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

Down Parish

Downpatrick Downpatrick Church of Ireland Cathedral Church of Ireland, Downpatrick Hollymount Church of Ireland
1st Presbyterian Church 2nd Presbyterian Church Wesleyan Methodist Church Downpatrick Catholic Church
Ballykilbeg Catholic Church Ballydugan Mill & clachan Magheralagan Lake & Ballydonity townland Woodgrange townland
Struell Wells Moore's shop c. 1900 in Market St, Downpatrick Denvir's Hotel, English St, Downpatrick .



This photo shows the intersection of Saul Street (left) , English Street (right) & up the hill in Irish Street, Downpatrick. Irish Street used to the commercial centre of the town until the marshes were drained in 1832 then Market Street became the hub. In the centre of the photo you can see the Assembly Rooms which were built in 1882 on the site of the old market house. This building is now the Arts Centre & Heritage Library . The Downpatrick Gaol built in 1835 by the Grand Jury, it was taken over by the government in 1878 and converted into a convict prison for those convicted of agrarian crimes. Today it is a high school.

Downpatrick is one of the oldest Irish towns and was noted by the Roman geographer Ptolemy in his map of the country in the 2nd century AD. But although its early history undoubtedly influenced its shape and development the Downpatrick that we know today dates mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries. The contribution of the Southwell family during the 18th century was particularly noteworthy. In 1703 Edward Southwell, Chief Secretary of Ireland, married Elizabeth, daughter of the Earl of Ardglass, thus acquiring the Manor of Down. He decided to develop its economic potential; he controlled the waters of the Quoile river and reclaimed the marshes, built a harbour and customs house and reconstructed the streets of the town. His son, who succeeded him in 1730, continued his work and through their efforts, Downpatrick changed from a derelict town of less than 1,000 inhabitants into a prosperous commercial centre for the barony. The first Court House was built in 1737 at a cost of £3000.


When Walter Harris visited the town in 1744, he commented on the expanding grain market and on the activity at Quoile Quay from which corn, hides, linen yarn and tallow were exported. The merchants engaged in this trade changed the face of Downpatrick. Many of the fine houses in English Street and Irish Street were built by them and still survive to give the town its character.

The local gentry met in Downpatrick in Apr 1767 and raised £810 to open Down Infirmary in Saul Street, with Dr. William Waring its first surgeon. The first Infirmary was inadequate and was moved to the barracks in Infirmary Street. Downpatrick Whig Club was strong during the 1790s and had as its members many of the local gentry. A new gaol was built between 1824 & 1830 on the site of present Down Museum. Its 1st governor was Capt. Sydney Hamilton Rowan who had 21 staff with 150 cells & 67 other rooms. The prison population was 312 in 1851 and only 70 in 1869 so by 1884 in was just a convict depot. The gail buildings were demolished c. 1928 and a high school built on the site (DR3/1/2007R)

In 1832 Downpatrick passed from the hands of the Southwell family to David Ker of Portavo and Montalto. His drainage scheme enabled the development of Church Street (opened 1838) and Market Street (opened 1846) thus facilitating communications with Belfast and Dublin. The population of the toen in 1831 was 4779 people with 897 houses .

If the 18th century was a period of expansion the 19th century was one of decline. Changes in technology of the linen industry coincided with a postwar slump in agriculture caused by a rapid fall in grain prices on the English market. Downpatrick inevitably suffered. The breweries, tanneries, small tobacco factory and soap works ceased to exist, while the failure of Pilson's linen mill in Bridge Street in the 1840s put 700 weavers out of work, the majority of them living in or near the town. Some of the corn merchants managed to survive the crisis of these years, but the almost total abandonment of arable farming in Lecale after 1870 eventually put them out of business. In 1846 the population of the parish was 8812 with 4651 people living in Downptrick by 1851 there were 4013 people inhabiting 765 homes in the district (POD)

The effects of this prolonged recession were very obvious in Downpatrick and Lecale in the early decades of the 19th century; shops, factories, large houses and offices were vacant, the poorer streets had deteriorated into slums and each census return showed a continued decline. Today Downpatrick is an administrative centre.

The remains of an Irish Elk were found in a marl pit near Downpatrick in 1825 giving insite into what the place was like in ancient times. (O'L V1 p 339). Downpatrick Mound just N of town is an Anglo-Norman motte & bailey 490 feet across used by John de Courcy during his systematic occupation.

