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Coniamstown, County Down


Ir. Baile an Choiniamaigh ‘Cunniam’s townland’


The townland of Coniamstown contains the site of a medieval church, the name of which is recorded as Capella de Baliconyngham in the Papal Taxation of c.1306 (Eccles. Tax. 34). Reeves (EA 34-5) remarks that ‘John de Baliconingham, who was elected to the see of Down in 1328, and was consecrated bishop of Cork in 1330, probably derived his name from this place. The evidence of all the early spellings suggests that the final element of the place-name is the surname Cunningham which has a number of different origins. It can represent an anglicisation of several Irish surnames, including Mac Cuinneagáin and Ó Cuinneagáin which are common all over Ireland’ (Woulfe 1923, 347, 490), Ó Cuinneacháin which is associated with Co. Derry and the Lisburn area of Co. Antrim and Ó Connagáin which of Co. Armagh provenance (Bell 1988, 47-8). In addition, in south Down ‘the Mac Donegans changed first to Mac Conegan and then to Cunningham (though some retain Dunnigan). Cunningham can also be of Scottish origin, deriving from a district of that name in Ayrshire (Bell loc. cit.). However, the evidence suggests that in this case it represents another form of the surname Cunniam which is normally associated with Co. Wicklow: MacLysaght (1985, 7) notes that: ‘Cunniamstown in Co. Wicklow is called Baile an Choinniamaigh in ‘Leabhar Branach’ which shows that Cunniam is an old name in Ireland. It is sometimes used as a synonym for Cunningham’. 


PMcK, 2009

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Baliconyngham, Capella de

1306cEccles. Tax. 34
Ballygnonyane1549Ex. Inq. (Dn) 3 Ed. VI 10
Ballecony1632Ex. Inq. (Dn) 8 Car. I (DF)
Quonyainstowne1636Inq. Ult. (Down) $73 Car. I
Cunnemstowne1657cHib. Reg. Lecale
Cunnemstowne1657cHib. Reg.
Comanston1659cCensus 1659 70
Cumminstowne1661BSD 100
Coniamstown1663Sub. Roll Down 269
Cumminstowne1669ASE 191 a 19
Cunnemstowne1672cHib. Del.
Cunnemstowne1672cHib. Del. Down
Coniamstown1710Map Ld de Clifford (OSNB) E 120
Coniamstown1755Map of Down (OSNB) E 120
Quoniamstown1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E 1201
Cuniam is a family name1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E 120
Lecale Upper
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type