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Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001

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Dromore Parish

Dromore town Dromore Church of Ireland Cathedral 1st Presbyterian Church 2nd Presbyterian Church
Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church Drumlough Presbyterian . Dromore Catholic Church
Dromore House The Bishop's Palace or Loyola House or Dromore House Lappogues Scutch Mill  

 

The town of Dromore

Dromore grew up around the site of a 6th century monastery founded by St. Colman. The Vikings plundered the town in 9th & 10th centuries and in 1177 the Norman invaders built the fort. Cathedral status was granted in 1240. In 1557 there were no buildings in Dromore only some old thatched houses, a ruined church and the remains of Dromore Castle. Four side walls remain today of the square building which was probably the ancient residence of the bishops. The Market House was built in 1732. By 1821 there were 363 inhabited houses and 1,860 inhabitants. It is situated on the River Lagan which separates it into two equal portions.

At the eastern end of Dromore there is a high Danish rath or fort of great extent, one of the largest in the north of Ireland. (Email me for a photo). The Bishop's court, the manor court and the court of petty sessions are held in the town. R. Dickson Esq. was seneschal & T. Douglass & C. Herron Esqs were the magistrates in 1836. There was a dispensary under the care of Dr. Scott which was supported by the local churches. The court house, with a market house underneath was situated in Market Square. It was very plain and dirty looking in 1836. Munro's Hotel was in Market Square. It was a large comfortable house but was of little use as the town rarely got any visitors.

Church St, Dromore taken 2007.

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1836 go on to describe Dromore as having narrow, dirty streets and the outskirts hilly. There were 459 houses in the town, of these, 215 were thatched and the remainder slate roofed. The 264 one-storey houses situated on the outskirts were "wretched looking hovels". The houses situated in Market Square and in the street leading from it to the church were mostly neat and commodious. They were generally built of stone or stone and brick. The town was neither lighted or paved then. A board of commissioners was established in 1837 and they were determined to clean up the town. They started with cleansing first. This was to be paid for by taxing the inhabitants of the town.

There were not libraries or reading rooms. There was formerly a book club but the members dying away, the books were sold. There were no banks. There was an attempt back in 1824 to establish a savings bank but it did not succeed. The Markets were held every Saturday when meat & potatoes were sold. Fairs were held on the 12th May & 10th October, also on the first Saturday in March and August and on the Saturday next before Christmas. They were attended more for business than diversion. Horses, cattle, pigs and sheep are sold at these fairs. In 1846 the population of the parish was 14,954 with 2110 people living in town. In 1886 there were four hem stitching factories with two devoted to the weaving of linen cambric handerchiefs . At least 300 people worked from home making handloom linens . The population in 1910 was 2800 people.

The Catholic Parochial House is in Dromore. Dromore Mound ( Anglo & Norman motte & bailey) are in Ballyvicknacally townland just outside town.

Try http://www.lisburn.com/books/dromore/dromore2.html & the Dromore & District Historial Society Journal's on http://www.lisburn.com/dromore-historical/Journal-1/journal-1-1.html

Newspaper articles from the Northern Star;
Linen Market notice 18 Feb 1792; a meeting of the Dromore Union Company Volunteers 29 Dec 1792; meeting of Dromore Battalion, Waringsford, Annaclone, Knocknagorm & Donaghcloney Volunteers 5 Jan 1793; address from Dromore Reading Society to Rev. Thomas Cuming 11 Jan 1796

Newspaper article from Northern Herald;
Orangemen fined for marching on 12th July 29 Mar 1834

Newspaper articles from the Down Recorder;
public meeting Poor Law:house & demesne devastation 29 Mar 1845: lawless population 4 Mar 1848: article on the old cross 17 Jul 1886;

Newspaper article from Newtownards Chronicle;
two factories burnt down 2 Mar 1889

References;V12 p 71, 72 OSM: NS; DR ; O'L B p 492;ODHD p1-27;POD

 

