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Graveyard Information

Ardkeen

County : Down

Denomination : Church of Ireland

Graveyard Name : Ardkeen CI

Civil Parish : Ardkeen

Town / Townland : Kirkistown

OS Reference : J631585

Other Information : This is in the townland of Kirkistown and parish of Ardkeen on a minor road in the centre of the Ards peninsula, and is 2 and a half miles north-east of the Ardkeen peninsula It was built in 1847 by the Rev Alexander Bullick who abandoned the old church at Ardkeen to destruction, presumably for the convenience of the majority of the parishioners There are no stones prior to 1865 in the graveyard at present but the 4 memorial tablets in the church with dates of death have been copied All the church registers dating from 1745 have survived." The two Savage memorial tablets were recorded in "The Savage Family in Ulster" by George Francis Savage- Armstrong, London: 1906, p 348 They were originally placed in the chancel of the old church of Ardkeen and record burials in that church and graveyard They were transferred when the new church was built and are in very good condition . On the outside of the tower over the door is this inscription:"Christ Church, Ardkeen, consecrated May 27th 1847: Rev Alexr Bullick, rector This tower was built in 1891 by public subscription: Rev Hugh Stowell, Rector: J Mitchell, N Ennis, Churchwardens, Ps CXXII, 1".

County : Down

Denomination :

Graveyard Name : Ardkeen

Civil Parish : Ardkeen

Town / Townland : Ardkeen

OS Reference : J593570

Other Information : This is on the southern slope of a hill projecting as a peninsula into Strangford Lough in the townland and parish of Ardkeen It is approached through impressive gates and along a track skirting an inlet known as the Dorn On the top of the hill stands the old motte and later castle of the Savage family as a conspicuous sillouette against the sky The gates are to the west of the main Portaferry road 4 miles south of Kircubbin opposite the junction with a road leading to Cloghy The present church building probably dates from the late thirteenth century, soon after the Savage family arrived The aumbry and the lancet windows in the north wall are probably original but the walls were heightened and a west door and south and east windows added, during the eighteenth century An Anglo-Norman coffin-lid with cross and sword was found during clearing in 1898 and is erected in the chancel A portion of an ancient stone cross has been also set-up under a thorn-tree to the southwest of the church Another Anglo-Norman slab was found by the author when exploring the graveyard (U J A , 1971, 34, 108) It is illustrated in Fig 1 and is of red sandstone with chamfered edges, a simple incised cross and a pair of shears to the left of the cross-shaft. The church was in ruins in 1621 and was not fully restored until 1761 It was almost a private chapel of the Savage family who provided several of the incumbents A bell exists inscribed "Henry Savage, Esq, Rock Savage AD 1784" which was probably donated in that year The church registers however date from 1745 and have all survived A storm in 1839 unroofed the building and another soon after led to the abandonment of the site for another in the townland of Kirkistown The new church was consecrated in 1847 and the memorials on the walls transferred The door and windows of the old church were built up but the ruin was in a chaotic state in 1884 when G F Savage-Armstrong had it tidied Since then the church has again returned to its untidy as well as derelict condition. The gravestones are widely scattered throughout with few burials of this century, and all have been copied The Savage slabs are in the chancel of the church or immediately outside the building They were all copied by GF Savage-Armstrong in his "A Genealogical History of the Savage Family in Ulster" (S F U ), London, 1906, pp 343-355 and this book is a fund of information on the antiquities of the area as well as the Savage family The graveyard as well as the church is now in a wild condition.


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