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Trim, Meath

Historical Description

TRIM, an incorporated market, assize, and post-town, (formerly a parliamentary borough), and a parish, partly in the barony of UPPER NAVAN, but chiefly in the barony of LOWER MOYFENRAGH, county of MEATH, and province of LEINSTER, ½ miles (N. W.) from Kilcock, and 25 (N. W. by W.) from Dublin; containing 5926 inhabitants, of which number, 3282 are in the town. This place, formerly called Ath-Trym, is of very remote antiquity, and was celebrated for its abbey of Canons Regular, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The establishment became the seat of a small bishoprick, of which St. Loman, nephew of St. Patrick, was made the first bishop; of his successors, who were indifferently styled abbots or bishops, no regular notice is preserved till the year 1152, when the diocese was united with several others to form the see of Meath. In 1108 the town and monastery were burned by Conor O'Melaghlin, and more than 200 persons who had taken refuge in the church perished in the flames; in 1143 and 1155 also the town suffered from conflagration. After the English invasion it was, with the whole of the territory of Meath, given by Hen. II. to Hugh de Lacy, who made it a free borough; and his son and successor, Walter de Lacy, in the reign of Rich. I., gave the burgesses a charter of incorporation, conferring privileges equal to those enjoyed by the citizens of Bristol. As the head of the palatine lordship of the Lacys, the town became a place of importance, and a strong castle was erected here as a baronial residence for that family, who also refounded the monastery. The defences of the castle were destroyed by the constable, Hugh Tyrrell, when Roderic O'Conor entered Meath during the absence of De Lacy, to prevent them from becoming serviceable to the enemy, but on his expulsion they were quickly restored. In 1203 the town was again destroyed by fire. The present castle was built in 1220, and soon afterwards, during the sanguinary feuds which then prevailed, it was attacked by William de Burgo, but was obstinately defended by the garrison, and the assailants repulsed. When the palatinate of Meath was divided between the coheiresses of Walter de Lacy, the town was still the capital of one-half, and in 1330 it was invested with jurisdiction over the other. In the reign of Edw. II., during Piers Gaveston's vice-regency, Richard, Earl of Ulster, held his court here with a degree of ostentatious parade highly alarming to the chief governor, to whom his collected followers appeared as a well-appointed and formidable retinue. Edward Bruce, in his retreat from Munster to the north of Ireland, halted for some days at Trim; and in 1393, Roger de Mortimer, Earl of March and Ulster, received a grant of tolls for the purpose of improving and fortifying the town, as the capital of all Meath. Rich. II., when last in Ireland, on receiving intelligence of the Earl of Hereford's landing in England, committed the young lords Gloucester and Henry of Lancaster, afterwards Hen. V., prisoners to the castle of this place; and in 1407 a parliament convoked at Dublin was adjourned hither, to deliberate on the best means of repressing the aggressions of Art Mac Murrough. On the accession of Hen. VI. a parliament was held here; and in the year 1425 the Earl of March and Ulster, then Lord-Lieutenant, died suddenly at this place, while preparing to repel the incursions of the native septs into his territories. In 1447, a parliament was held here in which various reformatory and sumptuary laws were enacted; and in 1459 a mint was established in the town. Richard, Duke of York, father of Edw. IV., while Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, resided for some time in this town, the palatine liberty of which was vested in him; and in the reign of Hen. VII. The townsmen favoured the imposition of Lambert Simnel, but were afterwards received into the king's favour. Parliaments were also held here in 1484, 1487, and 1491. During the parliamentary war the town again became a place of military importance. In 1642 it was in the hands of the confederate Roman Catholic forces, who were expelled; and in a subsequent skirmish to retain the place, Sir Chas. Coote, commander of the parliamentarian garrison, was killed by a ball supposed. to have been from the musket of one of his own troopers. Soon after this, four royal commissioners sat in the town to meet the agents of the confederate Catholics, and receive their remonstrance and petition for the redress of grievances. After the massacre at Drogheda by Cromwell, in 1649, the town surrendered to that general, the garrison disregarding the instructions given by the Marquess of Ormonde to destroy the place rather than suffer it to fall into his hands.

The town is pleasantly situated on the river Boyne, over which is an old bridge, and is still a place of considerable importance: it contains about 570 houses, many of which are neatly built, and from the remains of its stately castle and religious establishments has an appearance of venerable antiquity. A handsome column of the Corinthian order was, in 1817, erected here in commemoration of the principal military achievements of the Duke of Wellington, who for some time was representative of the borough and resided at Fosterstown, in the immediate vicinity; above the capital is a statue of His Grace. There are barracks for infantry, adapted to the reception of 3 officers and 80 non-commissioned officers and privates. The environs are pleasingly diversified, and abound with much interesting scenery. The trade is inconsiderable, being chiefly for the supply of the immediate neighbourhood. There are in the town a small flour-mill, a brewery, and a tannery; and on the river Boyne, about a mile to the west, are very extensive mills, called New Haggard Mills, the property of Mr. Nangle, producing annually about 40,000 barrels of flour and oatmeal. The market is on Saturday, and the fairs on March 27th, May 8th, Wednesday after Trinity-Sunday, Oct. 1st, and Nov. 16th. An extension pf the navigable communication between Drogheda and Navan to this town has been long contemplated, but has not yet been carried into effect.

The charter of incorporation granted to the burgesses by Walter de Lacy was confirmed and extended by Edw. III., and Rich. II. granted to the corporation certain tolls for 20 years for the fortification of the town, in which "all the fideles of the county of Meath congregated.' Hen. IV. and VI. confirmed the original charter; and Elizabeth, in the 13th of her reign, reciting and confirming all previous grants, conferred the charter under which the town is now governed. By this charter the corporation consists of a portreeve and an indefinite number of burgesses and freemen, assisted by a recorder, town-clerk, two serjeants-at-mace and other officers. The portreeve, who is a justice of the peace within the borough, is annually chosen from the burgesses on the 29th of June; the burgesses are generally chosen from the freemen by the corporation at large; and the freemen are admitted either as of right, which is confined to the sons and sons-in-law of freemen, or by favour of the corporation. The charter conferred the elective franchise on the corporation, which first returned two members to the Irish parliament in the 2nd of Elizabeth, and continued to exercise the privilege till the Union, when the borough, which was then the property of the Wellesley family, was disfranchised. The borough court, which had jurisdiction to an unlimited amount, has almost fallen into disuse; no action has been tried in it since 1831, and the corporation exercises no exclusive jurisdiction either civil or criminal. Assizes for the county are held here; general sessions of the peace twice in the year here, and twice at Navan, and petty sessions on alternate Saturdays, before the county magistrates, with whom the portreeve also sits in cases arising within the borough. The court-house is a very neat and well-arranged building; and a new county gaol was erected here in 1834, at an expense of £26,000. It is on the radiating principle, and consists of five ranges of building for the reception of the different classes, each of which is divided into three stories, containing on the lower a dining-hall and workroom, and in each of the upper 12 sleeping-rooms or cells: between the ranges are airing-yards for the respective classes, who are employed in stone-breaking and in various handicraft trades: in the centre is the governor's house, a circular building, in the upper story of which is a chapel communicating with the five wards by a bridge leading from each. The prison is capable of receiving 140 prisoners in separate cells; it has a treadmill with two wheels, hospitals for male and female patients, and a school in which adults attend for three hours every day. This town is the head-quarters of the constabulary police for the county, and the residence of the inspecting magistrate.

The parish comprises 12,650¾ statute acres, of which 11,880 are applotted under the tithe act: the land is principally in tillage and of good quality; there is only a small portion of bog; the system of agriculture has lately improved, and that portion of the parish which is under tillage affords abundant crops. The principal seats are Tullaghard, the residence of S. Winter, Esq.; New Haggard, of C. Nangle, Esq.; Roristown, of C. Drake, Esq.; Boyne Lodge, of A. O'Reilly, Esq.; Harcourt Lodge, of J. Lightburne, Esq.; Lodge Park, of J. S. D'Arcy, Esq.; Foxbrook, of J. D'Arcy Fox, Esq.; and Doolistown, of J. Fox, Esq. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Meath, united by episcopal authority, in 1819, to the rectories of Newtown and Trubly, and to the curacies of Kilcooley, Tullaghanogue, and Scurlogstown, and in the patronage of the Bishop, to whom the rectory is appropriate: the tithes amount to £615, of which £430 is payable to the appropriator and £185 to the vicar. The glebe-house was built in 1754; the glebe, which was given to the vicar by a Cromwellian debenturer, comprises 187 acres, valued at £300 per annum, and the gross value of the benefice is £647. 19. 2. The church, with the exception of the tower, which is of great antiquity and partly covered with ivy, was rebuilt in 1803, at an expense of £738, raised by assessment and a gift from the bishop; in 1827 a gallery was added, at an expense of £350, a loan from the late Board of First Fruits, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £100 for its repair. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parishes of Trimlestown and Newtown-Clonbun or Trim; there are two chapels, one of which is at Bordsmill, a neat modern edifice. About 300 children are taught in two public schools, of which the parochial school is partly supported by the vicar: the school-house was built by Lord Mornington, at an expense of £1100. There are also seven private schools, in which are about 230 children; and a dispensary. The remains of the castle are extensive and form a conspicuous and highly interesting object: the keep is a massive pile strengthened by four lofty square towers, which rise to a considerable height above the other parts of the building; and there are several round towers and other outworks extending to the river Boyne, which flows along their base, the whole occupying an area of about four acres. The remains of the ancient abbey, in which was preserved an image of the Virgin, that was burnt at the Reformation, consist principally of part of the tower called the Yellow Steeple, onehalf of which was destroyed by Cromwell, against whom it was garrisoned and defended for a considerable time. Here were formerly a convent of grey friars, dedicated to St. Bonaventure; a Dominican friary, founded in honour of the Blessed Virgin, in 1263, by Geoffrey de Geneville, Lord of Meath, in which general chapters of the order were frequently held; and a chantry in the parish church. At Newtown-Clonbun or Trim, about half a mile from the town, on the banks of the Boyne, are extensive remains of other religious foundations, the principal of which are those of a priory of Canons Regular of the order of St. Victor, founded by Simon de Rochfort, Bishop of Meath, about the year 1206; the prior was a lord of parliament, and there are still some remains of the fine old church. Adjoining the bridge are the remains of a square tower, from which a regular range of building extends along the water's edge to another tower, near which is the eastern gable of a small chapel with a fine window; and at a short distance is a neat circular turret: these are the remains of a house of Crouched friars, founded in the 13th century, to which the bishops of Meath were great benefactors. In the parish church of Newtown-Clonbun is the tomb of Sir Lucas Dillon, ancestor of the Earls of Roscommon, and an able jurist in the reign of Elizabeth.

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

Civil Registration

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Directories & Gazetteers

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Land and Property

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