Monday, 24 May 2021



KILMOOD, or Kilmuid, a parish in the barony of Lower Castlereagh, County Down, contiguous to the post-town of KILLINCHY, and on the road from Belfast to Downpatrick.

The parish, together with an extensive manor having various important privileges, formed part of the possessions of the ancient monastery of COMBER.

It comprises 4,634½ statute acres, of which about 34 are water; 38 consist of plantations in the demesne of FLORIDA; and from 40 to 50 are bog.

The soil is generally fertile, and the land in a high state of cultivation.

In almost every part of the bog are found numbers of oak, birch, and fir trees of full growth, the last of which are especially in a high state of preservation; they are sawn with difficulty, and the timber, said to be more durable than oak, is much used in building.

The oaks are large, some measuring 30 feet in girth, and are found beneath the fir at a depth of 26 feet, but in general much decayed.

The parish is remarkably healthy, and free from poverty.

Florida manor-house, an elegant mansion, is the principal seat.

A court leet and baron is held every third week by the seneschal of the manor, at which debts under 40s are recoverable, and of which the jurisdiction extends over the whole of this parish, and the townland of Drumreagh in the parish of Killinchy.

Petty sessions are also held in the MANOR COURTHOUSE, a handsome building erected in 1822.

During the disturbances of 1798, the manor of Florida raised a battalion of yeomanry; the men still retain their arms and accoutrements, but of late have been seldom called out by the government to exercise.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Down, and in the alternate patronage of the MARQUESS OF DOWNSHIRE and the family of Gordon, in the latter of whom the rectory is impropriate.

A handsome glebe house was built in 1825, partly by £415 [about £40,000 in 2020] and a loan of £129 from the Board of First Fruits; and the family of Gordon, in consideration of getting the alternate presentation, gave 10 acres of land as a glebe, and endowed the vicarage with a rent charge of £40 payable out of their estate of Florida.

The Church, after the dissolution of the monastery of Comber, fell into decay, and the tithes were annexed to those of the parish of Hillsborough, 14 miles distant; but in 1821, the PRESENT CHURCH, an elegant structure in the later English style, with a handsome tower and spire rising to the height of 120 feet, was erected near the site of the ancient ruins, at the joint expense of the lord of the manor and the Marquess of Londonderry, aided by a gift of £900 [about £100,000 in 2020] from the Board of First Fruits.

The interior is fitted up with Riga oak; the east window, of stained-glass, and of large dimensions and very beautiful, appears to have been copied from that of Salisbury Cathedral.

In the church-yard is a mausoleum belonging to the Gordon family.

A handsome school-house was erected by Mr Gordon and the Marquess of Londonderry; the school is supported by the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, who pay the master £25 per annum.

A school at Drumhirk was built, and is supported by Lord Dufferin, and there are also two private schools, in which are about 150 children; and a flourishing Sunday school union, consisting of more than 600 members.

An extensive religious lending library is kept for the use of the poor.

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