Magheragall Parish Church

Ordnance Survey Memoirs

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.

Ancient Oak trunks

In sinking the foundations of Magheragall church in 1829, there was 2 oak trunks found about 5 feet beneath the surface. They were constructed out of a solid piece of oak timber and was about 4 feet in length and 6 inches in depth in the clear each, and about 4 inches thick. The lids were decayed, as was also anything they might have contained. These trunks mouldered away by being removed and exposed to the air. They were oblong shape.

Magheragall Church

Magheragall church, on the leading road from Lisburn to Ballinderry and about 2 and a half miles from the former town, is an oblong building, 1 storey high and slated, and measures 56 by 28 feet inside, walls 3 feet thick; and attached to the west end a very handsome tower, 3 storey high and measuring 17 feet 3 inches by 16 feet 9 inches on the outside, and on the third storey a moderate sized bell in rather decayed state, its surface bearing date 1672. The corners, pinnacles and all other ornaments of the tower are cut freestone, as is also the base and corners of this church. The entrance door opens from the tower to the body of the church, and a small side door from the vestry, which is attached to the church on the north side and stands 1 storey, slated and 7 and a half feet by 7 feet inside.

The interior of the church is spacious and well lighted by 3 windows on the south and 2 on the north side, and a large window on the east gable, all which are gothic shape, and ventilation afforded by small funnels up through the breast or seat of each window. There is a neat gallery constructed against the gable in the west end of the church and supported in front on 2 timber columns, and the stairs ascending to it made of timber. The roof of the church is chiefly of metal and the doors and windows cased with cut stone. The alley is laid with cut freestone and the pews boarded, and in the middle of the church a neat metal stove.

The communion table stands on the east end and on the south side of it the pulpit, which is elevated some feet above the floor, and beneath it a baptismal font of cut stone. On the north side stands a handsome reading desk. Pews on the ground floor 32: 30 of these average 11 feet 3 inches of seats each and will hold 7 persons each pew, total 210; 2 of these average 22 feet of seats and will hold 14 persons each pew, total 28; 11 pews on the gallery, each 11 and a half feet of seats and will hold 7 persons each pew, total 77; 4 pews on the gallery, 7 and a half feet of seats each and will hold 5 persons in each pew, total 20; total accommodated in the church 335, allowing 1 and a hal feet to each sitting.

The interior is well finished, well ventilated in the order before stated and all its furniture neatly done and well arranged; and in the south side wall a very handsome monument of marble slabs erected to the memory of the late Richard Houghton of Springfield, Esquire, who died 1828 aged 78 years.
In the north side of the tower, cut in a circular stone outside, date of erection as follows: "1830, Paul McHenry, builder", and cut on stone on the south side over the entrance door: "This is the (chi-rho sign) victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

The cost of erecting theis church was 1,000 pounds and the materials of the old church in addition, the above sum given by the First Fruits and only a small part refunded. It stands on a handsome eminence and for the greater part on the ground of the old church. The burial ground is enclosed partly by a quick fence, sheltered on the north and east by a plantation, and in the interior several lofty forest trees. Entrance by a neat wrought iron gate. Divine service in summer at 11.30am and at 5.30pm and in winter at 11.30am only. No glebe or glebe house in the parish. 5th and 6th July 1837.

Collections for Poor.

Annual collection about 13 pounds, which sum is quarterly distributed to 40 persons on the poor list. Deserted children on the parish: 1835,1836 and 1837 2 only.

Income and residence of Vicar.

The Reverend John Mussen is vicar of Magheragall. Benefice 72 pounds 10s, grant from First Fruits 46 pounds, total 138 pounds 10s. Of the above sum, the vicar gives to a parish schoolmaster annually 2 pounds. Mr. Mussen lives beside the church in a thatched cottage 1 storey high. No curate in the parish. Information obtained from the Reverend John Mussen, vicar of Magheragall.


Attendance of the above church on Sundays, of dry or fine weather, from 200 to 300 persons. informant as above.


The old road from Lisburn to Ballinderry averages 20 feet wide clear of banks or fences, all within the above parish. Repairs on it is neglected since the new line of road was opened by Magheragall church.

Public Buildings.

Magheragall church is a neat edifice 60 feet by 30. There are 33 seats in the aisle, would contain 264 persons, and 11 seats in the gallery, would contain 88 persons; total 352 persons. Erected in the year 1830, cost 1000 pounds, which was advanced at first by the Board of First Fruits, to be repaid by instalments.


The rectorial tithes of Magheragall, 200 pounds per annum, is received by Edward Johnson of Ballymacoss, Esquire; his father, the late Revd Phillip Johnson, a former vicar of Derryaghy, having leased the aforesaid tithe from the Bishop of Down and Connor at some former period and which lease is not yet expired. The tithe of Magheragall is 300 pounds per annum; 100 of it goes to the vicar of the parish and the other 200 to Mr Johnson. In this parish there are 5 publicans.

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