaced +Lurgan 28 Oct. =Greer,John Inspector General. Co.
linen trade brown seals weavers office unclaimed notice proper bonds lodged 25
184709 25 - 28 Apr. 1786 3 +Portaferry 8 +Kilkeel 10 surveyors +Lurgan 28 =Greer,John +Ulster.
flaxseed premiums 1785 claimants Co. +Down notice Inspector General office
paying +Hillsborough 3 May +Ballynahinch 4 +Killileagh 5. +Downpatrick 6
188761 28 Sept. - 1 Oct. 1784 2 died =Haliday,Miss daughter =Haliday,John +Kilkeel.
196239 19 - 22 Nov. 1776 2 +Naas murder +Kilkeel body school-master.
260634 12 Aug. 1800 3 +Downpatrick 25 +Castlewellan 26 +Rathfryland 27 +Banbridge 28. +Hillsborough
+Downpatrick claims families militia men enquired =Keown,Richard clerk peace
29 +Seaforde 1 Sept. +Newry 2 +Rostrevor 3 +Kilkeel 4 +Killyleagh 5.
Co. +Down sessions adjourned +Newtownards 18 certificates persons licensed
certificates retailers.
spirituous liquors +Comber 19 +Newtownbreda 20 +Kirkcubbin 21 +Portaferry 22
260898 23 Sept. 1800 3 +Newry +Rathfryland +Kilkeel =Marmion,James =Marmion,Christopher 24.
bleach-green mills +Morne Co. +Down 1 Nov. land turf-bog machinery bleaching
flax-mill +White!Water!River. linen dwelling offices garden +Carlingford
262829 3 Oct. 1800 3 +Canal!Quay 1 May 1798. bog +Derrybeg Nov. 1790 townland +Brackeney otherwise
+Fackell +Kilkeel =Donnen,Eleanor =Doyle,Hugh gardens =Floyd,Stephen
=Seed,John =Orr,John share new assembly room =Glenny,Joseph law-agent trustees
inn-keeper +Newry Co. +Down lands tenements premises. dwelling warehouses
offices +Merchant''s!Quay +Armagh ground opposite brewery stone lime wall
trustees =Moore,John =Moore,Charles auction 22 house =McCormick,Jane
263060 11 Nov. 1800 3 =McElroy,Richard +Kilkeel 6.
parlour bed-chambers kitchen pantry stable cow-house garden acres land
summer lodge let sea 1 years late Revenue-house farm +Greencastle cabbin-house


