TARTARAGHAN

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

TARTARAGHAN, or the LOW PARISH, a parish, in the barony of ONEILLAND WEST, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (N. E.) from Loughgall, on the road from Lurgan, by Verner's-Bridge, to Dungannon; containing 6321 inhabitants. This parish is bounded for a short distance on the north-east by the river Bann, and on the north-west by the river Blackwater: it formerly was part of the parish of Drumcree, from which it was separated by act of parliament in the 8th of Queen Anne, and erected into a distinct parish, comprising, according to the Ordnance survey, 11,612 statute acres, of which 2122 ¾ are in Lough Neagh, and in small lakes. The lands are chiefly under tillage; the soil is light, but fertile; and the system of agriculture is progressively improving. In the lower extremity of the parish, bordering on Lough Neagh, is a large tract of valuable bog; and there is a quarry of whinstone, which is raised chiefly for building.

The principal seats are Crow Hill, the residence of J. Atkinson, Esq.; and Clantileu, of E. Obrie, Esq. About one-sixth of the population are employed in the linen manufacture. A manorial court is held at Clantileu, every third Thursday, for the recovery of debts to the amount of 40s.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the successive patronage of the Lord-Primate, the Earl of Charlemont, and Charles Brownlow, Esq.: the tithes amount to £276. 18. 6. The glebe-house was erected in 1775, at an expense of £523, of which £100 was a gift from the late Board of First Fruits, and the remainder was defrayed by the incumbent; the glebe comprises 40 statute acres, valued at £50 per annum. The church, originally built in 1712, on land given by Francis Obrie, Esq., who also endowed it with the tithes of eight townlands and gave 40 acres of land for a glebe, is now in ruins: the present church was built in 1816, for which purpose the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £800. Divine service is also performed every Sunday in summer, and on alternate Sundays in winter, in a building formerly used as a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel, a very neat edifice, is at Eglish. There is a place of worship for Presbyterians of the Seceding Synod, of the second class, and also for Wesleyan Methodists. About 260 children are taught in five public schools, of which two are supported by the rector and Mr. Obrie, and one by Colonel Verner; and there are four private schools, in which are about 160 children, and four Sunday schools. Adjoining the village of Moghery, and close on the shore of Lough Neagh, are the ruins of the old church; and in the townland of Eglish is an ancient cemetery, still used as a place of sepulture.

In the townland of Derrycorr is a curious ancient road, formed of large oak trees placed longitudinally with planks of cleft oak laid over them transversely, and covered with sand and gravel about a foot deep, forming a road across the bog at a considerable depth below the surface, and in an excellent state of preservation, though, from the accumulation of superincumbent bog, the timber must have remained there for many centuries. The sand and gravel were evidently brought from Lough Neagh, from portions of petrified wood and chalcedony being intermixed with them; and the road, which was recently discovered while cutting turf, is traceable for nearly two miles to the Lough, and is supposed by the peasantry to have been constructed by St. Patrick, for the purpose of conveying sand for the building of Armagh cathedral. In the year 1815 a golden gorget, weighing 12 oz. and richly chased, was found in one of these bogs, and was purchased by the Rev. F. Gervais, rector of the parish.

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