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Toberbilly, County Antrim


Ir. Tobar Bile ‘well of the sacred tree’


The name of the townland of Toberbilly is not recorded prior to 1780  (Toberbilly on Lendrick’s Map of Co. Antrim). Nonethess, in spite of the absence of earlier historical spellings the derivation of the place-name is clearly Tobar Bile ‘well of the sacred tree’. The Ordnance Survey Name Book of c.1832 notes the presence in the townland of ‘a spring, formerly a Roman Catholic station’ while in 1831 the Ordnance Survey Memoir remarks: ‘In the townland of Toberbilly was formerly a Roman Catholic station, a well or spring round which the superstitious Catholics were accustomed to go on stated days on bare knees and do such penance as their church enjoins. The better sense, however, of the Scotch and English settlers, who overran this part of Ireland under Sir Philip Savage in the reign of King John, soon caused this practice to fall into disuse, and now the roof has fallen in and the well used as nature intended it to be’. The well referred to is clearly that which is marked on the OS 1:10,000 map of 1981, at the little settlement of Toberbilly on the east boundary of the townland. There is another townland named Toberbilly in the north-east Antrim parish of Ramoan (Tobar Bile ‘well of the sacred tree’, PNI vii 259).



Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
(?)Maherinane1657cHib. Reg. Dunluce
Magheroan1659cCensus 1659 15
Toberbilly1780Lendrick Map
Dunluce Upper
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type