The area of administration was constituted by taking a large market town as a nucleus and attaching to it the surrounding rural district with an approximate radius of ten miles. Since such had been the rationale behind the establishment of market towns here following the Plantation, it resulted in a much more stable and homogonous Union than the average Poor Law Union over England and Wales. Indeed our local government ever since has been based on similar regions.
Newry Union was one of the most populous. It stretched from Rathfriland to Jonesborough to Mountnorris. It ranked as thirty fourth in Ireland and was declared on May 3 1839. It encompassed an area of 138,000 acres which in 1831 had a population of 88,181 (incidentally close to today’s population of Newry & Mourne District Council). Its electoral divisions then, with their respective populations were:
In County Down : – Newry, 10,004: Ouley 2,974: Crobane 3,601: Donaghmore 2,378: Glen 2,985: Warrenpoint 4,125: Upper Clonallan 4,053: Rathfriland 4,419: Drumgath 2,683: Hilltown 2,457: and Clonduff 3,320.
County Armagh : – Ballybot 5,831: Mullaghglass 2,294: Poyntzpass 5,311: Mountnorris 3,276: Belleeks 3,193: Tullyhappy 3,133: Ballymoyer 2,729: Jonesborough 3,972: Killeavey 4,199: Camlough 4,572: Forkhill 3,851 and Latbirget 2,921.
The number of ex-officio guardians was ten, and of elected guardians thirty one. Of these, four were elected by the division of Newry, two each by Ballybot, Warrenpoint, Rathfriland, Poyntzpass and Camlough, and one each by the other divisions. Ballybot division was in the borough of Newry and the baronies of Upper and Lower Orior.
The number of tenements valued for poor law rates was as follows: in the borough of Newry, 2,745: in Newry Lordship, exclusive of the borough, 1,794: in Upper Iveagh 5,542: in Lower Fews 361: Upper Fews 530: Lower Orior 2,330: Upper Orior , exclusive of the borough 5,255: and in the whole Union 18,557. Of this total, the numbers with their values were as follows:
Of rateable value less than (