A Political Figure
The remains of one of the chief architects of the Brownlow fortune, the Rt Hon. William Brownlow, M.P. for Armagh 1753-94, were also interred here. A Privy Councillor to King George III he was an important personage in politics during the 18th century and a commanding figure in local affairs. The youngest of four sons, he was the only one to reach manhood and was only 13 years of age when his father died. Although his education was private he spent a considerable part of his early life on the Continent. This was due to the fact that his mother, Lady Elizabeth Brownlow, daughter of the 6th Earl of Abercorn, married secondly in 1741 a French nobleman, Francis, Count de Kearnic. William Brownlow died on 30 November 1794 and was interred in the mausoleum in Shankill.
He was succeeded by the eldest son – also named William – of his first marriage to Judith Letitia Medyth. Born September 1, 1755, he married his cousin Charity daughter of Matthew Forde of Seaforde. This William Brownlow died July 10, 1815 and the Belfast Commercial Chronical gives the following account of his funeral to Shankill for interment in the family mausoleum:
“The hearse proceeded by the Lurgan Yeomanry, with reversed arms, was attended by his brother, the Rev Francis Brownlow, and several other relatives and friends and arrived at the place of burial at ten o’clock today, accompanied by a great concourse of people. All the gentry for miles around attended the melancholy train, and numerous tenants of the Brownlow estate, all supplied with scarves followed the bier of a landlord universally and deservedly dear to them. These and a vast body of the population of the neighbouring country, all eager to show their sympathy and regret of a loss so generally felt and deplored, formed a most impressive spectacle coming miles of the road towards the tomb of their worthy and departed countryman. But the most interesting and affecting site that could be imagined was presented by the children from the Free School, nearly 300 in number, of both sexes’ who went out for some miles to meet the remains of their benefactor, and join their humble mite of respect and gratitude, not mere for the constant protection and aid they have experienced from him who is no more, but as an offering which might be accepted to their best and most zealous Patroness whose material solicitude for their welfare has so deeply endeared her to them who and to whom they have no other mode of expressing their gratitude and attachement than by evincing she that dose not weep alone. We cannot conclude this report, without congratulating our readers on the proof which this procession to-day gives that worthy and incorruptible integrity, and real independent principal, are sure to obtain the respect, and real merit.”