In this part we include accounts of the schools, the
graveyard, the Roman Catholic parish. Derriaghy Mission Hall, Derriaghy
Gospel Hall, the Orange Order in Derriaghy, Scouting and Guiding,
Freemasonry and the Cricket Club. They are all intimately connected with
the history of the parish, but if they had been integrated into Part I
it would have been necessary to fragment their histories; it would seem
more convenient for readers to assign them to this part where each can
be treated as a unity.
A comprehensive history of education in the parish
would require very much more space than is available here. All that we
shall attempt in this section is to describe briefly the development of
early educational provision in the parish, relying mainly upon the
minutes of the Court of Vestry, and to give some account of more recent
events in connection with the schools of the modern parish.
The earliest mention of schools in our parish records
occurs in the minutes of the Court of Vestry held on April 21st 1794,
where reference is made to schools at Milltown (Principal George
Collins), Stoneyford (John Workman), Ballymacash (Michael Jones) and
Aughrim (Robert Woods). We do not know how many of these schools were in
operation before 1794 because the vestry minutes from 1760 to 1793 are
missing. However the Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (Lewis 1837)
states that a parochial school endowed by Mrs. Hamill with �50 was
established before 1750 and that the Rev. Philip Johnson built a school
at Ballymacash in 1790; and further evidence as to the existence of a
school in Derriaghy is furnished by a notice in the Belfast News Letter
for February 19th 1785 advertising a vacancy for an English teacher at
Milltown in the parish of Derriaghy. Moreover a receipt dated 28 January
1774 is for an advertisement for a school-master for the Parish of
From 1794 the minutes run on without a break and they
indicate the extent of educational provision in the parish at the
beginning of the nineteenth century. The table which follows lists seven
schools additional to the four mentioned in the previous paragraph and
gives both the year in which each school is first mentioned in the
minutes and the name of the principal in that year. It cannot however be
assumed in every case that the year of first mention is the year of
establishment; and a further problem on which the minutes
do not throw any clear light is what connection, if any,
there was between Milltown School and the Church School.
|Name of School
||Year of first
||Mrs. Nelly Groogan
||Miss Mary McClenaghan
||Miss Mary Hamilton
We have not yet been able to locate all these schools
and would welcome any information which would assist us to do so. The
Church school probably stood on the site of the Quin Memorial Hall,
Collin school was in what is now the home of the Glover family at
Groganstown and later moved to the building which is now Collin Orange
Hall, Ivy Hill was in Ivy Glen near the home of Mr. Marcus Rudermann.
All these schools were Sunday Schools, opening on
Sunday to provide religious and secular instruction to children and
adults who were at work during the six weekdays. They may well have been
open on week days as well, but it was in their capacity as Sunday
schools that they received a grant from the parish towards the building
and maintenance of the schoolhouses and the salary of the school masters
and mistresses. It is assumed that there was a parental as well as a
parish contribution to the teachers' salaries since the parish
contribution was so small. It never exceeded �1.2.9 for a man and only
once �1.0.0 for a woman, dropping to �1.1.0. and 10/6 respectively in
1827, after the replacement of Irish currency by English. Frequently the
parish contribution was halved, with no reason stated in the minutes; it
seems probable that from the first the Vestry applied the principle
which was embodied in a Vestry minute in 1824: "No allowance be made to
any person for teaching a Sunday School unless extraordinary merit in
individuals may induce the Vestry to alter this in their favour."
Most of the schools survived until well into the
nineteenth century with a few exceptions. Aughrim is not mentioned in
the minutes after 1820, Rushy Hill and Collin appear to have ceased
operations for a few years and then recommenced, the former from 1812 to
1815, the latter from 1817 to 1823. Ivy Hill seems to have lasted only
four years, from 1818 to 1821, in which year its first and only teacher,
Edward Brittain, went to Ballymacash school. It is possible that the
schools were in operation but not mentioned in the minutes because no
parish contribution was being made, but this we cannot ascertain.
With the establishment of the National Board of
Education in 1831 came the opportunity for the schools to apply for
financial aid on a much more generous scale than had been available
before. Contributions from the parish ceased after 1828 to all the
schools except Stoneyford, the Church school, Collin and Bovolgan, if
the absence of any statement in the minutes to the contrary is a guide;
and there are very few subsequent references even to these schools. In
these circumstances it must have been very difficult for the schools to
maintain themselves, and yet a list of schools in the parish printed in
a report of the National Board in the late 1830s shows that of the ten
schools operating only two were receiving a grant from the Board and two
from the Vicar; these four were still partly dependent and the other six
entirely dependent on parental contributions ranging from 2/- to 3/6 a
It is conjecture that this failure by eight schools
to obtain a grant from the National Board was due either to their
inability to satisfy the Board's requirements or to a reluctance to
suffer the small loss of control which connection with the Board
entailed. The latter is shown to have been a factor in the situation by
a comment made to the Board by the secretary of Collin school committee
which applied for a grant from the Board in 1832. The application was
signed by the Rev. H. Montgomery, Presbyterian minister, Rev. Peter
McCann, parish priest of Derriaghy, and fourteen Protestant and Roman
Catholic laymen. But Mr. John Roberts, the secretary, stated that the
curate of the Established Church refused to sign. The clergy's
opposition to the Board seems to have persisted, because as late as 1862
the Griffith Valuation of Ireland shows that the Church Education
Society, the body set up by the Established Church to provide financial
support to schools as a counter balance to the National Board, had
schools in Derriaghy (the Church school), Lagmore (presumably the school
conducted in the present Collin Orange Hall), Ballymacash and
Ballymacward (probably Rushy Hill); while there were National Schools in
Stoneyford and at the Rock (Roman Catholic). Apparently the private
schools which were in existence at least until the late 1830's had not
survived the rigours of the Famine years.
In the modern, smaller parish of Derriaghy the
successors of these earlier schools are Derriaghy and Castlerobin Pri�
mary Schools. What follows brings up to date very briefly the history of
these two schools, together with a reference to Ballymacash school, now
no longer in the parish.
