Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

Bangor Parish

Bangor town Bangor Abbey Bangor Church of Ireland 1st Presbyterian, Bangor 2nd Presbyterian Church . .
Bangor Catholic Church Groomsport Groomsport Church of Ireland Groomsport Presbyterian Church Crawfordsburn old graveyard Copeland Islands .
Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church Conlig village Conlig Presbyterian Church Helens Bay Presbyterian Ballyhay townland Portavo House


The Town of Bangor

The photograph on the left was taken about 1890 and on the right is a postcard of The Parade c. 1940 & a compliation of scenes kindly sent to me by Tom Courtney.

Views of Bangor

In 1625 Bangor was described as having 70 English style houses as well as numerous rough looking huts. In 1659 there were 62 English/Scots & 35 Catholic families here. In 1764 the population of the parish was 400 Church of Ireland, 3025 Presbyterians & 12 Catholics. (TMUOP p88;MOA p22) .In 1824, the population of the town was 5000 with about 1000 homes. (POD)

In 1836, Bangor was described as having 550 houses which were built of stone and plastered,whitewashed or otherwise coloured; most with slated roofs but some thatched. The most noticeable objects when entering the town were the high church spire and Bangor Castle. There were two large cotton factories with their smoking chimneys and a corn mill giving the town as a whole a manufacturing, crowded and dirty appearance. The average number of people in a family was 5 and their usual food was potatoes, meal and bacon or salt beef when the latter could be afforded; they were considered luxuries.

There were four churches in town; Church of Ireland, 2 Presbyterian and one Methodist. The Market House in the centre of town was a small building, recently erected by Lord Bangor and Colonel Ward. Bangor was a municipal town with the corporation consisting of a provost and 12 burgesses. The people were mainly shopkeepers or worked in the cotton factory. There was a library with religious and moral books, a savings bank, a mendicity institution and poor house and five schools. No markets were held in town but there were three fairs during the year. There was a dispensary in town which saw about 700 people a year, mainly with scrofula, which was said to be brought from Scotland. There was a coastguard with 5 men and an officer and 2 policemen. The harbour, as seen above, was ' very bad'. At low water it was completely dry. There was only one pilot in town, who was connected with an insurance company and whose job it was to get the vessels safely out of the harbour. In 1846 the parish population was 10,060 with 3166 people living in Bangor town.

27 May 1848, public works program instigated for famine relief with road upgarde from Belfast in Bangor, Bangor Bog to Post Office. (FCD S2 p 8). By 1863 the railway line from Belfast was in progress. (GV) The Police Barracks and Petty sessions Court House were in Main Street; the Bangor Gaslight Company in Ballymagee Street ;the Coastguard Watch Tower was in Quay Street; the dispensary & Workhouse were in Catherine Place in 1863. In 1886 there was an extensive lime works here. The popluation in 1901 was 9666 in the town with extra 5903 in surrounding areas . Bangor became a fashionable place for affluent people to built their villa and others to have a day trip or a holiday.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
Corporation meeting 12 Dec 1840; assizes 25 Feb 1843; new Sunday school 1 Jun 1844; steeple chase 21 Dec 1846; lit by gas for the first time 4 Aug 1855; Commercial Hotel for sale 29 Aug 1863*; introduction of town improvement act 5 Nov 1864; 2 drown in yacht accident 8 Sep 1866; Orange soiree in Bangor courthouse for William Johnston Esq. 27 Jun 1868; Conservative meeting, list of representatives of townlands 7 Oct 1876; human remains found at Gray's Hill 13 Oct 1877;

Newspaper articles from Newtownards Independent;
laying foundation stone of Good Templar Hall 6 Apr 1872; laying foundation stone of new Orange Hall 22 Jun 1872

