The people of Comber, its Industry,
its Characters and people of action
in photographic form.
A new book just released
The sad passing of
Britains greatest Jazz Singer.
Comber Audio Trail
COMBER TOWN SQUARE
as it used to be.
THE TITANIC CONNECTION
New Information and links
Read Norman Nevin's unpublished
history of Comber, prefaced by a
foreword by Erskine Willis.
Jim Gracey's comprehensive
Directory of Comber
is available now as a 30mb PDF file.
A Taste of Old Comber
A good read by Len Ball &
ISBN1 - 870132 - 06 - 08
COMBER HISTORICAL SOCIETY (CHS)
Welcome to the Website of Comber Historical Society. The Society was formed in 2000 and aims to preserve and record information relating to Comber and to make it available to all those with an interest in our town. Whether you are interested in the history of the town ? its people, places and events - or want to learn more about Comber as it is today, there will be something on the site for everybody. Please do get in touch with any comments and we'd be delighted to receive any old photographs or information you may have about Comber. This site will be regularly updated so please keep visiting.
You may wish to come along to meetings of Comber Historical Society. We meet on the second Monday of the month (September to April). at Comber Learning Centre, 1 Park Way Comber at 8.00 pm.
A donation of £3.00 per meeting is sought to help with costs
Some of the images to the left are clickable.
Check out the Comber Audio Trail ... Click on the picture to the left.
This sign is an indication of the most recent postings.
Talk by Mr Mark Thompson |
The guest speaker at the meeting of Comber Historical Society on 11th November 2013 was Mark Thompson who came to speak to us on the topic of, "The Scots Settlement of Hamilton and Montgomery".
Mark commented on the unfortunate reality that while schools tend to teach either British or Irish history the fascinating history that surrounds us and has done so much to shape our culture tends to be ignored and consequently is not widely known.
Many influences have shaped our culture from the Vikings through the Normans to the Native Irish clans such as the O’Neills but the period that Mark concentrated on was the several decades following the year 1600. Mark explained that the 1610 Plantation of Ulster, sponsored by King James I of England, did not include the area of Counties Down and Antrim. This was because they had been settled starting in 1606 by Hugh Montgomery and James Hamilton, Lowland Scots who encouraged many other Lowland Scots to settle in Ulster.
The intriguing, and opportunistic, means by which Montgomery and Hamilton acquired the lands of Conn O’Neill, the chief of the O’Neill clan was outlined. The Scots when they settled in Down and Antrim came to a land devastated by many years of war and the scorched earth policy adopted by the authorities to quell the nine years war with the native Irish which ended in 1603. By hard work they quickly settled and restored the land enabling it to support them and their families. Maps of the area produced at the instigation of Hamilton by Thomas Raven have left us with a record many of the features of the period including the settlement of New Comber on the Ballydrain Road little evidence of which now exists.
The Scots settlers had a massive impact on the east coast of Ulster and many of the features that surround us are part of their legacy. Among those mentioned were Bangor Abbey and Holywood Priory restored by Hamilton, the Customs House in Bangor built by Hamilton, Newtownards Priory restored by Montgomery, The market Cross in Newtownards built by Montgomery and Donaghadee Harbour developed by Montgomery.
The next meeting of Comber Historical Society will be on Monday 9 December 2013 in the Learning Centre, Parkway, Comber at 8.00pm when a talk by Desi Rainey has the intriguing title of, "Postcards and Pies".
All are invited and will be very welcome. A donation of £3 is requested to cover the provision of tea/coffee.
Comber Historical Society |
Programme 2013 - 2014
Comber Historical Society meets in the Learning Centre, Park Way, Killinchy Street, Comber at 8 pm on the 2nd Monday in the month.
A £3 contribution includes Tea / Biscuits.
For further details contact:
Marion Hanna (Hon., Secretary) 02891 874224
COMBER HISTORICAL SOCIETY
- Dec. 9 Postcards and Pies - Desi Rainey
- Jan. 13 Cistertcians in Co Down - Brian McDonald
- Feb. 10 Ballydrain Harriers - Jim Hayes
- Mar 10 History of Comber Mill - Johnny Andrews
- April 14 Photographic Archives of Down Museum
- May Outing to be arranged.
Comar, meeting place of the waters ? that was the name given by the ancients to a settlement at the northwest corner of Strangford Lough at the confluence of the Enler and Glen Rivers. Today we call it Comber, famous for its spuds.
Nomadic hunter gatherers arrived here around 10,000 years ago. St Patrick followed in their footsteps and founded a monastery, but its fame was eclipsed by the medieval Cistercian Abbey. Today that has vanished, and St Mary?s Parish Church occupies the site. 1606 saw an influx of Scots under James Hamilton and Hugh Montgomery. Among the newcomers were the ancestors of the Andrews family who brought much prosperity to Comber. By the late 18th century John, known as ?the great?, had established a linen bleach green, corn mills and a flour mill. In 1864 his grandson erected a flax spinning mill. Later members of the family include Thomas of Titanic fame and his elder brother John Miller, wartime prime minister.
Old Comber whiskey was produced at two distilleries in the town. Last distilling was in 1952, although the odd bottle is still available, at a price! Comber was also a railway junction, with steam trains chugging their way through for exactly 100 years from 1850. Today the long-awaited bypass runs along the route of the old track.
No visitor can fail to notice a tall monument in Comber?s Georgian Square. This commemorates Sir Robert Rollo Gillespie, who fought against the French and was killed while attempting to storm the fortress of Kalunga in Nepal in 1814. His reputed last words were ?One shot more for the honour of Down?. Another valiant soldier who made the supreme sacrifice was Edmund de Wind, awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918.
HOW YOU MAY CONTRIBUTE
One of the aims of Comber Historical Society is to preserve and record the history of Comber by noting all historical documents, artefacts, photographs and audio-video material relating to the town. We would be delighted if anyone who has any records or memories of Comber would get in touch.
Contact Desmond Rainey on 028 9187 8482 or email :-
NOTE FROM THE WEB EDITOR
The web editor is Adrian Hanna. I can be contacted at the address shown in the box below.
Should you wish to reproduce any material from this site, please credit Comber Historical Society.