Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001

Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

Seapatrick parish

On this page:

Banbridge Church of Ireland, Banbridge original Parish Church Seapatrick Chapel of Ease- St. Patrick's 1st Presbyterian Church, Banbridge Non Subscribing
1st Unitarian/ Non Subscribing Presbyterian, Downshire Rd, Banbridge 2nd Unitarian/ Seceeding Presbyterian Banbridge Orthodox Presbyterian, Scarva Street Bannside Presbyterian, Banbridge Methodist Church, Banbridge
Banbridge Catholic Ballydown Presbyterian Church Millmount Bleachworks . .




Banbridge developed around a bridge constructed over the river Bann in 1712. The town developed after 1767 when a patent was granted to hold fairs and markets. Here's a description of Banbridge, written by a visitor there in 1796 .
"This country in entirely occupied in the manufacture of linen, but the late troubles have made trade to languish. The mills, however, are still going, and it is hoped that a year of peace will restore order and prosperity. Military life was rigorously enforced here on the inhabitants; they were not permitted to have lights in their houses after nine o'clock, and any person found in the streets after that hour was in danger of being arrested. A fair was held during the time I stayed in this little town, and it passed over quite peacefully; the soldiers promenaded through the market-place and obliged women who wore anything green, ribbon or otherwise, to take it off.....
A vigorous government in Ireland has been able to repress, and hold in the path of duty, a people discontented and seduced by the success of the French innovations."
(Joe Canning, "The Stranger in Iveagh," Banbridge District Historical Society Journal, Vol. 2, Banbridge, N. Ireland, 1990, p. 44)

A brown linen market was erected in 1817. It was an important staging post on the main Belfast- Dublin road. The road very very steep as can be seen on either side of The Cut. The road was levelled in 1832/4 and the bridge constructed at a total cost of £ 19,000. The clock tower on the right belongs to the market house which was constructed on its present site in 1834 at a cost of £2,000. The original market house was in the centre of the road, where the bridge now stands. The bridge was rebuilt in 1885, widening it from 23 feet to 46 feet.

In 1828, the Flax Market was held monthly on a Monday. In 1836 the horse fairs were held on 12th January & 26th August each year. It was described as the best in the north of Ireland. Cattle fairs were held on the 1st Monday of each month and a market on Tuesday. The tolls & customs levied belonged to the Marquis of Downshire. Petty Sessions were held every fortnight. The Court House is in Scarva Street and was built by the Marquis of Downshire in 1830. It is a whinstone building corniced with granite. Its dimensions are 60 by 50 feet with 2 storeys. On the first storey was the meal and corn market, a black hole and porter's apartment. On the upper storey was the court room, at the rear of which was the news room and a retiring room. The top of the building is surmounted by a cupola, in which there is a clock with 4 faces. A Board of Commissioners was established in 1828 for the purpose of lighting, paving , watching and cleansing the town. There were 4 main streets- Newry, Bridge, Scarva and Rathfriland. In 1841 the popukation of Seapatrick parish was 9528 with the population of Banbridge being 3324 people.


The Post Office Directory of 1886 says that there was a mineral water factory, a hemstitching factory & a rope making factory. The population in 1910 was 5006.

Click here for a photo of Banbridge Railway Station
Click here to see information on schools in the area.

Newspaper articles from Northern Star;
Volunteers Militia meeting 23 Jan 1793; Banbridge Fair notice 6 Mar 1794;

The postcard in the top box was kindly sent by Vernon Moore and shows the view in 1958

The modern photo in ther bottom box was kindly sent by Erwin Matthews and shows The Cut, Banbridge , looking from the opposite direction.

