Accompanying Lewis map for Tyrone
CASTLEDERG, or DERG-BRIDGE, a market and post-town, in the parish of SKIRTS, barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 8 miles (S.) from Strabane, and 107? (N.) from Dublin; containing 575 inhabitants. The town is indebted for its origin to Sir John Davis, attorney-general for Ireland to Jas. I., to whom a grant of 2000 acres of land, then called Garertagh, was made in 1609, on which Sir John, prior to 1619, built a castle and established 16 British families; he also erected a stone bridge over the river Derg, adjoining the castle, which, being the first built over that river, gave the town the name of Derg-Bridge, by which it is still frequently called. Sir John had another grant of land at Claraghmore, upon which he built a castle, called Kerlis, and constructed a causeway, seven miles long and eight feet wide, in a straight line over mountains and through bogs, from one castle to the other. Several parts of this road are still traceable, but others have been broken up to make the road from this town to Drumquin. In the war of 1641, Sir Phelim O'Nial besieged the castle of Derg; and although he was driven away with disgrace and considerable loss of men, horses, and ammunition, yet he so greatly injured it that it was never afterwards repaired, and remains a noble pile of ruins on the northern bank of the river. The bridge erected by Sir John Davis remained till 1835, when it was taken down, and a handsome bridge of hewn stone, of four arches, has been erected.
The town, which is also called Castle-Derrick and Churchtown, is situated on the road from Newtown-Stewart to Pettigo, and on the new line of road from Londonderry to Enniskillen, between which places two coaches running daily pass through it. It consists of one principal and two smaller streets, containing 105 houses, many of which are large and well built, and has much improved under the patronage of Sir R. A. Ferguson, Bart., its proprietor, who has lately built a very handsome inn. The market is on Friday, and is large and well attended; a fair is held on the first Friday in every month. A constabulary police force has been stationed here; petty sessions are held on alternate Saturdays; a court for the manor of Hastings every third Saturday, in which debts under 40s. are recoverable; and a monthly court for the manor of Ardstraw, for debts to a similar amount. There was anciently a church in the town, which was in ruins in 1619, when it was rebuilt by Sir John Davis; but being destroyed by Sir Phelim O'Nial in 1641, there was no church till 1731, when the present neat edifice was built by Hugh Edwards, Esq., of Castle-Gore, and was much improved in 1828. There is a national school for boys and girls, and a dispensary. Hugh Edwards, Esq., in 1735, bequeathed an acre of land on which to build a schoolhouse, and #24 annually for the support of a master, to teach eight poor boys, but the school was not built; it is now, however, about to be erected and endowed. Not far from the town are the ruins of Castle-Gore, formerly the residence of the proprietors of the Manor-Hastings estate.-See SKIRTS.
CLAUDY, a village, in the parish of URNEY, barony of STRABANE, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (S. S. w.) from Strabane ; containing 176 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from Londonderry to Sligo, and on the river Finn, comprising one irregularly built street containing 44 houses, most of which are old. Fairs for the sale of cattle, sheep, and pigs, are held on Aug. 1st and Nov. 16th. Close to the village is a handsome bridge of seven arches over the Finn, connecting Claudy with the county of Donegal. Prior to the erection of this bridge, there was an important ford here, which was contested with great slaughter by the partisans of William and James, in I 688 ; and at the time of the siege of Londonderry it was a strong post under Col. Skeffington, who was driven from it by the Duke of Berwick, a short time before Jas. II. crossed the Finn at this place.-See URNEY.
