BADONY (UPPER), a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BADONY (UPPER), a parish, in the barony of STRABANE, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 4 miles (N. N. E.) from Newtownstewart; containing 5715 inhabitants. A monastery for Franciscans of the third order was founded at Corrick about the year 1465; it continued to flourish till the dissolution, and in the reign of James I. was given, with all its possessions, to Sir Henry Piers, who soon after sold it to Sir Arthur Chichester; it was subsequently granted to the Hamilton family, whose descendant is the present proprietor. There are some highly picturesque remains of this abbey, affording an idea of the original extent and elegance of the buildings. Here was also a strong castle or fortress, of which there are some remains. The district appears to have been distinguished at an early period as the scene of various important battles, and in the fastnesses of its mountains the lawless and daring found a secure asylum. In the reign of Elizabeth, O'Nial was defeated here with the loss of all his baggage, plate, and treasures, and compelled to make his escape across the river Bann to his castle of Roe.

The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 38,208 ¼ statute acres, including 150 ½ underwater: nearly three-fourths are mountain and bog, and the remainder, with the exception of a small portion of woodland, is arable. The state of agriculture is progressively improving; extensive tracts of mountain have been recently enclosed and brought into cultivation, and great portions of bog and mountain may still be reclaimed. Part of the Sawel mountain is within its limits, and, according to the Ordnance survey, rises to an elevation of 2235 feet above the level of the sea. Most of the farmers and cottagers unite with agricultural pursuits the weaving of linen; and great numbers of cattle and horses are bred and pastured in the extensive mountain tracts. Fairs are held on the 16th of every month for the sale of cattle, horses, and pigs, and are in general numerously attended. A constabulary police force has been stationed here. A manorial court is held monthly, at which debts under £2 are recoverable; and a court of petty sessions is held every alternate week at Gortin.

This parish was formerly much more extensive than it is at present; an act of council was obtained, by which it was divided into the parishes of Upper and Lower Badony, and a church was soon afterwards built for the latter at Gortin. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £396. 18. 6. The church is an ancient structure, in the early English style: for the repair of which a grant of £108 has been lately made by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The glebe-house, a handsome residence, was built in 1821, by aid of a loan of £225 from the late Board of First Fruits; the glebe comprises 195 acres, of which 86 are mountain. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; there are two chapels, of which one, near the foot of the mountain, is a spacious building.

There are places of worship for Presbyterians of the Synod of Ulster and of the Seceding Synod; the minister of the former officiates also in the adjoining parish of Lower Badony. The parochial male and female school is aided by a small annual payment bequeathed by the late C. Hamilton, Esq., but is chiefly supported by the rector. There are two schools situated respectively at Castledamp and Clogherney; a school at Corrick, supported by —Gardiner, Esq.; a male and female school at Glenroan, built and supported by Major Humphreys: and a school at Plumb Bridge, supported by subscription: there are also four pay schools, and two Sunday schools.

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