This article first appeared in The Glynns Volume 6 (1978).  It is re- presented here in it’s original format.



Reproduced by Courtesy of the N.I.O.S Dept. (1978). Scale 1" to 1 mile
Reproduced by Courtesy of the N.I.O.S Dept. (1978). Scale 1″ to 1 mile


The Society wishes to thank the Officers of the Royal Irish Academy for kindly permitting the publication of this Memoir, and the Staff of the Northern Ireland Public Record Office for its assistance in transcribing the text. The society has already published the Ordnance Survey Memoirs for a number of parishes within the Glens, namely Layd and the Grange of inispollan in 1968, Ardclinis in 1973, Rathlin in 1975, Tickmacrevan in 1976 and Culfeightrin in 1977. This year we present the Memoir for the parish of Ramoan.- It was compiled by James Boyle in 1835 and Thomas Fagan in 1838 and included extracts relating to Ballycastle’s eighteenth-century industries, copied from the last will and testament of Hugh Boyd, the founder of these industries.

Ordnance Survey Memoir for the Parish of Ramoan, Co. Antrim by James Boyle, 1835

Section: 1 Natural Features

Hills : The principal and almost only hill in this parish is Knocklayd, three-quarters of which belongs to this and the remainder to Armoy parish. This mountain is the most northerly of the Antrim range from which is almost separate. It is of a peculiar semi-spherical form and presents almost the same appearance from every point of view. Its position and shape, joined with an elevation of 1,685 feet above the level of the sea, render it a very conspicuous object from the surrounding country and also from Scotland. The western side of the Valley of Glenshesk is formed by this mountain, and another small valley extends along its western side.

Rivers : The only river in this parish is the Glenshesk, which, running along the eastern side of Knocklayd, separates this parish from that of Culfeightrin. It takes its rise near the summit of Slieve an Orra at an elevation of about 1,600 feet above the sea and pursues a northerly course during which it is joined by numerous smaller streams, finally emptying itself into the sea at Ballycastle Bay, within the tideway. The extreme length of this river is about 8 miles. The average fall of this river is 1 foot in 27 feet and its velocity is considerable, as is indicated by the size of the stones rolled down by it in its floods.

Coast : There are 21 miles of coast extending from south-east to north-west along the northern extremity of this parish. This coast consists of a range of lofty basaltic and limestone cliffs varying in height from 250 feet to 100 feet above the level of the sea which washes their base. The coast of this parish forms part of one side of Ballycastle Bay which affords but little protection to vessels, as except from the south and south-east winds there is not the least shelter. The coast is considered a very dangerous one from its exposed situation and the heavy seas caused by the meeting and confluence of several tides in the sound between it and Rathlin Island.

Towns : The town of Ballycastle is situated on the west side of Ballycastle Bay within one-third mile of the sea and in the north-east Circuit of Assize. It is on the coast road from Belfast to Coleraine and is beautifully situated on the side of a gentle hill and in a little valley which is watered by a small stream.

The erection of the town of Ballycastle on its present site is of rather a recent date, as would appear from a map bearing the date 1734, at which time there were only three houses and the present mill standing. About the year 1740 the late Hugh Boyd, Esq., the Proprietor of the Estate, excited a spirit of enterprise and through his exertions a very extensive glass manufactory, a brewery and tanneries were established. In 1744 a pier was completed at an expense of £30,000, partly paid by the Government and the remainder by Mr. Boyd. The inner basin of this pier was 2 & 1/2  acres in extent and the outer somewhat more. It was capable of admitting vessels of 300 tons burthen and could contain a considerable number. This, with the manufactories before mentioned, in all probability determined the site of the town, which must have been built very rapidly as there are very few modern houses now in it.

Ballycastle consists of two principal and tolerably regular streets of sufficient width which extend for about one-third of a mile from south-west to north-east. The junction of these streets is in the centre of the town, where there is a sort of open or market place in front of the Church. There is an interval of 500 yards between the north-eastern extremity of these streets and what is called the “Red Row” (from the houses having been at one time roofed with tiles).