264844 23 June 1797 3 +Arthur!St. =Campbell,H. =Gunning,D. =Vance,Gilbert. =Allen,John
+Dublin =Grimshaw,H. +Whitehouse. mathematics =Curry,W. +Aughnacloy geography
=Berwick,Edward =Blackwell,Alex. =Cunningham,James =Taggart,Charles
=Blair,James +Newry English =Cuming,John =Gregg,N. =Orr,A. =Hill,James.
=Campbell,John =Pottinger,John French =Dunn,J. +Dublin =Allen,J. =Moore,J.
=Crawford,A/J. +Crawfordsburn =Thompson,Fr. +Lisburn =Grimshaw,H. +Whitehouse
=Henderson,James +Ardkill +Derry =Campbell,R. arithmetic =Campbell,H.
=Joyce,C. =McClean,R. +Dublin =Stevenson,Joseph =Apsley,J. =Wilson,W.
=Luke,James =Lyons,H. +Oldpark =Boyd,E/W. +Carrickfergus =Montgomery,R.
=Magee,W/Sr. =Lynn,R. =Cleland,Benj. =Drummond,James =McNeilly,J. +Kilkeel
=Orr,R. +High!St. =Ferguson,Henry +Donegall!St. =Drummond,James =Law,Geo.
=Pottinger,H. +Mount!Pottinger =Orr,John =Gillis,Jos. +Cottage
=Stuart,James +Gracehill =Savage,P. Latin =Ferguson,George +Linenhall!St.
=Walker,Isaac +Newry =Cuming,John =Getgood,J. =Hyndman,A. =Magee,W/Sr.
=White,C/P. =Topping,John =Ekin,James. +Coagh =Campbell,S. writing
=White,Thomas =Savage,George =Magee,Adam =Hogg,James. =Bruce,W.
examinations +Belfast Academy premiums students Greek =Kennedy,A. =Tomb,G.
276924 6 - 10 Dec. 1793 3 acres =Griben,John =Moore,John +Mourne!Park +Kilkeel 28 2 Jan. 3.
sold interest lease farm land =Hertford,Marquis/of +Ballinderry Co. +Antrim
278702 11 Dec. 1797 3 +Newry 9 Co. +Down sessions insurrection act civil bills juries
=Fitzpatrick,Thomas black-smith =Donaldson,Andrew +Desart =Brown,Isaac
=Herron,Henry traverser =Wright,Richard =McDonnel,John assaults
=McCleland,James white-smith. +Newry Orangeman =Wright,James hatter
=McClelland,James fined =White,John Yeoman. =Jefferson,Thomas public parade
=Sheal,Hugh +Mourne =Quinn,Elizabeth. United Irishman +Kilkeel market
guard-house =McClelland,J. tradesman.
281441 28 Nov. - 1 Dec. 1794 3 +Guinea ship strande Co. +Down shore $Surprize +Liverpool +Angola +Manchester
+Rathfryland Majesty''s +Scotland wrecked +England +Ireland.
hardware arms gun-powder iron. +Analong +Mourne mast rigging =Moore justice
peace serjeant corporal +Fermanagh Militia +Rostrevor plundering fire shot
stabbed dead magistrate troops. +Kilkeel =Warren,Mr. +Newry reinforced
281972 31 Mar. - 3 Apr. 1797 3 > +Belfast Newsletter >. > =Gordon''s +Newry Chronicle >. > =Faulkner''s
+Dublin Journal >. inhabitants Yeomanry. commission United Irishmen unlawful
=Annesley,Earl +Mount!Panther =Castlereagh,Lord. +Newtownards
=Beath,Wm. =Anderson,Geo. =Campbell,Wm. =Moore,Christ. =Cleland,J.
=Cleland,James =Fivey,William =Brett,John =Crommelin,Nich. =Hoey,William
=Corry,Isaac =Clewlow,James =Carleton,Francis =Arbuckle,James =Hawkshaw,Wm.
=Dickson,John =Kingsmill,Robert =Birch,George. =Brett,Charles =Bailie,James
=Haughton,Rich. =Gillespie,Hugh =Stephenson,Geo. =Hillam,Harrold =Waring,S/T.
