Comber or Cumber
The parish, which includes the ancient parish of Ballyricard, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 17,420 statute acres, of which 16,134 are in Lower Castlereagh; about 20 are common, 117 water, and 150 or 200 bog; the remainder is arable and pasture land, of which three-fourths are under tillage. Agriculture is in a very improved state, and the soil is very productive. There are some good quarries of freestone, equal in fineness and durability to the Portland stone; and coal has been found in three places, but no mines have been opened. There are several gentlemen's seats, the principal of which are Ballybeen, the residence of J. Birch, Esq.; Ballyalloly, at present unoccupied; Killynether House, the residence of T. McLeroth, Esq.; and Maxwell Court, of J. Cairns, Esq. The living is an impropriate curacy. in the diocese of Down, and in the patronage of the Marquess of Londonderry, in whom the rectory is impropriate. The parish is tithe-free, with the exception of the townlands of Ballyanwood, Ballycreely, and Ballyhenry, the tithes of which are paid to the Marquess of Londonderry, who pays the curate's stipend. A glebe-house was built in 1738, towards the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits gave £100: the glebe consists of eleven acres. The church is a small ancient building, in the later style of English architecture, and contains some neat marble monuments, particularly those to the memory of the Rev. Robert Mortimer, Capt. Chetwynd, Lieut. Unet, and Ensign Sparks, of the York fencible infantry, who fell in the battle of Saintfield, during the disturbances of 1798, and of the Rev. Messrs. Birch, father and son, the former of whom died in 1821, the latter in 1830, whose monument was erected by the subscriptions of 520 of their parishioners. Some fragments of the abbey are incorporated in its walls. There are a meeting-house at Comber for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the first class; another at Moneyreagh, connected with the Remonstrant Synod, of the same class; and a third at Gransha, connected with the Seceding Synod, of the second class: there is also a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. The parochial school, in which about 100 boys and 70 girls are taught, was built in 1818, at the joint expense of the Marchioness of Londonderry and the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity; the building is kept in repair by the Marchioness, who, in 1832, erected a house for the master. There are also national schools at Ballymaglaff, Tullygiven, and Ballystockart More than 300 children are educated in these schools, besides which, 740 are taught in 12 private schools. A house of industry was founded in 1824, by the Marquess of Londonderry, who subscribes £25 annually towards its support: it affords an asylum for 12 of the aged poor, and also distributes meal, potatoes, &c., to 60 families at their own dwellings. There is a large druidical altar in Ballygraphan, the table stone of which, now lying on the ground, measures 19 feet by 6 and is 4 feet thick: the five upright stones are in an adjoining hedge-row. Numerous forts and raths are scattered over the parish.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis