Ballinderry Presbyterian Church

Ballinderry Presbyterian Church

This church is situated at Meeting House Road, Lisburn. According to the publication "Lisburn’s Rich Church Heritage" by John Andrew Kelly "first Presbyterian congregation in the area was at Glenavy where Mr Matthew Haltridge was ordained and installed in 1674. In 1713 Ballinderry became a separate congregation."

The following extract is from "Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Antrim VII 1832 – 1838". Thanks to The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen’s University of Belfast for permission to use this extract.

Presbyterian Meeting House

Ballinderry Presbyterian Meeting House is a small slated house very much out of repair. There are collections made at various periods to defray the expense of repair but, as the congregation is very small, the collections made are not near sufficient. It is 60 feet by 24. There are 35 seats, would contain 215 persons. This meeting house was formerly a thatched cabin and the alteration cost between 60 and to pounds. The cost of this building since erection has been 200 pounds and it would cost 500 pounds more to put it in moderate repair.

The Ballinderry Presbyterian meeting house, situated in the town land of Aghacarnan, on a by-road leading between the Glenavy and Ballinderry roads to Lisburn, and about 1 mile south east of the new church of Ballinderry; this is an oblong edifice, 2 storeys high and slated, and measuring 57 by 21 and a half feet in thickness, and floor boarded. It is situated east and west and well lit by 4 Gothic windows in front, 2 Gothic windows and 4 oblong windows in the rear.

Entrance to the lower storey by a large door on the front or south side and to the galleries by a door on each gable, with stone stairs ascending to them on the outside of the house, against the north side wall, and elevated some feet above the floor. Pews on the ground floor 35: of these, 32 average 9 and a half feet of seats each and will hold 6 persons in each pew, total 192; 1 has 19 and a half feet of seats and will hold 13 persons; 1 has 15 and a half feet of seats and will hold 10 persons; 1 has 7 and a half feet of seats and will hold five persons; total accommodated with seats on the ground floor 220. Th galleries are not yet seated but, if seated, would accommodate about one half of the above numbers, say 110. That would leave the house, if finished, to afford accommodation for 330 persons, allowing 1 and a half feet to each sitting.

The pulpit and pews are in decent order and the house whitewashed with lime outside.

In the yard stands a neat, 1-storey and slated session house. It is partially planted with forest trees and laurels, and enclosed partly by a stone and lime wall and partly by a quickset fence, but no burials in it. Entrance from the aforesaid road by a good iron gate.

The meeting house was overhauled and newly roofed, slated and seated, with other improvements, in 1826 at an expense of about 150 pounds, exclusive of horse and annual labour done by the congregation free of expense. To the aforesaid sum the Marquis of Hertford subscribed 25 pounds. The Very (Reverend) Dean Stannus, Captain Watson of Brookhill and several other gentlemen liberally subscribed, as did also liberal persons of all religious denominations.
Divine service in the meeting house in winter at 12 o’clock noon and in summer at half past 11 mornings on Sundays, average attendance from 100 to 200 persons. Collections are made, the proceeds of which go to repairs on the house. There is also instructions in the Scripture given to an average attendance of about 100 adults in the meeting house for 1 and a half hours before divine service on Sunday mornings, by the minister.

Minister and income.

The Reverend Henry Leebody is minister of the Ballinderry Presbyterian Congregation and receives an annual stipend of 25 pounds, royal bounty of 50 pounds, total annual income of 75 pounds.

Original Meeting House.

The original meeting house was thatched, it was founded above 100 years back by the late Reverend John Heastie, who was also the first Presbyterian minister that preached in the above parish. It was he also gave the site of the house at the above period. The site was subsequently granted by the Marquis of Hertford, free of expense. The meeting house was rebuilt and slated for the first time about 33 years back, but on a more limited scale in length and breadth than the former or the present one. The cost of the first building or rebuilding in 1805 is not at present known. However, they were built by subscriptions from liberal persons of various creeds.

Succession of ministers.

The following were the Presbyterian Ministers of Ballinderry since the establishment of a congregation there: first the Reverend John Heastie, who was the founder, second the Reverend (blank) Brown, third the Reverend (Blank) Rowen, fourth the Reverend Robert Carlisle, fifth the Reverend William Whitla, sixth the Reverend John Shaw, present the Reverend Henry Leebody. Information obtained from the Reverend Henry Leebody, William Adams, Mrs Russell and others.

Church Honours Member – Mr McKnight

The following extract is from the Lisburn Standard dated Friday 16th December 1932.

