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

Drumballyroney Parish

.Drumballyroney Church of Ireland Ballyroney Presbyterian Church Katesbridge Presbyterian Church Katesbridge & River Bann
.Brookvale Presbyterian Church Magheral Catholic Church,
in Lisnavahrog townland
Tirkelly Townland .Lackan Townland



Drumallyroney Church of Ireland Drumballyroney Church of Ireland graveyard

Drumballyroney Church of Ireland; St. John's

Drumballyroney parish church is a plain rectangular building with a square tower and is situated on the Hill of the O'Rooneys in Aughnavallog townland, two miles north north east of Rathfriland .This land was once the property of the O'Roney Clan who were bards for the Clan Magennis of nearby Rathfriland; Drumballyroney graveyard was the burial place of the Rathfriland Magennises. Their coronation site was the nearby hill of Knockiveagh.

The present church stands east -west and is 57 feet long and 28 feet broad. It was built in the year 1780 at an expense of £900, a grant from the Board of First Fruits. The vicar in 1824 was Rev. John Dubordieu & the curate Rev. Joseph Linday Black & the parish ckerk was James Weir. In 1836 the Rev. John Dubourdieu's salary was £160 per year, which was one-third of the rectorial tithes collected, the remaining £480 belonging to the Dean of Dromore.


old graveyard

The curate, Rev. James Beers, had a salary of £75 per year. The Dean at that time was Rev. Mahon. The Glebe House, built in 1822 by Rev. John Dubourdieu, was about one mile south west of the church and had 20 acres granted by the lord of the soil (at that time General Meade) and was occupied by the resident incumbent at 14 shillings per Irish acre. The Glebe House and offices cost the parish for its erection in 1834 at a cost of £700, by an advance from the Board of First Fruits. Only 25 families attended this church in 1836. Rev. Christophilus Garstin was appointed rector in 1839 (according to an 1839 edition of "The Gentlemen's Magazine") and served there until his death 17 August 1864.The minister in 1878 & 1893 was Rev. R. Oswald.

Patrick Bronte (father of the famous authors, the Bronte sisters) preached his first sermon here in 1806. His parents, brothers and sister are buried in the graveyard. The school next to the church where he taught is now the Bronte Museum. Patrick's mother was Alice McClory and her family's house still stands and is a few kilometres south of the church. The family would have lived there in 1777. Part of the house is two-story and the other half one-storey. It is in a dilapidated state today but hopefully the government will restore it as more tourists find their way along the Bronte Trail.

Also buried here is Sir Arthur Magennis, Viscount Iveagh, who died in 1629.

List of parish priests/rectors/vicars;

1422 Comedinus Maguryn
1422 John MacFiach
1630 Thomas Fairfax
1661 Robert Huetson
1673 Alexander McWhudd
1694 John Rowan
1728 John Rowan
1750 Richard Marlay
1770 William Shaw
1770 William Jones
1777 David Digges Latouche
1778 Thomas Tighe (died 1821)
1811 John Dubourdieu
1839 Christopher Garstin
1854 James Annesley Beers
1877 Robert Oswald
1901 Thomas George Gibson Collins
1904 Issac Harte
1914 Thomas Bradley Brown
1919 William Alexander Scanlon
1922 Thomas Havelock Blackburn
1933 William Edward Milligan
1942 Arthur John Ernest Campbell
1950 John Donaldson Caldwell
1955 Harold Bernard Giles Forde
1972 William Barnett Neill

This church is now closed- try

Records available are baptisms 1831-1871, marriages 1783-1801 & marriages, 1838-46; burials, 1839-73;vestry minutes, 1870-1902; registration book, 1870; Preachers’ books 1869; UHF ( ) has baptisms 1838-1871 & burials 1839 -1873; have baptisms 1838 -1871; graveyard attached. The last time I was there, there weren't many gravestones still readable, many had been cleared to make mowing easier. See photo above; burials available 1839-1873 at pay-per-view &

References; V3 p10, 15, 17 OSM: BIH p11,W; GIC; GIPR; PNNI V6 p 181; BWN


Old Presbyterian Church Ballyroney Ballyroney Presbyterian Church

Ballyroney Presbyterian Church in Ballyroney village

The meeting house of Ballyroney, is situated in the village of Ballyroney, in the townland of Lackan, on the road between Rathfriland and Dromara.

