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Register of Gravestone Inscriptions in Grange Burial Ground, Donagheady Parish, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland

By David & Sheelagh Todd
Compiled and Formatted by
Jim McKane, Ontario, Canada


In the 1980s, the late David Todd, who lived all his life in Greerstown, Co. Londonderry researched his family history and produced a booklet for family members.  When doing this he realised that a useful source of information was gravestones, and the condition of many of these was fast deteriorating, which would lead to the loss of useful information.  In the late 1980s / early 1990s, he produced four booklets transcribing the inscriptions in graveyards in Co. Londonderry and Co. Tyrone as follows: Old Glendermott, with his daughter, Marjorie; Leckpatrick, with his wife, Sheelagh; Old Donagheady, with his daughter, Deirdre and the Grange Burial Ground, with his wife, Sheelagh.

These were very successful. The family are therefore delighted to share them with interested parties through as we are sure he would have wished.

Recently their daughter, Marjorie Sloan, found some Original Colour Photos in her late father's belongings.

Grange 3.10 the Bond Grave Pg 34

Grange a slab with the symbols of death not in book

Grange C1.5 J. Dougherty a military grave Pg 41

Grange from the North East Cover

Grange from the North West Pg 97


Click on image for larger version















PHOTOS c.1993






The authors are most grateful for help from the following:

Mrs Sandra Pollock, Administrative Officer, Strabane District Council, for permission to record and access to records.

The Strabane District Council Cultural Committee for Sponsorship.

Mr Ian Henderson for the photographs.

Mrs Ruth McCaul for the front cover design.

Mrs Margaret Rogers for typing.

Mr Sandy Jack for help "in the field."

Miss Margaret Woods and Mr Annesley Malley for information.

This publication has been assisted by the Ulster Local History Trust.



The Scheme

This booklet is the fourth and last of a series, the first three having recorded the gravestone inscriptions of Old Glendermott (1988), Old Leckpatrick (1991) and Old Donagheady (1992).

The Location

Grange Burial Ground is in the townland of Grange, or Grange Foyle, just off the A5 Londonderry to Strabane road on the first turning to the right approximately one kilometre from Dunnalong Parish Church. Its Ordnance Survey reference on the Londonderry 1:50,000 map, First Series O.S. of N.I., is 06 07 / 37 38. The townlands of Drumgauty,

South Grange and Tamnabryan lie to the north, south and east respectively and the River Foyle is just over a kilometre to the west.

The road leading to the graveyard from the A5 is metalled to the entrance to the Foster farmyard, a short distance beyond the wall, and continues straight to the River Foyle. An avenue formerly led from a gate lodge on the main road, curving across a field to skirt the south wall of the graveyard, to the front of the Foster farmhouse. Alongside the graveyard this avenue is heavily overgrown with trees and vegetation.

The Background

Until 1865 Grange was part of the Parish of Donagheady but in that year the northern section or "Lower Part" was formed into the Parish of Dunnalong. Though the parish church is now in Bready, the townland of Dunnalong borders the Foyle close to the Tyrone/Londonderry county march and formerly included the site of an important ferry and a castle of which practically nothing remains. It is recorded that the Vikings ravaged the district on several occasions and held this crossing for some time. It is known locally that there is a souterrain in Ballybeeny which, it is surmised, was used as a hiding place from the marauders. In pre-Tudor times the Augustinian abbey at Grange was the centre of religious life in that area though Grange was not closed nor the lands confiscated until the reign of James I. Elderly locals have been known to talk of the monks' graves in Grange but we have not been able to identify any evidence of them.

Strabane District Council Records

a) In the autumn of 1929 Strabane Rural District Council began to take action to bring Grange Burial Ground under its control ostensibly because of a lack of suitable fencing but more likely because it was not being kept in decent order. A letter dated 4th. November, 1929 from Wilson & Simms, Solicitors to A. W. Perry, Acting Clerk for Strabane Rural District Council, offers advice on the procedure for taking over the Burial Ground: the District Council, as the Local Burial Board, had power to give six months notice in writing to the owner to require him to put the graveyard in order and on his failure to do so had the right to do it itself. If the owner could not be ascertained then the Council could do it by advertising its intention in an appropriate newspaper. After six months it could proceed to do what was necessary and thereafter be regarded as owners of the Burial Ground which would then be under its control and management. If an owner later materialised he could have it back on reimbursing the Council its expenses with interest.

