Local newpapers an invaluable tool

Local newspapers can provide a wealth of information on local and family history.

The Northern Constitution was a Coleraine newspaper that had weekly sections covering many local towns and villages including Limavady. No newspaper was printed in Limavady so the Constitution bought into the Limavady market by providing regional coverage through a dedicated column called Roeside Echoes.

The local Limavady news appears to have been compiled by a local correspondent (not named) who often provided a fascinating insight into local news and characters. There is excellent coverage in Roeside Echoes, for example, of Limavady men who fought during the First World War, 1914-1918. Coverage was given to soldiers who were killed or injured and also of men who had travelled home for respite.

In the Roeside Echoes column in the Northern Constitution dated 28 September 1918 was an interesting article on the discovery of a headstone in Balteagh Parish Church graveyard dating back to the seventeenth century.

'When opening a grave in Balteagh parish Church burying ground on Thursday, the workmen discovered  two feet deep a flat freestone block about three feet by 20 inches. The slab, which apparently had been used as a tombstone was in good enough state of preservation and after being washed and scrubbed our correspondent was able to read the following inscription:

Here lieth the body of Wm Lindsay, minister deceased 3rd January 1664

This was an exciting discovery making local news and was significant as this particular headstone is one of the earliest dated in the Limavady and Roe valley area. It does not seem that this particular stone is identifiable today, however the fact that the details were recorded in a local newspaper means that the transcription has been preserved for posterity.

The Rev William Lindsay M.A  was installed in the joint charge of Balteagh and Bovevagh parishes on 8th April 1661. He was also previously a rector in Fahan (Donegal) c. 1653-1660 before transferring to Balteagh (Clergy of Derry and Raphoe, Rev J.B Leslie, UHF, 1999 p. 115). A James Lindsay was a church-warden in Balteagh, 1693-1694 and 1718-1719 and he may have been a son of the minister.


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