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Castlederg or Derg-Bridge, Tyrone

Historical Description

CASTLEDERG, or DERG-BRIDGE, a market and post-town, in the parish of SKIRTS, barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 8 miles (S.) from Strabane, and 107¼ (N.) from Dublin; containing 575 inhabitants. The town is indebted for its origin to Sir John Davis, attorney-general for Ireland to Jas. I., to whom a grant of 2000 acres of land, then called Garertagh, was made in 1609, on which Sir John, prior to 1619, built a castle and established 16 British families; he also erected a stone bridge over the river Derg, adjoining the castle, which, being the first built over that river, gave the town the name of Derg-Bridge, by which it is still frequently called. Sir John had another grant of land at Claraghmore, upon which he built a castle, called Kerlis, and constructed a causeway, seven miles long and eight feet wide, in a straight line over mountains and through bogs, from one castle to the other. Several parts of this road are still traceable, but others have been broken up to make the road from this town to Drumquin. In the war of 1641, Sir Phelim O'Nial besieged the castle of Derg; and although he was driven away with disgrace and considerable loss of men, horses, and ammunition, yet he so greatly injured it that it was never afterwards repaired, and remains a noble pile of ruins on the northern bank of the river. The bridge erected by Sir John Davis remained till 1835, when it was taken down, and a handsome bridge of hewn stone, of four arches, has been erected.

The town, which is also called Castle-Derrick and Churchtown, is situated on the road from Newtown-Stewart to Pettigo, and on the new line of road from Londonderry to Enniskillen, between which places two coaches running daily pass through it. It consists of one principal and two smaller streets, containing 105 houses, many of which are large and well built, and has much improved under the patronage of Sir R.A. Ferguson, Bart., its proprietor, who has lately built a very handsome inn. The market is on Friday, and is large and well attended; a fair is held on the first Friday in every month. A constabulary police force has been stationed here; petty sessions are held on alternate Saturdays; a court for the manor of Hastings every third Saturday, in which debts under 40s. are recoverable; and a monthly court for the manor of Ardstraw, for debts to a similar amount. There was anciently a church in the town, which was in ruins in 1619, when it was rebuilt by Sir John Davis; but being destroyed by Sir Phelim O'Nial in 1641, there was no church till 1731, when the present neat edifice was built by Hugh Edwards, Esq., of Castle-Gore, and was much improved in 1828. There is a national school for boys and girls, and a dispensary. Hugh Edwards, Esq., in 1735, bequeathed an acre of land on which to build a schoolhouse, and £24 annually for the support of a master, to teach eight poor boys, but the school was not built; it is now, however, about to be erected and endowed. Not far from the town are the ruins of Castle-Gore, formerly the residence of the proprietors of the Manor-Hastings estate.-See SKIRTS.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis

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Land and Property

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