Templecranny Graveyard and Ballyphilip Church of Ireland

This small circular graveyard, one of the most ancient sites in Portaferry, contains graves dating from the 17th century and the remains of an old church. A medieval church is also thought to have stood on this site. For most of the 17th century this was the local place of worship for Presbyterians and many memorials from that date, including those of Ulster-Scots ancestry, can be found here.

In 1662 the church was given over to the Church of Ireland and was dismantled in 1787 when the modern parish church of St James, or Ballyphillip Church, was built across the road at a cost of less than £900.

When completed St. James’ had a lofty spire but this was removed as dangerous in 1810, the same year the churchyard walls were put up. The church was repaired in 1836 with the aid of a grant of £343 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

Inside there is a stone of c.1730, carved in curly lettering, in memory of Patrick Savage and his family.

Templecranny Graveyard and Ballyphilip Church of Ireland

James Maxwell, who is buried in Templecranny, died fighting for the United Irishmen during the 1798 Rebellion. He died on June 10th at the height of the rebels’ success, when they held all of North Down and Ards.

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