Shanroe

Alternate Name(s)

Belmont, Forkhill

Dates

1795-1821

Location

The barracks is located in Shanroe townland, about 1.5 miles / 2.5 kms to the north-west of the village of Forkhill. It is on the southern / left-hand side of Glendesha Road, Forkhill, mid-way between Upper Road and Lough Road.

It is located at the north-western foot of Slievebrack / Croslieve mountains, which rise to the immediate south-eastern rear of the barracks. These two mountains form the southern-most part of the mountainous Ring of Gullion. The barracks therefore faces into the valley within the Ring.

View Location in the Barracks Map Viewer

Description

The site was ‘two roods and twenty perches Irish measure’. It is located to the immediate south-east of the site of the old Church of Ireland Rectory. It is not evident when the rectory itself was built, though it was certainly in existence when the Rev. Thomas Woolsey was rector of Forkhill, 1775-9, and was detailed on the Taylor and Skinner road map survey of 1777. It is also detailed on the first edition OS map in the 1840s. Nothing remains of the rectory today other than a possible gate lodge, which is a ruin.

The close proximity of the barracks to the rectory may have been purposeful, given that the rector from 1779 to 1795, Rev. Edward Hudson, was apparently much disliked and had been shot at in 1789 and his horse killed.

The main barrack building remains fully intact to this day and is currently two private homes. It constitutes one single long rectangular two-storey white-washed building with six windows a piece on both the ground-floor and first-floor levels on the front façade. There are currently two entrance porches – one per private dwelling – located between windows two and three and windows four and five on the ground floor front façade. It has a traditional sloped front-back tiled roof running the length of the building. The porches seem to be later additions to the building.

Windows one to three of the first storey front façade are inset into the wall in the same manner as all of the ground floor windows. However, windows four to six on the first storey are at a higher elevation in the wall and are set into three gable dormers in the sloped roof. This style of gable dormer window was described to the research team as being of Scottish origin. It is not evident if this variance in the heights of the windows was owing to the two halves of the building being constructed at different times, or to the fact that the barracks was built on a slight slope, or because the rooms with the gable dormer windows were purposefully given higher ceilings.

The front façade of the main barrack building faces north west, and was originally enclosed by a rectangular inner boundary wall aligned in the same manner as the barrack building itself. Sections of this inner boundary wall still exist. As the barracks was built on elevated ground above the Glendesha road, the front inner boundary wall appears to have been primarily a retaining wall rather than a defensive or security structure, and was below shoulder height when viewed from the barrack building itself. On the road, it stood at about 12 feet high. The other remaining elements of the inner boundary wall at other parts of the site suggest it was primarily a boundary-defining structure rather than a security or defensive structure.

The inner boundary wall had four two-storey towers, with one a piece located on the north, east, south and west corners of the wall. The north and west towers, located at either end of the front north-west facing wall, had bases approximately 16 feet x 16 feet and were approximately 145 feet apart. Of these two towers, the western one has been restored, while there are some remains of the northern one. There are also some remains of the eastern tower at the upper corner of the rear south-east facing inner boundary wall. There are no remains of the southern facing tower.

The purpose of the towers is unclear. They appear to only have had inward-facing windows overlooking the barrack building and inner areas of the inner boundary walls. The western tower also has fire places and a sloped tiled roof. There is no evidence that they were built as defensive structures. A small gated and walled footpath entrance to the barracks site curves around the south-western axis of the western tower, suggesting the tower may have functioned as a guard house for monitoring that gateway. The same may have been the case with the northern tower, which overlooked the main entrance to the barrack site. This tower was known as the ‘Whipping Tower’ or, according to local tradition, as the ‘Whipping Chamber’. It was apparently purposefully removed, along with ‘its gruesome appliances’, in the early twentieth century.

There was also an outer three-sided boundary wall which lay to the north-eastern and south-western sides and south-eastern rear of the inner boundary wall. There is some stonework in the area that may have been part of this outer boundary wall. According to local information, a lane at the rear of the barracks was known as ‘Whipping Lane’. This may be in reference to the area of ground enclosed between the inner and outer boundary walls, proceeding from the northern ‘Whipping tower’ around the rear of the barracks past the external-facing walls of the eastern and southern towers and continuing on toward the western tower.

All of the previously described structures and buildings are clearly detailed on the first edition OS map, with the site identified as ‘Old Barrack’. The OS map also details an inner yard wall running from the rear centre of the main barrack building to the rear-facing inner boundary wall, thereby creating two yards to the immediate rear of the main barrack building. There is a small inward-facing outhouse-type structure at the point where the internal yard wall joins with the inner boundary wall, within the area of the first, or south-western, yard, which has two further inward-facing outhouse type buildings detailed on the inner boundary wall’s south-eastern and south-western sides. The inner yard wall and its outhouse-type structure are still visible today. The OS map also depicts in the second, or north-eastern, yard, an inward-facing outhouse-type building on the north-eastern inner boundary wall and a porch at the rear of the main barrack building.

The OS map also details an enclosed rectangular area to the immediate south west of the outer boundary wall, with three small structures depicted. This may have been an outer barracks yard or kitchen garden, though nothing remains today.

Click thumbnails below to view images.

