Derrykeighan Old Churchyard Book

This is the third book in a planned series of the graveyards in North Antrim. Derrykeighan Old Churchyard has been quite different from the others in that many of the gravestones are from the 17th and 18th centuries. The people buried there are from many churches in the area. There are burials of people who were members of the congregations of Benvarden, Bushmills, Carnaff, Carncullagh, Mosside, Toberkeigh, Toberdoney and Derrykeighan, these being Presbyterian Covenanter as well as Church of Ireland denominations.

The graveyard has been closed for burials since 1958 and is looked after and maintained by Ballymoney District Council.

Although records of the local churches have been used, much of the research this time has been from many old books and articles. I have kept the family trees shorter this time, but I can provide more detailed information if you contact me through my web site.

There didn’t appear to be a map of the churchyard other than small sketches. I am indebted to Bill Simpson who drew up an accurate scale map. I have used it to divide the churchyard into four sections and added a reference to each gravestone. The positions of the graves are to act as a guide and are not to scale. Some of them had been recorded, but could not be found such as Sarah Boylan 1722, Sarah Hodge 1752, John Poak 1715, John Moore of Kingarve 1770, Matthew Stewart 1752 and James Hamilton 1750. There are also some graves with transcriptions but no numbers which have been inserted throughout the book.

Again most of my research has been done using church records and the sources mentioned below rather than hearsay. I welcome any corrections or additions to my work as no doubt I will have made mistakes.

Sources used for Local Research

1660-1669 Hearth Money Rolls

1740 Protestant Householders’ Returns

1766 Religious Census

1803 Agricultural Census

1827 Tithe Applotment Book

1901 and 1911 Census

Ordinance Survey Memoirs of Co. Antrim 1838

The Hutchinson Bequest by John A. I. McCurdy 2001

The Annals of the Parish of Derrykeighan, by Rev. Hugh McNeill M.A. 1910

History of the Parish of Derrykeighan for Three Centuries, by Thomas Camac 1908

McClay transcription of Derrykeighan Old Churchyard

For those who are not familiar with some of the sources, I will give a brief explanation.

The Hutchinson Bequest was a list of the relations who claimed to be eligible for a share of the money from the estate of Archibald Hutchinson (ca 1659 – 1740) as stated in the Dobbs report of 1790.

The Annals of the Parish of Derrykeighan was published in 1910, some seventeen years after the death of its compiler, the Rev Hugh McNeill, Rector of Derrykeighan C. of I. Church in Dervock from 1876 – 1893.

The History of the Parish of Derrykeighan for Three Centuries, by Thomas Camac was published in 1908 and he openly acknowledges that much of his work came from Rev. Hugh McNeill. He also used a series of “jottings” of local history which are in PRONI. Camac was related to many of the families in the old churchyard.


  1. So much information, which means so much of your time and research. Congratulations on a wonderful resource of the area, Dorothy. It is such a professional work, and much appreciated, Gillian

  2. Love your books. I’m across the pont in USA and all my Maternal ancestors came from Northern Ireland. Your books are amazing and I will have to purchase them one of these days.
    “Ginny” Thompson

  3. Would find it really useful if locations approxiamte road names could be included to locate Graveyards for when we are visiting

  4. Dorothy, Assume this is an active site and just came across this reference. I’m going to visit Derrykeighan Parish in August where I believe my 3rd G-Grandfather, Rev. Charles Douglas, who was Curate from 1773-1833, is buried. Obviously a lot of other family names involved, but can you indicate how many Douglas burials you identified there? Likely should have found the book before I go if there are the number I suspect. Thanks, Bill

  5. Hi Iam visiting Ireland as my ancestors came from Ballymoney. There name was Boyland
    Iam from Australia so it will be so interesting to visit your area.
    Cheers maria

  6. I will be in the area 21-23 looking for Samuel Chestnut (Chesnutt) history. Buried at old church 1734 and 4 sons went to America. We have the complete of those family and looking for the origins. Thank you

  7. 21-23 October 2018

  8. Email me at and I will try and help.

  9. Hi,im James Mckay,my ancestors are buried in the Church, Daniel McCay 1730 as well as his son Hugh Mackay and Daniel Mckay and also a host of others Mckays all the same family.The names where different to identify all the line born from Daniel McCay 1730 to 1801

  10. Hi James,
    Hugh McKay b. 1769 was married to Sarah Douglas, daughter of my 3rd G-Grandfather Charles Douglas (1733-1844) who is also buried in this graveyard. Map was great aid in finding his grave last summer.

  11. I am researching the Allen family associated with the Lisconnan house. I am focusing on the eighteenth century. Any leads to extended family connections in the Ballymoney/Dervock area would be appreciated. I will be visiting the area in mid May 2019. Thanks much, Brian Muller

  12. Hi Mike, my research shows definite family connections to Allen of Lisconnan House in the area. Would be very interested if you discover anything about a “Miss Allen of Lisconnan” possibly married to my 3rd G-Grandfather Charles (above). Church of Ireland records indicate her as one of three wives with no order; I’m descended from his wife Grace Gamble (2nd wife? since this is 23 years after he became Rector of Derrykeighan Church) married 1787. Their son, Edmond Alexander Douglas (1794-1846) married Anne Allen (1807-1890) daughter of Samuel Allen (1778-1835). Another of his daughters, Frances Higginson Allen (1776-1807) married another of my 3rd G-Grandfather’s Archer Bayley (1770-1832), so clearly a family relationship to the Allen’s. Will be most interested in your research results!

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