Interview with Harry Hume

Interviewer: So what townland is this Harry?

Harry: Ballycregagh.

Interviewer: Ballycregagh.

Harry: I would just like to welcome you, Caroline, to this parish of Dunaghy. It has got 35 townlands and is attached to the grange of Dundermot. Just where we’re looking here from where I live we can see the site, now removed, of Dunaghy Fort. This fort, just immediately over the fence there, this fort is apparently the origin of the Parish of Dunaghy and is a reputed camping place of the High Kings of Ireland mentioned in the Annals of the four Masters but the Hume family have farmed here for four generations now and this land has been in farming or in cultivation since the beginning of the 20th century. We will go from here, from this place we can look over and see Slemish mountain on the Antrim Plateau. We can look down over the village of Clogh and to the old ruins of clogh and to the old ruins of Clogh or Oldstone Castle. Clogh at one time was referred to as Oldstone. The name Clogh, C-L-O-G-H, comes from the Irish C-L-O-C-H, meaning stone or stone castle and I think it is accepted that the height here in Clogh was a site originally or at least Lawther an archaeologist recorded a motte and bailey, an early motte and bailey settlement up at Clogh before there was the building of the stone castle. Just below this field here in the hollow, when I was going to school in the village there would have been a large pile of stones and it was uncertain whether this was the remains of some of the castle coming across the road, which is a new road, Ballybogey Road going from Clogh down to Ballyweaney Church and the theory I had was that these stones could have come from the fort because very often there was so much tradition and superstition about removing any ancient monument that if the fort had been erased by men cultivating the field that the stones from it would have been perhaps left nearby. Early maps record the Fort up on the high ground which is the most obvious position of the Fort but perhaps we’ll go to the castle and talk about some of the happenings and visitors that came to Clogh Castle.

We’re now making the ascent to Clogh Castle from the Cloughmills/Broughshane Road. In fact that road is the old military road from Coleraine to Carrickfergus but this is the approach that the rebel armies made in 1641 when this McDonnell stronghold came under siege by the Catholic armies and the Protestants of the district were inside. The castle was garrisoned by a man named Kennedy and an arrangement for surrender was made on condition that the natives would be allowed to go to Carrickfergus on their way back to Scotland. It’s said that whenever the gates were opened a number of women and children were slain outside the walls and as the party proceeded over the river Ravel on their way to Broughshane a large number of them were massacred by a clan by the name of O’Hara. The castle, as you can see here, has a commanding view over the whole area and it was a condition of the grant under King James I in 1603 when the McDonnells were given their lands back that a caput be established in each Barony and Clogh Castle was the head of Kilconway and Clogh or Oldstone was the ruling house of this area for many, many years and the castle originally was a McQuillan stronghold which the McDonnells acquired after the battle of Orra and famous people that called here were Shane O’Neill when he was marching to subdue the McDonnells of the Glens he camped overnight at Clogh Castle and in relation to the 1641 rebellion there were important letters written here by the rebel leaders saying that they had honoured the terms of the surrender and that it was completely out of their hands the massacres that followed. Over the years there have been excavations carried on, on this site and people have found different deer remains and pieces of pottery and some amateur archaeologists, including a former Police Sergeant from Cloughmills, did some excavations and most of these are recorded. The area would be rich in souterrains or underground passages and some people say that the passages go from the castle here to the graveyard, the old church, the old medieval church and the graveyard but any souterrain that I ever was in only went for about five or six meters and there are certainly a few of them about the village. All that remains of the castle today is the one pillar, which has been renovated. Part of the rectangular gateway arch which was an entrance into the courtyard and not the castle proper … the castle was much erased, well Cromwell’s Church had a go at making the castle inhabitable and I think those troops were probably under Veneables and I think Monroe and his men had also a go at wrecking the walls or the fortress here but the greatest factor of taking away the castle remains was a quarry which started off out at the street in the village there and came in here and as well as blasting rock and getting stones for the new roads and repairing the roads it was always a bonus when large chunks of the castle wall fell down and they were able to use that aswell. So the rectangular gateway that remains here stood like a silhouette against the sky and for large areas around here it could have been seen as a handle of an old wash tub and was often referred to as ‘the lug of the tub’, there being a lot of Scottish speaking people or Scottish dialect in this district. So the local pub got its name about 30 years ago from this landmark and a strange coincidence was that these lands, like the lands around Carnlough, were part of the Manor of Van Tempest or the Van Tempest family who had been married to a daughter of the Earl of Antrim and Winston Churchill acquired these lands or his ancestors were the owners of these lands and the local people say that it’s no coincidence that this great archway collapsed on the day that Winston Churchill died.