History

The barracks was built on the ‘lands of Shanroe within the … manor of Forkhill’. The commissioners for barracks purchased the site from the trustees of Richard Jackson’s Charitable Donations and Susanna Barton by deed of conveyance on 15 April 1795 for £291, 12s. 11d (Murray 1934, 23-5). The Forkhill estate, including the lands of Shanroe, originally belonged to Richard Jackson, who died in 1787. Susanna Barton was his sister. Jackson played a key role in developing the settlements around Forkhill, including the financing of the building of the Forkhill Church of Ireland church in 1767, where he is also buried. Similarly, the rectory and Glebe lands immediately to the north-west of the barracks were also part of the Jackson estate. The site of Forkhill fair is also nearby, the patent for the fair having been granted in 1760.

It appears that the construction of the barracks at Shanroe had already taken place when the April 1795 deed of conveyance was agreed. An initial request for an army barracks to be located in the area had been made to the government in 1790 following various local disturbances. It is therefore possible that the barracks had been build and occupied by the army prior to 1795. The barracks was built in the first instance in order to accommodate regular army troops. However, following the establishment of the Irish yeomanry in September 1796, its purpose changed and thereafter it seems to have functioned primarily as a yeomanry barracks.

The barracks had been decommissioned by 1821, at which time it was described as having become ‘useless and unnecessary’. A deed of conveyance dated 15 October 1821 transferred the ‘Old Barrack’ at Shanroe from the commissioners of barracks to the Rev. James Campbell for the knock-down purchase price of £70. Campbell was the Church of Ireland rector of Forkhill from 1817 till his death in 1858.

Once in Campbell’s possession, from 1821 onwards the old barracks became known as Belmont House. It is this occurrence which seems to be the reason why the site is known locally as Belmont Barracks, though it was never referred to as such while the site was actually used as a barracks. In 1892 the property was sold by Campbell’s nephew, Peter Quinn, to the Roman Catholic church, and the buildings served thereafter as the RC parochial house for the Forkhill parish. In 1984 it was finally sold into private ownership, which remains its status today.

Maps

  • Taylor and Skinner. Maps of the roads of Ireland, surveyed 1777. Dublin, 1778. Available from archive.org.

Sources

  • Leslie, James. Armagh clergy and parishes: being an account of the clergy of the Church of Ireland in the Diocese of Armagh, from the earliest period, with historical notices of the several parishes, churches, &c. Dundalk, 1911.
  • Murphy, Kevin. ‘Belmont Barracks’ in Journal of the Creggan Local History Society. 1989. Available from ‘Journals of the Creggan History Society‘.
  • Murray, L. P. ‘Shanroe Barrack (1795-1821)’ in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, 9 (1937).

Local Consultants

  • Ní Uallacháín, Dr Pádraigín
  • Murphy, Kevin
  • Murphy, Seamus
  • Walsh, Una

Johnston’s Fews

Alternative Name(s)

Johnstons Fews, Fews

Dates

c.1733 – c.1770

Location

The barrack site is located in the townland of Camly on the western side of the Carrickrovaddy Road, between the junctions with Drumalt Road, at the location of Johnston’s Bridge, and Lough Road. Prior to the building of the barracks, the location was identified on two maps from 1711 and 1720 with a cartographic settlement symbol and placename ‘Fews’, which was also applied to the wider mountainous region in South Armagh more generally. By 1727 the location had become known as Johnston’s Bridge. The barracks was strategically located half-way along the eighteenth-century coach road between Armagh and Dundalk. The barracks was located on the western side of the eighteenth-century coach road on both Rocque’s 1760 map of County Armagh and the Taylor and Skinner road map of 1777. It was given the same location in the first edition OS map. Local information suggests however that the barracks may have been located on the eastern side of the road. There are no physical remains to suggest this however, and the confusion may arise from the fact that there appear to have been some additional buildings, possibly private houses, built during the eighteenth century on the eastern side of the road. Certainly on both Rocque’s 1760 map of County Armagh and the first edition OS map there are structures identified on the eastern side in the fair green and elsewhere.

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Description

The barrack site is currently occupied by a farmhouse and associated buildings. A house built on the site in c. 1717 was later incorporated into the barracks when it was established in the early 1730s. That house, which was rebuilt in 1824, remains in existence today as part of the main rectangular farmhouse building on the western side of the Carrickrovaddy Road. The Carrickrovaddy road runs from north-east to south-west, but dog-legs into a short north-south orientated section between the junctions with Lough Road and Drumalt Road, which constitutes the site of the barracks. There is a small bridge over a stream at the top of the Drumalt Road where it meets the Carrickrovaddy Road. This bridge was known in the eighteenth century as Johnston’s Bridge. The main farmhouse building aligns on a north-south axis with the front façade facing in an eastward direction on to the Carrickrovaddy Road at the middle of the dog-leg, with Drumalt road and the bridge to the south-east. At the time the barracks was established, it was strategically located half-way along the eighteenth-century coach road between Armagh and Dundalk.

