One of the oldest roads in Ireland is that which runs through the centre of the village, the old stage coach route to Dublin. It has been suggested that this road must be at least 1,500 years old. Two names associated with it are Clough-na-Boter (Stoney batter or Stoney road) and Bealac - Cliat (Black Lion or Dublin Way). Here from earliest times, man with only a sharp flint on a branch, cut down trees. With a stone hammer he drove in posts to build a hut. It was the movement of such people with their animals who made tracks and paths, which later became roads.
An almost forgotten landmark in the village is the milestone, situated beside the Minor Hall, which denotes the number of miles from Magheralin to Dublin. It was at the "Black Lion" on the Newforge Road, that stage coach riders and their horses found refreshment. The famous men from Connaught are reputed to have walked from the West via Magheralin to get the boat to Fleetwood for the harvest. Apparently, in those days, people commented on their good manners compared with the locals. One imagines that long before 1800, the 'Black Lion' was an important meeting place where news from the outside world would be passed on. Doubtless, all of this gave an international flavour to the village, in an age where aeroplanes and cars had never been thought of.
The most tangible evidence of the work of the early vestries in the parish is discerned in today's rural road system around the village. Much of the present network of roads was established between 1600 and the latter part of the 19th century. It was only during the late 1800's that any uniform system of local government was established in the area. Prior to this, in a pre-welfare State only a patchwork system of road maintenance existed, with the main initiatives derived from the parish overseers, together with the landlords of the area. ,
In 1613 an Act was passed in Ireland which stipulated that every parish should elect each year, parishioners to act as "Surveyors and Orderers". These Directors and Overseers were responsible for organising maintenance of roads and bridges. Overseers were appointed to each townland and responsible for nominating six days between Easter and midsummer, during which time the parishioners would work the roads. This became known as the 'six days labour system' and is perennially recorded in the church minutes.
Directors were also responsible for inspecting the roads and collecting the cess. Their role included reporting defaulters to the justice and collecting money from the country folk. A director failing to carry out his duties was likely to be heavily fined.
Something of the role played by the Parish of Magheralin is indicated in the following entry in Vestry Minutes:
"At the Vestry duly called and held within the Parish Church of Maralin on Thursday, the eighth of September, 1796, we the Minister, Churchwardens and Parishioners then present agreed that the sum of one penny per acre be levied and raised of said inhabitant land holders of the said Parish, to repair the by-roads in the said Parish and if further agreed that all Townlands that have a proper road into said Town shall have the accounts of their own towns to repair the same and that the towns that have no roads to repair, that the cess arising from said towns shall be expended on the most principal by-roads in said Parish, and we appoint Jas. Waddell and Thos. Douglass, Esqs., Directors of said roads, and we appoint the former overseers of said roads to continue for the present year.
"It is also agreed before signing that all overseers of the by-roads in said Parish are not to receive the money coming to the said roads until said roads be repaired and make affidavit that the same is fairly and justly expended on said roads, either by he or any person they may employ, and it is agreed that Anth. Ballance be Overseer of Lismean in the room of John McKinstry of the said town."
In 1710 the network of roads in the parish is hardly extensive. Only four roads are minuted
"At a Vestry Duly called and held in Ye Parish Church of Magheralin, Easter Monday Ye tenth of April, 1710, M. West and Jas. Mathers are also chosen by Ye Parish Vestry surveyors of Ye highway leading from Magheralin to Lurgan, and Jas. Vary and Geo. Creag surveyors of Ye way to Donachloney; T. Curran and Jax. McConchey of Ye way to Moyra:
"W. Lilborne and G. A. Robinson surveyor of ye way leading from ye Windmill Ford toward Dromore:
"Alex Hanna and W. Craig are also chosen surveyors of ye way leading from ye bridge towards Dromore."
Evidently traffic was far from heavy. There were few vehicles. Arthur Young in "A Tour of Ireland" writes: "all land carriage is performed with one horse cars and carts".
By 1759, the number of maintained roads had risen considerably as the following minute indicates and the lengthy and meticulous catalogue delegating responsibility for each townland emphasises: "At a Vestry duly called and held within the Parish Church of Maralin on the third day of October 1759 being the Wednesday of Michaelmas day for applying the six days labour pursuant to the Act of Parliament in the case made and provided.
"It is agreed that John Stothard Esq. be continued Director of the High Roads within the said Parish for the ensuing year.
"It is agreed that William Brownlow Esq. be Overseer of the road from Tullyonaghan towards Lurgan Road that the inhabitants of Dunegreath are to work at the said road.
"It is agreed that Mr. Joseph Usher and Francis Hamilton be overseers of the road leading from John Dawson's thro' Tullyonaghan towards Lurgan and the Inhabitants of Derryishnahavil, Clankilloragh, Tullyonaghan, Ballymc-mean, Ballymcbreedan and Ballymcateer (except the inhabitants of the three score acres of Bally mcateer) are to work the said road.
"It is agreed that James Gorman be Overseer of the road leading from J. Douglass to Taughraine and that the inhabitants of Ballynadrone, Taughraine part of Ballymckeonan and Ballymcbreedan thro' which the Road runs are to work at said road.
It is agreed that Mr. John Waring be Overseer of the road from His Lord Bishop's Mill to William Baxter's and that the inhabitants of Ballymagin and the other part of Ballymckeanan are to work at the said road.
"It is agreed that John Agnew and Hugh Martin be Overseers of the road leading from Maralin by the Wind Mill to Greenago towards Dromore and that the inhabitants of Lishnashanker, Ballymcbreenan, Gartross, Eden-more, Taughlumny, Drumnabreeze, Feney, Dromo and Dromcro and Lismean are to work at said road.
"It is agreed that G. Robinson be overseer of the road leading from Widow Kennedy's to Burleigh's Mill and that the inhabitants of Edenballycog-gill are to work at the said road.
"It is agreed that Mr. John Cormack be Overseer of the road leading from the Gravel Pits to Clogher and the inhabitants of Killfullert and Clogher are to work the said road.
"It is agreed that William Littell be the Overseer of the road leading from Quick Sallagh Mill thro' Tullykearn to Paul's Mill and that the inhabitants of Tullykearn, Drumnaferry, Banogh and Munree are to work at the said road.
"It is agreed that Mr. Saml. Campbell be Overseer of the road leading from Donaghcloney thro' Munree and that the inhabitants of Lurgantarry and Ballymcnaly are to work at the said road.
"It is agreed that Alex Wethers be overseer of the road leading from the Lousy Bush to Matthew Cody's and that the inhabitants of Ballyleny and Bally keel are to work at the said road.
"It is agreed that John Simpson be overseer of the road leading from Moyrah to Gillhall and that the inhabitants of Gregorlogh are to work on the said road.
"It is agreed that Thomas Spence be overseer of the road leading from Maralin to James Connolly's and that the inhabitants of Maralin are to work on the said road.
"It is agreed that Robt. Magoun be Overseer of the road leading from ForgeBridge to the Three Score Acres and that the inhabitants of the Three Score Acres are to work at the said road."
It appears that the transfer of powers on roads from parishes to Grand Juries was not well received in many parishes in Ulster. Some of these were obviously reticent to change the system and continued to retain the powers to levy a cess for the repair of minor roads and bridges. In 1796 responsibility for this work was transferred to the Grand Juries, although their powers were permissive and not compulsory at this time. In Magheralin a patchwork system of road maintenance appears to operate during the period, from 1796 until 183O's, and the long list of parish overseers disappears. While the method of organisation appears "less bulky" it is evident that the church still retains the power to levy cess for the repairs of roads.
The new system divides the Parish into three Constablewicks: Ballynadrone, Edenmore and Kircassock.
"At a court of Vestry held in the Parish Church of Magheralin pursuant to a Requisition of the High Constable of the Barony of Lower Iveagh and agreeably to Act of 36 George III Case S2 for the purpose of appointing applotters of the county cess for three Constablewicks of Maralin on the 27 day of May 1835, the inhabitants and landowners present elected the following as fit and proper persons to applot the said cess for the present year viz:
For Constablewick, Ballyndrone, No. 8, Joseph McCartney; Constablewick, Edenmore, No. 9, David Monro; Constablewick, Kircassock, No.10, James Berry.
