Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary Ireland comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland.
PlaceLondonderry/Derry City Town
ContentLONDONDERRY, a city and port in the parish of TEMPLEMORE, and county of LONDONDERRY (of which it is the chief town) and province of ULSTER, 69.75 miles (N. W. by W.) from Belfast and 118.50 (N. N. W.) from Dublin; containing 10,130 inhabitants.
It was originally and is still popularly called Derry, from the Irish Doire which signifies literally "a place of oaks," but is likewise used to express "a thick wood." By the ancient Irish it was also designated Doire Calgaich or Derry Calgach, "to oak wood of Calgach;" and Adamnan, abott of Iona in the 7th centry, in the life of his predecessor, St. Columkill, invariably calls it Roboretum Calgagi. About the end of the 10th centry the name Derry Calgach gave place to Derry Columkill, from an abbey for canons regular of the order of St. Augustine founded here by that saint; but when the place grew into importatnce above every other Derry, the distinguishing epithet was rejected; the English prefix London was imposed in 1613, on the incorporation of the Irish Society by charter of Jas. I., and was for a long time retained by the colonists, but has likewise fallen into popular disuse. The city appears to be indebted for its origin to the abbey founded by St. Columbkill, according to the best authorities in 546, and said to have been the first of the religious houses instituted by that saint; but the exact period of its foundation and its early history are involved in much obscurity. In 783 and 812 the abbey and the town were destroyed by fire, at the latter period, according to the Annals of Munster, the Danes heightened the horrors of the conflagration by a massacre of the clergy and students. The place must have been speedily restored, as in 832 the Danes were driven with great slaughter from the siege of Derry by Niall Caille, King of Ireland, and Murchadh, Prince of Aileach. In 983, the shrine of St. Columbkill was carried away by the Danes by whom the place was also thrice devastated about the close of the 10th centry; in 1095 the abbey was consumed by fire. In 1100, Murtagh O'Brien arrived with a large fleet of foreign vessels and attacked Derry, but was defeated with great slaughter by the son of Mac Loughlin, prince of Aileach. Ardgar, prince of Aileach, was slain in an assault upon Derry in 1124, but on the 30th of March, 1135, the town with its churches was destroyed by fire, in revenge, as some state, of his death; it also sustained a similar calamity in 1149. In 1158, Flahertagh O'Brolchain, abbot of the Augustine monastery, was raised to the episcopacy, and appointed supreme superintendent of all the abbeys under the rule of St. Columb, by a synodical decree of the Irish clergy assembled at Brigh-mac-Taidhg, in the north of Meath. O'Brolchain immediately commenced preparations for the erection of a new church on a larger scale; and in 1162 he removed more than 80 houses adjacent to the abbey church, and enclosed the abbey with a circular wall. In 1164, Temple More, or "the great church," was built and the original abbey church was thenceforward distinguished as Duv Degles, or "the Black Church;" the new edifice was 240 feet long and was one of the most splendid ecclesiastical structures erected in Ireland prior to the settlement of the Anglo-Normans; its site was near the Black Church, outside the present city wall, and is now chiefly occupied by the Roman Catholic chapel and cemetery; both edifices were entirely demolished by Sir Henry Docwra, governor of Derry in 1600, and the materials used in the erection of the extensive works contructed at that period; but the belfry or round tower of the cathedral served till after the celebrated siege, and has given name to a lane called the Long Tower. In 1166 a considerable part of the town was burned by Rory O'Morna; and in 1195 the abbey was plundered by an English force, which was afterwards intercepted and destroyed at Armagh. In 1197 a large body of English forces having set out from the castle of Kill Sanctain on a predatory excursion came to Derry and plundered several churches, but were overtaken by Flahertach O'Maoldoraidh, lord of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, and some of the northern Hy Niall, and a battle ensued on the shore of the adjoining parish of Faughanvale in which the English were defeated with great slaughter. In this year Sir John De Courcy came with a large army and remained five nights; and in the following year also, having made an incursion into Tyrone to plunder the churches, he arrived at this place, and during his stay plundered Ennishowen and all the adjacent country; while thus engaged he received intelligence of the defeat of the English at Larne by Hugh Boy O'Nial, which caused him to quit Derry. In 1203 the town was much damaged by fire; and in 1211 it was plundered by Thomas Mac Uchtry and the sons of Randal Mac Donnell, who came hither with a fleet of 76 ships, and afterwards passed into Ennishowen and laid waste the whole peninsula. This Thomas and Rory Mac Randal again plundered the town in 1213, carrying away from the cathedral to Coleraine all the jewellery of the people of Derry and of the north of Ireland. A Cistercian nunnery was founded on the south side of the city in 1218, as recorded in the registry of the Honour of Richmond, but from the Annals of the Four Masters it appears that a religious establishment of this kind existed here prior to that period. Nial O'Nial plundered the town in 1222; and, in 12612, sixteen of the most distinguished of the clergy of Tyrone were slain here by Conor O'Nial and the Kinel Owen, or men of Tyrone. In 1274 a Dominican abbey was founded on the north side of the city, of which even the site cannot now be accurately traced. Edw. II. granted the town to Richard de Burgo, Earl of Ulster, in 1311, but from this period till the reign of Elizabeth, prior to which the English exercised no settled dominion in Derry, no event of importance connected with the place is recorded. In 1565 Edward Randolph arrived in the Foyle with seven companies of foot and one troop of horse, to repress Shane O'Nial, Earl of Tyrone, who had renounced his allegiance to the English crown; and a sanguinary engagement taking place on the plains of the Muff, the Irish chieftain was signally defeated. An encampment was then formed by the English near the city; but in a sally against some of O'Nial's forces, who had ostentatiously paraded before it, the English general was slain by a party who had concealed themselves in an adjoining wood, and the command of the garrison was given to Col. St. L. The English converted the cathedral into an arsenal, and on the 24th of April, 1566, the gunpowder blew up by accident with so much damage as to render the place untenable; the foot embarked for Dublin, to which city also the horse returned, passing through Tyrconnell and Connaught to avoid O'Nial. In 1599 it was again determined to fortify Derry, a measure long deemed essential in order to divide and check the power of O'Nial and O'Donell, the accomplishment of which object was favoured by its situation