Drumbeg Community Association
anyone got photos of old Drumbeg,
of church activities, school events like the Jubilee celebrations, historic
buildings like the dyeworks and its pond, the shops, the pub in its
previous life, etc? We would like to borrow them so that we can add
to the portion of the site devoted to Old Drumbeg.
History of Drumbeg
'History of Co. Down’ by A Knox.
Bishop Jeremy and Haddock’s ghost
The Ulster Star 27 Jan 1962
- report on Drumbeg
A Glimpse of Drumbeg 1750-1800 by Eileen Black http://www.lisburn.com/books/historical_society/volume7/volume7_1.html
Dictionary of Ireland 1837 page 511
by Samuel Lewis
Drumbeg, a parish, partly in the barony of Upper Belfast, county of
Antrim, but chiefly in that of Upper Castlereagh, county of Down, and
province of Ulster, ¾ of a mile (N.E.) from Lisburn, on the road
to Belfast; containing 2883 inhabitants. According to the Ordnance survey
it comprised 2704¾ acres, of which 1186¾ were in Down
and 1518 in Antrim; of these 2627 were applotted under the tithe act,
and valued at £3367 per ann. : but a portion of the parish of
Drumboe having been lately added to it under the Church Temporalities
Act, it now comprises 6868 acres. The soil differs greatly in quality,
from a sandy loam to a stiff clay but is very fertile. The Lagan navigation
from Belfast to Lough Neagh passes through the parish. The principal
seats, besides those noticed under the head of Dunmurry, are Glenburn,
the residence of F. Crossley Esq.; Wilmont, unoccupied; Finaghey, of
J. Charley, Esq.; Larkfield, of Henderson Black, Esq.; Drumbeg Rectory,
of the Rev J.L.M. Scott; Drum House, of W. H. Smyth, Esq.; and Belvidere
Cottage, a neat and commodious residence, lately built on the property
of A. Durham, Esq. Ballydrain, the beautiful demesne of Hugh Montgomery,
Esq., though not in this parish, is within 200 yards of the church,
and with the adjoining grounds of Lakefield, the residence of Miss Richardson,
and Lismoyne, of Mrs. Callwell, presents one of the finest landscapes
in the neighbourhood of Belfast. A court leet and court baron are held
every third week at Four Lane Ends, for the manor Drumbracklin, by a
seneschal appointed by Narcissus Batt, Esq., lord of the manor with
jurisdiction for recovery of debts under £20, extending over the
townlands of Doneight and Lisnoe in the parish of Hillsborough, Ballyaulis
in this parish, and Ballycairn, Ballylesson, Molough, and Knockbreccan
in Drumboe. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Down and in the
gift of the Bishop; a part of the rectorial tithes is impropriate in
W. Charley, A Durham, and Narcissus Batt, Esqrs., as lessees under the
Marquess of Donegal. The tithes now amount to £336. 16. 6., of
which £94. 13. 6 ½ is payable to the improriators, and
remainder to the incumbent: the glebe-house was built in 1826, by a
gift of £415 and a loan of £46 (British) from the late Board
of First Fruits, exclusively of £450 expended by the incumbent
in building and improvements; the glebe comprises eight statute acres.
The church was rebuilt by subscription in 1795, by aid of a gift of
£461 (British) from the same Board: it has a tower surmounted
by a spire, which having been blown down in 1831, was rebuilt at the
expense of J. Charley, Esq. About 300 children are educated in five
public schools, two of which are on Erasmus Smith’s foundation.
From Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837 page 511
by Samuel Lewis
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of the Parish of Drumbeg, Diocese of Down by
the ‘History of Co. Down’ by
The parish is described
like this The Church of Drumnow, now the
parish of Drumbeg, derives its name from the Irish, Druin beag, a little
ridge. Part of this parish is in the Country of Antrim but the County
Down portion contains a population of 2,444 persons, the total inhabitants
amounting to 3,627.
