The author is grateful for the support
of his wife and daughter in this research work and its
From the contents of this study it
will be obvious that the facilities provided by the
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (P.R.O.N.I.),
the Census Office and the Linenhall Library in Belfast
have all been invaluable.
The author now acknowledges the
permission of the Deputy Keeper of the Records, Public
Record Office of Northern Ireland to draw upon P.R.O.N.I.
material. He is equally grateful for the use of data
reproduced from the 1911, 1926, 1937, 1951, and 1961
General Reports, and 1971, 1981 and 1991 Summary Reports
by permission of the Controller of H.M.S.O. and the
Department of Finance and Personnel.
Typeset by Island Publications
Printed by Regency Press, Belfast
The Physical Environment of the Dunmurry
This area lies within the lower Lagan
Valley, a physiographical trough floored by Mesozoic,
Quaternary, and Recent deposits1. It is
bounded by the dissected scarp of Tertiary lavas to the
northwest and gentle hills of lower Palaeozoic sediments
to the southeast2. The valley plain is about
5km wide in this district with much of its surface
disposed in irregularly spaced swells and swales of
superficial deposits between 50m and 17m above sea
level. The line of the Stewartstown Road (B 102) roughly
indicates the upper limit to the northwest while the
Hillhall (B23) and Newtownbreda (B205) alignments lie
near the limits to the southeast. (See Figure 1.)
Slopes near the A501 road are
generally steep. On the ground between the A501, the
B102 and the Glen burn medium slopes predominate but are
interrupted by incised stream tracts and interspersed
with low sloped patches. By contrast the area between
the Glen burn, the A501 and the Al roads is dominated by
low slopes. Still more variation is provided by
undulating ground lying east of the Al road and south of
a line joining Dunmurry Railway Station and the Giant's
Ring (which may date to Neolithic times).
Most of the Tertiary lava flows are
composed of basaltic rocks which have proved to be
attractive to building and road construction interests
over the years. In the upper Glen reaches the underlying
chalk of Cretaceous age and the Keuper marl of Triassic
age have been worked in the recent past. Paradoxically,
the Bunter Sandstone (of Triassic age), which provides
the Lagan valley floor, has provided only limited
amounts of building stone but yielded a highly
significant source of groundwater. Boreholes sunk into
the Sherwood sandstone, for example, at Dunmurry, Kilwee,
Larkfield, and Derriaghy have all proved this deposit to
be a useful aquifer. By contrast the Silurian grits and
shales are not well exposed in this district and are
best displayed in the incised tracts of right bank
tributaries of the Lagan river, as for example in the
Most of the glacial sands and gravels
lie in a 3¼km wide band stretching from S. Belfast to
Lisburn and beyond, being flanked by glacial till
deposits which thin out rapidly above 213m to the
northwest. Locally sand and gravel deposits lie on both
sides of the N.I.R. track, as well as on ground beside
Dunmurry and Upper Dunmurry Lanes. Glacial till is
fairly extensive in the Ulster Avenue and Seymour Hill
localities, as well as in the Areema, Park and Green
neighbourhoods. Fragments of a glacial esker are still
to be seen in Dunmurry near to the railway track and
McMasters bridge, as well as close to Warren House.
Further east Ballydrain lake occupies a glacial
kettlehole amongst the kame deposits that border the
nearby Lagan and stretch towards Lisburn4.
Some years ago two till deposits
separated by sandy drift were exposed on the southwest
slope of Rathmore hillock and it was here that an
unfortunate accident claimed the life of a young boy. It
is also worth noting that the subsurface disposition of
rockhead contours, north of Rathmore, suggest that two
former channels are now buried by superficial deposits
on either side of the Malone ridge.
Fig. 1 Some features in
the Dunmurry area
1. 60m contour. 2. Steep
slopes (12° or more). 3. Named hills A.
Black, B. Collin. 4. Water body. 5. Stream.
6. Incised valley tract. 7. Dunmurry esker.
8. Selected road. 9. Railway lines. 10.
Dunmurry NIR station. 11. Former
country houses of business families (a.
Collin, b. Suffolk, c. Larkfield, d. Moat
Park, e. Dunmurry, f. Rathmore, g. Warren,
h. Seymour Hill, j. Ballydrain). 12. Church
sites at Derriaghy (1), Lambeg (2), Drumbeg
(3), Suffolk (4), Dunmurry N.S. (5). 13.
