LEARMONT, an ecclesiastical district, partly in the barony of TIRKEERAN, county of LONDONDERRY, and partly in that of STRABANE, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (W.) from Dungiven, on the road to Omagh; containing 4411 inhabitants. It was formed in 1831, under the 7th and 8th of George IV., by separating nine townlands from Banagher, eight from Upper Cumber, and one from Lower Cumber, the whole of which are in Londonderry, except Stranagalvally, which is in Tyrone. Much of the land is very good and under an excellent system of cultivation, and the waste land is being reclaimed under the liberal encouragement of Barre Beresford, Esq., proprietor of the chief portion of this district. Sawel mountain, on the verge of the two counties, rises to the height of 2236 feet above the level of the sea; near it are the precipitous rocks called the Eagle's Nest. Blue limestone is burnt here for manure, and manganese and lead ore are found, also iron ore almost in a metallic state.

The village of Learmont, or Park, is situated on the Faughan water, near the base of Sawel mountain, and has been much improved lately by its proprietor. The principal seat is Learmont, the elegant residence of Barre Beresford, Esq., which he is enlarging and finishing in the Elizabethan or Tudor style. Around it is an extensive demesne, containing large and valuable timber, and ornamented with baths and groups of statues. Here is also Kilcreen, the residence of J. C. Beresford, Esq.; Straid Lodge, of the Rev. J. Hunter; and Tamna, the shooting-lodge of Hugh Lyle, Esq.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Derry, and in the alternate patronage of the Rectors of Banagher and Upper Cumber, except the fifth turn, which devolves on the Rector of Lower Cumber. The curate's income is £85 per annum, which is paid by the three rectors. The late Bishop Knox proposed to make this district a parish of itself, the tithes of which exceed £300 per ann., in which case Mr. Beresford proposed to exchange land planted and improved for a glebe. The church, a small neat edifice, was built in 1831, at an expense of £750, of which £400 was given by the late Board of First Fruits, £100 by the late Bishop Knox, £100 by B. Beresford, Esq., £50 by the Irish Society, £25 by the Skinners' Company, £25 by Robert Ogilby, Esq., and the rest by various individuals.

In the R. C. divisions it forms part of the union or district of Banagher; and has a chapel at Altenure. There is a school at Park, to which Mr. Beresford allows £5 per annum and a house, and three other public schools, in which about 260 children are educated; there are also three private schools, in which about 150 are educated, and a Sunday school.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »