The Church of the Dwarf
1868 - 1968
Rev. Patrick J. McKavanagh
Printed by IRISH NEWS LTD.,
113-117 Donegall Street, Belfast, 1
His Lordship, Dr. William Philbin. Bishop
of Down and Connor.
The collating of the history of my native parish over the
past few years has been, for me, a labour of love. Canon
McEvoy was the acknowledged expert in this field but the
notes which he left were rather terse. His extensive library
was donated to St. Mac Nissi's College and was a most
generous bequest. The contents of the following pages come
chiefly from this library and from the late Canon's notes.
It would. of course, be impossible to name all those who
aided me in this task, but I would like to pay particular
tribute to the following; The Public Record Office of N.I.,
the National Library, Deirdre Flanagan of the Celtic Dept.,
Q.U.B., David Kennedy, Jean Totten, Francis Rogers and the
pupils of St. Aidan's, the Misses Heaney, Fathers Leo
McKeown and Patrick White, and Doctor Rogers. Finally I want
to thank the Parish Priest and the curates for their
kindness and help.
PATRICK J. McKAVANAGH,
The church on Chapel Hill, like every Catholic church, is
the meeting-place for God and man. Through its broad doors
countless new-born children have been carried to that first
meeting in the waters of Baptism. Before its altar those
children have met their bishop. successor of the apostles,
and have received through him the gift of the Holy Spirit.
At those rails they have had the most intimate relationship
possible between man and God in the Eucharist, and in God's
goad time they have plighted their marriage vows here too
and gone out through those doors again to live their
allotted span until the great bell here tolled for their
last visit. And we who were left have carried them out again
through the broad doors and buried them in the shadow of the
church on Chapel Hill.
This has been going on for a hundred years now and that in
itself would be ample reason to pause and thank God. But
there is a great deal more to it than that. There are many
remains of holy places in this parish of Glenavy and
Killead, and any one of them would have been a fitting site
for a church when Father Pye and his parishioners decided to
build. They might have gone to Templecormac in Ballinderry
or to Lettir Phadraic in Glenavy for reasons which we shall
see later, but choice was a luxury they could not afford,
and they raised this house of God on a hill where our
forefathers had gathered in the Penal Days for the same
This church was dedicated under the invocation of St. Joseph
and consecrated by the bishop of the diocese, Dr. Dorrian,
on September 13, 1868. The sermon on this occasion was
preached by Dr. McCabe, Bishop of Ardagh. The building had
been supervised by Mr. John O'Neill, architect of the firm
of O'Neill and Byrne, and the stone had been quarried
locally in Ballymacrickett and worked by men from nearby,
Hugh Cushnahan and his son Patrick. These men, along with
Wm. John Hamill also helped to build the present parochial
Let us imagine for a moment that the first little baby girl
baptised in St. Joseph's were still alive. She would now be
a centenarian. Let us imagine again that at the time she was
baptised there was another old lady who had just reached her
century. This would bring us back two hundred years. If we
were to go back in this way until we saw, in our
imagination, fifteen such old ladies, we might say that here
we would have the Christian history of our parish. It is
approximately 1500 years since the seeds of Christianity
were planted in our area. Over the past few years I have
tried to follow the growth of that spring sowing, its
flowering and pruning, its propagation and seeming death,
and then once again the faint green shoots and a new
blooming. These thoughts I now bring together and pass on to
The first authentic date in Irish history is the year A.D.
431 when the Annals of Ulster record the mission of
Palladius to Ireland. At school we all learned that Patrick,
patron saint of Ireland, was sent here by Pope Celestine in
A.D. 432. His mission, we learned, was a spectacular success
and when he died the whole country was Christian. Professor
O'Rahilly shocked the scholars more than twenty years ago
when he published his theory that Palladius did not leave
the Irish scene as historians had previously held. He held
that Palladius, who had a second name, Patricius, had a
successful mission, and that Patrick the Briton, "our
Patrick," succeeded him at a much later date in the fifth
century. There is no doubt that there were Christians in
Ireland, even before Palladius, and perhaps we might leave
this vexed question to the experts after reminding ourselves
that by the year A.D. 500, though paganism was not dead,
Ireland was substantially a Christian land.
Rev. St. J. Clarke in his "Thirty Centuries in S.E. Antrim"
makes the statement, "Glenavy has been identified with some
certainty as the site of an early Church founded by St.
Ninian of North Britain about the year 410, and Palladius .
. . . is thought by Professor Bury and others to have died
among the Picts of Dalaradia." I am unable to find any
confirmation of his statement on St. Ninian and it must be
rejected. Who were the Picts? About the time of St. Patrick,
Ireland was divided into five provinces which we may call
Ulster, Tara, Leinster, Munster and Connaught. Ulaidh, or
Ulster as the name became later, was the strongest of these
kingdoms but had been reduced to the area of Antrim and
Down. This new and smaller Ulaidh was divided into three
kingdoms, Dal Fiatach (the Lecale district of Down) the
country of the Ulidians proper to whose king all Ulaidh owed
allegiance normally; Dal Araidhe, the land of the Picts or
Cruithne (present diocese of Dromore and all Antrim south of
the River Ravel), and Dal Riada (N. Antrim and coast to
The Tripartite Life of St. Patrick is the acknowledged
source for the origin of Glenavy Church. "He (St. Patrick)
proposed moreover to take the place in which Lathrach
Patraic (Patrick's site or foundation) is (now). Therein is
Daniel (who is called from his purity) "the angel," and
(from his small size) "Patrick's dwarf." By him is Patrick's
well. Sian ('healthful') is its name. There Patrick's nua
echuir was found. Now Saran son of Coelbad expelled him
thence, and Patrick deprived him of heaven and earth." The
material used by the compiler was older than the ninth
century but its compilation was probably in the eleventh
century. A Latin translation was published by the learned
Franciscan friar, John Colgan in 1647 and it enlarges on the
statement above. From Colgan we learn that Lathrach Patraic
was later called Lettir Phadraic (Patrick's slope), and that
because the Irish word for a dwarf is abhac, Daniel's church
was called Lann Abhaich, "the church of the dwarf." The nua
echuir referred to is literally `new key' and may refer to
some relic of St. Patrick later found there. The well named
Sian had been forgotten even in Colgan's day. He says that
"numerous cures were received by those who drank of its
Another source we must mention is the Martyrology of
Donegal, compiled by the Four Masters in the early
seventeenth century. Among the Irish saints commemorated is
"Aedhan, son of Colga, of Lann Abhaich in Ulaidh�November
6." The same source commemorates under January 22, "Colma,
Bogha, Laisre, three sisters and three virgins of the sept
of Comhgall, son of Fianghalach, etc., and they were
disciples of Comhgall of Beannchair (Bangor); and they are
at Leitir of Dal Araidhe, and according to the poem
beginning, `The Hagiology of the saints of Inis Fail,' they
are of the Dal mBuain, of the race of Eochaidh, son of
Muireadh." The modern Church of Ireland in Glenavy village
is dedicated to St. Aidan (Aedhan). Dr. Reeves identified
Leitir as Glenavy for several reasons. Glenavy was certainly
Lettir or Leitir Phadraic; it was in Dal Araidhe and in the
district known as Dalmunia (Dal mBuain). The use of Lann in
Ireland as applied to a church is certainly pre-Norman.
There are four "Lann" churches in this area, Laloo (Lann Lua).
Lambeg (Lann Beag). Lann Ronan Finn (Maralin) and Lann
Abhaic(h) (Glenavy). The usage may go back to the second
wave of missionary activity in Ireland and may stem from the
influence of such monasteries as St. David's in Wales where
so many of the sixth century clerics served their
apprenticeship, so to speak, before coming to Ireland.
Where was this ancient church of Lann Abhaich situated?
There is good reason for the view that it was somewhere near
where the present Pigeontown road meets the road leaving
Glenavy village. Leitir is a place name meaning "a sloping
field or hillside, commonly wet and trickling" (Joyce). This
would certainly fit the case here. St. Aidan's occupies a
site which was certainly used in Catholic times, though on
the opposite bank of the river. An ancient holy-water stoup.
a basin hollowed out of black stone, is still preserved in
the graveyard. This was, without doubt, the church of the
Pope Nicholas Taxation which we shall meet later. In 1644 a
Protestant church was built there. In 1812 it was found too
small and a new building was erected and extensively
repaired and improved in subsequent years. A disastrous fire
on Christmas Eve, 1938, did much damage but with a new
electric organ and memorial east window it was consecrated
on 28th October. 1939.
But we are going too far ahead. Let us go back to our little
kingdom of Ulidia. We have seen that it approximated to
modern Down and Antrim and that it included three
sub-kingdoms, Dal Riada in the north, Dal Araidhe in the
centre and Dal Fiatach in the south. We must not imagine
fixed territorial boundaries between these as we have in
modern states. In fact the boundaries fluctuated with the
fortunes of war which were unfortunately all too frequent.
Our parish of Glenavy lay in Dal Araidhe at one time. This
was the country of the Picts or the Cruithne, as a colony of
these from North Britain hod settled there about a century
before the Christian era and had become mixed by
intermarriage with the old Irish of the Irian race. After
the assumption of surnames the lordship of the region was
enjoyed principally by chiefs named Lethlobhar (Lawlor) and
Ua Loingseach (O'Linchey). The Dal Fiatach overlords later
expanded in S. Antrim and indeed in later days their
territory was coterminous with the present Diocese of Down.
or more accurately the 1306 diocesan extent. They must have
been fairly well entrenched here as they had their inaugural
seat at Craobh Tulcha (Crewe). Another indication of this is
the term, an Choill Ultach (Killultagh)�a very late
name�which may point to this inaugural site. Finally is the
evidence that the deanery name of Clondermot comes from
Clann Diarmata, a branch of the Dal Fiatach dynasty which
emerged as a unit in the 9th century.
With this background we can see how the Crew fits into our
annals. The great store on which the inauguration of the
Ulidian kings was performed still remains, though a little
removed from its original position. About 1880 it had sunk
so much that little of it was visible. A number of youths,
both Catholic and Protestant, raised it and placed
supporting stones underneath. Later on some youths from
Stoneyford visited the spot and when they had gone it was
found the supporting stones had been removed. This anecdote
was told to Canon McEvoy by Mr. Francis McCorry in 1935. At
the moment the stone, though clearly visible, lies very low.
The old name for this site was Craebh Tulcha which Dr.
O'Donovan translated as The Spreading Tree of the Hill.
There was probably some sacred tree nearby which figured in
the ceremony. It is not true to say that the kings were
"crowned" here, as crowning is a Germanic concept. The new
chieftain probably placed his foot on the stone and took his
oath while his followers gave the three traditional cheers.
