In the 1980s, the late David Todd, who lived all his life in Greerstown, Co. Londonderry researched his family history and produced a booklet for family members. When doing this he realised that a useful source of information was gravestones, and the condition of many of these was fast deteriorating, which would lead to the loss of useful information. In the late 1980s / early 1990s, he produced four booklets transcribing the inscriptions in graveyards in Co. Londonderry and Co. Tyrone as follows: Old Glendermott, with his daughter, Marjorie; Leckpatrick, with his wife, Sheelagh; Old Donagheady, with his daughter, Deirdre and the Grange Burial Ground, with his wife, Sheelagh.
These were very successful. The family are therefore delighted to share them with interested parties through CoTyroneIreland.com as we are sure he would have wished.
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REGISTER OF GRAVESTONES
OLD GLENDERMOTT BURIAL GROUND
RECORDED AND COMPILED
MARJORIE and DAVID TODD
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Mr Ian HENDERSON, Groomsport Road, Bangor, for the photographs. Miss Violet T0LAND, for typing. Mrs Ruth McCAUL, for front cover design. Miss Andrea MONTEITH, for art work. Mr David BIGGER, Parks Superintendent of Derry District Council, for permission to record the graveyard. The Honourable the lrish Society and the Relief of Derry Project, for sponsorship.
The entrance to the Old Glendermott Burial Ground is by a double cast iron gate with cut stone pillars set in the West wall which fronts Church Road. The left pillar is 20 metres from the North wall and as there are very few inscribed gravestones in the quarter from this left pillar on the West wall to the same distance on the East wall from the Black Lane, or North boundary, we have recorded them separately from the rest of the graveyard. There the graves fit in rows roughly parallel to the West wall. We have followed them from the South wall to the imagined boundary of the North quarter.
There are many rough fieldstones, mostly irregular in shape and deeply sunk, some approximately rectangular and upright and only a few with inscriptions in the form of the initial letters of the deceased's name; the latter have been recorded within the rows.
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary suggests that there was a church inside the present boundaries of the graveyard and there was a school still operating there in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Older residents of the Glendermott Valley still remember locals who had been pupils there and a headmaster called Mr Magilton who also kept a few boarders. James Snodgrass ("White Jim") of Carnafern and George Flynn of Warbleshinney were pupils as was Sarah Jane Hall, grandmother of David and Great grandmother of Marjorie Todd, who walked from Drumagore, four miles in each direction, to this school around 1870.
A brochure and programme produced for "Ye Olde Glendermott Bazaar", in June 1905 contains a brief history of the Glendermott Presbyterian Churches and their ministers, the first of whom, Mr John Will, or Wool, was ordained in 1654. It is suggested that the first meeting-house was built by Presbyterians some years before Mr. Will's ordination on a site about a quarter of a mile nearer the Old Graveyard than the present building. Thomas Todd, who from 1933 to 1957 ran a threshing and baling contracting business in the Glendermott Valley and beyond it, recalls that on one occasion when he was threshing for David Miller of The Trench in the Cuckoo Know field which runs down to Church Road he had a visit from Joe Simpson whose family was in the same business.
After some chat Joe Simpson left saying that he was going over to look at the site of the old church and the spot to which he went is between the road and the Burn-na-gibbah, about thirty metres south of a large oak-tree on the road side and across the burn from what is in 1987 a car breaker's yard. It is now overgrown by blackthorn. Another brochure which was published in 1954 to celebrate the tencentenary of Glendermott Presbyterian Church contains similar information and a contemporary photograph of the Old Graveyard.
It is the graves of Mitchelburn and Murray, of Siege of Derry fame, that most people in the Londonderry area associate with this graveyard and the inscriptions tell their own story.
Every year, on a Sunday afternoon in mid-September, the Apprentice Boys of Derry hold a short commemorative graveside service and lay wreaths on these two graves, which, since 1836, have been maintained by the Honourable the Irish Society. It is the authors' hope that, with the tercentenary of the Siege of Derry due to be commemorated in 1988-89, this booklet will appeal to people of the area with an interest in their heritage and at the same time provide a useful reference source for genealogists.
There are, however, many other interesting head and horizontal stones with revealing inscriptions; some, like the Scott monolith, almost tell a life story. Descendants of people buried here are still living in the district though nineteenth century emigration and post 1939-45 War housing policies have depopulated the Glendermott valley.
The oldest grave that we found was that of the Orneals, possibly a seventeenth century anglicisation of O'Neill; James Orneal died on 11th December, 1671. The last burial recorded on a tombstone was that of Margaret Shields, who died on 29th November, 1962.
No record of burials was kept by either the Presbyterian Churches or the Parish Church or any other body until the former Londonderry Rural District Council had a plan drawn up in 1948 by Robinson and Davidson, Chartered Architects and controlled burials from that time. A scale plan exists with sixteen graves plotted, "allowed provisionally" and owners listed. This has been our starting point. These are reproduced first and those with headstones are indicated by "R.D.C. Reg." within our general scheme.
Except for the North quarter, rows are lettered and graves with inscriptions or large plain slabs are numbered within the rows. The distance of the first grave in each row from the South and West walls is given in feet. In the North quarter the distance is given from the North and West walls.
An index of surnames contains not only the main family name or names on each gravestone but also those with different surnames; for example, where a wife's maiden name is recorded we have indexed it.
The following are the graves registered by the Rural District Council:
|1||McElroy||Eliz||45 Bishop St. L’Derry||1||1||2||1|
|2||Doherty||Robert||Creeve Donnell Drumahoe, L’Derry||1||3||2||1|
|3||Doherty||Annie||Creeve Donnell Drumahoe, L’Derry||1||3||2||1|
|4||McGowan||Mrs. Martha||Alexander Place, L’Derry||1||3||14||1|
|5||Cornwaith||W. J.||Ardkill Rd. Goshaden P.O., L’Derry||1||3||1|
|6||McAlister||Mrs. A. E.||62 Beechwood Av., L’Derry||1||1||1||1|
|7||Logue||Matilda||Fincairn, Drumahoe P.O., L’Derry||1||2||1||1|
|8||Wark||Letitia Jane||Moore St., Waterside||1||2||1||1|
|9||McElroy||Wm.||Primrose St., Waterside||1||3||6||2|
|10||McFarland||Mrs. M. J.||Gordgranagh, Drumahoe, L’Derry||1||1||1|
|11||Miller||David||Colhon P.O., Co. L’Derry||1||2||2||2|
|12||Orr||Mrs. Jeannie||Newbuildings, Co. L’Derry||1||1||1||1|
|13||Ramsay||Robt. W.||Violet St., Waterside||1||2||4||2|
|15||Stevenson||J. M.||The Oaks, L’Derry||1||9||3||1|