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A journal
of Down

Number 6


Lecale Historical Society

Lecale Review
No 6 (2008)
published by
the Lecale Historical Society

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be

reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in
any form by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior Photography:
written permission of the copyright owner and publisher of
this book. Mrs Hugh Baird, page 86
Edward Carr, pages 14 and 15
Patrick Clarke, page 37
© The Lecale Historical Society and contributors Patrick Devlin, page 96
Down County Museum, page 54
Berkley Farr, front cover, pages 34, 36, 64, 65, 69, 72, 75, 85 and
ISSN 1741-7872
Mary Farr, page 70
Mathew Forde, pages 38, 40, 41 and 43
Bobby Hanvey, page 44
Editorial Arrangements:
Mike Hartwell, page 7
This edition has been produced by the Editorial Committee.
Alan Johnston, pages 62 and 87
Berkley Farr (Chairman)
Mary Laird, page 10
Mary Farr (Secretary and layout) Linen Hall Library, pages 6, 51, 57, 78 and 83
John Killen Joan Magee, pages 60 and 61
Sinead McCartan Finbar McCormick, page 63
Patricia Magennis Emily Murray, page 20
Wendy Osborne Mourne Observer, page 41
Patricia Pyne S Munsen, page 19
National Museums Northern Ireland, pages 53, 54 and 56
The Editorial Committee wishes to thank Pat Devlin, William National Trust, pages 19, 71 and 73
Stranney and Dr Brian Gaffney for their assistance. Northern Ireland Environment Agency, back cover and pages 25,
47, 48 and 49
Alan Patterson, pages 35 and 36
Printed by Priory Press, Holywood Parliamentary Archives, page 42
Public Record Office, N.I., page 18
Patricia Pyne, page 4
Front cover: Quoile Bridge Colm Rooney, pages 28, 29, 30, 31 and map page 27
Back cover: Lecale section of 1755 map of County Down William Stranney, maps pages 5 and 9
The Quoile James Connor 1877-1918
Berkley Farr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Malachy Ellesmere & Joan Magee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
The Old Quoile River SeaGen
Laura Plummer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Alan Johnston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Whiterock Dance Hall (1931-1950) A Cuckoo in the Tomb
William Stranney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Trouble at the Wallace Mausoleum, Downpatrick 1861
Finbar McCormick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Excavations at Castle Ward
Emily Murray, Philip Macdonald & Malachy Conway . . . . 18 Townland Victory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
What I Never Knew About John de Courcy Lady Bangor’s Memories of China 1906
James Fitzsimons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Raymond Atkinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

A Moment Frozen in Time The Ingenious Innings of Inspiration

Strangford, Sunday 31st March 1901, Part 2 Amanda McKittrick Ros Revisited
Colm Rooney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Peter Cavan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

A Footnote Downpatrick’s Architectural Heritage

Sean Nolan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Peter Rankin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

Omer Pasha Journal of Liberal History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

David Maxwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Frank Maxwell - A Tribute
Ronald Buchanan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Minnie McGee
Berkley Farr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 The Mournes
Alan Johnston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
The Fordes of Seaforde
Patrick Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Book Notices
Gordon Wheeler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
A Rare Map of County Down
Frederick Pyne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Review of the Year
Berkley Farr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
D J McNeill Collection
Notes on Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Lesley Simpson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Lecale Historical Society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Francis Joseph Bigger - Ireland’s Cultural Crusader Lecale Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Roger Dixon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Membership List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Photograph by Patricia Pyne

The Quoile
Saint Patrick is known to have travelled along the Quoile. For centuries the Quoile was a link between Strangford
Lough and Downpatrick, a tidal estuary which often flooded. This was finally resolved with the creation in 1957 of
a tidal barrier, creating the Quoile Pondage, now a wonderful freshwater wildlife habitat. It is hard to believe that
this peaceful spot was once a bustling area, part of an important transport route.

The Quoile
Berkley Farr

Most people going to and from

Downpatrick and Lecale have to
cross the River Quoile. The Quoile
flows into the south-western
corner of Strangford Lough
forming the northern boundary of
the Lecale peninsula and
separating it from the main area of
County Down. It drains a
significant part of east and central
Down but only uses the name
Quoile for the final few miles of its

The waters of the Quoile

originate in the inter-drumlin lakes
and marshes of mid-Down
between Hillsborough and
Ballynahinch. They form the
Ballynahinch River which winds
its way eastwards between the
drumlins for over a dozen miles to
Kilmore, where it meets the smaller This map shows the course of the Quoile River from its origin as the Ballynahinch River through the Annacloy
River to Strangford Lough
south-flowing Glasswater River.
Both the name and direction change as it becomes the meaning ‘narrow’.1 The river varies in width as it passes
Annacloy River flowing south through a broadening through marshland and between steep-sided drumlins.
valley for the next five miles. It has now reached the flat It is particularly wide to the west of Downpatrick but it
marshlands west of Downpatrick where it changes again is noticeably narrower to the north of the town in the
towards the north-east as the River Quoile for the final stretch leading to the Quoile Bridge.
four miles to Strangford Lough.
The Quoile was a tidal estuary rather than a
The name Quoile is derived from the Irish caol freshwater river for most of its life. The Quoile and its

This photograph of the foundations of the Quoile floodgates, downstream from the Quoile Bridge, was taken on 26th July 1933. It is interesting to note the use
of manual labour with planks and wheelbarrows

marshes, along with the Blackstaff River and Inner The river/estuary was a waterway for man until
Dundrum Bay, meant that Lecale was almost an island recent times. St Patrick himself was one of the most
cut off from the rest of County Down. Until the first famous voyagers to arrive by boat in the estuary on his
way to Saul but the early Christians were to be followed
floodgates were constructed in 1745 the sea came in to
by others in later centuries. The Vikings made use of the
cover the marshlands west of Downpatrick as well as Quoile from the ninth to the eleventh centuries although
parts of the present town such as Market Street. (See 1755 King Magnus Barelegs of Norway was unable to make
map on back cover of this journal) The floodgates were the return journey. De Courcy and the Normans soon
reconstructed in 1933. followed with Inch Abbey being one of the best buildings
to survive from this period. It was founded at its site in
1177 because of the adjoining river which provided easy
The creation of the tidal barrier at Castle Island in
communication and it still has a unique monastic
1957 marked the final transformation of the Quoile to a
freshwater river and virtually ended the seasonal
flooding of the marshes. By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries trade and

This aerial view, looking north across the Quoile estuary from the former Quoile Quay (bottom left) to the tidal barrier with Strangford Lough (top right), shows
the Quoile Pondage National Nature Reserve which was tidal before the construction, in 1957, of the tidal barrier across Castle Island and Hare Island

commerce were well established on the Quoile with the earlier ferry, and in turn it was replaced by a stone bridge
Quoile Quay and Steamboat Quay catering for ships in the 1680s. It was described by Harris in 1744 as having
from Britain and beyond. Navigation on the Quoile was six arches and a gateway over the end of it.3 The gate was
however dependent on high tides and larger ships a tollgate which was removed in the nineteenth century.
encountered difficulties. The arrival of the railway The bridge is still in use but, since the construction of the
provided competition in goods traffic and larger ports new Belfast Road near Inch Abbey in the 1960s, it only
like Belfast grew as ships got larger and small ports carries the Killyleagh and local traffic. (See photo on
front cover of this journal)
declined. The 1957 tidal barrier marked the end of the
quays and even the Quoile Yacht Club moved. Notes and References:
Kay Muhr, An Elizabethan map of north-east Down, Lecale Review,
The narrow width of the river to the east of Portulla No.3 2005
was the site of a ford and it provided Thomas Cromwell, 2
Anthony M Wilson, St Patrick’s Town, p99, The Isabella Press, 1995
Viscount Lecale, with the opportunity to build the first 3
Walter Harris, The Ancient and Present State of the County of Down,
Quoile Bridge in 1640.2 This wooden bridge replaced the Dublin 1744

2/ The tide flows in from Strangford Lough 3/ The sun sinks low behind the hills
Where the Vikings once held sway As I turn to wander home
And it greets the Slaney River where A lonely swan glides softly by
They say that Patrick sailed And the small birds sing their song
Old churches nestle in the green The twilight casts its magic spell -
Of the drumlin and the brae Reflections of the moon
The old stones keep their secrets still I stop a while along Quoile Bridge
In this corner of Lecale The stars will follow soon

Chorus Chorus:

This song about the walk along the Quoile River from Steamboat Quay to the Quoile Bridge was written by Downpatrick-based
folk singer Laura Plummer. It is from her album ‘This corner of Lecale: a journey round St Patrick’s country’ released in March
2008. There are 12 tracks of original and traditional songs & music inspired by the history and landscape of Lecale area. For further
information visit:

Whiterock Dance Hall (1931-1950)
William Stranney
‘Come, let me sing into your ear;
Those dancing days are gone …’,
(W B Yeats, 1933)1


In the Spring of the year 1931, a

small number of men and women
in the townlands of Ballylucas and
Rathmullan Upper, including the
small village of Scollockstown,
decided it was time they did
something to improve the
recreation facilities for the people of
the area. They were driven by the
need to provide entertainment for
the many holiday visitors who
came to stay in the surrounding
area each year, attracted by the
proximity of Tyrella Beach. The
First World War was long over and Fig.1 Map showing part of Ballylucas and Rathmullan Upper townlands and the location of the Whiterock
Hall 2
the troubles surrounding the
creation of the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland in for, and a decision was made to purchase one of the huts
1922 had diminished if not quite gone away. Perhaps it with a view to starting up a dance hall in the area.
was the improvement in the ‘troubles’ that meant the Although, in the years to follow, it became popularly
administrators of Ballykinlar Army Camp, situated just known as “Scollockstown Hall”, its proper title was, in
three miles from Ballylucas, did not need so many army fact, “Whiterock Hall”. It was located about 100 yards
huts. After all, the internment section of the camp had from a local quarry called the “White Rock”. The name
been closed now for about six years. may have been chosen by John Joe Laverty who
purchased the hut and whose farm and property was
A number of local people have always been employed situated close to this quarry.
at ‘the Camp’ and it was probably through these
contacts that the impending sale became widely known. John Joe Laverty was also a shopkeeper and was in a
This was the opportunity the local people were waiting better position than most to gather together the necessary

funds to purchase a second-hand army hut. He bought sheets of corrugated iron on the outside walls and roof,
one of the huts and transported it home, in sections, on nailed onto an inner wooden frame. The inside walls and
a large trailer drawn by a tractor. My father, John ceiling were finished with tongue and groove panelling.
Stranney, who was 11 years old at the time, remembers There was a small stage at the end of the hall furthest
it being driven past his home in Scollockstown. Its arrival from the road. The floor was a wooden one, which had
caused great excitement in this quiet country area. John a good spring in it (important for dancing) due to the fact
Joe had it assembled in one of his fields at the side of the that it was raised up from the earth, as mentioned
road now known as the Ballylucas Road. The location previously. It was approximately 16 feet wide and 40 feet
was just a quarter of a mile from Scollockstown and in length. There were four windows on each side. There
about four miles from Downpatrick. It stood on a was a small room, sometimes referred to by committee
foundation of stone blocks in the corner of one of members as a ‘kitchen’ at the end of the main building,
Laverty’s fields, just a few yards from the passing road beside the small stage. This room was used to store
(see Fig. 1). A gap approximately four feet wide was cut confectionery and soft drinks which were sold to the
in the thorn hedge and two concrete posts were erected public.
enclosing a small iron gate. Seven concrete steps, each
about four feet wide, were built leading to the lower First Committee
ground of the field close to the hall entrance door.
According to Peter Clarke of Erinagh the following
people were on the first committee: Joey Deegan and
John Foy both of the Glen, and Vincie Dobbin of ‘up
Ballylucas’ (now the Corbally Road). He thought that
Felix Dobbin, father of Austie Dobbin of Marshallstown,
may have also been a foundation member.

Preparations for Opening

Whatever the membership of the committee, it

certainly was very active. They rented the hall from John
Joe Laverty and eventually paid back to him the full
purchase price of the hall over a period of years. The
committee immediately made preparations to get the hall
up and running. There was no electricity, running water,
Fig. 2 The Whiterock Hall in August 1932
central heating or toilet facilities. Lighting was most
likely provided by the use of one or more oil lamps such
as the Tilley lamp which was in common use at that time.
This may have been supplemented by the use of carbide
The hall was most likely a dark green colour; of note
lamps. Evidence for the use of both of these types of lamp
are the two little spirelets (probably wooden) on the ridge
appeared in the account books of local shopkeeper, John
of the roof, one at each end (Fig. 2). The hut was built of
Joe Laverty in August 1931.

The following entries appeared on the 8th and 11th of advertisements. No
August: details of the
‘W. R. Hall. Paid: 1 tin oil jar - 1 shilling; 1 qt (quart) Opening Ceremony
oil - 3d; 1 chimney - 4d.’ exist. However,
and, ‘W. R. Hall. chambers - 1-11-0’. between 7.30 and
9pm, one can
The ‘chimney’ referred to was the glass shade of a imagine a hall
Fig. 3 Ad. in Down Recorder 15-8-1931
Tilley or Hurricane Lamp. The ‘chambers’ purchase may packed with local
have been the purchase of calcium carbide to put in the people, delighted at the arrival of this first ever
chamber of a carbide lamp, as such lamps were in use at ‘community centre’ dedicated purely to their
the time.3 entertainment. Other visitors to the hall, from further
away, may also have arrived, filling up any remaining
Water was needed only in small amounts for tea- spaces on the long forms provided for seating. In the
making by and for the hall committee. This was obtained warm summer evening, the crowd would probably have
from a spring well located in the field behind the hall spilled outside to the surrounding field and roadside. I
close to the boundary hedge between John Joe Laverty’s would not be surprised if Brennan’s ice-cream van was
and Stephen Stranney’s fields.4 This water was not parked at the side of the road outside the hall. For many
required for dancers, visiting bands or other visitors as years after that it was to be seen parked there late into the
soft drinks would have been made available at the night seeking the custom of the thirsty late night
various functions. These light refreshments, lemonade, dancers. Inside, the first committee would have been
crisps etc. were supplied by my grandmother, Mary standing proudly on the stage. A local dignitary, possibly
Stranney who also ran a small shop in her front garden John Joe Laverty himself, would have been making a
in nearby Scollockstown. I have heard it said she was not speech to loud applause and cheering. The Harmony
averse to supplying ‘something stronger’ to those Dance Band members would have been standing in the
visitors who didn’t fancy soft drinks! wings, having a last smoke perhaps or even
surreptitiously snatching a last wee drop of ‘courage’.
I have no information about heating in the hall. In the Peter Clarke knew their names:
warmer weather it would not have been needed. It is
likely that one or more paraffin heaters were used at ‘That was James Higgins and Willie... Wee Willie Higgins
Christmas and during the winter. and James… Joe Cassidy played the drums for them. They
used to go around the country. James and Willie played
Opening Ceremony accordions’.

The official opening of the Whiterock Hall took place on James Higgins of Ballynewport played the accordion.
Friday, 21st August, 1931 (Fig 3). Although located in Apparently, William ‘The Wag’ Higgins, his brother,
Ballylucas, the hall committee knew it would be wiser to played the banjo and mandolin (although, no doubt he
include the much better known name (at the time) of the was also able to play the accordion). They were
nearby village of Scollockstown in this and all future accompanied by brothers Paddy and John Carr of

Ballylucas on the fiddles. They were cousins of James common before the hall opened.5
and William Higgins. Gerald (Gerdie) Sharvin of
Scollockstown sometimes played the drums. When the weather was colder, or wet, the hall would
be used for indoor activities such as card games. Whist,
An accordion and other musical instruments might ‘45’ and poker were popular. Surprisingly perhaps,
have been strategically placed on the floor at the back of money was rarely involved. Darts was also popular.
the stage. A set of drums would have stood there too in Often too, individuals brought in an accordion and the
readiness for use. sound of the music would then attract others. A bit of a
The admission price was two shillings and six pence dance or a sing-song might ensue. Hughie Smyth from
for ‘Gents’ (just over £6 in today’s money). ‘Ladies’, at the Flying Horse (in Downpatrick) was one of these
that time often employed at home and therefore musicians. It is almost certain that the musically
unwaged, were charged six pence less. The dance was talented Higgins family of Ballynewport also made a
advertised as an ‘All-Night Dance’, but with a finishing contribution to these informal sessions.
time of 3am.
Organised Activity - Overview 1931-50
Informal Activity
The Whiterock Hall Committee advertised its dances
During the warm dry weather of the summertime the and other activities in the local Down Recorder
‘Four Roads’ and the ‘Range Wall’ at Scollockstown newspaper. What follows is a summary of its activity
probably continued to be the most popular meeting based on information gleaned from these advertisements.
places for the large number of people who would gather The adverts sometimes simply stated something like,
in the area on a good evening. Some walked or cycled ‘The usual Wednesday Evening Dance will commence
from as far away as Ballykinlar and other places just ‘for on…’ These regular dances were only advertised once,
the crack’ and a bit of ‘carry-on’. perhaps at the start of the summer holiday period. It is
likely, therefore, that the figures I provide below are an
The following little anecdote suggests that the Four underestimate of hall activity over the twenty year
Roads still had its uses even after the hall was opened. period.
Henry Starkey and Felix Burns, of Rossglass and
Ballygilbert, respectively, had the following to say: The first advertisement inserted by the committee
was about the opening ceremony which took place on
Henry to Felix: “Felix, you mind the ‘Moonlight
Friday, 21st August, 1931. During the twenty years of the
hall’s existence one hundred and sixty-three
Felix to Henry: “Aye, the Belfast girls … they learned us advertisements appeared in the Down Recorder. Ninety-
to dance up at the corner. And then when we went to the five of these were exclusively for ‘Dances’. However, a
dance… we were fit to do it!” Dance was also frequently advertised to follow
immediately after a drama production. Thirty seven
The ‘corner’ is Felix’s name for the Four Roads. advertisements were for Ceilidhs. Ceilidhs were not
Dancing at the Four Roads (crossroads) used to be advertised before January of 1942. Many of the ceilidh

advertisements were clearly for functions being run by period. Four of these were listed as being from Belfast
Scollockstown Gaelic Athletic Club. Perhaps this club (e.g. Donnelly’s Famous Caporal Band and Paddy
underwent a revival in 1942. Thirty one advertisements Diamond’s First Class Dance Band). As for local bands,
were for dramatic productions, which were often there was a Whiterock Ceilidhe Band and Whiterock
followed by a dance. The category, ‘drama production’ Dance Band. Other bands had more romantic names,
includes a small number of variety concerts which often such as the Moonlight Rhythm Band, the Serenaders and
included a small play or a number of sketches. the Columbia Dance Band. For local readers, it’s not too
difficult to guess where the musicians in the Ballynagross
Activity in the hall was relatively intense throughout Dance Band came from! The proximity of the Ballykinlar
the first three years of its life, 1931 to 1933, (5, 14 and 14 Army Camp is hinted at by the presence of Ballykinlar
advertised events, mostly dances). From 1934 onwards I.T.C. Military Dance Band on four occasions between
there was a gradual dip in activity until 1938 where there November 1940 and February 1941.
were no advertised events at all. The War years brought
a revival which peaked in 1944 (16 advertisements - 3 As to the type of music played, we have to rely here
dances, 9 ceilidhes, 2 plays, 1 meeting of Scollockstown on two sources. One is the advertisements and the other
GAC, 1 dancing class - every Wednesday night). is the anecdotal evidence provided by my informants.
Ceilidhes were the most frequent form of dance activity The advertisements constantly use the words ‘Dance’,
advertised from 1942 onwards. ‘Ceilidhe’ and ‘Ceilidhe-Dance’. My own feeling about
this is that, regardless of the word used, the music played
A feature of hall use over the years was the occasional would have been a mixture of ballroom dancing and
booking of it by people from outside the immediate area. ‘Irish’ or ceilidhe dancing. This is supported by the
Between 1932 and 1949, Tyrella and Ballynewport memories of my informants. Here are a couple of
Football Clubs (Soccer), Aughlisnafin Gaelic Athletic examples which give us a little flavour of the fun and
Club, Minerstown Cricket Club and Strangford Sailing frolics which took place in the Whiterock Hall.
Club all held at least one function in it.
A scan of Down Recorder advertisements of the later Henry Starkey:
period (1945-50) shows that the local Scollockstown ‘Oh, there was Irish dancing … 4 hand reel and the 16 hand
Gaelic Athletic Club was now using the nearby Ballynoe reel… Waves of Tory and that sort of thing, you know. Annie
Tumelty would have been swinging you and when you got up
Hall for its functions. Peter Clarke was sure this was
to a certain pitch, Annie would have let you go and you would
because the Whiterock Hall was now considered too
have crashed through the crowd. If the side wall hadn’t been
small for the large crowds attending the Club’s events.
there you would have landed out in the field!’
Ballynoe Hall was much larger. It was in fact two large
army huts joined together. It also had Ladies and Gents Felix Burns (on the type of dancing he took part in):
toilets installed! ‘Oh, English dancing, all English dancing… was in
Music and Dancing Scollockstown. …16 hand reel, the Waves of Tory … Foxtrots
and Waltzes. I was never at the Ceilidhes.’*
Twenty-five different bands appeared in *Felix is well aware of the difference between Irish (Ceilidhe) and
advertisements by the hall committee over a twenty year ballroom dancing. I think this off-the-cuff remark is simply a reflection

of the fact that his experience at ‘Dances’ in the hall was always a
mixture of the two.


Based on advertisements which appeared in the

Fig. 5 O’Callaghan’s
Down Recorder, Scollockstown Dramatic Club survived Adventures and some
as a going concern for 14 years, from 1932 until 1946, sketches. D. R. 20-5-1933
when it seems to have been replaced by the rather
strangely-named and short-lived ‘Viators Comedy
Company’. Scollockstown Dramatic Club (variously
titled, ‘S. D. Players’, ‘S. D. Society’, ‘S. D. Company,’
‘Whiterock Players’ etc.), were undoubtedly an
enthusiastic group of
local men and women
who put on a wide
range of Irish plays.

The names of
almost 50 plays are
advertised over that
14 year period. Many,
such as “The
Shaughraun”, were
well-known in the
field of Irish Drama.
Others, such as
“Caught in
Scollockstown” and
“The Oul’ Orange
Flute” were ‘dramatic
Fig. 4 John C. Magennis - a multi-talented
farces’ or ‘sketches’
individual. Seated on a grass bank in front of written by John C
Carr’s in Ballylucas, Cassidy’s cottage is in Magennis, who, quite
the background. literally, was to the
Whiterock Hall what Shakespeare was to the Globe
Theatre! Like Shakespeare, ‘J.C.’ often chose to act in his Fig. 6 Review of
own plays as well as write and direct them. He is warmly Drama in
Whiterock Hall.
remembered by older folk in the area. D.R. 27-5-1933

photograph of the local
people who took part in this
production (Fig. 7).


It will not surprise the

reader to hear that many
visitors to the hall came from
the surrounding townlands.
They walked or cycled from
as far away as Killough,
Rossglass and Ballykinlar.
These small villages and
townlands were situated
along the east Down coast
and were that little bit further
away from the larger centres
of entertainment such as
Downpatrick and Newcastle.
Fig. 7 Cast of ‘The Shaughraun’, 1937
Visitors to this hall also
Back Row L to R: John Stranney, Paddy Carr, James Higgins, John Carr, Gerardy Sharvin, ? Smith, Peter Deegans,
Freddy Laird, Willie Smyth (hidden), Pat Deegans, Bridie Carr (half hidden). came from much further
Three people in middle right of photo: L to R: Marie Norton, Joey Deegans, unknown. away. Advertisements in one
Front Row L to R: Joe Hanna,? Deegans, Annie Tumelty, John C Magennis (Producer and Director), Jim Fitzpatrick.
local newspaper show clearly
that special buses were often laid on to bring people from
On the 20th of May, 1933, notice of a play appeared in
places like Kilkeel, Glasdrumman, Belfast, Killyleagh and
the Down Recorder (Fig. 5, previous page).
Strangford. Holidaymakers, who came from Belfast,
Liverpool and various parts of south-west Scotland,
Magennis was known to write occasional reviews of
stayed in Scollockstown and Killough and walked or
the plays he was involved in. Only about half a dozen
cycled to the hall to enjoy the dancing.
have ever been published in the Down Recorder.
Fortunately, one of them was of the above production in
the Whiterock Hall. (Fig 6, previous page). Felix Burns gave his perspective:

‘The Shaughraun’6 was another play put on by the ‘There was a hell of a lot of women stopped at your father’s
Scollockstown Dramatic Club. John Magennis took the house in Scollockstown.
role of ‘The Shaughraun’ in this production (Irish
There was Scotch women and they went to the dance. And
seachránaí - wanderer, errant person). Here is a

then there was hell for leather who could give them a dance. Stumbling in the moonlight, some scrambled up the
And there was women down the road here beside us in adjacent low-lying hills (in Dromore, Co. Down) to gaze
Rossglass over from Scotland and they went to the dance. helplessly and expectantly in the direction of Belfast’.
They had two pair of shoes, one pair in their handbag or
over their shoulders. They would have walked. Sure, the The dancers in the Whiterock hall that night would
half of us hadn’t bicycles then.’ have heard the same noise of aircraft and watched
anxiously as the planes flew overhead. Not long after
Belfast Blitz they would have heard the sound of the explosions in
Belfast is about twenty five miles by road from
Ballylucas. Belfast suffered terribly during the Second Closure
World War. Felix Burns remembers a small, but
significant, incident which occurred in east Down at the The last advertised dance of any kind was a ‘Ceilidhe-
time of the ‘Belfast Blitz’. The incident brought the war Dance’ which took place on 17th September, 1950. In
that little bit closer to the people living there. December of the same year there were two further
notices for the commencement of dancing classes and a
‘I could hear the bangs of the bombs going off during the whist drive. However, there is then nothing for seven
Blitz in Belfast. You could see the planes going over. I saw months before the following notice appears in the
two planes between the clouds. One of them came over St Recorder:
John’s Lighthouse. They dropped a flare over the lighthouse
and you could have seen the whole countryside with that
flare. They were getting their bearings. And then all the
people in Scollockstown Hall that night, (was it Easter
Sunday, or Easter Monday?) all come running out, “Oh
my God, my mother and father’ll be killed!” They all come
running out of the hall.’

Felix was referring to the alarm of the young Belfast

holidaymakers who were at the dance. On Easter
Tuesday, 15th-16th April, 1941 there was a major air raid
in Belfast. The Whiterock Hall would have had dances
every night of Easter Week and it is very likely that it is Fig. 8 Closure Meeting. Down Recorder 28-7-1951
one of those, unadvertised, dances that Felix is referring
to above. Brian Barton, in his book on the Belfast Blitz7, This notice was inserted by John Foy8, Chairman of
describes what was happening at this time. the ‘Scollockstown Recreation Club’ which was, in fact,
run by the Hall Committee. The hall, it would appear,
‘… the unsynchronised drone of approaching aircraft could was now owned by this Club. Sometime after this date
be heard over Carlingford Lough in South Down. ………. a decision was made to sell the hall. This group, with

their Scollockstown Recreation Club hat on as it were, newspaper provided much long forgotten detail about
must have decided to continue for a while as the next the Whiterock Dance Hall.
significant advertisement after that was by this ‘Club’
who were holding a ‘Grand Dance’ on ‘Hallowe’en
Night’ in the Arcadian Café, Tyrella. It appeared in the Notes and references:
Down Recorder on 27th of October 1951, just 90 days
1. W B Yeats, ‘Those Dancing Days are Gone’ in The Winding Stair and
after the above ‘closure notice’. This recreation club had Other Poems, (Macmillan, 1933). For complete poem see also:
previously held all its functions in Whiterock Hall, so it
is likely that the holding of official public functions in the
2. This outline map shows the location of some of the key places
hall had now ceased. mentioned in the article. The Hall was dismantled sometime after
July, 1951. Of the seven family names used on the map all but two
The hall was purchased by Mrs Laverty, widow of are still the same. Cassidy’s is now O’Hanlon’s. John Joe Laverty’s
John Joe, and dismantled by Rabbie (Robert) Trainor and Shop & Farm are now Dorans. John Joe died in 1935. His widow,
either John Foy or Joey Trainor (a brother of Rabbie). The Mary then ran the shop and farm for about thirty years. To locals it
was then known as “Mrs Laverty’s”. The shop closed sometime in
tin was used to repair roofs on outbuildings on the the late sixties or early seventies. She left the farm to her nephew
Laverty farm property. The wood was used for other Michael Doran who is the current owner. The shop in Scollockstown
repairs. has gone. Scollockstown G.A.C. merged with Bright G.A.C. many
years ago.
Reasons for Closure 3.

Sometime soon after the War was over, the Committee 4. Michael Doran, who now owns John Joe Laverty’s farm, showed me
must have reviewed the future of the hall and decided this spring well in May, 2008.
that its time was up. It was now a very old army hut,
5. For more details on dancing at the crossroads see ps. 116-119 of Helen
with none of the facilities now expected by dancers and Brennan’s ‘The Story of Irish Dance’, published by Brandon, Co.Kerry
other visitors. Even those people who remained loyal to (1999).
the local country dance hall now preferred the likes of the
nearby Ballynoe Hall, which could cater for larger 6. For a summary of the plot see .
crowds and offer better facilities. The big showbands
were becoming very popular and the large crowds they 7. B Barton, The Blitz - Belfast in the War Years (Belfast, 1989),
attracted necessitated much larger dance halls. The era of Chapter 5.
the small dance hall was passing away.
8. John Foy of the Glen, Ballylucas (latterly of Scollockstown), died in
1990. He was the only man I know who could rival Willie Smyth of
Acknowledgements the Glen with his knowledge of local history.

I would like to thank all those people who shared

their memories of the Whiterock Hall with me. I would
also like to make a special mention of the excellent
research facilities at Ballynahinch Library Headquarters.
Their microfilm holdings of the Down Recorder

Excavations at Castle Ward
Emily Murray†, Philip Macdonald† and Malachy Conway*
† Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork, Queen’s University, Belfast
* Project Archaeologist, The National Trust (Northern Ireland)

Introduction The Wards and their building schemes

Recent archaeological investigations at Castle Ward The Ward family, who hailed from Cheshire,
have provided a glimpse of a missing architectural link purchased the Castle Ward estate from the Earl of Kildare
circa 15703. Not long thereafter the family constructed
in the Ward family’s building schemes on their demesne,
their first home, a modest tower house now known as
just outside of Strangford, Co. Down1. In 2007 the Centre
‘old Castle Ward’ and located in the farmyard. The
for Archaeological Fieldwork (CAF) at Queen’s demesne is,
University, Belfast carried out a soil resistivity survey however, best
across the site of the earlier Queen Anne period house known for a
and this was succeeded the following year with a small Ward edifice of
excavation. Both seasons’ fieldwork were supported by two centuries
the then Environment and Heritage Service (EHS): Built later: the eccentric
Heritage2 in collaboration with the National Trust for two-faced
Northern Ireland and coincided with the EHS’s annual eighteenth
century mansion
Archaeology Days events.
house, half
Classical and half
The 2008 excavation facilitated public participation Gothick, which
throughout the three-week dig and a total of 43 was built by
volunteers took part ranging in age from 8 to 87 years. Bernard Ward,
Volunteers travelled from as far as Derrylin, Co. the first Viscount
Fermanagh, Sion Mills, Co. Tyrone and Dublin along Bangor, between
with those from closer-by who included twelve members 1761 and 1767.
Fig. 1 Detail from a navigation chart by George
of the Downpatrick branch of the Young Archaeologist’s Less well known Johnson dated 1755 and showing a front elevation
Club (YAC) who participated for a day. The excavation perhaps is that of the Queen Anne house at Castle Ward
the present house (PRONI D/671/P10/1).
received wide media coverage; articles featured in the
is a successor to
local press, while the BBC got heavily involved with
an earlier Ward residence of which no visible trace now
interviews on Radio Ulster’s ‘Your Place and Mine’ and survives.
‘Evening Extra’, and live bulletins on BBC1’s ‘Newsline’
at both the start and end of the excavation.

In 1710 Judge Michael Ward (1683–1759), Bernard’s one of the three principal country houses in Ballyculter
father, married Lady Anne Hamilton of Bangor and parish5. The date of demolition is unknown, but by the
around 1714 he built a new home on the grounds just time of the second Ordnance Survey in 1859 the house
north of the family’s tower house. Little is known of the had been levelled. It is probable the demolition was
appearance of Judge Michael’s house though we know carried out as part of Major Nugent’s landscaping
more about the formal gardens he laid out around the activities undertaken in the 1840s and ‘50s.
house as vestiges of these survive. There are no plans or
detailed elevation Geophysical prospection
drawings of the
house although it The approximate location of the Queen Anne house is
is shown, in small known from the early demesne maps which indicate that
scale, as a two- it was situated on the raised plateau between the Temple
storey square Water canal and the farmyard. In the late 1950s and early
building on a pair 1960s the Trust’s estate staff referred to this area as ‘the
of 18th century cellars’ and they noted that on the felling of a number of
navigation charts. the larger specimen trees the roots often dragged up
(Fig. 1)

Two estate maps

drawn up around
1800 show that
the house had
been extended
sometime in the
intervening years
with the addition
of wings to the
northwest and
Fig 2 Extract from the demesne map of Castle southeast sides.
Ward of 1813, surveyed by James Boyd (National
Trust Collection at Castle Ward).
(Fig. 2)

The house continued to be lived in well into the

nineteenth century and one of the occupants, an Edward
Wolstenholm, spent over £4000 on improvements
between 1820 and 18244. These are probably the
alterations indicated on the 1834 Ordnance Survey map Fig 3 Plot of the soil resistivity survey data recorded by the CAF in 2007
overlaid with the excavation trenches from 2008. Areas and features of high
and in The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, 1844-5; resistance are depicted in dark grey-black and the white dots represent trees
the house, now called the ‘Green House’, is identified as (annotated map prepared by S. Munsen, CAF).

building debris6. Until recent years a rectangular
depression also marked the former site of the house but
this was repeatedly filled in with topsoil to level the site
and there are currently no discernible surface indications
of the structure. To ascertain the precise location and
scale of the building a soil resistivity survey was carried
out across the area in 2007 by the CAF. The survey
produced some promising results including a
subrectangular anomaly, aligned east-west (approx.
40.5m by 8m), not dissimilar in size and alignment to the
house as depicted on the estate maps.

In order to qualify these results it was decided to

undertake a small evaluative excavation the following

The excavation

The excavation in 2008 set out to reveal part of the

building foundations of the house and was successful
with the discovery of walls and basement in the main
trench. It was also hoped that some trace of the formal
gardens laid out immediately around the house by Judge
Michael would be found. To this end a second trench was
opened over angled linear anomalies suggestive of
possible terraces or paths, southeast of the main trench
(Fig. 3). Unfortunately, no garden features were
uncovered though artefacts from a much earlier era were Fig 4 Photo of the main trench taken towards the end of the excavation
found. These comprised two early prehistoric flints showing the three parallel walls: the wall in the foreground, at the northern
end of the trench, is the cellar wall (E. Murray).
identified by Brian Sloan, of the CAF, as a flint blade and
a Neolithic flint arrowhead.
walls had been levelled to the same height, 0.30-0.35m
The building foundations below the modern ground surface. The northernmost of
the three was the cellar wall, which was 0.60m in width
Three closely set parallel walls aligned east-west were and survived to a depth of 1.67m. The cellar appears to
uncovered towards the middle of the main trench (Fig. 4) have been built by the excavation of a large hole with the
and these correspond with the high-resistance linear construction of a retaining perimeter wall against its
anomalies detected in the geophysical survey. All three edge. The cellar was filled with demolition rubble and a

small section, close to the wall, was cleared back with a building materials. However, it must be acknowledged
mechanical excavator to reveal a brown humic earth that a limited area, just 2m by 25m, was opened over the
underneath. This indicates that the floor of the cellar no foundations and as such it would be difficult to give
longer survives. It is probable that it was flagged but the precise architectural definition to the house. It is also
tiles or flagstones were salvaged before the house was unfortunate that despite the wealth of letters left by
demolished. The corresponding northern wall of the Judge Michael few contain useful details about his house.
cellar was not found, nor was it located in either of the
two test pits (2m x 2m), opened 2m and 9m north of the The most intriguing aspect of the excavation was the
main trench respectively, although the nature of the discovery of three parallel walls in such close proximity,
excavated deposits in these two pits suggested that they and, assuming either the middle or northern wall acted
straddled the probable location of the wall. The central as the main load-bearing wall of the house, their relative
wall of the three uncovered was set 1.7m south of the narrowness at just 0.6m, or 2 feet, each. The latter,
cellar wall and was also 0.6m wide. It was built directly according to the architectural historian Maurice Craig, is
on the subsoil without a foundation trench or plinth and not exceptional as he has noted that walls of Irish houses
survived to a height of 0.5m. The third wall, 0.9m south can vary in thickness ‘from two feet upwards, according
of the central wall, was the most insubstantial of the three to the size of the building’.8 The most plausible
with dimensions of 0.36m (width) by 0.28-0.30m interpretation of the arrangement of the walls must be
(surviving height). The slight nature of this wall suggests that the cellar wall continued upwards to form the front
it probably supported a minor architectural feature at the wall of the two-storey house. Again Craig has noted that
front of the house. when there is a basement it is invariably co-extensive
with the house above it and that in Ireland it was ‘more
The cellar (i.e. north of the northern wall) was infilled nearly universal’ for houses of any size to be built over
with loose demolition rubble comprising predominantly a basement. The primary function of a basement was as
roughly quarried greywacke along with handmade a damp proof course and they could be set either totally
bricks, decayed mortar and lumps of plaster. A piece of or partly below ground9. Presumably this convention also
carved carboniferous limestone, most probably from a held for the Queen Anne house at Castle Ward, in which
fireplace, was also recovered from the rubble along with case the wall south of the cellar probably functioned as
corroded iron nails and wall brackets. Fragments of a retaining wall for a light well. Light wells are relatively
purple-coloured Triassic sandstone, sourced from at least common in houses of the eighteenth century although
two locations in the Scrabo-North Ards region, along unfortunately few architectural drawings, original or
with faceted blocks of oolitic limestone, probably from modern, illustrate them in plan or section10. The proposed
the Bath area, were also found in demolition rubble north light well for the Queen Anne house measured 1.7m in
of the foundations7. width, or slightly less if the southern aspect of the cellar
Reconstruction of the house in plan wall was faced, and at least 1m in depth. The height of
the cellar wall below ground indicates that if it was
The excavation has verified the precise location and illuminated with windows that these would have been
alignment of the house, while also providing some set high up and close to the ceiling. In the absence of any
insight into certain aspects of its construction including evidence for vaulting the excavation has also

demonstrated that what survives is below ground level also a suggestion of an overhanging wide bracketed eve,
and that the ground floor of the house must have been in an architectural feature that was not uncommon by 170012
an elevated position relative to the contemporary hilltop. and the two charts show the house with a plain front
This also implies that traces for internal partitions or door facing southwards. The drawings appear to differ
features indicative of function, such as fireplaces or the in the fenestration with Johnson’s map suggesting five-
stairwell, are unlikely to survive. bays and Mackenzie’s just three, though the scale and
detail of buildings on the charts do not permit such
The third wall, south of the light well, was scrutiny.
insubstantial and comparisons with broadly
contemporary houses suggests that it may have In terms of materials used, the quantity of quarried
supported steps leading from the garden over the light stone and decayed lime mortar found in the cellar would
well to the front door of the elevated ground floor. If indicate that Judge Michael’s house was probably
correct this would indicate that the excavation trench was constructed of rendered rubble stone and this was the
located close to the main front door of the house making norm for Irish buildings up until the middle of the
it more likely that the features excavated are those of the nineteenth century13. Plasterwork, some with faint traces
original house, and not the later eighteenth century of pigmentation, also survived and presumably this
winged extensions. An alternative possibility is that the derived from the interior of the house. No decorated
southern wall supported a low garden wall running pieces of plasterwork were found. The few blocks of
parallel to the front wall of the house. dressed ‘Bath’ limestone that were found were probably
employed around the window or door frames while the
In terms of dimensions, the negative evidence from plain terracotta tiles and flags of Scrabo sandstone are
the two test pits opened north of the main trench suggest likely to have been used as paving either internally or
that they straddled the probable location of the north externally. Slates were the most common roofing material
wall of the house. This would indicate that the overall used at this time and the fragments found at Castle Ward
dimensions, north-south, range between 17.1m and include Bangor blue tiles and other, probably locally
21.1m with an added 2.3m at basement level on one or sourced slates.
both sides for the light well. As a comparison, the
drawings for the Queen Anne period house of old Castle Unlike slate, the use of brick at this time was not
Coole, Co. Fermanagh by John Curle in 1709 and designs common and they were generally employed in the
for a proposed replacement of the building which was vaulting of cellars, chimney stacks and for internal
destroyed by fire in 1797 by Richard Castle, measure linings, as a form of damp proofing. The use of bricks
18.3m by 15.2m and 18.1m by 15.4m respectively11. was also largely confined to coastal towns where it was
imported, sometimes as ballast, or made locally14. It
Reconstruction of the house in elevation and detail seems probable, given the generally poor quality of the
bricks found at Castle Ward that they were made locally
Both Mackenzie’s and Johnson’s charts of 1755 and either on the estate or possibly in Killough where there
1775 respectively depict a two-storey square house with was a brickyard, at least in the 1730s if not earlier15.
a hipped roof and chimneys set at the hip ends. There is

The range of stonework found during the excavation Notes and references:
provides some flavour of the detail and colouring of the 1. The property is in the care of the National Trust who acquired it in
house and also indicates the wide network of trade lieu of death duties in 1951 following the death of the sixth Viscount
involved to furnish what Mrs Delaney described as Bangor in 1950. In T.E. McErlean and T. Reeves-Smyth 1990 An
Historic Landscape Survey of Castle Ward Demesne, County Down, Vol.
‘altogether one of the finest places I ever saw’16. 1 (Unpublished report on behalf of the National Trust), 101.
2. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) was launched
Plans for further investigations on the 1st July, 2008 and this replaces the Environment and Heritage
Service (EHS).
There are proposals to return to the site again next 3. The land which now forms the estate was originally called Carrick-
year with a view to exposing the entire layout of the na-Shannagh. In Historic Landscape Survey, op cit., p 6.
structure. Such a project is unlikely to provide much 4. The expenses covered included brick, slate, glass, mahogany, stucco
more information about the superstructure or façade of work, paint, tiles, lime burning and Bathhouse alabaster. In Historic
Landscape Survey, op cit., p 4.
the house but it would help resolve many of the 5. The two other houses that are listed are Castleward and
unanswered issues about the scale and plan of the house Templemount. In, Anon 1846 The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland:
and how it was extended. It would also allow a greater adapted to the new poor-law, franchise, municipal and ecclesiastical
appreciation of the formal landscaping in this part of the arrangements, and compiled with a special reference to the lines of railroad
and canal communication, as existing in 1844-45, Vol. 1, A. Fullarton &
demesne as the yew terraces and Temple Water canal,
Co., Dublin 1846 p164.
along with the old canal, now infilled but demarcated by 6. Information provided by Michael Davidson, estate foreman (now
the lime walk, were laid out by Judge Michael around his retired).
house. 7. The stones were kindly identified by Drs Alastair Ruffell and
Miguel Gomez-Heras of the School of `Geography, Archaeology
The Queen Anne house at Castle Ward belongs to a and Palaeoecology, QUB.
8. M. Craig 2006 Classic Irish Houses of the Middle Size (Ashfield Press,
period of expansion in building activity in Ireland Dublin), p19.
although relatively few houses survive and it is not well 9. Classic Irish Houses, op. cit., pp24-26.
documented17. The excavations at Castle Ward, and the 10. See for example Classic Irish Houses, op. cit., or, M. Craig The
proposals for further investigations, have provided Architecture of Ireland from the Earliest Times to 1880 (B.T. Batsford
Ltd., London, 1982
some valuable insights into the architecture of the early
11. D.J. Griffin 2003 Richard Castle’s designs for Castle Coole, Co
eighteenth century, especially as to how houses were Fermanagh. In T. Reeves-Smyth and R. Oram (eds), ‘Avenues to the
constructed and laid out at foundation level. past: essays presented to Sir Charles Brett on his 75th year’, in Ulster
Architectural Heritage Society, pp135-142.
Acknowledgements 12. Architecture of Ireland, op. cit. ,p177.
13. Architecture of Ireland, op. cit. p176.
We would like to thank Maybelline Gormley, Paul 14. Architecture of Ireland, op. cit. p145.
15. Traces of probable brick-burning kilns, of unknown date, were
Logue, Terence Reeves-Smyth and Brian Williams of EHS
uncovered in the 1960s when the stick yard at Castle Ward, was
for their support; National Trust staff for facilitating the being cleared out and restored (M. Davidson pers. comm.). In a
excavation; site supervisors Harry Welsh and Brian Sloan letter from Frances Lascelles in Killough to Judge Ward (27th March
of the CAF; Alastair Ruffell and Miguel Gomez-Heras of 1736) he wrote that; ‘I agreed with one McCullagh for burning 3000
QUB for their identification of the geological specimens; bricks and has the clay thrown up in the old brick yard a month
ago. The 10 tons of coal are for them’ (PRONI D.2092/1/4/134).
and most especially, all of the 43 volunteers who took 16. Historic Landscape Survey, op cit., p25.
part. 17. Architecture of Ireland, op. cit., p180.

What I never knew about John de Courcy
James Fitzsimons

“When did you come about these parts?” This was what became of him after his defeat by de Lacy.
the question that one of the founder members of the O’Donovan believes that it was around 1204 to 1207 that
Lecale Historical Society asked me when I introduced we lose sight of John de Courcy and that there are no
myself and reminded him of his days playing cricket, trustworthy records to prove what his ultimate fate was.
starting up the yacht club at the Quoile Quay, and He does, however, relate a story from the Book of Howth,
attending Down High School in its opening years along claiming to be the authentic subsequent history of John
with my father. At first I thought that he was referring to de Courcy. What follows is O’Donovan’s summary of the
the fact that I had returned to the Downpatrick area after story.
many years away, so I ventured an answer of 2003. “No,
no” he responded, with mock impatience, and informed ‘Immediately after his defeat at Down, de Courcy offered the
me that I came to Lecale in 1177. At last, I realised that he combat to Hugh de Lacy, which this cowardly knight
was having a little joke with me and was referring to the refused, alleging that as he was the representative of the
often made claim that the Fitzsimons family along with king in Ireland, it would be beneath his dignity to enter the
the Audleys, the Russells, the Savages, the Walshes and lists with a rebellious subject. De Lacy next proclaimed de
others came to Lecale as part of the Norman conquest of Courcy a rebel, and offered a large reward to any who would
Ulster under John de Courcy. seize him and deliver him into his hands. This, having
proved ineffectual, he next bribed the servants and
I was not aware of where the evidence for this claim followers of de Courcy, and held out great rewards to them
came from, so I decided to make an effort to find out. One for betraying him. To this they agreed, and gave de Lacy the
of the original sources that I consulted was the Annals of following information: that de Courcy was a man of such
the Kingdom of Ireland (the Four Masters), but it didn’t gigantic strength, and always so well armed in public and
help very much. For the years 1177 to 1204 they trace the private, that no one man didst lay hands on him. However,
exploits of de Courcy, but there is no mention of the that upon Good Friday yearly as he wears no arms, but
names of the twenty two knights and three hundred remains alone , doing penance, in the church yard of Down;
soldiers who fought with him at the battle of Down in that if de Lacy would have a troop of horse in readiness near
1177 and still less the names of others who may have Down, he could, by their (the betrayer’s) directions,
come subsequently to settle in Lecale. However the apprehend their master. These directions were followed. De
Annals, and in particular the footnotes written by John Courcy was attacked unarmed: seeing no other weapon at
O’Donovan, the editor of the 1851 version, provide some hand he ran to a wooden cross that stood in the church yard,
interesting speculations on the life of John de Courcy: and, tearing its shaft from the socket, he dealt such powerful
what was the precise year of de Courcy’s defeat by Hugh blows of it upon his enemies, that he killed thirteen of them
de Lacy; was John de Courcy, or a contemporary of the upon the spot. He was, however, finally overpowered,
same name, the ancestor of the de Courcys who became fettered, and delivered a prisoner into the hands of de Lacy,
Lords of Kinsale; did he have any legitimate heirs and who conveyed him to London, where he was condemned to

perpetual imprisonment. For this service King John
conferred the Earldom of Ulster upon de Lacy, who, instead
of rewarding the betrayers of de Courcy, caused them to be
In this condition would de Courcy have passed the
remainder of his life, had it not been for some difference that
arose between John, king of England, and Philip, king of
France, about the right to some fort in Normandy, who, to
avoid the shedding of Christian blood, agreed to put it to
single combat. King Philip had in readiness a French knight
of so great prowess and renown, that King John found no
subject of his realm willing to encounter him. At length he
was informed by one of his officers that there was a mighty
champion confined in the Tower of London, who would
prove more than a match for the French knight. King John,
right glad to hear this, sent to de Courcy, calling upon him
to support the honour of England, and who, after repeated
denials, is at last prevailed to accept the challenge. He sends
for his own sword to Ireland, which was a ponderous
weapon, of exceedingly good temper, and which he had often
imbued in the blood of the men of Ulster. The rigours of his
imprisonment were softened, and his strength restored by
proper nourishment and exercise. The day came, the place
is appointed, the list provided, the scaffolds set up, the
princes with their nobility on each side, with thousands in
expectation. Forth comes the French champion, gave a turn
and rests him in his tent. De Courcy is sent for, who all this
while was trussing himself with strong points, and John de Courcy, as depicted in the Exhibition in Portaferry Castle
answering the messengers, that if any of them were invited whereupon the English sounded victory, clapped their
to such a banquet they should make great haste. Forth, at hands and sent up their caps.
length, he comes, gave a turn and went to his tent. When
the trumpets sounded to battle the combatants came forth The two kings, disappointed in their anticipated pleasure of
and viewed each other. De Courcy looked his antagonist in seeing a combat between mighty champions intreated de
the face with a powerful stern countenance, and passed by. Courcy to give them some proof of his bodily strength.
The Frenchman, not liking his grim look, gigantic size, and Complying with their request, he ordered a strong stake to
when the trumpets sounded the last charge, de Courcy drew be driven into the ground, on which he placed a coat of mail
out his ponderous sword, and the French knight, seized and a helmet. He then drew his sword, and looking with a
with a sudden panic, ran away, and fled to Spain; frowning and threatening aspect upon the kings, he cleft the

helmet and coat of mail, and sent the weapon so deeply into I still haven’t found the source of the claims that my
the wood, that no one but himself could draw it out. Then family came to Lecale with de Courcy. On the contrary,
the kings asked him what he meant by looking so sternly at there is strong inferential evidence that they did not. It is
them, and he answered in a sullen tone, that had he missed much more likely that the Fitzsimonses are a branch of
his blow he would have cut off both their heads. His words the Savage family. In ‘The Ancient and Noble Family of
were taken in good part on account of the services he had the Savages of the Ards’ there is an illustration of Kilclief
performed. King John gave him his liberty as well as great Castle with a subtitle stating that it was for a time the
gifts, and restored him to his possessions in Ulster. stronghold of the Fitzsimons branch of the Savage family,
He then sailed to England (the combat must have taken and elsewhere (p155) it states “They (the Savages) appear
place in France) and coming to Westchester, committed also to have held from time to time the Castle of Kilclief.
Of Kilclief the Fitz Simondses or Fitz Simonses, said to
himself to the mercy of the sea, but was put back again by
have been a branch of the Savage family, descended from
contrary winds, which rose upon a sudden at his
a Simon Savage, subsequently became temporarily the
embarkation. This he did for fifteen days successively, and
upon every repulse he was admonished at night in a vision
that all his attempts to cross the sea to Ireland were vain, Doing this little piece of research has been very
for that it was preordained that he should never set foot enjoyable, and I must thank Mr Dick Gifford, whom
upon Irish ground, because he had grievously offended these many readers will have recognised as the founder
by pulling down the master and setting up the servant. De member of the society referred to in the introduction, for
Courcy recollected that he had formerly translated the giving me the motivation to do it.
cathedral church of Down, which had been dedicated to the
Holy Trinity, into an abbey of black monks brought thither
from Chester, and that he had consecrated the same in
honour of Saint Patrick. On being driven back the Notes & references
fifteenth time his visions had so powerfully wrought upon
1. John O’Donovan. (Ed) The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four
his imagination, that he submitted to the decrees of heaven, Masters Dublin: 1851.
passed sentence upon himself and returned to France, and
there died about the year 1210.’ 2. G.F. Armstrong (Ed) The Ancient and Noble Family of the Savages of the
Ards London: Marcus Ward, 1888

This makes a fine tale, and indeed some of it may be

true, but O’Donovan is adamant that it stands on no
original authority but is a mere story invented in the
fifteenth or sixteenth century to flatter the vanity of the
Howth family, whose ancestor Sir Armoric Tristeram,
had married de Courcy’s sister. So, although I have
discovered something I hadn’t known about de Courcy
it turns out to be no more than yet another unproven
legend surrounding his life.

A Moment Frozen in Time
Strangford, Sunday 31 March 1901, Part 2
Colm Rooney

In the previous volume of the Lecale Review I used

information from the 1901 Census (available on our
website: and from Griffith’s
Valuation (local taxation records available at the Public
Record Office for Northern Ireland, Belfast) to take a
journey around part of Strangford and see it as it was
on the night of the Census in March 1901. In this
article I now continue that journey.

Throughout the text I will use 1901 Census

reference numbers to identify buildings/gardens
on the accompanying map. These are in no way
related to modern street numbers. All names are
spelt as shown in the Census records.

The Quarry Hill/Downpatrick Road

As one enters Strangford from

Downpatrick the first building one sees on
the right-hand side is the Presbyterian
Church (1) built in 18461. The next building Fig 1 Map: Quarry Hill/Downpatrick Road, Strangford, 1901
Simplified hand-drawn map showing the 1901 Census reference
along (Rosebank) (2) was the house for the numbers of buildings and gardens mentioned in the text. Not
Divisional Officer of the Coastguard. On intended to show detailed outlines of buildings.
Census night, that Sunday evening of the
31st March 1901, it was occupied by George Horner, 48, official function had ceased and it had become a private
Inspecting Chief Officer; his wife Susan, 47; sister-in-law residence.
Emma Jane Fleckney, 49; niece Annie Gill, 18 and servant
Isabella Hanna, 22. The Horners had all been born in Adjacent to the Coastguard house were three small
Jersey. Griffith’s Valuation shows that prior to the houses with long, narrow gardens to the rear. The first
Horners a John McCullen had been resident there in 1899 (3) was occupied by James Taggart, 28, agricultural
and later, William Allen. It also records that Robert labourer and his wife Mary, 30, a seamstress. Next door
Kallaway2 was living there by about 1920, when its (4) lived Jane Hanna, 57, a cook and domestic servant.

Next door lived the Jackson family (5) headed by Joseph, either attached gardens or had nearby gardens rented.
28, coachman; his wife Mary Anne, 27 and their two Growing one’s own potatoes and other vegetables and
children Margaret, 2 and Robert, 1. Then came two larger keeping hens were common practices that only gradually
houses, in the first of which (6) was to be found Francis faded out by the 1960’s. Local walled kitchen gardens at
Curran, 60, an agricultural labourer. Beside him (7) lived Strangford House, Cooke’s (Nugent’s) and Castle Ward
blacksmith Bernard Laverty, 36 with his wife Rose, 40, a provided a useful supplement right up to the 1950’s.
seamstress and sons John Joseph, 7 and Bernard, 5. The Until 1859 the Quarry Hill was steeper than it is today. In
next two houses were larger still. The first (8) was the order to make it easier for horse-drawn loads to pass the
home of widower, Captain William Polly, 68, sailor ; his hill was dug away and lowered by about 2 metres (7
son William John, 29, labourer and daughter Sarah Anne, feet). The previous entrance to the Dufferin Avenue, with
22, servant. Next door (9), in the last of the row4 lived its delightful gate lodge, was thus left ‘high and dry’ and
Robert Seed (or Seeds), 69, domestic servant/gardener; so a new gate lodge and entrance were built a few
his wife Annie, 65 or 55 and their three daughters Agnes hundred metres further out7.
Jane, 24; Charlotte, 22, both seamstresses and Margaret,
19, shorthand writer and typist5. As one moves from the top of the Quarry Hill towards
the Square the houses were all on the right-hand side.
Apart from the National School there were only gardens
to the left until one reached John’s Lane. Let us now
continue down the right-hand side towards the present-
day entrance to the Links. This row of houses has been
substantially altered and some demolished and rebuilt so
it may not be possible to identify specific dwellings in
1901 with today’s houses but it is at least possible to have
a fairly accurate idea of where they were.

