County Down


(Landowners in 1876 can be got from the index on the main  page of the website under Land Deeds)

Auglish Cottages
Bassetts Directory 1886
Births, Loughbrickland
Bovennett and Drumsallagh
Directory of the Gentry
Emigrant Sons of the Bann
Golden Wedding Celebrations

Loughbrickland by Samuel Lewis 1837
Loughbrickland National School Register, 1863/1950
The Sir Marmaduke Whitechurch connection
The Crannoge of Lisnagonnell

Loughbrickland ringfort in the townland of Coolnacran is a high status bivallate fort around 30.5 metres across. It is a scheduled ancient monument dating from Early Christian times. Also there is a crannog at Loughbrickland lake. There is also reputed to have been a second crannog, in the area, in a lake, which is now Meenan bog, in the townland of Lisnagonnell.

In the description,of Aghaderg Parish from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837, it states, about half a mile to the south-west of Loughbrickland are three upright stones, called "The Three Sisters of Greenan" apparently the remains of an ancient cromlech: they are situated on a gentle eminence, and near them is a fourth lying in a ditch. This fourth stone seems to have been forgotten in more recent times, it is now considered that The Three Sisters is a short alignment of three standing stones in which stand at the roadside in the townland of Greenan, whose name comes from grianan, "the place of the sun", hinting that here, as with several other short stone rows, there may have been midsummer and midwinter rituals. There are now just two of the original three stones still standing in a gorse hedgerow at the side of a farm track - the third lies in the hedge somewhere; as does possibly the fourth? The east stone is 1.4m tall and has a vertical split in it, so that one thin slice hangs off the side. The other standing stone is 1.6m tall and has been cut into a very nice cuboid block with very flat surfaces. The south-easterly one, which has fallen, measures over two metres in its entire length.

The remains of Water Hill Fort (Dun Uisce), stand on a hill to the south of the lake; an unusually constructed ancient rath with its surrounding ditch inside the bank; possibly a feast site or ceremonial role; some speculate it a possible location of  Briccriu's Feast from legend. However, this seems unlikely as it is stated this took place at Dun Rudraige, which is Dundrum County Down

Local tradition refers to an early monastic foundation, a Franciscan house which is believed to have prospered in the townland of Drumsallagh from the early fifteenth century until 1569, when it suffered suppression under Elizabeth1 It lies in the valley to the west of the village. The name Drumsallagh, or Droim Saileach, means ‘willow ridge’ it occupies a valley that used to carry the old northern road sometimes known as the  Slige Midluachra or High Kings Road that ran in ancient times from Tarato Dunseverick on the north coast. A manuscript that has been attributed to Rev. John Deth, first Protestant Vicar of Aghaderg, claims that the monastery was quarried to provide building materials for the original Church of Ireland church in Loughbrickland, constructed in 1600. The Deth manuscript also records that, according to information he received from one of the friars, the remains of the three earlier saints of Meenan had been previously reinterred in the chapel of the Franciscan monastery. The 26 October was set aside each year to commemorate this fact. The site was in use in the 11th century, however, and remained as a FranciscanMonastery until 1641 when it was destroyed with the rest of the nearby village. According to the manuscript notes of Dr. Osborne Shiel, Vicar of Aghaderg 1768-1798, various artefacts were unearthed in Drumsallagh in the latter half of the eighteenth century - a gold chalice and paten (1780), a gold candlestick, a stone depicting St.Francis feeding birds - legacies of the Franciscan er


Thomas Hawthorne my great  grandfather was  born circa 1831  in Loughbrickland he was a weaver, his son John was a labourer, John Hawthorne married Susan Hamilton from Banbridge in Seapatrick Church of Ireland, 19/71868, Susan Hamiltons father was Henry Hamilton a blacksmith in Banbridge, witnesses at John Hawthorne and Susan Hamiltons wedding were, Hugh and Essy McCormack nee Hamilton, the Minister was Wilson George.

