Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Co. Cork

Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland. Here are From-Ireland.net’s records for Co. Cork.

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    CLOYNE, a market and post-town, a parish, and the seat of a diocese, in the barony of IMOKILLY, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 14 miles (E. by S.) from Cork city, and 126 (S. W. by S.) from Dublin, on the road from Middleton to the sea; containing 6410 inhabitants, of which number, 2227 are in the town.

    It originated in the foundation of the see of Cloyne by St. Colman, who died in 604. In 701, an abbey was lot erected on the west side of the cathedral, which was plundered in 978 by the people of Ossory, and again, in 1089, by Dermot, the son of Fiordhealbhach O'Brien.

    The town is pleasantly situated in a level or slightly undulating plain, and is well sheltered by rising grounds and plantations, which give great amenity to the climate. It comprises two streets intersecting each other at right angles, and contains 330 houses, most of which are small and irregularly built. The bishop's palace is a large edifice, built by Bishop Crow, in 1718, and enlarged by several of the succeeding prelates. The grounds are well arranged, and near the house is a noble terrace, extending the whole length of the garden. The palace and demesne were leased, in 1836, by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to H. Allen, Esq., for 999 years, at a rent of £450 per annum, a fine of £2000, and £1300 for the timber : Mr. Allen intends to take down all the old part of the palace. The only manufacture is that of brogues and hats, which employs about 100 persons. The market is held on Thursday. and is well attended by buyers from Cove (Cobh) and Cork. Fairs are held on Feb. 24th, Easter and Whit-Tuesdays, Aug. 1st, Sept. 12th, and Dec. 5th, for the sale of horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and implements of husbandry. It is a constabulary police station. The bishop, who is lord of the manor, appoints a seneschal, who holds a court-lee: annually, and a manor court once in three weeks. Petty sessions are held every second Wednesday.

    The parish comprises 10,324 acres, of which 9552 are subject to tithe ; the remainder consists of the bishop's lands, or those belonging to an ancient hospital, upon which part of the town is built. The soil is good, particularly in the valley, where it rests on a substratum of limestone. At Carrigacrump is a quarry of fine marble, somewhat similar to the Italian dove-coloured marble ; it is the property of Col. Hooden, The parish is intersected by that of Kilmahon, which entirely separates from it the village and ploughland of Ballycotton, forming the extreme western point of the coast in Ballycotton bay.

    Besides the Episcopal palace, the principal seats are Kilboy House, the residence of F. Rowland, Esq. ; Kilcrone, of J. Banning, Esq. ; Barnabrow, of J. R. Wilkinson, Esq ; the Residentiary-house, of the Rev. W. Welland; Cloyne House, the seat of H. Allen, Esq. ; the residence of the Rev. Dr. Hingstom Vicar-General of the diocese ; Jamesbrook Hall, of R. W. G. Adams, Esq. ; and Ballybane, of T. Gaggin, Esq. Not far from the town are Rostellan, the seat of the Marquess of Thomond, and Castle-Mary, of the Rev. R. Longingly.

    At the village of Ballycotton, four miles from Cloyne, a new district church was built in 1835, by subscription, at an expense of £330; the curate is paid by the dean and chapter and vicars choral of Cloyne, as appropriators of this parish, and by the precentor, as rector of Church-town, the district church being for the accommodation of both these parishes.

    This parish is in the diocese of Cloyne and is the head of a Roman Catholic union or district, composing the parishes of Cloyne, Churchtown, Kilmahon, and part of Kilteskin ; the chapel at Cloyne is a large, plain, old edifice.

    The diocesan school is united to that of Cork. The Cloyne Free School and charity were founded by Bishop Crow, by will dated Oct. 4th, 1726, in which he bequeathed the farm at Bohermore, and the small burgage of Cloyne for the maintenance of poor Protestant boys, after paying £8 per ann. to the widows and orphans of clergymen of the diocese. The present income exceeds £200 per annum, and ten boys are maintained, clothed, and educated for three years, at the expiration of which ; they are apprenticed, with a premium of £4 each. Six Chorister boys are also educated, supported, and clothed by the dean and chapter, and 14 free boys of the town are educated at this establishment. The school-house was erected in 1814, out of the accumulated funds of the charity, on land given by Bishop Bennett. There are also two national schools, in which are 550 boys and 366 girls.

    A fund for lending sums not exceeding £2 has long existed in the town, to which Bishop Brinkley contributed £70, and which circulates about £600 annually. A benevolent society for the relief of sick and indigent room-keepers is supported partly by voluntary contributions, and partly by the profits and tolls of the fairs and market, which were transferred to this charity, in 1833 by the late Bishop Brinkley, and are continued by the present Bishop of Cork and Cloyne. A fund for relieving the widows of the clergy of the diocese was established in 1828, which, in June 1835, had accumulated to £953. Here is also a parochial Protestant almshouse for poor persons, who receive a weekly allowance from the Sunday collections in the cathedral; also a fever hospital and dispensary.

    Opposite the western entrance to the cathedral is one of the ancient round towers, which, in 1835, was surrounded with an iron railing, at the expense of the dean and chapter, by whom it is kept in repair. This ancient structure is perfect, except the top ; the original building is 92 feet high, and a modern castelated addition has made the entire height 102 feet ; it is quite cylindrical from top to bottom, its uniform form diameter being 9 feet, and the walls being 33 inches thick. The tower is divided into five floors or stages, which are nearly perfect ; the upper story contains a bell, which was presented to the cathedral by Dean Davies in 1683, and hung here, the cathedral having no bell tower. At that time the top of the tower was open, and the bell attracted the lightning, by which it was cracked; the castellated part was therefore added for its protection. Of the ancient abbey founded in 707, or the hospital founded in 1326, there are no vestiges except the lands of the latter, which are still called the Spital fields.

    A small castle was erected here in the 14th century, by Bishop John de Cumba, but was destroyed by the Fitz-Edmunds after the Reformation. At Ballymaloe is a curious old house, built by the Fitzgeralds, who forfeited it in the war of 1641, and now the property of Mr. Forster ; in the hall are two very large pair of elks horns. In the neighbourhood are several very extensive natural caves in the limestone district, in some of which are very pure and beautiful stalactites.