James Armour

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James Brown Armour (1841–1928), usually known as J. B. Armour, was an Irish Protestant Minister and political activist.


Armour was born at Lisboy, near Ballymoney, County Antrim, and was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Queen's College, Belfast and Queen's College, Cork, where he studied classics.

In 1869 Armour was appointed minister at Second Ballymoney Presbyterian Church, also known as Trinity Presbyterian Church, where he served until he retired in 1925.

Armour founded Ballymoney Intermediate School and lectured at Magee College in Derry. He was politically outspoken in support of Home Rule, the Tenant Right movement[1] and the controversial proposal for a Catholic university. He felt that politics ought not to divide the Presbyterian Church, but he firmly believed that partition would be disastrous for Ulster.

He was known throughout Ulster for his leadership of the local farmers in the Tenant Right campaign of the 1870s. The group was called the Route Tenants' Defence Association, the name referring to the area of Country Antrim which was known as The Route; its aims were called the "Ballymoney program".[2] Armour also supported the controversial proposal for a Catholic university.[3]

Although originally opposed to the idea of Home Rule for Ireland, he later came to believe that it would boost the Irish economy and bring reconciliation between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Jack White, Roger Casement and Armour organised a public meeting in Ballymoney on 24 October 1913 to build support for Home Rule amongst the local Protestant population, but had little success.[4] The speeches at the meeting were subsequently published as a pamphlet called A Protestant Protest.[5]

Armour served on the Senate of Queen's University, Belfast, where he favoured the teaching of the Irish language and scholastic philosophy. He was made honorary chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant during the First World War.

Armour married Jennie Stavely Hamilton, a widow who already had two sons, and had three sons with her, one of whom was William Staveley Armour, who founded the Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster in 1929.

He died of pneumonia.


  1. ^ J.R.B. McMinn. The Reverend James Brown Armour and Liberal Politics in North Antrim, 1869-1914, Ph.D. thesis submitted to Queens University of Belfast (1979)
  2. ^ Samuel Clark, James S. Donnelly, Jr, (editors), Irish Peasants: Violence and Political Unrest, 1780-1914, ISBN 0299093743, (2003), page 206
  3. ^ James Brown Armour (1841 - 1928): Academic
  4. ^ Reverend J.B. Armour (1841-1928)
  5. ^ The anti-Carson Protestant Meeting