The Post Office Directory of 1886 says that there was a mineral water factory here. The town population in 1910 was 2993

Downpatrick Workhouse was run by a Board of Guardians. The records are available at LDS from c. 1857-1903. Email for a ground plan, photo and articles from Down Recorder, diet and rules (FCD). Mr Flynn was the superintendent in 1848. The Fever Hospital was also run by a Board of Guardians in 1847. (FCD s2). A Carengie Library was built in 1908 (LR 2015 p10-15)

There is an article about Downpatrick racecourse and another about Downe Hospital in Lecale Miscellany 2002 p 16 & 53

Newspaper articles from Northern Star;
political meeting of freeholders & inhabitants 19 Jan 1793; address to members of Parliament , Clotworthy Rowley Esq. & Jonathan Chetwood Esq. 26 Jan 1793; meeting of gentlemen re address to the King 11 Jan 1796; meeting of the inhabitants of the town re Catholic Reforms 9 Jan 1797

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
outbreak from the jail 19 May 1792; death of matron of Workhouse 20 Mar 1847 (FCD*); information about Workhouse 23 Dec 1848 (FCD*); letter re Fever Hospital 17 Feb 1847 (FCD*); extension of railway from Comber 31 Jan 1852*; List of Guardians of Downpatrick Union 7 Apr 185; :List of Guardians of Downpatrick Union 7 Apr 1855; Hunt ball, list of attendees 24 Dec 1859; Freemasonry Grand Lodge meeting 9 Nov 1861*; Turkish Baths opened 9 & 16 Nov 1861*; report on infirmary 25 Jan 1862*; Turkish Bath in town improved 25 Jan 1862*; Election of 1797 & who voted 16 Aug 1862;Olympic Games, prize list 5 Aug 1865; list of brethren Grand Masonic ceremony 12 Feb 1876; new market, list of builders' names 7 Oct 1876; town & demesne to be sold by auction 13 Feb 1886; b/w photo of Irish Street c. 1900 (28/9/36*);
photo of Downpatrick Scout troop 1910 available (2/4/67R) Local Empoyment Committee monthy meeting 19 Feb 1924*; post office robbery 11 Dec 1926*; Nursing Society annual meeting 9 Apr 1928*; Downpatrick Gaelic Athletics Association Club strong in 1930s (9/4/28R*); old photos of Market Street & St. Patrick's Catholic Church 30 Jan 1935*; Downpatrick debating Society 21 Nov 1936*; Rural Council's public works meeting 16 Apr 1937*

Newspaper articles from Newtownards Chronicle;
Land League demonstration 8 Jan 1881; opening of Orange & Protestant Hall 8 Jul 1882; local government inquiry into water supply 5 Jan 1895

There is a description of Downpatrick c. 1000AD in DR* 26 Nov 1910R and Norman Invasion c. 1177 DR* 7 Dec 1912 R`

There is a description of Downpatrick c. 1708 in O'Laverty's History Vol 1 p 310.

I have indexed the full listings from Bridge Street 1-128 & , part of Irish Street (1-4) & Demesne of Down ( 140- 182) of Griffiths Valuations of 1864 in Surnames Index .

References;NS; V17 p 39 OSM; DR* 10/12/1856; DR ; LM 1983 V1 p17; IPP p 110; LM 2002 p16; OSM map 1901; POD; DR* 11/7/1936 (old photos) ; LM 1984 p54- 56 LM 1986 p52 (history); LM 1999 p41 (1708 map); LM 1992 p44-48; LM 1983 (cover sketch of Jail) ; LM 1983 p47-50 (early period) ; LM 1991 p21-25 ; LM 1985 p20- 23 & 33-36; LM 1987 P48++; LM 1990 p33-35 (very old maps); LR 2007 p21,22; LR 2008 p82-85 (architectural heritage) LM 1989 p54 ([photo of Royal South Down Militia) ; LM 1993 p21 )old map of town 1729) ; LM 1995 p47-55 (Downpatrick Orange Hall); LR2011 p 44-45 Downpatrick Masonic Lodge) ; KLR2011 p22 (1708 & 1729 map); HFPNSC p1,2



Holy Trinity Church of Ireland Cathedral
at the end of English Street, Downpatrick

