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Surveys of Longfield West, East and Lower, recorded in the early 1800's[1]

1. Parish of Longfield (West), County Tyrone[2]

Natural Features


The northern, southern and western parts of this parish are very mountainous and wild. The principal hills are Dooish, Carrick-a-stoken and Bin. The first of these is 1,119 feet above the level of the sea, the second is 909 feet and the third 1,097 feet. They are all connected with each other and form the termination of the Donegal mountains. The only general name I could find they are known by is that of the Longfield hills.


There are several picturesque and wild glens in this parish. The principal ones are Carrick-a-ness, which is situated 2 miles tothe west of the town of Drumquin and whish contains no less than 4 small waterfalls within the space of 200 yards, the total fall of the water in that space being 50 feet.

The other glen is situated 3 and a half miles to the west of Drumquin and is called Slevin glen. In it there are 2 waterfalls, which, combined with a ruined bridge and the wildness of the glen, have a very picturesque effect.


The streams of any note in this parish are the Fairy water and the Drumquin water. The Fairy water forms the boundary of the parish on the north eastern side for 4 miles, and as far as regards this part of it runs through very flat bog. It flows south east and averages from 30 to 40 feet in breadth. The depth in some parts is considerable, owing to its flowing through a flat boggy country. It rises in the adjacent parish of the Skirts of Ardstraw. It is not useful for water power. There are no falls or rapids on it; the fall in this parish is 10 feet in a mile. It is subject to floods which soon subside; they do no harm. This river impedes communication and flows over a gravelly bed. Its banks in this parish are boggy and uncultivated.

The Drumquin water takes its rise in the Loughs Lee and Bradan. Its length in the parish is 7 miles when it joins the Fairy water. The source of this water is nearly 1,000 feet above the level of the sea. Its branches abound in small waterfalls. By the time it joins the Fairy water its breadth is nearly 40 feet. At this part its depth is considerable, in consequence of the ground being very level. The general direction of this stream is north eats, it is not liable to overflow, its bed is rocky. For account of the falls, see Natural Features.


The parish is well supplied with water from springs. There is, if anything, too much water. There are no chalybeate[3] wells.

Lakes and Tradition

The principal lakes in this parish are Lough Bradan, Lough Lee and Lough Corr. Lough Bradan contains 50 acres of water, is 636 feet above the level of the sea [and] is situated in the south west part of the parish. Its depth is unknown. Its greatest length is 35 chains and breadth 19 chains. The shores of it are very soft and boggy and it is surrounded by hills. It contains some large black trout. I met with a country man who told me that when he and another man were on the shore one day fishing, they perceived an animal about the size of a sheep swimming towards them; but they not relishing such suspicious company took to their heels and saw no more of it. No other persons have seen this stranger, but the lough has the reputation of containing wild horses, as has also Lough Lee, which is situated on the north eat boundary of the parish. Its length is half an English mile and its breadth 14 chains. Its shores are rocky, and there is a fine white sand procured from it which is used for sharpening scythes and for scouring. Only half of the Lough Lee is in West Longfield parish. The other half is in the parish of Skirts of Urney and Ardstraw. The part which is in this parish consists of 24 and a half acres. Lough Lee is situated at the great height of 964 feet above the level of the sea. Like Lough Bradan it is nearly surrounded by hills.

Lough Anagh is situate about a mile to the south of Lough Bradan. It contains 17 acres 1 rood 20 perches. It is 18 chains long and 14 chains broad and is 500 feet above the level of the sea. The depth of non of the above lakes is known.

Lough Lack is situated in the west of the parish, the boundary running through the centre. It contains 45 acres 1 rood 28 perches and is 750 feet above the level of the sea.


Meencargagh wood is the remains of a large tract which existed in this parish about 60 years since. It is situated in Meencargagh townland and is in extent about 40 acres. The trees (which are small) principally consist of birch and holly, with a few oak and ash.


All the mountains (or at least the greater part) in this parish are covered with bog, and there is also a great quantity of bog in the flat lands in the north eastern part. There is but little timber found in the bogs. It is principally oak and appears to have been blown down, as all the trunks [are] horizontally laid in a south eastern direction, with the roots to the north west. The prevailing and most violent winds are from the north west.

The depth of the bogs vary from 2 to probably 20 feet. In the neighbourhood of Lough Bradan there is a large flow bog (called by the peasantry a "scraw") which is very dangerous, as the turf which forms the crust of it is apt to break through on any person passing over it. Cattle are sometimes lost in this bog. In the bogs in the lower part of the parish there are islands of hard ground. They are all cultivated if they are capable of bearing crops.