This “Red Row” or “Round Quay” consists of a single row of houses running at right angles to the former street and extending for about 220 yards along the east.  A Street of small one-storey houses called “The Milltown” from its vicinity to the corn mill extends for about 350 yards on the southern side of and nearly parallel to the principal street. Besides these streets there are four lanes, inhabited by the lower class. The town in all contains 224 houses, of which 9 are three-storey, 127 two-storey, and 88 one-storey cabins and cottages. The latter are chiefly confined to The Milltown or to lanes elsewhere, and are occupied by the lower class. They are tolerably comfortable and cleanly, being built of stone, thatched and generally consisting of a kitchen and two other apartments.

The principal streets are occupied chiefly by persons in business and consist of two, and three-storey houses which are not very neat or modern in their appearance though in general comfortable and cleanly. There are several good houses on “The Quay” and on the road leading from it to the town. These are mostly occupied by private gentlemen. The streets are all of a tolerable width and cleanly. All the houses are built of stone and, except the one-storey cabins, are all slated, and the general appearance of the town is respectable and agreeable.

The Public Buildings consist of a Church, or rather a chapel of ease which stands in the centre of the town. It is a neat handsome stone structure 70 feet long by 34 feet wide and capable of accommodating about 300 persons. It has a handsome spire 100 feet high built of sandstone from the colleries. It was erected in 1756 at the sole expense of Hugh Boyd, Esq., and adds greatly to the appearance of the town.  The Presbyterian meeting-house stands at the western extremity of the town; it is a very plain building 50 feet long by 22 feet wide and would accommodate 250 persons. It was erected in 1831 at (an) expense of £300 which was raised by subscription. The Methodist chapel is situated on the north-west side of the town; it is very plain and uninteresting; it is 45 feet long by 20 feet wide and would accommodate about 160 persons. The Roman Catholic chapel stands on the eastern side of the town; it is a neat edifice, having been recently enlarged and improved in its appearance; it is not very comfortably fitted up internally; its extreme dimensions are 60 feet by 30 feet. It would accommodate 500 persons.

The Market House stands in one of the principal streets and near the centre of the town. It is a plain two-storey building; the lower part is viewed as a sort of shambles or market place and the room above as a place for holding manor courts and petty sessions (site of present museum). The gaol or Bridewell is in the rear of the market house and consists of two cells or rooms underground and two above. It is merely used for confining riotous persons in but was formerly used in connection with the manor court for the purpose of confining debtors decreed in it. There are two inns which afford only moderate accommodation to travellers.

The principal private residences are those of :

Alexander McNeile, Esquire, J.P.

John McNeale, Esquire, J.P.

Alexander Miller, Esquire.

Mrs. Boyd.

Captain Gilbert, R.N., Inspecting Commissioner of Coast-guard.

Captain Blois, R.N.

Captain Sampson.

Rev. William Stewart, curate of the chapel of ease.

Alexander Knox, Esquire, M.B.

Lieut. Shortt, R.N., Chief Officer of Coastguard.

*”The residences of these gentlemen are plain substantial houses mostly two storeys high and without anything in their architecture or appearance worthy of description.” (Marginal annotation by Lieut. R. K. Daws)

* “Mr. Gage’s house near the church should be included, being the largest in the town.” (Marginal annotation by Lieut. R. K. Daws)

The mansion house of the estate is situated on the quay; it is very roomy and spacious and the courtyard, offices and garden are very extensive. The house is now almost ruinous and is inhabited by nearly 20 poor families. Three of the rooms are used as school rooms. The pro-prietor is a lunatic. The estate is in Chancery and sufficient funds are not allowed by the Chancellor for keeping the house in repair.

Ballycastle is neither lighted, paved nor watched. No houses are being or have been lately built.

The inhabitants of Ballycastie are almost all engaged in some business or trade. They are very industrious. Many of them are wealthy and they are in general in comparatively comfortable circumstances. There are not any literary institutions, libraries or reading rooms. Ballycastle is not now either manufacturing or commercial. There are neither banks nor branches of banks of any kind. There are six annual fairs held on the following days viz. Easter Tuesday, the last Tuesday in May and the last Tuesday in July, 19th August, 28th October and 25th November. The market days are Tuesday and Saturday but these, with the exception of every third Tuesday which are called “court days” are inconsiderable. No tolls or customs have been levied for five years. Cattle of all kinds are sold at the fairs and yarn and potatoes, pedlars goods and crockery-ware.

