The history of this church is covered in local publications titled:
A History of Stoneyford by Norma Parker (1990)
Derriaghy – A Short History of the Parish (revised, added to and updated) by The Very Reverend W.N.C. Barr. M.A. B.D. (2006)
Stoneyford was once part of Derriaghy Parish. Local services in the area in the early 1830’s had been held in a local schoolhouse.
The following extract is from "Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Antrim II 1832 – 1838". Thanks to The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen’s University of Belfast for permission to use this extract.
Protestant Congregation of Stoneyford
The principal schoolhouse of Stoneyford accommodates a large Protestant congregation on 3 Sundays of each month. The vicar and curate of the parish officiate here in turn; divine service at 12 o’clock, average attendance 150. Collections are made, the proceeds of which goes to the aid of the poor on the parish poor list. This schoolhouse being situated near the west extremity of the parish, it is very accommodating to the people of that neighbourhood to have divine service in it, as they stand remote from the parish church. Informants James Simpson, Richard Bradshaw.
On 7th December 1837 a licence was granted to the rector and curate of Derriaghy to publicly celebrate divine service in the school room in Stoneyford. On the 2nd of June 1840, the Down and Connor Church Accommodation Society made a grant of £482 for the erection of a Chapel of Ease, with accommodation for 220. The Marquis of Hertford, Sir Richard Wallace, gave the ground for the new church and the cost of the new building was £554 16s. The architect was Charles Lanyon. St. John’s, Stoneyford was licensed for public worship on 6th October 1841 by the Rev Savage Hall, vicar of Derriaghy and consecrated by Bishop Knox on 28th October 1874. The church and churchyard were consecrated on 28th October 1874. It became a separate parish in 1887. The new parish comprised of parts of the parishes of Derriaghy, Tullyrusk, magheragall, Ballinderry and Glenavy. Records for the church prior to this date are held at Derriaghy.
The church was renovated in 1934 and when Mr Stranex became rector, it was re-roofed, a new heating system installed, an organ added and the graveyard greatly improved.
The original rectory was purchased in 1862 and was demolished and replaced by a modern building on the same site in 1991.
The church was renovated in 1934 and again since Mr. Stranex became rector, when it was re-roofed, a new heating system and organ installed and the graveyard was greatly improved.
The following is from the Belfast Newsletter dated 22nd July 1897 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.
The Church of Ireland
St. John’s Church, Stoneyford – The members of the choir of St. John’s Church, Stoneyford, accompanied by Rev. H. McKnight, M.A., rector of the parish; Rev. G.G. Mervyn, Mr. J. Laird, and Mr. R.P. McLain (choirmaster), had their annual excursion on Saturday, 17th inst. The excursionists, numbering 28 drove to Belfast, and took train to Donaghadee. After a few hours were spent at this famous health resort, and the contents of the various hampers demolished, a couple of brakes were engaged, and the party were soon en route to Bangor. The day was particularly fine, and the view of Belfast Lough, the Copelands, and inland scenery presented a panorama never to be forgotten. The Bangor regatta, with the usual crowds of holiday-makers, sightseers, and sympathisers, was a lively contrast to the quiet scenes left behind. Here the company broke up, but only to gather again after a short interval to enjoy the luxury of a "cheerful cup of tea," kindly provided by Mr. Laird, at the Douglas Temperance Hotel. Tea over, a little music, vocal and instrumental, was indulged in, and then a very reluctant goodbye was bidden to Bangor. In a short time the locomotive had the merry party back again in the Northern Athens. Cars were again in request, and all arrived home in good time well pleased with the day’s outing.
Church Reseating and Improvement
The following extract is from the Lisburn Standard dated 24th December 1889.