=Matthews,Chas. =Ormsby,Arthur =Waring,Holt =Potter,Thomas =Clewlow,James
=Maxwell,John/Waring +Finnybrogue =Reilly,John +Scarva +Narrow!Water
=Moore,John =McGuire,Wm. =Moore,Cha/Wm. =Goddard,John. =Pollock,Wm.
=Mussenden,Dan. =Montgomery,H. =Hall,Savage =Hutcheson,Fran. =Trotter,Edw/S.
=Savage,P. =Annesley,Wm. =Price,Nicholas =Reilly,John =Maxwell,J/W.
=Taylor,Robert =Campbell,John =Keown,Richard =Swail,Richard. =McKey,Hugh
=Thompson,Ache. =Moore,John =Waring,Thomas =Lane,Thomas =Gillespie,Clem.
=Waring,C. =Fivey,John =Watson,Lancelot =Crozier,George =Taylor,Arch.
=Waring,Lucas/Rev. +Kilkeel +Killinchy =Brett,John +Downpatrick.
meeting justices peace Co. +Down +Hillsborough 28 resolutions published
oaths reward information conspiracies treasurer subscribers committee secrecy
quorum =Downshire =Annesley. =Clanbrassil =Londonderry =Castlereagh
subscriptions received high sheriff +Newry =Downshire,Marquis/of
283597 19 - 23 Dec. 1796 3 +Cork =Bryson,W. =Lowry,H. =Burns,R. =Sutton,G. =Quinn,G. =Linn,R. =Gordon,J.
+Gracehill =Smyth,T/J. +Lisburn =Orr,R. +High!St. =Holmes,R. =Drummond,J/L.
+Waring!St. =Grey,Martha/Miss +Church!Lane. =M''Clean,Armynella/Miss
=Barklimore,A. +Ballyclare =Kennedy,A. =Tomb,G. =Apsley,J. =Stewart,James
=Bryan,R. +Kilcronaghan =Henderson,Jas. +Ardkill +Derry =M''Cance,J. +Dunmurry
=Dawson,Wm. =Dunn,J. =Campbell,H. =Cavan,T. =Moore,J. =Mawhinny,Mr. school 19
=Getgood,W. =Black,Thos. =Orr,Robert +Linenhall!St. =Digby,Thos.
=Gunning,D. +Carrickfergus =Montgomery,R. =Magill,R. +Cookstown =Gunning,T.
=Hill,Richard +Bellaghy =Law,G. +Dublin geography =Sinclair,J. +Larne.
=Hunter,John =Brown,R/E. =M''Neilly,A. =M''Garragh,Alex. =Allen,John.
=Johnston,Geo/G. =Cunningham,Jas. =Bankhead,Wm/Rogers =M''Roberts,James
=M''Comb,Isabella/Miss +Ann!St. =Devlin,Susanna =Kennedy,Richard =Lamb,Jane
=Pottinger,Eld. +Mountpottinger =Campbell,S. =Caughey,W. =Orr,Alex.
=Watt,John =Boyd,John +Newry =Grimshaw,W. +Whitehouse English =Crawford,A.
=White,Campbell =Topping,John =Goyer,W. =M''Nelly,H. +Kilkeel =Mulholland,Geo.
Christmas examinations +Belfast Academy premiums certificates students writing
Greek prose Latin verse =Curry,W. +Aughnacloy. =Phillips,W. logic
arithmetic =Garner,James +Castlehill. =Alexander,John +Newtownlemavaddy
silver medal reading spelling. =Liddy,Hugh +Ballymacarret =M''Morran,John
286354 25 - 29 July 1796 3 +Ivea +Hillsborough 6 +Kinelearty +Seaford. 8 +Castlewellan 9 +Rathfryland 10
+Kirkcubbin 2 Aug. +Castlereagh +Newtownards +Newtownbreda 3 4 +Comber 5
+Newry 11 +Mourn +Kilkeel 12 +Dufferin +Killileagh 15 +Lecale +Down 16
=Brett,John clerk peace 27.
Co. +Down special sessions granting certificates spiritous liquors +Ards
287809 5 Nov. 1799 3 +Kilkeel 26 Oct. sheriff officer possession land +Mourne writ party
=Corry,Marcus 23rd Dragoons. ringleaders +Downpatrick gaol assizes trial
opposition laws country.