Newspaper articles from Newtownards Chronicle;
concert at the opening of Good Templar Hall 9 Aug 1873; opening of Orange Hall 11 Apr 1874; meeting of landholders re rent reductions 25 Oct 1879; burning of scutching mill 24 Sep 1881; Orange demonstration 10 Jun 1882; new Masonic Hall in Hamilton St, 1 Jul 1882; alleged epidemic 9 Dec 1882; escape from serious fire 8 Sep 1883; building of Waterworks 8 Sep 1883; Hit & Miss Club 5 Jan 1884; Election partition, trial fixed 31 Jan 1885; Bicycle Club 12 Sep 1885; reservoir in danger 21 Nov 1885'; editorial on township 20 Nov 1886; horse races 8 Jan 1887; inauguration of Recreation Society 26 May 1888; Bangor & Isle of Man steamboat service 6 Jul 1889; alleged child murder 13 Jul 1889; serious fire in Main St, 4 Jan 1890; Bangor steamers 18 Jan 1890; melancholy suicide 3 Jan 1891; newly invented life saving apparatus demonstrated 17 Jan 1891; Census returns 2 May 1891; strange disappearance of a lady 9 May 1891; mystery solved 25 Jul 1891; misconduct on Bangor boats 1 Aug 1891; opening of Handkerchief & Laundry Works 4 Jun 1892; quarter sessions, Holms case 18 Jun 1892; Corinthian Sailing Club regatta 27 Aug 1892; Herr Pareezer's Diorama & Prussian Choir 28 Jan 1893; Sunday sailings, a demoralising effect 17 Jun 1893; YMCA, its work 17 Jun 1893; additional waterworks for town 5 Aug 1893; foundation stone of Seaside Home of Rest for Working Girls 19 Aug 1893; handsome water fountain erected by Corinthian Sailing Club 7 Oct 1893; early closing movement 2 Jun 1894; railway carriage fires into 18 Aug 1894; growth of the town 22 Sep 1894; strike of coal laborers 27 Apr 1895; offer of artworks for museum 15 Jun 1895; large influx of Scots people in town 20 Jul 1895; improvement schemes 7 Dec 1895; Ulster High Jumping Competition here 18 Apr 1896; fatality on Bangor railway 16 Jan 1897; meeting of Society of Railway Servants 20 Mar 1897; Corinthian Sailing Club regatta 14 Aug 1897; disgraceful scenes of town commissioners 22 Jan 1898; big fire in Main St, 14 Jan 1899; rowdyism 29 Apr 1899; fracas with 2 councillors 7 a pressman 6 May 1899; 3,00 people have benefited from Home of Rest; carter's strike 3 Feb 1900; coffin containing bones found in sands 17 Feb 1900; foundation stone for Home for Cripples 1 Sep 1900.

References;V7 p19-25 & V17 p124, 128, 129 OSM : DR; NI; NC; O'L B p 34, 326; PNNI V2 p 143;GV; POD; OS map 1902 2.05 & 2.06; MOA p20


Bangor Abbey

Bangor Abbey
in Abbey St., near Newtownards Rd, Bangor

In 558 AD, St. Comgall founded a monastery near this site. From the 9th century, a university was here but was constantly attacked by Vikings. St. Malacy was appointed abbot in 1124 & built the church. It was rebuilt 13th century but the tower is 15th century & a spire was added in 1693. The vicar in 1720 was Rev. Robert Hamilton & in 1824 was Rev. George Armstrong. (POD).

The church was rebuilt in 1832 with plain architecture after workmen trying to do work on it found it unstable. Only the tower is old. .It cost £950 which was defrayed by subscription & assessment of the parish. It could hold 500 people. The rector in 1846 was Rev Henry Johnston with Rev John Watters as curate. There was a Church Education society Schoolhouse nearby in 1863.The church was closed in 1882 in favour of the new, larger Church of Ireland in the south of the town St. Comgall's before being renovated in 1917.

