Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Church, walling and gates

Date of Construction:
1780 - 1799

Address :
Rademon Unitarian meeting house Listooder Road Rademan Crossgar Downpatrick Co Down


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J4221 5303

Owner Category

Church - Other

Exterior Description And Setting

Large, two storey, T-shaped, rubble-built, ‘vernacular classical’ Unitarian meeting house of 1787. The building is set on the E side of Listooder Road, roughly 2 miles W of Crossgar and is surrounded by a garaveyard. The asymmetrical front façade faces roughly SW. To the left of centre on the ground floor is the main entrance with consists of a timber sheeted door, with semicircular fanlight and painted stone Gibbs style surround. The fanlight has radial / spider-web tracery with leaf decoration. Directly above the doorway is a painted stone panel which reads ‘This house was built in the year of Our Lord 1787, which was the 21st year of the Revd Moses Nelson’s ministry in this place’. Moulded decoration above inscription. To the left of the doorway are three semicircular headed sash windows with Georgian gothic panes (18/6). To the right of the doorway are four similar windows. To the first floor are eight, much smaller fixed light windows, similar in style to ground floor (12 panes to each). To the NW and SE gables are stone steps each of which lead to a first floor doorway, (to galleries), with timber sheeted door. Each of these sets of steps has a recessed doorway to the ground floor. Small brick lean-to to rear of steps on NE gable The rear elevation has a centre full height gabled return with staircase to gable as previous gables. To the NW face of the return there are two window to the ground floor and two to the first floor, all corresponding to those to front. The SE face is blank. The rear façade of the main portion of the building (either side of the return), is blank except for a small flat arch window to the far right. The façade is in random fieldstone rubble. The gabled roof, at the time of this survey, was in the process of being re-slated, and only had slates to the front. Rendered parapets. Cast iron rw goods. Largely rough cast rendered wall to graveyard perimeter with simple wrought iron gates to front set between square, pyramidal-capped, pillars.


Not Known

Historical Information

As the panel over the entrance states this meeting house was built in 1787. It was the third such building to occupy the site since the Rademan congregation (an offshoot of that of Saintfield) was formed in 1713. The two earlier buildings, the second of which was built in 1723, were both thatched. The Rev Moses Nelson, during whose ministry the present meeting house was built was followed as minister by his son, William. The son was an important linguistic scholar who wrote various books on the teaching of Gaelic and was arrested by the Yeomanry in 1813 for teaching in that language (he also changed his name from Nelson to its original Norse-Gaelic form of ‘Neilson’). In 1819 he became Professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages at the Belfast Academical Institute. In 1831, in the wake of the Non-subscription / Arian controversy the Rademan congregation split, with the orthodox Presbyterian minority building a new church to the south at Drumaghlis. In 1954 the meeting house was renovated and electricity and a new boiler installed. Extensive renovations were carried out again in 2000. Architect for the recent renovation: Donal Mac Randal with grant assistance provided by EHS and the Heritage Lottery Fund. References- Primary sources 1 PRONI OS/6/3/23/1 OS map, Down sh 23, 1834 2 ‘OS Memoirs of Ireland, Parishes of Co Down IV’ ed. Angélique Day and Patrick McWilliams (QUB 1992), p.91 3 PRONI OS/6/3/23/2 OS map, Down sh 23, 1858 4 PRONI OS/6/3/23/3 OS map, Down sh 23, c.1901 Secondary sources 1 Archaeological survey of Co Down (Belfast HMSO 1966), pp.348-49 2 R.S.J. Clarke ‘Gravestone inscriptions Co Down vol.3’ (Belfast ?1973), pp.62-69 3 C.E.B. Brett ‘Historic buildings…East Down’ (Belfast 1973), p.51

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form E. Spatial Organisation F. Structural System I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

V. Authorship Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance W. Northern Ireland/International Interest


Large, two storey, T-shaped, rubble-built, ‘vernacular classical’ Unitarian meeting house of 1787. Like the exterior the interior is still intact with the original panelled box pews, galleries and tall pulpit with double staircase. The surrounding graveyard contains headstones dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the best examples of its type in Northern Ireland. An elegant building largly unchanged from contruction and of huge achitectural and historical interest.

General Comments

Date of Survey

Tuesday, October 17, 2000