As well as the municipal role carried out by the Vestrymen, they were also called upon to perform some rather curious duties among which, one of the most unusual must surely be that of pest control. It appears that the parishioners in 1700 were greatly troubled by certain animals and birds of prey. Rewards were commonly offered by Churchwardens and Vestry for foxes and kites. The early vestry minutes make interesting reading for conservationalists. It is common to find the following entries:
"That churchwardens pay every person killing an old fox one shilling for every fox-cubb 6d provided heades of ye foxes and cubbs be brought in and hung up in ye churchyard one Sunday at least".
"At a vestry duly called and held in ye Parish Church of Machralin Easter Monday ye tenth of April 1710 it was agreed upon by ye Rector, Churchwardens and other parishioners present that ye sum of two pounds for ye sexton's wage, two pounds for bread and wine for ye Communion, repairs to ye churchyard and for 20 kites heads and a dog fox be equally applotted by the Rector and Churchwardens".
Numerous references are made in the early minutes to rewards given for kites heads. The 'going rate' per head, appears to be 4d. Until the end of the 18th century the red kite Milvus milvus was common in Britain. A bird of prey, it was known to invade towns, feeding among the rubbish littered streets.
However, it was so persecuted during the following 100 years in the interests of game preservation that it is now rare.
The spectacle of heads of foxes and kites, eminently displayed around the Churchyard on Sunday morning, is not to be relished by the faint hearted! Those of us with delicate constitutions might well recoil at such a sight. Certainly our congregation today would be less than hearty in their singing having passed these stoney eyed trophies of the jubilant hunter on their way to worship. However, it appears that the parishioners of the 1700's were less easy to offend than we are to-day. Indeed, up until 1781, they tolerated a cowhouse inside the churchyard. Minutes of 1781 read: "It is agreed that the cowhouse which the sexton has in the churchyard is to be taken away and that there is from this day out to be no incumbrance in the outside wall whereby they may be any offence to the parishioners."
Education 18th and 19th Centuries
Doubtless, the earliest school in Magheralin was that run by the monks in earliest times. The erudite picture of scholastic monks, studying manuscripts, is now reserved for our stained-glass windows in the church. Alas, no records exist to tell us a more detailed story than this.
In the early 18th century 'hedge schools' were common in Ireland. Presbyterians and Roman Catholics were denied the opportunity of formal education and so classes were held in the open, in fields or cattle shelters. The 'master' ran the risk of prosecution and imprisonment if caught! At each 'hedge school' a guard was placed outside so that the masters and students could be warned of impending police or soldiers, whose job it was to apprehend such offenders and bring them to justice. Since poverty was still the primary concern of this period, however, education was not a priority among the poor. As early as the 1700's the Vestry of this Parish was concerned with the problem of educating the poor. Thus in 1706, the following entry appears:
"Paid John McCartney, Parish Clerk, for teaching 10 poor children agreeable to will of Doctor Smith. One year's salary £2.00".
Up until the Education Act of 1831 there was no formal system of education in Ireland. Anyone who wished to set up a school was perfectly at liberty to do so. In the Parish of Magheralin, the church was responsible for sponsoring some of the schools, while others were built and supported by caring landlords, who were interested in improving the educational well-being of the young.
By 1826 an enquiry was set up by the "Commissioners of Irish Education" to report on the state of education throughout the country. The information published by the Commissioners for this area, is the earliest reliable record of schools in the Parish. The Commissioners report the existence of 10 schools in the area, the majority of these being 'barn' schools. The information published is summarised below.
In 1815 a Lancastrian School was built on the site of the Old National School. The building is described as a "good slated house" which cost £350 and was built during Rev. B. W. Dolling's incumbency. The master, Robert McVeagh, was Church of England. His annual income was £27 including £15 for acting as the Parish Clerk. A total of 58 pupils attended the school (39 males and 19 females) of which there were 40 of the Established Church (Church of Ireland) 8 Presbyterians and 10 Roman Catholics. The school was supported by the Association for Discountenancing Vice. Scripture was taught in the school and the Authorised Version of the Bible was read daily.
Thomas Collier, a Protestant master, taught 38 children in this school. There were 26 males and 12 females, 22 of these were of the Established Church; 11 were Presbyterian and 5 were Roman Catholic. Master Collier's annual income amounted to between 2/6 8/8 for each scholar. The building is described as a "good thatched house" and cost £30. The school was not assisted by any charity and Scripture was taught, using the Authorised Version.
A Presbyterian master, James Gamble, took charge of 43 pupils in this school, for which he received an Annual Income of £18. His school building is also described as a "good thatched house" which cost £30. Twenty eight of his pupils were of the Established Church, 13 were Presbyterians and only one Roman Catholic attended the school. The Authorised Version was used for the daily Scriptural reading.
Held in a barn, this school had 22 pupils. Four were of the Established Church, 18 were Presbyterian and 4 are recorded as being of other denominations. Douglas Clifford, a Protestant, received an annual income of 2/8 4/2 per quarter for each pupil. Again, the Authorised Version was used for Scripture teaching in this school.
Another barn school operated in the townland of Tullynacross. The master here was Hugh Weir, a Presbyterian, whose income ranged from 2/6 to 4/4 per quarter for each pupil. It appears that the barn was borrowed. A total of 12 pupils 8 boys and 4 girls attended the school, 10 of these belonging to the Established Church and two were Presbyterians.
John Egan, a Roman Catholic, was the master of a barn school in Ballymagin. Under the heading of 'description of the schoolhouse' the Commissioners report that this was also a borrowed barn. Twenty-five pupils attended the school, 11 of the Established Church, 12 Roman Catholics and two Presbyterians. 16 of the pupils were boys and only 9 girls. The Scriptures were read daily, the Authorised Version recorded as being used.
Sarah McEvoy was one of the two female teachers in the Parish of Magheralin. A Roman Catholic, she received only 1/6 per quarter from each of her 12 students. Four of these were of the Established Church and 8 were Roman Catholic. Mistress McEvoy also taught her pupils in a barn and read the Scriptures from the Authorised Version.
Mary Redmond's school was rather more substantial than that of Mistress McEvoy. The school at Tullyenaghan, described as a "good thatched house given by Thomas Douglas", was supported by the Ladies Hibernian Society. An all girls school, it had a total of 36 pupils in attendance. Twenty seven of these were had of the Established Church, two were Presbyterians and seven Roman Catholic. Mistress Redmond also reported that the Authorised Version was read in the school.
The school which existed here was a "good slated house" which cost
120 guineas, contributed by Kildare-place Society and Thomas Douglas. A
Protestant master, John Mahaffey, earned the annual income of £61. A total of 45 students attended the school. Of these 22 were of the Established Church, 9 were Presbyterians and 14 were Roman Catholics.
The lessons taught at Ballymacmean were conducted in a rented barn. The Presbyterian Master, Thomas Millen, received 2/6 per quarter from each of his 28 pupils. Only seven of these were girls and the religious breakdown was 22 of the Established Church, six Presbyterians and nine Roman Catholics.
MAGHERALIN NATIONAL SCHOOLS
The Commissioners' report of 1826 discovered a very disjointed system of education. As a result of their findings the Education Act of 1831 was introduced and National Schools were set up. The idea was to create 'integrated' schools. The government was to build these and be responsible for paying the teachers. Religious Instruction was to be taught by the ministers of the churches. However, it appears that this created problems and many schools came under either Protestant or Roman Catholic management.
By 1862 the Old Lancastrian School still remained outside of the National Education Board and it was some time before it came under its control. However, six National Schools were set up in the Parish- three of these established in the village. Two of these were Roman Catholic schools, one under the Principalship of John Carr. Figures for the years ending 1862 show that there were 90 children in attendance at this school 27 of the Established Church and 63 Roman Catholic. They received religious education on Saturday mornings for two hours from 10 o'clock. No Established Church pupils received religious instruction.
Mary Carr was headmistress of the RC girl's school. Ninety-nine pupils were enrolled at this school, 25 being of the Established Church and the remainder Roman Catholic. Religious Instruction/RC Catechism was taught for V2 hour each day Monday Friday, and for two hours on Saturday mornings.
Evening classes also existed in the Parish under the National Schools system. Here classes were more evenly balanced with an enrolment of 61 Established Church members and 56 Roman Catholics. The figures also indicate one Presbyterian student. Religious Instruction was given at this school.
