St James’ RC Church

"Buildings of County Antrim"

The following can be found in the book "Buildings of County Antrim by C.E.B. Brett published in 1996." page 42, no 35. Includes a photograph by M. O’Connell.

St. James’s (RC) Chapel, Aldergrove. Situated in Aldergrove village. Town land – Ballyquillin.

Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland

The following extract is from "Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Antrim XIII 1833 – 1838". Thanks to The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen’s University of Belfast for permission to use this extract.

1838 –

In the Roman Catholic Church also the grange is united to the parish of Killead, which forms a portion of the union or district of Glenavy. The Roman Catholic chapel is situated in the townland of Ballyquillan, in the parish of Killead, and is 5 and a half miles distant from the centre of the grange. The Roman Catholics contribute in the usual manner to the support of their priest.

In the Roman Catholic Church this parish forms a portion of the union or district of Glenavy, of which the Revd James McMullan is parish priest. His flock in this parish consists of 51 families. His income (according to his own statement) amounts to 150 pounds per annum, of which 60 pounds is paid as stipend and the remainder produced by christenings, marriages, confessions. He has a residence near the chapel in this parish and one near that in the parish of Glenavy. The latter was built by his flock as a residence for the parish priest. A list of the riginal clergy will be found in the appendix.


The Roman Catholic chapel is situated in the townland of Ballyquillan, near the west centre of the parish and at the intersection of 2 roads. It is a plain edifice built of stone and kept neatly roughcast and whitened. It consists of a main aisle measuring internally 60 by 20 feet. Attached to the centre of the eastern side of this is a lesser aisle measuring 24 by 20 feet. It contains only 24 small pews, extending along the wall. The floor is of earth. There is no gallery.

This house contains accommodation for about 400 persons. It was erected by subscription in 1816 and cost about 300 pounds. The burial ground consisting of 1 rood, was given gratuitously by Mr Roger Moore of Clover Hill.

Public buildings

A Roman Catholic Chapel in the townland of Ballyquillan, built by subscription, commenced 1816, completed 1827, cost between 280 pounds and 300 pounds, contains about 700 persons, built in the form of a cross.

Catholic Chapel and Clergy

In the townland of Ballyquillan stands the Roman Catholic Chapel, which was built in 1815 and cost 300 pounds, by subscription. The following persons gave towards its erection: General Pakenham gave 5 pounds; Revd William George Macartney, Crumlin Mills, 10 pounds; Revd James McMullen, parish priest, 20 pounds; Mr Eneas Kerr, a hearer, deceased, 20 pounds; Mr John McDonell, a bearer, 5 pounds.

The chapel, which stands on the site of the old one, is in good repair and would accommodate about 500 persons. There are 24 single pews, each 6 by 2 and a half feet, and placed round the walls of the chapel only, no gallery. (Ground Plan, "T Shape"): dimensions from "a" to "b" is 60 feet long by 20 feet wide; from "d" to "e" is 24 feet long by 20 feet wide; "e" is the altar and pulpit; 2 doors at "f" and "g" 9 oblong windows and 1 Gothic window.

The only tombstone is inside the chapel, to the memory of Eneas Kerr, date 1834, aged 67 years. Graveyard contains 1 rood, granted by Rodger Moore Esquire of Clover Hill. Floor is of earth, roof slated and on each gable is a stone cross at south, north and east end.

Original clergy

The following are the names of the original clergy: first Revd McGlogan, second Revd William Crangle, third Revd Patrick Blaney and the fourth, the present, The Revd James McMullan, who came in 1819. His residence is next to the chapel, in a small thatched house in the same townland, and occasionally at a house at Glenavy chapel which was built by subscription as a residence for the parish priest of both parishes forever.

Congregation and Collection

The Roman Catholic congregation of the parish of Killead consists of 260 individuals, all from the Parish of Killead. From the Revd James McMullan, parish priest.

The collection at the Roman Catholic chapel on each Sunday amounts to 6s per. The annual income of the parish priest, Revd James McMullan, according to his own statement, amounts to 150 pounds per annum, viz 60 pounds stipend and about 90 pounds per annum for marriages, christenings and deaths and confessions.

Chapel Records

The following are the marriages for the last 5 years, viz 31 in 1833, 30 in 1834, 35 in 1835, 20 in 1836, 17 in 1837, total 133.

Births: 103 in 1833, 135 in 1834, 134 in 1835, 139 in 1836, 101 in 137, total 612.

Deaths: 10 in 1833, 14 in 1834, 17 in 1835, 27 in 1836, 42 in 1837, total 110.

Ballyquillan Sunday School is held in the day schoolhouse, which is the national schoolhouse near the Roman Catholic chapel, established in 1830, superintended by the parish priest, the Revd James McMullan, 5 teachers, all males; total scholars 80, viz 40 males and 40 females; exclusively Sunday School scholars 25; Established Church 6, Presbyterians 6 and 68 Roman Catholics. Hours of attendance from 11 till 3p.m.; only held during the summer. The day school books are used with the authorised and Douai Version, connected with no society. From Henry Costley, Roman Catholic, and teacher of day school. Dated 6th September 1838.

The Church

The following extract is from "Diocese of Down & Connor Ancient and Modern" by Rev. J. O’Laverty P.P.M.R.I.A.

During the times of persecution, Mass was celebrated at the site of the present church of Glenavy, which is in the town land of Ballymacricket, and at a high bank in the town land of Ardmore, which overhangs Lough Neagh. The Catholics erected, about the period of the Restoration, a Mass House at Ardmore, the walls of which form part of the dwelling house of Mr. Thomson; they afterwards erected a chapel at the Mass Station in Ballymacricket. On Palm Sundays, and at other times when the priest could not conveniently celebrate two Masses, it was customary to celebrate Mass at a place called "The Gulf" on Lough Neagh, below Crumlin, which was nearly central for the two congregations; this custom was given up on account of disturbance caused by Orange mobs. The chapel of Ballymacricket, or Glenavy, was burned in 1796 by the Wreckers, after which Mass was celebrated at the ruins, until another chapel was built by Father Crangle in 1802. A new church, dedicated under the invocation of St. Joseph, was erected on the site of the old chapel by Father Pye. It was consecrated by Dr. Dorrian, September 13th 1868, and the sermon on the occasion was preached by Dr. McCabe, Bishop of Ardagh. The church is built of black stone, relieved by the light colour of the cut stone round the windows and doors. There is an arched ceiling, but the principal timbers of the roof are exposed. A small bell-tower, surmounted by a spire, rises from the south-western angle of the nave, in which is placed a bell, manufactured by Mr. Sheridan, Dublin, weighing ten cwt. The altar window is traceried, the western gable is pierced by five lancets of varying lengths, and the side walls by single lancets. A small gallery for the choir occupies the western end of the church. The building was from designs, and under the superintendence, of Mr. John O’Neill, Architect of the firm of O’Neill & Byrne.

On the opposite side of the road, a commodious and beautiful parochial house has been erected on a farm of eleven acres, held at a yearly rent of £10 10s., under a fee-farm grant dated the 19th of September, 1874, from Sir Richard Wallace, to the Most Rev. Dr. Dorrian and the Rev. George Pye.

The following extract is from "Diocese of Down & Connor Ancient and Modern" by Rev. J. O’Laverty P.P.M.R.I.A.

Aldergrove Church

After the Catholics ceased using the Mass House in the town land of Ardmore, they assembled for Mass at a store-house in Ballyginnif. Father Crangle built a small chapel at Alder grove (town land of Ballyquillan), which was enlarged and altered into the present church, erected by Father MacMullan in 1824. It was dedicated under the invocation of St. James. That good priest is interred in front of the altar; and in front of the church the Rev. John McAreavy is interred. Father McAreavy was born in the parish on the 4th March 1842; after studying in the Diocesan Seminary, he entered the Humanity Class in the college of Maynooth, November 15th, 1860. He was ordained by Dr. Dorrian in St. Peter’s, Belfast, November 1st 1866. He officiated as curate in Ballykinlar for a short time, when he had to retire from the mission through bad health; and he died in his mother’s house. On his tomb is inscribed:-

Of your charity, pray for the soul of The Rev. John McAreavy,
aged 26, who died 8th October 1868.

