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Templecorran Graveyard

The Bard of Ballycarry


The most ornate memorial in the graveyard is that to James Orr, Bard of Ballycarry, who was one of the most prominent of the Ulster weaver poets. Orr was born in the village in 1770 and had to flee for a time owing to his participation in the 1798 Rebellion. He was also a prominent local freemason, and his memorial, erected in 1831 some years after his death, was erected largely through the efforts of Masonic lodges and cost the sum of around £90. It depicts Masonic symbols and records that Orr was a secretary and treasurer within freemasonry. Although decaying somewhat through weathering, the memorial is still the most imposing in the graveyard. The foundation stone was laid in 1831, a short religious ceremony being conducted by Rev. William Glendy, who is interred, along with his wife, in the grounds of the nearby Old Presbyterian Church, the only graves in that location.


There are few other representations of urns and similar devices on stones within the graveyard, as is the case with the Orr monument, but in one of the sections is a small statue of an angel, commemorating a young girl from Whitehead named Nance Edna Woonton, who was three when she died in 1925, and was the daughter of a local coastguard. It is the only such statue in the graveyard. There are a few funerary urns at some graves, and several cast iron Victorian burying place markers also exist as do a very small number of recumbent stones. There are also some fine examples of the stonemasons’ craft, particularly on slate gravestones, including that of Thomas McCleery, dating back to 1776 and declaring that he died “after living in Peace and Unanimity 84 years with his brethren of men which we hope will be manifested by the Lord of Hosts”.


There are four vaults in the graveyard, three of them inside the ruins of Templecorran Church (Dalway, Horsborough/Smiley and Edmonstone/Fletcher, as already mentioned) and one on the east side of the building, erected by the Richard Gervas Ker, landlord of Redhall in the latter 18th and 19th centuries. The first person to be interred there has a memorial plaque on the west gable, and this is to Mrs. Anne Lewis of Grosvenor Square in London, a close friend of Ker, who died in March 1819 aged 61 years. Other members of the Ker family were subsequently interred inside the vault, which is locked and surrounded by an iron railing. The only plaque on the vault is to Mrs. Lewis, and no notation appears for the Ker family although several interments have taken place. David S. Ker built the adjoining St. John’s Church in 1847, which also has a graveyard attached.

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