Flax Growers in the Parish of Kilkeel, 1796

1796 - As part of a government initiative to encourage the linen trade, free spinning wheels or looms were granted to individuals planting a certain area of land with flax. The lists of those entitled to the awards were published in 1796 and a copy of the list with a surname index of the spinning wheel entitlement is available at the Public Record Office Northern Ireland

Agnew, William

Colgan, John

Cunigan, Daniel

Doran, Laughlin

Floyd, Stephen

Annet, Arthur

Colgan, Loughlin

Cunigan, James

Doran, Patrick

Forrester, James

Annet, Hans

Colgan, Nicholas

Cunigan, John

Doran, Patrick, Sr

Foy, James

Annet, John

Conigan, Nicholas

Cunigan, Patrick

Doran, Peter

Foy, John

Armour, William

Coobreath, James

Cunigan, Peter

Dowdal, Robert

Galbraith, James

Armstrong, Richard

Coonegan, Arthur

Cunigan, Shane

Doyle, John

George, James

Atkinson, George

Coonegan, Patrick

Cunigan, Thomas

Doyle, Thomas

George, Thomas

Bayrd, John

Cowper, Thomas

Cunnigan, George

Dunbar, William

Gill, James

Beck, Hugh

Craige, William

Cunnigan, Henry

Edgar, Hans

Gordon, Jane

Brand, Joseph

Crosier, James

Cunnigan, Peter

Edgar, James

Grenan, James

Brannon, Patrick

Cull, Charles

Curren, John

Edgar, John

Gribbin, Joseph

Cairnes, William

Cull, Christopher

Deviaghan, Mary

Edgar, Oughtery

Haislip, Arthur

Camlon, John

Cull, Henry

Divin, Patrick

Edgar, Thomas

Hamilton, Hugh

Campbell, John

Cull, Michael

Donaldson, Andrew

Ferguson, Samuel

Hanna, Adam

Campbell, Robert

Cull, Patrick

Donaldson, George

Finneny, William

Hanna, James

Carr, John

Cull, Thomas

Donaldson, William

Fitzpatrick, Denis

Hanna, Robert

Carr, Samuel

Cummin, Edward

Doogan, Patrick

Fitzpatrick, Patrick

Hanna, William

Carson, George

Cummin, James

Doran, Arthur

Fitzsimons, Redmond

Harpur, Robert

Cassidy, Patrick

Cummin, John

Doran, Bryan

Flannigan, Christopher

Houston, George

Caulfield, Alice

Cummin, William, Jr

Doran, Charles

Flannigan, Edmund

Houston, Mary

Caulfield, Mary

Cummin, William, Sr

Doran, Daniel

Flannigan, Hugh

Hoyns, Mathias

Chesnut, William

Cunegan, Patrick

Doran, Denis

Flannigan, James

Hutchinson, John

Clarke, Neal

Cunigan, Arthur

Doran, Hugh

Flannigan, John

Irwin, John

Colgan, Edward

Cunigan, Catherine

Doran, James, Jr

Flannigan, Terence

Irwin, Robert

Colgan, Francis

Cunigan, Christopher

Doran, James, Sr

Flood, William

Irwin, Samuel

Kane, Mary

Marmon, Christopher

M'Naight, Alexander

Quin, Bryan

Sloan, Laurence

Keelty, Hugh

Marmon, James

M'Naight, James

Quin, Henry

Sloan, Patrick

Keelty, Isabella

Marmon, James, Jr

M'Neely, James

Quin, Hugh

Sloan, Capt. Thomas

Keelty, Patrick

Marmon, Richard

Mollyneux, William

Quin, John

Sloane, Anne

Keelty, Peter

Marmon, Richard, Sr

Moore, Charles

Quin, Mary

Sloane, Edward

Kelly, Bryan

Marmon, William

Moore, Charles, Jr

Quin, Patrick

Sloane, James

Kelly, Matthew

Martin, Gill

Moore, Charles, Sr

Quin, Richard

Sloane, John

Kelly, Patrick

M'Brin, Daniel

Moore, Francis

Raymond, Ross

Sloane, Mary

Kenmuire, John

M'Brin, John

Moore, James

Reed, John

Sloane, Mathew

Kenmuire, Robert

M'Brin, Patrick

Moore, Jane

Reilly, Barnaby

Sloane, Neale

Kenmuire, Thomas

M'Burney, Alexander

Moore, John

Reily, Henry

Sloane, Nicholas

Kerr, Mary

M'Caver, Charles

Moore, Margaret

Roarke, Terence

Sloane, Patrick

Kerr, Thomas

M'Caver, John

Moore, Nicholas

Rogers, Charles

Sloane, Peter

Larkin, Francis

M'Comb, Mary

Morris, Thomas

Rogers, Patrick

Sloane, Robert

Larkin, Thomas

M'Crink, Thomas

Murneen, Bryan

Rogers, John

Sloane, Thomas

Lavery, Murtagh

M'Cullough, Bryan

Murphy, Arthur

Rogers, William, Jr

Stafford, William

Linden, James

M'Cullough, Daniel

Murphy, Patrick

Rogers, William, Sr

Stevenson, James

