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Grange Graveyard

Reformed Presbyterian ministers and families


A congregation of Reformed Presbyterians or Covenanters was formed at Bready in 1765 when William James was ordained minister. He died in 1779 aged only 38, and he was buried in Grange. A memorial bearing a Latin inscription was erected, but it cannot now be identified.


Another Reformed Presbyterian minister who was buried in Grange was the Reverend Alexander Brittin (or Britton) who died in 1846 in his sixtieth year after a ministry of just over thirty years. Brittin was from Myroe, near Limavady, Co. Londonderry, and was educated at Glasgow University. He was ordained in Bready on 1815. Brittin was extremely popular with his congregation, so much so that one member of Bready, Stewart Cooke, penned an 83 line poem in tribute to his minister:


‘Right well the pulpit he became / Twas there, yes there, he earned his fame’.


At least two and possibly three of the children of the Reverend Charles Kirk Toland are commemorated on a sandstone slab with bevelled edges. The first, William, was actually buried at Kilraghts. Several families belonging to Bready Reformed Presbyterian Church are buried in Grange. Among the most prominent was the Alexander family of Dullerton. William Stavley Alexander died in 1815 aged only eleven. He was named after the Reverend William Stavely, the most distinguished of the early Reformed Presbyterian ministers and a man who was strongly suspected, with some justification, of being involved with the United Irishmen.


Several generations of the Cooke family are buried in Grange. John Cooke died in 1810 aged 75 and his son Thomas died in 1829 aged 57. Thomas’s wife, Elizabeth Young, had predeceased him. Thomas and Elizabeth had two sons, John and Joseph, who being orphaned at an early stage in life were brought up by their mother’s uncles. One of these uncles, Joseph Young (died 1843), a bachelor, ran a shipping business in Derry. John Cooke was taken into his uncle’s firm and in 1837 he took on his brother Joseph as a clerk and apprentice with a promise of a partnership after six years. J & J Cooke became one of the principal shipping companies operating in Derry in the mid to late nineteenth century. Tens of thousands of people sailed from Derry to America on the ships owned by the Cooke brothers.

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