In 1830 a school and teacher's residence were erected
by the side of the Church (the site now occupied by the Quin Memorial
Hall). It was placed under the Church Education Society and so continued
until 1889 when a new school was built on the opposite side of the road
by the Charley family in memory of Miss Mary Charley. It was placed
under the National Board of Education. The school was opened on Monday,
28th October 1889, with Mr. W. J. Canning as Principal. Mrs. Nessie
Morrow was appointed work mistress on 11th November 1889.
It has not yet been possible to establish what
connection there was between this school and the schools already
mentioned at Milltown (p.78) and the Church (p.79). The list of ten
schools mentioned on p.80 is not helpful because it does not give the
location of the schools.
Mr. Canning was succeeded by Mr. W. J. Whiteside on
3rd February 1890. Mr. James Chapman was appointed Principal on 1st
August 1890, but remained for only slightly more than two years.
Mr. Joseph Mills was appointed, temporarily, on 1st
January 1893, for three months but continued as principal until 1938
when he was succeeded by Mr. William Glass who in turn was succeeded by
his son, Mr. Walter Glass, the present Principal. Mr. Mills built and
lived at `Linden Hill', Stewartstown Road.
The school was built on a site measuring one acre
seven perches, but after it was transferred to the Local Education
Authority in 1926 a further plot of ground (one acre two roods) was
taken in for a playground and a well sunk at the rear of the building.
When the school was returned to the Church with the teachers' residences
in January 1965 the playground was purchased by the Church.
The Infant School (i.e. the building situated with
its gable to the road) was built in 1897 by the parishioners at a cost
of �200 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Mrs. Annie Brown was appointed Principal in 1889 but
ceased work on 30th September 1890. Miss Sarah Jane Laverty succeeded
her and remained until 31st March 1915. She subsequently emigrated to
Canada and died there in 1970. Miss May Bell (Mrs. John MacHenry) became
Principal in 1915.
Assistant teachers, until 1964 when the present new
school was built in the Milltown Housing Estate, have included Miss
Morrison, Mrs. Patterson, Miss Amy Brownell, Mrs. Smith and Miss
Uprichard who retired in 1971.
The Principal's House was completed in September 1891
at a cost of �250 obtained on loan from the Board of Works and the
Parish provided the site.
The Residence for the Principal of the Infant School
was completed in July 1895 at a cost of �250, this sum also being
obtained on loan from the Board of Works.
Castle Robin School
With the closure of Collin School in 1859 by the National Board it
became necessary to make alternative provision for the children of that
area, since the schools at Aughrim and Poleglass had also been
discontinued. Canon J. A. Stewart therefore rented and had structural
alterations made to a cottage at Aughrim owned by the Waring family,
which served as a school for the next seventy years. It was accepted by
the Commissioners of Education in 1915 when Mr. Joseph Laverty was
principal. He joined the Army in 1916 and was killed on 16th August 1917
while serving as an officer in the R.I.R. For a short time Mr. Charles
Smyth was acting principal, being succeeded in 1920 by Mr. W. R.
Anketelle. In 1921 Mr. E. W. Mills was appointed, remaining until 1926
when Mr. F. W. Browne (now living in retirement in Killeaton Crescent)
came as principal. During his time of office the old building was
replaced by the present Castlerobin School. Mr. Browne left in 1945 to
become principal of Newport School and he was succeeded by the present
principal, Mr. J. Haugh. The old school was more recently known as
Aughrim Hall and now, completely renovated, it is the home of Mr. and
Mrs. Ian McKinstry.
The school, originally built at Ballymacash in 1790, was
reconstructed in 1833 by Edward Johnson of Ballymacoss. On the
completion of the new school in 1932 the old building was returned to
the parish and is now Ballymacash Parish Hall, having undergone
extensive repairs with the addition of a stage and kitchen
Also under the heading of Education we find an
interesting minute of a General Vestry Meeting held on 10th April 1897:
'That we the members of the General Vestry of the
Parish of Derriaghy in Easter Vestry assembled desire to express our
emphatic protest against the audacious attempt to alienate the
Protestant endowments of the Erasmus Smith's Schools in manifest
violation of the intentions of the founder, expressly declared in his
lifetime, and that we call upon our representatives in Parliament to
offer the most determined opposition to any such attempt. Proposed by
Mr. E. J. Charley, J.P., seconded by Mr. John MacHenry, C.E. Copies of
this resolution to be forwarded to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the
House of Commons, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the Member for S.
Antrim and the University Members.'
Under the Erasmus Smith Endowment a number of schools
had been established in Ireland in the 1660s; Galway, Drogheda and
Tipperary Grammar Schools among them. In addition scholarships were
granted at the King's Hospital (Blue Coat School, Dublin) and at Trinity
Smith, a Freeman of the Grocer's Company of London,
was born in 1611 and served an apprenticeship to a Turkey (Spice)
Merchant in the City. He was one of the 'Adventurers' who helped to
finance the military campaign in Ireland during the 1641 Rebellion. In
return for their assistance the Adventurers were given large areas of
land in Ireland. Smith received almost 30,000 acres; part of it was
Trust Land to provide Educational Endowments.
Down the years these endowments were the subject of
dispute, some maintaining that they were for Protestant or Church of
Ireland children, the Roman Catholic Church holding that they were not a
private endowment but were for any needy children irrespective of creed.
Protracted judicial proceedings took place in Dublin
which resulted in the Erasmus Smith Schools Act 1938 (Irish Free State).
One half of the property and funds (over �65,000) was
to be retained for education, including instruction in 'Protestant
doctrine'. The other half was transferred to the Minister of Education
for such public educational purpose as he may from time to time direct.
Drogheda and Galway Grammar Schools and High School,
Dublin, were to be retained by the Governors; the Roman Catholics to
obtain Tipperary Grammar School. (M. V. Ronan, 'A Romance of Irish
A number of Derriaghy clergy have had their education
at. Erasmus schools or have had scholarships from the
The Parish registers date from 1696 and in December
of that year the first burial is recorded. Presumably it took place in
the parish graveyard. It is of William, son of John Allen; no age or
address is given.