A part of the ancient manor of Drumbrackan, or Downbreaklyn was in this
parish, the remainder being in the parishes of Hillsborough and Drumbo.
Drumbeg, from being intersected by the river Lagan, was sometimes called
'Drom in the Lagan'. Hugh, the second Lord Viscount Montgomery, in 1639,
granted in trust for his brother, Captain George Montgomery, the manor
of Downbreaklyn, and all the 'townes', lands and hereditaments, thereto
belonging, with the power to hold Courts leet, and baron, of the said
manor, with all the usual appurtenances of castle, houses, fishings,
etc. George Montgomery built a house at Drumbrackley where he resided.
He was called by ‘ye agnomen of Kinnshoker, Anglice, hawk head,
from Ceann, a head, and Scabhae, pronounced showak, a hawk'* . He was
buried at Newtownards.
In more recent times the courts leet and courts baron were held at Four
Loan Ends, the appointments of officers being made (by Mr Batt of Purdy's
Burn, into whose possession the manor had passed by purchase. The church
of Drum corresponds principally with the modern parish of Drumbeg.
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JEREMY TAYLOR & HADDOCK’S GHOST
About four and a half miles south of the city of Belfast is situated
Drumbeg Church, dedicated to St. Patrick, with an adjoining churchyard
which contains numerous tombstones dating back to the seventeenth century.
The stone in the graveyard that excites the most interest and curiosity
is the one James Haddock, and by it hangs the tale of Haddock's Ghost.
This is no mythical spirit, but a thoroughly reliable well authenticated
ghost, according to those of his time who had every right to know, for
they enjoyed full opportunities of inquiry as to his nature and doings.
Regards its historic foundation, every date is correct. The story of
1662 tells of the death of James Haddock five years before, which date
1657, is found on his tombstone in the graveyard.
Closely associated with this anecdote is the person of Jeremy Taylor,
who was Bishop of Down and Connor from the time of the Restoration till
his death in 1667, Taylor was born in Cambridge in 1613 after a brilliant
scholastic career he obtained degrees at both Cambridge and Oxford.
He was elected Fellow of All Souls College in 1636, and became Rector
of Uppingham two years later. He made such a favourable impression while
preaching in old St. Paul's that he soon gained promotion under the
influence of Archbishop Laud. For twenty years following 1640, he preached
many noteworthy sermons and published numerous writings of a doctrinal
It was for religious reasons that Lord Conway, who lived near Lisburn,
persuaded Jeremy Taylor to come over to Ireland. Under Cromwell, Puritanism
had been made triumphant, but the pendulum was beginning to swing back,
and England was preparing for the Restoration. The state of the Established
Church had become so degraded that Lord Conway was resolved that some
interest in the old ritual should be revived. He therefore wrote to
Evelyn the diarist, who in reply recommended very strongly Dr. Jeremy
Taylor. Only after he had been approached for the third time, and after
Conway had secured the 'purchase of land at great vantage' did Taylor
accept the office of chaplain to his family, and so eventually exchanged
the streets of London for the quiet seclusion of Lord Conway’s
estate at Portmore.
This spot is practically ignored by visitors, its very site hardly known
by the antiquarians, but in Jeremy Taylor’s time it was the most
magnificent mansion in Ulster, situated on the eastern shore of Lough
Beg (or Portmore Lough), not far from Lough Neagh. Portmore was not
only a noble residence, it was a fortress garrisoned against the Tories
of the West, where now the eye perceives nothing but a low harsh horizon
of grazing land to the north and east. In Lord Conway’s time there
was a large deer park of oak trees and probably a bridge connected Portmore
to the church in which Jeremy Taylor habitually officiated.
