TERMONFECHAN, or TERFECHAN, a parish, in the barony of FERRARD, county of LOUTH, and province of LEINSTER, 3½ miles (N. E.) from Drogheda; containing 3393 inhabitants. This place is of very remote antiquity: the village, though at present comparatively insignificant, was formerly a town of considerable importance.
A monastery was founded here in 665, of which nothing more is recorded than the death of one of its abbots in 935; and a convent for regular nuns was founded and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin by McMahon, whose endowment of it was confirmed by a bull of Pope Celestin III., in 1195. The manor anciently belonged to the see of Armagh, and the Archbishops formerly resided here for three months of the year in a palace of which the remains till very recently formed an interesting feature in the village. Primate Dowdall was interred here in 1543, and the last of those prelates that resided in the palace was the celebrated Archbishop Ussher, who died in 1612. The parish, which is situated on the eastern coast, and bounded at its southern extremity by the river Boyne, which there discharges itself into the sea, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 6382 statute acres, of which about 300 acres, lying immediately along the sea shore, are unprofitable land, and the remainder principally under tillage and in a state of profitable cultivation. The system of agriculture is progressively improving. There are some good quarries, from which stone is procured for building and repairing the roads. The principal seats are Cartown, the residence of H. Chester, Esq., built in 1612; Newtown, of J. McClintock, Esq.; Black Hall, of G. Pentland, Esq.; Rath House, of Mrs. Brabazon; and Ballydonell, of C. Brabazon, Esq. The village of Termonfechan, which has a penny post to Drogheda, was partly rebuilt and greatly improved by the late Mr.
Brabazon, of Rath House; it now contains 89 houses, most of which are very neatly built; a constabulary police force is stationed there, and petty sessions are held every Thursday.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh, united from time immemorial to the rectories and vicarages of Clogher and Maine, and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes amount to £432.
The glebe-house was built in 1814, at an expense of £1685 British, of which £100 was a gift, and £725 Irish currency a loan, from the late Board of First Fruits, and the remainder was defrayed by the then incumbent. The glebe comprises 21 acres, valued at £45. 18. 2. per ann., of which 20 acres are subject to a rent of £1. 10. 4. per acre; and there is also a glebe of 6½ acres in the parish of Maine, valued at £9. 16. 10.: the gross value of the benefice, tithes and glebe included, is £675. 16. 10½. The church, to the repair of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £152, is a neat plain edifice, partly rebuilt in 1792 at the expense of the parish. In the churchyard is a handsome stone cross, also a tombstone, dated 1504, inscribed to the memory of Jolien De Pelacio, subdean of Armagh. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parish of Beaulieu, and parts of the parishes of Ballymakenny and Drumshallon; there are two chapels, one in the village, and one at Sandpit, both small buildings. About 120 children are taught in two public schools, of which the parochial school is supported by the rector; and there are two private schools, in which are about 80 children. In a field at a short distance from the town is a massive square tower; there were also several small castles in the vicinity; about two miles from the town is a square tower, all that now remains of Glass-Pistol, a castle formerly belonging to Sir Anthony Brabazon, Bart. This place was the residence of Dr. Oliver Plunket, R. C. Archbishop of Armagh, who was executed for treason.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.