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Graveyard Information

Kilroot

County : Antrim

Denomination :

Graveyard Name : Kilroot

Civil Parish : Kilroot

Town / Townland : Kilroot

OS Reference : J452896

Other Information : This is about half a mile down the tree-lined Fort Road, which is 2% miles from the centre of Carrickfergus on the seaward side of the road to Whitchead The graveyard is in the townland and parish of Kilroot which has only 4 townlands and no churches of any denomination The church was founded by St Ailbe, a disciple of St Cohnan, in the early sixth century It was a small church at the time of the Taxation of Pope Nicholas (1306) and had decayed by 1622 The upper half of an Anglo-Norman grave slab (coffin4id), one of the few in Co Antrirn, has been found here and is illustrated in the UJA, 2nd series II, 209 There is now no trace of the church but Reeves and O'Laverty states that there were fragments of the side-walls The burial ground was originally much larger extending to the north and east However, in the early 17th century the Bishop of Down and Connor erected his Bishop's palace there confming the graveyard within the walls of a bawn . Two of the bawn towers have survived in a ruinous state as well as the palace which was abandoned by the bishops about 1700 The graveyard is level but in a wild state with trees and brambles scattered throughout The oldest stone dates from 1743 and all with dates of death before 1900 have been copied The only structure now within the graveyard is a small pedestal supporting a large bullan stone, the bowl of which is 14 inches in diameter and 10 inches in depth While collecting information for the Ordnance Survey Memoirs in 1839, Thomas Fagan visited the graveyard and observed that two pieces of the church's side wall stood eight to ten feet high and estimated that when entire the body of the church may have been ninety or one hundred feet in length He made a list of the surnames on the gravestones, some of which have since disappeared They are:- CARLEY, CORCORAN, GRAY, McCAMMON, McFERN (a variation of McFerran?), MAN(UCE), MORRISON, PURDY, and THOMPSON There is not one surnwne amongst those we have collected having an initial date previous to 1831 that Fagan has failed to list At that time the oldest legible stone bore the date 1709.


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