Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary comprises of several cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland. Here are From-Ireland.net’s records for Co. Armagh.
ContentARMAGH, a city, market and post-town and a parish, partly in the barony of O'NEILLAND WEST, but chiefly in that of ARMAGH, and county of ARMAGH (of which it is the capital),and province of ULSTER, 31 miles (S. W. by W) from Belfast city, and 65.75 (N.N.W.)from Dublin city; containing 10,518 inhabitants, of which number, 9470 are within in the limits of the borough.
The past importance of this ancient city is noticed by several early historians, who describe it as the "chief city in Ireland". St. Fiech, who flourished in the sixth century, calls it the "seat of empire"; Giraldus Cambrensis, "the metropolis"; and, even so lately as 1580, Cluverius styles it the "head of the kingdom," adding that Dublin was then next in rank to it. The original name was â€˜Druim-sailechâ€™, "the hill of sallows," which was afterwards changed to 'Ard-sailech', "the height of sallows," and, still later, to 'Ard-macha', either from Eamhuin-macha, the regal residence of the Kings of Ulster, which stood in its vicinity, or, as is more probable, from its characteristic situation, Ard-macha, signifying "the high place or field."
Armagh is the head of the primacy of all Ireland, and is indebted for its origin, and ecclesiastical pre-eminence, to St. Patrick, by whom it was built, in 445. He also founded, near his own mansion, the monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul, for Canons Regular of the order of St. Augustine, which was rebuilt by Imar O'Hoedegan, and was the most distinguished of the religious establishments which existed here, having materially contributed to the early importance of the place. This institution received numerous grants of endowment from the native kings, the last of whom, Roderick O'Connor, made a grant to its professors, in 1169; in so much that its landed possessions became very extensive, as appears from an inquisition taken on its suppression. Attached to it was a school or college, which long continued one of the most celebrated seminaries in Europe, and from which many learned men, not only of the Irish nation, but from all parts of Christendom, were despatched to diffuse knowledge throughout Europe. It is said that 7000 students were congregated in it, in the pursuit of learning; at one period; and the annals of Ulster relate that, at a synod held by Gelasius at Claonadh, in 1162, it was decreed that no person should lecture publicly on theology, except such as had studied at Armagh.
The city was destroyed by accidental conflagrations in the years 670, 687, and 770, and also sustained considerable injury in the last-mentioned year by lightning. In subsequent periods it suffered severely and repeatedly from the Danes, a band of whom having landed at Newry, in 830, penetrated into the interior, and having stormed Armagh established their head-quarters in it for one month, and on being driven out, plundered and reduced it to ashes. In 836, Tergesius, or Thorgis, a Danish chieftain, equally celebrated for his courage and ferocity, after having laid waste Connaught and a great part of Meath and Leinster, turned his arms against Ulster, which he devastated as far as Lough Neagh, and then advancing against Armagh, took it with little difficulty. His first act, after securing possession of the place, was the expulsion of the Bishop Farannan, with all the students of the college, and the whole body of the religious, of whom the bishop and clergy sought refuge in Cashel, The numerous atrocities perpetrated by the invaders at length excited a combined effort against them. Nial the Third collected a large army, and after having defeated the Danes in a pitched battle in Tyrconnel, advanced upon Armagh, where, after a second successful engagement, and while preparing to force his victorious way into the city, the main position of the enemy in these parts, he was drowned in the river Callan, in an attempt to save the life of one of his followers. Malachy, his successor, obtained possession of the city, in which a public assembly of the princes and chieftains of Ireland was held, in 849, to devise the means of driving their ferocious enemies out of the island. In their first efforts the Danes suffered several defeats; but, having concentrated their forces, and being supported by a reinforcement of their countrymen, they again marched against Armagh, and took and plundered it about the year 852. The subsequent annals of Armagh, to the commencement of the 11th century, are little more than a reiteration of invasions and conquests by the Danes, and of successful but brief insurrections of the natives, in all of which this devoted city became in turn the prize of each contending army, and suffered all the horrors of savage warfare. In 1004, the celebrated Brian Boru entered Armagh, where he presented at the the great altar of the church a collar of gold weighing 20 ounces; and after his death at the battle of Clontarf, the in 1014, his remains were deposited here, according to his dying request, with those of his son Murchard, who fell in the same battle. From this period to the English invasion the history of Armagh exhibits a series of calamitous incidents either by hostile inroads or accidental fires. Its annals, however, evince no further relation to the events of that momentous period than the fact of a synod of the Irish clergy having been held in it by Gelasius, in 1170, in which that assembly came to the conclusion that the foreign invasion and internal distractions of the country were a visitation of divine retribution, as a punishment for the inhuman practice of purchasing Englishmen from pirates and selling them as slaves; and it was therefore decreed that every English captive should be liberated.
