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Lisburn's Charter of 16621 has many interesting facts concerning it, particularly Bishop Jeremy Taylor's part in drafting it.

When, in January 1660, Jeremy Taylor was consecrated2 Bishop of Down and Connor, and in June following, Administrator of the See of Dromore, he found himself without a Cathedral. The Cathedral of Down had been in ruins for close on 150 years, the old church of Connor had been serving as a Cathedral but was in many respects unsuitable, and his Cathedral Church of Dromore had lain in ruins since its destruction by the insurgents of 1641.

Continuing to reside in and around the small hamlet or village of Lisnagarvie, or at Portmore on the shores of Lough Neagh3, where he had taken up residence when first coming here, both on the estate of his patron and friend Lord Conway and Killulta4 , the good Bishop made his small church at Lisnagarvie, the old Chapelry of St Thomas5, the centre of his activities; and, in doing so, indicated his intention of elevating it to the status of a Cathedral for his united Diocese. In this decision he was no doubt guided by the fact that the settlers on the estate were largely members of the Established Church (of Ireland), which was not the case in either Down or Connor.

In 1662, some eighteen months after the Bishop's induction, Charles II, to mark his appreciation of the attitude of the inhabitants after his father was beheaded, signified his intention of granting a Charter to the town; and, in this intention Jeremy Taylor, ever mindful of his patron's interests, and of his own devotion to the Church, was, without doubt, responsible for the insertion of the major portion of the Charter which, taken in two (abbreviated) parts, reads thus:

Charles II, by the Grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland;

King, Defender of the Faith, etc., WHEREAS WE understand that the Cathedral Churches of Down and Connor, in our province of Ulster, within our Kingdom of Ireland, being at present not only ruinous and laid waste, but also were founded in inconvenient places and extreme parts of the several dioceses of Down and Connor, by means whereof, not only the service of God was much neglected, but the necessary meetings and assembly of the Bishops and Clergy in those parts obstructed and impeded.

AND WHEREAS the Church of Lisburne6, alias Lisnagarvie, in our County of Antrim, and Diocese of Down, being situate near the middle of the Diocese aforesaid, and now united, can more conveniently serve for a Cathedral Church for the Bishopricks aforesaid. Know ye, therefore, that we being mindful of nothing more than that true religion and the true worship of God should flourish of our royal authority and by our royal authority - have erected, created, founded, ordained, made, constituted and established the said Church of Lisburne, alias Lisnagarvie, and the place of the said church to be forever in all future times, etc.

AND WHEREAS we retain a sense of the many losses which the inhabitants of the said town of Lisburne, alias Lisnagarvie, have sustained for their allegiance towards us and our royal father of glorious memory. Know ye, therefore, that we of our special grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, for us, our heirs and successors, do give and grant to the dwellers and inhabitants of the said town of Lisburne, alias Lisnagarvie, that they and their successors forever hereafter, can, and may from time to time, elect am! choose two fit and proper persons to be burgesses, to attend and sit in every parliament hereafter to be summoned, appointed, and held within our said Kingdom of Ireland, etc.


The Charter did not, unfortunately, provide for a municipal corporation and in the implication of that part of it relating to a Cathedral, Jeremy Taylor encountered much opposition. The intention of the Charter was never carried out as far as the endowment for the Cathedral services was concerned. The impropriations granted for the augmentation of the revenues of the Church were never made; a Cathedral was established without giving any means for its support. In the State Papers of the period many references will be found to Taylor's fight for his Cathedral at Lisburne. In one of his last letters to appear in the Papers on this subject of implementation, the estate agent, George Rawdon7, wrote to his master Lord Conway: 'It will, I think, be very hard to effect this Cathedral work, for I have received a letter last post from my Lord Primate8 who says he finds this is not an age to build Cathedrals, since it is so hard a matter to get one removed9'.