SKIRTS, or SKIRTS of URNEY, also called DERG, a parish, in the barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 8 miles (W.) from Newtown-Stewart, on the river Derg ; containing, with the post-town of Castlederg, 3113 inhabitants. This parish, which in the ecclesiastical divisions is generally known as Derg, Derg-bridge, or Castlederg, was formerly considered to be included in the parishes of Urney and Ardstraw, but in 1812 the portion of the latter parish was claimed by its rector, and since that period the parish has been called the Skirts of Urney. It comprises 17 townlands, containing (together with the portion of Ardstraw before mentioned), according to the Ordnance survey, 14,286 statute acres. Petty sessions are held every second, and a court for the manor of Hastings every third, Saturday, at Castlederg, where also are held a monthly court for the manor of Ardstraw and a monthly fair. The living is a perpetual cure, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Rector of Urney : the tithes of the 17 townlands, over which the cure extends, amount to #258. 9. 3. The glebe-house is a neat building, erected in 1795, at an expense of #200, of which #150 was a gift from the late Board of First Fruits ; and there is a glebe of 30 Cunningham acres, The church is situated at Castlederg, which see, In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Urney : the chapel is at Castlederg ; and there is a place of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Seceding Synod. About 270 children are educated in the national schools at Castlederg, Ganvaghan, Kilelean, and Mount Bernard, of which the first and last are patronised by Sir R. Ferguson, Bart.: there are also three private schools, in which are about 130 children ; and three Sunday schools.
STRABANE, an incorporated market and post-town (formerly a parliamentary borough), partly in the parishes of LECKPATRICK and URNEY, but chiefly in that of CAMUS-JUXTA-MORNE, barony of STRABANE, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 12 miles (S. S. W.) from Londonderry, 14? (N. W. by N.) from Omagh, and 107 (N. N. W.) from Dublin, on the mail coach road, and at its junction with that from Sligo, to Londonderry ; containing 4700 inhabitants. Little notice of this place occurs prior to the 14th century, when a Franciscan monastery of the third order was founded here, which flourished only for a short time and ultimately merged into the abbey of Scarvaherin. This place was formerly in the district of Munterlony, but on the formation of part of the territory of Tir-Owen into the county of Tyrone, in 1591, it was made the head of the barony of Strabane. It appears, however, to have been merely an inconsiderable village till the plantation of Ulster by Jas, I., who, in 1611, granted the surrounding district to the Earl of Abercorn, who, previously to the year 1619, had erected a strong castle, around which he built a town of 80 houses, and settled 120 families, mustering together 200 armed men, for whom, in 1612, he obtained a charter of incorporation and other valuable privileges. He also erected three water-mills for grinding corn, and began to build a church. The town now ranks the third in the county, and promises to rival Omagh and even Dungannon. In 1641 it was besieged by Sir Phelim O'Nial, who took the castle and carried off the Countess of Abercorn and detained her as a prisoner till ransomed by the payment of a large sum of money. The Irish forces of O'Nial remained for a long time in possession of the castle, till it was at length retaken by the troops under the command of Col. Sir G. Hamilton, brother of the Earl of Abercorn. In the war of the Revolution it was garrisoned for the Protestants, and on the 14th of March, 1688, afforded an asylum to the inhabitants of Dungannon and its neighbourhood, when abandoned by Col. Lundy ; but in the following month it fell into the hands of the enemy, and on the 18th of April, Jas, II. arrived in person at this place and passed the ford to Lifford. From Lifford he proceeded to Londonderry, but finding that city in a state much more opposed to his views than he had anticipated, he returned to the castle of Strabane on the 20th, and received a deputation who surrendered to him the fort of Culmore.
