Big thank you from

How Lisburn was viewed nearly 170 years ago

Seven miles, Irish of course, from Belfast

I HAVE been reading the memoirs compiled in 1833 by Lieutenant Bordes who carried out the first ordnance survey of the various- parishes of County Down, and some of the observations are striking.

Lisburn for example was on the mail coach road from Belfast to Dublin about seven miles from Belfast (seven Irish miles presumably).

Twelve public coaches passed through the town daily besides cars and other conveyances (horse drawn of course).

In 1763 the first vessel passed up the river or canal from Belfast to Lisburn. The cathedral of Downpatrick being ruinous and waste, the parish church of Lisburn was made a cathedral for the sees of Down and Connor. The largest hill on the County Antrim side of Lisburn was Knockmore, which word in the original Irish means 'large hill'.

The Lagan canal fell into the Lagan river by three lough's called the Union Lough's near Hertford bridge about a mile south west of Lisburn, from which its head level continued about five miles to Hammond's bridge. Its locks, bridges and aqueducts were 21 feet in dimension with 8 feet water. Its engineer was Richard Owen, an Englishman, and the canal was made at the expense of the Earl of Donegal.


Dues of £2.10s were charged for a lighter (barge) of any dimension from Belfast to Lough Neagh, a distance of approximately 20 miles.

Pages of the memoirs are devoted to a rehearsal of court leet presentments.

The bulk of these relate to road making and repair, but responsibilities such as repair and winding up of town clocks, taking care of the courthouse, keeping the market house open for labourers, taking care of fire engines, etc., etc. also feature. Individuals appointed and their remuneration are all listed.

I could fill quite a few pages with these if the editor would let me.

He wouldn't, so I must confine myself to a few gems. 'Charlie Welden for keeping the pumps in repair 15 shillings to be levied off the town of Lisburn.

To welcome Jefferson and William Brawn to repair a part of the lane from Browns' on the Castlerobin Road to McCorry's on the Ballymacash Road, £3 to be levied off Lower Old Park. George Higginson and Henry Peel to repair the road leading from Templecormack to the Lough Road, £2 to be levied off Upper Ballinderry," etc., etc.

Ulster Star