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Pupils learn about voices from graves

Nicole and Hannah from DH Christie Memorial Primary School gather information from an old grave during the St. Patrick's Church Graveyard Project.

Nicole and Hannah from DH Christie Memorial Primary School gather information from an old grave during the St. Patrick's Church Graveyard Project.

Coleraine Borough Council’s Museum staff have been working closely with St Patrick’s Church in Coleraine in a bid to explore the gravestones and memorials inside and outside the church.

The stories and information held on these stones provide a rich local history resource right in the centre of town.

Sarah Carson, Collections Access Officer, said: “I would like to thank Kathleen Connolly of the Coleraine Branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society for sharing her work on the graveyard with us.

“I would also like to extend thanks to Edward Montgomery of The Honourable The Irish Society who generously supported the project which is proving to be great fun and a brilliant learning experience for the children involved.

“The information gathered will be made available shortly through printed booklets.”

The first session of the project was facilitated by archaeologist, Nick Brannon.

Staff and volunteers of St Patrick’s Church and the Museum gained valuable knowledge on how to record graveyards.

The earliest memorials at the graveyard date to the 17th century and provide valuable information on the Borough such as who lived in the town, had association with the town and details on the last burial recorded, which was in the early 20th century.

Earlie this month pupils from Sandelford School and D.H. Christie Memorial School joined Church and Museum staff at St Patrick’s to help staff at the Museum record the graveyard.

The pupils were split into groups with different tasks, including taking rubbings of the gravestones, searching for shapes and symbols, recording the inscriptions and taking photographs.

From this Museum staff made some interesting discoveries such as records of people living in the borough for up to one hundred years in the 18th century, stories of bravery and heroics, and even a murder!

The museum expects to uncover further stories, facts and information during its work with local schools over the coming weeks.

 
 
 

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