old Church of Ireland
on Castle Hill, Ardkeen
Castle Hill was formally an ancient Celtic hill fort.
On the south side of the hill lies the ruins of St. Mary's old church,
now roofless, but the walls still standing to roof height. An older
church was believed to have been there before the Savages arrived,
possibly from the 6th century. Around the ruins is an ancient burying
ground enclosed by later stone walls. An old Norman headstone, depicting
a knight because of the sword carved on it, can still be seen.
The old church was a small simple building, in Ardkeen townland
on Castle Hill which juts out into Strangford Lough. An old church
was built by the Savage family in late 13th century but was in ruins
by 1621 then fully retored in 1761. In 1836 it was described as
being 60 feet by 27 feet and capable of holding 160 people. It was
unroofed by a severe storm 6 Jan 1839 so the congregation then had
the decision to make; build a new Church or repair an ancient one.
On 27th May 1847 the new Christ Church [The Quarter] Ardkeen was
Gifts detonated by the Savage family to St. Mary's were moved to
the new church. This site was abandoned for the new site near Kirkistown.
1345/6 Thomas De Bredon
1385 Thomas Cuthbert
1386 William De Eldon
1440 Robert McGowne
1455 John Macassyn
1524 John McAgoyn
1524 Rodolph McAgoyn
1661 Bishop Robert Echlin
Church registers from 1745; UHF ( http://www.ancestryireland.com
) has baptisms 1746-1871 & burials 1746-1875 ; http://www.rootsireland.ie
have burials 1746-1875 ; graveyard attached, gravestones UHF Vol
13; email me for a gravestone look-up
These photos were kindly sent to me by Lena McVea.
The new church was built in 1847 in a more convenient situation
for most parishioners and consecrated 27 May 1847 when the Rev.
Alexander Bullick was rector. (He was rector for 40 years).The old
church was left to ruin. The Glebe House was a small plain house
in Ardkeen townland. The tower was completed in 1891 when Rev. Hugh
Stowell was rector and paid for by public subscirption. Rev. Joseph
H. Scott was rector 1911-1930.
Newspaper articles from Down Recorder;
new church 22 May 1847 in Kirkistown; Sunday School soiree 1 Sep
1860; soiree 16 Nov 1861; death of rector Rev Alexander Bullick
2 Jun 1877
Church registers from 1745; graveyard attached, gravestones UHF
Vol 13; email me for a gravestone look-up The above photo was kindly sent to me by Brian McCleary.
This chapel is well situated on a hill with 280 degree views &
has a high spire. It was rebuilt in 1876 to replace the chapel in Lisbane
townland. There is an old Celtic cross in the graveyard - see right
photo. The parish priest in 2005 was Rev. Patrick O'Neill. (shared with
Newspaper article from Down Recorder;
new church near Kircubbin 14 Oct 1876
has registers to view 1828-1882; PRONI & NLI have baptisms 1828-1838
& 1852- 1882, marriages 1828-1839 & 1852- 1889; UHF has baptisms
& marriages 1828-1900; graveyard attached; gravestone inscriptions
available UHF Vol 13
This lovely old photo was kindly sent by Vernon Moore.
Catholic Church- St. Patrick's on the Strangford coast near Saltwater
bridge on the Newtownards to Portaferry road
This chapel was erected in 1777 by parish priest Daniel O'Doran,
on the site of the mass rock from penal times and paid for by
general subscription. The ancient chapel of Moyndele is nearby.
In 1836 it was described as being 62 feet by 24 feet and capable
of holding 400 people. It was an attractive building with a roof
of old Tullycavey slates.The parish priest in 1835 was Rev. Bernard
Dorrian. It was reduced to the status of mortuary house after
the building of the new church in Ballycran in 1876. The front
of the graveyard is kept in good order but brambles have been
allowed to grow behind the church making access difficult. (2002)
has registers to view 1828-1839; PRONI & NLI have baptisms
1828-1838 & 1852- 1882, marriages 1828-1839 & 1852- 1889;
graveyard ; gravestone inscriptions available UHF Vol 13 ; email
me for a gravestone look-up
p 2 OSM; GIC; MIs; O'L V1 p 421,424, 447 , 448
Kirkistown Castle is near
Cloghy. You can see the remains of the 9th century Round Tower
on the left. The Tower House and bawn (on the right) were built
by Roland Savage in 1622 and occupied untiol 1731 when it was
deserted. There are three floors in the tower-house and it was
restored in 1800 by Col. Johnston in the Gothic Revival style.
In 1836 there had been some attempt and expense made to repair
it but it was left with a half-finished roof and broken windows
and the weather taking it back to a state of ruin. The cause of
this was because the present owner, Master Montgomery, of Grey
Abbey, was a minor.
Today it is in private hands
and visitors aren't welcome. The buildings are used as farm sheds.