From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
DROMORE, a market and post-town, a parish, and the seat of a diocese, in the barony of LOWER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 16 miles (W. N. W.) from Downpatrick, and 66 ½ (N.) from Dublin, on the mail coach road to Belfast, from which it is 14 miles distant; containing 14,912 inhabitants, of which number, 1942 are in the town. Its name, anciently written Druim-mor, signifies "the Great Ridge," Druim being the term applied to a long ridge-shaped hill, such as that above Dromore. Its origin may be traced from St. Colman, who founded here an abbey for Canons Regular, which afterwards became the head of a see, of which he was made the first bishop. This abbey had acquired extensive possessions early in the 10th century, and was frequently plundered by the Danes; it also suffered materially from the continued feuds of the powerful septs of the O'Nials, Magennises, and Macartans. In the 14th century, Sir J. Holt and Sir R. Belknap, being convicted of treason against Richard II., were condemned to death, but on the intercession of the clergy, were banished for life to the ville of Dromore, in Ireland.
At the Reformation the cathedral was in ruins, and the town had greatly participated in the devastations of the preceding periods; in this situation it remained till 1610, when James I. refounded the see by letters patent, rebuilt the cathedral, and gave to the bishop extensive landed possessions in this and several adjoining parishes, which he erected into a manor called "Bailonagalga," corrupted into Ballymaganles, a denomination or townland on which the town stands, with a court leet, twice in the year, a court baron every three weeks for pleas under £5, a free market every Saturday, and two fairs. An episcopal palace was commenced by Bishop Buckworth, but previously to its completion, the war of 1641 broke out, and the cathedral, the unfinished palace, and the town were entirely destroyed by the parliamentarian forces. From this time the town remained in ruins till the Restoration, when Charles II. gave the see in commendam to the celebrated Jeremy Taylor, with Down and Connor, by whom the present church, which is also parochial, was built on the site of the ruined cathedral. In 1688, a skirmish took place near the town between a party of Protestants and some of the Irish adherents of James II.
The town consists of a square and five principal streets, and contained, in 1831, 396 houses. There are two bridges over the Lagan; one, called the Regent's bridge, was built in 1811, and has a tablet inscribed to the late Bishop Percy, recording some of the leading traits of his character. Several bleach-greens were formerly in full work in the vicinity, and among others, that occupied by the late Mr. Stott, whose poetical effusions under the signature of Hafiz, in the provincial newspapers, attracted much attention; but all are now unemployed except one, in the occupation of Thomas McMurray and Co., connected with which is a manufacture of cambrics, and also a linen manufacture, established in 1832; another linen-factory was established at Ashfield, in 1828. The market is on Saturday, and is well supplied with all sorts of provisions, farming stock, and linen; and fairs are held on the first Saturday in March, May 12th, Aug. 6th, Oct. 10th, and Dec. 14th. A constabulary police force is stationed here; courts leet and baron are held for the manor, and petty sessions occasionally. In the bishop is vested, among other privileges, the power of appointing a coroner, escheator, and clerk of the market, and a bailiff.
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.
A story for the genuine booklover, penned by an Irish bookseller under the pseudonym of Ralph St. John Featherstonehaugh.
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