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Fermanagh Gold Introduction

Inscriptions in Aghalurcher Churcyard
by Noel Maguire

The mediaeval parish of Aghalurcher took in all the barony of Magherasteffan except the parish of Aghavea, which divided Aghalurcher into two lobes - one lying along the Lough and the other along the Tyrone border - joined by a narrow strip of mountain at Carrickawick. In the Annals the name is spelled Achadh-urchaire and (later) Achadh-lurchaire. The introduction of the 'l' seems to be a corruption. In Fermanagh nearly all the parish churches were either on islands in the Lough or near the Lough shore and Achadh-urchaire was no exception. With the Plantation it appears to have been taken over for Protestant use. In 1622 it was reported to be in ruins. There is no evidence whatsoever that it was ever a monastery or anything but a parish church.

A number of people in fairly recent times have copied and annotated some of the inscriptions. Rev. W.C. Ledger in 1893 took a photograph of the Bishop's Stone (now built into the vault wall) and wrote a few notes on it: "The stone stands at the head of a grave which has gone by the name of the 'Giant's Grave' amongst the people here." In his time this stone was in the open; but, he says, 'on examination it proves to be certainly one that had been built into a wall." He thinks that the stone was a memorial to Bishop Maguire (+ 1482). He comments, too, on the inscription to the famous Major Arthur Noble. "The word Thu Mouth of course should be Thomond. The fort stood not far the Clare end of the old Thomond Bridge (King John's), which I well remember in my boyish days."

Mr F. J. Bigger, In 1921-23, recorded many of the inscriptions. Dean Lawlor visited Aghalurcher in 1927. As well as correcting some of what Bigger had written, the Dean had some comment to make on the Galbraith and Balfour inscriptions in the vault:

The slabs in the vault are five in number; beginning at the southeast corner are two slabs 7'2" x 3'6" to Mrs Galbraith and James her husband: the third is to John Balford, measuring 6' x 3'. Nearly opposite the latter to the north is a slab to Mrs Cecil Balford measuring 4'5" x 2'5"; beside this is the fifth stone, measuring 4'5" x 2'5"; across the centre is a raised panel but no inscription has been cut thereon. The three first face north; Mrs Cecil Balford's faces south. The legend on the Galbraith stones has evidently been cut by an inexperienced engraver. The letters are badly cut and in many cases are wrong, e.g. d for b in Jacobus' 6 reversed and T for L in the date - to say nothing of spelling.

Robert Galbraith, a Lord of Session in Edinburgh, had (probably with others) three sons, who came to Ireland some time after the Plantation; they apparently settled first in County Donegal. The eldest son, Humphry Galbraith, was a 'servant' of Bishop Spottiswoode, ('agent,' Lawlor says later) and has been identified as Humphry Galbraith, Archdeacon of Clogher, who died in 1676; he left only three daughters who married respectively Col. Michael Sampson, the Rev. John Leslie, D.D., and William Wray. The second son of Robert was Colonel James of Magharelton, County Donegal; he died in 1661 and left four daughters, all of whom married Hamiltons... The third son of Robert Galbraith, the Lord Session, was Colonel Robert, who left two sons, Colonel Robert and James. The former died in 1637, leaving two daughters, married respectively to Andrew Knox and Captain James Stewart. James, the second son of Colonel Robert married, as her second husband, Elizabeth his first cousin, widow of George Hamilton (of Lisdevine, Co. Tyrone). These two, James and Elizabeth Galbraith are those whom the two stones here depicted commemorate. They were survived by three daughters only, all of whom married and went to live elsewhere: their names were Jane, wife of Archibald Nixon, Isobella, wife of Rev. Andrew Hamilton, junior; Anne, wife of Rev. John Sinclair.... Mrs Sinclair was the great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of the present Earl of Belmore (1927).

Lawler adds that 'no relationship can be traced between the families of Galbraith and Balfour.'

Rev. John Maguire, O.P. has been mentioned in the Clogher Record, 1957, p.61. He is not the Rev. John Maguire who erected the stone at the vault wall to his father's memory.

The family of MacCrifferty, which gave its name to a townland, Lios-ty-MacCrifferty, near Maguiresbridge, provided Maguire's harpers. The name of the townland had long dropped out of use; and the family name, it seemed, had disappeared. But now these inscriptions show that the local name Clifford is a corruption of MacCrifferty.

At the end of the inscriptions:
Acknowledgements are due to the following: Mervyn Fleming, J. Teague, Nixon Fiddis, W. Foster, V. Swift, F. Murphy, T. O'Neill, Austin Henry and F. McKinney, B.D.S. without all of whose assistance many of these stones would not have been unearthed nor their inscriptions recorded here.

There are about 550 records referring to Aghalurcher Cemetery with 166 unique surnames. These records include recorded cemetery inscriptions as well as information supplied by contributors from their own research. The names are:

Adam, Adams, Allen, Armstrong, Arnell, Balford, Beatty, Beaty, Belfourd, Bell, Berry, Boardman, Bowels, Brady, Braunan, Breslin, Brown, Bryan, Bryans, Bussell, Cairnes, Callana, Campbell, Carlisle, Chambers, Chapman, Clark, Clarke, Cleareken, Clifford, Clingan, Clingin, Connelly, Corradiller, Cosgrove, Crawford, Crifferty, Cross, Doherty, Dougherty, Douglas, Dunlay, Early, Elliot, Faghnan, Fair, Faire, Farrell, Fere, Fitz Julien, Fleming, Forsig, Forsyth, Foster, Frickleton, Galbraith, Gallagher, Gardiner, Garham, Gavan, Gavin, Gilleese, Graham, Granleese, Gravdon, Hall, Harris, Harte, Hogg, Hughs, Hultahan, Irwin, Johnstone, Keran, Kettyle, King, Latimer, Latimore, Lattemore, Leonard, Leonarde, Liddell, Liddle, Little, Lloyd, Loyd, Lunin, Lunney, Lunny, Lyddel, Lynch, Mack, Magee, Magilroy, Maguire, Martin, McAlerny, McAloone, McBryan, McBryen, McBryn, McBryne, McCaffrey, McCarren, McCaul, McComb, McCormack, McCormick, McCoskill, McCoy, McCusker, McCuster, McDaniel, McElcho(s)kely, McElroy, McEvoy, McGirr, McGrorey, McGuir, McGuire, McHugh, McKeever, McMannaus, McManus, McNulty, McTeague, McTegart, McTegerty, Meelroy, Mitchell, Moore, Morton, Moton, Murphy, Murry, Neason, Nixon, Noble, Nolan, O'Brien, Oltaghon, Pauerson, Plunkett, Reilly, Rennick, Riehel, Robinson, Rosboroug, Ryan, Scott, Shalels, Shales, Sheals, Smyth, Somers, Steen, Storey, Teerney, Teevan, Terney, Thompson, Waston, Watrs, Westt, Wright

If one of the surnames above is the one you're looking for you can now go to the Deaths & Burials Search and type your chosen surname in the Surname box and enter "Aghalurcher" in the Place box.  The results will show you all deaths and burials with that surname in Aghalurcher.

This article and the inscriptions included in the database have been reproduced from the Clogher Record who retain copyright of this material.