The city suffered severely from the calamities consequent on the invasion of Edward Bruce, in 1315, during which the entire see was lamentably wasted, and the archbishop was reduced to a state of extreme destitution, by the reiterated incursions of the Scottish army.
During the local wars in Ulster, at the close of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries, this city was reduced to a state of great wretchedness ; and in the insurrection of Shane O'Nial or O'Neal, Lord Sussex, then lord lieutenant, marched into Ulster to oppose him; and having attacked him successfully at Dundalk, forced him to retire upon Armagh, which the lord-lieutenant entered in Oct, 1557, and wasted with fire and sword, sparing only the cathedral. In 1566, O'Nial, to revenge himself on Archbishop Loftus, who had transmitted information of his hostile intentions to Government, even before the Irish chieftains and the lord-deputy had preferred their complaint against him, resolved on a special expedition against this city, and on this occasion committed dreadful havoc, not even sparing the cathedral. In the year 1575, Sydney, the lord-deputy, marched into Ulster against Turlogh O'Nial, and fixed his head-quarters at Armagh, whither that chieftain, after some ineffectual negociations through the agency of his wife, proceeded, and having surrendered himself, was permitted to return home without molestation.
In the short but sanguinary war carried on between the English Government and Hugh O'Nial, Earl of Tyrone, towards the close of the reign of Elizabeth, the earl obtained possession of this place by stratagem; but unfavourable events in other parts soon obliged him to evacuate the place. In the course of the same war, Armagh was again invested in 1598, by this chieftain, who hoped to reduce it a second time by famine, but was baffled by the treachery of his illegitimate son, Con O'Nial, who, having deserted to the English, discovered a private road by which Sir Henry Bagnall, the British commander, was enabled to send in such a supply of men and provisions as completely frustrated the earl's efforts; Soon after, the English were utterly defeated, and their commander killed, in a desperate attempt to force O'Nial's intrenchments, the immediate consequence of which was their evacuation of Armagh, which, however, was retaken in 1601, by Lord Mountjoy, who made it one of his principal positions in his Ulster expedition, and occupied it with a garrison of 900 men, In the early part of the 17th century, a colony of Scottish Presbyterians settled here, from which it is supposed Scotch street, near the eastern entrance of the town, took its name.
At the commencement of the war in 1641, Armagh fell into the bands of Sir Phelim O'Nial, who, on being soon after forced to evacuate it, set fire to the cathedral, and put to death many of the inhabitants. On the breaking out of the war between James II, and William, Prince of Orange, the Earl of Tyrconnel, then lord-lieutenant under the former sovereign, took the charter from the corporation, and placed a strong body of troops in the town; but they were surprised and disarmed by the people of the surrounding country, who had risen in favour of the new dynasty: the garrison was permitted to retreat without further injury to Louth, and Lord Blayney, having taken possession of the town immediately proclaimed King William. This nobleman, however; was soon afterwards compelled to evacuate it, and retreat with his forces to Londonderry, at that period the last refuge of the Protestants. James, in his progress through the north to and from the siege of Derry, rested for a few days at Armagh, which he describes as having been pillaged by the enemy, and very inconvenient both for himself and his suite. In 1690, Duke Schomberg took possession of it, and formed a depot of provisions here. No important event occurred after the Revolution until the year 1769, when this city furnished a well-appointed troop of cavalry to oppose Thurot at Carrickfergus (Co. Antrim). In 1778, on the apprehension of an invasion from France and of civil disturbances, several of the inhabitants again formed themselves into a volunteer company, and offered the command to the Earl of Charlemont, by whom, after some deliberation it was accepted. In 1781, an artillery company was formed; and in the following year, a troop of volunteer cavalry, of which the Earl of Charlemont was also captain. In 1796, this nobleman, in pursuance of the wishes of Government, formed an infantry company and a cavalry troop of yeomanry in the town, whose numbers were afterwards augmented to 200 : they were serviceable in performing garrison duty during the temporary absence of the regular troops in the disturbances of 1798, but in 1812 were disbanded by order of the lord-lieutenant,
The city, which is large, handsome, and well built, is delightfully situated on the declivity of a lofty eminence, round the western base of which the river Callan winds in its progress to the river Blackwater. It is chiefly indebted for its present high state of improvement to the attention bestowed on it by several primates since the Reformation, especially by Primate Boulter, and, still more so, by Primate Robinson, all of whom have made it their place of residence. The approaches on every side embrace interesting objects. On the east are the rural village and post-town of Richhill, and the demesne of Castle-Dillon, in which the late proprietor erected an obelisk on a lofty hill in memory of the volunteers of Ireland. The western approach exhibits the demesnes of Caledon, Glasslough, Woodpark, Elm Park, and Knappagh ; those from Dungannon and Loughgall pass through a rich and well-wooded country; that from the south, descending through the fertile, well-cultivated, and busy vale of the Callan, the banks of which are adorned with several seats and extensive plantations, interspersed with numerous bleach-greens and mills, is extremely pleasing; and that from the south-east, though less attractive, is marked by the classical feature of Hamilton's Bawn, immortalised by the sarcastic pep of Swift.
