Short History of Kilrea

St Patrick apparently visited the Kilrea area during the fifth century. The story was referenced in the excellent mid 1990’s book ‘The Fairy Thorn’ written by local Kilrea historians.  

Second Kilrea Presbyterian Church

Second Kilrea Presbyterian Church

It was during the Plantation of Ulster era, namely the 1600s, that King James 1 allocated Kilrea and the surrounding area, to the Mercers Company, for settlement.  The Mercers headquarters were situated nearby on the banks of the River Bann, at Movanagher.

In modern times, Kilrea is a market town and an important hub of the surrounding district.  It has weekly animal auctions. 

The village is featured in a couple of songs – the Orange song, the ‘Sprigs of Kilrea’, and in the song ‘Kitty, the Rose of Kilrea’ by The Irish Rovers.

The focal point of the village is ‘The Diamond’ which features a War Memorial.  This memorial, 24 feet high and made of Newry granite, commemorates those 46 people in Kilrea, and the surrounding areas, who gave their lives in the two world wars. It also records the near three hundred local men and eight female nurses who served in the two wars.

There are four churches in or close to the town, First Kilrea Presbyterian, Second Kilrea Presbyterian, St Patrick’s Church of Ireland and St Mary’s Catholic Chapel at Drumagarner.

Here is a lovely aerial video of the town. Second Kilrea Church can be seen on the right side of the street, at approximately the 10 to 12 seconds mark.

Second Kilrea Presbyterian Church

I have been in the church several times (and served on it’s Youth Fellowship in the 1980s).  It is a beautiful and warm place of worship. 

Precious little is known about the origins of the Second Kilrea Presbyterian Congregation. We do know that in early times, it met for worship in a linen cloth sealing-room in Bridge Street in the village.

In 1832 it was taken under the umbrella of the Secession Synod.  The Rev. James McCammon, the first preacher at Second Kilrea, was ordained in the village on the 18th June 1833. 

Second Kilrea Church Erected 1838

Second Kilrea Church Erected 1838

The church, in New Row, was constructed in the late 1830s and was completed in 1838.    

The rector, Mr. McCammon, died the following year, in 1839.

Some local people felt that he had strained himself while helping to build the church.

He was a pious man and had been on a salary of 70 pounds per year.  The members of his Congregational Committee in the late 1830s, were: William Catherwood, senior; Thomas Catherwood; Daniel Campbell; John Caskey; Alexander Craig; Hugh Stewart; James Hasty junior; Robert McIlwrath and Henry McCahon. The Church Treasurer was Robert McCahon.

The Reverend Joseph Dickey succeeded Mr. McCammon. The new man was ordained on the 31st March 1840.  The Dickey family had several members who preached in the Presybterian ministry.  Joseph Dickey was known as a godly pastor who led by example.  Dickey’s wife was a daughter of Robert McCahon, of the Diamond in Kilrea. 

Second Kilrea Panorama

The Reverend Dickey died in 1883.  His successor in Second Kilrea was the Reverend F. O. M. Watters, who was a son of the minister of Newtownards.  Watters was ordained on the 17th January, 1884.  He resigned the Kilrea job in 1888 after getting an offer to preach in Sligo.  Second Kilrea than appointed the Rev. John Colhoun, a man who learned his job with the Letterkenny Presbytery.  Coulhon’s ordination in Kilrea took place in October 1888.  The rector died on the 13th February, 1892.

On 21st June 1892, the Reverend Alexander Gallagher, a licentiate of Derry Presbytery, was ordained and took over at Second Kilrea. After a productive four years in the job, Gallagher then departed in 1902 to preach at Fountainville in Belfast.

On the 6th March 1902, Armagh man, the Rev. W. J. Farley, B.A., was ordained in Kilrea.

