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Inside Ballinderry Upper Church
Inside Ballinderry Upper Church
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Parish Church (COI) Upper Ballinderry - Ballinderry Parish

Ballinderry Church

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.

Ballinderry Church

Ballinderry church is situated close to the village of Upper Ballinderry, in the town land of "Ballyscrolly" (Ballyscolly). It is rather a handsome building 70 feet by 36, erected in the year 1824 at the expense of 2,200 pounds, 1,000 of which was given by the Marquis of Hertford and the remaining 1,200 was collected from the parishioners. There are 57 seats in the hall, would contain 296 persons; and 38 seats in the gallery, would contain 144 persons; total number 440 persons.

(Insert query: There is no graveyard attached to this church, the parish burial ground being at the old church.)

New Church of Ballinderry

Ballinderry new church, situated north of and contiguous to the leading road from Lower Ballinderry to Lisburn, is an oblong edifice, 1storey high and slated, and situated nearly east and west. It measures 65 by 33 and a half feet inside, walls of whin quarry stone and lime, and nearly 2 and a half feet in thickness. Entrance through a large Gothic door on the south side: of the tower, and from the tower into the body of the church by an oblong door on the west gable. The interior of the church is spacious and well lit by 3 Gothic windows on the north side, 3 Gothic windows on the south side and l large Gothic window on the east gable over the communion table; ventilation afforded by lattices (lettises) situated in those windows.

The galleries along the 2 sides and on the west end of the church are plain but very neatly constructed; and supported in front on 10 metal columns. The communion table stands at the east gable, enclosed by timber railing, and in front of it, about the centre of the church and elevated some feet above the floor; stands the pulpit, and contiguous to it in front a marble baptismal fount supported on a timber pedestal. The alley, tower floor and area around the communion table is laid with cut stone and the pew floors boarded: Ascent to the galleries by stone stairs situated in the tower, and light afforded them by the aforesaid windows, the tops of which nearly reach the ceiling.

Pews on the ground floor 37: of these, 32 average 13 and a half feet of seats each and will hold persons each 9, total 288; 2 pews, 22 and a half feet of seat each and will hold persons total 30; 2 pews, l9 and a half feet of seats each and will hold persons total 26; 1 pew, 28 feet of seats, and will hold persons total 19; total persons accommodated with seats on the ground floor 363. On the galleries there are 36 pews: of these, 28 average 5 feet 10 inches of seats each and will hold persons each 4, total 112; 6 pews average 6 feet 3 [inches] of seats each and will hold persons each 4, total 24; 2 pews average 11 feet of seats each and will hold persons total 14; choir's seat, 28 feet of seats and will hold persons total 18; total persons accommodated with seats in the church 531, allowing an average of 1 and a half feet to each sitting.

The interior of the church; the pulpit, galleries, pews and all fixtures are permanently constructed and in decent order. The vestry is attached to the east end of the church; stands I -storey high and roofed with lead; entrance to it by 2 doors from the church and a third door on the outside. It is 20 feet 3 inches by 10 and a half feet inside, lit by 2 windows, and afford a coal store for the use of the vestry.

Attached to the west end of the church stands a handsome tower and beautiful spire of cut stone, topped with a handsome brass ball and stalk, all which are said to stand 128 feet in height. The tower stands 3-storeys high; built of whinstone and lime, walls 5 feet 3 inches in thickness, corners, pinnacles, door casings and other ornaments of cut stone. It is lit by 5 Gothic and 2 square windows, and measures 17 feet 10 inches by 17 and a half feet on the outside. The bell, which is said to weigh 6 and a half cwt and have a superior tone, is situated on the third storey. It is 8 feet 8 inches in circumference, 2 feet 9 and a half inches in diameter and 2 feet 2 inches in height. It was made at the Lagan foundry by Coates and Young, and is said to have cost 60 pounds.

Exterior and Grounds of New Church

The corners, cornices, pinnacles and other ornaments of the church is of whitish cut stone: These pinnacles and other ornaments along the church roof, together with the cut stone in the spire and tower, is said to be partly of foreign stone and partly procured from Tyrone. The quarry stone used in the church and tower were quarried contiguous to the church. It is altogether internally and externally, with its handsome and lofty spire attached to the west end, one of the handsomest country edifices perhaps in the north of Ireland; and situated on a very handsome site containing about 2 English acres, enclosed partly by a stone and lime wall and partly by a quickset fence, and a neat wrought-iron gate to the entrance. The grounds is beautifully laid off and ornamented with shrubberies of forest and ornamental trees and gravel walks.