Population: The population of the Parish of Ramoan is given by Mr. Connolly at 4,153 of which 1,469 are in Ballycastle.

Timber is generally procured from Belfast. Pine is the description mostly used. It generally costs about £3 per ton. Slates are brought from Wales and stone and lime is abundant in every part of the neighbourhood.

A car with the mail from Cushendall arrives every day at 7 p.m. having left the former place at 4 p.m. This car starts at 6 a.m. from Ballycastle with the mail for Cushendall where it arrives at 9 a.m. The fare by this car is 1/6. On the arrival of the car from Cushendall another is dispatched to Ballymoney and passes through Dervock. It arrives at its destination at 10 p.m. This car leaves Ballymoney with the Dublin mail for Ballycastle every day at 2 p.m. and arrives at 5 p.m. The fare by this car is 2/-. It is not so well appointed as the car to Cushendall. Two regular car men or carriers leave Ballycastle for Belfast every Monday and return every Saturday. The charge for carriage of goods between the towns is 2/- per hundredweight.

No steamers call regularly here. Those from Derry to Glasgow and Liverpool sometimes pass close to the shore and take on board goods and passengers but their calling depends either on the state of the weather or the probability of there being business for them.

The Dispensary is supported by an annual subscription of £35. 11. 0. and by a grant of £35. 11. 0. from the County Grand Jury. The only charitable endowment is that of a free house and £4 per annum each to 20 poor persons or families. This endowment was made by the late Hugh Boyd Esq., the Proprietor of the Estate and these houses were erected for the labourers at the collieries through, from age, accident or infirmity, had become unfit for work and unable to support themselves.

There are a few saddle horses, one chaise, a large four wheeled car and twelve outside cars kept for hire. They are in general well appointed. The charge per mile for the chaise is 1/- and for the cars from 7d to 8d. These cars are kept in constant employment by the numbers of tourists who visit this coast in summer.

Considering the great number of visitors who pass through Ballycastle in the course of the summer, in the tour of the Coast of Antrim, the accommodation for travellers are wretched. The only inn is dirty in the extreme but it may be some consolation to the traveller to know that he can procure post horses, though. It would not be advisable to trust to getting them without sending to bespeak them, and as only two pairs are kept.

Public buildings in the Parish: The parish church is a very plain edifice said to have been originally erected in 1506. It was rebulit in 1812. It is 70 feet long by 25 feet wide and capable of accommodating 350 persons. It is comfortably fitted up internally; it is situated in the glebe and about one mile west of Ballycastle.

There is Presbyterian meetinghouse in Coolykeeny townland about 2 & 1/2 miles from Ballycastle on the Coleraine Road. It is not a very neat building. It might accommodate 400 persons and its extreme dimensions are 68 feet long by 40 feet.

The Roman Catholic chapel in Corvally townland up the Glenshesk river is rather a recent erection. It is tolerably well built but wholly unfinished internally. It is 40 feet long by 20 feet wide and would accom-modate about 200 persons.

Gentlemen’s seats: “The glebe” the residence of the Rev. James Rnssel Phillott is situated near the parish church and about one mile west of Ballycastle. It is a very comfortable modern dwelling house. It commands a very fine prospect of Fair Head and the mountains of Culfeightrin parish. It is quite destitute of planting.

Clare Park: the seat of Charles McGildowny Esquire is about a mile from Ballycastle on the cliff overhanging the sea, and commands a very fine view of Fair Head, the mountains of Culfeightrin, the island of Rathlin and the more distant Scotch mountains. The plantations about it are not extensive, the ground being too much confined between the cliff and the road, and the situation being too much exposed for trees to thrive well. The house is neat but rather small.

Glenbank: the residence of Mrs. Cuppage is about four miles from Ballycastle up the Glenshesk river. Being quite among the mountains the scenery is of a wild character, and though not sufficiently so to entitle it to the appellation of romantic scenery it possesses considerable beauty. The house is small one- storey high and is seated on the edge of the road. It is very neat and tasteful in its appearance.