and the friendship of O'Dogherty of Ennishowen. With that view, Sir Henry Docwra, in 1600, entered the Foyle with a British force of 4000 foot and 200 horse, and landed at Culmore, at the mouth of the river, where he erected a fort. He soon obtained possession of the city and constructed fortifications and other works for its defence and improvement, pulling down the abbey, cathedral, and other ecclesiastical buildings for the sake of the materials. On The termination of the war at the commencement of 1603, the garrison was reduced to 100 horse and 150 foot under the governor, and 200 foot under Capt. Hansard; and at Culmore were left 20 men. Sir Henry now directed his attention to the improvement of the place with so much zeal as to entitle him to be regarded as the founder of the modern city. A number of English colonists settled here on his invitation; he obtained grants of markets and fairs, and, in 1604, a charter of incorporation with ample privileges. But in 1606, after the flight and forfeiture of O'Nial and O'Donell, the growing prosperity of the new city was checked by the insurrection of Sir Cahir O'Dogherty, the young chief of Ennishowen, who took both Culmore fort and Derry, at the latter of which Sir George Paulet (to whom Sir Henry Docwra had alienated all his interests) and his men were slain; as many of the inhabitants as could escape fled, and the town was plundered and burned. A large part of Ulster having escheated to the Crown on the attainder of the above named earls, proposals of colonization were made to the city of London, in which this place is described as "the late ruinated city of Derry, which may be made by land almost impregnable." In accepting the offers of the Crown the city agreed to erect 200 houses here, and leave room for 300 more; 4000 acres contiguous to the city were to be annexed to it in perpetuity exclusively of bog and barren moutain, which were to be added as waste; convenient sites were allowed for the houses of the bishop and dean; the liberties were to extend three miles or 3000 Irish paces in every direction from the centre of the city; and the London undertakers were to have the neighbouring fort of Culmore with the lands attached, on condition of maintaining in it a competent ward of officers and men.
In 1613 the inhabitants, having surrendered their former charter, were re-incorporated, and the name of the city was altered to Londonderry. The natives having conspired to take the town by surprise, a supply of arms was sent from London in 1615; an additional sum of £5000 was ordered for completing the walls, and, that it might not in future be peopled with Irish, the Society issued directions that a certain number of children from Christ's Hospital and others should be sent hither as apprentices and servants and prohibited the inhabitants from taking Irish apprentices. Leases of most of the houses were granted for thirty one years, and to each was allotted a potion of land according to the rent, with ground for gardens and orchards; 300 acres were assigned for the support of a gree school; and of the 4000 acres the Society allotted to the houses or granted to the mayor 3217, including a parcel of 1500 acres which were set apart to support the magistracy of the city and which subsequently became a source of contention between the Society and the corporation, and the bishop. In 1615 we find the fortifications completed, at an expense of £83?7, but notwithstanding the adoption of these and other measures of improvement, the increase of houses and inhabitants was very slow and the operations of the Society were made the ground of various representations to the Crown respecting the non-fulfilment of the conditions of planting. In 1622, commissioners were appointed to enquire into the affairs of the plantation, to whom the mayor and corporation presented a petition compalining of many grievances resulting from the conduct of the Society, one of the chief of which was the non-erection of the specified number of houses; this enquiry led to several sequestrations of the city and liberties until 1628, and for some time the rents were paid to the Crown.
In the rebellion of 1641 the English and Scottish settlers received a considerable supply of arms and ammunition from London, and having secured themselves within the walls, successfully defended the city from the attacks of the rebels under Sir Phelim O'Nial. In 1643 the inhabitants of Londonderry and Coleraine sent letters to the lords justices urging their impoverished condition and praying for relief. Sir John Vaughan, the governor, having died this year, Sir Robert Stewart was appointed to the command of the garrison, of which five companies aided in his defeat of Owen O'Nial at Clones(Co. Monaghan) on the 13th of June. Towards the close of the year the parliament having taken the covenant, the London adventurers sent over an agent with letters desiring that it should be taken within their plantation; but in the year following the mayor was ordered by the lord-lieutenant and council to publish a proclamation against it. Col. Augley Mervin, who had been appointed governor by the Marquess of Ormonde, was nevertheless obliged from expediency to take the covenant; in 1645 he was displaced by the parliament, and was succeeded by Lord Folliott. Sir C. Coote, the parliamentary general, having, in 1648, treacherously seized upon the person of Sir Robert Hamilton, forced him to surrender Culmore fort by which the parliamentarians became masters of all the forts in Ulster, except Charlemont. The Marquess of Ormonde having failed in his attempts to induce Sir C. Coote to join the king's cause, the latter was blocked up in Derry by the royalists; and soon after the city and Culmore fort were regularly besieged by Sir Robert Stewart, who was subsequently joined by Sir G. Monroe and Lord Montgomery with their respective forces, and Chas. II. was proclaimed with great solemnity before the camp of Derry. The decapitation of the late king having excited general horror among the majority of the people of the north, they rose in arms and soon obtained possession of all the towns and places of strength in that quarter, except Derry and Culmore, which after a siege of four months, and when the garrison, consisting of 800 foot and 180 horse, was reduced to the greatest extremities, were relieved by Owen Roe O'Nial, to whom Sir C. Coote had promised a reward of £5000 for this service; and by the defeat of Ever Mac Mahon, the Roman Catholic general, the following year, at Skirfolas in Donegal, Coote finally reduced all Ulster under the power of the parliament. After the Restoration, Chas. II., in 1662, granted letters patent to the Irish Society, containing, with very little alteration, all the clauses of the first charter of Jas. I., this is the charter under which the Society and the corporation of Derry now act. In 1684 the same monarch constituted a guild of the staple with powers as ample as those enjoyed by any other city or town; in the following year, owing to the decay of trade, the corporation complained to the Society that the government of the town was too expensive for the magistrates to sustain, and solicited an abatement of the rent.