Interviewer: When was that?

Harry: 1956 or something like that.

Interviewer: Where was the actual entrance?

Harry: That gateway there.

Interviewer: Coming up this way?

Harry: And there was a well behind there.

Interviewer: Do you remember it different when you were young Harry, do you remember there being more standing?

Harry: Oh aye. I remember when I was at school I often enquired about what this castle meant and nobody, even the schoolmaster, could tell me very much about it but I certainly remember running up the side wall and going across the high gateway.

Interviewer: Really?

Harry: Which was probably very dangerous and on Sunday it would have common to see … there would have been quite often you would have found somebody sunbathing lying on top of the wall.

Interviewer: What do you think caused it … just decay over years?

Harry: Well cattle had been grazing around here and the plaster is a very old sort of mortar with horse hair and blood in it and it’s been exposed to the elements up here with no pointing or maintenance and hopefully now at least there’s going to be one pillar of it remaining and some people have hopes that funds might be found to reinstate the archway but there will be nothing more … the building has come very close to the castle now and the motte and really there isn’t much hope of a large park or anything being made here around the castle.

Interviewer: No, it’s very close to the village. Is that tree the limit of the building.

Harry: No the building as I would have suggested earlier could have gone over the roadway and been over right to the road, over to Oldstone Manor where the new houses are built. There was a natural foss here actually between the motte and bailey and this is natural here but the quarrying came up to here and obviously the building was all around that and went down over towards the street on that side.

Interviewer: That’s that field where the …

Harry: That’s right. You could throw a stone from here over to Dunaghy Fort site.

Interviewer: Some views. On a good day how much can you see?

Harry: Well you can see the Sperrins well and you can see over to where the armies would have come up from Portna in the Bann and you can see down to Dunloy in the North West and from here you can see Slievenanee on the North East and Skerry Hill, Skerry Rock and Carncormick, or as we call it from here the Blacktop and Slemish mountain and right round and on a good day one can see the Mournes over the Parish Church roof there and the approaches to Ballymena and the Braid Valley. Local legend has it that whenever the castle in Clogh finally falls there will be a red haired woman and a black haired man killed. So one wonders whether that’s the story to prevent the planter from marrying the ____ whether there is any significance in that. I have heard old men, different old people have told me that they heard that story.

Interviewer: Killed by the falling, killed by the …

Harry: Yeah.

Interviewer: The stones falling.

Harry: Or some feat would become of them.

Interviewer: Right. Anything to do with fairies around here?

Harry: Well there wouldn’t be, you see we wouldn’t talk about … we would talk about the fairy thorn but I mean the word fairy isn’t really appropriate for these parts but there is certainly plenty of beliefs and folk myths and charms.

Interviewer: Really?

Harry: I’ll show you a really good fairy tree that exists on our farm to this day. Just below … because Clogh was famous for its fairs before the establishment of markets in the local towns the fairhill is the area from the castle down to here and we’re now going in what is called in the back lonan and on our left is the pound, with the pound well which was the area where stray cattle from the fair were shut until they were claimed at the end of the day. As we go through this laneway we come up to another well here on the left and this well supplied the two schools with water up here, with their drinking water and one was the Clogh National School which had Presbyterians and Catholics and the other school was Dunaghy School which was the Church of Ireland School. The Moore family gave the land for this school on the condition that the only language taught in it would be English and the children seem to have a bit of rivalry between them because they played on the same stretch of roadway in front of the school and whenever the children went for water to the well it was quite common for them to throw the water round each other and I’ve heard that whenever the schoolmaster enquired why they were late coming back with the water they said that they were drenching the children from the other school and no punishment or no reprimand was made.

