Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001

Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

Drumgooland parish

Ballyward Church of Ireland Drumlee Presbyterian Church

Drumgooland Presbyterian Church
in Cloghskelt townland

Leitrim Presbyterian
in Benraw townland
Leitrim Catholic Church

Gargary Catholic Church

Lowtown Catholic Church, Dechomet Moneyslane village
Ballymaginaghy townland Ballymagreehan townland Dollys Brae .


Ballyward Church of Ireland, Drumgooland parish

Ballyward Church of Ireland- the parish church
in Castlewellan Rd, Ballyward

The village of Ballyward is situated on the road between Banbridge and Castlewellan.There was a church here in 1659 and Rev. Legard Black was the minister.
It was rebuilt in 1820 at an expense of £900, a grant from the Board of First Fruits & dedicated 1821. In 1836 it was described as a neat building with a square tower. It contains a monument of marble erected to the late rector of Drumgooland and vicar of Drumballyroney, the Rev. Thomas Tighe, who was rector of the parish for 56 years. The incumbent then was Rev. John Dubourdieu, rector, Ballyroney Glebe whose income was £380 per years and his curate, Rev. Robert Forde's salary was £75 per year. The Rev. Brooke was minister during the Famine years and in 1837 was applauded for setting up a soup kitchen at his own expense. The minister in 1893 was Rev. W.J. Coburn.

It is currently linked with Drumgath, Drumballyroney, and Clonduff churches .

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
wardens versus Robert McKinley who obtained church bell and converted it to his own use 10 Nov 1877.

Records from 1779, try using Batch # C320759; graveyard attached

Click here for a photo of Ballyward Railway Station.

The photo on the left was kindly send by Brian McCleary.





References;V3 p22 OSM; DR; GIPR:GIC;DCPH p70, 47 ; BWN


Drumlee Presbyterian Church

Drumlee Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church in Drumlee village is the white building in the centre of the photo. It is also the focal point of the village which only has a few houses but it serves the farming community in the area. It was built in 1827 at an expense of £189 which was raised by the congregation. The incumbent in 1836 was Rev. James Porter whose income was £100 per year, £30 of which was paid by the congregation, the remaining £70 being the regium donum (from the Crown). The minister in 1852 was Rev. Henry S. Steele; It has a graveyard surrounding it.

Article from Down Recorder newspaper;

new minister 2 Oct 1937

Records from 1826

References;V3 p 22 OSM; GIC: GIPR; MC; DR


Cloghskelt village from the graveyard Cloghskelt Presbyterian Church

Drumgooland Presbyterian Church

in Cloghskelt townland
3km NNE of Rathfriland on the Banbridge to Newcastle Road

The photo on the left shows the village from Presbyterian graveyard. The photo on the right shows the Meeting House.
The congregation formed in 1749 but the meeting house wasn't finished until 1834. It was described then as a plain, slated, rectangular building. The minister in 1836 was Rev. Thomas Mayne Reid of Ballyroney who died 9 Jul 1868 aged 92. Rev. William Warner was pastor from 1868 to his death in 1889 followed by Rev S.J. McKay from Mar 1889 until his death in Oct 1925.

graveyard attached; 1st burial 1817

References;V3 p 22, 23 OSM; GIC;ORHB p 47,48


Leitrim Presbyterian Church

Leitrim Presbyterian in Benraw townland

There must have been an earlier Meeting House in Leitrim townland for the church to have been called so. The first communion on the Benaw site that was held was in May 1837 and there were 76 communicants present. There were two communion services per year, one in May and the second in November. The founding minister was Rev. John Henry who was there for another 42 years. In his Sessional Proceedings he complained about "antenuptial fornication", lack of Christian liberality and the number of his congregation emigrating to America.

Records available births from 1839, marriages from 1836, deaths from 1837, Communicants' Rolls from 1837, and Sessional Proceedings from 1838 -PRONIMic/1P/264/A1; graveyard attached

References;. GIC; GIPR; thanks to Philip Westerman for the above information


Leitrim Catholic Church, Drumgooland parish

Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception-
Upper Drumgooland
in Leitrim townland on the road between Castlewellan and Dromore

The church was originally built on land donated by the McCartans in 1786 on this site of an old Mass Rock, with repairs and additions made in 1835. The McCartans family contributed generously to the building and maintenance of the church. The average attendance at that time was 300 people. A Sunday School was held in the church in summer attended by 200- 400 children. The parish priest in 1836 was Rev. Michael O'Laughlan of Ballydrummon . The church was then described as a plain, slated, rectangular building with open seats and a gallery and an average attendance of 300 people. A plot of land was bought beside the church for burials in 1840.

