Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

Aghaderg Parish

Church of Ireland, Scarva Presbyterian Church, Scarva Loughbrickland Church of Ireland, Loughbrickland Loughbrickland Presbyterian Church Reformed Presbyterian Church, Loughbrickland Loughbrickland Catholic Church
Scarvagh House Glaskermore Presbyterian Church Lisnagade Catholic Church Glasker Mill Scarva town Campbell's Lock



These photos of Main St, Scarva were kindly sent by Bill Haggan  

Scarva is a town, 5km SW of Banbridge and a townland of 680 acres. Scarvagh Pass was one of the few ways to cross 'the great bog' so it was the rendezvous point for the Williamite army in 1690. The Newry & Lough Neagh Canal runs through the town. The village dates from 1746 when John Reilly of Scarva House was granted a charter to hold 4 fairs a year and add a small dock and quay on the canal. In 1741 coal was brought up the Newry Canal to Scarva until the railway was built in 1859 between Banbridge & Scarva. It was one of the most scenic stretches of railway. There was a school here in 1836.

The Reilly family were the main benfactors of the town. In 1910 , the population of the town was 157.

Articles from Down Recorder newspaper;
road work on the Quoile Bridge 9 Mar 1850; Assizes- demonstrations 7 Mar 1868; serious rioting, re Home Rule 17 Aug 1872

burials available 1784-1873 at pay-per-view

References; V12 p 3, 4,5 ,6 ,7, 9, 10, 11 OSM: DR; BIH p 7; MS WAG p 35; PNNI V6 p 50; OGSLL p2737 ; POD


St.Matthews Church of Ireland in Scarva town

The Aghaderg parish church is in Scarva town and can be seen in the centre of the photo at the top. . This photo was taken around 1900.
There was a church here in 1600 established by Marmaduke Whitechurch but was destroyed in the 1641 Rebellion then rebuilt in 1688. The bell was gifted by King William 111 in 1698. The present site was granted by John Temple Reilly Esq. and it was built in 1850. The chancel was added in 1877. The minister in 1910 was Rev. Patrick Albert Kelly.

This is the site of an ancient castle which was built by General Monk in 1641 to protect the pass through the Great Bog. Scarva is best known as the venue of the Sham Fight, commemorating the battle of the Boyne, which is held on the demesne of Scarvagh House on 13th July each year.

Graveyard attached

UHF have baptisms 1814 – 1870 on & have baptisms 1814-1870

The larger photo was kindly sent by Bill Haggan & the smaller photo was kindly sent by Bob Sinton

References; MS WAG p 36; BIH p7 ; GIC; BCT p 23; OGSLL p27,40; POD


Scarva Presbyterian Church

Seceding Presbyterian Church in Scarva town

This meeting house was built by Mr. Reilly in 1753 at a cost of £300. It is a stone building, rough-cast & whitewashed in a T shape. It seated 350 with the average attendance in 1836 of 300. It was reroofed and repaired in 1811 at a cost of £200 which was raised by subscription. The salary of the minister, William Reid, was £115 per year in 1836. United with Poyntzpass Presbyterian with Rev. D. J. Gordon in charge from 12 Apr 1894 until his death in 1923 . Rev. William Copes & Rev. Joseph Gaston filled in until the union with Poyntpass congregation was dissolved in 1927 and was united with Fourtowns Presbyterian in Donaghmore parish under the Newry Presbytery. The minister of the new united congregation was Rev. David McCausland from 12 Jun 1927 until his retirement i n 1952.

Records from 1807; no graveyard

References;V12 p 4, 9 OSM; GIC; GIPR; OGSLL p36 ;POD ; AIPD; PDLHS p6


Scarvagh House

Scarvagh House

Scarvagh House, now the home of the Buller family, was originally built around 1717 by Miles Reilly and subsequently added to a number of times to create an interesting blend of Jacobean and Gothic styles. John Reilly , High Sheriff of Down, was granted the land in recognition of his services to King William of Orange. The Reilly family was probably one of Banbridge's most noble families, being descended from the O'Reillys, princes of East Brefny and owned extensive estates in the area including much of the town of Banbridge. They were also responsible for building the village and Scarva in 1756. Scarvagh House also spans the 'Danes Cast' and each July 13th the ' Sham Fight' takes place by the Spanish chestnut tree where King William 3rd is alleged to have camped in 1690. The proprietor in 1795 was J. Lushington Reilly; It was the residence of Nicholas White Esq. in 1824 & Councillor James Reilly in 1836 & John Temple Reilly in 1886 & of Henry Thomson. M.P. in 1904 & 1910 .