The Blaris parish registers, however, record burials
at Derriaghy before 1696 and it's safe to assume that the church had a
graveyard since its foundation.
The list of names in these early years gives clear
evidence of settlers from Britain.
Here are a few taken at random:
1699 John son to Wm. Workinton March ye 21th
1701 Sarah Holdsnorth ye 22nd of July
1702 Sarah wife to Robert Buros ye 23rd of Aprill
1702 Israel son to William Crann ye 20th of Decbr.
1708 Eliz. wife to George Priestman ye 7th of Feby. George
Priestman, son, ye 25th of Feby.
1713 Joshua Prience ye 20th of Feby.
The oldest decipherable headstone in the graveyard
now, stands between the Church and the Quin Hall and bears the date
1770. There are stones bearing earlier dates but they would appear to be
of more recent origin; one beyond the organ chamber is dated 1734.
An article in the Belfast Evening Telegraph, April
13th 1907, on the Derriaghy Burial-ground, mentions a stone dated 1702
on the grave of Robart Harris and gives a sketch of it, but no trace of
that headstone can be found now.
The same article refers to another headstone which, to
say the least, doesn't `add up'.
Here Lyeth the body
Hugh Murray who departed
this life the 23rd day of
April 1773 aged 42 years
Also ye body of his daughter
Margaret who dyed ye 9th of
Sept. 1732 aged 11 months.
He and his daughter were almost the same age!
Another stone beyond the organ chamber has three very
interesting circular devices carved in relief on top. In one circle
there is a winged hour-glass above cross bones; in another two cherubim
who seem to be playing with Father Time's scythe, while a third shows a
grinning skull above a heart.
Here is another peculiar item from the same article but
no trace remains.
to the memory of his children viz.
John Tuten, senr. aged 2 years
John Tuten, junr. aged 2 years
Hamilton, aged 1 year
It is a strange way of referring to two brothers.
A headstone in front of the Quin Hall tells the sad
story of a young man who died of apoplexy on a Canadian Pacific Railway
train near Montreal on his way home and whose remains were interred by
the 'Sons of Portadown' L.O.L. 919 on the 7th August, 1906, in Prospect
Perhaps the most interesting monument is one situated
close to the small entrance gate. The peculiar shape is sufficient to
"Underneath lie the mortal remains of
Born in Prussian Silesia and an Israelite according
to the flesh but converted by the grace of God to the
faith of the gospel which he afterwards lived to
promote in public and in private for the space of
20 years during 18 of which he was employed in Ireland
and especially in Ulster as agent to The Society for
Promoting Christianity Among the Jews.
Thus did he endeavour to serve that Saviour
in whom he believed and whom he loved until in death he
could say "Lord now lettest thou thy servant Depart
in Peace according to thy word
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation."
This monument has been erected by a few of his
personal friends as a small memorial of affectionate regard.
He departed to his rest on the 18th Sept. 1852 aged
nearly 80 years.
There is also an inscription in Hebrew on the face of
the column. It reads in translation "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem".
The Seeds Grave plot to the left of the main walk
records burials from 1746. It is marked by an obelisk and a stone
bearing a number of inscriptions. The stone, however. was originally on
a grave near the North wall of the old church and was removed to its
present site sometime last century leaving the old graves unmarked.
The family had Carrickfergus and Belfast connections,
where, as the inscriptions say, they were merchants. There is a device
on the stone depicting a hand holding stalks of corn. Another branch was
in the legal profession, one of the family being an Advocate General in
A map of the Hertford Estate of the early nineteenth
century shows the Seeds family as being the largest holders of land in
the parish, most of it in the area of Moss Road and Harmony Hill which
was known locally as Seeds Corner; sometimes the name is Seed.
The most recent burial in the Seeds grave plot was of
Sir William Seeds, North Gate, London, a former British Ambassador in
Moscow, who died in November 1973 aged 91 years. He left a small legacy
to the church.
The graveyard is now much larger than it used to be.
There have been several extensions made down the years, the most recent
being consecrated in 1961. Previous to that what is known as the garden
extension had been made. This area included what had been the garden
attached to the teacher's residence at the school which stood on the
site of the Quin Hall.
At frequent intervals back over the last century the
vestry minute books tell of the anxiety of the rector and churchwardens
because `there is little space left in the graveyard' for further
burials. Rules were passed to prevent any who were not parishioners
being buried there unless they had a family connection with the parish.
The Reverend Dr. Knox of Belfast and Mr. Arnold of Dunmurry were
severely reprimanded for taking burial services in the churchyard. For
many years only Church of Ireland clergy were permitted to conduct
burial services in the graveyard. People still recall the rector or
curates meeting funerals at the church gates.
On two occasions we find that the rector has written
in the burial register over the signature of Dr. Knox, "contrary to all
law, human and divine"! A resolution was passed by the Vestry that no
one was to climb over the graveyard wall to dig a grave. This had the
backing of the diocesan authorities. God's acre had its problems.
Another interesting item concerning the graveyard is
the fact, vouched for by at least one parishioner, that a green rose
grew near the hedge along the old mill race. Unfortunately so many
people took slips from the plant that it died some years ago. The
strange thing was that any slips which struck produced red roses. The
existence of the green rose was brought to the writer's notice by an
enquiry from a former parishioner named Phillips who wrote from the
Argentine in 1962 asking about it.
Some families had the privilege of burial within the
church. Philip Johnson charged a fee of �20 for the burial of Mrs.
Barbara Duncan of Magheralave in 1802.
Army lists of the 17th century state that two
soldiers were interred in Derriaghy churchyard at the time of the
Williamite wars. Schomberg's men were struck by disease at Dundalk in
their advance from Carrickfergus to the Boyne. Many were evacuated to a
large tent hospital set up on Blaris moor. It may have been from this
hospital that Quartermaster John Wright was buried at
Derriaghy on 2nd December 1689 and Henry Withens of the Earl of
Devonshire's Regiment on 23rd April 1690.
