coast fishing districts, and Ballina of a salmon-fishing district, and these fisheries are of some value to the poor inhabitants. A branch of the Midland Great Western railway enters the county from Athlone, in the south-east, and runs north to Ballina and Killala on the coast, branches diverging from Claremorris to Ballinrobe, and from Manulla to Westport and Achill on the west coast. The Limerick and Sligo line of the Great Southern and Western passes from south to north-east by way of Claremorris.
Population and Administration.—The population was 218,698 in 1891, and 199,166 in 1901. The decrease of population and the number of emigrants are slightly below the average of the Irish counties. Of the total population about 97% are rural, and about the same percentage are Roman Catholics. The chief towns are Ballina (pop. 4505), Westport (3892) and Castlebar (3585), the county town. Ballaghaderreen, Claremorris (Clare), Crossmolina and Swineford are lesser market towns; and Newport and Westport are small seaports on Clew Bay. The county includes nine baronies. Assizes are held at Castlebar, and quarter sessions at Ballina, Ballinrobe, Belmullet, Castlebar, Claremorris, Swineford and Westport. In the Irish parliament two members were returned for the county, and two for the borough of Castlebar, but at the union Castlebar was disfranchised. The division since 1885 is into north, south, east and west parliamentary divisions, each returning one member. The county is in the Protestant diocese of Tuam and the Roman Catholic dioceses of Taum, Achonry, Galway and Kilmacduagh, and Killala.
History and Antiquities.—Erris in Mayo was the scene of the landing of the chief colony of the Firbolgs, and the battle which is said to have resulted in the overthrow and almost annihilation of this tribe took place also in this county, at Moytura near Cong. At the close of the 12th century what is now the county of Mayo was granted, with other lands, by king John to William, brother of Hubert de Burgh. After the murder of William de Burgh, 3rd earl of Ulster (1333), the Bourkes (de Burghs) of the collateral male line, rejecting the claim of William’s heiress (the wife of Lionel, son of King Edward III.) to the succession, succeeded in holding the bulk of the De Burgh possessions, what is now Mayo falling to the branch known by the name of “MacWilliam Oughter,” who maintained their virtual independence till the time of Elizabeth. Sir Henry Sydney, during his first viceroyalty, after making efforts to improve communications between Dublin and Connaught in 1566, arranged for the shiring of that province, and Mayo was made shire ground, taking its name from the monastery of Maio or Mageo, which was the seat of a bishop. Even after this period the MacWilliams continued to exercise very great authority, which was regularized in 1603, when “the MacWilliam Oughter,” Theobald Bourke, surrendered his lands and received them back, to hold them by English tenure, with the title of Viscount Mayo (see Burgh, De). Large confiscations of the estates in the county were made in 1586, and on the termination of the wars of 1641; and in 1666 the restoration of his estates to the 4th Viscount Mayo involved another confiscation, at the expense of Cromwell’s settlers. Killala was the scene of the landing of a French squadron in connexion with the rebellion of 1798. In 1879 the village of Knock in the south-east acquired notoriety from a story that the Virgin Mary had appeared in the church, which became the resort of many pilgrims.
There are round towers at Killala, Turlough, Meelick and Balla, and an imperfect one at Aughagower. Killala was formerly a bishopric. The monasteries were numerous, and many of them of considerable importance: the principal being those at Mayo, Ballyhaunis, Cong, Ballinrobe, Ballintober, Burrishoole, Cross or Holycross in the peninsula of Mullet, Moyne, Roserk or Rosserick and Templemore or Strade. Of the old castles the most notable are Carrigahooly near Newport, said to have been built by the celebrated Grace O’Malley, and Deel Castle near Ballina, at one time the residence of the earls of Arran.
See Hubert Thomas Knox, History of the County of Mayo (1908).
