Portmore Townland, Ballinderry

Freehold Registrations, 1831

The following is an extract from The Belfast Newsletter dated 30th September 1831 and is used with permission of The Belfast Newsletter.

The following names are taken from a list of persons applying to register their Freeholds at a General Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held in Belfast on the 24th October, 1831.

No. 104

Name and Residence of Applicant: William Moore, Portmore
Description of Freehold, with the names of Barony and Townland in which situated: House and land, Upper Massereene, town land of Portmore
Yearly Value to be registered: £10

No. 120

Name and Residence of Applicant: William Russell, Portmore
Description of Freehold, with the names of Barony and Townland in which situated: House and land, Upper Massereene, town land of Portmore
Yearly Value to be registered: £10

Ruins of Portmore

The following is an extract from "Original Poems, sacred, moral elegiac" by William Anderson, English Teacher, 2nd volume MDCCCXLI (1841). Thanks to the staff at The Linenhall Library, Belfast for their assistance in relation to sourcing this book.

The following names are included in the listing of the subscribers to the book.

Harden Byrne, Post Master, Ballinderry
George L. Bell, Esq. Glenconway, Glenavy
Rev. Daniel Bell, Glenavy
George Brown, Crumlin Mills
John Berryhill, Classical Teacher, Crumlin
George Bell, Aghanadarragh, Glenavy
James Boyd, Greenhill, Killead
George Carter, Aughalee
John Carrol, Ballinderry
James Campbell, Post Master, Crumlin
William Campbell, Ballytrummery, Crumlin
Miss Chase, Langforde Lodge School
W. Ellis, Moravian Minister, Ballinderry
William English, Waterfoot Cottage, crumlin
Edward Faloon, Teacher, Cartnagallon (Gortnagallon) National School, Killead
William Ferris
Thompson Ferris, Glenavy
William graham, Classical Teacher, Aughalee
John Gally, Ballymacrevan, Ballinderry
John Hall, Deerpark, Glenavy
Rev. George Hill, Crumlin
Rev. Henry Leebody, Ballinderry
Robert McCoy, Teacher, Ballinderry School
William McCartney, Glenavy
Rev. Wm Magill, Dundrod
Thomas Milford, Crumlin Mills
A lover of Poetry, Crumlin
Joseph Patterson, Ballymacrevan, Ballinderry
Richard Palmer, Crumlin
Israel Palmer, Killead
Mr Charles Reed, Methodist Preacher, Ballinderry
James Sherlock, Aughnamillan, Killead

Page 4 –

Stanza on viewing the ruins of Portmore, in the County of Antrim

‘Tis near to Lough Neagh, on the Southern side,
On the brink of a river there once did reside
The noble Lord Conway, of honor and fame,-
Was gallant and brave, and did gain a good name.

Conaway was his name – they told me ‘twas so,
As I was informed by them who did know:
I viewed the place, did view it o’er and o’er;
I inquired the name – told me it was Portmore.

It once was a grand and magnificent seat;
Its grand office-houses they were very neat,-
They could not be equalled by those who had seen,-
So complete were thy built, they might serv’d the Queen.

Fine walled-in garden was there to be found;
With walks and fine flowers it there did abound,
All in the first order and highest degree –
A place like Portmore it was rare then to see.

I oft heard it talk’d of, before I went there,
By old ancient people, who took every care,
The place could describe, and to tell it to me,
And give it a place in my work, which you’ll see.

But oh! now to think upon the hand of time,
Since that noble edifice was in its prime –
How it has cut down and moulder’d away,
Those noble, fine buildings, and gone to decay.

The remains of the walls are all mantled o’er
With ivy so green, at that ancient Portmore;
But ‘tis kept in memory, that fine, pleasant place,
Where there once liv’d a lord of a noble race.

It is close to Lough beg * – you will find on its shores
That old, ancient place that is still call’d Portmore;
Near to Ballinderry this place it doth lie;
A more pleasant country you could not espy.

For fine fruitful orchards, and plantings so grand
The Marquis of Hertford inherits that land.
For wheat, and for oats, there’s nought could it surpass
And also abundance of clover and grass.

With milk and with honey the place does abound –
The truth I do tell – I do write what is sound.
The next place I mention, they call it Laloo,
Lies hard by Portmore, and from it you can view

That old ancient church, and whose walls still do stand
And fine burying-ground for those in that land.
Who, wise to lie there, when their life it is fled,
And here be no more, but to sleep with the dead.

In the winter season it is surrounded o’er.
When floods they do swell all around by Portmore;
So that when a funeral doth go to the place,
I often have known it then to be the case.

That the corpse was ferried o’er to get there,
To a fine rising ground – interr’d there they were,
And there to remain until the judgement day,
And wait on the word, now, rise, come away.

* Loughbeg is a small lake about a mile distant from Lough Neagh, about four miles in circumference, and communicates by river that runs between them.

Along the way between Lurgan and the town of Antrim

The following is an extract from "Original Poems, sacred, moral elegiac" by William Anderson, English Teacher, 2nd volume MDCCCXLI (1841). Thanks to the staff at The Linenhall Library, Belfast for their assistance in relation to sourcing this book.

On the author travelling along the way between Lurgan and the town of Antrim

From Lurgan town I chanced to go
A journey unto Antrim town:-
Believe me, what I say is so, –
No finer country’s to be found.

For, as I passed along that way,
I had a fine prospective view
Of hill and dale; I now do say,
The country was to me quite new.

I only was a stranger there,
When I along that way did pass,
In summer time, could not forbear
To notice what fine corn and grass

Within the fields of that fine land –
As fine a crop as ever grew,
With plantings fine on every hand,
Appeared quite pleasing to my view.

The pasture- fields were mantled o’er
With grass so green and daisies bright;
Those rural scenes were more and more
Attractive still unto the sight.

But what I now have more to say,
In passing on along that line,
It sometimes caused me to delay,
To view the handsome dwellings fine.

Of farmers’ houses, neat and clean,
Respectable, and very grand,
‘Tis quite a pleasing lovely scene,-
Serve to embellish that fine land.

A land so fertile, and so good,
To equal it ‘tis very rare;
For wheat and oats, ‘tis understood,
That none with it is to compare.

Besides all that, no other place
In Irish ground, that you would see,
Could yet compare – it is the case –
With orchards fine, abundantly.

The fruit it is so good and fine,
Of various kinds that are so nice,
Those at a distance do incline
To buy those fruits at a good price.

And with them, they do cross the sea,
To other parts, as I am told;
They, for their pains, rewarded be,
When their fine fruit they have it sold.

Those fruits I need not mention here,
Nor to describes the various kind,
But what is common, say not dear,
As in that place you there will find.

Oh, what a fine and pleasant view,
To Westward, as I passed along!
To me, indeed, it was quite new –
I to that place did not belong.

Lough Neagh it to the left does lie,
Lough Beg another lake bear to, –
It is but small, it is close by
The larger lake which I did view.

In miles extend ‘bout twenty-four;
Its breadth is twelve, they tell to me;
From Western to the Eastern shore,
Lough Neagh would mind you of the sea.

In it there is an island grand,-
It is renowned for its fame;
Great numbers there they oft do land-
Ram’s Island it is called by name.

‘Tis two miles distant from the shore,
Unto that island of which I speak;
Some go to it health to restore,
And some for pleasure they do seek.

In it there is a building fine,
To ‘commodate those that so call;
Fine walks and flowers do combine
To please the minds of great and small.

The Derry mountains I did spy
Along, as I did pass that way;
Slievegullen, with its summit high,
I saw it plain most of the way.

Some handsome villages I passed through –
Namely, that place called Aughalee;
As I did on my way pursue,
It was quite pleasant unto me.

The next place, then, of any note,
Was Ballinderry – there I came;
‘Tis a fine place, tis’ not remote,-
I found it was of ancient fame.

Fine handsome buildings I saw there,
Fine shops and stores I there did spy;
The people to them do repair,
For every article they do buy.

The finest orchard in that place,
Is close by it, that building rare;
The distance but a little space
From off the building I saw there.

A fine Moravian Chapel there,
And Preacher’s house so neat and grand;
The people thither do repair,
Their duty then to understand.

And hear the Word of God explained –
The Scriptures good that they might know
Religion they have n’er disdained,
Lest it should prove their overthrow.

For we should still to it adhere, –
Be always ready at the call;
Then there is nothing we should fear,
But in peace and love with all.

A School-house, also, in that place,
For male and female children there,
To teach them good, and give them grace,
For which the youth they all repair.

Into Glenavy then did come –
An ancient village on my way;
The buildings few, yet there are some,
But almost are gone to decay.

The church is handsome, steeple grand;
It is adorned with clock and bell –
Low in a valley it does stand –
The hours that pass does truly tell.

Then straight to Crumlin I did go –
A village handsome to the view;
‘Tis most delightful, it is so,
When I my thoughts on it renew.

Some buildings there are fine and neat,
But most of them they are but low;
But, at the same time, are complete,-
In them there’s comfort, I do know.

Two Meeting-houses are in that town,
For Presbyterians, so direct;
They’re neatly built, and of renown:
Their Clergy they do much respect.

Beside, a School-house there, most grand-
It is for those of every sect;
Unto the village nigh at hand.
Instruction there is given direct.

There is a fine dispensary
Established in that small town,
Where medicine is got quite free,-
A doctor there to serve it round.

He is a gentleman of skill,
In which, indeed, it is well known;
His patients they do love him still,
Which every one of them do own.

Hard by that village, there does stand
Glenoak, a famous ancient seat;
It does adorn that fertile land –
That building fine, and very neat.

There are other buildings near the place;
But it would trespass on the time:
I find that it would be the case –
I’ll not be guilty of that crime.

Thus to describe them, one and all,
No farther here I will pursue;
Perhaps, again, that I may call,
And write you something that is new.

I straight set off for Antrim town;
The country, as I went along,
Was a fine rich and fertile ground,-
The people there were very throng –

At their employment, what it may:
Their labour was of different kind;
As in this world, where we do stray,
There’s divers work, of divers kind.

I now in Antrim did arrive,
A town both ancient and of fame;
In trade the people there do thrive;-
Industry good will do the same.

An ancient castle in that place –
A noble Lord does in it dwell;
He’s of a noble ancient race,
As many here do know full well.

So, I am at my journey’s end,
No farther here I mean to go;
My mind can hardly comprehend
These true remarks, I find it so.

I now did say my journey’s end,
Which, with man’s life, we may compare,-
We often here have to contend
With sorrow, trouble, anguish, care, –

Until, at once, we’re called away,
And taken out of this world’s din,
No longer in it then to stay –
No longer live in guilt and sin.

Marriage Notice — John Suffern to Minnie Moore

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated 31st July 1877 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.


Suffern – Moore – July 25, at Killead Church, by the Rev. E.P. Roe, John Suffern, Ballyclare, to Minnie C., youngest daughter of the late William Moore, of Oakfield, Ballinderry.

Portmore Lake Trespassers

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Standard – Saturday, January 5th 1889

Crumlin Petty Sessions
Important prosecution for fishing

At the Crumlin Petty Sessions yesterday – before Mr Charles E. McClintock, J.P. – James Henry Nelson, Robert Nelson, John Nelson, William Nelson, Thomas McLernan, and Hugh Brankin were summoned at the instance of Sir Richard Wallace, Bart., as owner of a "several" fishery known as Portmore Lake, "for that they did with a boat trespass on the said lake on the 5th December ult., under the pretence of fishing."

Mr. Wellington Young, solicitor, prosecuted on behalf of Sir Rochard Wallace. The defendants were not represented.

On the case being called, the several defendants, with the exception of James Henry Nelson, pleaded guilty to the charge, and gave an undertaking in Court not to trespass again on Portmore Lake, or to use any boats on it. They were fined 10s and costs.

The case against James Henry Nelson was then proceeded with.

Mr Young, in stating the case on behalf of Sir Richard Wallace, informed the Court that previous prosecutions had taken place against some of the defendants and others for similar offences, and on each occasion the defendants undertook not to trespass again, and the prosecutions were withdrawn. In the present instance, he could not agree to the adoption of that course, as the defendants, who had pleaded guilty, together with the present defendant, had used most insulting language, and prevented Sir Richard Wallace’s caretaker from obtaining wild fowl on the lake by frightening the birds off it with their boat, in which was found some stakes, one fish and scales of fish. The several fishery is Sir Richard Wallace’s own, as also the land surrounding the lake. After quoting several sections of the Act of Parliament, Mr. Young produced the water-balliff and two other witnesses, who proved the offence. The magistrates stated that this lake must be protected; that it was nothing short of larceny for these people to be found on it, either by taking fish or shooting wild fowl. The defendant would be fined in £5.

Subsequently, the defendant made an application to reduce the penalty; stating that he would give the necessary undertaking.
Mr. Young stated that his only object was to protect the lake, and as the defendant had now given the undertaking the same as the others, he would ask their worships to inflict a large penalty than they had inflicted on those who had pleaded guilty in the first instance.

The Court then imposed on the defendant a fine of 20s and costs.

Two of the same party were summoned by the Conservator of Fisheries (Mr. A. Savage) for not having their names painted upon their respective boats.

Mr. Williamson prosecuted and the defendants were fined 5s each.

The far famed beauty of bonnie Portmore

The following link will take you to an article by the "Rambler". It was published in the Ulster Star.

Link:    The far famed beauty of bonnie Portmore

William Harbison, the Fenian Uprising and Portmore
by The Digger

The late 1850s saw the formation of a Fenian movement which had membership in countries including America, Ireland and mainland Britain and sought to bring about independence in Ireland using force. It attracted members from all walks of life including soldiers and civil servants, all of whom took an oath of secrecy.

William Harbison

William Harbison, a native of Ballinderry, who died in jail on 9th September, 1867. He is buried at Laa Lou, Portmore, Ballinderry.

