BALLYMONEY CHURCH  collected notes taken from various sources through the Ballineen- Enniskeane Heritage Group  (dates of notes to be verified)

This church was closed in 1984

At the time of writing (2006) we are still waiting (and not from lack of trying at local level) for 'the powers that be' to do something about this now redundant church.

From collected notes =

?early 1900's - "Ballymoney, a parish in the Eastern Division of the Barony of East Carbery, County of Cork, and province of Munster, 10 miles W by S from Bandon, containing 3802 inhabitants. This parish which is intersected by the river Bandon and skirted on the north by the mail coach road from Bandon to Dunmanway comprises 7056 statute acres, as allocated under the tithe act, and valued at £4017 per annum. The land is of good quality about two-thirds of the parish is under cultivation and the remainder is chiefly mountain and bog. The heavy wooden plough is generally in use, and except, on the lands of the resident gentry, agriculture as a system is unknown. The opening of a new line of road through the parish to Clonakilty, whence sea manure is obtained in abundance, has afforded the means of bringing much poor land into cultivation. Great quantities of fuel are raised from the bogs, which supply turf and bog wood for the neighbours to the south.

Near Ballineen is Phale House, the residence of E.H.Good Esq., a mile to the west is Kilcascan, the seat of W.J.O'Neill Daunt, Esq., a handsome castellated mansion embosomed in young and thriving plantations and at Ballincarriga is the neat seat of J.Heazle Esq. .A domestic manufacture of coarse linen is carried out for home consumption. At Ballincarrig are Rock Castle mills, the property of Mr. Heazle, capable of grinding 5000 bags of wheat annually and affording constant employment to 20 persons and at Ballineen a few persons are engaged in weaving cotton cord, but the principal pursuit is agriculture.

Ballineen is a constabulary police station, and petty sessions are held there every alternate Monday. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Cork and in the patronage of the Bishop, the tithes amount to £785. In the RC. division one half of the parish is included in the union or district of Dunmanway and the other half in that of Kinneigh or Enniskeane, there is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists at Ballineen. The parochial male and female school is aided by annual donations from the rector and his lady: and another is supported by the rector. These schools afford instruction to about 60 boys and 40 girls: and there are also three hedge schools in which are about 150 children and a Sunday school."

(A Topographical Directory of Ireland by Samuel Lewis)

Old Glebe house built in 1788 at a cost of £673-16-11 Grant "92-6-1. from the late Board of First Fruits and consists of 43 acres. The Forbes family have lived in it since 1924.

The new Rectory was built in 1954 (present residence of the rector). Fr. Skuce was the first occupant in 1955.

"About an English mile to the west of Enniskeane is the pretty little town of Ballineen. It consists of one long street running east and west, and of another starting from its centre, and running due south to the Bandon river. At one time it belonged to the Earls of Cork  - one of who parted with it to the Heathcote family. From the Heathcotes it was purchased by an ancestor of the present Earl of Bandon, from whom, and his successors, it was held for a long time by lease, during which period it made little progress, but upon the expiry of the term about 20 years ago . It came into the immediate possession of the late Lord Bandon, and since then it has been almost rebuilt.

It now contains a handsome market-house, a new court house, one or two hotels, a Wesleyan chapel, a boys' and girls' school, a new glebe house and a beautiful new church.

The latter is a Gothic structure, with belfry spire and two porches, over one of which the arms of the late Earl of Bandon impaled with those of Brodrick and over the other the arms of the Rev. Robert Meade, the late
rector. It was built partly by the ecclesiastical commissioners, and partly by Lord Bandon, aided by some private subscriptions. So much admired was the spire of this church by Dr.Bloomfield, the late Bishop of London - who was reputed to have great taste in church architecture - that he was anxious to have a drawing of it taken, in order to introduce it into the wealthiest and most important diocese in the world. The site for the church was given by the late rector, and the church itself which was dedicated to St. Paul, was opened for divine service September 3rd, 1849."

(The history of Bandon and its principal towns in the west Riding of County
Cork by Beánctt printed in 1973.)


Within the church to this day is a most beautiful pipe organ which has the distinction of being only one of three of its kind in Ireland. Also there is a smaller organ that was purchased in Jeffers in Bandon.