Rawdon, however, informed Lord Conway that 'the church yard wall will, in the meantime, be proceeded with, when it shall be provided for'. But, dying in 166710, Taylor did not live to see the completion of his work for his new Cathedral. And perhaps one of the reasons why his wishes were never afterwards realised will be found in the life of at least one of his immediate successors.

Succeeding Roger Boyle11 as Bishop of Down and Connor, Dromore having once again reverted to a separate see some five years after Taylor's death, Thomas Hacket12 was consecrated. He seems to have woefully neglected his charge, having had licence of absence from it in 1681 and again in 1687. Selling his livings to the highest bidder, he resided for some twelve years near London without ever seeing his Diocese, and was, in consequence, nicknamed 'The Bishop of Hammersmith'.

During this period, his Vicar General, Lemuel Matthews13, was in full control and he also used his opportunities to enrich himself. The rector of nine parishes and livings at Lisburn, near to the Diocesan Court, he traded shamelessly in marriage licences and prerogative wills; the scandal became so great that, in 1693, as the result of a Royal Commission or Visitation14, both were deposed.

The Bishop died some four years later and is buried in Lisburn Cathedral, as recorded in the Cathedral Register:

Dr Thom Hacket, late Bishop of Down and Connor 31st August '97, inter'd in the Chancel part, part of the grave under Mr Conway's seat, next to the wall.


By the return, however, on 6 January 1662, of Edward Dering15 of Surrenden-Dering in Kent, and Edward Smith or Smyth16 of the Middle Temple, Lisburn's first two Members of Parliament, the Charter was almost immediately legalised. Both jurists of great distinction, they had arrived in Ireland as Commissioners in the Court of Claims, as constituted by the Act of Settlement of 1662, and, possibly with a view to representing the Commission, had been returned for the newly created borough.

Son of the first baronet of the name who, as member for the County of Kent, once presented a Bill from the gallery of the House of Commons for 'the extermination of all bishops, deans and chapters', and father of the baronet whose name appears in Schomberg's Army lists of 168917, Edward Dering, a most meticulous recorder, was the Commissioner before whom all cases relating to the North of Ireland were heard.

His colleague Edward Smith, afterwards, at the age of twenty nine, a Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Chief Commissioner in the Court constituted by the 1666 Act (of the Act of 1662), is described by Strype, the ecclesiastical historian, as 'A useful magistrate, a good churchman, and a gentleman of sober and regular conversation in a loose and debauched age'.

In 1692, some thirty years after the return of these two members, Jeremy Taylor's son in-law, Edward Harrison of Magheralave18 was returned as one of the two members for Lisburn in the first Parliament of William Ill.

A nephew of Matthew Harrison, Comptroller in the Household of the Lord Deputy19 and who had spent a lifetime in the service of the Ormonde family, he was the son of Michael Harrison of Belfast20 where he resided in a large house on or about the site of the Provincial Bank of Ireland, then known as 'Michael Harrison, his lane, later to become Hercules Place or Hercules Street, the 'street of the butchers', now Royal Avenue.

Edward Harrison was again returned for Lisburn in the second Parliament of William HI (1695/99) and in the first Parliament of Queen Anne (1703/13) his son Michael2l was returned for the town. In the Short Parliament of 1713/14, the second of Queen Anne, his son Francis22 appears as the town's representative.

A partner in the celebrated Dublin banking concern23 Francis Harrison, dubbed 'the only Croesus of the bankers' race', earned, for his sins, the wrath of Dean Swift who, surprisingly, does not seem to have been aware of his identity.


Many years later a descendant of Edward Harrison's daughter Mary24 , William Todd Jones of Ballyhomra25 was, in a famous struggle for electoral independence, returned as a popular member for the town in the fourth Parliament of George III.

A member of the Dungannon Volunteer Convention of 1872, a most active politician and pamphleteer, with an aptitude for verse, Jones, no doubt in the spirit of his great ancestor, in his belief in the justice of a cause, was arrested for high treason in 1803 and imprisoned for two years in the county Cork gaol. Some time previously he had challenged a well known but blessed historian26 to a duel and had shot his man through the body. His death in 1818 ended the family Parliamentary connections with the town.

