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Augher

Augher was enfranchised by a charter of 1614, 11 James I. Its officers were a burgomaster, 12 free burgesses and two serjeants-at-mace. It was jointly vested in the families of Moutray and Bunbury. Sometime in the seventeenth century the Bunbury part of the borough had passed to the Rev. Archibald Erskine, whose daughter and heiress, Mary, married William Richardson; and their son, Archibald Richardson (1780), was returned for Augher in 1692. William Richardson (1785) sat from 1737 until his death in 1755, and Archibald Richardson's grandson, St George Richardson (1783), represented the borough from 1755 to 1760. The Moutrays were at Favour Royal near by from plantation times until the mid-twentieth century. James Moutray (1502) sat for Augher in the first parliament of William III (1692-3) and the first parliament of Queen Anne (1703-13), and James Moutray (1503) from 1761 to 1776. Tyrone was a plantation county and, with the exception of Clogher, the boroughs were plantation boroughs379 incorporated in the reign of James I. Augher was the smallest and most insignificant of these three boroughs. It was in the Clogher valley, about halfway between Ballygawley and Clogher. It comprised a few houses round a crossroads; Augher Castle, the home of the Richardson family, adjoined it.

The borough was bought in 1790 by the Marquess of Abercorn for £11,500 Irish (c. £10,600 English), and the arrangements were made by the Knox family (1180, 1188).380 At this time Augher was described as follows:

This close Borough, ever since the Revolution, was divided between the families of Moutray and Mervyn, till some years ago that the heiress of the latter family having married the late Colonel Rochfort (1805), a moiety of the representation devolved in her right to him but they both having died a few years since without issue, their share of the Borough became the property of the Richardson family, who at present possess it.381 The only electors here are the twelve Burgesses, who are chosen agreeably to the alternate recommendation of the proprietors, who are from thence obviously the namers of its representatives.

One of the seats is regularly sold, the present head of the Moutray family being a clergyman, the other is filled by Sir William Richardson (1788), the joint proprietor, who will again be chosen for it, whenever a dissolution of Parliament shall take place.382

The estate of Augher belonged to the Mervyns, but Augher Castle and the Manor of Augher belonged to the Richardsons. There may have been an arrangement between these two families,who were connected. In 1776 William Fortick (0800) and George Hamilton (0923) were returned; Hamilton purchased his seat from Moutray and Fortick from Mrs Rochfort Mervyn, who died shortly thereafter in June 1776. By 1783 Augher had 'very few inhabitants. Patrons and proprietors, Mr Moutray and Mr Richardson.' The terms of the Abercorn purchase were that 'His Lordship gave Mr Moutray £5,500 and Sir William Richardson £6,000. However Richardson was to have one seat and Moutray another seat in the Parlt that was to meet the 20th of May 1790 and then prorogued to the 8th of June following.'383 The MPs who were returned were Thomas Coghlan (0433) and Edmund Stanley (1978), 'an expectant lawyer',both of whom probably purchased. The hand-over appears to have taken place during the period of the election. The preliminaries of the purchase were signed in April 1790, the election took place on 11 May and the resignation of the burgesses about the same time. The transfer was completed on 29 September, when Moutray swore in Lord Abercorn's nominee as burgomaster.

Augher was disfranchised by the Act of Union; the £15,000 compensation was paid to James, Marquess of Abercorn.

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Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC100280