Down Cathedral stands on a flat-topped hill that was formerly almost completely surrounded by water and is now reached along the steep incline of English Street, Downpatrick This is supposed to be the site where St. Patrick erected the first cathedral in 431 AD on land granted to him by Keltair MacDuach, who was then chieftain of the ancient district of Dal Dichu. It was created a Bishopic by St. Cailan about 699 AD. When John de Courcy reached Lecale,there was a monastery of secular canons there, which he replaced by Benedictine monks from Chester, in England. It was burned down by Edward Bruce, brother to the Scottish king, in 1310. Over the centuries the Benedictine Abbey was frequently attacked and finally destroyed in 1538, by Lord Deputy Gray. It then lay in ruins until 1790 when its restoration began. The new Cathedral was opened for Divine Worship in 1818 after a lapse of more than 250 years. This lapse of time was caused by the state of total dilapidation of the building and lack of funds from the dean and chapter. Rev. William Annesley proposed to give £300 per annum towards its repair. After that the Marquis of Downshire and the Earl of Hillsborough became interested and gave £568 and £341 respectively. Work commenced under the supervision of Mr Lilley, the architect. By 1825 the body of the cathedral was finished but it took another £1,183 to complete the tower.

In the restoration few of the ancient structures could be used, but some capitals of the 14th and 15th century and two carved figures set in the wall by the door of the chapter room, provide a link with the medieval abbey. When the Cathedral was opened for public worship there was no central seating; the pews were ranged on either side , with the Bishop's throne amidst the congregation and opposite the stall used by the Minor Canons in conducting the services. On the backs of the pews are elegant brass candelabra, while ranged round the upper walls are the coats of arms of the great county families. It is capable of holding 800 people. On the exterior wall are three niches containing pedestals on which formerly stood images of St. Patrick, St. Columkille and St. Bridget, who are said to have been interred here.

The date of the oldest legible gravestone is 1688; it reads, " Here lyeth interred the body of Charles Devick, who served as captain in the regiment of Colonel Anthony Hamilton in this kingdom and died in Downpatrick on 17th March 1688". In the middle of the graveyard which surrounds the Cathedral, is part of a very ancient cross hewn out of granite, marking the spot where the national saint, St. Patrick, is said to be interred. Another portion of this cross is lying at the corner of the last house on the north side of English Street near the Cathedral As you enter by the main door there is a stone belonging to the Crommellin family dated 1607. The Dean in 1846 & 1852 was Very Rev T. Blakely with the Reader Rev Horatio Moffat; archdeacon, Ven. Walter Bishop Mant, precentor was Rev H.S. Cuming, chancellor was Rev. J.L.M. Scott, treasurer was Rev G.H. McD. Johnston & organist was Robert McCune. In 1910, the Dean was Very Rev. E. Maguire & sub dean Archdeacon Brown.

Newspaper article form Down Recorder;
reopened 7 Jan 1843 & 13 Sep 1845; improvements 19 Oct 1861; overcrowded graveyard 18 Jan 1862; reopening 5 Dec 1863; photo of Cathedral Choir of 1925 available to email (14 Aug 1926)

UHF have baptisms 1887-1900 ; gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 7 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

The pencil drawing was kindly sent by Dee Bardes

This pencil drawing by Samuel Woolley shows the ruined Cathedral and round tower in 1780 .
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Downpatrick
This painting is by Thomas Semple and shows the rebuilt Cathedral in 1863 References; OFD cover; V17 p 39, 42,43, 44, 45, 59 OSM; LWAG p 8; DR; POD ; LR 2009 p4-10;


St. Margarets Church of Ireland, Downpatrick

St.Margaret's, Church of Ireland, Downpatrick
in Church Street, Downpatrick

This is an old building built on the site of an earlier church. The tower on which the two bells are hung is said to be the oldest part of the building and dated to 1560. The date on a silver chalice used at the communion table is dated 1636. There is a monument in the church bearing the date 1709 belonging to Dean McNeal. The present church underwent great repairs and alterations in 1733. It has a long hall-type naive, with a splendid Venetian window which was built in 1735. The church in 1836 contained 50 pews of irregular size and capable of seating 500 people. In the adjoining cemetery is the grave of Thomas Russell, a United Irishman, who was hanged outside Downpatrick goal in 1803.

