Christ Church, Ballyculter Upper

This church was originally built in the 1620s. Although there had been a church dedicated to St. Malachy on this site since medieval times, it had become a ruin after uniting with Saul parish.

By 1663 a lease for the ground had been issued and the church, which had been built by Payne, had been repaired by the Ward family who felt the need to provide a place of worship for their visitors and employees in nearby Castleward.

One of the most distinctive features of the church is the lych gate at the entrance. This roofed gateway was a gift from Admiral Ward in 1888.

The word lych comes from the Old English or Saxon word for corpse. A lych gate was where the clergyman met the corpse before the funeral service. It also kept the pall-bearers dry.

Christ Church, Ballyculter Upper

A tower was added in 1723 and in 1777 Lord Bangor paid for a steeple to be built. In 1836 the average attendance was 170 for the evening service. At this time the church was undergoing repairs for which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had granted £295. The church was remodelled in 1882 by the Ward family in memory of Lady Bangor. The stone spire, topped by a ball and a weatherfish, is attractive and handsomely proportioned.

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