BALLYMOYER, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALLYMOYER, a parish, in the barony of UPPER FEWS, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (N. E.) from Newtown-Hamilton; containing 2729 inhabitants. This place, formerly called Tahellen, was the site of a religious establishment founded by St. Patrick, who appointed St. Killian to preside over it, and of which the church was destroyed by fire in 670; the ancient cemetery may still be traced in the demesne of Ballymoyer Lodge. The parish is situated on the road from Newtown-Hamilton to Newry, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 7381 ¼statute acres, of which about 40 acres are underwood, about 2605 are bog and waste land, and the remainder arable and pasture. The lands were heathy and barren previously to 1778, when Sir Walter Synnot erected a house and became a resident landlord; scarcely a tree or shrub was to be seen, and the agricultural implements were of the rudest kind. He constructed good roads in the vicinity, planted forest trees to a considerable extent, and by his example and liberal encouragement of every improvement both as to their habitations and system of agriculture, effected a great change in the habits of the peasantry, and in the appearance of the country, which is now in an excellent state of cultivation, yielding abundant produce; the cultivation of green crops has been introduced, and is practised with success. There are some good quarries of stone; and in the demesne of Ballymoyer Lodge are some lead mines, the ore of which is very pure and lies conveniently for working. The river Cusher has one of its sources within the parish.

Among the gentlemen's seats are Ballymoyer Lodge, the residence of Marcus Synnot, Esq., proprietor of the parish under the see of Armagh, pleasantly situated in a demesne of 300 acres, embellished with thriving plantations and forest timber of excellent growth, planted by the owner; Ballintate, of Capt. Synnot; and Ballymoyer Cottage, of W. Reed, Esq. Petty sessions are held here every Wednesday. The living is a rectory and perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Armagh; the rectory is part of the union of Armagh; and the perpetual curacy was instituted under the provisions of an act of the 7th of George III., cap. 17, and is in the patronage of the Rector of Armagh: the tithes amount to £200, the whole of which is payable to the rector of Armagh: the income of the curate arises from a stipend of £50 from the rector, £12. 6. from the augmentation fund, and £50 from the glebe, amounting in all to £112. 6. per annum. In the report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in 1831, it is recommended to separate this parish from the union, and make it a distinct benefice. The walls of the original church were erected in the reign of Charles I., but the clergyman appointed having been murdered, it remained unroofed until 1775. when Primate Robinson caused the work to be finished. The present church, a large and handsome edifice with a lofty square tower, was built in 1822, by aid of a gift of £900 from the late Board of First Fruits. The glebe-house, within a few perches of the church, was built in 1825, at an expense of £500, of which £450 was a gift and £50 a loan from the same Board; the glebe comprises 32a. 2r. 28p.

In the R. C. divisions the parish is one of the three forming the union or district of Loughgilly, and contains a chapel. There are male and female parochial schools, aided by subscriptions from the ladies of the neighbourhood, and two other schools, supported by subscription, in which are about 200 boys and 100 girls; and there are also two Sunday schools. The remains of the former church, with the exception of the roof, are in good preservation, and form a picturesque and interesting object. Near the eastern end is a remarkably large ash tree, beneath the shade of which are deposited the remains of Florence Mac Moyer, otherwise Mac Wire or Mac Guire, a Franciscan friar, upon whose evidence Primate Plunket was executed at Tyburn in 1680. Some years since, a cairn was opened here and found to contain two separate tombs, in one of which were two urns of elegant form and workmanship containing ashes; one of them is in the possession of Mr. Synnot, of Ballymoyer Lodge, who has also a variety of ancient coins found in the neighbourhood, and some curiously marked stones, found in the large cairn of Mullyash, in the county of Monaghan.

« Ballymote | Index | Ballymurry »