Church Gravestones

In remembrance of Mary beloved wife of Alexander Adams Drumagarner who died 2nd Dec 1880 aged 42 years
Also their children Samuel Thomas who died 11th Oct 1878 aged 13 months
Rebecca, who died 23 August 1884 aged 12 years
Also Alexander Adams died 23rd Jan 1912 aged 84 years

Erected by S & T Adams in memory of their beloved mother Mary Elizabeth Adams who died 27th April 1880 aged 60 years
Also their sister Elizabeth who died 13th Feby 1870 aged 26 years
Also Sarah Eliza daughter of Thos Adams Junr who died 24th Nov 1877 aged 3 months
Also Annabella who died 27th December 1886 aged 6 years
Also their father Thomas Adams who died 27th June 1889 aged 74 years
John H Adams who died 5th Sept 1968 Anabella Adams who died 28th March 1891

In loving memory of Jane Archibald Bridge Street Kilrea died 4th June 1932
And her sister Isabella Smyth died 26th June 1943

Armstrong Moneygran In loving memory of John died 16th April 1921 aged 69 years
Matilda died 3rd February 1946 aged 70 years
Also their son Robert died 25th July 1997 aged 88 years

In loving memory of Allan died 28th June 1955
His daughter Joan d Percy died 5th May 1978
Also his wife Elizabeth died 20th February 1979
And John died 7th October 2001

In loving memory of a dear mother and father Sarah died 6th March 1935
Alexander died 18th August 1940
And their son James died June 1996 “At rest”
On a marble plaque, are the words: In loving memory of Jim from his loving wife Mary

In loving memory of Samuel J Bolton M.D. who died 12th December 1951
And his wife Isabella who died 9th April 1949

Erected in loving memory of Robert Burnside Moynock died 25th February 1943 aged 71 years
Also his daughter Jane S Burnside died 15th April 1958 aged 52 years and his wife Matilda died 13th May 1971 aged 98 years
Also his son James died 13th December 1978 aged 80 years, his wife Annie died 11th March 1980(?)

Erected by John Burnside Bellury in loving memory of his wife Elizabeth who departed this life 11th Dec 1893 aged 64 years
Also their eldest son James Edenbawn who died 2nd Nov 1893 aged 40 years
And his sister-in-law Mary Surgenor Killycoogan who died 23rd July 1891 aged 66 years
Also the above John Burnside who died 5th Nov 1909 aged 85 years

In loving memory of our dear parents John Campbell died 28th January 1984
Mary Ann died 3rd January 1991

In loving memory of Thomas Catherwood Cortmacrane died 21st October 1933 and his wife ANN JANE died 17th September 1938
Also their son Alexander died 18th April 1945 also their daughter Elizabeth Jane died 9th March 1955
And their daughter Margaret Ann died 1st February 1962

Erected by his family in loving memory of Thomas Catherwood who departed the life 29th December 1883 aged 48 years
Also his daughter Louisa who died 16th March 1919 aged 40 years
Also Nancy Catherwood wife of the above named died 23rd Nov 1927 aged 93 years

Erected by Margaret Ann Catherwood in memory of her husband Robert Catherwood Boveedy died 3rd April 1918
Also his father William Catherwood died 17th February 1907
His mother Nancy Catherwood died 9th July 1933
Also the above named Margaret Ann Catherwood 24th June 1957
Their daughter Maud Catherwood died 5th March 1978

In loving memory of Revd John Colhoun late Minister of Regent Street Presbyterian Church Kilrea who died 13th Feby 1892 aged 35 years

In loving memory of Agnes beloved wife of Alex Craig died 8th May 1871 aged 73 years
Their daughter Elizabeth died 28th January 1872 aged 48 years
And aforenamed Alex Craig died 4th Jan 1888 aged 90 years
Also Wm CRAIG died 5th Oct 1917 and his beloved wife Annie died 27th Sept 1919
“Until the day break and the shadows flee”
There are words on the edge of the headstone: Also Thomas Craig son of the afore named William and Annie Craig died 30th March 1923 aged 53 years

In loving memory of Robert Dawson who died 27th Nov 1931 aged 84 years
Also his wife Mary who died 15th June 1902 aged 56 years

In loving memory of Robert Elder died 15th May 1937
Also his daughter Lilly died 12th November 1911
Also his daughter Margaret died 21st April 1942
And his wife Ellen died 25th January 1983 “Till we met again”

In memory of my beloved wife Jane Elliot who died 3rd November 1951 and her husband William Elliot who died 30th April 1970
Also their daughter Annie Martha Apperley who died 3rd March 1972 also their daughter-in-law Edith Annie Elliot who died 16th September 1981
And their son James Alexander Elliot who died 6th November 1985
Also their grandson James Elliot who died 25th November 2000