The Churchyard was the scene of what must be the
strangest story ever to come from Derriaghy. It seems well authenticated
having been at the time `common talk' among the people of Lisburn.
One night in the autumn of 1808, the rector, The
Reverend Philip Johnson, who lived at Ballymacash, startled his wife by
waking and shouting that he had dreamt that the church was on fire. He
went asleep again but awoke once again, crying out, `I saw the roof fall
in and the walls crumble down'. Once more his wife soothed him saying it
must be something he had eaten and again he settled down to sleep. The
next time he awoke he jumped out of bed. `That's the third time. The
Church is in flames. I must go at once'. Dressing, he flung himself on
horseback and galloped madly for Derriaghy.
As he came to the crest of the hill above the Church
he saw, with horror, a figure in white waiting,
To his amazement this turned out to be a young girl
in a sort of wedding dress and to his further surprise she seemed to be
When he dismounted she clung to his arm, sobbing with
evident relief. 'Oh, I'm glad you have come', she cried, 'I am so
frightened. He's waiting for us down at the Church. He said he would ask
you to come to marry us tonight. We must be married tonight. He sent me
up here to meet you. He has always been so kind but tonight he looked so
strange that I am frightened'.
The rector, completely mystified, asked the name of
this man she was going to marry. The girl whispered the name of a
well-known citizen of Lisburn.
Together they went down the hill in the gloom to the
Church but there was no sign of any man there. 'We have kept him too
long', cried the girl, but Mr. Johnson told her to wait while he went to
look for him.
The Church in those days was smaller than it is now
and the walls of the graveyard were much higher and covered with ivy. As
he listened in the darkness he heard strange sounds coming from the old
Rosbotham grave and saw a faint gleam of light. He went nearer to it
through the graves.
By the dim light of a lantern resting on a tombstone
he saw, digging furiously and frantically in a shallow grave, the man
the girl had named.
For some minutes the rector stood in silence gazing
at the awful scene. Thus moving quickly across and standing almost over
the man working in the grave he looked down upon him. The other man
looked up and for one long minute, in utter silence, they gazed in each
other's eyes and the rector shuddered at what he saw in that frozen
stare�terror, horror, murder.
Dropping his spade, the man made over the wall and
according to the story he left Lisburn soon after and eventually died in
The above version of the story was recorded by Mr.
William Carron in his 'Records of Old Lisburn'. Miss Johnson, a
grand-daughter of the Reverend Philip Johnson, gives a slight variation
in that the rector is said to have come in his carriage and not on
The wife of Henry Munro, leader of the United
Irishmen at the Battle of Ballynahinch, who was hanged in the Market
Square in Lisburn on Monday, 17th June 1798, is buried at the foot of
the Waring of Ivy Hill enclosure. Henry Munro had been a much respected
linen merchant of Lisburn and a member of the Cathedral Parish. The
events which led to his taking the field at the head of the United
Irishmen against the Government troops makes interesting, if sad,
reading as does his subsequent betrayal, arrest and public execution.
It would seem from a contemporary account of the
execution that it was to a Derriaghy man that Munro addressed his last
words before ascending the scaffold. William Blacker, Commandant of the
Seagoe Yeomanry during the '98 Rebellion, was present at the hanging,
which he described in his journal extracts from which are printed in
Lisburn and Neighbourhood in 1798 (T. G. F. Paterson, Ulster Journal of
Archaeology Third Series vol. 11938). Blacker wrote that Munro "settled
his accounts with several persons with as much apparent attention to
business as if he had been in his own shop. His last was a disputed one,
with an old Captain Pointz Stewart, whom he actually called from the
head of his Corps, the Derriaghy Infantry, and made his point after
considerable argument." (op. cit. p. 197)
Poyntz Stewart was married to Magdelen, daughter of
the Rev. Philip Gayer, Vicar of Derriaghy, and his name will be found in
the list of Derriaghy churchwardens in Part III under the year 1798.
Patterson notes that he died in 1823, aged 87, and is buried in Lisburn
Cathedral Churchyard, north side, within a railed enclosure. Blacker
also states that Munro's mother, wife and sisters were witnesses of the
execution, but Patterson amends this, remarking that Mrs. Munro was at
Seymour Hill with her father, Robert Johnston, to which house she had
been removed on the Friday previous to the Battle of Ballynahinch.
A note from Mr. W. S. Corken:
At the building of the present church in 1872 many graves were
covered in the chancel including the Corkens, Dun-cans, Christians,
Clarkes and others.
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH OF DERRIAGHY
(Notes supplied by the Reverend C. Donnelly,
Hannahstown, with additional material from Canon Marshall's notes and
brought up to date.)
The earliest Parish Priest of Derriaghy of whom we
have a record is Fr. Phelomy O'Hamill. According to the Register of
Popish Parish Priests he was registered at Carrickfergus as P.P., of
Derriaghy, Belfast and Drum. We are told that he was ordained in Dublin
by the Archbishop of Armagh, Oliver Plunket. His two surieties in �50
each were Courtney Conway of Aghalee and Hugh Hamill, Yeoman of Carrick.
Since he was not also registered in Downpatrick we can assume his parish
did not extend into Down, whereas the P.P. of Blaris was registered in
both Carrick and Downpatrick. At the time of Registration Fr. O'Hamill
was sixty years of age and lived in Derriaghy�probably with relatives as
was customary at this time. He is probably the Felix O'Hannig included
in the list of priests sent to Rome by Dr. Plunket in 1670.
In 1707�George McCartney, Sovereign of Belfast,
notified Joshua Dawson, Secretary's Office, Dublin, that in pursuance of
the Proclamation he had jailed Fr. O'Hamill. He goes on to say that many
Protestants had offered to stand bail for him�as he was held in great
respect by all classes �but he did not allow bail until he had
permission from Dublin. Endorsed on this letter by Dublin was "Let him
continue where he is for the present". There is no record of the date of
his death�but tradition says he was buried among relatives in Lambeg.