St. John’s Church, Stone ford – Re-opening services after reseating and improvement, were held in this Church on Sunday and Tuesday evening last. Those who knew the church previously would hardly recognize it in its present improved condition. The uncomfortable high-backed box pews are replaced by open benches of pitch pine, and the large space occupied by the unsightly prayer-desk and pulpit of former days is now utilized to seat the choir, with decani and cantoris sides. The font has been removed form the awkward position it occupied before the Communion rails to the entrance of the church, where a proper baptistery has been formed. The walls and ceiling have been painted, and, on the whole, the improvements are such as to secure a very handsome and comfortable church. The painting and varnishing have been done by Messrs M. Bullick and Sons, Lisburn. On Sunday morning the church was reopened for service , when the Rev. S. M. Moore, vicar of Derriaghy, preached to a large congregation. On the evening of the same day the Rev. A.R. Ryder preached; and on Tuesday evening the services were continued, when the Rev, R.R. Kane, LL.D., preached the sermon. The other clergy who took part in the services were – The Rev. H. McKnight, incumbent; Rev.J.A. Stewart. Rev. A.J. Tilson, Rev. John Geddes, and Rev. John McKnight. We understand the offertories were very satisfactory.
Church Army Services
The following extract is from the Belfast Newsletter dated 13th June 1899 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.
St. John’s Church, Stoneyford – Church Army services, conducted by Captain Blundy, have been held in the parochial schoolhouse for the past three weeks. The meetings were exceptionally well attended, and at lantern services the building was crowded. Captain Blundy and Rev. Mr. Minchin, pastor of the parish gave a short, pithy, and practical addresses on the faith and duties of a Christian. On the 9th inst a lecture was given by the captain. The training homes, prison and outcast missions pushed forward with the untiring zeal of its members, give ample proof that their "plan of campaign" has indeed achieved a decisive victory over sin and shame, and enlisted thousands under the banner of the Redeemer. The lecturer pointed out the advantages of the system to Church and State, and concluded by an eloquent appeal on behalf of the projects of the Army, which was liberally responded to. The van left on Saturday last for Rushy Hill, much to the regret of the people of Stoneyford, but it is hoped that it will not be long till another visit will be paid to the district.
Newspaper Cuttings – Various
The following are from newspaper cuttings, source unknown.
Death of Rev. J.J. McCorry Ex- Stoneyford Vicar. The death took place on Friday of Rev. Joseph James McCorry, 37 Wellington Park, Belfast who for 16 years before entering the ministry was master at Methodist College. He was 72. He served at All Saints, St. Aidans and St. Clement’s, Belfast before being appointed incumbent of Stoneyford, Lisburn. He retired in 1943 for health reasons.
Mr. McCorry, whose wife predeceased him in 1949 is survived by two sons, Mr Stanley McCorry and Mr. Terence McCorry both of Belfast and by two daughters, Mrs. J.T. Pringle (Enniskillen) and Mrs. R.J. Carabines (Cornwall).
(The Rev. Joseph James McCorry died 6th April 1951)
Wedding at Stoneyford.
Pringle – McCorry.
A pretty wedding was solemnised in St. John’s Church, Stoneyford on Wednesday afternoon when Miss Doreen McCorry, younger daughter of Rev. J.J. and Mrs. McCorry was married to Mr. James Thompson Pringle, son of the late Mr. And Mrs. J. Pringle of Belfast.
The church was beautifully decorated with white flowers and ferns. As the bride entered the vestibule the hymn "lead us Heavenly Father, lead us," was rendered by the choir. The ceremony was performed by the bride’s father, the Rev. J.J. McCorry FRSA., assisted by the Rev. A.B. Greene, MA. She was given away by her brother Mr. Terence McCorry, B.A. and a second brother, Mr. Stanley McCorry presided at the organ. Her sister Miss Noel McCorry, was bridesmaid, and Mr. Tom Briggs was his cousin’s best man.
The bride wore a frock of pale pink taffeta, trimmed with rosebuds and forget-me-nots. She carried a muff and her hat was in the becoming style of the early Victorian bonnet. The bridesmaid’s frock, also of taffeta, was pale blue, she too carried a muff and wore a wreath of rosebuds and forget-me-nots.
Following the ceremony 100 guests were entertained at the rectory. The honeymoon will be in Southern England.
Marriage – Thompson-Walker – November 24 1937 at St John’s Church, Stoneyford by Rev. J.J. McCorry, Albert son of Mr. And Mrs Abraham Thompson, Ballynacoy, Stoneyford, to Ella, daughter of Mrs. Walker and the late Mr. Richard Walker, Ashvale, Stoneyford.