Key to inset diagram: A. Moat Park. B.
The Green. C. Areema. D. Kilwee. E. Ulster
Avenue. F. Seymour Hill. G. Conway. a.
Kingsway. b. Upper Dunmurry Lane. d. Glebe
Road. e. Glenburn Road. The dash symbol
indicates the present built-up area of
Dunmurry and Seymour Hill.
Alluvial deposits and fluvial terrace
remnants are to be found alongside the Lagan between
Lambeg, Drumbeg and Edenderry. They also occur beside
the Glen burn between Suffolk and Dunmurry. Some
alluvial spreads are associated with the middle
stretches of the Derriaghy burn but their distribution
is deemed to be unusual.
The presence of glacial sands and
gravels has affected local relief and soil parent
material, besides offering limited supplies of
groundwater or raw material for extractive industry.
Sandy areas tend to provide light to medium loams
whereas glacial till is often associated with heavy
loam. (Poorly drained till deposits, on the other hand
are apt to gley or become peaty.) Natural conditions
over the years have therefore favoured the development
of acidic brown earths in association with these loamy
textures to produce soils of medium quality to local
The Lagan is the major river in the
area. It is deflected from its northeasterly course by
the glacial deposits of the low Malone ridge before
resuming its flow to the north northeast, past
Edenderry. The diverse and longstanding use of its
waters are well known but its increasing abuse in recent
years has only recently been formally acknowledged by
the Environment and Heritage Service6 of the
Deptartment of the Environment.
Dunmurry village was originally
located on the interfluve between the Derriaghy and Glen
tributaries to the Lagan. This feature of convenient
proportions and easy gradients, like the interfluve
between the Glen and Ladybrook burns, leads directly
from Laganside to the hillfoot slopes at Suffolk.
Surface waters coming off Aughrim,
Collin and Black mountains feed the Derriaghy and Glen
burns as they flow south eastwards to the Lagan. The
Glen catchment covers c. 13 sq.km, which is slightly
larger than the area drained by its neighbour. It
possesses an elongated shape with its headwaters rising
on peaty, rough grazing land above 300m. A well incised
middle stretch of this stream, between 210m and 50m,
gives way to a gentle, sinuous course between Suffolk
and Dunmurry where an incised tract reappears7.
The Derriaghy catchment possesses a
different form, in which many small tributaries rise
below 245m and join to produce an asymmetrical drainage
pattern. Between 245m and 60m these small, youthful
streams flow in near parallel courses that also possess
short incised stretches. Below 60m, however, both trunk
and tributary streams follow distorted alignments before
joining up to flow past Seymour Hill in an incised
While the general nature of the Glen
and Derriaghy discharges is similar, because of close
proximity, their natural flows have been unavoidably
modified by human activities over the last 200 years.
Increased demands for water and the control of surface
discharges from textile interests have resulted in a
legacy of weirs and mill races, as well as scattered
remains of water power installations in the district.
Increased suburbanisation and changing land use in both
catchments over the last 50 years have next promoted
flashiness in rates of runoff and increased risks of
pollution from both domestic and commercial sources8.
An annual rainfall of 1040mm to
1578mm can be anticipated in these two catchments,
depending upon elevation, with about two thirds of the
total falling between September and January. Snowfall
and severe frosts are usually shortlived between
December and March. Surface temperatures for much of the
year are mild over the low ground, with highest values
coming between May and August in a growing season of 250
to 260 days.
Physical conditions have therefore
promoted daily runoff rates in the local streams that
can fluctuate widely between September and January. High
average flow rates are usual between November and
January, to be followed by declining discharge rates
during February and March. After a brief springtime
flurry the longest period of low discharges then occur,
between June and September.
Environmental factors have certainly
been favourable for the growth of both deciduous and
coniferous trees on the low ground about Dunmurry.
Today, however, it is obvious that what was formerly
part of Drumbeg parish is well treed, as a parkland
legacy from past landowners. Westwards, however, fields
that were once cultivated in the former Shankhill
portion of Dunmurry townland have now either been built
over or put down to grass, in hedged fields.
