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The Vow cemetery

This is an old cemetery and is now overgrown and difficult to study. However, is is apparently still used by a few local families. As well as the information on this page, Lavonne Bradfield has visited the cemetery and has transcribed the readable stones.

It is on the Antrim shore of the Bann (map reference 916 175) about 300 metres north of the site of the old Vow Ferry. There appears to be no associated church - but this may have been present once and have been demolished.

The cemetery is mentioned in Jared Sidney Torrance's book (immediately following the Movanagher incident)

There's a sacred spot almost overlooking the ferry where the above incident took place, a little cemetery on a knoll over which the tombstones scramble with quaint irregularity. It is on the opposite side of the river from the Torrance Country, but in it rest the remains of many of the clan. The peasant will tell you today that the men from The "Derry" bring their dead to their last home here. And when the present writer visited the cemetery he found that several of the old tombstones in it bore the Torrance inscriptions and alongside those of the Kennedys, kinsmen by marriage. p188

Photograph of the Vow graveyard.

Indeed the Kennedys were plentiful in North Antrim, and the sentiment of the following lines testifies to their number and power in the earlier days:

An attempt to decipher the Torrance monumental inscriptions disclosed a rather curious disregard of the rules of orthography by the sculptor. In a part of the country where ancient tombstones are very few, the existence of these shows the regard the Torrances had for their departed friends.

The following transcriptions were reported by J W Kernohan to Jared Sidney Torance.

Here Lyeth the
Body of Huey
Tornce who
departed thi
s life July 2
2, 1712

Here Lyeth
the Body of
llln Torrans (May be Helen) reports JWK
hoo dsised the
3 of November

Next stone

Here lyeth the
body of Marey Kennedy
who died JU
NE 16, 1767, AG
ED one yrs.
Samule gravestone

The third stone, pictured above, near the others has only:

    The burring
    place of Samile

Kernohan adds: "This is a later stone. Notice various spellings. The sculptor was not highly educated in orthography!!"

Lavonne Bradfield provides the following:

    erected by S. M. Kennedy
    (of) Cool
    in memory of her husband
    James McClister Kennedy
    who departed this life 29th July
    1885, aged 49 years
    his wife Sarah M. Kennedy
    died 7th June 1912, aged 65 years
    their son
    William Keers Kennedy

    died 2nd May 1928, aged 34 years
    Margaret Ann Kennedy
    died 8th Mar 1946

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First published: 17th January, 2002
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Last modified: Sun, 29 Dec 2019 12:27:03 GMT
© 2002 - 2021 Richard Torrens