Local historian Johnny Cunningham says that his ancestors on his mothers
side have been buried here for over 400 years. His family, The Eves, originally
came over from east Anglia along with the Archdales during the plantation.
The oldest marked headstone to the Eves family was erected by John Eves
to the memory of his father, Adam who was born in 1800.
previously mentioned, this is a mixed graveyard but, unlike many others,
there is no evidence any segregation between Catholic and Protestant graves.
In the majority of mixed graveyards, The catholic graves would be found on
one side and the Protestant ones on the other. In this burial place they
are all intermingled throughout the site.
Johnny comments that this
is also possibly unique in Ireland for its rich mixture of Scottish, English
and Irish names.
A large vault stands in memory of the Archdales, who were the local landlords.
There is also an Archdale vault outside the church and another underneath
the church, where some 20 members of the Archdale family now lie.
Mary Beard Can also trace her family history back to the Archdales. Her
great Uncle was Blackwood Archdale who lived in Castle Archdale with his
and daughter in-law, Harry and Audley Archdale. Mary remembers well going
to the Castle as a as a young girl and describes what it was like. “It
was a great place. You went up the steps to the front door and there was
a big hall with an enormous staircase which had a stained glass window
at the top.” She explains how the window was accidentally destroyed
years later by one of the Archdale family who, having rescued the window
and packaged it in a box, drove over it with a tractor.
Mary confirms the story that the Castle was haunted. She adds the detail
that it was only haunted from the third floor upwards and how a black dog
was often said to have been seen up there. She remembers how Audley tried
to get her horse to go beyond the second floor and it wouldn’t go.
Therefore it was agreed that it was haunted.
William Roulston describes a sandstone headstone which is
a particularly fine example of Fermanagh sculpture.
This stone (seen on the right) was once located inside the church.
It was moved to the outside during recent renovations. The stone bears
the inscription: ‘Here lieth the bodies of Thomas and Elizabeth
Humphries deceased 1703’, making it over 300 years old.
The headstone also has other obvious markings. In addition to an elaborately
sculpted family crest at the top, it has carvings of the skull and
cross-bones motif and an hour glass lying on its side. These are known
as mortality symbols. There is also a Latin inscription which translates
as “Remember you must die”. This, William explains, was
to remind people of their mortality and to help them prepare themselves
Similar "mortality symbols" can be seen elsewhere in Fermanagh
such as in the graveyard at Pubble,
If you enjoyed this article
you may like to read some of
the others in this series,
exploring community history
through headstones... click
The Pubble Graveyard: click
History from Headstones: http://www.historyfromheadstones.com/
Andrew Knox - July '08
My great grandfather Arthur Knox actually left for Australia
in 1881 on the Blair Gowrie with 3 brothers and a sister.
His older brother William stayed behind and became the
Rector of Killisher Parish. His mother and father also
emigrated. [Arthur and Mary nee Simpson]. They settled
near Robertson on the New South Wales, Southern Highlands
and young Arthur married Isabella Walmsley - daughter
of James who hailes from this parish.
Mrs Leigh Anne Saddington - Jan '07
I visited Ardess Church in 1993 but I found it hard
reading a lot of the headstones as they were so worn.
I have one of Breege McCuskers books on the church
and I found it very interesting.What a wonderful and
old history it has and I remember walking inside and
seeing the lovely stained glass.
Do you know if there are any details of the graves
at Crevenish Castle, as my ancestors (Cochrane and
Humphrys)lived there at one time? I mention this as
I note that in the records of Ardess Church mention
is made of some of the Cochranes and Humphrys as "buried
at Crevenish." It would be wonderful to know just
who is buried under the chapel area of Crevenish Castle
and I thought that maybe be details are somewhere at
Ardess Church as this was the family church.
Louise Gallagher Cavallaro - Nov '06
Could please tell me if there is any catholic records
in black boy chapel in 1830's my family lived on rotten
mountain rd and all daniel gallagher's children were
baptized their .He married Ellen McGuire and the children
were catherine,charles e daniel'bernard ilverton and
thomas. Where can I find any records?
John Dinnen - Oct '06
I am descended from William Dinning a weaver from ?
Derryvullan parish who married Mary Little of Magheraghculmoney
parish on 17/4/1827. They lived in Drummiagh (Drummoyagh)
in this parish and had two children. Their son John
Dinning/Dinnen was a labourer in Ardvarney west, presumably
for the Rector Edward Atthill. One of their grandsons
also worked there then emigrated to Canada after 1911
census. His son Robert John Dinnen was a Lance Corp
in the Canadian Engineers and was killed in France in
1917 (name recorded on War Memorial plaque in Magheraculmoney
Church). I am interested in linking up with any family
Doreen Gibson - March '06
Re Duke of Westminster visiting the graveyard as a young
student - surely he is still alive and living in London
- I think he will be around 55 years of age - unless
I have the wrong person.
Christie Brien - October '05
This is a wonderful article! I have been searching for
information about this cemetery exactly, for I am researching
my ancestors. How wonderful that someone appreciates
the history of people, and is also trying to preserve
it for others. Well done!!!
Joan Dawes - July '05
On a visit to Fermanagh I found there are several Murrays
buried in this graveyard, as well as various spellings
of Magee, Shannon and Magolrick. These are all names
I am interested in and would love to hear from genealogists
who can connect to these families.
Charles & Susan (Shannon) Murray (married Kesh)
emigrated from Fermanagh to Australia in 1838, arriving
Sydney NSW Feb 1839. They were accompanied on the Barque
"Susan" by their six children: James, Philip,
Elinor, Mary, Charles & Margaret. Research found
Murrays and Shannons living mid 1830s at Aghinver, near
Kesh. Charles Snr's father was James Murray; mother
Ellen McGoldrick (or McGoldrich).
As for Magee, Charles Murray later [in 1855] sponsored
his sister Dorinda (Murray) McGee’s children to
New South Wales. The Murrays and McGees settled in the
Ulladulla area of NSW. There are many descendants.
Peter Walmsley - June '05
What does Ardess actually mean?
M y great grandfather Arthur knox and his 10 siblings
left for australia in 1888. we believe they were farmers
somewhere near kesh.my dublin born wife and I were visiting
kesh between christmas 07 and new year and were interested
in the famine graves. upon walking through the grave
yard at the front of the church we became distracted
by a number of knox graves.my great grandfather was
to married a lady called walmsley.we noticed also this
name was well represented however i dont know whether
he married miss walmsley in fermanagh or new south wales.arthur
was 19 when he arrived in aust. he worked at first as
farm labourer in richmond NSW and later owned a farm
cootamundra then berrima NSW.He became head of the sheep,cattle
and livestock asociation of nsw and died in the sydney
suburb of burwood in 1930
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