Originally the entrance to the church was from English Street, Downpatrick, but when the new road from Bridge Street to the town centre was opened in 1838, the boundary wall and steps shown in the photo were built. During the late 1960s the graveyard which is on all sides of the church was leveled and tidied and eight old stones were lost in the process. Other stones were transferred to the edge of the graveyard. The oldest stone belongs to John Lawe who died in 1668. Before 1790 the burying ground was confined to the south-east of the churchyard. The curate in 1840-42 was Rev John Reid & in 1846 & 1852 was Rev James Forde with John Heron, the clerk. In 1910, the rector was Rev. Canon Pooler with Rev. C.K. Pooler & J. Adamson as organist.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
Sunday School fete 30 June 1855; new cemetery needed 18 Jan 1862; reopening of the church 31 May 1873; new organ 24 Oct 1874; Church Blue Ribbon Army 5 May 1883; Sunday School feast 20 Feb 1886; Grand Bazaar 13 Nov 1886

Records available are baptisms 1733- 1854, marriages 1700- 1736 & 1740- 1874, burials 1719-1867 at PRONI MIC /1/39; Linenhall Library, Belfast has a register of deaths (1693-1862) and marriages (1727-1862) of persons in Downpatrick and neighbourhood -personal visits only ; LDS film #0823636 was baptisms 1733-1854, marriages 1700-1875 & burials 1719- 1867; UHF ( ) has baptisms 1749-1857 & burials 1752-1785, 1795 -1829, 1837-1871; have baptisms 1749 -1857 & burials 1752-1785;1795-1829; 1837-1871 ; graveyard attached, gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 7 ; email me for a gravestone look-up
This photo was kindly sent to me by Brian McCleary.

References; DAIPC; V17 p 40,59 OSM: L WAG p12; MID p94, 190: DR: GIC: GIPR; POD; LM 1997 p41


Hollymount Church of Ireland

Hollymount Church of Ireland
W of Downpatrick

Originally built in 1839 to serve the families on the Hollymount Estate. It was designed by Charles Lanyon and built with funds mainly provided by Lady Harriet Forde (nee Savage) ; A Chapel of Ease. The vicar 1840-1852 was Rev. William Nesbitt; Rev. the Hon. Pierce Butler 1852-1856; Rev. Horation Moffatt 1856-1862; Rev. Francis H. Hall 1862- 1879; Rev. Ralph Wilde 1879- 1882 (Oscar Wilde's uncle) ; Rev. Stephen Campbell from 1882 .

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
new church built 30 Mar 1839; consecration 31 Jul 1841: Rev P. Butler 24 Sep 1853; Rev H. Moffat address 17 Apr 1858; reopening 28 Mar 1885; centenary commemoration of laying of foundation stone 8 Feb 1939*

modern graveyard; marriages available 1851-1935 PRO

References;DAIPC p 76; LR 2018 p39-41; OFD p 190: DR; GIC; MID p31


1st Presbyterian Church, Downpatrick

1st Presbyterian (Non Subscribing) Church, Downpatrick
in Stream Street /Infirmary Lane

The congregation met in the Flying Horse in Ballyvange townland c. 1640s when their first minister, Rev. John Fleming, was a Royalist in the Cromwellian period, and was deposed for nonconformity. The next minister was Rev. Archibald Young in 1673 but he fled to Scotland during the revolution. Rev. John Hutchinson was ordained in 1690 & stayed until 1697. Rev. Thomas Jackson was minister in 1703 until his death in 1708. He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Nevin in 1711 who joined to Non Subscribers in 1725. The congregation built a new church in Stream Street, Downpatrick in 1711 with the money being raised by general subscription. There was a succession of ministers who were also undecided about orthodoxy , including Rev. William Nevin who left to become a doctor in 1780. Rev. James Neilson was finally ordained in 1792 .The next minister was Rev. Samuel Craig Nelson 1835-1891 then Rev. David Gordon 1871-1893 then Rev.Michael Smith Dunbar 1894-1916 & Rev. Ralph Philipson 1916-1923 & Rev. John Begg 1923-1926 & Rev. Victor Allen Callow 1926-1929 & Rev. James McNeil 1931-1935 & Rev. henry Hall 1938- 1941 & Rev. John Radcliffe 1942-1977 & Rev. Roy Packer 1981-1992 & Rev. Andrew Rowley 1993-1994 & Rev. A. David G. Steers 2003-

