KILLOWEN

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

KILLOWEN, or ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, a parish, in the barony of COLERAINE, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, forming part of the suburbs of Coleraine, and containing 2906 inhabitants. This parish, which is included within the present borough of Coleraine, is situated on the western bank of the river Bann, and is connected with the town, on the opposite side, by a fine wooden bridge of considerable length. That part of the parish which is more especially the suburb consists of one long street, called Captain-street, forming a continuation of Bridge-street, Coleraine. It contains many small houses, nearly the whole of which are held by various tenures under the Clothworkers' Company, of London, who obtained a lease of the parish from the Irish Society, to whom it had been granted by James I. in 1609. A small trade is carried on, chiefly in the manufacture of calicoes and ginghams; and fairs are held on May 12th and July 5th.

The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 1796 statute acres, of which 1714 are applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2243 per annum: the lands are chiefly under tillage, the soil is fertile, and the system of agriculture greatly improved. Jackson's Hall, the seat of Mrs. Maxwell, occupies the site of an ancient castle, erected, in 1213, by Mac Ughtry, who in that year destroyed the abbey founded on the spot by St. Carbreus, in 540.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £160. The original parish church, which was part of a priory founded in 1080, was, in 1830, converted into a school-house; and a small neat church, without either tower or spire, was built at an expense of £1000, towards which £300 was given by the Clothworkers' Company, £100 by Bishop Knox, £50 by the Irish Society, and £170 as a gift and £380 as a loan by the late Board of First Fruits. The glebe-house, towards the erection of which the same Board granted a loan of £80, was built in 1822: the glebe comprises 30 acres.

In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district called Killowen, or Coleraine, comprising also the parishes of Dunboe, Macosquin, and Aghadowy, and containing three chapels, situated respectively at Killowen, Dunboe, and Aghadowy. There is a place of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Seceding Synod. About 250 children are educated in four public schools, of which the parochial schools are assisted by a gift of £25 per annum from the Clothworkers' Company, and a donation from the rector; and a school at Laurel Hill was founded and endowed with £50 per annum by the late R. Kyle, Esq., in 1830. There are also a private school, in which are about 50 children, and three Sunday schools. Remains of some fine encampments or forts may be seen at Cranagh Hill and Ballycavin, and one of smaller dimensions near the church. On the confines of the parish, near Camus, are two strongly impregnated springs, one chalybeate, the other holding pure sulphur in solution.

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