MOIRA
A Historical Handbook
 

by Rev. Canon C.R.J. Rudd
Rector of Moira

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

Chapter 5

The Town and Buildings

Although the town existed before the seventeenth century the Rawdon family were largely responsible for building the houses and for the towns development. In 1744 Moira was described as "a well laid out and thriving village, consisting of one broad street, inhabited by many traders, many of whom carry on the linen trade to good advantage". In 1740 a monthly brown linen market was established. Although linen was the main industry, there was also a brewery and bottling business near "Palmer's Corner". Lambeg drums were also reputed to have been first made in the town. Moira was also an important centre for limestone quarrying. Evidence of this is seen in the lime kilns on the Clarehill Road. Another similar business existed until recently on the Old Kilmore Road.

 

The Market House was built by the Bateson family Berwick Hall, a thatched house on the Hillsborough Road which dates back to circa 1700

 Lime kilns on the Clarehill Road

The Market House was built by the Bateson family, who although they resided at Belvoir Park continued to care for the town. This building bears the Bateson family crest. The Market House contained a large assembly room and a court room, which was still in use by the Courts until the early part of this century.

Perhaps the earliest existing building is Berwick Hall, a thatched house on the Hillsborough Road which dates back to circa 1700. It was owned by the Berwick family and is one of the finest examples of a yeoman's home.

Other buildings of note in the Main Street include the residence (near the Demesne entrance) which was the home of the land steward Mr. John L. Douie. There is also a building opposite the Market House bearing the date 1735.
 

The Main Street of Moira was lined down both sides with lime trees The Railway Station was the earliest country station on the Dublin Line

The Main Street of Moira was lined down both sides with lime trees. According to old photographs these lime trees existed until the early part of this century. There were also four lime trees in the middle of the Main Street which were a landmark and well known all over Northern Ireland. These became unsafe about thirty years ago and sadly for that reason were cut down. Chestnut trees lined part of the driveway to the Church and unfortunately these too had to be taken down. Lady Brookeborough kindly donated conifer trees and these are to be seen near to the back entrance to the Church.

Until recently Waringfield House, the home of the Waring family, was situated on the Lurgan Road. This Georgian building was destroyed by fire and finally demolished in the late 1980's. At the turn of the century Canon Thomas Harpur lived in this house - his son being Rector of Moira Parish. In this century in the grounds of house was the military hospital, which later became a geriatric hospital, which closed in the last decade. On the site now stands a private nursing home and retirement dwellings. (see poem at the end of this chapter).

There were several other large houses in the area, many of which date to the early part of the eighteenth century. Ballunigan House, off the M1 Motorway was once a Cholera Hospital.

Centrally positioned in the corridor of communications through the Lagan Valley, Moira always enjoyed good transport facilities. Only about six miles separate the river Lagan at Moira from Lough Neagh and as early as 1637 Sir George Rawdon suggested digging a canal. It was not until 1794 however, that the Lough Neagh section of the Lagan Navigation was finally opened. There was an acqueduct near Spencer's Bridge. The M1 was built where the acqueduct originally was. The Ulster Railway soon followed the building of the Canal, with Moira being connected to Belfast in the year 1841. The Railway Station was the earliest country station on the Dublin Line. Records divulge that Lord Deramore was reluctant to allow the Railway to be built on his land, thus the siting of the Station is approximately one mile from the town.

At Trummery Crossroads, the Spencer family owned Trummery House, and the Logan family lived at Church Hill. They were descendants of James Logan, who founded the Loganian Library and Museum in Philadelphia. James Logan was very much involved in the developmentof Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania and had a good rapport with the Red Indians. There is a plaque to the memory of this gentleman outside the Quaker Meeting House in Lurgan. Up to approximately eighteen years ago there was hedge in the shape of a man on a horse at Ferndale, Trummery.

Magherahinch House was originally owned by the Marquis of Downshire, as a country residence. It later became the property of John Bateman and is now the home of the Geddis family. Outside Moira is another house - "The Forest" which is still inhabited by another branch of the Bateman family.

Fortwilliam House on the Old Kilmore Road was the home of the Langtry family. This family was related to the husband of Lily Langtry said to have been the lady friend of King Edward VII.

Extract from the poem
"Pretty Mary's Fort"
N.B. Pretty Mary's Fort is situated behind what was Waringfield House.

