ANAHILT, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

ANAHILT, a parish, partly in the barony of KINELEARTY, but chiefly in that of LOWER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (E. S. E.) from Hillsborough; containing 3755 inhabitants. This parish is intersected by numerous roads, of which the principal are those leading respectively from Hillsborough and Dromore, and from Lisburn to Downpatrick, and from Belfast and Lisburn to Rathfriland. It comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 6777 ¼ statute acres, of which 6069 are in Lower Iveagh, and 708 ½ in Kinelearty, and is principally arable and pasture land, but mostly under tillage: 6202 acres are applotted under the tithe act. The lands are in a state of excellent cultivation: under-draining is well understood and extensively practised. In the townland of Cluntogh there is a fine slate quarry. The inhabitants combine with agricultural pursuits the weaving of linen and cotton for the manufacturers of the neighbouring towns, and the women and girls are employed in spinning. A penny post has been lately established from Hillsborough.

The principal seats are Larchfield, the handsome mansion and extensive demesne of W. Mussenden, Esq., and Lough Aghery, the residence of James Magill, Esq. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Dromore, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £367. 5. 4. The church was built in 1741, at the sole expense of the Rev. T. Smith, then rector of the parish; and the tower was added to it by the Marquess of Downshire, in 1768. The glebe-house was built, in 1793, by the Rev. J. Doubourdieu, then rector, at an expense of £845. 16. 2.: the glebe comprises 60 acres, contiguous to the church. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Magheradroll, also called Dunmore. There is a place of worship near Hillsborough for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, also one for those in connection with the Seceding Synod, at Lough Aghery, both of the first class.

A free school of about 150 boys and 100 girls was founded in 1796, by Thos. Jamieson, Esq., who bequeathed £1000 for its support; it is further endowed with four acres of laud given by the Marquess of Downshire, who also contributed towards defraying the expense of building the school-houses. Near Larchfield are two schools, supported by W. Mussenden, Esq., and Mrs. Forde, in which about 80 boys and 70 girls are educated and partly clothed; and there are also three private schools, in which are about 120 boys and 70 girls. Robert Sharland, Esq., a native of Barnstaple, Devon, who died on the 6th of May, 1833, bequeathed from £2000 to £3000 in trust to the clergy of the parish and the proprietor of one or two townlands, for the erection of ten almshouses for ten aged men and ten aged women, and a house for the housekeeper, to each of whom he assigned £5 per ann.: the buildings were about to be commenced in the spring of 1835. The burial-ground about the church occupies the site of an ancient fort, which is the innermost of four enclosures, the whole occupying about 9 acres, and sloping to the east in a regular glacis. There are also numerous forts on the hill, all within view of each other, and several relics of antiquity have been discovered here.

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