Whitehead History

www.whitehead-ni.comWhitehead is a Victorian Railway Town built on the site of a former hamlet around Castle Chichester. Much of its history can be found in the book “Whitehead: The Town with no Streets” by P J O’Donnell.

Some other information can be found in several sources available in Whitehead Library or elsewhere. A few extracts, fully credited, are given here.

Castle Chichester, a ruin, which lies on private land and which cannot be accessed, can still be seen in Chester Avenue, opposite the junction with the King’s Road, Whitehead, or from Marine Parade. “Its square form, the style of its construction, particularly in its secret stairs constructed in its walls, suggest the idea that its erection took place in the 12th or 13th century….. . Its name, however, would imply otherwise, as the Chichesters were not possessed of any property in this country  until the conclusion of the 16th century …… .

There was, until about the middle of the 17th century, a considerable village or town at Castle Chichester. It possessed a harbour or quay, of which the remains are still to be seen. It had a considerable trade with Scotland, and was the station from whence the mails were dispatched to that country. The castle may probably have been for some time occupied by some of the Chichesters, or from some other cause or motive have received its present name on becoming their property.” Taken from “Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Parishes of County Antrim III 1833, 1835, 1839 – 40 Larne and Island Magee Vol.10 Edited by Angelique Day and Patrick McWilliams The Institute of Irish Studies The Queen’s University of Belfast”

“Upwards of 100 years ago a packet boat used to call at Castlechichester from Scotland to discharge its cargo and deliver letters.  A small boat used to attend the Parish to convey the letters to Belfast from Castlechichester for which it received £100 per annum.  At that time an agent resided at Castlechichester.” Taken from “N.I Public Record Office Parish of Island Magee 1830 -1840 Island Magee Parish Box 11 Antrim XI by James Boyle 1840”

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