powered by FreeFind
Ireland Gazeteer

Lurgan in 1851 (from Supplement to the Penny Cyclopedia, vol. II)

LURGAN, a market and post town in the parish of Shankill, in the barony of Oneilland East, in the north-east corner of the county of Armagh, in the province of Ulster in Ireland, 17 statute miles north-east of Armagh on the road to Belfast, and 86 miles north of Dublin, by Drogheda, Dundalk, Newry, Banbridge, and Waringstown.

The town consists of one wide street, extending from north-west to south-east along the Armagh and Belfast road.

It contained, in 1841, 670 inhabited houses, 52 uninhabited, and 6 building. The population in 1841 comprehended 892 families, being an average of four families to three houses, or 4,677 persons.

The church is situated near the north-west end of the street. It is a handsome building, erected in 1725, and enlarged in 1832, capable of accommodating 1,000 persons; it has a tower and an octagonal spire.

There are Presbyterian and Quakers' meeting-houses in the town, and two Roman Catholic chapels in the outskirts. There are meeting-houses for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists in the parish.

There is a court-house, in which the quarter-sessions for the county are held, a Linen Hall, erected by subscription in 1825, and a small area planted with trees, called the Mall. The market-house and weigh-house are in the middle of the street.

Of the families 250 were engaged in agriculture, 524 in manufactures or trade, and 118 in other pursuits.

The principal manufacture is of linen, especially damasks and diapers (for both which the Lurgan manufacturers are eminent), and cambrics.

A weekly market, well supplied with provisions, is held on Friday, and linens to the value of £2,500 or £3,000 are sold on the market-day. There are two yearly fairs. There is a considerable brewery in the town, and a little way from the town is a large distillery.

Besides the quarter-sessions, there are petty sessions for the district, held weekly, and a manorial court every three weeks: there is a small gaol or bridewell; and a body of the constabulary are stationed in the town.

Adjacent to the town on the north-east is the richly wooded demesne of Lurgan Castle, the seat of Mr. Brownlow. The house is of modern erection, in the Elizabethan style.

The whole population of the parish, which extends into the of barony of Iveagh Lower in the county of Down, was, in 1841, 9,350.

The town and neighbourhood were, in 1841, rather above the average of the county of Armagh in respect of the diffusion of education, 60 per cent of the population being able to read, while the average of the county was 56 per cent; but they were far below the average of the adjacent counties of Antrim and Down.

There were in the parish, in 1834, twelve day-schools, with 710 children (411 boys and 299 girls) on the books; and two Sunday-schools.

The town is the centre of a poor-law union, and has a workhouse capable of accommodating 800 paupers.

The living of Shankill is a rectory, in the diocese of Dromore and the ecclesiastical province of Armagh: the gross yearly revenue was returned in 1831 (on the average of three years) at £681, 16 shillings; the net revenue at £517, 14s. 4 shillings, 4 pence.

Lurgan was built in the reign of James I, on the settlement of Ulster, by William Brownlow, Esq., one of the English settlers; it was burned by the insurgents in 1641, and again destroyed by the army of James II, in the war of the Revolution.

A patent for a market and fairs was granted in 1696, and the linen manufacture was established soon afterwards.