In consequence of the hilly nature of this parish, the climate is very moist, both in the high and lowlands.

Modern Topography

Gentlemen's Residence

West Longfield Glebe House, the residence of the Reverend Gilbert King, is the only gentleman's residence in the parish. It is situated three-quarters of a mile tothe west of the town of Drumquin. There is nothing remarkable in its appearance. It is a plain but large whitewashed building of an ob-long form, with a good quantum of fir trees about it.

Social Economy

Local Government

Mr. King (the Reverend Gilbert King, see above) is the only magistrate in West Longfield. He is not stipendiary, is firm and respected by the people. The police both of the revenue and constabulary for this parish, are stationed in the town of Drumquin (vide East Longfield). There are not any petty sessions, the inhabitants generally attending those of the own of Omagh. There are no legal disputes about rights of land. Now and then outrages occur, such as burning turf stacks and waylaying and beating persons at night, but nothing of a more serious character. They are, however, perhaps rather on the increase. Illicit distillation was carried on to a large extent a few years ago, but the revenue police have now fairly hunted it away.

Modern Topography


The following are the mills in the parish (table):

  • Drumowen, breast wheel, 14 feet by 1 foot 8 inches, corn mill, belongs to James Johnston.
  • Coolavannagh, breast wheel, 12 feet by 1 foot 6 inches, corn mill, belongs to Robert Brodley.


The only road of consequence passing through the parish is the road from Londonderry to Enniskillen, and which runs through Drumquin. Its length in the parish is 8 miles, its average breadth 27 feet. It is an excellent road. All the rest of the roads in the parish are execrable. 20 years ago there were not 4 carts in the whole parish.

There is a very bad road leading from Drumquin to Irvinestown. At one part it rises to the height of 900 feet (or nearly so) above the level of the sea.

Social Economy


[Table contains the following headings: name, situation and description, when established, income and expenditure, physical, intellectual and moral education, number of pupils subdivided by age, sex and religion, name and religious persuasion of master or mistress].

London Hibernian Society school, 1 mile to the west of Drumquin, established 1825; income: Reverend G. King give 3 guineas per annum and a dwelling house, from pupils 1 s a quarter, physical education: rod; intellectual education: Dublin Society books, testaments; moral education: a Sunday school held; number of pupils: 80 males, 40 females, 120 total pupils, 80 Protestants, 40 Roman Catholics; master John Rogers, Presbyterian.

Bomacatall, on the roadside between Drumquin and Castlederg, a neat cottage 22 feet by 14 feet, established 1817; income: from the London Hibernian Society 12 pounds 12s per annum, from pupils 4 pounds per annum; expenditure none; physical education: not understood; intellectual education: books furnished by the Sunday School Society; moral education: the Reverend G. King, rector, visits for the purpose of hearing catechism; the Bible is mostly read, number of pupils: males, 24 under 10 years of age, 38 from 10 to 15, 10 above 15, 72 total males; females, 16 under 10 years of age, 32 from 10 to 15, 3 above 15, 51 total females: 123 total number of pupils, 50 Protestants, 40 Presbyterians, 33 Roman Catholics, master Samuel Phillips, Protestant.

Friendly Society

There is a society called the Friendly Society in this parish, from which the poor receive a great deal of assistance.

Habits of the People

The dress worn by the inhabitants differs in no respect from that of the surrounding parishes, and there are no remarkable peculiarities in it. Their diet consists principally of potatoes and porridge made of oatmeal, and sometimes their dinner is varied by the addition of a little bacon and greens, or oatmeal cake. Their manners are generally civil and obliging. They complain much of the short leases and high rents, and with justice, if we may judge from the squalid and poverty-stricken appearance of many of them. The farms average about 10 acres, the rent 1 pound an acre.

Modern Topography

General Appearance and Scenery

The general appearance of West Longfield in the western and southern parts is very wild, and there is little wanting but trees to render it highly picturesque. Indeed there is a great scarcity of wood in the whole parish, with the exception of the plantations at the Glebe House and Meencargagh wood. The eastern part of the parish partakes of that hillocky appearance which pervades the whole of the lowlands of Tyrone.

Productive Economy


Neither barley nor wheat are grown in this parish. Oats are sown in March and April and cut in September. Potatoes are put down in May and taken up in November. Hay is cut in August. Crops are rather worse than the surrounding parishes.

Modern Topography


There is no town in this parish, but on the western boundary of it, in the parish of East Longfield, lies the village of Drumquin, for account of which see parish of East Longfield.