The old church was built in 1708 when the Presbytery of Armagh formed a new congregation outside of Rathfriland. The first minister was Rev James Moor who was ordained 25 Aug 1709 til his death in 1738 . Then Rev. Robert Thompson 1782- 1743; Rev. Samuel Thompson 1749-1751; Rev. Alexander Neilson 1751- 1782; Rev. William Fletcher 1783- 1824; Rev. Alexander Heron 1826- 1865. The church was described in 1836 as a plain, slated roofed rectangular building with two galleries inside, capable of holding 500 people. Its dimensions were 77 feet by 52 feet in a T shape.

Old Church above
This photo above was kindly sent to me by Bill Haggan

A stone tablet on the eastern wall reads; " A Neilson, 1769 ". Another says,"Rebuilt by subscriptions in the year 1832, Alexander Heron, Pastor. Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God and be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools, Ecclesiastics V 1." The Rev. Heron lived in Ballybrick townland and had an income of £100 per year.
The next minister was Rev William Wylie 1866- 1879 then Rev. William Shepherd from 1880 then Rev. Ernest H. Williamson from 1917 then Rev. Robert T. Rutherdale from 1923 then Rev. S. Rushton Jamison from 1926 then Rev. D. McCay Lyttle from 1930.
The new church was built in 1928 on the same site.

Records available; Baptisms, 1819-63; marriages, 1818-29 and 1833-1906; stipend accounts, c.1830-1848; Yahoo Co. Down newsgroup site has some records , graveyard attached; records- try

References; V3 p 10, 15 OSM ; GIPR; GIC; ORHB p 41; HCPCI p49-50 ; church anniversary booklet 1958


Brookvale Presbyterian Church

Brookvale Presbyterian Church- Convenanters
in Grallagh Greenan townland, on the Loughbrickland to Rathfriland road

This meeting house was built in 1833 and paid for by subscription. It was capable of holding 400 people. It was rebuilt in 1894.

Records are available-Baptisms, 1891-1968; marriages, 1867-1936 ; no graveyard

References;GIPR; V3 p15 OSM; GIC


Magheral Catholic Church

Magheral Catholic- Church of Mary Immaculate

in Lisnavahrog townland
4km north of Rathfriland on Katesbridge Rd

This chapel was built in 1807 by Rev. James McKey and paid for by subscription. It was capable of holding 500 people. It was replaced in 1857 and renovated in 1930 & 1965.
Graveyard attached; graves from 1807

Newspaper article from Newry Commerical Telegraph:
Very Rev. John Sproull Keenan riotously & unlawfully assembled outside Magheral Chapel with 63 men 1 Jul 1845

References;V3 p 15 OSM; GIC; PNNI V6 p 171 ; NCT*; DDPP p136





Tirkelly townland in Drumballyroney parish Lackan townland
Tirkelly townland Lackan townland

This photo was taken 1999 and is the view from Drumballyroney Hill looking east with Tirkelly townland in the middle distance.

This view of Lackan townland is from Ballyroney Church of Ireland graveyard looking south east.



The scattered village is 7km N of Rathfriland and was named after Kate McKay who was born in Ballyroney in 1691 then went to live here with her grandmother and fed the men working on the bridge nearby.

Mill Street developed around McMasters Mill which drew its water from Widows Dam on Orange Hill .The proprietor in 1795 was Mrs. Kerr. There is a Presbyterian church in the village and an ancient motte 17ft high by 30 ft across signifying it was a strategic position.The Hawthorn Inn is at the junction of Ardbrin Road and Tanvally Road. The Post Office is on Manse Road. Katesbridge National School ,opened in 1886, was unique innot being attahed to a church. but administered by the Ministry of Education. Click here for a photo of Katesbridge Railway Station on the Banbridge- Ballyroney line .

There's an ancient motte 17ft high by 30 ft across here.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
fatal affray, Daniel McArdle stabbed 7 Apr 1866;

References; V3 p 11,12, 82 OSM;UJA; DR; GIPR; PNNI V6 p 157, 182; IPP p 111;ORHB p32-37
River Bann from Katesbridge  
Above- Mill Street, Katesbridge on the Banbridge to Castlewellan Road.c. 1910 This photo (above) was kindly sent to me by Cap'n John Cope and shows the view from the bridge over the River Bann in the village of Katesbridge.

Katbridge Presbyterian Church

Katesbridge Presbyterian church
beside the bridge

The minister in 1867 was Rev. R. Moorhead. This meeting house was united with Ballydown near Banbridge in 1938.

baptisms 1866- 1929; marriages 1867- 1935; lists of communicants 1867, 1869-1870 & 1876-1901; deaths 1909-1941 in PRONI

References;GIPR; MC; OFN p 243


by Ros Davies