The original c. 1717 building runs half the length of the current main farmhouse, which constitutes one single rectangular two-storey grey-plastered building with four windows a piece on both the ground-floor and first-floor levels on the front façade. There are two front doors, one entering into the original section of the block between windows one and two on the ground floor, and one into the newer extended section between windows three and four. The whole building has a traditional sloped front-back tiled roof running the length of the building, with the second of three chimney stacks located at the point where the original building connects to the newer extended section. The two windows on the first storey of the original building are at a higher elevation in the wall than the two in the newer section, and are set into two gable dormers in the sloped roof (the first-storey windows in the newer section are not dormer). This style of gable dormer window was described to the research team as being of Scottish origin when viewed on the Shanroe Barracks building in the nearby Forkhill area. In 1749 the barracks was described in the Journals of the Irish House of Commons as being a 12-roomed building that was then occupied by three officers and 39 private soldiers.

John Rocque’s 1760 map of County Armagh locates Johnston’s Fews Barracks at the current site, and depicts two barrack buildings on the western side of the eighteen-century coach road, one of which is ‘L’ shaped while the other is ‘like the letter E with the bottom stroke reversed’ (Paterson 1938, 110). This latter structure appears to have incorporated the original c. 1717 building. The map also depicts two smaller structures on the eastern side of the road, as well as a small square enclosure which it has been suggested was possibly a pound.

In the same year as Roque created his map of County Armagh, the barracks was described in detail in the Journals of the Irish House of Commons, a description which seems to explicate the E shaped structure in particular, as follows:

Crown title. No lease. Situation: It stands near the foot of a rising ground, inclining to the east, in mountainous country very thinly inhabited, on the high road between Dundalk and Armagh, about 12 miles from each, and lies a considerable distance from a church or market town.

In the east wing are contained 3 rooms for officers and a kitchen.

In the west wing are contained 4 rooms for private men.

In the old building or middle space 4 rooms for private men, a parlour on the ground floor, and kitchen and 2 rooms on the upper floor.

The west wing has been lately built under the inspection of the surveyor-general, and seems to be well executed.

The roof, ceiling, walls, and flooring in the rest of the building appear to be in very good condition.

The whole building both front and rear and the large turf-yard are enclosed with a well-built stone wall.

On the outside of the courtyard is about an acre of ground which is intended for the use of the soldiery and may be converted into a garden.

The structures on the site had altered quite significantly by the time they were depicted on first edition OS maps of the 1830s-40s. The site is noted as ‘Old Barrack Yard’ and ‘Ordnance Ground’, and is again depicted on the western side of the road in the middle of the dog-leg, and is defined and enclosed by a large square boundary wall with a second smaller enclosed area in the middle, which may have been the barrack turf-yard. There is no E shaped structure, though the c. 1717 building is shown on a north-south axis facing immediately on to the road, in the south-east corner of the outer square enclosure. To the west of the c. 1717 building on the southern boundary of the site, where the road turns once more in a south-western direction, is a smaller rectangular building aligned on an east-west axis. Nothing remains today of this structure. To the north of the c. 1717 building there are three further smaller rectangular structures in the north-eastern corner of the outer square enclosure, in the area described as the ‘Ordnance Ground’.

Another rectangular structure is depicted on the OS map to the south on the other side of the road from the southern end of the c. 1717 building, on the western side of Johnston’s Bridge. An old semi-derelict building remains at that location today, and may have been part of the original barracks. The OS map also depicts a large area on the eastern side of the main road opposite to, and extending northwards from, the barracks. This area is described as the ‘Fair Green’. There are several smaller structures dotted around this area also.

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History

The barracks at Johnston’s Fews appears to have been established in order to replace an earlier redoubt at Blackbank. As was the case with Blackbank, it was hoped that the barracks would assist in encouraging a successful settlement being established there, and licence to hold fairs had been granted in 1731 to assist in that enterprise. The barracks’ primary purpose however was to protect the eighteenth-century coach road between Armagh and Dundalk. The first reference to the barracks is from 1733, when a detachment of infantry from Major-General Bissett’s regiment, which was head-quartered in Armagh city at the time, was noted as being at the ‘Fuzes’ under the command of a Captain Cockran (Quarters of the army 1733, 9). The following year that location was recorded as ‘Johnston’s fuze, near Ardmagh’, when it was manned by a detachment under a Major Wright from Colonel Charles Otway’s infantry regiment (Quarters of the army 1734, 11). In 1754 the 25th regiment of foot, under Major General W. E. Home, was providing the detachment (List 1754, 8).

The first barrack-master, a civilian appointee who was responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and general management and care of the barracks, was John Johnston, who is of greatest renown, or infamy, as a ‘Tory-Hunter’ in the area. It was also to him that the licence to hold fairs was granted in 1731. The Johnston family were already well-established in Camly before the barracks became operational in the 1730s. This was probably an important factor in the decision to locate the barracks there, along with Camly’s position being half-way on the road between Armagh and Dundalk. Tomas O Fiaich claimed that this road was the ‘most dangerous road in contemporary Ireland’ (O Ciardha 2001, 404). The barracks was located on land that had earlier been leased to John Johnston (snr) in December 1714. The c. 1717 house belonged to Johnston senior, who died in 1719. His son, John, was living there still in 1727, though later ‘acquired land in the adjoining townland of Dorsey Cavan O’Hanlon, where he built a house called Roxborough’ (Paterson 1938, 110-11). Although the date of this transfer of residence is unknown, it presumably occurred before 1733, given that by then the original c. 1717 house had been subsumed into the barracks complex. When he died in c. 1759, his son, Graham Johnston, became barrack master ‘to guard the Fews’, a position he still held in 1779. However, sometime after 1770 the barracks at Johnston’s Fews fell into disuse when a town and new barracks for two companies were built at nearby Newtownhamilton. In 1837, the remains of the barracks at Johnston’s Fews were still visible.

