Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Ireland

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Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary Ireland comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland.

  • Place
    Diocese of Down
  • County
    Down
  • Parish
  • Content
    The SEE of DOWN is supposed to have originated in the abbey founded here by St. Patrick, but St. Carlan is said to have been the first bishop. Its early prelates are called Bishops of Dundalethglass, but it is probable that this but See was generally included in the diocese of Connor,. prior to the episcopacy of Malachy O'Morgair, who became bishop in 1137, and separated it from Connor; his immediate successors are called bishops of Ulster by some historians.

    John Cely was the last bishop who, in modern times, held the bishoprics of Down separate from that of Connor : he was deprived of it for his crimes and excesses in 1441. Archbishop Prene recommended William Bassett, a Benedictine monk, to the Pope, as a successor to Cely, but the pope added this see to that of Connor, and they have remained united to the present time.

    John, the first bishop of Down and Connor, was not, however, allowed to enjoy his united bishopricks in peace ; for Thomas Pollard claimed to be Bishop of Down, and is supposed to have been supported by the archbishop, but lost his cause in 1449. John was fined shortly before his death for not appearing upon summons an Parliament. Bishop Tiberius, who is stated to have very much beautified the cathedral, was succeeded. about 1526, by Robert Blyth, abbot of Thorney, in Cambridgeshire (England), who held these bishoprics in commendam, and resided in England.

    The last bishop before the Reformation was Eugene Magenis, who was advanced to these sees by Pope Paul III. ; and although John Merriman, chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, was consecrated bishop in 1568, the pope appointed Miler Magragh to the united see : he, however, never had possession of the temporalties, add subsequently becoming a Protestant was made Archbishop of Cashel. John Tod, who had been educated at Rome, but had renounced popery, was nominated bishop by Jas. I., in 1604, and held the see of Dromore in commendam: he was tried before the High Commission Court, which deprived him of the bislzopricks, and afterwards poisoned himself in London.

    From 1660 to 1667 these sees were held by the celebrated Jeremy Taylor, who had also the administration of the see of Dromore, and was a privy counsellor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Dublin.

    Bishop Hutchinson, whose episcopacy commenced in 1720, had the church catechism translated into Irish, and printed in English and Irish, primarily for the use of the inhabitants of Rathlin, and hence it is called the Rathlin Catechism.

    Under the Church Temporalities Act, when either the bishoprick of Down and Connor, or of Dromore, becomes vacant, Dromore is to be added to Down and Connor, and the surviving bishop is to take the title of Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, and the temporalities of the see of Dromore are to be vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

    The diocese is one of the ten that constitute the ecclesiastical province of Armagh : it comprehends part of the county of Antrim, and the greater part of county Down, extending 52 British miles in length by about 28 in breadth, and comprises an estimated area of 201,950 acres, of which 800 are in Antrim and 201,150 in Down. The gross annual revenue of the see of Down, on an average of three years ending Dec. 31st, 1831, amounted to £2830. 16. 8.50d., and there are 6411 acres. of profitable land belonging to the diocese. The entire revenue of the united sees of Down and Connor averages £5896 per annum, and the see lands comprise 30,244 statute acres.

    The chapter consists of a dean, archdeacon, precentor, and treasurer, and the two prebendaries of St. Andrew's and Dunsford. The abbey founded by St. Patrick appears to have been the first cathedral of this see; it was several times plundered and burnt by the Danes. It was repaired by Malachy O'Morgair, in 1137, and by Malachy III., aided by John de Courcy, in 1176, and was burnt in 1315 by Lord Edward Bruce. Having been repaired or rebuild, it was again burnt, in 1538, by Lord Leonard de Grey. In 1609, Jas. I. changed the name of the cathedral from St. Patrick's to the Holy Trinity, which was its original designation ; and on account of its being in a ruinous condition, Char. II., in 1663, erected the church of Lisburn into a cathedral and bishop's see for the diocese of Down and Connor.

    It continued in ruins till the year 1790, when it was restored by a grant of £1000 from Government and liberal subscriptions from the nobility and gentry of the county ; and in the same year a rent-charge of £300 late currency on the tithes of the ancient union was appropriated by act of parliament for its repairs and for the support of an organist, three vicars choral, and six choristers.