The town is situated on the river Morne, near its confluence with the Fin, and consists of ten principal and several smaller streets ; it contained 836 houses in 1831, since which time several more have been built and great improvements made, among which are the newly constructed roads to Londonderry, Newtown-Stewart, and Castlefin, The houses generally are well built and many of them are spacious and handsome, especially in such of the principal streets as are of more recent formation. Over the river Morne is a bridge, which has been recently widened ; and over the Foyle, by which name the united rivers Morne and Fin are called, is another, to which three arches have been added. The appearance of the town is strikingly prepossessing, and the effect is further increased by the thriving orchards attached to the houses and in the immediate neighbourhood, producing apples, pears, and cherries in abundance, The manufacture of corduroys and other cotton fabrics was formerly carried on here to a limited extent ; and in the neighbourhood are several bleach-greens, none of which at present are in operation. The principal trade is in grain, of which more is sold in this market than in any other in the county ; great quantities are annually shipped for Liverpool, Glasgow, and other ports. The provision trade is also very extensive ; more than 1000 tierces of beef and 2000 barrels of pork are annually cured here for the English market. There is a large ale and beer brewery of some celebrity, chiefly for the supply of the town and neighbourhood, yet considerable quantities are sent to Londonderry, Coleraine, Lifford, Donegal, and other places. The chief exports are wheat, oats, barley, flax, pork, beef, butter, eggs, and poultry ; and the imports, timber, iron, staves, groceries, and articles of general merchandise. The trade of the place is much facilitated by the Strabane canal, which meets the river Foyle at Leck, about three miles below the town, and is navigable for vessels of 40 tons' burden. It was constructed in 1793, at an expense of #12,000, defrayed by a grant from the Commissioners of Inland Navigation, aided by the Marquess of Abercorn, and brought into the town by two locks. On its banks are large ranges of warehouses and stores for grain, with wharfs and commodious quays, well adapted to the carrying on of an extensive trade. Near the town, on the river Foyle, is a salmon fishery, which belonged formerly to the corporation of Lifford, but is now the property of the Earl of Erne ; great quantities of fish are annually taken. The market is on Tuesday, and is largely supplied with corn, provisions, and brown linen ; and fairs are held on the first Thursday in every month, and on the 12th of May and November (O. S.), for horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. The market-house is a commodious and handsome building ; and the grain and meal markets, built by the corporation in 1823, are large and well arranged ; over the principal gateway are the arms of Strabane.
Jas. 1., in the 10th of his reign, made the town a free borough, and granted the inhabitants a charter of incorporation, by the title of the "Provost, Free Burgesses and Commonalty of the borough of Strabane", with a weekly market, two annual fairs, and the power of rcturning two members to the Irish parliament, holding a court of record and other privileges. By this charter the corporation consists of a provost, twelve free burgesses, and an indefinite number of freemen, assisted by a recorder, chamberlain, two serjeants-at-mace, and other officers, The provost, who is also clerk of the market and judge of the borough court, is annually elected on the 29th of Sept. from the free burgesses, by a majority of that body ; if no election takes place, he continues in office till the next appointment. The free burgesses fill up vacancies as they occur, from the freemen, by the provost and a majority of their own body, and also admit freemen by favour only. The corporation continued to return two members to the Irish parliament till the union, when the borough was disfranchised. The court of record held before the provost had jurisdiction to the amount of 5 marks, but after the abolition of arrest for small sums, the business of the court declined, and it has since fallen into disuse, The corporation has no property but the tolls of the fairs and market, which are under their regulation. There is a chief constabulary police station ; the quarter sessions for the county are held here in April and October ; petty sessions on alternate Tuesdays, and a court for the manor of Strabane, every month, at which debts to the amount of 40s. are recoverable. The church built here in 1619, by the Earl of Abercorn, has, since the parliamentary war of 1641, been the parish church of Camus-juxta-Morne : it has been enlarged from time to time and is now a handsome cruciform structure in the Grecian style, with a cupola, and the arms of the founder over the principal entrance. There are a spacious R. C. chapel, and two places of worship for Presbyterians and two for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. A handsome school-house, with apartments for the master and mistress, was erected in 1826 by the Marquess of Abercorn, who endowed it with #40 per ann. ; and there is a fever hospital, with a dispensary attached. About one mile from the town, on the road to Londonderry, is a chalybeate spring, containing iron, magnesia, and sulphur, held in solution by carbonic acid gas. Of the castle built by the Earl of Abercorn, nothing now remains ; the site is occupied by a dwelling-house and merchant's stores. Strabane gives the inferior titles of Baron and Viscount to the Marquess of Abercorn.