In 1689 this city became the asylum of the Protestants of the north, who, in number about 30,000, fled to it for refuge before the marauding forces of James; and is distinguished in the annals of modern history for the heroic bravery of its inhabitants amidst the extreme privations of a protracted siege. The chief governor having withdrawn the Protestant garrison, and steps being taken to introduce an undisciplined native force influenced by hostile prejudices the young men of the city closed the gates against its admission, and the bulk of the inhabitants took up arms in their own defence. The magistrates and graver citizens endeavoured to palliate this ebullition of military ardour in their representations to the lord lieutenant, but in the meantime the armed inhabitants applied to the Irish Society for assistance. Lord Mountjoy, a Protestant commander in the army of James, was, however admitted in a great measure from personal regard, but on condition that a free pardon should be granted within 15 days, and that in the interval only two companies should be quartered within the walls; that of the forces afterwards admitted one-half at least should be Protestants; and until pardon was received the citizens should guard the fortifications; and that all who desired it might be permitted to quit the city. By the advice of Mountjoy, who was obeyed as a friend and associate, the arms were repaired, money cheerfully subscribed, ammunition purchased in Scotland, and the agent despatched to England urged to procure supplies. He was succeeded in the command by his first lieutenant, Lundy, whom King William, on sending an officer with some military supplies, commissioned to act in his name; but the dissatisfaction of the citizens was excited by the vacillating character of this commander, who, on the approach of James to besiege the city in person, preapred to surrender it, notwithstanding the arrival of two English colonels in the river with reinforcements, which he remanded. The principal officers being about to withdraw, and the town council preparing to offer terms of capitulation, the inhabitants rose tumultuously against the constituted authorities, received with enthusiasm a brave and popular captain who presented himself at the city gates with a reinforcement, and, rushing to the wals, fired upon James and his party advancing to take possession of the place. On deliberation they suffered the timid to depart unmolested; Lundy first concealed himself and afterwards escaped; and two new governors were chosen, one of whom was the celebrated George Walker, rector of Donoughmore. Under their directions the soldiers and able inhabitants were formed into eight regiments, numbering 7020 men, with 341 officers; order and discipline were in some degree established, and, notwithstanding partial jealousies, 18 Protestant clergymen and seven non-conformists shared in the labour and danger of the siege, and by their exhortations stimulated the enthusiastic courage of the defenders with the fervour of devotion. The operations of an army of 10,000 men were thus successfully opposed in a place abandoned as untenable by the regular forces, unaided by engineers or well mounted buns, and with only a ten days supply of provisions. An irregular war of sallies was adopted with such effect that James, who had hitherto remained at St. Johnstown six miles distant, returned to Dublin, leaving his army to continue the siege. The defenders had now to contend against the inroads of disease and famine; and the arrival of Kirke with a fleet in the lough afforded but little prospect of relief, as he deemed it too hazardous an enterprise to sail up to the town in front of the enemies lines. Although thus apparently left to their own scanty resources, the brave garrison continued the defence with unabated heroism, still making desperate and effective sallies even when too much enfeebled by hunger to pursue their success. To induce a surrender, Marshal Rosen, the besieging general, ordered his soldiers to drive round the walls of the town the helpless Protestant population of the surrounding district of all ages who were thus exposed to the horrors of famine for nearly three days before they were suffered to disperse; some of the ablest of the men secretly joined their comrades in the town and an ineffective body of 500 people were passed from it unperceived by the enemy. When even such miserable resources as the flesh of horses and dogs, hides, tallow, and similar nauseous substances had failed for two days, two of Kirke's ships, laden with provisions and convoyed by the Dartmouth frigate, advanced up the lough in view both of the garrison and the besiegers in a dangerous attempt to relieve the place, returning with spirit the fire of the enemy. The foremost of the provision ships came in contact with the boom that had been thrown across the channel and broke it, but rebounding with violence ran aground and for the moment appeared to be at the mercy of the besiegers, who with acclamations of joy instantly prepared to board her; but the vessel, firing her guns, was extricated by the shock, floated, and trumphantly passed the boom followed by her companions. The town was thus relieved and the enemy retired; but of the brave defenders only 4300 survived to witness their deliverance, and of this number more than 1000 were incapable of service: those who were able immediately sallied out in pursuit of the enemy, who had lost 5000 men by the sword and by various disorders during the siege, which had continued 105 days. Culmore fort was reduced to ruin and was never afterwards rebuilt; and the city sustained so much damage that the Irish Society deemed it necessary to appoint commissioners for its restoration; the twelve chief companies of London advanced £100 each; the Society supplied timber for the public buildings, abatements were made in the rents, the terms of leases were augmented, and other measures necessary for the accomplishment of this object were adopted. In 1692, the corporation failing to negociate with Bishop King for a renewal of the lease of the quarter lands, reminded the Society that the bishop's claims to this property were unsubstantial and agreed to establish their right in consideration of £90. 10. per annum, which is still paid. In 1695, the Society procured a resumption of the remainder of the 1500 acres comprised in their letters patent, by an ejectment against the bishop who in 1697 appealed to the Irish House of Lords, and in 1703 an act was passed establishing their right not only to the 1500 acres but also to the fisheries, which had previously been an object of dispute, subject to the payment of £250 per annum to the bishop and his successors, which is still continued with a condition of exonerating him from rent or other demands for his palace and gardens. In 1721 a dispute took place between the corporation and the military governor, who refused to deliver the keys of the city gates to the new mayor, which by the charter he was bound to do; he surrounded the town hall with troops, and prevented the members of the corporation entering it, but was removed immediately after. A grand centenary commemoration of the shutting of the gates took place in 1788 and was continued with utmost harmony for three days; and in the month of August following the relief of the city was commemorated.