I have read about Killarney's Lakes
I have seen Shane's Castle Hall
But the beauty of you Waringfield
You far exceed them all.
Long may the name of Waring live there
In this ancient Hall to reign
and Keep an eye unto the poor
That live round his domain.

We bid adieu to Waringfield
With it's laurels ever green
And to the weeping willows
Down by the Lagan stream.
And to the Forth and Burns' house
And pretty Mary's well -
To describe the beauties of this place
No human tongue can tell.

Top

Church Buildings
Presbyterian Church

A congregation of the Presbyterian Church was founded before the end of the 17th century. About 1730 they were deprived of their place of worship, the location of which is obscure and built a meeting house in 1738. In 1748 they joined the Seceders and some of this faction worshipped in an out-building at Fortwilliam, Lurganville - believed to be the first Seceding congregation in Co. Down. Later the congregation divided into Non-Subscribing and Secessionist congregations and the latter built the present Church in 1829. The son (Grandson) of a former Presbyterian Minister the Rev. James Hume built a famous Highway in Australia called The Hume Highway.

Email received from Natalie McGovan New South Wales, Australia.
 

Reverend James Hume (1718-1782), my 7th Great Grandfather, is mentioned on the page: http://www.lisburn.com/books/moira/moira2.html.

I would like to correct a factual error made on the page. The page states:

'The son of a former Presbyterian Minister the Rev. James Hume built a famous Highway in Australia called The Hume Highway.' This is incorrect. Rev. James Hume's son Andrew Hamilton Hume (b. 1762 in Hillsborough, Co. Down) emigrated to Australia as a Commissioner of Convicts, eventually becoming a respected landowner and farmer near Sydney, New South Wales. His oldest son, Hamilton Hume (Grandson of Rev. James) was the first Australian born explorer, he is best known for discovering a direct route between Syndey and Melbourne over land, instead of needing to travel by sea. The route that he discovered is now the major highway between Sydney and Melbourne called the Hume Highway.

Another former Minister the Rev. William Moffett is buried in St. John's graveyard.

Methodist Church

This Church is just over one hundred years old. The congregation was originally founded by Anne Lutton and there was a previous Church situated near where is now Moira Mews. Fuller details will be found in a previous chapter.

Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church

The present Non-Subscribing Church was probably built in 1860 on the site of the original Presbyterian Church. For this reason it is known as the First Presbyterian Church.

Roman Catholic Church

There is no Roman Catholic Church in Moira but the Church of the Parish is beside the village of Kilwarlin in the townland of Lurganville. The ground for this Church was granted by the Marquis of Downshire who also gave much of the money for the actual building of the Church which dates back to the early part of the last century.

Quaker Meeting House

There is a Quaker Meeting House at Brookfield almost two miles from Moira. One of the oldest Quaker Boarding Schools in the country was built beside it. The ruins of which are still to be seen today.

 

Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church Presbyterian Church Methodist Church

Non-Subscribing
Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Church

Methodist Church

Top

Chapter 6

Nineteenth Century Records

At the end of the eighteenth century Ireland was plunged in rebellion. The Northern Presbyterian farmers and the Southern Roman Catholic Peasantry were on the same side. The counties of Antrim and Down were very much involved and the principle Ulster battle was the Battle of Ballynahinch. This was fought on the land of the Earl of Moira who by this time had moved to Montalto, Ballynahinch. There followed the Act of Union and the Nationalism of Daniel O'Connell, the Fenian Movement and the Catholic Emancipation Movement. The town of Moira, however, was by all accounts was very little involved, if at all.

The clergyman in charge of Moira from 1818-1821 was Rev. John Dubourdieu. He was appointed on the death of Rev. John Bradshaw but was never instituted Rector. In 1821 he became Rector of Drumgooland (Ballyward). Dr. Dubourdieu was the author of two books - "A Statistical Survey of Co. Down" (1802) and a "Statistical Survey of Co. Antrim" (1812). When John O'Donovan was researching Irish place names for his Irish Ordinance Survey he encountered Dubourdieu and reported unflatteringly that he was a "very old, grey-headed peevish man and a hauty aristocratic self-sufficient little bit of an Irish Frenchman". There is nothing in his writings or his relations with his family to indicate that these characteristics were typical of him. By coincidence, ninety years after his Incumbency of Moira, the Rector was Rev. Canon William Hurst whose wife was a grand-daughter of Dr. Dubourdieu (a Miss Best from Aghalee).

