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Billy, Antrim

Historical Description

BILLY, a parish, partly in the barony of CAREY, but chiefly in that of LOWER DUNLUCE, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER; containing, with the post-town of Bushmills, 5845 inhabitants. This parish is bounded on the west by the river Bush, and on the south- east by the sea; it is also intersected for nearly three miles by the road from Ballymoney, through Bushmills, to the Giants' Causeway, which is within its limits. Including eight townlands which now form part of the parish of Dunseverick, it comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 17,329¾ statute acres, of which 16,B60 are applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £8139 per annum. The land is generally in a good state of cultivation; the system of agriculture is considerably advanced, and is still improving; there is very little waste land, except moss and bog, which together form nearly one-third of the surface. Whinstone abounds, and is quarried for building and for the roads; limestone is fonnd in great quantity and occasionally burned for manure, and wood-coal is obtained near the Causeway. Among the principal seats are Bushmills House, the residence of Sir F. W. Macnaghten, Bart.; Ballylough, of W. Trail, Esq.; Ballydivity, of J. Stewart Moore, Esq.; Black Rock House, the property of Miss Wray, and now in the occupation of Hugh Lecky, Esq.; and Bentfield, formerly the residence of Col. Wray, but at present uninhabited, There are some weirs on the river Bush, near its influx into the sea, for taking salmon, of which great quantities are sent to Liverpool and London. A market on Tuesday, and five fairs are held at Bushmills (which see); and on the day after Dervock fair, which is generally on Aug. 12th (except that day falls on the Saturday or Sunday, on which occasions it is held on the Monday following), a pleasure fair, called the Causeway fair, is held at the Rock Head, above the Giants' Causeway, and is numerously attended by persons for many miles round, for whose accommodation tents are pitched. This parish was formerly the head of a union, which comprised also the parishes of Armoy, Ballyclug, Donegore, and Kilbride, together forming the corps of the archdeaconry of Connor; but by the act of the 5th of Geo. IV., obtained by Dr. Mant, the union has been dissolved, the parishes disappropriated from the archdeaconry, and the rectorial tithes annexed to their respective vicarages, with the exception only of this parish, of which the rectory and vicarage alone now constitute the corps of the archdeaconry, with the cure of souls, the former archdeacons having no cure of souls: it is in the diocese of Connor, and patronage of the Bishop. The late Archdeacon Trail, then rector of this parish, in 1830, separated nine townlands from it, giving the tithes of four; and his brother, the Rev. Robt. Trail, rector of Ballintoy, seven townlands from that parish, giving the tithes of three, for the formation and endowment of the perpetual curacy of Dunseverick, the patronage of which is vested alternately in the respective incumbents: the new church is a very neat building in a central situation. The tithes of the parish amount to £489.4.7½., of which £37.9.3. is paid to the perpetual curate, and the remainder to the archdeacon. The church, a plain substantial building, was erected on the site of a former structure, by aid of a gift of £800 and a loan of £500, in 1815, from the late Board of First Fruits. The glebe-house was built in 1810, by the Rev. T. Babington, vicar, aided by a gift of £350 and a loan of £450 from the same Board. In the R. C. divisions it forms part of the union or district of Coleraine. There are two meeting houses for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, one of which is of the third class, and there are places of worship for Seceders, Covenanters, and Wesleyan Methodists. At Eagry is a school under the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, for which a good school-house has been erected, with a residence for the master, who has two acres of land; a school is held in a house hired for that purpose at Bushmills, and is supported by subscription; there is a parochial school for girls, for which a house was built, in 1882, by William Trail, Esq,; also schools at Moycraig, Carnbore, Straidbilly, and Dromiarran, and another is held in the Methodist meeting-house at Castle-Cat, which was endowed with £20 by the late Dr. Adam Clarke. The Rev. Archdeacon Trail, in 1881, bequeathed £50 for the use of the poor of the parish, which has been invested in Government securities, and the interest is annually distributed by his son, W. Trail, Esq. There are some remains of the ancient castle of Ballylough, which was of much importance; the lake on which it was situated has been drained, and is now under cultivation.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis

Civil Registration

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Directories & Gazetteers

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Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Antrim is available to browse.