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Ballygalget, County Down


Ir. Baile Ghalgail ‘Galgyl’s townland’; possibly earlier Eng. Galgyl(s)ton


The name of this townland was coined in the Anglo-Norman period. It is possible that it originated as Galgyl(s)ton, though this is not attested, and was later gaelicized as Baile Ghalgail. This was subsequently anglicised as Ballygalgell and developed to Ballygalget.  In the Papal Taxation of 1306 the name of the place is recorded as Ecclesia de Sithe ‘the church of Sithe’, a name which according to Reeves (EA 22) derives from Irish Síth ‘taken in the sense of ‘a hill’’. Reeves goes on to explain that the name Sithe was replaced by Ballygalget due to the occupation of Le Sythe by an Anglo-Norman tenant named Nicholas Galgyl: ‘It was found by Inquisition in 1334, that certain lands ‘in le Syth’, in the county of Newtown of Blaethwic [= modern Newtonards], were held under William de Burgo by ‘Nicholas Galgyl’; and these lands are elsewhere called, probably from him, ‘Ballygalgell’ - Cal. Canc. Hib. i p. 144.  Which latter name has been changed to ‘Ballygalget’’.  

The surname Galgyl is not treated in the standard works, and it is possible that it has not survived.  However, it may be a variant of Golgill, which is a rare name, no longer extant, attested in the Craven district of Yorkshire West Riding during the late Middle Ages.  Thomas Golgill of Balghom (modern Malham) paid 4d in poll tax in 1379 (Malhamdale Poll Tax). 


Hughes A. J. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 2 p. 125; revised PT, 2012.

Additional Information

N.B. reassigned from Witter to Ballyphilip

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Sithe, Ecclesia de

1306cEccles. Tax. 22

Sythe (held under William de Burgo by 'Nicholas Galgyl')

1333Inq. Earl Ulster (EA) 361


1390Cal. Canc. Hib. (EA) i 144

Ballygalged, Capella de

1615Terrier (Reeves) 59


1622Ulster Visit. Reeves 57


1661Trien. Visit. (Bramhall) 8

Baile galgat ""town of the hero or champion""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E.34

Baile Galgail ""Galgyl''s townland""

2001HMC replies HMCdec01
Ballygalget1559Sav. Ulst. 175
Ballygalgett1617Inq. Ult. (Down) $6 Jac. I
Ballygalgett1617Inq. Ult. (Down) $5 Jac. I
Ballegalgat1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxv
Ballegalgat al. Ballegnegh1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxv
Ballygalgat1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxvi
Rectorie of Ballegalgat1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] li
Ballygolgett1625Inq. Ult. (Down) $14 Jac. I
Ballygallgett1627Inq. Ult. (Down) $10 Car. I
Ballygalgett1631Inq. Ult. (Down) $27 Car. I
Ballygallgate1631Inq. Ult. (Down) $20 Car. I
Ballygallgatt1636Inq. Ult. (Down) $66 Car. I
Ballygalgott1640Sav. Ulst. 246
Ballygallgatt1641Inq. Ult. (Down) $100 Car. I
Ballygallgett1641Inq. Ult. (Down) $102 Car. I
Ballegalgett1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Ballgalgat1650cInq. Ult. (Down) $108 Car. I
Ballygalgott1655Sav. Ulst. 193
Ballegallgatt1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 129
Balegalgat1659cCensus 1659 92
Ballygalgott1661BSD 84
Grange of Balligallgott1661BSD 84
Ballygallgatt1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $16 Car. II
Ballygalgat1663Sub. Roll Down 282
Ballygalgit1701Sav. Ulst. 198
Ballygalget1723Sav. Ulst. 204
B.gelget1737Sav. Ulst. 376
Ballygilget1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E.34
Ballygalget1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E.34
Ballygalgot1830cHigh Const. Applot. (OSNB) E.34
ch. site Killeavy Shankill Knockdoo Rock-Savage2001HMC replies HMCsched
Ards Upper
Parish in 1851
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