NOBBER

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

NOBBER, a post-town and parish, in the barony of MORGALLION, county of MEATH, and province of LEINSTER, 63 miles (N. E. by N.) from Kells, and 31 (N. N. W.) from Dublin, on the road to Clones; containing 4445 inhabitants, of which number, 371 are in the town. In the reign of Henry VI. this place ranked among the boroughs of Meath, and was considered to be the key of the county, so that, when it had been burnt by the Irish, it was judged expedient, on its restoration, to construct fortifications for its defence; for which purpose the inhabitants were licensed to summon all the labourers within the town and barony, for three days in every quarter of the year, for three years. The town now consists of 62 houses; it has a sub-post-office to Kells, and a patent for a market, which is not held, and a fair on April 25th, for every description of cattle and for pigs, which is well attended: a constabulary police force is stationed here.

The parish comprises, together with that of Loughbraccan, 10,843 statute acres. The land, which is principally under tillage, varies greatly in quality; in the southern part it is very superior, producing excellent crops of wheat, oats and barley, with fine pasturage; there is a considerable quantity of bog in the north, and some marshy bog near the town: the system of agriculture is improving. The lake of Whitewood, which is in the demesne of the same name, the seat of the Rt. Hon. Viscount Gormanston, who has a large estate in the parish, is nearly an English mile in length and is the source of the river Dee, which flows eastward through the parish and discharges itself into the Irish sea near Annagasson, in the county of Louth. At Rockfield are three quarries near one another, one of which yields limestone, another grauwacke, and the third a black slaty stone; there are several other limestone quarries in the parish.

The principal seats are Whitewood, already noticed, standing conspicuously on an eminence, and of which the demesne contains about 150 acres, about 80 being planted, chiefly with young oak; Brittas, the handsome villa of Thomas Bligh, Esq., whose demesne, containing about 400 acres, is well planted; Julianstown, the residence of Simon Owens, Esq.; Rockfield, of John Hopkins, Esq.; Possextown, of Joseph F. Hopkins, Esq., where there is an eminence called Cromwell's Hill, on which it is said a battle was fought; and Cellar, the neat residence of Richard Ennis, Esq. It is a rectory, in the diocese of Meath, appropriate to the see, and comprising, with the parish of Loughbraccan, the perpetual cure of Nobber, in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £480. 12. 4., the whole of which is payable to the bishop: the income of the perpetual curate arises from £55. 7. 8 ¼. paid by the bishop, and the glebe, which comprises 40 acres, valued at £70 per annum. The glebe-house was erected in 1789, by a gift of £150 from the late Board of First Fruits. The church is a plain neat structure, built in 1771 by parish cess.

In the R. C. divisions it is the head of a union or district, comprising this parish and that of Cruisetown, in each of which there is a chapel; that of Nobber is a neat and appropriate edifice, of modern erection, faced with hewn stone. There is a school in the town, principally for the children of the tenantry of Lord Gormanston, who allows the master 20 guineas per ann.: the average attendance is 120, of both sexes: the school-house is a neat building, erected at his lordship's expense. There is also a hedge school at Possextown, in which are about 30 boys and 20 girls. Considerable remains of a religious foundation, supposed to have belonged to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, are in the churchyard; as is also a monument of the Cruise family, of the date 1619, erected to the memory of Gerald Cruise, of Brittas, and Margaret Plunkett, his wife. Near the town is a very large circular Danish fort, the summit of which commands an extensive prospect. Nobber is the birth-place of the celebrated Irish harper, Carolan, the last of the native bards, who was born in 1670, and became blind at a very early period of his life from the effects of the small pox.

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