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
riot at dance 14 Jan 1843; for sale 31 Dec 1935

References; V12 p 10 OSM; BIH p C; UJA; POD; PNNI V6 p 21; OFN p 88; DR & DR*; OGSLL p27-37;POD


4km SW of Banbridge

Photo- Main Street , Loughbrickland with Scarva Street junction. McClory's Lake Hotel in the centre of the junction. The Catholic Church spire to the rear on Scarva Street..

The land that this town stands was originally held by Art Oge Magennis but was given to Sir Marmaduke Whitchurch c. 1600 for services to the English army . The town was occupied by Duke of Schomberg's troops in Sept 1689 before marching to Newry. On 12 Jul 1803 sixteen people were tried for riot & acquitted. In 1836 there were Church of Ireland, a Presbyterian & Methodist & Catholic churches here. The monthly fairs were held on Tuesdays. There were 96 dwelling houses, mostly built of stone with 50 thatched & the remainder slate roofed in 1836. Two schools were established 1825 & 1835. In 1841 the population was 647 people & in 1910 it was 275.

Newspaper articles from Newry Commercial Telegraph
flax mill burnt 8 Nov 1851; fair 21 Jan 1865; two men shot 24 Aug 1867

This photo was kindly sent by Bill Haggan References;V17 p 94 ,95 OSM: BN 23/8/1803 p3; DR; LCB; DR* 9/4/1928R ; MO 8/11/04; POD


St Melon's Church of Ireland

Church of Ireland -St Mellon's
in Scarva St, Loughbrickland

The parish church was moved from Drumsallagh townland to the present site in Loughbrickland, Bovennet townland, by Sir Marmaduke Whitechurch in 1611. Stones from an ancient Franciscan Friary were used to build it. The church was rebuilt by Bishop of Dromore, Dr Taylor just after Restoration in 1688 as the original church and part of the village had been destroyed in 1641. It existed without a ceiling until 1814 and the steeple & spire were made in 1823. The bell inscription is 1698. Rev. James Saurin was vicar in 1824 & the curate was Rev. Daniel Dickinson. The clergy were supported by tithes of £497 in 1836. There was a glebe house on 26 acres. In 1836 the church was described as a stone, roughcast, whitewashed building with the inside having a small gallery and pews holding 400 people. the vicar in 1846 was Rev. Jeffrey Lefroy & the curate, Rev. James Elliott. A new chancel was added in 1878 by Mr A. Whelan , a builder of Newry and a new roof added and the seats modernised at a cost of £1,100. The rector in 1886 & 1910 was Rev. Canon Henry W. Lett.
There is a monument to Rev. Richard Mills, rector of Annaclone and his wife.

Graveyard attached; records from 1814; UHF have baptisms 1814 – 1870 on & have baptisms 1814-1870
This photo was kindly sent to me by Brian McCleary

References;V12 p4, 5 ,8 OSM ; GIC; GIPR; PNNI V6 p 19,38; POD


Loughbrickland Presbyterian Church

Loughbrickland Presbyterian Church
in Caskum townland just SE Loughbrickland; east of the lake in
Ballynanny Road,
Banbridge, CoDown, BT32

The first church was probably a simple structure of sod & thatch c. 1609. The name of the first minister before 1687 is unknown but Rev. John Mairs/ Mears senior was minister 1691-1697 . The next minister was Rev. George Lang 1701-1741 then Rev. Charles McCollum Mar 1744- Dec 1744, followed by Rev. Timothy White 1749- 1756 then Rev. John Smith/Smyth 1757-1804 & Rev. Hugh McAlister 1804-1824.

This church was built in 1819 at a cost of £750 which was raised by subscription. It was then part of the Orthodox 'Old Light' Sect. In 1836 it was described as a large, plain building in the Gothic style, made of granite & whinstone. Inside was a gallery ( which was added in 1836 at a cost of £500 with a donation from Lord Downshire of £20, Lord Clanwilliam £10 & General Meade £20) & pews for holding 900 people, with the average attendance in 1836 being 600. The salary of the minister, Rev. Robert Little, 1824- 1841 was £100 per year. The next minister was Rev. William Edmund Breakey 1842-1856 then Rev. Robert Crawford 1857- 1869 followed by Rev. Alexander Buchanan from 1869.