The city is advantageously situated on the western or Donegal side of the river Foyle, about five statute miles above the point where it spreads into Lough Foyle, chiefly on the summit and sides of a hill projecting into the river and commanding on all sides richly diversified and picturesque views of a well cultivated tract; this hill, or "Island of Derry," is of an oval form, 119 feet high, and contains about 200 acres. The ancient portion of the city occupies the higher grounds, and is surrounded by massive walls completed in 1617 at the expense of the Society; the form a parallelogram nearly a mile in circumference, and in the centre is a square called the Diamond, from which four principal streets radiate at right angles, towards the principal gates.
Since the Union the city has considerably increased, paricularly on the north along the shore of the river, where several warehouses, stores, and merchants residences have been erected; on the west is also a considerable suburb in which, within the last fifteen years, some new streets have been formed; and on the eastern bank of the river is another called Waterside. The walls, which are well built and in a complete state of repair, are nearly 1800 yards in circuit, 24 feet high, and of sufficient thickness to form an agreeable promenade on the top. The four original gates have been rebuilt on an enlarged and more elegant plan, and two more added; but the only two that are embellished are Bishop's gate and Ship quay gate, the former built by subscription in 1788, being the centenary in commemoration of the siege. In 1628 the Irish Society was ordered to erect guard and sentinel houses, of which two are yet remaining; and of the several bastions the north western was demolished in 1824, to make room for the erection of a butter market, and in 1825 the central western bastion was appropriated to the reception of a public testimonial in honour of the celebrated George Walker. A few guns are preserved in their proper positions, but the greater number are used as posts for fastening cables and protecting the corners of streets. The houses are chiefly built of brick: the entire number in the city and suburbs in 2947. The city is watched, paved, cleansed, and lighted with gas, under the superintendence of commissioners of general police, consisting of the mayor and 12 inhabitants chosen by ballot; the gas works was erected in 1829, at an expense of £7000, raised in shares of £11. Water is conveyed to the town across the bridge by pipes, from a reservoir on Brae Head, beyond the Waterside in the parish of Clondermot; the works were constructed by the corporation under an act of the 40th of Geo. III., at a total expense of £15,500 and iron pipes have been laid down, within the last few years. The bridge, a celebrated wooden structure erected by Lemuel Cox, an American, in lieu of a ferry which the corporation held under the Irish Society, was begun in 1759 and completed in the spring of 1791. It is 1069 feet in length, and 40 in breadth: the piles are of oak, and the head of each is tenoned into a cap piece 40 feet long and 17 inches square supported by three sets of girths and braces; the piers, which are 16.50 feet apart, are bound together by thirteen string pieces, equally divided and transversely bolted, on which is laid the flooring; on each side of the platform is a railing 4.50 feet high, also a broad pathway provided with gas lamps. Near the end next to the city a turning bridge has been constructed in place of the original drawbridge, to allow of the free navigation of the river. On the 6th of Feb., 1814, a portion of the bridge extending to 350 feet was carried away by large masses of ice floated down the river by the ebb tide and a very high wind. The original expense of its erection was £16,594, and of the repairs after the damage in 1814 £18,208 of which latter sum, £15,000 was advanced as a loan by Government; the average annual amount of tolls from 1831 to 1834 inclusive, was £3693. Plans and estimates for the erection of a new bridge nearly 200 yards above the present, have been procured; but there is no prospect of the immediate execution of the design. A public library and news room commenced in 1819 by subscription and established on its present plan in 1824 by a body of proprietors of transferable shares of 20 guineas each, is provided with about 2660 volumes of modern works and with periodical publications and daily and weekly newspapers; it is a plain builting faced with hewn Dungiven sandstone, erected by subscription in 1824, at an expense of nearly £2000 and, besides the usual apartments, contains also the committee room of the Chamber of Commerce. The lower part of the building is used as the news room to which all the inhabitants are admitted on payment of five guineas annually. A literary society for debates and lectures was instituted in 1834 and the number of its members is rapidly increasing. Concerts were formerly held at the King's Arms hotel, but have been discontinued. Races are held on a course to the north of the town. Walker's Testimonial, on the central western bastion, was comleted in 1828 by subscription, at an expense of £1200: it consists of a column of Portland stone of good proportions, in the Roman Doric style, surmounted by a statue of that distinguished governor by John Smith, Esq., of Dublin; the column is ascended by a spiral staircase within, and, including the pedestal, is 81 feet in height in addtion to which the statue measures nine feet.
The city is in the northern military district and is the head quarters of a regiment of infantry which supplies detachments to various places: the barracks are intended for the accommodation of four officers and 320 men, with an hospital for 32 patients, but from their insufficiency a more commodious edifice is about to be erected, for which ground has been provided in the parish of Clondermot.
The manufactures are not very considerable, the principal is that of meal, for which there are several corn mills, of which one erected by Mr. Schoales in 1831, and worked by a steam engine of 18 horse power, and another subsequently by Mr. Leatham, worked by an engine of 20 horse power, are the chief; the recent extension of this branch of trade has made meal an article of export instead of import, as formerly; in 1831, 553 tons were in imported, and in 1834, 6950 tons were exported. In William street, are a brewery and distillery; there are copper works which supply the whole of the north west of Ulster, and afford regular employment to 27 men; two coach factories; and a corn mill and distillery at Pennyburn, and another at Waterside. A sugar house was built in 1762 in what is still called Sugar house lane, but was abandoned in 1809; the buildings were converted into a glass manufactory in 1820, but this branch of business was carried on for a few years only. This is the place of export for the agricultural produce of a large tract of fertile country, which renders the coasting trade very extensive, especially with Great Britain: the quantity of grain exported to England and Scotland alone, in the year ending Jan. 5th, 1845, was 3680 tons of wheat, 1490 tons of barley, 10,429 tons of oats, 6950 tons of oatmeal, 3050 tons of eggs, 3654 tons of flax, 52,842 firkins of butter, 11,580 barrels of pork, 1900 bales of bacon, 590 hogsheads of hams, 1628 kegs of tongues, and 147 hogsheads of lard. It is still the market for a considerable quantity of linen, of which 9642 boxes and bales were exported in the same year. The number of vessels employed in the coasting trade which entered inwards in 1834 was 619, of an aggregate tonnage of 63,726; and which cleared outwards, 646, of an aggregate tonnage of 62,502; including steam vessels which ply regularly between this port and Liverpool and Glasgow. The principal articles of foreign produce imported direct are staves and timber from the Baltic, barilla from Spain, sugar and rum from the West Indies, wine from Spain and Portugal, tobacco from the United States from which the ships come chiefly to take out emigrants, who resort to this port from the inland districts in great numbers; flax seed, the imporation of which has much increased within the last few years, from Riga, America, and Holland; the quantity imported in 1835 was 12,400 hogsheads; but the greater proportion of foreign commodities comes indirectly, or coastwise. The number of vessels employed in the foreign trade which entered inwards in 1834 was 57, of an aggregate burden of 10,406 tons, and that cleared outwards, 16, of an aggregate tonnage of 4869.