    It is situated on an eminence to the west of the town, and is a stately embattled edifice chiefly of un-hewn stone, supported externally by buttresses, and comprising a nave, choir, and aisles, with a lofty square tower at the west end, embattled and pinnacled, and smaller square towers at each corner of the east gabled in one of which is a spiral stone staircase leading to the roof. The aisles are separated from the nave by lofty elegant arches resting on massive piers, from the corbels of which spring ribs supporting the roof, which is richly groined and ornamented at the intersections with clusters of foliage. The lofty windows of the aisles are divided by a single mullion ; the nave is lighted by a long range of clerestory windows, and the choir by a handsome east window divided by mullions into twelve compartments, which appears to be the only window remaining of the splendid edifice erected in 1412, and destroyed by Lord de Grey. Over the east window are three elegant niches with ogee pointed arches, containing on pedestals the remains of the mutilated effigies of St. Patrick, St. Bridget, and St. Columbkill. The choir is handsomely fitted up with stalls for the dignitaries.

    The cathedral was opened for the performance of divine service, after its restoration in 1817 : the tower was completed in 1829, at an expense of £1900. It contains a monument to the memory of Edward Cromwell, Baron Okeham, who was proprietor of nearly all Lecale, and who died and was buried here in 1607 ; and another to his grandson Oliver, Earl of Ardglass, who was interred in 1668. The cathedral service is not performed, the building being used rather as a second parish church.

    The consistorial court of the united diocese is at Lisburn : it consists of a vicar-general, two surrogates, a registrar, deputy-registrar, and several proctors. The registrars are keepers of the records of the united diocese, which consist of the documents relating to the see lands, benefices, inductions, and wills, the earliest of which is dated 1650. The number of parishes in the diocese is 43, which are comprehended in 37 benefices, of which 6 are in the patronage of the Crown, 2 in that of the Lord-primate, 12 in that of the Bishop, 1 in the gift of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin, 13 in lay patronage, and the remainder are perpetual curacies, in the gift of the incumbents of the parishes out of which they have been formed. The number of churches is 40, and there are 2 other episcopal places of worships and 95 glebe-houses.

    In the Roman Catholic divisions this diocese is united as in the Established Church, forming the bishoprics of Down and Connor : in the Bishoprick of Down are 18 parochial districts, containing 37 chapels served by 28 clergymen, 18 of whom are parish priests and 10 co-adjutors or curates. The cathedral of the united diocese is at Belfast, where the R. C. bishop resides.
  • Place
    Diocese Of Down
  • County
    Down
  • Parish
  • Content
    The SEE of DOWN is supposed to have originated in the abbey founded here by St. Patrick, but St. Carlan is said to have been the first bishop. Its early prelates are called Bishops of Dundalethglass, but it is probable that this but See was generally included in the diocese of Connor,. prior to the episcopacy of Malachy O'Morgair, who became bishop in 1137, and separated it from Connor; his immediate successors are called bishops of Ulster by some historians.

    John Cely was the last bishop who, in modern times, held the bishoprics of Down separate from that of Connor : he was deprived of it for his crimes and excesses in 1441. Archbishop Prene recommended William Bassett, a Benedictine monk, to the Pope, as a successor to Cely, but the pope added this see to that of Connor, and they have remained united to the present time.

    John, the first bishop of Down and Connor, was not, however, allowed to enjoy his united bishopricks in peace ; for Thomas Pollard claimed to be Bishop of Down, and is supposed to have been supported by the archbishop, but lost his cause in 1449. John was fined shortly before his death for not appearing upon summons an Parliament. Bishop Tiberius, who is stated to have very much beautified the cathedral, was succeeded. about 1526, by Robert Blyth, abbot of Thorney, in Cambridgeshire (England), who held these bishoprics in commendam, and resided in England.

    The last bishop before the Reformation was Eugene Magenis, who was advanced to these sees by Pope Paul III. ; and although John Merriman, chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, was consecrated bishop in 1568, the pope appointed Miler Magragh to the united see : he, however, never had possession of the temporalties, add subsequently becoming a Protestant was made Archbishop of Cashel. John Tod, who had been educated at Rome, but had renounced popery, was nominated bishop by Jas. I., in 1604, and held the see of Dromore in commendam: he was tried before the High Commission Court, which deprived him of the bislzopricks, and afterwards poisoned himself in London.

    From 1660 to 1667 these sees were held by the celebrated Jeremy Taylor, who had also the administration of the see of Dromore, and was a privy counsellor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Dublin.

    Bishop Hutchinson, whose episcopacy commenced in 1720, had the church catechism translated into Irish, and printed in English and Irish, primarily for the use of the inhabitants of Rathlin, and hence it is called the Rathlin Catechism.