The church joined with Scarva Presbyterian in 1927 under Rev. T.S. Reid

References; ;HCPCI p184-185; S.G; V12 p 4, 5, 9 OSM ; GIC


Loughbrickland, Caskum Presbyterian Church

Loughbrickland Reformed Presbyterian Church

This meeting house is at the far eastern end of Loughbrickland town.The minister in 1816 was Rev. John Evans & in 1886-1910 was Rev. A.C. Buchanan & after 1910 it was Rev. Andrew Boyde. In 2002 it was called a Reformed Convenanters Presbyterian church.

records from 1842; graveyard

References;GIC; GIPR; POD; Erla Angell


Loughbrickland Catholic Chapel

Loughbrickland Catholic Church- St Patrick's
in Scarva St, Loughbrickland

The site for this church was given by Nicholas Charles Whyte in 1827 together with £400 towards its cost. The remaining £600 was raised by public subscription. The architect was Thomas Duff. It was dedicated 28 Oct 1832 by Dr Kelly, Bishop of Dromore.In 1836 it was described as a plain, stone building of Gothic architecture. It held 1,000 people and the average attendance in 1836 was 1,000. The parish priest in 1824 & 1836 was Rev. Arthur McArdle. In 1846 it was Rev. John Doran with Rev.Bernard Mooney as curate. The bell tower was added in 1870 by Rev. Peter McKey . He also bought land in the centre of town for a Catholic cemetery in 1853. The parish priest in 1886 was Rev. Matthew Lynch & the curate was Rev Hugh McAvoy. In 1910 the parish priest was Rev. M. McPolin til at least 1923 .

The graveyard was bought in 1858 & is nearby; has registers to view from 1816; PRONI (Mic 1d/29) & NLI have baptisms & marriages 1816-1876; UHF has baptisms, marriages & burials 1840-1876; LDS have baptisms 1810-1840 & 1840 1876 ; marriages 1810-1839 & 1839-1876 & deaths 1838-1830 & 1843-1765 on FHL film #926073 item 1-2

References; V12 p 8 OSM; Perspective p4; TIA; GIPR; POD; OGSLL P39 ; DDPP p149,150; POD ; CR


Glaskermore Presbyterian

Glaskermore Presbyterian Church-Scots Seceding
in Glaskermore townland SE of Loughbrickland

Once described as the largest in the Synod of Ulster. The original church was built in 1611. It was a whinstone building corniced with granite and was capable of holding 500 people. The minister c. 1778-1796 was Rev. Alexander Moore. The church was rebuilt in 1830s at a cost of £800 which was raised by public subscription and a grant of free land and £40 from Lord Downshire. The minister in 1848 was Rev. James Rogers & in 1910 was Rev. J.B. Lusk . This church united with Donaghmore Presbyterian in 1973.

Records from 1780, microfilm in Public Records, Belfast; graveyard attached;


References; MIs (USA); V12 p4, 8 ,9 OSM; GIC; GIPR; MO 11/07; POD ; AIPD

Lisnagade/ Ballyvarley Catholic Church- St. Mary's

in Lisnagade townland near the main road from Loughbrickland to Gilford

A church was built here in 1750 on land leasd from the Trevor family and paid for by public subscription. During sectarian unrest, the Mass House was burnt to the ground in 1790. The present church was built c. 1805.It was described in 1836 as a stone, roughcast & whitewashed building , capable for seating 800 people with an average attendance of 80. The church was renovated in 1899 and again in 1956.

LDS have baptisms 1810-1840 & 1840 1876 ; marriages 1810-1839 & 1839-1876 & deaths 1838-1830 & 1843-1765 on FHL film #926073 item 1-2


References; V12 p 4, 10 OSM; DDPPp148


glasker Milltown
Glasker Mill
Campbell's Lock on the Newry Canal
The Newry Canal was built between 1734 and 1742 to carry goods between towns and stretched 18 miles from Newry to Portadown in Co. Armagh. Campbell's Lock is just north of Scarva town near Glenloughan townland with the canal forming the border between Co. Down and Co. Armagh. The Lock House is on the left and dates from 18th century.

by Ros Davies