Local History by Seán Beattie


Church Lands at Desertegney


The Disestablishment Act of 1869  resulted in the separation of church and state in Ireland. The act contained a land clause which brought enormous benefits to tenants on these lands regardless of religion. They were given the option of buying out their holdings many decades before tenants on other estates in Ireland. Consequently, as they were landowners from the 1870s,  they were not involved in the Land War or other aspects of land agitation thereafter. Neither did they endure the threat of eviction from  a local landlord. They paid a cash deposit and borrowed the rest. The following were beneficiaries in Desertegney and the figures quoted include the date of purchase, the total amount of the farm, the cash deposit paid and the balance due by way of mortgage:

Charles Munagle, Glebe, 1876, £285, (amount paid in full)

Pat and J. Doherty, Glebe, 1876, £249, deposit £69, balance £180

John Bradley, Glebe, 1876, £141, deposit £35, balance £107

Mrs Betty McLaughlin, Glebe, 1876, £35 paid in full

Courtney Newton, £27 paid in full

John and William Fullerton, Glebe, 1876, £142, deposit £36, balance £106

Neil McLaughlin, Glebe, 1876, £111, deposit £28, balance £83

Denis Mclaughlin, Glebe, 1876, £173, deposit £44, balance £120.


From Sales of Land in Ireland, September, 1880

Similar statistics are available for all other glebe or church lands throughout Ireland. Such lands were not included in the Plantation as they were church property and had rights which stretched back to the very foundations of monasticism in Ireland. The glebe lands at Desertegney were once part of the monastic landholding in the district. Present occupiers of land in Desertegney and other districts are probably unaware of the historic lineage of their holdings, which encompasses 1,500 years of history.


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  2. Liam

    Any idea about the Church of Ireland building at Linsfort (history, dates, etc)? Regards, Liam

    • Comment by post author


      I have not done any work on Linsfort church. The church was built in 1779 and closed in 1972. The parish was amalgamated with Fahan Lower in 1921 and Fahan Upper and Inch in 1966. The parish was transferred from Derry Diocese to Raphoe in 1978. It was build at teh behest of the local landlord who was the key patron. The site is one of the best in Ireland. You can find a list of all clergy in CLERGY OF DERRY AND RAPHOE by Canon Crooks who lives near Manorcunningham and is an expert of church history. I may do a profile of the church and its clergy some time in the future so watch this site. I visited the church after it closed and recall seeing the baptismal font lying there. There were also some documents lying around the floor which I recovered but they are lost in my archives.

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