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Ballyculter Parish, County Down


Ir. Baile Uí Choltair ‘Coulter’s townland’


The surname Coulter can be Scottish in origin, from the manor of Coulter in Lanarkshire (Bell 1981, 43). However, since the name Ballyculter is recorded as early as 1183 (Grant of Bishop Malachy (EA) 163) it is much more likely that we are dealing with the Irish surname Ó Coltair which according to Woulfe (1923 473) is a shortened form of Ó Coltaráin, ‘the name of an ancient family in Co. Down from whom the parish of Ballycolter (sic) probably derives its name’. In the Papal Taxation of c.1306 we find a reference to Ecclesia de Saule cum capella de Balicultre (Eccles. Tax. 40) which suggests that at that time Ballyculter was an outlying chapel of the neighbouring parish of Saul. No trace of this chapel now remains but it appears to have been at Churchtown in the townland of Ballyculter Upper.


McKay, P. (2007): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 12; PMcK, 2009

Additional Information

See the townlands of Ballyculter Upper and Lower for historical forms of this name

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Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Balleculter1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 109
Ballyculter Parish1790Return Free. (DF) 11
Ballyculter Parish1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E84
Ballyculter Parish1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E84
Lecale Lower
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type