CASTLE-MAGNER, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

CASTLE-MAGNER, a parish, partly in the barony of ORRERY and KILMORE, but chiefly in that of DUHALLOW, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 3 ½ miles (E. by N.) from Kanturk; containing 2853 inhabitants. It derives its name from the family of Magner, to whom this part of the country formerly belonged, and who erected a castle here, which was forfeited during the protectorate. This castle and lands were granted to the family of Bretridge, from whom they passed to the Hartstonges; the remains now form part of a farmer's residence. Not far from Castle-Magner, in the parish of Subulter, is Knockninoss, where, on the 13th of November, 1647, a battle was fought between the English, under Lord Inchiquin, and the Irish army commanded by Lord Taaffe, in which the English obtained a complete victory: a detailed account of the battle is given under the head of Subulter.

During the same war, Loghort castle, in this parish, was garrisoned with 150 men by Sir Philip Perceval, ancestor of Lord Arden, but was taken by the Irish, who held it till May, 1650, when Sir Hardress Waller, with a battery of cannon, captured it, and in his letter to the parliament describes it as a place of great strength. This castle, which was built in the reign of John, remained in a state of ruin for many years after the protectorate, but was repaired in the early part of the 18th century by Lord Egmont. It is 80 feet high, with walls 10 feet thick at the base, but gradually diminishing to 6, and encompassed with a deep moat or trench passed by a drawbridge. Here was formerly an armoury for 100 cavalry, well furnished with broadswords, bayonets, pistols, carbines, and other weapons, among which was the sword of Sir Alex. Mac Donald, who was treacherously killed by a soldier, after the battle of Knockninoss: these arms have been deposited at Charlesfort for security.

The parish is situated on the new line of road from Mallow to Kanturk, and is partly bounded on the south by the river Blackwater, and contains about 7760 statute acres, consisting of nearly equal portions of arable and pasture land; there is some woodland, and a considerable quantity of wet rushy ground, but no bog or waste. The soil is generally fertile, producing excellent crops, and there are several large dairy farms. On the lands of Coolnamagh are some pits of culm, forming part of the Dromagh vein, but not worked at present. Limestone abounds, and is quarried for building, repairing roads, and making lime. The new Government line of road to King-William's-town passes through the extremity of the parish for about a mile and a half. Four fairs were formerly held at Cecilstown, at which is a constabulary police station, and petty sessions are held there every Monday. Ballygiblin, the seat of Sir W. W. Becher, Bart., is an elegant mansion of some antiquity, but recently modernised with great taste. In its beautiful demesne are the ivy-clad ruins of a church, which tradition states was intended to be the parish church, but was not completed. The other residences are Bettyville, the seat of J. Therry, Esq.; Ramaher, of C. Purcell, Esq.; the glebe-house, of the Rev. J. D. Penrose; Cecils-town Lodge, of W. Wrixon, Esq.; and Assolas, belonging to Sir W. W. Becher.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is impropriate in John Longfield, Esq. The tithes amount to £809. 5. 1., of which half is payable to the impropriator and half to the vicar. The church, which stands on an eminence, and is a plain neat structure, was erected in 1816, by aid of a loan of £500 from the late Board of First Fruits; but the spire was built at the expense of Lord Arden. The glebe-house was erected by aid of a loan of £300, and a gift of £500, in 1813, from the same Board: the glebe consists of only two roods of land. In the R. C. divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, comprising Castle-Magner, Rosskeen, and Subulter, and has a small chapel here. A school of 50 boys and 30 girls, under the National Board, is aided by Sir W. W. Becher, Bart.,who allows 20 guineas per annum; and a school for boys and girls is supported by the trustees of Erasmus Smith's foundation, who allow £20 per annum to the master, with a contingent gratuity of £10, and £14 per annum to the mistress, with a like gratuity of £8. The school-house, which contains apartments for the teachers, is a neat building in the rustic style, erected by the late Hon. John Perceval, and is kept in repair by Lord Arden.

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