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.