Also there are brass oil lamps that were converted to electricity shortly before its closure. With regard to the stained glass windows one in particular was donated by the famous Lennox Robinson family who was talented as a poet and playwright. You may see some of his material in Ireland's Own from time to time. Also there are many books written about this man

It is sad to see this fine, stately building unique in many features lying unused at this time It would be ideal if the Office of Public works or some state body would take it over and maybe convert it into a heritage centre or used for community purposes.


One of the earliest proceedings of Bishop Dive Downes on his appointment to the Sees of Cork and Ross in 1699, seems to have been a Visitation of his Diocese, the record of which in the form of a Journal of his Tour, was deposited in the Library of Trinity college, Dublin, together with some other important documents relating to the state of the diocese, by the late Dr.Kyle, sometime Archdeacon of Cork and Vicar-General, these interesting papers were printed in 1864 by the Rev.W. Maziere Brady. D.D.. in his valuable Clerical and Parochial Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross long out of print and scarce.

Dive Downes was descended form an ancient Suffolk family and son of Rev. Lewis Downes, Rector of Thornby in Northamptonshire where he was born 16th October. 1653. He was educated under Mr.Haslam. He matriculated in the University of Dublin at the age of 16. He graduated Vern 1671, commenced M.A.
Aest 1675 and proceeded B.D. Vern 1686 and D.D. Vern 1692. He was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1675. On the 24th February 1677-78 Downes was ordained deacon in St. Patrick's Cathedral and admitted to Holy Orders 5th May, 1678.. He was retained by the Parliament of James 11 in 1689. By letters patent dated 18th April he was elevated to the Sees of Cork and Ross and enthroned in Cork on June 4th. Dive Downes was married four times and had one daughter by his first wife, none by his second, a daughter named Elizabeth by his third and by his fourth wife a son named Robert and a posthumous daughter Anne born the day of her father's death 13th November, 1709.

(Much of the research is taken from the Cork Historical and Archaeological journals of 1907 and 1908.)

Bishop Downes visited this place in 1699. "The church" he writes" is large and the walls and roof in pretty good repair: seats in the east end but none in the west. The west end was repaired when Kinneigh and Fanlobbish were united to it. Contention about a seat gave occasion to the building of Kinneigh and Fanlobbish churches, and dividing into parishes. Usually eighty persons a church. Mr.Synge preaches one Sunday Murragh, the other Sunday at Desert.

About 26 plantation acres of glebe round the church of Ballymoney divided into 5 fields. A little Vicarage house, in good repair with the glebe well improved, a good garden and orchard. A plowland on the north of the river Bandon is in this parish. Drinagh and Kilmore united pro hac vice to Ballymoney. The Vicars-choral have half the tythes of Drinagh. Kilmeen lyes to the south -west of Ballimoney. Drinagh lyes to the west of Kilmine. Mr. Symmes preaches one Sunday at Ballymoney, the other at Kilmeen.

Under date Saturday, May 25th, 1700, he says: "I went from Cork to Ballymoney.

Sunday May 26th I preached at Ballymoney and confirmed about sixty-two persons in all, viz., Murragh, Desert, Kilmeen, Kinneigh and Fanlobbish and about 26 persons of Ballymoney parish. I administered the Holy Sacrament, about 20 received. Ballymoney church is in good repair, but a registrar book Is wanting, which Mr. Svmmes undertook to get before Michaelmas next. In the parish of Ballymoney 19 plowlands and 9 gnives

(In some parts of Munster they had to use a measure called "gniomh" gneeve which was the twelfth part of a plough land; and this term occurs occasionally in the other provinces). "There are about one hundred and fifty persons at church. About half the land in this parish is the estate of Mr. Henry Boil, brother to Lord Cork; Sir Richard Cox, Counsellor Bernard, Mr. Wade and Mr. Peter Hewit are proprietors of the rest. There is a popish priest of Fanlobbish parish called Charles Carthy and another at Kinneigh called Teige Murphy. These two divide Ballymoney between them. There are four Papists for one Protestant: in Fanlobish there are ten Papists for one Protestant The further you go westward the disproportion betwixt them is greater. The rectors house was designed to be enlarged by building on the old foundations. There are two church wardens sworn. A chalice, flagon, tablecloth for the Communion table, a bible 2 common prayer books. Here and in the places hereabouts tyth is paid for potatoes and for mills against a tenth part of the rent of the mill. The clergy don't think it worth the while to demand tyth of turf. Ballymoney does not pay first fruits, but is
pays 2s twentieth parts. Two Protestant women teach school. Ballymoney worth to the rector about £50"

