Ballywillan Old Church

Feature Sets (2)


A single cell church (25.9 m x 7.26 m) constructed from roughly coursed basalt with limestone detailing.  The church has doors in N and S walls, an E window of 17thc. date and two narrow-headed lancets in the N wall. The aumbry, in the S wall, is richly moulded and dates to the early 13thc. The entire church was used for worship until 1827, when the nave was shortened to 16.15 m. The remaining section of the nave was left unroofed. It ceased to be used for worship in 1842.


Nothing is known of the early history of the site.  





Located 0.76 m from the interior SE angle of the church.  The aumbry is round-headed with a continuous moulding comprising a triple roll between two hollows. 

depth of opening 0.3 m
external height 1.08 m
external width 0.64 m
height of opening 0.7 m
width of opening 0.34 m


The use of a continuous complex moulding to frame openings is paralleled at Dungiven and Banagher, both in the same county, and is seen as one of the defining features of the so-called School of the West (Kalkreuter (2001) 144–154).


  • A. Day, P. McWilliams, L. English, eds., O.S. Memoirs for Londonderry 12, 33Belfast and Dublin, 1995, 32–4.

  • B. Kalkreuter, Boyle Abbey and the School of the West, Dublin, 2001.

  • F. W. Lockwood, 'Ballywillan Church, Co. Antrim’, Royal Historical and Archaeological Association Journal, 7, Series 4, Part 1 (1885), 159–60.

  • A. Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North-west Ulster, London,1979, 462–3.


Site Location
Ballywillan Old Church
National Grid Reference
NW 051 979 
now: Antrim
pre-1973 traditional (Ulster): Antrim
medieval: none recorded
Type of building/monument
Church (ruin)  
Report authors
Rachel Moss 
Visit Date
8 Aug 1998