Many of the streets converge towards the cathedral, the most central point and the most conspicuous object in the city, and are connected by cross streets winding around the declivity; they have flagged pathways, are macadamised, and are lighted with oil gas from works erected in Callan-street, by a joint stock company in the year 1827, but will shortly be lighted with coal gas; the gasometer for which is now in progress of erection; and since 1833 have been also cleansed and watched under the provisions of the general act of the 9th of Geo. IV., cap. 82, by which a cess is applotted and levied on the inhabitants. A copious supply of fresh water has been procured under the authority of two general acts passed in 1789 and 1794. Metal pipes have been carried through all the main streets by which a plentiful supply of good water is brought from a small lake or basin nearly midway between Armagh and Hamilton's Bawn, in consideration of a small rate on each house; and fountains have also been erected in different parts of the town occupied by the poorer class of the inhabitants. The city is plentifully supplied with turf, and coal of good quality is brought from the Drumglass and Coal Island collieries, 11 miles distant. A public walk, called the Mall, has been formed by subscription, out of ground granted on lease to the corporation, originally in 1797, by the primate, being a part of the town commons, which were vested in the latter for useful purposes by an act of the 13th and 14th of Geo III: the enclosed area, on the eastern side of which are many superior houses, comprehends nearly eight acres kept in excellent condition. In addition to this, the primateâ€™s demesne is open to respectable persons: and his laudable example has been followed by two opulent citizens who have thrown open their grounds in the vicinity for the recreation of the inhabitants. The Tontine Buildings, erected as a private speculation by a few individuals, contain a large assembly room having a suite of apartments connected with it, a public news-room and a savings bank. Dramatic performances occasionally take place in this edifice, from the want of a special building for their exhibition. The Public Library was founded by Primate Robinson, who bequeathed for the free use of the public his valuable collection of books, and endowed it with lands at Knockhamill and houses in Armagh yielding a clear rental of £339. He also erected the building, which is a handsome edifice in the Grecian style, situated to the north west of the cathedral, and completed in 1771, as appears by the date on the front, above which is the appropriate inscription â€œTO THE ?YXH? IATPEIONâ€ The room in which the books are deposited is light, airy and commodious, and has a gallery: there are also apartments for a resident librarian. In 1820 an additional staircase was erected, as an entrance at the west end, which has in a great measure destroyed the uniformity and impaired the beauty of the building. The collection consists of about 20,000 volumes, and comprises many valuable works on theology, the classics and antiquities, to which have been added several modern publications. In the record room of the diocesan registry are writings and books bequeathed by Primate Robinson to the governors and librarian, in trust for the ole use of the Primate for the time being. The Primate, and the Dean and Chapter, by an act of the 13th and 14th of Geo. III., are trustees of the library with liberal powers.
The observatory, beautifully situated on a gentle eminence a little to the north-east of the city was also erected by Primate Robinson, about the year 1788, on a plot of 15 acres of land; the building is of hewn limestone, and has on its front the inscription â€œThe Heavens declare the glory of Godâ€; it comprises two lofty domes for the observatory, and a good house for the residence of the astronomer. The munificent founder also provided for the maintenance of the astronomer, and gave the impropriate tithes of Carlingford for the support of an assistant astronomer and the maintenance of the observatory, vesting the management in the Primate for the time being and twelve governors, of whom the chapter are eight, and the remaining four are elected by them as vacancies occur. Primate Robinson dying before the internal arrangements were completed, the establishment remained in an almost unfinished state until 1825, when the Right Hon. and Most Rev. Lord J. G. De La Poer Beresford, D.D. the present Primate, furnished the necessary instruments &c., at a cost of nearly £3,000.
This city is usually the station of a regiment of infantry: the barracks occupy an elevated and healthy situation, and are capable of accommodating 800 men. In the immediate vicinity is the archiepiscopal palace, erected in 1770 by Primate Robinson, who also in 1781, built a beautiful chapel of Grecian architecture nearly adjacent and embellished the grounds, which comprise about 800 acres with plantations tastefully arranged.
Though an increasing place, Armagh has now no manufactures, and but little trade except in grain, of which a great quantity is sent to Portadown and Newry for exportation; much of the flour made in the neighbourhood is conveyed to the county of Tyrone. After the introduction of the linen manufacture to the North of Ireland, Armagh became the grand mart for the sale of cloth produced in the surrounding district. From a return of six market days in the spring of 1835, the average number of brown webs sold in the open market was 4292, and in private warehouses 3412, making a total of 7704 webs weekly, the value of which at £1.11s. each amounts to £620,942. 8s., per annum. But this does not afford, a just criterion of the present state of the trade in which a great change has taken place within the last 20 years ; the quantity now bleached annually in this neighbourhood is now almost double that of any former period, but only a portion of that is brought to the market of Armagh. The linen hall is a large and commodious building, erected by Leonard Dobbin, Esq. M.P., for the borough: it is open for the sale of webs from ten to eleven oâ€™clock every Tuesday. A yarn market is held, in which the weekly sales amount to £3450, or, £179,400 per annum.