Historical records of one form or
another confirm that the evolution of the vegetation
cover, since deglaciation, has been subject to repeated
interferences. Palynological and dendrochronological
records indicate that severe climatological changes have
influenced the local vegetation in post Pleistocene
times. About 6000 years ago, for example, the climate
was warmer whereas about 1000 years ago it was cooler
than at present. Recent research by Baillie9 has now
drawn attention to the dateable climatic effects of
"dust veils" from volcanic sources, as well as the
possible influences of sudden and marked changes of past
human activities on regional plant covers.
Natural conditions in this district
have proved to be amenable to subsistence and then
commercial agriculture involving crops and livestock
over the last 5000 years. The ephemeral use of timber
and the more lasting use of rock and water resources
have also been promoted and sustained from local
sources. In more recent times, however, a generally
harmonious and measured use of land resources below 100m
has become increasingly disrupted by the encroachments
of industrial installations and the suburbanized
lifestyle, in this part of the Lagan valley. As we now
know air quality over Dunmurry and Kilmakee townlands
has become highly susceptible to adversity, because of a
combination of distinctive relief and microclimatic
factors to which an overload of man made pollutants is
being added incessantly.
Notes and references
- Regional Geology of N. Ireland, Wilson
H.E., HMSO, Belfast 1972.
- The Palaeozoic era is a geological time unit
subdivided into six geological periods. It began
some 505 million years ago and was succeeded by the
Mesozoic era. This unit began about 225 million
years ago and it contained the Triassic, Jurassic
and Cretaceous periods. The next Cenozoic or
Tertiary era began 60-70 million years ago. The
onset of cold Quaternary conditions began about 2
million years ago and was followed by Recent or
Holocene conditions only 20,000 years ago.
- Geology of Belfast and the Lagan valley,
Manning P. et al., H.M.S.O., Belfast, 1970.
- Les Montagnes de l'Irlande Septentrionale,
Raffey A., Imprimerie Allier, Grenoble, 1972.
- N. Ireland Environment and Natural Resources,
Cruikshank J. and Wilcock D. (edits.), Q.U.B.
and N.U.U., Belfast, 1982.
- Proposals for a Water Quality Strategy for
the River Lagan catchment, Dept. of the
Environment (N.I.), Belfast, 1998.
- `The Glen burn at Dunmurry 1974-75', Common R.,
Geography Dept. Research Papers (1), 1977,
- `The 1970 Glen burn floods', Common R., Irish
Geography 6, 1971, p. 302.
- A Slice through Time, Baillie M.G.,
Batsford, London, 1995 (especially Chapters 5-8).
The late Mr
Gaw's garden from The Green
This is possibly the former
watchman's shelter on the
bleaching green established here
in the 18th Century.
Some Indicators of Dunmurry's Past
It has been rightly said that an
understanding of past events can often provide important
clues to our appreciation of the present. Unfortunately
the lack of continuous records and dateable features
pose problems in the Dunmurry area over the scale and
rate of change locally. This chapter is therefore
subdivided into sections, the contents of which have
particular significance to an evolving local scene. (See
In the beginning
Glacial conditions ended locally about 12,000 years
ago and with the onset of favourable climatic conditions
both plants and animals colonised this area. There was
then time and opportunity for these incomers to adjust
to each other and to physical conditions before the
first people arrived and left us tangible reminders of
their former presence.
Field evidence collected at Greenoge10,
on Dunmurry Lane, included worked flints, pottery
fragments and hearth ash to suggest that this site had
been occupied by residents in Neolithic times, i.e. c
3000 BC. Worked flints were later discovered on
cultivated land about lkm away to the south, indicating
that these early settlers had also been in this locality11.
Other signs of early occupance have been found 2'/2 km.
away to the southwest near River Road, in Kilmakee
townland, and these artefacts have been interpreted as
late Bronze Age relics, i.e. 1500 BC 500 BC.
Our earliest known residents came at
a time when the Mesolithic hunting/ gathering economy
was giving way to more settled activities based upon
livestock and crops. This new lifestyle fostered
innovations with pottery, cultivation of barley,
domestication of animals and piecemeal tree clearances
to improve both the quality and life expectation of
these early farmers. Bardon''- has already observed that
some of these Neolithic people produced pottery
distinctive enough to be recognized by its so-called
Other tangible evidence of cultural
development in this period is provided nearby in the
demarcated space of the "Giant's Ring" and its special
grave site marked by a simple, stonebuilt dolmen13.