The house (11) beside the large garden was the home
of widower Thomas Travers, 55, a carpenter who had
been born in Co. Kilkenny and his sons Thomas, 17, also
a carpenter and John,11, who had both been born in Co.
Down. Living next door (12) to them that Sunday
Fig 2. Photo: Top of the Quarry Hill today showing the effect of the evening in March 1901 were William J. Hinds, 57, a car
lowering of the hill in 1859 driver8; his wife Mary, 58; daughter Mary Parker, 29;
Beside this first row of houses was a large garden (10) granddaughter Christina Parker, 6 and brother-in-law
which was let to the National School (153) across the Patrick Fitzsimons, 76, sailor9. Beside them (13) lived
road.6 The teacher’s house beside the school was Edward Carson, 40, stonemason; his wife Hannah, 34,
occupied in 1905 (according to Griffith’s Valuation) by seamstress; son John, 11 and daughter Sarah, 13. Next
Thomas Nunan. It is notable that even the smallest door (14) to them lived another Carson family (probably
houses along the Quarry Hill/Downpatrick Road had Edward’s parents): John, 62, an agricultural labourer;

Nora, 2 and Kathleen, 10-months. The next house (21)
was on the corner of what is now the entrance to the
Links and was unoccupied on Census night 1901. The
dwelling beside it (22) further up the lane was in ruins.
Griffith’s Valuation gives the owner of these houses back
to Sarah Jane Teer’s as Francis Quail. The rest of this lane
consisted of gardens (23) and (24) used by the Church of
Ireland rector, Rev. E. B. Ryan who lived in the Rectory
nearby at the top of the Shore Road and a garden (25),
yard (26) and office (27) used by Francis Quail. The
owner of these properties (23-27) was Lord de Ros. Many
local people will remember this large yard better as
‘Polly’s Yard’ which existed right up until the 1980’s
when it was developed for housing.
Fig 3. Photo: Quarry Hill towards the Links entrance
As we start to move on down Downpatrick Road
wife Ann, 61; daughter Ann, 30, a dressmaker and again the large corner house (28), still a distinctive feature
granddaughter Mary, 15, also a dressmaker. The and listed in Griffith’s as ‘house, outhouse, yard and
occupants of the next house (15) are recorded as labourer garden’, was occupied by Mary Moore, 64, of ‘private
John Doherty, 57; wife Sarah Jane, 52, seamstress; their means’ and her niece Elinora Moore, 11. The smaller
sons John, 27, labourer; Patrick, 21, car driver and house next door (28a) was let with part of the garden
daughter Sarah Jane, 14, seamstress. Griffith’s Valuation (149) opposite and was occupied by Susanna Rooney,
shows that the large gardens (15a) were used by James 47?, shopkeeper10 and a boarder, Gertrude Kerr, 23?, a
Murphy and Roland J. Savage. The next house (16) was teacher. Next door (29) lived Eliza J. Brickley, 65, widow
occupied by Walter Quayle, 40, herd (cattle herder?); his and retired farmer; her daughter Elizabeth11, 24, school
wife Sarah, 31 and their children Charlotte, 10; Walter, 8; teacher and nephew James J. Murphy, 8 who had been
William, 7; Maud, 5; Reginald, 2 and 8-month old twins born in Co. Donegal. They also had use of part of the
Glory (Gloria?) and Herbert. Next door (17) lived Sarah garden (149) opposite. In the adjacent house (30) lived
Jane Teer, 53, a dressmaker and beside her (18) lived John Bernard Curran, 70, farm servant; his wife Mary, 66;
Hinds, an agricultural labourer and his wife Catherine, daughter Margaret, 26, seamstress and son John, 24, car
both 30, with their children Patrick, 6; John Joseph, 4; driver. Griffith’s Valuation shows that this house was
Mary Brigid, 3; Maggie, 1 and 2-week old infant Peter owned by Eliza Brickley and the house where she lived
Joseph. Their neighbours (19) were William John was owned by Richard Murray. These two houses are
Murphy, 40, car driver; his wife Mary Ann, 37, now the Spar shop. The amendments made to the
seamstress; daughter Mary, 15; son William John, 13 and Griffith’s Valuation books show that people moved quite
nephew Hugh Gordon, 14. Adjacent to them (20) lived frequently and relatively short tenancies seem to have
Thomas Corrigan, 39, farm servant; wife Ann, 36; been common. For instance Bernard Curran and his
daughter Jennie, 9; sons Willie, 7; James, 5 and daughters family had lived at this house for only a year or so. It was

occupied by John McDonald from 1899 and by Andrew folk as Ranaghan’s. In 1901 the publican was Henry
Smith in 1898. The house also had the use of the garden Hinds, 60, who lived there with his wife Catherine, 58,
(148) across the road. All the gardens from John’s Lane and his sister Mary Ann, 62. The pub is described in the
up to the National School were owned by, and rented Valuation books as ‘Licensed House, yard and garden’;
from, Lord de Ros. The houses had a much wider variety the owner of the property was James Denvir and the
of owners as I have occasionally shown. Rateable Annual Value was £5. They too had the use of
a garden opposite (146) and part of another garden (145).

Across the narrow entryway at the side of the pub

was a large single house (34) which is now two
dwellings. This was the home and workplace (forge) of
John English, 56, blacksmith and his wife Jane, 53,
seamstress. They used part of the large garden (145)
across the road. The house, forge and garden were all
owned by Lord de Ros. Beside the smithy was a garden
(39) which existed right up until the 1970’s when the
present bungalow was built on the site. The earliest
Griffith’s Valuation book (VAL12B/18/25A) from 1863-
4 indicates that there was a ‘Primitive Wesleyan
Methodist Meetinghouse’ here and this continued until
Fig 4. Photo: From the Links corner to the old Police Barracks 188013 when the use changed to ‘small garden’ associated
with the Constabulary barracks next door (40).
Beside the Currans’, in a slightly larger house (31)
owned by John Sweetman and with the use of a garden The ‘old’ Police Station building14 remains whilst its
(147) , lived Alexander McCurdy, 39, a Police Constable successor, built across the road in the late Fifties/early
in the R.I.C (Royal Irish Constabulary); his wife Susanna, Sixties, was closed and later demolished (around 2000) to
35, a dressmaker and their children Susan Matilda, 9; make way for Kildare Street. We have just seen that
Jane, 7; Mary Ann, 5 ; William Alexander, 3 and George, Constable McCurdy, about 50 metres up the road, did not
1. As Susanna and most of the children were born in Co. live in the barracks, but most officers and their families
Donegal it seems likely that 10 or so years previously did. A separate Census form (Form H) was used for
Constable McCurdy (a native of Co. Antrim) had been returns of ‘Military, R.I. Constabulary or Metropolitan
stationed there and met his future wife. Next door (32) Police in Barracks’ which only gives their initials rather
in a small house, also owned by John Sweetman and now than full names; however their families are listed in the
incorporated into the ‘Hole in the Wall’ pub, lived main Census forms with their full names! Hence we can
widowed seamstress Jane Stitt, 76 and her daughter Ellen identify Acting Sergeant J.F. as Sergeant Farry, 39, a
Mary, 32, also a seamstress12. Along from the Stitt’s, then farmer’s son from Fermanagh. His wife Elizabeth, 24,
as now, was a pub (33). Although now known as the and 5-month old infant son Patrick Joseph lived here
‘Hole in the Wall’ it will be better remembered by older also. The other police staff resident were Constable W.J.,

37, a farmer’s son from Co. Leitrim and Constable E.W.,
described as a shopboy and from Co. Donegal. So a
sergeant and three constables kept order in Strangford!
I can only hope, and presume, that they were not terribly

The next house (41) is listed in the Valuation as

‘house, yard and small garden’ and also had the use of
the garden (143) opposite. Its occupants on Census night
were James McDonnell, 70, boatman; wife Mary Jane, 40
and their two sons Joseph, 10 and Hugh, 9. The
McDonnell family have been associated with boating in
Strangford for generations16. Next door (42), more or less Fig 5. Photo: towards the Square, showing the ‘Coast Guard Row’ of
Victorian houses with their decorative brickwork.
opposite the entrance to John’s Lane lived Richard
Murphy, 75, a labourer. Across a narrow entryway, in the The first house in the row (142) , adjacent to John’s
larger house (43) where the Duffy family now live and Lane, was occupied by Charles Frederick Hubberd, 31,
occupied in my childhood by Johnny Polly and family, coastguard from Somerset; his wife Ethel S., 29,
lived Andrew McFall, 56 and his wife Agnes, 47. It is seamstress and daughters Ethel E., 4 and Edith K., 1.
listed in the Valuation as ‘house, office and yard’ and as Next door (141) lived John O’Sullivan, 45, coastguard
from Cork City; his wife Ellen, 33 and their children
a shop by 1904. Agnes McFall is shown as the sole tenant
Elizabeth, 13; Annie, 11; Mary Ellen, 8; Denis John, 6 and
by 1908. Further along there were two dwellings in what Master Thomas O’Sullivan, 1 day old! (so he was born on
would be, much later, Polly’s shop and, for the past few Saturday 30th March, 1901). The Census helpfully
decades, Duffy’s. The first house (44) was unoccupied on indicates that he cannot read and is not married. Their
Census night (Sunday 31st March, 1901) but Griffith’s neighbours (140) were John Mahony, 38, coastguard from
Valuation shows a Mrs. McCartan as living there around Co. Cork; his wife Ellen, 39, seamstress and children
1898-1900. The smaller house right on the corner (45) Dora, 7 and Victor, 3. In the ‘curved’ corner house next
was lived in by two elderly sisters, both seamstresses, door (139) lived George Codner, 35, coastguard
Jane and Cathrine (sic) Finigan, 66 and 60 respectively17. divisional carpenter. What a busy little place it must
have been. No wonder the McFauls opened a shop
All these houses following on from the Police Station
across the road.
were owned by Lord de Ros. Opposite them, from John’s
Lane until the ‘curved’ house that leads into the Square As dusk falls on that Sunday evening, 31st March
were four Victorian style terraced houses (139-142) 1901, let us leave the good citizens of Strangford to go
owned by Lord de Ros and used by the Coast Guard. quietly to bed. No doubt they will be waiting for us next
Their occupants also had the use of the large garden year when I hope to conclude my journey by surveying
(144). the Square, Shore Road and Ferry Quay areas.

Notes and references aged over 70. Many older people did not have birth certificates
and so the Night of the Big Wind, the huge storm in 1839, became
1. Now disused (since 2003). See articles by Rev. W.D. Bailie in a significant reckoning point.
Lecale Miscellany No.15 (1997) and by Wendy Osborne in Lecale
10. It may have been a small shop of a kind we would hardly
Review No.3 (2005).
recognise as such today. In the Inverbrena (Strangford) journal for
2. As noted in my previous article in Lecale Review No.5 (2007). In 1997-1998 there is an article ‘Country shops and packmen’ by
1901 Robert Kallaway was living in the large 3-storey Georgian Leslie McKibben which mentions a Mrs.Rooney – The Row,
house in the middle of Castle Street. See Robert Sloan’s article in Kilclief in the late 1800’s: She ‘sold sweets. Children from the
Inverbrena (Strangford) journal 2005 p48. Coastguard Houses at Killard, returning from the old Ballycottin
3. A photograph of Captain Polly at the Old Quay in Strangford, School at Kilclief, called in to buy black balls which she sold at a
and some family information, can be seen in the Inverbrena penny each’. Perhaps this is the same person, having moved to
(Strangford) journal 2005 p23 together with excellent views of the Strangford a few years later.
Quarry Hill and Police Barracks in the 1920’s on pp24 and 25.
11. This is the Miss Brickley who later (1930’s-40’s) ran a
4. This row of houses still exists substantially unchanged and is well confectioner/newsagents shop next door in the house owned by
described in the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) her mother.
survey ‘Portaferry and Strangford’ by G.Philip Bell, C.E.B. Brett and
Sir Robert Matthew, 1969 p30 (ref. no. 137). 12. Jane, at 76, would have been born around 1825 and so have been
in her early twenties when the Great Famine was at its height. If
5. Apart from the high levels of literacy indicated by the Census this
any of these people could come back and see us today it is hard
shows that specialised vocational education for women was
to avoid the conclusion that, for all the problems we think we
beginning to make its impact felt.
have, they would consider us to be living in almost unimaginable
6. See ‘Memories of School Days in Strangford’ by Harry Burnett in luxury.
Lecale Miscellany No.7 (1989) and No.8 (1990) and articles by
Patricia McCullough in Lecale Miscellany No.18 (2000) and Vera 13. The meetinghouse, having dropped the term ‘Primitive’ then
McCann in Inverbrena (Strangford) journal 1999. moved to Castle Street (No.21 in modern street numbers) where it
remained until 1885 when that building became a sort of village
7. The new gate lodge (Down lodge) was demolished around 1980
hall called the Assembly/Meeting Rooms. I hope that in this and
and replaced by the present, much larger, house. This entrance to
Old Court has also recently altered once more and new entrance in last year’s article I have been able to shed at least some light on
gates with substantial pillars can be seen nearby. The material the questions raised in Rev. W.E. Kennedy’s article ‘Early
quarried out in 1859 to lower the hill was used to fill in and raise Methodism in Strangford’, Lecale Miscellany No.2 (1984).
the new shoreline entrance and possibly also, I believe, to help 14. Reference no.131 p30 in the UAHS 1969 survey. They praise its
improve the Black Causeway at the bottom of the Doctor’s Hill. ‘splendid bargeboards in what the Dutch call timmerman’s
There had long been a watermill at this location and vehicles bloemkool (= carpenter’s cauliflower)’, now sadly replaced by
bound for Downpatrick would have veered left here along the plain versions. See photograph in Inverbrena (Strangford) journal
‘back road’ (Blackcauseway Road). In any event the Doctor’s Hill 2005 p25. The building was constructed after 1859 as it is shown
is so steep that it would have been an extremely difficult path for as a shaded outline, added later, on the 1859 Valuation map.
horse-drawn loads of any weight. I have heard that the Doctor’s
Hill got its name from the nearby home of a doctor and this may 15. It would be interesting to know if any sort of official ‘incident
be so, but I wonder (as someone who cycled up it many times) if book’ had to be kept and whether such records might still be in
it is not an example of drily humorous wit expounding upon the existence. If you’re interested in local history why not pick up
necessity for medical aid upon reaching the top! this ‘lead’!
8. A horse-drawn carriage or buggy rather than a motor vehicle. We 16. When I conclude my journey around Strangford in 1901 next year
will meet a few other ‘car drivers’ as we go along. by covering the Square and Ferry Quay areas we will find a few
9. It is worth remembering that in 1901 there was not even a basic other McDonnell families, all boatmen.
State Pension , let alone occupational pensions. The first Old Age 17. Neither could write. Their name is spelt as Finnegan in the
Pension was introduced in 1909 by Lloyd George for persons Valuation Records.

A Footnote
Sean Nolan

Colm Rooney’s interesting contribution to the 2007 debt or Loan’ more than the vendor had an interest in the
Review ‘A Moment Frozen in Time, Strangford, Sunday transaction with Patrick McMullan. Hereafter in the
31 March 1901’ prompted an examination of the document there is a listing of other indentures the earliest
documentation relating to 4, Castle Street which my wife of which is dated 14 September 1801.
and I presently own. As the article records, on Census
Day 1901 the occupants of the house were the Swail Subsequent indentures provide a list of notabilities
family consisting in total of four adults and six children. acting as guarantors for successive mortgages largely,
How they disposed themselves for sleep that evening is one must assume, on the estate itself as some of the
unknowable in what was then a ‘two up, two down’ amounts are quite large for the times.
house. Samuel Swail, a fisherman, was a tenant of the de
Ros estate but is not listed in the various indentures 10 September 1840 William Lennox Lascelles Lord de
relating to the property. Ros (grandson of the Duke of
Leinster and 23rd Baron de Ros),
An indenture dated 24 March 1925 records that the
Rev Edward Bullock, The Most
property was sold to ‘Patrick McMullan of Strangford in
Honourable John, Marquess of
the County of Down, Schoolteacher (Hereinafter called
Queensberry, The Rev. Stair
the Purchaser) of the fifth part’ for the sum of £375.
Douglas ‘in the sum of £25,000 and
While the vendor is listed as the ‘Right Honourable Mary
Frances, Countess of Dartrey’ there follows a list of others
with an interest in the property which includes ‘Lady
Una Mary Ross (sic), Horace Peel of 13 Laurence 20 May 1842 Rt. Hon. William Lennox Lascelles
Pountrey Lane in the City of London Esquire, Anthony Lord de Ros, The Most Noble
Lucius, Earl of Dartrey of 22 Wellington Court Charles, Duke of Richmond and
Knightsbridge, George William Finch of 18 and 19 Pall Lennox, The Rt.Hon. Francis
Mall in the County of London Solicitor, The Honourable Egerton Lawrence Peel, George
George Arthur Crichton MVO of Old Institute House, Vesey
Windsor in the County of Berks, a Lieutenant Colonel in
His Majesty’s Army and Reginald Boyle of the Grove 13 April 1875 Dudley Charles, Lord de Ros,
Cheddon Fitzpaine Taunton (hereinafter called the Arthur Edward Holland Grey
Mortgagees)’. (commonly called Viscount Grey
de Wilton), The Hon. Arthur
Since a mortgage is defined as ‘the grant of an estate Walsh, The Rev. Henry Mildred
or other immovable property in fee as security for the Birch ‘to secure the sum of £2987-
payment of money, to be voided on the discharge of the 15s-8p’

Omer Pasha’s Chaplain
David Maxwell

Extract from a letter written in March 1854 to Georgiana,

who was at home at Old Court Strangford, by her husband
Major General Lord de Ros (William) who was in Turkey at
Varna. It was during the build up to the Crimean War.

“Bye-the-bye, when I returned the call of Omer Pasha (the

much respected Turkish General) I found him to have a Dervish
as a Chaplain, such as is not often found among our Clergy.
The Chaplain wears two brace of pistols, a dagger, a scimitar,
and a huge blunderbuss hung over his shoulder, with a large
pouch-belt full of ammunition. He is a great fierce, tall fellow,
nearly black, and one of his
4 Castle Street, Strangford
chief duties is to break in
young horses for the
7 August 1876 Dudley Charles, Baron de Ros, The Pasha!”
Hon. Mary Frances Fitzgerald de
Ros, Charles Lennox Peel

13 October 1907 Arthur Walsh (by his then name

and description of the Right
Hon. Arthur Baron Ormthwaite),
The Hon. Edward Dawson,
The Right Hon. Victor Albert
George, Earl of Jersey, The Hon.
Somerset Richard Hamilton Ward

20 April 1920 G W Finch, Hon George Arthur

Charles Crichton Reginald Boyle

While these names are listed with regard to legal

transactions they demonstrate as well the range of
Drawing of an
contacts the de Ros family enjoyed and are also an armed Dervish
indication of its place in society down through the years. by Jenny Rowden

Minnie McGee
Berkley Farr

Fig 1. Minnie in July 1961 aged 93 with her cousin Beattie Simpson Fig 2. Minnie McGee’s house on Rocks Chapel Road, Dunnanelly

Minnie McGee was one of the great characters in the room was the huge pile of whins which she had gathered
Parish of Inch. Active nonagenarians were more scarce in to provide fuel. Minnie did not indulge in creature
the 1950s and 60s but age and agility were just two of comforts. The house was full of boxes of unopened gifts
Minnie’s characteristics. and carpets would be kept rolled up, rather than being
put to use.
In appearance Minnie was small and stooped with
distinctive horn-rim glasses. She lived in the stone house Minnie was an active gardener growing her own fruit
in Dunnanelly that her father had built after being given and vegetables. She climbed plum trees at an advanced
the tenancy of the rocky farm by the local landlord, John age and was generous to neighbours with her produce.
Waring Maxwell. Little changed in the two-storey house She knew the lanes and stiles of the area and walked to
during Minnie’s long life. Her kitchen had a large open Annacloy and Crossgar across country. She had a sharp
fire, and a pot at the side of the fire was the means of mind and was famous for her quirky retorts, particularly
cooking. A large metal plate was lowered at night to keep to clergy and officialdom. She refused to contribute to a
the fire going, but the most memorable feature of the collection for the installation of curtains in the church hall

on the grounds that only was listed as 321 West 15th Street in New York City.
decent things should be
happening in the hall and Minnie died in 1966 at the age of 98. She was born two
there was no need for decades after the Famine and less than ten years after the
curtains! When asked new railway passed her land on the way to Downpatrick.
why she was digging Gladstone was starting his first ministry and the
potatoes at the age of 90 unification of Germany and Italy was still in process. It
she said her father (long was only three years since the end of the American Civil
dead) was unable to dig War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Minnie
them. In a common retort lived through enormous changes in two very different
to get rid of people she worlds but ended her days where she had started her life
would say she had to go with modern ways having a minimal effect upon her.
and make her father’s tea.
Fig 3. Patrick McGee – Minnie’s father

Appearances can however be deceptive and there was

more to this old lady than first impressions would
indicate. Minnie was born on 23rd April 1868, the eighth
of eleven children of Patrick and Martha McGee. Patrick
was a carpenter and the house was one of the few new
houses to be recorded in Dunnanelly in the period
following the first Ordnance Survey in the 1830s. Many
of the family went to America and Minnie earned her
living in New York making dresses for the wealthy. This
was the Belle Epoch era before the First World War when
families such as the
Vanderbilts displayed
enormous fortunes and it Fig 5. Downpatrick Civic Week, late 1960s. Pamela Hayes, Marian, Joan
and Hugh Edgar make use of Minnie’s clothes for the Fancy Dress Parade
was rumoured that
Minnie had made dresses
for Lady Astor. Minnie Acknowledgements
crossed the Atlantic a
number of times and an I would like to thank Alan Patterson and neighbours
Ellis Island record1 shows for their help in the preparation of this article.
her making the 8 day
voyage from Liverpool to Notes & references
New York in June 1907.
She was 5’5” tall with 1 Ellis Island Website

Fig 4. Minnie in Dec 1929 aged 61 grey hair and her home

The Fordes of Seaforde
Patrick Clarke

Introduction Francis, Mathew and Luke. He died in 1605. In 1612 his

fifth son Mathew was appointed to the offices of Clerk of
Patrick Mathew Desmond Forde, JP, DL, who died on the Court; Prothonotary and Keeper of all Writs and
1st March 2008 aged 67, was the 12th generation of the Records of the Commissioners; Clerk of the Crown and
Forde family to be associated with Seaforde. Patrick Peace; Clerk of the Peace and Assize and Clerk of Nisi
Forde, as most people better knew him, was one of Down Prius before the Commissioners of Ulster.4 Three years
District’s most respected citizens. His sudden and later he received from James I a grant of a chief rent of £10
untimely death left the beautiful and leafy village of per annum out of the townlands of Drumcaw and
Seaforde without one of its most well liked and colourful Drumanaghan.5 This appears to have been the first
characters. property acquired by the Forde Family in Co. Down.

For nearly four centuries the In 1621 Mathew and his colleague, Sir George
Forde family name has been Sexton, purchased from Walsingham Cooke parts of the
synonymous with Seaforde. plantation lands in County Wexford, which had been
The name Seaforde means granted to Cooke in 1617.6 These lands formed the
Seat of Forde.1 The family Coolgreany Estate in County Wexford, which remained
motto is ‘Incorrupta Fides in the Forde family until it was sold to George Frederick
Nudaque Veritas’ - Brooke of Summerton, Co. Dublin in 1864.7
Incorruptible Faith and Naked
Truth. 2 Throughout the In 1636 Mathew purchased from Thomas Cromwell,
centuries the Forde family Viscount Lecale, his interest in the lands of Kinelarty for
Forde Coat of Arms
has provided a long the then huge sum of £8,000.8 Mathew’s title to this
succession of High Sheriffs, Deputy Lieutenants, property, which now formed the chief part of the
Foremen of the Grand Jury and Members of Parliaments. Seaforde estate, was confirmed in 1637.9 The twenty-four
townlands in the grant became the Manor of
First generation associated with Seaforde: Mathew Teconnaught.
Forde (d. 1652)
Mathew sat in the Irish House of Commons in 1642.10
The earliest known member of the Forde family in He married Eleanor McCartan, believed to be a member
Ireland, Nicholas Forde of Dublin and Dunboyne, Co. of the McCartan family which had long been the
Meath, was a man of considerable substance. He was a hereditary chieftains of the territory of Kinelarty.
contractor for the supply of the army and Deputy Mathew and Eleanor had four children, two sons
Victualler at Cork in 1580.3 Nicholas married Catherine Nicholas and Henry, and two daughters Catherine and
White and had six sons, Clemente, Andrew, Christopher, Anne.

Mathew outlived his wife Eleanor and four children, sister of James, 1st Duke of
dying in March 1652 without surviving issue. He was Ormonde. 11 Through this
succeeded by his great nephew Mathew Forde, who was marriage the Fordes trace
the son of Luke Forde, who was in turn the son of direct descent from Edward
Andrew Forde of Dunboyne, Co. Meath. Andrew Forde I of England, and Robert
was the older brother of Mathew Forde (1st) and a son of Bruce, King of Scots.12
the first Nicholas Forde. Mathew Forde (1st) left his
properties to the senior surviving male line in the Forde Mathew was appointed
family because his own son Nicholas predeceased him Justice of the Peace for Co.
without any issue. Throughout the centuries the name Down in 1673 and the same
Mathew became traditional for first-born sons of the Office for Co. Wexford in
Forde family. 1678. He was also Sheriff
and High Sheriff of County
Second generation: Luke Forde Wexford in 1678 and 1679 respectively.13 He was also
appointed Free Burgess of New Ross in 1686, and was
Luke Forde, nephew of Mathew Forde (1st), resided MP for Co. Wexford 1695-9, and 1703-8.14 In 1686 he was
at Coolgreany Estate, County Wexford. Very little is Captain in Colonel Richard Hamilton’s Regiment of
known about Luke Forde except that he was alive in 1651 Dragoons. Mathew and Margaret had three children,
and had two surviving issue: Mathew and Andrew. Mathew, Lucy and Jane. Margaret died circa 1733.
Mathew Forde (1st) settled his properties on the eldest Mathew Forde died in January 1708. He was interred at
surviving son of Luke Forde, namely Mathew Forde (b Kilnenor, County Wexford, and was succeeded by his
circa1651). Due to Mathew Forde being a minor when he only son Mathew.15
inherited properties in 1652 it is highly likely that the
estates were managed by his father Luke together with Fourth generation: Mathew Forde (c. 1675 – 1729)
the trustees, until his coming of age. Luke Forde was
buried in the family burial ground at Kilnenor in the Mathew Forde was born at Enockaroon, County
Coolgreany estate as is revealed in the last will and Tipperary about 1675, and entered Trinity College
testament of Mathew Forde (2nd) who requested that he Dublin in 1691, gaining a BA in 1693, and an MA in
was to be laid to rest beside his father in that graveyard. 1707.16 Mathew married Anne Brownlow, daughter of
Arthur Chamberlain Brownlow, of Lurgan, Co. Armagh
Third generation: Mathew Forde (c. 1651/52 – 1708) in 1698. The couple had twelve children: Mathew,
Arthur, Standish, Nicholas, Robert, John, Francis, Jane,
Mathew Forde was born circa 1651. In 1674 he Margaret, Lettice, Frances and Elizabeth.17
married Margaret Hamilton, who was sister of “La Belle
Hamilton”, Comtesse de Grammont, and the youngest Mathew was MP for Downpatrick between 1703 and
daughter of Hon. Sir George Hamilton, Bt., (the fourth 1714 and High Sheriff of Co. Down in 1702 and 1706. He
son of James, 1st Earl of Abercorn), and Mary Butler, his was appointed trustee of the linen manufacture for the
wife, who was daughter of Thomas, Lord Thurles, and province of Ulster in 1711.18 During the reign of Queen

Anne Mathew was a consistent Tory, being recorded as Sixth generation: Mathew Forde (1726 – 1795)
a Court supporter in 1706.19
Mathew Forde was born at Seaforde in 1726, and
Mathew Forde moved from his Coolgreany Estate in entered Trinity College Dublin in 1743. In 1750 he
County Wexford in the early 1700’s and built the first married Elizabeth Knox, second daughter of Thomas
mansion house and the village of Seaforde in the Knox, of Dungannon, and sister of Thomas, 1st Viscount
townland of Naghan where descendants of the family Northland.30 Mathew and Elizabeth had seven children:
have lived ever since.20 In 1720 he provided the site for Mathew, Thomas, Mary, Anne, Elizabeth, Jane and
the Seaforde Parish Church. Charity.31