Children of John Hawthorne and Susan Hawthorne
Thomas Henry Hawthorne, Born 6/5/1871, Died 1952
Margaret Jane Hawthorne, Born 26/10/1872
John Hawthorne, Born, 12/8/74

The Sir Marmaduke Whitechurch connection with Loughbrickland

It is not known when Marmaduke Whitechurch, son of a London solicitor, came to Ireland from Staffordshire to "clothe the Army". For his services, in 1585 Queen Elizabeth I gave him lands at Loughbrickland on which to build a castle beside the lake to protect the `pass' and in 1598 he fought with Bagnall's vanquished army at the Battle of the Yellow Ford, where Bagnall was killed. It would appear that his work took him around quite a lot and he acquired lands - six balliboes of Abbey lands in the Barony of Onealan, Co Armagh, subject to plantation conditions.

In the same Barony of Orior, Co Armagh, he had a grant of lands of Ballymacdermot containing one ballibo (approximately 120 acres) at a Crown rent of 16s 3d. As one of the earliest sevitors under the Plantation Scheme (1608 - 1620), Whitechurch owned considerable estates in Monaghan and Louth. He was also Constable of Carlingford Castle.

In his quest for new possessions he found the Magennis family possessed large tracts of land, but had little money. So, in 1615, he purchased 17 townlands in the Parishes of Aghaderg and Seapatrick from them. After building the castle he built a church using some of the stones from the former monastery on its present site and first made Loughbrickland a town by encouraging Protestants to settle there. He was a model coloniser and deserves to rank high as such. Few men of his time were able to do so much important work with so little friction.

One of the first acts of his colonisation was to settle his lands with farmers from England at low rents and giving long leases. He is known to have both scutch, linen and flour mills on the river. Whitechurch was knighted in 1628 and died in 1634 when he was buried in the church. However, in the 1641 Rebellion the castle, church and many houses were burnt or destroyed by the rebels, the church being rebuilt in 1688.

Sir Marmaduke Whitechurch had three daugthers - Frances who married Marcus Trevor of Lisnagade, who later became Viscount Dungannon-, Eleanor who wed Rev J. Symonds and third remained unmarried. Marcus Trevor had three daughters and one, Rose, married Nicholas Purcell, Baron of Loughmore, Co Tipperary.

There were four daughters of this marriage, of whom Mary, in 1713, married John Whyte of Leixlip, who was descended from the Whyte family who in 1170 came to Ireland from South Wales with Strongbow and settled in Leinster. On the death of Sir Marmaduke part of his lands were bequeathed to his daughter Frances and down to her granddaughter Mary, who inherited extensive lands at Loughbrickland.

On her marriage to John Whyte they built Loughbrickland House and made it their main residence. Their grandson, Captain Nicholas Whyte, RN, DL, JP, later High Sheriff of Co Down gave in 1814 the site, together with a large donations, for the building of the present Roman Catholic Church, which was completed and dedicated in 1832. In 1608 a survey was compiled by the Commissioners of King James 1 after meeting a jury comprising the leading Irish families in the county under Sir Marmaduke held at Mory Castle.

It is believed the name Loughbrickland came from the speckled trout, which at one time abounded in the lake.

The Whyte family, still own Loughbrickland House and demesne. The present branch of the family connected with the house is that of the late John Henry Whyte who died in 1990. He never grew up at Loughbrickland, as his aunt, Magda Whyte, was tenant for life after her husband George Whyte died in 1919

Golden Wedding Celebrations in Loughbrickland

(From the Household Almanac - 1913)

Mr J. J. Whyte, D. L., and Mrs Whyte, of Loughbrickland, celebrated the golden jubilee of their marriage on Thursday, the 3rd of October, 1912, and were the recipients of numerous congratulations on the happy event. Both Mr and Mrs Whyte enjoy an extensive popularity in the district, and the expressions of goodwill were heartily joined in by the local residents by whom they are held in the highest esteem. As evidence of the manner in which the sentiments were received it my be mentioned that they signalised the occasion in a characteristically generous spirit. A party of the children attending the local schools were given a holiday, and were conveyed in brakes to a matinee in the Banbridge Picture House, where Mr Finney had seats specially reserved for them. The little ones thoroughly enjoyed the outing and marked their appreciation by hearty cheers for Mr and Mrs Whyte. The employees at the house were also generously feted, and the spacious barn which was suitably decorated was the scene of an enjoyable dance in the evening. Letters and telegrams of congratulation poured in from a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and it is interesting to observe that these included a message from the Pope through Cardinal Merry del Val, which His Holiness imparted his blessing. The presents formed a unique and valuable collection. A beautiful golden bowl, exquisitely and chastely designed was sent by the children of Mr and Mrs Whyte, while magnificent golden vases were gifts from grandchildren