Maps

  • ‘Ardmagh County’ map in A geographical description of Ireland (London, 1720). Available from Marsh’s Library.
  • Price, Charles. A correct map of Ireland divided into its provinces, counties & baronies, shewing the roads and the distances of places in computed miles by inspection where barraques are erected &c. London, 1711. Available from UCD Library Special Collections, W1.U.2/1-2.
  • Rocque, John. A topographical map of the County of Armagh to which is anex’d the plans of Newry and Armagh. 1760.

Sources

  • A list of the general and field Officers, as they rank in the army (London, 1754).
  • [Irish] Revenue commrs’ mins, 23 Aug. 1723 (TNA CUST 1/17, p. 68)
  • Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland. 1837. Available from Ask about Ireland or Library Ireland.
  • Murray, L. P. et al (eds), ‘The history of the parish of Creggan in the 17th and 18th centuries’ in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (1934)
  • O Ciardha, Eamonn, ‘Toryism and rappareeism in County Armagh in the late seventeenth century’ in A. J. Hughes et al. (eds) Armagh, history and society (2001).
  • Paterson, T. G. F., ‘The Black Bank and Fews Barracks’ in Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 3rd series, 1 (1938)
  • Quarters of the Army in Ireland for Anno 1733. [Dublin, 1733].
  • Quarters of the Army in Ireland for Anno 1734. Dublin, 1734.
  • Taylor and Skinner. Maps of the roads of Ireland, surveyed 1777. Dublin, 1778. Available from archive.org.

Local Consultants

  • Murphy, Kevin
  • Walsh, Una

Hamiltonsbawn

Alternative Name(s)

Hamilton’s Bawn

Dates

1731-c.1830

Location

The barrack was sited on a low hill just south of, and rising up from, Hamiltonsbawn village. The section of Mullaghbrack road at which the site was located was known locally until the 1970s as ‘Barrack Hill’, which was the official postal address for the homes on that section of road. The barracks has always been referred to as Hamiltonsbawn barracks.

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Description

The site is now a farm field, with farm buildings in the north-west corner, on the eastern side of the Mullaghbrack road (B111) heading south from Hamiltonsbawn towards Markethill. There is also a low lying ditch or old man-made earth wall immediately opposite the main barrack site on the western side of the Mullaghbrack road. This is of unknown date, but corresponds with a more substantial structure with out-buildings shown on the first edition OS map, and may have been part of the barrack complex. The OS map shows the main barrack site on the eastern side of the road also, which is identified as ‘Hamilton’s ruins’. The site has four square buildings depicted in a square formation with a building in each corner on a north-east, north-west, south east, south-west orientation, and a fifth rectangular building to the immediate south west of the south-west corner of the square formation. This organisational structure is in keeping with the suggested layout of the barracks currently evident from the lie of the land, as follows:

Some foundations were still visible 35 years ago on the barrack site (local sources). Some stones are still visible at the site, which may be from the original barrack buildings, while the actual location of the barrack buildings still seems to have left some imprint on the land, with an evident square shape of slightly raised earth suggesting the boundaries of the barrack, or some part of it.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

 

History

The barracks was built in 1731 on the site of a 60-square foot defensive Bawn with 12-foot high walls constructed out of lime and stone with two flankers, which had been built as part of the plantation undertaking by the Scottish settler John Hamilton in 1619. A local tourist notice board records that by 1622 the Bawn was 90 feet long and 63 feet broad. Hamilton was responsible for somewhere between 20 and 26 families in the area, and was able to arm 30 men as required by his undertaking as part of the Ulster plantation under James I. Prior to that time the area was known as Monela or Moynellan, or the plain of the glenside. The Bawn was almost completely destroyed during the 1641 rising in Ulster, but following the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, Sir Hans Hamilton, son of John, built a three, or possibly five, chimney mansion or manor house on the ruins of the Bawn. Because of the tall chimneys, the house was known locally as ‘the Castle’, which led to some confusion in some nineteenth-century publications which recorded in error the existence of an actual castle at the site.

Owing to substantial family debts, the land on which the Bawn and house stood was sold by Sir Hans Hamilton II, grandson of the first Sir Hans, in the early eighteenth century (possibly 1704) and by the 1720s it had come into the possession of Sir Arthur Acheson of Markethill. The Achesons were the future Lords Gosford of Gosford Castle at Markethill.

Jonathan Swift visited the home of Sir Arthur Acheson of Markethill for lengthy periods in 1728 and 1729, on the latter occasion composing the poem ‘The Grand Question debated: whether Hamilton’s Bawn should be turned into a Barrack or a Malt-House?’ (Simms 1971, 139) The decision to lease the land to the government for a barracks won out in the end. The land was initially leased by the government from Acheson for £60 a year for 30 years, though Acheson was required to undertake transforming the old mansion / manor house into a barracks and stables first. The resulting barracks could accommodate two troops of horse or dragoons. In 1733 it was garrisoned by a substantial detachment of Colonel Clement Nevil’s dragoons under the direct command of the regiment’s Lieutenant Colonel, and in the following year by Colonel Henry Hawley’s dragoons under Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr.