Linden, Patrick

M'Cullough, Terence

Newell, James

Russel, William

Stevenson, Thomas

Mackan, Owen

M'Dowel, George

Newell, John

Sayer, Manus

Stevenson, Thomas, Sr

Macken, Felix

M'Dowel, Thomas

Newill, Margaret

Seed, Adam

Stevenson, William

Macken, Murtagh

M'Evoy, Hugh

Nugent, William

Seed, Andrew

Stuart, Hugh

Magee, Daniel

M'Guffin, James

O'Neil, Hugh

Seed, Hugh

Thompson, John

Magee, Henry

M'Kee, Edward

Orr, Charles

Shannon, Samuel

Thompson, Rev. Moses

M'Allister, Charles

M'Kee, John

Patterson, Arthur

Shannon, William

Toner, Laughlin

M'Allister, Daniel

M'Kibbin, John

Patterson, John

Short, Matthew

Thompson, William

Toner, Laughlin

Vance, Mary

White, Mark

Wilson, Archibald

Wilson, Nicholas

Townshend, Amb.

Walmsley, John

White, Matthew

Wilson, James

Young, Alexander

Tremble, Richard

White, George

White, Richard

Wilson, John


Catherine Hudson
Christmas as we know it today has changed out of all recognition from years gone by when restricted incomes and very simple lifestyles were the order of the day. Most of the old customs and superstitions associated with that time of year have gone and it is difficult to understand how some of them originated. One can only surmise that living, as so many did, in isolated areas with little outside influence, every little thing that occurred would be noted and, that over a period of time, a series of happenings or coincidences would be associated with previous events and so myth became reality.
Christmas fare
For good luck and good fortune in the coming year it was recommended that herrings, fresh or salted, be eaten as the first meal on Christmas Day. So when people returned from midnight Mass or church service they would have a meal of fish, salt and potatoes or a pig’s head and bacon.
The Goose was the traditional Christmas fare or, if less well-off, a chicken was substituted. Turkeys were introduced in the 17th century but were for a long time restricted to the ‘gentry’. Towards the end of the 18th century both turkeys and geese sold for about one shilling and ducks and chickens for a few pence.
Tea was expensive and a rare luxury, and so was a special treat at Christmas. For those who could afford mince pies, it was the tradition to eat a pie each day for the 12 days of Christmas. It was believed this would help ward off illness in the coming year. The Christmas pudding was not like today’s plum pudding but was made from potatoes and bread and was boiled in a cloth (usually cut from a flour bag) suspended in a cooking pot over an open fire. It was also usual to give the animals extra food at Christmas.
One of the nicest of the old customs was that of ‘leaving the door on the latch’ when neighbours and travellers could feel free to call and share the food and drink, however meagre. Rhymers or Strawboys travelled around from house to house performing short plays or dancing and the pennies they collected were used for charity.
Christmas candles
A lovely old custom which has not entirely died out is the placing of a lighted candle in the window. The first two lines from a 1920 poem read: “She set her lighted candle inside the window pane, the happy time of Christmas had come to earth again”.
The biggest candle that the family could afford was lit with great ceremony late on Christmas Eve, the oldest and the youngest members of the family holding the lighted taper. This custom is thought to have originated in Ireland in the 17th century. Imagine the scene, in the days before electricity, of a village or even a small rural community, its windows all aglow with flickering candles welcoming not only the birthday of Christ but, in a practical way, the footsore weary traveller or homecomer. When the Famine led to mass emigration this custom was taken to America where it became very popular.