The collection also included - white heather in a gilt basket from .the Misses. Lamb, pair of gold bonbonier from Mrs Power-Lawlor, gold bonbon basket from Mrs Armstrong and Miss Cruise; pair of gold and brilliants photo frames; gold and silver goblet from Mrs an Mr Roche, gold bag; pair of gold fruit spoons from Lady Ross of Bladensburgh, gold card case, from Mrs Rochfort Boyd, pair gold photo frames from Mrs Taafe, embroiderred cushion from presentation Convent, Carlow; gold and silver photo frame from Mervyn Ryan, beautifully mounted prayer books from Mrs Murnaghan, amethyst and a pearl brooch from Mrs Grierson, gold pencil case from the Missess Alexander.

It is interesting to note that Mr Whytes family traces its descent Walter Whyte of South Wales, who accompanied Strongbow on his expedition to Ireland. He was born in Dublin in 1826 and educated at Oscott. In addition to holding the office of Deputy Lieutenant he is a Justice of the Peace and was Sheriff for the county in 1862

Emigrant Sons of The Bann

(By Rich. McCaffrey)
Extract From the Banbridge & District Historical Society Vol.4

The Henry Family, Sons of Loughbrickland

Alexander Henry, the youngest of five brothers, was born in Loughbrickland in June, 1763. In 1783 he emigrated to America and obtained employment in a dry goods establishment in Philadelphia. His abilities were such that in two months he was made superintendent of a branch of the house purposely created for him. Sometime afterwards he went into business for himself, importing dry goods wholesale, and continued in business until 1807 when he retired with a large fortune. Later on he emerged again in business but in 1818 he finally retired and devoted the remainder of his life to church and charitable work.

For many years he enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest member of the Hibernian Society and at his death was the last of the original sixty founders of 1790. He was Treasurer of the Society in 1793. He was a very active member of the Presbyterian Church and was President of the Board of Education of that body. He was also President of the American Sunday School Union from it's commencement in 1824 until his death, and was the President of the House of Refuge. For forty nine years he was a Director of the United States Bank.

Mr. Henry died on August 13, 1847, and was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia. In his will, admitted to probate, August 18, 1847, he left legacies to the American Sunday School Union, The Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Blind, and to the Central Presbyterian Church. He left a son, John S. Henry, born September 9, 1795, and a grandson, Alexander Henry, born April 4, 1823.

Alexander Henry graduated from Princeton with high honours. After leaving college he studied law and was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar on April 13, 1844. He soon acquired an extensive practice and in 1856-57 represented the Seventh Ward in City Council. In 1858 he was nominated by the People's Party for Mayor against the incumbent Richard Vaux, the Democratic Candidate. The election took place in May, 1858, and Mr.Henry was successful. In 1860, and again in 1863, he was re-elected. In 1866 he declined a renomination, taking the ground that it was wrong for one man to seine too many terms

in such a position. His administration was highly successful, the efficiency of the Police Force being raised to a high standard. A member of the Park Commission, He was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania Director of the Fidelity Insurance Trust and Safe Deposit Company, and of the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society, and was for twenty eight consecutive years

an Inspector of the Eastern Penetentiary. He was a member of the State Board of Centennial Supervisors.  Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Great International Centennial Exhibition (1876), and, upon the resignation of ex-governor Bigler, he became President of the Board of Supervisors

The shock of the death of his son and only child greatly impaired Mr. Henry's health and in the Spring of 1883 he visited Europe, remaining there until late in the succeeding Autumn. He returned much benefited in health but died a month later of typhoid pneumonia. The flags of Independence Hall and many other public buildings were placed at half-mast in respect to his memory. Mayor King addressed City Council, paying tribute to the character of the deceased. Mr. Henry was a man of sterling character, commanding the respect of his fellow citizens, and a proud descendant of Loughbrickland.