The salmon fishery of the Foyle affords employment to 120 men, exclusively of the same number of water keepers; the fish is shipped principally for Liverpool; some is also sent to Glasgow, and some pickled for the London market; the quantity taken annually on an average of three years from 1832 to 1834 inclusive was about 149 tons. The right of fishing in this river up to Lifford is vested by charter of Jas. I. in the Irish Society, who by an act in the reign of Anne, are bound to pay the bishop £250 per annum, as compensation for his claim to some small fishings, and also to a tithe of the whole; but at present the Marquess of Abercorn and the Earl of Erne hold fisheries below the town of Lifford. The fishery off the coast is precarious, and frequently yields only a scanty supply, from the danger in encountering a rough sea experienced by the boats employed in it, which are only indifferently built; yet at other times the market abounds with turbot taken near Innistrahull and on Hempton's Bank, about 18 Irish miles north of Ennishowen Head; soles and haddock, taken in Lough Swilly and elsewhere; cod, mostly off the entrance to Lough Foyle; and oysters, taken in Lough Swilly from the island of Inch up to Port Stewart, and in Lough Foyle, from Quigley's Point down to Greencastle. Derry is situated about 19 statute miles above the entrance to Lough Foyle, the approach to which is facilitated by a lighthouse on the island of Innistrahull, and will be rendered still more safe by two others now in course of erection on Shrove Head, and Ennishowen, intended to serve as guiding lights past the great Tun Bank, lying to the east. A new and very important trade as connected with the port, is the herring fishery; in 1835, upwards of 5800 barrels were cured at the Orkneys, by Derry merchants, and the total quantity imported exceeds 12,000 barrels: one half of which are cured by vessels fitted out from this port; large quantities of oysters have been taken in the river Foyle since 1829. The limits of the port extend to Culmore, a distance of three miles; the lough has been deepened under the directors of the Ballast Committee, in consequence of which, vessels drawing 14 feet of water, can come close to the quays. At the entrance to the lough is a well regulated establishment of pilots, under the superintendence of the Ballast Board. The Ballast Office was established by act of parliament in 1790, and remodelled by another act in 1833; the port regulations are under the control of a committee of this establishment, consisting of the mayor and seven other members of whom the two senior members go out annually by rotation, and who have the power of making by-laws. The corporation alone possessed the right of having quays prior to 1832, when they lost their monopoly, and private quays were constructed; they disposed of their interest in the merchants' or custom house quays, in Nov. 1831; there are now 21 sufferance or private wharfs or quays including two at Waterside, in the parish of Clondermot. A patent slip dock was constructed in 1830, at an expense of £4000, in which vessels of 300 tons registered burden can be repaired: prior to that period most vessels were sent for repair to Liverpool or the Clyde, and two large brigs have been built here since that date; naval stores are brought chiefly from Belfast (Co. Antrim), but sails are manufactured here.
The custom house, a small and inconvenient building, was built as a store in 1805, and since 1809 has been held by Government on a permanent tenure, at an annual rental of £1419. 4s. 6d., at first as a king's store, and since 1824 as a custom house; the premises comprise some extensive tobacco and timber yards, laid out at different periods, and extend in front 450 feet, varying in depth; the duties received here in 1837 amounted to £99,632. The markets are generally well supplied. The shambles for meat daily, and to which there is a weigh house attached, are situated off Linen hall street, and were built in 1760, by Alderman Alexander and other members of the corporation; the tolls belong to Sir R. A. Ferguson, Bart,. who in 1830 purchased the shambles and the fish and vegetable markets of the corporation. The linen market, on Wednesday, is held in a hall occupying an obscure situation in a street to which it gives name, and built in 1770, by the late Fred. Hamilton, Esq., to whose descendant the tolls belong: it consists of a court measuring 147 feet by 15, and enclosed by small dilapidated houses; the cloth is exposed on stands placed in the court and under sheds; on the opposite side of the street is the sealing room. The butter market is in Waterloo place, for butter and hides daily, and to which three weigh-houses are attached; the fish market, off Linen hall street, daily; the potatoe market, in Society street for potatoes and meal by retail daily, with a weigh-house attached; and the vegetable market, off Linen hall street, for vegetables, poultry, and butter daily, were all built in 1825 by the corporation, to whom the tolls of the butter and potatoe markets belong. The cow market, for the sale of cows, pigs, sheep, and goats, every Wednesday, is held in a field to the south of Bishop street, near the river, which was enclosed in 1832 by the corporation, to whom the tolls belong. There are also a flax market in Bishop street every Thursday, and a market for yarn in Butchers street Wednesday. Six fairs are held annually, but only three are of importance, namely, on June 17th, Sept. 4th, and Oct. 17th; the others are on March 4th, April 30th, and Sept 20th. Custom was charged on every article of merchandise brought into the city prior to 1826, when it was abolished, except as regards goods conveyed over the bridge; and in lieu thereof, the corporation instituted trespass, cranage, storage, and other dues. The post-office was established in 1784; the amount of postage for 1834 was £4047. 17s. 1.50d. The revenue police force usually consists of a lieutenant and twelve men; and the constabulary is composed of a chief constable and twelve men.
