From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
TALLOW, or TALLAGH, a market and post-town, (formerly a parliamentary borough), and a parish, in the barony of COSHMORE and COSHBRIDE, county of WATERFORD, and province of MUNSTER, 39 miles (W. S. W.) from Waterford, and 114 (S. W. by S.) from Dublin, on the mail coach road from Waterford through Youghal to Cork; containing 4717 inhabitants, of which number, 2998 are in the town. This place, together with the surrounding territory, was, in 1586, granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Walter Raleigh, by whom the estates were subsequently assigned to Sir Richard Boyle, afterwards created Earl of Cork. In the original grant it is designated a decayed town, but it was restored by the Earl, who in the 11th of James I. obtained for the inhabitants a charter of incorporation and various important privileges.
Though not walled, an intrenchment with four gates was thrown up around it for its defence, during the war in 1641, by the Earl, who maintained here a garrison of 100 infantry; and in 1643 the Earl of Inchiquin, with his army, met the Lords Dungarvan and Broghill at this place, whence they proceeded to the relief of Lismore castle, at that time besieged. In 1644 the castle of Ballymacow, near the town, was taken from Sir Philip Perceval by the Irish, but was soon after restored by order of the supreme council at Kilkenny, in consequence of its seizure having been a violation of the cessation of hostilities previously concluded.
The town is situated about half a mile to the south of the river Bride, and consists chiefly of two principal streets; it contained, in 1831, 477 houses, of which many are well built and of respectable appearance. The wool-combing business was formerly carried on extensively; but at present the principal trade is in grain, which is brought from Fermoy and the neighbouring markets to be shipped here. The manufacture of coarse lace affords employment to several hundred females; an extensive ale and porter brewery was established here in 1835, by Messrs. Anthony and Terry, which produces annually 3000 barrels; and attached to it is a large malting concern. There are also very extensive flour-mills, belonging to Messrs, Hannan, which were built in 1822, and produce annually 10,000 barrels of flour; they are set in motion by a powerful stream which rises to the south of the town and falls into the river Bride at Tallow bridge.
The Bride, which winds through the parish, is navigable to within a quarter of a mile of the bridge; and at Janeville quay, about 2 miles distant, lighters from 30 to 40 tons' burden unload their cargoes of coal, culm, and timber, and receive grain at Tallow bridge quay; the river Bride, from its junction with the Blackwater, affording a facility of water carriage to Youghal. A new line of road has been constructed to Youghal, opening an improved communication between this place and the neighbouring towns. The market is on Saturday; and fairs are held on March 1st, Trinity-Monday, Oct. 10th, and Dec. 8th: the market-house is a neat and well-arranged building.
A charter of incorporation was granted by James I., in the 11th of his reign, to the inhabitants, under the designation of the "Sovereign, Free Burgesses, and Commonalty of the borough of Tallagh," by which the town and the surrounding lands within a mile and a half of the parish church were constituted a free borough. By this charter the corporation was to consist of a sovereign, not less than 13 nor more than 24 free burgesses, and an indefinite number of freemen, with a recorder and other officers.
The sovereign, who, with the recorder, was a justice of the peace, was chosen annually by the lord of the manor from the free burgesses nominated for that purpose by the sovereign and a majority of that body, by whom vacancies in their number were filled up from among the freemen, and freemen were also admitted. The charter conferred upon the corporation the privilege of returning two members to the Irish parliament, which it continued to exercise till the union, when the borough was disfranchised. It held a court of record in which the sovereign and recorder presided, with jurisdiction extending to £20; but, long before the disfranchisement of the borough, the corporation had ceased to exercise any municipal functions, and soon afterwards became extinct. The seneschal of the manor for some time continued to hold a court, with jurisdiction to the extent of £15: but this has been for some time discontinued, and the only pleas now cognizable in the manor court are for debts not exceeding 40s. A chief constabulary police force is stationed in the town.
The parish comprises 4745 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act; about 400 acres are pasture, 100 mountainous but in cultivation, and the remainder chiefly under tillage; the soil is fertile, and the system of agriculture improved; there is neither waste land nor bog. The surrounding district produces abundance of grain of all kinds, and there are some extensive dairies. Kilmore Hill, the residence of the Rev. W. Perceval, is a handsome seat on the new line of road to Youghal, about a mile from the town.
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Lismore, episcopally united, in 1817, to the vicarage of Kilwatermoy, and in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire.
The tithes amount to £369. 4. 7.; the glebe comprises about 5 acres, and the tithes for the whole benefice amount to £457. 16. 10 ½. The church, for the repairs of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £259, is a spacious structure: in the aisle is a monument of marble, erected by the parishioners to the Rev, H. Brougham, their late rector, who died in 1831.
The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church: the chapel is a handsome cruciform edifice, with a tower of hewn stone; the interior is neatly arranged; the high altar is of elegant design, and over a small altar of marble is a monument to the Rev. Denis O'Donnell, late P. P., with an emblematic sculpture, beautifully executed, representing Religion and Charity. A convent of the order of the Presentation was erected here in 1836, at an expense of £1500, on a site of two acres presented by the Duke of Devonshire; the late Rev. D. O'Donnell bequeathed £1000 towards the erection of the buildings, and the Rev. E. Condon, under whose superintendence they were completed, supplied the remainder.
About 450 children are taught in four public schools, of which one is supported by the Trustees of Erasmus Smith's fund; and there are seven private schools, in which are about 200 children.
Almshouses have lately been erected under the will of John Boyce, Esq., who endowed them for the reception of six aged couples, to each of whom he assigned £10 per ann.: the buildings, which are very neat and well adapted to the purpose, are situated at the southern entrance of the town. Near the R. C. chapel are also almshouses for poor widows, erected and endowed with £30 per ann. by a bequest of the late Rev. D. O'Donnell. There are a dispensary and a fever hospital, to which the Duke of Devonshire liberally contributes; and a house of recovery has been lately erected with funds charged on the estate of the late John Boyce, Esq., who bequeathed £50 per ann. to be applied in promoting the convalescence of the patients.
To the west of Tallow bridge, but within the parish of Lismore, is the ancient castle of Lisfinny, built by the Earl of Desmond, now converted into a handsome residence, in the occupation of Captain Edwards Croker; and on the confines of the parish, bordering on the county of Cork, are some vestiges of the castle of Kilmacow, which also belonged to that family.