Manufactories, Mills etc: The Glass House which stands on the shore close to the town of Ballycastle is a circular building 46 feet in diameter at the base. It is said to be one of the largest buildings of its kind in the United Kingdom. It was built by the late Mr. Boyd, the Proprietor of the estate, but has not been used for 45 years.

There are seven mills in this Parish, two for grinding corn, four flax mills and one tuck.

The corn mill in Ballylig townland is propelled by a breast water wheel 12 feet in diameter and 2 feet broad.

The corn mill in Ballycastle is propelled by a breast water wheel 14 feet in diameter and 2 feet broad.

The flax mill in Moyarget townland is propelled by a breast water wheel 13 feet in diameter and 1 foot 10 inches broad.

The flax mill in Cloghanmurray townland is propelled by a breast water wheel 13 feet in diameter and 2 feet broad.

The flax mill in Carnealty townland is propelled by a breast water wheel 13 feet in diameter and 1 foot 8 inches broad.

The flax mill in Drumawillin towniand is propelled by a breast water wheel 12 feet in diameter by 1 foot 6 inches broad.

The tuck mill in the same townland is propelled by an overshot water wheel 12 feet in diameter and 1 foot 6 inches broad.

All these mills are very small.

Communications: The principal roads in this Parish are:—

(a) The road from Ballycastle to Coleraine of which there are 4 miles.

(b) The road from Ballycastle to Ballymoney of which there are 2 & 3/4 miles.

(c) The road from Ballycastle to Ballintoy of which there are 2 & 1/2 miles.

The average breadth of these roads is 26 feet. They are all kept in excellent order at the public expense.

The old road from Ballycastle to Ballymoney is very hilly and not kept in so good repair as the others. There is also a road up the Glenshesk from Ballycastle to Armoy. It makes a circuit round Knocklade. Some of the hills on this road are so steep (one particularly in Drumeeny called the Cool-Hill) that it is seldom used except by the country people of the area through which it passes. There are several bye and cross roads which are tolerably good and sufficient for their purposes.

Bridges: The principal bridges are:—

(a) The bridge over the Glenshesk river near its mouth and within a very short distance of the town of Ballycastle. It is 132 feet long and 21 feet wide and consists of 5 semi-circular arches. It is in very good order.

(b) The other principal bridge is one-third of a mile farther up the same river than the former. It is 50 feet long, 22 feet wide and consists of 4 semi-circular arches. It is in very good order.

These bridges are perfectly plain in their structure.  There are several smaller bridges and pipes which are not of sufficient importance to deserve description. They are in general substantial and sufficient in every respect.

Early Improvements: Mr. Hamilton in his letters on the County Antrim (1790) infers on discoveries made in one of the collieries on this coast in 1770 that this district must have reached a high degree of civilisation at a very remote period. He states:—”   that the miners in pushing forward an adit broke into a narrow passage which upon being entered and explored (a work of great difficulty owing to the passage being nearly closed up with various drippings and deposits at the sides and bottom) was found to be a complete gallery leading to an extensive mine…

About 70 years ago this district prospered considerably owing to the active exertions of the late Mr. Boyd through whose means manufactories of glass, breweries and tanneries were established. But these after his death fell into decay. In 1744 a pier was completed capable of admitting vessels of 300 tons burthen and sufficiently capacious to contain a large number. The inner basin had an area of 2 acres and the outer somewhat more. It cost £30,000 paid in part by the Government and the remainder by Mr. Boyd. The building was not strong enough to stand against the rough seas on this coast. A portion of the pier was broken down in 1785. The ruin caused an obstruction at the mouth of the basin which soon became filled with sand and at present the water scarcely flows into it except at high tides.

However the glass trade above noticed was established under very favourable circumstances as almost every article required in the manufacture was to be had of a very good quality in the immediate neighbourhood. Very fine sand was at the glass house door. The collery is only a mile distant with a good communication either by land or water. Kelp was made abundantly along the shore and while the harbour continued open the glass when made could be shipped at once for exportation.

This trade soon fell into decay after the destruction of the harbour. One of the glass houses still stands (on the small island outside the basin, called in consequence the Glass Island). It was struck by lightning on 28th June 1827 and part of the coping was thrown down and a large hole made in the side of the building.