URNEY, a parish, partly in the barony of RAPHOE, county of DONEGAL, but chiefly in that of STRABANE, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 2 miles (S. S. W.) from Strabane ; containing, with the village of Claudy and part of the town of Strabane (each separately described), 7277 inhabitants. This parish, comprising 14,489? statute acres, according to the Ordnance survey, is bounded on the north-west by the county of Donegal, and is situated for the most part between the rivers Finn and Mourne, which, uniting at its northern extremity, form the Foyle. The greater portion of the land is remarkably fertile, and under its present improved treatment produces abundant crops of allkinds of grain : there is abundance of excellent limestone, which is extensively used both for building and agricul-ture ; the bogs are greatly increasing in value, and the mountains afford excellent pasturage. The inhabitants combine with their rural employments, to which most attention is given, the manufacture of linen cloth : a large mill is now in progress of erection at Seeir, upon the Mourne river, for the spinning of linen yarn. The produce of the soil and of the manufactories finds a ready market at Strabane, and much of the grain is sent to Derry by the river Finn, in barks of from 60 to 80 tons' burden, At the northern extremity of the parish is a bridge of twelve arches over the Foyle, leading to Lifford ; another near the church, over the same river, leads to Donegal ; and at Bridgetown a third of eight arches over the Mourne connects the parish with the thriving and commercial town of Strabane, It is partly within the manor of Strabane, and partly within that of Ardstraw, for the latter of which a court is held once a month at Castle-Derg. The vale of Urney is among the most fertile and highly cultivated parts of the county : the houses are in general well built, and have gardens and orchards attached to them ; those of the higher classes are embellished with flourishing plantations. The principal seats are Urney Park, the residence of Lady Galbraith ; Urney House, of the Rev, R. Hume ; Fyfinn Lodge, of Conolly Gage, Esq. ; Galany, of J. Smith, Esq. ; Ballyfatton, of M. C. Hamilton, Esq. ; and Castletown, of Major Semple.
The living is a rectory. im the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop : the tithes amount to #700. The old glebe-house having been accidentally burnt, a new one was erected in 1798, during the incumbency and at the sole expense of Dr. Fowler, the present bishop of Ossory, who did not charge his successor with any portion of the outlay. The glebe of 286 Cunningham acres is in two portions ; one, on which the glebe-house stands, contains 83 acres on the banks of the Finn, from the inundations of which river it is protected by an embankment 12 feet high and nearly a mile long; the other, called Rabstown, is let to tenants; the entire glebe is valued in the Commissioners' books at about #300 per ann, The church, in the vale of Urney, a handsome edifice in the Grecian style, built in 1734, underwent a thorough repair in 1809. The right of nomination to the perpetual cure of Skirts, or Derg, belongs to the incumbent of this benefce. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or dis-trict, comprising this parish and that of Skirts. There are places of worship for Presbyterians at Somerville and Alt, the former in connection with the Synod of Ulster and the latter with the Associate or Seceding Synod. The male and female parochial schools, built on the glebe at the joint expense of the rector and parishioners, are wholly supported by the former, who also maintains a school at Alt ; a female work school, also on the glebe, is supported by the rector's lady, and two schools at Sion and Tullywisker are aided by the Marquess of Abercorn : about 300 boys and 260 girls are taught in these schools. There are also two private schools, in which are 60 boys and 30 girls ; and four Sunday schools. Andrew Sproule, Esq., in 1801, bequeathed #1000 to the rector and churchwardens for ever, in trust for the poor of the parish, the interest of which is annually distributed in winter clothing. The Hon. and most Rev. Dr. Beresford, late Archbishop of Tuam ; the Rt. Rev. Dr. Forster, late Bishop of Kilmore ; and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Fowler, the present Bishop of Ferns and Ossory, were successively rectors of Urney.