Magheralin National School dated 1884. Part of this building is much older,
being the site of the Lancastrian School built by Rev. Dolling before 1850. The school is now known as "The Minor Hall"
DRUMLIN NATIONAL SCHOOL
One of the largest schools recorded in 1862 is that of Drumlin. Figures indicate that 178 pupils were enrolled at this school and there were five teachers. William Kernahan was the Headmaster. One hundred and eight of the students were Established Church members; six Roman Catholic; 57 were Presbyterian and seven professed a different creed. The Roman Catholic pupils received no religious instruction at this school, but the Authorised Version of the Scriptures was read to all Protestants. The hours set aside for Religious Education were V2 hour each weekday Monday to Friday and two hours on Saturdays. The Established Church and Presbyterian Catechisms were taught to Established Church members and Presbyterians respectively.
EDENMORE NATIONAL SCHOOL
Seventy-five pupils attended Edenmore School, sixty were of the Established Church, 5 were Roman Catholic, 11 were Presbyterian and 9 were classed under 'other creeds'. The New Testament, and Established Church and Presbyterian Catechisms were taught to Protestants. As in the case of Drumlin School, Roman Catholic pupils received no Religious Instruction. There were no Saturday classes at Edenmore, pupils received V2 hour Religious Instruction Monday to Friday.
DOLLINGSTOWN NATIONAL SCHOOL
One hundred and fourteen students enrolled at this school. The classification of creeds was as follows 87 students of the Established Church; two Roman Catholics and 25 Presbyterians. John Meharg, the Headmaster, was responsible for giving Religious Instruction. The Authorised Version of the Scriptures was taught, as well as the Established Church and Presbyterian Catechisms. As well as devoting lA hour each weekday to religious study, two hours were given to Religious Instruction on Saturdays. The Roman Catholic pupils again received no Religious Instruction in the school.
As can be seen from the above information strong emphasis was placed on Religious Instruction even in the National Schools. The following account of 2nd June, 1880 indicates the importance attributed to this aspect of the curriculum in the Parochial Church Schools. It was the duty of the clergy to examine the students at the end of the year. A significant day for students and teachers alike, the highlight of the year was obviously the moment that students were merited with Premiums.
"A public examination of the scholars attending the Parochial Church Schools was held on Friday, 2nd June, when the different classes were examined by the Reverend William Murdoch in Holy Scripture, History and Geography. At the conclusion of the examination, Premiums were awarded to the successful pupils by Mrs. Brooke, who at all times takes a deep interest in the welfare of the schools. The children were afterwards treated to a plentiful supply of tea and currant cake after which the Reverend E.P. Brooke gave a suitable address. The singing of the doxology brought a most enjoyable meeting to a termination." (2nd June 1880)
Dollingstown National School. Sunday evening services began here in 1886.
Maralin New School (Opened 1961)
Miss Maureen Watson (present rector's wife) with some of the first students
to move from the old National School in 1961 to the new site.
Back row: K.Burns, J. Bingham, B. Costley, T. Waddell, S. Cunningham, Miss M. Wat‑
son; third row: R. Dawson, M. Carey, ? Spence, T. McGeown, R. Gamble,
N. Douglas, R. Wallace, D. Percy, T. Spence, C. Copeland; second row: M.
Bingham, V. Copeland, D. Copeland, M. Spence, E. Copeland, M. Mac‑
Arthur, P. Stokes, K. Wethers; front row: G. Wethers, I. Hull, B. McClean,
Employment during 1800's
The quality of life certainly improved after the 1850's and employment opportunities steadily improved. During the 1800's the main areas of employment in the village were Agriculture, Quarrying and the Linen Industry.
Lewis "A topographical dictionary of Ireland" in 1837 gives the following picture of the village at this time: "The Parish contains according to the Ordnance Survey, 8293.5 statute acres of which 486.25 are in the County of Armagh and the remainder in the County of Down. The lands are all in tillage, with the exception of a proportion of meadow and about 200 acres of exhausted bog, which latter is fast being brought into cultivation: the system of agriculture is improved. Here are extensive quarries of limestone and several kilns from which lime is sent into the Counties of Antrim, Armagh and down; this being the western termination of the great limestone formation that rises near the Giant's Causeway. There are also good quarries of basalt much used in building, which dresses easily under the tool; and coal and freestone are found in the Parish, but neither has been extensively worked. A new line of road has been formed hence to Lurgan, a distance of 2. 5 miles and an excavation made through the village. An extensive establishment at Springfield, for the manufacture of cambrics, affords employment for 250 persons; and at Milltown a bleaching green annually finishes upwards of 10, 000 pieces for the English market. "
As early as 1744 the linen trade was of major importance in the area. The growing trend throughout Ulster was the expansion of linen manufacture. The "Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland" records that in Magheralin, during the 18th century "there was scarcely a farmer who was not engaged in some one of its departments".
The report also asserts "Due to the soluble calcareous property of the rocks, the springs all around are particularly suited to the washing and bleaching of linen. "
Unemployment in the village does not seem to have been a major problem in the latter half of the 1800's. The growth of linen industries in the area certainly improved conditions for those who had known poverty and hunger in the first half of the century. By 1886, linen weaving and finishing were carried on in the district, and 300 women received constant employment from sewed muslin agencies.
Weavers occupied the houses in "Stirabout Row" during the 19th century. Handlooms were common in those days and existed in almost every home around the village. The domestic work was delivered and collected by horse and cart.
Two of the most important names associated with linen at the time are Henry Mathers and Thomas Spence. Henry Mathers was a linen manufacturer of Newforge. Thomas Spence, a handkerchief maker, located his factory just beyond the Steps Road on the left of Newforge Road.
The Ordnance Survey Memoir of Magheralin Parish 1837 indicates that four mills existed in the Parish. These were all found in the townlands of Drumro and Drumco, all owned by Lord Clanwilliam and all let to Cosslett Waddell. They were driven by water wheels. The oldest, built in 1787, had a 15 foot water-wheel and drove machinery of wood and iron in a double engine, a wash mill and two sets of rub boards.
The other three mills were all built in 1834. The Scutch Mill had three rollers and 12 pairs of stocks and was driven by a 16-foot metal wheel, although the rest of the machinery was made of wood. It stood in a stone slated building. The other two mills were under one roof but were driven by two separate wheels, A 13-foot wheel drove a pair of mill stones and wooden machinery and a 16-foot wheel drove a fanning machine and a pair of stones. "
A putty mill also existed in the village and undoubtedly this too gave employment to the locals for some considerable time.
In "The Country Down Guide and Directory" 1886 GH Bassett lists the following occupations for Magheralin: -BAKERS R. Allen; R. Lonsdale; R. Patterson.
BOOTS AND SHOES - W. Hyland.
CHURCH OF IRELAND RECTOR Rev. T. W. Clarendon.
GROCERS, marked thus* sell spirits - E. Allen, J. Byrnes*; J. Castle; R. Vance.
LIME BURNER - C. Waddell.
MILLS, CORN AND WHITING C. Waddell.
LINEN FINISHER Jas. S. Dennison.
LINEN MANUFACTURER Henry Mathers.
METHODIST CHURCH - CIRCUIT. POST MISTRESS Mrs. Julia McVeigh.
RC CHURCH - Rev. John Magrath PP: Rev. Geog. McCorry. CC.
SCHOOLS (NATIONAL) - Edw. Haddock CI; John Doran. RC.
SPIRIT RETAILER Wm. Murphy.