A few stone-lined graves belonging to the pagan period have
been discovered on the summit of this hill, and not far away
is a large rath which could have been the site of the royal
The hostility of the enemies of the Ulidians was specially
directed against this spot, hallowed by a thousand
traditions. In 1003 the Kinel Owen who were now the dominant
force in the North defeated the Ulidians and butchered their
leaders. Their own king was slain and Brian Boru, who had
already been accepted as sovereign of Ireland by most of the
septs, came north to secure total submission. Though he did
not manage this, the Ulidians acknowledged his sovereignty
and he encamped on Crew Hill where he was in friendly
territory. The strongest bond of union between Brian and
them was their mutual hatred of the Kinel Owen and Kinel
Connell, the Northern Hy Niall, the descendants of Niall of
the Nine Hostages, a Heremonian. The event was not
forgotten. After Brian's death the Ulidians backed the claim
of Murtough O'Brien, his great grandson, to the throne of
Ireland in opposition to Donnell McLoughlin, king of the
Kinel Owen. Donnell led his men across Tuaim (Toome) into
Ulidia in 1099, routed the Ulidians at Crew Hill and burned
their camp, cutting down the sacred tree. Ua hAmhrain (O'Hafferin)
of the Ulidian cavalry was slain in this encounter. His
family's name is found in the townland Straidhavern.
Twelve years after this, the insult was repaid with a
vengenance when the Ulidians marched to Tealach Og (Tullahoge)
where the Kinel Owen were inaugurated and cut down its
trees. The struggle went on, weakening both sides but two
new events were under way which would change the face of
Irish history. One was the Norse Invasion or the "Coming of
the Danes," and the other was the Norman Conquest. A land
which had been ravaged by strife was a sitting target for an
invader. Before we deal with the Norse Invasion let us now
take a trip to Ram's Island.
This is the largest island in Lough Neagh. There are on it
the remains of a round tower; the portion still standing
measures 42 feet in height, the interior diameter is 8 ft. 3
ins., and the thickness of the walls in 2 ft. 6 ins. so that
the circumference is nearly 40 feet. The doorway which faced
S.S.W. was 8 feet above the offset which indicated the level
of the floor. This is closed, and an entrance was broken
through the western side. It has since been closed. There
were two windows; one, which was pointed, was over the old
doorway and the other on the E.S.E. side.
There is no doubt that this was the seat of a church
establishment. It must have been there prior to the Norse
invasion as the round towers were built as safeguards during
this terror. Burial remains have been frequently found
around the tower and also small metal clasps which probably
were cloak fasteners. A few years ago I was resident on Tory
Island, Co. Donegal, where another tower still stands. The
people there told me of similar finds. The last reference we
have to this establishment is in the famous Pope Nicholas
Taxation of 1306 where there is mention of "Ecclesia de
Lennewy cum capella" (The church of Glenavy with its
chapel). Dr. Reeves identified this chapel as the present
Ram's Island so that it seems that the Norsemen did not
fully quench the religious life there.
In early modern maps the name of the island is given as Enis
Garden which is almost certainly a corruption of the older
name Inis Daircairgren. The Annals of Ulster record that in
1056, "Gormgal, prime soul friend (confessor) of Inis
Daircairgren, full of days died in penance." Again in 1121
it records, "Cumaighe, son of Deoraidh Ua Floinn (O'Flynn),
Lord of Durlas (near Toome) was drowned in Loch Eathach
(Lough Neagh), after Inis Draicrenn had been taken upon him
by the people of Iveagh, where forty four persons were
Monsignor O'Laverty in his History of Down and Connor goes
to great lengths to explain how the name Inis Draicrenn came
to be known as Ram's Island. He maintains that the Irish
word reithe (pronounced `rehey') which means a ram induced
someone to hazard this translation. I find it impossible to
accept his reasoning and am more inclined to think of a less
sophisticated explanation. Perhaps someone in the eighteenth
century kept animals there. After all Duck Island, Sheep
Island, etc., are common everywhere. One fact which seems to
have escaped the learned historian is that the hill opposite
Ram's Island on the shore is still known as Darachrean, the
local pronunciation of which would approximate very closely
With the ensuing strife which spread over Ireland following
the English invasion the church buildings on Ram's Island
faded into oblivion so that only the tower remains
surrounded by tall trees. About the end of the eighteenth
century an old fisherman, David McAreavey, had acquired a
prescriptive right to its ownership. He sold this to Mr.
Conway McNiece for a hundred guineas and McNiece later
exchanged it with Mr. Whittle for a small farm adjoining his
own. Mr. Whittle, formerly of Glenavy and later a Liverpool
merchant, greatly beautified the island by planting trees
and shrubs. There was a small orchard, garden and garden
house on it, in which a caretaker and family resided. Earl
O'Neill of Shane's Castle bought it around 1816. Many people
in Glenavy parish still remember the beautiful little
cottage which was so admired by visitors who used to go
there on a Sunday evening before the motor-car put an end to
all that. The cottage is now in ruins and nature has begun
to take over again. Some years ago a man set up house there
for a time but this did not last either, and herons glide
untroubled above the great beeches at the southern end.
On the raised ridge which runs like a backbone down the
island grow the largest primroses you have ever seen. On May
19, 1900, Robert Patterson found 22 swallow nests under the
keeper's house. Now there are close on 40 pairs. Enough said
The four centuries following St. Patrick's mission had been
times of comparative peace and prosperity. About 800 this
golden age came to an end when first Norwegian and then
Danish raiders appeared off the Irish coasts. They came,
eel-like, up the rivers and their attack was directed
chiefly against the monasteries where they were attracted by
the treasures and sacred vessels. The king of Dal Araidhe
defeated them in 827 but they kept on coming. The
monasteries of Muckamore and Antrim were destroyed and
Turgesius, their sovereign, maintained a fleet on Lough
Their power was finally broken by the great king Brian Boru
whom we have already met and who became high-king of Ireland
early in the eleventh century. His great victory, at
Clontarf ended the raids and devastation while the cities of
Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, etc., survived as their
constructive work in what had been a pastoral and
agricultural island. A period of reconstruction followed but
two centuries of rapine and disorder had a lasting effect on
the people and the golden age became a memory.
The townland of Templecormac is not far from Upper
Ballinderry corners. Coming from Glenavy if you turn left at
Green Hall and keep left you will find a neat cemetery on
your right, adjoining the narrow road. There is no doubt
that this was the site of a very ancient church. There is
some evidence that "Temple" in place-names may suggest
Patrician origin, but this is not certain. At the end of the
last century a small part of a wall belonging to a church
remained in the ancient graveyard and it is still possible
to discern the vague outlines under the raised earth.
In 1622 Templecormac was called Temple Tearmacan and the
Calendar of State Papers for 1647-1660 has the spelling
Temple Icurmuckan, and it is highly probable that this name
is derived from the family of O'Cormacan or Cormican who are
still very numerous in Glenavy. They may have been the
erenachs or hereditary custodians of the church. It is also
possible that the name derives from Cormac which Colmog or
Mocolmog, the Irish form of Colman, assumes in modern
place-names. Monsignor O'Laverty quotes Quarter-Cormac. in
the parish of Down, which was often written as Carrow
Coolmuck-=Quarter Coolmuck, or the Quarter-land of St.
In notes compiled by the of cers` of the Ordnance Survey in
1838 we read: "The burial ground of Templecormac is enclosed
by a quick-set fence; the graves are numerous but there are
few headstones; it is used by persons of every religious
denomination, but principally by Catholics. The Irish cry
(the caoin or "keen") accompanied funerals of Catholics
until about the year 1800. The graveyard was formerly much
more extensive than at present. Only the foundations of the
old church now remain, and they are covered over with earth
and grass. The church stood nearly east and west, 44 by 20
feet in the inside; the walls, of rough stones firmly
grouted, were 2 feet 10 inches thick. A large portion of the
walls remained until about 1790. At the same time were
removed the remains of the dwelling house of the clergy, the
site of which is at present occupied by Robert McAleave's
dwelling house. Two ancient wells, one of which is at
present closed, used to be visited for the cure of sundry
diseases. It is said that there was formerly a great
educational establishment here, presided over by three
friars. For the use of this establishment there was a tract
of land, which is now called the Church Fields, and is
occupied by Robert McAleavey and James Gibson. A friar had
Divine Service at the ruin of the church about 60 years ago
(1778). Templecormac is said to have been founded by Cormac
A'Killy�Informants, James Dunnigan, William Brannagh and
The present farm is owned by Mr. Samuel Smith and the land
is still known as the Church fields. Families of Catholics
and Protestants still use the cemetery.
THE SLIGHE MHIDHLUACHRA
In ancient times five great roads ran from Tara. One of
these was the Slighe Mhidhluachra which led north. Colm
O'Lochlainn, an authority on this subject, tells us that it
ran through Dundalk, Newry, Banbridge, Moira. Crumlin and
Antrim and on up to Dunseverick. It would seem that the road
over Chapel Hill which was the main highway between Moira
and Crumlin down to the last century was part of this Slighe.
If this is so it would have been traversed by St. Patrick,
and while Templecormac is a little bit away from the main
track, the Church of the Dwarf was certainly on it, as is
the old church of Camlin which we shall be visiting later.
Around the year 1110 a national Synod was held at
Rathbreasaill. and the old monastic form of church
government gave way to the Roman system, putting Ireland in
the mainstream of European Catholicism. Malachy, Abbot of
Bangor, and an ardent reformer, later became bishop of the
newly planned diocese of Connor.
Connor had been founded by MacNissi, a disciple of St.
Patrick. It now became the centre of a diocese which
included the present counties of Antrim and Down and part of
Co. Derry. Malachy's task was not an easy one as his diocese
combined the Dalaradians of Connor and the Ulidians of Down.
Indeed Down was made a separate diocese in 1137 and was not
re-united to Connor until 1451. The old boundary, while of
little significance nowadays. still separates Down from
Connor in the now united diocese of Down and Connor. It
follows the line of the river Glas na Braddon from
Whitehouse, then follows the Ballymartin river to
Craigarogan where it turns south west to the Boghil and the
River Clady. From there to Lough Neagh the northern boundary
of the parish of Glenavy is the northern boundary of Down.
It is hardly necessary to add that the modern County
boundaries are much later than this.
The Normans landed in Wexford in 1167 and by 1171 Dublin had
fallen. King Henry arrived and received the submission of as
many Irish chiefs as could be induced to appear before him.
Conspicuous by his absence was O'Neill of Ulster. About six
years later John de Courcy invaded the north and his
superior weapons and skills of war entrenched him in
Downpatrick from which he gradually took a firm hold on the
dioceses of Down and Connor. Some places they occupied
themselves while others were left in occupation by the Irish
save for small rents and a vague overlordship. This was the
position in the southern part of Glenavy parish which was
very densely wooded and largely impassible.