West Longfield parish church is situated I mile to the west of the town of Drumquin. The rector is the Reverend Gilbert King. The average attendance is 200 persons and the total congregation 1,128 persons. The building is very small and plain. It has no steeple [and] is 65 feet long and [blank] feet broad. It was repaired about 12 years ago at a cost of 20 pounds. The church will accommodate 300 persons. The Dissenters attend divine worship in the parish of East Longfield.

Roman Catholic Chapel

A Roman Catholic chapel, situated in Dooish townland, is a neat stone building, roughcast and whitewashed. It was built in 1831; the expense of 800 pounds was defrayed by voluntary subscriptions. The average attendance on each Sunday is from 1,000 to 1,200 persons. [Insert] Note concerning Roman Catholic chapel: The congregation amounting to so great an average as 1,200 persons is accounted for by the fact that this chapel is attended by the Roman Catholic population of both East and West Longfield parishes.

Social Economy


The only provision for the poor is the money that is collected in church on Sundays. This money is distributed at Easter and amounts to 3s or 4s a head.

Religion and Character of the People

Three-fourths of the inhabitants are Catholics. The remainder are for the most part Episcopalians. There are a few Presbyterians. The people in this parish are very civil and obliging, whereas if you proceed 4 miles northwards you will meet with a very uncouth race. The former are mostly Catholics, the latter Presbyterians. The former are, however, very often dishonest and insincere, the latter on the contrary are mostly upright men. Both parties are very superstitious.


Regarding poems. there is a peculiarity worthy of note here. The country people have often 2 versions for most of the popular songs, for instance Scott's poem of "Young Lochinvar" is metamorphosed into some abominable doggerel called "Green Sleeves!" I need hardly add that with them the doggerel is the favourite, and in many cases entirely supersedes the original.


Emigration prevails here with both old and young. Spring is the season chosen.

Letter concerning Roman Catholic Chapel

[On cover) J.Rodrigo Ward Esquire, Post Office, Drumquin.

Sir, The chapel of Longfield was built in the year 1831. As it was built before I came to the parish, and as the work was not done by contract, I am not certain as to its cost. People, however, tell me that the expenses amounted to upwards of 800 pounds, paid by voluntary subscription. The average attendance at morning mass is 200, at the 12 o'clock mass from 10 to 1,200. The chapel is for the accommodation of the Catholics of both the Longfields. The Catholic population of West Longfield is 2,843. I have the honour to remain, Sir, your humble servant, Francis McHugh.

2. Parish of Longfield (East), County Tyrone[4]

Natural State

Situation and Extent

The parish of East Longfield is situated in the harony of Omagh, county Tyrone and diocese of Derry. It is surrounded by West Longfield. Andstraw. Drumragh and Dromore. It contains 9,716 statute acres and lies 3 and a half miles west of Omagh and 4 south west of Newtownstewart, which are the principal outlets for its produce.

Natural Features

General Appearance

Its general appearance is unpromising. The mountain of Corridinna towards the south, tracts of bog in the north, with numerous patches of rough stoney ground in various places, render East Longfield the least fertile parish in my part of Tyrone. In passing through it from Omagh to Drumquin, the best parts of it are crossed, but as a great deal of it lies on sandstone beds, vegetation does not flourish to any extent.


Corridinna is the only high ground in the parish.


The Fairy water, dividing it from Ardstraw, is the chief stream, and a small river running through Drumquin separates it from West Longfield.


There are 2 loughs in Claraghmore connected by a small drain.

Modern Topography

Principal Buildings: Parish Church

The parish church is a modern building erected in 1803, and on the direction of the Reverend F. Gauldsbury at an expense of 500 pounds. It has no gallery and is capable of holding 170 persons. A bell was placed in its tower in 1833.

Meeting House A meeting house stands in the village of Drumquin, elonging to the Synod of Ulster.

Roman Catholic Chapel

A Roman Catholic chapel was erected in 1831 under the superintendence of priests Starrs and McAleer, at a probable cost of 600 pounds. It is not fitted up with galleries and can at present hold 800 persons.

Glebe House

The Glebe House was built by the Reverend Francis Gauldsbury in 1801 and cost 950 pounds. It is well situated in the best land in the parish and commands an interesting view.

Gentlemen's Seats

Drumrawn Lodge was erected by Mr James Boyle in the year 1808 at about 160 pounds expense. It is scarcely better than a farmhouse.

Burn's Folly was built in 1779 and cost Mr Robert Sproul about 350 pounds. A new range of offices was added in 1832 by the present proprietor, Mr Edward Sproul, which cost 200 pounds.

Village of Drumquin

The village of Drumquin is partly in East and partly in West Longfield. It is a poor-looking place, the houses mean and out of repair. It has a weekly market on Thursdays and a daily foot post, but has no trade to enrich it. Quarterly cattle fairs, to which English dealers resort, are the principal means of circulating money in Drumquin.


