Drumachose

 Old Church 

Limavady - Drumachose Old Church

Drumachose Old Church ruins.   Grid reference C693231


The origin of this ancient site is a monastary founded by St. Canice - who grew up in the area - in about 550 AD but the present ruins date back to the 13th century, when many abbeys were converted into parish churches. In 1602 the churchlands of Drumachose became property of the crown and were then handed over to the established church. However, a church document from 1622 states that the church was already ruinated.

The Ordnance Survey memoirs of 1833-5 note that the graveyard was still in use by the "better class of farmer". Local information at that time had it that the church became a ruin when one of Oliver Cromwell's canons destroyed part of it. Indeed, a Mr. Robert White whose story dates from about 1760, relates in the same publication how he once rode by the Old Church and saw the bones of the slain from that war piled up against the church wall. According to him they were then buried in long trenches in the church yard.

On the right is a picture of the East wall. Observant students of history will notice all the dead ivy which was cut not too long ago in order to preserve the ruin. According to the OS memoire this ivy was planted and cultivated by Marcus McCausland Esquire (ancestor of the present owners), who owned the land. At the time it was felt that a ruin needed lots of ivy and that this not only looked good (which it does), but preserved the building as well. How times change.
The East wall
The East wall

The church is surprisingly large and parts of all four walls still stand. It is built from red sandstone and what appears to be any convenient rock or stone found in the area. There is a small alcove in one corner and the place is totally overgrown with nettles and numerous kinds of weeds. The ruin is surrounded by a graveyard which extends to the inside of the church. Some of the graves are from this century.


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