There is preserved in Aldergrove church a holy-water stoup from the old church of Templepatrick; it was presented to the Rev. Jas. MacMullan.

Grand Bazaar and Fancy Fair

The following is an extract from The Grand Bazaar and Fancy Fair in the New Schools, Crumlin, 6th – 9th October 1914


There is a picture sweet and old
I see through mists of rose and gold,
And angel wings of snowy fold,
And a child’s dreams of heaven untold.

And lo ! the years are backward rolled,
And I, a child once more, behold,
Shining and star-like, limned in love,
Thy picture–dear, old Aldergrove!

A little church where four roads met,
Within a grove of alders set,
That shielded it from every storm—
A lowly chapel, cruciform.
Dove-white its walls, its roof just seen

Above the tree-tops waving green;
But high o’er all majestic soared
The Sacred Sign of Christ the Lord.

No heaven-scaling spire was there,

Nor moulded arch, nor buttress fair,
Nor oriel deep, nor marble stair,
Nor sculptured shrine, nor fresco rare,

Nor Grecian column, proud to bear
In stately plan, its stately share.
No—just a meek, white-nested dove,
Warm-bosomed, thou, dear Aldergrove.

And well ’twas thought a goodly place,
For ’twas the first since penal days—
Though but a child I knew it well,
For so I’d heard my mother tell—
When the cold stone high on the hill,
Whence men might spy approaching ill,
Our altar was, and heaven’s blue woof
Bending above, our only roof.

And often when the wild winds came
And smote the candle’s flittering flame
And on the altar rain would pour,
Some peasant doffed his coatamore—
What king or angel had such grace?—
And with it screened the sacred place.
Christ knew it shelter for a God
Those days on Ireland’s sainted sod !

Within, it was an earthen floor
The Christ-child’s cradle had no more—
In sooth a lowly, holy place,
All pure and spotless as God’s grace.

Whisper was there of angel wings,
And silent speech of holiest things.

And often as a child I thought,
When kneeling on that sacred spot,
No need to lift the soul in prayer
To higher heaven, for heaven was there.
In love He came, and we to Him,
And angels sang and cherubim.

The Breath of Life breathed everywhere,

And prayer was love, and love was prayer,
And every humblest worshipper
Knew that the Lord of Hosts was there.

His chosen House—even as He came
That night to star-lit Bethlehem.

A sweet-voiced choir, an altar white,
With freshest flowers and candles bright,
A white-robed priest—his chasuble—
Methinks it holds me spellbound still—
That crimson cross—its gorgeous blaze
So wonder-struck my childish gaze.

And that dear priest, our father, friend,
From life’s beginning to its end !
No words—nought but the heart could tell

How well-beloved he was, how well
That love was earned. Around his head
Ever I saw a halo shed.

August he was, though meek and mild,
Simple and playful as a child;
But when he preached, or when he prayed,

God spoke in every word he said;
The gentle Christ shone from his brow,
That brighter shines in heaven now.

He baptised me—ah, well-a-day !
And married me. And now I pray
That when the last clear call shall come,

His father-hand shall help me home.

Temples of God I’ve seen since then,
The God-like works of God-like men,
Where wealth of genius and of Kings,
And Great Lives’ votive offerings
Were wrought to make a dwelling fit
For Him who should inhabit it.

But though entrancing soul and sense,
Their glory, pomp, magnificence,
Yet none e’er warmed my soul to love,
As thou did’st, dear, old Aldergrove !


By J.J. O’Shea, "Catholic World," New York

Mrs M.T. Pender

Mrs M.T. Pender

Mrs M.T. Pender, née Margaret O’Doherty, daughter of the late Daniel O’Doherty, of Ballytweedy, in the Parish of Killead, and of Mrs. O’Doherty, née Margaret White, belongs to an old and gifted Killead family.

