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  • Co. Armagh Farming 1830-33

Co. Armagh Farming 1830-33

Transcribed by Jane from The Newry Telegraph of 16 March 1830 and 23 August 1833.

Landscape of the Armagh / Down borderland 3 km from Acton by Eric Jones

16 March 1830

At the meeting of the Markethill Farming Society, held on Monday the first inst., the following song was sung, which was composed for the occasion by a “Small” farmer, a member of the Society; and at their request it is now published. The design of the song is to shew, that when farmers contrast their situation with that of those who move in a higher sphere, they need feel no cause for envy or regret: hence it is called –


We’re all met here another year
To bid good speed the plough; –
Why should we vex ourselves with care,
And we so happy now?
The wisest thing that we can do
Is, banish care awa’:
Let markets rise, let markets fall,
And cheerful be through a’.
What! though our coats be rough and course,
Our manners rough and a’,
An honest man’s the prince of men –
And such are farmers a’.

Sweet Spring has now returned again,
All nature to renew;
As blythe as birds, on ev’ry hill
Are farmers at their plough.
Although our life’s a life of toil,
Thro’ weather foul and fair,
Yet Providence has blessed us with
Content a double share.
We have no cause then to complain, –
We have no cause ava:
Hard work by day, sound sleep by night,
Drives all our cares awa’.

Look round the land, and where you see
Professors of the law,
Their studious life you’ll easy ken
By thinness of their jaw.
A brief in hand’s a right good thing,
From either friend or foe;
When, like a goose, you’re right well plucked,
Poor client, you may go.
We have no cause to sorrow then,
We have no cause ava,
Whilst Providence protects us from
The agents of the law.

Another class we mean to pass
With scarce a word ava –
We mean the Gentlemen in black,
They’re praying for us a’.
If we take them for guides, we know
We’ll seldom go astray –
Not just to do still as they do,
But always as they say.
We have no cause to envy them,
We have no cause ava,
If tithe and bounty easy come,
They easy gang awa’.

Our sons of Mars we hope to see
With laurels ever new, –
Our enemies will ne’er forget
Yon day at Waterloo; –
When Providence that rules on high
Saw meet, and not till then,
The greatest man the age produced
Become like other men.
We have no cause of sorrow then,
We have no cause ava,
Our rents and taxes both will fall,
for Bonaparte’s awa’.

Of Landlords we but little ken,
Except ’tis by the fruit;
We hear that they the bullets make
Their Agents have to shoot.
The absentees are Ireland’s curse,
They drain her cash awa’,
And leave her with an empty purse
To pay her taxes a’.
We have no cause to sorrow then,
We have no cause to fret,
We need not fear the tenant’s curse –
We have no lands to let.

Our Dukes and Earls we envy not,
But cheerful give our bow;
More independent than a King
Are farmers at their plough: –
For ’tis a rule, you all well know,
Ordain’d by Nature’s law,
That if we did not till the ground
You would be starving a’.
We have no cause of sorrow then,
No cause for to lament,
Since Kings and Lords are fed by us,
We’ll aye be right content.

So we’re met here another year
To bid good speed the plough; –
Why should we vex ourselves with care,
And we so happy now? —
And every time we meet again
May we be happy still,
and many a cheerful Ploughing Match
Be held at Markethill.

We have no cause, &c.

Drumnagher and Acton Farming Society

This Society held their ninth annual ploughing match, on the 2d inst., in Drumnagher Park; Maxwell CLOSE, Esq., the Patron, attended on the occasion. It was quite evident, from the number of competitors, and the improved style of harness, that this Society will support its high rank amongst similar institutions. Eighteen ploughs started by sound of horn; and having to plough against time (three hours being allotted for finishing a rood) – every man was on the alert; and their completing the task within the period proved that they could do their duty. Messrs. A. KINMOUTH, LANGTRY, and Thos. ALLEN, returned the subjoined awards, as Judges of the day:

1st Prize – Cart obtained by Robert STEWART, value 5l 5s.

2d ditto* – iron plough, Mr. John ALLEN, plough held by his servant – 4l.

3d ditto – hand cart, Mrs. MOODY, plough held by her servant – 2l 2s.

4th ditto – set of plough harness, obtained by Mr. John MOODY, plough held by his servant, – 1l 10s.

5th ditto – cart straddle, by William MCKEOWN, 18s.

6th ditto – pair of winkers and reins, William PORTER, 10s.

7th ditto – garden spade, Mr. BENNET – plough held by his man.