The municipal government is vested in a mayor, twelve alderman, and twenty four burgesses, assisted by a recorder, town clerk, and chamberlain; and the inferior officers of the corporation are a sword bearer, mace bearer, four town serjeants, two sheriffs bailiffs, &c. The mayor and sheriffs are elected by the common council on the 2nd of Feb., the former from amoung the aldermen, and the latter from the burgesses, from whom also the aldermen are chosen; the burgesses are appointed from the freemen and inhabitants. The sheriffs exercise jurisdiction both over the entire county and the liberties of the city; and the town clerk is generally clerk of the peace for the county. The freedom is inherited by the sons of aldermen and burgesses, and is obtained by marriage with their daughters, by apprenticeship to a freeman, and by gift of the corporation. The city returned two representatives to the Irish parliament till the Union, since which it has sent one to the imperial parliament. The right of voting was formerly vested in the burgesses and freemen, in number about 450; but by the late enactments under which a new electoral boundary, minutely described in the Appendix, has been established; the former non-resident electors, except within a distance of seven miles, have been disfranchised and the privilige extended to the £10 householders, the number of registered voerts on the 1st of April, 1835, was 724, of whom 504 were £10 householders, and the remainder freemen. The mayor, recorder, and all alderman who have filled the mayoralty, are justices of the peace within the liberties, which comprise the city and a circuit of three Irish miles measured from its centre; and they also exercise jurisdiction by sufferance over the townland of Culmore. The mayor and recorder, or the mayor alone, hold a court of record every Monday, for pleas to any amount; the process is either by attachment against the goods, or arrest of the person. The court of general sessions for the city is held four times a year, there is a court of petty sessions weekly, held before the mayor, or any of the civic magistrates. The mayor also holds weekly a court of conscience for the recovery of ordinary debts not exceeding £20 late currency or servants wages to the amount of £7, and from which there is no appeal. The city is in the north west circuit, and the assizes are held here twice a year; it is also one of the four towns within the county at which the general quarter sessions are held, and where the assistant barrister presides in April and October. The corporation hall in the centre of the Diamond, and on the site of the original town house built by the Irish Society in 1622, was erected by the corporation in 1692, and till 1825, when it was rebuilt by the corporation, was called the market house or exhange; the south front, in which is the principal entrance, is curcular. The upper story contains a common council room, an assembly-room, and an ante-chamger. On the ground floor, which was formerly open for the sale of meal and potatoes, but was closed in 1825, is a news room, established by the corporation in that year. The court-house, completed in 1817 at an expense of £30,479. 15s., including the purchase of the site and furniture, is a handsome building of white sandstone, chiefly from the neighbourhood of Dungiven, ornamented with Portland stone, and erected from a design by Mr. John Bowden; it measures 126 feet by 66, and exhibits a faÃ§ade, judiciously broken by a tetrastyle portico of the enriched Ionic order, modelled from that of the temple of Erectheus at Athens, over the pediment are the royal arms, and the wings are surmounted by statues of Justice and Peace, sculptured in Portland stone by the late Edward Smith. The principal apartments are the crown and record courts, the mayor's public and private offices, the offices of the recorder, treasurer, and clerks of the crown and peace, the judges room, and the grand jury room; in addtion to the assize, sessions and mayor's court, the county and other meetings are held in it. The gaol situated in Bishop street, beyond the gate, was erected between the years 1819 and 1824 by Messrs. Henry, Mullins and McMahon, at an expense of £33,718 late currency, the front of which is partly coated with cement and partly built of Dungiven stone, extends 242 feet; and the depth of the entire building, including the yards is 400 feet. It is built on the radiating plan; the governor's house, which includes the chapel and committee-room, is surrounded by a panoptic gallery; and the entire gaol contains 179 single cells, 26 work and day rooms, and 20 airing yards; apart from the main building is an hospital containing separate wards for both sexes. The regulations are excellednt, in 1835 the system of classification was abandoned and the silent system introduced; the prisoners are constantly employed at various trades, and receive one third of their earnings.
The DIOCESE of DERRY originated in a monastery founded by St. Columb, about 545, of which some of the abbots at a very early period were styled bishops, but the title of the bishop of Derry was not established until 1158, or even a century later, as the bishops, whose see was at Derry, were sometimes called Bishops of Tyrone.
The cathedral, which also serves as the parish church, was completed in 1633, the former one, erected in 1164, having been destroyed by Sir Henry Docwra. The cost of the building, amounting to £4000, was defrayed by the Corporation of the City of London; it is principally in the later English style, with various decorations since added, which do not harmonize with its prevailing character, and consists of a nave and aisles, separated by stone pillars and arches, with a tower at the west end surmounted by an elegant octabon spire terminating in a cross and spear; on the east gable is a cross springing from the central battlement. The entire structure is 240 feet long, and 66 feet broad; the height of the tower and spire is 228 feet from the churchyard. In 1778, the Earl of Bristol, then Bishop of Derry, completed a new spire of hewn stone, with open ornamented windows and the old tower was raised 21 feet; but in 1802, owing to the dilapidated state of the tower, the spire was taken town and soon after rebuilt from a fund of £400, half of which was contributed by the Irish Society, and half by Bishop Knox and the citizens. The Society also contributed a sum for the embellishment of the cathedral in 1819; and in 1822 the old roof of lead was replaced by a slate roof. A new organ was erected in 1829 by subscription, to which Bishop Knox contributed £100, and Dean Gough and the corporation £50 each. On the north of the communion table is a handsome monument of Italian marble, by Behnes, erected in 1834 to the memory of Bishop Knox, at an expense of £500, raised by subscription; on an elevated plinth is an inscribed tablet, above which is repesented a tomb sumounted by a mitre on the right of which is a full length figure of Religion, and on the left another of Charity with a babe on her arm and two other children of different ages standing at her knees. There are various other tablets, one of which, to the memory of the father of the Rev. Wm. Hamilton, D.D., is inscribed with the epitaph of that distinguished naturalist. The bishop's palace, built about the year 1761, during the prelacy of Bishop Barnard, is a substantial and commodious building occupying the site of the Augustinian convent; it was almost rebuilt by the Earl of Bristol, when bishop, and after the damage which it sustained by being occupied as a barrack in 1802, was repaired by Bishop Knox. The gardens in the rear comprise nearly two acres, and extend to the city wall; having at the above period been appropriated as a parade, that designation is still applied to the adjacent part of the wall.