Marriage – McCorry – Woods – June 26, 1939 at first Lisburn Presbyterian Church by the Rev. Hay M.A. (cousin of the bride), Terence Theodore McCorry, B.A., younger son of the Rev. J.J. and Mrs McCorry, The Rectory, Stoneyford, to Rosemary Raphael, youngest daughter of Mr. And Mrs Jas Woods, of Hillsborough and Coalisland formerly of Rockville, Lisburn.
Marriage – McCauley – Johnston – April 23, 1938 at Stoneyford Parish Church by Rev. J.J. McCorry, FRS, Norman, eldest son of Mrs Macauley and the late John Macauley, Ballymacash, Lisburn to May, elder daughter of Mr and Mrs Robert Johnston, Hilltop, Castlerobin, Lisburn.
Obituary (1933 – The Rev Robert John Prole died 12 August 1933 aged 33 and his widow died in Belfast 3rd February 1934)
Rev R.J. Prole, Stoneyford.
To the deep regret of the parishioners of St. John’s Church, Stoneyford, and of the community generally, the death took place on Saturday last of Rev. R.J. Prole, rector of Stoneyford Parish Church, and one of the most beloved clerics in this neighbourhood.
A native of Dublin, Mr. Prole entered the Land Purchase Commission at an early age and devoted a considerable part of his leisure to Christian work. Shortly after the setting up of the Free State regime, he resigned his office, and in 1923 he entered the Ministry, being ordained curate of St Michael’s, Belfast. He was later appointed curate of St. Aidan’s Belfast, and when Rev. W.H.N. Ruddock, M.A. was instituted as rector of Broomhedge, Mr Prole succeeded him in Stoneyford.
Possessing a deep knowledge of the world and its affairs, Mr Prole was a very learned cleric, and his very able discourses always reflected a very deep store of knowledge. Of a kindly, unassuming disposition, the deceased was greatly beloved by the people of Stoneyford among whom he laboured with such acceptance and with such ability. His death is deeply regretted by them, and heartfelt sympathy is extended to his bereaved widow.
Death: McCourt, February 6 1940 at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, David Leslie, youngest and dearly loved son of George and Sadie McCourt aged 15 years. Funeral from his father’s residence, Mullaghglass, Stoneyford, Lisburn tomorrow (Thursday) at 2pm., to Stoneyford Churchyard. Friends will please accept this intimation. Deeply regretted by his sorrowing father, mother and brother.
Knocknadona Temperance LOL 159
McCourt – The Officers and members of above lodge regret to learn of the death of the youngest son of their highly respected P.M. Br. George McCourt, and tender to him their deepest sympathy. Brethren are requested to attend funeral. James Milliken W.M., Samuel McCleery, secy.
Derriaghy Accordian Band
McCourt – The Officers and members of above band regret to learn of the death of their esteemed member Leslie McCourt, and tender to his father, mother , and also their esteemed member Gerald, their sincere sympathy. Members are requested to attend the funeral. Samuel McClarnon, Chairman, David Hall, Secretary.
Fleeton – June 5th 1950 at Stoneyford, Lisburn, Nathaniel Fleeton. Funeral tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3pm to Stoneyford Churchyard.
Gravestones at St John’s Church of Ireland have been transcribed by The Digger and made available on this websites. Please see Burials in St John’s Church of Ireland.
Pond Park Red Cross RBP 13 – Annual Divine Service
The following is an extract from The Lisburn Herald dated Saturday June 5th 1948.
Pond Park Red Cross RBP 13
Annual Divine Service
will be held in
Stoneyford Parish Church
on Sunday 6th June 1948 at 3.30pm.
The preacher will be
Sir Knight Rev C W Maguire M.A. G.C. (Belfast)
Procession leaves Stoneyford Rectory at 3.15 sharp headed by Lisburn Pipe Band.
Collection in aid of the Manor House Home Lisburn.
Buses will leave Orange Hall, Lisburn at 2.30pm sharp.