The church stands on an artificial island in the marshes, with a shallow
moat around it. The remaining fragments are heavily covered with ivy,
while here and there are seen a few cypresses, relics of the Italian
gardens of Portmore; but in this place there has long ceased to be heard
any sound other than the cries of wild fowl. From near here the old
fragmentary brickwork of Conway’s castle is best visible, and
imagination may rebuild the vision as Jeremy Taylor saw it when he saw
it in 1658, costly and elaborate, with its upper windows looking towards
the sunset over Portmore, with the vast expanse of Lough Neagh beyond.
Tradition has it that the little Sallagh island (isle of willows) which
lies a few hundred yards out in Lough Beg, directly north of Portmore,
contained a study where Jeremy Taylor loved to meditate: at present
Sallagh Island is a tangled mass of oisers and bulrushes and is almost
unapproachable except in dry weather.
Jeremy Taylor was nominated Bishop of Down and Connor in 1660. His headquarters
when he took up the labour of his diocese was Hillsborough. Dromore,
with which he was closely associated has little that remains except
the double arched ridge over the Lagan and a certain amount of basalt
masonry of the church he built in 1661, Taylor has been placed among
the four masters of the English language (Shakespeare, Milton, Bacon
and Taylor) in the first half of the seventeenth century, and towards
the latter years of his life he was recognised as the finest orator
in Ireland, and was indispensable upon great occasions.
At the time of the story of Haddock's ghost, the worthy Bishop was approaching
his end. He had commenced to build his tomb in Ballinderry, for the
agues of the lough shore, and the howling of the wolves in the neighbourhood
had told upon his nerves and health. Portmore itself had grown uncanny
and the Bishop had unroofed the old church and dismantled it of its
oak fittings, in order to build in Ballinderry a really pretty specimen
of belated Jacobean church architecture. This was restored in 1902 and
is the most interesting personal relic of Jeremy Taylor which exists
in Ireland. In the latter part of his life Jeremy Taylor resided at
Homra House, a solitary little mansion two miles to the east of Hillsborough,
and just off the road to Comber. He died on the 13th August 1667 at
his house in Lisburn (site of present No. 13 Castle Street) at the age
of 54, and as his new church in Ballinderry had not then been consecrated,
his last words were 'bury me at Dromore' the vault containing his remains
is now in the body of the Cathedral Church in that town.
If 1661 was a full year in the history of Jeremy Taylor, 1662 was marked
only by anecdotes.
on the night of Michaelmas a porter to the Earl of Donegall, called
Francis Taverner, who had been at Hillsborough, was riding to his home
at Malone. He was described as a 'lusty, proper stout fellow' about
25 years of age, and when he came to the Drum bridge which crosses the
Lagan at Drumbeg, at the foot of the bridge his horse stopped suddenly:
Taverner, dismounting urged his horse forward, and as he started again,
was aware of two shadowy horsemen who rode beside him; at the same moment
a third man in a white coat, was at his elbow, and turning Taverner
perceived that this resembled James Haddock who had died five years
Taverner asked the apparition who in the name of God he was. Haddock
told him his name and bade him not to be reminding him of a trivial
circumstance, how Taverner had brought nuts to Haddock and to the two
friends who were now riding on before them; at the four cross roads,
Dunmurry to Lismoyne, the ghost desired the young man to turn aside
with him, pleading with him to do a service in regard to the putting
aside of his son from his heritage, but Taverner would not, and galloping
on left them there; whereupon there arose a great wind and withal he
heard very hideous screeches and noises to his amazement. Presently
morning broke, the cocks crew, and slipping off his horse, Taverner
knelt in prayer to God and so came safely to his home near Belfast.