It was rebuilt by Rev. Arthur J. Finnegan in 1871 at a cost of £2891.19.0 and described as one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in Dromore Diocese. The spire was completed in 1874. The architect was a young Belfast man named Timothy Heavy and the surveyor was Henry McConnell. Donations were received from Mrs. McAvoy ( mosaic floor, marble steps, Stations of the Cross and the Lourdes stained glass window) ; Mr. & Mrs. Owen McCartan (mosaic floor, marble font and brass gate) Mr. John Owens (stained glass window) . The chief celebrant was Most Rev. Dr. Mulhern, Bishop of the Diocese. Also present were Canon O'Hagan of Lurgan, Canon Rooney of Hilltown, Canon Doyle of Laurencetown, Rev. Edward McGivern of Leitrim, Rev. James Fitzpatrick of Newry, Rev. Henry McGivern of Lurgan, Rev. Michael McCartan of Loughbrickland, Rev. F.G. O'Hare of Banbridge; Mr. Arthur McAvoy of St. Colman's College, Newry . The church was completely redecorated in 1924 and renovated in 1998.

Parish Priests in Upper Drumgooland Parish;
1784- 1785 Rev. Fergus Rooney; 1785 - 1808; Rev. Patrick McKay; 1808-1825; Rev. Peter McEvoy; 1825-1827; Rev. Thomas O'Hare; 1827- 1846 Rev. Michael O'Loughlin; 1846- 1851 Rev. John Mooney; 151-1855 Rev. Arthur Finnegan; 1885- 1906 ;Rev. John Lowry; 1906-1907 ;Rev. Andrew Lowry as administrator; 1907-1912; Rev. Patrick Quail; 1912-1914 ; Rev. John Quail; 1924-1931 Rev. Edward McGivern; 1931-1932 Rev. John Carr; 1932-1936 Rev. John Doran; 1936-1941 Rev. David Gallery; 1941-1952 Rev. Joseph Byrne; 1952-63 Rev.Michael McCartan; 1963-1993 Rev. James Mooney; 1993-1995 Rev. James Kerr; 1997- 2002 Rev Lionel Murray; 2002 Rev. Frank Lyons.

Curates in Upper Drumgooland Parish;
1844-1845 John MacDonnell; 1848- 1849 ; Rev. Daniel Mooney; 1849-1850 ; Rev. John Mooney; 1864-1870 ; Rev. John McGrath; 1871-1874 ; Rev. William Kearns; 1874- 1884 ; Rev. Joseph Kearns; 1888- 1903 ; Rev. Michael MacClory; 1903-1904 ; Rev.John MacGivern; 1904- 1905; Rev. Henry McGivern; 1905-1907; Rev. Andrew Lowry; Rev. James Dargan 1910-1912 ; Rev. James Dargan; 1912-1913 ; Rev. Patrick Keenan; 1913-1916 ; Rev. Michael O'Hare D.D.;1916-1918 ; Rev. Patrick J. Markey; 1918- 1924 ; Rev. Michael Brown; 1924-1925; Rev. Patrick F. Boyd; 1929- 1931 ; Rev. John J. Branaghan.

A newspaper article from the Down Recorder:

building sermon 22 Jan 1842; many parishioners starving during famine 17 Oct 1846*

The graveyard has mainly 20th century graves. has registers to view 1827-1884; PRONI & NLI have baptisms, marriages & burials 1832-1880;UHF has baptisms 1827 -1900 & marriages 1827 -1900; LDS Film # 0926082 has baptisms 26 May 1827- 28 Dec 1800, marriages 9 Aug 1827- 28 Dec 1880, burials 6 May 1828- 2 Nov 1880

References;.V3 p 22 OSM: DR; TIA; GIC; DDPP p63,67


Gargary Catholic Church

Gargary Catholic Church- Lower Drumgooland
on the road between Banbridge and Castlewellan

A chapel was built near the present site in 1784. Another chapel was built near the site of Mass Bush from Penal times. In 1836 it was described as a plain building of unhewn stone, 63 x 25 feet .Father Morgan built the Parochial house beside the church c.1840. The church was damaged by Orangemen during the Dolly's Brae affray in 1849. It was rebuilt in 1858 and renovated in 1915 & 1997.