It has been suggested that the barracks was de-commissioned in 1787 (McGleenon 1993, 54), in which year the government were still paying rent for the site, but it appears that the barracks may have remained in use after that date. The 1837 Topographical Dictionary states that the barracks was garrisoned ‘until recently’, without giving a date. The Parliamentary Gazeteer from the early 1840s though states that the barracks was still being used as a ‘regularly garrisoned barrack’ sixty or sixty five years earlier, which seems to imply, though without any certainty, that it was not in use in the intervening period. Other sources state that it was used in 1798 to house 125 French soldiers who had been forced-marched from Kinsale. It is also suggested that the government only finally stopped using it as a barracks around 1830.

In the 1830s permission was sought from Lord Gosford by a Mr James McRoberts, grocer, to allow the local inhabitants to dismantle the barracks in order to use the stone for local improvements. This resulted in the stone Hamilton armorial shield which had been part of the Restoration manor house ending up in the side wall of Gildea’s Pub in Hamiltonsbawn at the corner of Main Street and Mullaghbrack road.

The army made regular complaints about lack of forage, according to local sources, who state that the barracks housed 200 Dragoons. The tourist notice at the site states that the barracks was ‘garrisoned by troops of dragoons armed with 200 muskets until the 1830s’.

A surviving parish register for the years 1767 to 1782 records 22 army marriages in the local Church of Ireland church in Mullabrack parish, which suggests the possibility of close fraternisation between the soldiers in the barracks and the local community, and a significant degree of integration of the army in local society.

Sources

  • Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland 1837. Available from Ask about Ireland or Library Ireland.
  • McGleenon, C. F. ‘Patterns of settlement in the Catholic parishes of Ballymore and Mullaghbrack in the 17th and 18th Centuries’ in Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society, 15, no. 2 (1993).
  • McHugh, Mary. Mullabrack: A parish of great antiquity. 2012.
  • Parliamentary Gazetteer.
  • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1733 [Dublin, 1733].
  • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1734 Dublin, 1734.
  • Simms, J. G., ‘Dean Swift and County Armagh’ in Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society, 6, no. 1 (1971).

Local Consultants

  • McGleenon, Neil. Secretary of Markethill Historical Society.
  • McHugh, Mary
  • McHugh, Sam

Fourmile House

Alternate Name(s)

Jonesborough, Jonesboro, Four Mile House, Fourmilehouse, Newry Mountains

Dates

1701-c.1759

Location

The location of the site of Fourmile House barracks is in the centre of the modern village of Jonesborough. The barrack site is located close to Fourmile Water, and north of Threemile Water, both of which were crossing points of rivers on the road from Dundalk to Newry.

The barracks is depicted at this location on a number of eighteenth-century maps from 1711 onwards. The first edition OS map from the 1830s-40s shows a site identified as ‘Old Barrack’ in Jonesborough village. This site corresponds with the current location of a Roman Catholic parochial house which was constructed in 1896. A Roman Catholic church is currently located immediately to the north of the parochial house. The site of the current RC church corresponds with that of the ‘R.C. Chapel’ evident in the first edition OS map. According to local sources, the Roman Catholic church was burned in 1798 by the yeomanry under ‘Sever of the Bog’.

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Description

The entrance to the barracks site is located at the junction of Molly Road and the B113, and faces west-north-west. The B113 follows the same route as the main road from Dundalk to Newry in the eighteenth century. An approach avenue of approximately 70 metres in length provides access to the site today. This access route corresponds with that evident on the OS maps.

The barrack site is depicted in some detail in Rocque’s 1760 map of County Armagh, which shows the approach avenue leading into a rectangular enclosure on a west-north-west to east-south-east axis, with a reversed ‘L’ shaped structure along the internal sides of the north-north-east facing and east-south-east facing boundary walls. Greater detail is provided on the first edition OS map, which indicates a slightly obtuse rectangular enclosure aligned from the barrack approach avenue on the same west-north-west to east-south-east axis. According to the OS map, the boundary wall of this rectangular enclosure had a small structure at each exterior corner, located on the north-north-west corner, the north-east corner, the south-south-east corner and the west-south-west corner respectively. These may possibly have been small towers built for defensive purposes, though a later eighteenth-century barracks nearby at Shanroe had similar structures that appear to have served other purposes. A traditional rectangular main barrack building is detailed on the OS map on a south-south-west to north-north-east alignment, close to the east-south-east facing rear boundary wall. Two other slightly smaller rectangular structures are depicted also, one on the interior of the north-north-east facing boundary wall, and the other on the interior of the south-south-west facing boundary wall. Remains of the rear east-south-east facing boundary wall are evident on the site today and form part of the current boundary walls of the parochial house. The interior of this existing boundary wall show signs of pre-existing internal structures within its makeup.