There was likewise an extensive bleach green which has been entirely discontinued and all the buildings removed.

What has principally tended of late years to promote the civilisation and improvement which has taken place in the manners and morals and habits of the people is the residence of so many gentlemen and respectable families who by their example and the influence they possess over the people, either as landlords, magistrates or being the agents and managers of property, have contributed in a great measure towards bringing them to the present respectable rank they enjoy in the scale of civilisation as also in their circumstances by the constant employment they afford them.

Obstructions to Improvement: The great barrier to the improvement of the town of Ballycastle and those parts of the Parish belonging to the Boyd’s family is the circumstance of the proprietor being a lunatic and the Estate being in Chancery. The Chancellor will not grant a longer lease than one of 7 years which is much too short for anyone to expend capital in making the improvements which would no doubt take place could a sufficiently long lease be obtained.

Habits of the People: About 40 annually emigrate to America, principally to Canada. There has not been quite so much emigration. of late years. Very few return to this country.

Nearly 80 go annually to the English or Scottish harvests, principally the latter, but return immediately they are over to be in time for the Irish harvest. A very few settle in Scotland, principally from their obtaining an advantageous offer of constant employment.

Trades and Occupations: Some of the principal trades and occupations in the Parish of Ballycastle are as follows:—

Butchers Blacksmiths Dressmakers Fishermen Grocers Huxters Midwives




             20 12 24 11 1
Masons Nailers Painters and Glaziers Police Publicans Saddlers Schoolmasters
25 7 3






2 2




Tailors Weavers Woollen Drapers Watchmakers Waterguards Wheelwrights




1 7











Locality: The Parish of Ramoan is situated in the north west portion of Co. Antrim and in the Barony of Carey. It is bounded on the south west by the Parish of Ballintoy and on the west and south west by the Parishes of Armoy and Drumtullagh, on the east by the Glenshesk river and on the north and north east from Kinbane Head to Ballycastle by by the sea.

Towns: There is but one inn in the town of Ballycastle and it affords but indifferent accommodation for travellers but it may be expected that the great numbers of visitors who pass through Ballycastle in the course of the summer in the tour of the Antrim coast, will shortly lead to improvement.

Collieries: Although turf is the principal fuel in the Parish of Ramoan, coal from the neighbouring colliery is purchased at 10s. 10d. per ton.

Irish Cry: The Irish Cry at funerals is still kept up here by the Roman Catholics and is uttered with more melancholy sweetness than in any other part of Ireland. It consists of six notes, the first four which are chanted in a low and solemn tone, the concluding two more loud and rapid.

Productive Economy: The only manufactures in the Parish are the production of a small quantity of linen in the peasants’ houses, coupled with the making of kelp along the coast. This latter industry is carried on to a much less extent than formerly.

Fairs and Markets: There are six annual fairs and two weekly markets in the town of Ballycastle. The former are held on Easter Monday, on the last Tuesday in May, the last Tuesday in July and the last Tuesday in August. The market days are Tuesdays and Saturdays but these, with the exception of every third Tuesday, are very inconsiderable.

Several gentlemen are land holders here. The largest land of property belongs to Hugh Boyd Esquire who resides in the neighbourhood. The highest rent for and in the Parish is 3 guineas per acre and the lowest 20 shillings. Some of the land in the immediate vicinity of Ballycastle is rented at £4. 5s. per acre. The manures used are principally lime and seaweed. Scottish carts and ploughs are generally adopted here.

The following is the method adopted for the manufacture of kelp. Several Women assemble early in the morning who collect the seaweed washed on the shore by the tide, or cut it from the rocks when the lowness of the tide admits of them wading out so far. The seaweed thus collected is spread along the shore and when sufficiently dried by the sun it is put into a round kiln formed of sods and stone, about 3 feet in breadth and open at the top, and then set fire to. The weed, from the strong heat, turns into a glutinous mass and in this state it is suffered to remain until it cools or becomes hard. It is then called kelp.

A pottery establishment has been set on foot at Ballycastle, which though in its infancy, promises to do well and all kinds of common crockery ware are now produced at that place, at the Liverpool prices. The clay is found equal to any in England. (See Dubourdieu p.424.)