The Crannoge of Lisnagonnell Parish of Aghaderg

A discovery of much interest was made in the townland of Lisgannon or Lisnagonnell, in the parish of Aghaderg, near Loughbrickland, on the 17th October, 1894. A man named James Buchanan, while mowing rushes in a bog on his farm some four weeks ago, struck the point of his scythe into something a little below the surface, from which it required all his strength to extricate it. Thinking he had discovered a tree of bogwood of some sort, valuable for firewood, he began to excavate with a spade, and soon became convinced he had came upon an ancient boat or canoe, and after considerable trouble disclosed to view a very fine specimen of prehistoric boat making. This ancient craft was hollowed out of the heart oak of a single tree, which must have been a monarch of the forest. For the canoe is twenty-five feet long, and from three feet wide near one end to two feet eight inches at the other, and nineteen inches deep in the inside.

As the original trunk out of which this canoe was carved, must when growing have been more than five feet in diameter; one can judge of its height and wonder at the immense expenditure of labour and time with the primitive tools of savages, which it must have taken to fell the tree, and shaped its outline and `dig out' the inside to form the hull.

There are two pairs of brackets left projecting on the inner sides, one pair is placed six feet from the widest or stern end, and the other pair at three feet from them. Each bracket is five inches by three inches, and is formed having a horizontal groove in it into which was slipped when in use as a seat board, lying between them was part of the handle and blade of a paddle or small oar; this was so much decayed that it crumbled when touched, and was broken when turned out with the sods of rushes and marsh grasses by the spade.

The shell or hull of the canoe is three quarters of an inch thick at the gunswale, and the flat floor is seven inches thick near the bow, and three inches thick at the position of the seats. A peculiar and most interesting feature in this canoe is that on the floor were left what boatmen call `stretchers' for the support of the paddler's feet. There are two pairs of these at the proper distance from the seats and a pair near the bow where the two paddlers who did the steering were seated.

No articles besides the remains of the paddle mentioned above, except three small field stones, the largest the size of a man's fist, were found inside this canoe. These stones were in the bottom of the canoe, and have nothing remarkable about them.

It appears that some seventy years ago James Buchanan's maternal grand-father, John McKeag, while making `mudturf' in this bog, found three other boats, one was much like the canoe recently discovered, while the other two were shorter and wider. They all occurred near the same place, at the north end of the bog. Looking at the position of this bog of Lisnagonnell, lying in a deep hollow surrounded by swelling hills, and seeing that even now after a few days rain it becomes converted into a flooded morass, covering about forty acres, it is not difficult to see that before the making of the deep drain which at present vents the water, there was a genuine though shallow Lough here, for traversing the surface of which the natives used these canoes.

Their use was to gain access to the village or assemblage of huts in which they lived, and which were situated on an island constructed nearly in the middle of the sheet of water. Such islands are well known to have existed in many lakes and bogs throughout Ireland, and vast quantities of all sorts of object - metal, stone, wood, and bone, have been found in them, and are now preserved in various museums.

Similar dwellings have been discovered in the lakes of Switzerland.

The Irish constructions of this character are known as Crannoges, a name derived from the Celtic word crann, meaning `a tree'. The late Sir William Wilde, who paid a great deal of attention to the subject of the Irish Crannoges or lake-dwellings, says: "To understand or appreciate the nature of these dwellings, we must bring back our minds to the period when the country around the locality where they occur was covered with wood, chiefly oak and alder, and when the state of society had passed from that of the simple shepherd or pastorial condition to one of raping, plunder, and invasion; certain communities, families, or cheiftains, required greater security for themselves, their cattle, or their valuables, than the land could afford, and so betook themselves to the water. With infinite labour, considering there means and appliances at their disposal, these people cut down young oak trees, which they carried to the lakes, and drove into the clay or mud around the shallows of small islands, which were usually covered with water in winter. And having thus formed a somewhat cicular stockade, which rose above the water, probably interlaced with branches, they floored it with alder, sallow, or birch to a suitable height above the winter flood, and on this platform erected wooden cabins. One large flagstone at least was also carried in for a hearthstone or common cooking place, and one or more querns or hand-mills have almost invariably been found in the remains of these crannoges."

