Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for CLOGHER

CLOGHER, an incorporated market and post-town, a parish, and the head of a diocese (formerly a parliamentary borough), in the barony of CLOGHER, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 7 miles (W.) from Aughnacloy, and 82 ½ (N. W. by N.) from Dublin; containing, with the towns of Augher and Five-mile-town, and the village of Newtown-Saville (all separately described) 17,996 inhabitants, of which number, 523 are in the town. This place is said to have derived its name from a stone covered with gold, which in pagan times is reported to have made oracular responses. The Clogh-or, or "golden stone," was preserved long after the abolition of paganism; for McGuire, canon of Armagh, who wrote a commentary on the registry of Clogher, in 1490, says "that this sacred stone is preserved at Clogher, on the right of the entrance into the church, and that traces of the gold with which it had been formerly covered by the worshippers of the idol called Cermaed Celsetacht are still visible."

There is still a very ancient stone lying on the south side of the cathedral tower, which many believe to be the real Clogh-or. It appears to have some very ancient characters engraved on it, but is evidently nothing more than the shaft of an antique cross of rude workmanship, of which there are several in the ancient cemetery. Clogher is called by Ptolemy Rhigia or Regia; and according to some authors, St. Patrick founded and presided over a monastery here, which he resigned to St. Kertenn when he went to Armagh, to establish his famous abbey there; but according to others, it was built at the command of St. Patrick in the street before the royal palace of Ergal, by St. Macartin, who died in 506, and from its vicinity to this palace both the abbey and the town appear anciently to have been called Uriel or Ergal. In 841, the abbot Moran Mac Inrachty was slain by the Danes. In 1041 the church was rebuilt and dedicated to St. Macartin.

In 1126 the Archdeacon Muireadhach O'Cuillen was killed by the people of Fermanagh. Moelisa O'Carrol, Bishop of Clogher, in 1183, on his translation of the archbishoprick of Armagh, presented to this abbey a priest's vestments and a mitre, and promised a pastoral staff; he also consecrated the abbey church. Bishop Michael Mac Antsair, in 1279, exchanged with the abbot the episcopal residence that had been built near the abbey by Bishop Donat O'Fidabra, between 1218 and 1227, for a piece of land outside the town, called Disert-na-cusiac, on which he erected another episcopal palace. His immediate successor, Matthew Mac Catasaid, erected a chapel over the sepulchre of St. Macartin. In 1361 the plague miserably afflicted Ireland, particularly the city of Clogher, and caused the death of the bishop.

In April 1395, while Bishop Arthur Mac Camaeil was employed in rebuilding the chapel of St. Macartin, the abbey, the cathedral, two chapels, the episcopal residence, and 32 other houses, were destroyed by fire; but the bishop applied himself with unwearied diligence to the rebuilding of his cathedral and palace. In 1504, another plague ravaged Clogher and caused the death of the bishop. James I., in 1610, annexed the abbey and its revenues to the see of Clogher, by which it was made one of the richest in the kingdom. Between 1690 and 1697, Bishop Tennison repaired and beautified the episcopal palace; and his successor, Bishop St. George Ash, expended £900 in repairing and improving the palace and lands, two-thirds of which was repaid by his successor. Bishop Sterne, in 1720, laid out £3000 in building and other improvements of the episcopal residence, £2000 of which was charged on the revenues of the see.

The town is situated on the river Blackwater, the source of which is in the parish, and consists of one row of 90 houses, the northern side only being built upon. Some of the houses are large, handsome, and well built with hewn stone, and slated. The episcopal palace is a large and handsome edifice close to the cathedral, on the south side of the town, and consists of a centre with two wings: the entrance is in the north front by an enclosed portico, supported by lofty fluted columns. It is built throughout of hewn freestone, and standing on elevated ground commands extensive views over a richly planted undulating country. Its erection was commenced by Lord John George Beresford, Primate of Armagh, while Bishop of Clogher, and completed by Lord Robert Tottenham, the present bishop, in 1823.

