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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2001-04 > 0987755374

From: Charles Clark <>
Subject: Re: [Scotch-Irish] Elliott: "Catholics of Ulster"
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 20:29:34 +1200
References: <>


> "Intermarriage appears to have occurred at every social level". (p 130). Generally the landowning elite married with others of their social class and conformed while the poor drifted to Catholicism. Thus you find many of the dominant Irish clan names among the Ulster Protestants: O'NEILL, SAVAGE, MAGENNIS. Their lands descended
> to their protestant heirs.

And of course O'Neill ended up with Terence O'Neill, prime minister from 1963-69, the more-or-less reforming prime minister who took the lid off the can of worms that has been the past 30 years of N Ireland. Just mentioning him to counterbalance the catholic O'Neills who fled to Spain

> In the 1660's perhaps 80,000 more Scots arrived with 50,000 to 80,000 more in the 1690's -- and they changed the religious nature of Ulster. By 1732 Ulster had 313,120 Protestants and 192,295 Catholics. (p 131) A new layer of tenants slipped in, so that the Irish then paid rents and duties not to landlords but to middlemen, often protestant farmers.

Many layers of tenantry and sub-tenantry. The Earl of Antrim let estates (before he sold a lot when he became pecuniarily embarrassed) to landed gentry (including a number of my forbears) who probably let land to the protestant farmers you mention.

> Their resentment grew, so by the end of the 17th century, the Irish attitudes towards Scots had changed. They no longer looked on them as
> "Eastern Gaels". [Linda's term] One thing that soured them was the attitudes towards them exhibited by presumedly Scottish Presbyterians: Presbyterians were accused as being the most anti Catholic group in Ulster by Archbishop Plunkett (Catholic Archbishop, in 1679).

That of course has not changed. Paisley and his mob claim to be Presbyterians, even if they had to invent their own branch of the church to justify their excesses.

> Little effort was actually made to convert the Irish. The "most sustained" was the much hated charter schools. Like later schools in the
> USA that took Indian children away from their families, these schools took children from their parents to raise them as protestants and gave them basic skills in occupations like linen weaving. These schools rapidly attracted poor Protestant children, though there was stigma attached to being raised in one. They did not succeed and by 1770 all but 2 were closed.

It would be a mistake to see Ulster in isolation from Ireland as a whole in this sort of area. My great-uncle, Gerald Fitzgerald, attended something similar in Waterford in the early years of this century (September 3 1907 to June 30, 1909). See
Bishop Foy School has become incorporated into the Newtown School, Waterford, whose web page is
"One of the longest lasting of the Bible schools was the Bishop Foy School, Waterford. In the early 1700s. Bishop Foy (Anglican, Waterford) 'noted for his obsessive antipathy towards the Catholic church' arranged an endowment of £500 to establish a school to wean poor Catholic children from the old faith.8 The school aimed to educate the Catholic poor in the Anglican faith and to maintain their new stance by apprenticing them to Protestant masters. Many Catholic families desperate to gain some education for their children took the opportunities offered. One of the historians of the Bishop Foy school noted:9
“In the present year, 1745, there has been bound out to trades, 110 boys, to each of whom are given a Bible, a Common-prayer-book, and a Whole Duty of Man. By prudent and careful management of this school, the foundation has already produced many eminent tradesmen.”
Children were admitted to the Bishop Foy School from the ages of four to six years and in 1788, there were 75 children in the establishment. It was situated at the lower end of Broad Street, and the corner of Arundel Street, Waterford. "
"Actually the place had been used as a school until the 1960s and when viewed many years later, it was unoccupied and in decay, but had been an imposing building two hundred years previously. "
"The Bishop Foy School was not the only Protestant Bible school in Waterford. There were two others: the Charter school at Killortran just outside the city, catering for 50-60 boys and girls; and the Blue Coat school for girls. The Charter school was one of a chain of 61 schools, managed by the Incorporated Society for Promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland 'to convert the lower orders of the inhabitants of Ireland from the errors of Popery'. Their management over many years was riddled with corruption and incompetence and they made few permanent converts, but they were an object of almost pathological hostility to Catholics, who resented their objectives. "

> There is evidence of Protestant collusion in assisting Catholics in evading the penal laws. Apparently gentle Protestants would assist Catholic gentry to maintain their social standing, sometimes taking out leases or holding land in trust, as well as hiding priests.

One of the fallacies of the whole Irish experience is the notion that the place is preoccupied with religion and sectarianism. Perhaps those lower class people who have nothing else to fight over believe that, but the landed gentry have always had the sense to put the acquisition and holding on to property above such silly distractions. Most Protestant gentry would have identified more closely with the "gentry" than with the "Catholic" in the phrase "Catholic gentry"

> The DICKEY family of Ballydonellan, Co Antrim, immigrants from Ayrshire in the 17th century, sheltered priests and held land in trust for
> neighbors. The author encountered other cases in other counties.

And I described a couple of cases in Connaught, where it was probably rather more widespread.

> However there were regional differences. In south Down you had Protestant gentry of legendary extremes. Ie Lord Hillsborough in 1771 gave a reward to all who would convert and would not give Catholics a lease.

personal eccentricity is with us always, I am afraid

> Catholics were barred from the British army till 1793 (p 177). Presumedly if your ancestor was in before that date, he was at least nominally Protestant or convinced someone he was. Presumedly he did that in English, so you can assume he did speak it, I suspect.

