CClassygowan is a townland adjacent to the town of St Johnston.
A burn passes through it and there are some ancient standing stones there. There is a former flax mill there and it used to be the site of the Roman Catholic Chapel which closed in 1860.
Classygowan is derived from the Gaelic. Chlasaigh becomes Classy in English. It means trench or furrow. Indeed there are features there that explain that. The burn runs through what looks like a rather deep furrow.
Gowan is best known as a surname derived from the Gaelic gobha which means an iron worker or smith. As there was running water and the spot was well frequented by worshippers and workers and farm labourers the possibility of a blacksmith having been stationed there is quite strong.
Classygowan appears as the spelling in the Derry Journal of July 24 1895 and is now the current spelling. Classygowan is spelled Clashygowan on the historic maps. It is theoretically divided into two: Upper Clashygowan and Lower Clashygowan.
There is a reference to Clashygowan in the records of the Duke of Abercorn. A bridge was commenced some time after 21st July 1783. The reference reads, “The bridge between Clashygowan and St Johnston mill”. The significant thing about this information is that Classy is Clashy which is closer to the gaelic.
Lower Clashygowan is the most interesting part for it is where the former chapel was and the flax mill was beside it. This mill was and is referred to as the Wauk Mill.
A corn mill is to be found at the Milltown which itself is part of lower Clashygowan.
Other features of Clashygowan include a
number of minor quarries.