Headstones can tell a tale
It may be considered by some to be a morbid pastime but I love visiting older graveyards that can instantaneously transport us into the past and reveal generations of forebears that resided in a particular district. In Ulster, each region has its distinctive surnames. Sometimes graveyards can be located in beautiful surrounds such as the graveyard attached to Drumgooland Presbyterian Church in Co Down at the foot of the Mourne mountains (below).
I was struck by one headstone in Drumgooland erected by Hugh Stuart to the memory of his four beloved children in the Famine year of 1847.
|DRUMGOOLAND PRESBYTERIAN GRAVEYARD|
|ERECTED BY HUGH STUART IN MEMORY OF HIS CHILDREN|
A number of headstones had fallen and were placed against the graveyard wall. A number were broken.
|ERECTED BY HUGH PORTER OF MONEYSLANE (BROKEN)|
Such memories of a by-gone age need to be preserved for posterity and thankfully transcriptions now exist for the majority of older graveyards in Ulster undertaken by interested local history groups and genealogical societies. Of course, the majority of people in previous generations could not afford to erect headstones due to financial constraints many living a subsistence lifestyle. Those with the means often erected headstones as memorials to their existence such as John Lowry - his headstone can be found in Killinchy Presbyterian graveyard.
|LOWRY HEADSTONE KILLINCHY PRESBYTERIAN GRAVEYARD|
BY JNO LOWRY
HE 92 YEARS
DID TELL AND BID
THE BUSY WORLD
He died the 17th February