Mathew Forde died in 1729 and was succeeded by his Mathew was MP for Downpatrick 1761 to 1776 in the
eldest son Mathew. In his will he bequeathed the sum of first two parliaments of George III. Downpatrick was a
£8 to the poor of the Manor of Teconnaught.21 His wife, pot-walloping borough with an electorate of about 250,
on her death in 1768, left £30 to be distributed by her son which was large for eighteenth-century Ireland.32
Mathew among the poor of their County Down estate.22 Mathew, being a local and resident landowner, was well
connected to the northern gentry. His grandmother was
Fifth generation: Mathew Forde (1699 – 1781) a Brownlow of Lurgan, Co. Armagh, and two of his
children married Brownlows; his mother was a Graham
Mathew Forde was baptised at Lurgan on 10th of Drogheda and his wife a sister of Thomas Knox, Lord
October 1699, and entered Trinity College Dublin Welles, afterwards Viscount Northland of Dungannon.33
graduating with a BA in 1719.23 He married Christian Mathew was considered to be an independent country
Graham, daughter of John Graham, of Platten Hall, gentleman and, although he seldom attended
County Meath on 24th November 1724.24 Mathew and parliament, when he did, according to the 1774
Christian had ten children: Mathew, William, John, opposition list, he ‘votes honest and free’.34 The 1775
Edward, Arthur, George and Pierce, Charity, Anne and government list described him as an: ‘independent country
Elizabeth. Christian died in July 1766 and was buried at gentleman of the North. Unconnected and always in
St. Anne’s Dublin.25 In 1774 Mathew married Dame Jane opposition’ He was a prominent Volunteer and a delegate
Allen, widow of Sir Timothy Allen and daughter of to the Volunteer National Convention for Co. Down.
Robert Issac, of Holywood, Co. Down.
Mathew was a member of the County Down Whig
Mathew was High Sheriff of Co. Down in 1729.26 In Club. A local land agent provides a picture of life at
1751 Mathew received the support of his neighbour, Seaforde - ‘our neighbour young Forde has brought home his
Judge Ward, to replace Sir Robert Maude as MP for bride. Nancy is now at Seaforde where the hounds circulate
Bangor. He was elected in November of that year and briskly in the morning and the bottle in the afternoon’.35 In
continued to serve until 1760.27 He was a member of the 1776 the agent complained that ‘Our Castlewellan races
Whig Club of County Down and a member of the Down commence this evening and what with our Downe races and
Society for Promoting Agriculture.28 Mathew died in 1781 assizes we have three weeks continual hurry politely called
and was succeeded by his eldest son Mathew. entertainment’.36 Mathew died in 1795 and appears to

have been the first of the family to be buried in the first mooting the idea of raising a yeomanry corps in
Seaforde churchyard.37 In his will Mathew bequeathed a 1796, was bitterly opposed by the liberal gentry.
sum of £100 for distribution amongst poor housekeepers
on his County Down estate.38 His son Mathew succeeded In January 1797, shortly after Wolfe Tone and the
him. French invasion fleet failed to land at Bantry Bay, Forde
applied to raise his yeomanry corps at Seaforde and
Seventh generation: Mathew Forde (1753 – 1812) Kilmore. This was a Government scheme to oppose the
dual threat presented by the United Irishmen plans for
Mathew Forde was born at insurrection and France’s determination to invade
Seaforde circa 1753. He Ireland.45 Through his position as County Governor,
entered Trinity College Lord Downshire then began a plan to undermine Forde
Dublin in 1770, graduating through the ears of the military commanders, by making
in 1774 with a BA.39 In 1782 it appear that Forde’s yeomen were not only disloyal, but
he married Catherine sworn United Irishmen. This resulted in a letter from
Brownlow, eldest daughter Dublin Castle to Forde requesting an inspection of his
of Rt. Hon. William Seaforde and Kilmore corps.46
Brownlow, MP of Lurgan.40
Catherine and Mathew With the proclamation of martial law in May 1797 an
had eleven children: effort was made to smash the United Irishmen by taking
Mathew, William their arms. Forde, like other reforming Whigs, saw this
Brownlow, Thomas Arthur, as anti-constitutional and coercive. Forde with other
Arthur Nicholas, John, Francis, Catherine, Anne Sarah, similarly minded gentry such as Gawen Hamilton of
Isabella Jane Octavia, Margaret Selina Caroline and Killyleagh, (father of the United Irishman Archibald
Catherine Georgina.41 Catherine was believed to have Hamilton Rowan), Eldred Pottinger, John Crawford of
had no less than twenty-five children, many of whom Crawfordsburn and Southwell Trotter of Downpatrick
died in their early infancy.42 Catherine, pregnant and held meetings and circulated petitions calling for reform
accompanied by her sister, the Countess of Powerscourt, in order to stabilise the country.47 This further angered
died suddenly on her way home from visiting Mrs Loftus the conservatives and Lord Downshire, who as County
Tottenham in Dublin.43 Governor then worked through General Lake and local
district commander General Nugent. In June 1797
Prior to 1797 Forde was a critic of the Government’s General Lake wrote to Thomas Pelham, the chief
policy of refusing to consider demands for a reform of secretary at Dublin Castle, claiming that Forde’s men,
parliamentary representation during the period of the except for two, were sworn United Irishmen.48 Pelman’s
war with France. Forde politically was a Whig, and reply advised him to go cautiously as Forde was a very
believed that the threat of revolution in Ireland would respectable gentleman. Despite many attempts by Lord
ease if the Government addressed some of the people’s Downshire to continually undermine and publicly
demands for change.44 This stance did not sit well with embarrass him, right up to the rebellion of 1798, Forde’s
the arch conservative Marquis of Downshire who, when Seaforde and Kilmore Yeomanry corps were not

disarmed and subsequently fought in the Battle of
Ballynahinch losing one of their men.49

In 1811 Mathew Forde married Sophia Blacker,

second daughter of Very Rev. Stewart Blacker, of
Carrickblacker, Dean of Leighlin.50 Mathew was High
Sheriff of Co. Down in 1803. Mathew died at his house
in Rutland Square, Dublin on 31st March 1812. He
bequeathed £300 to the poor on his estate in County
Down. He was succeeded by his eldest son Mathew.51
Seaforde Almshouses in 1972 (Courtesy of Mourne Observer)
Eighth generation: Mathew Forde (1785 – 1837)
Savage, widow of Francis Savage and third daughter of
2nd Earl of Carrick. She died at Folkestone in 1865.57
Mathew Forde was born
in 1785. He entered Trinity
College Dublin in 1801 and Mathew was a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the
Magdalen College Oxford Peace, a Colonel of the Royal North Down Militia, High
in 1804.52 Sheriff of Co. Down and MP for Co. Down from 1821 to
1826.58 Mathew was the first member of the Forde family
Mathew married Mary to become an MP at Westminster, as previous members
Anne Savage, only child of of the Forde family who were MP’s sat in the Irish
Francis Savage, of Parliament. In one of the most memorable and hotly
Hollymount and Ardkeen, contested elections in 1830, he unsuccessfully contested
Co. Down in 1814 at the county, his opponents being Lord Castlereagh and
Hollymount. Following a Lord Arthur Hill, both of whom were elected. The voting
fire on the evening of 19th was: Lord Castlereagh 930, Lord Arthur Hill 837 and Col.
June 1816, which completely Forde 766.59 Mathew Forde died without issue in 1837
destroyed the Forde family and was succeeded by his brother Rev. William
mansion, Col. Forde rebuilt the present day family Brownlow Forde.60
home.53 Mary Anne died in 1826 aged just twenty-nine
and was buried at Seaforde.54 Eighth generation: William Brownlow Forde (1786 – 1856)

In 1828, in pursuance of a request made by his late William Brownlow Forde was born at Seaforde in
wife, Mathew built six almshouses in Seaforde for 1786. He entered Trinity College Dublin in 1803 and
widows of men who had lived on the estate for five gained an M.A. in 1813.61 Having taken holy orders, Rev.
years.55 He also endowed each with an annual annuity William was made Prebend of Dunsford, in 1812.62 He
of ten pounds, and ten pounds for the repair of the resigned this Office on becoming Rector of Annahilt in
almshouses.56 In 1829 Mathew married Lady Harriet 1817, in succession to the Rev. John Dubourdieu,

remaining there until 1839. From 1824 to 1837 he also he became Lieutenant
held the Vicarage of Carlingford in the Diocese of Colonel of the Royal South
Armagh.63 Down Militia, and from
1868 to 1881 was in full
In early December 1846, following poor weather in command following the
County Down and the continued failure of the potato sudden death of the
crops across the country, Rev. William and his neighbour Marquis of Downshire.70
David Ker met their tenants to discuss the demand for
better drainage. Forde and Ker jointly proposed to the In March 1857, the
Board of Works a drainage scheme encompassing both of Liberal Prime Minister,
their estates. All 33,000 acres of estate fell within the Lord Palmerston, was
barony of Kinelarty, making the Kinelarty scheme one of defeated on the issue of war with China and
the biggest of its kind in Ireland. Their application was subsequently called a snap general election.71 Both Lord
successful, attracting a £7,120 loan.64 Edwin Hill and David Stewart Ker stood again for
County Down, Hill as a Conservative, and Ker
In 1812 Rev. William married Theodosia Helena surprisingly as an Independent.72 In the 1852 general
Douglass, second daughter of Thomas Douglass, of election David Stewart Ker had stood as a Conservative,
Grace Hall.65 They had fourteen children, six sons and but decided in the 1857 general election to run as an
eight daughters: Mathew Thomas and William Brownlow Independent supporter of the Conservative Government
(twins), Francis Savage, Thomas, Charles Arthur, Thomas and issued a Liberal election address. The Conservatives
Douglass, Catherine Elizabeth, Elizabeth Georgina, reacted promptly and within days Colonel Forde had
Theodora Anne, Catherine Mary Anne, Isabella Octavia been brought forward to unseat Ker. At the polls in April
and Selina Charity (twins), Elizabeth Theodosia 1857, Hill received 5,839 votes, Forde 5,341, Ker 3,735.73
Catherine, and Harriet Anne. Theodosia Helena died in Forde retained his seat until 1874, when he was defeated
1875. Rev. William was a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice by the Liberal James Sharman-Crawford.74
of the Peace.67 He died in 1856 at 59 Dawson Street
Dublin and was buried at Seaforde. His second son During his seventeen years in Parliament, William
William Brownlow Forde succeeded, as the eldest son proved to be a useful member of the Conservative Party.
Mathew had died on 14th May 1847 after catching He had a remarkable aptitude for the transaction of
typhus while assisting in the famine relief in 1847.68 public business, and was for many years Foreman of the
Grand Jury of County Down. He was also Chairman of
Ninth Generation: William Brownlow Forde (1823 – 1902) Downpatrick Board of Guardians from 1876 to 1902.75 On
the passing of the Local Government Act, he was elected
William Brownlow Forde was born at Annahilt first Chairman of Down County Council; he was also
Rectory on 5th November 1823.69 He entered the Army in associated with many other public boards, and for a long
1843, joining the 67 Foot, as an ensign. On the death of period was treasurer of the County Down infirmary, to
his elder brother Mathew in 1847, he resigned his which he bequeathed one thousand pounds.76 Colonel
Commission and returned to Ireland. In November 1854 Forde was Privy Councillor, Deputy Lieutenant, Justice

of the Peace, High Sheriff in 1853, and Master of Lecale
Harriers 1848-88.77 Thomas William Forde was born at 15 Earlsfort
Terrace, Dublin on 11th February 1899 and was educated
William Brownlow married Adelaide, fifth daughter at Eton and Royal Military College Sandhurst. He was
of Gen. Hon. Robert Meade, second son of the 1st Earl of a Deputy Lieutenant, and also High Sheriff 1934. Major
Clanwilliam, on 25th October 1855. Adelaide died in Forde was in the Coldstream Guards, retiring in 1928. He
1902. William Brownlow Forde died at Seaforde on 8th was recalled in 1939 and served in World War II. He was
February 1902 without issue, and was buried with his Master of the East Down Harriers 1931-46. Thomas
wife on the north side of the Churchyard at Seaforde. His Forde died unmarried on 20th December 1949, and was
nephew, Major William George Forde, succeeded him.78 succeeded by his brother Desmond Charles.81

Tenth generation: William George Forde (1868 – 1922) Eleventh generation: Desmond Charles Forde (1906 – 1961)

William George Forde was born at Pembroke Dock on Desmond Charles Forde was born 26th February
the 7th March 1868. He 1906. He was educated at Eton and Royal Military
attended Clare College College Sandhurst. He served in the Coldstream
Cambridge, and Guards in World War II, being awarded US Bronze Star.
afterwards joined the 5th Desmond married Hon. Margaret Bertha Meriel Ward,
Royal Irish Rifles, serving youngest daughter of 6th Viscount Bangor in 1938.
with that battalion during Desmond and Margaret had two children, Patrick
the South African War, Desmond and Sylvia Helena. Their marriage ended in
1901-1902, from which he divorce. Lt. Col. Forde married again on 7th October 1948
returned with the rank of to Kate Alexandra York (The Lodge, Seaforde, Co.
major. At the start of the Down), widow of Lt. Col. William Panter, MBE, of
Great War he volunteered Enniskeen, Newcastle, Co. Down. Lt. Col. Forde was
for active service, but High Sheriff in 1950 and Master of Foxhounds of the East
owing to the state of his health he was obliged to accept Down 1946-49. He died on 31st January 1961, and was
a home service appointment, and was attached to the succeeded by his son Patrick Mathew Desmond.82
depot of the 19th Royal Irish Rifles.79 In 1898 he married
Sylvia Dorothea, only daughter of Major Alexander Twelfth generation: Patrick Forde (1940 – 2008)
Frederick Stewart, 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, of
Patrick Mathew Desmond Forde was born on
Ballyedmond, Co.Down. He was Deputy Lieutenant,
Justice of the Peace, and High Sheriff 1909. William and December 12th, 1940 in Belfast during the war. He held
Sylvia Dorothea had two sons and two daughters: the title of Lord of the Manor of Teconnaught. He was
Thomas William, Desmond Charles, Sylvia and Cynthia educated at Eton. In 1965 he married Lady Anthea
Dorothea. William died on 25th December 1922 and was Geraldine Lowry-Corry of Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh,
succeeded by his son Thomas William.80 elder daughter of 7th Earl of Belmore. They had four
Eleventh generation: Thomas William Forde (1899 – 1949) children, Emily, Mathew, Charles and Finnian .
Patrick was elected as an Alliance Party councillor to


I am grateful to the following:

Patrick Devlin and Berkley Farr for taking the time to

assist in editing the article; Mathew Forde of Seaforde for
assisting with information on the Forde ancestors and
providing relevant photographs; Mary Bradley, Local
Studies Librarian of Local and Irish Studies Department,
South Eastern Education & Library Board; the Deputy
Keeper of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland;
Ulster Museum; and the Parliamentary Archives section
of the Houses of Parliament.

Notes and references

Patrick & Lady Anthea Forde in the late 1990’s
1. Patrick McKay, A Dictionary of Ulster Place-names, 2nd. Ed., Belfast
Down District Council in 1977 and 1981. He stood as a 2007
Westminster candidate for South Down and in the 1982 2. R.S.J. Clarke, Gravestone Inscriptions County Down Vol. 9, p26-29.
Northern Ireland Assembly election came within a few Belfast 1984
hundred votes of taking the last seat. 3. Calendar State Papers Ireland 1509-73 – Elizabeth, p292, 12
March 1581
Patrick will be remembered for his horticultural skills 4. Calendar of Irish Patent Rolls of James I – Irish Manuscripts
and the transformation of part of the Forde estate into a Commission (Facsimile of the Irish Record Commissioner’s
nursery garden business, maze and tropical paradise. Calendar) Dublin Stationery Office 1966, p.238 Patent 10, James I
His visionary skills during the 1980’s saw the creation of 5. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
the first tropical butterfly house in Northern Ireland Memoirs of the Forde Family
which he opened in July 1988, and which has now 6. Calendar of Irish Patents of James I – Irish Manuscript
become a popular tourist attraction. Commission (Facsimile of the Irish Record Commissioner’s
Calendar) Dublin Stationery Office 1966, p.573 Patent 21, James I
Patrick was a member of the Royal Horticultural 7. MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical Memoirs of
Society, a former chairman of Down Museum, President the Forde Family
of Seaforde Working Vintage Club and Master of East 8. Ibid.
Down Foxhounds. He also held the office of Justice of 9. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438-
the Peace for County Down and was Deputy Lieutenant 439, London 1976
of the County. In later years he welcomed various 10. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
members of the Royal family to events in Northern Memoirs of the Forde Family
Ireland including, in 2002, the Queen’s golden jubilee 11. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438-
garden party at Hillsborough Castle. 439, London 1976

12 PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical 41. Ibid.
Memoirs of the Forde Family
42. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
13. Edith Mary Johnston-Liik, History of the Irish Parliament 1692 – Memoirs of the Forde Family
1800, Vol. IV, p.204, Belfast
43. Ibid.
14. Ibid.
44. Alan Blackstock, Down Survey, Pictures of the past: some Forde
15. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
documents, p.27 – 33,
Memoirs of the Forde Family
16. & 17 Ibid. 45. - 49. Ibid.

18. Edith Mary Johnston-Liik, History of the Irish Parliament 1692 – 50. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
1800, Vol. IV, p.204, Belfast Memoirs of the Forde Family
19. Ibid. 51. - 56. Ibid.
20. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical 57. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438-
Memoirs of the Forde Family 439, London 1976
21. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438- 58. Gerrit P. Judd, Members of Parliament 1734 – 1832, London 1955
439, London 1976
59. Lanktree, Henry, The Down squib-book: containing an impartial
22. National Archives of Ireland Prerogative Will Book/F/299B account of the contested election for the County of Down, in May 1831,
23. MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical Memoirs of between Lord Arthur Hill, William Sharman Crawford, Esq. and Lord
the Forde Family Viscount Castlereagh. Also the addresses and squibs which were issued
24. & 25. Ibid. during this interesting struggle, Belfast 1831
26. Edith Mary Johnston-Liik, History of the Irish Parliament 1692 – 60. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438-
1800, Vol. IV, p.204, Belfast 439, London 1976
27. & 28. Ibid. 61. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
29. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438- Memoirs of the Forde Family
439, London 1976 62. & 63. Ibid.
30. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
64. Proudfoot, Lindsay. Down History & Society, p355-375, Dublin
Memoirs of the Forde Family
31. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438-
439, London 1976 65. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438-
439, London 1976
32. Edith Mary Johnston-Liik, History of the Irish Parliament 1692 –
1800, Vol. IV, p.204, Belfast 66. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
Memoirs of the Forde Family
33. & 34. Ibid.
67. - 70. Ibid.
35. PRONI, W. H. Crawford, Irish Agent’s Letters, pp. 16-17
36. Ibid. 71. Carr, Peter, Portavo: an Irish townland and its people Part Two, p416
- 421, Belfast 2005
37. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
Memoirs of the Forde Family 72. - 74. Ibid.
38. & 39. Ibid. 75. PRONI MIC/315/9/61 Blackwood Pedigrees, Genealogical
40. Sir Bernard Burke, Burke’s Irish Family Records, 5th Edition, p438- Memoirs of the Forde Family
439, London 1976 76. - 82. Ibid.

A Rare Map of County Down
Frederick Pyne

At a meeting of the Lecale Historical Society in March Former Chairman Fred Rankin and his wife Kathleen
2008, the speaker Rhonda Robinson brought along an old told me that Dr Kennedy may have had a connection
map in the hope that someone could assist with its with the house ‘Woodbank’ located nearby at Gilford3.
identification. It was entitled A Map of the County of
Downe with a Chart of ye Sea Coast done from Actual According to archives in the University of Glasgow
Surveys and accurate Observations 1755 (Fig.1). Stored Dr Kennedy matriculated in 1735. This institution
in a leather pouch this large-scale map was printed quite attracted many Ulster students prior to the establishment
distinctively on separate panels to enable it to be folded of the Queen’s College in Belfast. Having chosen
without undue wear to its edges. Physics, he studied for his MA in Natural Philosophy,
though there is no record of a graduation.
The map was unsigned and not listed in any directory
of Irish maps, therefore quite a challenge. However, I RSJ Clarke, until recently Professor of Clinical
believed that this was the Dr Kennedy map of County Anaesthetics at the Queen’s University of Belfast, and an
Down I had often heard of but which one rarely comes authority on the biographies of Ulster doctors, very
across. My initial belief was confirmed through my helpfully revealed that from 1740 Dr Kennedy studied
correspondence with J H Andrews, until recently medicine at the University of Leyden. It is quite possible
Professor of Geography in Trinity College Dublin and a that his interest in mapping began in Holland, as at that
great authority on old Irish maps. He agreed that it was time this country had long led the world in the field of
indeed the elusive Dr Kennedy map1. cartography. In 1741 he obtained his MD from the
University of Rheims. He afterwards became a general
At the start of my research very little appeared to be practitioner in Downpatrick. For six months in 1767 he
known about Dr Kennedy even though he made became the first surgeon (honorary) at the Downe
considerable advances in the mapping of County Down. County Infirmary. He died in 1769.
In 1802 with reference to the 1767 revision of the map, the
Rev. John Dubourdieu, in his Statistical Survey of the His son, the Rev. Thomas Kennedy Bailie was rector
County of Down described Dr Kennedy as an “ingenious of Christ Church in the Parish of Kilmore, County Down.
gentleman” whose map was “very much esteemed”. That church has since been removed and rebuilt at the
Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.
Professor Andrews pointed me in the direction of Dr
James Kennedy Bailie some of whose family adopted the The development of cartography in Ireland often
surname Bailie instead of the single surname Kennedy. needs to be treated sensitively as it was frequently
He was the son of the Rev Dr Gilbert Kennedy of associated with the mapping of forfeited and escheated
Tullylish, Co. Down who in 1738 married his second lands that later became colonised. I had always been
cousin Sarah, and later married Margaret Bailie2. aware that by the 1750s, for the majority of baronies,

Fig 1. 1755 Map of County Down

there was little county mapping to compare to the
significant advances made by Sir William Petty some
considerable time before. However, later, in certain parts
of Ireland, due mainly to the efforts of learned academic
societies and a few gentlemen such as Dr Kennedy, some
considerably improved county maps were produced that
were not directly associated with conquest.

The fact that previous Irish maps were often either

wholly or partly derivative did not seem to prevent
many cartographers from claiming them as their own
original work. Dr Kennedy, a man of perhaps greater
integrity, may not have attached his name because he Fig 2. Key to additional handwritten information added in 1830s
was not totally involved in the associated fieldwork, the map, all this information was added by someone in the
material coming from local landlords and others such as 1830s and should not in any way be attributed to Dr
the surveyor John McClatchey. Kennedy (Fig. 2).

In this map of the county Dr Kennedy clearly As well as being a statement of contemporary
delineated the baronies, the market towns, the general geographical knowledge and achievement, this map is
location of townlands, and some of the sites of also a record of the values of its cartographer and his
antiquarian interest such as ‘Shrule Well’. He was, clientele and as such it is in part a political and
however, more than a little reticent in not highlighting philosophical statement. In the mid-eighteenth century
the ruined abbeys of the County. As the map predated the landed gentry, the judiciary, the established church,
the use of contours, the Mournes and other hills are and the military when needed, were very much in
drawn fittingly, but maybe a little obtrusively, as large control of most aspects of life.
molehills. Of particular interest to the Lecale Society, the
old Race Course to the south of Downpatrick is I feel that some of these influences reveal themselves
identified. The former higher water levels around and in much of the construction and content of this map as it
downstream from the town are clearly brought out by the highlights many houses of the gentry together with their
use of shading and merging lines demesnes and the boroughs that were the seats of
constitutional power. Dr Kennedy highlighted the
Hand-written all over the entire map both front and, churches and parishes of the Church of Ireland, but made
thankfully, mostly on the back, is a vast amount of data no reference to any places of worship connected with
and geographical information. For example, it describes Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. This reflected the
such matters as the deployment of troops, and in another attitudes of the time.
instance, lists clergy and applotment incomes that had
just recently replaced payments in kind as the form of Though some historians and cartographic
tithes. Somewhat spoiling the overall appearance of the commentators continue to one-sidedly criticise the

eighteenth century ascendancy and establishment for
being over-privileged, oppressive, class based, oligarchic,
and exclusively Episcopalian, I feel that in not all
situations and instances should such opinions be so
universally and stridently applied, as many of these
people often had a very positive influence on various
aspects of Irish life. Viewed this way the map can be seen
to reflect and incorporate many of their finer points,
amongst which was their influence on some very
significant advances and achievements associated with
this period when, for example, learning, craftsmanship,
aestheticism, architecture, town planning and taste
reached cumulative heights that may never be surpassed.

At this time, maps such as this were drawn with

considerable flourish. This work of Dr Kennedy further
confirmed my belief that maps of all periods can be
Fig. 3 Decorative cartouche and vignettes
viewed as a distinctive and marvellous kaleidoscope of
shape, line, shading and at times art itself. The overall clearly demonstrate Dr Kennedy’s considerable
appearance of this map, which was especially well cartographic knowledge and his originality.
engraved by John Ridge, is very pleasing to the eye. The
original colouring is superb: the boundaries of the Not unlike the understanding gained from the
baronies are a particular delight with their sensitive, reading of landscapes, an examination of old maps can
subtle shades. It has two most striking compass roses, reveal some of the important as well as the often
and a marvellous rococo cartouche by John Gillies, forgotten or hidden influences that were involved in their
alongside which is an Irish harp and two quite delightful construction. Fascinated by maps since my student days,
vignettes: on one side an idealised representation of two I was very interested in this rare example. With its multi-
farmhouses and a spinning wheel, and on the other a faceted geographic and historical detail brought together
drawing of a keep overlooking a boat being pulled by a by such a multi-talented cartographer, this map has
horse along a river or canal, possibly representing the indeed an interesting tale to tell. It should be of great
Newry canal, all symbols of a historic Irish county with interest to County Down readers of the Lecale Review.
an increasingly productive economy (Fig. 3).
Notes and references
The few other county maps then in existence 1. J H Andrews, Plantation Acres Ulster Historical Foundation
undoubtedly influenced the selection and presentation of 1985.
many of the features shown on the map. I feel, 2. J H Andrews, Shapes of Ireland Geography Publications Dublin
however, that the overall arrangement and its content, 3. PRONI T/1744, Pedigree of the Kennedy Family.
including much navigational information with the 4. Kathleen Rankin , Linen Houses of the Bann Valley Ulster
wonderful use of form lines to delineate the coastline, all Historical Foundation 2007.

The D J McNeill Collection
M Lesley Simpson

The D J McNeill Collection forms a

significant part of Down County Museum’s
Photographic Archive 1 and it is therefore
important that it is better known. Publishing
‘Our D J’ last year was a major step forward in
this direction. 2 Some images in the collection are
familiar to local people as they have appeared in
newspapers. Others are photographs of the
extended family but there is a wealth of so far
untapped information contained in other
images, covering the daily lives of the people of
Down. There are over 10,000 images of
Downpatrick, 4500 of Dundrum and 7000 of
other places in County Down. Ardglass, Bangor,
Newcastle, Portaferry and Strangford are well
illustrated. In addition, there are nearly 5000
covering the history of the Technical College, nearly 400 A rare photograph of D J himself, posing here beside a replica of Harry
of the Belfast and County Down Railway and another Ferguson’s aeroplane, in a procession in Newcastle, 1980.
6000 of individuals and groups of people. has a very personal and direct link. As ours is a
community museum it is important that we do know the
The collection has been indexed, and during the past people behind the objects and photographs and that
year the bulk of the black and white negatives have been these connections are maintained. We are currently
transferred from their original envelopes and boxes to preparing another book, this time about farming, to be
archival quality pockets and containers. They are published in 2009, which will include yet more
available for viewing by appointment at the museum. photographs taken by D J. The museum staff appreciates
The museum holds copyright of all photographs taken the generosity of the McNeill family for their gift and we
by D J himself; older photographs, copied by D J, pose will continue to make use of such a valuable resource.
issues of copyright ownership and this may take some
time to establish. Notes and references

1. For an overview see ‘Down through the Lens’, by M Lesley

I was fortunate enough to have known D J McNeill,
Simpson and Allen Thompson, in Down Survey, 2001.
albeit for only a short time, and his son Dan and
daughters Elizabeth and Frances, so that this collection 2. Our D J, edited by M Lesley Simpson, 2007

