Mallusk Cemetery, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim

 

Nothing remains of the original church erected by the Knights of St John during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is likely to have fallen into disuse in the 1500s following the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII. The graveyard is the resting place of Francis Joseph Bigger and Jemmy Hope. Francis J. Bigger (1863-1926) was a solicitor by profession, but also a devoted lover of nature, art and literature. He was honorary secretary of the Belfast Naturalists Field Club, a renowned Irish historian and author, and one of the earliest supporters of the revival of the Irish language movement. Only the base remains of the granite Celtic cross erected in his memory. The Gaelic inscription on the base is the 30th verse of Psalm 107, 'Then they are glad, because they are at rest; and so He bringeth them into the haven where they would be'. James (Jemmy) Hope (1764-1847) was born in Templepatrick or Roughfort (the exact location is debated). He served an apprenticeship as a linen weaver and became known as the ’Templepatrick Weaver’.  He began his political career by joining the Roughfort Corps of Volunteers and later, in 1795, he became a United Irishman and played a key role in the 1798 rebellion working closely alongside Henry Joy McCracken, Commander in Chief of the United Army of the North.  Other features of the cemetery are the ’bullaun’ stone, which may have been used as a mortar for grinding foodstuffs in earlier times, and an ancient lamp now cemented to the outside of the gravediggers hut but traditionally associated with body snatching. After burial, the lamp was lit and relatives of the deceased would keep watch over the grave, sometimes for weeks.  Take the M2 motorway and leave at Junction 4 (A8 Larne). From Sandyknowes roundabout, head in the Mallusk direction up Scullions Road and turn right towards Templepatrick. After about 1 mile, turn right down Park Road. The graveyard is on the left.

 
Mallusk Cemetery, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim