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Irish: Tamhnaigh Naomh[1]
Main Street, Saintfield.jpg
Main Street, Saintfield
Saintfield is located in Northern Ireland
 Saintfield shown within Northern Ireland
Population 3,381 (2011 Census)
District Down
County County Down
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT24
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Strangford
NI Assembly Strangford
List of places
Northern Ireland

Coordinates: 54°28′N 5°50′W / 54.46°N 5.83°W / 54.46; -5.83

Saintfield (from Irish: Tamhnaigh Naomh, meaning "field of saints") is a village and civil parish in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is about halfway between Belfast and Downpatrick on the A7 road. It had a population of 3,381 in the 2011 Census. Saintfield's population is made up mostly of commuters working in both south and central Belfast, which is about 11 miles away. The population of the surrounding countryside is mostly involved in farming.

Running east to west across the A7 is the B6 road, and to the west of this crossroads is Main Street, which takes one towards Lisburn and Ballynahinch, and to the east is Station Road which takes one towards Killyleagh.


The area that is now Saintfield was historically called Tawnaghneeve or similar, from Irish Tamhnaigh Naomh, meaning "holy field/saint's field".[1]

Saintfield was originally an early 17th-century settlement, from which the parish church survives. The present town form of Saintfield dates back to the early 18th century and the establishment of linen manufacturing and other trades by the Price family. The village had a number of corn, flour and flax mills, the remains of which are visible today, and has retained a tradition of textile manufacture through Saintfield Yarns. The architectural and historic significance of the town centre is reflected in its designation as a Conservation Area in 1997.

United Irishmen Plaque, Saintfield

The Society of United Irishmen launched a rebellion in 1798, which began in Leinster and quickly spread to Ulster. The United Irishmen had been founded in 1791 by liberal Protestants in Belfast. Its goal was to unite Catholics and Protestants and make Ireland an independent republic. Although its membership in the South was mainly Catholic, most of its leaders and members in northeast Ulster were Protestant Presbyterians. On 9 June 1798, a British force was ambushed in a wood near Saintfield. About 100 men were killed altogether, and the United Irishmen emerged victorious. The headstones of men who were killed in this battle can be seen near the river at the bottom of the 1st Presbyterian Church graveyard.

Places of interest[edit]

Rowallane Garden
  • The Rowallane Garden is situated just outside the village. The exotic gardens were started over 100 years ago, and are now in the care of the National Trust.
  • The old White Horse Inn also sits on the main street. Many of the buildings on the main street have old stables and courtyards behind them.

From Lewis Topographical Dictionary (1837): The proprietor and lord of the manor, N. Price, Esq., improved the town in 1802, when he erected a large market-house and hotel, since which time Saintfield has been rapidly improving, and is now one of the most flourishing towns in the county.

  • The Market House (now an Orange Hall) and the Hotel (now a private house) can be seen on Main Street.
  • 1st Presbyterian Church on Main Street was built in 1777, but a community of Presbyterian Christians had been worshipping there since the 1600s.
  • The Assumption Youth Hall opposite the above church was initially the village's Roman Catholic church and was built at around the same time as the renovated Presbyterian Church in 1777. At the time of its consecration, it was known as the Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However, the Catholic Chapel was later moved down the road to a bigger site, where the Chapel of Mary, Mother of the Church was constructed in the 19th century. Today, the former Immaculate Heart Chapel is the Assumption Youth Hall, where local Gaelic cultural activities take place.


Saintfield is classified as an intermediate settlement by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 2,250 and 4,500 people). On Census day there were 3,381 people living in Saintfield. Of these:

  • 19.48% were aged under 16 years and 21.83% were aged 60 and over,
  • 48.4% of the population were male and 51.6% were female,
  • 26.32% were from a Catholic background and 65.48% were from a Protestant background,

For more details on Saintfield's demographics see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

  • In 1837 the population of Saintfield area was 7,154 of whom 1,053 lived in the town.[2]


Plaque on Guildhall to Francis Hutcheson


Despite being a relatively small town, Saintfield is served by five well-attended churches: the local Church of Ireland, two Presbyterian churches, Saintfield Baptist Church and Mary, Mother of the Church Roman Catholic Church.


Saintfield contains two primary schools 'Saintfield Academy Primary' and 'St. Marys' and one secondary school 'Saintfield High School', with a large amount of its under-18 population travelling to schools in Downpatrick, Ballynahinch or Malone.


  • Academy Primary School
  • St. Caolan's Primary School, Darragh Cross
  • Millennium Integrated Primary School
  • St. Mary's Primary School
Saintfield High School





Saintfield railway station opened on 10 September 1858 and finally closed on 16 January 1950.[3] The current main mode of transport is from the end of the main street on the A21/A7 which a Translink service, Ulsterbus operates frequently to and from Belfast/Downpatrick.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Placenames Database of Ireland (see archival records)
  2. ^ Entry for Saintfield in Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)
  3. ^ "Saintfield station". Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 

External links[edit]