THE POPE NICHOLAS TAXATION
In 1807 a document was discovered in an office in
Westminster which was to shed much light on the history of
Down and Connor. The document referred to the tax which was
levied by the Pope for the expedition or Crusade to the Holy
Land. King Edward I by promising to help with this
undertaking was able to obtain the tenths of the benefices
of England, Ireland. Scotland and Wales. The document
represents the names and fiscal condition of the churches of
the diocese in 1306. Dr. Reeves identified most of the
The diocese of Down was divided into five deaneries,
Clondermot, Newtownards, Ards. Lecale and Dalboyn. Our
present parish was partly in Clondermot and partly in
Dalboyn and before getting down to details let us see the
|Ecclesia de Miloc
|Ecclesia de Balayncan cum capella de Talnosk
|Ecclesia de Dalnach cum capella Villae Roberti
|Ecclesia de Camelyn
|Ecclesia de Deseerto
|Ecclesia de Kenles (?)
Ecclesia de Lennewy cum capella 10/- 1/-
Let us examine these in order.
ECCLESIA DE MILOC
Monsignor O'Laverty writing towards the end of the last
century, mentions a small tract of land lying along the
Crumlin river and called Meleeg-land. In it there was a well
called Meleeg Well, reputedly endowed with curative
properties, and the people tied pieces of cloth on the
bushes nearby. Mulleague House and Mulleague Well are on the
right hand side of the road running from Crumlin to
Cidercourt through the townland of Ballygortgarve. This was
surely the site of "the church of Miloc." Engus Mac Mailraba
gave the bishop of his day "Mileac, with one carucate (ploughland)."
The grant was confirmed by De Courcy and others. In 1180
Malachy, the Bishop of Down, granted canonical possession of
this church to Muckamore, the monastery founded by St.
Colman Ela which later embraced the monastic rule of the
Regular Canons of St. Augustine. Over the years it acquired
many donations of land and buildings made to it by the
Anglo-Norman knights of County Antrim.
After the Elizabethan conquest Sir Fulke Conway is mentioned
as holding "a plough-land in Mullicke." In 1622 the sad
reference is, "Capella de Meleeke a ruin. The tithes
possessed by Sir Hercules Langford." O'Laverty says that the
site was occupied in his day by Mr. George Duncan and that
part of a wall which showed religious carvings was taken
down about 1850.
ECCLESIA DE BALAYNCAN
In his Statistical Survey of Co. Antrim, 1812. Rev. John
Dubourdieu, the Rector of Annahilt, has the following
passage. "In the townlands of Ballykennedy and Caronavy (Carmavy)
are the ruins of two other churches also. There is a
tradition respecting the destruction of the churches in this
barony of Masserene; that, in the rebellion of 1641, the
rebels having got possession in one night of many of them,
and having fortified themselves, it was necessary for the
army to burn these edifices before they could be driven
out." The site of the Ballykennedy church was near Dundrod
Meeting House. The Carmavy church was in Carmavy graveyard
but no traces remain of it nor of Ballykennedy. O'Laverty
follows Reeves in identifying Ballykennedy as Balayncan and
Carmavy as Talnosk. Canon McEvoy, who was certainly versed
in the traditions of the area, was of the opinion that
"Thompson's Mass House" which was used as a church in
Ballymacilhoyle during Penal Times. was the site of
Balayncan. He pointed out that Ballyclan, a townland only a
few yards from this penal site, may have been a corrupted
form of Balayncan. I cannot agree with this. In 1348 Edward
III gave Robert Savage the lands of Balencan. This may have
given the name "Tullach mac Itawissagh" or "Savage's Hill"
to a hill which is named in the inquisitions as part of the
boundary between the estates of Killelagh and Killmackevet.
Dundrod is not in the parish of Glenavy now but Carmavy is.
Dr. Reeves identified Talnosk which is coupled with
Balayncan, with Carmavy. Three hundred years after the Pope
Nicholas Taxation we have a reference to "Ecclesia de
Carmeavie, a union in Clandermot with Rulahach." The church
of Carmavy also belonged at one time to the abbey at
Muckamore as did Miloc. In 1622 "Ecclesia de Carnmeves" was
a ruin and the tithes were owned by the aforementioned
ECCLESIA DE DALNACH
This church stood in the townland of Killealy but not a
trace of it remains. The field in which it stood was called
Kirkfield but about 1795 it was ploughed up. This was the
ancient church of Killead or Killelagh as the northern part
of the parish was known. We shall say more about it later
when dealing with the O'Neills who moved into this area
after the Norman's grip began to wane. The capella Villae
Roberti or chapel of Ballyrobin was in the next townland of
Ballyrobin at a place known as Rock-hill near to where there
was a funereal mound. This church at Killelagh also belonged
to Muckamore and likewise was a ruin in 1622 when Hercules
Langford "possessed the great tithes." There are a couple of
references which suggest that the church of Carmavy was
united to Killelagh prior to this time. A registry of
Muckamore gives a grant of "one carucate" in Dalnach, which
was called Carnrey (Carmavy?) by Galfridus de Croft. Again
the transcriber of the Terrier document has an entry for the
church at Ballyrobin from which it seems Carmavy was united
to it. Reeves wrongly translated Villa Roberti as
Ballyrobert, which is in Connor, not in Glenavy parish.
ECCLESIA DE CAMELYN
The old church of Camlin. the ruins of which are still
clearly visible, is near Cross-hill above Crumlin in the
townland of Ballydonaghy. The remains suggest that this was
a building with a much more ornamental style of architecture
than the neighbouring ones. Indeed the Ordnance Survey noted
in 1838 that "the walls had been much injured by the removal
of every well-dressed stone."
This same Survey gives some details which we may include
here. "It measures 72 by 21 feet 10 inches on the inside,
and is of extraordinary strength and thickness of wall,
varying from 5 to 6� feet in thickness. The eastern and
western gables are up to the square. Large parts of the west
end of both the north and south sidewalls are altogether
destroyed. In the east gable are the remains of a Gothic
window. 5� feet high, 3 feet wide in the inside, but only 2
feet wide on the outside. In the south corner of the gable
are the ruins of a safe (piscina) 2� feet broad, 2 feet 3
inches deep and 4 feet high, but, as the walls are
dilapidated. its original height cannot be ascertained. In
the south sidewall, 2� feet from the east gable, are the
remains of an arched window, 3 feet 10 inches wide by 3 feet
8 inches high in the inside. In both sidewalls, and nearly
opposite to each other, are four arches. These arches are
partly dilapidated. They seem to have been 7� feet wide at
the base, 2 feet 10 inches deep, and from 5 to 6 feet high.
The columns between the arches are of masonry, and 2� feet
broad. In the north sidewall, within 15 feet from the west
gable, are the remains of a door, a portion of a side of it
still remains, showing, on the east side of it, the
bolt-hole, 7 inches wide, 8 inches high and 5 feet in
There is an ancient document which states that Engus Mac
Mailraba, who gave Miloc to the see, also gave "the townland
of Camlin, with one carucate." The Terrier document of 1615
mentions Camlin as the bishop's mensal�"a little parish
within the bishop's two townlands, and is sparpallit by evil
neighbours and in the bishop's decay." Sir Fulke Conway was
the tenant at this time. In 1622 it was a ruin and once
again "possessed by Hercules Langford" and returned as "a
parcell of Muckamore."
There was a small townland called Ballycamlin but it is now
incorporated in Ballydonaghy. There was probabaly a small
hamlet near the church of Camlin. The present village of
Crumlin is a comparative newcomer and seems to have grown
out of the village called "Ballygartgarrock Towne" in the
Hearth Money Rolls of 1667. The present village of Crumlin
is in Ballytromery but Ballygortgarve is the next townland.
Crumlin is given as Cromlinn in the modern Placenames
Commission booklet (1962) and was probably Croim-ghleann
(the crooked glen) originally. There would not seem to be
any connection between the names Camlin and Crumlin. Camlin
church ruins are at present on Mr. McCartney's farm.
ECCLESIA DE DESERTO
Our Christian ancestors were well aware of Our Lord's advice
to his followers to retreat occasionally from the cares of
life, to "go into a desert place and rest a little." The
Latin word desertum became disert in Irish and where it is
found in placenames, it denotes a hermitage or secluded spot
where people adjourned to commune more closely with God. It
was often applied afterwards to churches erected in those
Such was Dundesert (the fort of the hermitage). Dr. Reeves
visited the place in May, 1845. and has given the following
interesting description: "In a field called the
Church-field, which is now as even as if it never had been
disturbed by any other instrument than the plough, there
was, until about 60 years ago, a space of nearly 4 Irish
acres enclosed by a large and nearly circular fosse. This
trench was about the breadth of a moderate read, and the
earth which had been cleared out of it was banked up inside
as a ditch. carrying up the slope to about the height of 16
or 20 feet from the bottom. The whole face of the slope was
covered with large stones, embedded in the earth. Concentric
with this enclosure, and at about the interval of 7 yards,
was another fosse, having the rampart on the inner side,
similarly constructed; and on the area enclosed by this
stood the church, east and west, 90 feet long and 30 wide.
The ruined walls were about 6 feet high and 5 feet thick.
The burial ground was principally at the east end of the
building, and the whole space outside the walls was covered
with loose stones. The two entrances, as described above,
were about the same breadth as the fosse, and were paved
with large flat stones; but they had no remains of a
gateway. Pieces of stained glass, coins of the Edwards, oak
boards, large iron handles, stone hatchets, a small bell,
and 3 stone basins, one of them perforated, were found
within this space. With considerable difficulty all the
stones were cleared away, and with them the mill and houses
of Dundesert were built, while the trenches were filled up,
and every trace of the cashel and church as completely
obliterated as the most fastidious ploughman could desire."
Enclosures such as this were termed cashels and were
obviously in imitation of the fortresses in use among the
pagan Irish. Dundesert may indeed have been a pagan site
taken over by the clergy. The Litany of Aengus. the Culdee,
written in the year 799 prays to "the seven holy Egyptian
monks, who lie in Desert Ulaidh." When Sir Fulke Conway came
to power in this area he held, "in Downdesart, one towne,
temporals." In the Protestant bishop's report of 1622 it is
stated: "Downedesert. �8 rent. Item, the landes of
Downedesert, late recovered by the now bishop, and let to
Hugh Oge O'Mallehallen (Mulholland) for the yearly rent of
�8 sterling. Here the bishop claimeth a towneland according
to his old records, and possesseth only halfe a towne." Need
we add the rest? "Sir Hercules Langford possesseth the great
tithes." We might
add however that he did in fact possess almost all that land
north of the Crumlin river. In the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners' report of 1833 the half town of Dundesert was
held under the see by James Moore at the rent of �14-10-9
and an annual renewal fine of �74-12-7�. Dubourdieu
mentioned that many uncoffined skeletons were found within
the buildings and a cannon ball was found there. He suggests
it was destroyed in 1641 when the Irish rose in revolt
against those who had occupied their lands.
ECCLESIA DE LENNEWY
We have already dealt with this when discussing the church
at Glenavy.THE CLANDEBOYE O'NEILLS
About 70 years after the period of the Pope Nicholas
Taxation the period of Norman Ulster came to an end with the
defeat of William de Burgh, the brown Earl, at Skegoniel and
of Sir James Talbot at Downpatrick. Into the vacuum thus
caused came a branch of the famous O'Neill family of Tyrone.
These were the followers of Aodh Bu� or Hugh the
Yellow-haired and hence the name Clann Aodha Bu� or
Clandeboye. Soon they were entrenched at Castlereagh and
their territory extended from the Antrim glens to Strangford
The great wooded area of Killultagh was strictly speaking
not in Clandeboye but its fastnesses were often used as a
refuge by the Irish. "Brian Mac Art was within the fastnage
of Killultagh where he kept himself so that Chichester could
not harm him as he deserved," say the State Papers. In the
Hearth Money Rolls of the 1660's we have a list of the
inhabitants of this region and I have included this later
on. We have, however, a list from a 1640 document which is
even more interesting as it gives, as far as I know, the
earliest record of the Irish families in Killultagh prior to
the upheaval which followed the '41 rising.
"The Irish in Killultagh . . the following except that they
paid a token of rent had the freedom of Killultagh.
The Magillmuryes Mac Rories, Hamels, McTrealawnies.
Heaghians, Greemes, Hillins, Mag Veaghs, Macavagans.
A list follows of those who were true inhabitants and
under-tenants in the county aforesaid.
Magillreavies, McShanes, Lawries, O'Mulhalon, McQuaids,
McRobins and others.
A note of those that are but strangers of other countries
dwelling in this country of Irish.
McCaines, Magrues, Magourans, McStranogs, Makeaghrakes,
O'Doones, Makeaghulias, O'Deeams, O'Quins, McGeeans,
O'Mildownes, O'Kanes, Tallons, Gribins, O'Mullcrewy with
their strange followers, the O'Closes, O'Lorkans, O'Forfyes,
O'Connorys, O'Conweeles, O'Prontys, Marlies, McVoloonyes.
McDonnells, Henneries, McQuovicks, Flannegans, Maghagans.
O'Monans, Magheralls, McRories, O'Mulveanies." (ex State
Mac Ilmurray: This beautiful old name literally means "the
son of the servant (gilly) of Mary (Our Lady)." In modern
Irish it is written Mac Giolla Mhuire. It has been
Anglicised as Gilmore, and indeed they had not a very good
name in the state records. Sir Samuel Ferguson spins a tale
about them in his Hibernian Nights' Entertainment when Corby
Mac Gillmore, "the destroyer of forty churches," caused much
havoc in the area. These stories, compiled by the least
sympathetic sources. could well be taken with a large grain
Mac Rory: In modern spelling Mac Ruair�, this name has often
been Anglicised as Rogers, Rogerson, Rodger, Rodgers.
Hamill: modern � h�maill.
Both Hamills and Rodgers are mentioned by O'Laverty in the
tradition he gives about the geneaology of Felix O'Neill,
the last Earl of Killultagh.
Armstrong: These were a branch of the O'Laverys who, when
they became numerous. were subdivided into various branches,
Lavery, Tren-Lavery, Ban-Lavery, etc. Tren Lavery was the
Irish � Labhra� Tr�an (the strong Laverys) and was
Anglicised, incorrectly, as Armstrong. The Irish word for an
arm or hand is L�mh, but this has no connection with this
name. Nicholas Trenlavy was P.P. of Aghagallon in 1704 and
incidentally Patrick Mcllmurry was his curate. Fr. Bernard
Armstrong, P.P., Ballygalget, is a native of Glenavy parish.
Haughian: Nowadays we have Haughan. Haughian and O'Haughian,
modern Irish � hEacha�n. These were the ancient � hEochaidh,
one of the most ancient names in Ulster as they were of the
Dal Fiatach. "Irial O'Hughian" was P.P. of Glenavy in 1704,
His family were famous poets in the Clandeboye regime. Irial
is a name thousands of years old.
McKavanagh: There was a Derby (Jeremiah) even in 1667 in the
Deerpark. Perhaps this is the name here.
McAreavey: This old name was Mac Giolla Riabhaigh, which we
might translate `Son of the servant of Reavey' (Riabhach=brindled,
swarthy, etc.). Spelled as McGrovy in some documents.
McShane: Literally meaning John's son we have McShan,
McShane. while the name was sometimes Anglicised as Johnston
Lavery: Originally a Leinster tribe, the Moncha (many of
whom later became the O'Mooneys) were located around Moira,
where they had a chief called Labhraidh, hence the Lawries
or Laverys. They formerly had in their possession the Clog
Rua, or bell of St. Ronan Finn of Magheralin but this has
been lost. Modern spelling is � Labhra� which also can mean
Mulholland: This well known family were the keepers of St.
Patrick's Bell. About the time of the Clandeboye movement
into Co. Antrim they occupied lands in Killead and they are
found all over the district in ensuing rolls. The modern
spelling is � Maolchalann.
Mulcreevy: This is a very old family name, prior to the
Clandeboye. They were located west of the Upper Bann and
moved between Castlereagh and the Logan. Their name has many
forms Gillecrewe. Mulcrew, Mulgrew, Grew, Magrue, and has
even been Anglicised as Rice.
In the Hearth Money Rolls for the Parish of Aghagallon we
find many of the names which abound in Glenavy to-day. The
refugees from the planted lands of Killultagh sought the
shelter of the region now known as the Montiaghs (na m�inte
or the marshes). This area was isolated by vast bogs and the
various Islands, e.g. George's Island, Courtney's Island,
etc., were merely islands in the surrounding marshland.
There we find Magee, McCorry, Mcllcreany or Creany,
McStrannock or McStravick, O'Cormican, O'Lockan. Courtney,
McCroosey (Crossey?) along with most of the names already
We have made reference already to this document with the
unusual name. A terrier is a list or collection of lands,
tenancies, etc. Such a list was drawn up about 1615
usingolder documents which have since perished, giving the
names of each church in the diocese in Catholic times.
Coming about 300 years after the Pope Nicholas Taxation list
it will be found helpful in an understanding of our parish.
At this time Down was divided into 6 deaneries, Lecale.
Mourne, Dal mBuine, Clondermot, Newtownards (Ballavico) and
Ards. There is first of all given a list of the land which
belonged to the Bishop. Included in this is Meelicke (Miloc),
Temple-Tearmacan (Templecormac, a "towne"), Kemline
(Crumlin. 2 "townes"). Downdesert (a "town"). At this time
all these possessions had been transferred to one of the new
officers of the Queen, Sir Fulke Conway whom we shall be
meeting later on.
The parish of Glenavy was in the deanery of Clondermot at
this time, not in Dalboyn. Four churches are mentioned in
it; Ecclesia de Carmeavie, a union with Rulahach; Camlin, a
mensal of the bishop, "and it is sparpallit by evil
neighbours and in the bishop's decay"; Lenavy or Glenavy
where "Bangor is parson" and "Capella de Kilmakavett" where
again "Bangor is parson." In the latter cases the churches
had come under the control of the Bangor monastery. The
Protestant church of Gartree occupies the site of the
ancient church of Kilmackevet, alias Tremfade. In May, 1933,
Mr. John Manderson presented the font that is now in
Aldergrove Church grounds. On that occasion he said he had
thought "the font was a horse trough but if it was a holy
water font, the P.P. of Glenavy had the best right to it."
It had lain for years in the yard of the houses occupied by
John and William McGarry of Waterfoot. It is said the stones
used in the building of these houses came from the old
church at Gartreehence the font. This old church was known
as Kilmackevett. "Rulahach" is probably a misnomer for
Killelagh in the present townland of Killealy, the Dalnach
of the Pope Nicholas Taxation.
O'Laverty mentions two other churches in the parish. The "Capella
de Elder" was returned by the Protestant bishop as a ruin in
1622 and the tithes possessed by Sir Hercules Langford. This
was probably in Ballymacilhoyle where an ancient cemetery
was discovered not far from Aldergrove church. The townland
of Ballymacilhoyle is named from its ancient owners the
family of McGilcowell or Mac Giolla Comhgaill (son of the
servant of Comgall). This was St. Comgall of Bangor under
whom the family were hereditary church farmers. Like
Kilmackevet, Elder belonged to Bangor. The family of
McGilcowell now names itself McConnell.
A church called Kilmaneeve stood in a corner of the townland
of Ballyginniff, but the cemetery was on the other side of
the stream in the townland of Ballynageeragh. Mrs. McSorley
of Belfast, who was from a well-known family called
McAreavey, told me that her mother pointed out this site to
Monsignor O'Laverty when he was collecting information for
his monumental work. The site of the church is a few yards
up the first road on the left going from Aldergrove corners
THE NAME GLENAVY
Only in modern times has the G been prefixed to this name.
In 1605 an inquisition refers to "Clenough, otherwise
Linawney." My own explanation of this is that the new
settlers, many of whom came from Gloucester and S. Wales,
would have been very familiar with the prefix Lana (compare
Llandudno, Llannelly, etc.) and since these are pronounced
with a "Chian" sound, it is easy to understand how the name
became Chian, Chlen, and lastly Glenavy. In a map dated 1710
it is denominated 'alias Clonaghy.' In 1685 we find 'Cloonavie,'
even though the Hearth Money Rolls had previously written
THE CONWAYS AND HERTFORDS
Sir Fulke Conway was an active officer in the army of
Elizabeth. The Conways were a family of no great note until
this time when the Queen selected Sir Fulke of the County of
Flint as one of the three officers to carry on the war
against the native Irish. The other officers who with Conway
served under the Earl of Essex were Colonel Arthur
Chichester and Lieutenant Colonel Hill.
Conway had been governor of the Fort of Inisloughin where he
often lived. This was near the present Spencer's Bridge,
perhaps where Trummery House now stands. By 1609 he was in
his second year as Mayor of Carrickfergus, the most
important fortress in the north. With the flight of the
Earls in the autumn of 1607, the main cause of unrest passed
away and the time was ripe for Elizabeth's henchmen to come
into possession of the fruit of their labour.
Con O'Neill of Castlereagh had earlier been forced to convey
his lands to Sir James Hamilton, and Sir James finding too
much on his plate�a rare happening in those days�had these
lands passed by letters patent to Sir Fulke.
