From the pages of the Down Recorder, March 13, 1979

From the pages of the Down Recorder, March 13, 1979

13 March 2019

BALLYNAHINCH — THE Earl of Clanwilliam’s 18th century mansion and 500-acre estate at Montalto, Ballynahinch, officially goes on sale today. It is being put up for sale by private treaty for family reasons and is expected to fetch more than £1 million.

The agents, Messrs Brown & McConnell, are optimistic that a realistic price will be obtained. They welcome offers for the whole estate, for the mansion house and amenity lands, or for individual lots of land and cottages. There are nine cottages, all delightfully modernised.

The Clanwilliams — Meade is the family name — do not have a son. Their six daughters spend most of their time in England and it is understood that the Earl and Countess intend to move across the water.

Since Lord Clanwilliam recently told his staff of his decision to dispose of the property there has been considerable speculation about the outcome of the transaction.

Even if the estate has to be split into different lots, it is widely hoped that the mansion will attract considerable and respectful ownership. It is a listed building which means that its character must be maintained.

The 330 acres of prime agricultural land will be expected to fetch a substantial price.

DOWNPATRICK — Plans for a dynamic and colourful spring festival in Downpatrick will be finalised this week — and early indications point to it being something really special.

The action-packed St Patrick’s Festival will begin on Friday, May 25, and end the following Monday night.

The organisers are anxious not to announce the full programme until every detail is finalised, lest disappointment should arise, but many novel attractions are assured and the whole bill will be very much Irish.

Offers of help and encouragement are pouring in. Downpatrick Chamber of Trade has asked shopkeepers to dress their windows and to have as many floats as possible available for the opening procession.

The highlight of the festival will be a pageant on Sunday afternoon at the Quoile Quay picnic area, beginning with a representation of St Patrick stepping ashore from a curragh after coming up the river.

KILLYLEAGH — A Killyleagh farmer certainly got a shock last week when he was ploughing a field close to Strangford Lough and unearthed an early Christian grave.

The grave containing a complete skeleton dating from 500-800 AD, was buried in one-and-a-half feet of soil and covered by three large flat stones.

An archaeological expert from the Department of Environment’s Ancient Monuments branch was called in. Almost immediately the perfect skull complete with teeth was removed to prevent damage and a process of dating the skeleton began.

The farmer wishes to keep his identity and the location of the field unknown in an effort to prevent vandalism and damage to nearby fields which have been planted with early potatoes.

This was the first time that the field had been ploughed in recent years and this, combined with the severe frosts and natural erosion, contributed to the moving of the skeleton closer to the surface.

The site of the finding is referred to a history of Killyleagh written in 1875 which states that human bones had been found in the area before and that there were others known to lie there.

According to the history the tradition is that they are the bones of Protestants who during the rebellion of 1641 were chased by the native Irish and were massacred. 

BALLYGOWAN — Five year-old Tara Rhodes, who has several relatives in Ballygowan, has flown to America with her father in a frantic bid for emergency treatment.

Tara, who has a brain tumour which has already left her blind — is preparing to undergo treatment which will cost about £19,000.

The money has been collected through a special fund which was set up last November by Tara’s mother, Sara, who was told by doctors that her daughter had only six months to live.

Despite the claims of medical experts, Tara’a anguished parents launched a UK-wide appeal campaign, which included a special charity dance in Ballygowan.

DRUMAGHLIS — Plans to shut down  Drumaghlis Primary School, near Crossgar, have been ditched by the Department of Education.

The small country school, which is 70 years old and caters for 42 children, has escaped the threat of closure and is expected to undergo a modernisation programme soon.

Earlier this year the Department suggested that the school should be closed, but pressure from the school’s management committee has led to a reversal of plans.

The Department thought that it may be better to close the school because it lacked many facilities and was not up to modern day standard.

The Rev Dr W D Bailie, chairman of the management committee, protested bitterly and called on the support of the South Eastern Education and Library Board.

Dr Bailie said: “We are delighted that the Department has responded to our plea to permit the school to continue to cater for the educational needs of this area.”

CROSSGAR — Preparations are well under way for the big Easter fair to be held in Crossgar War Memorial Hall on April 7. All organisations who use the hall are uniting for this effort and the heard-woirking committee, chaired by Mr W J Cochrane, already have several smaller fund-raising projects under way.

it is hoped that the fair will receive the support of the entire area, so that the 30th anniversary of building of the hall will be celebrated by its restoration in honour of those in whose memory it was built.

DRUMANESS — A Drumaness woman, Mrs Rice, of Cumber Gardens, was taken to Downe Hospital after police discovered she was ill.

The police had been alerted after a neighbour, Mrs Hoare, became worried when she got no answer at the door. Police entered the house through a small window and found Mrs Rice ill.

CASTLEWELLAN — St Malachy’s, Castlewellan, won the Down Secondary Schools U-14 Gaelic football title for the first time in six years when they beat the favourites, St Mark’s Warrenpoint, in the final at Newcastle by 2-3 to 1-4. St Malachy’s showed great huts and determination in atrocious conditions.

KIRCUBBIN — Farmers in the Kircubbin area could be faced with a health hazard and a threat to their animal stock if plans for a waste disposal site get the go-ahead.

That’s the blunt message from Ards Borough councillor James Caughey, who hit out at news that an application for a site had been given outline permission by planners.

The proposed site is situated in the townlands of Ballygarvan and Inishargy, but Mr Caughey told councillors that seagulls would be attracted to it and ultimately spread vermin to surrounding farms.

“I am frightened that seagulls will fly over from the sea, land on the tip, then fly away to farmland and spread germs and disease,” he said.

ARDGLASS — The monthly meeting of Ardglass Women’s Institute was chaired by the president, Miss Phil Wallace. Visitors from Killinchy, Crossgar and Seaforde were welcomed.

The speaker, Mrs McNamara from Castlewellan, gave a demonstration on pottery and explained the types of clay available and how they should be fired and glazed. The competition for a pottery mug was won by Miss Peg Wallace.

KILMORE — The annual prize distribution in connection with the Sunday School at Kilmore Presbyterian Church took pale on Sunday morning.

A total of 67 children received prizes for attendance, League of Church Loyalty and Presbytery examinations. Margaret Pentland and William Pentland received special prizes for perfect Sunday School and church attendance.