The Parish of Derriaghy included the whole of the
civil parishes of Tullyrusk and Derriaghy and parts of the civil
parish of Shankill.
The Roman Catholic Church of Derriaghy was built at
an early period on a farm belonging to a family named Hamill.
Fr. O'Hamill was succeeded by a Father Magee who had
been curate in Derriaghy and who is said to have worked in the Parish as
Curate and P.P. for 50 years. He was buried in the Nuns' Garden in
He was succeeded by Fr. John O'Mullan who became P.P.
in 1733. Some say he was a native of Ballywillwill in Co. Down�others a
native of Derriaghy. On his grave in Lambeg the stone bears the
inscription: "Here lyeth the body of the Rev. John Mullan, upwards of 39
years P.P. of Derriaghy and Belfast. He died 15 September 1772 aged 80
During his time in 1744 the Chapel was burned down
because of the expected rising in favour of the Pretender; It was
rebuilt by Fr. O'Mullan in 1745, as the cross on the church indicates.
Fr. O'Mullan was succeeded by his Curate, Rev. Hugh O'Donnell, a native
of Glenarm. Fr. O'Donnell was born in 1739 and educated in Salamanca,
Spain. On ordination he was appointed Curate of Derriaghy and Belfast.
While still Curate he opened a Church in a disused factory in Squeezegut
Entry off Mill Street, Belfast. A lease of 31 years had been obtained by
some subterfuge. It was opened in 1769. Prior to this Catholics of
Belfast assisted at Mass in a sandpit near Friar's Bush and on Holy Days
in the house of John Kennedy. This house would have been on the site of
the present Bank Building�facing Fountain Street. Kennedy was denounced
probably in 1745. The factory was used as a church for about fifteen
years until the opening of St. Mary's.
In 1782 Charles Heyland, James Mooney, Henry McAuley
and Patrick McAlister obtained a lease of a gateway and house in Crooked
Lane (now Chapel Lane) opposite Bryce's Lane (now Bank Lane) for a term
of 71 years at a yearly rent of �4.11.0. They devised it to Fr.
O'Donnell and two laymen in trust "for the congregation of Roman
Here Fr. O'Donnell erected the Church of St. Mary. It
opened on 30th May 1784. The First Belfast Volunteer Company�under
Captain Waddell Cunningham�formed a guard of honour in full dress and
presented arms as the priest passed into the Church. Other Companies
also attended and entered the Church for Mass and Sermon. The collection
was �32.2.6., �84 was already subscribed by the Protestants of Belfast.
The Church cost �1,200 and after the opening was only �80 in debt. The
first St. Mary's had a courtyard in front of it and was not as big as
the rebuilt St. Mary's of 1868.
Fr. O'Donnell built the Rock Chapel in 1785. Prior to
this Mass was celebrated at a Rock a few yards from the site of the
present Church. Mass had been celebrated at a Rock on Colin Mountain,
fronting Hannahstown, at a little mound about sixteen feet in diameter,
which, when opened, was found to be funereal and contained a stone-lined
grave. The spot is still called the Mass-corner.
After the burning of Derriaghy Chapel in 1744 Mass
was celebrated in the barn of Michael O'Kane at White Mountain. Mass was
also celebrated at the gable of Edward McQuillan's house at the Brown
Moss. Fr. O'Donnell also celebrated Mass on Christmas morning in a
school house in Tullyrusk graveyard and sometimes in the house of John
Close nearby. Mass was also said on the Bohill Mountain where two mounds
of earth formed a cross�each arm about 50 feet. In whichever angle was
most sheltered Mass was celebrated.
It is of interest that the vestments for Mass on
Colin were kept in the house of a Protestant family named Steele. This
family had a cow's horn, used for warning on the approach of strangers,
which came into the possession of Fr. Conway, Parish Priest of
Cathal O'Byrne in his book 'As I roved out' (1946),
says: "Belle Steele lived in Fair's Row, the first door on the town
side, on the Upper Falls Road as you go out the way to Milltown and
Derryaghy in the townland of Poleglass."
"The last of the family preserved a cow's horn which
was used to sound alarm if any suspicious person was seen approaching
the Mass station."
"But", says O'Byrne, "there is no tradition of a
cow's horn having been used for that purpose, but when Belle Steele was
on her death bed she had in her possession a small white metal horn such
as might be used by a drummer boy in the old days, which was in use at
the `Mass Corner' and also a little shell used by the Priest for putting
water into the chalice. These relics ... were passed on to Miss Maggie
Kennedy who lived in Drain's Row at the foot of Church Hill in Derryaghy."
Fr. O'Donnell built the Church of St. Peter, the
Rock, the year after he opened St. Mary's, i.e. 1785. In 1792 he built a
small school house at Hannahstown�which was used as a church. The gable
still stands in the graveyard.
On the 9th June 1798 both Churches, St. Patrick's,
Derriaghy, and St. Peter's, the Rock, were burned by the "wreckers".
When times became quiet Derriaghy was rebuilt in 1802 by Fr. Devlin,
Curate to Fr. O'Donnell. It is less than the size of that of 1745. It is
dedicated under the invocation of St. Patrick and a portion of an
alleged relic of St. Patrick which had been preserved in the parish in a
silver shrine by a family named Cullen who lived near Colin, was placed
under the altar.
The then Roman Catholic Bishop (Dr. Dorrian)
purchased it from them. It consisted of a human jaw-bone in a perfect
state but only retaining one double tooth. It formerly had five, three
of which were given to members of the family when emigrating to America
and the fourth was deposited under the altar. The family believed it was
the jawbone of St. Patrick.
When the Chapel, together with those of Ballinderry,
Glenavy and Aghagallon was destroyed in 1798 the Rev. Philip Johnson
opened a subscription list and raised �59. 13s. 10d. to assist with the
rebuilding, and the Marquis of Hertford subscribed �25 and gave the site
on which it was built. In 1836 the walls were raised three feet and a
new roof put on costing �100 and again members of all denominations
After the Rock Church was burned "James Magee and
Patrick McLarnon collected money and built a little thatched house for a
Chapel and it served as a school too." That little school house was
replaced in 1829 by the present Church built by Rev. H. McCartan at a
cost of �100.