There are a few good farmhouses and a number of poor cabins in the parish. They are built of stone, are all thatched and usually whitewashed.

Social Economy


The inhabitants are generally poor, but a few possess independence. They are in a lamentable state of ignorance respecting religion. No parish has been more neglected by its ministers. Until lately part of the parish church has been used for a barn, and divine service very irregularly performed. The Presbyterians are little better taught than those of the Established Church. The Protestant places of worship and the Bible are much neglected in East Longfield.

Dress and Food

Their dress is indifferent and their food potatoes, meal, water and milk. No efforts appear to be made to improve them. Few migrate for harvest. The habits of the poor people respecting their houses are similar to all the adjacent parishes: dunghill at the doors, broken windows stuffed with straw, pigs, chickens and cows huddled together, the whole enveloped in smoke, are the chief characteristics of the cabins in East Longfield.


There are 4 schools situated in Drumnaforke, Dressog, Garvaghullion and Glebe, 3 of which are supported by the Kildare Street Association. These educate about 230 children. The sexes as usual sit together and the teachers do not reside on the premises. The terms of education are not known, but the usual rate in the neighbouring parishes is 2s 6d a quarter.


A dispensary common to the 2 parishes of Longfield is situated in the village of Drumquin. It is supported by annual voluntary subscription of about 33 pounds, with a presentment from the grand jury of 30 pounds. The number of patients amount on an average to 540, and the usual diseases are affections of the stomach proceeding chiefly from poverty of food, and rheumatism arising from wet damp cabins and want of proper clothing.

Productive Economy


The land is generally let by the [?] take, in portions varying from 5 to 70 acres, but when let by the acre rates the vary from 5s to 30s, the average being 21s an acre. The principal crops consist of potatoes, ???, barley and flax. A little wheat is sown on the lands. Oats in Claraghmore produce about 80 pounds the English acre, flax from 2 to 4 pounds, potatoes 5 to 7 pounds and butter 2 pounds a firkin. Many iron ploughs are in use in the parish.


???? limestone in the Glebe, Magherny and 2 ???? quarries in Claraghmore, but the principal ???? is obtained from Liggat's quarry in West Longfield, where it can be purchased at 5d a load.

This mixed with farmyard compost forms their chief manure.

Cattle and Horses

Cattle are grazed in the mountain of Corridinna but they are not celebrated for being of superior quality. Farmers named Nidderry have grazing farms and purchase and rear young cattle. If they do not sell them advantageously on the spot, they take them to England. Sometimes their drove amounts to 150 head. Mr Davis of Unchenagh also feeds young stock to some extent, and those who cannot stock their lands feed for others at the rate of 8s 4d a head for the summer. The prices of cattle are much the same here as at Omagh, varying from 3 pounds to 7 pounds. The horses in East Longfield are not better than the neighbouring parishes. There is no good breed around Omagh. All who require superior cattle go to the markets of Moy or Enniskillen. The general prices of horses in the parish run from 4 pounds to 12 pounds.

Sheep and Pigs

Sheep are not grazed in large numbers, but the common country kind can always be purchased at rates varying from 5 to 25s according to the quality. Pigs are plentiful and realize from 10 to 60s apiece.

Fish and Game

The fish are salmon, pike and trout; the game grouse, hares, snipe and partridge.


There are 5 small orchards in East Longfield, 2 at Burn's Folly, 1 at the Glebe and 2 young ones in Legphressy. Common fruit is, however, to be obtained in the Omagh market at a very cheap rate during the season.

Mills and Manufacture

There are no mills in the parish. Linen cloth is the chief manufacture. It is made in the townlands of Coolkeeragh, Drumbarley, Dressog and Drumhonish, Legphressy, Mogherenny, Segully and Unchenagh, but not to any extent. The wages of the journeyman are much the same here as elsewhere, as they are regulated by the Omagh, Newtownstewart and Strabane markets. They earn from 12s to 20s in 10 days and they are generally better paid than those who grow the flax. Farm servants are hired at 3 pounds the half year and diet, day labourers from 8d to 12d and women from 6d to 8d in summer.

Modern Topography


The leading crossroads which traverse this parish are from Omagh and Dromore and Fintona to Drumquin and are in tolerable repair. Some of the country roads are sufficiently bad, but those mentioned above are the only throughfares. Those principally repaired with freestone are usually dry.

Natural Features

Woods and Plantations

There are the remains of a natural wood in Claraghmore, but it contains no timber, and there are 5 acres of good firs in Unchenagh, the property of Sir Robert Ferguson, and some planting at Drumrawn Lodge and Burn's Folly.


