UK Genealogy Archives logo

Clonfeacle, Tyrone

Historical Description

CLONFEACLE, a parish, partly in the barony of ARMAGH, and partly in that of O'NEILLAND WEST, county of ARMAGH, but chiefly in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 5½ miles (N. N. W.) from Armagh; containing, with the dlstricts of Derrygortrevy, Moy, and Blackwatertown, (each of which is separately described) 19,547 inhabitants. This place was distinguished at a very remote period as the seat of a religious establishment of great reputation, of which St. Lugud, or Lugaid, was abbot about the year 580. It was soon after vested in the Culdean monks, whose chief establishment in Ireland was at Armagh, and with it this house became united about the middle of the 10th century. The Culdees kept possession of the church, and several large tracts of land in the parish, till the Reformation, when the whole became forfeited to the Crown, and were granted by Jas. I., on the 13th of May, 1614, to Primate Hampton, and his successors for ever, under the denomination of the "Termon, or Erenach lands of Clonfeicle," together with the church and rectory, which latter has since passed from the Primate, and is now vested in the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin. During the Irish wars, and more especially in the rebellion of the Earl of Tyrone, this district was the scene of numerous sanguinary battles, the details of which are given in the article on Benburb. The parish is intersected by the river Blackwater, over which are several large and handsome stone bridges; and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 26,218 statute acres, of which 21,582 are in Tyrone, and 4636 in Armagh. The surface is diversified by several small and beautiful lakes, the principal of which is Lough Curran, on an artificial island in which have been discovered the remains of buildings and warlike and domestic implements; and near it is the old camp of the O'Nials, now Fort Magarrett. The land is chiefly arable: the soil is light but generally fertile, producing excellent crops; the system of agriculture is improved, and there is no waste land, except a tract of bog or marsh, about 400 acres in extent. Limestone and freestone abound in the parish: there are extensive and valuable limestone quarries at Benburb. The Ulster canal passes for three miles through the parish, on the Armagh or eastern side of the Blackwater. At Benburb a rock has been excavated to the depth of 86 feet, and the canal carried longitudinally over a mill-race for a very considerable distance, by a handsome aqueduct. The scenery is pleasingly diversified and beautifully picturesque; the glen through which the Blackwater flows is highly romantic, and the canal, when completed will add to the interest of the landscape. The principal seats are Dartrey Lodge, the residence of W. Olpherts, Esq.; the Argory, of W. McGeough Bond, Esq.; and Tullydoey, of J. Eyre Jackson, Esq., at which place is also the residence of T. Eyre, Esq. The weaving of linen is carried on extensively by the farmers and cottiers at their own dwellings; and at Tullydoey is an extensive bleach-green.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin: the tithes amount to £1030. The glebe-house is a good building; the glebe comprises 532a. 3r. 17p. of good arable land. The church was destroyed during the rebellion of Tyrone, since which time the village of Clonfeacle has been neglected and now forms part of Blackwater-town; and, in the same rebellion, the church of Eglish was destroyed, and that parish has ever since been included in the parish of Clonfeacle. The present parish chnrch is situated close to the village of Benburb, on the confines of the counties of Armagh and Tyrone; it was built by Sir R. Wingfield, in 1619, and repaired and enlarged in 1815, by a gift of £800 from the late Board of First Fruits; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £526. 11. towards its further repair. There are also a church at Moy and one at Derrygortrevy; the latter stands near the site of the old church of Eglish. In the R.C. divisions the parish is called Upper and Lower Clonfeacle, and includes the whole parish of Eglish; there are chapels at Eglish, Moy, and Blackwater- town. There is a place of worship at Benburb for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster of the second class; and one at Crew in connection with the Associate Synod: and at Blackwater-town is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. The parochial school, near the church at Benburb, was built in 1832, by the Rev. Henry Griffin, the present rector, by whom it is principally supported; there are also schools at Blackwater-town and Derrycrevy, and near the old churchyard at Clonfeacle is a national school. At Benburb, Gorestown, Drummond, Mullycarnan, and Carrowcolman, schools were built and are supported by funds arising from a bequest, by Lord Powerscourt, of £2000 for charitable uses, and are conducted under the moral agency system. The sum of £4 per annum is paid to the poor of this parish from Drelincourt's charity, and two children are eligible to the Drelincourt school at Armagh. A bequest of £100 was made to the poor by a person whose name is now unknown. The ruins of Benburb castle, situated on the summit of a limestone rock overhanging the river, have a very picturesque appearance; and near them was found a silver signet ring, bearing the arms and initials of Turlogh O'Nial, which is now in the possession of Mr. Bell, of Dungannon. Several interesting relics of antiquity have been found in various parts; a large well-formed canoe was found in the bed of the river at Blackwater-town, in 1826, and is now in the garden of C. Magee, Esq.; it is scooped out of an oak tree, and is in good preservation. The same gentleman has also some very perfect querns, an altar of rude construction, several stone hatchets, and the horns of an elk, which were found a few years since at Drumlee. At Tullydoey are some inconsiderable vestiges of an ancient fort.

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

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Clonfeacle from the following:


Land and Property

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