Exterior Front

Bangor Abbey has been the site of Christian worship for nearly 1500 years. It is on the site of St Comgall’s great monastery, founded in AD 558 but from the Dissolution of the Monasteries of 1542, the Abbey stood empty and was subsequently burnt down in 1572 by Sir Brian Mac Phelim O’Neill.

By the time the Ulster-Scots arrived, nothing survived except the old tower which has vestiges of the 15th century Augustinian monastery.  In the early 1600s, Sir James Hamilton, a Scotsman from Lanarkshire who later became Viscount Clandeboye, was granted a portion of the lands of the O’Neill clan. He founded the Corporation of Bangor and became its first Provost.

From 1617 to 1623, Sir James Hamilton engaged one William Stennors, a master mason, to rebuild the ruined church.  Stennors’ church was a plain rectangular structure.  The stones of the earlier 14th century church were doubtless used for the rebuilding and a few of these stones have been identified and preserved.