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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Church, gates, gate piers and walling.

Date of Construction:
1820 - 1839

Address :
St Mary’s Cof I Church Kilmood Church Road Kilmood Killinchy Newtownards County Down BT23 6SA


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
04/03/1977 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J4696 6275

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

Picturesquely perched on a rise on the east side of Church Road, in the hamlet of Kilmood, St Mary’ C of I Church is a stone built, gabled, gothic church of 1820-22, with a square tower and spire, all built on the site of a medieval church. Its sophisticated form lends the building an urban, rather than rural, air The spire is centred on the west gable and is three storey and has reducing buttressed piers to each corner rising to a castellated parapet with tall urn corner features. The tall octagonal stone spire terminates with a small ball feature. All four faces of the tower have a ‘Y’ tracery Gothic window to the second floor. The first floor has a clock face with label moulding to the south and west with and a small gothic window to the north face. The ground floor has a tall ‘Y’ tracery gothic window to the west and north faces with a gothic door opening with label stops enclosing a timber door with decorative ‘Gothic tracery’ The door is positioned at the head of a twelve step flight of stone steps with simple wrought iron handrails to either side. The long south wall has three ‘Y’ tracery windows with moulded drip stone and label stops. The east wall has one gothic window opening with four tall lancets surmounted by a quatrefoil. The gable parapet has a small decorative stone finial at the apex. The north wall comes as something of a shock in that it is largely plain and windowless. At the centre is a single roundel with label moulding, surmounted by a small gable feature which incorporates a stone chimney stack. Below the roundel is a small gabled vestry extension. To the north face it has one rectangular window opening with two lancet windows. The west face has a small gothic arched door opening with a plain sheeted timber door. The upper portion of the east face along with the vestry and the north face are all finished in plain unpainted render. The south wall, the remainder of the east wall and the tower are finished in random rubble (squared rubble to tower) with dressed sandstone to quoins, door and window openings along with a plain base course and a decorative eaves course. A plaques to the west and south faces of the tower are believed to depict Lord Londonderry and the Gordon’s coat of arms. The accompanying graveyard predates the present church, with the earliest discernible headstone from 1793.


Not Known

Historical Information

Kilmood church was built in 1820-22 at a cost of just over £2215. It stands on the site of an earlier medieval church whose ruins were swept away for the new structure. The erection of the new church was mainly due to the efforts of local landlord, David Gordon of Florida Manor, who had embarked upon an rebuilding scheme within the hamlet which witnessed the construction of a school house, court house, cottages for labourers, as well as new structures within the Florida demesne. Gordon provided the bulk of the money for the building of the church, with £900 supplied by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the bell a gift from Lord Dufferin. Documents contained within the Gordon family Papers recently deposited at PRONI suggest the church was damaged in a storm in 1833, and in the great wind of January 1839 the spire was blown off. The nave had to be re-roofed in 1907, and two years later the spire was again a casualty, this time of lightening, with twenty courses of stones blown off. When rebuilt in 1910/11 it was reduced in height. The parish of Kilmood was joined with that of Tullynakill in c.1868 and both were united with Killinchy in 1923. References- Primary sources 1 PRONI D.4204 Gordon Family Papers- These papers have only recently been received by PRONI and are not yet fully catalogued. The writers were given special permission to peruse some of the documents as well as a draft catalogue. There appear to be numerous documents relating to the building and early years of Kilmood church, which include: -Note concerning the building of the church at Kilmood with reference to David Gordon and the Marquis of Londonderry, 1820; Particulars of Kilmood parish, 1821; Bill note concerning repairs to church signed Robert Patterson, 1833; Estimate for repairing church damaged by storm, signed Joseph Biggar, 1833; Note estimate for church repairs, signed Joseph Biggar and Hugh Gibby, 1834. 2 PRONI OS maps 1st ed. 1834, Co. Down 16. Secondary sources 1 Rev. T.C. Burrowes 'St. Mary’s parish church, Kilmood' (Local publication ?c.1990). 2 Honor Rudnitsky 'Killinchy Parish Church' (Killinchy 1980). 3 R.S.J. Clarke (compiler) 'Gravestone Inscriptions Vol.6, County Down, Barony of Dufferin' (UHF Belfast [?1974]). 4 C.E.B. Brett 'Historic buildings, groups of buildings, areas of architectural importance in the towns and villages of East Down' (UAHS 1973), pp.44-46.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form H-. Alterations detracting from building J. Setting Not listed

Historic Interest

W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance


Beautifully sited and rather elegant Gothic church of 1820-22 whose sophistication seems mildly out of place in the rural landscape. The unusual siting of the vestry on the relatively plain and almost windowless long north wall is unusual , but does not detract from the building’s overall charm. The church is well maintained and largely original, thought the height of the spire was apparently lowered after lightening damage in 1909.

General Comments

Date of Survey

08 July 1998