The site has a commanding view in a westwards direction towards Drumintee, Slieve Gullion, Croslieve and Forkhill, and southwards towards Slievenabolea, Moiry Castle and Feede mountain. On the rising ground to the east of the site are the remains of a pre-medieval structure, which corresponds with the location of a ‘Fort’ evident on the first edition OS map. The rising ground to the east and south-east of the site now incorporates part of Drumad wood. The water works on this rising ground behind the site is a modern structure with no connection to the barracks site.

Click thumbnails below to view images.

 

History

Two temporary redoubts were constructed in 1689 by the Jacobite army in the area of Fourmile house, though there is no evidence of their actual location. The construction of a more permanent barracks at Fourmile House commenced in 1701. This barracks was a redoubt, which was a defensible structure built for internal security purposes, and was one of a number of such barracks funded in 1701 in order ‘to prevent robbers’ and secure safe passage through certain areas. The purpose of the Fourmile House redoubt was to ensure safe passage on the road from Dundalk to Newry. It was close to Moiry Castle, which had been erected at the beginning of the seventeenth century in order to defend the pass there.

The barracks was originally referred to as Fourmile House, which denoted the distance travelled, in Irish miles, on the road from Dundalk to Newry. The presence of the barracks seems to have resulted in the village of Jonesborough being established around it, sometime after 1710, in which year application was made to hold a fair in the area, an event which often resulted in a village or town growing up around that location thereafter. On a 1711 map, the barracks is noted as ‘4 Milehouse at Jones Borough’, which suggests the village was already in existence. By 1733, the name of the barracks had changed, in which year its location was recorded as ‘Joans-Borrogh and fuzes’ when a detachment of Bissett’s infantry were stationed there under a Captain Roper (Quarters of the army 1733, 9). A year later, the barracks was described as ‘Newry Mountains, near Newry’ and was under the command of a Captain Stanhope from Otway’s regiment at that time (Quarters of the army 1734, 11). Documentary sources indicated that the redoubt could accommodate one or less company of infantry. The redoubt was certainly still in use by 1759, but it is not clear how soon after it was deemed no longer necessary.

In 1706 a detachment of soldiers from the Fourmile House redoubt were meant to assist in the arrest by Walter Dawson of Doctor Patrick Donnelly, the RC archbishop of Dromore, at the foot of Slieve Gullion Mountain. The soldiers did not attend to that service, however, much to Dawson’s displeasure: ‘I had the faithful promise of Captain Briser who commands the redoubt near Newry to supply me with a serjeant and twelve men, upon which I went off and ceased [sic] the Doctor, and immediately after I despatched an express to be a guide to the said soldiers to me, and stayed in the mountains at least five howres for them, but the Captain was soe unkind as not to send one man’ (Murray 1937, 20).

In 1813 the new Protestant curate at Jonesborough, Richard Kidd, recorded that he was at that time living in the barracks: ‘The barracks where I at present reside by permission of his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant’. He also noted that ‘There is an old Romish chapel unroofed belonging to the parish. . . but the priest assembles his flock in the open air, under the ruins of an old building nearly opposite the barrack gate.’ In 1815 the Church of Ireland Glebe House was built further down the road, which presumably resulted in Kidd moving out of the barracks. According to local information there is a site known as the ‘Priest’s Field’ nearly opposite the barracks, which may be the same location as that described by Kidd for the RC open air mass.

By 1837 the barracks was described as having been converted into a private residence. Whatever original buildings were still remaining during the nineteenth century appear to have been finally demolished by the time the new Roman Catholic Parochial House was built on the site in 1896. It is not evident at what point in time during the nineteenth century the land and buildings were transferred into the ownership of the Roman Catholic church.

Maps

  • ‘Ardmagh County’ map in A geographical description of Ireland (London, 1720). Available from Marsh’s Library.
  • Moll, Herman. A new map of Ireland divided into its provinces, counties and baronies, wherein are distinguished the bishopricks, borroughs [sic], barracks, bogs, passes, bridges, & c. 1714. TNA, WO 78/419/19.
  • Price, Charles. A correct map of Ireland divided into its provinces, counties & baronies, shewing the roads and the distances of places in computed miles by inspection where barraques are erected &c London, 1711. Available from UCD Library Special Collections, W1.U.2/1-2.
  • Rocque, John. A map of the kingdom of Ireland, divided into province counties and baronies, shewing the archbishopricks, bishopricks, cities, boroughs, market towns, villages, barracks, mountains, lakes, bogs, rivers, bridges, ferries, passes; also the great, the branch, & the by post roads, together with the inland navigation &c. London, no date. Available from UCD Library Special Collections, W1.U.4/1-4.
  • Rocque, John. A topographical map of the county of Armagh to which is anex’d the plans of Newry and Armagh.. 1760.

Sources

  • CSPD 1700-2.
  • CTB 1700-1.
  • Davies, O., ‘Moiry Castle’ [source?].
  • Leslie, James, Armagh clergy and parishes. Available from ebooksread.com.
  • Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland (1837). Available from Ask about Ireland or Library Ireland.
  • Murray, L. P. ‘Shanroe Barrack (1795-1821)’ in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, 9 (1937).
  • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1733 [Dublin, 1733].
  • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1734 Dublin, 1734.

Local Consultants

Charlemont

Location

View Location in Barracks Map Viewer

Description

Remains of the fort are still clearly visible in satellite imagery (see Map Viewer).

