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Tombstones of the Ulster Plantation

James and Elizabeth Galbraith


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The gravestones to James Galbraith, died 1673, and his wife Elizabeth, died 1670, in Aghalurcher graveyard near Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, are almost identical and can be ascribed to the same mason. On both a richly carved coat of arms is found at the top of the stone while at the base are carved the mortality symbols, consisting of a skull, crossed bones, bell, coffin and hourglass. The skulls on these stones have been carved with pronounced cheekbones, a feature that can also been seen on the Forster Stone in Tydavnet, County Monaghan. The same mason may have been responsible for the gravestones at both sites.

 

The name Galbraith was fairly common in west Ulster in this period, though this James Galbraith would appear to be the only son of Robert Galbraith who had settled in Donegal in the first half of the seventeenth century. The family first came to Aghalurcher as agents to James Spottiswood, bishop of Clogher, some ten to fifteen years after the plantation. James Galbraith was M.P. for St. Johnstown in 1661 and in 1665 he was fined £10 for non attendance.  The Galbraith home was at Rathmoran and ruins of the house are still traceable. James Galbraith’s will, which is dated 1 April 1673, would seem to indicate that he was a man of fairly considerable means for it lists, among other things, lands in his possession in counties Leitrim and Longford which he bequeathed to his children.

 

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James Galbraith's memorial
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James Galbraith's memorial

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Elizabeth Galbraith's memorial
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Elizabeth Galbraith's memorial

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