In 1847 a terrible famine took place in Ireland, during which, through death and emigration, the country lost a great number of people. The Poor House at Lurgan was full and 70 people died therein one day. It is surprising that at Moira, only a short distance away, we find no details of famine distress until the following year.

In 1848 the vestry resolved that "each person applying for a coffin shall in future furnish a signed certificate of their religious persuasion and also their inability to pay for the burial of the deceased, signed by three persons of good character, being parishioners". That year Moira parish paid �11.10s ld for coffins.

In 1859 the great Revival began as result of a series of Prayer Meetings in Kells, Co. Antrim which resulted in a spiritual movement reverberating around the country in which many churches literally came alive. Some great preachers made an astonishing impact with their message. A number of churches were extended and galleries added in the ensuing years.

Although the gallery in Moira was added around 1871 it is very doubtful whether it had anything to do with the 1859 Revival. It is more likely that the large population of household servants in connection with the various landed gentry and aristocratic families like the Rawdons, Warings and Berwicks and various other well-known families was responsible for the erection of the gallery.
Top

In 1836 Rev. William Wynne became Rector and remained in Moira for thirty-seven years until his death in 1873. During his ministry there were a number of noteworthy curates; Rev. William Butler Yeats - grandfather of the famous poet of the same name. He went on to succeed Rev. W m. Wynne as Rector of Tullylish. Rev. Wynne was married to the daughter of the Bishop of Dromore, Dr. James Saurin. They had ten children, two of whom do not seem to have survived infancy. One of his daughters married one of the curates - Rev. Robert Hannay, who later became Vicar of Belfast, which included the present St. Anne's Cathedral Parish. He was the last Vicar of St. Anne's before it was raised to a Cathedral status with a Dean in charge. Their son, Rev. John Oliver Hannay, who became Rector of Ballintoy was the author of many historical novels centred round the discovery of the Armada ship the Girona which was discovered off the Antrim coast near Ballintoy around the turn of the century. He wrote under the pen name George Birmingham and his books include- The Search Party, Northern Iron and Spanish Gold, to name but a few. He was also the author of many theological works. Rev. William Wynne was elevated to Canon and was later appointed sub-Dean of Dromore Diocese. Just before his death he was appointed Dean but unfortunately died before his installation.

Another noteable curate was Rev. James Gaussen who had two curacies in Moira and had several Chaplancies in Europe, including one at Guernsey, where there is a lectern Bible dedicated to his memory.

Rev. James Robert Ffolliott, who succeeded Canon Wynne died less than a year after his appointment and his burial place is marked by a smaller obelisk in front of the Bateson Memorial.

The next Rector was the Rev. John Knox Barklie who retired through ill-health in 1898 and went to live in New Zealand at the home of his son. His successor was Rev. Thomas William Harpur, whose father Rev. Canon Thomas B. Harpur came to live at Waringfield House after his retirement as Rector of Ardmore in 1897. He wrote a book entitled "The Silent Comforter". Another son as aforementioned was the founder of the Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf Egypt where he had worked as a missionary doctor. The Rev. Thomas William Harpur served in two parishes in the South of Ireland after he left Moira.

The "Deramore Arms"In the middle of the nineteenth century there seems to have been a number of complaints about the poor state of Moira Church. It was considered to be dilapidated. In 1837 the Church was said to be in "want of repair". There was a disused fireplace in the vestry and one in the Rawdon pew. The Church was in need of pointing and plastering. A request was made to the Commissioner of the ecclesiastics Board for �500, this was agreed to, but later reduced to �200.

The spire of the Church blew down in a freak gale in 1884. A new copper spire was erected at a cost of �370. It is one of the landmarks of the countryside.

The Church in this century has seen many changes. The oil lighting system had been installed and was in use until the year 1933 when it was replaced by electricity both in the Church and Rectory at a cost of �30. In the year 1933 oil fired heating replaced the stove in the middle of the Church. To mark the 250th Anniversary of the Church the present lighting was installed and is very much in keeping with the Georgian architecture of the Church. The floodlighting system was offered by Mrs. H. Jordan in memory of her husband Hercules Jordan.

