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Irish Gravestone Inscriptions, Tracing your Irish Ancestors: 1798
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Donaghadee Churchyard

Memorials with 1798 associations


Anyone entering Belfast from County Down across the Queen’s Bridge can still see the sky-blue gable of the premises of James Tedford, Ship Chandler on Donegall Quay. But the business itself has moved recently and the original building is now a restaurant. Tedford was a Sea Captain who began his business in New Street in Donaghadee4 and only moved to the burgeoning city of Belfast in 1851. He is buried in Donaghadee churchyard. His move to Belfast was clearly to follow his mentor, James Lemon, who had successfully moved a similar business to Donegall Quay a few years earlier. Lemon was also a ship-owner and chandler. In 1798 he had been possibly the only member of Donaghadee’s wealthy establishment to sympathise with the ideals of the United Irishmen, and must have spent up to forty years facing down his old Loyalist and Anglican friends who would never have ceased regarding him as a one-time rebel.


For fairly obvious reasons there is no overt memorial to the men, and possibly women, who were actually “up” as rebels in that difficult time, but many from both sides in the conflict are buried in the same churchyard. Depositions were recorded at courts held in Newtownards during the days after the crushing of the rebels in the northern theatre of the conflict in 1798.5 The names of as many as seven men, cited in these depositions are buried in Donaghadee. David Campbell, reported as being the baker at the Donaghadee rebel camp, lived for over a quarter of a century after 1798. William Carson died in 1805, William Brown in 1832 and James Fullerton in 1847.


Two years before the break-out of the Rebellion, the Donaghadee Customs Collector made a list of likely Yeomen who would help protect the town and its Packet Boats. Those named included Samuel Smyth, James Shaw, Nevin Taylor and Alexander McMinn, all of whom may have taken the field against the rebels two years later. Arbuckle’s list, however, was flawed. It also contained the name of John Nevin of Cannyreagh, who did take the field – but as a rebel.6


The published volume of inscriptions mentions a stone which it states is “no longer visible.” It recorded the burial of a Donaghadee insurgent who, if not quite anonymous, has certainly rested in a degree of obscurity. William Morison (or Morrison) was executed on 11 July 1798 for his senior role in the capture of the town and harbour of Donaghadee at the outbreak of the rebellion,7 and buried in this churchyard. The man who was probably the leader of the rebels who occupied Donaghadee was a man called Bernard Crosby, but there is no sign that he was ever buried locally.

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