Lewis Topographical Dictionary, 1837 – Newmarket

Abstract from Samuel Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, published in 1837

“NEWMARKET, a market-town, in the parish of CLONFERT, barony of DUHALLOW, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 4 miles (N. w.) from Kanturk, on the road from Cork, by the Bogra mountains, to Abbeyfeale and Listowel; containing 1437 inhabitants. This place was formerly called Ahatrasne, or ” the place of the ford,” from its situation near an ancient ford now superseded by a neat bridge at the entrance of the town. Its present name is obviously derived from the establishment of a market at this place, which was granted to the family of Aldworth by Jas. I., on the forfeiture of the estate by the Macauliffes, and confirmed in the reign of Chas. II. At Scarteen, a village, a little to the north of the town, about 1000 of the peasantry assembled in 1822, anticipating the evacuation of the town by the military, but were repulsed by Capt. Kippock and Lieut. Green, who, leaving 10 men to defend the barracks, marched “with 30 to attack the assailants, whom they dispersed with the loss of about 20 that were killed in the conflict. The gentry of the surrounding district, upon this occasion, presented to each of those officers a handsome piece of plate, as a testimony to their intrepidity and an acknowledgment of their services.

The town is situated on a small stream which falls into the river Dallua a little below, and on the north side of a gentle eminence ; it consists principally of two streets intersecting each other at right angles, and contains about 246 houses, of which several are neatly built; the inhabitants are well supplied with water, the
air is salubrious, and the neighbourhood abounds with interesting scenery. Adjoining it is Newmarket House, the stately mansion of R. R. Aldworth, Esq., lord of the manor, handsomely built of hewn limestone, and situated in a demesne richly embellished with timber of luxuriant growth; an avenue of ash trees is said to have been planted in the reign of Elizabeth, and there are some noble specimens of elm, beech, and sycamore.

Near the town are also Mount Keeffe, the residence of M. O’Keeffe, Esq. > Liscongill, of W. Allen, Esq.; and the Priory, formerly the residence of John Philpot Curran, Esq., now in the occupation of E. Stannard, Esq. The market is on Thursday, and is chiefly for the sale of potatoes and turf; it is thought that if the day were changed to Friday, which would afford the Cork butchers an opportunity of attending both this market and that of Kanturk, it would conduce greatly to its improvement. Fairs are held on June 8th, Sept. Sth, Oct. 10, and Nov. 21st; the last is the principal for cattle, sheep, and pigs.

A daily post between this place and Kanturk is supported by private subscription; a constabulary police force is stationed in the town; petty sessions are held on alternate Thursdays ; and a court for the recovery of debts not exceeding 40s. is held here, every third Friday, for the manor of Newmarket, which extends over 32,000 statute acres in the parish of Clonfert. The parish church, a handsome structure of hewn limestone, with a lofty tower and spire, is situated in the town; in which also is the R. C. chapel, a spacious edifice, erected on a site given by the late Richard Aldworth, Esq., who contributed £75 towards its erection, to which also the Earl of Cork, Lord Lisle, and John Duggan, Esq., liberally subscribed ; the altar, which is a copy of that of the ancient abbey of Quin, is much admired. A school in the town for boys is supported by Mr. Aldworth and the vicar; a school for girls is supported by Mrs. Aidworth, and an infants’ school by the vicar and his lady; a school in connection with the R. C. chapel is supported by collections at the chapel, and there is also a Sunday school. Richard Aldworth, Esq., bequeathed £50; Michael Creagh, Esq., £100; W. Philpot, Esq., £40; the late Richard Aldworth, grandson of the former, £100 ; and St. Leger Aldworth, Esq., £100, for the poor of Newmarket, the interest of which sums is annually divided among them. St. Leger Aldworth, Esq., also bequeathed £1000, contingent on the death of three annuitants, to be appropriated, by the representative of the Aldworth family, to the establishment of some manufacture in the town. There are a fever hospital, containing four wards and 20 beds, and a dispensary. The celebrated John Philpot Curran was a native of this town; during his residence at the Priory, it was the favourite resort of many distinguished literary and political characters, who used to meet there under the auspices of Lord Avonmore, also a native of this place; they held their meetings annually in the grouseshooting season, and from their conviviality at the Priory obtained the appellation of ” Monks of the Screw.” Major Swan, who assisted in arresting Lord Edward Fitzgerald, in 1798, was also a native of this town.”

To see what the town looked like at this time check out the OSI map below. This map was made between 1837 and 1842: