Ordnance Survey Memoir for the Parish of Ballintoy 1830 & 1838

These extracts have been taken from the Institute of Irish Studies publication (1994) OS Memoirs Co. Antrim IX, Vol. 24 pp. 10-35.

There are two Memoirs one dated August 1830 by Lieutenant Thomas Hore and one dated April to August 1838 by Thomas Fagan.

The following extracts have been taken from the 1830 Memoir.

Natural Features and Natural History

Croaghmore (or "large stack" from croagh "stack" is 579 feet high, on the top of which is a large cairn or heap of stones. This hill, also, though rocky, affords good pasture on the top. Its sides are arable.

General Appearance and Scenery

Except the scenery in the immediate vicinity of, or on the coast, and which has already been described, there is nothing in the features or appearance of the country to interest the eye. There are large tracts of bog and rocky and uncultivated ground in the more inland parts of the parish which, being totally destitute of planting, give it a bleak and cheerless aspect. [p. 16]

Towns: Ballintoy

The only town or village of any consequence whatever in this parish is Ballintoy, which is stuated near the sea on the eastern side of the parish and on the high road between Coleraine and Ballycastle. It is surrounded on east and south by the high lands of Knocksoghy and Black Park, It is not a post town, but the daily post between Coleraine and Ballycastle passes through it to and fro. There are 3 fairs held here annually. It does not deserve the name of town, there being, but few houses in it, and generally small and bad. The Established Church is a modern building situated about half a mile north west of the village, and there is a Roman Catholic chapel in the townland of Ballenlae.

There are 3 fairs annually in Ballintoy, one on the 4th June, one on the 4th September and one on the 14th of October. Highland ponies, cattle of all kinds, meal, yarn, flax are the principal articles sold.


I have heard the population estimated about 4,000 souls, of whom there are about 6 Protestants to 1 Roman Catholic; of the Protestants nine-tenths are of the Established Church. The inhabitants of this parish generally appear to be very well-off, that is to say, of moderate and easy circumstances. Their principal food is oatmeal, potatoes and fish. Their occupations are, for the women, spinning flax. (I have scarcely ever gone into a cabin without finding on the average of 2 spinning wheels at work). The men are employed in weaving and agricultural pursuits, and on the sea-coast some are employed fishing, when they can spare time at the proper seasons, from their farms. There are few resident gentry in this parish except the rector Reverend Mr Traill, who resides in the townland of Magherabuy at Mount Druid.


There are 4 mills in this parish, viz. the flax mill in Ballinlea Lower, which is propelled by a breast waterwheel 13 feet in diameter and 1 foot 10 inches broad; the corn mill in Island Macallan townland, which is propelled by a breast water wheel 13 feet in diameter and 1 foot 10 inches broad; the corn mill in Ballinlea Upper townland, which is propelled by a breast water wheel 13 feet in diameter and 2 feet broad; the corn mill in Currysheskin townland is propelled by a breast water wheel 13 feet in diameter and 1 foot 9 inches broad

Early Improvements

There has not been any event or change which has at any time caused a perceptible effect in the manners or customs of the inhabitants of thir parish, and they are indebted principally anc almost entirely to their intercourse with stranger and the introduction of schools for the rank the\ at present hold in the scale of civilisation. They all are the descendants of the Scottish settlers of the 16th century, as may be inferred from their ven broad Scotch dialect and accent, and more par ticularly from the prevalence of Scottish names such as Stuart, McKay, Kirkpatrick, McKenne\ Campbell, McMullan which, with a few others include all the families in the parish.

Local Government

There are neither magistrates nor police in the parish. There are 7 coastguards. No outrages of any kind have been committed even within a remote period. There is very little illicit distillation and no smuggling. There are not any insurances of any kind.


There is no dispensary. The people are healthy and free from any infectious or contagious diseases. Asthma and dropsical complaints are rather prevalent.


The introduction of schools has caused a very visible change for the better on the moral habits of the rising generation, and the advantages they offer are embraced by the people, who seem rather anxious for information and to have their children instructed (see Table of Schools).


Except the usual collections at the places of worship on Sundays, there is no provision for the poor of this parish.


The different persuasions are the Protestant, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic. According to the revised census of 1835 there are 2,060 Protestants, 1,108 Dissenters and 993 Roman Catholics The rector is supported by his tithes. The Protestant curate receives a salary of 75 pounds per annum from his rector. The Presbyterian clergv-man receives his stipend and regium donum, and the priest has many sources of support which cannot be accurately ascertained. [Insert addition: The proportion of Protestants to Roman Catholics is estimatedat 6 of the former to 1 of the latter.]

Habits of the People

The houses of the lower class are built of stone and lime, mostly thatched and are almost all 1 storey. They are rather comfortable and substantial and generally consist of from 2 to 3 apart-ments. Each house has from 2 to 3 windows. They are not very cleanly in their appearance. Their food consists of meal, potatoes and fish. Very little meat is used by them. Tea is becoming an indispensable article with the women but the men get little of it. Their holiday clothes are very neat and com-fortable, and on those days they dress very well. Much of their dress is of home manufacture. They are long-lived in general, there being several persons above 80 years old now living in the parish. There are not, however, any remarkable instances of longevity. The usual number in a family is 6. They marry very early, 2 girls having lately married at 15. They are considered very prolific and twins are very common. Except dancing, they cannot be said to have any particular amusements. There is a little cock-fighting at Easter. St John's Day is observed by the Freemasons who walk in procession on that day. No peculiar customs exist, nor is there anything peculiar in their manners and habits or costume. They are honest, peaceable, industrious and well conducted, and very hospitable and obliging in their dispositions.


About 15 persons emigrate annually in spring to rie United States of America. 50 or perhaps 60 young men and women go annually to the English ind Scottish harvest (principally to the latter) but return immediately they are over.

Remarkable Events

There is no record or tradition of any remarkable event having at any time occurred in this parish, nor has it given birth to any remarkable person. It may be worthy of notice that the late Lord Castlereagh received the early part of his education in this parish.


[Insert addition: Spinning flax in the cottages is very general, scarcely a cottage in which 2 wheels are not constantly at work. Fishing furnishes employment occasionally to the farmer residing on the sea-coast.


The heathy rocky summits of Knocksoghey, Legavara and Croaghmore afford some good pasturage.


The streams in this parish contain but a very scanty stock of fish. Others are said to be numerous in the Moon river, which may in a great measure account for their being so scarce].

Table of Schools [Lieutenant Thomas Hore]

[Table contains the following headings: townland m which situated, number of pupils subdivided by religion and sex, remarks as to how supported].

Ballintoy Demesne, 46 Protestants, 11 Catholics, 51 males, 6 females, total 57; this school is supported by a rent charge of 15 pounds per annum left for it by James Stewart Esquire on the townland of Clegnagh, and the scholars paying from 2s to 2s 6d perquarter; established 1789. .

Prolisk, 60 Protestants, 33 males, 27 females, total 60; this and the following school were built by and under the auspices of Dr Adam Clark and the Methodist Society, who pay the schoolmasters 20 pounds per annum each; established 1831.

Island Macallan, 54 Protestants, 8 Catholics, 33 males, 26 females, total 59; established 1831.

Lisbellanagroagh, 33 Protestants, 12 Catholics, 25 males, 20 females, total 45; this is a private school; the children pay from Is 2d to 2s per quarter; when established: unknown. [Totals]: 190 Protestants, 31 Catholics, 142 males, 79 females, total 221.

Table of Schools [Thomas Fagan 1838]

[Table contains the following headings: name of townland where held, name and religion of master or mistress, free or pay school, annual income of master or mistress, description and cost of schoolhouse, number of pupils subdivided by religion, sex and the Protestant and Roman Catholic returns, societies with which connected].

Lisbellanagroagh, master James Hunter, Dissenter; pay school, annual income 12 pounds; schoolhouse stone and lime, thatched, inconvenient, cost 7 pounds; number of pupils by the Protestant return: 23 Established Church, 1 Presbyterian, 16 males, 8 females; by the Roman Catholic return: 32 Established Church, 3 Presbyterians, 33 males, 2 females; the parish school.

Ballinloo, master William Gillespie, Established Church; pay school, annual income 10 or 12 pounds; schoolhouse stone and lime, lately built by proprietor of soil; number of pupils by the Protestant return: 17 Established Church, 3 Presbyterians, 2 Roman Catholics, 14 males, 8 females; by the Roman Catholic return: 16 Established Church, 6 Presbyterians, 2 Roman Catholics, 16 males, 8 females; superintended by the clergyman, who contributes to master's salary.

Drumnagee, master Robert Hargrave, Established Church; pay school, annual income 12 pounds; schoolhouse: hired house, rent 16 pounds; number of pupils by the Protestant return: 12 Established Church, 8 Presbyterians, 4 Roman Catholics, 16 males, 8 females; associations none.

Ballintoy, master Daniel McNeill, Established Church; pay school, annual income 15 pounds; schoolhouse: no house, 150 pounds about to be laid out; number of pupils by the Protestant return: 20 Established Church, 15 males, 5 females; by the Roman Catholic return: 20 Established Church, 1 Presbyterian, 5 Roman Catholics, 19 males, 7 females; the master's income is charged on the Ballintoy estate.

COMPARE THESE SCHOOLS WITH THOSE IN THE PARISH c.1860 [I have added this map. It shows 3 National Schools and 3 Church Schools.]

Copyright 2013 W. Macafee.