Parish priests; Rv. Nicholas Woods 1784-1808;Rev. Bernard Magennis 1803-1806; Rev. Peter McCarthy 1806-17; Rev. John Magennis 1817-20; Rev. Thomas McKay 1820-1832; Rev. Patrick Morgan 1832-1853 (curate Rev. John Kelly); Rev. Benard Hughes 1854- 1886; Rev. Patrick McCartan 1886-1891;Rev. Michael McConville 1891-1911; Rev. John McKenny 1911-1937; Rev. Michael O'Hare 1937-51; Rev. Patrick Campbell 1951-58; Rev. Patrick Boyd 1951-58; Rev. J.J.Pettit 1865-1975; Rev. Patrick Rooney 1975-80; Rev.Liam Boyle 1980

Newspaper article from Down Recorder;
new chapel of St. Patrick to be built 17 Apr 1858

modern graveyard; has registers to view 1833-1884; PRONI & NLI have baptisms & marriages & burials 1827-1880; LDS has baptisms 1817-1946; UHF has baptisms 1832-1900 & marriages 1886-1900
On the flyleaf of the register it states;"Register of the Births, marriage and deaths of the Roman Catholics of the Parish of Lower Drumgooland, from the eighth day of March 1832, on which day, I was appointed the Parish Priest of this Parish, by the Right Reverend Thomas Kelly R.C. Bishop of the Diocese of Drumore.
Patrick Morgan P.P.
P.S. There was no Register kept in the parish before my appointment.
P. Morgan_____"

This photo was kindly sent to me by Ella Patterson.

References;V3 p22 OSM; DR; TIA: GIC; DCPH p49, 133, 134;DDPP p63,64, 65


Lowtown Catholic Church

Lowtown Catholic Church- Dechomet

Lower Drumgooland
on the road between Rathfriland and Dromara

There was an ancient burying place on this site which was in ruins by 1657. The ancient stone cross was thrown down by Protestants 1744. The chapel was rebuilt in 1803 by Rev. Bernard Magennis. This chapel , which is 2km north of Moneyslane village, was built in 1835 and paid for by private subscription. It was described in 1836 as a plain,slated, rectangular building of unhewn stone. The parish priest then was Rev. Patrick Morgan and the curate Rev. John Kelly. A plot of land was bought beside the church for a burial ground in 1848. Previous burials had been in old Drumgooland graveyard. Extensive renovations were carried out in 1971 .

For a list of parish priests see under Gargary (above)

Graveyard attached, has registers to view 1833-1884; PRONI, NLI & LDS have baptisms, marriages & burials 1832-1880;UHF has baptisms 1832-1900 & marriages 1886-1900

References;V3 p22, 23 OSM; TIA; GIC ; DCPH p 41, 47; MO 7/04; DDPP p63, 65,66


Moneyslane village

Moneyslane village

This is the village of Moneyslane taken from the east. You can still see the ruined mill in the centre of the photo.

In the 1659 Census this townland was called Nunis Lane and there were 16 Catholic families only living here. By 1841 there were 138 families with 356 males & 356 females, 10% of whom were receiving Famine relief.

The corn mill was a good slated house, built in 1831, held by James McBride from General Meade. Water supplied by a small stream was not in a sufficient quantity , so that the mill worked only 5 months on average. The water wheel was 18 feet in diameter, breadth 3 feet, diameter of the cog wheel was 8 feet; it was double geared with wood and metal machinery.

The flax mill was next to the corn mill and worked by the same water wheel. It was the property of James McBride It was first built in 1800 and completely repaired in 1834; It only works 4 months of the year; The diameter of the cog wheel was 8 feet. It was double geared with metal machinery.

References;V3 p 23 OSM


Ballymaginaghy townland Ballynageehan townland   Dollys Brae  

Ballymaginaghy Townland looking west

3km NW of Castlewellan, next to the Annesley Demesne; 1185 acres; There is an old Red Cross here. In 1659 Census it was spelt Ballymagnily and there were 12 Catholic families here only. The prorietor in 1795 was Patrick Duncan; By 1841 Census there were 154 families with 361 males & 370 females .

References;DCPH p 47,50, 131; UJA

Ballymagreehan Townland looking north west

2km NW of Castlewellan; 1243 acres. There is an ancient souterrain here near Castlewellan and an old Mass Rock shaped like an altar table standing 4' high with a flat surface 7' wide. In 1659 Census it was called Ballymcgrean and there were 8 Catholic families here only. By 1841 Census there were 131 families with 321 males & 328 females.

Blue granite was quarried here to build Castlewellan Catholic Church in 1884

References;MSWAG p90; DCPH p 47,48,131; old b/w map I12; DDPP p63; SMC p1; Inv 2014 p50 (photo of quarry)

Dollys Brae
A straight road, 3km NW of Castlewellan. Site of famous fracas: Catholics v. Orangemen 14 Jul 1849

This lovely old postcard was kindly sent by Earla Angell.

References; MS WAG p85; DR

by Ros Davies