Monday, 22 August 2011

Some history of Moate

The following notes about the history of Moate, the closest town to Lurgan are from a local history book called The Years Between. Moate, Co. Westmeath 1956-2006 by Vera Hughes.

These notes may help to create some context to the lives of the Stone(s) family at Lurgan.

From Chapter one - Beginnings

"Moate is a pretty, little, clean-built town, of a different air from the generality of Irish villages in this part of Ireland. This may be due to the gravelly soil (the Eiscir Riada) on which it stands"

Dr Thomas Molyneux, 1709

Moate started as a collection of primitive settlements surrounded by swampy marshes, woods and bogs.

In Medieval times an area of thatched cottages developed which were clustered around O'Melaghlin's Castle on the south side of what came to be the town.

In the 12th and 13th centuries Moate was a Norman town, it's name deriving from the Norman French "motte", a moat. An artificial hill was created by the Normans with a "fosse" or defensive ditch and a raised bailey.

In 1641 Oliver Cromwell spent one night in Moate and granted the O'Melaghlin Castle and some lands to one of his soldiers, Peter Humphreys. The Deed of Sale is still at the castle.

Humphreys sold the castle to another Cromwellian soldier, Captain John Clibborn. The Clibborn dynasty shaped the industrial life of the town for the next 200 years.

John Clibborn became a Quaker in 1660 and erected a Meeting House near the castle in 1694. He also built a walled Quaker burial ground.

In 1798 the chapel in Moate was turned into a barracks for British soldiers and stabling.

An Act of Parliament dispossessed the local gentry and gave land to English planters - middlemen and farmers with names such as Homan, English, Adamson, Robinson, Jones, Matthews, Telford, Potts, Hankinson, Fetherston, Marsh, Russell, Mitchel and Mulock.

Many were Quakers who led simple, unostentatious and industrious lives. They introduced new and better farming methods, reclaimed bogs and planted trees.

The industries of the Quakers in Moate included brewing, tanning, felt making, weaving, tile and brick making and linen & woolen goods manufacture.

Moate grew as a town in the 18th and 19th centuries and became prosperous.

In the 1880s there was a decline in the industries of Moate due to rececession and the restrictions on exports which had been placed by the Act of Union. There was a decline in the Clibborn linen industry in the 19th century which saw Moate morph into a market town.


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