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Graveyard Information


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County : Down

Denomination : Church of Ireland

Graveyard Name : Saul

Civil Parish : Saul

Town / Townland : Saul

OS Reference : J509463

Other Information : O S 31 Grid Ref 510464 . Saul parish church and graveyard are in the townland of Saul on the old secondary road from Downpatrick to Strangford The site is the oldest associated with Christianity in Ireland, for here St Patrick consecrated his "barn" soon after his landing in 432 He passed his last four years on this spot and may even have been buried here, though Downpatrick has the more likely claim There was some sort of Celtic monastery here but it was destroyed many times by Viking raiders only to be put on a sure footing by Malachy shortly before 1149 The Normans destroyed this Augustinian community and replaced it with their own Most of the antiquities on the site are probably of the early centuries after their arrival - a stone-roofed mortuary house, two fragments of wall, an Anglo-Norman coffin lid ("the key") and various carved stones and cross-slabs It seems that no church was maintained after the Dissolution but many of the abbey walls were standing in 1744 A new parish church was built in 1788 with stones from the abbey and neighbouringcastle It was demolished in 1933 to be replaced by the very attractive building in the celtic tradition, now standing All parish registers prior to civil registration were destroyed in the Four Courts fire, but the oldest dated stone in the graveyard goes back to 1716 There are 4 memorial tablets in the church which were transferred from the older building and all have been copied below All gravestones with dates of death prior to 1865 have also been copied, most of these being to the north of the church, but 3 are on the south side near the tower The graveyard is in a wild condition but part was cleared in 1967, uncovering some hidden stones After this, some of the stones near the church were set up beside the graveyard wall.

County : Down

Denomination : Roman Catholic

Graveyard Name : Saul RC

Civil Parish : Saul

Town / Townland : Ballysugagh

OS Reference : J521468

Other Information : This is in the townland of Ballysugagh and parish of Saul, the first church on the site was finished in 1782 and replaced by the present building in 1866, the oldest death recorded on a stone is 1840 but the most Romas Catholics of this period continued to use the old parish graveyard and two of the inscriptions below refer to burials there, the graveyard is rough but well-kept and contains one large round-topped vault, the baptismal and marriage registers of Saul parish date from 1868.

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