From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
The parish, called also "Rackwallis," comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 13,5475 statute acres, of which 12,758 are applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £23,013. 13. 2. per ann.; 265 acres are water, and the remainder principally under tillage. The general surface is irregular and hilly, rugged towards the south, but smoother and more gently undulating towards the north. The soil is rich in the vicinity of the town, but inferior towards the south and south-west; there is but little bog in the parish, though there are large tracts in those adjoining, from which abundance of fuel is obtained. The system of agriculture is improved; limestone abounds, and there is a very fine quarry at Milltown Bridge; marl is also found, but is seldom used for manure; whinstone also forms part of the substratum.
The principal seats are Rossmore Park, the residence of the Right Hon. Lord Rossmore, a handsome mansion in the Elizabethan style, situated in an extensive and beautifully diversified demesne, abounding with wild and romantic scenery and commanding some fine distant views; Castle Shane, of E. Lucas, Esq., an ancient mansion in a highly enriched and tastefully embellished demesne (within which is the site of the ancient village of Castle-Shane), with a handsome entrance lodge in the later English style of architecture, and forming an interesting object as seen from the new line of road winding through the valley; Cornacassa, of Dacre Hamilton, Esq., pleasantly situated in a highly cultivated and well-planted demesne; and Camla Vale, of Lieutenant-Colonel Westenra, brother of Lord Rossmore, a spacious and handsome residence, situated in grounds tastefully laid out and adjoining the demesne of Rossmore Park: there are also many handsome residences in the immediate environs.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Clogher, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £553. 16. 11. The glebe-house is a neat thatched residence, and the glebe comprises 38 statute acres, valued at £114 per annum. The church, a very handsome structure, in the later English style of architecture, with a tower and spire, was erected on the site of the former edifice in 1836, at an expense of £5330, of which £1100 was a legacy, with interest, bequeathed by the late Dowager Lady Rossmore; £1000, a bequest of Mrs. Jackson; £2000, a loan from the late Board of First Fruits, the remainder being raised by subscription. The interior contains some handsome monuments and tablets of white marble, to the late rector, the Rev. Mr. Montgomery, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, the families of Lucas and Cole, and the lady of Colonel Westenra.
The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; there are chapels situated respectively at Latlurken, Ardahy, and in the town. Contiguous to the chapel at Latlurken are the national school and a house and ground given by the Rossmore family for the residence of the R. C. clergyman. There are places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the second and third classes, and for those of the Seceding Synod, of the first class; also for Wesleyan and Primitive Wesleyan Methodists. The consistorial court of the diocese of Clogher is held in the town; and the presbytery of Monaghan, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, also holds its meetings here in February and October. The diocesan school for the sees of Raphoe, Kilmore, and Clogher was founded by Queen Elizabeth and is supported chiefly by the bishops and clergy of those dioceses: the school-house is a spacious and handsome edifice, towards the erection of which Lord Rossmore contributed largely, and endowed the establishment with an annuity and five acres of land.
About 1400 children are taught in ten other public schools, of which the parochial school, for which a new house has been recently built, is partly supported by the rector; a free school for boys was founded by R. Jackson, Esq., who endowed it with £22. 10. per annum, and a house rent-free; a female sewing school is also supported by the same gentleman, who endowed it with a house rent-free and a salary of £16 for the mistress; and a school at Killamarly is aided by an annual donation from W. Brook, Esq. There are also seven private schools, in which are about 300 children.
The county infirmary, a good building, occupying an open and elevated site, is supported by a parliamentary grant, by the interest of a legacy of £4000 bequeathed by the late Francis Ellis, Esq., a rent-charge of £20 by the late J. Wright, Esq., and £100 per annum from Bishop Sterne's charity; also by Grand Jury presentments and subscriptions. During the year ending Jan. 6th, 1835, it afforded relief to 286 in-patients, and medicine and attendance to 900 out-patients. There are also a mendicity society, and a penny a week society for the assistance of the poor, supported by subscription and weekly contributions from the members. An almshouse for six poor widows was founded by the late Richard Jackson, Esq., who endowed it with £25. 19. per annum, charged on lands in the parish.
A large house in the square called the Diamond is said to occupy the site of an ancient castle; and in the rear of it are some old walls, said to be the remains of the old abbey; the cemetery attached appears to have been very extensive. In levelling the ground in front of the old gaol, human bones and a skull of unusually large size were discovered.
On the summit of the hill to the north of the town, and near the site of the new gaol, was a small mound of earth, marking the site of the fortress built by Sir Edward Blayney for the protection of the town, and noticed by Sir John Davies as serving both for a garrison and a gaol. Several silver coins have been found here, among which was a curious coin of one of the Henrys, and a larger coin of James I., which is in good preservation; and in a meadow near the river was dug up, some years since, an ancient brass spur, similar to those in the museum of Trinity College, Dublin. On the townland of Lisard, about two miles to the south-west of the town, is a perfect fort, with a rampart and fosse; it is situated on an eminence commanding the surrounding country.
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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