History

In 1602, Charles Blount, Lord Deputy Mountjoy, oversaw the building of a bridge and fort to protect a strategic crossing on the River Blackwater at Charlemont. In 1620, Toby Caulfeild, governor of Charlemont, was responsible for initiating work on a new fort at this location. Further additions and improvements were made to the fort in the 1660s and 1760s.

In the early eighteenth century, the barracks could house three companies of infantry, which in 1733 came from Bissett’s regiment and in 1734 from Otway’s. In 1754 the troops came from Home’s infantry regiment. By the early nineteenth century, when Charlemont had become the ordnance depot for the northern part of Ireland, the barracks had been re-designated as an artillery barracks, accommodating two companies.

The last garrison was withdrawn from the fort in February 1858.

Sources

  • A list of the general and field officers, as they rank in the army. (London, 1754).
  • ‘Charlemont Fort’. Available from Irish Antiquities.
  • Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland 1837. Available from Ask about Ireland or Library Ireland.
  • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1733 [Dublin, 1733].
  • O’Neill, James and Logue, Paul. ‘Charlemont Fort… a brief guide’ in History Armagh Magazine. Available from Armagh & District History Group.
  • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1734. Dublin, 1734.

Blackbank

Alternate Name(s)

Black Bank, Blackbanck

Dates

1700 – c. 1733

Location

The location of the site of Blackbank redoubt is in the mountainous and isolated Fews area of South Armagh, in the townland of Cladybeg. The site is on the western slope of Deadman’s Hill / Blackbank Hill, and on the eastern side of, and facing immediately on to, Ninemile Road, 3.5 kms north of Newtownhamilton and 0.5 km south of Blackbank bridge (on the B31). With Ninemile Road defining the western boundary of the site, a small stream delineates the eastern and southern boundaries. The stream passes under a small bridge to the immediate south of the site on Ninemile Road. There is no clear delineation of the northern boundary.

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Description

The barrack site is now a farm field on the eastern side of, and facing immediately on to, Ninemile Road. There is no above-ground evidence remaining of the original barrack buildings. There is nothing detailed on the first edition OS map either. At the time of the building of the barracks in 1700, the land leased to the government for that purpose measured ‘26 feet square with the yard in front 100 feet by 66 feet’ (Paterson 1938, 108).

Four rectangular barrack buildings or structures are depicted at the site on John Rocque’s 1760 map of County Armagh. The first rectangular structure is aligned on an east-west axis to the immediate east of Ninemile Road and on the southern boundary of the barrack area. A second similar-sized rectangular structure is to the immediate east of the first structure, on the same alignment on the southern boundary. A third similar sized rectangular structure is depicted to the immediate north-east of the first two structures, and forms the eastern boundary of the barracks and aligns on a north-south axis. The fourth and final structure is to the north-west of the third structure and immediately opposite the second structure and is aligned on an east-west axis and forms the northern boundary of the barracks area.

The lay-out suggests that a central yard or barrack square lay in the middle of the second, third and fourth structures. It has been suggested that the buildings depicted by Roque were ruins at that time, though Roque’s map does not intimate that in any way (Paterson 1938, 109). However, Taylor and Skinner’s 1777 road map does depict the buildings as ruins. Certainly by 1817 nothing remained other than one gable, and even that seems to have completely disappeared by the 1830s when the OS maps were first being plotted, as no remains appear on the first edition OS maps. However, a contemporaneous source, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837), stated that the ruins of the barracks at Blackbank were still visible. The stone from the barracks may have been used to build other structures in the area. There is a decaying 18th-19th century stone house, with out-building and walls, about 20-30 metres to the north of the site on the same side of the road, which may account for the current location of a significant amount of the original barrack stone work.

Click thumbnails below to view images.

 

History

Blackbank barracks was a redoubt, which was a defensible structure built for internal security purposes. The Blackbank redoubt was built in order to protect the road from Dundalk to Armagh, and from Newry to Castleblaney and Monaghan, from outlaw activity. The land for the site of the redoubt was leased to the government by William, Lord Charlemont, on 17 November 1700. In an attempt to encourage settlement in the area, a licence to hold fairs was also granted, though neither the presence of the barracks or the fairs had the desired result.

The redoubt could accommodate a half-company to a company of infantry, though on occasion the number could be much lower, as was the case in 1716 when only one sergeant and six men were stationed there. Indeed, at times there was clearly no one based there, as in 1708 when Thomas Molyneux of Castledillon, County Armagh, noted the existence of an infantry barracks at the Blackbank location in his Journey to the North, but also recorded that there were no soldiers stationed there. In 1703, Thomas Bolton was recorded as the redoubt’s barrack-master, a civilian appointee who was responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and general management and care of the barracks, while in 1716 George Baker held that post, having succeeded William Baker, who had held it in the interim period. The redoubt was identified on a 1711 map by Charles Price and a 1714 map by Herman Moll, and was still in use through the 1720s. The redoubt was also identified on a 1731-2 map, when a company of infantry was apparently stationed there, but by 1733-4 it seems to have been superseded by a new barracks known as Johnston’s Fews. However, Blackbank redoubt was also identified on an undated Rocque map and on Roque’s 1760 map of County Armagh as being a barracks, though another barracks is also identified on both of those maps as ‘Johnsons Barracks’ at the location for the Johnston’s Fews barracks. This may be an error on Rocque’s part on both maps, though it is possible that both barracks co-existed for a time. However, there is no other evidence of Blackbank being used after 1731-2.

