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

Ballyhalbert parish

Ballyhalbert village Ballyhalbert Church of Ireland Ballyhemlin Non Subscribing Presbyterian Portavogie Presbyterian Ballyhalbert Schoolhouse

Ballyhalbert village

Ballhalbert village overlooking the Irish SeaHigh St, Ballyhalbert
These lovely old postcards on the left of Ballyhalbert was kindly sent to me by Pat McGowan Bartos This lovely old postcard of Shore St, Ballyhalbert is from Noel Lavery.

Ballyhalbert is a small village on the Irish Sea coast. Its name seems to be a c roouption of Ball- Thalbot or Talbotstown derived from the Talbot family which occupied this area after the conquest c. 1300. The parish paid tithes to Black Abbey in 1615. In 1659 there were 12 English/ Scots & 10 Catholic families. There is an ancient Anglo-Norman motte just behind the village.

In 1836 it was described as being without any importance and not being a post town. The inhabitants were mostly fishermen. The other trades were 4 spirit dealers and grocers and one smith. It is an ancient town but has been diminishing in importance. It had 45 cabins, 18 of which were slated and eleven 2 storey houses of stone with small windows which would not have admitted much light. There weren't any fairs or markets held in the village. The people were described as respectable and industrious with no decided cleanliness about them or their houses. They used turf as fuel for their fires.

There was a court held in the village every 9 weeks and a leet court held every year in April. There wasn't a police constable but there were 8 coastguard men & one chief officer. No illicit distilling, no smuggling, no houses were insured & no dispensary. There were two corn mills here in 1836. There is an ancient standing stone nearby. There is a village graveyard.

27 May 1848 a public works program was instigated for famine relief with the upgrading of the road from Portaferry to Ballyhalbert (FCD p8). There was a Coastguard Station here in 1863.

Click here for information about churches in the town & parish.
Click here for information about schools in 19th century.

Newspaper articles from Northern Star;
political meeting of freeholders 19 Jan 1793 & 16 Dec 1796 ;

Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
;glebe lands ‘in Chancery’ 29 Mar 1845: parish notes 24 Apr 1847: incendiarism 13 Apr 1850; Patriotic fund. Names of contributors 20 Jan 1855; fishery pier 2 Aug 1884

Newspaper articles from Newtownards Chronicle;
horse races 6 May 1876 ; lifeboat crew rescues 25 from shipping disaster 12 Mar 1881; fishery pier 25 Jul 1885; fire at the corn mill 7 Jan 1888; foundation stone of new Orange Hall 8 Apr 1899

References;NS; V7 p5,6,& V17 p 125 OSM :DR; GIC; NC; SP; O'L V1 p 427 & B p 328; PNNI V2 p 103; LR 2004 p13


Ballyhalbert Parish Church

Ballyhalbert Church of Ireland- St Andrew's
in Ballyesborough townland, Main Rd, Portavogie

There was a church just south of the village in 1306 called Talbetona after the Talbot family who came here with the Normans. It was repaired in 1622 then fell into disuse. The local parishioners worshipped at Inishargy Church until a new church was built in Ballyesborough in 1850. The new 'McVeigh Hall ' was named after James McVeigh of Portavogie & family.

Newspaper article from Newtownards Chronicle;
renovation concert 3 Mar 1894

baptisms from 1846 & burials from 1855; UHF ( ) have burials 1855-1922; have burials 1855-1922 graveyard attached, gravestones UHF Vol 15, oldest stone 1854; email me for a lookup of gravestones

References; GIC: GIPR; V15 MIs; NC ; O'L V1 p 427 ;GV; Lena McVea


Ballyhemlin Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church

Ballyhemlin Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church
3km NE of Kircubbin

This meeting house was erected in 1835 & paid for by public subscription. It has a slate roof and is very plain.It measures 60 feet by 33 feet and is capable of holding 200 people with the average attendance in 1836 of 100 . The minister in 1846 was Rev. Alexander Orr & Rev. Robert Workman of Rubane c. 1861 & Rev. Charles Thrift in 1910 & Rev. William John Wharton 1958

North of Ireland FHS ( has baptisms 1835-1925& marriages 1834 - 1934; graveyard attached, oldest grave 1853; gravestones UHF Vol 14; email me for a gravestone look-up; the older Ballyhalbert Presbyterian Church is in Glastry townland (see Inishargy parish)

References; V7 p 5 OSM; GIC; V14 MIs; RWN p 72 ;GV; POD ; SG;

Portavogie Presbyterian Church

Portavogie Presbyterian

by Ros Davies