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Shankill Graveyard, Lurgan, Co Armagh

The Brownlow Mausoleum


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The Brownlow mausoleum in Shankill is situated on the site of the highest point of the graveyard and occupies the site of the medieval church.  Shankill is derived from two Irish words “Sean Coill” signifying old church. From this it would appear that the site must almost certainly date back to the coming of Christianity, or at the very least to the Synod of Kells in the 12th century. The site showing a roofless church is recorded in the 1609 map helps to make this point.  One of the reasons for the church having no roof at this period was probably the fact that the roof was thatched and was allowed to fall into decay during the troubled state of the area during the Elizabethan Wars. In the early 17th century the building was refurbished and appointed by King James I, as the parish church of the new town of Lurgan. From that time it was in constant use until the building of the new church on Lurgan Green. During the life of the old church the bodies of the deceased members of the Brownlow family and several of the Waring family of Waringstown were interred in a vault below the floor of the church.

 

In 1725 a new Church of Ireland church was opened in Lurgan.  It was built on the Green at the head of the main street. The church in Shankill was retained for some nine years after years after consecration of the new church, but in 1734 it was demolished, with only a portion of the foundations left to mark where the old church stood. For a period the floor of the old church remained uncovered. However, when William Brownlow died in 1739 and was laid to rest beneath the floor, his widow Lady Elizabeth thought it necessary to erect a mausoleum over the grave as a mark of respect to her husband and his ancestors.

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