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Irish Gravestone Inscriptions, Tracing your Irish Ancestors: Other Lambeg families
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Lambeg Churchyard

Other Lambeg families


Fagan’s list of surnames on headstones includes another Huguenot name, Breadthwaite. The only headstone of that family surviving from before 1837, Israel died 1827, aged 78, records the name as Breaithwaite. There are only two other inscriptions of that name, from 1851 and 1930, on other burial plots which also record changes in spelling of the name to Breathwaite and Braithwaite. A low eminence close to the present main Belfast-Lisburn road was given the name ‘Brethwaite’s Hill’ on 19th century OS Maps.


The churchyard also contains several headstones with inscriptions recording two or three generations of nineteenth century families. The inscriptions on the two adjoining burial plots of the Magee family of Lambeg record, with dates, ages and relationships, two generations of the families of John and Edward Magee. Unfortunately there is no evidence to connect the two families although the proximity of the plots suggests that the families were related. There are three Magee burial plots in the late twentieth century churchyard extension but there is no evidence to link them to each other or to the much earlier families.


The inscriptions on two adjoining Morrison burial plots provide sketchy information from Robert, died 1839, aged 59 to a few late 20th century members of the family. The headstone on one of these plots records that Colour Sergeant Matthew Morrison died in 1858, aged 29, during one of the less well know campaigns of the British Army in the East Indies. Remarkably his remains, according to Cassidy, were transported home to Lambeg.

The name Chapman appears in Fagan’s list in the OS Memoirs and is also mentioned elsewhere in the same Memoirs where John Chapman is named as providing local information about the history of the parish. It is possible that John’s name appears on the inscriptions on both of the adjoining Chapman burial plots. The inscriptions record details of eight members of that family from 1791 to 1936.


The inscriptions on another set of adjoining burial plots record dates, ages and some relationships of the Gilliland family of Lisnatrunk from Elizabeth, died 1817, aged 86, to Margaret, died 1918, aged 57. Lisnatrunk is the name of one of the five townlands which comprise the parish of Lambeg. It is one of the very few townland addresses found on inscriptions in the churchyard. The same townland was also the home of the Campbell family whose inscription records full information about nine members of that family between 1843 and 1907.


There are Belfast addresses on a few headstones perhaps of people who were born in Lambeg and moved to live in the growing town. The Glenfield headstone inscriptions record details of eight members of a family which lived at Cromac Park, Belfast ranging from Francis, died 1843, aged 74, to his granddaughter Charlotte Seeds, died 1918, aged 61. Francis, a ship owner and chandler with business premises in High Street, Belfast, had leased land for his home from the Marquis of Donegall on what was later to become the Belfast gasworks site. The Combe family inscription contains details of four members of the family and the information that two of them were Justices of the Peace in Belfast.


There is much more information on the McComb inscriptions. One records very full information about George McComb, of Lambeg ,died 1864, aged 55, his wife Rachel, died 1897, aged 77, and their nine children the last of whom, Marcus, died 1921, aged 68. There is a separate headstone erected to the memory of George McComb by the operatives of Lambeg Bleach Company where he obviously held some senior position.


The inscription on the adjoining burial plot contains similarly full information about the family of Robert McComb, died 1897, aged 58, and his wife, Harriet, died 1894, aged 51, and their four children, the last of whom, Harriett McDowell, died in 1948. The second forename of their daughter Elizabeth Bailie, who died in infancy in 1871, provides a possible clue to the maiden name of her mother. There are some other examples, on the headstones, of this custom of giving the mother’s maiden name as a forename to at least one of her children. Unfortunately there is no evidence to link the families of George and Robert except that of proximity of their burial plots.


One of the most interesting incumbents of Lambeg parish was the Reverend Sumaurez Dubordieu. The inscription on his tomb contains only two pieces of personal genealogical information recording his death in 1812 at the age of 96. However it does provide evidence of the strength of the Huguenot settlement in the area since it records that he was also the minister of the French Protestant Church in Lisburn for much of the time when he was Incumbent of Lambeg. His eldest son, John, who was ordained for the ministry of the Church of Ireland, compiled the Statistical Surveys of Antrim and Down circa 1800 which have proved to be most valuable sources of historical information about those counties at that time.


It is believed that a Mussen family came, with the Wolfendens, from the Netherlands to Lambeg in the 17th century. The only records of that name in the churchyard are on the gravestone inscription on the ‘The Family Burying Ground’ of Samuel Young of Lisburn. There is very full information about Samuel, died 1889, aged 63, his wife, Margaret Mussen, died 1903, aged 72 and at least six of their children. The name Mussen was given as a second forename to at least two of their children. A son, Mercer, died at Paterson, New Jersey where he may have been working in one of the Barbour textile companies and another son, Richard, died in Cuba.


Another inscription with full information about a family of the late 19th and early 20th century is that of James Barnes, died 1927, aged 82, his wife Sarah, died 1923, aged 76 and their seven children, who died between 1876 and 1927. There is however much less useful information on most headstones erected after the 1920s which is possibly a result of the economic depression of the 1930s and the increasing costs after 1945. Two exceptions to that pattern are the inscriptions, in the 1921 extension to the churchyard, on the Grant and Orr burial plots which contain full information about three generations of both families buried there covering roughly a span of a century.

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