Francis Joseph Bigger of Belfast and Ardglass
Ireland’s Cultural Crusader
Roger Dixon
Francis Joseph Bigger is chiefly remembered today as were increasingly
a prominent Belfast Protestant who very publicly archaeological and
supported Irish Nationalism but he was also a highly historical. He was soon
successful solicitor, an enthusiastic archaeologist, a corresponding with an
writer, and a tireless promoter of all aspects of Irish older generation of like-
culture. An article written about him in 1916 described minded antiquarians
him as ‘Everywhere and always the enthusiastic, apostle of such as the Rev. George
Ireland’s ancient customs and traditions, of her language, Hill and Rev. James
music and pastimes, and the earnest and successful promoter O'Laverty. Maybe they
of the development of our industries, he is comparable with St. encouraged him to
Patrick himself.’1 This is perhaps a little exaggerated but revive the Ulster Journal
is typical of the kind of reverence Bigger inspired in his of Archaeology. This
admirers who ranged from politicians such as Roger distinguished periodical
Casement to writers like Joseph Campbell. had not been produced
for thirty years when
He was born in Belfast in 1863 to a wealthy Bigger formed a committee of enthusiasts to re-launch it
Presbyterian business family and was educated at the in 1894. It was originally edited by Bigger and Robert M
Royal Belfast Academical Institution before going on to Young but after a couple of years Bigger became sole
study Law at Queens University and at Kings Inn in editor and remained so until the Journal’s second
Dublin. On being admitted a solicitor in 1887 he demise in 1911. It was at this time that he acquired a life-
returned to Belfast and set up a legal practice in Royal long interest in the Irish Language and the Gaelic League.
Avenue with his life long friend George Strachan. In 1892 P.J. O’Shea, an Irish speaking Customs Officer
from Munster, introduced Irish classes for members of
Obviously the work of building up a new practice the Field Club and Bigger became an enthusiastic
was not challenging enough for Bigger. He was soon member. Classes were held at the Belfast Arts Society
deeply involved in the cultural life of the city. He joined rooms with excursions organized usually by Bigger to
the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club and became the club Irish speaking areas in Donegal and the Glens of
secretary, a position he was to hold for ten years before Antrim.
becoming its president. The club made excursions all
over the north of Ireland and if Bigger discovered that the When the Gaelic League was formed in Belfast in 1895
area they were visiting was of historic interest he would Bigger was appointed to the Executive Committee. In
give a talk about it or invite another scholar to do so. 1905 he went on to found a Belfast College of Irish at St
Although the club’s interests were mainly botanical, his Mary’s Hall and he remained its patron until the

college’s closure in 1923. It was largely through his As usual, Bigger was highly successful in raising the
involvement with the language and the League that he funding. The subscription list included the aristocracy,
was to meet some of the most influential people in his life local landowners and the Belfast & Co. Down Railway
including Sir Roger Casement. Company as well as local people. The memorial, as
devised by Bigger himself, took the form of a massive
All these activities, coupled with the task of building block of Mourne granite, weighing well over two tons. It
up his successful legal practice, are an indication of his took twelve men fourteen days to cut and transport it to
formidable energy and ability. the chosen site. The monolith was described by Bigger as
having upon its surface ‘a deeply cut early Celtic cross, full
Opinions on his ability as a practical archaeologist are size copied from a rude sixth or seventh century grave slab,
divided. He spent his weekends exploring Ireland, found by the writer on Iniscleraun, in Lough Ree on the
particularly in the counties of Antrim and Down, Shannon.’ He went on to say that ‘The response to my request
investigating all possible archaeological sites. In County for funds was spontaneous and generous, I feel very proud that
Down he had some success in identifying a number of this journal has so largely been the means of carrying out this
previously unknown sites, and having them surveyed praiseworthy object.’ 2
and protected. In Ardglass Golf Course he unearthed the
remains of a pre-Reformation Statue of the Virgin and Bigger was also instrumental in recovering three
Child. This statue much restored stands above the broken fragments of a Celtic cross from the grave site. He
entrance to Dunsford Church. Bigger used his position as had them removed to the cathedral with the intention of
editor of the Ulster Journal of Archaeology to publicise and raising funds to have the cross reconstructed using the
raise funds for the projects he organised. Not all of these fragments. Archaeological fragments in themselves had
were strictly archaeological as in the case of the marking little appeal for Bigger, who usually wanted a complete
of the reputed grave of St Patrick. In this case Bigger used object even if the majority of it was a reconstruction. He
the journal as a means of appealing for funds to erect a applied the same principal to all sorts of objects in his
memorial to the saint in Downpatrick. In 1900 he was possession from furniture to volunteer trumpets. This
able to report that was, of course, a common enough approach in the 19th
century when whole castles were imaginatively
reconstructed from romantic ruins.
‘The editor is pleased to be able to state that all
arrangements have now been made for putting a suitable
His most ambitious project involved Jordan's Castle
monument over the grave of St Patrick in the cathedral
at Ardglass which he purchased in a derelict state in 1911
yard at Downpatrick. All parties are contributing to the
and set about repairing and furnishing. Bigger's work at
work which will entail considerable expense. Subscriptions
Jordan's Castle was full scale restoration rather than an
for this object should be sent to the editor who will give a
archaeological investigation and the project had
full account in a subsequent number of the journal.…When
enormous impact on his contemporaries. Writers who
the town cross of Downpatrick was restored a few years ago
were sympathetic to Bigger, viewed this not as the rescue
the necessary sum was subscribed and expended by the
of an old building but as a political act. Alice Stopford
editor and he feels assured a similar result will ensue in the
Greene, the historian and nationalist, gives a vivid and
present instance.’

limelight, a scene of marvellous light and shade. But the
great moment of all came when a huge Irish flag was flown
out on the night wind from the Columba tower. I have
never seen so magic a sight. For hours crowds climbed and
descended the narrow winding staircase in the castle turret,
lighted by candles fixed in old Ulster iron holders.
Strangers dispersed about eleven o'clock but men of the
village sat round the fire of the old guardroom for hours
after, singing songs of Ireland endlessly..’3

Banqueting Hall at the Castle

Bigger frequently used the castle at weekends to
entertain friends and to hold festivals of Irish music
Jordan’s Castle and dance. There was always an element of fancy
emotional account of the opening of the castle to the dress in Bigger's antiquarianism and he and his guests
would often dress up in Elizabethan or medieval Irish
people of Ardglass for the first time.
costume for the entertainment. It says much for
Bigger's power of persuasion that he often managed
‘A little platform was set against the sheltered west wall of to persuade local musicians and dancers to join in the
the castle. A beacon flamed on one of the towers, and the fancy dress.
ceremony began with a display of limelight pictures on the
wall. Then there was Irish dancing and singing on the little If Bigger's archaeological work was well regarded by
platform, with the grey wall of the castle as a background the scholars of his day, subsequent generations of
and waving ivy branches and tree shadows in the archaeologists have been less enthusiastic. Essentially

Although this extract has a certain charm,
it is unlikely that many modern researchers
would read forty pages of purple prose in
order to discover a few salient facts. This is
undoubtedly one of the reasons why his
writings have been largely neglected over the
past fifty years. Bigger did attempt a more
systematic survey of archaeological sites and
there is evidence among his collected papers
to suggest that he intended to survey and list
all the ancient sites in the north-east of
Ireland. As well as his own work he collected
the manuscripts of other archaeologists and
local historians. Although Bigger researched
information on some hundreds of sites, it was
never catalogued or published. Bigger's
notes give not only written descriptions and
Musicians on the ramparts of the Castle measurements but interestingly record any local folklore
or legends covering the site including the names of his
Bigger's approach was that of a romantic historian not a informants. These frequently unfinished notes are often
scientific archaeologist, and in this he was a man of his of considerably more use and interest than the scores of
time. His numerous articles on archaeological subjects learned articles that Bigger produced over the years.
clearly illustrate this point. The following extract is from
his published archaeological survey of the Friary of Bun- Bigger's reputation as an archaeologist and historian
na-Mairghie near Ballycastle, did not survive his death. In 1931 we find H. C. Lawlor
of the Royal Irish Academy attacking Bigger’s reputation
‘We can readily picture the friars, on a bright Easter as a scholar in the Glensman. He suggested that Bigger
morning, trooping out of the beautiful church after the early was one of the ‘Charlatan historians who, when they did not
service, with the resounding Te Deum and the Music of the know or were too lazy to find out facts invented them.’ He
songs of exultation still ringing in their ears, to gaze up at adds ‘Perhaps the worst offender in this respect was the late
the great dome of Knoc-lade clearly cutting into the blue Mr Bigger.’5 He then goes on to systematically denigrate
sky, the fleecy clouds chasing each other like lambs across Bigger's work on Bun-na Mairghie. However Bigger was
the valley of Glenshesk, with the winding waters of the still highly respected in the Glens, a number of
Margie dancing over their pebbly bed in the sunlight close correspondents suggested that Lawlor had waited until
Bigger was safely in his grave to attack him. Bigger’s
at hand, the deep pools sheltered by the hazel woods, or the
defenders tended to admire his character rather than his
overhanging banks affording ample shelter for the speckled
scholarship; for in his efforts to make history popular and
trout which largely supplied the table of these Franciscan
exciting he often treated the facts in a cavalier fashion.

Lawlor was not moved and in a reply in the Glensman he By the early 1900s Bigger’s influence went far
defended his criticisms and issued further ones, beyond academic and cultural circles. This was partly
because of his reputation as a successful lawyer but also
‘Can Mr Allen (he writes) excuse Mr Bigger for writing because he was known as a man who could get things
a little history of Layde church pasted up on the notice done. In many ways his house Ardrigh on Belfast’s
board at the gate stating that it also was a Franciscan Antrim Road had become an Irish Cultural Institute
house? or the mutilation of history in his attempt to where those interested in Irish culture and nationalist
connect Shane O'Neill's name with Jordan's Castle, politics could meet. Young poets, playwrights and
Ardglass.’ musicians exchanged ideas with politicians such as
Roger Casement and Bulmer Hobson while Francis
Perhaps in an attempt to placate Bigger's many McPeake entertained them on the Irish pipes. This was
admirers in the Glens the Journal followed Lawlor's to be the busiest and most successful period of Bigger’s
attack with a long article on the Glens Feis. This praised life. Two events in particular occupied a great deal of his
Bigger's work in organizing it,6 suggesting that Bigger's time namely, the Glen’s Feis and the St Louis World Fair.
strength lay not in his scholarship but in his ability to Bigger’s involvement with the Irish crafts section of the
organize and inspire others. Bigger's writings have not St Louis World Fair was originally his mere agreement to
entirely been forgotten and interestingly one of his lend examples of Irish crafts such as painting and clock
articles was reproduced in the Journal of the Clifden and making from his own collection. However, once his
Connemara Heritage Group I 1995. Bigger would have abilities were recognised by the organisers he became
been delighted but not surprised by the introductory increasingly involved and eventually commissioned
paragraph, which reads. works for it from local artists. One such exhibit was a set
of Irish pipes commissioned by Bigger from the Belfast
‘In accordance with our policy of re-printing articles on pipe maker O’Meala. After the exhibition was over they
Connemara we have chosen a text by F.J. Bigger, M.R.I.A. were to play a famous part in the folklore of Irish music
published in 1896 in the Journal of the Royal Society of because Bigger gave them to Francis McPeake and it was
Antiquaries of Ireland. We consider this one of the best on these that he first learned to play, tutored at Bigger's
descriptions ever given of the island's archaeological expense by O’Reilly, the blind Galway piper. The Glen’s
heritage.’ Feis grew out of his desire to hold a series of large Gaelic
cultural events at home in Ireland. Bigger was nominally
An interesting feature of the many books and articles the treasurer of the Feis Committee, but his wide network
which he published are the large number of illustrations of contacts and his considerable organisational skills gave
and photographs included in them. Without doubt one him a far more substantial role and the event’s success
of Bigger's most important legacies was his photographic was largely due to him. He did not invent the tradition
collection. He was a keen amateur photographer and of the Feis, but in 1904 he was to build on that tradition
brought his camera with him on the Belfast Naturalists’ and expand it beyond music and language to include
Field Club excursions as early as the 1890s. The Ulster every aspect of Irish folk art and culture. Years later
Museum holds some five thousand photographs taken Benmore writing in the Glensman in 1932 looked back on
by him which have recently been catalogued. that day as one of the greatest the Glens had ever known.

‘Mr Bigger spared no expense to make the scene a brilliant and his own influential friends he took over the lease of
one, that lives still in the memories of many. The splendid this very unpromising property. The lease was taken out
unselfish enthusiasm of those days in the Glens shines under the name of a new body founded and largely
down the years. There was no strife; all creeds, all classes funded by Bigger himself, called the Ulster Public House
were there. It was a great day! Words mere words cannot Association. Its mission was to acquire run down,
describe how young Ireland’s pulse beat. It left a memory disreputable pubs and turn them into convivial inns,
that will never be forgotten.’ where good food and drink could be consumed in
pleasant, clean and safe surroundings. The whole
This was Bigger at his enthusiastic best stage- building was restored, repainted and fitted out with local
managing a huge successful event and most importantly wooden furniture and renamed the ‘Crown and
getting a sizeable section of the Protestant community to Shamrock’. Bigger chose the name which he hoped
take part in a festival celebrating Irish culture. symbolized the amalgamation of the two political
traditions which would enjoy hospitality there. The
Pubs and Cottages venture was a success and led to further acquisitions, the
most ambitious of which was the rebuilding of the
Two other enterprises demonstrate Bigger's unique ‘Templeton Arms’ in Templepatrick. This was a larger
blend of romantic nationalism and common sense building than the ‘Crown and Shamrock’ and a great deal
practicality. They were the Ulster Public House of care went into the interior fittings. Not only were the
Association and the movement to provide improved best local craftsmen employed in the work, but Bigger
housing for labourers in rural Ireland. chose antiques and prints of local interest to decorate it.
In Bigger's estimation this was to be much more than a
The impetus for Bigger's involvement with public wayside inn, he hoped it would be a centre of village life.
houses was his horror at the squalor, both moral and The only other two pubs created by the Association were
physical, of the average public house in Ulster. Perhaps
inspired by inns he had encountered in his travels
elsewhere he decided to do something to improve the
standards of the Ulster public house. It is typical of
Bigger's energy and determination that if he could not
make others act by exhortation and complaints then he
would act himself, which is exactly what he did in this
case. The first pub to come to his attention was the tiny
but notorious Ballyvesey Spirit Grocer sited near the
Antrim Road between Glengormley and Templepatrick,
not far from the old Bigger lands at Mallusk. It had a
reputation for drunkenness and brawling and was a
constant source of embarrassment to the freeholder of the
property who happened to be the local Church of Ireland.
With the support of the Church, concerned local residents Dunleath Arms Hotel, Ballywalter

the ‘Dunleath Arms’ in Ballywalter and the
‘Mermaid’ in Kircubbin. Both were fitted out
by local craftsmen, but in the case of the
‘Dunleath Arms’ a completely new building in
the Arts and Crafts style was commissioned
which survives to this day as a listed building.
Typical of Bigger’s attention to detail were the
pub signs designed and painted by Bigger's
friend, John Vinycombe, the renowned artist.
The sign at Kircubbin depicted appropriately
the Mermaid of Mahee. The work of the
Association, however, did not lead to the
general rise in standards in local public houses
as Bigger had hoped. Commercially the
venture was never a success and with Bigger's
numerous other interests calling on his time
and money the Association was wound up.

His involvement with labourers’ cottages

began when an open competition was
organized by the local Government Board to design Bigger’s design for a ‘labourer’s cottage’
suitable and cheap dwellings for agricultural labourers.
In 1907 the winning design was published in the Irish plans and illustrations of interiors. His ideal cottage was
Independent. Bigger was outraged at the outcome and a typical mixture of practical ideas coupled to a romantic
soon put pen to paper in reply, stating that view of Irish peasant life.

‘I have seen three newspaper sketches of plans, arranged in The pamphlet however was not the end of the matter,
their order of merit according to the Board's award. I
for Bigger was no academic handing down theories of
consider them unfitted for a poor man's dwelling in Ireland,
living to the working man; he was a man of action. As
and it appears regrettable that an Irish Board should have
he had done with the public houses he set out to lead by
awarded the first place to an unsuitable plan for an Irish
example. At his own expense he began to erect a series
cottage to a Manchester man, plus £50 of Irish money.’
of labourers’ dwellings around Glengormley. Four
The obvious reply from a number of critics was ‘if you charming little cottages were built by him in a field
are so clever Mr Bigger why don't you design a better one adjoining the ‘Crown and Shamrock’. Another row,
yourself?’ This he promptly set out to do. In a pamphlet named ‘Sally Gardens’ after the poem by his friend Yeats,
published by the Irish Independent in 1907 he expressed was built beside the Ballyclare Road in what was then
his views on the Irish cottage, complete with architect's open country.

Cultural Politics political writings he preferred to deal with the past rather
For Bigger, reviving Irish Gaelic Culture was not an than attempt to analyse the contemporary political
end in itself but a way of uniting those of different situation; the Land War, the Plantation of Ulster and the
religions in a shared pride in their own country. His 1798 Rebellion were among his favourite subjects and he
promotion of local arts and crafts was all part of that covered them on many occasions in publications such as
vision; for it was not just about encouraging local skills, Sinn Fein and The Gael. Although probably not actively
but about creating a proud and united community. involved in the organising of the 1916 Rebellion himself,
Bigger’s vision was essentially that of a European 19th a number of his very close associates, particularly Roger
century romantic; he distrusted cities and fostered a Casement and Denis McCullough were. For Bigger
dream of a thriving rural Ireland freed of squalor and however, seeing his dreams of romantic nationalism turn
sustained by local crafts and industries. This vision was into the reality of civil war in the South and full scale
set out by him in a pamphlet published in 1907 in which sectarian conflict in the North must have been
he states that with the right encouragement devastating.

‘rural sports, pastimes, and cottage industries will grow up Despite the upheavals following 1916 and the trauma
as of old in Ireland, and the land will again be filled with of partition, life at Ardrigh continued much as before
newness of life, and social joys will increase, and the people although he did spend increasing amounts of time at
will depend upon themselves and their own efforts and Jordan’s castle to escape the sectarian atmosphere of
aspirations , then, indeed the life blood of Ireland will begin Belfast. He remained a cheerful, generous and sociable
to course again through the nation’s veins.’7 man filling both Ardrigh and Jordan’s castle with young
people and holding evenings of Irish music and dancing.
Bigger's ability to organise and his renowned All who knew him spoke of his unfailing kindness. If
influence in legal, academic and local government anyone was ill he would be the first to visit always
circles in Belfast were to be of great value to the Gaelic arriving laden with fruit and flowers from his gardens
League in the North. Indeed Bigger was constantly at and honey from his bees. He also continued with his
work on behalf of the League organising increasingly interests in archaeology, raising money and initiating
large gatherings culminating in a huge event at the Ulster numerous projects including the restoration of St
Hall. Cathal O'Byrne recounts that Patrick’s Church at Raholp. By this stage both Ardrigh
and Jordan’s Castle were practically museums, for as
‘During his term as President of the Gaelic League in well as books Bigger collected all manner of Irish artistic
Belfast, Mr Bigger decided that the Gaels had stayed quite and historic artefacts from death masks to Belfast glass.
long enough in the lanes and back streets and as nothing A visitor to the castle in 1921 reported that
was too good for the Gaelic League they should have a big
show in the Ulster Hall...A big success is proved.’8 ‘Castle Shean under the occupation of Mr Bigger has
become a most interesting museum of Irish ethnographical
In addition to his abilities as a general organiser he objects, so numerous and detailed that we regretted lack of
also had considerable talent for rousing others in time prevented full justice being done to them’9
support of the cause by both writing and lecturing. In his

When he died in 1926 his beloved home Ardrigh did way of interesting people in their own past and actually
not long survive him. Initially, it was acquired by his involving them he was spectacularly successful. Also
friend and admirer the Belfast Nationalist M.P. Joe Devlin remarkable was his ability to win respect and even love
who perhaps hoped to keep something of the spirit of from such a wide variety of people. Books and articles
Bigger's hospitality alive, but he was never really happy of the period are littered with references to him, and few
in this big house and soon gave it up. After the war the men have had more books dedicated to them. Despite
once splendid gardens were sold off as building plots this and the hundreds of articles he wrote his influence
and in the 1970s the house was demolished to make way was very much a personal one, so with the death of those
for a block of apartments named Ardrigh Court. Jordan’s who had known him the memory of his life and
Castle at Ardglass fared much better because it was given achievements faded. Despite his many failings as a
over to the care of the Northern Ireland Government by scholar and his often misguided romantic nationalism he
Bigger’s heir, J. Warwick Bigger.10 However, even this deserves to be remembered as a man who made a
generous gift was not received without controversy. The significant and praiseworthy contribution to the cultural
Government initially appeared reluctant to accept the life of Ireland.
donation of the castle. Warwick Bigger was forced to
write to the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Notes and references
Finance in 1927 expressing his frustration and anger over
1 Quoted by J.S. Crone in Francis Joseph Bigger in Remembrance,
the process, (Dublin 1927), p27

‘The failure of the Government to accept this donation could 2 F.J. Bigger The Grave of St. Patrick, Ulster Journal of Archaeology,
not, I think, fail to be attributed to a spirit of bigotry…I Vol.6 No.2 1900, pp61-64
should be sorry to believe that the conduct of the 3 Alice Stopford Green, The Old Irish World, (Dublin, 1912) p152
Government in relation to the history and antiquities of
Ulster should be swayed by any such spirit.’11 4 F.J. Bigger, The Ancient Friary at Bun-na-Marghie, Belfast, 1898

5 H.C. Lawlor, Bun-na-Mairghie, The Glensman, Vol.1 1931, pp3-5

Luckily the government relented and accepted the
castle into its care where it still remains, well maintained 6 Benmore, Founding the Glen Feis, The Glensman, Vol.1 1932, pp30-
and open to the public as Bigger would have wished. 32

7 F.J. Bigger Labourers’ Homes Suitable for Ireland Dublin 1907

In a sense his death in 1926 marked the end of an era
of great hope for those who believed that Gaelic culture 8 Cathal O’Byrne, As I Roved Out, Belfast, 1946, p201
could unite Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. In the
9 S.A. Bennett Ardglass Belfast Naturalists Field Club Proceedings,
end, Bigger’s real achievement was his ability to Vol.8 1922,p152
communicate and inspire ordinary people with his own
love of Ireland's culture and history, even if it was to an 10 Bigger caused some confusion by naming the building Castle
extent a fictional history. Bigger's work at Ardglass and Shane after his hero Shane O Neil. After his death it reverted to
its historic name of Jordan’s Castle.
elsewhere may have left a good deal to be desired as far
as the archaeological profession was concerned, but as a 11 Bigger Archive, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

James Connor, 1877 - 1918
Malachy Ellesmere and Joan Magee

‘CONNOR – November 28, 1918, relatively young age of 52. Jane was left to bring up their
at his residence, John street, four children alone and, as the eldest boy, James became
Downpatrick, James Connor, late of the man of the house. According to the 1901 census Jane
Belfast Celtic Football Club. – R.I.P. and her family were living in Mary Street in
His remains will be removed for Downpatrick; Ellen (13), Annie (10), James (22), and
interment in the Killough-road David (20). By this stage James was already playing as an
cemetery to-morrow (Sunday), at outstanding centre-half, having begun his career with
two o’clock.’ (The Down Recorder
Celtic in the late 1890s. Celtic had been formed in 1890-
30th November 1918).
91 as the Celtic football team, and in 1896 the club was
admitted to the Irish Football League, winning the
Photo courtesy of “Jonny”, League Championship in 1899-1900, with Linfield the runners-up. The players on the winning team were
‘James Connor occupied a place Maginnis, Fleming, Doran, Nicholl, Connor, McConville,
unique in the annals of the game in McGarry, Abraham, Dorrian, Anderson and Dornan. In
Ireland, and though principally 1899-1900 the team’s title was altered to that of “Belfast
identified with Irish club football, he Celtic” and in 1901 it was the first club in Ireland to be
was recognised throughout England incorporated as a Limited Company. When a corrugated
and Scotland as amongst the half- iron roof was erected in 1905, it became the first club in
dozen best all-round players to be An Irish Football League Ireland to provide shelter for unreserved spectators.1
met with. It was as a centre-half that medal received by James
he made his name, graduating out of Connor in 1905.
James joined Glentoran football team for the 1900-01
Rathkeltair Club, Downpatrick, into Belfast Celtic, with which season. He then returned to Belfast Celtic for the 1901-02
organisation he was associated during the greater part of an season but rejoined the Glens 1902-03 until 1904-05.
unusually long career on the field. He played for Ireland in a During his footballing career he earned 13 caps in total
number of international games, always with distinction, and
and 2 of these were secured while he was playing for the
he was a gentlemanly, clean footballer, who knew the art of the
Glens. On the first occasion Scotland defeated Ireland in
game thoroughly and practised it in a manner that will long
Glasgow on the 23rd of February 1901 with a score of 11-
serve as a model to be followed.’ (Irish News 29th November
1918). 0, while the second cap was acquired on the 9th of March
1901when Ireland lost to England at Southampton, 0-3.
One of two sons born to Edward and Jane Connor, In the Irish League Glentoran finished as runners-up and
James was only 15 years old when, owing to heart on defeating Cliftonville 2-1 they claimed the County
disease and bronchitis his father died in 1893 at the Antrim Shield.

James played for Belfast Celtic from 1904-05 until the days into the tour realised that their supplies of “fags”
end of the 1912-13 season. On his return after an absence were running low. From that point on they were all on
of four years, he retrieved his place on the team and won the look-out for a shop that sold “Woodbines” or
his first cap for Ireland, while playing for Belfast Celtic, “Players.” While in Prague the team received an
when they drew 1-1 with England on the 25th of invitation from students of one of the local literary
February 1905 at Ayresome Park, Middlesborough. He societies, who felt it would be an opportunity to
achieved another two caps in 1905; first on the 18th improve their English by conversing with the team
March when Ireland lost to Scotland 0-4, and again on the members. ‘It was a regular scream when the late Jimmy
8th of April when Ireland drew with Wales 2-2. The Irish Connor, with his broad Scotch dialect (Downpatrick) and
News of the time reported that; “The game all through is Bobby Norwood, in the pure Lisburn dulcet tones, endeavoured
rather a difficult one to criticise, as both teams made to educate them in English as it should be spoken, and the poor
brilliant spurts, and looked all over their opponents; then students drank it all in.’ 3
a complete change would come over the scene, and
exactly a different complexion would take
place…Connor tackled and worried in his usual style,
being brilliant at intervals, and then resting for another
flash,” (Irish News, 10th April 1905). Subsequent caps
were won in the ensuing matches: 16th February 1907
Ireland lost to England 0-1; 16th March 1907 they lost to
Scotland 0-3; 15th February 1908 Ireland lost to England
1-3 and again on the 14th March they lost to Scotland 0-
5; 20th March 1909 Ireland lost to Wales 2-3; 28th January
1911 Ireland lost to Wales 1-2; 11th February 1911 Ireland
lost to England 1-2 and finally on the 18th March 1911
when Ireland lost to Scotland 0-2.
Belfast Celtic - Prague 1912

James was known to have walked some twenty miles

The influenza epidemic of 1918 claimed the life of
to Belfast to play his games, before making the return
James Connor, who died on Thursday 28th November,
journeys home again on foot. ‘It was quite a common thing
only 5 years following his retirement from football. He
for the late Jimmy Connor to walk to Celtic Park from
was 41 years old. The following Saturday the Belfast
Downpatrick, “play a blinder,” and then walk back again, and
Celtic Club flag was flown at half-mast as a mark of
he was some player.’2 Belfast Celtic became the first club in
respect, and a lightning ballot was organised in his
Ireland to send a team to the continent when a series of
memory. Some years previously, a benefit match had
matches were played in Bohemia during the months of
been played, and twelve medals had been specially
May and June 1912, and James participated in this
struck on the occasion, eleven being for the winning team
continental tour. All the team members carried billheads
and one for the ‘beneficiaire’. James did not accept the
of the hotel in their pockets in case they got lost. Many
twelfth medal at the time, but left it in the safe hands of
of the party were cigarette smokers and about four or five

Mr R. Barr, the secretary of the Celtic Club, and it was this Killough Road graveyard, Downpatrick, alongside his
medal that was balloted, the proceeds being forwarded parents and his brother David.
to his mother Jane.
Notes and references
James was laid to rest on Sunday the 1st of December
1 Padraig Coyle, Paradise Lost and Found, (Mainstream Publishing,
1918, and among those attending his funeral, the Belfast 1999).
Celtic Club was represented by Messrs. D McCloskey,
2 Author unknown, History of Belfast Celtic Football Club, (Dormann
J.P.; Austin Donnelly, R. Barr, M. Hamill, W. Parker, Peter & Hodgett, 1929).
O’Hagan, W. J. Donnelly, J.P.; M. J. McCann, J.P.; T.
Hanna, J. McSorley, and J. Keenan. James is buried in the 3 Ibid.

SeaGen - A World First

end of the year. In such an environmentally sensitive area
Alan Johnston the effects of this world prototype are being closely
The SeaGen Marine Current Turbine is seen here monitored. The turbine blades on the crossbeam, normally
against the background of Strangford village where the submerged and driven by the current, are pictured here
strong tides of the narrows of Strangford Lough will briefly in raised position for maintenance. The colours (black
generate ‘green’ electricity to feed into the grid for 1,000 local and orange stripes) are dictated by international maritime
homes. It is planned to be generating electricity before the regulations. The figure in the doorway indicates scale.

This is from the second of two postcards produced by Alan Johnston and distributed locally. The first postcard recorded the earlier installation of SeaGen

A Cuckoo in the Tomb: Trouble at the Wallace Mausoleum,
Downpatrick 1861
Finbar McCormick
Introduction one’s family, separate from those of strangers. The
sentiment is expressed in an unpublished tract written by
There is scarcely a town in Ireland that has more William Montgomery, of Rosemount near Greyabbey, in
mausolea in its churchyards than Downpatrick. about 1700. In A treatise of mens right to dispose of tombes
Mausolea, generally, are only occasionally found outside which themselves have made and dedicated3 he defends his
large urban cemeteries. Where they occur, there are right to build a vault in Greyabbey. He argues against the
usually only one or two present in a graveyard. The burial habits of the ‘Vulgar’ who ‘make a charnel house
fashion of raising these ‘houses of the dead’ was of his burial place’. He ordains that ‘other bones shall not
particularly popular in east County Down and especially be put in it [his vault] to mingle with my dear wives, and
in Lecale where most graveyards can display at least one my own’. On the basis of Corinthians 6:19 he argues that
of these structures. Many, such as Ballyculter, Ballee, as ‘Bodys were once Temples of ye Holy Ghost they are
Kilmore, and the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian and much more to be
Church of Ireland Parish churchyards in Downpatrick respected than ye
boast several examples. The recently constructed stones and Dust of
Hastings mausoleum in the cathedral graveyard in King David’s Citty’.
Downpatrick continues this local tradition. He quotes Psalm 141
in which David
While mausolea have an ancestry going back to derides the occasion
antiquity, their revival in more recent times was a where ‘our bones are
consequence of the reformation in Scotland. Calvinist scattered at the graves
attitudes led to the prohibition of burial within churches. mouth, as one cutteth
The Church's attitude at the time is succinctly and cleaveth wood
summarised on an inscription on the 1609 Melville upon the earth’ and
mausoleum in Collessie, Fife: 'Defyle not Christs kirk argues that 'no man
with your carrion'1. Aristocratic families, on being forced hath right over
to be buried among the commoners in the graveyard, another ’s bones or
reacted by building vaults and mausolea2. The fashion of Dust, or any way to
building mausolea did not begin in Ireland until the later displace (or mingle
eighteenth century with the main period of construction with) them, much less
occurring during the following century. to scatter them (as K.
David bewails) at ye
One of the objectives of building a vault or Grave’s mouth like
The Pilson Memorial
mausoleum was to keep one’s remains, and those of chipps'.

