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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Church, gates, piers and railings

Date of Construction:
1740 - 1759

Address :
Holy Trinity Church The Diamond Ballycastle Co Antrim

Town Parks

Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
24/08/1976 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:
8/12 NE

IG Ref:
D1150 4069

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

A 4 bay long Georgian style church with western tower and octagonal spire, eastern apse, with slated roof and entrance façade dressed with ashlar sandstone. The main square headed entrance doors,( pair), each with 3 moulded panels, are set centrally at the base of the tower . This has a lugged architrave placed in a dominant pedimented classical surround . This has a ¾ engaged fluted Doric column on each side with square bases and frieze. The 2 storey tower breaks forward of the gabled front, breaking the pediment. The bottom moulded stringcourse of this carries across the tower defining the storey heights. Centrally above the doorway on the 2nd storey a neat venetian window composition with the arched centrepiece glazed with 37 small panes. The panels on each side are filled with ashlar stonework with plain pilasters in Doric style dividing the window. Above is a large circular clock with Roman numerals, its diameter is equal to the width of the arched glazed window plus 2 pilasters. The 2nd storey of the tower terminates with a cornice stringcourse surmounted by a stone balustrade. This continues round 4 sides. From within the balustrading a plain octagonal spire soars with a bell finial on top surmounted by a cross like lightning conductor. On each side of the principal doors are secondary entrances, similar in appearance and of less height. Each has a lugged architrave with triple keystones. Over the side doors is a moulded framed panel and above that a rectangular window, glazed in decorative glass. Thishas small square panels and the whole is framed with a moulded architrave. The overall width of window and architrave equals that of the door below. The gable on either side of tower has thin bargestones, flattening out at bottom to form a kneeler. The arrises of the gable and tower have short and long moulded quoins and below the cornice a plain frieze band. This continues along the long walls under the eaves. The entire west front and tower and spire are dressed with ashlar sandstone most carefully executed. In the frieze panel over the central door is an incised inscription – “Fear God, Honour the King” and in the tympanum over the date 1756. On the larger panels over the side doors from chap. 17 V cl. and over the side doors from L to R. “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the House of God / and be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools” Eccles Chap 1 ver (undecipherable) “Not for asking the assembling of ourselves together” Heb. 10 Chap 25 ver (undecipherable). On the N face of the tower,at 2nd storey, a square headed window, on the S side, no window but a sun dial, on the E side blank. On some facets of the spire some circular holes, presumably for air movement and not decoration. The S elevation has 4 semi circular headed windows with moulded architraves with keystone and impost blocking pieces with double cill, all trimed in sandstone. A low simple sandstone plinth is at ground level. A plain plain frieze band and projecting corbel course are located at the eaves. Cast iron gutterattached. Moulded quoins are located at each corner. Single cast iron downpipe painted black. The roof is slated in natural slates with plain ridge tiles. Windows are storm glazed. Walls are smooth rendered and lined. The apsidal E end has an odd Venetian window arrangement on the curve with 3 round headed lancets, the centre one higher. The curved roof slated. There is a sandstone plinth and frieze bands. The wall is rendered smooth except for the sandstone surround to the windows. N elevation similar to S but a small vestry projects from the N E corner and overlaps the nave wall as far as the 1st window. The vestry walls are finished in smooth rendering. Its W and N walls have a single small round headed 2 pane double hung sliding sash windows. The entrance door,is 6 panelled . The vestry has a hip roof with natural slates and red ridge and hip tiles. Along the vestry W wall but allowing access to door are steps leading down to a basement heating chamber. This has a decorative metal rail for protection. Projecting in the ground, out from the nave wall at the 3rd windowis the the railed off sealed access to the Boyd burial crypt. The church is sited on the east side of the Diamond of Ballycastle within a small walled and railed plot with some mature trees on the N and S sides. There are interesting sandstone piers and gates at each end of the Diamond boundary with high railing on a low wall in between. The church forms a powerful and dominating vista from the Castle Street approach. Otherwise the church is hemmed in with town buildings.


Not Known R Robinson and Sons

Historical Information

The church was built c 1756 by Hugh Boyd, who established Ballycastle. He purchased the estate and village of Ballycastle in 1727 from the Earl of Antrim on a perpetual lease. The church would appear to have been completed in detail and he is buried in the crypt beneath it. Church consecrated in 1756 and cost £3,000. There would appear to have been some alterations carried out in early 20th cent, adding vestry and raising chancel floor. The church suffers damage from flooding from time to time as a piped stream runs past the site. The O.S. Memoirs describes the church as “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”. Thackeray on his visit of 1843 does not refer to it and dismisses “Ballycastle does not contain much to occupy the traveller”. Recently the church has been renovated. Cleaned externally c 1990 when Rainey was the contractor and architects R Robinson & Sons. c1993 the interior was renovated due to flooding. References Primary Sources 1. O.S. Map 1832 Antrim sh. 5, 8 and 9 2. O.S. Map 1832 Rev. 1858 Antrim 5, 8 and 9 3. O.S. Memoirs of Ireland, Parishes of Co Antrim IX, 1830-2, 1835, 1838-9 Ed by Angelique Day, Patrick McWilliams & Nóirin Dobson p. 94. 4. Notes of 1st Survey E.H.S. Hill Street, Belfast Secondary Sources 1. Richardson, A Guide to Ballycastle and Neighbourhood p. 13, 23, 91, 92 2. Slator’s Directory of Ireland 1846, p. 357 3. UAHS Glens of Antrim 4. Shaffrey, Buildings of Irish Towns p. 65 ill. 5. Ballycastle Conservation Area Booklet DOE, EHS 6. Brett Buildings of Co Antrim p. 31 7. De Breffry & Mott The Churches and Abbeys of Ireland p. 127

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

V. Authorship W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Z. Rarity Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance


A fine example of mid 18th cent. church in neo classical style, handsomely sited in a salient position making it a centrepoint of Ballycastle’s townsquare and conservation area. It represents too, the heyday of Ballycastle’s prosperity and the achievements of Boyd family who guided the town from the early 18th cent.

General Comments

Date of Survey

11 September 2000