We just passed the old Rectory in Clogh in the Main Street. That was the Rectory which the Minister lived in before the new Rectory was built in Glebe in about 1840. A famous Rector there was Maine, the Reverend William Maine. We were very honoured that he wrote a large piece in Shaw Mason or in the Parochial Survey of Ireland. Clogh would have about … the Dunaghy Parish would have about 200 pages of how people were living at the time and what the practices were in farming and it’s reputed that Maine was robbed when he was, no Rowan an earlier Rector was robbed, the first Presbyterian Minister in Clogh was Rowan but he conformed to Episcopacy and when he was living in the Main Street and having joined the Church of Ireland he became a wealthy man owning 200 head of cattle and very often was visited by the Earl of Antrim and it’s said that on one occasion he was robbed and the bundatty entered his Rectory by an upstairs window and it took two ponies or two horses to carry all his money away and the writer Maine said that from that he would deduce from what the local people told him that either the horses were ponies or his money was brass. We’re now approaching from the old Military Road heading towards Broughshane on the pass of Knockboy on the right is the large edifice of Dunboton Fort. A preliminary investigation was made here by Dr. McNeill in the 1950s and is well documented and while we probably would like to take a view from the top here and see how important the position or location of this fort was in early days of Ulster where there was the old Kingdoms and Chewits and this marked the end ______ and perhaps we should just make an ascent of Dunboton give you some idea of how much you can see from the upper part. This field here and those sheep, lambs must think they’re being fed. Those are Suffolk Down rams that are being reared for sale for breeding and crossing with Cross Bred ewes which would be a cross between the blackface from the mountains in the upper part of the parish, the blackface and the Border Leister or even crossed on the Cheviot. Some Fresian cattle are in the field as well. About 50 years ago it would have been all Shorthorn cattle but this part of County Antrim like everywhere else has now got its share of Fresians for milk and the continental breeds like the Charlois and the Semential and still some Aberdeen Angus and even Galloway and some Heriford. This fence here is good for to keep the sheep from passing through and probably it’s difficult for us to get over with out getting … a sort of primitive stile here.

Interviewer: Go ahead.

Harry: I think I’ll let you go and hold this Caroline this for you because it’s not altogether secure.

Interviewer: No it’s not. I’ll stand here while you …

Harry: Could you please?

Interviewer: Yes.

Harry: I sort ______put his coat down for the lady but on this occasion …

Interviewer: Do you want to go over?

Harry: Dr. Tom McNeill excavated on a preliminary basis or on a sort of experimental basis a small area of this fort in the 1950s using some of the older pupils from Clogh Primary School. I would very often have come down here on a Sunday just to see how much he had dug but all that was found was taken and kept in the school and until they found a mass burial of human remains and these were found not buried in Christian formation East West but some of them had skull marks, X’s on their head and some of them had been obviously deformed and these bones were kept in the Ulster Museum until a ______otologist was appointed at Queens two or three years ago and there’s a very good article in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology about, describing these skeletons and saying what the cause of death was. You can see the ring formation of the fence right round the top here.

Interviewer: It’s just a pity the day wasn’t clearer.

Harry: It’s a pity the view wasn’t better but we can still see from here much of the surrounding countryside. I think Dr. McNeill’s work was to try and find sort of Norman evidence of Norman building here. So whether that’s, I think probably Dr. McNeill would be the best person to ask and hopefully we’ll have him another night in the Glens of Antrim to talk about his dig at Dunboten Fort in Dunaghy.

Interviewer: It’s big enough isn’t it?

Harry: Have you done down the Glens have you?

Interviewer: No.

Harry: Do you want me to do a wee bit, I’ll do a wee bit …

Interviewer: Yes.

Harry: Of the townlands in this Parish 35 of them, there is only one that has an English name Springmount. It’s name was originally Drumnatickle. We are now in the townland of Limavanagh and this is Limavanagh Road leading into this fishery and I’ll let you have a word with someone who will tell you what they’re doing here.