Maps

  • Moll, Herman. A new map of Ireland divided into its provinces, counties and baronies, wherein are distinguished the bishopricks, borroughs [sic], barracks, bogs, passes, bridges, & c. 1714. Available from TNA, WO 78/419/19.
  • Price, Charles. A correct map of Ireland divided into its provinces, counties & baronies, shewing the roads and the distances of places in computed miles by inspection where barraques are erected &c. London, 1711. Available from UCD Library Special Collections, W1.U.2/1-2.
  • Rocque, John. A map of the kingdom of Ireland, divided into province counties and baronies, shewing the archbishopricks, bishopricks, cities, boroughs, market towns, villages, barracks, mountains, lakes, bogs, rivers, bridges, ferries, passes; also the great, the branch, & the by post roads, together with the inland navigation &c London, no date. Available from UCD Library Special Collections, W1.U.4/1-4.
  • Rocque, John. A topographical map of the county of Armagh to which is anex’d the plans of Newry and Armagh. 1760.
  • Taylor and Skinner. Maps of the roads of Ireland, surveyed 1777 (Dublin, 1778). Available from archive.org.

Sources

      • Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland (1837). Available from Ask about Ireland or Library Ireland.
      • Paterson, T. G. F., ‘The Black Bank and Fews Barracks’ in Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 3rd series, 1 (1938).
      • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1733. [Dublin, 1733].
      • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1734 Dublin, 1734.

Local Consultants

    • Murphy, Kevin
    • Walsh, Una

Armagh City 2

Alternate Name(s)

Gough Barracks

Dates

1773-present

Location

The eighteenth century barracks was located on the same site as the current Gough Barracks on Barrack Hill.

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Description

A section of the original wall is incorporated into the current barrack walls.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

History

The barracks was built in 1773 in order to replace the earlier barracks at the site of the Armagh County Gaol. The new site was on Wellington place, which was re-named Barrack Hill. It remains an army barracks to this day, and is named after Field Marshal Hugh, 1st Viscount Gough, who fought in the peninsular war. The remains of part of the original eighteenth-century wall can still be seen, built of ‘pink rubble conglomerate with limestone dressings’, which distinguishes it from the later nineteenth-century work which was ‘exclusively limestone’ (McKinstry et al 1992, 48, 51) .

According to the 1992 book, The Buildings of Armagh, ‘The main accommodation block was an impressive fifteen-bay, three-storey block facing west over the city. The central bay was advanced and pedimented. It may well have been the work of the architect George Ensor.’ These buildings were apparently demolished about forty years ago, though ‘The two-storey block behind remains but its pitched roof was replaced by a concrete flat roof during conversion for Civil Defence use about 1960. The officers’ stables adjacent to the old gate is more or less intact’ (McKinstry et al 1992, 51).

An 1836 drawing, with a proposed new cook house, shows the layout of the 1773 barracks and the central bay. Greater detail of that original barracks can be seen in an 1861 plan, which shows how the barracks had since been enlarged in order to accommodate 600-800 men and a hospital. Prior to that expansion, all three iterations of the eighteenth-century barracks had been sufficient to house one company of infantry – c. 80-100 men. In 1726, for example, the resident soldiers came from the earl of Orkney’s regiment.

Sources

  • Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland (1837). Available from Ask about Ireland or Library Ireland.
  • McKinstry, Robert, Oram, Richard, Weatherup, Roger, and Wilson, Primrose (eds), The buildings of Armagh (Belfast, 1992)

Armagh City 1

Alternate Name(s)

Armagh Gaol

Dates

1703-1773

Location

Located at site of current Armagh County Gaol.

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Description

Nothing remains of this barracks as it was replaced by the Armagh County Gaol in the late eighteenth century. The Gaol complex still exists today.

Click thumbnails below to view images.

History

The site of the first barracks in Armagh city in 1703 is unknown. Its existence is beyond doubt however, as it is identified on the 1714 Moll map and in the 1720 Geographical Description.

A new barracks was built in 1736-7 ‘at the south end of the Common’ or ‘head of the Mall’ on what became known thereafter as Barrack Street. It was demolished in 1780 and replaced with the County Gaol. The barracks itself had closed several years before in 1773 and had been transferred to a new site on Wellington Place (Armagh City 2), which was re-named Barrack Hill.

Maps

  • Moll, Herman. A new map of Ireland divided into its provinces, counties and baronies, wherein are distinguished the bishopricks, borroughs [sic], barracks, bogs, passes, bridges, & c. 1714. Available from TNA, WO 78/419/19.
  • ‘Ardmagh County’ map in A geographical description of Ireland (London, 1720). Available from Marsh’s Library.

Sources

  • McKinstry, Robert, Oram, Richard, Weatherup, Roger, and Wilson, Primrose (eds), The buildings of Armagh (Belfast, 1992)
  • Simms, Anngret, Clarke, Howard, and Gillespie, Raymond, Irish historic towns atlas: Armagh (Dublin, 2007).