Turf and bog wood are the only materials used as fuel in East Longfield. The former is plentiful, especially in Corridinna and the banks of the Fairy water.


Gneiss, talc slate, mountain limestone, clay and micaceous sandstone are found in East Longfield. All abound, except limestone which is rather scarce. A basaltic dyke with crystals of felspar traverses the south end of the parish and runs to the north west through Dooish, and the south east through Drumragh and Donacavey parishes.

Ancient Topography


The ruins of an old church exist in Magherenny a little south of the mearing of the Glebe. Nothing remains but the trace of the walls. It stands in an old enclosure formerly used as a burial ground. There are no other vestiges of antiquity in East Longfield known to me.

[Signed] William Lancey, Lieutenant Royal Engineers, 20th March 1834.

3. Parish of Longfield (Lower), County Tyrone[5]

Natural Features

Situation and Description

Name of the parish is Lower Longfield, names [blank]. The soil is of a mixed nature: limestone, heavy clay and moory. There is a large tract of improvable mountain in this parish. There are 2 small rivers called the Black water and Fairy water. There are a few small lakes of no consequence. There are not many plantations. The parish is 25 miles from the sea coast.


Section 2. There are coal mines, but I never heard of minerals. There are particularly fine limestone quarries, as also freestone and whin quarries.

Modern Topography

General Appearance

Section 3. We have neither modern buildings, towns, nor gentlemen's seats. The scenery is in parts romantic and picturesque, the roads are numerous but indifferent.

Ancient Topography

Kirlish Castle ruins in Drumquin area.

Castle and Church

Section 4. There is a ruin of an old castle called Kirlish. There is a parish church.

Social Economy

Habits of the People

Section 5. The principal food of the inhabitants is meal and potatoes. The better kinds of farmers eat flesh meat occasionally. The fuel is turf and bog fir. The poorer description of people are subject to stomach complaints proceeding from indigestion and bad quality of food, and the elderly people complain much of rheumatism.

Character and Customs of the People

Section 6. The inhabitants are naturally sharp and cunning, but for want of stimulus they become sloathful and listless. They all speak English, but [in] the mountain districts Irish is a good deal spoken. Their manners, from not having had much intercourse with the upper classes, are short and blunt. Those who belong to the Established Church bring their children to be christened in the church. The Presbyterian minister, I believe. generally goes to their houses, as does also the Roman Catholic priest. The custom of wakes is strictly practised in general. Funerals are numerously attended. There is nothing particular in their marriages.


Section 7. There will soon be 7 excellent schoolhouses, and well attended by masters and children. The children are employed a good deal in winding quills for weavers, and in summer in herding, a most idle pernicious habit. These books have been supplied chiefly by the Kildare Place, Hibernian and Sunday School Societies.


Section 8. The religious establishment consists of the Church of England, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic. There is a church and a Catholic chapel in this parish. The meeting house is in the adjoining one. There is a probability that the tithe composition acts will come into operation here.

Productive Economy


Section 9. They have a very [blank] mode of agriculture. They use a great deal of manual labour, often digging the ground for the seed and trenching in the corn. Their usual mode of cropping is first potatoes, then flax, then 2 crops of oats, then “let out to rest”, by which means the land is completely impoverished and casts up weeds. The houses are of a small indifferent description, cows the same. Sheep numerous, but small and bad quality. Pigs are of a middling quality. There is a monthly fair at the village of Drumquin, where there is also a very indifferent weekly market. The average rate of wages in spring and harvest is about Is per day.


Section 10. The only trade here is the linen trade. Section 11: blank

Social Economy


Section 12. It is superfluous attempting to suggest every particular means for improving the condition of the poor. Here the whole system is a bad one and requires a radical reformation. Sir, I request you will have the goodness to submit the above remarks upon the state of this part of the country to the corresponding committee of the North West Society of Ireland. I hope they will be in time to be of any use in throwing even a glimmer of light upon the interesting subject they are engaged in, and wishing them every success in their patriotic labours. I have the honour to be Sir, your Obedient servant, Gilbert King, rector, Lower Longfield. September 3 1823, Longfield Glebe, Omagh.

  1. in library of North of Ireland Family History Society; Belfast, N. Ireland
  2. A draft memoir, written by Francis McHugh; library in Belfast
  3. of or denoting natural mineral springs containing iron salts
  4. 'Statical Report by Lieutenant William Lancy, 20th November 1834; library in Belfast
  5. Replies to Queries of North West Society by Reverend Gilbert King, 3 September 1823; library in Belfast