Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Co. Down

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. Down.

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    DONAGHADEE, a sea-port, and post-town, and a parish, in the barony of ARDES, county of DOWN and province of ULSTER, 14.50 miles (N. E. by E.) from Belfast city, and 94.50 (N. N. E.) from Dublin city; containing 7627 inhabitants, of which number, 2986 are in the town.

    It is situated on the coast in lat. 540 38' 20" and lon. 5o 31' 50" and is one of the three principal stations for post-office packets. It anciently belonged to the monastery of Black Abbey, in the county of Down. The town comprises several streets, which are wide and well kept, and contains 671 houses. From being the point of communication between Ireland and Scotland, as it is only 22 miles distant from Portpatrick (Scotland); it has been a packet station from a very early period. The voyage across the channel is generally made by steam vessels in about three hours. Its natural harbour is small, but has lately been greatly improved by the erection of two large stone piers carried out on ledges of rock to a depth of sixteen feet at low water, and enclosing a space of about 200 yards each way outside the original harbour. A great part of the interior has been excavated to the same depth as the entrance; the original estimate for the improvement of this harbour, which commenced in 1821, was £145,453, of which up to Jan. 5th, 1834, £143,704. 5s. 8d., had been expended. When finished, vessels drawing 16 feet of water may safely enter it at any period of the tide. The stone of which the piers, lighthouse, &c., are built, is the Anglesey marble. The lighthouse, at the extremity of the south pier, is a stationary red light. Donaghadee is a creek to the port of Belfast, and has a harbour master and one custom-house officer. Its principal imports are coal and timber, and its principal exports, live cattle and pigs. Nearly all the poor females are employed in embroidering muslin, chiefly for the Glasgow manufacturers above £20,000 per ann. is paid as wages for this work, which was introduced in 1805. There are many wind and water mills, several of which are employed in dressing flax. There is no regular market ; fairs are held on June 13th, Aug. 16th, Oct. 10th, and on the second Saturday in December. It is a constabulary police station, and the head of a coast-guard district, under the control of a resident inspecting commander, which comprises the twelve stations of Hollywood, Bangor, Crawfordsburn, Orlockhill, Groomsport, Donaghadee, Mill-isle, Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert, Cloghy, Taragh, and Strangford.

    The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 9593 statute acres, which, with the exception of 32.50 of water and about 1000 of bog, marsh, and waste land, are all arable : the land is in general well cultivated, producing velvet good crops. A considerable tract of bogs and part of Gransha moss, in this parish, are valuable as fuel, but are fast diminishing by cultivation. Slate of inferior value is obtained, and at a considerable depth is abundant and of excellent quality. Clay-slate is sometimes used for repairing the roads. A court of record is held by the seneschal of the manor, which has jurisdiction by attachment to the extent of £20, and by civil bill to the extent of 40s., over this parish, the district of Black Abbey, and the homeland of Killyvalgen, in the parish of Ballywalter. It is held in the court-house once in three weeks, where also a court-leet is held annually in May; for the election of officers for the town and manor ; and petty sessions are held every Wednesday.

    In the town are the handsome residences of D. Delacherois, Esq., its proprietor, and of S. Delacherois, Esq., Capt. Leslie, R. N., Mrs. G. Leslie, Mrs. Vaughan, and others ; and near it are Carrodore Castle, the seat of N. D. Crommelin, Esq. ; Ballywilliam Cottage, of Lady Charlotte Jocelyn; and the glebe-house of the Rev. J. Hill.

    The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Down, and in the patronage of the Lord Primate; at its institution it was endowed with all the alterages, and one-third of the tithes of corn and hay, and one-half of the townland of Mulletullenaghragh, as a glebe : the rectory is appropriate to the see of Armagh. The tithes amount to £720, of which £480 is paid to the lessee of the appropriator, and £240 to the vicar. The glebe-house was built in 1816 ; the glebe comprises 13 acres. The church is a large, ancient, cruciform structure, for the repair of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £200. A lofty tower as built at its western end, in 1833, at the expense of D. Delacherois. Esq., aided by £50 bequeathed for that purpose by the late S. Delacherois, Esq.

    In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish is in the union or district of Newtown-Ardes.

    There are two Presbyterian meeting-houses in the town, one of which is in connections with the Synod of Ulster, also one at Mill-isle of the third class. At Ballycopeland is one in connection with the Seceding Synod, of the second class, and one in the same connection at Carrodore, of the third class. The Primitive Methodists also have a meeting-house in the town.

    The parochial school was founded by Lady Mount-Alexander, for the education of 30 boys; there are two schools under the National Board at Carrodore, one of which is aided by an annual donation from Mrs. Crommelin; a school of 70 girls is supported by subscription, and there are three others in the town : there are also an infants' school and 10 private schools in the parish.

    A dispensary and infirmary are supported in the customary manner. Lady Mount-Alexander, by will dated 1769, bequeathed a perpetual annuity of £120 payable out of her estates in this parish to charitable purposes. Dr. Sempil bequeathed £20 per ann., and S. Delacherois, Esq., gave £100, the interest of which, with the former bequest, is annually distributed among the poor by the vicar.

    Close to the harbour is a rath, seventy feet high with a large platform on its summit commanding a fine view of the channel and surrounding country. A castellated powder magazine has been erected on its top which is approached by winding roads cut round the sides. Many smaller rates are scattered over the parish.