Fr. O'Donnell lived in Springbank and his house is
still occupied by the Finnegan family. But in Smith & Lyons Belfast
Directory of 1808 among the clergy living in Belfast is listed Cassidy,
Rev. Peter, 16 Berry Street; O'Donnell, Rev. Hugh, 33 Hercules Lane. At
this time Fr. O'Donnell was ill and Fr. Cassidy was also in declining
With the consent of the Bishop an additional Curate
came to Derriaghy, Fr. R. Curoe. However, Fr. O'Donnell seems to have
recovered, for in 1809 he obtained from the Marquis of Donegall a plot
of ground on the East side of Donegall Street � frontage 147 feet, lease
99 years, annual rent �14.14.0. It was actually a dump for refuse of the
town. In 1810 advertisements appeared for tenders, etc., and it seems to
have been roofed in 1811. Lord Castlereagh gave 100 guineas.
In 1812 Fr. O'Donnell retired and lived in his old
house at Springbank, Hannahstown, and died there on 1st January 1814.
His funeral from St. Mary's took place to his native Glenarm. Fr.
Cassidy died in April 1815.
Before Fr. O'Donnell retired he requested the Bishop,
Dr. Patrick Mullan, for permission to ask Fr. William Crolly, a
professor in Maynooth, to take the Parish. It would seem that the Bishop
agreed�but at the same time he decided to divide the Parish into two
districts�Derriaghy and Belfast. It would appear that Fr. Crolly became
Parish Priest of Belfast, for we find that Derriaghy was conferred on
Rev. Denis McGreevey, who held the Parish till 1824. He was succeeded by
Rev. Charles Hendron. He obtained from John McCance in January 1825 an
acre of land for enlarging the graveyard. Mr. McCance also gave �20
towards erecting a suitable place of worship. Thus Fr. Hendron built the
Church at Hannahstown in 1826. He was succeeded in 1827 by Rev. Hugh
McCartan. Between 1830 and 1844 there were three successive Parish
Priests who remained for very short periods except the last, Fr. Edward
Mullan, who is buried in the church at Hannahstown. A tablet on the wall
says: "In memory of Rev. Edward Mullan, P.P., who, while reading the
divine Office, rendered his soul to God on 7th May 1844." For the next
six months the Parish was attended by Rev. George Pye; 1845-1848�Fr.
McMullan; 1848-1855�Fr. Michael McCartan; 1855-1869�Rev. James O'Hara;
Rev. George Conway, 1869-1889; Rev. Bernard McCartan, 1889- ; Rev.
Richard Storey, -1907.
Fr. Crolly completed St. Patrick's. He was appointed
Bishop, 6th February 1825, and was consecrated in St. Patrick's, 1st May
1825. Next day he entertained 250 to dinner at Ward's Hotel, including
many Protestants. On the 18th of the same month 170 Protestants of the
town entertained Dr. Crolly in the same hotel.
It was Dr. Crolly who petitioned the Holy See to
change the Episcopal See from Downpatrick to Belfast. This was granted,
and thus Belfast became the Bishop's Mensal Parish.
He divided up many parishes, established schools and
the Diocesan College, St. Malachy's. In 1835 he was translated to Armagh
as Archbishop. He established the Armagh Seminary and laid the
foundation stone of the Cathedral, in which he was buried in 1849.
Rev. Patrick Boyle, 1907-1955. St. Teresa's was built
in 1912 and Father Boyle moved there, leaving a Curate at Hannahstown.
A temporary Church, St. Agnes's, was built during the
war. Canon Boyle died in 1955 and the Bishop, Dr. Mageean, divided the
Parish of Derriaghy into four�St. Teresa's, St. Agnes's, Hannahstown and
The present Roman Catholic parish of Derriaghy is
served by four churches�St. Patrick's, Barnfield Road; St. Colman's,
Lambeg; St. Anne's, Dunmurry; and the temporary church of St.
Luke, Twinbrook Estate.
There is a parish priest, the Rev. J. Kelly, assisted
by three curates, two of whom live in the still growing Twinbrook Estate
where three of the five voluntary parochial schools are situated.
DERRIAGHY MISSION HALL
(A note supplied by Miss Daphne Partridge)
In October 1923 Canon Cook held a ten day mission in
Derriaghy Church. There were quite a number of conversions and interest
was only at its height when the mission closed, so three young men,
James Howard, James Madden and Jim Skelly of the Christian Workers'
Union, started a further series of meetings. After this an after-church
rally was started on Sunday evenings. Towards the end of 1924 the Misses
Rigby and Harper of The Faith Mission held another successful mission
and the Christian Conferences began in Derriaghy. This was the
commencement of the annual Faith Mission Conferences in Ireland and
these are now held in many other areas.
Immediately after that mission a Prayer Union was
started and both Conference and Prayer Union continue until this day. In
1926 Jack Currie of Portadown, a tenter by trade, and James Grubb, who
owned the land where the present hall stands, used to go down to The
Faith Mission offices in Belfast to join Mr. J. B. McClean, the Director
of The Faith Mission, in prayer for the Derriaghy community. Mr. Grubb
never lived to see the hall erected on his land although this was his
desire. When the meeting was held in the Orange Hall it had to be closed
on Thursdays to facilitate a dancing class, so Messrs. Tom Allen, Bob
Bodel, Jim Crawford, H. McFarlane, A. Maze and Alex Ruddell decided to
build the present hall which was opened in March 1932. An Anniversary
Conference continues each year in March. The Mission Hall is run along
interdenominational lines and speakers come from the various Protestant
DERRIAGHY GOSPEL HALL
(Information supplied by Mrs. E. Wallace)
The hall, situated near the junction of Barnfield
Road and Derriaghy Road, was built in May 1922. Before its erection
meetings were held in Milltown House, at that time the home of Mr. R. M.
Watson and previously occupied by a family named McBride.