Newspaper articles from Newtownards Chronicle;
death notice 22 Jan 1876; fete and fair at castle 19 Jul 1879;

records in local custody; Baptisms, 1920-; marriages, 1923-; burials, 1941-; preachers’ books, 1901-.; North of Ireland FHS has baptisms 1803-1900 & marriages 1805-1900 & confirmations 1855-1873 & burials 1818-1900; PRONI (MIC583/1;CR/1/87 & in local custody) Baptisms, 1803-1981; marriages, 1805-1980; burials ,1815-1977; confirmations, 1851, 1855, 1858, 1861,1863, 1865, 1868, 1873 and 1877-1901; vestry minutes, 1788-1978; registers of vestrymen, 1870-1969.Preachers’ books, 1828; UHF has baptisms 1803-43 & burials 1814-1829 & 1841-1846 ; no graveyard; church memorials UHF Vol 17; have burials 1814-1829; 1841-1846 ; burials in the old Abbey; email me for a gravestone look-up

Graveyard inscriptions UHF Vol 17; photo in Vol 17; email me for a gravestone look-up; for gravestone photos try

This photo was kindly sent to me by Brian McCleary

References;V17 MIs ; church booklet ; PNNI V2 p 141; Bangor p2,50


Bangor Church of Ireland St. Comgall's & Hamilton Road

Bangor Church of Ireland - St.Comgall's

corner Hamilton & Castle Sts, Bangor

This church was built in 1882 to replace the Abbey church . The rector in 1910 was Rev J.I. Peacocke with Rev. J. Quin as curate & R. Jones as organist. .

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder newspaper;
Dr. Richard Binney, of Stanley House, Holywood, rector of Bangor,

Newspaper articles from Newtownards Chronicle;
welcome back to Rev. Edward Maguire 6 Mar 1880; laying foundation stone 25 Sep 1880

no graveyard; burials in the old Abbey
The above colour photo was kindly sent to me by Brian McCleary

References; V7 p 20, 24 OSM; POD; DR ; NC; GIC; V17 MIs; Bangor p2, 4 ;GV ;OS map 1901 2.06 ; POD


1st Presbyterian Church, Bangor
in Main St., in Corporation townland in the south of Town

This congregation dates back to 1623 when Rev. Robert Blair was invited over from Scotland by Lord Claneboy. He was deposed and members of the church were involved in the rebellion of 1641. The next minister wasn't until 1646 when Rev. Gilbert Ramsay came over from Scotland. He was imprisoned and deposed in 1661 and after the Restoration his Meeting House was pulled down. by Lady Clanbrassil in 1669. The next minister was Rev. Archibald Hamilton from Scotland in 1672. He suceeded by his grandson Rev. Hamilton for one year. Then there was a long vacancy until 1704 when Rev. William Biggar from Scotland was installed. He returned in 1728. The congregatrion was again without a minister until Robert Blackwood Esq. formerly requested a new minister from the Synod. The next minister was Rev. James Mackay in 1732 but by 1747 the congregation was again vacant. Rev. Cochrane was appointed in 1748 until 1760. Next we have Rev. James Hull 1763-1793 when he became infirm and Rev. Daavid Taggart became his assistant. After Rev. Taggart drowned in 1808, he was suceeded by Rev. Hugh Woods who was instrumental in building 2nd Bangor, Groomsport, Ballygilbert, Ballybrainey & Conlig churches to suit the expanding population. After Rev. Woods retirement, Rev. Joserph C. McCullough took over in 1857. After his death in 1878, he was suceeded by Rev. Alexander Patton in 1879.

This was a smaller meeting house at the south end of town in Main Street, Bangor. It was built in 1829 at a cost of £846 which was paid by subscription. It holds 500 people. The minister in 1829 ,1846 & 1863 was Rev. Hugh Woods. (POD). There was a National School adjacent in 1863. The minister in 1910 was Rev. John Waddell with assistant Rev. Thomas Patterson & organist A.E.J. McCreary.

articles from Newtownards Chronicle newspaper;
death of Rev. J.C. McCullagh 7 Dec 1878; Rev. Alex Patton installed as new minister 21 Jun 1879; opening of Lecture Hall & School 22 Sep 1894; Armenian challenged by Police in church 17 Aug 1895

