Archiver > NIR-ARMAGH > 2002-02 > 1014740903

From: Alison Causton <>
Subject: [ARMAGH] Portadown - Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary (1837)
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 11:29:00 -0500

PORTADOWN, a market and post-town , and district parish, in the barony
of O’NEILLAND WEST, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 9 miles
(N. E.) from Armagh, and 69 (N. by W.) from Dublin, on the road from
Armagh to Belfast; containing 4906 inhabitants, of which number, 1591
are in the town. This place, anciently called Port-ne-doon, or “the
port of the fortified eminence”, derived that name from an ancient
castle of the McCanns or McCanes, who were tributaries of the O’Nials
and occupied this very important station, commanding the pass of the
river Bann. The adjoining lands were, under the name of the manor
Ballyoran, granted by Jas. I. To William Powell, Esq., and afterwards by
Chas. I., in the 7th of his reign, to Prudence Obyns and John Obyns,
Esq., who erected a large mansion in the Elizabethan style for their own
residence, and built 14 houses, in which they settled fourteen English
families. Of the ancient mansion there is scarcely a vestige, except
the gardens, and the avenue, which is still tolerably perfect. The
town, which has been greatly extended, and the manor, are now the
property of Viscount Mandeville. The former is very advantageously
situated on the river Bann, over which is a stone bridge of seven
arches, connecting it with the small suburb of Edenderry, in the parish
of Seagoe. It consists of one spacious and handsome street, with
several smaller streets branching from it in various directions; and
contains 315 houses, of which those in the principal street are large
and well built. The town has been greatly improved within the last 40
years, previously to which it was comparatively of little importance; it
is paved and cleansed by a c ommittee appointed under the act of the 9th
of Geo.IV., which raises money for that purpose by an assessment on the
inhabitants. The river, which falls into Lough Neagh about seven miles
below the town to the north, and communicates with the Newry canal about
one mile above it to the south, is navigable for vessles of 80 tons’
burden; but from a bar at its mouth, and from want of depth in the
canal, the vessels generally navigating it seldom exceed 60 tons. The
bridge, which is the only one across the river between Knock and Toome,
a distance of full 30 miles, was built in 1764, but has suffered so much
from the winter floods, that it has become necessary to rebuild it, and
the expense is estimated at £8000. The chief trade is in corn, pork,
cattle, and agricultural produce, and is greatly promoted by the
situation of the place in the centre of an extensive and fertile
district. The corn trade is particularly brisk during the winter; on an
average, from £10,000 to £15,000 is laid out weekly in the purchase of
grain, which is shipped to Newry and Belfast for exportation to England,
the vessels returning with cargoes of timber, coal, slates, iron, and
articles for inland consumption. The manufacture of linen, lawn,
cambric and sheeting is extensively carried on, chiefly for the
bleachers and factors of Banbridge; and the weaving of cotton goods for
the merchants of Belfast also affords employment to a great number of
persons. A very large distillery has been established, consuming
annually more than 3000 tons of malt, bere, and oats; there is also a
very extensive porter brewery; and since the Tyrone collieries were
opened, brick-making has been extensively carried on. The market is on
Saturday, and is abundantly supplied with provisions of all kinds, and
with linen yarn, which is sold in great quantities. Fairs are held on
the third Saturday in every month, and also on Easter-Monday and
Whit-Monday, for cattle, pigs, and pedlery, and during the winter great
quantities of pork are sold. A large and commodious market-place, with
shambles and every requisite, has been recently erected by subscription,
and is under the regulation of a committee. A chief constabulary police
force is stationed in the town; petty sessions are held every Saturday;
and courts of the manors of Ballyoran and Richmount, at which debts to
the amount of 40s. are recoverable, every third Monday, before a
seneschal appointed by Viscount Mandeville.
The district parish comprises 3836 statute acres, mostly in a
profitable state of cultivation; the demesne attached to the ancient
mansion of the Obyns family, with the exception of a tract of woodland,
has been parcelled out into farms. The principal seats are Ballyworkan,
the residence of G. Pepper, Esq.; Carrick, of Lieu. Col. Blacker, a fine
old mansion, embellished with some stately timber; Clowna, of J.
Woolsey, Esq.; Eden Villa, of W. Atkinson, Esq.; and Fair View, of T.
Carleton, Esq. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of
Armagh, and in the patronage of the Rector of Drumcree, who pays the
curate a stipend of £150. The church, a handsome edifice in the early
English style, with a tower at the east end, and for the erection of
which the late Board of First Fruits contributed a gift of £831, and a
loan of £461, was built in 1826; and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners
have lately granted £173 for its repair. In the R. C. divisions the
parish gives name to a union or district, including also the parish of
Drumcree, where is the chapel. There are two places of worhsip for
Wesleyan Methodists. About 550 children are taught in seven public
schools, of which two are supported by the rector, four by Lord and Lady
Mandeville, and one partly by Mrs. Henry; there are also five private
schools, in which are about 100 children, and two Sunday schools. A
dispensary for the tenants of the Portadown estate is wholly supported
by Lord Mandeville, by whom also a lending-library and a loan fund have
been established.
>From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Comprising the Several
Counties, Cities, Boroughs, Corporate, Market, and Post Towns, Parishes
and Villages, by Samuel Lewis.
Two Volumes, 675 + 738 pages. Originally published 1837 at London,
England. This excerpt from Vol. II, pp 462-3.

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