Changing climatic conditions,
however, were to affect adversely the tree cover of oak,
elder and elm on the better ground as well as the birch
and pine on the poorer soils. Both climatic and human
factors were to influence the distribution of animals
such as the deer, wolf and hare.
Between 300 BC and 500 AD the
defended, isolated farmstead was to appear and then
multiply across the province. Many of their former sites
are still clearly marked by the presence of raths and
|Fig. 2 Reminders of Dunmurry's past
1. Stream. 2.
Traces of Neolithic occupance. 3. Rath site.
4. Motte or Dun site. 5. Standing stone. 6.
Recorded early chapel but site uncertain. 7.
Early established church site at A.
Derriaghy and B. Drumbeg. 8. Ballydrain bawn
site. 9. Furrowed ground. 10. Former
parochial boundaries of Shankill, Derriaghy
and Drumbeg by 1832. 11. Detached
Shankill segments in 1832. 12. Townlands and
The rath, as can be seen from
that located near the former site of Dunmurry House,
is a small, circular earthwork accompanied by one or
more encircling ditches. An enclosed central area
was formerly used as a living site for one or two
settled families engaged in subsistence farming
activities nearby. Other rath sites have been
identified south of Twinbrook Dairy Farm and near
the Lagan east of Drum bridge. Local tradition has
Rathmore House standing upon a former rath site and
Rev. N. Barr has noted that in 1837 one existing and
one destroyed rath occupied ground in Killeaton
while two former rath sites were known to have been
located in Kilmakee townland14.
From field evidence elsewhere it
is known that some of these distinctive features
were in use from early Christian to Norman times,
i.e. 4th to 13th centuries AD. If such a continuity
of occupance had occurred in the Areema rath,
Dunmurry, then it could possibly have been occupied
at the same time as the nearby motte. It must not be
assumed that other less durable forms of habitations
were absent in this district. The siting,
construction and activities associated with the rath
does imply that it was an indicator of social
Anglo Norman to Elizabethan
The motte beside the former site of Dunmurry
House is a sizeable, man made mound of earth. It is
a steep sided feature, circular in plan and flat
topped so that a prefabricated wooden fort could be
erected upon it. Like the nearby rath this feature
has been subject to minor alterations in recent
times. A footbridge once crossed the bounding ditch,
on the southwest side, and the outlines of the mound
have been trimmed. No bailey seems to have been
recognized but there is an interesting near
coincidence between the base diameter of this
artificial mound and that of the rath nearby. At
present it is assumed that this motte is associated
with Anglo Norman influences and was placed,
strategically, on a hillock close to a significant
traverse route across the Lagan valley. Until this
motte has been thoroughly investigated, however, the
possible use of its site in pre Norman times cannot
be discarded nor can its restricted use to Anglo
Norman times be assumed.
In the Anglo Norman period the
year 1306 is noteworthy because an ecclesiastical
tax confirmed the presence of three well established
parishes in this part of the Lagan valley. Shankhill
or St. Patrick's parish to the north was important
enough to provide the mother church for six
dependent chapelries. Derriaghy to the west had
early connections with Black Abbey in the `Ards and
like Drumbeg to the east was in the deanery of
Dalboyn, together with Cloncolmac. Cloncolmac church
was supposedly located in Old Forge townland but
while its site is unknown the name is still
remembered in Dunmurry village.
Folk memories of early Christian
places of worship are reflected in the townland
names of Killeaton and Kilmakee, as well as in the
ward name of Kilwee. While nothing significant has
yet been found in Killeaton burial urns were
unearthed in Kilmakee in 1849. Local tradition
asserts that the last burial at Kilwee occurred c
1760 and early records suggest that Kilmena chapel,
in Shankill parish, was formerly located in the
Barr has observed that while
parochial units were introduced hereabouts in Anglo
Norman times their well defined boundaries date from
the early years of the 17th century. On the other
hand land units with longer pedigrees such as the
townland date from pre Norman days and did not
necessarily coincide with parish areas.