When mausolea or vaults were built it was sometimes
the custom for the builder to exhume a parent, or close
relative, and reinter them in the new tomb. This ensured
that the builder would have company when they finally
took up residence therein. While this might simply have
entailed digging up a person, or persons, previously
interred at the site of the new mausoleum, sometimes the
disinterred would have to be transported a considerable
distance. When Dr Alexander Gracey, formerly of
Ballyhosset House, Co. Down4, bought a burial plot for
himself at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, he had his father
disinterred and brought from Ireland to the new grave.
On a more local scale Aynsworth Pilson built a new vault
for himself in the Parish graveyard in Downpatrick in
1826. On the 20th of December, a few weeks after
building work finished, his diary records that “I had the
remains of my dear mother removed from the cathedral
yard to the cemetery in the Churchyard that was lately
made for me”. Aynsworth, himself was not to occupy
the tomb for another 36 years. The Wallace Mausoleum

The Wallace Mausoleum Wallace, viz. Mary who died in infancy 1791, Elizabeth
Doherty who died 8th of April 1817, Cromwell who died
This article, however, focuses on the Wallace 14th July 1829, John who died 5th January 1852, William
mausoleum which is located next to that of Pilson. Little who died 26th of February 1858’.
is known of the Miss Wallace who erected the
mausoleum beyond what is outlined in the letters Upon her death, Miss Wallace was interred in the
reproduced below. She was unmarried and her siblings tomb and would have remained there undisturbed
had pre-deceased her, so she regarded herself as the end except for an incident, that went on to precipitate a row,
of the family line. The monument bears the following that is recorded in three letters published in the
inscription: Downpatrick Recorder in 1861. The drama began with
the sudden death of the Rev Horatio Moffatt, then
‘Erected by Amelia Wallace of Downpatrick over the incumbent of Hollymount church. On 16 November 1861
earthly remains of her father John Wallace of Hollymount, the newspaper records that “he retired to rest on
who died 14th of November 1807 aged 89 and of her mother Saturday night to all seeming quite well, but when the
Susanna Wallace who died 24th of September 1808 aged 59. servant went to call him next morning, it was found that
Here are also interred the children of John and Suzanna life was extinct …the cause of death being an apoplectic

choose to put in it? I am led to make this enquiry from a
paragraph which appeared in a Downpatrick paper of the
16th inst, respecting the particulars of which I have made
some inquiries. The late Miss Wallace of Saul Street,
Downpatrick, erected, with the full cognisance of the Dean
of Down, a vault, which is an ornament to the Parish
Churchyard, at an expense to herself of nearly 200l. (approx
£200). Report says that she expressed the desire that no
interment after her own should take place in that vault, and
it is stated that an injunction to this effect was laid by her
on the executor of her will, and there can be no doubt a
promise was given that her wishes in this respect should be
attended to. Report also states that the Very Rev. Thomas
Woodward, Dean of Down, was appraised of Miss
Wallace’s desire. Notwithstanding, he has forcibly broken
open the vault and caused the interment of a corpse in it,
in direct violation of the injunction of the lady who erected
it, and whose property it was. If the Dean of Down was
Detail of the mausoleum showing the Wallace Coat of Arms justified in this, I suppose he can do the same with every
vault and grave in the Parish Church-yard. If so, an end
fit”. The report concludes by recording that “his remains will be put to the beautifying of churchyards by the erection
were interred on Wednesday morning in the vault of of vaults; for, where the freehold is in the hands of such a
Mrs. Moffatt’s family in Downpatrick Parish clergyman as the Dean of Down, no one would think of
Churchyard”. erecting a vault where the rector usurps the right of opening
it for anyone he wishes to put into it. I always considered
The Letters the graves and vaults of our deceased friends as sacred, and
that, being enclosed in burial grounds, they were safe from
The following week the Downpatrick Recorder violence or injury. But, from the powers claimed by the
printed two letters referring to the late minister’s Dean of Down, this, it seems, is a very mistaken notion, for
funeral. A further letter was published a week later: it appears that, at the whim of the rector, and for the mere
sake of showing his power, the just wishes of the living may
Sir, be disregarded, the memory of the dead be outraged, and
Some time since, I erected a monumental stone to the places of burial be used for persons and purposes for which
memory of a beloved mother. Can you inform me if the they were never intended by those who erected them. If this
minister of the church to which the graveyard is attached be the state of the law, it cannot be too soon or too
has the legal right (in justice, I know he can have none) of extensively made known that such is the case, and an appeal
removing that stone and of desecrating the grave of the dead should at once be made to the Legislature to change a law
by opening it to receive the remains of any person he may of which so tyrannical a use may be made, and which

confers on certain clergymen a power so obviously unjust. gentleman who was to be interred. Most naturally, Mrs
There is not a person in the community who has the spirit Moffat expressed a wish to have her husband placed where
to think for himself, and to express what he does think, who she herself desired to be – mingled with the ashes of her own
does not feel that an outrage has been committed on what relations – and, accordingly, that lady gave directions to
has hitherto has been considered as sacred, and a wanton have the remains of her beloved husband interred in the
outrage too. Let every owner of a vault make the case his vault of her family, the Miss Wallace here named being the
own, and just answer this question – would he wish that aunt and nearest relative. On inquiring for the key of the
his vault should be broken open by any clergyman and a vault it was found to be in the hands of Mr John Warnock,
person interred in it, not only without his consent, but solicitor, who is an executor under the will of the late Miss
against his urgent remonstrance? If the Dean had a vault Wallace, but no relative whatever. That gentleman
of his own, would he wish that such a thing should take positively refused to give the key, notwithstanding the
place with respect to it; and, if not, should he not do to express wish of Mrs Moffat, in her deep affliction at so
others as he would wish them in similar circumstances to sudden a bereavement, to have her husband buried with her
do to him? own relatives. An individual, who is no relation, refused to
give the key of a vault to the niece and nearest relative of the
I am, sir, your obedient servant person interred in it!

‘A Lover of Justice’ The Dean of Down, as rector of the parish, having been put
in possession of the facts, expostulated with Mr Warnock,
Sir, through one of his curates, but all to no purpose. His reply
was “I will give the key to neither bishop nor dean”. But
Having read in your publication of this day a letter signed thanks to the enlightened Dean Woodward, who, by his
“A Lover of Justice,” headed “Extraordinary Proceedings firm and manly course of proceeding, vindicated the
in Downpatrick Churchyard”, I think it is right to state supremacy of the law, the remains of a worthy and excellent
that the facts of the case have been very disingenuously set clergyman were properly interred, at the request of his
forth in that letter. I have no doubt the writer knew all the sorrowing widow, in the vault which was erected over the
facts; and if he had been what he signs himself, “A lover of place that had been the burying ground of her fathers for
Justice” he should have not put forward such an exparte many years. If ever there was a case which required the
statement. Perhaps the Dean of Down himself may reply to interposition of a rector to give rightful and legal
the letter; but, should he not, I think it is only a matter of possession of a vault to the nearest relative of the last person
simple justice to him to place the whole facts before the interred in it, against the opposition of an utter stranger in
public. blood, who would withhold the key under such
circumstances, it is the one in question.
About a year before her death the late Miss Amelia Wallace
– who is no relation whatever of a solicitor in this town The nearest male relative of the late Miss Wallace called
bearing that name – erected a vault over the grave of her upon the dean after the funeral, and, in the presence of
ancestors in the Parish Churchyard here. These ancestors several individuals, personally thanked the very rev.
were also the ancestors of Mrs Moffat, relict of the deceased gentlemen on behalf of himself, the relatives, and

connexions of the deceased Mr. Moffat, for the very kind professed to give the “whole facts”. If he did know them, and
and handsome part which he (the dean) had taken in this has not given the “whole facts,” he is guilty of what is
painful matter. To this gentleman, I understand, the dean equally bad, for he has wilfully and deliberately suppressed
handed the keys of the vault. Thus ended an affair which, facts and truth. Is it “simple justice” to try to deceive the
but for the wisdom and integrity of the dean: which might general public by falsehood and suppression of truth?
have terminated very differently indeed. The deceased Many of the parishioners he cannot deceive, for they know
clergyman was highly respected. His remains were followed more of the facts than he had the honesty to place before the
to their last resting place by a very large concourse of public. With your permission, sir, I shall now give a few
sorrowing friends, among whom were many of the elite of further facts, which the truthful narrator of the “whole
the county. facts” has carefully abstained from mentioning “A
Parishioner’s” letter does contain some truths. For
I have the honour to be, &c., instance, he states, that the late Miss Amelia Wallace was
no relative of a solicitor in this town bearing that name, and
‘A Parishioner of Down’ that I am “no relation” and an “utter stranger in blood” –
quite true – but, notwithstanding, the deceased lady and I
The solicitor John Warnock felt that his reputation had stood in the relationship of old friends, acquainted for over
been attacked so replied in the following week’s thirty years, and for upwards of twenty years of that time
newspaper under the heading “The ‘Vault’ Affair there existed between the late Miss Amelia Wallace, myself,
Again”: and family the tie of friendship and esteem, stronger,
perhaps, than sometimes exists between “nearest relatives”
Sir, and “blood relations.” Few acts of the deceased lady for the
last several years of her life were unknown to me, save her
I have read in your publication of Friday last a letter signed acts of charity and benevolence which were dispensed in a
“A Parishioner of Down” in which the writer professes to liberal and Christian spirit, and still fewer matters of
place the whole facts of a recent occurrence in Downpatrick business were transacted by her without my being first
before the public. “A Parishioner” appears to have written consulted. I am the sole trustee and executor of her will, and
with a twofold object – that of lauding the Dean of Down, was her sole trustee in all her matters of business where the
and placing my name invidiously before the public. To his intervention of a trustee was necessary; that while
lauding the dean I have not any objection, if that be the relatives she had never seen, a personal friend and her niece,
writer’s wish, and if it suits his purpose; but I ask is it Mrs Moffatt, were the chief objects of her bounty, she, at the
“simple justice” in a parishioner, even to accomplish that same time, showed her regard for me, having by her last will
object, to attempt, by a dishonest statement of facts and made substantial gifts to two of my children, and her trust
suppression of truth, to vilify me? To give the “whole facts,” and confidence in me were well known to her nearest
the writer must know them. He either knew them all or he relations. When the late Miss Wallace determined on
did not. If he did not know them, then he has in his letter building a vault she consulted another gentleman, also an
written a wilful and deliberate falsehood, for he professes to “utter stranger in blood” to her, and myself, who procured
give the “whole facts.” If he did know them, then he has in a plan which pleased her. In 1859, I made a contract on
his letter written a willful and deliberate falsehood, for he behalf of Miss Wallace with a builder, for the erection of the

vault, the gentleman before referred to having undertaken respected.
another duty in regard to it. By Miss Wallace’s desire, a
shell was made in which were placed all the bones which Before, I believe, that Mrs. Moffatt gave the directions
had been found in the grave in which the remains of her which “A Parishioner of Down” states she did, I must have
father had been interred in 1807, her mother in 1809, an more reliable authority than the truthful narrator of “whole
infant sister in 1791, a married sister (the mother of Mrs facts,” because I know that Miss Wallace’s intentions were
Moffatt) in 1817. This shell and the coffins containing the not unknown to her nearest relative.
remains of her brothers, Cromwell, John and William, at
Miss Wallace’s request, and with the sanction of the proper On the day after the death of the late lamented Rev. Mr.
party, were placed temporarily in an adjoining vault, for Moffatt (who was a client and friend), I was called upon by
which I had and still have the key. Miss Wallace’s vault was the party having charge of his funeral arrangements for the
built to contain five coffins – three on the floor and one on key of the vault. I told him the reason why I could not
a shelf on each side of the door. These shelves were built into comply with his request. He observed, in reference to Miss
the wall. On the completion of the vault, the shell and Wallace’s wishes, “I always understood so”. I have reason
coffins were removed to it, three being placed on the floor to believe that my position in regard to the matter was
which they covered, and one on the shelf to the right of the communicated to Dean Woodward, who is rector of the
door, the shelf opposite being reserved for the remains of parish; for, near to ten o’clock at night, when engaged in my
Miss Wallace. This was Miss Wallace’s own arrangement. office, I was called upon by the curate, who, it is stated,
I alone received instructions from Miss Wallace for her “remonstrated with me,” accompanied by the party who
funeral, and, to prevent interference by any party, it was asked for the key in the morning. The remonstrance was
stated in her will that I had received such instructions. Part short and decisive, for I was soon told that, if I did not give
of her instructions were that her remains should be placed the key, the Dean would break open the vault. I still refused
on the then unoccupied shelf, and that the vault should then the key, and gave my reasons for doing so. I was then told
be closed against further interment in my time. This that the Dean had read the law to them before their coming
injunction I undertook to perform, and, so far as in my up to me, and he had said that I, as a lawyer, would know
power, I felt, and feel it my bounden duty to fulfil. In Miss he had the right to break open the vault. I did not question
Wallace’s last illness, by her desire, I saw her almost daily his legal right, but repeated Miss Wallace’s directions, and
– sometimes more frequently. The burial service was, by my engagement, adding that I did not understand the
Miss Wallace’s desire, performed by the Rev. S.C. Nelson religion or Christianity which taught that my promise to
– much, I know, to the annoyance of some parties. When fulfil the dying request of the lady was not to be regarded,
Miss Wallace’s remains were deposited in the vault, every and that I would not “give the key to Dean or Bishop”.
available space, unless placing one coffin on another, was
occupied. From what fell from one of the deputation who called on me,
I have reason to believe that arrangements were in progress
Sometime after the interment, I had the door of the vault for the interment of the late Rev. Mr. Moffatt’s remains
painted, and the escutcheon over the keyhole screwed down, with those of his father’s family, in their burying-ground
in expectation that the dying wishes of the lady who built at Clough, where were interred the remains of the late
the vault would, in an enlightened community, be respected clergyman’s grandfather, grandmother, father,

mother, and three aunts, when a communication from the The circumstances compelled me to be absent from the
Dean to Mrs. Moffatt, after the “remonstrance” was over, funeral of Mr Moffatt (by whom I was favored with a visit
put a stop to them. the day preceding his decease, and whom, I esteemed as
much, perhaps, as “A parishioner of Down”), as I felt that
Early on Tuesday morning I saw at Miss Wallace’s vault I could not in any way sanction the intrusion of any body
a whitesmith and the sexton, the former with his tools, busy into the vault contrary to the express directions of Miss
at work. The smith, on my speaking to him, collected his Wallace.
tools and left the vault. I met the Dean outside the As to the statement of a “Parishioner of Down” that the
graveyard. The Dean and I had some talk as to the vault, nearest male relative of the late Miss Wallace called upon
when he observed that neither of us had any personal the Dean after the funeral, and to whom the Dean is said
interest in the matter. I told him I had none, save to carry to have handed the keys of the vault, I think he has made a
out the directions of Miss Wallace, and I refused to give him mistake, as, if I have been correctly informed, there was not
the key. The Dean then desired the smith “to go and open a male relative of the deceased lady in Ireland at the time of
that vault”. Having explained the circumstances which, I Mr. Moffatt’s funeral.
believe, the Dean knew very well before, my
“remonstrance” was to no purpose, and the Dean,
“A Parishioner” writes:- “Thus ended an affair which, but
advancing into the graveyard, observed, “You may go
for the wisdom and integrity of the Dean, might have
about your business, I will show you the value of your key”,
terminated very differently indeed.” What does the writer
for which permission I thanked him.
mean to insinuate by this? If violence, surely any violence
Hours, I understand, that was committed was by the use of the crowbar and other
were spent in tools, in forcibly breaking open the last resting place of a
endeavors to affect an lady of unostentatious charity, who was highly and
entrance, first by the universally respected, against the known dying wishes of
use of a “pick lock”, that lady – a lady, too, who in her last moments
next by crowbar, and remembered the poor by a bequest of 300l. (approx £300) for
finally the drill and their use.
Out of the respect to the memory of that deceased lady and
Miss Amelia Wallace the rev. gentleman so recently called from amongst us, as
believed that her dying well as to the feelings of the lady who has met with so
wishes and directions sudden a bereavement, I have hitherto abstained from all
in respect to the vault comments upon this most extraordinary case; but the letter
and future interments of “A Parishioner of Down” imposes on me the necessity,
in my day would have Door of the Wallace Mausoleum however reluctantly, of laying these statements before the
been attended to and public.
respected, although she was not a member of the section of
the Church to which the dean and his curates belong. I have to apologise to you, sir, for the length of this letter,
the first I have, and I trust the last I may have occasion to

trouble you with on this painful matter.

I am sir, your obedient servant,

John Warnock

Downpatrick 27th November 1861.

The “Parishioner of Down” replied with a short note Townland Victory!

stating that “In the whole of the irrelevant and very Following pressure from the Lecale Historical Society,
indiscreet letter Mr. Warnock has not refuted a single fact Down District Council has agreed to put townland
contained in my communication”. There the case rested. names on new road signs. New signs bearing townland
The Rev. Horatio Moffatt presumably also still rests in the names have begun appearing throughout the Down
Wallace mausoleum overlooking the busy traffic of District.
Church Street, oblivious to the row that his interment had
caused. It seems that his family decided not to further
antagonise the sensitivities of Mr Warnock as an
inscription commemorating Rev Moffatt was never
added to the monument.


I would like to thank Seamus Gracey for bringing the

newspaper obituary of Dr Alexander Gracey to my

Notes and references

1. Howard Colvin, Architecture and the After-Life (London 1991)

2. Finbar McCormick, ‘Reformation, privatisation and the rise of the

headstone’ in A. J. Horning, R. O’Boyle, C.J. Donnelly and P.
Logue The post-medieval archaeology of Ireland, 1550-1850, (Bray
2007), 351-366.

3. PRONI B/552/B/4/14

4. Richard Clarke, ‘De Alexander Leslie Gracey - Victorian Doctor’,

in Down Survey, 2001,15-20.

Lady Bangor’s Memories of China 1906
Raymond Atkinson

Agnes Elizabeth Ward, 6th Viscountess Bangor, was

born in 1878 and was the daughter of Dacre Mervyn
Archdale Hamilton and Helen Nugent of Cornacassa,
County Monaghan. She married Maxwell Richard
Crosbie Ward, son of Henry Ward, 5th Viscount Bangor,
on 5th January 1905 in Monaghan, County Monaghan.

At the time of their marriage Maxwell Ward was a

soldier serving as a captain with the Royal Artillery in the
Institute School of Gunnery in the South of England.
Later, Maxwell Ward was appointed to a further posting
with the Royal Artillery in the Isle of Wight.

One year later, in 1906, Maxwell Ward was posted to

Peking in China to command the British legation guard
there. Agnes accompanied her husband to China leaving
their one year old son, Edward (the future 7th Viscount
Bangor) to stay with his nanny at his grandmother’s
house in County Monaghan. Agnes Ward had a great
affection for China. During their time in China she and
Maxwell made two visits to the Great Wall of China. The
couple travelled on ponies and donkeys with their
provisions being carried in carts.

Maxwell Ward became the 6th Viscount Bangor in

Lady Bangor
1911 after the death of his father Henry, the 5th Viscount,
and Agnes became the 6th Viscountess. Some years later, thrilled when the time came for them to give their first
in 1960, Agnes Ward, 6th Viscountess Bangor, spoke of party – they felt very responsible and somewhat proud
her time in China in a BBC radio interview of which the
of their position as hosts, in the midst of all the guests
following is a transcript.
who attended.
(Interview begins) Agnes Ward said she and Maxwell
thought China would be very interesting and it was. After being in Peking for only a few months, Agnes
China, she found very social and gay. They were mentions that all the ladies of the Legation were invited

On a platform in the middle
sat the Dowager Empress on a big
yellow throne. As she was a
widow, she wore no make-up, as
was the custom of a Chinese
aristocratic lady. The Dowager
Empress was a domineering old
woman and Agnes Ward
remembers she felt very sorry for
the poor little Emperor who sat
beside her, but lower - on a little
golden stool.

The Dowager Empress sat

there very impassively with her
hand in her lap; her nails were
quite two inches long and encased
in gold. She notes of course, this
was a sign of high class Chinese
ladies as it showed they did no
manual work.
The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity in the Summer Palace was used by the
Dowager Empress to give audiences
The ladies spoke to the Dowager Empress through an
by the Dowager Empress of China to attend an audience interpreter. When the interpreter spoke to the ladies, he
in the Summer Palace, about twelve miles outside the stood up; but when he spoke to the Dowager Empress,
city. They travelled in carriages along a splendid road he lay down on his face. (Chinese custom demanded that
made especially for the Emperor and Empress. At everyone had to ‘Kowtow to the Emperor’ – lie flat and touch
intervals along the road were large tanks holding water. the ground with their forehead).
The ladies arrived at the Palace during the morning
After the audience, the ladies were taken to another
and were shown into an outer room, where they were
part of the Palace where they were given luncheon in the
given tea. They waited a short time there before being
presence of several little princesses. A great number of
taken across a kind of parade ground, then through a
courses were served including ‘birds nest soup’, ‘bamboo
gateway into a large inner courtyard covered with a kind
shoots’ and so on.
of brown and very soft hair matting. There were
buildings all around and facing them. They entered into
Agnes Ward sat beside one of the princesses and from
a large audience hall. The hall was a fine building – it was
time to time the little princess took what she considered
roofed with the imperial yellow tiles; had enormous
a choice little piece of food from her plate and put it on
pillars and was rather dark inside.

One of the vases in
Castle Ward

hers. Agnes said it was very nice of her to do this, but she
was afraid she simply hated her kind attention. However,
she had one great comfort – they didn’t have to eat with

Some time after visiting the Summer Palace, the

Dowager Empress sent Agnes Ward four beautiful
porcelain vases. These vases are now in the Victorian
Porch in ‘Castle Ward’, the National Trust House in
County Down.

The Dowager Empress also sent Agnes Ward some

large lacquer boxes full of sweets, but it seems these were
only for the household, not for her. As Agnes Ward was
ignorant of Chinese customs and not wishing to offend
them, she somewhat sorrowfully handed them over to One of the cupboards in Castle Ward
her household staff.
Forbidden City, but alas, she (Agnes) never went there as
At the time of her stay in China, the City of Peking a woman was forbidden to go.
was divided into three Parts – the Chinese City, the
Forbidden City and the Tarter City. Because the Empress In China, Maxwell Ward discovered you could tell the
was a Tarter they had various concessions, one of them rank of Chinese officials and mandarins by the colour of
being extra sacks of rice. Maxwell was invited to the the buttons on their caps; red being number one.

Maxwell was asked by one of the mandarins if Agnes’ 1912; and Margaret Bertha Ward, born 29 September
father-in-law (Henry Ward 5th Viscount Bangor) was a 1914. Mary and Helen were born in Plymouth in Devon,
number one mandarin – to which Maxwell replied and Margaret at Castle Ward House in County Down.
Agnes Ward lived at Castle Ward from 1911 until 1968
One night while in Peking, Agnes and Maxwell Ward (apart from a time during the First World War, when the
went out to dinner. While out, thieves broke into their family lived at Blandford, in Dorset, England). In 1968
home and stole all of Maxwell’s clothes. He had no she left Castle Ward and went to live in a nursing home
clothes left except for the evening clothes he was in England.
wearing. The thieves also took some of the silver, which
the 5th Viscountess Bangor had loaned to them. After this She died in England on 12th May 1972, aged 94 years.
incident, Chuza, their cook had the silver copied – crest The Down Recorder dated 19th May 1972 stated:
and all, so that no one could tell the difference.
At that time in China, the head boy was responsible ‘The ashes of the Dowager Lady Bangor, who died in an
for anything stolen in the house and as he was unable to English nursing home, will be scattered at Castle Ward,
replace Maxwell’s clothes – uniform included – he gave Strangford – the family’s former home. Aged 94, she was
them two beautiful carved doors. These doors were the widow of the 6th Viscount Bangor, Speaker of the
made by the couple into two cupboards, which are on Northern Ireland Senate, who died 22 years ago’.
each side of the hall door in the Victorian Porch at Castle
Ward House. The Down Recorder also noted:
‘Lady Bangor had a great love for Castle Ward which was
Agnes Ward says they didn’t want the poor man to her home for nearly fifty years’.
give them anything, as they were fond of him, but the
British Legation people insisted they must allow this, as Agnes Ward, 6th Viscountess Bangor, was the last of
it was the Chinese custom. the family of the Wards to actually live at Castle Ward.
The House and demesne have been owned by the
Agnes Ward said that shopping in the east was very National Trust since 1953.
different. It sometimes might take a week to buy what
you wanted, as you had to bargain and were expected to
do so. She got into such a habit of never giving the price
asked, that she remembers going into a shop in London Sources
where she astonished the salesman by saying she would 1. BBC Radio Interview, 15th November 1960. Title: ‘Memories of
give him less than half of what was asked for his table China in Early Years of the Century’.
clock. (Interview ends)
2. Down Recorder, 19th May 1972
After their return from China, Agnes and Maxwell 3. Number One Boy, Edward Ward, 7th Viscount Bangor
Ward had three children – Mary Helen Kathleen Ward,
born 2 April 1909; Helen Elizabeth Ward, born 9 May 4. Biographical Material: Linenhall Library, Belfast

The Ingenious Innings of Inspiration
Amanda McKittrick Ros Revisited
An edited version of a paper read to Lecale Historical Society at Down County Museum on Monday
17 December 2007
Peter Cavan

‘I write as I feel and as I don’t feel. My works are literature, she confidently
expressly my own – pleasingly peculiar – not a borrowed stated that her photo-
stroke in one of them’, a typical pronouncement by Mrs graph was a silent
Amanda McKittrick Ros, author. ‘My writings are reminder that she was the
wholly different from the common-place every-day notorious boil on the tip
novel…absolutely different from any known writer or of the critics’ tongues and,
organiser of prose… I am my own publisher and shall be furthermore, that she
to the end of time. I don’t believe in publishers who wish expected to be talked
to butter their bannocks on both sides while they’ll about at the end of a
hardly allow an author to smell treacle. I consider they thousand years.
are too grabby altogether and, like Methodists, they love
to keep the Sabbath and everything else they can lay Although a thousand
hands upon’. In these few words Mrs Ros conveys her years have not yet passed,
spirited attitude to those tempted to criticise either her Mrs Ros, no doubt, would
writing style or her professional dealings, and indeed be gratified to know that
anyone foolhardy enough to question her absolute not only is she being
authority. talked about but, in
addition, presently
features on at least one Irene Maxwell of The Iddesleigh
Appreciated in her lifetime by a discerning band of portraying Amanda McKittrick Ros at
admirers, and ridiculed by an equally devoted band of internet website, an the Lecale Historical Society
critics and detractors, she became a byword for rudeness invention undreamt of
and eccentricity, feared as well as revered and, almost when she was at the height of her powers.
seventy years after her death, still an object of interest
and curiosity as succeeding generations are introduced Allegedly, her literary career began precociously early:
to the story of her life and works. ‘When baby young I tried to write
upon a slate from morn to night -
Never one to underestimate her talent and I got a pen and wrote within a little page
importance in the world of letters, to considering I’ll write a book when I’m of age’.
whether she ought ‘to have a dart’ at the Nobel Prize for

Surprisingly, given the reputation she earned over the instances to sentences of Dickensian prolixity, the
years, her published literary output was small – two meaning of which remain a mystery even to the most
novels, three slim volumes of ‘poetry’, several diligent reader. At least Dickens, for the most part, was
broadsheets as the occasion arose, mostly to generate comprehensible.
some ready cash in lean times, and a third novel,
discovered in manuscript after her death. This was Her approach to life, as revealed in correspondence,
completed by Jack Loudan and published in 1969. He was contradictory; on one hand she appeared narrow-
also wrote her biography which appeared under the title; minded and strictly moral: on the other hand, bawdy and
O! Rare Amanda, in 1954. He edited the manuscript of coarsely irreverent. But she was consistent in her
Helen Huddleson, adding a final chapter in a style he censorious attitude to the failings of others and quick to
imagined to be true to the author’s inimitable original. correct their faults in a forthright and uncharitable
What Mrs Ros would have thought of that remains a manner. Often in the wrong but never, ever, in doubt, she
matter of conjecture but, sadly, we shall never have the comes across as being devoid of a sense of humour
pleasure of her opinion, as she was long dead when it although, at times, unintentionally highly comical.
appeared. Her works, as well as their contents were Naïve, but cunning, vindictive, savage, abrasive, bigoted
highly alliterative with such titles as: Irene Iddesleigh,
– terrifying in fact, yet she exerts a certain fascination and
Delina Delany, Poems of Puncture, Fumes of Formation, The
those who fall under her spell usually become addicted.
Bayonets of Bastard Sheen, St. Scandalbags and Donald
To a degree she was religious, in a conventional,
Presbyterian way, consistent with attitudes prevailing at
It was her reaction to criticism of her novels as much
the time but displayed anti-clerical tendencies, especially
as the novels themselves, and her local reputation as a
towards Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Methodists
serial litigant which established her reputation and fame;
perhaps notoriety would be more appropriate, for her who were all suspect and best avoided whenever
hatred of critics and the legal profession became an possible, though they could be abused in appropriate
abiding passion, amounting almost to paranoia, time and circumstance. Purveyors of the gospel, other
propelling her to ecstasies of loathing which even the than Presbyterian, she regarded as shams and self-
most fiery tempered would consider somewhat beyond serving proselytisers. All that is, with one notable
the bounds of reasonable behaviour. exception, the Rev John Davis DD, of Third Ballynahinch
Presbyterian Church. ‘A great and good man, no
Her use, or misuse, of language is inspirational. She clergyman occupying a pulpit in the British Isles could
is the natural successor to Mrs Malaprop and the toe the line with him at offering up prayer’. No amount
precursor of George W Bush in her ability to mangle the of praise, adulation even, ever seemed sufficient to heap
English language and invent words that approximate to upon this Divine, who appears in his own right in Helen
a meaning she has in mind. It’s as though her hand could Huddleson as a paragon of virtue, a pillar of rectitude and
not keep up with the speed of her active brain, or, maybe, a shining example to us all. When he died, Mrs Ros
she was what is now termed dyslexic. Her intoxication promoted him immediately to eternal rest on the ‘roosts
with words and the power they gave her, lead in many of righteousness above’.