The southern part of the parish of Glenavy formed part of
this vast estate which extended from Lambeg, near Drumbo, to
Lough Neagh and occupied nearly the whole of the barony of
Upper Massareene. The settlers who came to live here were
from the apple districts of England, on the banks of the
Severn and Avon, and indeed the line of the English settlers
is the line of orchards even to this day. It may be of
interest to give the names of some of these people as many
of their descendants are still found in the area:
Gresham, Audis, Thurkilld, Antwhistle, Higginson, Hastings,
Waring, Close, Wolfenden, Mussen, Bullmer, Bunting, Blizard,
Charleton, Aprichard, Gwilliams, Haddock, Peers, Wheeler,
Breathwait, Barnsley, Carleton, Conway, Garrett, Bennett,
Gregory, Waters, White, Pearce, Grainger, Willis,
Shillington, Hammond, Moore, Smyth, Richardson, Clark,
Hopes, Peel, Bicket, Lamb, Hodgkinson, Carter, Courtney,
Weatherhead. Morgan. Palmer, Walker, Calvert, Taylor, Mace,
An English Catholic with the unusual name Throgmorton
Totesbury farmed six townlands in the Glenavy area at this
time. In 1641 he had four large barns, office houses, a kiln
and malthouse which could accommodate 100 men. His religion
however did not save him when the Irish rose in revolt and
though he appealed for help to Chichester, it did not come,
and he had to leave, letting his land to an old neighbour,
Sir Fulke died without issue in 1624 and was succeeded by
his brother Edward. Early in the reign of Charles I he was
granted the lands of Derryvolgie as well, and soon was
raised to the peerage, becoming the first Viscount Conway of
Aberconway and Killultagh. The second Viscount was removed
from the command of his regiment for refusing to sign the
Covenant, and he ended his days in ailing health at Paris,
The 3rd Viscount is of more interest to our story, as he
left his mark on the district. At the age of 23 he ended his
military career, just managing to escape with his life from
the bloody battlefield of Benburb. This ended his interest
in the Irish campaign. During the Commonwealth period he
kept quietly in the background, but when Charles II came to
the throne he used his store of wealth to become a courtier
and friend of the King. Now was the time for spending.
He had a fine castle at Lisburn. but decided to build
another at Portmore around the year 1664. Nearby he enclosed
2,000 acres or so including within it several farms for
which he had to find other land for the occupiers. He built
a shooting lodge, and a decoy for wild ducks in imitation of
the one the King had in St. James's Park.
Sir George Rawdon, his brother-in-law, thought it wise to
warn him about expenses, but it doesn't seem to have made
much difference. Writing to Rawdon from Ragley in
Warwickshire. he says, "I have advised with Garrett about
the hemp-seed, and he thinks, considering he cannot go into
Flanders because of the sickness, it may be provided in
England, if you desire it; and that for the future two of
the acres of that land in the Tunny Park, which is lately
stubbed up. would furnish you plentifully. If the cranes you
mention do live and will thrive, I intend. God willing, to
have them brought over, (-ho' it be by an express messenger;
and in the meantime it would be convenient to employ some
such person about them as would be fit to bring them over. I
pray acquaint John Totnal that I desire him to get some
bee-hives at the Tunny Park, for if I live to come into that
country, I believe I shall use a great deal of
honey"�Obviously the 3rd Viscount had "a sweet tooth." In
another letter to Rawdon he says, "I have got two couple of
right decoy ducks and a drake, such as will fly abroad every
night and return in the morning; these I will send over
within a fortnight, and I will send to all the decoys in
England, till I have brought mine into such a condition as
it ought to be."
In Cupples' Survey of the area he tells the following
anecdote. "Edward the last Earl Conway died without issue
and he bequeathed them (the lands of Killultagh) after the
decease of his Countess Ursula to Francis Seymour, son of
Sir Edward Seymour, speaker of the Long Parliament . . . .
Francis was to have married Earl Conway's only daughter but
though all the marriage settlements were made, she died on
the day fixed for her nuptials. The Earl sent for Seymour to
his bedchamber and told him that though this was God's will
to prevent an alliance, he must still consider himself his
son-in-law and heir to his estates and fortune."
It is a pleasant story, but quite untrue. The facts are that
the last Conway died on 13th August, 1683, and by his will
bequeathed his English and Irish estates, after the death of
his wife, to a young man called Popham Seymour, third son of
Sir Edward Seymour, but the eldest son of his second wife,
Letitia Popham, the sister or niece of Conway's mother. The
nearest relative was Arthur Rawdon, his sister's son. It is
said that Conway's will was made some four days before his
death under "most suspicious circumstances."
Popham was a rake with the most dissolute habits. On a
summer evening in 1699 he fought a duel with an officer of
the Blues, called Kirk. Both were drunk at the time and
"Beau" Seymour, as he was known, was wounded in the neck and
In this way the estates which Sir Fulke had gained as a
result of the Elizabethan wars, passed to Francis Seymour,
Popham's brother, the ancestor of the Earls and Marquises of
Hertford. Francis was made Baron Conway of Ragley in 1703
and of Killultagh in 1712. His son was created Earl of
Hertford in 1750 and Marquis in 1793.
The property descended in regular succession, the heirs
receiving the title of Marquis of Hertford until the death
of the 4th Marquis in 1870. Hugh McCall of Lisburn in his
"Recollections" mentions that up to 1845 the Marquis who was
drawing an annual income of over �50,000 from his estate had
never set foot in it. In October of that year he paid his
only visit, promising to redress the wrongs of the tenantry,
but promptly forgot all about this. During his life his
agent was allowed to act as he liked, raising rents as the
tenants' toil improved the lard. During the famine years of
'47 and '48 he alone, amongst the Ulster landlords, showed
no sympathy with the starving tenantry, but by aid of
charity and assisted emigration many escaped death. The
Marquis of Down-shire spent about �15,000 on relief.
Hertford gave about �700.
The elder son of the 3rd Marquis inherited the family
character and resided most of his life in Paris. At his
death the estate passed to his natural son Sir Richard
Wallace in 1872 after a long and costly court case with Sir
Hamilton Seymour. Wallace lived chiefly in Paris and made a
name for philanthropy during the siege there when it is said
he spent �80.000 for the relief of the suffering English. In
1890 he died and his widow, a French lady, succeeded. The
famous Wallace collection of paintings at Hertford House.
Manchester Square. London, is the bequest of Sir Richard's
widow. The Conservative Party, in power from 1895 to 1905,
adopting the policy of "killing Home Rule by kindness,"
passed acts to enable the tenant-farmer to purchase his
holding from the landlords. Under Wyndham's Land Purchase
Act of 1903, �112,000,000 was advanced by the government to
farmers who were given 68 years to repay the loans. The land
purchase annuities are now collected by the N.I. Ministry of
Finance. "The Landowners of Ireland" published in 1878 lists
Wallace's holdings thus: Antrim 58,365 acres, Down 2,693
acres. Total 61,058 acres.
When Chichester was governor of Carrickfergus three of his
officers were Hugh Clotworthy, Henry Upton and Roger
Langford. These men were rewarded for their services by
receiving Crown grants of choice lands once belonging to the
O'Neills. Clotworthy got Massareene, Upton got Templepatrick
and Langford sited his residence on a slight peninsula
projecting into Lough Neagh which is still known as Langford
Later on the Langford and Longford (Pakenham) families were
united and the large house built which later served as N.I.
Base Command for U.S. troops in the second world war. The
present Gartree church which was once the private chapel of
the Pakenhams was built in the 1830's by Lieut. Gen. Sir
Hercules Pakenham. His elder brother General Edward Pakenham
was commander of the defeated British Army at New Orleans.
The last of his family to die in war was Major Hercules
Dermot Pakenham who died from wounds received at Dunkirk.
The Pakenhams sold the estate to the Air Ministry in 1940
when the airfield was opened. In 1959 the estate was bought
by the Martin Baker Aircraft Co. and T.A. Sappers demolished
the huge rambling mansion.
THE O'NEILLS OF KILLELAGH AND
We have traced the fortunes of the Conways and Hertfords not
through any desire to perpetuate their memory but solely to
aid us in understanding the history of our parish since the
Plantation. It is a rhetorical exaggeration to say that all
the native Irish were driven to the hills and bogs at the
beginning of the seventeenth century. Indeed many native
freeholders got grants. But we must distinguish between
those Irish gentry who had grants from the Crown, those who
were tenants and leaseholders under the Irish or planted
landlords, and the mere tenants-at-will or labourers which
the mass of the population became. It is no rhetoric to say
that the latter were reduced to the lowest serfdom and
The northern part of the parish of Glenavy contains the
lands which were retained by one branch of the Clandeboy
O'Neills. Neal O'Neill was slain fighting on the side of the
English but left two sons, Neal Og and Hugh Mergach. On May
26. 1607, a grant of the tuogh or district of Killelagh was
made to Neal Og and that of Kilmackevet to Hugh. Chichester
had cast very envious eyes on these districts but because of
Neal Og's friendship with Sir Randal McDonnell, afterwards
Earl of Antrim, and a favourite with the King, he demurred.
Neal later married Sir Randal's daughter. The districts of
Killelagh and Kilmackevet roughly correspond to that portion
of Glenavy parish which lies north of the Crumlin river. The
boundary between them at one end was the "small river of
Shroghanlereske," now known as the Black Burn stream which
enters Lough Neagh near Ballyginniff Milltown. Neal Og's
district of Killelagh corresponded roughly with the modern
townlands of Corbally, Dungonnell, Crookedstone, Killealy,
Ballyrobin, British. Ballysculty, Grange of Carmavy,
Kilcross, Lisnataylor, Boltnaconnell, Straidhavern, Tully
and Seacash. Kilmackevet which belonged to Hugh corresponded
roughly with Ballyginniff, Ballyquillin. Ballynageeragh.
Ardmore, Ballymacilhoyle, Ballynadrentagh, Ballyclan,
Gortnagallon, Ballyhill, Crosshill, Randox and Ballymacmary.
Neal Og married Lady Sarah McDonnell and when he died in
1628, King Charles I directed that his young son Henry
should be looked after "by a fit person or persons, provided
that he or they be good Protestants." His ward was Sir Henry
O'Neill of Edenduffcarrick (Shane's Castle) who was a
Protestant. During the trouble of 1641 his estate was
forfeited, but was restored in 1665 and in the next year he
was made a baronet.
Sir Neal O'Neill, Henry's eldest son, was a colonel of
dragoons in the service of James II and was present at the
eventful siege of Derry. His castle was on the shore of
Lough Neagh near the mouth of the present Black Burn stream.
In April, 1690, he was one of the assessors for Co. Antrim
for the levying of tax for James. At the river-ford of
Rossnaree near Slane, he and his men made their last stand
for the House of Stuart. For a whole hour they gallantly
resisted the Williamites, though exposed to superior
numbers. O'Neill himself was shot in the thigh but still
managed to conduct an orderly retreat. He died a week later
in Waterford where he is buried in the old Franciscan
friary. His tombstone reads:
Here lyes the Body of S. Neale O'Neille Barronet of
Killilag(h) in the County of Antrim who dyed ye 8 of July in
the year 1690 at the age of 32 years and 6 months. He
married the second Daughter of the Lord Viscount Molyneux of
Sefto(n) in Lancashire in England. Requiescant in Pace.