Next night as he sat by the fire with his wife, the ghost of Haddock
appeared to him again. The reason for these visitations was the desire
for the welfare of his son, John Haddock. James Haddock a farmer of
Malone died in 1657, leaving behind him his wife Arminell (Welsh) whose
name is also on the tombstone, and a son John. Before his death he had
arranged for a lease of his lands from Lord Donegall, his son's name
to go into it with his own. Unfortunately, Haddock died before the lease
was completed. His widow then married one, Jacob Davis of Malone, and
by him had another son whose name his father got inserted in the lease,
doubtless with Arminell's assistance, thus ousting the young Haddock
from his patrimony. Haddock's ghost bade Taverner tell her that it was
the will of her former husband that their son should be righted in this
Taverner resisted the appeals of the unearthly Haddock who, however,
haunted him night after night for a whole month, more and more importunate
and angry, sometimes at the fireside and again whilst he was in bed,
James Haddock appearing in a white coat, was never visible to Taverner's
wife, although she was a terrified witness to her husband's agitation,
for these visits were preceded by a shivering fit and a change in his
countenance. To escape these visitations, Taverner left his home in
the hills of Malone, and took refuge with Pierce, a shoemaker in Belfast,
but all in vain. There at midnight he was again visited and threatened
with awful happenings if he would not visit Arminell Davis and upbraid
her with the wrong done to the young John Haddock.
Taverner then unfolded his troubles at the castle to his lordship’s
chaplain, James South, who took him to the vicar of Belfast, Dr. Lewis
Downes, and satisfied him of the truth of his case.
These three eventually carried the apparition's message to Malone, but
the shameless and hardened Davis refused to surrender the lease, whereupon
the apparition bade Taverner take the matter to court, where it would
appear when summoned.
Francis had spoken to the ghost of the futility of such proceedings,
as he had no witnesses. 'Never mind' said the ghost, 'I will be present
and appear when called upon'.
The case accordingly came on at Carrickfergus, to establish young Haddock's
right to his father's estate. For the boy there was but one witness.
The opposing council abused Taverner and taunted him to call his spiritual
witness if he were able. 'James Haddock!' cried the usher, 'James Haddock!
'James Haddock!' each time with a higher inflection. At the third summons
a clap of thunder made the courthouse tremble to its base, a hand hovered
over the witness box and a sepulchral voice exclaimed 'Is this enough?'
and it was.
Jacob Davis slunk away amidst popular jeers, mounting his horse to ride
home, but he fell by the way and broke his neck. After this the servant
at large, Francis Taverner, was never more disturbed by ghostly apparitions
either at the Drum bridge or elsewhere.
The story gradually filled the whole countryside and, finally reached
the celebrated Bishop (Dr Jeremy Taylor) who was holding his court at
Dromore. Jeremy Taylor sent for Taverner and other witnesses and held
an inquiry into what he called 'this strange scene of Providence' and
came to the conclusion that this was a genuine instance of the apparition
of the souls of the dead. He investigated the case at Dromore and an
adjournment was made to Hillsborough where, writes his secretary, 'my
Lady Conway and other persons of quality came purposely to hear his
Lordship examine the matter'.
About this, the only ghost who ever answered a summons in a court of
justice, the bishop's secretary further records 'the apparition was
true and real and this Taverner with all the persons mentioned and all
wise and good men did believe it, especially the Bishop and the Dean
of Connor, Dr. Rust'.
Probably with a view to its preservation, repeated efforts have been
made to place Haddock's tombstone permanently in an upright position,
but these attempts proved useless, for each time it has mysteriously
fallen; and so it still lies flat on the family grave, almost overgrown
with moss and long grass.
This story has been handed down in the district from generation to generation,
yet all parishioners of Drumbeg may to-day pass and repass over the
Drum bridge or the church of St. Patrick, without any fear whatever.
English Men of Letters Series by Dimond Gosse M.A, relating to Jeremy
Taylor in Ireland.
Sketch of Life & Times of Jeremy Taylor - George Worley.
For further reports www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/yourplaceandmine/topics/ghost/A856947.shtml
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There used to be a gallows at Drum Bridge.
On the 17th April 1783 one Patrick Gordon
was executed there for stealing linen from bleach greens in the area.
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A glowing ball of light
has been seen dancing around the headstones. www.paranormaldatabase.com/ireland/ulster.php
In the 1970s it was reported
that a ghostly lady with a child in her arms was seen on the Drum Bridge.
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