MAYOR, JOHN EYTON BICKERSTETH (1825-), English classical scholar, was born at Baddegama, Ceylon, on the 28th of January 1825, and educated in England at Shrewsbury School and St John’s College, Cambridge. From 1863 to 1867 he was librarian of the university, and in 1872 succeeded H. A. J. Munro in the professorship of Latin. His best-known work, an edition of thirteen satires of Juvenal, is marked by an extraordinary wealth of illustrative quotations. His Bibliographical Clue to Latin Literature (1873), based on E. Hübner’s Grundriss zu Vorlesungen über die römische Litteraturgeschichte is a valuable aid to the student, and his edition of Cicero’s Second Philippic is widely used. He also edited the English works of J. Fisher, bishop of Rochester, i. (1876); Thomas Baker’s History of St John’s College, Cambridge (1869); Richard of Cirencester’s Speculum historiale de gestis regum Angliae 447-1066 (1863-1869); Roger Ascham’s Schoolmaster (new ed., 1883); the Latin Heptateuch (1889); and the Journal of Philology.
His brother, Joseph Bickersteth Mayor (1828-), classical scholar and theologian, was educated at Rugby and St John’s College, Cambridge, and from 1870 to 1879 was professor of classics at King’s College, London. His most important classical works are an edition of Cicero’s De natura deorum (3 vols., 1880-1885) and Guide to the Choice of Classical Books (3rd ed., 1885, with supplement, 1896). He also devoted attention to theological literature and edited the epistles of St James (2nd ed., 1892), St Jude and St Peter (1907), and the Miscellanies of Clement of Alexandria (with F. J. A. Hort, 1902). From 1887 to 1893 he was editor of the Classical Review. His Chapters on English Metre (1886) reached a second edition in 1901.
MAYOR (Lat. major, greater), in modern times the title of a
municipal officer who discharges judicial and administrative
functions. The French form of the word is maire. In Germany
the corresponding title is Bürgermeister, in Italy sindico, and in
Spain alcalde. “Mayor” had originally a much wider significance.
Among the nations which arose on the ruins of the
Roman empire of the West, and which made use of the Latin
spoken by their “Roman” subjects as their official and legal
language, major and the Low Latin feminine majorissa were
found to be very convenient terms to describe important officials
of both sexes who had the superintendence of others. Any
female servant or slave in the house
lold of a barbarian, whose
business it was to overlook other female servants or slaves, would
be quite naturally called a majorissa. So the male officer who
governed the king’s household would be the major domus. In
the households of the Frankish kings of the Merovingian line,
the major domus, who was also variously known as the gubernator,
rector, moderator or praefectus palatii, was so great an officer
that he ended by evicting his master. He was the “mayor of
the palace” (q.v.). The fact that his office became hereditary
in the family of Pippin of Heristal made the fortune of the
Carolingian line. But besides the major domus (the major-domo),
there were other officers who were majores, the major cubiculi,
mayor of the bedchamber, and major equorum, mayor of the
horse. In fact a word which could be applied so easily and with
accuracy in so many circumstances was certain to be widely used
by itself, or in its derivatives. The post-Augustine majorinus,
“one of the larger kind,” was the origin of the medieval Spanish
merinus, who in Castillian is the merino, and sometimes the
merino mayor, or chief merino. He was a judicial and administrative
officer of the king’s. The gregum merinus was the superintendent
of the flocks of the corporation of sheep-owners called
the mesta. From him the sheep, and then the wool, have come
to be known as merinos—a word identical in origin with the municipal
title of mayor. The latter came directly from the heads
of gilds, and other associations of freemen, who had their banner
and formed a group on the populations of the towns, the majores
baneriae or vexilli.
In England the major is the modern representative of the lord’s bailiff or reeve (see Borough). We find the chief magistrate of London bearing the title of portreeve for considerably more than a century after the Conquest. This official was elected by popular choice, a privilege secured from king John. By the beginning of the 11th century the title of portreeve gave way to that of mayor as the designation of the chief officer of
- If a place was of mercantile importance it was called a port (from porta, the city gate), and the reeve or bailiff, a “portreeve.”