The Holmes memorial
A number of memorial stones provide substantial detail on family members and a striking example is the Holmes family monument. The head of the family was John Holmes, J.P, of Brosney in the neighbouring parish of Donagheady and the memorial record the names of nine children, all said to be interred in the family plot. WE learn that John had married Eliza and it appears that her family name was McCrea since a number of the children had that as a forename. It also appears that few of the children lived to anywhere near the age of the father who had died in 1866 at the age of 84. Six of the children had died before 1890. The memorial makes no mention of wives/husbands for the Holmes children but a nearby memorial to the Hannah family suggests that one of the daughters had married Charles A Holmes and lived until 1929 and the age of 84. Nearby is another Holmes memorial, a flat slate slab that has the inscription, ‘Here Lies The Body of Mrs Elizabeth Holmes who departed this life June 16 1795 aged 34 years’. We can only assume that this was the mother of John Holmes but are left wondering why the death of her husband is not recorded on the memorial.
The family name Donnell appears frequently in the memorials, with locations given as Ballee, Woodend and Ballymagorry. A rather poignant inscription records the death of Margaret Donnell in 1798 at the age of 35 years and with the addition – ‘Also two children Died Young’. A large monolithic headstone nearby suggests that Margaret was the wife of James Donnell who died in 1846 at the age of 85, with Margaret’s age given here as 36 at the time of death. Two further Donnell memorials are sited nearby. One records the death of William Donnell of Ballymagorry in 1792 at the age of 74 years and mentions also the deaths of daughters Elizabeth and Mary but without dates. A rather laconic inscription on a headstone records simply ‘The Burying Ground of Thomas Donnell, Woodend’ and this brevity is duplicated in another memorial in a different part of the cemetery with ‘William Doherty’s Burying Ground’. Such memorials can certainly raise questions and would merit further investigation.