Cookstown in the 1830s

1837
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A snapshot of pre-famine local history, as described by Samuel Lewis in the "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" 1837.

COOKSTOWN, a market and post-town, in that part of the parish of DERRYLORAN which is in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 20 miles (E. N. E.) from Omagh, and 86- (N. N. W.) from Dublin, by the mail road, but only 79 by the direct road ; containing 2883 inhabitants.

This place derives its name from its founder, Allan Cook, who had a lease for years renewable under the see of Armagh, upon whose land the old town was built, about the year 1609.

It is situated on the mail coach road from Dungannon to Coleraine, and consists of one wide street more than a mile and a quarter long, with another street intersecting it at right angles, containing 570 houses, many of which are large, well built with stone, and slated.

The present town was built about the year 1750, by Mr. Stewart, it.s then proprietor, and is advantageously situated in a fine and fertile district, which is well wooded and watered, and abundantly supplied with limestone.

A patent for a market and fairs was granted to Allan Cook, Aug. 3rd, 1628.

  • The market is on Tuesday for grain, and on Saturday for linen cloth, flax, yarn, cattle, pigs, and provisions.
  • Fairs are held on the first Saturday in every month, for general farming stock.
  • The marketplace consists chiefly of merchants' stores and shops.

At Greenvale is a large establishment for bleaching, dyeing, and finishing linens for the English markets; there are others at Wellbrook and at Ardtrca besides two large ones at Tullylaggan.

A constabulary police force has been stationed in the town.

A manorial court for the primate's manor of Ardtrea is held here once a month, for the recovery of debts under £5: its jurisdiction extends into the parishes of Lissan, Derryloran, Kildress, Desertereiglit, Arboe, Ardtrea, Clonoe, Ballyclog, Tamlaght, Ballinderry, and Donoghenry. Petty sessions are held on alternate Fridays. Close adjoining the town is Killvmoon, the residence of W. Stewart, Esq., proprietor of the town and of the land immediately adjacent; it was built from a by Mr Nash, in the pure Saxon style, and is situated in an extensive demesne, containing some uncommonly fine timber.

Not far distant are:

  • Loughry, the residence of J. Lindsey, Esq., and
  • Lissan, the seat of Sir T. Staples, Bart. The former is in a demesne of about 200 acres , finely wooded, and watered by the river Loughry : the estate was granted, in 1604, by Jas. I. to Sir Robert Lyndesay, his chief harbinger, and has ever since been the residence of the senior branch of that ancient family, which is among the claimants of the earldom of Craufurd and Lyndesay. The other seats in the vicinity are:
  • Oaklands,the residence of Capt. Richardson;
  • the glebe-house, of the Rev. C. Bardin, D. D. ; and
  • Greenvale, of T. Adair, Esq.; besides several other handsome houses in and near the town.

The parish church of Derryloran, in the southern part of the town, is a large and handsome cruciform edifice, built of hewn freestone from a design by Mr Nash, in the early English style of architecture: it has a tower and lofty octagonal spire, and the interior is fitted up in the Saxon style.

Near the centre of the town is a large and handsome Presbyterian meeting-house, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and also one in connection with the Associate Synod, each of which is of the first class and has a manse for the clergyman.

A second meeting-house in connection with the Synod of Ulster was built in 1835, and there are places of worship for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, and, at a short distance from the town, a large R.C. chapel.

An infants' school was established in 1834, by Mrs Hassard and other ladies,. for which a house is now being built; and a parochial school-house is also being erected, on land givenby Mr. Stewart: near the town are several other schools. Here are also a news-room and a dispensary.

Close to the town are

  • the ruins of the old church of Derryloran, and not far distant are
  • two large forts, one circular, the other square.
  • In Killymoon demesne are the ruins of an old meeting-house;
  • at Drumcraw is the site of a church and
  • at Loughry a fine cromlech.

- See DERRYLORAN.

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