That such existed in Lisnagonnell bog there is abundant evidence. Several of the farmers resident in the neighbourhood point out a spot one hundred and twenty yards south of where the canoes were discovered, and near the middle of the bog, which is still called `the island,' though now, owing to the removal of the bog mud for making fuel, reduced to an impassable morass in which grow reeds. This island is described as a circle of fourteen yards in diameter full of stakes or `stabs' of oak, and round about which many objects have from time to time been found. These are described as `small bowls or crocks, like crockery of blue clay burned, knoggins of wood, hand mill=stones, flat flagstones, pins of brass like gold, a gold pin with a double twisted head and carved stem, a white stone with a hole thorugh one end, pieces of iron and any amount of bones, teeth and horns of various animals.

Many of these `curiosities' as they are termed, passed from the Lisnagonnell finders into the possession of the late Mr Wm Glenny, of Glenvale, near Newry, who was, during his long lifetime, an ardent collector of such.

The persons from whom the above information has been gleaned accounted for the entire absence of human remains among the objects found in the bog, by giving their opinion or belief that these things are the relics of the abodes of `men who lived before Noah's flood, when the water came and swept them all away.'

It is curious to find such a small townland as this is having two names, but so it is. Many of the inhabitants call it Lisganon, which means in celtic the small lis or village; while the name Lisnagonnell is set down on the Ordinace Survey, and is that now used to denote it in all public documents.

Concerning the name Lisnagonnell, the following interesting note is given by Dr. Joyce, in Irish Names and Places (1 st series p.179 j, published in 1869 - "Very often when you pass a lonely fort on a dark night you will be astonished to see a light shining from it; the fairies are then at some work of their own, and you will do well to pass on and not disturb them. From the frequency of this apparition, it has came to pass that many forts are called Lisnagannell and Lisnagnnell, the fort of the candles; and is some instances they have given names to townlands; as for example Lisnagonnell in the County Down Lisnaglenly in Tipperary, Lisnagonnell in tyrone, and Lisconnell in Mayo."

There are two small earthen forts or `lisses' still existing in Lisnagonnell, and both are near the bog. But it is not possible to know which was Lisganon, and which Lisnagonnell, or whether the latter is the name of `the island' in the bog.

We know from history that these crannoges or lake dwellings were used in Ireland from a very early period down to the sixteenth century. When they were first erected must be a matter of conjecture, but from the character of the antiquities discovered within and around them, they would seem to have been in general use through the early ages, and even during the time when it was customary to use stone instruments.

H.W. Lett Hon. Provincial Secretary for Ulster of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Bassetts Directory 1886 for Loughbrickland

In 1881, Loughbrickland had a population of 336. Banbridge is 2 miles, Irish to the North, and Newry, 8 miles Irish to the South-south West. The land of the surrounding country is good for pasture and tillage, Potatoes and oats are the principal crops. A small amount of flax is grown. Mr. John W. Whyte, J.P. and the Marquis of Downshire are the owners of the district. Loughbrickland was granted to Sir Marmaduke Whitchurch by Queen Elizabeth in 1585. He built a castle on the shores of the Lough. Cromwells army partly destroyed it, and it was ultimately replaced by a private residence, built in 1812. During King Williams march to the Boyne he took advantage of Loughbrickland as a camping ground for 11 days. The Danes were defeated here by the Irish in 1187. loughbrickland was named from the Lough, and the Lough , it is believed received its name from the speckled trout which at one time abounded in its waters. The extent of land under it is 90 Irish acres Mr. James Cupples , Mr . James Wright , and Mr . James Gray , who lives in America , are tenants of the farms adjoining the shore line. On Mr. cupples, farm is an earthwork called the Watery fort , of Danish origin. No trout now exist in the lough, but it is well stocked with eels, and has some roach and perch. The overflow is discharged at Scarva into the Canal connecting lough Neagh with Newry. The Rough Fort is passed on the way from Loughbrickland to Banbridge, and Lisnatirney Fort, a Danish earthwork, is on the farm of Mr.Patrick Cranney, about two miles in the Newry direction.The Church of Ireland at Loughbrickland is a handsome edifice, the original Church was destroyed with a part of the village during the war of 1641. It was rebuilt in 1688, and in 1878 a new chancel was added by Mr.A.Wheelan, builder Newry. It was also newly roofed, and the seats modernized, the total cost exceeding £1,100. The Catholic Church, at the opposite side of the street, is also a handsome edifice, and has a fine new tower. There are in the village a Presbyterian Church of good capacity, a Reformed Presbyterian Church, and a Lodge of Good Templars

