Newtownstewart (Irish: Lislas) is a village and townland (of 540 acres) in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is overlooked by hills called Bessy Bell and Mary Gray and is at the confluence of the rivers Strule and Owenkillew. It is situated in the historic barony of Strabane Lower and the civil parish of Ardstraw. In the 2001 Census it had a population of 1,479 people. It lies within the Strabane District Council area.
- The townland of Newtownstewart was historically called Lislas. It gained its current name when the land was granted to Sir William Stewart as part of the Plantation of Ulster.
- The Northern Bank building on the corner was the scene of an infamous murder in 1871 when bank cashier William Glass was robbed of £1,600k and killed. Assistant District Inspector Thomas Hartley Montgomery, of the Royal Irish Constabulary, who was in charge of the investigation, was subsequently tried, convicted, and hanged at Omagh Gaol.
- The local flute band has been in existence since 1979.
Places of interest
- Three miles to the south west lies Baronscourt, the country seat of the Duke of Abercorn with its neo-classical mansion and ornate Italian style gardens, the home of the Duke of Abercorn’s family since 1612. It also features an 18-hole golf course in the estate.
- Half a mile south-west of Newtownstewart, on a hill, is ruined Harry Avery's Castle, a 14th-century Gaelic stone castle - most unusual in Ulster. Only the massive D-shaped twin towers of the keep, built by Henry Aimbreidh O' Neil (Harry Avery O'Neill) (died 1392), are left.
- Newtownstewart also has the plantation castle of the Stewart family, where an intact Bronze Age cist grave was found. It was excavated in 1999. Stewart Castle was built in 1619 by Sir Robert Newcomen in an English manor house style. It suffered extensive damage during the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and its subsequent capture by Sir Phelim O' Neill, and in 1689 on King James' return from the Siege of Derry. The castle has remained a ruin ever since.
Theobald Wolfe Tone, was imprisioned in the towns Police station (situ at num 5 Townhall St) for one night after his capture on 12 October 1798, en route to his execuation in Dublin on 19 November 1798.
- (excerpt from Newtonstewart Remembered by Billy Dunbar)
Newtownstewart is classified as a village by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 1,000 and 2,250). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,479 people living in Newtownstewart. Of these:
- 22.8% were aged under 16 years and 18.7% were aged 60 and over
- 50.5% of the population were male and 49.5% were female
- 54.7% were from a Catholic background and 45.1% were from a Protestant background
- 5.8% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
- Thomas Burnside (1782–1851), member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania and associate justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, born near Newtownstewart.
- Thomas Maclear (1794–1879), Astronomer Royal at the Cape of Good Hope, was born in Newtownstewart.
- Dukes of Abercorn, reside at Baronscourt, near Newtownstewart
- Johnny Loughrey, Irish singer born in Newtownstewart in 1945, died in 2005.
Construction of the Irish gauge (Irish Standard Gauge), Londonderry and Enniskillen Railway (L&ER) began in 1845 and reached Strabane in 1847. By 1852 it had extended to Newtownstewart and Omagh and its terminus in Enniskillen was reached in 1854. The company was absorbed into the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) in 1883. Newtownstewart railway station opened on 9 May 1852 and finally closed on 15 February 1965.
- "Townlands of County Tyrone". IreAtlas Townland Database. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- Placenames Database of Ireland (see archival records)
- Patterson, Edward M (1962). The County Donegal Railways. Dawlish: David and Charles. pp. 10–11.
- "Newtownstewart station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
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