I visited the town of Comber for today’s townland – Mount Alexander.
Only the northern part of Comber is in Mount Alexander: the square is in the townland of Town Parks.
Mount Alexander takes its name from a large manor house built in the 17th century for Hugh Montgomery and his bride from Scotland, Jean Alexander. Jean Alexander’s house no longer exists but is recalled (maybe exaggerated?) in local street names as a castle: Castle Street, Castle Lane, Castlehill, Castlelodge.
Other streets have been named after the Enler river: Enler Park, Enler Gardens, Enler Drive.
What was the townland called before the arrival of Lady Jean? I don’t know, and I don’t even know if it existed as a separate space. The website of the Northern Ireland Place-Names Project suggests that it was carved out of a number of surrounding townlands.
From 1661 to 1757 there was an Earl of Mount Alexander, but nobody bears that title today. Comber pays more attention to “Earlies” than “Earls” these days, with a food festival in June to celebrate the local “Comber Early” potatoes harvested in May to July. Here are some potato plants in a field beside Darragh Road in Mount Alexander.There is one green space in Mount Alexander that is not farmed. Known as ‘The Green’ because it was once a bleaching green for linen, it is now a cricket pitch, home to North Down Cricket Club.
I will finish with a gravestone from St Mary’s Parish Church in Comber, for the Gibson family of Mount Alexander.
Which civil parish is Mount Alexander in? Comber
Which county is Mount Alexander in? County Down