Butter Merchant, Thoms. Senior
Dispensary Dr.Jno.McKain
Grocers marked thus*sell spirits
Susan Connelly
Wilm Morrow
Sarah OFlaherty*
Thomas Senior
Elizabeth White
Saw Mill, R. Campbell
Mills corn & scutch,R.Campbell
Mills scutch, D.Cromie,
Mrs E.J.Megaw, Jas.Mehaffy
News Agents, Jas Davis, Thom. Senior
Spirit Retailer,E. Maguire, Loughbrickland
Church of I.Rev.Hy. W.Lett
Presbyterian C. Rev.A.C.Buchanan
Reformed Presbterian Church,Rev.Gawn Douglas
RC.Church, Rev Matthew Lynch P.P.
Rev. Hugh McAvoy C.C.
Schools National, John Valentine, C.of I.
John Byrne R.C.
Mrs Valentine Presb.Meenan
R.I.C. Jno.Hunter, (sergt)
Posting cars, J.Sands,J.Shields
Post Mistress, Miss S. OFlaherty
James Davis, Assistant
Spirit Retailer, A Mckain, Lisnagannon
Spirit Retailer, Jas.Sands, Ballinaskeigh


Farmers, Landowners, &c

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., Drunmavare Carswell R.H.,Drumsallagh
Carswell S., B'Carattymore Chambers James, Meenan
Copeland J.A.,Tullymore Copes Thomas, Brickland
Cowan J.,B'Carattymore Cranney P.,Lisnatierney
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.,DrummsalIagh
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'Carattybeg 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 Wilm..,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


Directory of the Gentry, Clergy, Linen Drapers and Farmers, of which Banbridge and Loughbrickland were the Post Towns (abstracted from Ireland Exhibited to England. By A. Atkinson. London: Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, 1823).

Name of Place. Post Town. Proprietor or Occupier.
Annaghoon Banbridge Richard Thomson
Aghaderig Loughbrickland The Vicar, Diocese of Dromore
Ballinaskea-hill " James Todd
Ballydown Banbridge Hugh Dunbar
Ballydown " William Hudson
Ballyevy " George Crawford
Ballyevy-house " Walter Crawford
Banview " Robert M'Bride
Banville " James Foot
Bovennet Loughbrickland James Mollan
Charleville Banbridge James C. Mulligan
Colenacran Loughbrickland W. E. Reilly
Cascum " David M'Connell
Clover-hill " George M'Clelland
Donaghcloney Banbridge Rector, Diocese of Dromore
Derrydrumock Loughbrickland Robert Henry
Eliza-hill Banbridge Robert Kelly
Eliza-valley " Rev. John Rutherford
Gospel Ville " John M'Clelland
Green-hill " Nicholas Magin
Greenan Loughbrickland Arch. Hawthorne
Hazel-bank Banbridge Henry Hamilton
Henry-hill " John Walker
Lamb's-island " Rev. John Sharrard
Laurence-town " H. L. Montgomery
Lenaderg-house Banbridge Raudon Hauterville
Linen-hill Loughbrickland Alexander Lowry
Loughadian " John Fivey
Magherally Banbridge Vicar, Diocese of Dromore
Mary-mount " John Hickey
Mill-mount Loughbrickland William Shegog
Mill-mount Banbridge William Hayes
Mill-town " Thomas Crawford
Mill-town Lodge  " John Blizard
Moygannon " John Wright
Rock-vale Loughbrickland Robert Boyd
Rough-fort Banbridge  Jacob Boake