Newspaper article from Northern Herald;
installation of Rev. Samuel C. Nelson 28 Feb 1835

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder
soiree 19 Nov 1853;Sunday School picnic to Portaferry 18 Aug 1855*; Sunday school excursion 22 Jul 1882; harvest festival 18 Oct 1935; harvest festival 10 Oct 1939*; WW2 memorial service conducted by Rev. Henry Hall 13 Nov 1939*

Newspaper article from Newtownards Chronicle;
death of Rev. S.C. Nelson, minister 31 Jan 1891

Graveyard attached gravestone inscriptions available 1700-1876, UHF Vol 7; the oldest legible stone is 1763 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

References;V17 p 39, 41 OSM; HCPCI p 119-120; OFD p 51, 190; DR; NH; NC; POD; LM 2000 p24-25 (Bicentenary & photo) ; LR 2012 p95(book review); HFPNSCD- Mary Stewart 's book p 1,5, 13,14,15,16, 31, 86


2nd Presbyterian Church, Downpatrick

2nd Presbyterian Church of Downpatrick
Fountain St, Downpatrick

This is the 2nd Presbyterian church in Downpatrick having been built in 1826 after the separation from the Non-Subscribers. It was used by the military garrison housed in the barracks in nearby Scotch Street.
The meeting-house is in Fountain Street, Downpatrick and the graveyard behind the church extends steeply up to the 200 foot contour. It is a plain, substantial stone building, in the traditional T plan, measuring 60 feet by 35 and capable of holding 400 people. The minister in 1846 was Rev William White. (minister for 58 years) The cost of the building was defrayed by subscriptions of the congregation. The church has the following inscription on the west wall- "To the Glory of God this foundation stone was laid on 25th March 1954 to record the date of the rebuilding of this church. Original church was built in 1826". The earliest gravestone dates from 1828 and the first internment in this graveyard was Robert Thompson Young who died in 1828 aged 4. He was the son of George Young of Downpatrick. The minister 1899-1936 was Rev. Robert McElney.

Records from 1827, graveyard nearby ,gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 7 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
new minister 9 Nov 1839; Infirmary St meeting 11 Dec 1843; soiree 25 Sep 1858; Rev William White sermon 29 Oct 1859; installation ceremony of Rev. David Graham 10 Jun 1871; Sunday School soiree 31 Jan 1880; Sabbath school excursion 11 Sep 1880;ordination of Rev James Murray Moore 16 Apr 1937*

References;V17 p39,41,60 OSM; MID p74; DR; GIC, GIPR: DR 28 /11/2001 & 11/1/1941


old Methodist Church Downpatrick

Wesleyan Methodist Church
in Scotch Street

The first Methodist Chapel in Scotch Street (see left) was built in 1777 and was capable of holding 200 people. John Wesley paid his first visit to Downpatrick in 1778 which at that time was one of the few Methodist preaching houses in Ireland. In 1779 the preacher, John Prlckard, read out the names of Methodists involved in plundering cargo from the ship 'Lydia' which had been wrecked near Sheepland and demanded that all property be restored to its owners. All the Methodists. and some others responded and it is sald that this action established the Methodists in the area as adherlng to unusually hlgh standards of behaviour.

The old church was remodelled in the mid-nineteenth century. The minister in 1846 was Rev Edward Harpur & in 1852 was Rev. Robert Devers & Robert Collier & in 1901 was Rev. C. Baskin & in 1910 Rev. J. Clayton. It was rebuilt in 1954 (colour photo) on the same site. The official opening was 23 Apr 1955.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
meeting to consider changes 1 Mar 1845.

UHF has baptisms 1838-1900; no graveyard;

References;V17 p 60 OSM: DR ; POD; GIC ; LM 1991 p6,7
Wesleyan Methodist Church, Downpatrick


St. Patricks, Downpatrick

St. Patrick's Catholic Church,
between Stream St. & St. Patricks Ave, Downpatrick BT30 6DN
Parochial House 54 St. Patricks Ave, Downpatrick Tel; 4461 3008

The old church between St. Patrick's Avenue and Stream Street, Downpatrick replaced a modest Mass-house behind Darby's Inn in Ballyvange townland and was erected on the new site where there was a hay-yard in 1787. The main instigators of this venture were Edward O'Donnell, William Sawey and John Dogherty. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs. William Trotter, whose husband was the agent for the Southwell Estate.