Mrs Ros had a vivid, sometimes lurid, imagination master at Larne harbour, a fairly prestigious position
and a pleasing facility for spinning romance and reality within the LMS railway company’s network. As usual,
in a single thread, virtually impossible to unravel. Fact the received version is more entertaining, ‘I became
and fiction are frequently indistinguishable, particularly principal of a school at the age of seventeen, a short
in regard to her personal affairs and the truth is often distance outside Larne, but just taught a few years before
hard to come by, disguised as it is by an overlay of I married one Mr Ros, who held a very responsible
romance and social elevation, achieving a deliberately position in the Northern Counties Railway. He was also
misleading result. manager of a steamship company and had been
educated for a doctor but disliked the profession and
Her origins were simple enough, though presented to took a railway appointment, in which he remained for
those whom she considered too inquisitive, in richly forty years, retiring two years ere he died in August 1917.
decorated and high-flown terms. She was born in He was a perfect gentleman in every way, manner and
Drumaness, Co. Down, on 8th December 1861. Her character; one of the most genial of men, he never
father taught in the local National School, but was, of showed ruffled temper, kind and courteous to a stroke
course, ‘Head Teacher’ at Drumaness ‘High’ School and both in his home and abroad…a fine English scholar, he
traced his descent from Sitric, King of the Danes. He could speak Russian, French and Norwegian fluently’.
could speak German, French, Norwegian, Italian, Greek, Useful attainments for a station master at Larne Harbour
Irish and English. Reportedly, she was taught French and in the 1880’s, no doubt.
German but ‘once I finished with them, I sorrowfully
relate I never followed either language from that day to She burst on the literary scene in 1897 when W & G
this; I stuck chiefly to the English language, nor do I Baird published Irene Iddesleigh. At first, it didn’t attract
regret it one bit’. much attention, apart from a passing reference in The
Magpie, a local weekly paper, Belfast’s equivalent to
She was baptized in Third Ballynahinch Presbyterian Private Eye of the time, which ventured: ‘ can be
Church on 27th January 1862, and named Anna recommended as an antidote for a dull Sunday, but as to
Margaret. ‘My name is Amanda, Malvina, Anna, what it is all about, God alone knoweth, for The Magpie
Margaret, McLelland McKittrick Ros. My mother called staff hath given it up’. However, worse was to follow.
me after the heroine in The Children of the Abbey by Regina Barry Pain, the London critic, reviewed it in Black and
Maria Roche, a book dearer to me than any other work.’ White, a contemporary London periodical ‘…the book
has not amused me, it began by doing so, but its
Whilst a student at Marlboro Street Training College, enormities went on getting more and more enormous in
Dublin, she spent a brief period as monitor at Millbrook every line…I shrank before it in tears and terror. It is a
National School, near Larne, and it was at Larne thing that happens once in a million years…it sits alone
Railway station that she first set eyes upon Andy Ross, as the nightingale sings. The words that would describe
a widower of 35, who had recently been appointed it have not yet been invented’. As might be imagined, an
station master and whom, almost immediately, she immediate response followed: ‘This so-called Barry Pain,
determined to marry. He began his working life at the by name, has taken upon him to criticise a work, the
age of fourteen, as porter at Ballymena, ending as station depth of which fails to reach the solving power of his

borrowed, and, he’d have you believe, varied talent. I Iddesleigh and Delina Delany, the Prime Minister, Asquith,
fear not for the opinion of half-starved upstarts….’ The and several members of parliament were acknowledged
flood-gates opened, when Thomas Beer, another critic admirers and Amanda Ros Clubs met in London and at
wrote: ‘I hope you won’t stop to investigate this St John’s College, Cambridge, where members
book…for if you do stop to find out what it is all
about, it will come to you that this is a poor tame
woman, wife to a workman, escaping on paper
from the knowledge that things had always
been dour and plain around her, and that things
would never be anything else’. ‘Thomas Beer is
a bastard!’ Critics in general were referred to as:
drunken ignorant dross, poisonous apes, or
random hacks of illiteration and myriad other
uncomplimentary names.

In the accepted sense, Amanda Ros was

neither novelist nor poet, nor even a competent
‘organiser of prose’, to use her own words. Her
novels are a shapeless collection of random
ideas, the product of a fevered imagination;
there is a beginning, confusion in the middle
and an ending which rewards the virtuous and
damns the wicked. There is a profusion of
extraneous characters who manage to obscure
any hint of plot or progression, and the reader,
like Barry Pain, is bemused, bothered and
bewildered. It is as though she sets out on a
journey without a map, taking first one side-
road, then another and any number of cul-de-
sacs. The appeal, and what makes one
persevere, is the attractive, addictive alliteration
and the improbability of it all. Not for nothing
has she been referred to as the world’s worst
novelist and, by Mark Twain, as the Queen of

She became something of a cult figure and, J. Carey’s illustration drawn on his own copy of Irene Iddesleigh, in the
in the decade following the appearance of Irene possession of the Linenhall Library

entertained each other with readings from the books and misdeeds, and now acting as gate-keeper at the Convent
devised games, such as one in which the writer posed a of St. Iscariot. Helen Huddleson, the heroine, a simple
series of questions and was answered in the Ros style: country girl of Crow Cottage near Ballynahinch, ‘whose
Question: In what words did he recognise the body of cleanly vessels had never been smeared with the
Miss Mattie Maynard? Answer: O God! It is true! This abominable phlegm of the profligate, whose tiny feet had
is my cousin, Lady Mattie Maynard. She has six toes on
always pattered on the pavements of purity’, is abducted
her right foot!
and forced into marriage by Lord Raspberry while on
With the perception of established success and fame, her way to join her fiancé, Maurice Munroe, in Australia.
Amanda decided to live up to her newly-acquired status. She is freed from Raspberry’s clutches with the assistance
Her house at Larne she named Iddesleigh, after the of a woman of ill-repute, eludes her pursuers, defends
heroine of her novel which, allegedly, paid for the cost of her honour at the hands of Father Guerdo, and
its building. Cards were printed announcing: manages to free herself from his unwanted attention,
At home always to the honourable Mrs Amanda M Ros, escapes once again, is recaptured and taken off to Dublin,
Authoress escapes yet again by the providential and unexplained
Iddesleigh, Ireland Telegrams: Iddesleigh, Ireland. appearance of her long-lost uncle who takes her to his
home in Canada, from where she eventually returns to
She bought a small phaeton and a young man, marry Maurice Monroe at the much vaunted Third
dressed in a livery coat with brass buttons, accompanied Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church.
her when she drove abroad, especially on Sundays going
in state to Gardenmore Presbyterian Church. Andy Ros A highlight is the veritable tour de force of alliteration,
went on foot. declaimed by the distraught Maurice Munroe lamenting
his, temporarily, lost love: ‘Standing on the steps of Crow
By far the most entertaining novel is Helen Huddleson, Cottage, he slowly withdrew the bowler from his head
but it is a story of the utmost complexity, difficult to and held it in a trembling hand as he continued to
follow and even more difficult to précis but the language speak…what care I for all the world and its sections of
and alliteration are most felicitous. Some of the shams? What care I for its halls of hilarity, Its congested
characters bear the names of those real-life people she clubs of contamination, Its showrooms of sacrilege, Its
most admired, notably Revd John Davis, DD, of Third dining-rooms of danger, Its tea-rooms of test, Its lounges
Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church, and Norman of lust, Its suppers of slander, Its inglenooks of ill, Its
Carrothers, a confidant and adviser in her later years. forcing beds of fornication, and all other enticing
Other names have a preposterous fruity ring; the etceteras that go to shatter and crooken the straight lines
villainous Lord Raspberry and his sister, Cherry; Sir Peter of honest endeavour, when my Helen’s absence is ever
Plum, Madam Pear, the Earl of Grape, Sir Christopher present? Nothing whatever. Ah, God no! He replaced
Greengage and the vegetarian maid, Lily Lentil. A his bowler’.
hint of anti-clericalism, already referred to, may be
detected in the character of the Reverend Bradley Meek, Her love of litigation and hatred of lawyers reached
a complaisant and palely loitering Anglican, and Father its zenith following a disputed will, brought about
Guerdo, a defrocked priest atoning for unmentioned past initially, by her inability to resist interfering in the affairs

of others. A friend of Andy’s, Hugh Crawford, owner of humiliate the subject. That she did so in many instances
a lime-kiln, in failing health came to live at Iddesleigh. after her victim had died makes them unattractive. Her
Unwisely he allowed, or couldn’t prevent, Amanda’s most detested lawyer:
management of his affairs, to the annoyance of his
nephews who worked in the business. Angry words Readers! Did you ever hear
were exchanged and the community around Glenoe was Of Mickey Monkey Face McBlear.
soon in an uproar. To make matters worse, Crawford Six feet and a half of lies and fraud
died at this point and the situation was further Ten bob to the pound – one devil no God.
aggravated when it was revealed that Amanda was the A legal log who would grab your Gold
main beneficiary of his will, which was placed in And for which he’d sell his soul I’m told.
Chancery and a series of law-suits ensued, involving six His snout is long, with a flattish top,
firms of solicitors, in Larne, Belfast and Dublin. In the Lined inside with a slimy crop.
course of the following five years Amanda was a His mouth like a slit in a money box
frequent attender at Crumlin Road Courthouse. Two of Portrays his kindred to a fox.
the Larne solicitors had their offices in the same street
and, when the legal battle was at its height, it was her Of another she wrote:
pleasure on market days to drive there and display in her
trap a banner advertising the iniquities of the principals His head, shaped like a rotten pear
of each firm, whom she had christened ‘Mickey Monkey Has bumps stuck round it here and there,
Face McBlear’ and ‘Jamie Jar’. Before departing she blew Stuffed with muddy brains and batter
a toy trumpet outside one office and then outside the With a slit in front whence oozes clatter.
other. In the summer this performance was much
appreciated by tourists, who, mistaking her for a When Andy Ros died in 1917, the manner of his being
suffragette, shouted abuse, which seldom went laid to rest was unusual, to say the least. Amanda, not
unanswered. On occasion the police had to be called to approving of many of those who had turned up to pay
regulate the traffic. their respects, instructed the driver of the hearse to
proceed at a fast trot once the coffin had been placed
In the main, Mrs Ros used her versifying for a very inside. Indeed, the driver’s daughter told me her exact
specific purpose: to castigate those whom she words were: ‘Drive like hell!’ The mourners, unable to
imagined had transgressed her strict, and entirely keep up, went home. Later in the day Amanda got a man
personal, moral code thereby, incurring her displeasure with a handcart to return many of the wreaths which had
and dislike; also those who, in her opinion, had wronged been sent by people who were out of favour with her.
her in some real or imagined way, almost exclusively The Station Master at Greenisland had in some way
literary critics and lawyers. Her mocking, self- offended her and her manner of showing displeasure
righteously indignant tone is amusing at times but was characteristic. She took a train to Belfast and, as it
becomes tedious and repellent when taken as a was drawing out of Greenisland station, she leaned out
collection. Her main objective seems to have been the of the carriage window and placed the wreath he had
need to avenge a wounded spirit, hurt pride and to sent around his neck.

volume of verse, the title page of which states: ‘This
Andy’s death prompted one of the very few poems inventive production was hatched within a Mind fringed
which did not criticise or wound the subject. It is, in fact with Fumes of Formation, the Ingenious Innings of
quite tender and the imagery is appropriate: Inspiration and Thorny Tincture of Thought’. Its chief
delights are Eastertide which begins:
The Engineer Divine
Dear Lord the days of eggs is here
Across the deep chasm which nothing can fill Which many sinners shall revere.
Since man was from Paradise driven,
Your second coming, might I say
The Great Engineer, with remarkable skill
Is hailed by all this Easter Day.
Constructed a Railway to Heaven
The span of the Bridge is a wonder of strength
And of sightless beauty combined. And, the incomparable On visiting Westminster
Its dimensions in breadth and ditto in length Abbey:
The Master of All hath designed.
Holy Moses! Have a look!
The wires of communion, extended with care, Flesh decayed in every Nook!
From earth to the Station above, Some rare bits of brain lie here,
The current of faith from the battery of prayer Mortal loads of beef and beer….
Can act on the magnet of Love. …Famous some were – yet they died:
With movements produced by a Motor Divine Poets, Statesmen, Rogues beside,
Which matchless perfection displays, Kings, Queens, all of them do rot,
The Engine of Truth as it runs up the line What about them? Now – they’re not!
The train of Salvation conveys.
After the death of her second husband, Amanda
In 1922 Amanda married for the second time, a returned to ‘Iddesleigh’ where she died, after a fall on
prosperous farmer from Ballynahinch. It may have been
3rd February 1939, aged seventy-eight years. ‘The
this change in circumstance and surroundings which
Notorious Boil on the tip of the Critics’ Tongues’
prompted her to reflect:
subsided for ever. Mrs Ros could very easily have been
Love a character in one of her own novels; complex, enigmatic,
Love is pleasing – more so money capricious, an original, very much larger than life.
Powerful factor – life’s best honey. Certain reservations aside, she is good value and, with all
Super far the gift of God her faults, should be considered a National Treasure. One
To a world of sin and fraud. can only hope that, in company with that great and good
man, the Reverend John Davis, DD, of Third
She was now able to devote more time to literary Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church, she too reposes
pursuits and published Fumes of Formation, a slim forever on the roosts of righteousness above.

Downpatrick’s Architectural Heritage
Peter Rankin

To mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the townscape – an area of townscape in the north-eastern
Ulster Architectural Heritage Society at a meeting in part of the town, together with one building of merit. I
Belfast Harbour Office on 17th November 1967, the refer to the construction of Saul Way, the semi-by-pass
Society put together a touring exhibition, ‘Defend & route that branches uphill halfway along Church Street,
Inspire’. The purpose of this exhibition was to record cutting a swathe through Saul Street to carry on by Scotch
Society successes and failures throughout the nine Street and Fountain Street to come out eventually at the
counties of Ulster in defending Ulster’s built heritage of Ardglass Road cross-roads below the Downshire
buildings and townscapes. Downpatrick was the first Hospital.
town on the tour. At the exhibition’s launch in Down
Civic Arts Centre on 17th January 2008 Professor Ronnie Now I do admit that Downpatrick does have traffic
Buchanan referred to a few of the Society’s failures, and problems, I also go some way towards agreeing that Saul
some of its successes, in Downpatrick over those 40 Way does do something to relieve those problems. But
years: as we were reminded at the launch, when that relief has been gained at the expense of a sorry
considering the built heritage of Downpatrick we must breaking up of a whole area of townscape character. Saul
remember that there was no statutory listing of buildings Street, and the outer end of Scotch Street, have both lost
in Northern Ireland until, under pressure principally their connection to the fulcrum of the town, William
from the Society, the necessary legislation was passed in Batt’s Assembly Rooms of 1882, now the Civic Arts
1972, and implemented in the following years. Centre, a connection that still existed when the List was
prepared and is so appositely captured in W R Gordon’s
As it happens, one of the first ‘Lists of Historic drawing (right).
Buildings, Groups of Buildings and Areas of
Architectural Importance’ the Society produced was for Further, the Carnegie Public Library of 1908, by the
Downpatrick, prepared between June 1969 and January Belfast arts and crafts architects Blackwood & Jury, being
1970 by Dorinda, Lady Dunleath, Professor Alistair in the way of the by-pass route, was demolished. Church
Rowan and me. So a record (if sometimes a little brief Street itself is also the poorer - the Telephone Exchange,
and sketchy, by later List standards) does exist of already there by 1970, and an overscaled intrusion in the
Downpatrick’s more notable buildings very soon after street, now faces the vacuum that is the absence of
the Society’s founding in 1967. In writing this short streetscape all around the by-pass junction. Indeed the
contribution to the Review I have had the benefit of ill-effects of the construction of this junction and by-pass
consulting Dorinda, her memory being a useful and road make themselves felt also, not only in Saul Street,
accurate record of early battles fought by the Society, her where still-abandoned ground replaces what were then
interest in all things Downpatrick-related never flagging. the houses numbered 6 to 12 (below the Old Infirmary at
14 to 18 Saul Street); but, immediately below Saul Way,
Perhaps one of the greatest single losses is one of on the north side of Saul Street, where decent,

ad-hoc alterations and other undesirable ‘improvements’
had been made, would now I believe simply not be
permitted: our perceptions of what can be conserved and
given a new use have moved forward. The Barracks may
over the centuries have been carved up into separate
dwellings and visually tinkered with, but if no single use
could have been found for the whole building, then
surely, as happened later at the Southwell Charity
building, a re-division into a number of dwellings could
have been made? But despite Society protests, that was
a battle not won; and not very distinguished housing
replaced the Barracks. On higher ground in this part of
the town, the elongated ‘sub-Corbusier’ block of flats,
that for so long dominated the skyline when approaching
Downpatrick from the Belfast road, has now largely lost
to tree foliage its once-questionable prominence.

Nearer to the town centre, seemly smaller buildings

on the east side of Irish Street below Mary Street, where
the Housing Executive building was subsequently
erected, would I feel now also have been retained in the
interests of the inherited townscape, even should they
have been converted internally to office or flat
accommodation. (The more recent conversion of the
upper floors of part of the terrace at the bottom of English
Street, just at the traffic lights where the street curves
round to ascend to Denvir’s Hotel, has been an excellent
example of how earlier 18th century town-centre
W R Gordon’s illustration of Scotch Street The Tree 1936
properties can be taken in hand and find a new useful life
in a sympathetic conversion to attractive, idiosyncratic
unpretentious late 18th century houses and shops still town flats or apartments). Where Irish Street merges into
stand semi-derelict and unwanted. Stream Street the new-ish Convent building at the crest
of the hill, too long and unbroken in its horizontality, its
A disgraceful loss was that of the Old Cavalry alien brickwork of too forbiddingly dark and gloomy a
Barracks in Fountain Street. No matter how it happened, red-brown, is not of the streetscape quality of the houses
to permit such a building, dating from the 17th century and buildings it replaces, nor in my view of an
(and included in An Archaeological Survey of County Down, architectural quality to match the beautiful 1870s
1966), to be demolished, simply because over the years Convent of Our Lady of Mercy building, beside St

Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, to which the newer achieve – the giving of pride in itself to a whole
building is attached. community and county.

One short-term loss or deprivation, which I hope may At the Cathedral, washroom and lavatory facilities for
be rectified soon by its removal – the massive excrescence the many visitors have been accommodated in a discrete
in front of the police barracks in Irish Street, causing the addition, achieving something of the feel of having been
(temporary, I hope) hiding of its later-18th century hidden around the corner from the entrance to the church
doorcase. Although, I think, the stone-fronted arched in the west tower. Hitherto the interior has been
railway store in Market Street has quite disappeared; successful in resisting attempts to have it re-pewed (or
and the Corn Market, also in Market Street, which had worse, de-pewed as some sort of ‘worship space’, to
for a time after 1970 been given its architecture back, has adopt current banality): removal of those dark
now been demolished to make way for the Lidl store; mahogany serpentining pew fronts, so much of a piece
what were thought to be impending losses can with the organ screen and its case above, and indeed with
sometimes turn out not to be such. The Gas Works the county families’ achievements of arms (even though
building, assumed to be awaiting demolition in 1970, was of later date), must simply not be so much as thought
subsequently taken down and rebuilt to assume its about. The inherited late 18th century Georgian gothick
present role as a station, the ornament (perhaps the only character of the Cathedral’s interior is all so much of a
ornament) of the open area south-west of the Downtown piece (a case of the whole being so infinitely much more
shopping centre. than a simple sum of the parts, in this case all the parts
being also in themselves items of the highest quality, in
There have been other success stories. To St Patrick’s conception and execution) that a removal of or
Church a splendid transept has been added on the south interference with any one constituent element would so
side, enhancing not only the interior of the church but absolutely compromise the whole that the interior
also adding greatly to the presence and drama of the would be irrevocably mutilated for all time.
building when seen from the lower end of Stream Street,
opposite Collins Pub, itself an endearing and unique Of course, a ‘scheme that never was’ never has been
small building; the former Assembly Rooms now play – as yet, anyway, namely a full by-pass of the town.
an important part at the centre of town and district life When I was a member of the Society’s committee many
as Down Civic Arts Centre; the Court House in English hours over several years were spent debating and
Street has been entirely renovated; the Great Hall at the discussing proposals made for by-passing the town by
Downshire Hospital now makes an excellent opera and means of a road running, from somewhere about where
concert hall, a welcome addition to the town’s facilities; the Belfast road comes into the town at the Strangford
and, not least, Down County Museum, in the Old Prison road roundabout, along the bottom of the northern and
on the Mall, continues to be an example, in Ireland and western sides of the Cathedral hill, to meet the Clough
beyond, of how a knowledgeably- and enthusiastically- Road at about the present town boundary. Opinions are,
run county Museum can enhance and give new and probably always will be, divided as to how
relevance to a group of historic buildings, and be in itself Downpatrick might best be by-passed. But, whatever (if
a beacon for what conservation and new use can anything) may ever be done, nothing (either visually or,

as importantly, by resulting traffic noise, which will Journal of Liberal History
travel for miles across open country) can be allowed to
disturb the special quality of withdrawal and A Lecale Review article has been reproduced in a leading
timelessness of the Mall, the Southwell Charity and the UK historical journal.
Cathedral, or to intrude into the splendour of the
Berkley Farr’s article on James Wood, East Down’s
panorama of drained marsh, farmland and mountain
Liberal MP, was the leading article in the Spring 2008 issue
of the Journal of Liberal History. This quarterly journal is
published by the Liberal Democrat History group which
Downpatrick is perhaps not the unique Irish town it
promotes the discussion and research of topics relating to the
was when the Society was formed in 1967 and prepared
histories of Liberal Democrats, Liberal Party, SDP and
its List in the following years. In many ways it may seem
the better for the changes. But for those who knew it as
it used to be there must be regret, a nostalgia, that so James Wood was MP for East Down from 1902 to 1906
many houses and neighbourhoods (that gave to all parts and was a supporter of T W Russell’s campaign for land
of the town its 18th century character, where those who reform. The original article appeared in the 2006 edition of
worked and lived there, and enjoyed the amenity of the Lecale Review
living in a place whose past was still part of its present,
savoured that character as part of daily living) were
allowed, for want of sufficient consideration or foresight,
to disappear. It is only essentially English Street and the
Mall, and in part Saul Street, that retain what was that
strong, unspoiled former character, now only suggested
here and there elsewhere in the town, by small, still-
remaining groupings of houses and buildings.

Frank Maxwell: A Tribute
Ronald Buchanan

Frank Maxwell, who died this year at the age of 97, ready to discuss the
was a founder member of the Lecale Historical Society, latest article he had
the first Chairman, later President and Honorary read, or the pottery
Member who continued to attend meetings and field found on walks through
trips almost to the end of his long life. Born in the City of neighbouring fields. He
Armagh, he was educated at Campbell College in Belfast, became the acknowl-
and had a long and successful career in the linen edged expert on the
business. During the 1930s and 1940s he worked for the nineteenth century
Ulster Weaving Company, becoming manager of the pottery of Castle Espie
Company’s bleach green and farm at Annsborough. in north Down, and his
Later he joined his father in the family firm, the Durham extensive collection is
Street Weaving Company, remaining there until the now in the Down
Company’s premises were compulsorily purchased to Museum. Writing did
make way for road widening schemes and urban not come easily to him,
development in the 1960s. Subsequently the family but he was always eager
purchased Ballee House, formerly the home of many to share his knowledge
generations of the Stitt family, and began a new way of with friends and
life; Frank now had time to develop his interest in local neighbours, and with
history and apply the skills of farming and land academics like Finbar
management he had learned at Annsborough, and his McCormick of Queen’s
wife Joy, with son Jeremy, turned her attention to horse- or Robin Glasscock of Cambridge. Brian Turner and
breeding. Lesley Simpson were ever grateful for his interest and
support in Down Museum, and for many years he was
Frank loved Ballee, the house, the farm and the an active member of the Museum’s Advisory Committee.
surrounding countryside and the parish church. He took He was also a long-time Governor of the Linen Hall
great delight in living in a house whose core was almost Library in Belfast, and an interest in manuscripts led him
certainly a seventeenth century tower-house, and he to prepare a transcript of the diaries of Aynsworth Pilson,
showed great care and skill in restoring it and the resident of Downpatrick in the early nineteenth century.
associated farm buildings; he took particular pride in the For Frank this was a major undertaking, providing an
pigeon-house, a rare survivor of a building once common important resource for local historians.
on many of the large farms in the district. Frank enjoyed
the farm and the garden, but even more he enjoyed his Frank spent the last few months of his life in the
well-stocked library, sitting in comfort beside the fire nursing home at King’s Castle in Ardglass, once the
with the dog at his feet. He was great company, ever home of another Belfast family, the Gaffikins, who settled

happily in Lecale in the early twentieth century. From his and he had the great gift of conveying his enthusiasm to
bedroom window he could see the spire of the mediaeval others. Frank was a man of great integrity, gentle and
parish church, and he loved to speculate about life in warm-hearted yet forthright when the occasion
those distant times, about the trade of the port, and the demanded. To those who knew him, he was a valued
town and its surviving buildings. To the end he retained friend, a man who contributed much to the life of this
an almost boyish curiosity about the world around him, community.

The outline of the Mourne Mountains is a very surroundings. Alan Johnston captured this rural scene
familiar view from Lecale but a closer inspection shows near Clough some fifty years ago and it records a farming
the importance of photographing our everyday practice that has now become part of history.

Book notices tongue as a connoisseur would savour a fine wine: there
are glorious alliterative litanies of names, be they fish,
Strangford: portrait of an Irish Lough Photographs birds, plants, townlands or types of small boat; and
Alain Le Garsmeur, words Ian Hill (Belfast, Blackstaff onomatopoeic bird sounds – the ‘whaup’ of a curlew’s
Press, 2007) x, 142 pp. 177 colour illustrations. ISBN 978- wings, the ‘rroonk’ of the brent geese, the ‘knut’ of the
0-85640-805-2. Hardback, £20.00 knots. An unusual but welcome feature is the provision
of botanical and zoological names both in their official
Put prosaically, the lough is an Area of Outstanding Latin form and in their equivalent Irish. There is much
Natural Beauty, containing several Areas of Special recondite information on such matters as kelp grids and
Scientific Interest and seven statutory National Nature mediaeval fishtraps, or the possible purpose of the cone-
Reserves; it is also a Special Protection Area, and the shaped caps on stonebuilt gateposts. Did you know that
largest Marine Nature Reserve in the United Kingdom. four hundred million tons of water ebb and flow through
However, aesthetically it must be one of the most the Narrows every twenty-four hours? If you should
hauntingly lovely places on earth. There have been require hints on cooking and enjoying shellfish, inquire
previous attempts to capture this in collections of within!
photographs and paintings, but it is hard to see how the
present collaborative celebration of the landscape, the Harnessing the tides: the early medieval tide mills at
wildlife and the built heritage of the area could be Nendrum monastery, Strangford Lough. By Thomas
bettered. McErlean and Norman Crothers (Belfast, The Stationery
Office, 2007) [2], xx, 468pp, 345 colour and black and
Alain Le Garsmeur is an award-winning world class white illustrations (Environment and Heritage Service.
photographer who has lived in Northern Ireland since Northern Ireland archaeological monographs,7). ISBN
1990. For this book he has taken photographs during the 978-0-337-08877-3. Hardback, £25.00
course of an entire year, mirroring the changing seasons
and frequently repeating the same views in the varying The site of the mediaeval monastery on Mahee Island
light of both night and day. His superb wide-angled was first identified by the Revd William Reeves in 1844
panoramas in particular can only be described as in the course of research for his Ecclesiastical Antiquities
stunning. of Down and Connor and Dromore (1847) and it was
excavated between 1922 and 1924 by H.C.Lawlor whose
Six chapters deal with individual stretches of the report of 1925, although now recognized as flawed, has
coastline in an anti-clockwise itinerary from Ballyquintin hitherto remained the main source for the archaeology.
Point to Killard. Ian Hill’s accompanying poetic Now we have this report by two principal authors and
commentary is a heady brew of hard fact and eleven contributing experts on the Environment and
observation of what he sees and hears, laced with the Heritage Service funded intertidal excavations of 1999-
uncertainties of mythology and folklore. In places, what 2001 on the foreshore below the monastery, which
he writes is more reverie than record. Whereas Le resulted from the Service’s new responsibilities for
Garsmeur obviously delights in nuances of colour and marine archaeology. Two horizontal-wheel type tide
mood, Hill revels in language, rolling words around his mills were indentified; the first dated by

dendrochronology to 619-621 and hence at present the Now, with the evidence provided by the tide mills,
earliest known in the world. The second mill was a some of the dates suggested by Lawlor can be revised
replacement of about 789 and demonstrated considerably. Even if his standards of the 1920s
development in technology. The associated ponds and compromised proper interpretation of the site, Lawlor
dams of both mills had previously been interpreted as carefully indicated where he had not excavated, so
typical seashore fishtraps. (At a time when we are fortunately what remained undisturbed may eventually
congratulating ourselves on the application of tidal reveal a great deal more, using the professional
power in the Narrows of Strangford Lough to generate techniques of today.
electricity, it is humbling to realize that the monks of
Nendrum had tapped its potential almost 1400 years For those who may wish to follow up the subject in
ago.) even more detail than this exhaustive and most
attractively produced report, there are 22 close-packed
Following a general overview there are detailed columns of bibliography.
chapters on all the mills’ physical components: the dams
and millponds; the penstocks or flumes (both hollowed-
Where Donard guards [A history of the Newcastle
out tree trunk and stone-lined); the waterwheels (the
area]. Written and illustrated by Nicholas Russell
earlier flat-paddled and the later scoop-paddled) and
[pseud.] (Newcastle, Ballaghbeg Books, 2007) xxii,
stone-constructed wheelhouse; the millstones and
276pp, 168 colour illustrations. ISBN 978-0-9557922-0-5.
millhouses; and the tailraces. There are separate reports
Paperback, £18.00
on the worked wood finds and on the animal bone finds.