His wife and four daughters were unprovided for and his
brother Sir Daniel became the last baronet. The estate was
confiscated but Sir Neal's widow appealed and though the
lands were granted to her and her daughters for 41 years
they were sold, under these conditions in 1701. There is a
portrait of Sir Neal O'Neill and also one of his wife in
Lord Talbot de Malahide's collection in Malahide Castle. Sir
Neal's daughter Rose married Nicholas Wogan, younger brother
of Charles Wogan, the Jacobite adventurer. Their daughter
was grandmother of 2nd and 3rd Barons Talbot.
Almost as soon as Hugh Mergach had come into possession of
Kilmackevet he began to dispose of it in the most
thoughtless manner, most of it going to Sir Hercules
THE SCOTTISH SETTLERS
We have mentioned the native Irish, and the settlers from
England and Wales who came to Conway's estate. The Scottish
came under less distinguished leaders and more as
independent units of population. True there were Hamiltons
in Down and MacDonnells in Antrim already. But Ireland was
to Scotland at this time what the U.S.A., Canada and
Australia became at a later date. It was remote, but it was
the land of hope, the field of the adventurer, the home of
the emigrant where land could be had at a nominal cost. Into
Antrim they poured by Islandmagee to Ballyclare, Antrim and
Ballymena. In 1633 and 1634 the emigrants from Scotland by
way of Ayrshire walked in companies of 100 or more from
Aberdeen and Inverness, and were about 5,000 per annum. So
numerous were they that they came in turn to occupy much of
the intermediate and waste land lying between themselves and
the other sets of population. F. J. Bigger, M.R.I.A., noted
that the names on the tombstones in Nithsdale, north of
Dumfries, correspond closely with those found in the
churchyards of Carnmoney, Templepatrick and Killead. Some
fled persecution from the Established Church at home and
brought Presbyterianism into the area, but many too were
devoid of any interest in religion. Andrew Stuart,
Presbyterian minister of Donaghadee, came to Carnmoney in
1696 and declared: "From Scotland came many and from England
not a few, yet all of them generally the scum of both
nations, who from debt or breaking and fleeing from justice
or seeking shelter, came hither hoping to be without fear of
man's justice in a land where there was nothing, or but
little as yet of the fear of God."
THE HEARTH-MONEY TAX
Between 1662 and 1689 a form of taxation was levied called
Hearth-Money. Like all taxes it was unpopular, the more so
as it entailed inspection of houses. The rate was 2/- per
hearth which would be equivalent to almost �5 to-day. The
records of this tax (known as the Hearth-Money Rolls)
perished along with other valuable material in late June,
1922, with the burning of the Four Courts in Dublin.
Fortunately transcripts of these had been made for three
Ulster counties. Antrim, Derry and Tyrone, and these are
kept in the Library of the Presbyterian Historical Society
in Belfast, also in the Record Office and in the Linenhall
Library in the same city. The Rolls consist of lists of
householders liable to pay tax, arranged according to civil
parishes and townlands.
HEARTH MONEY ROLL FOR 1669. Mazareene
PITMEANE (Ballypitmave): Roger McCann, John Cosnahan.
BALLYMOATE (Ballymote): James McNeese, Richard Butcher, Tho
Raly, Adam McNeely.
BALLYNECRECKET (Ballymacricket): Patrick O'Sharkey, Patrick
McElkenan, Thomas Butcher, Wm Fflanikin, John Welsh 4, John
Waltone. Rowland McCranel, Wm Steensonn, James Ffostard,
Thos Hunter, John Jebs, John Kelley. Barthol Read.
AUGHADALGIN (Aghadolgan): Mr. Ffooke Guilliams, Daniel
O'Neale, John Taylor.
AUCHANES (Oglis?): John Ffalkner, Geo Rely, Nicho Burns,
Derby Burns, Arch Allett, Wm Younge. Ffrancis Cardwell,
Richard Henderson. Phelomy Donohey, Henry Ffarr. James
Marshall, Kio McShane, Theo Burnes.
THE TUNY PARKE (Deerpark): Robert Stringer, Thomas (no
surname), Coyner Stringer (no hearths given).
THE TUNEY (Feumore): Patrick O'Brankin, James Wilsone, Wm
Ffinn, Nicho McKenenton.
MONEY CROMOCKE (Moneycrumog): Thomas Peele, Collo Trelany,
Patrick McKahalshey, James Coleman, Henry O'Naile, Hugh
Fforfee, Josias Booth, John McAgoe, John Quale, John Nelson.
John Sheppard, Patrick McFfeagh, John Bowles, John Pipin,
Cormuck O'Brean, Neale O'Creely, Philomy O'Creely.
THE NEW PARK (Portmore Park): John Tomsone, John Davis, Chr
Booth, Roger Quine, Robt Anderson, Wid Ffisher, Daniel
Alline, John Alline, Richard McGlogan. Wm McSrayne, Teige
McSrayne, John Hadock (Senior), John Hadock (Junior),
Charles Howard, John Cormichell, Samuel Dawson. Wm Morrow,
John Blend, Humphrey Clearke 2, Thomas Morrow, Thomas Bland,
Wm Kitwalder. Geo Wilsone, Ffrancis Best, Donnohy
O'Cormuckan, Derby McKev�na, Wm Hopes, Wid Pattersone, Wid
Mase. John Burnett, John Allen 2, Andrew Steele, Law Wilson,
Wm Just. Lord Conway for Port moore house 18, John Waters,
John Fferguson, Owin Richards 2, Alex Ray, John Hall, Wm
Hoole, John Newtowne 2, Roger McNight, Edward Roberts, Andr
Agnew, John Hunter, James Martin, Charles Hutton, Geo
Hunter. Geo Cobreth. James McKnight, Geo Elyett, Tho Mare,
Roger Gorden, John Ranton, Thomas Palmer, John Rea, John
Betty, James Little, Owin McTrelany, Shane Boy McCabe.
Richard Ashcroft, Wm Erwine, James Carlile, James Voash, Wm
Dunwidy, Henry Hall (Sen.), Henry Hall (Jun.), Wm Hall, John
Bradshaw, Edward Higison. Tho Gaskell, Henry Smith, Richard
Thomsonn, Ptk McConnell, John Bankes, Thos Davis, Wid Ffean,
Henry Marser, Bryan Williams, Richard Scofield, Robt Hughes.
Wm Henderson. Donaway Hanna. Donohey McCalpin, Ptk Read,
Widd Arnell, Henry Bingam, Duncan Sloane, John Orr, Geo
Sloane, Gillaspy McConnell, Edmond Magee, James Ward, Robert
Saunders. Henry Punsebee, John Punsebee, Robert (no
surname). Richard Henderon.
BALLYNEKEY (Ballynacoy): Thos O'Harey. John Quine, Barth
Garland, Ringan Watsonne, Robert Thomsone, Charles
Bickertone, Robert Parke.
BALLYMONEYMORE: Wm Johnstone 2, Wid Little, John McClelland,
Elias Beebee 2. George Roberts 2, John Hurdman. John
Kilpatrick, Widd Oakeman, Thos Hurdman.
GLENAVEY TOWNE (Present village): Wm Templeton, John
Dougherty Esq 2, Widd Yeats, Widd Bell, Adam Metland, Thos
Leathes 2, Wm Goare, Widd Strockan. Patrick McCaffree, Wm
Laurenson 3, Adam Leathes 2, Wid Ackison 3, Mr Richard Davis
2, Humphrey Beebey, Wid Cowden, Wm Wilkinson 2, James Beane,
Henry Dobson, John Roberts, Wm Simpsone, Edward Butcher,
Elias Beebee, Wid Arey. Wid Young, George Whiteside, George
Allin, Hugh Macrannel, Edward Christian. Wm Walker, Edward
Murchy, Samuel Houke, Thomas Bowles 2, Wm. Edward 2.
BALLYGORTGARROCK TOWNE (Ballygortgarve): James Reede,
Ffrancis Rodger, Wm Whiteside, John Nesbitt 2. John Nichol!,
Wm Rodger, Robert Hentwhistle. John Williamson, Roger
Hentwhistle, James Rodger, John Moland, Duncan McCurrell,
James Creane, John McClery, Wm Gamble. John Sloan, John
BALLYSHANNOGHEY (Ballyshanaghill): Roger McCann, Andrew
McElwery. Murt McShane, James McMolane. Henry Prisley, Toole
Magee, Donnogh O'Hagan, Shane Magee Junior, Haga Roe Magee.
Bryan O'Boyell, Patrick Aconey, Call a Sones, Ptk McShane.
Owin Boy O'Dewinin.
BALLYVIAMRY (Ballytrumery): Shane O'Finton, Edmund O'Grochan,
Edmund O'Carr, Daniel O'Murrigan, James Magowan. Patrick
Rice, Patrick O'Toughan, Robert Atteny Senior. Neale Atteny.
Robt. Atteny Junior, Shane Bane Magee, Wm Loughan.
BALLYVOLANE (Ballyvollen): Gilder Agnew, Randle McBryn,
Roger McPicke, Teri O'Kane, Edmund Mcllwiney, John McNeese.
Tho McNeese. Christ McNeese, Shane Magee, Owin McCardill,
Conn O'Neale, Donnell McKee, Thomas McKee, Richard McQuillin,
Patrick Gorden, Owin O'Golfin, Wm Money, Geo Neesbet. Tho
Holmes, Daniel McGowan, Andrew Thomson, Wm Johnston, Bryan
Bryan 2. Edward Ingram, Richard Whiteside, Thomas Ramsey,
Daniel McKery. Maraduke Ffisher 2, Geo Tomson, John Wilson.
Turl Magee 3, Edmund McCann 2. Allexander Younge 2. Wm Clay,
Wm Rowland. Thos Kilchreest, Henry Dobson, Humphrey Wailes,
Robt Lenox, Thos Strong, Thos Edwards, James Creighton,
Richard McKneese. Owin O'Ffery. Walter Wilkins, James
Russell. Geo Linsey, Henry Thomson, Wm Erwin. John Johnstone,
John Rea, Adam Armstrong, James Linsey, Wm Greame, John
McCoa. John Wright, John McKansh, Wm Browne, James Corry,
James Breake, John Ffrancis, Geo Erwin Sen., Thomas Erwin,
Wm Erwin Junior, John McCormucke, Jas Scott, David McKee,
John Tagart, Hugh Ffleming, Robert White. David Lawsone,
George Erwin Junior. John Clemons, Thos Palmer, Thos
Sanders, Patrick Magee, Andrew Stewarte, Thos Coales. Hugh
O'Hamell. Wm Clay, Robert McGarey, Robt Johnstone.
