CAMLOUGH, an ecclesiastical district

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

CAMLOUGH, an ecclesiastical district, in the barony of UPPER ORIOR, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (W.) from Newry; containing 5822 inhabitants. This was anciently part of the O'Hanlons' country, and at the general plantation of Ulster, 1000 acres, or 12 townlands, with the manor of Maghernahely, were granted to Henry Mac Shane O'Nial for life, and after his death to Sir Toby Caulfield, who built an extensive bawn of stone and lime at Maghernahely, on the site of an ancient church. At Corrinchigo, in this district, Sir John Davis had at the same time a grant of 500 acres; but neglecting to plant or tenant the allotment, it was resumed and granted to Sir Oliver St. John, and is now the property of Viscount Mandeville. Camlough was formerly part of the extensive parish of Killevey, which, for ecclesiastical purposes, was divided into two parts in 1773. It is situated on the road from Newry to Newtown-Hamilton, and on a lake called Camlough, or "the Crooked Lough; " and comprises 10,176 statute acres, of which 2415 are mountain and bog, and 144 lake and water.

The greater portion of the land is remarkably good, and in an excellent state of cultivation. Much of the mountain land cannot be brought into cultivation, although in many places there is sufficient depth of soil for the growth of forest trees. Near the village is the lake from which it derives its name, a fine sheet of water comprising 90 acres, a stream issuing from which flows in a northern direction to the Newry water, and gives motion to the machinery of several corn and flour, flax, spinning, and scutch-mills, besides beetling-engines, spade manufactories, and bleach-greens. At Bessbrook are very extensive mills for spinning linen yarn, worked by steam and water, and furnishing employment to 180 persons. Here are also two spade-forges, and two extensive bleach-greens but only the beetling-engines of the last are at present employed. A fair is held on the third Monday in each month; and a constabulary police force has been stationed here. There are several large and handsome houses in the district, the chief of which are Divernagh House, the residence of J. White, Esq,, and Bessbrook, of J. Nicholson, Esq.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Precentor of the cathedral church of St. Patrick, Armagh: the curate's income is derived from the tithes of five-townlands, amounting to £146. 2. 10. The church is a small edifice, with a tower and low spire, and is one of the numerous churches built by Primate Robinson; it was erected in 1774, but not consecrated till 1785, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £150. 5. 9. for its repair. The glebe-house is situated at Ballintemple, three miles from the church, on a glebe of 80 statute acres: it was built in 1805, for which the late Board of First Fruits granted £150.

In the R. C. divisions this is the head of a union or district, also called Carrickcruppin, comprising Camlough and part of the parish of Killevey, and containing three chapels, two in Camlough, situated respectively at Carrickcruppin and Lisslea, and the third at Killevey. A school at Sturgan, under the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, is endowed with £30 per ann., and with two acres of land and a residence for the master. There are a school of 65 children at Maghernahely, and one of 80 at Divernagh; a school at Corrinchigo was built and is supported by Lord Mandeville; and a handsome school-house has been lately built in the village, in connection with the National Board, aided by the noble proprietor, the Earl of Charlemont.

In the townland of Aughnacloghmullan there is an extraordinary cairn, 44 yards in length by 22 in breadth: it contains a chamber, 19 yards long, and divided into four compartments, and is formed of upright stones, about seven feet high, surmounted by very large stone slabs, the whole covered with loose stones and earth. The walls of the bawn erected by Sir Toby Caulfield remain almost entire, and exhibit many of the hewn stones of the ancient abbey of Killevey. A little eastward of these walls stands the shaft of an elegant cross, of which the rest lies in a ditch. Some of the mullions of the windows of the abbey are seen in the walls at Divernagh; and an elegant silver medal was found near its site, and is now in the possession of W. W. Algeo, Esq. The Rev. H. Boyd, translator of Dante's "Divina Comedia," was perpetual curate of this parish.

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