TEMPLEPATRICK, a parish, partly in the barony of LOWER, but chiefly in that of UPPER, BELFAST, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 4 miles (E. by S.) from Antrim, on the road from Belfast to Londonderry; containing 4217 inhabitants, of which number, 314 are in the village. This place is said to have derived its name from a preceptory of Knights Templars established here at a very early period, but of its foundation or its history nothing is recorded. The parish, in form nearly triangular, comprising also within its limits the ancient parishes of Carn Graney or Grame, Ballyrobert, and Umgall, was granted, in the reign of Jas. I., to Sir Arthur Chichester, and afterwards regranted to Roger Norton. At the hamlet of Dunadry, or Dunetherg, "the Middle Fortress," one mile from Templepatrick, a sharp action took place in 1648 between the English and Scotch forces, in which the celebrated Owen O'Conolly, who commanded the former, was mortally wounded. The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 13,261½ statute acres, a considerable portion of which is mountain land, though affording good pasturage for sheep; there is but a small tract of bog, scarcely yielding sufficient fuel for the use of the inhabitants. The system of agriculture is beginning to improve under the auspices of Lord Templetown, the proprietor, who has subdivided the larger townlands, increased the size of the farms, drained and brought into cultivation great quantities of waste land, laid out the whole valley from the castle to the Six-mile-water as lawn and pasture ground, upon which large numbers of cattle are fed, planted a great number of trees and whitethorn hedges, and made many other improvements. Near the village is the venerable mansion of Castle Upton, formerly called Norton Castle, after Sir Robert Norton, by whom it was founded in the reign of Elizabeth, and now the seat of Viscount Templetown: it occupies the site of the ancient preceptory, and is in the castellated style of architecture; it is at present, being restored from the partial dilapidations it had suffered from time to time. The weaving of linen and calico, and the making of hosiery are carried on in several of the farmhouses; and in and near the village are extensive limeworks, supplied with limestone raised on the spot; there are also numerous quarries of basaltic stone, which is obtained in abundance. Though there are no fairs in the parish, two of the largest in the county are held on its borders, one at Park Gate, a mile to the north, and the other at Oldstone, two miles to the west. This parish appears to have been one of the earliest Presbyterian settlements in Ireland; on the introduction of a Scottish, colony into Ulster, Josias Welsh, grandson of the Scottish reformer, John Knox, is said to have obtained possession of the church, from which he was ejected in 1631 by the bishop of Down and Connor, for nonconformity; he was, however, reinstated by Archbishop Ussher, and died in 1634.
The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Connor, and in the patronage of the Marquess of Donegal, in whom the rectory is impropriate: the tithes amount to £365, of which £70 is payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar. There was no church from the time of the Reformation till the year 1827, when the present church, a small edifice with a tower at the west end, was erected on an elevated site, at an expense of £830 British, a gift from the late Board of First Fruits. There are three places of worship for Presbyterians, one in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the third class, one with the Remonstrant Synod, of the second class, and one with the Seceding Synod. There are four national schools, situated at Lyle Hill, Ballypaliday, Ballintoag, and Molusk; and a school at Carn Graney, founded in 1811 by the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, and partly supported by them and partly by the Hon. Col. Pakenham, in which five schools are about 230 children; and five private schools, in which about 190 children are taught. Of the ancient preceptory nothing remains except what is included within the walls of Castle Upton (the crypt under which is in a perfect state, and the finely-groined roof in good preservation), and the cemetery of the ancient temple church, in which are the tomb of the Rev. Josias Welsh, and the mausoleum of the Templetown family. In a field at a short distance from the mail road to Antrim is Cairn Graine, a remarkably fine monument of antiquity: it consists of ten large tabular stones, supported on upright pillars in the manner of a cromlech, but ranged in a straight line of 41 feet in length in a direction from north-east to south-west; the stone at the north-eastern, extremity is rather low, and every succeeding one increases in elevation towards the southwestern extremity, where the tabular stone is of very large dimensions and supported on five upright pillars. Various conjectures have been, entertained as to the origin of this interesting relic; the name literally implies "the Heap of the Sun." Not far from this heap is one of the mounds or forts so frequently found in this country; it appears to have been very extensive and of great elevation, but has been much diminished and disfigured by the removal of the sand, of which, intermixed with common field stones, it was originally formed. Near Dunadry is a very perfect circle of large stones, and there are several other raths in the parish. This place gives the titles of Viscount and Baron Templetown to the Upton family.
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Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Templepatrick from the following:
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Antrim is available to browse.