The deanery, a large unadorned edifice of brick, was built in 1833 by the Rev. T. B. Gough, the present dean, at an expense of £3421. 16s. 8.50d., to be reimbursed by his successor. Adjacent to the city wall on the west is a chapel of ease, a rectangular building, erected by Bishop Barnard, whose descendant, Sir Andrew Barnard, became the patron; the chaplain's original stipend of £50 is now paid out of the property of Wm. J. Campbell, a minor, who claims the advowson. A free church was built on the north of the city by Bishop Knox, in 1830, at an expense of £760; and a gallery was erected in 1832, at a further expense, including the cost of a vestry room and the introduction of gas, of £145, raised by subscription.
The R. C. chapel occupies the site of the monastery of St. Columb, and is situated in a street called the Long Tower, from the lofty round tower which formed the belfry of the Dubh-Regles, the original church, built by St. Columb. This chapel was completed in 1786 at an expense, including the cost of some addition in 1811, of £2700, of which £210 was contributed by the Earl of Bristol, and £50 by the corporation.
The Presbyterian meeting-house in Meeting house row, has a chaste and handsome front of which the pediment and corners are of Dungiven freestone; it is supposed to have been built about the year 1750, at an expense of nearly £4000, and was repaired in 1828 at an additional cost of £700.
The Primitive Wesleyan Methodist chapel in the same street was originally a store, which was used by Wesley on his visit to this city in 1763; his congregation built the Wesleyan Methodist chapel in 1783, but on the separation taking place, the Primitive Methodists returned to their former place of worship; part of the building is stell let for a store, and the chapel is used as a Sunday school between the intervals of divine service, for which the dean pays a rent of £20. The old Wesleyan Methodist chapel was vacated on the completion of a new chapel built in 1835, at an estimated expense of £1100, raised by subscription, towards which the Irish Society contributed £100; the ground floor is used as a vestry-room and a school room for 300 children.
There are also places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Seceding Synod, a plain building erected in 1783, at an expense of £450; for Covenanters, built in 1810 at a like expense; and for Independents, built in 1824 at an expense of £500.
The Diocesan School, or Foyle College, was originally founded within the walls as a free grammar school in the reign of Jas. I., and was rebuilt on its present site on the north of the city in 1814, chiefly through the exertions of Bishop Knox, who gave £1000 towards the expense, which amounted to £13,714. 13. 6., and was further defrayed by donations from the Irish Society and London Companies sale of stock, and grand jury presentments. It is a simple but hansome edifice of stone consisting of a centre and two wings, and pleasnatly situated on the bank of the river, it is sufficiently capacious to accommodate 80 boarders, there are at present about 30 boarders and as many day scholars, exclusive of 20 whoa re free; the day puiles not free pay £4. 4s. per annum for mercantile, and £7. 7s. per annum for sclassical instruction. The school has no endowment, but the Irish Society, the bishop, and the clergy of the diocese subscribe annually to the amount of about £200; this, with the emoluments arising from the boards and the day scholars who are not free, constitutes the income of the master; the bishop and the dean and chapter are trustees. The school has deservedly been held in great estimatio, owing the high literary requirements of the masters. Attached to the institution is an excellent library of works on divinity, collected by Bishop Hopkins, and purchased and presented to it by his successor, Bishop King, which has also been augmented by a donation of £100 from James Alexander, Esq., of London; it is open to the clergy of the diocese at all times.
The parish school originated in an act of the 28th of Hen. VIII., confirmed by one of the 7th of Wm. III.; the present building situated without the walls, was erected in 1812 through the liberal contributions of Bishop Knox and the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, the latter of whom allow annually £30 for the boys' and £15 for the girls' school, and, in addition, the girls' school is aided by annual grants of £40 and £10 late currency from the Irish Society and the Bishop of Derry respectively; there are about 108 boys and 97 girls, who except 20 of the boys who are free scholars, pay one penny each weekly.
In connection with the Presbyterian meeting house is a school established in 1820 in lieu of a blue coat school which had existed upwards of a century in which there are at present about 100 boys and 96 girls, who pay one penny each weekly; the boys' school is further supported by a subscription of £10 per annum from the congregation, and an annual grant of £20 by the Irish Society; and the girls' school by subscriptions among the ladies, aided by £10 per ann. late currency from the Irish Society; the school rooms were built and enlarged by subscription at an expense of £450.
St. Columb's school, founded in 1813 under the auspices of the Roman Catholic bishop and clergy, but for some time suspended from a difference which arose between the prelate and one of his curates, was finally established in 1825; the building, including the erction of a lofty encloseure, cost nearly £1000. It is in connection with the National Board of Education, who grant £30 per annum for its support, which is further aided by £10 per annum from the Irish Society, and an annual collection in the Roman Catholic chapel amounting to £30; 143 boys and 166 girls are instructed.
The London Ladies' Society school in Fountain street was extablished in 1822; attached to it is a small library for the use of the poor. Gwyn's Charitable Institution was founded by Mr. John Gwyn, a merchant of the city, who died in 1829 and edowed by him with a bequest of £41,757, producing at present £1882 per ann. for boarding, clothing and educating as many poor boys as the funds may admit of. This excellent school, which is under the management of 21 trustees, was opened on the 1st of April, 1833, in a hired house formerly the city hotel; the trustees have purschased 10 statue acres of ground at the rear of the infirmary, where it is in contemplation to erect premises capable of accommodating 200 pupils, at an estimated expense of £6000; there are at present 81 boys in the school. A Sunday School Union was formed in 1832 by which the liberties have been divided into six districts, each under the superintendence of one or two members; the number of schools in the parish at present in connection with the union is 16, attended by 162 teachers, and the number of pupils on the books in 1726.