Records in PRONI MIC1P/23; CR/3/4 - Baptisms, 1852-88 and 1895-1923; marriages, 1808- 1932; index to marriages, 1808-45; title deeds and
leases, 1696-1868. No graveyard but memorials available; email me for a look-up;North of Ireland FHS has Baptisms 1839-1923; Marriages 1808-1932

References; V7 p 20, 24 OSM; HCPCI p55-56; GIC; NC; V17 MIs; Bangor p58;GV; POD

2nd Trinity Presbyterian Church

2nd Trinity Presbyterian Church
in the centre of Bangor town, Main Street opposite Ballymagee Street

This congregation was erected by a Committee of the Synod of Ulster in 1828 as the population was expanding . The first minister was Rev. William Patterson who was appointed 5 Aug 1829 til Jun 1879. The original church in Ash Loanen (Brunswick Road,) was described as a large, fine building. It built in 1834 at a cost of £2,400 which was defrayed by subscription. It held 1,000 people. The minister in 1879 was Rev, William Clarke then in 1883 was Rev. D. Gordon. The newer church above was completed in 1889 to house the growing population. The minister in 1910 was Rev. R.J. Morrell.

Article from Newtownards Chronicle newspaper;
installation of Rev. W. Clarke 2 Aug 1879; death of Rev William Patteson, minister 3 Apr 1886; completion of building works 28 Jul 1888

Records in PRONI MIC1P/256- Baptisms, 1829-1984; marriages, 1829-44.

References; V7 p20,24 OSM; HCPCI p56; NC; Bangor p55; MC; HCPCI o56; POD ; OS map 1902 2.05


Bangor Catholic Church
StComgalls Catholic Bangor

Bangor Catholic Church- St.Comgall's
27 Brunswick Rd, Bangor BT20 3DS

Catholics originally met in an empty house in Ballymagee Street then a small church was built in 1851 by Rev. William McAlea (parish priest at Newtownards) with the new church built beside the older one in 1890 and dedicated 23 Aug 1891. In 1901 there were only 424 Catholics in the parish.

Priests were ;Rev. Peter McKenna 1903- 1907; Rev. Richard Stroey 1907- 1909; Rev. Henry Boyle 1909- 1916; Rev. Patrick Scally 1916- 1940; Rev. Thomas MacGowan 1940- 1946; Rev. Michael Fullen 1946- 1959; Rev. Patrick McAtamney 1959- 1969; Rev. Gerard Brady 1969- 1978; Rev. Gerard Laverty 1979- 1985; Rev. Hilary Armstrong 1985-1995; Rev. Gerard Patton 1995- 2000; Rev. James Donaghy 2000+

records from 1855 are in the custody of the parish priest; no graveyard; Presbytery in Brunswick Road- Tel; 9146 3093 or 9146 5425

References; GIPR: GIC; O'L B p Aii; PE; Bangor p57; LM 1994 p72; GV; DDCD 2001

townland of 136 acres & a town; 3km NE of Bangor

The Hill, Groomsport Groomsport  

This lovely old photo of The Hill, Groomsport c. 1900 (on the left) was kindly sent to me by Jeff Hampton.

On 13 Aug 1689, the English Fleet with Duke Schomberg & an army of 10,000 came ashore in Groomsport. In 1659 there were 25 English/Scots & 8 Catholic families here. The population in 1910 was 264 people.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder newspaper;
disaster, seamen drowned in Belfast lough 30 Nov 1861

Newspaper articles from Newtownards Chronicle;
Lifeboat Station article 26 Feb 1876 ; projected tramway from Bangor 22 Jun 1878; opening of Orange Hall 12 Sep 1885; Temperance meeting 1 Oct 1892 ; trainwreck 20 Oct 1894; Point to Point races 18 Apr 1896 ; Post Office case 8 Apr 1899
This colour photo was kindly sent to me by Rodger Stubbings.