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
assizes 25 Feb 1843: address by elite in town 3 Jun 1848: tenants rights meeting 2 Feb 1850;Ladies' School 8 Sep 1855; Sectarian rioting 13 Jun 1868; poisoned chocolates through the post 3 Jan 1936*

Newspaper article from Newtownards Chronicle;
Tenant Farmers' land meeting 3 Mar 1894

References;NS; V12 p2, 100 OSM; DR; GIPR; GIC; NC; PNNI V6 p 321; OB p3+; POD

old Seapatrick parish church

original Church of Ireland Parish Church
in Kilpike townland

The old church was about 2 km outside of Banbridge town, on the west side of the road between Banbridge and Lurgan. St. Patrick stopped to water his horse on the River Bann at Ballykeel Ford. He established a church at this spot and there was definitely a church here in 1306 and one was reportedly destroyed in 1641. The exact date of the building is not known but it is said to be one ordered to be built by King William 3rd, who crossed the Bann river near to its site. The present ruined building was built in 1698. The rector in 1766 was Rev. James Dickson & then Rev. William Sturrock & his son Rev. James Trail Sturrock 1797-1803. It was a plain building measuring 69 feet by 27 feet and held 300 people which was not enough for those attending. It was so small that the the Marquis of Downshire gave some land to build a new one so it was abandoned in 1836 after the new Church of Ireland was built in Banbridge in 1834. The minister in 1824 & 1830 was Rev. Francis Burrowes with Rev Mr Dickenson in 1846 with Rev. Mr William Metge as his curate (1841-68) . Frederick Hayes purchased the site for £25 in 1847 and the church's stones were used to build the perimeter wall. The schoolhouse in the village of Seapatrick was converted into a Chapel of Ease in 1880.

graveyard inscriptions UHF Vol 20; oldest stone in old graveyard in 1711;This graveyard was used by both Catholics and Protestants; email me for a gravestone lookup
This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;BIH p 11,18; BCT p 6; PNNI V6 p 301; OB p 45;OFB p vii, 101,117; DDPP p124


Holy Trinity Church of Ireland

Church of Ireland, Holy Trinity
Church Square, Banbridge- corner Church & Dromore Streets

The first parish church was built in 1698 (see above) and abandoned in 1837 after the present Seapatrick Parish Church (above )was built in the town of Banbridge in 1837.

The new church is of Gothic architecture made out of whinstone and granite roughly cut, but the cornices and buttresses are of freestone brought from Scotland. It has a tower at the east end 60 feet high and a granite steeple of 60 feet. There is no gallery. It holds 550 people and the cost of the building in 1834 was £3,100. Of this sum, £1,500 was given by the Ecclesiastical Board and £800 was given by the Marquis of Downshire and the remainder was raised by subscription. The Glebe House is situated in Kilpike townland, near the old church and in 1836 was the residence of Rev. Daniel Dickinson, vicar & rector of the parish 1832-1870. (curate in 1852 was Rev. Mr. Metge) The rector in 1876 & 1910 was Rev. Charles Thornton Primrose Grierson. The curates in 1910 were Rev. J. Crawford & Rev R.R. Muir.

The monument in front, is dedicated to Capt. Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier, the Banbridge explorer who helped discover the North West Passage in 1848 and died in the process. The church was enlarged in 1867 and a chancel and south aisle added in 1883.

Records from 1802, Banbridge cemetery graveyard inscriptions & Holy Trinity church memorials in UHF Vol 20; email me for a gravestone lookup
This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;V12 p125,128,132 OSM; BIH p11,T; GIPR; BCT p 11; OB p12,17; OFB p vii; DDPP p124; OFB p105,121; POD


Seapatrick Chapel of Ease

St. Patrick's Church of Ireland
a Chapel of Ease; in Seapatrick village on the Banbridge to Lurgan Road

This Chapel of Ease was established in 1880 after the old schoolhouse was converted.

This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;OFB p100


1st Presbyterian Church, Banbridge

1st Presbyterian Church, Banbridge- Non Subscribing
in Downshire Rd/ Huntly St, Banbridge; north end of town (Ballyvally townland) and the side of Lurgan Road

These Presbyterians broke away from the congregation in Magherally in 1716 and formed themselves into a distinct society. The first church was at Old Meeting House Green. Rev. Young from Magheraaly preached at both churches for a short time. Their first minister, Rev. Kennedy, was shared with Magherally church, but he left for America so they chose Rev. Archibald MacLain who was ordained 26 Apr 1720. He was succeeded by Rev. Henry Jackson on 8 Nov 1743 then Rev. Nathanial Shaw who was ordained in 1789 & died in 1812.Then Rev James Davis who was ordained 23 Mar 1814. He subscribed to the New Light or Arian controversy causing a split with the Remonstrants or Non-Subscribers in 1828 .