Dromore Cathedral, Church of Ireland

Cathedral Church of Christ the Redeemer

the parish church in Church St near the bridge

The cathedral church in Dromore was built on the site of a pre-Norman monastic site associated with St Colman and the cross survives from this early monastery . Harris' 'History of Down' describes the Dromore church in 1557 as a ruined church with a few thatched houses nearby. It was burnt down during the 1641 Rebellion.It is also on the site of the original abbey built in 1661 by Bishop Jeremy Taylor at his own expense. The inscription on the bell reads; "40- Bequeathed by Madam Joanna Rust, John Magill Esq., Matthew Stothard Gent, churchwardens, 1708". It was remodeled and enlarged in 1808 and again at the expense of the bishop, Thomas Percy. In 1836 it was described as a stone building, roughcast and whitewashed with a low tower in which there was a bell and a clock. There was formerly a spire on the tower but it was taken down as it was found to be in a dangerously ruinous state. Its dimensions were 80 feet by 30 feet. The rector/curate in 1847 was Rev. H.R. George.

Inside there were two galleries and neat arranged pews with could hold 650 people with an average attendance of 500 people. As it is a cathedral church, there is on each side of the communion table a throne, one for the bishop, and the other for the dean. It was strange that although it was a cathedral there wasn't an organ. It as further enlarged in 1868 and 1899 when a new chancel and apse and broad north aisle were added. Both Bishop Taylor and Bishop Percy were leading churchmen in their day. Jeremy Taylor wrote 'Holy Living' and Samuel Johnson said of Bishop Percy that " A man out of whose company I never go without having learned something. I am sure that he vexes me sometimes, but I am afraid that it is by making me feel my own ignorance." There is a memorial in the cathedral stating that he died 30th September 1811 aged 83. When the improvements were made in 1868 Robert Harrison discovered five human skulls in a vault which was thought to have belonged to Bishop Taylor, his wife and three other bishops. The 10th century Celtic cross in the graveyard was originally in the market place. The rector in 1846 was Rev Edward Leslie with curates, Rev J.A. Beers & Rev Richard Smith. The rector in 1886 was Rev Canon Hayes with Rev E.H. Nuns as curate & Henry W. Hall as organist (POD). In 1910, the rector was Rev. Canon Harding with Rev. W.J. Cooke as curate.

Newspaper article from Down Recorder;
Several memorial windows were installed 17 Feb 1872

Records available are baptisms 1784-1834 & 1834- 1871, marriages 1784- 1845, burials 1784- 1873; PRONI has Baptisms, 1784-1871; marriages, 1784-1845; burials, 1784-1812 and 1816-73; burials available 1784-1873 at pay-per-view http://www.rootsireland.ie ; confirmation lists, 1823-46 (with gaps).MIC/583/35-36 ; graveyard attached, oldest stone 1693: gravestones inscriptions UHF Vol 19 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

Try http://www.dromorecathedral.co.uk/

References;V12 p 71, 73, 74 OSM: MS WAG p 23; DR: HMNI p92; V19 MIs; GIC GIPR; IPP p 115; POD

 

1st Presbyterian Church, Dromore

1st Presbyterian Church
on Castlewellan Road in Drumbroneth townland

The original meeting house was built by Bishop Jeremy Taylor in 1660. The first minister was Rev. Henry Hunter followed by Rev. William Leggat in 1670 . After a period of unrest came Rev. Alexander Colville in 1700 until his death in 1719.

A new church was rebuilt in 1727 on the site of the old church because in 1724 the congregation divided, most left to join the Non Subscribers but the minority flourished. Rev. Alexander Colville, son of the previous minister had been refused the position because he would not subscribe to the Westminister Confession of Faith. He returned after a stay in London and installed, causing the split.

The first minister after the split was Rev. James Allen in 1726 until 1752. The next minister from 1753-1776 was Rev William Henry. He was suceeded by Rev. John Cochrane in 1777 until his death in 1779. Next was Rev. James Waddle/ Waddell in 1784 until his death in 1815 and was suceeded by Rev. James Collins from 1816 .

