Richmount Heritage Club

 "The Hay Days " Farming in the 50s in North Armagh

The area is rich in history. It is a traditional Co. Armagh rural area set in the Drumlin Landscape.  We give a brief background to the Manor of Richmount. After this please read about our Heritage project:

The Hay Days - Farming in the 1950s in North Armagh

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Based on Brownlow Papers

The Manor of Richmount

The lands included in the Manor of Richmount were originally in the Barony of O’Neillland West controlled by Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tir Eoghain.

Hugh O’Neill’ generally found favour with the Court of Elizabeth 1st, but upon her death he became less popular at the English Court. At the same time his estates were being eroded by the English Lords Mountjoy and Chichester. Historically Ulster was one of the most difficult areas for the English to control. Hugh O’Neill, however, with the on-going loss of his estate and income ,and not wanting to give up the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed to ,became more agitated and became a thorn in the flesh of James 1st. Fearing for his life from the English, he and the Earl Rory O’Donnell Earl of Tir Chonail, left Ireland for Spain hoping to raise an army. This was known as the Flight of The Earls.

At this time James 1st as King of England and Scotland wished to appease subjects in Scotland and started the Plantation of Ulster. Large tracts of land were given over to the control of English landlords who then sublet the land in portions to  mainly Scottish planter farmers. The existing Irish farmers, who had been in a quasi-feudal system with Hugh O’Neill, had, in the main, to leave their land. Land could not be sold to Roman Catholics and only 10% of the land could be let to the native Irish. Counties Down and Antrim were excluded from the plantation as both counties historically had sizeable populations from Scotland who had arrived in Ireland through natural migration.

In 1610 James 1st granted the Manor of Richmount to John Heron, this was then sold to John Waldron.

This was regranted by James 1 to Francis Stonward Waldron, it then passed to Thomas Cole, Robert Burditt and Rowland Cotton in 1705. It was then sold to Arthur Brownlow (alias Chamberlin) and John Hoope merchant for £13,000. Arthur Brownlow then bought out John Hoope giving him complete control of the Manor. Arthur Brownlow had been criticised for relaxation of the 10% rule but it was financially more attractive and the fact that he had an Irish wife may have led to this.

(Source: Brownlow Papers D1928 – Public Records Office)

The Manor of Richmount and other estates continued to provide the Brownlow family with a large income and the family prospered. However, with the dispersal of the landlord estates and the creation of a unique type of ownership, the Fee Farm Grant, tenant farmers were able to buy their land on a long lease. The landlords were compensated by the Government. However, by the late 1800s the Brownlow family were in financial difficulties.

The head of the Brownlow family entailed the peerage of Lord Lurgan a title which became extinct on the death of the last Lord Lurgan in 1994.  The 2nd Baron Lurgan was famous for his greyhound, Master McGrath which won the Waterloo Cup 3 times in the 1860s/1870s.

A statue of this famous dog can be found outside the front entrance of Craigavon Civic Centre and also at Ballywhite Portaferry. It is also included in the Coat of Arms of Craigavon Council.

The Brownlow family is still in existence in Portaferry where the late Col William Brownlow was Lord Lieutenant. He was a cousin of the last Lord Lurgan. His son Jamie Brownlow still lives at Ballywhite House in Portaferry 

The townlands listed in the Manor of Richmount, as per the Brownlow papers, were as follows but it should be remembered that some of the names that were anglicized from the Irish and later corrupted by local dialect so they may be slightly different to the present names and may be incorrect as some names are not familiar to me.

Aghavellan (Richmount), Annagora, Ballyfordrin, Ballymagowan (Ballymakeown or Ballymageown), Breagh, Cannagola Beg, Cannagola Mor, Coharra, Cornamucklagh, Cushenny, Derrybrughas, Derrycaw (?), Derrylettiff, Diviny, Drumalis, Drumharrif, Drumnakelly (?), Drumnevan, Farra, Foymore. Kingarve, Corcullentraghbeg, Corcullentraghmor, Leganny, Roughan, Timakeel, Unshinagh.

The origin of the name Richmount does not seem to bear any links to a family or to a townland name. Unlike Richhill which was founded by the Richardson family.

The name of Richmount as a townland name seems to have been adapted as all the records refer to the townland as Richmount or Aghavellan.

Before it was anglicized it was:

Achadh Ui Mheallain  (The field at the brow)
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THE HAY DAYS - WE WANT YOU TO GET INVOLVED.

IT WILL NOT ONLY LOOK AT FARMING IN THE 1950S BUT HOME AND SOCIAL LIFE AS W
ELL.




This project is sponsored by the Heritage  Lottery Fund