There is no burials at the new church. The following inscription is cut on a handsome corniced stone in front of the church tower: "Erected AD 1824, by a donation from the Marquis of Hertford of 1,000 pounds and 1,200 pounds presented by the parish, Reverend James Stannus, vicar, Turtle Bunting and Thomas Russell, churchwardens."

Mr Boyd, architect, Belfast, was contractor for the erection of the above church. The old church was disused, except for funeral services, after the completion of the new church in 1824 or subsequent. Information obtained from John English, John Johnston and others. 20th and 21st March 1838.

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Marriage - Palmer / Sefton

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated 8 February 1854 and has been used with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.


February 2,(1854) by the Rev. Mr McKelvey, of Ballinderry Church, Mr. Alex Palmer, merchant, Belfast, to Jane, third daughter of the late Mr. Wm. Sefton, of Ballinderry.

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Opening a New Organ

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated Tuesday 29th January 1861 and is reproduced with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

Ballinderry Church - Opening a New Organ.

On Sunday last, a new and very effective and valuable organ was played upon for the first time in the parish church of Ballinderry. The organ was presented to the parish and erected at the sole cost of Thomas Walkington, Esq., J.P.; and the Marquis of Hertford has also promised to pay an organist. The general parishioners will, therefore, enjoy, without any charge to themselves, the advantages of a fine organ in their services, through the liberality of Mr. Walkington and the Most Noble Marquis. An appropriate sermon was preached on the occasion by the Dean of Ross, and a collection of more than 20 was taken up to meet various incidental expenses. Mr. and Mrs Harper most kindly conducted the musical services, with all their wonted ability, and gratuitously; and the large congregation which attended on the occasion was much gratified with the services. It must be highly pleasing to the excellent Vicar of Ballinderry, the Hon., and Rev. W.S. Blackwood, to see such marks of good-will evinced, and to find that such an interest is taken in the welfare of the parish by the Marquis of Hertford and the leading parishioners. The organ was built by Messrs. Telford, Dublin, and the following is a description of it:- The organ is enclosed in a handsome case of the decorated period of Gothic architecture, with large diapason pipes in front, richly gilt; and contains open diapason, dulciana, double dulciana, bourdon, stop it diapason, clarabella principal, flute, twelfth, fifteenth, pedal bourdon, pedal coupler, two octaves of German pedals from C C C to C, three composition pedals.

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Address to Thomas Walkington, Esq, JP

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated 1st February 1861 and is reproduced with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

Address to Thomas Walkington, Esq., J.P. - A numerous and influential deputation, consisting of the clergy and principal inhabitants of the parish of Ballinderry, waited on Thos. Walkington, Esq., J.P., at his residence, Oatland Cottage, last Wednesday, for the purpose of presenting him with an address expressive of their thanks for the valuable organ he has recently given to the parish, and which has been erected in the Church. The address and reply thereto will be found in our advertising columns.

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Annual Fete

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Standard Saturday August 30th 1884

Ballinderry Parochial Schools

The annual fete, in connection with the Sabbath Schools here. Was held on Saturday last. The weather was remarkably fine, and all that could be desired. The four schools (Upper Ballinderry, Killultagh, Lower Ballinderry and Ballymacraven) all assembled at the Parish Church at the appointed hour (11.20) where, in the absence of the Vicar (Rev. Canon Sayers), the Rev. R. Briscoe, M.A., curate, delivered a very suitable address, after which they were formed in procession, the whole company numbering about 400, and marshalled in order, headed by the Ballinderry Flute Band, proceeded to a field kindly placed at their disposal by Sir Richard Wallace, Bart., M.P., on his farm know as "Lakeview". After refreshments had been partaken of, games and recreations of all kinds were very pleasantly indulged in. The Rev. R. Briscoe was most actively engaged amusing the children by various sports, as was also the Rev. B. Tisdall, who is characteristic for hi amiability and gentleness among the young. We are greatly indebted to Messrs. Bolton, Oakman, Ferris, and Millen for the special attention paid by them to the children, but especially to Mr. Bolton, who greatly facilitates the systematic carrying out of the arrangements every year. We were also much delighted to observe amongst the numerous visitors present thoseof other denominations, who, by their cooperative endeavours, tended greatly to enliven the day's amusement. A vote of thanks having been passed to Sir Richard Wallace, was carried with loud cheers, after which the whole company separated, highly gratified with the day's proceedings. We were much pleased to notice the steady and prosperous state of the Killultagh School, which has marked it in preceding years, and which is chiefly attributable to the deep interest taken in it by Mr. Edward Oakman and the Misses Oakman.

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Inside Ballinderry Upper Church
An early 20th century photograph
showing inside of Parish Church

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Parish Protest

The following extract is from the Lisburn Standard dated 11th November 1921.

Ballinderry Parish Protest.

At a meeting of the Select Vestry of Ballinderry Parish on the 4th inst., the following resolution was unanimously adopted:-

We the select Vestry of Ballinderry Parish, repudiate the statements of the Chairman of the Lisburn Guardians attributing the outbreak of scarlatina and diptheria in this neighbourhood to the unsabitary state of Upper Ballinderry School, and we assert that there are no grounds whatever for the statements he has made.

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"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 48, no 42. Includes a photograph by M. O'Connell.

Parish Church (C of I) Upper Ballinderry. Situated off road from Upper Ballinderry to Lower Ballinderry. Town land - Ballyscolly.

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Re-Opening Services

The following extract is from The Lisburn Herald dated Saturday 6th July 1929.

Ballinderry Parish Church

Re-opening services were held in Ballinderry Parish Church on Sunday last, after painting and decoration. The services were conducted by the rector, Rev J W Minchin MA, The Right Hon J Milne Barbour, D.L., M.P., read the lessons. The special preacher was Rev L P Story, B.A., late rector of Christ Church, Belfast, who preached most eloquent sermon; morning and evening. Mr Story pointed out the difference between conversion and excitement taking St Paul as his model. He congratulated the congregation on the tastefulness of the decorations of the church, saying hat they owned the most beautiful church in the diocese.

Special music included the anthem "O how amiable are thy dwellings" which was tastefully rendered by the choir, under the direction of Mrs F Marshall.

The work was tastefully carried out by M Bullick & Son, College Square, Belfast.

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The following is a transcript of the order of service for the Rehallowing and dedication service after renovation and redecoration.

Ballinderry Parish Church
Diocese of Connor
After renovation and redecoration

At 7.30 p.m.

Rt. Rev. S. Poyntz, B.D., Ph.D.
Bishop of Connor

Processional Hymn 382

Order for Evening service

Psalm 24
HYMN 259


The Bishop shall be petitioned to re-hallow the church and dedicate the following:

1.Wood panelling in Hall - presented by Mrs. Doris Yarr in memory of her husband, Sandy Yarr.
2.Stained glass windows in Hall - presented by the late Mr. William Gawley in memory of his parents, Mary and James Gawley.
3.Chair - presented by Mrs. Elizabeth and Miss Elizabeth Tuft in memory of a husband and father, George Tuft.
4.Toilet and cloakroom facilities
5.Interior Church Doors - presented by Mrs. Margaret Clarke in memory of her father, James Bell, former headmaster of Upper Ballinderry Primary School.
6.Lighting System - presented by Mrs. Margaret Yarr and Mr. John Tuft in memory of their parents, William and Caroline Tuft.
7.Carpet for aisle, chancel and vestry - presented by Mrs. Iris Gawley
8.Collection plates - presented by Miss Mary Tuft in memory of her parents, John and Edith Tuft and her brother, John.
9.Rear Vestry Door in memory of Frederick Carson.
10.Pew cushions - presented by Ladies' Fellowship.


Hymn 457


The Bishop of Connor

Hymn 645

OLD TESTAMENT READING - 1 Kings 8 v 22 - 30
Read by Rev. S. McComb


NEW TESTAMENT READING - Hebrews 10 v 19 - 25
Read by Rev. W. Kelly, B.Sc.

ANTHEM - "How lovely are they dwellings" by Samuel Liddle


The Rev. W. Hoey shall lead the people in an Act of Thanksgiving:-


Hymn 238

Organist: Mr. R. Yarr

All are invited to tea in the Parish Hall.

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