"The old church, which stands in the grave yard, is now unroofed and suffered to go to decay. Ballymoney is one of the three parishes which were formerly known as "The Paradise of Parsons". The fortunate incumbents were in the enjoyment of large incomes, for which they do not appear to have done anything remarkable. They spent no small portion of their long lives in a round of social festivities. One day the shepherds of Desertserges and Kilmeen would dine and spend the evening with the shepherd of Ballymoney - and that , too, in an age when the moistening of their pastoral clay was not almost wholly restricted to these effeminate addenda to the modern dinner-table, tea and coffee, the next day the shepherd of Kilmeen would feast his late host and the shepherd of Desertserges with the former two, then the pastor of Ballymoney would begin again and so on. The good care they took of one another helped to carry them all beyond the allotted three score and ten. From one fact alone we may infer to what a great age some of the rectors in former days used to attain to namely:- that the three parishes above mentioned were possessed by rectors; and by adding together the time that three of them one from each parish - were in holy orders, the sum total will be found to want thirteen years of being no less than two centuries.

There are three entrances to the graveyard from Ballineen. That on the right is the circuitous route used by the Episcopalians, on their way to the grave with the remains of those of their persuasion: that on the left is the still more circuitous route belonging to the Roman Catholics: but the direct route - the short cut, in fact - is the exclusive property of the Methodists and Presbyterians."

(The history of Bandon and its principal towns in the West riding of County Cork by Bennett).

The oldest headstones were close by the ruins of the old Church - date on William Wood, Garrend (Kilbrittain) 1716. Other headstones have dates 1806, 1807, 1812, 1839. Also wood markings. Four trees grow through the floor of the ruins. There have been unmarked graves made throughout. A railed in grave inscribed "Fuller 1878". The oldest grave in the new grave-yard is also "Fuller".

Clerical and Parochial Records - Cloyne, Cork and Ross Volume 1.


1591 Ballymoney. Cor Donati, idemv. de Kinneigh M.S. TCD E3. 14

1610 Robert Snowswell, R et V Crossenhare als Ballymoney et V. Fanlobbus RV.

1632 A silver communion cup weight 9 oz has this legend

                        "Ex dono Hellenae uxoris Antony Stowell gen.mort. August 9th, 1632."

1634 Robert Snowswefl, Rector, Thomas Kelly curate.

1661 Nicholas Winterbourne Rector, Ballymoney V.Fanlobbus and Kinneigh

1664 Robert Golborne was seventh son of Wm. Golborne Bishop of Kildare. He
                died unmarried in 1674

1674 Isaac Mansfield

1674 Andrew Symznes after death of Isaac Mansfield (1675 parish separated
             from Fanlobbish)

1689 He became Precenter of Ross. Church in repair sermon once a fortnight, sacrament

                    thrice a year. About twenty Protestant families. An English school.

1699 About seven miles to the west is Bandon, on the south side of the
        river, is the parish of Ballymoney, except one plowland of the parish which is on the north side

            of the river.

The church is large and the walls and roof are in pretty good repair. Seats in the east end but not in the west.

1700 Ballimony Church is in good repair, but a register book is wanting,
                which Mt. Symmes undertook to get before next Michaelmas.

1717 Samuel Browne rector Ballymoney and Kilmeen. In 1731 he became
             Chancellor of Cork.

1737 the Bishop certified that Brome expended in improving the glebe house £98 11s 2d;

1740 Samuel Woodroffe rector of Ballymoney and Kilmeen both vacant per resignation of Brome.

                In 1746  Woodroffe became P.Dromdeleague and in 1762 was made Precenter of Cork.

1746 Joseph Pratt rector of Ballymoney and Kilmeen. He was probably of Cabra Castle, Co.Cavan

                                He resigned these living quarters in 1752.