The Clerk wrote to the Council's solicitors on 12th. November, 1929 the day of a Council Meeting, intimating that the Council had reason to believe there was no owner and directed that steps be taken to control the Burial Ground and at the same time requesting the solicitors to draw up an advertisement. The following is the document that was produced and published: -






WHEREAS the Burial Ground known as Grange Graveyard situate in the townland of Grange Foyle in the Electoral Division of Bready within the District of the Strabane Rural District Council being a Burial Ground not attached or contiguous to any place of worship nor situate in a private Demesne, is, in the opinion of the Council,

without a sufficient fence and is not kept in decent order.

AND WHEREAS the owner of said Graveyard cannot be ascertained and notice requiring such owner to fence same and put same in decent order cannot be served.

NOW the said Rural District Council as the Burial Board hereby give notice that it is the intention of the said Council, as such Burial Board, after the expiration of six calendar months from the publication hereof, to proceed to fence said Burial Ground and put same in decent order.

AND FURTHER that after the publication of said notice and the expiration of said period and after defraying the expenses of fencing and putting said Burial Ground in decent order said Burial Ground shall remain under the control and management of the Burial Board and be deemed the property of the Board until such time as the Board shall have been reimbursed by the owner thereof the expense so incurred by them with interest thereon at the rate of 5% per annum.

Dated this 12th day of December 1929

Signed:    A. W. Perry, Clerk of the Burial Board


(b) On 3rd. July, 1930 the solicitors wrote to P. Gormley Esq., Acting Clerk of Union, Board Room, Strabane, pointing out that the six months had expired and the Council could proceed with fencing . They also advised that strict accounts be kept lest a claimant should appear.

All this may seem somewhat at odds with a fine entrance gate with sandstone arch and a square key stone on which is incised:






Certainly there is a sound wall now surrounding the Burial Ground on all sides which includes the remains, in varying states of dilapidation, of two cotters houses and a shed.

It is also reported locally that the wall was built substantially of stone from the ruins of the church that had formerly stood within the graveyard. It had indeed been earlier plundered for stone for the building of some neighbouring farmhouses.

(c) The Council did not, however, manage to produce a closing date for Grange until it had given interested persons the opportunity to claim burial places. Eventually it was able to announce 1st. January, 1938 as the operative date and issued a "Schedule of Exceptions".

This schedule had to be extended as several who had not seen the advertisement inviting people to claim places now came forward and went through another process of having their names added to the list. Among these five was Miss Ellen Stevenson, a relation of the authors, who began the correspondence from her home at 27 Marlborough Terrace, Londonderry on 19th. August, 1938 with the Ministry of Home Affairs. Before she was eventually included, along with Joseph Stevenson and Kathleen S. Hamilton (nee Stevenson) on behalf of whom she was also writing, seven letters changed hands. The closure documents, the original and the variation, are printed below:


P.H. 1097.

Closing of the Burial Ground

at Grange


Rural District of Strabane

WHEREAS in pursuance of the provisions of section 162 of the Public Health (IRELAND) Act, 1878, a representation has been made to the Ministry of Home Affairs for Northern Ireland that, for the maintenance of public decency and to prevent a violation of the respect due to the remains of deceased persons, burials should be discontinued in the Burial Ground at Grange in the Rural District of Strabane:

AND WHEREAS in pursuance of the provisions of section 163 of the said Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, the said Ministry gave Notice in the Belfast Gazette on the 21st. September, 1934, that the said Ministry had directed F. J. Deane, Esq., M.B., B.Ch., one of its Inspectors, to hold a Local Inquiry into the matter if the said representation on Tuesday the 16th day of October, 1934, at 11 o'clock a.m. at the office of the Rural District council, Strabane, and copies of the said Notice were duly affixed on the places on which they are required to be affixed by the said section 163, three weeks at least before the date of the said Inquiry:

AND WHEREAS the said F. J. Deane duly held the said Inquiry at the time and place aforesaid:

AND WHEREAS the said Ministry has received the Report of the said F. J. Deane as to the result of the said Inquiry and of the evidence taken thereon, and has taken the same into consideration accordingly:

NOW, THEREFORE, the Ministry of Home Affairs for Northern Ireland in exercise of the powers vested in it by the said Act, hereby orders that burials shall be discontinued, and they are hereby prohibited in the Burial Ground at Grange from and after the first day of January, 1938, subject to the exceptions following, that is to say, there shall be reserved to the persons named in the schedule hereto the right of interment in their family graves in the said Burial Ground, subject to the limitations set out in the third column of the said schedule:


Persons to whom the right of interment in the Burial Ground at Grange is reserved.

