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

Inch Parish

Inch Abbey Church of Ireland 1st World War Memorial Finnebrogue House Annacloy village


Inch Abbey and the parish graveyard

Inch Abbey and the parish graveyard

Inch is an island, bounded to the south by the River Quoile and to the north by marshland. The island is made up of a row of low, rounded glacial hills and the abbey lies in the hollow between two of the hills. Downpatrick Cathedral can be seen across the river.

There was a church or monastery on this site by 800 AD. Probably with wooden churches, wattled and thatched cells and other buildings, gardens, orchards and agricultural land. In 101 Kilclief and Inch were plundered by Vikings and many prisoners carried off. It was plundered again in 1149 and the Anglo-Normans invaded in 1177. John de Courcy destroyed the abbey at Erenagh, south of Downpatrick, and in atonement founded a Cistercian abbey at Inch in 1180. The Cistercians were followers of a strict, reformed Benedictine-based rule established in late 11th century France. Established as a distinctly Anglo-Norman establishment, Irishman weren't allowed to enter the community. The abbey was burned in 1404 and monastic life ended in 1542 and the property passed into the hands of the Perceval Maxwell family.

Today's ruins cover several acres and you can see the remaining walls and foundations of the church (seen above) with the north and south transepts, the vestry, a small chapter house, the long day-room, the refectory, kitchen, infirmary, a well and the bakehouse.

The parish graveyard ( partly seen above) occupies a central position within the pre-Norman enclosure. The Cistercians excluded lay people from their churches but often built a chapel for them at the edge of the precinct. A chapel was assessed separately from the abbey in the 1306 taxation roll. The site was abandoned in 1730 when a new Inch parish church was built in Ballynacraig townland. Early 19th century prints of the abbey show a ruined church in the graveyard, which was demolished later in the century.

There is a general graveyard next to old Abbey; gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 7 ; email me for a gravestone look-up

References;V17 p 39 OSM ; GIC ; LM 1988 p32,33; LM 1991 p66


Inch Parish Church

Church of Ireland
in Ballynacraig townland

This parish church was erected in 1756 to replace an other church which was next to the old abbey. It was rebuilt in 1828 at a cost of £680 with £ 50 given by the rector, Rev. R. Trail. It seated 250 with an average attendance in 1836 of 200. It has a small gallery and an organ which cost £250 and a bell which were paid for by Mr. Maxwell of Finnebrogue House. The rector in 1845 was Rev. J.W. Maxwell & in 1863 was Rev. David Bell.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder:
sermon 2 Nov 1839; as a mark of respect, the parishioners , used 22 ploughs to prepare the field next to the church for seed Dec 1842; J.W. Maxwell quits church 29 Mar 1845: address by parishioners Rev Mant ,rector 20 Sep 1845: Sunday school 7 Aug 1852; gossip about parish by J.W. Hanna 17 Aug 1861 ; church reopened 16 Apr 1870; ploughing match 26 Jan 1884; new organ 31 Dec 1935; new organ donated by Perceval-Maxwell family 3 Jan 1936; treasure hunt 4 Jun 1939

Records available are baptisms 1767-1882, marriages 1764-1926, burials 1768-1872; PRONI MIC/1/49/1; Killyleagh Library holds baptisms 1767-1951 , marriages 1764-1951 & deaths 1788-1976; no graveyard, burials at the old abbey. North of Ireland FHS ( has baptisms 1767 -1951 & marriages 1764 -1951 & deaths 1788-1976 ; records now also available on

References;V17 p 73 OSM; MID p 84; DR; GIPR: GIC; GV ; LR 2009 p46
World War 1 Memorial






This World War 1 memorial tablet (left) is next to the entrance door of the parish church (above).


