Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Ireland

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

  • Place
  • County
    Derry, Londonderry
  • Parish
  • Content
    DRUMACHOSE, a parish, in the barony of KENAUGHT, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, on the river Roe, and on the road from Londonderry city to Coleraine ; containing, with the market and post-town of Newtown-limavady, 5280 inhabitants.

    The greater part of this parish formed a portion of the grant made to the Haberdashers' Company, in the reign of Jas.I. ; part of it was given by the same monarch to Sir T. Phillips, upon which he built a castle, and founded the town of Newtown-Limavady; and part was confirmed to the see of Derry. In the war of 1641 it was the scene of much calamitous hostility, and. the inhabitants were at length driven to seek an asylum in Derry city, under protection of Col. Mervin, who finally routed the Irish. In 1688 the town was besieged, and the inhabitants again retired to Derry; and on the retreat of the army of Jas. II., in 1689, it was wasted with fire and sword. The parish, according to the Ordnance survey, comprises 11,683 statute acres (including 24.75 under water), of which 11,082 are applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £6032 per ann. Part of the land is very fertile and extremely well cultivated, particularly around Fruit Hill, Streeve, and other neighbouring places, and that portion towards the banks of the Roe is rich gravelly loam, well sheltered. On the mountain range of Cedy, the eastern limit of the parts, at the very summit, are about 1100 acres of mountain pasture. there is abundance of excellent freestone and limestone, both of wraith are extensively worked, and there are indications of coal in several parts. The inhabitants combine the weaving of linen cloth with agricultural pursuits. There are two distilleries an a brewery, and two bleach-greens, one only of. which is in full operation ; there are also several corn, flour, and flax-mills.

    The scenery in various parts is highly interesting, the woods and plantations are thriving, and the country is ornamented with many handsome houses, of which the principal are Fruit Hill, the residence of Marcus McCausland, Esq. ; Streeve Hill, of Marcus Gage, Esq.; Roe House, of W. Moody, Esq. ; the Lodge, of R. Conn, Esq ; Bridge house, of D. Cather, Esq. ; and the glebe-house, of the Rev. J. Olpherts.

    The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop ; the tithes amount to £424. 12s. 3.75d. The glebe-house was erected in 1816 on a glebe of 6.50 acres purchased by the late Board of First fruits ; the glebe, of which the greater part is at Gortygarn, 2 miles distant, comprises 112a. 2r. 15p., of arable land The church, a handsome Grecian structure with a square tower, was erected, in 1750, upon the site of a former edifice at Newtown; and a north aisle was added in 1825 by aid of a loan of £200 from the late Board.

    In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, called Newtown-Limavady, comprising the parishes of Drumachose, Balteagh, Tamlaghtfinlagan, and parts of Aghanloo and Bovevagh, and containing three chapels, of which one is at Roe-mills, in this parish.

    There are places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, the Seceding Synod, and the Remonstrant Synod, all of the second class; and also for Covenanters, original Burghers, and Wesleyan Methodists.

    About 860 children are taught in eight public schools, of which one is supported by Erasmus Smith's trustees and endowed with three acres of glebe, one chiefly by the rector, a female school built and supported by Mrs. McCausland, a female work school built and supported by Mrs. Olpherts and a school supported by Mr. McCausland : there are also seven private and four Sunday schools. Near Fruit Hill are the extensive and beautiful ruins of the ancient church ; and at the Dog-Leap is the site of the ancient battle of the powerful sept of O'Cahan.