Attached to the palace is a large and well-planted demesne of 566 acres, encircled by a stone wall; and within it are the remains of the royal dwelling-place of the princes of Ergallia, a lofty earthwork or fortress, protected on the west and south by a deep fosse; beyond this, to the south, is a camp surrounded by a single fosse, and still further southward is a tumulus or cairn, encircled by a raised earthwork. The market is on Saturday; the market-house was built by Bishop Garnett. Fairs for live stock are held on the third Saturday in every month. The market was granted to the bishop by letters patent dated April 20th, 1629: he was also authorised to appoint two fairs and receive the profits of the market and fairs. The old fairs, which are supposed to have been granted by the charter, are held on May 6th and July 26th.

At the solicitation of Bishop Spottiswood, Charles I., in 1629, directed that, "for the better civilizing and strengthening of these remote parts with English and British tenants, and for the better propagation of the true religion, the lord-lieutenant should by letters patent make the town of Clogher a corporation." This was to consist of a portreeve and 12 burgesses, to be at first nominated by the bishop; the portreeve was afterwards to be elected on Michaelmas-day, by and from among the burgesses. No freemen were created, and the bishops appear to have connected a burgess-ship with each of the stalls in the cathedral. Prior to March 29th, 1800, the bishops had nominated the members of parliament for the borough without opposition, and the seneschal of their manor had been the returning officer; but at that time the Irish House of Commons resolved that the limits of the borough were coextensive with the manor, and as the freeholders of the manor had tendered their votes in favour of two candidates, they were declared by the Irish parliament to be duly elected, and the bishop's nominees were unseated.

At the Union, the £15,000 granted as compensation for abolishing the elective franchise was claimed by the bishop, the dean and chapter, and prebendaries of the cathedral, and the Rev. Hugh Nevan, seneschal of the manor; but their claim was disallowed and the money paid to the Board of First Fruits. By the charter a grant was to be made to the corporation by the bishop of 700 Irish acres near the town, for which a rent of 8d. per acre was to be paid. Out of the profits of 200 acres of this land the corporation was, within two years, to erect a school-house and maintain a schoolmaster, with a servant, for a grammar school. English was to be taught by the master, who was always to be appointed by the bishop. The portreeve was to have 200 acres of the grant assigned for his support while holding the office, and for the payment of a steward and Serjeant or bailiff; and the profits of the remaining 300 acres were to be divided among the burgesses. This grant appears not to have been made. The charter granted a civil court of record to the corporation, with a jurisdiction extending to a circle of three miles in every direction round the cathedral, and to the amount of £5 English, with a prison for debtors. Since the death of the last seneschal, about 1823, this court has not been held. Quarter sessions are held here twice a year in the sessions-house, alternately with Dungannon, for the baronies of Dungannon and Clogher; and there is a bridewell.

The See of Clogher is one of the most ancient in Ireland, and had its origin in the religious foundation instituted by St. Patrick, or his friend St. Macartin, a descendant of Fiachus Araidh, King of Ulster, who was succeeded in the mingled abbacy and prelacy by St. Tigernach, St. Laserian, St. Aidan (who converted the Northumbrians to Christianity, and was the first bishop of Lindisfarne), and other celebrated ecclesiastics of the early ages. So late as the 12th century, Edan O'Killedy, bishop of this see, subscribed his name as Bishop of Uriel to the great charter of Newry. The equally ancient see of Clones was at a remote period annexed to it, as also were those of Ardsrath and Louth. About 1240, Henry III. sent a mandatory letter to Maurice Fitzgerald, Lord-Justice of Ireland, commanding him to unite the bishoprick of Clogher to the archiepiscopal see of Armagh, on account of the poverty of both. This union was not then effected, but under the Church Temporalities act it will take place on the death of the present bishop.

About 1266, the bishoprick of Ardsrath was taken possession of by the Bishop of Derry, and Louth by the Archbishop of Armagh; and on the death of Bishop Arthur Mac Camaeil, the archbishop claimed his best horse, ring, and cup as an heriot. Clogher being situated in a part of the island to which the English arms or laws had scarcely ever extended, had not a bishop of English extraction before the time of Edmund Courcey, who was consecrated in 1485. The last bishop who held the see and its temporalities from the court of Rome was Hugh or Odo O'Cervallan, promoted by Paul III., and confirmed by Henry VIII, in 1542. The first Protestant bishop was Miler Magragh, who had been a Franciscan friar and was made Bishop of Down by Pope Pius V., but afterwards becoming a Protestant, was placed in this see by Queen Elizabeth in 1570, and soon afterwards was made Archbishop of Cashel.