A numerous party had an excellent dinner in Mr. BENNET’s inn, Poyntzpass, – Mr. CLOSE, President – Mr. KINMOUTH, Vice-President. On the cloth being removed, the usual national toasts were given by the worthy Chairman, and drank with great enthusiasm; and all, forgetting the distinctions of rank, the arduous cares of life and the toils of the day, wished only to promote the harmony and happiness of the evening. The health of Mr. CLOSE, his lady and son, followed by very appropriate speeches, were received with that applause a good landlord so justly merits, and evidences; too, that his liberal subscription of £5 annually, and £5 by Mrs. CLOSE for the neatest cottages, have not been uselessly employed. Public attention cannot be too frequently or strongly called to the maxim – “the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” The importance of this principle to the agriculturist is supported by universal experience, and that Farming Societies tend to give an impulse and proper direction to its operation, is admitted by all. When Gentlemen of influence encourage habits of virtuous industry amongst this important class of society, they are regarded with gratitude, and their names will be amongst the most pleasing recollections at the joys of harvest time. The secretary, Mr. KINMOUTH, received the thanks of the meeting for his attention to the formation and advancement of the Society.

*The second prize was, in point of good ploughing, won by Mr. LOCKHART’s servant, but owing to the short time of his servitude, he was disqualified by the laws of the Society.

Richhill Farming Society.

On Monday the 8th inst., the Richhill Branch of the N.E. Farming Society held their first annual ploughing-match, convenient to Richhill, in ground belonging to Mr. N. GREER. The day being remarkably wet and stormy, there did not appear so many ploughs as were expected. The Judges, who had been previously nominated, were late in making their appearance, some of them thinking that the business of the day could not be proceeded with. An adjournment was proposed, which was overruled by a great majority, who were resolved to plough through all weather. These circumstances detained the business to a later hour than usual, when, about 3 o’clock, 18 ploughs, as well horsed and harnessed as have ever been seen on any occasion of the kind, started by signal, and performed the work of their respective lots in good style and time. — Many of the members and visitors were obliged, from wet and cold, to return to their homes from the field, and of course lost the enjoyment of a very pleasant evening, which they had anticipated. The labour of the day being over, most of the members retired to Richhill, where they were met by their worthy Vice-Presidents, The Rev. E. CHICHESTER and William BLACKER, Esq., who gave them a hearty welcome from the fatigues of the field, to join in a more pleasing task – the pleasures of the table.

At 7 o’clock, William BLACKER, Esq., took the chair, supported on his left by the Rev. E. CHICHESTER – on his right by the Rev. Mr. TAYLOR; Mr. N. GREER acted as croupier. About 50 members sat down to a most excellent dinner, provided by Mr. J. TOWILL, and laid out in neat order in a very comfortable room (the school-room), which had been kindly granted for the occasion by the Misses RICHARDSON.

After the cloth was removed, the company were favored with a very satisfactory speech from the chair, alluding principally to the improvement in agriculture; and after several of the usual toasts had been given, the Judges (Messrs. LANGTRY, MARTIN and SMALL, assisted by Mr. Robert HUTCHINSON and Mr. John COX), were called upon to make known their decisions – which were as follow, viz.:

A silver cup — value 5l. No competitors.

1st Premium — To Mr. Robert LANGTRY, plough held by servant, a double harrow (improved), value 2l.

2d ditto — To Mr. Archibald HUTCHINSON, plough held by son, straddle and breechen, value 1l 10s.

3d ditto — To Mr. George LANGTRY, plough held by servant, collar, hems and winkers, 1l 5s.

4th ditto — To Mr. R. HARDY, plough held by servant, wheelbarrow, 1l.

5th ditto — To Mr. Thomas ORR, plough held by servant, back-straps, 14s.

6th ditto — To Mr. John BELL, plough held by servant, double-trees, 10s.

7th ditto — to Mr. F. GRIBBIN, plough held by self, winkers, 9s.

8th ditto — To Mr. Richard COX, plough held by self, forest shears, 8s.

9th ditto — To Mr. James MACLEAN, plough held by servant, sledge, 6s.

10th ditto — To Mr. Henry WALKER, plough held by servant, plough-chains, 5s.

These decisions met with general approbation; after which, the usual routine of toasts were proceeded with. Several entertaining speeches were made; and at half-past ten o’clock the Chairman apologised for having to leave so happy a company so soon. The Rev. Mr. TAYLOR was then called to the Chair. “The health of the late Chairman, Wm. BLACKER, Esq., and the thanks of the Society for the particular interest he has taken in it,” being proposed, was received with the most deafening applause; and, after several other sentiments and toasts suited to the occasion, the company separated in the utmost harmony and good order.

During the course of the evening, there were several remarks made, worthy of notice, expressing the great improvement in ploughing within these few years past; yet there is vast room for improvement in this country in other branches of the farming system. The regular rotation of crops is evidently wanting; — the more general cultivation of green and root crops should be particularly attended to ; and it is to be hoped that, from the encouragement offered, through premiums, to the Richhill farmers, they will take into consideration the improvement of their ground, by raising green and root crops; and also that they
will be able to shew to the neighbouring Branch Societies a specimen of their improvement in the ensuing summer and autumn.

23 August 1833

Loughgilly Farming Society

Held their fifth annual Cattle Show in Mountmorris, on Monday the 5th inst. The improvement in various classes was decidedly great since the Society commenced its operations, particularly in black Cattle and Swine. The Judges on the occasion were Mr. HARDY of Coolyhill, Mr. HENRY of Tassagh, and Mr. MACKAY of Gosford: they awarded the premiums as follow, and their decision seemed to give universal satisfaction:

Best brood mare, to Mr. Thomas KILPATRICK;

best two year old colt or filly, Mr. Robert FERGUSON;

best year do., do., Mr. John HUTCHINSON;

best bull, Mr. COCHRAN; second best do., Mr. Robert FERGUSON;

best milch cow, Mr. COCHRAN; second best do., Mr. HUTCHINSON;

best two year old heifer, Rev. Mr. PORTER; second best, Mr. Jas. M’COLLOUGH;

best year old heifer, Mr. YOUNG; second best do., Wm. ATKINSON, Esq.;

best boar, Mr. GIRVAN; second do., Mr. Robert FERGUSON;

best sow, Mr. HARPUR; second best, Mr. GIRVAN;

best ram, Mr. ATKINSON;

best ewe, Mr. ATKINSON; second best do., Mr. ATKINSON.

After the Show, the members of the Society, with the Judges, Counsellor HARDEN, and other Gentlemen of the neighbourhood, dined together, — Wm ATKINSON, Esq., of Glenanne, in the chair.

The dinner was served up in Mr. LOWE’s best style, and done ample justice to. After the cloth was removed, the usual routine of toasts was given, mingled with some good songs and speeches, from many of which much useful information was elicited, and the company separated at an early hour, highly pleased with the events of the day, and anxiously looking forward to their next merry meeting.

Armagh Branch Farming Society.

The annual Cattle Show of the above Society was held on the 8th inst. There was not quite so large a Show as last year; but it is quite evident that the quality is annually improving. The following persons obtained premiums:

Stallions – Mr. Edward HICKEY.

Brood Mares – 1st, David WILLIAMSON; 2d, M. PRINGLE; 3d, James WILKIN.

2 Year Gelding or Filly – 1st William FENAIX; 2d, Robert M’BRIDE; 3d, James ARMSTRONG.

1 year Colt or Filly – 1st, William HUTCHESON; 2d, W. BOYD, jun.; 3d, Earl CHARLEMONT.

Bulls – 1st, Lord Primate; 2d, Nathaniel GREER; 3d, Edward M’KEAN.

Milch Cows – 1st, Lord Primate; 2d, Lord Primate; 3d, Edward M’KEAN; 4th, Earl CHARLEMONT; 5th, Wm. RODGERS; 6th, Michael MAGEE.

2 Year Old Heifers – 1st, Michael MAGEE; 2d, Lord Primate; 3d, James WAUGH; 4th, William

1 Year Old Heifers – 1st, Lord Primate; 2d, Lord Primate; 3d, William BOYD, jun.; 4th, G. M’CLEAN; 5th, Nathaneil GREER.

Best Calf – 1st, Lord Primate; 2d, Lord Primate; 3d, Edward M’KEAN; 4th, William RUNNING.

Boars – 1st, Nathaniel GREER; 2d, Edward M’KEAN; 3d, James ARMSTRONG.

Sows – 1st, Robert C. HARDY; 2d, Michael PRINGLE.

Butter – 1st, Edward M’KEAN; 3d, Samuel KILPATRICK; 4th, John M’CLURE; 5th, James WILKIN; 6th, Joseph MORROW; 7th, A. M’CLURE.

Female Servants – 1st, Samuel KNIPE for Mary BRANNIGAN; 2d, Matthew JOHNSTON for Betty KANE.

Male Servants -1st, James SCOTT for George GLACKIN; 2d, Joseph MORROW for John HOUSTON.

Clover – 1st, Robert C. HARDY; 2d, Wm. BOYD, jun.; 3d, Joseph MORROW; 4th, Edward M’KEAN.

Vetches – 1st, Gabriel M’CLEAN; 2d, Nathaniel GREER; 3d, Edward M’KEAN; 4th, Henry SAVAGE.

Wheat – 1st, Edward M’KEAN; 2d, Richard DARLINGTON; 3d, Andrew MAZIERE; 4th, Samuel

Barley – 1st, William HUTCHESON; 2d, David WILLIAMSON; 3d, John KANE; 4th, Edward M’KEAN.

Oats – 1st, Thomas DUBBIN; 2d, Edward M’KEAN; 3d, Wm. BOYD, jun.; 4th, Michael MAGEE.

Flax – 1st, John DOBBIN; 2d, Alex. M’CLURE; 3d, James SCOTT; 4th, William CARROLL.

The members of the Society, and a number of the friends of agriculture, dined together in the Tontine: Wm. M’WILLIAMS, Esq., presided; and M. PRINGLES, Esq., acted as Vice-President.

There were several challenges made for different kinds of stock, to be shown at the next Cattle Show. The entire evening was spent in a most social and jovial manner. In the class of Bulls, that shown by his Grace the Lord Primate, a two year old Black Galloway, has attained the extraordinary weight of 14cwt. 1qr. 21lb., live weight. Too much praise cannot be given to his Grace’s Steward, Mr. SMITH, for introducing this valuable breed of stock into the country.