“Princess” Dorothea Ross

The ruins of the Old Ballywillan Parish Church are believed to date back to the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century. The best-known headstone there belongs to the ‘Princess of Portrush’- Dorothea Ross. It is said that Dorothea was the illegitimate daughter of James II, conceived with a farmer’s daughter from Ballymoney during James’ campaign in Ireland to take back his kingdom in 1689 from King William III and Queen Mary II. She married a merchant from Coleraine and died quite young, possibly in childbirth. The inscription has been worn away and the only visible feature is a heraldic shield. However, a newspaper report from 1881 identifies her name and date of death.