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Irish Gravestone Inscriptions, Tracing your Irish Ancestors: William Brownlow
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Shankill Graveyard, Lurgan, Co Armagh

William Brownlow


John Brownlow appears to have had died about 1616 and his son obtained a regranted the lands of Ballynamoney and Doughcoron by letter patent under seal of Charles I., to form the Manor of Brownlowsderry on 29 June 1629. In this grant Lurgan is mentioned for the first time in official documents. It states that Sir William was empowered to hold a weekly market on Friday and two annual fairs, one of the Feast of St James and the other on the Feast of St Martin, subject to the conditions of the plantation in Lurganballyvackan, alias Ballilurgan.


Although there are no records to confirm the earlier interments in the ancient church Shankill, it was more than likely that the majority of space available in the nave, along those plots outside were reserved close to the walls for members and relations of the Brownlow family. But who these people were and by what names were they known is open to question. This is due to the fact that while the family can be traced back to having resided in Derbyshire in the 14th century, the complete linage of the family that settled in Lurgan in the opening years of the Ulster Plantation is not fully complete.


William Brownlow, who came to Ireland with his father, was granted the Manor of Ballynamoney on 16 June 1610. He was knighted by Sir Henry Cary, Viscount Falkland, Lord Deputy of Ireland on 15 December 1622, and served as High Sheriff of Armagh in 1623. Some time previous to this event he took the remarkable step of allying his family with the Gaelic and Catholic nobility of Ulster through his marriage to Elinor O’Dogherty.  The Brownlow marriage not only forged a union between Planter and the Gael but also had the effect of cementing family ties at local level with the O’Hanlons the hereditary lords of Orior, and the O’Neills of Tyrone. Lady Elinor’s aunt Margaret a sister of Sir Cathaoir O’Dogherty was the wife of Hugh oge O’Hanlon son of Sir Oghie O’Hanlon of Tandragee, while her aunt Rose O’Dogherty married firstly Caffar O’Donnell of Caffarsconce, Co Donegal, and secondly to General Owen Roe O’Neill commander of the Irish Army in 1641. William Brownlow’s eldest daughter was one of the most remarkable women of her age having entered the state of matrimony no less than five times. The second marriage with Patrick Chamberlain provided four children, one of whom was Arthur Chamberlain of Nizlerath and heir to the Lurgan estate.

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