Allen, Thomas Drumlin
Bateman Wm Feney
Berry, James Gartross
Bunton Jn... Drumro & Drumco
Castles, Wesley Drumlin
Cluff, G. W Tullynacross
Corbett, William Gartross
Gilliland, Wm Ballykeel
Hayes, C Tullynacross
Kennedy, Thomas Taughrane
Johnston, J.. Drumro & Drumcro
Lilburn, G Gregorlough
Lilburn, W.... Ballymacbrennan
Lunn, Wm Ballymacateer
Lyness, Jos Lismain
Martin, Hugh Feney
Mathers, M Newford House
McClean, C Tullynacross
Mulholland, Jn Dollingstown
Nelson, Jn Taughlomney
Patterson, R Ballymakeonan
Richardson, Mrs Kircassock
Sands, H. H Drumlin
Sewell, Fr Drumlin
Spence, John Ballymaginn
Spence, T... Drumro & Drumcro
Taylor, William Clogher
Watson, H Ballymacateer
Bateman, Issac Feney
Barber, Jas Ballymagin
Brush A. E. (JP)... Drumnabreeze
Burns, Hugh Ballymakeonan
Caulfied, D Taughlomney
Corbett, G Gartross
Gilliland, Robert Ballyleney
Gracey, James Drumlin
Hayes, Robert Ballyleney
Kincaid, Joseph.... Taughlomney
Lavery, J Ballymagin
Lilburn, R. W Edenmore
Lunn, A Ballymacateer
Lyness, John Lismain
Magowan, Samuel.. Tullynacross
Martin, John Edenmore
Mathers, John... Ballymacmaine
Morrow, Jn Taughrane
Nelson Geo Taughlomney
Patterson, R... Bally macbrennan
Patterson, R Gregorlough
Rowan, Wm Ballynadrone
Shaw, H Ballymacateer
Simpson, John. Ballymacbrennan
Spence, Robert Edenmore
Taylor, John Ballykeel
Waddell, Rt. (JP) Drumcro House
Bewitched or Faery Stricken"
The previous section offers a rather melancholic picture of the Parish of Magheralin in the 1700's and 1800's. However, despite the sobering social problems and poverty, we find an unusually romantic perspective in a description of the landscape during this period. Juxtaposed against such bleak human conditions, one writer portrays Magheralin with ecstasy. Completing his tour of the Parish in March 1834, Dr. O'Donovan writes:
"Yesterday was one of the most romantic days that I ever spent and I am convinced that after reading this letter you will conclude that I have been bewitched or faery stricken. The fact that Dr. O'Donovan had travelled extensively throughout the Province, makes his comments somewhat interesting. He was attached to the Great Survey of Ireland 1834-1838 to ascertain the meanings of townland names. An Irish scholar, he was the author of "Irish Grammar" (1845) and translator and Editor of "The Annals of the Four Masters. "
Dr. O'Donovan's letters were addressed to the Superintendent in Dublin and are now preserved in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. His letter is printed in its entirety here, providing a graphic account of his tour of the village and his meetings with the Rev. Wm. B. Dolling and the Parish Schoolmaster, Robert McVeagh. For those of us who consider the scenery of Magheralin to be without romance and scarcely striking, the following letter proffers a new perspective I have no doubt it would have made appealing reading in an 19th century travel guide.
Moira, Wednesday, March 27, 1834.
Dear Sir, On Monday I walked hither from Hillsborough a distance of five miles. I called upon the Rev. and Mrs. Beattie, the Rector of Moria Parish, a very old man, but as he has been here only four years he knows very little about the names or localities of the Parish.
He referred me to Mr. McCreevy, the Parish Schoolmaster, who is a native of the Parish of Moira and a very intelligent fellow who is well acquainted with the place. From the latter I collected all the information I could.
Yesterday I walked southwards to the village of Magheralin to see the Rev. Boughey William Dolling, the Rector. He is laid up with the gout and his wife told me that he could not be seen as he was ill, but I said that I should see him, upon which he himself walked out of his parlour wrapped up in flannel.
He is a very polite and obliging Englishman who came over here shortly after the Rebellion of '98.
I got him to pronounce the names of townlands within the Parish and he did so after his own English manner, seeing which, I told him I should hear a native of the Parish pronounce them. He then sent for his Parish Schoolmaster, Robert McVeagh, a man of great literary acquirements, who in the very middle of Ultonian slang, has acquired a correct pronunciation of English, but this is owing to his intercourse with the Rector.
Mr. McVeagh looked over the Parish Register and soon found various authorities to serve my purpose some of which I copied. It would appear from an entry in this Register, that in the year 1715, the Parish of Magheralin comprised that of Moira, and extended considerably farther to the East than it does at present.
I would wish to copy a good deal from this Register, but it would be at present impertinent to my object, but should we ever come to write a statistical account of the Parish, I will know where to find it and whom to consult for correct information.
McVeagh, 'who is a native of the Parish' pronounced the names for me as he had heard them from his grandfather. He remembered when Irish was spoken in the Parish, but says there is not one now in the neighbourhood who understands a sentence of it. I told him that I was very anxious to ascertain whether or not there was any great Danish fort in the neighbourhood of Magheralin, for that the Irish Annals record the erection of a Danish fortress at Linn Duachaill ( which appears from all ancient Irish authorities to have been the ancient name of Magheralin) and that the same party had a fleet on Lough Neagh. By this his curiosity was excited and leaving his scholars to box for a few hours, he set out with me through the Parish to view the different raths in it.
He first directed his course to the highest ground in the townland of Ballymackeonan where he pointed out the site of a fort now levelled with the field, but the spot whereon it stood does not produce such luxuriant grass as the remaining part of the field. "This" he says "was one of the finest forts in this Parish, but it was levelled some years before I was born to give room to cultivation, for people can not afford here to pay rent for waste ground and in my own memory twenty-four forts have been levelled within the Parish".
The prospect which this fort commended is the most sublime and beautiful I ever beheld. To the West you see the dark surface of Lough Neagh and the view is terminated in that direction by a chain of mountains in the County of Londonderry of which Slieve Gullion is the most conspicuous.
To the North the very prominent mountain of Slieve Croob in the County of Antrim terminates the view; to the South the eye takes in a great extent of beautiful and well cultivated country, composed of undulating hills and interspersed with small plantations and white-washed cottages; to the East the eye wanders over the whole breadth of the Country and is struck with awe at the majesty of that giant of the eastern shore Slieve Donard, who from this spot appears dressed in sable colour and capped with a white cloud; to the South-East, the view is terminated by the Mourne Mountains.
I stood here for some minutes and with ecstasy looked in every direction. We then moved onwards to see a perfect fort to the East of the same townland. It is a very large one surrounded with ditches and appears more like to the work of rude giants than of man in any state of civilization. We entered a cabin near this fort, where we heard many superstitious stories connected with it.
The present church of Magheralin is erected on the site of the old one, of which a part of the old wall yet remains, but so battered that it presents no architectural features. The mortar is as hard as flint and there is something like a niche in the wall, but for what purpose it was used, I am too ignorant of ecclesiastical and every other description of architecture to venture an opinion.
The tradition in the country is that there were here a monastery and a nunnery, but they know nothing of the date. In an adjoining field a quantity of human bones have been dug up, which points to the site of the ancient burial ground.
I had a long conversation with the Rev. Mr. Dolling, who is a truly refined man. He holds very curious opinions relative to the antiquities of Ireland, and though I could tell him a good deal about the dates of forts in Ireland, still I could not satisfy him nor myself upon several questions he proposed to me. He thinks that all these forts were enclosures erected for cattle at no distant period since, to protect them from the nightly attacks of wolves in this country and thinks that the very best proof of the modern period of their erection is that tobacco pipes of rude formation are found in levelling them.
"Now it is a well established fact that there were no pipes for smoking tobacco or any other weed in the world until about 1500, certainly not among the Greeks or Romans, for, had so nonsensical a custom prevailed among them, their satirical writers, who have carped at all their luxuries and vices, would not have passed that over in silence". I replied as well as I could but in such a manner as not to satisfy him nor myself, i even told him that we had discovered Bronze pipes in Ireland. But nothing will satisfy clever men but a collection of facts and evidences.
He asked me would we publish any book to illustrate the map. I told him I did not know, but that it was probable we would. "If so" says he, "I shall be locally interested and do all in my power to contribute towards its compilation".
I thanked him and moved on with McVeagh to see more curiosities. He told me his history and the manner in which he acquired his learning. He is self-taught, never learned at any school, but the common rules of arithmetic, but from his own intense study he has acquired a very sound knowledge of Latin and Greek, and his extensive acquaintance with French writers is astonishing. If we ever come to write anything on this Parish, McVeagh can give valuable assistance.
After having wandered all day through the Parish of Magheralin I returned to Moira at 5. 00 p. m. much fatigued. I went to my bedroom and attempted to write, but sleep overcoming me, I stretched myself on the bed, and fell into a sound repose, during which there was an absence of dream and thought from my mind.
I awoke, looked at my watch, it was 6 o'clock but whether 6 o'clock in the morning or evening I could not tell! I started up, walked out, and being attracted by a semi-circle of people standing at the sheltry side of Moira Market House, I went down to them. Standing on a chair, I saw a venerable old man, with beard hanging down to the middle button of his waistcoat, repeating aloud one of the Psalms of David.
His long bushy beard, his Abrahamic countenance and his thick pronunciation of consonants characterised him a Jew. I gazed at him with wonder, thinking that I would have an opportunity of hearing him preach the Law of Moses, but I soon learned that he had abandoned the old cause of his tribe and is now going about preaching the morality and doctrine of Jesus of Nazareth.
Yesterday was one of the most romantic days that I ever spent and I am convinced that after reading this letter you will conclude that I have been bewitched or faery stricken.
I now return to Hillsborough where I remain for some days. - Yours truly, John O'Donovan, Moira, Wednesday, 2 o'clock p. m.
The peaceful perspective offered in the above letter is hardly surprising. During this period the village was sparsely populated. The Ordnance Survey Memoirs for Magheralin Parish indicate the following information: "Magheralin situated 6V2 miles North-West of Dromore is a small neat village consisting of two streets crossing each other nearly in a right angle. The houses consist of 41 of one storey and 21 of two storey houses of which 46 are thatched and the remainder slated. They are mostly built of stone and are neat in appearance.
Church Activities 18th and 19th Centuries
During the 18th Century the Secular life of the Parish is well documented. Unfortunately, however, there are few records to indicate something of the spiritual condition of the church at this time. It may be that during this century of revolt and rebellion, the energies of the people were devoted more to training armies than attending Bible Study. It certainly cannot be disputed that Witness to Christ was carried out amidst tremendous political and ecclesiastical changes, which have been outlined in a previous chapter.
However, with the political stablility of the 19th Century, came a discernible and enthusiastic growth in the spiritual life of the church. Despite the appalling social conditions which prevailed, there was a revival in spiritual matters. During this century, the Parish was fortunate to have three consecutive Rectors - described as, men of vision with considerable insight into the spiritual and social needs of the congregation. Rev. B. W. Dolling, Rev. H. Murphy and Rev. E. P. Brooke left the congregation of Magheralin considerably richer for their ministry. An introduction to these men, follows this chapter on church activities.
The following articles which are taken from the Lurgan Parochial Magazine, indicate the variety of church activities during the 19th Century. A healthy attendance is reported at The Sunday Schools; The Young Men's Society; Temperance Society and the Bible Classes.
It was during the 188O's that a branch of the Diocesan Temperance Society was established in the Parish. Temperance-meetings were held in, Doll-ingstown, Lisnasure and Magheralin. At a meeting in February, 1881, members learned that:
"In the district presided over by the Coroner of Middlesex, 300 children on average are suffocated every year by drunken: mothers and of these poor little helpless mortals seven tenths: meet their deaths on the morning of the day of rest. "
Even 100 years ago, these situations must have provoked a real sense of horror and outrage! The following account from the day, gives us some
insight into the meetings of the Temperance Society:
MAGHERALIN CHURCH OF IRELAND TEMPERANCE SOCIETY
On Friday evening, 28th ult., an entertainment consisting of soiree, concert, and readings, was given under the auspicies of this society in the parochial school-room, which, for the occasion, was tastefully decorated with evergreens, artificial flowers, and appropriate temperance mottoes. After tea, Cosslett Wad-dell, Esq., was called upon to preside. A highly interesting programme was then taken up and very successfully carried out, those who took part in it receiving well-merited applause from an appreciative audience. The items of the programme are as follow: - "God bless our temperance band, " by choir; reading, by Herbert Waddell, Esq., T. O. D.; "God is Love, " choir; reading, "Burial of Moses, " by Rev. William Murdock; song, "Tenence's Farewell, " by Miss Robertson, encored; duet, "All's well, " by Miss Castles and Dr Henry Castles; a facetious reading, by the Rev. J. G. Burton, curate of Lurgan; "Nowhere to go, " choir; song "The Fisherman's Widow, " (music by Mrs Dunlop, Bushmills), was sung by Rev. William Murdock, encored; a humorous reading from "Robin, " by Mr Spence; song, "The Mill Wheel, " by Rev. J. G. Burton. The choir then sang the following pieces - "Far away; " "Father, come home; " "When shall we two meet again?" "Let the lower lights be burning. " Miss Waddell, who was mainly instrumental in getting up the musical part of the programme, presided at the harmonium and played the accompaniments. The Conservative Flute Band, which at intervals gave a selection of lively airs, brought the programme to a conclusion by playing the National Anthem; and the usual votes of thanks having been passed by acclamation, the proceedings terminated by the pronouncing of the Benediction.
DIOCESAN TEMPERANCE ASSOCATION MARALIN BRANCH
On Tuesday Evening, 29th June, 1881, a public meeting in connection with this association was held in Dollingstown School-house. The Rev. William Murdock presided, and opened the proceedings with prayer and the reading of a portion of Scripture. Appropriate readings were given by the Chairman and Mr. Thomas Spence; and Mr. Henry Mathers, vice-president, addressed the meeting, after which the proceedings were brought to a close by the Benediction.
TEMPERANCE MEETING IN LISNASURE
On Wednesday, 22nd September, a public meeting of the Maralin Branch of the Diocesan Temperance Society was held in Lisnasure Schoolroom. The chair was occupied by Mr. Robert Murphy, and the programme consisted of readings by Byron Johnston and Mr. Andrew Johnston, and a very interesting lecture, by Rev. Wm. Murdoch, on "Notes on Recent Tour through the County Donegal, " At the conclusion, several new names were added to a roll of membership.
Confirmation classes were also well attended during the 19th Century. In 1880, a total of 102 young people from the Parish were Confirmed! The service took place after the consecration of New Burial Ground and is reported in the following article.
CONSECRATION OF THE NEW BURIAL GROUND - Tuesday, the 8th ult., the Lord Bishop of the diocese arrived at Maralin Church, and in compliance with the request contained in a memorial signed by the Rector and Churchwardens and several of the Parishioners, consecrated the grounds around the church for burial purposes. This step was rendered desirable in consequence of the want of space in the old graveyard, and the fact that, by the operation of the Irish Church Act, it was separated from the church with which it had been so long connected and vested in the Poor Law Guardians. After the impressive service had been gone through, and the ground "By solemn consecration given to social interests, and to favouring heaven, " his Lordship entered the church, and proceeded with the Confirmation.
CONFIRMATION IN MARALIN CHURCH -
At the Confirmation, which was held in the Parish Church immediately after the Consecration of the new burial-ground, the rite was administered to 102 young people from Maralin Parish and 25 from the Parish of Aghalee. The Rev. E. P. Brooke, A. M., and Rev. William Murdoch, A. B., presented the candidates from Maralin, and the Rev. John McGrorty, A. B., presented those from Aghalee.
HIBERNIAN BIBLE SOCIETY
Evidence that the Parish was by no means insular, exists in the number of references to missionary work and Bible Societies.
On Friday, the 17th ult., a public meeting on behalf of this excellent society was held in the parochial schoolroom. The chair was occupied by the Rev. E. P. Brooke, rector of the parish. Thomas J. White, Esq., assistant-secretary of the society, attended as a deputation, and delivered an admirable address, in the course of which he gave numerous instances of the good that had been effected by the society since its establishment in 1806. At the close a cordial vote of thanks was passed to Mr. White for the valuable information he had given as to the work of the society, and the meeting was brought to a termination by the singing of the doxology.
PROTESTANT ORPHAN SOCIETY
The work of the Protestant Orphan Society for Down and Antrim, is also highlighted in another magazine article. It is not suprising that a Maralin Auxiliary had been formed - considering there were 54 orphans in the Parish.
PROTESTANT ORPHAN SOCIETY FOR DOWN AND ANTRIM MARALIN AUXILIARY A meeting, in aid of the funds of this Society, was held in the Parochial schoolroom, Maralin, on Tuesday evening, 21st ult, the Rev. E. P. Brooke in the chair. Rev. A. J. Moore, Incumbent of St. Jude's, Belfast, and R. I. Hamilton Esq., J. P. who were present as a deputation - gave a very favourable account of the work of the Society, and urged on those present the necessity of all members of the Church assisting in the providing for the wants of those, who in the providence of God, had been left orphans. Herbert Waddell, Esq., A. B., moved, and Rev. W. Murdoch, A. B., seconded, a vote of thanks to the deputation, which, was passed by acclamation. Cards were then distributed to the collectors. The amount received for last year was £43. 10s. Id, and since the Auxiliary was formed, thirteen years ago, it has contributed £600 to the funds of the Society. At the present there are 54 orphans located in the parish, and for the support of these the Society pays about £500 per annum.
Perhaps one of the most graphic accounts of church work is that of the Sunday School Outing in September, 1881. Enrolment at Sunday Schools certainly continued to grow during this period until 1893 - when a total of 663 children's names are registered: - "On Friday, 23 September, the teachers and schools of the Maralin, Dollingstown and Edenmore Sunday Schools assembled at the parochial school and, headed by the Maralin Conservative Flute Band, marched to Grace Hall. Rev. Wm. Murdoch, Curate of the Parish, and the Superintendents of the schools who had charge of the arrangements accompanied the procession. On arriving at the grounds each school took up its position around its own banner and after singing several hymns a short address was given by the Rector, Rev. E. P. Brooke, after which the plentiful supply of currant cake and tea was served out to each class. The weather was fine and answered well for the outdoor amusements and games which were gone through and in the evening all returned home after having spent a very pleasant day. "
19th Century Rectors
THE REV. B. W. DOLLING (1806 - 1852)
The Rev. Boughey William Dolling was a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. At the age of 18 he was the youngest student on record. In 1806 he became Rector of Magheralin where he served for upwards of 46 years. It was largely through the efforts and vision of Mr. Dolling that a new church was built to replace the ancient ruins.
During 46 years of ministry in the Parish, Mr. Dolling saw much poverty and illness. As has been outlined earlier, the problems which threatened the remainder of the Province certainly did not escape Magheralin. Poverty, disease and infant mortality were felt as keenly here, as anywhere else. Mr. Dolling was directly concerned with the grim conditions and human misery endured by his parishioners. It is evident that the social problems of the people of Magheralin came to Mr. Dolling's front door. The evidence of the Parish minutes show that he was fully involved. It was Mr. Dolling, too, who read the burial service over countless young children. In 1843, the names of 18 children and babies are recorded in the burial register.
Today's computerised society may leave many of us shocked at the following entry on Mary Anne, but if we consider that as many as 135 baptisms took place in a year, we will appreciate that Mr. Dolling was faced with a formidable task simply in coping with the round of church services, in births, marriages and deaths.
From the Baptismal Register: "February 21st, 1808 Mary Anne. " No surname is given for the child or details of her parents. The postscript at the bottom of the Register reads:
'The parents of the said child went away while I was registering the others tho' desired to stay and I have not been able to discover who they were - B. W. Dolling:
While Mr. Dolling's Parish included some 2, 600 members of the established church, his church could only accommodate 300. The building was in a very dilapidated state and required frequent attention. It was largely due to the initiative and foresight of Mr. Dolling, that a decision was taken to build a new one. At first the Vestry considered enlarging the old church, but Mr. Dolling decided to apply to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for a grant.
He proceeded then to collect funds from the wealthy and not so wealthy to swell the grant and the new building was commenced in November 1842.
This achievement must have given Mr. Dolling great satisfaction. However, one incident is recorded which, no doubt, offered decidedly less pleasure! The church Bible was stolen some time around 1839. A new one was presented, which bears the following inscription in Mr. Dolling's handwriting: "This Bible was given for the use of Magheralin Church by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the church having been entered by some evil disposed persons and the valued old Bible, printed in the reign of Queen Anne, together with many Prayer Books, taken therefrom April 1839. B. W. Dolling. "
Mr. Dolling, having himself been educated at Westminister School and Oxford, was anxious to further the cause of education in his own Parish. Consequently he built the Lancastrian School in the village with segregated education for boys and girls.
Mr. Dolling's name is perpetuated in the village of Dollingstown. The village of neat weavers cottages was finished in 1841. Many of our parishioners have vivid memories of growing up in these cottages. Unfortunately, there are no traces of these today, modern developments having replaced them!
The reading room in Dollingstown and the East Window of the South transept of the Parish Church remind us of Mr. Dolling's nephew, Robert William Radclyffe Dolling, who became a clergyman and was commonly known as Father Dolling. He was born at the Rectory, 10th February, 1851, and baptised in the church. His work in the slums of Portsmouth and London was remarkable. His fascinating personality is said to have attracted even the roughest character and his influence was far reaching. Described as a 'modern apostle' he died at the comparatively early age of 51. Mr. Dolling's only son, Mr. R. Dolling, was also popular in the area. He was widely referred to in the neighbourhood as Councillor Dolling.
Mr. Dolling died in 1853. His wife Mary died at the age of 77, surviving her husband by only five days. In 1839, Rev. T. M. Montgomery became curate of Magheralin and married Mr. Dolling's second daughter. He retired from the curacy after a few years, but remained in the village, having built a house about three miles from Magheralin.
THE REV. HENRY MURPHY (1853-1863)
The Rev. Henry Murphy, A. M., Prebendary of Dromara, was Rector of this Parish from 1853 until 1863. During his years of ministry in Magheralin, Mr. Murphy experienced much personal tragedy in his large family, several
of whom predeceased him. When Frances, his wife, died in January, 1891, she had outlived most if not all her family, for six of her sons, two of whom were young clergymen, and one daughter all died before her.
A polished granite tablet fixed to the inside West wall of the church reads: "Sacred to the memory of Rev. Henry Murphy A. M., Prebendary of Dromara, Rector of this Parish from 18531863, died 3rd July, 1878, aged 73 years; Frances Palmer, his wife, died 13th January, 1891, aged 72 years; their sons, Chas Knox, died 6th January, 1855, aged 7 years; Francis Thomas, died 14th October, 1859, aged 3 years; Percy Montagu, died 28th March, 1877, aged 13 years; Rev. Ernest Palmer died 10th December, 1878 aged 24 years; Edward Septimus died 15th November, 1880, aged 19 years; Robert Knox died 9th January, 1881, aged 24 years. "
Mr. Murphy was obviously deeply saddened by the loss of his sons but it is said that the tragic experiences gave him a deep sympathy with his people. He was unfailing in his Christian work and had a real love for his people. Despite the tragedy in his private life, Mr. Murphy saw much blessing in his ministry of the gospel, and real spiritual awakening in the parish of Magheralin.
In the year 1859 came the Irish Revival or '59 Revival, as it came to be known one report indicated of the times, that: "On the mountain side, in the lonely road, by the fireside of the cottage, strong men, as well as children would suddenly be prostrated under a deep conviction of sin and nothing seemed to restore them but the message of salvation, which when received produced in a very real and visible form, joy and peace in believing. "
In the Parish there was a real deepening of spiritual life. In "The Story of the '59 Revival' by Robert Haire, Mr. Murphy is quoted as having stated: "My church is full every Sunday morning and in the evening there are three hundred instead of as formerly forty or fifty".
The story is also told, that on one occasion a large crowd gathered outside the church and refused to disperse until Mr. Murphy arrived and preached a sermon!
At first, some concerns were voiced about the '59 movement and fears were expressed that the conversions were merely physical excitement. Dr. Hamilton registers the uniqueness of the revival: "The churches were crowded, not only on the Sabbath but in many cases every night during the week crowded with most earnest congregations who literally hung upon the simplest preaching or exposition of the Gospel and could with difficulty be got to leave the place of the meeting".
We learn too that: "In the midst of a sermon, a piercing shriek would be heard and immediately it would be found that someone had fallen down 'stricken'. Cry after cry of agony would be heard ringing through the Church, until in some cases several scores would have been carried out and stretched in some adjoining room, or in a state of semi-unconsciousness, strangely convulsed and evidently in deep agony. By and by, cries of distress for sin would be uttered in agonising tones, prayers of peculiar fervency would burst forth and often as a minister or elder or godly layman conversed beside the penitent, peace would come to the distracted soul and the man or woman would go home rejoicing".
