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

Ballee Parish

Ballee Church of Ireland Ballee Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church Ballycruttle Catholic Chapel
Ballee House . .

Ballee parish church

Ballee Church of Ireland
in Church Ballee

There was a church here in 1306. The present church was built in 1749 on the site of the old church. It was described in 1836 as a plain building with-out a spire or aisle and being capable of seating 220 people. The rector in 1836 was Rev. William Bond with an annual salary of £100. The rector 1842-1846 was Rev. John Reid. The church was rebuilt after 1900.

baptisms from 1792, marriages from 1807 & burials from 1816; graveyard attached; oldest stone 1679, oldest legible inscription was 1714; gravestone inscriptions available UHF Vol 8 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

References;V17 p 17, 21, 23 OSM; GIC; V8 MIs; LM 1984 p33 (photo of old church c. 1900)


Ballee Presbyterian

Ballee Non-Subscribing Presbyterian
at Ballee Bridge in Church Ballee townland

The congregation was founded in 1697 and Rev. William Smith was ordained minister in Aug 1701. This Meeting House was built in a T shape in 1721 and seats 300 people. When Rev. William Smith died in 1747, he was succeeded by his son, Rev. Robert Smith . After his death he succeded by his assistant Rev. James Patterson in 1782. The next minister after his death was Rev. Josiah Kerr in 1799. He was suspended for immoral conduct and was succeeded by Rev. David White in 1811.

Most people in this parish are Presbyterian.The congregation withdrew from the Synod of Ulster in 1830. In 1836 the yearly salary of the minister, Rev. White, was £50 from his hearers & £75 from the Crown. The Manse was built in 1887.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
soiree for different religions 23 May 1846; ordination of Rev John Porter 28 Jul 1860; Rev Charles Simpson ordained 14 May 1936* to replace late Rev. J.H.Bibby.

Newspaper articles from Northern Star;
resolutions of the congregation & Rev. James Paterson 36 Jan 1793

A list of all past ministers- William Smith 1701-1747; Robert Smith 1750-1787; James Patterson 1782- 1798; Josiah Ker 1799-1809; David White 1811- 1871; John Porter 1860- 1884; Joseph Bibby 1884- 1935 ;

baptisms 1811-1985; marriages 1819-45 PRONI -MIC/1B/3A/1 & Marriage Notice Book 1845-1910 PRONI -MIC /1B/3B/1; Graveyard nearby; gravestone inscriptions available UHF Vol 8, oldest stone 1806; all denominations buried here; email me for a gravestone look-up

Try their website;

References;V17 p17 21,23,24 OSM: DR (9 May 1936); GIC; V8 MIs; HCPCI P18


Ballycruttle Catholic Church

Ballycruttle Catholic Church- St. Joseph's
Parochial House- 36 Ballycruttle Rd, Downpatrick BT30 7EL Tel; 4484 1213

This chapel was built by Rev. Daniel McAlea in 1783 on ground donated by John Spear junior and senior from Downpatrick which was being leased by James Magee at the time. They shared a priest with Ballyculter church. Before this chapel was erected, Mass was celebrated along the ditches near here. The Spear family asked them to move on but granted the land to make ammends for the insult. Mass was also celebrated in a sand pit in Ballymurray and another 'bohog' in Ballybrannagh & Loughkeeland. The parish priest in 1789 was Rev. Roger Magee.

In 1836 it was described as only having three pews which seated six people and a number of forms scattered over the floor, capable of holding 200 people. There was a gallery without any seats and no aisle or belfry. The priest then earned about £100 a year from parishioner subscriptions. Rev. James Killen enlarged the church in 1839 & consecrated the graveyard. Marriages were celebrated at the bride or groom's house ,never at the chapel. The parish priest 1843-1870 was Rev. Patrick Starkey & Rev. J. McDonnell in 1896. The chapel was rebuilt in 1864.

Newspaper article from Down Recorder;
consecration of new church 9 Jul 1864;

Records from 1843 on; graveyard attached; gravestone inscriptions available UHF Vol 8; oldest stone 1807; email me for a gravestone look-up or or pay per view gravestone inscriptons on ; UHF has baptisms & marriages 1785-1900

References; V17 p17,21,23,24 OSM; DR; GIPR: GIC; V8 MIs; O'L V1 p 198 ; Irish World NY; LM 1994 p 59,70,71


Ballee House

Ballee House
4km SE of Downpatrick

The original house was thought to have been built before 1652. It's been the residence of Lady Betty Cromwell then Rev. William Smith c. 1740 then Mr Johnston who made alterations to the house by 1750, then Robert Hamilton c. 1770 then Matthew Forde Esq. c. 1820 then Richard Stitt Esq.bought the house 1795/ c. 1830 for £5000. Residence of John D. Stitt in Nov 1895. It was the home of Frank Maxwell in 1960s.

References; WJM; UHA; LM 1983 Vi p12-16; SC 2008 p14; LR 2008 p86; LM 1995 p75


by Ros Davies