BALLINAHINCH, a market and post-town

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALLINAHINCH, a market and post-town, in the parish of MAGHERADROLL, barony of KINELEARTY, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 8 miles (E.) from Dromore, and 74 ½ (N. by E.) from Dublin; containing 970 inhabitants. This town was founded by Sir George Rawdon, Bart., after the insurrection of 1641, as appears by the patent of Charles II. granting the manor of Kinelearty to the Rawdon family, which, after reciting that Sir George had built a town and two mills, and had repaired the church, and that a large space had been appropriated for holding markets and fairs, created that manor, with a demesne of 1000 acres and courts leet and baron, and granted the privilege of a market to be held on Thursday, and two fairs annually. During the disturbances of 1798, the main body of the insurgents, after being repulsed near Saintfield, took post here on Windmill-hill and on some high ground in the demesne of the Earl of Moira, a descendant of Sir George Rawdon. On the 12th of June, General Nugent marched against them from Belfast with the Monaghan regiment of militia, part of the 22nd dragoons, and some yeomanry infantry and cavalry; and was joined near this place by Lieut.-Colonel Stewart with his party from Downpatrick, making in all about 1500 men. The insurgents were soon driven from their post on the Windmill-hill, and the king's troops set fire to the town. Both parties spent the night in preparations for a general action, which took place at an early hour on the following morning, and was maintained about three hours with artillery, but with little effect. At length the Monaghan regiment of militia, posted with two field-pieces at Lord Moira's gate, was attacked with such determined fury by the pikemen of the insurgents that it fell back in confusion on the Hillsborough cavalry, which retreated in disorder; but these troops having rallied, while the Argyleshire fencibles entering the demesne, were making their attack on another side, the insurgents retired to a kind of fortification on the top of the hill, which for some time they defended with great courage, but at length gave way and dispersed in all directions; the main body fled to the mountains of Slieve Croob, where they soon surrendered or retired to their several homes, and thus was the insurrection terminated in this quarter.

The town is situated on the road from Dromore to Saintfield, and consists of a square and four streets, comprising, in 1831, 171 houses, many of which are well built. The market is on Thursday, and is well supplied; and fairs are held on the first Thursday in January, Feb. 12th, March 3rd, April 5th, May 19th, July 10th, Aug. 18th, Oct. 6th, and Nov. 17th. A linen-hall was built by the Earl of Moira, but it has fallen into ruins. Here is a station of the constabulary police. A court for the manor of Kinelearty was formerly held, in which debts to the amount of £10 were recoverable, but it has fallen into disuse. There is a large court-house in the square, built by Lord Moira in1795, but now in a dilapidated state. The same nobleman also built a church in 1772, which having fallen into decay was taken down in 1829, and a new edifice was erected on its site, towards which £850 was granted by the late Board of First Fruits; the tower and spire of the old building remain on the west side of the present church. Opposite to it is a spacious R. C. chapel; and there are three places of worship for Presbyterians, one in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and the others in connection with the Seceding Synod. A school for girls is supported by voluntary contributions. In a picturesque and fertile valley, two miles south of the town, is a powerful sulphureous chalybeate spring, which is much resorted to during summer, and has been highly efficacious in scrophulous disorders: there are two wells, one for drinking and the other for bathing, but sufficient accommodation is not provided for the numbers that repair to the spot.—See MAGHERADROLL.

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