Customs connected with the candle varied from place to place but generally it was not extinguished until dawn. It was thought to bring great luck to have breakfast on Christmas Day by its light. In some places the candle was lit each evening over the 12 days of Christmas. On the night of 6 January a tin lid was filled with sand and 12 small candles arranged in a circle. They were lit before the evening meal and allowed to burn out. When they did, Christmas was over and everyone said, “May we all be alive and well this time next year”.
The crib
Another surviving custom is the placing in homes and churches of figures representing Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus, and the shepherds and animals in the stable at Bethlehem. The first crib in the 13th century was the idea of St Francis of Assisi when he used real people and animals to represent the scene. Since then, the crib, with its figures made from china, plaster, wood or even cardboardis frequently displayed. The figures of the three Kings or Wise Men are added to the others on the Feast of the Epiphany on 6 January. This is also known as Old Christmas Day as this was the day on which Christmas was held before the calendar was changed. It was also called in Gaelic Nolisig na mBan as it was a special day for women. The woman of the house was waited on by the family as a reward for all the hard work she had done before and during Christmas.
Christmas boxes, cards, trees and decorations
Until the 1950s and before the advent of the supermarket, it was customary for family grocers to reward their customers with a ‘Christmas box’. This was sometimes a small hamper containing a large candle, an iced cake or biscuits. Most businesses routinely gave customers a calendar; this usually had a pouch on the front in which to keep letters. If the picture on the calendar was a pretty one, as it very often was, it would be kept safely and put in a simple frame to adorn the wall.
Christmas cards were first published in 1843 by an artist called Horseley. However, they were rarely sent or received, except by wealthy families, until well into the present century as they were much too expensive for common use. They were very often in the form of postcards.
The Christmas tree is a relatively new custom which was imported from Germany and Scandinavia. Yet it is said that, as far back as 900 AD, a group of Irish monks on a bleak mountainside in Alsace, feeling homesick and lonely one Christmas time, decorated a tree underneath which they sang hymns.
Great superstitions by pagans in ancient times were attached to both holly and ivy but these were later adopted by Christians for use at Christmas - the prickly holly as a symbol of Christ’s suffering and the red berries as a reminder of the blood he shed. It was also said that to hang up mistletoe brought happiness and good fortune - provided it did not touch the ground.
It was believed that the donkey and oxen knelt in their stables at midnight on Christmas Eve. This was thought to originate from the fact that it was a donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem and the breath of the ox and donkey that kept the Infant warm. It was also believed that the cock crowed each night for three weeks before Christmas. This must have been believed centuries ago as Shakespeare writes in Hamlet “Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated, The bird of dawning singeth all night long’.
If the cock crowed at midnight on Christmas Eve it was thought to be a very good omen. Bees are also believed to wake from hibernation at Christmas and hum or sing in celebration.
Old sayings and beliefs
A very old custom more common in Antrim and Kerry was of playing hurley with improvised sticks, barefoot on the sand.
The day on which Christmas falls was deemed to be of significance. If it fell on a Sunday it signified a windy winter and a good summer with peace throughout the land. Monday and especially Tuesday were not considered good days for it to fall. Wednesday meant a hard winter and good summer, but a bad year for ships. Thursday and Friday also foretold hard and windy winters but good summers and harvests. Saturday signified a severe winter and wet summer. Frost and snow at Christmas were welcomed as they were thought to be the sign of a mild spring. A new moon on Christmas Eve was also considered lucky. Old sayings include:
• A green Christmas fills the Churchyard.
• When the blackbird sings before Christmas, she will cry at Candlemas.
• If ducks can swim at Halloween, at Christmas they will slide.