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Urney Parish & Clady, Cos. Tyrone & Donegal in 1837 Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland

Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by
Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia

URNEY, a parish, partly in the barony of RAPHOE, county of DONEGAL, but chiefly in that of STRABANE, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 2 miles (S. S. W.) from Strabane; containing, with the village of Claudy and part of the town of Strabane (each separately described), 7,277 inhabitants. This parish, comprising 14,489½ statute acres, according to the Ordnance survey, is bounded on the north-west by the county of Donegal, and is situated for the most part between the rivers Finn and Mourne, which, uniting at its northern extremity, form the Foyle. The greater portion of the land is remarkably fertile, and under its present improved treatment produces abundant crops of all kinds of grain: there is abundance of excellent limestone, which is extensively used both for building and agriculture; the bogs are greatly increasing in value, and the mountains afford excellent pasturage. The inhabitants combine with their rural employments, to which most attention is given, the manufacture of linen cloth: a large mill is now in progress of erection at Seeir (sic), upon the Mourne River, for the spinning of linen yarn. The produce of the soil and of the manufactories finds a ready market at Strabane, and much of the grain is sent to Derry by the river Finn, in barks of from 60 to 80 tons’ burden. At the northern extremity of the parish is a bridge of twelve arches over the Foyle, leading to Lifford; another near the church, over the same river, leads to Donegal; and at Bridgetown a third of eight arches over the Mourne connects the parish with the thriving and commercial town of Strabane. It is partly within the manor of Strabane, and partly within that of Ardstraw, for the latter of which a court is held once a month at Castle-Derg. The vale of Urney is among the most fertile and highly cultivated parts of the county: the houses are in general well built, and have gardens and orchards attached to them; those of the higher classes are embellished with flourishing plantations. The principal seats are Urney Park, the residence of Lady Galbraith; Urney House, of the Rev. R. Hume; Fyfinn Lodge, of Conolly Gage, Esq.; Galany, of J. Smith, Esq.; Ballyfatton, of M. C. Hamilton, Esq.; and Castletown, of Major Semple. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £700. The old glebe-house having been, accidentally burnt, a new one was erected in 1798, during the incumbency and at the sole expense of Dr. Fowler, the present bishop of Ossory, who did not charge his successor with any portion of the outlay. The glebe of 286 Cunningham acres is in two portions; one, on which the glebe-house stands, contains 83 acres on the banks of the Finn, from the inundations of which river it is protected by an embankment 12 feet high and nearly a mile long; the other, called Rabstown, is let to tenants; the entire glebe is valued in the Commissioners’ books at about £300 per ann. The church, in the vale of Urney, a handsome edifice in the Grecian style, built in 1734 underwent a thorough repair in 1809. The right of nomination to the perpetual cure of Skirts, or Derg, belongs to the incumbent of this benefice. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising this parish and that of Skirts. There are places of worship for Presbyterians at Somerville and Alt, the former in connection with the Synod of Ulster and the latter with the Associate or Seceding Synod. The male and female parochial schools, built on the glebe at the joint expense of the rector and parishioners, are wholly supported by the former, who also maintains a school at Alt; a female work school, also on the glebe, is supported by the rector’s lady, and two schools at Sion and Tullywisker (sic) are aided by the Marquess of Abercorn: about 300 boys and 260 girls are taught in these schools. There are also two private schools, in which are 60 boys and 30 girls; and four Sunday schools. Andrew Sproule, Esq., in 1801, bequeathed £1,000 to the rector and churchwardens forever, in trust for the poor of the parish, the interest of which is annually distributed in winter clothing. The Hon. and most Rev. Dr. Beresford, late Archbishop of Tuam; the Rt. Rev. Dr. Forster, late Bishop of Kilmore; and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Fowler, the present Bishop of Ferns and Ossory, were successively rectors of Urney.

CLAUDY [CLADY], a village, in the parish of Urney, barony of Strabane, county of Tyrone, and province of Ulster, 3 miles (S. S. W.) from Strabane; containing 176 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from Londonderry to Sligo, and on the river Finn, comprising one irregularly built street containing 44 houses, most of which are old. Fairs for the sale of cattle, sheep, and pigs, are held on Aug. 1st and Nov. 16th. Close to the village is a handsome bridge of seven arches over the Finn, connecting Claudy with the county of Donegal. Prior to the erection of this bridge, there was an important ford here, which was contested with great slaughter by the partisans of William and James, in 1688; and at the time of the siege of Londonderry it was a strong post under Col. Skeffington, who was driven from it by the Duke of Berwick, a short time before Jas. II. crossed the Finn at this place.