Michael Harrison of Belfast is buried in Lisburn Cathedral, as the burial register states:

1683 Mr Michael Harrison of Dirr(aghy) Sept ye 6th

His son Edward, Jeremy Taylor's son-in-law, is also buried there:

Edward Harrison Esqr of Maghreleve buryd in Lisburne church under the reading desk October 13, 1700

Historic Magheralave, so intimately associated with the name of Jeremy Taylor, the home for many years of his daughter Joanna and the birthplace of eight of his grandchildren, lies close to the town of Lisburn, but is located in the parish of Derriaghy.

It is first noticed in the occupation of Symon Richardson27 , a receiver or steward on the old Conway estates. In the Conway correspondence of the period, a number of Richardson's letters appear, one in particular to Lord Conway, dated from Magheralave 14 March 1626, drawing attention to his seemingly sorry plight: 'Your letter comforted me but Lisnagarvie did not cure my malady'.

Towards the middle of the seventeenth century the property was acquired by Michael Harrison of Belfast, and remained in the possession of the Harrison family for close on 100 years.

In the first half of the eighteenth century, Magheralave passed to Dr William Duncan or Durkin of Lisburn28 ; the date is determined when he advertised from there in the Belfast News Letter of 13 January 1749: 'To be lett for a year or longer my very commodious house in Castle Street, Lisburn29


In Duncan's absence a few years later, his wife30 incurred the displeasure of the Derriaghy parish vestry on 29 August 1754, when it enacted that "Mrs Duncan shall fine for all her (Magheralave) tenants, otherwise her fine shall be returned her, and not entitled to any benefit.

Around the end of the last century, a portion of the townland was acquired by the estate agent, Dean Stannus3l who erected thereon a residence for one of his sons. The Duncan family resided there until 1991, their property being compulsorily purchased for security reasons as it adjoined the British Army Headquarters in Northern Ireland (Thiepval Barracks).

Of Jeremy Taylor's connection with the church, five references only will be found in the seventeenth century records of Lisburn Cathedral. In the burial entries of 1661 we find:

Edward ye son of Jeremy Lord Bp of Downe Conor and Dromore March 10th

In Book No.l of the records, he appears at the baptism of three of the estate agent's children - Arthur (Rawdon) on October 17, 1661; Francis on November 21, 1662 and George on May 2, 1664. And in Book No.2 we note:

The names of those who were confirmed by the Right Reverennd Father in God Jeremiah, Lord Bishop of Downe, Connier and Dromore at Lisburne the 7th day of Aprille, being Easter day 1667

Direct descendants of a number of the names appearing in this list33 still reside in our midst, proud, we are sure, in the Faith of their Fathers, and of the ancestor confirmed in it by the Prince of Devines, Jeremy Taylor, the architect of the Charter of the Cathedral town of Lisburn, then, as now, with his memory ever green, a giant in an age of pygmies.


