CUMBER, LOWER, a parish

CUMBER, LOWER, a parish, in the barony of TIRKEERAN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 6 miles (S. E. by S.) from Londonderry, on the road to Dungiven; containing 4584 inhabitants. This parish was separated from the original parish of Cumber in 1794, when this portion of it, comprising, according to the Ordnance survey, 14,909 statute acres, was constituted a parish of itself. The land under cultivation is very fertile, particularly that portion which lies in the vale of the Faughan; good pasturage is obtained on the mountains, which compose about one-third of its surface. Several mountain streams run through the parish, of which the Burntallaght is the most interesting; on this water is a beautiful cascade, called the Neiss, which falls over a ridge of clay-slate nearly 80 feet.

Considerable portions of the parish are the property of some of the London chartered companies, by whom great improvements have been effected. In the vale of the Faughan, which extends through the parish and is pleasingly wooded, stand several elegant houses, surrounded by grounds of singular beauty. The inhabitants combine with their agricultural pursuits the weaving of linen cloth; and there is an extensive bleach-green, where 16,000 pieces are annually finished, principally for the English market. There are several handsome bridges both of wood and stone, and between the Oaks and Oaks Lodge is a suspension bridge, which, as seen from the road, has a very pleasing effect. The principal residences are the Oaks, that of Acheson Lyle, Esq.; Oaks Lodge, of Hugh Lyle, Esq.; the Cross, of James Smith, Esq.; and the Glebe-house, of the Rev. William Hayden.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £560. The glebe-house was erected in 1800, by a gift of £100 from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 106 acres, of which about 30 are uncultivated. The church is a convenient and substantial edifice, built in 1795, by aid of a gift of £500 from the Board. The rector has every fifth presentation to the perpetual cure of Learmount, a district formed out of the original parish of Cumber, in 1831.

In the R. C. divisions the parish is partly in the union or district of Glendermot, and partly in that of Cumber Claudy; the chapel, which belongs to the former, is a small edifice, situated at Mullaghbuoy, in the mountain district. The Presbyterians have a large meeting-house at Breakfield, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the first class. The male and female parochial schools at Aughill are supported by the rector; and there are large schools at Ervey, Tamnamore, and Ballinamore; the first was built and is supported by the Grocers' Company. The remains of antiquity are numerous; at Slaght Manus is a very large cromlech, the table stone of which is 10 feet long, and is supported by four pillars; and at Mullaghbuoy are the remains of another, but less perfect. In the townland of Listress is a large artificial cave, with five chambers, all built of field stones, covered with broad flag-stones, over which is a covering of earth two feet thick.

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