RATHASPECK, a parish, in the barony of FORTH, county of WEXFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 2½ miles (S. by W.) from Wexford; containing 626 inhabitants.
It is situated between Forth Mountain and Wexford haven, and comprises 2401 statute acres of good land, which, from the great encouragement afforded by the proprietor, is in an excellent state of cultivation: marl abounds in the parish, and limestone for agricultural purposes is obtained from the adjoining parish of Rathmacknee. Johnstown Castle, the noble mansion of Hamilton Knox Grogan Morgan, Esq., the principal proprietor of the surrounding district, was occupied for one night by Oliver Cromwell, who on the following morning reviewed his troops in the demesne preparatory to his attack on Wexford. The present house has been greatly enlarged and embellished in the Gothic style, and the extensive demesne has been much improved and laid out with great taste. At the village of Rathaspeck is a station of the constabulary police.
The parish is in the diocese of Ferns, and is a rectory, forming part of the union of St. Patrick's, Wexford: the tithes amount to £120. 9. 8., and there are two glebes, comprising 8¼ acres. The church, which is a neat plain building, is still considered the mother church of the union, and the incumbent is consequently first inducted there: it was rebuilt in 1823, at an expense of about £900, aided by a grant from the late Board of First Fruits. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Piercestown. On the demesne of Johnstown Castle is a very handsome schoolhouse, in the rustic style, built by Mr. Morgan, at an expense exceeding £300: the school is entirely supported by Mrs. Morgan; in addition to the usual course of education, the boys are taught the elements of surveying and navigation, and such as distinguish themselves are intended to be placed by their patrons in suitable situations. At a short distance from Johnstown Castle, with which the remains of the ancient edifice are incorporated, and in that part of the demesne which extends into the adjoining parish of Kildavin, are the ruins of Rathlannan castle. Tradition states that these castles were at one period occupied by two sisters. On the townland of Whitestone formerly stood the castle of that name, of which not a vestige can be traced; about 50 years since, several articles of gold and silver plate and other articles of value were found near its site, supposed to have been hidden there during the civil war of the 17th century.
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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