1. The Charter, in all probability the original, is in the custody of the Clergy and Select Vestry of Lisburn Cathedral.
2. On 27 January 1660, with eleven other bishops, in St.Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Jeremy Taylor preached the sermon from Luke XII, 4213. The anthem sung on the occasion was composed by the Dean of the Cathedral, Dr Fuller, the chorus exhibiting the strong loyalty and churchmanship of the composer
  Angels look down and joy to see 
Like that above - a monarchie 
Angels look down and joy to see 
Like that above- a hierarchie.
3. In a letter in the Conway papers, from the Estate Agent to Lord Conway, dated 26 May 1658, the following passage will be found: I have had the ill way paved from the Mill at Ballinderry to the house that Dr Taylor may pass in winter'. At the end of the long and narrow pathway to the right of the road leading to the old church at Portmore, in Lower Ballinderry, will still be found the ruins of this historic homestead.
4. Edward 3rd Viscount Conway and Killulta; created 3 December 1679 Earl of Conway; deceased 1693; title merged in Marquisate of Hertford.
5. Destroyed in the rebellion of 1641.
6. First appearance of the name "Lisburne'- Taylor's choice; the title Earl of Lisburne is borne by the head of the Welsh family of Vaughan; in his early years Taylor would appear to have been on terms of friendship with this family; the Vaughan motto is 'Non Revertar Inultus'- I will not return unavenged.
7. His father, Francis, was a member of the Yorkshire family of that name; served first as secretary then as agent to the Lords Conway, brother-in-law to the last Viscount; in 1625, as secretary to the 1st Viscount, a Secretary of State, he was the hearer to the Hague of valuable State Jewels, deposited there in pledge for the loan of £100,000 by Charles to the Protestant allies; Member of Parliament for Belfast 1639 and for Carlingford 1661; founder of the towns of Moira and Ballynahinch; born 1604, he deceased 1687.
8. James Margetson D.D.
9. Down still clung to their Cathedral, even though in ruins.
10. He died at Lisburn 13 August 1667.
11. Nothing is known of his efforts to carry out Taylor's wishes; in 1672 he was translated to the much more remunerative diocese of Clogher, he died in 1687
12. Consecrated in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, 22 September 1672; Bishop of the diocese for 21 years: a chaplain to Charles II; members of his family, long resident in Castle Street after the bishop's death, are buried in the Cathedral churchyard.
13. Born 1644, he was the son of Rev.Marmaduke Matthews, Vicar of St.John's, Swansea; Archdeacon of Down 1674, restored to his Prebend, but not to his Archdeaconry; died 1705.
14. Held at Lisburne February 1693; Commissioners were William King, Bishop of Derry and Anthony Dopping, Bishop of Meath.
15 Baronetcy created 1627; one of his father's descendants was Cecil Mary, wife of James, 1st Viscount Craigavon.
16. The only member of the English Bar appointed to the Irish bench in the reign of Charles 11; in 1668 succeeded to his father's baronetcy and to the estate at Hillhall in Essex, of his great progenitor, Sir Thomas Smith, Elizabeth's Secretary of State; the Smith grant here, in the latter half of the 16th century, included the hamlet of Belfast and much properly in Antrim and Down, afterwards in the possession of the Chichester family; he died at Hillhall (Essex) in 1713 at the age of 77, and is buried in his parish church of Theydon Mount.
17. He died during the campaign of an overdose of aquavitae and is buried in the porch of the parish church of Drogheda
18. Son of Michael Harrison of Belfast by his wife, a daughter of Theophilus Sandford of Moyglare, Co Meath; born 1644, a deputy governor of the County of Antrim, Sovereign of Belfast 1695, his only sister was the wife of Lieutenant Thomas Conway of Derriaghy, a kinsman of Lord Conway.
19. Member of Parliament for Callan 1663/66, a seat afterwards held by his nephew Francis Harrison and his brother-in-law John Pacey.
20. An early Belfast trader and tanner
21. Born at Magheralave and baptised Lisburn Cathedral 15 July 1671; Clerk of the Cheque and Commissary-General of the Musters in Ireland to William III and Queen Anne; deceased at Magheralave 22 April 1709