In 1861, when the Civil war broke out in the United States, many in the movement joined up for military service, gaining valuable skills which they intended to utilise in a rising in Ireland. After the civil war ended in 1865 veterans began to arrive back in Ireland. In September that year several of the leaders were arrested. Veterans returning to these shores who had military service in the United States were viewed with suspicion. Locally, the arrest took place of a man called John McDonald in September 1865 in Hillsborough. It was reported he had been dressed in the uniform of the American Federal army – light blue trousers, dark blue serge coat with brass army buttons displaying the American Eagle, stars and stripes. He appeared before Hillsborough Petty Sessions several days later. He had in his possession discharge papers and certificates from “Baldwin’s Regiment of Ohio Volunteers” in which he had served for two years. He was questioned about comments he was alleged to have made about the Fenian movement. The Magistrates, having heard all the evidence, released him.


Portmore – an area steeped in history and flowing with milk and honey
The Digger unearths some surprising stories from the shores of Lough Neagh

PORTMORE is an interesting part of the district, steeped in history and located between Lower Ballinderry and the shores of Lough Neagh.

A Moravian church, remnants of Portmore Castle and an ancient burial ground all lie within walking distance of each other in this area.

Pass by Ballinderry Moravian Church along the Portmore Road towards Portmore Lough (also known as Lough Beg), and take left at the fork in the road. This is Dornan’s Road, a long straight piece of roadway, that has borne witness to many of those making their final journey on this earth to their resting place at the graveyard. It was an area close to Bishop Jeremy Taylor’s heart in times past.

Harbison Headstone

The Horbison/Harbison headstone under a Yew tree at Laa Lou, Portmore

That piece of roadway was also trodden by hundreds of herded cattle over many years, brought to the Lough’s shores for grazing by farmers from the locality. The area was also visited regularly by thatchers seeking osiers to make scollops.

The Ordnance Survey memoirs in the 1830s refer to the graveyard as Laa Lau or Laa Loo. We are informed that people met here on the 4th of August in remembrance of St. Lau who was believed to be the founder of the church which occupied the site.

Read more »».

Teacher and poet who went from Lisburn to Texas

There are several sketches of Henry’s life recorded in early 20th century newspapers and other published sources, but there is little detail about his early life. Some of the published information about him is in fact incorrect.

One fascinating insight into the life of Henry is set out in a set of ten letters penned by him from January to July 1902. They had been sent to the home address of Francis Joseph Bigger, the noted historian and antiquarian, at Antrim Road, Belfast. Henry had sent F.J. Bigger a review copy of his last poetry book and he was providing a pen picture of himself.

Moneyrea School

Moneyrea School where Henry McD. Flecher was a teacher

Henry states that he was born in the parish of Ballinderry about half a mile from “the shore of the king of lakes’ – Lough Neagh, and less than half a mile from Lough Beg also known as Portmore Lake. He reminisces about his first lesson at his mother’s knee and later how he accompanied his brothers to school at Ballinderry when he was old enough to walk the two miles to get there. He claims that by the time he started school he could read the Bible.

The change of the surname from Fletcher to Flecher is explained in a letter written on 19th May 1902. He claims the family were of French extraction, the source of the name being "fleche" – French for arrow. Henry took the liberty of taking the ‘t’ from the surname to make it a "properly spelled word."

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‘A friend to the friendless and a sympathizer with the oppressed’
The Digger continues his tale of a local poet who left for America

HENRY Flecher, during his time a teacher, did not confine his efforts education. He was also a prolific poet.

His poems appeared in the local press under the name ‘Coilus’ and in 1859 he won second prize in a poetry competition organised by The Northern Whig, to celebrate the Robert Burns centenary.

At this time he brought out his first book titled ‘Rhymes and Ravings of a County Antrim lad’. In a letter to Francis Joseph Bigger in 1902 he states that he “was so dissatisfied with that little escapade that I instructed a friend to take the volumes up for firewood and waste paper as soon as issued.” That would explain the difficulty in finding a copy today.

Flecher Grave

The grave of “a son of Killultagh” – Henry McDonald Flecher located at Knights of Honor Cemetery, Blossom, Lamar County, Texas

His second volume of poetry was published in 1866 and the Belfast Newsletter reviewed it. "This little volume contains a number of pieces, chiefly the productions of evening hours and after daily exertion in the occupation of teaching in an elementary school. Mr. Flecher often writes very sweetly and touchingly and we are mistaken if some of his pretty songs do not at once become popular in many parts of Ulster."

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No Rear Light

The following is an extract from the Lisburn Standard dated Friday 4th April 1930.

Crumlin Petty Sessions.
No rear Light

Constable Malone summoned Arthur Cormican, Portmore for having no rear light on a motor-lorry on February 27.

Mr. Bell said the absence of a rear light made travelling extremely dangerous for other motorists. A fine of 5s was imposed.

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