SHANKILL

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

SHANKILL, a parish, partly in the barony of LOWER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, but chiefly in that of ONEILLAND EAST, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, on the mail coach road from Belfast to Enniskillen; containing, with the post-town of Lurgan, 7758 inhabitants. This parish comprises, according to the Ordnance Survey, 6584 statute acres, of which 4931 ½ are in the county of Armagh, and 1652 ½ in Down; of these, 59 ½ acres are in lakes at Lurgan, and 362 in Lough Neagh. The lands are of good quality and chiefly under tillage; the system of agriculture is greatly improved, and the parish is generally in an excellent state of cultivation; there are some quarries of whinstone, which is chiefly used for building, and for repairing the roads.

The principal seat is Lurgan House, the splendid residence of the Rt. Hon. Charles Brownlow (proprietor of the parish), a spacious structure in the Elizabethan style, beautifully situated in a richly wooded demesne with two fine artificial lakes, and embellished with timber of luxuriant and stately growth; the approach is by a handsome lodge and gateway of corresponding character, the whole of freestone brought from Scotland. The other seats are Woodville, the residence of G. Greer, Esq.; Silverwood, of Thomas Cuppage, Esq.; and Grace Hall, of C. Douglas, Esq.: there are also numerous handsome residences in the town of Lurgan.

The linen manufacture is carried on to a great extent throughout the parish, in connection with the large establishments in the town; and diapers, lawns, and cambricks of very superior quality are made in great quantities. The Lagan navigation from Belfast joins Lough Neagh in that part of the parish which extends into the county of Down. Fairs are held at Lurgan on Aug. 5th and 6th, and Nov. 22nd and 23rd. There is a chief constabulary police station, and manorial courts and petty sessions are held in that town, as noticed in the article on Lurgan, which see.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Dromore, and in the patronage of the bishop: the tithes amount to £210. 16. The glebe-house, a handsome edifice, occupied by the Rev. Edward Kent, was built in 1821, at an expense of £1384. 12. 3 ¾., of which £92. 6. 1 ¾. was a gift, and £969. 14. 7 ½, a loan from the late Board of First Fruits; and the glebe comprises 170 statute acres, valued at £325 per annum. The church, situated in the town of Lurgan, a handsome Grecian edifice with a lofty tower and octagonal spire, was built in 1712 and enlarged and repaired in 1828, for which purpose the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £800, and the Rt. Hon. C. Brownlow gave £100; it has recently been further repaired by a grant of £282 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners: the congregation averages 600.

In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also parts of the parishes of Donaghcloney and Maralin: the chapel, a handsome edifice in the later English style, is situated in the town. There are places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the second class, for the Society of Friends, and for Wesleyan and other Methodists.

About 500 children are taught in five public schools, of which the parochial male and female schools are in connection with the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, who allow a salary of £20 to the master and £14 to the mistress; in the former are 120 boys and in the latter 100 girls, who are also clothed by a collection made at a charity sermon, and the incidental expenses of firing, &c., are defrayed by a subscription from the resident gentry. There are seven private schools, in which are about 230 children; and five Sunday schools.

A mendicity society and a voluntary poor fund have been established, towards the support of which Mr. Brownlow contributes annually £100; and there are various other charities for the relief of the poor, to which Mr. Brownlow also contributes. The Rt. Hon. William Brownlow, ancestor of the present proprietor, and for more than 30 years a distinguished member of the Irish House of Commons till the Union, was a native of this place.

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