Traditionally the townland was a territorial unit
where land was worked with several families and its
size was based upon the productivity of this land to
satisfy the needs of the families involved. It
reflected a subsistence rural economy which became
increasingly susceptible to change locally with the
growth of commercial enterprise in the 17th century.
And, as indicated by O'Laverty15, some
local townland names have been changed over the
years so that Old Forge was formerly called
Ballydolleghan, Finaghy used to be known as
Ballyfinaghy and Dunmurry once was Ballidownmorry.
Evans', in his turn, has drawn
attention to the Anglo Normans introducing new
tools, farming methods and livestock to this island.
In spite of our lack of exact information his
generalisation that a settled way of life would be
established and persistent in their time is
noteworthy. It involved open fields for grain crops
and vegetables, common grazings for cattle, sheep
and goats along with small, clustered dwellings.
These might have been influential to this part of
the Lagan valley. The fact that a village sized
Belfast possessed a water driven mill by 1333
implies that the use of water power could also have
been appreciated in the local area. Likewise the
sustained farming activities of friars at Lambeg
from medieval times would have caught the
imagination of residents in nearby townlands. As
related groups of people in scattered settlements,
hereabouts, shared an understood system of land use
on ground that came to be identified as townlands
they also became subject to a social hierarchy. This
is turn promoted larger units of organisation such
as the clan or tribe, so that much of the Lagan
valley and its people became subject to the Lordship
of Clandeboye (the O'Neills) by the beginning of the
At this point it seems
appropriate to turn to two items located near the
Glen burn, both of which are enigmatic in terms of
their dates of origin and original functions. A
standing stone is located 1km north of Dunmurry
motte in what is locally known as the "old barley
field" while nearby to the southeast the golf course
fairway possesses a rippled surface. These features
lie on the north side of the burn and both occurred
in well defined fields at the time of the Griffith's
Survey (1862). The standing stone does not appear to
be a glacial erratic, it stands in splendid
isolation near to a distinctive and easy crossing
point of the burn. The furrowed ground nearby lies
on a south facing, moderate slope and is very
suggestive of land that was formerly cultivated.
"Lazy beds" of fairly recent origin do not really
account for the length or disposition of these ridge
and furrow features readily seen in low angled
sunlight or under a thin snow cover. Are they old
plough marks or younger spade marks?
Early in the 17th century the Chichester family
received both status and land for services rendered.
This land extended northwards along the Lagan valley
from Drumbeg and Dunmurry to front the west side of
Belfast lough, first to Carrickfergus and then
beyond. Because of this grant the sale and the
leasing of some ground in the Dunmurry district was
to involve first the Earl and then the Marquis of
Donegal. Land was also to be made available to the
Stewart family who, in 1608, established a bawn
(i.e. fortified house set within a walled enclosure)
at Ballydrain17. An indenture of November
1605 between James Hamilton and Con O'Neill also
embodied the transfer of land, which included the
townland of Ballygrombegg (Drumbeg).
At this time the Lagan valley was
still timbered, in spite of past clearances. Between
1600 and 1641, however, more trees were to be
rapidly removed between Lisburn and Belfast because
of both domestic and commercial demands for housing
and for iron smelting. Although houses were
constructed with wood and brick in the early
Plantation days bricks made from local clay deposits
soon became the dominant material. Robinson" has
asserted that both circular creaghts (composed of
timber, earth or wattle) together with rectangular,
thickwalled and open hearthed buildings were in use
prior to the Plantation. Stone, brick and timber
cagework houses came to be used by "planted" people
in the lower Lagan valley in the 17th century. In so
doing these residents promoted the use of thatch,
windows and chimneys.
In the Census of Ireland 165919
it is recorded that "Dunmurry and the Fall"
contained 388 persons, 147 of whom were native Irish
while the rest were "English". At this date Belfast
supposedly held 366 incomers from Britain together
with 223 native Irish while Lisburn was occupied by
217 incomers from Britain and 140 native Irish.
(Collectively these figures accounted for about one
third of the population in the Barony of Belfast.)
Incomers from Britain obviously provided a
significant element in the Lagan valley population
at this time and many of them possessed cultural
backgrounds or life styles which, after 1660,
encouraged them to reside at or near a developing
market centre. Flax seed is known to have been
imported for use in the Lisburn area by Sir G.