At the beginning of the century the organ was installed by Mr. J.L. Douie in memory of his wife Mary Lothian Douie. At this time the choir seating was rearranged and the pulpit moved back and lowered one foot. A brass lectern was also presented by the Douie family in memory of the Rev. James Douie. The organ was re-built in 1978 at a cost of �8,000.
Top

Chapter 7

The Present Day

The letter H appears quite often in the list of Rectors. The first clergyman had been the Rev. Hugh Hill, one of his successors was Rev. George Howse. At the turn of the century the Rev. Thomas Harpur was Rector. He was succeeded by the Rev. William Hurst. During the 2nd World War, the Rector was the Rev. Henry Hughes, later of Dean of Dromore. Two of these clerics were in Moira over thirty years.

Before the Church had been built, the parishioners had worshipped in the local Charity School. The Earl of Moira re-built the school (probably on the same site). At the beginning of this century, the land steward of the Deramore Estate, Mr. J.L. Douie, built a new school, replacing the one built by the Earl of Moira. In recent years the present primary school was built. Approximately eighteen years ago the old school was transferred into the hands of the Church and is now used as an extra Church building.

Rev. William Hurst was Rector of the Parish during the years of the first World War. Ireland again was plunged into rebellion. The great rising of 1916 broke out and in 1921 after the War there was another rising. Partition followed, and the country was divided. The Northern Six Counties remained with Great Britain and the remaining twenty-six counties became the Irish Free State. It was declared a Republic twenty-five years later.

The Church in this century has seen many changes. The oil lighting system had been installed and was in use until the year 1933 when it was replaced by electricity both in the Church and Rectory at a cost of �30. To mark the two hundred and fifty anniversary of the Church the present lighting was installed and is very much in keeping with the Georgian architecture. The flood lighting was presented by Mrs. Hercules Jordan in memory of her husband. The Communion Table was also presented by the Jordan family around the same time.

At the beginning of the century the organ was installed by Mr. J.L. Douie in memory of his wife Mary Lothian Douie. At this time the choir seating was arranged and the pulpit moved back to it's present position and lowered by one foot. A brass lectern was also presented by the Douie family in memory of the Rev. James Douie. The organ was re-built in 1978 at a cost of approximately �8,000.

After the First World War, the town War Memorial was erected in front of the Church at a cost of �215 and was unveiled by Mrs. Waring of Waringstown in 1921. Wreaths are laid every year on Remembrance Sunday to commemorate those who fought and died for their Country. After the Second World War the names of those who gave their lives were added to this Memorial. A Roll of Honour to those who served and fought in the two World Wars is found in the porch of the Church. This was presented by Mr. Robert Logan of Bangor.                  

 

War Memorial Moira Church

 

 

    Inner Door to Porch

Following a ministry of thirty-two years Canon Hurst retired from the Parish as a result of ill health. Throughout his period in Moira he had farmed extensively. He and his wife went to live in Newcastle. His elder son Walter entered the ministry and spent most of his ordained life in New Zealand. He was first Dean of Dunedin and at the time of his death a few years ago was Dean of Wellington. The younger son, Noel, was a successful farmer and market gardener in New Zealand and now enjoys retirement. Their daughter Elma is married to a well known solicitor in Downpatrick.
The new Rector was the Rev. Henry Hughes who had been a Deputation Secretary for the Church of Ireland Jews Society and also Rector of a Parish in Co. Wicklow. He was Rector of Moira for thirty-one years and ministered throughout the period of the Second World War. He was a man of great scholarship and learning. His wife, formerly Dr. Mary Dobson from Waringstown_ assisted many local doctors during her stay in Moira. Rev. Hughes, who later became a Canon of Dromore Diocese and ended his ministry as Dean of Dromore was also a Scout Commissioner and Mrs. Hughes was a Girl Guide Commissioner. In 1947 the Women's Guild was founded.
Top

Around the same period the pew at the back of the Church was converted into baptistry. Three years later the East window was presented by Mrs. Logan of Trummery in memory of her husband, depicting St. John. On one occasion when the Church was being redecorated it was discovered there just to be a Coat of Arms painted on the pulpit. It had become completely indecipherable. The parish was given permission to replace it with the Diocesan Crests.