To quote from the Preface: “This account of one area

For the non-specialist local historian the two most
traces the arrival of the earliest settlers, the rich heritage
interesting chapters are Thomas McErlean’s survey of the
history of Nendrum in the light of modern interpretation of churches and cashels, and charts the development of
of the documentary sources, and his reassessment of the the town from the early Magennis castle on the Shimna
archaeology since Lawlor’s report. Although the sources river to the end of the landlord era, as well as telling the
would please St Mo-Choí (or Cáelán) as a contemporary tale of Newcastle harbour and Dundrum Bay.” As it was
of St Patrick in the 5th century, it must be accepted for the written to mark the bicentenary of the building of the
time being that the early mediaeval monastery was not harbour pier in 1807, there is a strong emphasis on the
founded before the early 7th century, and it disappears southern end of the town around the harbour, King Street
from the annals in the late 10th century. The round tower and South Promenade; and on the seafarers, fishermen
is of the 10th century or later, and the stone church, which and grim maritime history of Dundrum Bay, for long
would have replaced an earlier wooden structure, does considered the most dangerous in Ireland. The author
not predate the 10th century. A small and short-lived expresses the hope that other parts of the town will
Benedictine priory was established by John de Courcy in receive full attention in the future. Judging by the depth
the late 12th century, and the enlarged stone church and quality of his research so far, it is sincerely to be
became a parish church not much later. wished that he may undertake this task himself.

The tower house at the mouth of the Shimna was built In response to the rapid growth of Newcastle as a
by Phelim Magennis in 1588 in succession to a former watering-place in the second half of the 19th century, the
Magennis stronghold guarding the ford which may have 5th Earl Annesley had spent large sums on the provision
been as early as the second half of the 14th century and of a reservoir and waterworks, on town drainage and on
which had come to be known as the ‘new’ castle to a sea wall and promenade. However, the harbour had
distinguish it from the old Norman castle at Dundrum, been badly damaged by the Big Wind of 1839. Its
by that time in ruins. By 1616 there was already a replacement was finally completed by the Board of
landing-place on the Shimna. The Magennis lands at Works in 1850, only to be the subject of such frequent
Newcastle were forfeited following their part in the repair bills that the County Grand Jury refused any
1641/2 insurrection and passed first to the Hawkins further expenditure after 1869. To the detriment of trade,
family at Rathfriland and then to a lawyer, Edmund the export of granite from the quarries on Millstone
Mathews, who in 1747 sold the estate to William Mountain and the fishing industry, it was to remain
Annesley, a barrister, who was already in possession of much silted up and in a ruinous state until 1905. Within
50 years changing methods of transportation led even
another Magennis estate in Castlewellan.
this reconstruction to become mainly a shelter for
The Annesley family were to plan and oversee the pleasure craft.
development of Castlewellan and Newcastle for the next
Many of the landscape and seascape photographs
two hundred years. William’s son, the 2nd Earl Annesley, taken by the author are of considerable beauty. The 23
as Chief Commissioner of the Board of Excise in Dublin, pages of meaty notes should on no account be skipped.
was responsible for preventative measures against
smuggling and this was his primary reason for Our DJ. Photographs by D.J. McNeill. Editor: M.
persuading Parliament to fund the building of a Lesley Simpson (Downpatrick, Down County Museum,
permanent pier at Newcastle in 1807. Although the 2007) [iv], 159pp. 148 black and white illustrations (Down
principal Annesley residence was the modest Survey: yearbook of Down County Museum 2007)
Castlewellan Cottage which had been built in 1745, ISBN 978-0-9532530-9-8. Paperback, £8.00
younger members of the family continued to occupy the
The annual Down Survey has heretofore usually
old castle at Newcastle until its demolition and
taken the form of articles on miscellaneous items held by
replacement by the Annesley Arms Hotel in 1835. The
the Down County Museum, or on the Museum’s
3rd Earl was responsible for the building in the early
holdings centred on a single theme, and has been noticed
1830s of Donard Lodge on the slopes overlooking
in these pages amongst the periodicals, but a distinctive
Newcastle. This was to remain the main Annesley home
format and highly apposite design have been adopted for
until the construction of Castlewellan Castle in 1858. The
this stand-alone volume drawn from one of the
dowager Countess Annesley continued to live there until Museum’s most important single collections.
her death in 1891, but it was allowed to deteriorate in the
hands of several tenants and was finally demolished in Daniel J. McNeill, born in Dundrum in 1906, started
1966. Castlewellan Castle was sold to the Ministry of taking photographs as a teenager in 1922 and his love
Agriculture in 1967. affair with the camera was to last for nearly 70 years.

After teaching in Belfast and Bangor he came to former teaching career at St Malachy’s College, Belfast,
Downpatrick in 1944 as Principal of the Technical where he was President of the College from 1983 to 1994];
College, which owed its subsequent rapid development ‘The lad with nerve of steel’, George McKibbin [An
to his formidable energy and vision. ascent to the top of the spire of Ballyculter Church on 9th
December 1992, accompanied by a remarkable series of
This selection from the approximately 40,000
bird’s-eye photographs of the surrounding countryside];
negatives and prints presented to the Museum by his
‘Gallery’ [12-page section of old photographs 1940s-
family in 1988/89 has been grouped under a number of
1960s, plus school groups of Kilclief PE School ca 1900-
the topics which preoccupied him most: his family, the
1950s]; ‘Ballyhornan – telephone cable’, Joan Magee [The
Flynns and McNeills, and their surroundings in
landfall in June 1929 of the cable from the Isle of Man laid
Dundrum; the physical development of Downpatrick
by the cable ship Faraday II to connect with the repeater
from the 1950s until the 1980s (he rarely missed a
station at Ballyhornan]; ‘Extract from Home Words [and
demolition, and there are some fascinating ‘before’ and
Ballyculter Parish Magazine] 1878’ [Chapters 8-9 of an
‘after’ shots); his evocative record of daily life in some of
the smaller towns in County Down; the steady growth of account of Strangford Lough].
the courses available at the Technical College; aspects of
farming, fishing and granite working in the county; and Journal of the Upper Ards Historical Society. No 32, 2008
leisure and sporting events.
‘Miss Florence Irwin [1883-1965] – the cookin’
Many of D.J’s photographs transcend the mere woman, D.A. Birkett [Traditional County Down recipes
record and are strikingly composed works of art in their extracted from Florence Irwin’s book The Cookin
own right. We also owe him a great deal for the work he Woman (1949), based on her experiences as Instructress
did in making copies of early historical photographs in Domestic Economy under the Department of
which had been brought to his attention by local people. Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland and on
Allen Thompson, the Museum’s photographer, has her weekly column in the Northern Whig]; ‘Publishing
done admirable work in preparing sometimes the Rev. Dr. Steel Dickson’s Narrative’, Kenneth
deteriorating originals for publication, and there is a Robinson [The circumstances surrounding the financing
wealth of informative and identifying material in the and publication of A Narrative of the Confinement and
captions contributed by members of the Museum staff. Exile of William Steel Dickson (1812) following his return
to Ireland in 1802 after imprisonment as a United
Recent periodicals: selective contents lists Irishman]; ‘Queen’s University Marine Biology Station,
[Inverbrena No 12] Strangford: memories from a personal account – plus a little science. Part 6
Inverbrena , 2007 (Inverbrena Local History Group). continued’, P.J.S. Boaden; ‘Strangford Lough in the
‘Cairnashoke Academy’, Eamon McMullan [19th - Annals of the Four Masters [ca 2653 BC – AD 1543]’,
century predecessors of Kilclief Public Elementary Gerard McPolin; ‘The stitching industry in Portaferry
School (1927) and the author’s reminiscences of school [1895-1990s]’, Paddy Livingstone; ‘Newtownards
life there 1936-1939]; ‘Canon Conway’s Golden Jubilee’, Chronicle and County Down Observer: extracts from
Nuala Colhoun [Summary of Canon Noel Conway’s July 1907- June 1908’, Gerard Lennon.
time as Parish Priest of Strangford from 1995, and of his Gordon Wheeler

Review of the year, 2007-2008 for its continuing financial support of the journal.
In December the Iddlesleigh Players presented The
The Lecale Historical Society has had another Ingenious Innings of Inspiration –Amanda McKittrick Ros
successful year. Membership of the Society continued to revisited. This was a real treat as Peter Cavan told the story
expand and there was a varied and well-supported of the famous Ulster writer and Irene Maxwell acted the
programme of events. part of Amanda McKittrick Ros. We were transported
The year’s programme began with a September back to the early part of the last century to hear
meeting in Strangford, where local historian Eamon wonderful extracts of alliteration and malapropisms from
McMullan spoke on the topic Strangford – a historic village her writing.
– people and places down the years. Eamon was born in The artist Richard Croft was the guest speaker in
Strangford and his deep knowledge of the village was January on the subject Painting Lecale. The Dundrum artist
evident in his lecture. This was one of the best attended spoke about his life in painting and produced examples
meetings of the year with over eighty people present. The of his work as well as the illustrations used during his
meeting was the fourth of the initiative by the Committee lecture. These were greatly appreciated by the audience.
to broaden the appeal of the Society throughout Lecale, by He is particularly noted for some of his very large
holding meetings in other parts of the barony outside the paintings of the coast around Dundrum.
regular Downpatrick venue.
In February, Rhonda Robinson of the Environment
The October lecture on the theme of The Flight of the and Heritage Service spoke of its work in Valuing the Past
Earls was given by Eamon O'Huallahain, well known and Protecting our Historic Monuments. This was a most
folklorist and radio presenter, who had just completed a interesting and illuminating account of the Department’s
tour of the main centres of the Flight. The large audience, work in caring for our ancient monuments and among the
who participated in a lively discussion afterwards, was interesting items that the speaker brought was a rare map
treated to a scholarly and entertaining exposition of the
of County Down from the Eighteenth Century.
events leading up to the Flight, the Flight itself with all its
delays, detours and misfortunes and of its ultimately The St. Patrick’s Festival Lecture in March was held
tragic end, that heralded the end of Gaelic Ulster. in partnership with the Down Gaelic Society. Christopher
Napier gave the lecture on Aodh MacAingil-Scholar, Poet
The launch of the Lecale Review 2007 took place in
and Bishop. The distinguished scholar of the Irish language
November with Councillor Margaret Ritchie, MLA,
gave a fascinating insight into the life of one of
Minister for Social Development, and a member of the
Downpatrick’s most famous sons and it was much
Lecale Historical Society, as guest speaker. She spoke
appreciated by the large audience.
eloquently about the role of local history societies in the
Community. The 100-page Lecale Review was produced In April, Monasteries of the North, was the subject of a
by an editorial committee and is the fifth edition of the memorable talk by Tony Fleck. With only a handout as an
new-look journal. The ‘Pluckin’ Squeezers’ led by Society aid, he was able to give a vivid verbal description of the
member Laura Plummer provided musical entertainment monasteries from Norman to Tudor times, including the
and the evening also included a short story reading and everyday life of the monks who occupied them. The
supper. The Society is grateful to Down District Council Cistercian abbeys at Inch and Greyabbey were of

Eamon McMullan addressing members of the Lecale Historical Society at the Square in Strangford during the Annual Outing

particular interest. history of the village was both interesting and

At the Annual General Meeting in May, members of entertaining. There was the rare opportunity to gain
the outgoing Committee were re-elected with the addition admittance to both Strangford Castle and Strangford
of Dr Brian Gaffney and Patrick Clarke. Following the House before close encounters in the Squeeze Gut. The
formal business of the meeting members of the Society evening ended with welcome tea and shortbread in the
produced items of interest. The number of unexpected Cuan.
and interesting items continues to make this a most
The regular meetings of the Society are held at Down
enjoyable occasion. This AGM produced an exceptional
County Museum and the Society would like to thank the
collection ranging from Maundy Money to a lost painting
by Raymond Piper. Curator and staff of the Museum for their help and
assistance in the smooth organisation of the events.
Following the success of the September meeting,
Thanks are also due to the volunteers who help
around forty members of the Society returned to
throughout the year with the many and various tasks
Strangford on a dry June evening for the Annual Outing.
involved in the running of the Society.
Eamon McMullan assembled his tour at the Square before
proceeding along Castle Street. His account of the Berkley Farr

Notes on contributors Finbar McCormick is a Senior Lecturer in the School of
Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s
Raymond Atkinson is a retired teacher and lawyer who
University. He is a member of the Lecale Historical Society.
now works as a guide at Castle Ward.
David Maxwell lives in Strangford and is a member of the
Ronald Buchanan, Professor Emeritus of Geography at
Queen's University, Belfast. He is a former President of the Lecale Historical Society.
Lecale Historical Society. Emily Murray is a fieldwork director with the Centre for
Peter Cavan is a retired businessman who has been Archaeological Fieldwork at Queen’s University Belfast.
involved in amateur dramatics for many years. He directs the Sean Nolan is a former Director of the Ulster Museum,
Iddesleigh Players in productions of Amanda McKittrick Ros. Governor of the Linen Hall Library, Secretary of the Ulster
Patrick Clarke is a full-time student at Queen’s University. History Circle and President of the Lecale Historical Society.
He is author of ‘History of the County Down Townland – Laura Plummer is a singer and song-writer based in
Drumaroad’, and is a keen local historian, presently Downpatrick and is a member of the Lecale Historical Society.
researching the Forde Family. He is a member of Lecale
Frederick Pyne is a former Chairman of the Irish Branch
Historical Society.
of the Royal Town Planning Institute. A keen collector of
Malachy Conway is an archaeologist with the National
antique maps of Ireland, he has established a reputation as an
Trust based at Rowallane Gardens.
authority in this field.
Roger Dixon is Librarian of National Museums Northern
Ireland and has written extensively on aspects of Ulster Patricia Pyne is a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic
history and culture. Society and a member of the Lecale Historical Society. A
Malachy Ellesmere is a retired Senior Nursing Manager former Head of Modern Languages at Victoria College,
with the Southern Health Board and is a nephew of James Belfast, she currently works at Queen's University.
Connor. Peter Rankin is a retired solicitor, and a former Secretary
Berkley Farr is a former history teacher and civil servant. of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and author or joint
He is Secretary of Lecale Historical Society and former joint author of a number of its publications. He is a member of
Secretary of the County Down Museum Committee. Lecale Historical Society.
James Fitzsimons spent his career in further and higher Colm Rooney teaches science and is a former Secretary of
education in England before returning to County Down Lecale Historical Society.
where he has developed a keen interest in local and family
Lesley Simpson is a Keeper of Records at Down County
Alan Johnston is well known as a noted photographer
and is a former Chairman of the Lecale Historical Society. William Stranney is a former nurse lecturer and is an
Philip Macdonald is a fieldwork director with the Centre active local historian. He is a member of Lecale Historical
for Archaeological Fieldwork at Queen’s University Belfast. Society.
Joan Magee is Assistant Librarian, Support Specialist Gordon Wheeler was formerly Humanities Librarian at
Local Studies, South-Eastern Education and Library Board, Queen's University, Belfast and is a past President of the Linen
and member of Lecale Historical Society Committee. Hall Library. He is a member of Lecale Historical Society.

Lecale Historical Society
Lecale is the historic barony centred on Downpatrick, County Down, which includes
Strangford, Saul, Inch, Ardglass, Killough and Dundrum. The Lecale Historical Society
is one of the longer established and most consistently active local historical societies in
Ulster. Since 1974 it has organised events both to inform its members and to encourage
more general interest in the heritage of Lecale and adjacent areas of east Down. It is a
charity with the aim of assisting the community by promoting the study of history and
the environment. Membership is open to all who subscribe to its aims. Members are
entitled to attend the lecture programme and other events organised by the society, and
to participate in elections to the executive committee. Society newsletters and a free copy
of our journal are additional benefits of membership.

The individual membership subscription is £10.00 per year. Family membership

covering those living at the same address is £15. All those named will be full members
of the Society, entitled to attend events and participate fully. Everybody is warmly invited
to join. If you wish to do so please contact the Membership Registrar:

Mr Patrick Devlin, 18 Ardmore Avenue, Downpatrick,

County Down, BT30 6JU

For other business the Honorary Secretary of the Society is:

Mr Berkley Farr, Taughlea, 8 Rocks Chapel Road, Dunnanelly, Downpatrick, BT30 9BA

Lecale Review Contact: Wendy Osborne OBE, Hawthorne Cottage,
Castlemahon, Ballyculter, Strangford, County Down,
The purpose of the Lecale Review is to interest the BT30 7BB.
Society's members and friends, and to provide a
permanent historical record for general use. We actively Lecale Miscellany
invite contributions for consideration. They can range
from short notes to longer pieces on subjects of historical The Lecale Historical Society’s first journal Lecale
interest. Notes do not have to be academic in content or Miscellany was produced annually between 1983 and
tone. We also seek articles based on original research on 2002. Most of the journals are now out of print and copies
Lecale and adjacent areas of County Down, and to are almost impossible to obtain. As there is a steady
publish significant source material, making it more demand for copies the Society has reproduced the full set
accessible both for general interest and for future work. of the 20 journals on CD-ROM. The set is indexed and
fully searchable. Price is £10.00 or £11.00 including p&p.
Notes can range from 100 words to perhaps 1000.
Longer articles should not normally exceed 5000 words,
and should, if possible, be submitted for consideration on
computer disk in Microsoft Word, or in typescript. In
addition we are particularly interested in publishing
information and stories from people who might not
normally think of writing them down. Photographs that
help us to understand life in Lecale are also welcome.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the Lecale

Review is invited to make contact by post or at any Society
meeting, or by e-mail to

Back numbers

The following back numbers of the Society's journals

are available for sale.
Lecale Review, No 2 (2004) at £5.00 plus postage; No 3
(2005) and No 4 (2006) and No5 (2007) at £7.00 plus
Lecale Miscellany, No 1 (1983), No 6 (1988), No 12
(1994) All at £1.00 each plus postage.

CD-ROM of all 20 editions of Lecale Miscellany (1983

– 2002). £10 plus postage

Lecale Historical Society: Members at 31 March 2008
President: J.C. Nolan Conway, Canon FW, Strangford
Chairman of Committee: Wendy Osborne OBE Corkey, Patrick and Elizabeth, Ballynacraig
Vice Chairman: Una Fitzsimons Craig, Peter, Raholp
Secretary: Berkley Farr Crea, Willie and Mrs A, Ballyculter
Treasurer and membership registrar: Patrick Devlin Croft, Richard and Mrs, Dundrum
Committee Members: Aveen Flynn, Kathleen Gill, Ian Hill (to Croskery, Mary, Ballystokes
August 2007), Patricia Magennis, William Stranney (to Cross, Patrick, Magheracranmoney
January 2008), Roisin Wylie (co-opted February 2008) Crowle-Ellis, Anne, Strangford
Cunningham, Eamon and Sheila, Strangford
Arnold, Michael J and Phyllis, Bangor Curran, Anne, Ardglass
Arnold, Philip and Marie, Bangor Curran, Daniel, Newcastle
Cuthbert, James and Donny, Hollymount
Bayly, Rev. S. Niall M, Belfast
Beach, Simone, Ballydugan Davey, Peter and Rosemary, Belfast
Bent, Vincent and Teresa, Strangford Davies, Rosalind, New South Wales, Australia
Berner, Elsie, Ballygawley Davis, Denis A., Southport
Black, Brian, Strangford Dearden, Dr Christine & Erwin, Ann, Ballyculter
Breen, George and Elizabeth, Carryduff Denvir, Peig, Newcastle
Brown, Dr RA and Linda, Downpatrick Devlin, Pat & Sadie, Downpatrick
Buchanan, Prof. R.H., * and Mrs Rhoma, Ballyquintin Devlin, William, Magheracranmoney
Burnett, Leslie, Strangford Donnelly, Maureen, Clough
Doris, John and Mairead, Downpatrick
Carroll, Alexander, Killough Dunford, Roger and Hazel, Ballyrenan
Carroll, Dr John and Ann, Kilkeel Dunn, Ronnie and Betty, Audleystown
Carson, Edward, Ballydargan
Carson, Rachel, Rathmullan Elliott, James and Helen, Lisburn
Catherall, J.V., Lancashire Erskine, Dr RLA, Downpatrick
Clarke, Patrick, Dundrum
Cochrane, Gerard and Roisin, Downpatrick Faloona, Winifred, Strangford
Colmer, Albert, * Crossgar Farr, Berkley and Mary, Dunnanelly
Connolly, Al and John, Dundalk Ferguson, John and Joan, Portavogie
Connolly, Sean, Downpatrick Ferris, Jack, Deirdre and family, Downpatrick

Fitzsimons, Charles and Una, Raholp James, Sheila, Strangford
Fitzsimons, Jim, Inch Johnston, Alan and Phyllis, Cloghy
Fitzsimons, Margaret, Wirral
FitzSimons, Tim, Illinois, USA Ker, David, Reading
Fitzsimmons, Muriel, California, USA Kerr, Anne, Trevor and Family, Audley's Acre
Fleming, Elizabeth and Mr, Coniamstown Killen, Alistair, Downpatrick
Flynn, Jerome and Aveen, Dundrum King, Mike, Downpatrick
Forbes, Ralph and Deirdre, Strangford Kingsnorth, Sheila, Killyleagh

Gaffney, Drs Brian and Anne-Marie and family, Downpatrick Lannin, Noreen, Downpatrick
Gifford, Dick, Demesne of Down Lascelles, Tom and Sheila, Richmond, N Yorks
Gill, Kathleen, Killough Lewis-Crosby, Sheila, Castleward
Gill, Robin, Sheepland Mor Linley, Roger and Meriel, Annadorn
Glass, Stephen, Clough Loughlin, Marie, Downpatrick
Gracey, James, Bishopscourt
Graham, Geraldine, Dundrum McAleenan, Drs Frank & Nuala, Downpatrick
McCabe, Dymphna, Castlewellan
Halliday, Eileen, Finnebrogue McCammon, Jacqueline, Belfast
Halpin, Chris and Anne, Raholp McCandless, John, Douglas, Isle of Man
Hamill, Maud, Jordanstown McCann, Frank, Downpatrick
Hanna, Conac, Downpatrick McCartan, Michael, Newcastle
Hardy, Virginia, Strangford McCartan, Sean, Belfast
Hayes, Dr Maurice and Joan, Downpatrick McCartan, Sinead, Strangford
Hetherington, David and Georgina, Coleraine McComiskey, Mabel, Ardglass
Higgins, Sean C, Raholp McConville, Michael, Strangford
Hill, Dr Ian and Chesney, Helena, Strangford McCormick, Finbar and Hossack, Helen, Killough
Hood, John and Barbara, Killough McCullough, Patricia, * and Leslie, Strangford
Hughes, Anne, Downpatrick McElwaine,Graham & Alison, Downpatrick
Hughes, Robbie, Alex and family, Strangford McGrady, Colette, Downpatrick
Hull, Rev. Henry, Downpatrick McGrady, Eddie, Downpatrick
Hunter, Richard, York McGrady, Fintan, Belfast
Hurley, Eoin and Helen, Dundrum McGrady, Malachy, * and Colette, Downpatrick
Hussey, John, Newcastle McGrady, Paula, Ballyalton
McGrath, Desmond, Ballynahinch

McGrath, John, Ballyvaston Nixon, George and Vivian, Downpatrick
McKee, Lloyd, Inch Nolan, Sean and Maureen, Strangford
McKenna, Fr. Patrick, Dundrum
McKenny, Peter and Kathleen, Ballynewport Odling-Smee, William & Anne, Killough
McKibbin, George, Ballyculter Lower Oram, Richard, Newcastle
McMullan, Eamon, Newcastle Osborne, Wendy and Bill, Castlemahon
McMullan, Maurice and Valerie, Crossgar
McStay, Bill, Ardglass Peacock, Agnes & John, Finnebrogue
Mack, Terence and Maureen, Strangford Peake, Patrick & Elsie, Ballytrustan
Mackel, Sean, Downpatrick Peters, Elizabeth, Downpatrick
Magee, Joan, Kilclief Pim, John and Sheila
Magee, Pat and Sally, Ardglass Plumber, Mrs Laura and family, Downpatrick
Magennis, Dr Claire and Moore, Dr Paddy, Ballygallum Press, Hugh, Downpatrick
Magennis, Patricia, Downpatrick Press, John and Maura, Lisburn
Magennis, Tim, Dun Laoghaire Price, Jack and Susan, Demesne of Down
Magorrian, Stephen and Laura, Belfast Prytherch, Edna, Downpatrick
Manley, Jim, Killough Pugh, Elsie, Belfast
Marmion, Chevalier William F.K., Alicante, Spain Pyne, Fred & Patricia, Ballygowan
Maxwell, Cmdr. David, Strangford
Maxwell, Frank * (deceased) and Joy, Church Ballee Ranaghan, Pascal and Rosemarie, Newcastle
Mayne, Canon JA Brian, Cargagh Rankin, Fred, Belfast
Meade, Doreen, High Wycombe Rankin, Peter, Saintfield
Moffatt, Dr.W. Ray, Strangford Ray, Ashley, Downpatrick
Moore, Arthur, Downpatrick Rea, Jack and Gwen, Ballydargan
Moore, Joseph, Downpatrick Rea, Lenore, Ballydargan
Moorhouse, Dorothy, Newtownabbey Reid, Horace, Ballynahinch
Morrissey, Michael and Ann Marie, Downpatrick Rice, George and Maureen, Ardglass
Mullan, Marie Lou, Downpatrick Riddall, Bill, Downpatrick
Murray, Mary Rose, Downpatrick Riddall, Richard and Alexandra, Ballintogher
Ritchie, Margaret, Dunnanelly
Napier, JC and Ann, Carrowcarlin Rogan, V. Rev. Canon Sean
Napier, Mrs Noreen, Saul Rogers, Hazel, Strangford
Napier, Sir Oliver & Lady Briege, Holywood Rooney, Joe, Ardglass
Neill, Dr Thomas K, Donaghadee Rooney, Mary & Colm, Strangford

Rourke, Connie, Downpatrick
Rourke, Martin, Claire & family, Marshalstown
Russell, Tony, Shiela and family, Carrowbaghran

Sage, Albert, Ballynoe

Samways, Claire, Raholp
Sandford, David and Alison, Audleystown
Savage, Bernadette, Belfast
Seed, Martin and Parkinson, Sarah, Ballee
Shannon, Richard and Aine, Ardglass
Sloan, Gerard, Ballynahinch
Smyth, Damian, Downpatrick
Smyth, Robert, Newcastle (deceased)
Steers, Revd David, Belfast
Stewart, Mary, Lisnamaul
Stranney, Lucy, Liverpool
Stranney, Michael, Larne
Stranney, Rebecca Jane, Newtownabbey
Stranney, William, Jane and family, Demesne of Down
Sykes, Florence, Crossgar

Thompson, John & Linda, Finnebrogue

Torney, Christina, Strangford
Torrens-Spence, Rachal M., Ballydugan
Tumelty, Jim & Paula, Killough
Turner, Brian, * and Helen, Lisban

Vaughan, Aidan, Downpatrick

Wheeler, Gordon, Downpatrick

Williamson, Dena, Indiana, USA
Wilson, Anthony, Belfast
Wilson, Joan, Downpatrick
Wylie, Martin and Roisin, Ardglass

* Honorary Life Membership