Surname Firstname Address No. of Interments Permitted
Woods James Grange Cottages, Bready 2
Stevenson Martha Eglinton Manse, Londonderry 2
Scott Andrew Ardmore, Cullion 2
Stevenson John J. Tamnabryne, Burndennett 2
Henderson Jack Tamnabryne, Burndennett 1
McEldowney Alex. Colmaghery, Newbuildings 3
O’Neill Arthur Cavanacreagh. 2
Gamble Elisabeth Foyleside, Bready 1
Love Elizabeth Gortivea, Strabane 1
Love Victor M. Gortivea, Strabane 1
Moorehead Wm. J. Coolmaghery, Bready 1
Bond Mrs. Thos. Ardmore, Cullion 7
Johnston Mrs. Martha Grange, Bready 1
Craig James Grange Cottages, Bready 1
McLaughlin Margaret Upper Captain Street, Coleraine 2
Devine Wm. Waterside, Londonderry 2
Gibson Wm. J. Lisdiven, Burndennett 5
Clements James Tully. 3
Daly Wm. Prehen, Londonderry 3
Boardman Elizabeth 7 Lower Violet Street, Londonderry 3
McCay Robert J. Killyclooney, Burndennett 2
Henderson John T. 91 Spencer Road, Londonderry 2
Orr Samuel A. 2 Pine Street, Londonderry 3
Smyth John Killyclooney, Strabane 2
Hunter Wm. Killyclooney, Strabane 2
Hunter John A. Collermoney, Burndennett 4
Mathers John Tamnabrine, Burndennett 3
Rankin Wm. Cortmesson, Bready 3
McCrea John W. Maghereagh, Strabane 2
Ballantine Martha Lisdivin, Strabane 2
McCrea William South Grange, Strabane 4
Faulkner Daniel Sandfield, Cullion 3
Dunn Wm. Tully, Newbuildings 1
Nelson   Burndennett. 2
Woods Robert Killyclooney, Strabane 2
Gamble Mary Roselin, Kilso, Scotland 3
Currie Mary Ann Tamnabready, Strabane 4
Falconer Robert J. Killyclooney, Strabane 2
Anderson Wm. J. Windy Hill, Donemana 1
Cunningham John Gortivea, Bready 2
Stevenson Miss M. A. Thornhill, Burndennett 3
Henderson Wm. J. Tamnaclare, Bready 2
Osborne Joseph Menaghill, Bready 3
Finlay Mrs. Kathleen Duke Street, Londonderrry 1
Kilgore John Bready, Strabane 4
Britton Harold W. Leckpatrick. 2
Love William 8 Wapping Lane, Londonderry 2
Hall John Lisdivin, Strabane 3
Porter Dunn Magheramason, Newbuildings 1
Semple Mrs. N. 9 Russell Road, Kensington, London W.14 1
Orr Robert 49 Argyle Street, Londonderry 1
Smyth Mrs. Mary S. Ruskey, Donemana 3

                                     Sealed with the Official Seal of the Ministry
                                     of Home Affairs for Northern Ireland this
(L.s.)                               8th day of October, Nineteen Hundred and
                                     Thirty-seven, in the presence of

                                                         A. ROBINSON

                                                      ASSISTANT SECRETARY.

                                                 Closing of Burial Ground 

                                                         at Grange

    The original order made on the 8th. October, 1937,has been varied by exemption orders, giving the right of interment to the following persons in addition to those shown in the schedule of exceptions contained in the original order.

