BALLYPHILIP, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALLYPHILIP, a parish, in the barony of ARDES, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER; containing, with the post-town of Portaferry, 3090 inhabitants. This parish is situated between Strangford Lough and the eastern coast, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 2430 statute acres, of which 1839 are applotted under the tithe act. The land is fertile, and, with the exception of about 30 acres of bog, called Ballygaroegan Moss, which supplies the inhabitants with fuel, is in a good state of cultivation. Within its limits is Carney or Kerney Point, off which are two dangerous shoals, called Carney Pladdy and Butter Pladdy.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Down, with the vicarage of Ballytrustin and the rectories of Slanes and Ardglass united by charter in the 7th of James I., which four parishes constitute the union of Ballyphilip and the corps of the chancellorship of Down, in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £208. 16. 9; and the gross income, including tithe and glebe, is £490. 10. per annum. The church, situated in the town of Portaferry, is a neat modern edifice, erected in 1787, and has been lately repaired by a grant of £343 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The glebe-house was built in 1818, at an expense of £1090, of which £825 was a loan from the late Board of First Fruits, and £265 was added by the present incumbent, and is chargeable on his successors.

The glebe comprises 15 Cunningham acres, valued at £45 per annum. It was recommended by the Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Inquiry, in 1831, that the parish of Ardglass, being seven miles distant, and in. which a perpetual curacy of small value has been erected, should be severed from the union, and an equivalent given to the chancellor. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the unions or districts of Lower and Upper Ardes, which latter is united to part of Ardkeen, Witter, Ballytrustin, Slanes, and Ardguin; there are two chapels, one near Portaferry, a spacious and handsome edifice, and the other at Witter, three miles distant. There are places of worship at Portaferry for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the second class, and for Wesleyan Methodists.

A parochial school of 70 boys and 70 girls, at Portaferry, is aided by an annual donation of £30 late currency from Andrew Nugent, Esq., who built the school-house, and by a smaller from the rector; there are also seven pay schools in the parish, in which are about 60 boys and 60 girls. A bequest of £3 per annum to the poor, by one of the Bangor family, is charged on the Castle-Ward estate. An ancient church, which, according to tradition, belonged to a wealthy abbey, formerly occupied the site of the present glebe-house, near which human bones, tombs, and extensive foundations are frequently dug up. Bankmore, a large and perfect rath, and a smaller fort at Ballytrustin, are within the parish. The late Marquess of Londonderry received the rudiments of his education in the glebe-house, under Dr. Sturrock, then chancellor of Down, and incumbent of this parish.—See PORTAFERRY.

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