In the early seventeenth century a new Protestant church for the parish of Ardstraw was built in the town of Newtownstewart. It was probably started by Sir Robert Newcomen and finished by his son-in-law Sir William Stewart (after whom the town was named). Sir William’s daughter Katherine married Sir James Montgomery of Greyabbey. When she died in 1634 a monument was erected in the new church in Ardstraw. This was destroyed, apart from an inscribed marble slab, in the 1641 rebellion. Fortunately a description of this monument has survived on her husband’s tomb at Greyabbey, County Down. The inscription on this records how Katherine Stewart was:
‘embalmed and kept two months, was put in a black marble coffin and laid five foot above ground in the middle of her monument, which as curious and sumptuous, of divers colours, all polish’d marble, inscribed with mottos and verses of his own composure, and gilded in every fit place, which standing in Newtown Stewart Church was with it burned and demolished by the Irish, ann.1641. Behold its pourfile on a board near this’.
Katherine Stewart's memorial