There are two extensive distilleries, in which upwards of 25,000 tons of grain are annually consumed ; an ale brewery, consuming 3800 barrels of malt annually ; several extensive tanneries ; and numerous flour and corn mills, some of which are worked by steam. The amount of excise duties collected within the district for the year 1835 was £69,076. 5s. 8.50 d. The river Blackwater, within four miles of the city, affords a navigable communication with Lough Neagh from which, by the Lagan canal, the line of navigation is extended to Belfast (Co. Antrim); and to the east is the navigable river Bann, which is connected with the Newry canal. A canal is also in progress of formation from the Blackwater, to continue inland navigation from Lough Neagh to Lough Erne, which will pass within one mile of the city.
The markets are abundantly supplied ; they are held on Tuesday, for linen cloth and yarn, pigs, horned cattle, provisions of all kinds, vast quantities of flax, and flaxseed during the season ; and on Saturday, for grain and provisions. Fairs are held on the Tuesday after Michaelmas, and a week before Christmas, and a large cattle market has been established on the first Saturday an every month. By a local act obtained in 1774, a parcel of waste land adjoining the city, and containing about 9.50 plantation acres, was vested in the archbishop and his successors, to be parcelled into divisions for holding the fairs and markets but only the fairs are now held on it. The market-house, an elegant and commodious building of hewn stone, erected by Archbishop Stuart, at an expense of £3000, occupies a central situation at the lower extremity of Market-street ; the old shambles, built previous by Primate Robinson, have been taken down, and a more extensive and convenient range, with markets for grain, stores weigh-house, &c., attached, was erected in 1829 by the committee of tolls : the supply of butchersâ€™ meat of very good quality is abundant, and the veal of Armagh is held in high estimation; there is also a plentiful supply of sea and fresh-water fish. Several of the inhabitants, in 1821, raised a subscription, by shares (on debentures or receipts) of £25 each, amounting to a £1700, and purchased the lessee's interest in the tolls, ; of which a renewal for 21 years was obtained in 1829 : eight resident shareholders, elected annually, and called the â€œArmagh Toll Committee,â€ have now the entire regulation and management of the tolls and customs of the borough, consisting of market-house, street, and scrambles customs, in which they have made considerable reductions, and the proceeds of which, after deducting the expenses of management and five per cent. interest for the proprietors of the debentures, are applied partly as a sinking fund for liquidating the principal sum of £1700, and partly towards the improvement of the city and the places for holding the fairs and markets.
The Bank of Ireland and the Provincial Bank have each a branch establishment here ; and there are also branches of the Northern and Belfast banking companies. The post is daily : the post-office revenue, according to the last return to Parliament, amounted to £1418. 4s. 0.50 d.
The inhabitants were Incorporated under the title of the â€œSovereign, Free Burgesses, and Commonalty of the Borough of Ardmagh," in 1613, by charter of Jas. I, which was taken from them by Jas., II., who granted one conferring more extensive privileges ; but Wm. III restored the original charter, under which the corporation consists of a sovereign, twelve free burgesses, and an unlimited number of freemen, of whom there are at present only two; a town-clerk and registrar, and two serjeants-at-mace are also appointed. The sovereign is, by the charter, eligible by the free burgesses from among themselves, annually on the festival of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24th) ; the power of filling a vacancy in the number of free burgesses is vested in the sovereign and remaining free burgesses; the freemen are admitted by the sovereign and free burgesses ; and the appointment of the inferior officers is vested in the corporation at large. By charter of King James, the borough was empowered to send two representatives to the Irish parliament, but the right of election was confined to the sovereign and twelve burgesses, who continued to return two members till the union, when the number was reduced to one. The nature of the franchise continued the same until the 2nd of Wm. IV., when the free burgesses not resident within seven miles of the borough were disfranchised, and the privilege of election was extended to the £10 householders; and as the limits of the district called â€œthe corporation" comprehend 1147 statute acres unconnected with the franchise, a new electoral boundary (which is minutely described in the Appendix) was formed close round the town, comprising only 277 acres : the number of voters registered, according to the latest classified general return made to Parliament, amounts to 454 of whom 443 were £10 householders and 11 burgesses ; the number of electors qualified to vote at the last election was 541, of whom 360 polled ; the sovereign is the returning officer. The seneschal of the manor of Armagh, who is appointed by the primate, holds his court here, and exercises jurisdiction, both by attachment of goods and by civil bill process, in all causes of action arising within the manor and not exceeding £10 : the greater part of the city is comprised within this manor, the remainder being in that of Mountnorris adjoining. The assizes and general quarter sessions are held twice a year ; a court for the relief of insolvent debtors is held three times in the year ; and the county magistrates resident in the city and its neighbourhood hold a petty session every Saturday.
