KILDRESS

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

KILDRESS, a parish, in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (W. by N.) from Cookstown, on the road from Omagh to Belfast; containing 7062 inhabitants. This parish anciently formed part of the O'Hagans' country, and subsequently belonged to the Earls of Tyrone, by whose rebellion it was forfeited, and in 1638 was granted by Charles I. to R. Richardson, Esq., whose descendant, Capt. W. Stewart Richardson, is the present proprietor. According to the Ordnance survey it comprises 26,251 ½ statute acres, of which 3212 are mountain and bog, the remainder being under an excellent system of cultivation. The mountain tracts consist of sienite, granite, quartz, and basalt, and in the valleys are found clay-slate, limestone, coal, and valuable freestone. The principal seats are Oaklands, the residence of Capt. W. S. Richardson; Drumshambo, of the Rev. R. Stewart; and Wellbrook, of J. Gunning, Esq. A manorial court for Manor-Richardson is held at Legnacash the second Monday in every month, for the recovery of debts under 40s. At Wellbrook is a large bleach-green.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate: the tithes amount to £354. The church is a large and handsome building with a lofty square tower, erected in 1818, for which the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £1600, and recently repaired by aid of a grant of £151 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The glebe-house was built by aid of a gift of £100, in 1791, from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe consists of the townland of Drumshambo, containing 871 acres, of which 225 are unprofitable land. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and has a small plain chapel at Killanan and another at Dunamore. At Oritor is a Presbyterian meeting-house of the third class, in connection with the Synod of Ulster. About 450 children are educated in five public schools, to one of which the Rev. R. Stewart gave £50 and two acres of land, and about 120 in two private schools. The ruins of the old church are about a mile eastward from the present church; it was burnt in the war of 1641, but restored in 1698, and was used for divine service till 1818. Here are also the ruins of Maheraglass priory, which was founded by Terence O'Hagan in 1242, and fortified by the O'Hagans in the rebellion against Queen Elizabeth, from which it is sometimes called Maheraglass Castle.—See ORITOR.

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