Rev William Richardson of Clonfeacle – Political Parson & would be Horticulturalist Tuesday 27th Sept 8.00pm Church of Ireland Parish Hall, Benburb

Rev William Richardson of Clonfeacle – Political Parson & would be  Horticulturalist

The ONeill Country Historical Society commences its Autumn Lecture Series with a talk on Rev William Richardson of Clonfeacle delivered by Dr Allan Blackstock.

Reverend William Richardson, who, despite his connections to Coleraine, became vicar at Benburb  during the United Irish trouble of the later 1790s – Richardson, along with Thomas Knox of Dungannon, was a prime mover in the establishment of yeomanry corps to counteract the United Irishmen and their allies, the Defenders – both men saw mid Ulster as crucial in stopping the spread of the United Irish system from eastern Ulster to the west of the province.

As well as being involved in politics William Richardson was primarily a botanist and his main interest was in fiorin grass. He believed that this grass could produce winter hay for livestock and function as an improving agent for Irelands extensive bogland. He thought planting with fiorin right to the summit of mountains would render such areas sources of food for livestock. But he exaggerated the benefits of fiorin and his remedies were ultimately failures. The main interest concerns his ability to publicise fiorin grass by writing and to connect with influential landowners (including the Marquis of Abercorn).

Dr Allan Blackstock is Reader Emeritus in History at the Ulster University. His research interests are in eighteenth and early nineteenth century Ireland and include popular politics and protest, print culture, associationalism and intellectual history. He is author of An Ascendancy Army: the Irish Yeomanry, 1796-1834 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1998) and Loyalism in Ireland, 1798-1829 (Boydell & Brewer Woodbridge, 2007).  He has also published a biographical study of the Reverend William Richardson.

 Tuesday 22 September at 8.00pm Church of Ireland Parish Hall, Benburb

Refreshments Served & All are Welcome