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The Cemeteries of Lurgan

The McCall GravestoneAs any Genealogist or Family Historian will tell you, tracing your Irish ancestors is so much more difficult than in many other regions, due to the fact that a large number of census records and documents were destroyed in 1922. This means that parish records and gravestone inscriptions have become one of the most important places in which to begin your search.

Probably the most famous gravestone in Lurgan, is that of Margorie McCall a young woman who lived in Lurgan around 1705. Jim Gracey takes up the story.

It is believed Margorie was married to John McCall – who is thought to have been a surgeon – although it was common in those days for people to have more than one ‘trade’ – and she lived with her family in Church Place.

Margorie is thought to have fallen ill and - as her family thought – died. There was quite a lot of commotion at the wake concerning a valuable ring that Marjorie was wearing. Many of the mourners tried in vain to prise the ring from her fingers – perhaps because they anticipated the possibility that grave robbers would desecrate Marjorie’s resting place in order to steal the ring.

After the wake – which was traditionally an attempt to avoid premature burial as the family of the deceased would sit and watch over the body for a few days to see if the person awakened - Marjorie was duly interred in Shankill Graveyard. That very same night her body was exhumed by grave robbers. The robbers also tried in vain to remove the ring from her finger, but could not. Eventually a blade was produced – perhaps with the intention of severing her finger to remove the ring. As soon as blood was drawn from Marjorie she came to – revived from the coma-like state - or ‘swoon’ - she had fallen into. This obviously gave the robbers the fright of their lives and they fled the cemetery never looking back. She climbed out of the coffin and began to make her way home.

Meanwhile her family were gathered around the fire at home when they heard a knock at the door. Marjorie’s husband John – still wrecked with grief – exclaimed – “if your mother were still alive, I’d swear that was her knock.” And sure enough, upon opening the door John was confronted by his “late” wife – dressed in her burial clothes, very much alive. He fainted immediately.

It is said that Marjorie McCall lived for some years after this grotesque event and when she did die she was returned to Shankill Graveyard and to this day her grave stone still stands.

It bears the inscription – “Lived Once, Buried Twice.”

We have split this section into two parts. If you click on the Churches link to your right, it will take you to our List of Lurgan churches. Here you will find contact details a Google map reference and some information on the records that they hold. The graveyard links will take you to the individual cemeteries and we hope over time to provide details of the headstones in them. It is our intention as time progresses to provide free to our visitors, gravestone photos or inscriptions for all of the cemetaries in Lurgan. If you think you can help us with this project, please contact us initially on the contact link below.





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