At Ballycastle there is a considerable business carried on in making scythe stones, the sandstone there being well adapted for the purpose. They are dispersed over the neighbouring counties. All the hardware shops and many others where scythes are sold, retail them. The price in that way is about 4d. each (See Dubourdieu p.426.)

Fishing: There is a fishery for salmon at the pier head of Ballycastle during the summer and another at Kenbane. The fish taken are not so good as those caught in the Bann. The usual price at Ballycastle is from 4d. to 6d. per pound (1833). Herrings are frequently known to visit the Bay in great quantities but the coldness of the shore and volume of the surf prevent them from being taken during the winter months.

Limestone: There are two descriptions of limestone, viz. Primitive and Chalk. The former occurs only in small quantities, in beds in the mica slate, of which the lower part of Knocklayd is composed. One of these beds was formerly quarried but it is not now used. It was quarried in the townland of Toberbilly, about 200 yards above the old road to Annoy. Mention is made of this bed by Mr. Conybeare (in the 3rd volume of Geological Transactions). The stone is of a dark grey collour, highly granular and susceptible of a fine polish. Other beds of it occur in Cape Castle and Maghera — about half a mile further along the same road. It is likewise found at the southern extremity of the Parish in the Glenshesk River at a small waterfall in the townland of Ardagh.

The chalk or White Limestone is found much more abundantly. An extensive bed of it occurs at the foot of the upper steep slope of Knocklayd and is quarried for burning at different places all around the mountain. The principal quarry in Ramoan Parish is in the townland of Cape Castle it is hard and does not mark as the chalk of England does but in other particulars as to geological position, fossils and flints contained in it, it agrees closely with the English Chalk. On the north side of the small stream running along the foot of Knocklayd, parallel to the Ballymoney road, the chalk again appears but at a difference of about 700 or 800 feet in height. The glen of the stream appears to be the line of the displacement of the strata as the rocks of mica slate are seen in all the small rivulets on the south side of it and the soil consists chiefly of that rock in a state of decomposition. On the north side, however, it is entirely basalt and chalk and I am not aware of any instance of the occurence of a rock of mica slate on that side of the stream. The chalk of this bed is extensively quarried for burning close to the town of Ballycastle. It again makes its appearance in the cliffs in the bay of Ballycastle and again at Kinbane.


Ordnance Survey Memoir For The Parish Of Ramoan

By Thomas Fagan 1838

The first portion of the memoir consists of about ninety pages of detailed description of many aspects of what might be termed the prehistoric, proto-historic and medieval archaeology of the area.  For  a number of reasons this has been omitted.

Modern Topography and Social Economy Extracts relating to BaIlycastle Public Works copied from the late Hugh Boyd Esq.’s will, made in 1762 and 1765.

“Provided also and it is my will and intention that all and singular the said Collieries shall stand charged and chargeable for the term of 199 years from my death, with 250 tons of coal monthly to be delivered in every calendar month during the said term at the Glass House situated near Ballycastle Harbour to the person (or his order) who shall for the time being be entitled to the immediate occupation of said Glass House at the price of five shillings and sixpence per ton for the first twenty-one years, and at the price of six shillings per ton for the residue of said term; the first monthly delivery thereof, being 250 tons, to be completed within one calendar month next after my death. And if it shall happen that any monthly delivery of said coals shall be in arrear and unmade in the whole or in part by the space of one day next after the expiration of the time within which the same ought to have been made as aforesaid, that then and so often it shall and may be lawful to and for the person and persons who shall for the time being be entitled to the immediate occupation of the said Glass House and his and their servants, with horses and carriages to resort to all or any of the Banks Shafts Drifts or Waggon Ways of all and singular the said Colleries and seize take and carry away to his or their own use of the Coals there found the full quantity so in arrear without paying any money or other consideration for the same…..” 

The aforesaid conditions were enjoined by the aforesaid Hugh Boyd in his will on his son Hugh Boyd Junior, etc., to encourage the glass works at Ballycastle. It is also worth noting that the proprietors of the glass house from time to time were by his will empowered to raise stones and clay in the lands divised to the above Hugh Boyd Junior for the use of the glass works.

