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Strangford, Down

Historical Description

STRANGFORD, a small sea-port and post-town, in the parish of BALLYCULTER, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 6 miles (N. E.) from Downpatrick, and 79¾ (N. N. E.) from Dublin; containing 583 inhabitants. In the year 1400, the constable of Dublin city, with divers others, fought a great sea battle at Strangford against the Scotch, in which many of the English were slain. It is situated on the western side of the channel which forms the entrance of the lough to which the town gives name; it is a very small place, having only 119 houses, among which are a chapel of ease to the parish church of Ballyculter, a R. C. chapel, and a Wesleyan Methodist meeting-house: here is also a small quay for the convenience of the fishing boats, and of the passengers crossing the strait to Portaferry. It is a constabulary police station: fairs are held on Aug. 12th and Nov. 8th. The trade is chiefly in coal and timber. A school, in which are about 200 children, is supported by the Hon. W. Fitzgerald De Roos and the Rev. Charles Wolseley. Near this place are the remains of two castles called Welsh's and Audeley's; the former has been converted into the handsome dwelling-house of R. F. Anderson, Esq.; the latter, still in ruins, is on a hill which commands a view of the lough as far as Newtown, and is supposed to have been erected by one of the Audeleys, who settled in this county under John De Courcy. The lough of Strangford was formerly called Lough Coyne: it extends from Killard Point to Newtown, a distance of about 17 miles, from north to south; in some parts it is five and in others three miles in breadth, and at its entrance not quite one. It contains a vast number of islands and rocks. Six of the islands are inhabited; namely, Castle island, in the parish of Saul, containing 118 acres of land under cultivation, and on which are the ruins of a castle; Rea island, in the parish of Tullynakill, containing 103 acres, occupied by a farmer; Wood island, also in the parish of Tullynakill, containing 16 acres, and on which are large beds of shells, from 50 to 60 feet above the level of the sea, that are converted into excellent lime by burning; Tagart island, in the parish of Killyleagh; Islandbawn, in the parish of Killinchy, containing 30 acres of land; and Maghea island, in the parish of Tullynakill, containing 137 acres of land: it has a small quay, to which brigs can come up, and on it are the ruins of a castle, formerly the summer residence of the Knox family. Strangford Lough is a safe and deep harbour, admitting vessels of the largest draught, but, owing to the great rapidity of the tides and the rocks near its entrance, on which the sea breaks violently, it is not prudent for a strange vessel to attempt to enter. There are two passages to it, divided by a reef nearly in the centre of the channel, and half a mile long, called Rock Angus, corrupted into "the Rock and Goose," on which is a stone beacon, and at the south extremity a perch called the Garter, which is dry at half ebb; south-westward from this perch, at a cable's length, are the Pots rocks. The passage on the south side of Rock Angus has 2½ fathoms of water, and is navigable only for small vessels. The tide runs in and out of the lough with such velocity as on some occasions to carry vessels against the wind. Strangford gives the title of Viscount to the family of Smythe.

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

Directories & Gazetteers

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Land and Property

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