MAGHERAGALL, or MARAGALL, a parish, in the barony of UPPER-MASSEREENE, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 2½ miles (W. by N.) from Lisburn, on the road from Hillsborough to Antrim, and close by the Lagan canal; containing 3102 inhabitants. During the war of 1641, this place was the rendezvous of the insurgent forces, consisting of 8000 men, under Sir Phelim O'Nial and Sir Con Magennis, previous to their attack on Lisburn; whence, after their defeat, they returned to Brookhill, in this parish, then the seat of Sir G. Rawdon, which they burned to the ground, as well as a church, and slaughtered many of the inhabitants of Ballyclough and its vicinity. The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 6555½ statute acres, principally in tillage; the system of agriculture has been greatly improved. In the lower parts the land is generally good, and, produces excellent crops, but in the upper part it is inferior. It is stated that the first application of lime, as manure, in the county, took place here, in 1740, at Brook Hill, the residence of J. Watson, Esq. There are about 50 acres of bog, but no waste land. Limestone for building and agricultural purposes is abundant and very good; basalt is also found. The weaving of linen and cotton is carried on for the Lisburn market, and for the manufacturers of Belfast. The principal seats are Brook Hill, the residence of J. Watson, Esq., in whose demesne a small river disappears, and, after passing under the hill, re-appears; and Springfield, of Capt. Houghton. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Connor, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is appropriate to the see of Down and Connor. The tithes amount to £300, of which £200 is paid to the bishop, and £100 to the vicar, who also receives £46. 4. from Primate Boulter's augmentation fund: there is no glebe-house or glebe. The church was rebuilt in 1830, by a loan of £1000 from the late Board of First Fruits; it is a neat edifice, with a large tower. There are places of worship for Seceders, of the second class, and Wesleyan Methodists.
About 270 children are educated in the parochial and two national schools; the former is partly supported by the incumbent, and the school-house was built in 1826, chiefly at the expense of the Marquess of Hertford. There are also five private schools, in which are about 180 children. Remains of the old church, which was destroyed in the civil war, exist near Brookhill, and have been converted into a stable: many human bones have been turned up by the plough; and silver and copper coins of the reigns of Elizabeth, Jas. I., and Chas. I., have been found on the estate of Mr. Watson, and are in his possession. In the plantations are two circular forts, in a perfect state, the smaller appearing to have been an outpost to the larger. Opposite to these are several large stones, the remains of a cromlech, here called the Giant's Cave, on ploughing the ground near which, in 1837, several urns were found curiously engraved and containing human bones. The late Commodore Watson was proprietor of Brook Hill, where he resided for a short period before his return to India, where he died of his wounds.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.
The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.
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