References;V17 p 124 & V7 p 19 OSM; SP; DR; BM; GIC; GIPR;NC; O'L B p 493; PNNI V2 p 163; POD


Groomsport Church of Ireland

at the SE end of the village

This Chapel of Ease was built in 1842.The rector in 1910 was Rev. S.S. Holmes.

memorial inscriptions UHF Vol 17; email me for a memorial look-up

Records in PRONI MIC1/350- [Earliest registers destroyed in Dublin Fire ]- Baptisms, 1876-1951; marriages, 1869-1968; Vestry minutes, 1871-; preachers’ books, 1852 & in local custody
This photo was kindly send to me by Rodger Stubbings.

References;BM; V17 MIs; POD ; 176th anniversary held 2018


Groomsport Presbyterian Church

This congregation was an offshoot from 1st Bangor church in 1828. Before this church in Main Street, Groomsport was built, Church services were held in the home of a parishioner at 17 Main Street then this site was acquired in June 1841. The Church was officially opened in 1843, with the bell tower and clock gifted a few years later. In 1841 there were 150 subscribers under its first minister, Rev. Isaac Mack, who was pastor for 37 years until 1877 then Rev. James Latimer was minister for 21 years until 1899. There was a National Schoolhouse adjoining in 1863. The Orange Hall was in Main Street in 1863. It was described in 1892 as being a credit to the congregation with the manse being the best in the Presbytery. The whole district was a Presbyterian stronghold with Scots Presbyterians settling 200 years before. The minister from 1878 was Rev. James Latimer & in 1910 was Rev. J.A. Mulligan .

Records from 1841; North of Ireland FHS has baptisms 1841-1903 & marriages 1841-1936; PRONI MIC1P/262 - Baptisms, 1841-1903; marriages, 1841-1936. ; no graveyard but 2 memorials available, ; email me for a gravestone look-up
Also try

References; HCPCI p56, 158; GIPR: GIC; V17 MIs; NDM p; NC* 7May 1892 page 3;GV; POD


Helens Bay Presbyterian Church

Helens Bay Presbyterian

The minister in 1901 was Rev. R.J Morell.

Articles from Newtownards Chromicle newspaper;
speech by Lord Dufferin 31 Oct 1896; opening services 15 May 1897; installation of Robert Montgomery 26 Feb 1898;
There is a book written "History of Helen's Bay Presbyterian Church' by Margaret A.K. Garner

North of Ireland FHS ( has Baptisms 1895-1950; Marriages 1898-1949

References; MC; NC; RWN p 90


Ballygrainey Presbyterian

Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church

This congregation was an offshoot of 1st Bangor in 1828 as the population was expanding. This meeting house in Ballygrainey townland is called 'Bethel' and was built in 1837 by Rev. Abraham Liggate. The first minister was Rev. J.R. McAlister then Rev. Samuel Blair 1838-1844 then was Rev. Samuel Magaw 1845-1861 then Rev. William Clarke 1861-1876 then Rev. Samuel Morrison from 1877. It's where the six roads meet.

Newspaper article from Down Recorder;
lecture by Lord Dufferin 12 Aug 1865

Newspaper article from Newtownards Chronicle;
proposed amalgamation with Conlig Presbyterian 22 Mar 1884

Records from 1838; North of Ireland FHS ( has baptisms 1838-1949 & marriages 1845- 1949 & burials 1861- 1999 ; the Presbyterian Historical Society, Belfast has Session Minute Books 1862–1972; PRONI MIC1P/230/6;MIC1P/407- Baptisms, 1830-1940; marriages, 1838-1912; deaths, 1861-4, 1877-1951 and 1962-74; marriage notices, 1879-1906. ; no graveyard;

References; HCPCI p56; TU p 108;DR; V 7 p 20 OSM; GIC; PE; GIPR; HCPCI p35


Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church

Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church
2km SW of Crawfordsburn on the Belfast to Bangor road

