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Drumachose Old Church

The Old Church of Drumachose

The old church of Drumachose, the ruins of which stand beside the road to Coleraine and Garvagh, has its orgins in the 13th century and stands upon the foundations of a monastary founded by St. Canice build in about 550 AD. 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.

The Battle at the Old Church of Drumachose

A famous battle took place near the old church of Drumachose, approx 1546 AD in the continuing bitter conflict between the O'Donnells and the O'Cahans on the one side, and the McQuillans on the other. The Ordnance Survey memoirs relate that when the hill beside Drumachose church was being cut to make it passable for the mailcoach between Limavady and Coleraine, a pit of bones was discovered.

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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