The church was repaired in 1830 at a cost of £130 which was raised by subscription. There were some more repairs in 1836 the cost of which was £120. It was described then as a stone, roughcast, whitewashed building capable of holding 1,200 people with the average attendance in at that time of 700 people. The salary of the minister, Mr. James Collins (1824 & 1836), was £100 (Irish) & £73 (British currency). Rev. Collins became infirm so Rev. Jackson Smyth took over until 1860 when Rev. Dr. James Kirker Strain became minister until at least 1904 . The minister in 1910 Rev John Carson Greer. . The congregation eventually pulled down the old T-shaped thatched church, opening a large new building on the same site in 1915 when Rev. Thomas Doey was minister. .

Records available are baptisms from 1857, marriages 1784-1845; graveyard attached, gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 19; oldest gravestone 1807 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

(This photo was kindly sent to me by Ella Patterson.)
See the church website http://www.lisburn.com/books/dromore/dromore3.html

References;V12 p 71, 73, 74 OSM ; HCPCI p122-123; TCOTH; V19 MIs; GIPR: GIC; MC;POD

 

2nd Dromore Presbyterian

2nd Presbyterian Church-
known as Banbridge Road Presbyterian , across from the Cathedral

In 1836 local Presbyterians approached the Synod for a new church.The site for the meeting house was acquired in 1838 and building started in 1841. The congregation was organised by Rev. John McKee who was pastor until his death in 1877. Rev James Rentoul of Co Antrim was appointed in 1878 and remained until his death in 1917. (ODHD p21)

Records from 1851; gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 19; oldest stone 1846 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

Showing the older church at the back with the gravegard This photo of the front of the church was kindly sent by Debbie Jones References;V19 MIs; GIPR: MIs;ODHD p21

 

Dromore Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church

Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church, Dromore
in Rathfriland Street, Dromore, in Balleny townland, approached from Rampart Street

The congregation dates from 1724 after the split with the 1st Presbyterian. The church was rebuilt in 1802 with the cost defrayed by subscription. It was described in 1836 as a plain, stone building. The inside had pews and a gallery, capable of holding 1,000 people with the average attendance then of 500. The minister 1819 was Rev James Bankhead & in 1836 was Rev. Robert McClelland whose salary was £100 (Irish) and £60 (British) . In 1846 & 1852 the minister was Rev W.B. Minnis & before 1879 was Rev. Robert Miller & in 1910, Rev. Alfred Davison.

records from 1845; the graveyard was established 1831; gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 19; email me for a gravestone look-up
This photo was kindly sent to me by Roy Creighton.

References;V12 p 71, 73, 74, 75 & OSM; V 19 MIs; GIC: GIPR; ODHD p ; POD 8;http://www.nspresbyterian.org/churches/church24/churchdetail.htm

 

Drumlough Presbyterian Church

Drumlough Presbyterian Church
at the eastern end of the parish, 6km SE of Hillsborough

The meeting house was built in 1813 & 1814 at a cost of £850 which was raised by the congregation and donations from several resident landlords. The first minister was Rev. Samuel Crory in 1819 until he was set aside following certain charges in 1852. Rev. John McClelland was ordained in1852 but Rev. Crory was subsequently restored.

In 1836, the church was described as a neat, stone, roughcast, white-washed building. The inside was plainly fitted with 86 pews which held 188 people. At that time, average attendance in summer was 550 people and in winter 300. The minister in 1910 was Rev. T. Bill.

The church joined with Annahilt Presbyterian under Rev. John Scott Martin in 1974 . The minister from 1998 is Rev. Gary Glasgow.

Records from 1827, PRONI has births from 1842; graveyard nearby, gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 19 ; oldest grave 1830; email me for a gravestone look-up

References;V12 p 71, 76 OSM; HCPCI p127; V 19 MIs ; GIPR ; GIC;POD; PE

 

St. Colman's Catholic Church, Dromore

St. Colman's Catholic Church
in Gallows Hill, Hillsborough Rd, Dromore, Ballymaganlis townland

During the period of the penal laws the Catholics in the district worshipped at the area known as the Mass Forth. After the end of the penal laws the Church of Ireland bishop, Thomas Percy, gave this site to the Catholic community to build a church. St. Colman's was built in 1785 and renovated in 1829 at a cost of £350. In 1836 it was described as a stone building, roughcast and whitewashed which was built at a cost of £350, raised by public subscription. It held 600 people with an average attendance of 500. When Father McCartan was appointed parish priest in 1859 he found the chapel a mere hovel and the parochial schools in ruins. He at once took steps to improve this aspect of affairs.The chapel was replaced on a nearby site between October 1871 and September 1873 . The original church was demolished to make way for the new building. The church was attacked by arsonists 6 Jan 1993 , repaied then attacked again 28 Nov 1994 with £ 30,000 worth of damage.