The present church was erected 1741 & 1742 at a cost of £550 & paid for by subscription. It is a stone, roughcast, white-washed building with small rectangular windows. In 1824 it was newly ceiled, painted and repaired at a cost of £75 which was also raised by subscription. The church holds 650 people with an average attendance of 200 in 1836. The congregation composed of 200 families then. The church and burying ground surrounding it were leased from William Reilly, agent to the Marquis of Downshire at a yearly rent of 8 shillings & one halfpenny.There were plans in 1836 to raise money to rebuilt as the congregation was increasing. The annual salary of Rev. James Davis in 1836 was £200 & the clerk received £20 per year. The above church was built in 1844. Rev. Robert Anderson was minister from 1830 - 1872 then Rev. John Sinclair Hamilton from 3 Jul 1872 til 14 Feb 1884 . He was suceeded by Rev. Thomas Boyd on 7 Aug 1884 til 1912 then Rev. James Glynne Davies 1913-1919.

Records from 1756- 1794 for old church & 300 marriages are transcribed in Linn's 'History of Banbridge' 1935, for marriages 1756-1794 see; graveyard attached; gravestone inscriptions available UHF Vol 20; oldest stone 1758; email me for a gravestone lookup

This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;V12 p 2, 125, 128 OSM; HCPCI p54-55; BIH p 18; GIC; GIPR; MIs; OFB p viii;POD ; SG;


Scarva Street Presbyterian Church, Banbridge

Scarva Street, Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Banbridge

This church was erected in 1829 at a cost of £1,000 which was raised by subscription after a split between the Orthodox & Non-subscribers. It was described in 1836 as a whinstone building corniced with granite, with a good gallery & many seats. It holds 650 with the average attendance in 1836 of 250. The minister in 1846 was Rev. Robert Anderson. As a result of the 1859 revival, the growth in membership increased to such an extent it was decided to build another Presbyterian Church in the town and so the congregation of Bannside was formed. (see below). The congregation continued to grow and enlargements were made in 1877, 1900, 1908, 1920 & 1963. The minister 1872-1874 was Rev.John Sinclair Hamilton.

baptism registers from 1851 & marriage register from 1845; graveyard behind 2nd Presbyterian Curch in Ballyvally townland; gravestone inscriptions available UHF Vol 20; email me for a gravestone lookup

This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;V12 p 2, 125, 129 OSM; OFB p viii; MIs


1st Unitarian/ Non Subscribing Presbyterian

in Downshire Road, Banbridge

This photo shows the Banbridge Conservative Flute Band followed by the Sir Knights on the annual 12th July March (1913) to Scarva. The Downshire Road 1st Unitarian/ Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church can be seen behind the railway wagons on the right.

The congregation was formed in 1828 after the split over subscription with the 1st Presbyterians. They stayed in the old Presbyterian church in Meeting House Green at first then Hugh Dunbar of Huntly House, Ballykeel Ford, financially helped to build this Meeting House. Whilst originally in Lurgan Road, they moved to the present site in 1846. The old church was pulled down but continued to be used as a graveyard. The minister in 1846 was Rev. James Davis and from 1847- his death in 1867 was Rev. John Montgomery. In 1910, the minister was Rev. E. Lockhart.

no graveyard ; burials in old Meeting House Green; gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 20; email me for a memorial lookup

References;BIH p 13,15; GIC;OB p 32; OFB p viii; POD


2nd Unitarian/ Seceding Presbyterian
in Church Square, Banbridge

This Meeting House was opened 6 Oct 1844 but closed c. 1880 due to congregational divisions. It was bought by Lodge 336 of the Masonic Order in 1893 for £390.

References;BIH p 15 ; GIC;OBp16


Bannside Presbyterian

Bannside Presbyterian Church, Banbridge
in Ballyvally, Castlewellan Road beside the River Bann

This church was built in 1866 as a result of the 1859 Revival, to avoid overcrowding of the other Presbyterian churches. The minister in 1886 & 1910 was Rev James Scott.