Rawdon in 1667. It would also seem that cattle and
sheep rearing as well as the cultivation of wheat,
barley, oats, rye and flax were all well established
locally before the potato was introduced. No doubt a
growing export trade in cattle, oats, hides, timber
and yarn from Belfast would influence activities in
its Lagan valley hinterland in the late 17th century
and stimulate the care and maintenance of highways
there, by landowners and labourers in defined
The Hearth Money Roll21
of 1669 provides another glimpse into residential
matters in "Dunmurry and Malone parish" by naming
203 persons liable to this tax, including the Earl
of Donegal. (In 1669 Derriaghy parish provided a
list of 243 hearthowners.) Hearth money came from an
annual tax on a house hearth, except for houses of
low value. It provided a means of raising money
Army needs and other public
charges. The Poll Money Ordinance of 1660 deemed
Dunmurry to be worthy of attention and by 1669 the
Hearth Money Roll listed 67 names for "Dunmurry
liberty". Traditionally in Scotland, during the 16th
and 17th centuries, the "liberty" was an area
associated with a Burgh or Barony, or a Royal Burgh,
in which burghesses might carry on a retail trade.
From these particular records it
therefore seems likely that population in Dunmurry
townland grew and shared some of the changes taking
place in the 17th century, in spite of uncertainties
such as the 1641 rebellion and variations in demand
for primary products from the land. Both dispersed
and clustered settlement possibly occurred across
the low ground locally and limited land enclosure
could also be present. One well defined road from
Belfast probably passed Ballydrain and Drumbeg to
Lambeg and Lisburn. Another hillfoot route between
Belfast and Lisburn by way of Derriaghy probably
provided an early alternative22. Cross
valley routes by way of Dunmurry Lane and Stockman's
Lane were no doubt soon established to avoid the wet
land of the Bog meadow and the undulatory ground of
Laganside between Belfast and Drumbeg.
Change and innovation quicken
Early in the 18th century water power began to
be applied to linen bleaching and finishing
processes, with significant consequences for the
local area. The possible use of water in the Lagan
for transporting goods promoted further innovation
and the development of commercial trade by water
began in 1763 between Belfast and Lisburn. (Landing
stages on this waterway were subsequently erected at
Seymour Hill and Dunmurry for the discharge of coal
to be used locally.) The felt needs of commercial
interests for better overland transportation also
resulted in turnpike trustees being appointed in
1733 for the route from Belfast to Banbridge. (But
as Lendrick's 1780 map demonstrates a possible
direct route from Belfast to Lisburn by way of
Balmoral, Finaghy and Dunmurry was not to be
realized until the 19th century.) Turnpikes were
supposed to facilitate the movement of goods and
people between urban centres, but they soon aroused
antagonisms because of the tolls to be paid by users
and the vested interests they chiefly served. Social
as well as economic factors therefore have to be
borne in mind when assessing the role of turnpikes
in the rural areas through which they passed.
Property agreements made in this
century indicate that the milling of locally grown
cereals and the bleaching of linen had tended to
become part of farming activities. Farms near
Glenburn House, for example, are recorded in 1757 as
growing wheat, barley, oats, potatoes and flax and
grazing cattle. One particular farm also had wooden
pipes installed for water to be used at a bleach
mill. It is uncertain, however, if problems of
trade, land and money for farmers on Donegal land
stimulated some of them to emigrate in the 1770-80
decade, as happened elsewhere. On the other hand the
fear of French invasion in the 1780-90 decade did
produce the Lambeg and Dunmurry Volunteers as
elements in the 6th Ulster Regiment. Unsettled
conditions returned in the following decade so that
March 1797 is remembered as the time when property
in Lambeg, Derriaghy and Dunmurry was searched by
the military for weapons.
An indenture of May 1794 between
the Marquis of Donegal and Wm. Darby* involving 22
acres of Dunmurry townland is next worthy of
comment. Amongst the terms there is mention of both
rundale and additional rent of £1 per acre to be
paid for land given to grain cultivation. Rundale
refers to a long established rural tradition in the
province (and Scotland) involving cooperative group
activities on open farmland and living in small
clustered settlements (clachans) that house the
families involved. McCourt23 has written
at some length on the place of the rath, clachan and
isolated farmstead in the Irish rural landscape and
the significance of the words "bally" and "ton" in
rural place names. His observations now have added
relevance to the past Dunmurry scene because of
those 1794 terms.
