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Ireland Gazeteer
County Down in 1837

Divisions & Towns

Down contains seven baronies, and part of the lordship of Newry; the remainder of this division lying in Armagh. The baronies are — Ards, on the east and north-east, between Loch Strangford and the sea, containing part of the town of Newtownards, total population (in 1831) 4,442; and the towns of Portaferry, population 2,203; Bangor, population 2,741; Donaghadee, population 2,986; Ballywalter, population 664; and Kirkcubbin, population 537; Castlereagh, on the north east and north, between Loch Strangford and the county of Antrim, containing the towns of Ballymacarratt (the eastern suburb of Belfast), population 5,168; Comber, population 1,377; Holywood, population 1,288 and Saintfield, population 1,053. Dufferin, on the western shore of Loch Strangford, contains the town of Killileagh, population 1,147. Iveagh, Lower, on the north an north-west towards Antrim, and Loch Neagh, containing the towns of Hillsborough, population 1,453; Dromore, population 1,942; and Moira, population 787. Iveagh, Upper on the west and midland, containing the towns of Banbridge, population 2,469; Rathfriland, population 2,001; Loughbrickland, population 618; Warrenspoint, population 1,856; Rosstrevor, population 996; and Castlewellan, population 729. Kinalearty, midland, between Upper Iveagh and Dufferin, containing the town of Ballynahinch, population 970. Lecale, on the south-east, between Strangford Loch and Dundrum bay, containing the borough of Downpatrick, population 4,784; and the towns of Ardglass, population 1,162; Killough, population 1,162; and Strangford, population 583; Mourne, lying between Dundrum bay and Carlingford Loch, containing the town of Kilkeel, population 1,039; and part of the lordship of Newry, containing part of the borough of Newry, the total population of which is 13,065.

Down returns four members to the imperial parliament, viz., two for the county, one for the borough of Newry, and one for the borough of Downpatrick.

Besides these boroughs, Newtownards, Bangor, Killileagh, and Hillsborough returned members to the Irish parliament, and are still corporate towns.

The lordship of Newry, the greater part of which lies within this county, is subject to a peculiar ecclesiastical jurisdiction exercised by the family of Needham as representatives of Sir Nicholas Bagnall, to whom, after the dissolution of religious houses in Ireland, the abbey of Newry with all its immunities and privileges was granted in fee by Edward VI.

The manor of Mourne formed a portion of the original grant, and passed by marriage to the family of Paget, who claim the same ecclesiastical immunities for it in the diocese of Down as the Needham family for their portion in the diocese of Dromore, but hitherto without success.

The authority of the representatives of the late Lord Kilmorey in his lordship of Newry extends to the presentation to livings, the granting of marriage licenses, probates, &c., in their ecclesiastical capacity, and to the holding of courts baron and leet, and discharging all recognizances to the Crown forfeited within that jurisdiction, in their civil capacity.