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The town of Crossmaglen stands mainly on the townland of the same name and partly on Rathkeelan. It lies about 8 miles northwest of Dundalk and 14 southwest of Newry. It is set in the southwest corner of County Armagh with the land boundary with the Republic of Ireland lying less than two miles away in both a southerly (County Louth) and westerly (County Monaghan) direction.

This page provides information about the origin of the town and, through the locations listed on the left, the names of its householders in the different locations at specific years between 1828 the third quarter of the twentieth century.

Origin of Name

The origin of the name 'Crossmaglen' is uncertain. It has been interpreted by John Donaldson as "The cross of the shading plain", and by Hugh Macauley as "McGlynn's crossroads". According to LP Murray, writing in the Vol VIII, No. 2 of the 1934 Journal of the County Louth Archeological Society -

"The village of Crossmaglen is of modern growth....In the local folklore it was merely famed for a well-known ale-house or shebeen - kept by a man named Lennon. It will be noted that the 1766 Census gives Owen Lennon among the ---- inhabitants - and his house (or shebeen), which was probably at the crossroads, was the origin of the variant Cros Mhig Lionnáin. If the village is really named after a family, we would be select the McCleans or MacClanes. There are no Flynns, and but one Lennon, in the Fews in 1602; but the MacClanes were numerous in all the Census lists...."

Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837 has this to say about Crossmaglen -

Crossmaglen; a village in that part of Creggan which which is in the barony of Upper Fews, County of Armagh and province of Ulster, 8 miles (NW) from Dundalk, on the road to Newtownhamilton; containing 545 inhabitants. It comprises about 100 houses, of which several are large and well built, and has a penny post to Dundalk: the surrounding scenery is strikingly diversified. In the vacinity is a small lake, called Lough Maglen, or Magheralin, and there are numerous others in the surrounding district. The slate quarries here were formerly worked to some extent, but they are now in a declining state. A market for provisions is held on Friday; and there are fairs in the last Friday in every month for black cattle, horses, sheep and pigs. A constabulary police station has been established in the village; and a spacious and handsome R.C. chapel has been recently erected, which is the parochial chapel of a very extensive district, called Lower Creggan. A dispensary by subscription in 1830.

Another view from the same period is provided by the Ordnance Survey Memoirs.

Rateable Valuation

The Half Yearly Rectorial Tithe in the 1828 Title Applotment Books for the townland was 6-17-7.

The rateable valuation includes the value of property in both the townland and that part of the town of Crossmaglen in the townland, but excluding the valuation for that part of the town in the townland of Rathkeelan. The changes in the valuation are set out below.

Annual Rateable Valuation of the Town and Townland
Year 1828 1837 1851 1864 1935 1957 1971
Valuation 137-11-0 358-3-9 422-15-0 824-15-0 1,603-18-0 3,928-3-0 5,165-13-0

Townland Valuation 1837

The 1837 Townland Valuation recorded only houses worth 5 or more a year. There is a substantial list of property owners recorded in respect of Crossmaglen. Also recorded is a statement that there were 58 houses exempt. Although it is not possible to distinguish those properties appropriate to the town alone the record of the other townlands would indicate that few, if any, of the listed properties were outside the town itself. Although the list was supposed to provide the names of those whose property met the value critera, in many cases those with a lower valuation, and many marked as exempt, are listed. The list is reproduced below as it cannot be distributed to the different parts of the town.

Information Sources

The information about the names of those listed in these pages come from the following sources.

  • Townland Valuation 1837
  • Griffiths Valuation 1864
  • Census of Ireland 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
  • Census of Northern Ireland 1926, 1937 and 1951
  • First Northern Ireland General revaluation 1935
  • Second Revaluation 1957

The Third Revaluation (1975) did not identify property by townlands. Instead, it used the new Post Office system of road names and postcodes. It can therefore not be used to continue this series of household, land and property censuses. To get as close as possible to the present, the position in the townland at the date of the last recorded revision of the Second Revaluation is presented.

Grifiths Valuation records the owner of most of the town as Thomas P. Ball.

Census of Ireland 1901

For the town as a whole, including that part standing on Rathkeelan, the Census enumerated 828 persons in 174 households; a ratio of 4.8 people per household. Census details of the streets etc are available on their respective pages.

Problems with 1901 Census

The street names in the 1901 Census do not in all cases correspond with those used in earlier and all subsequent valuations as the following table shows.

Crossmaglen Street Names 1864 to 1957

  1864 1901 1935 1957
Crossmaglen Dundalk St Dundalk St Dundalk St Dundalk St
  The Square The Square The Square The Square
  Carlingford St   Carlingford St Carlingford St
  Shamble Lane      
  Newry St   Newry St Newry St
  North St North St North St North St
  Lane off the Square      
  Castleblaney St   Castleblaney St Castleblaney St
  Carrick St Carrick St Carrick St Carrick St
    Dundalk Rd    
    Brown's Lane    
    Newtownhamilton St    
    Creggan St    
      Mill Lane Mill lane
Rathkeelan (Town of C'maglen) Newtown Road Newtownhamilton St Newtownhamilton St Newtownhamilton St
  Castleblaney Rd North St Castleblaney St Castleblaney St
        Rathview Park

By a process of name comparison it can be deduced, with reasonable confidence that -

  • Creggan St is Newry St
  • Dundalk Road is part of the Townland of Crossmaglen
  • North St (Crossmaglen) is Castleblaney St (Crossmaglen)
  • Newtownhamilton St (Crossmaglen) is North St (Crossmaglen)
  • Newtownhamilton St (Rathkeelan) is the same as the 1864 Newtown Road (Rathkeelan)
  • North St (Rathkeelan) is Castleblaney St (Rathkeelan) (formerly Castleblaney Rd.)

Carlingford St has no occupants specifically enumerated. In the case of the remaining anomoly, Brown's Lane, this has been added to The Square record as have, for 1864, Shamble Lane and Lane off the Square (which is, probably, Mill Lane).

Native Irish Speakers

Details of the native Irish speakers enumerated in the 1901 Census are recorded in their respective locations aside.

Population Growth

The following table sets out the number of houses and population enumerated in the townland in each of the 11 Censuses held between 1841 and 1951. The data is the combined total of the town, the townland and that part of Rathkeelan included in the town.

  1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926 1937 1951
Houses 137 144 152 150 189 174 174 178 250 328 315
People 679 640 722 708 924 807 828 875 1186 1186 1318
People per house 5.0 4.4 4.8 4.7 4.9 4.6 4.8 4.9 4.7 3.6 4.2

In the period of 110 years, the number of households increased by 130% and the population by 94%. Growth was slow in the 70 years to 1911 but by 1926 the population had increased by 36% over 1911.

Townland Valuation 1837

Ball Samuel Hamilton William McCormack Thomas
Boyle John Hanratty Felix McCoy Owen
Byrne Michael Heenan Paul McCullin Pat
Carbry Arthur Hughes Edward McGurk George
Carbry Arthur Kearney James McKeown Mary
Cassidy Pat Kiernan John McMahon Thomas
Conlin Patrick Lamb Thomas McParlane William
Connolly Hugh Largy Michael Molloy Judy
Connolly James Legat Charles Murtagh Edward
Ellis John Mallon Henry Quinn Michael
Gordon Michael Marks James Rice Joseph
Graham Mary Ann McAlister Randal Rowland Mary
Grant Owen McArdle Denis Rush Laurence
Hale James McArdle James Stephens Martha
Hamilton Johnston McCabe Henry Stevenson William

[Back to Townlands Timeline]

Last Updated on 1 January 2003

© Patrick Devlin 2003