LISSAN, or LISANE, a parish, in the poor-unions of MAGHERAFELT and COOKSTOWN, partly in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and partly in that of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of Ulster, 3 miles (N. by E.) from Cookstown; on the road to Moneymore, and on that from Omagh to Belfast; containing 6282 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the north by the mountain of Slieve Gallion, comprises 24,684.5 stature acres, including 147.75 in Lough Fea, and of which 12,917.5 are in the county of Tyrone. The greater portion is in the manor of Ardtrea, belonging to the see of Armagh ; part is in the manor of Moneymore, and the property of the Draper’s Company, of London. In the war of 1641, the castle, which at that time was the property of the Staples family, to whom it had been granted on the plantation of Ulster, was seized by Nial O’Quin for Sir Phelim O’Nial, who plundered the house of Sir Thomas Staples while rendezvousing at Moneymore Castle, and compelled the men employed in Sir Thomas’ iron-works on the Lissan water to make pikes and pike-heads from the stores of their master. The land is mountainous and boggy; about one-third, however, is under tillage, producing excellent crops, and the remainder affords good pasture; the system of agriculture is improved, and much of the bog is of valuable quality. Limestone abounds, and is extensively quarried for agricultural uses. The mountain of Slieve Gallion has an elevation of 1730 feet above the level of the sea; the surrounding scenery is strongly diversified, and in some parts very picturesque. The principal seats are, Lissan Park, the residence of Sir Tho. Staples, Bart., a noble mansion in an extensive demesne embellished with thriving plantations, an artificial sheet of water with cascades, and a picturesque bridge built by the celebrated Ducart; Muff House, and Crieve. The linen manufacture is carried on to great extent by the whole of the population, who combine it with agricultural pursuits.
The LIVING is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord Primate: the tithe rent charge is #375. The glebe-house was built at an expense of #1313.14.5 of which #100 were a gift and #650 a loan from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1807 and the remainder was paid by the incumbent; the glebe comprises 87.25 statute acres, valued at #67. 10. per annum. The church is a plain and very ancient structure, with an east window of stained glass. In the Roman Catholic divisions of the parish is the head of a district, comprising also part of the parish of Desertlyn; the chapel is a neat edifice. The parochial school built by the Rev. J. M. Staples at the expense of #500, and a school at Grouse Lodge built by Mrs. Wright, who endowed it with an acre of land, are both supported under the trustees of Erasmus Smith’s charity; a school at Crevagh was built and is supported by Sir T. Staples, and one at Donaghbreaghy is aided by the Drapers Company.
MAGHERAFELT, a market and post town, a parish and the head of a union, in the barony of LOUGHINSHOLIN, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 30 miles (S.E. by E.) from Londonderry, and 96 (N. N.W.) from Dublin on the road from Armagh to Coleraine; containing, with part of the post-town of Castle-Dawson, (which is separately described), 7649 inhabitants of whom 1560 are in the town of Magherafelt. This place suffered materially in the war of 1641; the town was plundered by the insurgents, who destroyed the church, put many of the inhabitants to death, and carried off several of the more wealthy with a view to obtain money for their ransom. In 1688, the town was again plundered, but on the approach of the assailants, the inhabitants took refuge in the Carntogher mountains, and subsequently found an asylum in Derry; on this occasion the church, having been appropriated by the enemy as a barrack, was preserved. The TOWN, which is large and well built, consists of a spacious square, from which four principal streets diverge at the angles, and from these branch off several smaller streets in various directions; the total number of houses is 255, most of which are of stone and roofed with slate. The linen manufacture is carried on very extensively by the Messrs. Walker, who employ more than 1000 persons in weaving at their own houses, and nearly 100 on the premises in preparing yarn and warps; the manufacture is rapidly increasing. In the excise arrangements the town is within the district of Coleraine. Branches of the Belfast and Northern Banks have been established. The principal market is on Thursday, and is abundantly supplied with all kinds of provisions; great quantities of pork, butter, and flax, are exposed for sale. There are also very extensive markets on the second Thursday in every month, called the “Big markets,” for linen and yarn, which are sold to the amount of #33,000 annually; a market on Monday for barley and oats; and on Wednesday for wheat. Fairs, which are among the largest in the county, are held on the last Thursday in every month, for cattle, sheep, and pigs. The market-house is a plain square building of hewn basalt, situated in the centre of the square; in the upper part are rooms for transacting public business. The quarter-sessions for the county are held here four times in the year, and petty-sessions on alternate Wednesdays; a manorial court is held monthly by the seneschal of the Salter’s Company for recovery of debts under #2. There is a constabulary police station. The court-house is a commodious edifice, adjoining which is the bridewell, containing four cells, two day-rooms , and two yards.
The PARISH, which is bounded on the north-east by the river Moyola, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 8290.25 stature acres; the greater portion is very productive land, and the system of agriculture is improved. The principal substratum is basalt, which, in the townland of Polepatrick, has a columnar tendency; limestone of good quality is abundant. The seats are Millbrook, Glenbrook, and Prospect. considerable improvements are contemplated, tending greatly to promote the prosperity of the district. The lands immediately around it belong to the Salter’s company, and are at present leased for a limited term of years to the Marquess of Londonderry and Sir R. Bateson, Bart.: other lands in the manor of Moneymore, to the Drapers Company; some, in the manor of Bellaghy to the Vintners Company; and the manor of Castle-Dawson to the Right Hon. G. R. Dawson. The Dublin and Coleraine Junction railway will pass close to the town, and have a station here.
The LIVING is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord Primate: the tithe rent-charge is #337. 10. The glebe-house was built in 1787, at an expense of #574. 18., of which #92. 6. were a gift, and the remainder a loan, from the late Board of First Fruits; the present incumbent has much improved it, and his immediate predecessor repaired it at a cost of #440; the glebe comprises 403a. 2r. 17p statute measure, valued at #270 per annum. The church, situated in the town, is a handsome edifice built in 1664, enlarged by the addition of a north aisle in 1718, and ornamented with a tower and spire 1790; it has been repaired by a grant of #121 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish is the head of a district, comprising also parts of parishes of Woods-Chapel, Desertlyn, and Ballyscullion; the chapel is at Aghagaskin, about a mile from the town. There are places of worship for Presbyterians in connexion with the General Assembly, in Wesleyan Methodists. A free school was founded here by Hugh Rainey, Esq., who, in 1710, erected a school-house, and bequeathed money to purchase an estate for its endowment; the estate was afterwards sold under an act of parliament, subject to an annual payment of #175 Irish currency, with which the school is endowed. It is under the patronage and direction of the Lord Primate, and John Ash Reiny, Esq., who resides at the school; 14 boys are clothed, boarded, and educated for three years, and afterwards placed out as apprentices with a premium. The parochial schools are supported by the rector, the Marquess of Londonderry, and Sir Robert Bateson; and a female work school by the Marchioness of Londonderry and the Lady Bateson, by whom the school-house has been erected: the late incumbent, the Rev. T. A. Vesey, contributed for these objects #100 . A dispensary and a Ladies’ Clothing Society have been established in the town. the union workhouse, on a site of six acres given at a nominal rent by the Salters Company, was completed in 1841, at a cost of #6000, and is constructed to receive 900 paupers. There are several forts in the parish, but non entitled to particular notice.