Whether Mr. Murphy witnessed such traumatic experiences within the Magheralin congregation is not known. However, what is certainly clear is that the people here experienced a real awakening to sin and salvation. This spiritual downpouring was evidently a tremendous challenge. Mr. Murphy reported that he was sent for at all hours, to go to all parts of the Parish to visit those who had been stricken down.
Mr. Murphy was also responsible for adding the third storey to the Old Rectory. This was an undertaking which brought him into trouble with the church authorities. It appears that he had a very practical reason for wishing to incur the wrath of the authorities as he turned the top storey into a type of hospital where the sick were treated.
THE REV. EDWARD PERRY BROOKE (18631883)
Brooke's influence was often to the fore in the preservation of peace, especially we learn, at the well known fight at Dolly's Brae, which was in his parish.
One account indicates: "Thither he rode off at once, on hearing of the attack made by the Romanists on the Orangemen, who were returning from Lord Roden's Park and though his own people besought him not to risk his life by exposing himself, he exerted himself so in the cause of peace that the officer commanding the troops told him afterwards, that his presence had done more than anything else to restrain the excitement of both parties and bring about a cessation of the fighting. " "The Christian," February, 1892.
Though known to be a strong Protestant, Mr. Brooke was greatly respected and trusted by Roman Catholics. It is known that many of them came to the Rectory for advice and it is certain that Mr. Brooke was a strong influence in encouraging cross community relationships. Despite the well known sturdy Protestantism of the Magheralin congregation the Parish Priest, Fr. J. McGrath was able to write in 1885: "I have always found the Protestants of Magheralin to be excellent neighbours".
Mr. Brooke is perhaps best characterised by the following story of a humiliating experience which happened to him during his first curacy in the Isle of Man under Archdeacon Philpot. He had a tendency to stammer, which was increased by any circumstance which made him nervous. In one of his early sermons a fit of stammering came on, which he was unable to overcome.
Prior to his ordination the Rev. Edward Perry Brooke was a captain in the Army. After his conversion Captain Brooke decided to enter the Ministry and left army life to attend the Divinity College, Dublin. He was appointed Rector of Magheralin in 1863. Before his arrival in the Parish he was appointed to the large and populous Parish of Drumgooland, part of which lay in a wild mountain district of County Down, chiefly inhabited by Roman Catholics, while the other part contained a large and sturdy Protestant population, partly Presbyterian, partly Established Church. Between these two opposing elements of Protestants and Romanists the feuds were frequent and the Rev. E. P. Brooke.
Rev E. P. Brooke was especially remembered for his untiring labours amongst the poor, visiting from house to house and holding cottage meetings. He was a man anxious for the welfare of the souls committed to his care. The story is told if he missed any worshippers on Sunday, he was off on a Monday morning to discover the cause of the absence.
It was with genuine regret and considerable sadness that the Parishioners learned of Mr. Brooke's resignation in 1883. The following expresses the sense of loss felt by the Vestry:
19th October, 1882. To: Rev. E. P. Brooke: Revd. and Dear Sir, Having heard of your resignation of the Parish, we the members of the Select Vestry at a Special Meeting duly assembled, desire to express our wish that you should revoke your decision and close the days of your earthly career as our Minister and Rector. We believe this was and still is your desire and we on our part wish that you should.
Mr. Brooke, being in his 85th year, did not revoke his decision. He was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas William Clarendon in January 1884.
The Ancient Church
The ancient Church of Magheralin is today much ruined and overgrown. Little is known about the precise date of the building, though an Archaeological Survey of Co. Down in 1966 asserts that there are traces of a 15th Century structure in the ruins of the Church, which must indicate part of the original mediaeval Parish Church.
Around this time, in 1442, the Primate, Archbishop Prene, granted to John McGynd, Canon and official of Dromore, the stone tower. This was for the safe preservation of his books and other valuables. Hypothesis on the theory that the present old grey tower is the original one lends itself more to conjecture and fancy than assertion. Conversely, it appears that the present ruined tower is more of the 17th Century, while the aisle or transept added North of the 15th Century nave may be of the 16th Century.
In all probability John McGynd's tower was destroyed during the violent insurrection of 1641, which swept the North of Ireland. During this turmoil, many Parish Churches were destroyed and it appears from the Inquisition of 1657 (already referred to) that the Ancient Church of Magheralin failed to escape the ravages of these attacks.
Old Church Tower.
THE GREAT REBELLION
The outbreak of the Great Rebellion in 1641 saw much violence in the Province. Large numbers of the Protestant population were slaughtered and throughout the Diocese churches were burned and clergy driven from their homes. According to a document "An Inquisition Indented taken at Downe in the Countie of Downe the eighth day of October one thousand six hundred and fiftie seven" we learn that there was "not one church fit for use in the Diocese of Dromore."
Restoration of the King and constitution soon ensured the prosperity and well being of the church and it progressed from the position of a 'persecuted downtrodden sect' to that of the Established Church in Ireland.
Evidently the Ancient Church of Magheralin was rebuilt sometime during this period of peace and stability, but an exact date is not known. O'Donovan's survey conducted in the 183O's describes the Ancient Church as "a plain stone building with a very low spire. The main part of the Nave of the Church is a large rectangle 77 feet by 33 feet. Inside is plain, the seats are of oak and is furnished with a small organ. "
The tower of the Ancient Church is of uniform section and not stepped after the Planter's fashion, to give a low centre of gravity. It was topped by a low oak shingle spire supporting a copper ball and weather-vane. In the belfry hung the Curfew bell, which rang out the nightly curfew at 9 o'clock over the village and neighbourhood.
DIGGING UP CHURCH FLOOR
During the mid 18th Century the practice of digging up the church floor to accommodate burials, appears to have presented a rather unedifying spectacle. No doubt this practice also exacerbated the deterioration of the building. Recognising this problem, the Vestry met in the church on 5th July, 1873. The following resolutions were passed:
1st "That for the future no new interments of Corps or dead bodies be made in the church (excepting such as have family vaults or places of burial there already) unless the family or Near relation of such persons to be buried do do pay down the sum of fifty shillings into the hands of the Minister or Curate and Church Wardens of this Parish, to be laid out in the repairs and beautifying this Parish Church over and above their authorised fees of burial.
2nd Since the frequent Graves in the Church prove often unwholesome and offensive to the living and break both the seats and floor of the church, resolved that for the future no interment whatsoever shall be made in the church without the sum of twenty shillings first to be paid down into the hands of the Minister or Curate and Churchwardens of this Parish, for the better repairs of said Church over and above the authorised burial fee.
3rd And we desire that every person or persons enjoying the seats in the church may floor them as they shall think proper so that they are made plain and decent. "
The Parish was much concerned with repairs to the church fabric in the early 19th century. On 1st August, 1803, the sum of 13 pence per acre was laid on the Parish to help repair the Church. Samuel Deneson was entrusted with the repairs to the roof amounting to £206. From the timber dimensions preserved in the Vestry records the roof was of massive proportions.
On 30th May, 1814, the Vestry agreed that the tower of the Church "being in a very dilapidated state and the belfry and spire in absolute need of repair" to entrust the work to James Kennedy of Lurgan.
NEED FOR LARGER CHURCH
Maintenance of the Church became extremely difficult during the early years of the 19th Century. At a general meeting of Parishioners in 1835 consideration was given to the future work on the church. It was emphasised that the church in its present state could only accommodate 300. In a Parish containing 2, 600 members of the Established Church this was considered a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. It was but a short step, to finally deciding to build a new church and the Vestry agreed to apply to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for a grant to assist in the building of a new place of Worship, in May 1839. The following resolutions were passed:
1 "That our Parish Church being in a very dilapidated state and totally insufficient for the accommodation of the Parishioners and aid being promised by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the building of one containing six or seven hundred provided the parishioners contribute a certain sum, we pledge ourselves to use our exertions in collecting subscriptions.
2 That the non-resident landlords be applied to assist us.
3 That communication be opened with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners as soon as subscriptions are collected.