    Under the Church Temporalities Act, when either the bishoprick of Down and Connor, or of Dromore, becomes vacant, Dromore is to be added to Down and Connor, and the surviving bishop is to take the title of Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, and the temporalities of the see of Dromore are to be vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

    The diocese is one of the ten that constitute the ecclesiastical province of Armagh : it comprehends part of the county of Antrim, and the greater part of county Down, extending 52 British miles in length by about 28 in breadth, and comprises an estimated area of 201,950 acres, of which 800 are in Antrim and 201,150 in Down. The gross annual revenue of the see of Down, on an average of three years ending Dec. 31st, 1831, amounted to £2830. 16. 8.50d., and there are 6411 acres. of profitable land belonging to the diocese. The entire revenue of the united sees of Down and Connor averages £5896 per annum, and the see lands comprise 30,244 statute acres.

    The chapter consists of a dean, archdeacon, precentor, and treasurer, and the two prebendaries of St. Andrew's and Dunsford. The abbey founded by St. Patrick appears to have been the first cathedral of this see; it was several times plundered and burnt by the Danes. It was repaired by Malachy O'Morgair, in 1137, and by Malachy III., aided by John de Courcy, in 1176, and was burnt in 1315 by Lord Edward Bruce. Having been repaired or rebuild, it was again burnt, in 1538, by Lord Leonard de Grey. In 1609, Jas. I. changed the name of the cathedral from St. Patrick's to the Holy Trinity, which was its original designation ; and on account of its being in a ruinous condition, Char. II., in 1663, erected the church of Lisburn into a cathedral and bishop's see for the diocese of Down and Connor.

    It continued in ruins till the year 1790, when it was restored by a grant of £1000 from Government and liberal subscriptions from the nobility and gentry of the county ; and in the same year a rent-charge of £300 late currency on the tithes of the ancient union was appropriated by act of parliament for its repairs and for the support of an organist, three vicars choral, and six choristers.

    It is situated on an eminence to the west of the town, and is a stately embattled edifice chiefly of un-hewn stone, supported externally by buttresses, and comprising a nave, choir, and aisles, with a lofty square tower at the west end, embattled and pinnacled, and smaller square towers at each corner of the east gabled in one of which is a spiral stone staircase leading to the roof. The aisles are separated from the nave by lofty elegant arches resting on massive piers, from the corbels of which spring ribs supporting the roof, which is richly groined and ornamented at the intersections with clusters of foliage. The lofty windows of the aisles are divided by a single mullion ; the nave is lighted by a long range of clerestory windows, and the choir by a handsome east window divided by mullions into twelve compartments, which appears to be the only window remaining of the splendid edifice erected in 1412, and destroyed by Lord de Grey. Over the east window are three elegant niches with ogee pointed arches, containing on pedestals the remains of the mutilated effigies of St. Patrick, St. Bridget, and St. Columbkill. The choir is handsomely fitted up with stalls for the dignitaries.

    The cathedral was opened for the performance of divine service, after its restoration in 1817 : the tower was completed in 1829, at an expense of £1900. It contains a monument to the memory of Edward Cromwell, Baron Okeham, who was proprietor of nearly all Lecale, and who died and was buried here in 1607 ; and another to his grandson Oliver, Earl of Ardglass, who was interred in 1668. The cathedral service is not performed, the building being used rather as a second parish church.

    The consistorial court of the united diocese is at Lisburn : it consists of a vicar-general, two surrogates, a registrar, deputy-registrar, and several proctors. The registrars are keepers of the records of the united diocese, which consist of the documents relating to the see lands, benefices, inductions, and wills, the earliest of which is dated 1650. The number of parishes in the diocese is 43, which are comprehended in 37 benefices, of which 6 are in the patronage of the Crown, 2 in that of the Lord-primate, 12 in that of the Bishop, 1 in the gift of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin, 13 in lay patronage, and the remainder are perpetual curacies, in the gift of the incumbents of the parishes out of which they have been formed. The number of churches is 40, and there are 2 other episcopal places of worships and 95 glebe-houses.

    In the Roman Catholic divisions this diocese is united as in the Established Church, forming the bishoprics of Down and Connor : in the Bishoprick of Down are 18 parochial districts, containing 37 chapels served by 28 clergymen, 18 of whom are parish priests and 10 co-adjutors or curates. The cathedral of the united diocese is at Belfast, where the R. C. bishop resides.
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