22. Born at Magheralave and baptised Lisburn Cathedral 19 April 1676; member for Knocktopher 1703/13, for Lisburn 1713/14, and from 1715 until his death in 1725 for the County of Carlow.
23. Burton and Harrison of 4 Castle Street. Dublin; Benjamin Burton, his partner, was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1706.
24. Born at Magheralave and baptised Lisburn Cathedral July 15, 1679; wife of Colonel Francis Colombyne of the 6th Rep., and secondly of Sir Cecil Wray; her sister, Ann, born at Magheralave and baptised Lisburn Cathedral July 26, 1677, was the wife of John Pacey, Member for Callan and Keeper of the Parliament House, Dublin from 1711 until his death 1728.
25. Son of Dr Conway Jones of Lisburn by his wife Mary Wray Todd of Fleet Street, Dublin; he died at Rostrevor in 1818 as the result of a carriage accident.
26. Sir Richard Musgrave, his' Rebellion' is a work so steeped in anti-catholic prejudice as to be almost worthless historically.
27. Afterwards of Poplar Vale, Co Monaghan; he obtained very considerable tracts of land in Counties Monaghan, Cavan and Tyrone; Air Marshal Sir Victor Richardson, who died in September 1960, was a direct descendant
28. A descendant of Patrick Duncan or Durkin, Vicar of Donaghmore 1634, Prebendary of Dunsport (Down) 1639/40, Precentor of Armagh 1666, whose marriage to Elizabeth Tompson is recorded in the Cathedral records of 1640; he was without doubt, the 'Gloomy Deans friend Dr William Donlon of' the great school at Enniskillen' (Portora) -a government sinecure in those days; Swift speaks of him as 'my very worthy friend with whom I have spent many a jovial evening'; described by him, whose will he witnessed, as' the best English as well as Latin poet in the Kingdom'.
29. Apparently one of the first to be erected after the destruction of the town by fire in 1707; it was afterwards occupied by Duncan's son-in-law, John Hunter, who, having disposed of his bleach green at Glenmore to the Richardson family of Lisburn was, till his death in 1793, the first citizen of the town of Lisburn.
30. Catherine, eldest daughter and fifth child of John Wilson of Balloo, Co.Antrim, by his wife Anne Davys of Carrickfergus; three of her family appear in the first Parliament of Charles II (1661/66) - Henry (Davys) for Belfast, Hercules for Carrickfergus and John for the County of Antrim; her nephew, Ezekiel Davys Wilson, as Member for the Borough, received the thanks of the inhabitants of the town of Carrickfergus, for opposing the Act of Union of 1800.
31. Rector of Ballinderry 1820/36 and for Lisburn 1836/76; Dean of Ross 1830/76 with no duties, but E86 p.a.; for over fifty years the unimaginative agent for the Lisburn estate; by his efforts, but earning for himself much unpopularity in the process, the value of the estate was increased by (20,000 yearly; when he died, in 1876, the estate (purchased originally by Sir Fulke Conway for the sum of �500) consisting of the town of Lisburn and 108 townlands, peopled by 1328 tenants, was producing an annual income of £65,000.
32. In the opinion of the writer, this entry has been made by the Bishop himself.
33. The list is as follows: Mrs Mary Conway, Mrs Ann Webster Cap.William Albury, Mrs Elizabeth Wrighsome, Mrs Mary Collymor, Mrs Mary Moore, Mrs Fountaine, Archbold Stewart, Manus Cane, Robert Smith, John Johnston, John Vesy, William Mushet, William Stroud, Richard Loughlen, Silvanus Haslam, Andrew Haslam, John Jackson, James Fergason, Thomas Porter, Chichester Foskew, Jonathan Cauley, Thomas Sinkelar, George Smith, Francis Magee, Patrick Cosphore, Powell Magee, Richard Brookbanke, Thomas Conway, Henry Kenley, John Gothard, Tho.Smith, Anthony Magee, Muse Wright, Will Kelley, Tho.Webster, Francis Webster, Mary Douglas, Margaret Aldridge, Mrs Elizabeth Hamilton, Ann Roman, Jeane Leathes, Aim Giles, Robert Vesy, Edward Ransome, Rich.Fitzacly, Edward Docker Miles Davis, George Williams, James Willocks, John Cuddy, Tho.Douglas, Richard Black, Jane Smith, Alexd Gresham, Margaret Vesy, Elizabeth Smith, Catherine Allen, Sarah Taylor, Francis Griffin, Ales Clough, Judith Clough, Ellin Huntington Mrs Frances Dunbar, Mrs Cade, Mrs Ellenor Alcock, Mrs Florence, Ellenor Boyle, Ellenor Higginson, Mary Browne, Jane Cruddens, Thomas Waring, Catherin Allen, Michaell Jackson.