Records from 1867; gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 20

This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;BIH p 15; GIPR; OFB p viii ;BC; POD


Balydown Presbyterian

Ballydown Presbyterian Church
on the old road between Banbridge & Castlewellan, about 2km from Banbridge ; Castlewellan Rd, Banbridge Co. Down. BT32 4JP

The congregation was established in 1796 & the church was built in 1798 at a cost of £500 which was raised by subscription. It was described in 1836 as a stone building, roughcast & whitewashed; inside the roof was not ceiled nor the aisles boarded. The pews were plain and it seated 400 people with an average attendance of 250. The minister's salary in 1836 , Rev John Rutherford, was £70 (Irish) & £30 (British) at that time He was still there in 1866. The church was rebuilt in 1904. The minister in 1910 was Rev. Knox.

baptismal records from 1804 & marriage records from 1845, graveyard attached , oldest stone is 1825; gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 20; email me for a gravestone lookup.

This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;V12 p 125, 132 OSM; MC; GIC; GIPR; OFB p viii ; POD


Banbridge Methodist Church

Methodist Church, Banbridge
in Downshire Road

The original church was in Gospel Lane, off the north side of Rathfriland St, Banbridge. It was erected in 1814 and paid for by subscription. In 1836 it was described as a stone building, roughcast & whitewashed,capable of holding 200 people. The minister, before his death in 1867, was Rev. Robert Hill Lindsay. In 1871 they built a new church in Downshire Road, as seen above. The minister in 1910 was Rev. J.A. Walton.

no graveyard

This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;V12 p 2, 125, 129 OSM; BIH p 15; GIC;POD


St.Patrck's Catholic Church

St. Patrick's Catholic Church,Banbridge
north end of Dromore Street

This church was built in 1839 by Rev. Edmund Magennis at a cost of £450 which was raised by public subscription. It was built on land held by lease from Thomas McClelland Esq. It was described as a whinstone building corniced and buttressed with granite.The windows & doorways are Gothic & the arches made of brick. The architect was Thomas J. Duff. It holds 1,000. Parishioners who could afford them brought their own kneelers. Money was short in 1837 but the McComish family of Banbridge gave generously. The priest in 1846 was Rev John Macklin & Rev John O'Brien in 1877. A belltower was added in 1885 and a gallery in 1890. The Church Hall in Hill Street was built in 1914 by Rev John Rooney ( email me for a photo of the laying of the foundation stone. OB p25.)

List of Parish Priests; Rev. Henry O'Hagan 1831-32; Rev. John Doran 1837- 1840; Rev. Edmund Magenis 1839-1849; Rev. Daniel Mooney 1851- 1858; Rev. John O'Brien 1858- 1906; Rev. John Rooney 1907- 1923; (curates in 1910 were Revs. Magee & M. McCloey) Rev. Francis Joseph O'Hare 1923-1951; Rev. David Gallery 1951- 1963; Rev. James Haughey 1963- 1964; Rev. James McEvoy 1964- 1972; Rev. Michael Henry O'Rourke 1972 -1988; Rev. Matthew O'Hare 1988- 2000;Rev. Liam Stevenson 2000- has registers to view 1850-1883; PRONI , NLI & LDS have baptisms 1843-1880, marriages 1850-1882 & burials 1850-1880; UHF has baptisms 1843-1900, marriages 1850-1900 & burials 1850-1900; graveyard attached ;gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 20; email me for a gravestone lookup

This photo was kindly taken for me by Erwin Matthews.

References;V12 p 125, 129 OSM; BIH p 15; GIC: TIA: GIPR;OB p25;DDPP p124,128 ; POD

Millmount Bleach works on the River Bann

Millmount Bleachworks

At one time large industrial works involved in the linen trade lined the banks of the River Bann. Millmount was established by William Hayes for the linen industry; Mr Richard Hayes was the proprietor in 1836. It was owned by the Cowdy family, who came to Banbridge in the 1890s from Greenhall, Loughgall, and took over the Millmount site. Bleaching was the principal linen process in the area but the once familiar sight of linen stretched out on the bleachgreens around Banbridge has sadly disappeared. Millmount is now one of only a handful that remains.

References;V12 p 2, 125 OSM; BIH p L & U

by Ros Davies