During the last War the Ulster Military Hospital was at Waringfield in Moira. The buildings consisted of nissen huts in the grounds of the large mansion. Many wounded soldiers from all parts of the world were treated at this hospital. Regularly soldiers who were encamped in the Castle Demesne. When the Ulster Military Hospital was transferred to Musgrave Park Hospital about thirty years ago the Royal Army Medical Corps presented their flag to Moira Parish. It is now displayed on the front of the gallery beside the insignia of the Queens Forces. The flag on the other side of the gallery is that of Cuba, before Fidel Castro's revolution. It was presented to Dean Hughes at a Scout Jamboree. This flag is probably unique to any other Church in the world.
 

Parochial Hall Old School Floral Horse

In 1960 the Parochial Hall began to be built. As early as 1953, in order to meet the needs of the various parochial organisations it was felt a Parochial Hall was a necessity. At this stage the organisations were housed in the Town Hall and the Orange Hall and also in the Rectory cellars. It was considered the Town Hall be bought as a Parochial Hall, but it was soon discovered that too many structural alterations would have to be made and it would have been too costly. In 1954 a local builder, William Martin, presented to the Parish a piece of ground in the Main Street for the building of this Hall. In 1960 the foundation stones were laid and by the following year the Parochial Hall was opened. The Architect was Mr. Denis O' D Hanna. The cost was �8,000 and was raised by parisoners in a comparatively short space of time. At this stage also the Church and Rectory were renovated.

The present Primary School was built in the early 1970's and in 1975 the Old School was handed back to the Church as an auxiliary hall. The Charter had indicated that when it ceased to be in use as a school it was to become the property of the Church. It was opened as a Youth Hall in 1975.

In 1960 the M1 Motorway was constructed and by the year 1966 a roundabout junction at Moira on the M1 facilitated commuting to Lisburn and Belfast. It is due to the building of this motorway and the subsequent movement from towns like Lisburn that the present town has developed. Moira is now achieving the reputation of being fastest growing small town in the Province. In recent years Lisburn Borough Council has taken great pride in providing flower beds and hanging baskets. Their efforts have not been in vain as Moira has won many competitions i.e. Ulster in Bloom; Best kept small Town in the Province. It has featured in Britain in Bloom and even reached the European finals of the Entente Florale. In the past fifteen years many new housing developments have grown up in new estates. The town has developed both numerically and commercially. Many successful businesses have arrived in the area and have brought much prosperity. Great improvements have taken place in the appearance of the town. Most of the stone buildings have been repointed and the beauty of the Georgian buildings have been enhanced.

When the Church was redecorated in 1991 many improvements were made to the interior of the Church - the electrical lighting was augmented and much of the woodwork was brought back to it's original colour. The Church was completely re-roofed with particular care being taken to ensure that the replacement slates were in keeping with the age of the building. It was at least over one hundred years since previous extensive repairs were carried out. Most of the timbers were found to be absolutely sound. Together with Government grants and the sacrificial giving of parishioners much of the expense has been cleared. Various gifts were donated to the Church at the Re-dedication service - Baptismal font; Middle Aisle and Chancel Carpet; West Entrance Door; Music Bookcase and Music Shelf; Gallery Pew; Electric Light Chandeliers and silver collection plates. The Church is now in extremely good condition and has a commanding appearance and is a landmark for many miles. The Select Vestry are to commended for all the marvellous work they have done with particular mention to those who supervised the repairs and directed the work.

Repairs and re-decorations were also carried out to the Parochial Hall to meet Fire Authority Regulations. New stage and window curtains were also purchased together with regulation fire doors.
 

Rectors and Clergy-in-Charge
1722 - Hugh Hill
1729 - John Gifford (Buried in Moira)
1736 - George Howse
1743 - Thomas Waring (Buried in Moira)
1776 - St. John Blacker
1783 - Andrew Greenfield (Buried in Moira)
1788 - Verney Lovett (Later Chaplain to H.R.H. Prince of Wales)
1789 - Charles William Moore
1808 - John Bradshaw
1818 - John Dubourdieu
1821 - Lewis Saurin
1829 - Thomas Beatty
1836 - William Henry Wynne (Buried in Moira)
1873 - James Robert Ffolliott (Buried in Moira)
1874 - John Knox Barklie
1898 - Thomas William Harpur
1907 - William E. Hurst (Buried in Moira)
1939 - Henry Hughes (Buried in Moira)
1971 - John McCarthy
1975 - Charles Robert Jordeson Rudd


* Clergy-in-Charge
 

Top