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Lambeg Churchyard

Catholic burials in Lambeg


Prior to the relaxation of penal laws in the nineteenth century the burials of people of all denominations usually took place in a common graveyard for the parish which was often attached to the established church, the Church of Ireland. For this reason several Quakers were buried in Lambeg Churchyard. Fagan and Marshall (History of Lambeg Parish) also refer to the burial of Roman Catholics, ‘from the mountains’, taking place until the early nineteenth century when a new burial ground was opened at Hannahstown Chapel in the adjoining parish of Derryaghy. According to the local information he had received, Fagan related that these burials eventually ceased when verbal abuse ‘by their Dissenting neighbours’ increased because of their objection to the ancient Irish custom of keening at the funerals. Fagan included the epitaph on the tomb of ‘the Reverend John Mullan …parish priest of Derryaghy and Befast ….(who) … died 15th September 1772, aged 80 years’ in the OS Memoirs. That tombstone had been ‘long since lost’ by 1933 when Marshall wrote his history of the parish although another tombstone in memory of Fr. Magee, Fr. Mullan’s predecessor, had been found in the late 1920s but has disappeared since 1933.


The uncommon surname Teeling was among those listed by Fagan. It is a pity that no record of Teeling burials has survived but the available evidence suggests this was the Roman Catholic family who lived ‘near Lisburn’, probably somewhere between that town and Lambeg, in the late eighteenth century and which was connected with the events of the 1798 Rebellion. Luke Teeling, a descendent of an Anglo Norman family from Co. Meath, had settled in the area by at least 1774 when his older son Bartholomew was born.


Luke was an important linen draper in the town and also had a financial interest in bleachmills in Co. Down. He was an ardent liberal, a supporter of the Volunteers and a home ruler who was elected to represent Co. Antrim in the 1793 Catholic Convention but he was not a member of the Society of United Irishmen. Bartholomew was among the earliest recruits to the society and participated in the French invasion of Ireland in 1798 for which he was later hanged in Dublin.


Charles, born 1778, the younger son of Luke, was not a member of the United Irishmen but was the first person detained by Lord Castlereagh on 16 September, 1796 under warrants to arrest the leaders of the society in Ulster. The arrest took place close to the Teeling family home when Castlereagh left Lisburn Castle, the home of his uncle the Marquis of Hertford, to travel to Belfast where he intended to arrest other leaders of the society. Luke was arrested in 1798 and detained for some time while Charles was detained until 1802. There is no later evidence of the family living in the immediate area but it is probable that Luke is the tenant of that name recorded in Ballycarngannon townland in the 1829 Tithe Applotment Book for Drumbo parish.

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