The headstone has nothing written on it

In loving memory of James Clarke died 16th Sep 1938 aged 31
And his wife Sarah died 16th Jan 1998 aged 93
Also their daughter-in-law Rachel (Betty) Robertson died 1st April 1999 aged 74

Erected by Simon Gibson in memory of his father Anthony Gibson died 27th Feb 1924
And his mother Matilda died 15th April 1949 and the above named Simon Gibson died 19th March 1968

Erected in memory of John Gilmore Boveedy who died 25th January 1867 aged 77 years
Also his wife Jane Gilmore who died 21st March 1874 aged 77 years
And their son Joseph D Gilmore who died 7th Jany 1917 aged 75 years
Also his son Joseph W Gilmore who died 31st March 1925 aged 45 years
Also Margaret wife of Joseph D Gilmore who died 7th May 1937 aged 83 years
And also his grandson William Gilmore who died 12th Octr 1936 aged 26years
Also Isabella wife of Joseph W Gilmore died 30th June 1958
And their son Joseph Gilmore died 14th July 1977 aged 66 years

William son of William Graham Sr died 16th Septr 1899 aged 74 years
And his wife Mary died 28th Jany 1913 aged 74 years also their daughter Margt J died in infancy

Erected by Archie Graham Coolgardie W A in memory of William Graham died 10th April 1848 aged 60 years
And his wife Catherine died 21st November 1868 aged 78 years Lizzie died in Canada
Sarah Simms died 15th March 1904 aged 30 years also their daughter Catherine died 4th Oct 1932 aged 72 years
And Annie died 27th Jan 1937 Tillie F late of Kalgoolie W A died 13th March 1937

In loving memory of Thomas Hart Drumsane who died 25th November 1921 aged 71 years
Also his wife Elizabeth who died 1st September 1918 aged 67 years

There are no words on this headstone

In loving memory of my dear husband John Hunter who dpt this life 21st November 1924
Also in memory of his dear wife Mary Ann Hunter who dpt this life 9thApril 1955

In loving memory of Elizabeth the dearly beloved wife of Oliver Hutchinson died 20th March 1903 aged 43 years
Also seven of their children died in infancy also their daughter Anna M died 17th May 1924
Also Minnie wife of John Hutchinson died 1st September 1936 aged 89 years
And Bessie Chaine Hutchinson daughter of Oliver and ELlizabeth died 17th February 1973

In memory of his dear father James Johnston died 8th Sept 1886 aged 66 years
And his aunt Mary Johnston died 8th Sept 1880
Also his brother Richard Johnston died 14th Augt 1899 aged 17 years
Also the above James Johnston died 1st March 1958 aged 81 years
And his wife Mary Ann Johnston died 6th May 1979 aged 94 years

Words on the side of the headstone:
Also his mother Margaret Johnston died 20th April 1919 aged 72 years
And their son James Johnston died 10th Dec 1990 aged 66 years

Erected by Robert John Johnston New Zealand in memory of his father Thomas Johnston Drumsara
died 24th October 1885 aged 60 years And his mother Mary Johnston died 28th Jany 1911 aged 84 years

Erected by W Kane to the memory of his beloved wife Margaret who died April (the year and age are difficult to make out)

In memory of Robert Kernohan Late of Kilrea who died 30th July 1873 aged 33years
Also Anna Hilton his wife who died 26th July 1897 aged 64 years

Erected by her son William
In loving memory of a dear mother Matilda Lennox Moneysallin who died 8th Feb 1919 aged 79 years
Also the under named William Lennox who died 3rd June 1926 aged 56 years

In loving memory of Robert Lennox J.P. Drumane died 24th May 1937
And his wife Elizabeth Jane Lennox died 27th September 1936 also their son Thomas died 24th December 1966
And his wife Helena Margaret died 15th February 1974

In memory of MARGARET McALLISTER died Feb 1913 aged 86 her son WILLIAM THOMAS LINTON died 25th Feb 1951 aged 84
And his wife MARY ANN died 24th Jan 1955 aged 86 also their son THOMAS A died 7th May 1939 aged 36
And their son who died in infancy also their daughter NANCY ANN LINTON died 10th May 1988 aged 80 years
And their daughter MARGARET died 24th March 1998 aged 87

