DESERTMARTIN, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

DESERTMARTIN, a parish, in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 2 miles (W.) from Magherafelt, on the road from Armagh to Coleraine, containing 4934 inhabitants, of which number, 257 are in the village. This parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 9580 statute acres, of which 6952 are applotted under the tithe act. Within its limits is Lough Insholin,which gives name to the barony; it contains several islands, and is nearly dry in summer. The soil is every where good, and the system of agriculture improved; the lands are chiefly in tillage, producing abundant crops; there are some valuable tracts of bog. A great portion of the mountain of Slieve Gallion, is within the parish; notwithstanding its great height, it affords excellent pasturage nearly to its summit. Limestone abounds, and some very valuable quarries are worked for building and for agricultural purposes. Freestone of excellent quality is also quarried for building; and numerous thin seams of coal have been discovered, but not of sufficient depth to pay the expense of working them. Dromore House is the residence of the Hon. and Rev. A. W. Pomeroy. The inhabitants combine with their agricultural pursuits the spinning of flax and the weaving of linen to some extent in the farm-houses. The village contains about 40 houses, most of which are well built, and, though small, it is remarkably clean and has a very neat and pleasing appearance. Fairs were formerly held here, but they have been for some time discontinued.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £400. The glebe comprises 326a. 1r. 17p., of which, 105 are not cultivated; there is also another glebe belonging to the parish, called the townland of Lisgorgan, situated in Tamlaght-O'Crilly, and containing 179 acres. The church is a small edifice with a square tower, erected by aid of a loan of £800 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1820; and is situated on the glebe, about a mile from the village. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; there are two chapels, situated respectively at Munsterlin and Cullion. There is a place of worship at Lecumpher for Presbyterians in connection with the Seceding Synod, and of the second class. The parochial school is chiefly supported by the rector, who also gives a house rent-free both to the master and mistress; the school-house, a handsome slated building, was erected in 1820. There are schools at Inniscarran and Cranny, founded and supported by the Drapers' Company, also three under the National Board. In these about 500 boys and 370 girls receive gratuitous instruction; and there are also a pay school, in which are about 30 boys and 20 girls, and five Sunday schools. Some remains of the old church exist on the bank of a small river near the village; and on the opposite bank are the remains of a fort, evidently raised to defend the pass of the river; a portion of the old church was taken down in 1820, to supply materials for building the parochial school-house.

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