From the time of his translation, owing to the disturbances in this part of the country, there was no bishop till 1605, when George Montgomery, a native of Scotland, was made bishop by James I., and held the see with those of Derry and Raphoe, and afterwards with that of Meath. On the death of Bishop Boyle, in 1687, the episcopal revenues were paid into the exchequer, and the see continued vacant about three years, when King William translated Dr. Tennison to it. This diocese is one of the ten which constitute the ecclesiastical province of Armagh: it comprises a small portion of the county of Louth and parts of the counties of Donegal and Tyrone, the greater part of Fermanagh, and the whole of Monaghan; and is 76 British miles long and 25 broad, comprehending a superficies of about 528,700 plantation acres, of which 1850 are in Louth, 25,000 in Donegal, 68,100 in Tyrone, 254,150 in Fermanagh, and 179,600 in Monaghan.

The chapter consists of a dean, archdeacon, precentor, chancellor, and the five prebendaries of Kilskerry, Findonagh, Tullycorbet, Tyhallon, and Devenish. According to the registry, the ancient chapter consisted of twelve canons, of which the dean and archdeacon were two: this was altered by Bishop Montgomery, and the offices of precentor and chancellor were added; and hence it is that the archdeacon of this diocese, as the more ancient officer, ranks next the dean. The lands belonging to the see amount to 22,591 statute acres, of which 18,851 are profitable land; and the gross average annual income, as returned by the Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Inquiry, is £10,371, and the net revenue, £8686. 11. 6.

There is no economy fund connected with the cathedral; it was for many years kept in repair out of a fund bequeathed for charitable purposes by Bishop Sterne, but the trustees have lately withdrawn the grant. The consistorial court of the diocese is held at Monaghan: its officers are a vicar-general, a surrogate, two registrars and a deputy, and two proctors; the registrars are keepers of the records, which consist of copies of wills from 1659 to the present time, documents relating to inductions to benefices, &c. The diocesan school is at Monaghan, and is described in the article on that place; and there are free schools connected with the diocese at Carrickmacross and Enniskillen. The total number of parishes in the diocese is 45, which are either rectories and vicarages, or vicarages, the rectorial tithes of which are partly appropriate to the see, and partly impropriate in lay persons.

The benefices are also 45, of which, one is in the gift of the Crown, 37 in that of the Bishop, four in that of Trinity College, Dublin, one in that of the Marquess of Ely, and one in that of Sir Thomas B. Lennard, Bart.; the remaining one is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the prebendary of Devenish. The only union is that of Currin and Drumkrin, which will be dissolved on the next avoidance. The number of churches is 61, and of glebe-houses, 38. In the R. C. divisions this diocese, as originally constituted, forms a distinct bishoprick, and is one of the eight suffragan to Armagh: it comprises 37 parochial unions or districts, containing 81 chapels served by 37 parish priests and 51 coadjutors or curates. The bishop's parish is Carrickmacross, where he resides; and the dean's, Monaghan.

The parish is of great extent, and comprehends the manors of Augher, in which is the town of that name; Clogher (granted by Charles I. to the bishop), in which is the town of Clogher; Blessingburne, in which is the town of Five-mile-Town; Mount-Stewart; and part of the manor of Killyfaddy, granted to Sir William Cope, and the rest of which is in the adjoining parish of Donagheavy: there are eight townlands of the manor of Clogher, called abbey lands, which are tithe-free. It contains 49,761 statute acres, according to the Ordnance survey, of which 30,000 are good arable and pasture land, 213 ¼ are water, and 19,761 are waste heath and bog, the greater part of which is, however, highly improvable; of its entire surface, 43,754 acres are applotted under the tithe act. The land in the vicinity of the town is remarkably fertile and well cultivated; freestone and limestone are abundant, and there are indications of coal and lead ore.