Bovennett and Drumsallagh

Material by Philip Magennis

Having spent the past couple of weeks rambling over some of the more low-lying parts of the Parish of Drumgooland, we return a little closer to Banbridge this week for a look at a couple of Loughbrickland’s townlands.  Bovennett and Drumsallagh really have to be looked at together, as they are central to the ecclesiastical history of the Parish of Aghaderg and St Mellan’s Parish Church in the village.  No Celtic High Crosses this time, but there are a number of smaller items of antiquity that we shall mention in due course.

The origin of Bovennett, which lies to the west of the village, is rather unclear, the name deriving from Both Bheinéid meaning ‘Bennett’s Hut’, but where the name Bennett came from is not known, as there does not appear to be any other reference to the name in connection with the area.  However, today Bovennett House keeps the townland name alive in the village of Loughbrickland where it stands adjacent to St Mellan’s Church in Scarva Street at one of two points where the townland encroaches into the village.  I had not noticed this prior to studying the Ordnance Survey Maps of the village for this article, but Bovennett reaches into the village where the New-Bridge Integrated College stands, and the boundary between it and Coolnacran runs down the middle of Scarva Street to about the Presbyterian Manse.  At this point it swings to the west again behind the row of old houses that used to line the street from here down to the Poyntzpass Road at which point the boundary returns to the centre of the street before encircling the Church and graveyard and returning to the country.  Bovennett House is one of the oldest and most significant buildings in the village and appears to have been built as a Market House sometime in the 17th century most likely as part of the rebuilding process that followed the 1641 Rebellion in which most of the village created by Marmaduke Whitechurch in the late 16th century was destroyed.  Part of the estate of the Trevor family of Lisnagade, it eventually became a dwelling house, and there is a strong possibility that King William may have stayed at Bovennett House when he stopped over in Loughbrickland on his way to the Boyne in 1690. 

It has long been my opinion that Scarva Street was originally much wider than it is now as all the original buildings along the western side were set so much further back than the present buildings, and as such the Market House would have stood more or less in the middle of the street within the Market Square.  Something about the shape of the townland boundaries at this point also tell me there may be something in this hypothesis.  I may be completely wrong, but I feel it is worth much more study. 

Also worth more study is the site of the ancient Drumsallagh Monastery, which lies in the valley to the west of the village a little further downstream from St Mellan’s Church.  The name Drumsallagh, or Droim Saileach, meaning ‘willow ridge’ is a fitting description for the townland, as it occupies a valley with a stream running along its base that used to carry the old road sometimes known as the Slige Midluachra or High Kings Road that ran in ancient times from Tara to the north coast.  The site is associated with three 7th century saints, Mellan, Nasad and Beoan (could Bovennett be derived in some way from this saint’s name?), but whether they operated from this site, making it a genuine early monastic settlement like some we mentioned in recent weeks, is unclear, as many of the local townland names suggest locations of early church sites, but it does seem that their remains were re-interred here by later monks, and the 26th October was set aside each year to commemorate this fact.  The site was in use in the 11th century, however, and remained as a Franciscan Monastery until 1641 when it was destroyed with the rest of the nearby village.

  Correspondence within the papers of Bishop Percy of Dromore dating from the late 1700s would appear to suggest that the church built by Marmaduke Whitechurch after he arrived in the area in 1585 co-existed with the Monastery and that they were located only about 200 yards apart.  This information also includes details of how a local man of over ninety years of age recalled the site of the Monastery with the ruined walls still standing, the spring well still functioning in the courtyard and an avenue leading between the ruins of the old church and the monastery to the new St Mellan’s Church in the village, which utilised stone from the other two sites during its construction in 1688.  While the site of the Monastery is still known, the site of the old church, like the Whitechurch and Magennis castles in the vicinity of Loughbrickland Lake, has curiously disappeared without trace.  The Loughbrickland area contains so many secrets, with Bricrui’s Feast, The Dane’s Cast, disappearing castles and churches, ancient stone circles, monasteries, kings, knights, friars and so on, that it verges on being a land of myths and legends right out of the pages of Rowling or Tolkein, only in its case it is real.

