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Demesne, County Armagh

Origin

An English name

Background

Townlands called by the English word Demesne are fairly common (the Ordnance Survey Memoirs mention them for the parishes of Ballintoy, Down, Enniskillen, Kilwaughter, and Rathlin Island), and usually refer to the lands enclosed by Plantation landlords to provide the landscaped surroundings of their mansions.  Sometimes an existing townland was taken in, sometimes parts of several.

No evidence has been recorded for Demesne as an earlier townland. This demesne seems to have been taken out of Drumnamoe and maybe another townland.  Portions of Drumnamoe lie to the north and SE, and Demesne contains the Park Lake which probably formed a townland boundary in the past (although Bassett p.343 called it artificial).  Dougher, the chief townland of the area in the 17thcentury, is directly north of it.

Brownlow’s ‘castle and demesnes’, let to Robert Ward, are named in the Brownlow Leasebook of 1635 (BL p.151).  In 1777 Taylor and Skinner’s map shows the lake ringed with trees, with a house at the north end, to the east of the main street of Lurgan, captioned ‘Rt Hon. W. Brownlow’ (p.23).  There is another view of the demesne and a more cottage-like house, with Brownlow’s name (p.16). Two lakes were shown on another map p.265, and were mentioned in the Ordnance Survey Memoir (OSM I 113).

In 1888, the Elizabethan-style house built by Charles Brownlow in 1836 was called Brownlow House, although he had called it Lurgan House until elevated to the peerage.  Its demesne was used as a park by the citizens of Lurgan (Bassett p.343).

References

McKay, P and Muhr, K. 'Lough Neagh Places: Their names and origins' (2007:60)

Additional Information

Historical name form

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Barony
Oneilland East
Parish
Shankill
Parish in 1851
Shankill
Townland
None
Place name ID
18117
Place name type
T