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Castlewellan, Down

Historical Description

CASTLEWELLAN, a market and post town, in that part of the parish of KILMEGAN which is in the barony of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 9 miles (W. S. W.) from Downpatrick, and 64¾ (N. by E.) from Dublin; containing 729 inhabitants. This place is situated on the mail coach road from Newry to Downpatrick, on the side of a small lake, and though partly surrounded by mountains, occupies rather a conspicuous site. The town is well built, and consists principally of an upper and lower square connected by a street, containing 122 houses, most of which are neat structures. There are barracks for two companies of infantry, a detachment from the military depot at Newry, usually stationed here. The bleaching of linen, which is the principal trade of the place, was first introduced here by Mr. Moffat, in 1749, since which time it has greatly increased, and several large bleach-greens have been established. Those of Messrs. Murland are capable of bleaching and finishing 20,000 pieces annually, and those of Mr. Steel, 8000; a large proportion of the linen is sent to the American and West India markets, the remainder to England and Scotland. There is an extensive mill for spinning linen-yarn, erected in 1829, and the first for fine yarns ever established in Ireland; it is worked by steam and water power, and lighted with gas made on the premises; another is in course of erection on a very large scale, to be propelled by a water wheel 50 feet in diameter and 10 feet on the face. In these several establishments more than 500 persons are constantly employed. The manufacture of linen is also extensively carried on by Mr. J. Murland and Mr. Steel, the former employing 450 and the latter 300 persons. There are also some large corn-mills, and mills for dressing flax. The market is on Monday, and is amply supplied with provisions and pedlery, and large quantities of brown linen and linen-yarn are brought for sale every market day. Fairs are held on the first of February, May, June, and September, the 18th of November, and the Tuesday before Christmas. The markethouse, situated in the centre of the upper square, is a neat building, with a belfry and clock, surmounted by a spire. A constabulary police force is stationed here; a manorial court, having jurisdiction over nine townlands in this parish and that of Drumgooland, is held every three weeks, in which debts to the amount of £10 are recoverable; and petty sessions are also held in the market-house every alternate Tuesday. Divine service, according to the rites of the Church of England, is performed every Sunday in the market-house. There are also in the town a R.C. chapel and places of worship for Presbyterians and Wesleyan Methodists. A schoolhouse was built and endowed by J. Murland, Esq., for the gratuitous instruction of children of both sexes; and a school is supported by Earl Annesley. At the foot of Slieve-na-lat, and on the border of the lake, is an elegant cottage, built by Earl Annesley, and ornamented with gardens and pleasure grounds tastefully laid out, in which is a temple, commanding a fine view of the surrounding scenery. Earl Annesley enjoys the inferior title of Baron of Castlewellan, in the peerage of Ireland. -See KILMEGAN.

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

Civil Registration

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Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Castlewellan from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Down is available to browse.