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Reverend J.B. Armour (1841-1928)

Reverend J.B. ArmourChampion of Home Rule

As a clergyman, it is perhaps a surprise that ‘Armour of Ballymoney’ was one of the most prominent political figures to emerge from North Antrim at the turn of the twentieth century.

James Brown Armour was born at Lisboy, near the town of Ballymoney, on 20 January 1841. In 1869 Armour was appointed minister at Second Ballymoney (known as Trinity) Presbyterian Church, where he served until his retirement in 1925.

Armour was an enthusiastic supporter of the Tenant Rights Campaign, which when granted by the Government in 1881, allowed tenants to become owner-occupiers of the land they worked.

He is renowned for his support of Home Rule in Ireland. Although originally opposed to the idea, he later came to believe that Home Rule was the best solution for Ireland. It would not only boost the Irish economy, but also bring reconciliation between Protestants and Roman Catholics. He organised a public meeting in Ballymoney in 1913 to build support amongst the local Protestant population, but had little success.

Armour was married to Jennie Stavely Hamilton, a widow who already had two sons, and with her he had three sons of his own. He died of pneumonia on 25 January 1928.