In loving memory of William Morrison Long died 23rd February 1915
His wife Elizabeth died 11th June 1943 their daughter Kathleen died in infancy
Janetta Neimir Patton died 4th February 1960

This headstone is very difficult to read.
Erected in memory of Henry M’Cahon —- Kilrea who died – December 1868
Also —- who died 23rd May —— aged — years ——— son— Robert —- M’Cahon

In remembrance of Hugh M’Creery who departed this life 29th April 1875 aged 7 years & 5 months
Also his father Anthony M’Creery who died 14th September 1879 aged 70 years

In memory of Elizabeth J Madden died 14th Oct 1914
Thomas Madden Snr died 26th June 1946
Agnes (Nanna) Madden died 5th April 1982

Erected by Alexander Mark in memory of his beloved wife Mary Ann Mark died 3rd March 1904 aged 56 years
And the above named Alexander Mark died 2nd May 1932 aged 89 years

In loving memory of William H Martin died 10th Dec 1925
Also his wife MARGARET died 20th May 1897 also his father William Martin died 26th May 1882
And his daughter Elizabeth Martin died 11th May 1900
Also his brother James D Martin died 1st March 1920

In loving memory of William McAlister died 11th September 1953
And his dear wife Elizabeth died 4th May 1976
Also their Margaret died 14th August 1997

In loving memory of Samuel McCahon born 1844 died 1908
Also his wife Mary Jane Henderson born 1851 died 1934

Erected to the memory of Robert McCahon who departed this life on the 2nd April 1862 in the 21st year of his age
Also to the memory of John McCahon who died on the voyage to Australia on the 8th Dec 1865 in the 23rd year of his age
Also Joseph McCahon who died on the 27 Feby 1874 in the 28th year of his age
Also Elizabeth the beloved wife of Robert McCahon who departed this life 1st December 1877 aged 70 years
Also Robert McCahon who died 11th July 1889 aged 84 years

In memory of James McCurdy who died 16th Nov 1864 aged 6o years
Also Charlotte McCurdy who died 22nd March 1920
And Maria Wallace sister of the above named Eliza McCurdy who died 8th Nov 1914

Ballymaconnolly In loving memory of Archibald died July 1964 aged 84 years
His wife Martha died February 1928 aged 37 years
His sister Mary Ann died February 1961 aged 78 years
Also daughter-in-law Hilda died 2nd November 1995 aged 72 years

In loving memory of Thomas McIlrath Lisnagrot born 20th Nov 1836 died 27th Jan 1910
Also his wife Sarah born 27th May 1844 died 25th May 1909
Also their grandson William Arthur born at Myroe 16th Jan 1901 died 28th Feb 1905
Also their son George A died 10th Nov 1932 and their son Hugh Arthur died 13th Feb 1939
Also their daughter-in-law Annie wife of Hugh Arthur died 11th Dec 1956
Also their great granddaughter Georgina Yvonne died 2nd July 1956
Also his son Wm Arthur McIlrath born 4th Jan 1866 died 3rd Nov 1911
Also their daughter-in-law Jemima the dearly beloved wife of H A McIlrath died 10th March 1917
Also their grandsons Tommy A and John Knipe McIlrath died 8th Oct 1921
Also their grandson Wm Arthur McIlrath died 28th May 1923

In loving memory of James McLaughlin who died 8th December 1882 aged 58 years
Also his brother William McLaughlin who died ?? February 1894 ? aged 74? years

In loving memory of Elizabeth Ann McMullan died 18th Feby 1940 aged 88 years
And Margaret Thompson McMullan
beloved wife of John McMullan Moneygran, died 8th January 1947 aged 33 years
Also Robert McMullan died 2nd September 1965 aged 78 years
And his wife Georgina McMullan died 2nd March 1969 aged 76 years
Also their son Cecil McMullan died 10th March 1975 aged 56 years
And their son Robert W McMullan died 22 July 1988 aged 77 years
His wife Hannah McMullan died 28th November 1991 aged 77 years

Erected by John McMullin in memory of his wife Eliza who died 2nd of May 1904 aged 50 years
Also the above named John McMullin who died 7 Feby 1922 aged 81 years
Also their son John D at Durbin South Africa 24th Sept 1937 “Deep Regretted”

Erected by William Michael Lismoyle in memory of his son James who died 31st July 1912 aged 24 years
Also the above named William Michael who died 15th August 1921 aged 82 years

Erected by James Michael ——————also -son Samuel died 5th Augt 1908??? aged 24 years

This gravestone is very hard to read.

