Ballynure Old Graveyard

 

Ballynure Old Graveyard

Ballynure Historical Group was formed in 1997 by Ballynure and District Community Association with the purpose of researching and preserving the village history. Part of the group’s work has entailed the mapping and recording of the headstone inscriptions in the local graveyard with periodic updating. Members have also advised and worked with the local Council in various preservation, environmental and tourism projects associated with the graveyard. The latest project has culminated in the photographing and placing of the headstone inscriptions in the searchable database to facilitate those interested in genealogical research. In this map, the plot numbers go in bands from left to right and top to bottom but the grid lines are no longer present.

The Group is indebted to the Ulster Historical Foundation for permission to include records from headstones that are no longer readable. For the second year in a row, the graveyard has been recognised in the prestigious Green Flag Awards (July2015).

The graveyard is on the Church Road, Ballynure opposite the current Christ Church Parish Church, in the townland of Toberdowney. A recent archaeological survey in connection with the A8 road bypass to the village has dated the site of the graveyard to Early Christian times.

Little now remains of the old church that once stood within the graveyard next to which are the vaults of the landed gentry. One vault, with a steeply pitched stone roof, belongs to the Dobbs family, the earlier two are barrel vaulted, one belonging to the Dobbs family and the other to the Ellis family of Straid and Prospect. There is a corpse house at the entrance to the graveyard dating back to the days of the body snatchers.

Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulliver’s Travels was once the rector in Ballynure and there is a Blue Plaque near the spot where he is said to have preached. There are over 400 plots within the graveyard with the earliest headstone being 1628 for Ellinor Clements, a supposed ancestor of Samuel Langhorne Clemens aka Mark Twain. Other notable graves include those of Rev Adam Hill who was sympathetic to the United Irishmen and also the ancestors of General Alexander Macomb, the famous American hero from the war of 1812.

 
Ballynure Old Graveyard