The lunatic asylum for the counties of Londonderry, Donegal and Tyrone, situated on rising ground to the north of the city was commenced in June 1827, and opened in 1829; the entire expense, including the purchase of the site and furniture amounted to £25,678. 2s. 4d., advanced by Government, and to be repaid by the three counties by instalments. The faÃ§ade fronting the river consists of a centre with pavilions from which extend wings with airing sheds, terminating in angular pavilions, all of Dungiven sandstone; above the centre rises a turret, of which the upper part forms an octagonal cupola; in the rear are several commodious airing yards, separated by ranges of brick building, including the domestic offices and workshops; the entire length of the front is 364 feet, the depth of the building, with the airing yards, 190 feet; and the height to the eave, 25 feet. The grounds comprise eight acres, including a plot in front ornamentally planted, and a good garden. The asylym was originally intended for 104 patients, but has been enlarged so as to admit 150; it is still too small from the cells being partially occupied by incurables, persons afflicted with epilepsy, and idiots. The average annual expenditure for the last three years ending 1835 was £2554. 3s. 6d.; the average number of patients discharge recovered in each year was 42; discharged relieved 6; and incurable 4; and the average number of deaths was 17 in each year; the number of patients at the commencement of 1836 was 155; about 100 of the patients are constantly employed.
The infirmary and fever hospital for the city and county, on the north of the city, was built in 1814, in place of an old poor-house which previously occupied the site of the present fish and vegetable markets, and is supported by parliamentary grants, Grand Jury presentments, governors subscriptions and contingencies; it contains 120 beds. The average annual income for five years ending Jan. 5th, 1833, was £1475. 15s. 10.50d., and the expenditure £1456. 10s.; the entire number of patients deriving relief from this institution on the 5th of Jan., 1835, was 463.
A dispensary for the city and north west liberties was established in 1819 by the late Bishop Knox and the inhabitants, and is supported by voluntary contributions, an annual grant of £30 by the Irish Society, and presentments by the Grand Jury; the number of patients relieved in that year was 920, and the expenditure, £235. 8s. 2d.
The clergymen's widows' fund originated in voluntary subscriptions, to which Bishop Knox, a munificent benefactor to most of the charitable institutions of Derry, gave £1000, and most of the Protestant clergy of the diocese contributed; the widows now recieve each £35 per annum, and the six senior widows have houses rent free, called the Widows row, adjacent to the cathedral.
The charitable loan fund was instituted by Bishop Knox, and the corporation contributed to it £81. 10s. per ann., until the year 1829, from which period it was unsupported till 1833, when the Irish Society granted £10 annually towards the expense of management; the capital, which is decreasing, amounted on July 31st, 1835, to £423.
The ladies penny society has an average annual income of about £200, including a bequest of £30 per ann., and an annual grant of £30 by the Irish Society, which is applied in distributing clothing and a few articles of food among the poor; it has also a branch called the flax fund, to which the Society contribute £20 per annum, for the distribution of certain portions of flax among poor applicants, who are paid for spinning it into yarn.
The poor shop, instituted in 1821, under the management of a committee of ladies, for providing the poor with clothes and bedding at first cost on condition of their giving security for payment by weekly instalments at the rate of one penny in the shilling is supported by subscriptions. A mendicity association was instituted in 1825, chiefly through the exertions of Bishop Knox, and a penitentiary for reclaiming abandoned females, to which there is a school attached, was established in 1829. A religious tract depository, in connection with which is a religious, moral, and historical society, was established in 1822; the library formed by the society comprises about 500 publications, and at least one half of the funds must be expended on works purely religious. The above and many other charitable institutions are in a great degree attributable to the indefatigable exertions of the late Lady Hill. Alderman Peter Stanley, in 1751, bequeathed £42 per annum late currency for 31 inhabitants of the city and liberties on the western side of the river; and in 1831, Margaret Evory gave £20 per annum for the poor of the entire parish.
In addition to the Ecclesiastical buildings already recorded here was also a Franciscan mendicant friary of unknown foundation, with a churchyard containing about three acres, the site of which is now occupied by Abbey street and others, and of which the foundations were discovered a few years ago by some workmen, but no vestiges of any of these buildings are now remaining. The only religious house preserved on the erection of the new city was the church of St. Augustine, which was repaired and used prior to the erection of the present cathedral, after which it was known as "the little church;" its site is now occupied by the bishop's garden. A small square tower was built by O'Dogherty for O'Donell, in the 15th or 16th century, but no vestige of it can now be traced. Near the Roman Catholic chapel, outside the walls, are St. Columb's wells, originally three in number and called by separate names, but one of which is dried up; but the water, though considered in remote parts of the island a specific for diseases of the eye, is here held in little repute. In the centre of St. Columb's lane, adjacent to the wells, is St. Columb's stone, on each side of which are two oval hollows artificially formed, concerning which various legends are related; the water deposited by rain in these hollws is believed to possess a miraculous power in curing various diseases.
The shutting of the gates by the apprentice boys on Dec. 7th, 1688 (O.S.) and the opening of them on Aug. 12th following, have been annually commemorated, but the ceremony has been somewhat modified since 1832, in which year an act was passed declaring such commemorations illegal; and have led to the establishment of three distinct clubs of apprentice boys, under different denominations. George Farquhar, the dramatic poet, was born here in 1678; and the Rev. Wm. Hamilton, D.D., author of "Letters concerning the northern coast of the county of Antrim," and other productions on natural history, who was assassinated at the house of Dr. Waller, at Sharon, on March 2nd, 1797, was also a native of this place. Londonderry gives the titles of Earl and Marquess to the family of Stewart.