It was described in 1836 as a parallelogrammical building, 93 feet by 33 feet, with 84 pews , capable of holding 800 people. Inside the altar and surrounding ornaments were "splendid" and it was surrounded on three sides by a large gallery. The present church was built in 1869. It was described in 1836 as Gothic style with a large rose window over the entrance was by Belfast architect John O'Neill. It was solemnly dedicated by Bishop Dorrian, a native of Downpatrick, on 30th June 1872. The interior is equally impressive; the altar is of carved stone, the chancel walls are covered in rich mosaic and the high eastern windows are by Meyer of Munich. There have been some alterations in the altar in recent years to take account of changes in the liturgy and a major extension will double the seating capacity. The parish prist in 1846 was Rev Bernard McCalla & in 1852, Rev Bernard McAuley.

The main graveyard used by Catholics in the last century and earlier than that was beside the Downpatrick Cathedral. There was clearly not enough ground surrounding St. Patrick's so after it was filled a new graveyard was opened on the Killough Road about half a mile from the St. Patrick's Avenue and Stream Street cross roads after 1870. It slopes up steeply from the newer loop to the old direct road across a small hill. The oldest recorded dates on gravestones there are that of Edward McGrady who died in in 1871 and the earliest burial is that of Robert Denvir of Downpatrick who died 2nd April 1875 aged 100 then Maria Carr, wife of John Carr of Downpatrick, who died 6th May 1875 aged 50 years.

The earliest date in the small graveyard surrounding St. Patrick's is that of Patrick McCartin of Downpatrick who died 11th May 1838 aged 78. There are also a few graves alongside the south wall of the church.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
Reception of Nuns- Sisters of Mercy 27 Jun 1857;List of subscriber to Downpatrick's Catholic school, Rev. P. O'Kane 12 Nov 1864; pilgrimage to Lough Derg, Donegal 24 Jul 1915*; Canon McWilliams P.P.opens new parochial hall 29 May 1935*Fr. Scullin organised a ceilidhe to raise funds 3 Jan 1936*; Badminton Club's annual dance 16 Apr 1937*; annual parochial dance in hall 13 Nov 1939*

Newspaper article from Northern Star;
meeting to rejoice in the end to intolerance 2 Feb 1793; resolutions passed at meeting 19 Mar 1795 has registers to view 1851-1882; PRONI MIC/D/74 & NLI have baptisms 1851- 1882, marriages 1853- 1882 , burials 1852- 1882, UHF has baptisms 1851-1900, marriages 1852-1900, graveyard attached; gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 7 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

Lists of 20th century priests:
Rev. Patrick O'Kane until 1906; Rev. William Dempsey 1906- 1916; Rev. Henry Boyle 1916- 1933; Rev. David J. McWilliams 1933- 1960; Rev. James Connolly 1960- 1967; Rev. Patrick Conway 1967- 1976; Rev. Joseph Maguire 1977- 1997; Rev. Brendan Murray 1997+

References;V17 p39,41,59, 60 OSM: LWAG 15; LCB p12; DR; POD; TIA; GIC; O'L V1 p 318; LM 1987 p52; LM 1994 p6, 63

Ballykilbeg Catholic Church

Ballykilbeg Catholic Church- St. Malachy's
Ballykilbeg, Downpatrick BT30 6HJ
Parochial House 16 Ballykilberg Rd, Downpatrick BT30 8HJ Tel; 4461 3203

The old chapel , which was built on the site of an ancient chapel ( called Chapel of Wytiketona) in 1745, was a plain, low building which had an aisle but no pews -the congregation sat on forms. A new church was built on the same site in 1775 but was described as being was in a bad state by 1836 and a replacement chapel was in progress at a cost of £600 when the parish priest was Rev. Bernard McAuley.This was raised by general subscription. The new chaple was consecrated by Dr. Denvir and the sermon preached by Primate Dr. Crolly. The interior was improved by Father O' Kane in 1878 with the assistance of Rev Bernard McAuley of Downpatrick.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
centenary of foundation 18 Oct 1937*

no graveyard

References;V17 p 49, 60 OSM: DR; GIC; O'L V1 p 305,318; MID p83; LM 1994 p63



The top photo was kindly sent to me by the Breen family. It shows an original clachan or house cluster in the townland.