CORBELLY (Corbaliy): Andrew Necanson, James Mulholland,
Thomas Curtness, Edward Harkness, Robt Hunter, John Swann,
Wm Swann. Wm Wallace. Thos Wallace, John Kenly, Wm Kenly,
James Campton Senior, James Campton Junior. John Rea, Wid
Bell, Henry Gibsone, John Campstone.
GARTAREE (Gartree): Knogher O'Lenan, Hugh Mulholland, Owen
Mulholland, Shane McKeane, Pat Mulholland, Conor O'Neale.
DUNGANNELL � (Dungonnell):
John Joy, Wm Mullinex, Robt Reney, Donne! Meare, Wid Hunter,
Andrew Hunter, Ringbam Hambleton, Robert Moore, John
English, Wm Lettymore, John Strogan, Edward Ffreeman,
Patrick Grasev, Peter Whiteside, Shane O'Neale, George
BALLYGINNIS (Ballyginniff): Sir Henry O'Neale 5, Wm Dealan.
BALLYNEGEROCK (Ballynageeragh): Wm. O'Teere, Owin McLaverty,
Pot McGradey, Hugh Sttanna (Hanna?), Owin Mulholland, Mr
Humphrey, Sexton, Patrick Aduellin 2.
ARDMORE: Shane Mulholland, Hugh Shane Duff Mulholland, Collo
Morgan, Donnell O'Morgan. Nicholas McTeere.
BALLYMCETHANY (Ballymacilhoyle): Abram Lowe, Daniel
O'Griffin, Hugh O'Canan, John Mecam, Wm Metland, John
Mullikin, John Osburne, Walter Bell.
BALLYQUELLON (Ballyquillin): Henry Whittles, Thomas Hunter,
John English, James McKnight, Wm Bouan, Walter Windrene,
Allex Linton, Thomas Miller, James Miller, Widd McRobert,
Thos Wilson. James Thomson, James Moore. John Todd, Hugh
Walker, John McBoyle.
SEACASH: Ogin O'Beestin, John Henine, Wm Weinsley, Robert
Hunter, Wid McClune. James McKnight, Ninion Jordan, Wm
Mawhar. John Harris, John Orr, Mathew Gilmore, Thomas
Fisher, John Elshnor, Wid McCormuck, Wid Blacke, John Walker
Senior, Wm Kinegan, John Walker, John McCadam, James White.
Allex Carruth, John Gray, James Bell, Robert Speare, David
Ffoales, Wm Tomson.
BRYTRES (British): John Clearke, Wm Greere, Alexander
Kinkade, Wm. Morrison, John Hunter, Tho McClure, Wm
Robinson. Wm Windrome, James McBryde, Widd Hooper, Widd
Pollart 2, James Barberr, Alexander Garden, Wid Black, Thos
Black 2, John Linsey, Robert Harris, Thomas Potter, Edmond
CROOKEDSTONE: John Mawhood 2, Pat Kinegan, Adam Kinegan,
Walter Curry, George McKnight, James McConchy. Hugh Skeake,
Patrick Akin, James Lourymore.
KILLALEY (Killealy): Alexander McCullough, Hugh Kiningham,
Moses Thomson, John Akin, Wm English, John Ireland, John
Tate, Thos Cunningham. Thos Hanna, John Scott, Hugh Camble,
Thos McAdow, James Neale. Hugh Wilsonne, James Swann,
Gilbert McKibbin, Gil McCawnley.
BALLYGROBAN (Ballyrobin): Samuel English, James Reede, James
Dunlop, Wm Estome. Ffergus McDowell, Thomas Younge, David
Dickie, Thomas Robinson, Wm Eston Senior, John Key, George
Simson, Robert Colwell. Robert Henry. Robert Henry Senior,
Wid English. James Estome, Tho Camel, Allex Robinson, Geo
Estome, Walter Bell, Andrew Harper, John Dunn, James Gracy.
John Robinson, John McCleland. John Bleare, James Browne,
Thomas Betty, Widow Gibson, Gowen Coulter, Michael McKee,
John Eshelly. John Aston, Robert Cowen.
BALLYSCULLY � (Ballysculty):
Daniel McCawnley. Richard Linsey, Gilbert Crooke, James
Miller, Andrew Lenix, Alex Lachlan, James White, Thomas
Browne, John Peerson, Ffinly McKeran.
BALLYTWEEDY: John Ligett, John Gray, Alexander Gray. John
Philelson, John Horma, John Lenix, Quinton Crawford, John
Jenison, John Bannetty.
CARMEAVY (Grange of Carmavy): Hugh Gilpatricke, John
Gelstone Sen., John Gelstone Jun., Andrew Gelstone, Tho
Nicksone, Wm George, John Browne, Wm Andrew, Tho Kilpatricke,
Walter Bell. And Younge, John McCeanen, Alex Berryhill,
Alexander McMury, John Kirke, James McCadam, James Earane,
BALLYMADER (Ballymather): Tho Lowden, Hugh Parke, John Allin,
Wm Browne. James Ekin, Munga Lowdane. David Gillimore, John
Gilmoore, Michael McDowell, James Darleth, John Wilson.
KILCROSSE � (Kilcross):
John Kinegan, Wid Lyne. John Henry, Allex Dumbar, Hugh Hill,
CARNACLASSE (Carnaghliss): John Coman, John Wilsone, Wm
Derumple, Wid. Coubosone, And Linsey, David Walker, John
Browne, James Gibson, James McBretney, John McKowon, Mr.
Kilpatricke, Michael McGarrocke, John Bell, Thomas Potts,
Alexander Walker, James Kirkow, Michael Horner, Brice Blair,
John Moffett, Andrew John-stone. Thomas Miller, John
Gillyland, Thomas Gillyland, Alexander Greane.
BELTINACONNELL (Boltnaconnell): John Young, Pill McElreany,
Teage McElreaney, Donnell McElreaney, Teige Oge McElreaney,
Brian O'Davey, Knogher O'Collin, Patrick Mulholland, Brian
DUNDESARD � (Dundesert):
Wm Nelson, Wm Eccles, John McMaster Senior, Thomas
McCreaven, John McMaster, Mr Roger Langsford.
THE RANDOCKE (Randox): Wid Lettymore, Wm Davison.
THE CROSSHILL (Crosshill): Wid Dickson, Quinton Magill,
ACHNEDRENAN (See note later): Mr Wm Oglethropp, Alexander
Bredner, Wid Rowan.
BALLYDRENTOCK (Ballynadrentagh): James Manderson. John
Strong, John Mitch, Hugh Skillin, John Tomson, Wm Ffinley,
David Gorden, David Brown, Patrick Agnew, George Agnew, Adam
McByrd, James Kennegan, Andrew Morrison, John Smith, Thos
Wilson, John Ffisher, Wm Davison, Allister McMillian, Thos
Deniss, Robert Wilson, Wm Rankin, Thomas Crachton. Allex
Major, Ringan McGurr, John Bell, James Armour, Tho Grean,
John Armour, John Molland, John Mecke, Wm McCoale. Ogins
Tolan, John McCordey, John Johnstopp.
UPPER BALLYCLAN: John McGurr. Wm Foster, Robt Porter, James
O'Henera, Math McCroden, Hugh McCroden, Hugh Mulholland,
James Delap, Patrick Adeare, And McCoale. Cormuck O'Doran,
LOWER BALLYCLAN: Geo Couplestone Junior. Samuell Crawford,
Art O' Quine, Art Mulholland, Neese O'Cleary, Edmund
THE LARGIE (Largy): Geo Johnstone, Chris Quigly 2, John
Maguire Sen., John Maguire Junior, Wid Richard, Murt
Mulholland. Shane Mcllcree, Henry Boyland, Hugh Mulholland,
Shane Oge McElreaney, Manus O'Donnegan.
GORTNAGALLAND (Gortnagallon): Henry O'Hamell, Donnell
O'Hamel, Daniel O'Clery, Henry Nettletin, Thos Hunter.
Dermot O'Kergin, Archey Hamilton, Wm Mulholland.
LISNE TAYLOR (Lisnataylor): Shane O'Mulholland, Teige
O'Dowdey, Rowland McConnell, Patrick Magee. John McCombe,
John McKee, Alex McChesney, James Coulreath, Andrew Ffeming,
John Ffalkner, John Lewass, Cha McCracken, James McJuin,
John Makee. John McClure, John McKnight.
STRATHAVEN (Straidhavern): John McConnell, Robert McConnell,
John White, George McMaster, Allex Hanna, Andr McMaster, Wm
Delapp, John Cuhtersone.
THE TULLY: John Mitchell, James Douglass, Wm Cune, Robert
Walker. Patrick McGumry, Alex Montgomery. Thos Steuart, Wm
Shawe, James McClure, Robt Crafford, James Gillylan, John
Harris. Mr Robt Hambleton 2, Patk McCullagh, James Benocke,
Hugh Gillilan, Tho Byrson, Blysse Patricke, James Byrson,
Gawin Brysson, John Stewart, John McCullack, John McCreach,
The very unusual and often inconsistent spelling here is
easily understood when we consider the difficulties under
which the "Smoke Man", as the Irish called him, laboured.
Apart from being a most unwelcome visitor in these
pre-constabulary days he had to jot down as best he could
Elizabethan English, Lowland Scottish and Irish. Considering
this, perhaps he didn't do too badly.
The number given after a name tells us that the householder
had the comparative opulence of more than one hearth. Thus
John Welsh of "Ballynecrecket" had 4, and a gentleman with
the wonderful name Elias Beebee had 2 in Ballymoneymore and
one in "Glenavey Towne"�surely there couldn't have been two
Elias Beebees! "Wid." or "Widd." of course means Widow.
In 1625 Sir Fulke Conway presented the Rectory of Glenavey
(including Ballinderry and Magheragall) to Rev. Meredith
Gwyllim�a brother Welshman. The Mr. Ffooke Guilliams
mentioned in "Aughadalgin" may be a son and possibly a
clergyman and successor as Rector. He was "present att ye
relation of Mrs. Adkison of Glenavey of what shee knows of
ye pasag att Burning of Lurgan ye 1st Nov., 1641." according
to the Parish history of Donaghcloney.
Canon McEvoy has noted thus. "Aghanliss is the name of the
only townland at present bearing any resemblance. It is in
the present civil parish of Ballinderry, bordering on the
civil parish of Glenavy. It may have been transferred to
Glenavy during the Commonwealth. It was intended to add a
portion of Ballinderry to Glenavy and this arrangement may
have materialised for a time. There is a farm known as Oglis
in the townland of Lurgill, close to Lough Beg and near
Feymore in the civil parish of Ballinderry. Oglis may have
covered a wider territory. Cardwells had a farm in the
vicinity of present Oglis; Farrs and Marshalls have farms in
its vicinity at present. The position of Auchanes on the
Roll corresponds with location of Oglis between Aghadolgan
and Tunney Park."