This congregation was an offshoot of 1st Bangor in 1828 as the population was expanding.This church opened 19 Jun 1843. Some ministers were Rev. Abraham Light 1841-1851; Rev. John Quartz 1852-1901; Rev. William Dickson 1900-1909; Rev. W.J. McFarland 1909-1919; Rev. William Orr 1919-1922; Rev. Harry McMaster 1923-1934; Very Rev Dr. W. A. Park 1935-1972; Rev. Derek McKelvey 1973-

records from 1841; North of Ireland FHS ( has baptisms 1841-1949& marriages 1845 -1949; no graveyard; church memorial inscriptions UHF Vol 17; PRONI MIC1P/392; T/2653/1- Baptisms, 1841-1901; marriages, 1843-1905; newcommunicants, 1845-55; autobiographical details on families in the congregation compiled in 1846.

References; HCPCI p28; BM; V17 MIs; 150th anniversay church booklet (Mark Donald)

Conlig village
4km S of Bangor on Newtownards road

These lovely old postcards were kindly sent by Joe Montgomery  


Conlig Presbyterian

Conlig Presbyterian Church
2km S of Bangor ,in the village

This congregation was an offshoot of 1st Bangor as the population was expanding. The first minister, Rev. Samuel Hamilton was appointed to the congregation in 24 Feb 1846. John Sinclair Esq. of Belfast was instrumental in establishing this congregation. The church was built entirely at his own expense in 1848 and serviced the lead miners in the area. Rev. Hamilton was succeeded by Rev. S. J. Hanson on 22 Aug 1854 until 1860 when Rev. William Craig was appointed. He died in 1872 and was succeeded by Rev. David Gordon on 7 Jan 1873 . He was succeded by Rev. Hugh Porter on 8 Oct 1884 until at least. 1900 .

Articles from Newtownards Chronicle newspaper;
lecture on the Press 10 Jul 1875; move to amalgamate with Ballygrainey church 22 Mar 1884

Records from 1845; PRONI MIC1P/94- Baptisms, 1845-1919; marriages, 1850-1935; committee minutes, 1848-1937; session and committee minutes, with lists of communicants, 1848- 1956; on MIC1P/230/6- Marriage notices, 1845-1941.

graveyard attached, only one pre- 1900 gravestone for John Sinclair in UHF Vol 17; email me for a gravestone look-up

This photo was kindly sent to me by Joe Montgomery.

References;HCPCI p56,99; GIPR; V17 MIs; NC

Crawfordsburn village

Crawfordsburn village

There was a school here in 1863.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
assizes 25 Feb 1843: garden outraged 20 Jul 1850; address to tenants by W.S. Crawford (?); David Morrow shot by Edward Bradley at Freemans Reunion at Crawfordsburn 27 Jun 1874 ; account of Tent life in Crawforsburn 1 Jul 1882+ ; improvements to town 22 May 1886; suspicious occurance 31 Aug 1889

Newspaper articles from Newtownards Chronicle;
Ards Bicycle Club, Crawfordsburn to Bangor run 2 Jul 1892

References; GV; DR: BM; NC; PNNI V2 p 173

Ballyhay townland- typical farmhouse

Ballyhay townland

Copeland Islands graveyard

This old graveyard is near the landing stage in Chapel Bay on the largest island but the ancient chapel is in ruins.


Nothing is known about the chapel . The islands are called after William Coupeland, a Norman settler. They belonged to the Abbey of Bangor at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries . They were next granted in 1630 to James Hamilton, Viscount Claneboy. On the opposite side of the island (north-west) is a small harbour called Port Ninion after St. Ninian bishop of Whithorn in Wigtownshire (c.360-c.432).

In the graveyard there are several uninscribed markers, 2 stones of 1742 and 1746 and a group ranging in date from 1862 to 1940. I

In the 1863 valuation the only names of residents on the island were Clegg, Emerson and Wright. In the 1830s there were 15 houses on the island but in 1953 only one house was occupied & the last inhabitants, Frederick and Aise Clegg, moved to the mainland in that year. They died in 1964 and 1965 and were the last burials in the island graveyard.


This photo was kindly sent by G. Mark Donald References; RSJ Clarke; MIs

by Ros Davies