Parish priests; Rev Murtagh O'Lavery 1704; Rev Hugh Shields also 1704; Rev Downey 1720; Rev Lavery 1738; Rev Edward Greenan 1772; Rev Andrew Murnin 1782; Rev Michael Morgan 1800; Rev Arthur McArdle 1801-1814; Rev James Moore 1814-1821; Rev Hugh McConville 1821- 1844; Rev John Sharkey 1844- 1859 (Rev John Mooney as curate) ; Rev William McCartan 1859- 1907; Rev John O'Hare 1907- 1920- Rev George McCory 1920- 1925;Rev Patrick Greenan 1925-1931; Rev Michael Francis Gallogly 1931- 1941; Rev James Murney 1941- 1952; Rev Michael O'Hare 1952- 1964; Rev Joseph O'Hagan 1974- 1987; Rev Malachy Finegan 1987- 1988; Rev Cathal Jordan 1988- 1990; Rev Gerard Conway 1990+

PRONI (Mic 1d/29) & NLI have baptisms 1823- 1881, marriages 1821-1882, burials 1821-1882; LDS has baptisms 1823-1881 Film #926081 ; UHF has baptism & marriages 1821-1900 & deaths 1845-1900; graveyard attached, gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 19; oldest gravestone 1835

References;V12 p 71 ,73, 74 OSM: MS WAG p 24; V 19 MIs; GIC: TIA; DDPP p51,52,53; MIs

 

Bishops' Palace & Loyola House

Bishops' Palace or Dromore House or Loyola House

This is a photo of The Bishops' Palace which then was renamed Loyola House.

The Bishop's Palace was built in 1781 by Bishop William Beresford. It was owned by Roger Magennis' family c. 1820 and called Dromore House. It was improved and the grounds were laid out by Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore, 1782-1881. It continued as residence for Bishops of Dromore until 1842 when it was sold to James Quinn when the see was absorbed by Down & Connor. It was used as a school after 1842. Residence of John H. Quinn in 1852.

In 1883/4 it was sold to the Jesuit Order for £8,200 , who renamed it Loyola House and ran it as a novitiate house. However, the novitiate house only operated for four years and closed in 1888. During those four years one of the more famous visitors was Gerard Manly Hopkins who wrote sonnets while staying there in 1887. It was then the residence of Capt T.H. Wallace. Dromore Golf Club used the grounds 1895-1910. The Jesuits retained possession of the property until January 1918 when it was sold for £8,840. It was in ruins and now demolished.

References;MSWAG p 27; PNNI V6 p 115 ; POD 1852; ODHD p 20;DDPP p59,60


Lappoges Scutch Mill- Creighton's

This photo taken 1 Apr 1938 and following caption were kindly sent to me by Roy Creighton.(rcreighton33@tiscali.co.uk)

The Mill was situated beside the River Lagan at Leapough, a couple of mile from Dromore, and not very far from its`source. It was owned by an Alexander Creighton (d.1894), and eventually was sold to McQuillan Quarries. The Mill was part of Creightons` farm.

The Lady outside the cottage door is a Mrs. McKee who lived there, and when the Lagan overflowed in winter, they had to put canvas bags on the windows at the back of the cottage, and climb out over them to enable them to get to work.
The Mill is at the right of the photograph and unfortunately in the 1920s`a young girl, Kathleen Bryson, aged 6, was caught up in one of the mill machines and was killed.

The cottage and Mill are still there, but buried under tons of quarried rock.The only recognisable part of the mill remaining is part of the chimney.

 

by Ros Davies