Members of the Gospel Hall would call themselves
simply, Believers. Their worship is centred around a weekly celebration
of the Lord's Supper and preaching. Not being concerned about history
they have little to say about the origins of their gatherings but are
not to be confused with any branch of the Plymouth Brethren.
Recently they reconstructed their hall giving it a new
entrance porch and providing car parking space.
DERRIAGHY ORANGE DISTRICT
(Information supplied by Mr. R. Armour and Mr. J. Brankin)
The District is comprised of Lodges from Derriaghy,
Mosside, Summerhill, Lambeg, Castlerobin, Cohn, Upper Falls, Finaghy and
It is difficult to trace the origin of the formation
of the District but it is recorded that in 1798 Lodges from Derriaghy
took part in the 12th of July demonstration to Lissue, Lisburn, and
proceeded to the Field with orange lilies tied to the barrels of their
In the early days permission was given by the Church
for Lodge 136, Mosside, and 137, Summerhill, to hold their meetings in
the old School House until suitable halls were erected in the district
for them. The Parish Church is the meeting place for Divine Service on
the Sunday preceding the 12th of July each year and it is traditional
for one of the Lodges in the District to have Christ Church
depicted on its banner, symbolising its allegiance to
It is also interesting to note that Castlerobin, 146,
was 'formerly known as Stewart's Guiding Star, called after Canon J. A.
Stewart who was curate of Derriaghy Parish.
It is also interesting to note that one of the Lodges
in the District held its meetings at Hanna Alderdice's Inn and,
apparently, had a credit account with the Management for its
On a particular year, on the 12th of July morning,
the proprietress refused to hand over the flags of the Lodge until the
outstanding refreshment account was duly paid!!
The District has progressed steadily since the turn
of the century and each Lodge now has its own meeting place. There are
approximately 500 Orangemen in the District and the numbers are steadily
SCOUTING AND GUIDING IN THE PARISH
(Based on information supplied by Mr. T. J. Fenning)
Like many great institutions, the Scout movement had
a small beginning. In 1907 Robert Baden Powell, a British soldier who
had become a national hero, held an experimental camp for boys on
Brownsea Island off the coast of Dorset. This was to try out ideas for
training boys which had been forming in his mind over many years. After
the Camp, "B-P" as he was affectionately known, wrote the now famous
handbook of the Movement, "Scouting for Boys". It was the publication of
this book, first published in fortnightly parts in 1908, that had as its
direct result the formation of Scout Patrols all over Great Britain. In
spite of the fact that "B-P" had intended his ideas to be used by
existing youth organisations and had no intention of starting a separate
organisation, he soon had to acknowledge that, in fact, a new
organisation had come into being. On the suggestion of King Edward VII
he gave up his army career and became Chief Scout.
Scouting spread very quickly over the British Isles
and we find that a Troop was formed in the Parish in 1911 with Rev. T.
J. Armstrong as Scoutmaster and Eddie Brown as his Assistant. The
meetings were held in Derriaghy School and the Troop was registered as
This leadership lasted till the Rev. J. T. Armstrong
left and Eddie Brown joined the Army. Eddie was later killed in action.
The next scoutmaster was the Rev. George Furniss. The Troop consisted of
4 Patrols, 2 at Derriaghy and 2 at Ballymacash. One of the early Patrol
Leaders was Mr. William Brown, a brother of Eddie, and he remembers the
thrill of his first Camp at Ballintoy. Travel involved train to Belfast,
tram car to York Road Station, train to Ballymoney, then by narrow gauge
train to Ballycastle and finally by horse drawn long-car to Ballintoy.
In 1920 Mr. Joe Brown took over, and camping and
outdoor activities were the main features until he emigrated to Canada.
It is interesting to note that Billy Brown's interest never flagged and
up to the present he has been 25 years County Secretary of County Antrim
Scout Council. On the late Rev. T. H. Egerton's appointment in 1923 the
Troop got going once again with 3 Patrols at Derriaghy and 3 at
Among past leaders we find the following names: Hyram
Buchanan, John Curran, Jack Wadsworth, Joe Patterson, Sam McDona'd, Jack
Johnston, Roy Shirlow, George Morrow and Jim Hilland.
The Troop has always had a very close relationship
with the Church and has down the years received help, encouragement and
practical leadership from the Rectors and Curates. Possibly, of later
years the most enthusiastic has been Rev. P. A. G. Sheppard, and his
leadership and inspiration has had its influence on the lives of many of
our young men to-day.
Front row (left to right): ,Miss Margaret
Benson, Miss Heather Barr, Miss Jill Cohen, Rector, Mrs. J.
McCabe, Miss Noreen Thompson, Mrs. E. Beattie.
Back row (left to right): Mr. T. Thompson, Mr. J. Fleming, Miss
Edna Richardson, Mrs. R. Fell, Mrs. E. Beattie, Mr. M. Fleming,
Mr. R. B. Beattie.
GROUP OF YOUTH LEADERS AND SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS
Back row: Mr. D. Gordon, Mrs. Bethel, Brian Aitken,
Don Liliey, Gilbert Cameron, Mrs. A. Boyd, Mrs. E. Scarlett.
Front row: Mrs. D. Greer, Mrs. D. Thompson, Mrs. N. Boston, Miss K.
Hayes, Miss C. Gordon.
The Rev. P. A. G. Sheppard was Group Scout Master
until his appointment to Ballydehob Union, Co. Cork, in 1960. He was
followed in that role by Mr. D. G. Dewdney who was succeeded by Mr. E.
T. Cairns. The present Group Scout Leader, Mr. R. P. Beattie, is also
District Commissioner for Lisburn. He is assisted by an enthusiastic
team: Tommy Thompson and Mervyn Fleming with the Scouts, assisted by
Brian Aiken, Gilbert Cameron and Robert Bell. Jim Fleming, who is now
Assistant District Cub Scout Commissioner, has been Parish Cub Leader
for over 25 years, and is helped by Mrs. Eleanor Beattie, Linda Turley
and Don Lilley. A Beaver Group has recently been started by Mrs.
