1. Ballywillan Old Churchyard

Playful Museums
27th February 2023
2. Bruce’s Cave
6th March 2023

1. Ballywillan Old Churchyard

Image courtesy of Erin Honeyford

Project Attributes


Royal Connections


CCGBC Museum Services


6th March 2023

In Ballywillan Old Churchyard, just south of Portrush, there is a gravestone at the southwest corner of the old church belonging to a Mrs Dorothea Ross, wife of John Ross, a merchant in Coleraine.

The Coat of Arms and writing on the gravestone have almost vanished with time and weather, but folklore tells us that Mrs Ross was the illegitimate daughter of King James II, who ‘dallied’ with Dorothea’s mother while staying the night at a house locally when he was en route to the Siege of Derry in 1689.

Tradition also states that her gravestone was paid for by Queen Anne.



From Coleraine take the A26 Atlantic Road following the signs for Portrush. After approx. 6km turn right onto Magheraboy Road and proceed for approx. 1.5km. Ballywillan Old Church lies on the right near the junction with Ballywillan Road and Gateside Road. Car parking is available at Ballywillan Cemetery on the Ballywillan Road.

Co-ordinates: 55.1879, -6.6341


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This project is receiving financial support via the District Council Good Relations Programme.