Vol. 9 No. 1 - 2007
The Irish for this townland is Baile i h-Annechain, which when translated to English means O’Hannahan’s or O’Hannon’s homestead.
This townland is situated in the old pre-plantation territory of Clann Breasail which was in the Northern corner of the present County Armagh to the East of the river Bann. The area is now known as the Barony of O’Neilland East. This division originated in the period 1605-1608.
Ballyhannon is one of the 47 townlands of the Parish of Seagoe and is situated in the Manor of Carrowbrack. In 1610, when the plantation of Ulster came into effect, Lord Saye and Seale received a grant of 2,000 acres which formed the new Manor of Carrowbrack. In 1611 Lord Saye and Seale sold his lands in Seagoe and Loughgall to Sir Anthony Cope Bart.
In 1660 Captain Valentine Blacker purchased the Manor of Carrowbrack from Sir Anthony Cope of Loughgall, thus making the Blacker family landlords of Ballyhannon. In John Rocque’s map of 1760 Portadown appears to have barely 20 houses, and one of the most important highways in those days was the road from Knock Bridge by Ballyhannon, Upper Church Lane and Church Road, ending when it reached the River Bann at Derryvore.
Ballyhannon townland consists of 275 acres. It contains neither rivers nor lakes. It does however contain the highest hill (202 feet) in the parish, known as Drumclogher Hill (Irish – Droim Clocheir – hill of the stony place or stony ridge). It is sometimes called Standard Hill or Flagstaff Hill because the local Seagoe Yeomanry positioned a 73 feet high flagstaff here on which flags were to be flown in event of an emergency such as an invasion. The hoisted flag could be observed by most of the Seagoe Yeomanry who were to gather at the spot fully armed when required.
The majority of the inhabitants originally were of English descent, attending Seagoe or Knocknamuckly parish churches. Following the firm establishment of a Methodist Society at Bluestone in 1770, a number of families became Wesleyan Methodists.
This is an account of Ballyhannon House written by my late husband, Samuel Cuthbert Lutton, who was born there in 1916 and lived there until he was 8 years old.
The house was built in 1850 on a 24 acre farm originally owned by the Nelson family. The owner, Mr Nelson, married a Miss Ballentine. He died in 1896. William James Lutton of Breagh (Grandfather of S.C. Lutton) later married his widow. She left the property to her step son, Samuel Lutton, and he lived in Ballyhannon House from the date of his marriage in 1908 until it was sold to a Mr Matchett in 1924. In the late 1930s the house was again sold to Rev. Dickson Patterson, retired Church of Ireland minister. In 1961 he sold it to Robert Heathwood, building contractor.
No electricity, lighting from oil lamps. In the kitchen there was a two-wick type lamp on a counterbalanced pulley. Later we had paraffin or petrol pressure lamps, also a petrol iron. Heating was from coal fires. There was a range in the kitchen for heating and cooking. There was a tap on the range to draw off hot water. The water came from a well situated behind the house with square sandstone capping. Water was pumped to a storage tank in the roof space. There was a large hand operated pump in the scullery to pump water from the well, but I believe rain water was also collected from the roof and also ran into the storage tank. There was one W.C. and a septic tank or cess pool at the back of the house. For the maid and the man servant there was a dry earth closet in the orchard behind the out-buildings. About 1920 a small electric generator was installed in one of the out-buildings. It was composed of an oil engine driving a dynamo and producing 24 volts D.C. The current generated was fed into wet batteries (about six coupled together).
The original cow byre and stable was housed in a building adjacent to the road with a loft above and a door to the road about 6 or 7 feet above the road. I remember oats being hand threshed in this loft. The loft was entered by a stone outside staircase from the farm yard.
My father had a new stable and cow house constructed about 1921/22 with a barn above and piped water supply. There were drinking troughs for the cattle operated by nose pressure. This building was constructed with concrete walls and corrugated iron roof of Belfast roof construction (a smooth curved roof supported on trusses which feature diagonally interlaced pieces of thin pine).
The facade of Ballyhannon House was in Georgian style and of stone construction with 5 sash windows above and 4 below. Later a porch was added to the front with coloured leaded-light glass. There were windows on either side with stepped flower pot stands with geraniums and ferns on them.
There were rooms in the roof space lighted by gable windows. The maid servant slept in a partitioned-off section of one of these rooms. The man servant had a bedroom on the first floor of the return with a staircase from outside. His name was Johnny McLaughlin and he came north from County Cavan in the troubled times.
There was a medium weight horse which was used for both transport and farm work. There were three horse-drawn vehicles: a stylish trap for personal transport, a spring van for collecting groceries etc from town and local personal transport, and a standard heavy cart for general farm work. My grandfather, William James Lutton, rode a large tricycle with pneumatic tyres into town.
There were six in our family, all going to school in town - Thomas Street Public Elementary School - the two eldest later attended Carleton Collegiate, the school in Carleton Street. We travelled to school by bicycle, by trap or on the back axle of grandfather’s tricycle. The older members of the family made our way home (1½ miles) by foot or on our bicycles.
My father rode a bicycle to Spence Bryson’s factory in all types of weather.
Samuel C. Lutton
The other houses in Ballyhannon in the 1920s and 1930s
(See map and numbers of houses.)
In this survey of the Townland of Ballyhannon in the 1920s and 1930s I have used much material written by my late husband Samuel C. Lutton and have also received a great deal of factual information from Isa Maginnis, Mary Simpson and Helen Greenlee who have lived in this area for all or most of their lives. Mr Mervyn Cander was also very helpful with the map.
Ordinance Survey map of Ballyhannon in the 1920-1930 period.
Cottages and houses marked 1-20. with apologies for poor quality and any inaccuracies.