Author Topic: Bells from Glenavy Parish, Upper Masserene Barony, County Antrim  (Read 246 times)

Offline cdnbooklover

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Bells from Glenavy Parish, Upper Masserene Barony, County Antrim
« on: Friday 23 July 21 05:01 BST (UK) »
So I just purchased the book Frontiersmen and Settlers: The Bells in Scotland, Ireland and Canada by William C. Wonders.

I had always been told that the Bells came from Scotland to Ulster. Knowing that my 2x great-grandfather, Clements Bell b. 1793 in Glenavy, emigrated from County Antrim to Ontario, Canada in 1846, I was really interested in learning more about the Bells being one of the riding clans of the Borders area of Scotland.

I learned a lot already but came across something that made me think maybe my Bell ancestors were English settlers in Ulster and not from Scotland. This author states,

"In County Antrim Hume noted specific areas of Bell concentrations northwest of Randalstown in Drummaul Parish, Upper Toome Barony; south of Ballymena in Connor Parish, Lower Antrim Barony; in northern Ballynure Parish, Lower Belfast Barony; in Grange of Muckamore Parish, Lower Massereene Barony, on Antrim Bay of Lough Neagh just south of the town of Antrim; and in Glenavy Parish, Upper Massereene Barony, on the south shore of Lough Neagh's Sandy Bay. He reported that the latter families were English, but did not comment on the ethnicity of the other Bells. It seems likely that these other Bells were Scots, as Presbyterianism was the largest Protestant denomination in these four baronies."

My "Clements Bell" was a member of the Church of Ireland, not a Presbyterian which many Scots were. However, I believe I read somewhere that the Bells from the Borders were not particularly religious and in Ireland may have associated themselves with the COI just to have marriages recognized, etc. Is there anyone out there who might have some insights??

Offline Elwyn Soutter

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Re: Bells from Glenavy Parish, Upper Masserene Barony, County Antrim
« Reply #1 on: Friday 23 July 21 11:25 BST (UK) »
At the time many reivers were moved to Ireland (c 1610 - 1630), the Borders were pretty lawless. Presbyterianism had made big advances across much of central Scotland but had not had any impact in the Borders. The few Ministers in the area were Church of England/Episcopalian but most had been driven from their parishes by the reivers, and folk rarely attended any church. Children weren't baptised and marriages were solemnised by handfasting. So when they arrived in Ireland few were allied to any denomination and in Fermanagh anyway, most ended up Church of Ireland, not Presbyterian.That could well be the case for those in Antrim too.

The Border Reivers by Gordon Wilson pub c 1974 contains a lot of background, and in particular mentions that the church had ceased to function in the Borders in the early 1600s.
Elwyn

Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Bells from Glenavy Parish, Upper Masserene Barony, County Antrim
« Reply #2 on: Friday 23 July 21 11:41 BST (UK) »
Online catalogue of an archive to rummage in.
Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre (Hawick)
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/a?_ref=1097
Cowban


Offline cdnbooklover

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Re: Bells from Glenavy Parish, Upper Masserene Barony, County Antrim
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 24 July 21 04:24 BST (UK) »
At the time many reivers were moved to Ireland (c 1610 - 1630), the Borders were pretty lawless. Presbyterianism had made big advances across much of central Scotland but had not had any impact in the Borders. The few Ministers in the area were Church of England/Episcopalian but most had been driven from their parishes by the reivers, and folk rarely attended any church. Children weren't baptised and marriages were solemnised by handfasting. So when they arrived in Ireland few were allied to any denomination and in Fermanagh anyway, most ended up Church of Ireland, not Presbyterian.That could well be the case for those in Antrim too.

The Border Reivers by Gordon Wilson pub c 1974 contains a lot of background, and in particular mentions that the church had ceased to function in the Borders in the early 1600s.

This is all new information for me and so fascinating. Thanks so much for your post!