1752 Charles Wye rector of Ballymoney and Kilmeen. In 1753 he was also
                                    licensed to the curacy of Kinneigh

1752 The parish register commences. His will is dated 11th April, 1765 and
                was proved in Cork 16th August 1784. In it he mentions his son Francis Wye, and
                two daughters, Mary wife of Quin and Elizabeth his executrix.

1784 Ambrose Hickey rector of Ballymoney by death of Wye. 1785 Elickey memorials to build a    

        new glebe house and on March 3rd 1788 obtains a certificate for having expended £752 3s 1 1/2d

        the  yearly value of Ballymoney being £315 per annum Hickey reserved his right to a chimney piece

        of Italian marble in the north parlour and excluded it from his account of expenditure. In 1799 Hickey    

        obtains another certificate for having expended £89 l0s 3d in a garden wall and £1 6s on two

        farm-yards piers. The tithes of Ballymoney are now over £400 and the glebe is valued at £60

        per annum.

1796 Thomas Hore rector if Ballymoncy vacant by resignation of Hickey, In
1798 Hore became Vicar-choral of Ross.

1798 Robert Meade rector of Ballymoney vacant by resignation of Hore.

1802 Meade obtains a certificate of having expended in additions to the
            glebe £295 14s 5d and that the yearly value of Ballymoney is now £643.

1830 Protestant population is 512

1837 Ballymoney, a rectory with cure. Seven miles long by five mile broad,
English measure containing 6668 acres. Gross population 3802. One curate
employed at a salary of £75 per annum. Tithe composition £785. Forty two
acres of glebe valued at £63 subject to visitation fees £1 18s. Diocesan
schoolmaster £1 5s. Ballymoney glebe-house built under the old Acts in 1788
at a cost of £673 16s lid, whereof a gift by the late Board of First Fruits
£92 6s id was granted and the residue of £581 lOs 91/4d was supplied out of
the private funds to the builder. In the year 1798 a further sum to the
amount of £S3 16s 61/2d was expended on garden wail and piers under
certificate improvements. The present incumbent is second in succession to
the original builder and having paid his predecessor £540 12s 21/4d and
since expended a certified sum of £272 19s 51/2 d he will be entitled to
receive from his successor £565 2s 83/4d on account of the building and in
improvement charges. Incumbent is constantly resident in the glebe house.
One church, capable of accommodating 150 people but so old a building that
the date and cost of its erection unascertained. No charge on the parish in
1832 on account of the church. Divine service is celebrated twice on all
Sundays and once on principal festivals. The sacrament is administered on
the second Sunday in every month and on the three great festivals. The
benefice is a rectory.

1849 A new church was consecrated under name of St. Paul. It was built on a
site given by the rector. The ruins of the old church are still in the

Robert Meade born 1768 was ordained deacon on 1st August, 1790 at Cloyne on
letters dimissory from Cork, and on 26th September, 1790 was ordained priest
at Cork In 1791 he was curate of Tracton and in 1796 became Vicar-Choral of
Ross which he held until he was made rector in Ballymoney in 1798. He was
also from 1796 to 1811, P.Dunsfort, Down and from 1812 to 1825 Rector
Templemichael de Duagh. He married Eliza daughter of Robert Travers Esq, and
by her had issue, Wm Robert died umn., and two other sons and two daughters
who died umn., besides three daughters of whom the eldest, Barbara was the
wife of Rev. Wm De Courcy Meade V.Fanlobbus. Robert Meade died 19th March,

1852 William Alexander Willock RV Ballymoney certified to be worth £604 14s
4d. On

3rd September he obtains a dilapidations against his predecessor to amount
£427 12s 9d.

Mr.Willock was a Fellow of T.C.D. and on 29th June 1854 became R.Cleenish,
Clogher diocese.

1854 Samuel Butcher Rector of Ballymoney on presentation of Primate and
Archbishop of Dublin. 9th May, 1855 he also obtained a certificate of
dilapidations against Wilock to amount £504 5s lOd and on 3rd May 1859 he
obtained a certificate of charge on the benefice for £1046 18s 6d the net
annual value being £523 9s 3d.

