ACTON, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

ACTON, a parish, in the barony of LOWER ORIOR, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (S. S. E.) from Tanderagee, on the old road from Newry to that place; containing 3843 inhabitants, of which number, 257 are in the village. The village was originally founded by Sir Toby Pointz, who, for his military services, obtained a grant of 500 acres of land, part of the forfeited estates of the O'Hanlons, and erected a bawn 100 feet square, a house of brick and lime for his own residence, and 24 cottages for so many English settlers, and called the place Acton, after his own native village in England. It consists of one main street, and at present contains about 50 houses indifferently built. Under the authority of an order of council, in 1789, nineteen townlands were severed from the parish of Ballymore, and erected into the parish of Acton, which comprises 4395 statute acres, and is intersected by the Newry canal. The improved system of agriculture has been extensively introduced, the lands are well drained and fenced, and the bogs have been all drained and brought into cultivation by the proprietor, Col. Close.

The weaving of linen cloth, diapers, checks, and calicoes is extensively carried on by the small farmers and cottiers in the parish. The principal gentlemen's seats are Acton House, the residence of R. Conway Dobbs, Esq.; and Drominargoole, of D. Lucas, Esq. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Prebendary of Ballymore in the cathedral church of St. Patrick, Armagh: the income arises from a fixed stipend of £50 per annum, payable by the rector or prebendary of Ballymore, and an augmentation of £25 per annum from Primate Boulter's fund. The church, erected at Pointz Pass in 1789, is a neat edifice, in the early English style. The glebe-house, situated about half a mile from the church, is a handsome residence; and the glebe comprises 21 acres of good land.

In the R. C. divisions this parish is in the union or district of Ballymore: the chapel is a small building, situated at Pointz Pass. There are two places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Seceding Synod, situated respectively at Tanniokee and Carrickbrack, or Tyrone's Ditches, the latter of the first class. There are four schools, of which two are aided by annual donations from Col. Close and the Rev. Mr. Darby, and in which are about 220 boys and 160 girls; also a private pay school of about 30 boys and 30 girls. The remains of a church built by Sir Toby Pointz, in 1684, under the chancel of which he lies interred, are situated in the midst of a wood, and have a very interesting appearance; a tablet is still preserved, with an inscription to his memory.

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