Beattie. She is assisted by Mrs. D. Greer.
The Parish has supported the Guiding Movement for
many years. Among past Brownie Leaders we find the following names: Mrs.
J. Johnston, who was Leader in the 50s and 60s, Elizabeth Bowman and
Mrs. Shields. The present Leaders are Miss Margaret Benson and Mrs.
Bethel, assisted by Heather Barr and Jill Cohen.
The Guide Company Leader before World War II was Mrs.
Bennett. After the War the Company was begun again by Mrs. Pat
McLaughlin. The present leader is Mrs. W. Beattie. She succeeded Miss R.
Scott in 1962 and is assisted by Mrs. Fell, Miss Edna Richardson, Linda
Turley and Valerie Chapman.
The Baden-Powell Organisations in the Parish now number
well over 100 members (80 in scouting).
A GROUP OF SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS
Front row (left to right): Mrs. S. Scully, Mrs. M.
Lloyd, Miss M. Benson, Miss N. Millar, Miss C. Thompon, Miss N.
Thompson, Miss K. Stewart, Miss R. Kelly.
Back row (left to right): Mr. D. Gribbon, Mr. D.
Thompson, Miss A. Burrows, Rev. V. G. Stacey, Miss E. Richardson, Mr. W.
Scully, Miss E. Burrows, Rector, Mr. R. Surgeon, Mr. S. Stewart, Mr. J.
FREEMASONRY IN DERRIAGHY
(Information supplied by Mr. H. McC. Taggart)
Freemasonry has been firmly established in Derriaghy
for about two hundred years. Before 1780 a number of Freemasons were
meeting informally in the Milltown Inn owned by the Alderdice family,
and in 1782 decided to apply for a Warrant to form a regular Lodge. They
selected the name St. Patrick and were allotted a warrant numbered 602.
That Lodge, known for miles around as '602', has met
without interruption since that time. The nine original members
increased to twenty by the end of 1782 and in mid-1783 there were thirty
eight. In those times it was not unusual for Lodges to confer, as well
as the 'Craft' degrees, higher degrees which are now confined to other
branches of the Order.
In 1785 five Brethren were installed as Knights
Templar in Derriaghy and there are references at times to members of the
'Priestly Order'. As time went on the room in the Inn became too small
to accommodate those attending but attachment to the old venue delayed a
change until matters became crucial in 1885. A move to Lisburn was
considered but after many meetings and delays it was decided to erect a
suitable hall locally. William Alderdice of the Inn, a member of the
Lodge, offered a site and the decision to build was taken in 1887. On
17th August, 1888, after continuous occupation of 106 years, the Lodge
held its last meeting in the old room and next day a new building was
dedicated to the purposes of Freemasonry.
Bazaars were popular in those days and one held in
October 1888 not only cleared the debt on the hall but left a 'handsome
balance'. Next year, 1889, saw the formation of a Royal Arch
Chapter�also numbered 602.
In less than twenty years the new premises were again
inadequate and after much anxious deliberation it was decided to pull
down the building and erect a larger one. The foundation stone was laid
in 1906 and the present hall dedicated in 1907. This time a `Grand
Bazaar' was held in the Grain Market, Lisburn, which lasted three days
in September, 1908. It successfully wiped out the debt on the building.
Housing development in the Seymour Hill estate some
years ago dislodged the Dunmurry Freemasons who sat in outhouses of the
Charley Mansion converted for Masonic purposes. They were welcomed to
the Derriaghy Hall where they still meet. A year or two ago those
Lisburn Masons who met in the Lisburn Courthouse, lost their home when
the Courthouse was demolished. They have also found a home in the
Derriaghy Hall. A new and capacious car park has been made at the hall
and plans are well advanced for extensions to the building itself.
The nine stalwarts of two hundred years ago founded
in Derriaghy a Masonic tradition which has grown to eight units�three
Craft Lodges, two Royal Arch Chapters, one Council of Knight Masons, and
two Preceptories of High Knights Templar.
DERRIAGHY CRICKET CLUB
(Information supplied by Mr. R. Armour)
Derriaghy Cricket Club was formed in the year 1920
and rented a ground on the Barnfield Road. The Club had very little in
the way of funds in those days and the visiting teams were entertained
to tea in Hanna Cairns' house in Railway View. About the year 1925 a
ground adjoining the main Belfast-Lisburn Road was rented from Robert
McKinstry at a very nominal fee and the Club has remained at this
situation until the present day.
A few years ago an opportunity was taken to purchase
this ground and, thanks to a few well-wishers in the district, a large
sum of money was subscribed and the balance guaranteed to the Bank.
Among the early cricketers connected with the Club
were Rev. H. C. Marshall, then curate of the parish, J. F. Larmor, Steve
and Ronnie Draper, Fred and Billy Browne, William and Edward Bruce,
William Cairns, Harry Press, and Jack McKinstry. One of the most famous
of these early cricketers was William Cairns, who played for the Club
until he was nearing 70 years of age and in his 65th year took over 100
wickets, thanks mainly to the expert slip fielding of Billy Glover.
In the early days the Club played only friendly
matches but later under the captaincy of Harry Press it ventured into
league cricket and very soon won its way to the top grade of Junior
Cricket. Such names as Victor Jack, Rev. Alex Jack, Robert and John
Armour, George Graham, Billy Glover, Jim Poots, Tommy Dugan, Eric Maciee,
Stanley Graham, Sammy Watters, Billy Hutchinson, Edward Cairns (Teddy),
and Bertie Page played their part in making the Club a force to be
reckoned with in the cricketing world. The Club 1st XI is still a very
strong team in Junior Cricket and under the captaincy of Denis Fell,
ably supported by his two brothers Jack and Gerald, success must surely
be theirs in the years ahead.
The Rev. J. G. King, who was rector of the Parish
before the War, was an excellent batsman for the 1st XI, and his curate,
Rev. V. Dungan, also played for the Club.
CONGREGATION LEAVING CHURCH AFTER THE