WARINGSTOWN

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

WARINGSTOWN, a post-town, in the parish of DONAGHCLONEY, barony of LOWER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 2 ¾ miles (S. W.) from Lurgan, on the road to Gilford; containing upwards of 1000 inhabitants. The ancient name of this place was Clanconnel, which was changed into that by which it is at present known by William Waring, who settled here in 1667 on lands purchased by him from the dragoons of Cromwell's army, who had received a grant of forfeited lands in this quarter. The new proprietor immediately built a large and elegant mansion, which is still the family seat. In the war of 1688 he was driven out by the Irish army, who kept possession of the house as a military station till the arrival of Duke Schomberg, who remained here for two days on his march to the Boyne.

Mr. Waring, who had escaped to the Isle of Man, was outlawed by the parliament of James II. Samuel Waring, a descendant of the same spirited individual to whom the place owes its existence and its name, was the founder of its manufacturing prosperity in the reign of Queen Anne. Having acquired a knowledge of the processes for making diaper during his travels in Holland and Belgium, he introduced them into his own country, and the first piece of cloth of this description made in Ireland was the produce of his estate. He also, when abroad, procured drawings of wheels and reels in Holland, and with his own hand made the first of the wheels and reels now in general use, before which all the flax made in the country was spun by the rock and spindle. The linen manufacture thus introduced and patronised became the staple of the district and is now carried on to a very great extent in all its branches, there being scarcely a family in the town and neighbourhood which is not more or less employed in some department of it.

Petty sessions are held in the town every Monday: it is a constabulary police station, and has a sub-post-office to Banbridge and Lurgan. The town was made the site of the parish church of Donaghcloney by an act of parliament in 1681, and divine service has been celebrated here since that period in the church in this town, which had been previously built by Mr. Waring at his own expense for the use of his family and tenantry. It is a large and handsome edifice in the Elizabethan style, to which a tower and spire were added in 1748: the interior is very elegantly fitted up, but is most remarkable for its roof of carved oak resting on 18 carved corbels of the same material: the pulpit, communion table, railings, and pews are all of oak: in 1832 the church, being found too small for the congregation, was enlarged by the addition of a northern transept, which is finished in its roof and all other parts to correspond with the original building, at which time the pulpit and communion table were richly ornamented with carvings and pierced work of wreaths, festoons, and other similar embellishments, executed by the hand of the Rev. Holt Waring, proprietor of the estate, and by him presented to the parish.

The bell of the old parish church of Donaghcloney, after having lain for nearly a century in the river Lagan, was raised, and hung in the tower of Waringstown church: engraved on it in rude characters is the inscription "I belong to Donaghcloney." Waringstown House, the mansion of the proprietor, is in the immediate vicinity of the town, surrounded by a demesne richly planted with ancient and flourishing forest trees; the pleasure grounds, gardens, and shrubberies are extensive and kept in the best order. Demesne, the residence of James Browne, Esq., is also near the town. The surrounding land is very fertile and in a high state of cultivation, with numerous houses of the gentry and wealthy manufacturers interspersed. The Waringstown male and female school, in which are 147 pupils, with residences for the master and mistress, were built by subscription and are in connection with the London Hibernian Society. Henry McLeary, who greatly improved the machinery for diaper-weaving and invented a slay for expediting the process, for which he received a premium of £100 from the Linen Board, was a native of this place.

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