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Irish Gravestone Inscriptions, Tracing your Irish Ancestors: Memorials
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Templecorran Graveyard



The earliest date on a gravestone in the graveyard is that of the death date of Rev. Edward Brice, first Presbyterian minister in Ireland. But although he died in 1636, the memorial stone was not erected until 1697. In the Beggs family plot a gravestone from 1698 commemorates James Beggs, while that of William Steel has the date 1684 and is now considerably faded, having been fashioned in white limestone. There are numerous graves from the 1700s, early examples including an exceptionally fine slate carved stone, complete with coat of arms, for Robert Symington, who died in November 1737 at the age of 77 years. His wife, Margaret Ramsey, died in June 1730 aged 75, while the last of their four children died in September 1747. This stone was uncovered a distance away from the church, where it had fallen face down and, along with two others, has now been placed on the south west wall inside the church to help preserve it.


The Symington stone is one of a number which have coat of arms depicted on them. Others include those of the second Presbyterian minister in the local community, Rev. Robert Cunningham, who was nephew of Rev. Robert Blair of Bangor, one of the prominent early Presbyterian ministers in Ulster. Cunningham was sent as a young man to Ulster by the Church of Scotland in 1646 and was ordained by the so-called ‘Army Presbytery’ of Covenanter regiments based in Carrickfergus during the period of the 1641 Rising. He was subsequently ejected from his pulpit by Bishop Jeremy Taylor in a new effort for conformity among Protestant clergy. Cunningham‘s gravestone is a massive red sandstone stone bearing simply the Cunningham coat of arms and no wording. Within a few feet is the gravestone of the third minister there, Rev. James Cobham.

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