BELLAGHY, a village and post-town

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BELLAGHY, a village and post-town, in the parish of BALLYSCULLION, barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 9 ½ miles (S.) from Kilrea, and 100 ¼ (N.) from Dublin: the population is returned with the parish. This" place became the head of a district granted in the reign of James I. to the Vintners' Company, of London, who, in 1619, founded the village, and erected a strong and spacious castle, the custody of which they entrusted to Baptist Jones, Esq., who had a well-armed garrison of 76 men for its defence. In the war of 1641 the castle was besieged and taken by a party of insurgents under the command of one of the Mac Donnells, and in the following year burned to the ground. It occupied a gentle eminence on the north-west side of the village, but no portion of it is remaining; the very site has been cultivated as gardens, and the only traces are some of the arched cellars beneath the roots of some large trees. The village is situated on the western shore of Lough Beg, and on the roads leading respectively from Castle Dawson to Portglenone and from Kilrea to Toome; it consists of one long street intersected at right angles by two shorter streets; the houses are generally small, but well built; and the environs are remarkably pleasant, and are embellished with gentlemen's seats, of which the principal near the village are Bellaghy Castle, the residence of J. Hill, Esq., and Bellaghy House, of H. B. Hunter, Esq. Fairs are held on the first Monday in every month, for the sale of cattle, sheep, and pigs, and are well attended.

A court for the Vintners' manor is held once every month, for the recovery of debts under £2: its jurisdiction extends over the parishes of Ballyscullion, Kilrea, Tamlaght-O'Crilly, Termoneeny, Maghera, Desertmartin, Kilcronaghan, Magherafelt, and Killelagh. Adjoining the village is the parish church of Ballyscullion, a large and handsome building; and at a short distance is a small R. C. chapel. Here is also a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists; and a meetinghouse is now being built for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster. The parochial school for boys and girls, a large and handsome building, was erected at the joint expense of the Marquess of Lothian, Earl of Clancarty, Lord Strafford, and the Hon. T. Pakenham, G.C.B., proprietors of the estate by purchase from the Vintners' Company, who have also endowed it with £5 per annum, and a like sum is granted by the rector: and there is a school for girls, supported by subscription, also a school built and supported by the Methodists.—See BALLYSCULLION.

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