Ballinderry Presbyterian Church
Member Honoured

A very pleasant function took place in connection with the above church on Saturday evening last, when a deputation consisting of Rev. R.G. McFarland, Messrs. J. Arnold, S. McMurtry, Wm. J. Todd and D. McCord called upon by Mr. Alexander McKnight at the home of his brother – in – law, Mr. Fleeton, Lake View, Upper Ballinderry.

Mr. McFarland said they were there to offer their congratulations to Mr. McKnight on the occasion of his marriage and to convey to him a token of esteem from the entire church membership. For a number of years he had rendered valuable service to the congregation in many ways. He had been a strong supporter of the choir, he had been a faithful teacher in the Sabbath School, and recently had been elected to the eldership. They all felt that in Mr. McKnight they had a valued friend and co-worker, and one who was always ready to put out a hand to do any good work.

Mr. Wm. J. Todd, the senior member of committee, in handing over the gift, alluded to Mr. McKnight’s family connection with the church and the fine spirit in which he co-opted with those who were helping to carry on the good work. As a man, he had worn the white flower of a blameless life.

Messrs J. Arnold, S. McMurtry and D. McCord also expressed their high appreciation of their comradship with Mr. McKnight, and assured him that they brought with them the best wishes of the entire congregation.

Mr. McKnight expressed his great pleasure that the part he had taken in the work of the church had gained the approval of his fellow worshippers. it was not only a duty but a privilege to work in a place where he had been brought up and came into touch with gospel influences. The work had been happy because of its associations, not only with the ministers, past and present, but also with the members of the church as a whole. He thanked them for their great kindness and trusted that the work of the church would still go on and prosper.

Mr. George Dawson and Mr. H.G. Larmour were unavoidably absent from the deputation.
The members of the deputation were hospitably entertained by Mrs. Fleeton.

Mr and Mrs Samuel Beckett

The following extract is from the The Northern Whig and Belfast Post Tuesday 6th June 1944.

Mr and Mrs Samuel Beckett

Mr and Mrs Samuel Beckett of Fairview, Upper Ballinderry, who were married in Ballinderry Presbyterian Church
on June 5, 1894.

Ballinderry Presbyterian Church Website

McMurty Headstone

McMurty Headstone

The McMurtry family headstone at Ballinderry Parish Church. 19 year old Rose died in 1879 after contracting diphtheria

Deadly diphtheria, dogs and Dr. Murphy

This story appeared in The Ulster Star on 9th October 2009. The Digger can be contacted via The Ulster Star Office or contact The Digger.

The Digger recalls a disease which struck fear into people not so long ago.

In the mid 1940’s advice was published in the local press informing readers that a patient with inflammation of the throat should be seen by a doctor in order to establish whether the cause was diphtheria.

"The sooner the special treatment for diphtheria is undertaken, the more likely is the recovery to take place. But until the doctor comes you are always safe if you feed the patient on an egg beaten up with milk, give him a frequent mouth-wash, administer a dose of salts, and keep him in bed in a well- ventilated room."

Diphtheria was one of the most feared communicable diseases of previous generations. In the late 1850’s the disease was reported to have "thrown thousands of families into mourning."

Advice from doctors appeared in the press. One doctor claimed diphtheria was a newfangled name for an old-fashioned disease called malignant quinsy, which was successfully treated in the early 19th century by "emetics and bark".

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"He used his gifts to help his fellow man"
William Calwell 30th July 1863 – 30th July 1953

I had reason to go and visit my maternal grandparents former homestead at Crew, Glenavy a number of years ago with my mother. The farmstead, which had been in the family for generations, had been abandoned in the 1960’s and sold to a neighbouring farmer.

Tumbling Paddy

The Tumbling Paddy at a disused farmstead at the Crew, Glenavy

We visited the derelict cottage and outbuildings and my mother recalled happy memories of her childhood as she passed from room to room in her former homestead. We wandered into the old barn and I noticed a strange farming implement hanging on the side of the barn wall. My mother informed me it was the "tumbling paddy" once used by my grandfather in the fields in the immediate vicinity of the farm. This was a hay collector that was harnessed to the horse. The wooden prongs gathered up every last bit of hay that was in the field. When the collector was full a chain mechanism was operated by the farmer and the hay would tumble from the rake into a mound.

I had mentioned my discovery to another local man and former neighbour of my grandfather. He recalled that there was a similar implement used in a bygone time which was referred to as the "Calwell" hay collector, invented by a man who he believed was linked to the Ballinderry area of Lisburn.

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