Termonmaguirk in the 1830s

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

TERMONMAGUIRK, or TARMON-McGUIRK, a parish, partly in the barony of STRABANE, but chiefly in that of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 9 miles (S. E.) from Omagh, on the road to Dungannon and on the new line of road to Belfast; containing, with the village of Six-mile-cross (which is separately described), 10,307 inhabitants.

  • The parish, which is situated in a mountainous district, comprises, according to the Ordnance Survey, 4675 ¾ statute acres, of which 1352 ¾ are in the barony of Strabane, and the remainder in that of Omagh; of these 291 ¼ are water, and 31,817 are applotted under the tithe act.

The land is in general of good quality, but there are some extensive tracts of mountain and bog that cannot be brought into cultivation. The system of agriculture is rapidly improving under the auspices of the rector and Sir Hugh Stewart, Bart.; the cultivation of wheat has been lately introduced and attended with success in sheltered situations. There is an abundance of good freestone, with indications of coal in several parts; also an extensive range of quartz rock, in which have been found lead and copper ore.

There are several very good houses in the parish, but the only seat is Loughmacrory, the handsome residence of Sir Hugh Stewart, Bart; the principal lakes are Loughmacrory and Loughfinnee.

Of the mountains, few have any great elevation; the highest is Carrickmore, on which the village, called by the country people the Rock, is built. Fairs are held there on the last Friday in every month.

A portion of the parish, called the Eighteen Townlands, belongs to the Primate of Armagh, who by his seneschal holds a monthly court for his manor of Tonnen, at Nine-mile-house, for the recovery of debts under £10; and a court for the manor of Fena is held at Six-mile-cross, for debts under 40s.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Marquess of Waterford: the tithes amount to £803. 1. 6 ½.

  • The glebe-house was built in 1815, at an expense of £3293. 1. 7 ¼., British, of which £100 was a gift and £1500 a loan from the late Board of First Fruits, and the remainder was defrayed by the incumbent; the glebe comprises 1459 acres, valued at £680. 13. 4 per annum.
  • The church, for the repair of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £198, is a spacious edifice with a square tower, towards the erection of which, in 1786, the late Board of First Fruits contributed a gift of £500.
  • A large church is now in progress of erection at Six-mile-cross, to which will be attached a district comprising several townlands of this parish and the parish of Errigal-keroge, the church of which is 9 miles distant; in the meantime, divine service is performed in the Presbyterian chapel every Sunday before the Presbyterian congregation assembles.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church: there are three chapels, situated respectively at Creggan, Loughmacrory, and Rocktown (in Creggandevesky), and an altar at which the R.C. clergy of the parish of Cloghany officiate.

There is a place of worship for Seceders of the first class at Six-mile-cross.

About 1200 children are taught in ten public schools, of which the parochial school is supported by the rector, a school at Loughmacrory by Sir Hugh Stewart, and a school at Cloghfin by Colonel Verner; there are also four private schools, in which are about 200 children, and 13 Sunday schools, and a dispensary.

In the townland of Sluggan, on a mountain close to the road from Dungannon to Pomeroy, is preserved an ancient bell, called the Clogh of Termon, much corroded by time, which is said to have been found among the ruins of a church by one of the McGuirks; there are many traditionary records concerning it, and it is still occasionally used in cases of solemn asseveration.

About a mile to the south of the church is the isolated hill of Drummisk, on which James II encamped on his return from Strabane, in 1689, and whence he marched towards Armagh. Adjoining the village are the picturesque remains of the old church of Termon, the sidewalls and eastern gable of which are nearly perfect; the windows are of beautiful design, and the building appears to have been an elegant specimen of the decorated English style; the cemetery is still used as a favourite burial-place by the R. C. parishioners; near it is a separate burial-place for children, and within a quarter of a mile is one exclusively for women.

On the glebe are the remains of a fallen cromlech, the table stone of which is entire and of very large dimensions; and there are several forts in various parts of the parish.

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