Surname Firstname Address No. of Interments Permitted Date of Order
Armstrong Bessie Menaghill, Bready, Strabane 1 16.12.1937
Coulter Mr. S. Cloughbouy, Bready, Strabane 1 9.3.1938
Stevenson Ellen 27 Marlbourough Terrace, Londonderry 3 3.10.1938
Malcolm Mr. W. Upper Tully, Newbuildings 2 7.3.1939
Mathers Sara Tamnabrine, Burndennett, Stabane 2 12.8.1953

Amongst the correspondence between the Council and the Ministry of Home Affairs relating to Grange and Donagheady one notices the Ministry's concern in a letter of 10th January, 1935 from the Secretary of the Ministry to the Clerk that alternative burial facilities should be available in the neighbourhood and that is should be in place before the two old graveyards were officially closed. The Council then became active in attempting to acquire land for a letter to the Clerk on 6th June, 1935 from a landowner in the Mountcastle area let it be known firmly that he had no intention of selling ground to the Council. Nothing had been finalised by 1939 but an Inquiry on 27th January of that year was presided over by Vice-Admiral N. E. Archdale. The first page of the Clerk's Evidence is all that exists in the Council's files but there is a suggestion that the closing date for the two old graveyards was being held back until ground for a replacement had been acquired. In the end, it was in Mountcastle, on the B48 road between Donemana and Londonderry, that a graveyard was eventually opened.

We are fortunate at Grange to have a record of families with entitlement to burial. The list serves to emphasise how tightly packed the graves are and we reproduce the complete document in the text as it gives an indication of how tenacious families who had left the district were of their burial rights and it shows also the wide local catchment area through the townlands. This document was prepared in 1891 by R. NOLAN & Co., and we surmise that it was for the Donagheady Presbyterian Church. If they were the owners of the graveyard they found it politic not to mention it when the Strabane District Council took over in the late 1930s.

Not all the families listed have gravestones with inscriptions but it is possible to relate our recording to the map which is reproduced in this book. It is also interesting to note that some names are  spelled as they were, and often still are, pronounced. We have, for example, heard Mathers pronounced Meathers, Daly / Dailey, Faulkner / Fahenter and McCourt / McCourd. One notes also a Donaghy from Ballydonaghy and Devine from Lisdivin and wonders if these were remnants of ancient local Irish families. Just to cast one's eye down the list of townlands suggests how much our placenames have been based on Irish and the poetry in their pronunciation.

Several of these townlands are visible from the highest point in the graveyard and many of the families with graves in Grange continue to live in the immediate vicinity, some of them farming the same land as they were 250 years ago. 

Most of the families interred in Grange were like those in Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard":

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray,
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Some, however, achieved status mainly through their professions and we draw attention to a few.

General William Dunn BOND (B 3.7). The Foyle College Register 1847-1853 includes one William Dunn BOND who entered Trinity College, Dublin in October,1852. His father, Robert, was a wholesale grocer and tea merchant whose shop was where the Derry Standard used to be in Shipquay Street, Londonderry. He had three sons who all went into the army. One, William Dunn Bond, became a general in the British army and died at Dullerton, his "country place"; near Cullion.

His brother, Colonel David Bond is also buried in Grange. Foyle College Times of 10th. March, 1948 has an entry for what may be the the third brother. It is in a catalogue of books written by Otd Boys:

Bond, John (-1850).
"In memoriam to Captain John Bond"; (no date.or place of publication). This volume contains a number of poems by John Bond, captain 93rd. Highlanders, who died in India in 1867, at the age of 33.

The Bond estate at Dullerton is now farmed by Lowry Brothers. The principal dwelling was burnt down in the 1930s but Dulleerton Manor House, the stables, outhouses and gate lodge are now Department of the Environment Listed Buildings.

John Cooke (82.5) had a son Thomas who married Elizabeth Young: they had two sons, John and Joseph, who, when their parents died relatively young, were brought up by Elizabeth's two brothers. Joseph Young, a shipping magnate in Derry, was a bachelor and the boys became heirs to the business. He also left an endowment for orphan girls in the city. A parallel endowment existed for orphan boys and eventually the two amalgamated to form the Gwynn and Young Institution in a fine building in Brooke Park. Sadly, this building was destroyed in the 1970s at the height of the troubles in Derry. Sholto Cooke's "The Maiden City and The Western Ocean", a history of the shipping trade between Londonderry and North America in the nineteenth century, explores the fortunes of the firm of J. & J. Cooke.