Clogher is situated on a lofty eminence, in the midst of a rich and diversified country encircled by mountains, which on the south approach within one mile, and on the north within two miles of the town, and the highest of which is Knockmany. Slieve Beagh, on the southern border of the parish, rises to an elevation of 1254 feet above the level of the sea. Besides the episcopal palace, the parish contains several fine residences. The deanery or glebe-house, which is about a quarter of a mile west of the cathedral, is a handsome house in a fertile and well-planted glebe. Not far distant from it is Augher Castle, the splendid residence of Sir J. M. Richardson Bunbury, Bart.; Cecil, the seat of the Rev. Francis Gervais; Corick, of the Rev. Dr. Story; Killyfaddy, of R. W. Maxwell, Esq.; Blessingburne Cottage, of Colonel Montgomery; Daisy-hill, of A. Millar, Esq.; Fardross, the ancient seat of A. Upton Gledstanes, Esq.; Ballimagowan, of A. Newton, Esq.; Waring Bank, of J. McLannahan, Esq.; and Corcreevy House, of Lieut.-Colonel Dickson.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Clogher, constituting the corps of the deanery of Clogher, in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes amount to £850, and the income of the dean, including tithes and glebe, is £1374.17. 3. The cathedral, which is dedicated to St. Macartin, and from time immemorial has been used as the parish church, was built in the ancient style of English architecture by Bishop Sterne, in 1744, at his own expense, but was remodelled in the Grecian style by Dean Bagwell, in 1818, who erected stalls for the dignitaries and a gallery for the organist and choir, also galleries in the two transepts; and about the same time the whole was newly roofed and ceiled. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently made a grant of £197 for repairs. It is a large and handsome cruciform structure, with a lofty square tower rising from the west front, in which is the principal entrance: the throne, which is very beautiful, occupies the western angle of the south transept, and the whole of the interior is handsomely fitted up.

There are several elegant monuments, among which are Bishop Garnett's, who died in the year 1783, and Bishop Porter's, who died in 1819. The chapter-house is near the entrance, on the right. There are two chapels of ease in the parish, one at Five-mile-Town, or Blessingburne, and one at Newtown-Saville; and divine service is regularly performed every Sunday in the market-house at Augher, in several of the school-houses in distant parts of the parish, and also at Lislie during the summer. The glebe-house, or deanery, is about a quarter of a mile from the cathedral. The glebe comprises 556a. 1r. 24p. statute measure, of which 100a. 1r. 28p. are annexed to the deanery, and 455a. 3r. 36p. are leased, at a rent of £337. 15. 6 ½. and renewal fines amounting to £20. 7. per annum. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and there are chapels at Aghadrummond, Escragh, and Aghentine; there are also places of worship for Presbyterians at Longridge and Aghentine. The free school in the town is under the patronage of the Bishop: the master's salary is derived from the proceeds of a bequest of £420 by Bishop Garnett, which the existing bishop augments to £40 per annum. The school-house was built in 1780, by Bishop Garnett, at an expense of £300.

At Beltany there is a male and female school, on Erasmus Smith's foundation, endowed with two acres of land by the Rev. F. Gervais, who, in conjunction with the trustees of that charity, built the school-house, at an expense of £658. 19. 6. There are a female school at Cecil, built and supported by Mrs. Gervais; and schools for both sexes at Escragh, supported by Capt. Maxwell at Five-mile-Town, supported by Colonel Montgomery, and at Ballyscally, supported by J. Trimble, Esq., all under the National Board; there are also four other schools. In these schools are about 490 boys and 330 girls; and there are seventeen private schools, in which are about 540 boys and 350 girls, and thirteen Sunday schools. A dispensary is maintained in the customary manner. At Lumford Glen is a deep ravine, in which a small stream of water flows through a cleft in the rock and forms a beautiful cascade. A carriage drive, edged with fine plantations, has been made to this waterfall.

(Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837); Transcription © Derek Rowlinson, 2005-10. Reproduced from LibraryIreland. We are deeply grateful to LibraryIreland for allowing us to use their transcription.)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "an incorporated market and post-town, a parish, and the head of a diocese (formerly a parliamentary borough)"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Tyrone IrlC
Place: Clogher

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