Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ballindrait - The Home of Our Miller's and the famous Reverend Traill

Now that we know for sure that our William Miller’s forefathers came from in or near the village of Ballindrait (which is near the larger town of Lifford in the Laggan Presbytery, County Donegal, Ireland), it is interesting to learn the history of this area. The Miller’s no doubt came to this area of Northern Ireland from their homeland in Scotland, along with many thousands of others, for the “planned process of colonisation (sic)” ( of Ulster.  Therefore, it is of interest to read about the history or this era.  

From the Book In The Days Of The Laggan Presbytery we read:  “The place that had the distinction of giving both a local habitation and a name to the second Presbytery established in Ireland, is not, as might have been expected, situated in either of the ultra Presbyterian Counties of Antrim or Down, but in dark and distant Donegal. It should be remembered, however, that there are two Donegal’s — an outer and an inner. The former, which is almost wholly Roman Catholic, and from which the County to a large extent takes its character and complexion in the eye of the public, consists of the extensive mountainous districts that lie along the western seaboard, and at some points run far inland. The latter consists of the more flat and fertile country that lies between the mountains and the river Foyle and the eastern boundary of the County. It is largely Protestant, and from a very early period in history has been known as the Laggan, i.e., the low or level country. In the days of the Ulster Plantation, from 1607 onwards, this district, on account of its fertility and also from the fact that the undertakers or persons who obtained the grant of estates in it, were chiefly Scotchmen, was largely peopled by immigrants from Scotland, whose descendants, unto this day, till the fields their forefathers then acquired, and keep to the Presbyterian principles they brought with them from their native land” (source:   
The River Foyle

You will remember from previous posts that we know our Miller’s were part of the Reverend Traill’s congregation in the village of Ballindrait.  This brave man is mentioned in the history of Laggan Presbytery: “Mr. Trail of Ballindrait was, as is shown by his evidence before the Privy Council regarding the Fast kept by the Presbytery in 1681, an able and honest man. When asked why he had not taken the oath of supremacy (which required any person taking public or church office to swear allegiance to the King of England as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and failure to do so was to be treated as treasonable), he replied that he had never been asked to take it, adding "that he considered it juggling with the King and much more with God to take an oath that is capable of a sound sense, and yet to keep that sound sense in his mind, but let the sense be written down together with the oath, and that will clear the matter." " Besides," said he, " I lie under the punishment imposed by law for refusing the oath of supremacy." When one of the Committee asked — "What is that?" Mr. Trail replied, "I want all preferment." Whereupon Lord Lanesborough asked, "Would you take it if they would give you a good benefice ? " and Mr. Trail replied, " No, my Lord, I have not said that yet. I am content to be as I am without that."

(to be continued)

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