The corporation grand jury consisted of a foreman and other jurors, usually not exceeding 23 in number, chosen from among the most respectable inhabitants by the sovereign, generally within a month after entering upon his office, and continued to act until the ensuing 29th of September ; but its dissolution took place at the close of the year 1832, when a new grand jury having been formed amidst much political excitement, they determined, under an impression that the inhabitants would resist any assessment which they might make, to abrogate their functions, and the system appears to be abandoned. The inconvenience which resulted from the dissolution of the corporation grand jury induced the inhabitants to adopt measures for carrying into effect the provisions of the act of the 9th of Geo. IV., cap. 82, previously noticed. The sessions-house, built in 1809, is situated at the northern extremity of the Mall: it has an elegant portico in front, and affords every accommodation necessary for holding the courts, &c. At the opposite end of the Mall stands the county gaol, a neat and substantial building, with two enclosed yards in which the prisoners may take exercise, and an infirmary containing two wards for males and two for females : there is also a tread-wheel. It is constructed on the old plan, and does not afford convenience for the classification of prisoners, but is well ventilated clean, and healthy. The females are instructed by the matron in spelling and reading. In 1835, the average daily number of prisoners was 85 ; and the total net expense amounted to £1564. 14s. 6d. Armagh is a chief or baronial constabulary police station, of which the force consists of one chief officer four constables, and twelve men
The parish of Armagh comprises according to the Ordnance survey, 4606Â¾ statute acres; of which 1051 .25 are in the barony of O'Neilland West; and 3555.50 in that of Armagh. The rural district is only of small extent : the system of agriculture has very much improved of late ; the land is excellent, and yields abundant crops. Limestone prevails, and is mostly used in building and in repairing the roads; in some places it is beautifully variegated, and is wrought into chimney-pieces.
The principal seats are the Primate's palace ; Ballynahone, that of Miss Lodge ; Beech Hill, of T. Simpson, Esq. ; Tullamore, of J. Oliver, Esq. ; and those of J. Simpson, Esq., and J. Mackey, Esq., at Ballyards.
The living consists of a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh consolidated by letters patent of the 12th and 12th of Jas. I., and united, in the reign of Chas. I., to the parishes of Eglish, Lisnadell, and Ballymoyer, in the patronage of the Lord-primate. These parishes, having been so long consolidated, are not specifically set forth in the incumbents titles, so that Armagh has practically ceased to be, and is no longer designated a union in the instruments of collation. The deanery is in the gift of the Crown, and is usually held with the rectory, but they are not statutably united, and the former has neither tithes nor cure of souls : it is endowed with five tenements and a small plot of land within the city, the deanery-house and farm of 90 acres, and five townlands in the parish of Lisnadill, comprising in all 1412 statute acres, valued at £274. 13s. 7 1/2d., per annum. The deanery-house, situated about a quarter of a mile from the cathedral, was built in 1774. The rectorial glebe-lands comprise about 380 acres, valued in 1831 at £368. 6s. 9d. per annum. The tithes of Armagh and Grange amount to £500; and the gross value of the deanery and union of Armagh, tithe and glebe inclusive, amounts to £2462. 1s. 2.50 d. There are six perpetual cures within the union, namely, Grange, Eglish, Killylea, Lisnadill, Armaghbreague, and Ballymoyer, the endowments of which amount to £440 per annum, paid by the rector out of the tithes. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recommended that the union, on the next avoidance of the benefice, be partially dissolved, and the district of Ballymoyer erected into a new parish; and that the deanery and consolidated rectory and vicarage, now belonging to different patrons, be united and consolidated, the respective patrons presenting and collating alternately, agreeably to the Irish act of the 10th and 11th of Chas. I., cap. 2, or that the advowson of the deanery be vested solely in the patron of the rectory and vicarage, which are of much greater value than the deanery, the patron of which to be compensated by being allowed the right of presentation to the new parish of Ballymoyer.
