LANGFIELD

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

LANGFIELD (WEST or LOWER), a parish, in the barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 8 miles (W.) from Omagh, on the road from Londonderry to Enniskillen; containing 4865 inhabitants.

The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 23,906 ¾ statute acres, of which 176 are water, and about 6700 are mountain and bog. The mountains afford good pasturage for cattle and sheep, and their declivities are in a state of progressive cultivation; a great portion of the bog is also being rapidly reclaimed, and the system of agriculture is fast improving. In Dunwest are extensive beds of coal in three strata, all easy of access; and though at every flood large masses are detached by the river Poe, and carried down the stream, no attempt has yet been made to work them: coal of very good quality is also found in other parts of the parish.

In Kerlis are extensive and valuable quarries of freestone, from which was raised the stone for the portico of the court-house of Omagh and for other public edifices; the higher mountains, of which Dooish rises, according to the Ordnance survey, 1119 feet above the level of the sea, are of mica slate. The river Poe rises in these mountains, and after passing through Drumquin falls into the river Foyle, about two miles below Omagh; there are several lakes in the parish, of which the largest is 58 acres in extent. The inhabitants combine with their agricultural pursuits the weaving of linen, and many of the females are employed in spinning linen and cotton yarn; there is also a small tuck-mill for dressing home-made woollen cloth, and there are several corn-mills. The parish is partly within the bishop's manor of Derg, and partly in that of Hastings, which was granted to Sir John Davies by James I., under the name of Clonaghmore; and for which a court is held at Drumquin monthly, for the recovery of debts under 40s.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the tithes amount to £295. 17. The glebe-house is a good and comfortable residence, situated near the church on a glebe of 108 acres, and embosomed in thriving plantations; there are also belonging to the rectory 10 townlands at Gortnasoal, about three miles distant, comprising together 2589 acres, of which 1426 are under cultivation, and the remainder mountain and bog. The church is a small ancient edifice surmounted by a cupola.

In the R. C. divisions the parish, together with that of East Langfield, constitutes the union or district of Langfield; there is a large chapel at Drumquin, which serves for both parishes. About 460 children are taught in six public schools, of which the parochial school is principally supported by the rector, who in 1820 erected a good house for the master on the glebe, with an excellent garden; he also erected a school-house for another on the glebe at Loughmulharn, which he also supports. There are three private schools, in which are about 80 children, and five Sunday schools. There are some extensive remains of the spacious and handsome castle of Kerlis, or Curlews, built by Sir John Davies, prior to 1619, upon the manor of Clonaghmore, with freestone found on the spot, and with which he constructed a road eight feet wide and seven miles in length, leading over mountains and morasses, to his other castle on the Derg; much of the road may still be traced near the castle, paved with large blocks of stone. There are numerous forts in various parts of the parish, some of which are very large and tolerably perfect.

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