In loving memory of our dear father Robert Millar Moynock who died on 25th December 1928 in his 84th year
Also his wife Margaret who died on 31st March 1950 in her 89th year
Also their son Robert who died on 31st March 1967 in his 78th year

In loving memory of ROBERT MILLAR Maynock who died 23rd May 1882 aged 72 years
Also his wife Ann Millar who died 10th Feb 1896 aged 88 years
And their daughter -in-law Margaret Jane Millar who died 26th September 1875
Also his son JAMES died Octr 10th 1906
Also his granddaughter Eliza Millar died 21st Oct 1910
Also his son John Millar died 19th July 1921
Also his daughter Nancy died 30th November 1924
On the side: Also their daughter Annie wife of the late W. P. Robinson died 28th May 1989 in her 98th year

Erected by family in loving memory of our dear mother Elizabeth Montgomery who died 30th August 1903 aged 63 years
And her husband Hugh who died 11th August 1919 also their daughter Nancy who died 14th October 1936
And their son Adam who died 5th September 1937

Dirraw In loving memory of J. William A. died 13th September 1961 aged 37 years
Also his father Alexander G. died 13th September 1977
And his mother Margretta died 1st January 1984

Erected in memory of the Paul Family of Boveedy 1972

The headstone has nothing on it

Cherished memories of our dear mother Sarah passed away 12th November 1997 aged 88 years

In memory of Elizabeth wife of Hugh Stewart of Kilrea who died 10th April 1862 aged 55 years
Hugh Stewart died 21st April 1870
Hugh Stewart their son died 11th March 1892
Also their daughter Minnie Stewart who died at Portrush on the 24th Oct 1921 aged 75 years

In loving memory of Henry Vance died 4th May 1945
His wife Nancy died 24th Feb 1946 and their son Robert died 30th Jan 1975

In memory of of John Wallace who died at Culmore 4th March 1868 aged 64
Also his wife Martha who died 19th Feb 1886 aged 85 years
In memory of Samuel Robinson Wallace of Culmore who died 24th Nov 1913 aged 69 years
Also Margaret Ann Wallace who died 30th April 1922 aged 82 years
Minnie Elizabeth Hay (nee Wallace) sister of John Liken Wallace of Victoria House Rasharken who died 12th July 1942 aged 72 years
There are some marble plaques which say: Mary Margaret Hay daughter of William & Minnie Elizabeth Hay died 17th August 1990 aged 78 years
Erected by John Wallace to the memory of his wife Nancy who departed this life on 16th May 1844 aged 85?? Years
In loving memory of Mary Anne wife of Samuel Robinson Wallace died 28th Dec 1987 aged 74 year
And their son Robert Liken died 1st April 1984 aged 39 years
William Robert Russell Broughshane died 20th September 1979 aged 67 years
The above words are across three headstones

To the memory of James Wallace of Culmore Rasharken who died 9th August 1819 aged 80 years
And Elizabeth his wife who died 28th June 1819 aged 86 years
Also William John Wallace of Rasharkin died 18th August 1908 aged 71 years
And his son John Liken Wallace died 22nd December 1908 aged 39 years
And their infant daughter of John Liken Wallace died 28th Jany 1905
Also his wife Elizabeth Ann died 4th Decr 1958 aged 87 years
Their son Norman Liken Wallace died 28?th Oct 1977 aged 68 years
Also their son Samuel Robinson Wallace died 7th April 1978 aged 78 years

In loving memory of William Wallace Woods J.P. Wood Hall Kilrea died 10th August 1924
And his wife Sara Kennedy Woods died 20th July 1976 aged 102 years
Also their son Thomas Kennedy Woods M.B.E. died 24th October 1991
Also his wife Florence Margaret Woods died 1st October 1996