Church records again provide
additional information about population numbers. The
Parliamentary Religious return for 1775 listed 116
persons in the Dunmurry part of Drumbeg parish.
Furthermore a petition of Protestant Dissenters from
the Dunmurry members of Drumbeg parish was presented
in 1775 and it is noteworthy that many of the 115
names it contained were of Scottish origin. Well
remembered family names such as Stouppe, Stewart,
McCance, Hunter, Eager, McMaster, Johnston, Moat,
Graham, Morrow, Magee, Chambers and Campbell were
The Dunmurry congregation of the
Presbyterian church24 came into being in
1676 and first met in a building near the site of
the church built in 1779. An official investigation
in 1807 noted that this congregation involved 204
families half of which were neither seat holders
After early associations with
Lambeg and Derriaghy it would seem that Roman
Catholics first used a stable for the celebration of
Mass and then a school house built at Hannahstown in
1792. Like the Anglicans, a proper place of worship
in Dunmurry for the Roman Catholics was not
established until the 20th century.
By the latter part of the 18th
century optimistic perceptions about this district
and its resources, together with technical
innovations in industry and commerce25
were to draw new families with business acumen and
social aspirations towards this townland. These
people joined or replaced families like the Hunters
and McCances in acquiring demesnes of varying extent
where they were to live in sizeable houses. Here
they established waterside installations and bleach
fields. In so doing they were to hasten the eclipse
of a small scale cottage industry, dependent upon
locally grown flax. This trend, once established,
had catalytic effects on developments in the
following century including local industry, the
spread of hedged and enclosed farmland, commercial
enterprise, population numbers and changes to
Notes and references
- 'A prehistoric hearth at Greenoge,
Dunmurry', Whelan C.B., Irish Nat. Journal 2,
1928, p. 34.
- 'A prehistoric occupation in Dunmurry',
Sloan C., Lisburn Hist. Soc. Journal 2,
- A History of Ulster, Bardon
J., Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1992.
- Historic Monuments of Northern Ireland,
Dept. of the Environment (N.I.), Belfast,
- Derriaghy A short history of the
parish, Barr N., Graham and Heslip, Belfast,
- An historical account of the Diocese of
Down and Connor, Vol II, Gill, Dublin, 1880.
- 'Prehistoric and Historic Background', Evans
E.E., in Land Use in Northern Ireland,
edit. Symons L., Univ. of London, London, 1963.
- Ecclesia de Drum, Neill M., Univ.
Press, Belfast, 1995.
- 'Vernacular Housing in Ulster in the 17th
Century', Robinson P., Ulster Folklife 25,
1979, p.1. The Plantation of Ulster,
Robinson P., Ulster Historical Foundation,
Belfast, 1994 edition. An Atlas of Irish
History, Edwards R.D., Routledge, London,
1991, 2nd edition.
- A Census of Ireland c 1659,
Pender S., Stationery Office, Dublin, 1939.
- 'The small towns of Ulster 1600-1700',
Gillespie R., Ulster Folklife 36, 1990,
p. 23. The town in Ulster, Camblin G. W.,
Mullan, Belfast, 1951.
- 'Hearth Money Roll for Co. Antrim 1669 for
Dunmurry and Malone parish', held in the
National Library., Dublin. (MS 9584)
- Lendrick's map of Co. Antrim 1780 can be
inspected in the Linenhall Library, Belfast
with the well established roads in the Lagan
- 'The dynamic quality of Irish rural
settlement', McCourt D., in Man and his
Habitat, edit Buchanan, Jones and McCourt,
Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1971, p. 126.
- A history of congregations in the
Presbyterian Church of Ireland 1610-1982,
Presbyterian Hist. Soc. of Ireland, Belfast,
- The Industrial Archaeology of Northern
Ireland, McCutcheon A., H.M.S.O., Belfast,
(page 14): See D2242/2 PRONI
By 1780 bleach greens were in use near
Glenburn House, at Seymour Hill, Derriaghy House,
Suffolk House and at Lambeg.