The cathedral church, originally founded by St. Patrick in 445, was burnt by the Danes of Ulster, under Turgesius, who, in 836, destroyed the city. At what time the present building was erected is not accurately known; the crypt appears to be of the 11th or l0th century, but there are several portions of a much earlier date, which were probably part of a former, or perhaps of the original, structure. It appears from an existing record that the roof, which for 130 years had been only partially repaired, was, in 1125, covered with tiles; and in 1262 the church was repaired by Archbishop O'Scanlain, who is supposed to have built the nave and the elegant western entrance. The cathedral was partially burnt in 1404 and 1566, after which it was repaired by Primate Hampton, who in 1612 rebuilt the tower; it was again burnt in 1642 by Sir Phelim O'Nial, but was restored by Archbishop Margetson, at his own expense, in 1675, and was further repaired in 1729 by the Dean and Chapters aided by Archbishop Boulter. Primate Robinson, in 1766; roofed the nave with slate, and fitted it up for divine service ; the same prelate commenced the erection of a tower, but when it was raised to the height of 60 feet, one of the piers, with the arch springing from it, yielded to the pressure from above, and it was consequently taken down even with the roof of the building. The tower was again raised to its present height and surmounted by a spire, which, from a fear of overpowering the foundation, was necessarily curtailed in its proportion. Primate Beresford, on his translation ; to the see, employed Mr. Cottingham, architect of London, and the restorer of the abbey of St. Alban's, to survey the cathedral with a view to its perfect restoration, and the report being favourable, the undertaking, towards which His Grace subscribed £8000, was commenced under that gentleman's superintendence in 1834. The piers of the tower have been removed and replaced by others resting upon a more solid foundation, in the execution of which the whole weight of the tower was sustained without the slightest crack or settlement, till the new work was brought into contact with the old, by a skilful and ingenious contrivance of which a model has been preserved. The prevailing character of the architecture is the early English style, with portions of it the later Norman, and many of the details are rich and elegant, though long obscured and concealed by injudicious management in repairing the building, and, when the present work now in progress is completed, will add much to the beauty of this venerable and interesting structure. The series of elegantly clustered columns separating the aisles from the nave, which had declined from the perpendicular and will be restored to their original position, was concealed by a rude encasement, with a view to strengthen them ; and many of the corbells, enriched with emblematical sculpture, were covered with thick coats of cloister. Among other ancient details that had been long hidden is a sculpture of St. Patrick with his crosser, in a compartment surmounted with shamrocks, which is perhaps the earliest existing record of that national emblem; find another of St. Peter, with the keys, surmounted by a cock, discovered in the wall under the rafters of the choir. There are several splendid monuments, of which the principal are those of Dean Drelincourt, by Rysbrach; of Primate Robinson, with a bust, by Bacon ; of Lord Charlemont, who died in 1671, and of his father, Baron Caulfield. The ancient monuments of Brian Boru or Boroimhe, his son Kurehard, and his nephew Coned, who were slain in the battle of Clontarf and interred in this cathedral, have long since perished. The church, which was made parochial by act of the 15th and 16th of Geo. III., cap. 17th, occupies a commanding site ; it is 183 .50 feet in length, and 119 in breadth along the transepts.
To the east of the cathedral and Mall, on an eminence in front of the city, is a new church, dedicated to St. Mark : it is a handsome edifice in the later English style the interior is elegantly finished; the aisles are separated from the nave by a row of arches resting on clustered columns, from the capitals of which spring numerous ribs supporting a handsome groined roof. This church, which is indebted for much of its decorations to the munificence of the present primate, was built at an expense of £3600, and contains about 1500 sittings, of which 800 are free. There are also six other churches within the union.
In the R. C. divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, which comprises also the parishes of Eglish and Grange, and forms one of the benefices of the primate : the union contains three chapels, situated at Armagh, Annacramp, and Tullysaren. The first was built about the year 1750, on ground held under different titles, the proprietors having successively devised a permanent interest therein to the congregation at a nominal rent ; the building has of late been much enlarged and improved, but is still too small for the R. C. population ; it is triple-roofed, as if intended for three distinct buildings, yet. has a good effect.
The places of worship. for dissenters are, one built in 1722 with part of the ruins of the church and monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul, and having a substantial manse in front, for a congregation of Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, who settled here about the year 1670, and endowed with a first class grant of royal bounty; one for Seceders, built about the year 1785, and endowed with a second class grant ; one for the Evangelical or Independent congregational union ; one for Wesleyan Methodists, built in 1786, with a comfortable house for the minister attached, and situated near the spot where Mr. Wesley, in 1767, frequently preached ; and one near it for Primitive Wesleyan Methodists.
