DESERTCREIGHT, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

DESERTCREIGHT, a parish, in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 2 ¼ miles (S.) from Cookstown, on the road from Dungannon to Coleraine; containing 7516 inhabitants. This parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 14,399 ½ statute acres, chiefly rich arable and pasture land in a high state of cultivation; in the southern part of it are about 1000 acres of mountain and bog. Here are slate quarries, but they are not now worked; and seams of coal may be distinguished in various parts, but no pits have ever been sunk: freestone and limestone are abundant. At Tullylaggan are two extensive bleach-greens, and near Desertcreight is a smaller, which annually bleach and finish upwards of 30,000 pieces for the London market; and a great quantity is woven by the country people in their own houses, the occupation of weaving being followed generally by the inhabitants, in addition to agricultural pursuits. In the upper part of the parish is the village of Rock, where fairs are held on the last Monday in every month, for cattle, sheep, pigs, &c.; and there are four during the year at Tullyhoge. The principal gentlemen's seats are Loughry, the elegant residence of J. Lindesay, Esq.; Desertcreight House, of J. Greer, Esq.; Rockdale, of J. Lowry, Esq.; New Hamburgh, of T. Greer, Esq.; Milton, of W. Greer, Esq.; Turniskea, of the Misses Bailie; Pomeroy House, of R. W. Lowry, Esq.; Elder Lodge, of Dr. Dickson; Rock Lodge, of Captain Daniell; Lime Park, of the Hon. And. Steuart; and the Glebe-house, of the Rev. A. G. Steuart.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin: the tithes amount to £507. 13. 10., and the glebe comprises 177 acres. The church is a very ancient edifice, for the repairs of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently made a grant of £205. 14. 7.: it is situated in a deep and romantic valley. In the R. C. divisions this parish forms part of the union or district of Derryloran; there is a chapel at Tully O'Donnell, also an altar where divine service is performed on alternate Sundays. At Sand-holes is a Presbyterian meeting-house in connection with the Seceding Synod, of the first class; and there is one at Grange for the Covenanters. A commodious school at Tullyhoge was built and is supported by J. Lindesay, Esq.; at Caddy is one built and supported by T. Greer, Esq.; others at Shevy, Sandholes, Drumbellahue, and Grange, are in connection with the Kildare-place Society; and there is one at the slate quarry, in connection with the National Board. There are also three private schools.

At Donarisk stood the ancient priory of that name, founded by one of the O'Hagan family, in 1294, of which nothing exists but the cemetery, remarkable as the burial-place of the sept of O'Hagan, and more recently as that of the ancient family of Lyndsay and Crawford, of whom there are several tombs, but the most remarkable is that of Robert Lyndsay, chief harbinger to King James: this Robert obtained the grant of Tullyhoge, &c., from James I., in 1604, where, and at Loughry, the family have ever since resided. Their house and documents were burnt during the civil war of 1641, and this tomb was also mutilated and covered over, in which condition it remained till 1819, when, in sinking a vault, it was discovered. Numerous ornaments of gold, silver, and copper, with various military weapons, have been found here; the latter seem connected with the camp and fortress of Tullyhoge, the chief residence of the sept of O'Haidhagine, or O'Hagan, where the kings of Ulster were inaugurated with the regal title and authority of the O'Nial from the most remote period. Of this important fortress nothing remains but large masses of stone lying scattered around, and the mound, surrounded by deep fosses and ramparts of earthwork.

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