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Graveyard Information

Down Cathedral

County : Down

Denomination : Church of Ireland

Graveyard Name : Down Cathedral

Civil Parish : Down

Town / Townland : Downpatrick

OS Reference : J482445

Other Information : The Cathedral is on Cathedral Hill at the end of English Street, Downpatrick The main graveyard is to the south of the cathedral but there are some old stones at the east end and in the modern graveyard The site dates from the time of St Patrick who is reputed to be buried here with St Brigid and St Columbcille The Celtic Augustinian Monastery was replaced by De Courey by a Benedictine Abbey but both suffered from many raids and burnings ending with Lord Gray's destruction in 1538 The cathedral then lay in ruins until rebuilding started in 1790 The graveyard was used by all denominations over the centuries The most conspicuous object is the stone marking St Patrick's grave, set up by F J Bigger There is also one vault in the southern section The eastern part contains the re-erected high cross and 4 headstones, and the new graveyard, only 3 stones prior to 1865, but the main graveyard is to the south of the Church All stones prior to this date have been copied completely Two old stones have been built into the porch (1607 and 1688) and there are two memorial tablets in the nave, all of which have been included The memorials in the choir and chancel are modern except for one. The graveyard is, like most in County Down, in a wild and rough state There are many uninscribed field stones and somehorizontal slabs which are no longer readable There are also several old fragments which do not contain enough material to be of any genealogical value There are references to the Cathedral in Memorials of the Dead; II, 63; 111, 251; VI, 261; VII, 20 and 278; VIII, 262 For historical accounts see Harris's "History of County Down", 1744; O'Laverty's "Historical Account of the Diocese of Down and Connor", Dublin, 1878 and the writings of the Pilson and Parkinson families The Linen Hall Library has many volumes of typed notes by Aynsworth Pilson, R H Wallace and J T Cleland, all on the Downpatrick area The burial register dates from 1867 and the other registers are of the same period.

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