This is down at the fish farm here at the Clogher Ravel river. The water here is very clean in this river. There aren’t many farmers above stream, up stream, here making silage and this has been one of the few fish farms that has escaped pollution. On one occasion there was some pollution from the DOE because of a treatment plant up at Dungonnell discharged some chemical into the river but here’s the lovely fresh water of the Ravel coming down here and coming into different tanks. Some of the tanks are breeding tanks where the spawn is taken and grown into fry and the tanks up at a higher level there and some tanks are for the finished trout here, the Rainbow trout. Many of these trout are going off packed in boxes of ice to England, north of England and Scotland and some are used in restaurants for the home market here including my own restaurant in Clogh village. The old mill that used to be driven by the river here was a flax mill and there were two mills down in the Corby here and one of them was called Kilbreast mill and the other one was known just as the Corby mill. There’s a famous song Corby Mill and it’s about a girl from the Corby mill called McAuley I think it was and this song described all the virtue and beauty of her. Working in the mill was a job in the winter time whenever the flax was being scutched and then large stacks of tow or tow as the local people called it were left and into part of the summer the men would be given some were scutching the tow were given some more of the flax for sale in Ballymena. In Ballymena, after the flax was scutched it was taken to originally the linen halls in Ballymena and then to the market place or the fair hill and the buyers came along and pulled out the flax and they knew by the fibre whether it had been properly retted in the dam or properly scutched or dried or hadn’t been dried properly and hadn’t heated in a pile or anything and they always tried to talk the farmer down and tell him that his flax was of a middle grade or a lower grade and the stories in those day of flax mills … fires were very common because whenever engines came in, steam engines driving the mills sparks about the place from chimneys very often caught the tow or the shews as they called the fine scutch material that came away and many stories are told of friendships and love affairs that grew up in the mills because sometimes the women were, they didn’t scutch with the big blades going round but they would have been strickening and rowing flax to put it through crimpers to crack the fibre, to the crack the plant as it grew in the field and was retted and before it went into the scutcher. As we move around we will see the tanks where the fry are here and also to our right are some of the very large rainbow trout that have been caught for exporting this afternoon.

Interviewer: Is it okay to take a photo of them? It might not work the way they’re moving.

Harry: Here you can see in these long tanks with the water continually changing in them literally millions of little fries that are going to grow into rainbow trout for the table.

Interviewer: Is it all just the same fish, trout?

Harry: Oh aye it’s all trout, aye there is no salmon or anything here but they have to make sure there is no pollution. There is maybe an odd farmer making silage upstream now but the old mills and all are down in there. There is a big cliff or a big rock face up there.

Interviewer: Yes.

Harry: Apparently there was ____ down in here. That yard in there in round your man’s house that was the old mill that he’s living in. Here we are in the churchyard of Dunaghy and this is a very old churchyard. All the burials here are east-west and the old ruins of the parish church, at one time the Presbyterian Church, and before the reformation the early Irish Church and this hill overlooks Slemish and overlooks Skerry and the Braid and one would wonder whether Saint Patrick didn’t be here in Dunaghy in this Parish. The church dates back to, records are in the taxation of Pope Nicholas in the 14th century for a Church at Dunaghy but as time went on in later visits to this parish it’s recorded that the church is in ruins and people, pagan interest and that seem to change time about with the establishment of Christianity but the parish church existed here until 1840 when a new church was built in the village and that church is not built in an east west direction. It was just built in the point of the land that was given for the building of the church and that church has an ecclesiastically east window instead of a real east window. Rowan, the early Rector from Clogh in the 17th century kept an account book and that records repairs to the door of this church and rope for a bell that came through a hole in the roof and in that book he also records the purchasing of lace at the time of the death of some of his children as well as having reported the taking of his children to a holy well at Armoy and mentioning of course his meetings with the Earl of Antrim in Clogh. But if we go inside the church which has now no roof and no tops to the windows here but it is still a substantial building. We can see the old memorials on the walls. Some of them too badly worn to be read.

Interviewer: Was that ever readable, that you remember?

Harry: There were some dates taken off it in the early 1700s. There is a Thomas Benn buried in the churchyard in Dunaghy here who was one of the Benn’s of Glenravel, the benefactors of the Benn hospital in Belfast.

Interviewer: Glenravel Street?

Harry: That’s right and some of my own ancestors are buried here. The family Campbells burial ground is in here and my grandfather Henry Campbell Hume who as well as being a farmer operated a posting business of horses and he did funerals, he did many funerals in the Glens up until the 1940s. Other names that were associated with this church and the Rectory (a new Rectory was built in the 1940s just over the wall here to replace the Rectory in the village) was James Samuel Duly Monsol the famous hymn writer who wrote ‘Rest of the Weary’ and ‘Fight the Good Fight’. Another Rector in Clogh in the Church in the village was, his name was Thorpe and he was a Great Uncle of Jeremy Thorpe the former Liberal Party Leader in Britain.

Interviewer: So how do you get permission to actually bury inside? How long does the Church have to be out of …

Harry: Well the ground must have been allocated, this ground here must have been allocated to families just set as burying ground and you were probably either fortunate or unfortunate that you found a grave inside the church. I always tell visitors here that unless I’m buried at sea I’ll probably rest within the walls of Dunaghy Old Parish Church.

Interviewer: You still have burial rights or burial plot or whatever?

Harry: Oh yes this is still, this ground is now maintained by the Ballymena Borough Council and it is the only place of sepulchre in this parish which means that the Presbyterians and Church of Ireland, Plymouth Brethren, Baptism and even people from Belfast and further afield whose families have been in this area originally bury here and the Rector wrote about this place that judging by the size of the memorials on the headstones here, the value of mortals was nowhere in Ireland greater than in the Churchyard at Dunaghy. You can see some big memorials to the Couples family. Some of the headstones here would have a Scottish connection. They would have been erected by someone who worked in the collier office in Glasgow and yes some headstones have fallen down. Thankfully these names were recorded about two years ago and Ballymena Borough Council hopefully will publish the list of headstones in Clogh burying ground in the not too distant future.

Interviewer: How long have the Plymouth Brethren been here? Did they have their own Church?

Harry: Yes there’s a Gospel Hall in the village which I can remember being there in the 1940s and it probably dates back earlier than that to the 1930s. The Baptist Church used to have a Baptist Preacher and in the 1901 and 1911 Census he was recorded as living with his family in the Manse beside the Church and he was blind, a blind Pastor.

Interviewer: It’s quite big isn’t it? All the graves are quite spaced out.

Harry: It’s a spacious burying ground but it’s unfortunate that much of the ground, the new graves are difficult to maintain in this cemetery today and it’s only on the occasion of a death that one can acquire ground for burial.

Interviewer: Oh. You can’t buy in advance, no?

Harry: The ground is rocky and there’s a plan to dig so many graves and be able to open them again whenever there is need for them. This very high pointed tombstone was to the McKay family of the townland of Dunshamp. These people farm the whole townland of Dunshamp and from their residence they can look up to the churchyard here and see this spire pointing heavenward.

Interviewer: It’s like a round tower.

Harry: Round tower.

Interviewer: A war memorial type thing even.

Harry: It’s completely in tact and a broken tower like that would mean that there had been divorce in the family or that there had been suicide. There’s a good example of that in Ballymarl cemetery to O’Hara family just outside Ballymena.

Interviewer: Is this where your family is Harry?

Harry: Oh yes that’s in the grave in the churchyard where Campbell was.

Interviewer: Oh aye but there’s no Hume’s no?

Harry: Oh yes the one below it was Hume. In fact my grandfather was Henry Campbell Hume like myself and probably the Campbell family were benefactors or he acquired their land, he acquired the lands from Arthur Campbell and the grave normally goes to the person that inherits the land.

Interviewer: Right.

Harry: Hugh Boyd married a daughter of Rowan who was the early Rector here and they fixed this up lately. This used to be all surrounded because there was body snatching in Clogh at a time. There was actually a family taken up here for sending boys to the … I’ll have to get you more on that.

Interviewer: Oh God aye.

Harry: That’s why there is big high railings round some of the graves you know.

In memory of Mary Maine. He was the Rector there and I mean I have the writing.

Interviewer: That’s M-A-I.

Harry: M-A-I-N-E, aye.

Interviewer: You see the way it fades.

Harry: Aye. The Reverend Maine. Names changed you know.

Interviewer: I know … just how they spelt them.

Harry: You couldn’t have a nicer place to have a picnic or something, say come up into that there and view all around.

Interviewer: I love old graveyards.