I wonder how well that sort of thing was enforced? In days when recruiting was almost press-ganging, and taking the king's shilling was often helped with a pint of ale from the recruiting officer, I am sure there must have been many of no noticeable religion, of whom amany would have been in fact catholic. Certainly officers would have all been protestant, but I'd rather see more proof before conceding that the Other Ranks were. I rather suspect that it was less a case of "convincing a recruiter than one was protestant" than of "failing to convince the recruiter that one was catholic" when waking up the morning after being conned into taking the king's shilling.
And by the middle of the nineteenth century some huge proportion of the British Army was in fact Irish. Over half by my recollection, though I can't find the reference in Foster. I'm talking Ireland-wide here, and remember the proportion of catholics in the rest of the island has always been higher than in Ulster.

> "There is no record of any serious sectarian disturbance in Ulster before the 1780's" (p 178). In north Antrim, Lord Macartney (Lissanoure)

Ah, yes, my godmother married (in 1922) and then divorced (in 1931) George Travers Lucy Macartney, the last of the Macartneys of Lissanoure. Said to be "eccentric", I gather he was a nutter.
A bit of trivia about the one your book refers to: "Till 1820 the Macartneys, as owners of the village (of Dervock) and lords of the manor, levied a toll of twopence on each animal brought for sale into the fair, but the claim finally was disputed, and, as a test case, the horse of Mr. John Nevin was seized, his owner refusing to pay the "custom," and after a legal trial, it was decided that no "custom" could be levied. Mr. Macartney therefore kept and paid for the seized horse, which was nicknamed "Duty Free" thereafter.""

> and other Protestant landlords built a "large, handsome masshouse", by 1789. The Catholics were refusing to pay tithes for the established church, so it was in ruin, with no minister. Hence the "Church people" worshipped at the Catholic mass house or the Presbyterian meeting house. They were all baptised
> by the priest for "there was no other minister to do it". In that part of the country, this was the norm. (p 179).

I'm not sure that this is consistent with Annals of Derrykeighan Parish, by Rev Hugh McNeill, or with History of the Parish of Derrykeighan For Three Centuries, by Thomas Camac but I'd have to buy the book to do the comparison properly. (post some more, and convince me!)
Here's some more, which certainly mentions Macartney, so is presumably the one Elliot refers to:

"In order to prevent the ill-feeling caused by the collection of the tithes in the ancient fashion in 1824 ("Goulbourne Act," 4 Geo. IV., cap. 99), in 1825 (5 Geo. IV., cap. 63), and in 1828 (7 and 8 Geo. IV., cap. 60) Tithe Commutation Acts were passed, and after an interview between the rector (Mr. Stephen Dickson) and the parishioners, it was settled to the satisfaction of all parties that for the future the rector should receive annually from the whole parish, including Drumtullagh, £430, and that this sum should be impartially levied on each piece of Land in the parish. To effect this, in 1827, Charles Douglas, Esq., and Mr. Ben. Givin, of Lisconnan, were duly appointed Commissioners, and applotted the £430 over the whole parish.
A churchwarden of that time related how the parishioners had agreed amongst themselves to pay £500 a year, but expecting that Mr. Dickson would ask £600 (which they computed they had paid under the tithe proctor system) they arranged to offer £430, and then propose to "split the difference," but to their surprise Mr. Dickson at once accepted their offer, and astonished them by saying he had never received so much.
In November, 1827, it was found that the sum of £180 would be required to repair and improve the old church (though it had been re-roofed and undergone considerable repair shortly before that time), and it was agreed at a vestry meeting that it would be better to build a new church on a new site, but feeling in all parties became very hot on the subject; first, many parishioners feared it would involve the parish in a heavy debt, or that the graves of their forefathers would be levelled and desecrated around the old church for sanitary reasons. And at first the new church scheme was rejected, but a month later, February, 1828, there was a large public vestry meeting in the old parish church, and, after some hot discussions, it was decided by 180 to 88 votes that a new
church should be built, "provided £600 could be borrowed from the Board of First Fruits."
Although so many votes were polled, yet many of the supposed voters were not present ; "vote early and vote often" seems even then to have been a watchword. There was much personation, and the "three-halfpenny voters of Dervock " (i.e., those who paid at least three-halfpence of vestry cess) were very active ; Protestants of all denominations then having an equal right to vote in vestry meetings. [J. R.]
The second difficulty seemed likely to prove still greater than the first, for two of the chief parishioners wished the church to be rebuilt on the old site, whilst the other parishioners and Mr. Macartney, of Lissanoure, wanted the new church to be built in Dervock. There were some very fiery vestry meetings on the point without any definite conclusion, but at last a decision was made necessary. One night a violent explosion was heard at the old church, and next morning it was found that a pot full of gunpowder had been inserted at the door of an ancient vault in the North side of the church under the floor and exploded. This smashed the glass of the windows and some of the woodwork, but did not blow off the roof or crack the walls.
It is not known to this day who did the deed, though opinion, then and now, is very positive on the subject ; but different individuals attribute it to three different men. An old newspaper was found in which the gunpowder was supposed to have been wrapped ; but no very great action was taken to discover the author of the deed. (Rev. Charles Douglas discouraged enquiry as not likely to produce any beneficial result).
It was generally recognised to be the act of some one or more of the members of the congregation who wished to compel a conclusion as to the building of the new church. There is no foundation for the statement in the Ordinance Survey Memoir that it was attributed to the Roman Catholics.
In 1828 Mr. Macartney, of Lissanoure, offered the gift of an Irish acre of ground at Ballyratahan (Dervock village) as a site. This was accepted, and the present church built thereon at the cost of £600 from the Board of First Fruits, and £565 of voluntary subscriptions, and it was consecrated by the Right Reverend Dr. Mant, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, on 9th September, 1831.


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