The future authoress developed a talent for literature at a remarkably early age. This talent was hereditary for several generations : her mother, a woman of high intellectuality, was a sweet and graceful poetess; her maternal grandfather, William White, of Ballyrobin, was a brilliant and facile poet, with a keen turn for satire, which he was not slow to exercise on any who provoked its shafts; while her great-grandmother, still on the maternal side, Margaret Beattie, of Crooked Stone, after whom our authoress is named, claimed kindred with James Beattie, the Scotch poet, and all that lady’s contemporary kinsmen possessed the poetic gift.
This Margaret Beattie, of Crooked Stone, married Matthew White, of Whitestown and Ballyseulty, in Killead, whose brother settled at Red Hall, and became the ancestor of the late Field-Marshal Sir George White, V.C., G.C.M.G., G.C.B., of Lady-smith.

Mrs. M. T. Pender’s first love was poetry ; under the influence of her mother, she was brought up in a literary atmosphere, and imbued especially with a love of poetry. When a very young child she could recite numerous selections from the poets ; at seven years old she composed her first poem—a simple little rhyme, inspired by the sight of a tiny blue-bonnet hopping through the bare twigs of a thorn bush on a grey February day. It began thus-

Little bird, with bonnet blue,
This wintry day I welcome you.

This showed that the child-poet at that very early age had a wonderful command of language and a quite correct ear for rhyme and rhythm.

For some years Mrs. Pender found literary expression in verse only. Her poems, chiefly of a strongly national and patriotic cast, were published by all the national Press : T. D. Sullivan’s Nation, the Dublin Weekly Freeman, United Ireland, &c.

One of those that appeared in United Ireland, "Myles Joyce," had the unique honour of being quoted in the House of Commons as an example of the hard usuage meted out by Irish writers to the then Coercion-Viceroy, who, by the way, was eventually hammered into the form of a good Home Ruler.

The Belfast News-Letter, while praising the high poetic and dramatic power of this poem, which was printed anonymously, thought that the "man" who wrote it should have been sent to jail, having no idea that the "man" was a very quiet little lady living almost at the editor’s door.

Throughout all Mrs. Pender’s works, whether poetry or fiction, the predominating motive power was a proud patriotism, a burning love of country seeking constant expression in work for that country’s glory and good, and with no thought for the golden harvest which her genius might have reaped if she had devoted it to the literature and ideals of a more favoured land.

One of Mrs. Pender’s early poems was written for a £10 Prize Competition in United Ireland. The subject was "Ireland," and attracted thousands of competitors. The first prize was adjudged to Dr. Kane, of Belfast, the second to Mrs. M. T. Pender, and the third to Miss Katherine Tynan.

Mrs. Pender’s first story was written for a £50 Prize Competition in the Dublin Weekly Freeman. It was a three-column short story, founded on an episode in ’98. Here again there were thousands of competitors, and to Mrs. Vender’s story—her first essay in the realm of fiction—the prize was awarded.

From that date her first love, poetry, was pushed into the background ; for her pen has since been chiefly and constantly employed in weaving those brilliant and stirring stories—especially her Historical Romances—which have charmed Irish men and women all over the world, and which—by glorifying the then neglected heroes of our ancient land and rescuing from oblivion her country’s grand and proud old story, shedding upon it the golden glow and glamour of romance, the vivifying fire of patriotic love, and the resistless charm and power of an unequalled genius —has, it is often said, made more good Irishmen than all the other influences of her time put together.

This for our authoress is praise enow, and the only reward she has ever valued.

One of Mrs. Vender’s most admired novels is "The Green Cockade." Another powerful and brilliant Historical Romance, "The Last of the Irish Chiefs," soon to appear in the Melbourne Advocate, has for its hero Sir Cahir O’Doherty, Lord of Innishowen, from whom her father’s family claim to be descended.

Death Notice – John McVeigh

The following extract is from the Irish News dated 26th February 1925. It appears here with the permission of the Irish News.


McVeigh – February 24, 1925, at his residence, Ballymacmary, Crumlin, John McVeigh. – R.I.P. The remains of my beloved father will be removed for interment in the family burying-ground, Aldergrove, on to-day (Thursday), at 2 p.m.

Souvenir of Broadcast Service, 1947

St James, Aldergrove 1947Thanks to Bert Trowlen for providing the photograph.

St James, Aldergrove 1947
Thanks to Bert Trowlen for providing the photograph.

St James, Aldergrove 1947

St James, Aldergrove 1947
Thanks to Bert Trowlen for providing the photograph.

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