The photo underneath shows Ballydgan mill. It was over two centuries since the huge wheel at Ballydugan Mill began turning and what was until recently a ruin, has now had a rebirth.

Workers came from miles around to grind wheat in the dusty factory. Lecale district was a great growing area at the time. When the mill opened in 1792, flour would have been one of the most important types of produce. John Auchinleck posted an advertisement in the Northern Star newspaper dated 29 Dec 1792 stating that different kinds of flour and bran were now for sale.
But good times at the mill were short lived and in 1857 it closed it doors for the last time and has lain deserted for the last 125 years, open to the elements and falling into ruin. But it was a beautiful Georgian building and deserved a better fate.

A local contractor, Noel Killen, had a vision and the restoration began. He hopes it will be the second best venue in Northern Ireland to host tradition medieval banquets in a unique setting.

The seven floor £200,000 complex includes a restaurant, cafe, hotel, banquet hall and historical exhibition.

References;O'L V1 p 305; NS; V17 p 38, 49, 52, 54, 55 OSM; LM 1990 (cover & preface); DR


Magheralagan Lake Woodgrange townland
Magheralagan Lake
looking south to Ballydonity townland
Woodgrange townland
looking south on the Annadorn Road


Struel Wells

Struell Wells ancient site & townland

The Struel Wells site covers a few acres and has several very ancient stone buildings.

Although St. Patrick is supposed to have blessed the wells, the tradition of their curative properties is thought to predate Patrick. There are four wells, two covered by small corbelled stone houses, the other two by larger stone buildings. The water runs through underground channels from one to the next. In the two larger wells, the whole body was bathed, the smaller ones were for particular parts of the body.

In the bath houses the water was raised to the desired height by means of a sluice. There is a tradition that visitors to the wells left pieces of cloth in the vicinity as a token. You can see these coloured strips of cloth on ones of the trees near the entrance.

The wells were particularly popular in the mid 18th century. It is recorded that great crowds came on Midsummer Eve and the Friday before Lammas to do penance and to seek cures. Beside the wells stand the ruins of a Chapel dedicated to St. Patrick. It was intended to replace a Norman church but was never finished.

The townland was owned by the Southwell Estate in 1752 and leased by Mr. Richard Caddell's executors. In June 1802, local Catholics ventured to rebuilt the walls of the ancient chapel. They were placing a roof on it when the Rev. Thomas Brereton, Protestant curate of Down, with the sanction of Mr. Southwell of Downpatrick Estate, went out to the site accompanied by a mob, which was headed by a Mr. McComb and pulled the chapel down and massacred the Catholics.

In 1836, the townland was owned by the heirs of Lord De Clifford & Mr Keown. There were 39 houses in the area with 21 families employed in agriculture & 11 in trade, 15 manufacturers, 1 professional & 6 servants. The population consisted of 98 males & 104 females. The soil is dry. Fairs and gatherings were held at the Wells on Midsummer's Eve c. 1840.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
St Patrick’s well; article 29 Jun 1839: deserted 26 Jun 1841: repairs 27 Jun 1846: attendance falling 30 Jun 1849: article 24 Jun 1854;article 23 Jun 1855

References;O'L v1 p 248; LM 1990 p10; LM 1991 p25; LM 1995 p55


Moore's wine, spirit & grocer store in Market St, Downpatrick

These lovely old postcards were kindly sent by Craig Moore whose great grandfather, Alexander Moore, was the proprietor of the shop. Left is c. 1900 & right is c. 1910


Denvir's Hotel in English St, Downpatrick.

This establishment was built as a coaching inn in 1642 by John & Ann McGreevy. It was bought by William Hamilton by 1708 . It was called Price's Arms in 1778 and in 1797 was owned by John Denvir . The proprietor in 1890 was Arthur McEvoy then Alexander Moore 1902 to at least 1910 then Robert Magee in 1924 & the Hayes family in 1934 .


This lovely old postcard dated 1906 was kindly sent by Craig Moore whose great grandfather Alexander Moore was the proprietor from 1902.

References; DR* 28/9/1936L; DR; LM 1984 p11; LM 1999 p37-43 (pictures); DT p49 (photos )


by Ros Davies