The free grammar-school, to the south of the observatory, is endowed with seven townlands in the parish of Loughgilly, comprising 1514 acres, and producing a clear rental of £1317. granted in trust to the primate and his successors in 1627, for the support of a grammar school at Mountnorris : part of the income is applied. to the maintenance of several exhibitions at Trinity College, Dublin. The buildings occupy the four sides of a quadrangle, the front of which is formed by a covered passage communicating on each side with the apartments of the head-master and pupils ; on the fourth side is the school-room, 56 feet long by 28 broad, behind which is a large area enclosed by a wall and serving as a play-ground. They were completed in 1774, at an expense of £5000, defrayed by Primate Robinson, and are capable of conveniently accommodating 100 resident pupils. A school for the instruction of the choir boys has been established by the present primate, the master of which receives a stipend of £75 per annum, and is allowed to take private pupils. The charter school was founded in 1738, and endowed with £90 per ann. by Mrs. Drelincourt, widow of Dean Drelincourt, for the maintenance and education of 20 boys and 20 girls, who were also to be instructed in the linen manufacture, housewifery, and husbandry. In that year the corporation granted certain commons or waste lands, called the â€œIrish-street commons," comprising upwards of 8 statute acres, on which the school premises, including separate residences for the master and mistress, were erected, and to which Primate Boulter annexed 13 statute acres adjoining. The endowment was further augmented with the lands of Legumin, in the county of Tyrone, comprising about 107 acres, and held under a renewable lease granted in trust by Primate Robinson to the dean and chapter : the present annual income is £249. 8s. 2d. The primate and rector the trustees, and the officiating curate is superintendent of the school, in which only ten girls are now instructed in the general branches of useful education ; the surplus funds have been allowed to accumulate for the erection of premises on a more eligible site, and it is in contemplation to convert the establishment into a day school for boys and girls. In 1819, Primate Stuart built and endowed a large and handsome edifice, in which 105 boys and 84 girls are at present taught on the Lancasterian plan, and about 160 of them are clothed, fifteen by the dean, and the remainder principally by Wm. Stuart, Esq., son of the founder. The income is about £100 per annum ; £31. 10s., is given annually by the present primate and Mr. Stuart. The building is situated on the east side of the Mall, and consists of a centre and two wings, the former occupied as residences by the master and mistress, and the latter as school-rooms. There is a national school for boys and girls, aided by a grant of £50 per ann. from the National Board of Education and by private subscriptions, for which a handsome building is now in course of erection by subscription, to the east of the Mall, with a portico in front. In Callan street is a large building erected for a Sunday school by the present primate, who has presented it to the committee of an infants' school established in 1835, and supported by voluntary contributions. At Killurney is a National school for boys and girls, built and supported by the Hon. Mrs. Caulfeild; and there are other schools in the rural part of the parish. The total number of children on the books of these schools is 653, of whom 285 are boys and 368 are girls ; and in the different private schools are 270 boys and 200 girls.
The county hospital or infirmary is situated on the north-western declivity of the hill which is crowned by the cathedral, at the top of Abbey-street, Callan street, and Dawson-street, which branching off in different directions leave an open triangular space in front, It is a fine old building of unhewn limestone completed in 1774, at an expense of £2150, and consisting of a centre and two wings; one-half is occupied as the surgeon's residence, the other is open for the reception of patients; there are two wards for males and one for females. The domestic offices are commodious and well arranged, and there are separate gardens for the infirmary and for the surgeon. The entire number of patients relieved in 1834 was 3044, of whom 563 were admitted into the hospital, and 71 children were vaccinated: the expenditure in that year amounted to £1145-8s.-8d., of which £500 was granted by the grand jury, and the remainder was defrayed by private subscription. Prior to the establishment of the present county infirmary by act of parliament, the inhabitants had erected and maintained by private contributions an hospital called the " Charitable Infirmary, situated in Scotch-street, which they liberally assigned over to the lord primate and governors of the new establishment and it was used as the county hospital until the erection of the present edifice. The fever hospital, situated about a furlong from the city, on the Caledon road, was erected in 1825, at an entire cost, including the purchase and laying out of the grounds, &c., of about £3500, defrayed by the present primate, by whose munificence it is solely supported. It is a chaste and hand-some building of hewn limestone, 50 feet in length and 30 in width, with a projection rearward containing on the ground floor a physicians room, a warm bath and washing-room, and on the other floors, male and female nurses' rooms and slop-rooms, in the latter of which are shower baths. On the ground floor of the front building are the entrance hall, the matron's sitting and sleeping-rooms, and a kitchen and pantry: the first and second floors are respectively appropriated to the use of male and female patients, each floor containing two wards, a fever and a recovery ward, the former having ten beds and the latter five, making in an thirty beds. The subordinate buildings and offices are well calculated to promote the object of the institution: there is a good garden, with walks in the grounds open to convalescents ; and with regard to cleanliness, economy, and suitable accommodation fur its suffering inmates, this hospital is entitled to rank among the first in the province.
The Armagh district asylum for lunatic poor of the counties of Armagh, Monaghan, Fermanagh, and Cavan, was erected pursuant to act of parliament by a grant from the consolidated fund, at an expense, including purchase of site, furniture, &c., of £20,900, to be repaid by instalments by the respective counties comprising the district, each of which sends patients in proportion to the amount of its population, but is only charged for the number admitted. It has accommodation for 122 patients, who are admitted on an affidavit of poverty, a medical certificate of insanity, and a certificate from the minister and churchwardens of their respective parishes. The establishment is under the superintendence of a board of directors, a resident manager and matron, and a physician. Thirteen acres of ground are attached to the asylum, and are devoted to gardening and husbandry. The male patients weave all the linen cloth used in the establishment, and the clothing for the females; gymnastic exercises and a tennis-court have been lately established. From the 14th of July, 1825, when the asylum was first opened, to the 1st of Jan., 1835, 710 patients were admitted, of whom 400 were males and 310 females: of this number, 305 recovered and were 10 discharged; 121 were discharged relieved; 70 un-relieved and restored to their relations; 89 died and 16 were transferred to the asylum at Londonderry; leaving in this asylum 109. The average annual expense for the above period amounted to about £1900, and the average cost of each patient, including clothing and all other charges, was about £11 per annum.