"This no longer exists as a separate townland, probably
absorbed by Ballynadrentagh (helped perhaps by confusion of
sound in last two syllables) or by Crosshill�or by both. It
was probably on the north side of Crumlin river and in the
neighbourhood of Crumlin village. There is "Glendarragh" in
this locality�applied to a residence. There is also a "Glenoak"
(residence). Both these were so known at the end of the
eighteenth century. Glenoak is English of Glendarragh or
very like it. There is a townland in Camlin parish called
Aghnadarragh."�Late Canon McEvoy's notes.
"This may have been the hamlet from which Crumlin rose.
Ballygortgarve may have included the townland of
Ballytromery in which Crumlin lies. The parish and the
parish church were known as Camlin, and so the hamlet
surrendered its name and accepted the better known and
legally recognised name of Crumlin. There was a village
known as Camlin in the fifteenth century, perhaps near the
old church of Camlin�named Camlin �as distinct from the
modern village of Crumlin. There was a small townland called
Ballycamlin but it is now incorporated with Ballydonaghy. In
1639 James I granted Sir Hercules Langford permission to
hold a market and 2 fairs yearly for ever in
Ballyaortoarrock."�Late Canon McEvoy's notes.
THE SURNAME BRANKIN-A SURMISE
"There are several families of this name in the parish, many
living near Lough Neagh. There is a tradition among them
that the first of the Glenavy Brankins came from Spain. In a
publication�I think "The Conway Letters"�it is said a man
called Vranken was brought from Holland to cultivate trees,
shrubs and flowers in the great park established on the
Conway estate. There is a "Brankin's Island" in the Park�an
island was a portion cleared of trees and made for
cultivation and for residence. The Patrick O'Brankin of the
Hearth Roll could have been this Hollander. His Christian
name certainly shows he was a Catholic."�Late Canon McEvoy's
A study of the townlands and householders in the Hearth
Rolls shows to what extent the lands of this area had been
acquired by the settlers in 1669. It is clear that the
majority of the Catholics inhabited the areas on the north
and south banks of the river which runs from the present
village of Crumlin to Lough Neagh.
THE PENAL TIMES
From 1650 until 1671 Down and Connor had no bishop, and was
ruled by Vicars-General. These men had to go about in
disguise, suffering every kind of poverty and hardship and
ministering to their people by secret or by night. In 1670
Dr. Plunkett, the new Primate to the See of Armagh made a
visitation of Down and Connor. It was the year after the
Hearth Money Roll we have given, so our friend Elias Beebee
may have seen the the man we know as "Blessed Oliver"!
He wrote that, "great peace is enjoyed therein. There are
about 2.500 Catholic families. The Marquis of Antrim, a good
Catholic. is very powerful and very zealous. There is no
other Catholic that has property there. Thanks to God, the
Catholics enjoy great toleration." Among the names of
priests serving here at the time he gives the name "Euralius
Junior O'Haghby." Euralius is an attempt to Latinise the old
Irish name Irial, which was used thousands of years before
Christianity as a name among the Irian race to which the
O'Haghby or O'Hughian family belonged. Euralius Junior was
registered as "Popish Priest of Glenavy" in 1704. Blessed
Oliver's report comments on the tremendous poverty under
which the clergy had to work. "The parish priests are
supported by a stipend which the Catholics give them�namely,
every family, in addition to uncertain sums, contributes
four Julii (2/-) every year. At Baptism, two Julii (1/-) are
given; at marriage, four; and at Extreme Unction, two; and
also at every burial, each family according to its own
pleasure, gives some alms." This was the origin of the
"offerings" at funerals which aroused some controversy in
Sir Neal O'Neill whom we have already mentioned got his
commission as a captain in the army of James in 1687 and
during the eventful siege of Derry in 1689 he played a
gallant part. In August of that year Schomberg. William's
commander. landed with an army of 20,000 men and stationed
himself at Lisburn. A detachment of his army was quartered
at Glenavy, and Cupples writes that they were "well treated
by the inhabit-ants." A chalice was given in acknowledgment
of this treatment. It is of silver and bears the
inscription, "This plate was given to the church of Glenavy
by the officers of the Queen's regiment of horse, commanded
by the Hon. Major-General Sir John Lanier. in the year 1690.
in honorem Ecclesiae Anglicanae (in honour of the Anglican
The tragedy of the end of the century for all our people was
that the defence of Derry and Limerick, the battles of
Aughrim and Boyne and all their sequels were the result, as
Charles Dickson in his "Revolt in the North" says, of "a
quarrel as to whether a Stuart or a Dutchman�neither of whom
had any regard for Ireland�should occupy the throne of
England." Dr. Gorges. Schomberg's secretary, bears out the
misconduct which that old warrior had to put up with at the
hands of the rustics who had rallied to the Orange standard.
Disregarding proclamations and indiscriminate plundering of
the country. they seemed to claim as a reward for their
adherence to the new King. The presence of the strangers
from Europe may be commemorated by a dance said to have been
taught to the locals by some of Schomberg's soldiery�"The
We have seen that the diocese had been ruled by Vicars
General from 1650 until 1671. In May 1671, Dr. Mackey, a
secular priest, was appointed bishop by the Holy See. By
Christmas 1673 he was dead, but in the short years between,
this wonderful man had ordained so many priests that 31
years after his death there were of them living, 6 in Co.
Down, 1 in Co. Antrim and 10 in other parts of Ireland. When
Dr. Mackey died the Vicars General again ruled until 1717.
After the victory of the Protestants at the Boyne the now
infamous Penal enactments followed. They were not concerned
so much with converting the Irish Catholics to the new
religion as with ensuring their humiliation and degradation
so that power and property should stay in the hands of the
Anglican community. It should however be noted that though
the Penal Laws were primarily against Catholics. they also
placed serious disabilities on the Dissenters also.
"All Popish Archbishops, Bishops, Vicars-General, etc.,
exercising any Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction" were ordered to
leave the country by 1st May. 1698. The church now began to
go underground. In 1704 came the Act "to prevent the further
growth of Popery." All "Popish priests" had to register in
their own county, and among the 18 who signed for Co. Antrim
in Carrickfergus was "Irial O'Hughian" whom Blessed Oliver
had mentioned in his report. Fr. O'Hughian is given as
living in Glenavy, aged 65, "pretending to be Popish Priest
of Glenavy. Killede, Camlin and Tullyrusk." He had been
ordained in 1667 in Brussels by Edmund Reilly. Titular
Primate of Meath, and his bails-men, who had to give �50
each as surety, were Richard Horsman, Belvidere, and J.
Only those who registered and took an oath of allegiance
could say Mass and then only in their own parishes.
Education laws were designed in such a way that when the
existing generation of clergy had gone, there would not be
one to succeed them. Rewards and bribes went out for
information leading to the conviction of any cleric in
authority. Twenty years after the Boyne the only bishop in
Ulster was in gaol. In 1709 the screw turned further when
registered priests were asked to take an Oath of Abjuration
which was condemned by the Pope. From now on all priests
were "on the run," and the Penal Days were begun in deadly
O'Laverty states that Mass in the parish during the Penal
Times was celebrated at two places, Chapel Hill,
Ballymacrickett, where the present parish church still
stands. and also at a high bank in "the townland of
Ardmore," near Lough Neagh. According to the late Canon
McEvoy this high bank or "Mass Rock" is in the townland of
Largy on the northern bank of the Crumlin river. The bank is
about 60 ft. high and 1� miles from the river's mouth. The
bank is composed of stone and rock and from it there is a
good view in all directions. This would have been a very
central position for the Catholic community of the area at
this time which, as we have seen, lay on both sides of the
Crumlin river. The other place where Mass was said at
Ballymacrickett also commanded a good view on all sides and
served the more scattered groups of Catholics in this
southern end of the parish.
What was it like to be a Catholic in Glenavy in those days?
When was Mass said? How did word get out about the time of
Mass? There is an account of the diocese of Clogher in 1714
and the conditions described there by Dr. Hugh McMahon are
typical of Ulster as a whole. He says. "During these years a
person was afraid to trust his neighbour lest, being
compelled to swear, he might divulge the names of those
present at Mass. Moreover, spies were continually moving
around posing as Catholics . . . . Greater danger, of
course, threatened the priests as the government persecuted
them unceasingly and bitterly, with the result that priests
have celebrated Mass with their faces veiled lest they
should be recognised by those present. At other times Mass
was celebrated in a closed room with only a servant present,
the window being left open so that those outside might hear
the voice of the priest without knowing who it was, or at
least with-out seeing him . . . . All over the countryside,
people might be seen, on meeting, signalling to each other
with their fingers, the hour Mass was due to begin, in order
that people might be able to kneel down and follow mentally
the Mass which was being celebrated at a distance. I myself,
have often celebrated Mass at night with only the man of the
house and his wife present. They were afraid to admit even
their children�so fearful were they." (Journal of the
Clogher Diocesan Historical Society).
We have not much information about the priests of the parish
during these troubled years. O'Laverty records that there
was a Fr. White P.P. in 1750 and that he was succeeded by
Fr. O'Neill. By 1760 priests began to hear Confessions
openly again and Catholics plucked up enough courage to meet
openly too. Permanent roofs were erected over field altars
and later these became thatched "Mass-houses," often open at
one end. One of these was in Aldergrove, not at the "Mass
Rock" in the Largy, but almost at the end of the Diamond
Road where it joins the road that lies along the shore, on
the northern side going towards the lough.
"Mr. Charles Thompson's house was the site of a
'Mass-House.' It is said that part of the old walls was
retained. In some of the old deeds connected with this
property there is mention of 'Thompson's Mass House.' A
tombstone with an inscription on it was found in the east
gable of this house when the occupants were putting in a
range. It is said that there was formerly a graveyard
adjoining the house. In the orchard on the opposite side of
the road human bones have been found." (Canon McEvoy's
It is quite likely that Fathers White and O'Neill were
natives of the parish, as this was the general usage of the
Penal times, to appoint priests to work in their own native
areas. In 1766 a religious census was ordered for the House
of Lords and returns made by the Protestant ministers, "also
a list of the several reputed Popish Priests and Friars
residing in their parishes." The entry for Glenavy, Camlin
and Tullyrusk gives "John McGlogan is Popish Priest." Fr.
McLogan was a native of Ballinderry, and was educated in
Flanders. He died in 1783 and was buried in the ancient
cemetery of Ballinderry known as Laloo. The figures given in
the 1766 census are "145 Papists in Glenavy; Camlin 43
Papists." These figures clearly show how the Catholic
population over the previous century since the Hearth Roll
of 1669 had moved away from the northern side of the parish
and was now in more or less the position it was up until
about the beginning of this century.