Finnebrogue House, Inch parish

Finnebrogue House
Finnebrogue Rd, Downpatrick BT30 9AA

Finnebrogue is reputedly, but quite improbably, the oldest inhabited house in Northern Ireland and dates from 1680. It was originally owned by Inch Abbey which was a McCartan stronghold in 1600. The estate, bordered by the Quoile River and Strangford Lough, also included the ruins of the 12th-century Cistercian Abbey of Inch. It was let in perpetuity to Henry Maxwell by Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Ardglass, in 1628. But this must have been in recognition of an assignment to Maxwell of an earlier 'deed of feoffment' forever granted in 1606 by Lord Ardglass's father, Edward Cromwell, 3rd Lord Cromwell, to a Londoner who at some point between 1606 and 1628 had transferred his interest to Maxwell. It is uncertain whether there was a house on the site at this time, or when the original house was built; but the Maxwells do not seem to have taken up residence there until the late 17th century. Rev. Henry Maxwell acquired lands in the area as his marriage payment to Jane Echlin mid 1600s. He built a house which was burnt down in 1641 Rebellion. Robert Maxwell built another house here in 1660. The present house could be attributed to Dorothea Maxwell Waring c. 1795. It was owned by the Maxwell family in 1836. There was a corn mill here ( only stump remains) . It was the residence of John W. Maxwell in 1852. In 1863 it had a farm of 504 acres and was held in fee by John W. Maxwell. Residence of R.D. Perceval-Maxwell in 1910. Residence of Arthur & Elizabeth Acheson from 1994 then John & Linda Thompson in 2009.

There is an excellent article on Finnebrogue's old gate piers in Lecale Miscellany 2001 & 2002.

Articles from Down Recorder newspaper;
decreased rents for Bangor tenantry 25 Mar 1837; Maxwell lowers rents 11 Nov 1843 ;Harvest home 18 Sep 1852; 56th anniversary dinner 17 Jun 1854; Harvest home 14 Oct 1854 & 26 Oct 1857; rambles by road & rail 23 Nov 1861; landlord & tenant 2 Oct 1880; house & 36 acres for sale 28 Oct 2009

see for more details.


References;TCC p 33; MO 8/11/04; V17 p 73, 74 OSM : DR; O'L V1 p 325; LM 2002 p 71;LR 2003 p 64 ;GV; LR 2005 p22; LR2011 p9,15 (windmill) ; POD; LM 1985 p8; DR 28/10/2009 p28

Finnebrogue House 2009


The village of Annacloy, Inch parish

The village of Annacloy

Annacloy is a townland of 1152 acres; 4km NW of Downpatrick on Ballynahinch road and a village which is very spread out along the main road

The name means "the ford by the oak' or 'ford of the stone' referring to an ancient castle. The townland was originally divided into 5 quarters- Castle Quarter, Cargagh, Conlig, Sufficial & The Rann and was owned by Earl of Ardglass in 1669 & leased to Patrick Moore Esq. The proprietor in 1795 was James McMordie; A school was erected 1828. The townland was bought by the Ker family in 1835. There was bog here in 1836 probably near the river.

Nowadays the village starts of the top of the hill where Teconnaught Catholic church and graveyard are. It then covers parts of Tullynacree townland (where this photo is taken from) then down over the River Quoile into Annacloy townland. There has been a lot of development lately with people moving out of Belfast but happy enough to commute the 30km back each day for work. There is a pub, the Post Office closed c. 2000, and Magrath's petrol station/ general store. Rosconnor House is on the main street. being restored in 2018)

Licencees of Annacloy pub Main Street (near the middle of the village) ; Patrick Grant in 1896- 1903; John Smyth Jan 1903- Jul 1919; John Smyth junior Jul 1919- Aug 1925; Owen Clarke Aug 1925- Apr 1951 & Owen McMullan 19 Apr 1851 till present day

There was another pub near McGrath's shop at the southern end of the village. It was run by Rose McCallister c. 1880 then taken over by Hugh Rodgers til Oct 1897 when his son Dickie took over.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
Ribbonism 21 Dec 1846; local Ribbonmen marched to Crossgar on St. Patrick's Day 1849 & rioted 10/3/28R*; science classes results 13 Jul 1872; fire in Joseph Perry's scutch mill at The Rann 23 Jan 1886; lighting of the town with electricity 30 Oct 1936

References;LR 2009p51; TCC p 33; UJA; LM 1985 p53; V17 p74,76 OSM : BH; SLAB; ; DR; DR*; DR* 3/12/03


by Ros Davies