4 That all money received be paid forthwith into the Belfast Bank.
5 That the rector and curate be appointed as secretaries. "
The subscription list for the new church was soon opened and following contributions received:
Rev. Dolling £50
Charles Douglassm £25
Mrs. Douglass £25
Cosslett Waddell £30
Mrs. Richardson (Springfield). £20
Richard Dolling £10
Rev. Hughes £5
Lieut. Bateson, Bart £60
Lord Clanwilliam £10
Thomas Waring £ 15
The Lord Bishop £30
Joseph Berry 2-10-0
Henry Bell 2-10-0
John Monro 2-10-0
George McDowele 2-10-0
Hugh Martin 1-10-0
William Semple 1-0-0
James Miller 1-0-0
Robert Semple 1 -0-0
Abraham Dawson (snr. ) 1-0-0
Edward Lunn 5-0-0
Robert McVeagh 2-0-0
George Dawson )
Abraham Dawson) I -0-0
William Magill 5-0
John Spence 1 -0-0
Joseph Lynass 0-1-0
John McKinley 1-0-0
John Hook (Snr. ) 1-1-0
John Hook (Jnr. ) 0-10-0
Joseph Hook 1-0-0
Pat. Kennedy 0-5-0
Thos. Brown 2-10-0
Hargrove 1 -0-0
Thos. Morrow 2-10-
Saul Turner 2-6
Richard Ross 5-0
John Berry 2-0
John Dawson 2-6
Thos. Gardiner 2-6
Thos. Montgomery 2-0-0
Henry Gorman 1 -0-
Thos. Hermon 10-0
Wm. Gregson 10-0
Jas. Archer 1 -0-0
Miss Waring 2-0-0
Miss J. Waring 2-0-0
John Moffat 1-0-0
"A Very Ugly Church"
"In his book, "A fifty years Ministry", Dean Clarendon asserts: "When I came to Maralin in 1884 I found a very ugly church.
This statement refers to the replacement church built in 1845. The unfavourable appearance of the deteriorating ancient church in the 1800's was evidently compounded by the wretched state of the burial ground. Consequently at a meeting held on 3rd May, 1841, to discuss the location of the new church, the Vestry abandoned the original site in favour of the present one today. The minutes record:
"The present church being in a state of dilapidation and on a site rendered damp and unhealthy from its low situation and proximity to limestone hills from which water percolates through the foundations, the Incumbent, Church Wardens and undersigned Parishioners being present, it was unanimously agreed that the site most eligible for the same is in the Townland of Ballynadrone in said Parish, on a portion of ground containing half an acre in front of the Parsonage"
Hence the decision to build on a new site brought to an end of upward of 1, 100 years of Christian Worship on one of the most hallowed sites in the Diocese of Dromore. The Ancient Church continued to be used for Vestry meetings up until 1 lth May, 1850 after which meetings were convened in the Old School.
There appears to be little doubt about the veracity of Dean Clarendon's assertion that Magheralin had "a very ugly Church. " Even the least discerning eye, could not fail to identify the large building as 'ungainly'. It consisted of a wide, bare, ill-proportioned galleried nave, with a flat plastered ceiling and wings, miscalled transepts, to match the wooden sashed windows. Boxed in pews did little to improve the graceless aura of the entire structure.
To the great embarrassment of everyone eager to improve the building, the entire structure was soundly built and in faultless condition of repair. Built at a cost of £2, 400 the Parishioners of the Rev. B. W. Dolling's day left a sound structural building devoid of architectural beauty and ornamentation. It might be suggested here, that the cold austere church, appears to have been a monument to the Draconian lives led by Parishioners during the first half of the 19th Century. The major concerns facing Parishioners were poverty, disease and famine. Architectural grace came far down the list of priorities, during such an age.
Rebuilding and Improvement of Present Church
One hundred years have elapsed since the building of our present church. In December 1889, Dean Clarendon was authorised to apply to the Diocesan Architect for an estimate and plans to improve and reseat the Parish Church. His trepidation is reflected in the fact that he undertook to pay the expenses incurred, in case it wasn't found profitable to proceed with this work.
Originally the Vestry's intention was to open up the roof, install new pews and add a chancel. However, when the plans arrived from the architect, Mr. Drew, the proposal was to practically rebuild the Church at an estimated cost of more than three thousand pounds. This went far beyond what the Vestry had anticipated. Despite the plans to virtually rebuild the church, many were still reticent about the prospect of giving any architectural grace to such an ungainly structure.
The reticence of the Lord Bishop of the Diocese of the time is a measure of the scepticism of the day. Accomplished in Church architecture, he deprecated the apparent waste of money on the church. He very reluctantly consented to preside at the re-opening of the church on the strict understanding that he would fail to identify any surviving feature of the old church!! History does not record for us his reaction to the new building but evidently it was a favourable one.
Much that was sound and serviceable of the walls of the old church was incorporated into the new structure. As a preliminary the building was unroofed and pulled down to the level of the window sills. The north wall of the nave and the stump of the abortive tower were completely removed and the chancel and a new north aisle were added. The contractor entrusted to all this work, was Messrs. Collen of Portadown and Dublin.
The financial burden of all of this could not possibly be met by the Vestry. This was greatly eased by the gift of over five thousand pounds from the Christie-Millers, the understanding being that the Church would collect as much as possible and Christie-Miller would make good the balance. (A History of the Christie-Millers can be found in a later section of this book).
The foundation stone of the chancel was laid on the 15 August, 1890. The Bishop of Clogher, Bishop Stack, gave the address and the stone was laid by Mrs. Christie-Miller. A special train ran from Belfast for the ceremony, which commenced at three o'clock.
Those present at the service included: Colonel Waring, MP; Sir William Quartus Ewart and Lady Ewart; The Baroness Von Stieglietz; Mr. and Mrs. Christie-Miller; The Honourable Colonel Carew RM and Lady Carew; Colonel McClintock; Dr. Brownrigg; Messrs. George Greer, JP; J. L. Dowie, JP; Francis Watson, JP; Blacker-Douglass, JP; Lucas Waring; R. A. Wad-dell; F. V. Clarendon, B. A., C. E.; Owen Clarendon; Mrs. W. Greer; Miss Carroll and Miss Forde; Rev. J. A. Johnston; Dr. McFarland; Rev. M. W. Lett; Messrs. John Collen, JP. Twenty-one clergy took part in the procession.
Underneath the foundation stone, in the chancel, the following items were deposited in a bottle:
"Copies of the Belfast Newsletter; Northern Whig and the Lurgan Times; a copy of the Order of Service; Copies of the General Appeal and of the appeal to the Parishioners on behalf of the Jeremy Taylor Memorial Chancel; The last issue of the Parochial Almanack; The Parish Report; Coins of the current coinage of the Realm; a parchment document stating that the stone was laid on the 15 day of August in the year of Grace 1890, by Mrs. Christie-Miller, and giving the names of the Lord Bishop of the Diocese; Right Rev. William Reeves, D. D.; The Lord Bishop of Clogher; Right Rev. Charles Maurice Stack, D. D. and also the name of the Rector, the Rev. Thomas William Clarendon, together with the names of the architect and contractors.
After the service, Mrs. Christie-Miller hosted a Garden Party at Kir-cassock, where the band of the Gordon Highlanders entertained the guests.
The work commenced in 1890, and no doubt, at times presented a rather frightening spectacle to the parishioners. The Vestry had embarked on a formidable task and the following year saw much debate and deliberation in Vestry meetings.
SUNDAY WORSHIP IN VILLAGE SCHOOL
During the spring of 1891 the work was at such an advanced stage that it was necessary to adjourn to the village school for Sunday worship. The Vestry, with considerable foresight, had already had the girls school enlarged in 1890 so that services could be held here, during the renovations to the church. The improvements to the school were financed by Mr. Christie-Miller and Morning Prayer was first held in the school on 8 February, 1891, when 220 people were present.
The rebuilding of the church progressed at a steady pace throughout the Spring and Summer of 1891. The architect, knowing that he had strong backing from the Christie-Millers, suggested fine workmanship and materials for furnishing the church. In September 1891 the extensive alterations and rebuilding were completed in readiness for the consecration ceremony.
The day, an historic one, in the chapter of our Parish History turned out to be greatly marred. One hundred years later, the scars have healed but the depth of emotion and aggressiveness exhibited by the mob on that occasion, caused considerable consternation throughout the Province, and immense embarrassment and chagrin in the Parish. The incident which prompted such turmoil was caused by the reredos of the church to which great exception had been taken. The events leading up to the fracases in the church are considered separately in the ensuing pages.