The first Presbyterian minister appointed to Donagheady was Rev. John Hamilton in 1658. Rev. John Rutherford, in "Donagheady Presbyterian Churches and Parish", has an interesting commentary on his career and on the standing of Presbyterians in the state at this time. At the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660 he was ousted from his church in Old Donagheady Graveyard, where the ruins are still standing, and was peripatetic in the district till a church was erected at the site of the present Donagheady Presbyterian Church in 1672. As political and religious turmoil increased in 1688 Rev. Hamilton led his wife and two children to safety in Scotland, returned and with his congregation sought refuge in Derry when King James's forces were advancing. He played an active role in the defence of the city and in ministering to the beseiged and is referred to in the poem, "Londerias". We are informed in Rev. George Walker's diary of the siege that he died before it was raised and, according to Rutherford, was probably buried in Grange. Apparently in A1.1, when the Armstrong family were building the low wall to surround their grave in 1895, there was a small tombstone against the west wall bearing Rev. John Hamilton's name and it surmised that it was broken up and incorporated in the wall. He concedes, however, that this headstone may have been a memorial and that Rev. Hamilton is not necessarily buried in Grange.

We note eight doctors, five of whom served in the Royal Navy which in the latter part of the eighteenth and throughout the nineteenth century seems to have provided considerable medical employment, six soldiers of various ranks and a Head Constable of the Royal Irish Constabulary. There are six clergymen, most of whom were incumbents in the Donagheady Presbyterian Churches or in Bready Reformed Presbyterian Church. There are also a few Esquires, a term which used to indicate a certain social standing

Rev. Rutherford records appreciations of most of these clergy, though for one at least, 'appreciation' is hardly the right word. His book, published in 1953, has unfortunately never been reprinted; it contains a wealth of information on the catchment area for Grange and Old Donagheady graveyards.

The oldest grave recorded (Cl.22) was that of R(obe)rt GRANGER who died in 1630. The registers of St. Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry record the marriage of Robert Granger, of the Parish of Donoghedie, and Mary Allen on 22nd April, 1648. The Grangers must have been amongst the early Plantation settlers for a John Granger appears in the Muster Roll of about 1630 for the Strabane Barony and in the Hearth Money Roll of 1666, living in the townland of Cloghogall.

After the Siege Donagheady Presbyterian Church did not have a regular minister until Rev. Thomas Winsley was ordained on 16th January, 1699. After the Ordination Service was over the members of the Presbytery are reported to have retired to an inn at Drumgauty. Here they took refreshment and finished their business. This inn was still in existence in the 1850s and was known as Molly Kelly's public house. It was near the Manor Mill which was adjacent to the stream that flows alongside the road to the graveyard from the main road and was obviously well placed not only for main road traffic but for mourners at the graveyard and customers at the mill.

Procedure for Recording

We began in the North West corner and plotted grids moving across the west wall ten metres square; those next the south wall are srnaller in size. These were labelled A1, A2 and A3. We proceeded atong the North wall at ten metre intervals and marked in gnds southwards parallel to the west wall. Along the East wall the grids, as on the South, are smaller.

Inscriptions are recorded verbatim and no ettempt has been made to modernise eighteenth century spelling. Blanks have been left where lettering and numbers were indecipherable. Several siabs were discovered under turf which was replaced on compietion of recording.

Strabane Rural District Council Records of Burials in Grange
     Record cards indicate the burials of the following:

    Mary Ann Stevenson, Strabane Hospital, d. 8 Oct., 1962; buried 10 Oct. 1862. Age 90. Single. Presby.

    Sarah Jane Mathers, Tamnabrine, Burndennett, Strabane. d. 5 Aug., 1964; buried 6 Aug., 1964. Age 90. Single. Presby.

    Mary Isobel Stevenson, Waterside Hospital, Londonderry. d. 1 July, 1982, buried 5 July, 1982. Age 93. Widow. Presby.

    A rough.note refers to the burial of Fanny Colhoun, Cloughcor on6 Apil,1947.

    The following Reference and Map have been kindly supplied by Strabane District Council.