Trust works to restore graves

Rev. Saumaurez Dubourdieu
Rev. Saumaurez Dubourdieu

Lisburn Memorial Trust is well advanced in its project to restore and conserve the funerary memorials to three of Lisburn’s leading citizens of bygone years.

Initiated by Lisburn Historical Society and with the permission of the Cathedral authorities, restoration has been carried out to memorials commemorating the Coulson, Crommelin and Dubourdieu families.

These families played a significant role in the development of the linen industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, making Lisburn the principal centre for the production of high quality linen in Ireland and establishing Irish Linen as a brand worldwide.

Some 28 years ago in Lisburn Cathedral, the white marble bust of the Rev Saumarez Dubourdieu which, since 1814 had rested on a stone sarcophagus above a Latin inscribed wall tablet on an internal wall of the cathedral, came crashing to the floor.

Fortunately there were no injuries as a result of this mishap, and whilst the sarcophagus was smashed, the bust of Rev. Dubourdieu sustained little damage.

It has since rested on a nearby window sill.

Acting on advice from the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum the bust was sent to London for professional cleaning and restoration.

A new sarcophagus has been made and now the Rev. Dubourdieu is back overlooking the congregation again.

The Rev Dubourdieu (1717-1812) was pastor to the Huguenots in Lisburn, master of a classical school in Bow Street, curate of Lambeg and vicar of Glenavey. He is buried in Lambeg.

In the churchyard the box tomb of the well known linen manufacturers, Coulson, which was in a state of collapse, has also been restored to its original condition.

The restoration of the Crommelin family memorial, in which several members of that, and the extended family, are buried is now almost complete.

It is planned to erect new signage and information boards in the near future.

This project has been possible thanks to a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and private donations.

It ensures that these memorials will survive for some generations to come.

The graves of many of the original Huguenots are to be found in the Cathedral Graveyard at the east end.