Battle of Saintfield

Died aged c. 0

A rebel force, over a thousand strong, converged on a large house owned by the McKee family. The McKees were a family of loyalists, who were unpopular in the region: one year before, they had provided information to the authorities leading to the arrest of a radical Presbyterian minister by the name of Thomas Ledlie Birch and some members of his congregation. The McKees knew that they were unpopular and were thus armed to the teeth. As the house was surrounded, shots were fired from the fortified house, hitting some of the attackers. Gunfire held the insurgents back for a short while, until one of them, a fiddler by the name of Orr, managed to sneak around the back of the house with a ladder, and thence set the roof alight. The house was destroyed, and all eight members of the family inside killed. News of this quickly reached the British forces in the area, and a 300 strong force under Colonel Granville Staplyton, consisting of Newtownards Yeomanry cavalry and 270 York Fencibles, as well as two light cannon, marched to the region.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Albert Bridge on Geograph

The Battle of Saintfield. On 9 June 1798, along this road and in the adjoining fields, was fought the Battle of Saintfield. The United Irishmen, represented by a strong body of country people, defeated a military force under Colonel Granville Stapylton of the York Fencibles. The insurgents, including Rev Thomas Leslie Birch, Presbyterian Minister of Saintfield, were left in possession of the town and surrounding area before moving on to Ballynahinch, and the defeat of the rebels in Down on 13 June 1798

Saintfield High School, Belfast Road, Saintfield, United Kingdom where it was fought (1798)