1860 Re. Dr. Butcher Rector and Rev. W.Mangan Curate. The church and glebe
house are in good order. The rector is resident whenever his official duties
as Regius Professor of Divinity in T.C.D. allow. Divine service twice every
Sunday and afternoon service from March to November in a licensed place of
worship at Ballinacarrigy. Sacrament monthly; average of communicants 31 and
at Christmas 81 communicants. The children are catechised on Fridays and
Sundays. 109 children on the rolls of schools, maintained by the rector and
Church Education Society. The Protestant population is 256. The rent charge
amounts to £588 15s and the land is worth £63, total value is £651. He was
scholar of T.C.D,. in 1832, Fellow in 1837, Professor of Ecclesiastical
History in 1850 and Regius Professor of Divinity in 1852. He graduated in
1834, 1838 and 1849. He was ordained Deacon in 1839 by Manta, Bishop of Down
and Connor and Priest in 1840 by Plunket, Bishop of Tuani. He has published
several occasional sermons, and introductory lectures as Professor of
History and Divinity.

Dr.Butcher is married and has six issue (children).

1866 Achilles Daunt (3 months) became Dean of Cork 1875.

1867 Paulus Ameius Singer

1871 Horace Townsend Fleming

1878 Arthur David McNamara.

1899 George Healy White

1900 Andrew Craig Robinson.

1942 Cyril du Cros 25th July 1942 to 24 June 1951 serving Kinneigh and Ballymoney

1947 Canon du Cros

1951 Rev. L. Colthrust

1955 Rev. Fr. Skuce serving Ballymoney and Kinneigh. Clergy present at Rev.
           Fr.Skuce's Institution Rev. S.P. Jennings, Rev.L.Colthrust, Rev. Archdeacon
            J.H. Hingston,        Rev. MacManaway

1968 Thomas G. Hudson on duty during vacancy

1969 Thomas G. Hudson

1972 Rev. William T. Wilson

1975 Rev.J.L.Haworth

1976 Rev. David Llewellyn (Kinneigh Union) Kilowen, Murragh, Desertserges,
                            Ballymoney, Kinneigh and Kilmeen.

1983 Vacant - layreaders Rev. John Fenning

1984 Rev. R Matthews. Closed in Abeyance.

Much of the above research is taken from a school project completed by
Dorothy Draper, Aid Na Greine, Enniskeane.


"The diocese is once again facing the problem of amalgamating parishes and
closing churches. It is indisputable that we have far more churches than we
need and a good many more will eventually have to go. Yet a growing number
of people are concerned at the way in which the process is carried out, and
some would question the timing of the present scheme. If misunderstanding
and resentment are to be avoided full consultation with the parishes
involved and an attempt to see things from their point of view is essential.
Sadly, stories abound of diocesan insensitivity to the deep sense of loss
and hurt felt by parishioners whose churches are being closed against their

The Diocesan Council has, of course, a duty to be concerned about future
planning and the state of diocesan finances. It is right that it should give
serious consideration to the two problems it names as being the cause of the
current re-organisation proposals manpower and finance.

But is equally important that the Council gets across to parishes the
message that it is also concerned about the pastoral and spiritual
implication of closing churches. To take away from people what is not for
them an outward and visible sign of the faith they profess and not in some
way to deepen and renew that faith is an unpastoral act. Perhaps it should
be inscribed somewhere in our constitution that no church may be closed
unless the parishioners involved can be give reasonable assurance that their
spiritual gain will be more than their material loss. Renewal therefore
should recede not follow rationalisation."

(Union Booklet of Church of Ireland)

SYNOD COMMENT "Kinneigh Union's plea at Synod to re-open their closed
churches was thrown out (50 votes for the motion 53 against.)

Some speakers told us if Kinneigh flock loved the Lord, venues of worship
wouldn't matter. Missionary giving is an index of spirituality. The Kinneigh
folk, per capita, have the best missionary giving in the diocese. Many of us
who love the Lord worship under the blue dome of heaven (often grey here),
anywhere, anytime, any place but our home church with its unique memories
has a special place in our hearts. We in the Church of Ireland are paying a
high price for the closure of churches - losing people, "One's native place
is the shell of one's soul and one's church is the kernal of that nut". The
Diocesan Council closed three of the six churches in the Kinneigh Union.
Ballymoney, Killowen and Murragh and service is held in Desert, Kinneigh and
Kilmeen in turn. Murragh was re-opened at a later stage.