A sum of money not mentioned in the will was expended on the harbour of Ballycastle by Hugh Boyd to be reimbursed by the public, the said expenditure being his own real estate. Hugh Boyd ,also willed thirty pounds each to his executors to purchase mourning after his death.

The first codicil to the above will of Hugh Boyd of Ballycastle in the County of Antrim etc. runs as follows:—

“Hugh Boyd of Ballycastle in the County of Antrim do make this codicil to my last will and testament bearing date the day next before the date hereof, I give and devise the lands of Carnside and Ballyliney with appurtinances situated in the Parish of Billy and County aforesaid unto the Most Rev. the Lord Archbishop of Armagh the Rt. Rev. Lord Bishop of Down and Connor and the Chancellor of the Cathedral of Connor and their successors for ever, upon trust, that the yearly rents of profits thereof shall be applied in manner following. That is to say a yearly sum of forty pounds to be applied in maintaining constant divine service in the New Church or Chapel of Ballycastle in the Parish of Ramoan and County aforesaid: And ten pounds yearly for repairs thereof and for salaries for a Clerk and Sexton for the same, until it be made a Parish Church: And from thenceforth a yearly sum of fifty pounds to be applied in maintaining constant divine service therein forever. Provided always that the said yearly sum of forty pounds or fifty pounds shall not be paid by the said Trustees to any person other than an officiating Minister nominated by me in my lifetime or by my son Alexander Boyd after my death or by the person for the time being, shall be seized of the immediate estate of freeheld of and in the lands of Ballycastle aforesaid.

And whereas I am seized in fee of an acre of ground round The site of the said New Church or Chapel, the same being reserved to me and my heirs by my grandson Alexander Boyd’s marriage settlement, now my will is that the surplus profits of the lands and premises hereinbefore devised shall be dispersed in building twenty houses in the said acre of ground as near the said New Church or Chapel as conveniently may be for the reception of twenty superannuable or disabled men employed for seven years before their reception in the business of the Ballycastle Collieries or Glass House or widows of men who for seven years that before their respective deaths were so employed, or superannuated, or disabled, seamen employed as mariners for seven years next before their reception, by merchants resident in the town of Ballycastle aforesaid or widows of men who for seven years next before their respective deaths were so employed; so as no more than one person falling under some or one of the descriptions aforesaid be received into one house, the residents of the said acre to be laid out in gardens for the said houses respectively.

And when the said houses are built surplus profits of the premises shall be equally divided amongst the persons who for the time being shall respectively inhabit the said houses and shall have been received therein as proper objects of this Charity. Such persons to be chosen and received by the said Trustees with the consent and approbation of said grandson Alexander Boyd during his life and afterwards with the consent approbation etc. of the persons who for the time being shall be seised of the immediate estate of freehold of and in the lands of Ballyeastle aforesaid. In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal hereby confirming my said will, this 7th day of December 1762, Hugh Boyd”.

Witnesses were: George Dunlop, John Boyd and John Roy.

The above codicil was signed sealed and published by the above-named Hugh Boyd, being a codicil to his last will and testament there was a second codicil, part of which is given below:—

“Now my Will is that the said Glass House with its appurtenances and said small parcel of land in Bonamargy shall be sub-divided into ten shares and vested into the hands of my said Trustees, Alexander McAuley and Jackson Wray and my grandson Alexander Boyd, and the survivors and survivor of them, for the uses and trusts hereinafter mentioned that is to say the rents, issues and profits arising from the same, being sub-divided into parts as stated: four-tenths thereof shall be expended by my Trusrees under the directions of the said Mr. John Boyd at the yearly salary of £25 for dredging deepening and keeping clear the outward and inner docks at Ballycastle Harbour and further repairs for any part of the pierwork which my said Trustees may think necessary to improve the navigation and trade thereof”.

This second codicil also makes provision for the clothing of fifty old men and five old women to the sum of £100.

Extracts from a Publick Petition from the Merchants, etc., of Ballycastle to the House of Commons

“That Hugh Boyd Esq. of Ballycastle in the County of Antrim, previous to the year 1749 at the expense of Government made and completely finished a Harbour at Ballycastle fit to receive Ships of 105 tons burthen.

