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Dromore Parish Located in the Southwest of Tyrone County, Ulster

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PAGE 12

Werburg’s Dublin.86 James was succeeded by his better-known brother, Sir Audley Mervyn, whose portrait is preserved in Castle Archdale.87 He was M. P. for Tyrone for many years, King’s Serjeant (1660-1), Speaker of the Irish Parliament (1661-6), and described by Drake as “a trimmer and an able one”.88 His sister, Deborah, was married, secondly, to Rory Maguire of the old ruling house of Fermanagh.89 Rory was a Fermanagh M.P. and had close relations with his brother-in-law, Sir Audley, both of them serving on a government commission of 1640-1.90 Even after Rory became the formidable Fermanagh leader of the 1641 Rising, he kept contact with Sir Audley, who claimed that he himself had persuaded Maguire “to repress for a little the fury of fire and sword”.91 Sir Audley died in 1675 and was also buried in St. Werburg’s, Dublin.92 The Mervyns survived just three generations after him. Before the last of the male Mervyns had died in the eighteenth century, much of their lands were sold to the Lowrys and Corrys (Lord Belmore) and others fell to the Archdales, who succeeded to the remaining property in Tyrone.93 The native Irish in Dromore parish fared well as they had not been evicted from their ancestral lands. The British tenants were slow to come, while the natives were glad to offer higher rents to stay on their own ancestral lands even as tenants.94


The first list of Dromore parishioners available is of those who paid the hearth tax here in 1666, when the parish population was only a few hundred, at most.95 There were 56 tax payors of which eight or nine had foreign names. These names are still there today. It seems the Ulster Plantation and the Cromwellian Settlement had little effect on the ancient people. In words of one Ulster historian:


The order to transplant was ignored. Many of the old nobility may have joined the Catholic armies of the Continent. Some of them were armed and out on the hills. The generality were holding on as tenants to new landlords. The were the people who would live on, in their descendants, to see the break-up of foreign-imposed feudalism, and eventually secure a final and firm grip on their holdings.”96

This is a copy of the original tax list:


Esker & Galbally Daniel O’Donnell, Robert Harper

Ashnamoe James Pearsy, Paule Knoghton, Gilgrome O’Hoine

Rahoney Manus O’Scievin, Plelemy m’Cann, Patrick m’Rory

Glengeen Neill O’Neill

Tullyclunagh Laughlan o’Corigan

Lisenedin Patrick o’Corigan


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86 Archdale, loc. cit.

87 Belmore, 60, 63; Archdale, 19

88 Belmore, 60-2; Archdale, loc. cit.

89 Ibid.

90 Belmore, 61

91 Ibid.

92 Belmore, 62, Archdale, loc. cit.

93 Belmore, 62-3; same author, Two Ulster Manors (London & Dublin 1881), p. 33.

94 Hill, 447-8, note 2

95 CR (1965), 385-6. The Acts of 14 and 15 Car. II, c. 17, established a tax of two shillings on every hearth and fire-place (ibid.).

96 O Doibhlin, op. cit., 164