Harry: So do I. You see there’s a broken one there but I think it’s probably broken by vandalism. Look at the way that has fallen there. I don’t think the kids would have done that now. It’s just sort of …

Interviewer: Where is that bit that’s broke off?

Interviewer: How do you say it, Ferna …?

Harry: Ferna_____ that’s another townland here Ferna ______ and her husband John died 31st October (Halloween), 1950. He was my uncle. This was some lodge in Scotland no surrender or something or other.

Interviewer: There is a crossbones and skull.

Harry: Aye there was some queer symbols. I think this might have something to do with Orange because there is a crown on top of the Bible and this is a cross and a ladder, Jacobs ladder and I don’t know, I’m not an Orange Order or anything.

Interviewer: Is that what that means, yeah?

Harry: On their sashes they have wee ladders. You see it’s supposed to be a religious … I think people misunderstand it. It’s really a religious order but to me it’s _____ and then the crowd that follows them is worse.

Interviewer: When you get young fellows, they don’t know the whole history you see.

Harry: No. They’re walking with bands. Someone told me there’s a good one down in Bushmills they have a big mural painted or is it Dervock and the sons of, what do you call the big Irish giant?

Interviewer: Finn McCool.

Harry: Finn McCool oh aye they have this big painting of Finn McCool.

Interviewer: Is that because of the Red Hand of Ulster?

Harry: Aye.

Interviewer: Aye.

Harry: And then it’s sons of Finn McCool or something and somebody said they were actually Fenians. Away back, I know when the Fenians Society started away after the Orange Order was formed away in County Armagh.

Interviewer: The Fenians are 1850s aren’t they?

Harry: Aye that’s right, the Fenians Society.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Harry: That’s right they counteracted the _____ boys that’s right. Where does Fenian come from?

Interviewer: Aye there’s an Irish version of it goes away back.

Harry: Somebody was telling that, that his sons were, Finn McCools sons were actually Fenians or something.

Interviewer: It could be a tribal name or something.

Harry: Aye.

Interviewer: Feniar or something.

Harry: Feniar, aye.

Interviewer: Something like that.

Harry: Anyway this boy was laughing at that this morning.

Interviewer: Aye that’s where the Red Hand of Ulster comes from. He threw it over, he cut his hand off and claimed the land and whoever gets there first claims the land.

Harry: And then that was told about an O’Neill as well you see isn’t it, was it not, O’Neill in Carrickfergus or something? Every grave in this graveyard is like this you see it and when the Council started burying here and then they actually turned the headstones round that now you’re walking up a road between two …

Interviewer: Facing each other.

Harry: Only this guy didn’t. This one is out of place with these, you see that. That must have been, they must ___________ aye this boy is only dead there, he was in the village. He would have been worth … well he wasn’t any older than me really. His brother, he has a brother I would like you to talk to sometime.

Interviewer: You can’t really see the flowers in them.

Harry: Well those have all withered. You see when those were new they were nice and clear well then the sunlight sort of …. there’s our family burial, our parents are buried there. My father’s name is not on it yet. I’ll have to get concrete on that bit.

Interviewer: That’s my birthday.

Harry: Is it, the 7th of August?

Interviewer: 31st of January.

Harry: Oh 31st of January. That’s when my grandfather died and his wife, actually his name is on that other headstone in yonder. He’s buried in yonder but then my grandmother … he is buried with his first wife. She didn’t want to lie with her.

Interviewer: Right.

Harry: So she was buried in new ground out here and it still says in memory of Henry Campbell Hume. People will think in years to come he is buried there.

Interviewer: No, in memory.

Harry: He’s not really.

Interviewer: Just in memory.

Harry: People make a pilgrimage to these places with flowers. This man here, my father’s brother. He went out one day after lunch to put a stray cow in a field and a bull attacked him and he was found dead lying in the field at night. That was a tragedy. I was at a Young Farmer’s meeting and they came and told me that my uncle was killed out on the farm and I had to go and tell my father.

Interviewer: I don’t like bulls.

Harry: Do you know what they were doing here? They were stealing those marble surrounds to make fireplaces.

Interviewer: Sure that would have been bad luck.

Harry: They must be working at the wall or something.

Interviewer: That looks like it was originally an entrance.

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