That the sum of £20,290.19.61. was in different sessions of Parliament held in Ireland from 1737-1745 inclusive granted to the said Hugh Boyd towards the completing of said Harbour and in the session of Parliament held in Ireland in 1763 a further sum of £3,000 was granted by the said Hugh Boyd to reimburse him in so much expended by him in repairing the said Harbour of Ballycastle on his giving security by a recognizance to keep it in repair for 21 years (total granted £23,290.19.61).

The Glass House etc. etc. in full working order including a monthly supply of 250 tons of coal from the adjacent Colliery at 6s. per ton and liberty of raising clay and stones necessary for the Worts on the Estate was let in 1765 at £1,000 per annum and considered cheap at that rent.”

In 1770 the Glass House was thrown idle in consequence of the cheap supply of coals attached to it being withheld by the successors of the aforesaid Hugh Boyd.

In 1771 the Glass House and premises together with the whole working machinery etc. etc. was leased from the Trustees of the said Hugh Boyd by one of his family then enjoying the estate and colliery at the small rent of £50 per annum for a term of 21 years, this in order to keep the Glass Works idle and save the regular and cheap monthly supply of coal ordered for it by the said Hugh Boyd’s will.

Subsequent to obtaining the Lease the above-mentioned Ezekiel D. Boyd the then lessee and owner of the colliery etc. disposed of all the engines, tools, utensils and implements employed in said business of glass working and also the stock on hand necessary for carrying on the same in consequence of which glass working ceased here from the above period and nothing now remains but the shell of the Glass House, extensive buildings attached to the Glass Works and occupied in that business being pulled down, all the aforesaid at variance with the aforesaid testator’s will, and unaccountable loss to the town and neighbourhood of Ballycastle.

The quay and harbour which formerly afforded vessels to 150 tons burthen to ride in safety has also fallen to ruin and decay in consequence of witholding the annual grant willed by the aforesaid testator to deepen dredge and keep them in repair and this to the great ruin of the trade of Ballycastle as boats and small lighters only can come into the harbour at present.

(This would appear to be the preamble to the petition presented to the Irish House of Commons. It is merely a statement of the circumstances upon which the petitioners were about to base their plea but as far as can be ascertained the petition itself is not included in the memoir.)

An Account of the progress of Ballycastle Harbour etc. by Hugh Boyd Esq. in 1743.

“The Honourable House of Commons in the year 1737 was pleased to grant a sum of £10,000 for making a harbour in the Bay of Ballycastle, sufficient to contain 30 ships of 30 tons burthen; but instead of ordering that the money should be expended under the direction of the Public as is usually done in grants of that kind, they required that I should undertake the work and give security for performing it, which I was induced to agree to, partly from the necessity of having a Harbour for carrying on the business of the Collieries in which I had spent a large share both of my time and fortune and partly by the advise of some gentleman conversant in Publick Affairs who are of opinion that in case I executed the undertaking well, I should be assisted by some further Publick Aid if the work should require it.

After I had engaged my private fortune for the performance of this Publick Work, being diffident of my abilities for such an undertaking by reason of my want of knowledge and experience in work of that kind and Mr. Steers of Liverpool an engineer of established character, as well for his candour as skill in such works, having viewed and sounded the Bay, and given his opinion that a Harbour was practicable there, I offered him the money granted by the House of Commons in case he would engage to do the work. But he declined accepting of the proposal, at the same time assuring me of his best advice and directions, which I believe he faithfully gave me.

In spring 1737-8 I began, under Mr. Steers’ direction to open stone quarries, erect forges and stones requisite for the work and about the same time sent a skilful person along with a clerk to view some woods in the Western Highlands of Scotland where they brought a small parcel which proved of very little use to me. I soon after went to view and buy timber then to be sold in some woods on the north-west coast of this kingdom where I brought all the timber I could find fit for my purpose.”

(It is to be regretted that the above is all the information given on the early years of Ballycastle Harbour. The statement by Hugh Boyd seems to terminate abruptly at this point and no further information is given.)

Table of Schools in The Parish Of Ramoan (1835)
Table of Schools in The Parish Of Ramoan (1835)




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