It’s not always easy to find townland names on modern signs, so I go hunting in old graveyards. I try to look professional, but inside I’m gleeful when I find a townland engraved on a headstone. I’ve already used graveyard images for my posts on Ballyhenry, Ballystockart, Craigantlet, Moneydorragh, and Church Quarter. Today I’m showing you more of my explorations into churchyards.
These photos show graves from more than a century ago, so I hope you find them interesting, rather than sad or spooky. My best chances of finding townland names have been with 18th and 19th century graves. It’s not so common nowadays to add a townland to a headstone.
Identifying the townland isn’t always straightforward. Spellings change over the centuries. So the townland of “Drumawhey” in the photo above from Movilla Cemetery in Newtownards is now spelled “Drumawhy”.
The next one (also in Movilla) challenged my knees as well as my brain. Once I’d got down on the ground under the leaning stone I could see the name Ballywitticock – which is a real townland on the Ards Peninsula, now known as Ballywatticock.
Some inscriptions are abbreviated. The town of Newtownards often appears as “N.T.Ards”. On this headstone for the Garret family in Miller Hill, the townland of Ballybuttle has been reduced to “B.buttle”.