The town received a charter of incorporation from Chas. II., in the 22nd of his reign, dated June 10th, 1670, which granted to Sir John Brodrick, Knt., that his estate should be constituted the manor of Midleton, with a seneschal, a court baron, and a court of record with jurisdiction within the manor to the amount of £200; and that the town, with the castle and lands of Castle-Redmond and Corabbey, part of the said manor, should be a free borough and corporation, under the designation of the "borough and town of Midleton." By this charter the corporation consists of a sovereign, two bailiffs, twelve free burgesses, and an indefinite number of freemen, assisted by a recorder, town-clerk, and other officers. The sovereign, who is a justice of the peace within the borough, and the two bailiffs, are annually chosen from the burgesses by a majority of that body, by whom also freemen are admitted by favour only. The recorder, who is also town-clerk and seneschal of the manor, is appointed by the lord of the manor. The limits of the borough comprise an area of 100 acres encircling the town. Under the charter the corporation continued to return two members to the Irish parliament till the Union; when the borough was disfranchised. The manorial court of record, formerly held by the seneschal every three weeks, for the recovery of debts not exceeding £200 late currency, has not been held since 1832. The general quarter sessions for the East Riding of the county are held here in June and November. The court-house is a neat and commodious edifice of hewn limestone, situated at the western entrance into the town; and adjoining it is a small but well-arranged bridewell.
The parish, which is also called Castra-na-chore, comprises 5320 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act ; the soil, though in some parts light, is fertile, and the system of agriculture greatly improved; there is neither waste land nor bog. The substratum is generally limestone, which is quarried for agricultural and building purposes; and the surrounding scenery is pleasingly diversified, and in many points highly picturesque. The principal seats are Cahirmore, the property of Lord Midleton, at present occupied by his lordship's agent, T. Poole, Esq.; Bally-Edmond, the residence of R. Courtenay, Esq.; Broomfield House, of D. Humphreys, Esq.; Killeagh Farm, of W. Welland, Esq.; Charleston, of the Rev. R. Deane Freeman; Ballinacurra Lodge, of T. H. Rumley, Esq.; and Lake View, of S. Fleming, Esq. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the tithes amount to £897. 16. 7. The glebe-house, a large and handsome residence, is pleasantly situated; and the glebe comprises 15 acres of good land. The church, erected in 1823 at an expense of £3000, a loan from the late Board of First Fruits, is a handsome structure, in the later English style, with an embattled tower crowned with pinnacles, and surmounted by a light and elegant spire, erected after a design and under the immediate superintendence of Messrs. Pain: it was recently repaired by aid of a grant of £202 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In the churchyard is a mausoleum of grey marble, in the Grecian style, having in front a pediment resting on two lofty pillars, between which is a tablet of white marble, inscribed to Charles Brodrick, D.D., Archbishop of Cashel, and formerly rector of the parish, fourth son of George, Viscount Midleton; and to his wife, the Hon. Lady Brodrick, second daughter of R. Woodward, D.D., Bishop of Cloyne, by their seven surviving children. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parishes of Ballyspillane, Inchynebacky, Mogeeshy, and Ballyouteragh; the chapel, near the eastern extremity of the town, is a spacious edifice, and there is also a chapel at Ballintoretis. A convent of nuns of the order of the Presentation has been recently completed; it is a handsome building on the road to Ballinacurra, and consists of a centre and two wings, one of which forms the domestic chapel, and the other a school-room for girls, who are gratuitously taught by the ladies of the convent. This is one of the institutions of that order, for the erection of which Miss Gould, a sister in the Presentation convent of Doneraile, bequeathed £10,000. A college was founded here, in 1709, by Lady Elizabeth Villiers, afterwards Countess of Orkney, who endowed it with lands in the baronies of Kinnalea, Kerrycurrihy, and Carbery, in this county, vested in trustees, with power to appoint the master. These estates were let by the trustees in perpetuity at a reserved rent of £200 per ann., of which £100 is paid as a salary to the master; in this school have been educated several eminent men, among whom was the Rt. Hon. John Philpot Curran; it is now a seminary of very high character. Nearly 500 children are taught in four public schools, of which the parochial male and female schools are supported by Lord Midleton, who provided both school-rooms, and a residence each for the master and mistress, and by the rector. There are a dispensary and a fever hospital, the latter a handsome building. At Bailick are some remains of Castle Redmond, built by Redmond Fitzgerald, or Fitz-Edmund in the reign of Hen. VIII., and in which the last R. C. Bishop of Cloyne, prior to the Reformation, was born. There are at Cahir-more some remains of the castle built, in 1579, by R. Fitzgerald, or Barry, from which the seneschal of Imokilly was driven out by Capt. Raleigh, in 1580, and obliged to take refuge in Chore abbey, which was formerly in the churchyard of Midleton, whence he was also compelled to retreat by the same assailant. The abbey, which was a stately edifice of great strength, was built by the Knights Templars in 1298, and the last remains of it were taken down to afford a site for the present church. At Coppingerstown are the ruins of a castle of the Fitzgeralds; on the south side of the town are some very slight remains of an hospital, founded by Edw. I. at Ballinacurra are the ruins of the old parish church, and at Ballyannan are the remains of the mansion built by the first Lord Midleton. A large belt and the horns of a moose deer were found in a bog on Lord Midleton's estate; and on Killeagh Farm were found numerous silver coins of the reign of Elizabeth. Midleton gives the title of Viscount to the family of Brodrick.