From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
The town comprises the parishes of St. Peter, on the north side of the river, in the diocese of Armagh, comprising 3523 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act; and St. Mary, on the south side, and in the diocese of Meath, containing 1435 acres, as applotted; with part of the parish of Ballymakenny. The living of each is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Marquess of Drogheda, in whom the rectories are impropriate. The tithes of St. Peter's amount to £300, payable to the impropriator: the annual income of the incumbent is £512. 2. 6., arising from certain lay tithes purchased by the late Board of First Fruits, minister's money, payment by the corporation, and rent of houses, the tithes of St. Mary's are £105, of which £31. 3. 1. is payable to the impropriator, and £73. 16. 11. to the vicar, who also receives a stipend of £30 from Evans's fund.
St. Peter's church, which was rebuilt in 1753, is a handsome and substantial structure, in the Roman Doric style, with a tower surmounted by a spire, which wants a proportionate degree of elevation; it is the burial-place of the family of Moore, Marquesses of Drogheda, and contains also several handsome monuments to Lord Chief Justice Singleton, who resided in the town, John Ball, Esq., one of the king's serjeants, the Leigh and Ogle families, and others; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £463. 2. 3. towards its repair.
The glebe-house adjoins the churchyard; there is a glebe of four acres in Drogheda, and one of 24 acres in Carlingford. St. Mary's church, a modern edifice, was erected in 1810, by a gift of £600 and a loan of £500 from the late Board of First Fruits, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £175. 5. 7. towards its repair. The glebe-house, situated in the town, was purchased for the parish by the late Board in 1809, under the new acts, at a cost of £600, of which £461. 10. 9 ¼. was a gift, and £138. 9. 2 ¾. a loan: the glebe comprises five acres, valued at £20 per annum.
The chapel of St. Mark, a handsome edifice, was erected as a chapel of ease to St. Peter's church; the corporation contributed £300 towards the expense, £900 was given in 1829 by the late Board of First Fruits, and the remainder was raised by local subscription: it is endowed with the rectorial tithes of Innismot, in the county of Meath, amounting to £65, by the corporation, who have transferred the patronage to the Lord-Primate, who adds £50 per annum.
The R. C. parish of St. Peter is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and is the benefice of the Archbishop; the chapel is a handsome and spacious structure, erected at an expense of more than £12,000, raised by subscription. St. Mary's is the head of a R. C. union, comprising also the parishes of Colpe and Kilsharvan, and containing two chapels, one at Drogheda, a large and handsome building, towards which Michael Duff, Esq., contributed between £4000 and £5000, and the other at Mornington, in the parish of Colpe.
There are places of worship for Presbyterians and Wesleyan Methodists, the former in connection with the Seceding Synod, and of the second class: the building was erected in 1827, at an expense of £2000, towards which the corporation contributed £300.
Here are three friaries, dedicated respectively to St. Francis, St. Augustine, and St. Dominick; also two convents of nuns, one dedicated to St. Dominick, and the other to the Blessed Virgin and of the order of the Presentation, both devoted to religious instruction. The Dominican or Sienna convent, beautifully situated in the environs, has a department for the instruction of young ladies, and a very elegant chapel. St. Peter's parochial school is supported by contributions, including an annual donation of £10. 10. from the corporation, and £10 from the vicar.
In this parish are also one of the four classical schools under the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, who grant to it £280 per ann.; five other schools, one of which is in connection with the Presentation convent, a private school, and three Sunday schools; in the day schools together are about 1000 children. In the parish of St. Mary are a public school, in which are about 250, and a pay school of 70, children. An institution for the widows of Protestant clergymen was founded and endowed by Primate Boulter; and an almshouse, called the poor house of St. John, was founded by a grant from the corporation; it is a neat brick building, containing 12 apartments.
An infirmary, with a dispensary, is supported by Grand Jury presentments and by corporation and parliamentary grants, at an annual cost of about £400; and a mendicity institution for which the corporation finds a house, is supported by voluntary contributions and the produce of the labour of its inmates. There is also a savings' bank. The amount of Grand Jury cess levied on the rural district of the county of the town is about £1080 per annum. The religious foundations of this place were anciently very numerous, and of several there are still some remains.
On the north side of the river are those of the Augustinian priory, of which the steeple is standing; it is more generally called the old abbey, from its remote antiquity, having, it is supposed, been founded by St. Patrick, who it is said baptized his converts at a well within its precincts, which, previously to its late enclosure, bore his name; the old abbey experienced many injuries from its Irish and Danish assailants, but was rebuilt and endowed by the English in 1226. On the road leading to Collon, near the town, is a stone called Clough Patrick, or St. Patrick's stone, on which he prayed; in commemoration of which, the marks of his knees and staff were chiselled in the stone, and are yet to be traced.
The hospital of St. Mary was founded early in the 13th century, for sick and infirm persons, by Ursus de Swemele, and was afterwards occupied by Crouched friars of the order of St. Augustine. The priory of St. Lawrence, near the gate of that name, is said to have been founded by the mayor and burgesses. The Dominican abbey, founded in 1224, by Lucas de Netterville, Archbishop of Armagh, afterwards became a house of great celebrity; it was proposed as the seat of an intended university, and after the dissolution was granted to Walter Dowdall and Edward Becke. The Grey friary was founded in the 13th century, either by the family of D'Arcy or that of Plunket, and was, in 1518, reformed by the Observantine friars, and on its dissolution granted to Gerald Aylmer.
The Augustine friary was founded in the reign of Edward I., probably by the Brandon family; and there were two smaller foundations, known as the houses of St. James and St. Bennet. On the opposite side of the river was the priory or hospital of St. John, for Crouched friars, a cell to the priory of Kilmainham, supposed to have been founded by Walter de Lacy, a great part of the revenue of which was, after the dissolution, granted by Edward VI. to James Sedgrave; and also the Carmelite friary, founded by the inhabitants, and which, with the houses of St. Mary, St. Lawrence, and the Augustinian friary, were, at the dissolution, given to the corporation. There was also a Franciscan monastery, of which the founder and history are not known.
There are at present some remains of the old church of St. Mary, and of the Dominican abbey, in which was interred Patrick O'Scanlain, Archbishop of Armagh, in 1270. The abbey was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, and its majestic remains consist of a square tower, in the battlement of which is a breach, said to have been made by Cromwell's cannon. It was enacted by the Irish parliament, in 1465, that a university, enjoying the same privileges and immunities as that of Oxford, should be established at this place, but the design was not carried into execution. The Archbishops of Armagh formerly had a palace in the town for their accommodation while attending their parliamentary duties.
Divers remains of earthworks, and traces of military operations, are still to be seen at several of the stations which were occupied by Cromwell during the parliamentary war. William of Drogheda, a writer on civil law in the 14th century, and James Miles, author of two works on religion and one on music, and who died a member of the Franciscan monastery at Naples, in 1639, were natives of this place. Drogheda gives the titles of Marquess, Earl, and Viscount, in the peerage of Ireland, to the family of Moore.
DROGHEDA | Drogheda in the 1640s | Drogheda during the Williamite Wars | Drogheda Infrastructure and Manufactures | Drogheda Trade in the 1830s | Drogheda Government in the 1830s | Drogheda Churches and Parishes
From a sad, comfortless childhood Giles Truelove developed into a reclusive and uncommunicative man whose sole passion was books. For so long they were the only meaning to his existence. But when fate eventually intervened to have the outside world intrude upon his life, he began to discover emotions that he never knew he had.
This is a story for the genuine booklover, penned by an Irish bookseller under the pseudonym of Ralph St. John Featherstonehaugh.
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