While the new church was built around 1688, a tower and spire were added in 1821 before Dean Jeffry Lefroy supervised a complete refurbishment in 1876.  This prolific gentleman was a member of the Lefroy family of Carrigglas Manor in County Longford, and, as well as his work in restoring the church building, he also carried out major renovations and enlargements to the Glebe House in 1857.  One of his sons would go on to become Bishop of Calcutta and eventually Metropolitan of India, and his descendants still live in Carrigglas Manor today.  Dean Lefroy died in 1885 having served the parish for forty-nine years and was buried in the graveyard of his church in Loughbrickland. 

So what of the items of antiquity mentioned earlier.  Well more of the old Monastery’s stone was used in later years in the construction of various farm buildings nearby and some of these contained carved Maltese crosses, which still exist.  Also it seems that the Monastery had a large number of treasures, mostly in gold, that were found in the years after it was ruined and sold off to collections throughout the country.  The whereabouts of most of these is not known now, but for the best known example we must again return south of the border to another one of Ireland’s finest country houses, Birr Castle, home of the Earls of Rosse.  The family’s private collection of items of antiquity includes what is described as a torque or neck chain of twisted gold that came from Drumsallagh Monastery.  I wonder if this is the same item that Dr Sheil described to Bishop Percy as a part of the branch of a golden candlestick in his correspondence about the site where he implored the Bishop to purchase for posterity any items that should be found at the site. 

Anyway it is a great shame that none of these treasures remain in the Banbridge area or that there is not a facility here where items such as this could be displayed even under some form of loan arrangement.

Auglish Cottages

This row of old weavers cottages near Scarva is one of the last of a fast disappearing breed.  Like the gate lodges that we are so fond of on this page, weavers cottages are relic of a bygone age that have outlived their usefulness in their original form and really play no part in modern society.  What makes these cottages so special, therefore, is the fact that they remain as a complete row, and, while some have been altered, they have all retained their original exterior shape, style and uniformity.  In other places where similar rows existed they have either fallen into disrepair and been demolished or been removed to make way for new development, such as at Dollingstown, Lurgan.  Where some have survived, they generally tend to have been renovated or modernised beyond all recognition.  Those that do remain tend nowadays to have a better chance of survival, as people are now more appreciative of buildings with character than they were a few years ago.  Originality now carries a premium.

The weaver’s cottage played a very important part in the linen industry.  While bleaching was the first of the processes to move into the mechanised world of the industrial revolution, with its huge factories and mills, in the mid to late 1700s, followed by spinning in the early 1800s, weaving was slow to follow suit.  The only major change that took place prior to 1850 was the control exercised by the bleachers that saw the role of the weaver move away from being an independent manufacturer, who grew his flax, spun his thread, wove his cloth and then took it to the brown linen market, to one of being a sub-contractor to the bleachers who supplied the thread and paid the weaver a wage for weaving the cloth.  The industry was still a cottage one but was now much more controlled and centralised and interested more in quantity than allowing for the individual artistry or craftsmanship of the weavers.  After 1850, the power loom system made great technological strides and by the 1870s had virtually rendered handloom weaving obsolete.

The unique design of the Aughlish Cottages with their steeply pitched roofs would have been to accommodate the hand looms, which were very bulky and quite high, although there is a story that they were built to this design on the whim of the wife of one of the Dukes of Manchester who had liked similar cottages that she had seen in Switzerland.  The Irish Linen Centre in Lisburn has some fine examples of looms and still does demonstrations of the handloom system, which can then be contrasted with the very latest power looms used in Thomas Ferguson and Co. in Banbridge.

How Aughlish Cottages got their more commonly known name of ‘Potstick Row’ is unclear, but I remember the late Ronnie Patton explaining that it seemed to be derived from the name ‘pluck stick’, one of the tools of the weavers art.