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Carnasure, County Down


Ir. Ceathrú na Siúr ‘quarter(land) of the sisters or nuns’ or Ceathrú na Saor ‘quarter(land) of the craftsmen’


The townland of Carnasure adjoins the town of Comber on the south. The name of the townland is recorded as Carrownesuir in 1623 and as Carrownesure in 1661, suggesting that the initial element of the place-name is ceathrú ‘quarter(land)’ rather than carn ‘cairn’ as suggested by the modern spelling.  The final element may be siúr 'sister', perhaps referring to a religious community. An Inquisition of 1644 informs us that Carrownesure was a possession of the Abbie de Cumber (Inq. Ult. §104 Car. I) but there is no evidence of a house of nuns in the townland. The site of the medieval Cistercian abbey of Comber is marked by the present Church of Ireland church in the middle of the town.  Alternatively, the name may be derived from Ceathrú na Saor ‘quarter(land) of the craftsmen’, cf. Lisnasure in the parish of Magheralin.  The forms ending in -ser in 1603 (CPR Jas I 38a) and 1625 (Raven Map Clandeboye) would favour this interpretation.  


P. McKay, 2009; revised PT, 2013.

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Carnser (Water Douglas)

1625Raven Map Clandeboye

Cárn na Siúr ""carn of the sisters""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E 19

Carn-na-siúr ""carn of the sisters""

1913Joyce iii 168
(?)Carrniser1604CPR Jas I 38a
Ballycarnesmer1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $2 Jac. I
Ballin-Altohere otherwise Ballicarnisuire1606CPR Jas I 77b
Carrownesuir1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xlv
Carrownesuir1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxii
Carrownesuire al Canowneser1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxi
Corrownesuir1630Ham. Patent [1630] xii
Carrownesure1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Carnesure1659cCensus 1659 86
Carrownesure1661BSD 126
Carnasure1745OSNB: gen. sources E 19
Carnasure1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E 19
Carnesure1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E 19
Carnysure1834cOSNB: gen. sources E 19
Castlereagh Lower
Parish in 1851
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