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Foreigners Graves

Foreigners recorded on Ulster gravestones

 

William Roulston

 

Over the centuries tens of thousands of people have migrated to Ireland. In the last 400 years most of the new arrivals in Ireland were from England and Scotland. However, a significant number of other nationalities have also moved to Ireland and made it their home. This essay will look briefly at the memorials left by some of these people.

 

Huguenots in Lisburn
In the late seventeenth century a significant number of Huguenot (French Protestant) families settled in the Lisburn area. Many were buried in the churchyard attached to Lisburn Church of Ireland cathedral. One of the best known of the Huguenots was Louis Crommelin who was a major figure in the linen industry in Ulster. He died in 1727 and was buried in Lisburn cathedral churchyard. The memorial to his son in Lisburn cathedral churchyard reads: ‘6 feet opposite are [sic] the body of Louis Crommelin, born at St Quentin in France, only son to Lewis Crommelin and Ann Crommelin, director of the linen manufactory, who died, beloved of all, aged 28 years, the 1st of July 1711’. Through weathering the memorials became difficult to read and a bronze plaque containing the inscription was affixed to the railings in 1964. Several other members of the Crommelin were also buried here. Other Huguenots families interred in Lisburn include the De La Cherois, Gillot and Berniere families.  Members of the De La Cherois family are also buried at Donaghadee and Knockbreda in County Down.

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De La Cherois memorial, Knockbreda
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De La Cherois memorial, Knockbreda

 

Italians in Belfast

In the nineteenth century immigrant Italian communities grew up in the Dock Street and Markets areas of Belfast. In Friar’s Bush graveyard in Belfast there are a number of gravestones to Italian families. No longer in its original position is a memorial to Peter Angelenetta who was a ‘slate merchant, a native of Italy’. He died in 1835 aged 51.

A gravestone no longer in existence in Friar’s Bush recorded the death of Mary Trabucco on 11 June 1870 at the age of 22 years. She was a daughter of Pietro Trabucco who was a statue carver and an artificial stone manufacturer and moulder at nos 7 and 9 Academy Street, Belfast in the 1850's and 1860's. He is also on record as having maintained the statuary of Old St Mary's. The registers of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Belfast record the baptisms of a couple of the children of Pietro Trabucco and Ann English. On 10 May 1875 the marriage took place in St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church of David Allen Parks and Veronica Philomene Trabucco. Veronica was living at 7 Corporation Street at this time. She was the daughter of Petro (or Pietro) Trabucco though he had passed away by the time of the marriage.

 

A French soldier in Belfast

Some of the foreign nationals who ended up in Ireland did so via an unusual route. Nicholas Bourdot was captured during General Thurot's attack on Carrickfergus in 1760 and lodged with fellow French prisoners in the old barracks in Ann Street, Belfast. Following his release on the termination of the Seven Years War in 1763, he decided to remain in Belfast, becoming a barber, as did his son after him. He was buried in Clifton Street graveyard and his inscription reads: ‘Here lieth the body of Nicholas Bourdot, of Chaumont in Bossigni in Champagne, who departed this life on the 12th December 1816 aged 78 years’. His descendents continued to live in Belfast for some time after this Nicholas Bourdot died 17th August 1891 aged 21 years.

 

A Norwegian interpreter in Belfast

Also in Clifton Street graveyard is a gravestone to Lorenzo Eid, ‘a native of Norway’, who died on 23 December 1835 aged 33. He was married to Sarah Lynch who was presumably from Belfast as the same gravestone records the death of her parents. On 9 June 1845 in Townsend Presbyterian Church, Belfast, Lorenzo Eid’s son, also Lorenzo, married Mary Gordon. Lorenzo junior was a tailor and was resident in Cargill Street at the time of his marriage. Lorenzo Eid senior is recorded in the marriage register as having been an ‘interpreter of foreign languages from Norway’.

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Rev Zula gravestone
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Rev Zula in his Chieftan Robes
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Rev Zula gravestone and the Rev Zula in his Chieftan Robes.

 

A Greek aristocrat in Kilwarlin

One of the most interesting people to move to Ireland was Basil Patras Zula. He was a native of Greece and later became the Moravian minister at Kilwarlin. He died in 1844 aged 40. For more on his life see the case study on Kilwarlin Moravian graveyard.

 

A Prussian Jew in Derriaghy

An interesting headstone in Derriaghy Church of Ireland graveyard commemorates Nathaniel Kronheim. It reads:

Underneath lie the mortal remains of Nathaniel Kronheim Born in Prussia Silesia and an Israelite according to the flesh but converted by the grace of God to the faith of the gospel which he afterwards lived to promote in public and in private for the space of 20 years during 18 of which he was employed in Ireland and especially in Ulster as agent to The Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews. Thus did he endeavour to serve that Saviour in whom he believed and whom he loved until in death he could say 'Lord now lettest thou thy servant Depart in Peace according to thy word For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.' This monument has been erected by a few of his personal friends as a small memorial of affectionate regard. He departed to his rest on the 18th Sept. 1852 aged nearly 80 years.

There is also an inscription in Hebrew. It reads in translation: 'Pray for the peace of Jerusalem'. For more on the Jewish community in Belfast and their places of burial see the case study on this subject.

 

Others

Some foreign nationals arrived in Ireland in the service of members of the landed gentry. One such individual was Margarita Ponzzi who was from Rome and who came to Ireland in the service of William Montgomery of Greyabbey in 1823. There she married James Downie of Elgin in Scotland who was the gardener and steward on the Montgomery estate. She died in 1861 aged 62. Her gravestone lies flat on the ground inside the nave of the now ruined Cistercian abbey at Greyabbey. It was placed there by Hugh Montgomery Esq. That her memorial tells us so much about her life and that it was placed in such a prominent position says much for the regard in which she was held by the Montgomery family.

A more recent gravestone commemorating someone of foreign birth who died in Northern Ireland is the memorial to Aristid Hubrich who died in 1996. The inscription records that he was Hungarian.

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The Hubrich headstone, Drumragh, County Tyrone.
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The Hubrich headstone, Drumragh, County Tyrone.
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