Among the voluntary institutions for the improvement of the city the most remarkable is the association for the suppression of mendicity, under the superintendence of a committee, who meet weekly. For this purpose the city is divided into six districts, and eight resident visiters are appointed to each, one of whom collects the subscriptions of the contributors on Wednesday, and distributes them among the paupers on the ensuing Monday. The paupers are divided into three classes, viz., those wholly incapacitated from industrious exertion; orphans and destitute children; and paupers with large families, who are able in some measure, though not wholly, to provide for their subsistence. The viisiters personally inspect the habitations of those whom they relieve, and report to the general committee. The paupers are employed in sweeping the streets and lanes, by which means the public thoroughfares are kept in a state of great cleanliness; and itinerant mendicants are prevented from begging in the streets by two authorised beadles: "The Robinson Loan Fund" consists of an accumulated bequest of £200 by Primate Robinson, in 1794, held in trust by the corporation, and lent free of interest, under an order of the Court of Chancery made in Feb. 1854, in sums of from £10 to £30, to tradesmen and artificers resident or about to settle in the city, and repayable by instalments at or within 12 months; and there is another fund for supplying distressed tradesmen with small loans to be repaid monthly. A bequest was made by the late Arthur Jacob Macan, who died in India in 1819, to the sovereign and burgesses and other inhabitants of Armagh, for the erection and endowment of an asylum for the blind, on the plan of that at Liverpool, but open indiscriminately to all religious persuasions, and, if the funds should allow of it, for the admission also of deaf and dumb children, with preference to the county of Armagh. The benefits derivable under the will are prospective, and are principally contingent on the death of certain legatees.
â€˜Basilica Vetus Concionariaâ€™," the old preaching church," was probably used in later times as the parish church : a small fragment still remains contiguous to the cathedral where the rectors of Armagh were formerly inducted.
The priory of the Culdees, who were secular priests serving in the choir of the cathedral, where their president officiated as precentor, was situated in Castle-street, and had been totally forsaken for some time prior to 1625, at which period the rents were received by the archbishop's seneschal, and the whole of its endowment in lands, &c,' was granted to the vicars choral. Temple Bridget, built by St. Patrick, stood near the spot now occupied by the R. C. chapel. He also founded â€˜Temple-na-Feartaâ€™ , or "the church of the miracles;' without the city, for his sister Lupita, who was interred there, and whose body was discovered at the commencement of the 17th century in an upright posture, deeply buried under the rubbish, with a cross before and behind it,
The site of the monastery of St. Columba was that. Now occupied by the Provincial Bank, at the north-east corner of Abbey street; the two Methodist chapels stand on part of its gardens. There are many other vestiges of antiquity in the city and its vicinity. The most ancient and remarkable is â€˜Eamhuin Machaâ€™ or â€˜Eamania,â€™ the chief residence of the Kings of Ulster, situated two miles to the west, near which several celts, brazen spear heads, and other military weapons have been found. Crieve Roe, adjoining it, is said to have been the seat of the only order of knighthood among the ancient Irish; its members were called "Knights of the Red Branch," and hence the name of the place. In the same neighbourhood is the Navan Fort, where also numerous ornaments, military weapons, horse accoutrements, &c., are frequently found; and on the estate of Mr. John Mackey, in the townland of Kennedy, are the remains of two forts, where petrified wood and other fossils have been found. In the primate's demesne are extensive and picturesque ruins of an abbey; near the asylum are the walls of Bishop's Court, once the residence of the primates; and on the banks of the Callan are the remains of the tumulus of "Nial of the hundred battles." On a lofty eminence four miles to the south-east is â€˜Cairnamnhanaghan,â€™ now called the "Vicar's Cairn," commanding an extensive and pleasing prospect over several adjacent counties. It is a vast conical heap of stones in the parish of Mullaghbrack, covering a circular area 44 yards in. diameter , and thrown together without any regularity, except the encircling stones, which were placed close to each other, in order to contain the smaller stones of which the cairn is composed. Its size has been much diminished by the peasantry, who have carried away the large stones for building; but the proprietor, the Earl of Charlemont, has prohibited this destruction. Coins of Anlaff the Dane, Athelstan, Alfred, and Edgar have been found in and around the city. Armagh gives the title of Earl to His Royal Highness Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.