The following is by John Hollingsworth  (John of Giles....)  The Quaker History is from Bob Sinton's website.)

Recently, my friend, Florence Dickson of N. Ireland introduced me to the website of Bob Sinton.  Bob has created an interesting website relating to N. Ireland and includes a lot of early Quaker history.  Much of the information is transcribed from books written by local authors one of whom is my friend, Dr. Arthur Chapman.  I had the pleasure of meeting with him in his lovely home a couple of years ago.  Dr. Chapman is the retired Principal of Friend's School, Lisburn and the son of the late George Chapman, a well-known historian.


The Valentine Hollingsworth descendants will be particularly interested in this article since we believe their ancestor, Henry Hollingworth, wife Katherine and young son, Valentine were living near Portadown in 1641 when the Irish Rebellion started.  We do not know if Henry and Katherine survived the massacre, fled to other parts of Ireland or perhaps to England.  However, it is documented in the Quaker records that Valentine Hollingsworth married Ann Rea (Wray, Ree) of Tandragee 1655 in Co. Armagh.  They had two daughters, (Mary born 1656 and Katheran born 1663) and two sons (Henry born 1658 and Thomas born 1661). Ann died in 1671 and is buried in the old Lynastown Quaker burial ground.


Valentine married Ann Calvert in 1672 and they had one daughter (Ann born 1680) and three sons (Samuel born 1673, Enoch born 1675...died young, and Valentine, Jr. born 1677) in Co. Armagh Ireland.


Valentine, like other Quakers in Ireland at that time, was persecuted for his belief.


Valentine and family left Ireland to come to America in 1682 for a better life without religious persecution.  Valentine and Ann (Calvert) had three more sons born in New Castle County, Delaware.  They were John born 1684, Joseph born 1686, and a second son named Enoch (died young and was buried 1690).


I contacted Bob Sinton and asked his permission to use some of the information from his website in future project updates.  Bob was pleased to allow me to use this privilege so the following is a few paragraphs (a portion of one of the chapters) that were taken from Bob's website.  I believe you will find this information interesting. 


Thanks Bob! 




History of Friends in Portadown 1655 - 2005


Although a Friends Meeting was not established in the town of Portadown until the beginning of the 20th century, the roots of the Quaker movement were firmly planted in the area for two and a half centuries before that date. In fact Portadown lies equidistant between the sites of the first two meetings to be set up in Ireland. Just five miles to the east lies Lurgan where William Edmondson, the acknowledged pioneer of Irish Quakerism, gathered a few like-minded individuals to worship in his house in 1654. Five miles to the west regular meetings were first held later in the same year in the home of Margery Atkinson near the ancient church of Kilmore. Soon after a permanent meeting was formed in the townland of Ballyhagan. To travel between the two places one would have to negotiate the river Bann at the crossing place of Port an Dunain (landing-place of the ferry).

During the Plantation of Ulster this area was granted to the Obins family who built a bridge over the river and established a small group of English settlers in the vicinity. In the rebellion of 1641 when the native Irish attacked the settlers in their new homes Portadown was the scene of an horrific atrocity. Up to 100 captives from the planter community were thrown from the bridge and massacred as they sought to reach the river bank. The effect of this outrage blighted the development of the settlement for many years and the incident became deeply embedded in the folk memory of the settler community. In 1669, almost 30 years after the event, George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement, visited Friends in Ireland. He presumably went through Portadown on his way between Ballyhagan and Lurgan for he writes thus in his journal: "Then I passed over the water where so many were drowned in the massacre."


By the time of George Fox's visit many groups of Friends in Ireland had sprung up. Their faith was a vital and vibrant one. It was characterised by the belief that Christ could speak directly through the Holy Spirit to every human condition and that this belief should be shared with all. George Fox's powerful message that 'there is one even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition' and that 'Christ has come to teach His people' was well received by many who were disillusioned with the form of religion offered by the churches of the time and who were seeking a faith characterised by reality and integrity.

Religion was not to be practised on Sundays only, but was to be brought into every aspect of daily life. Truth was to be spoken on every occasion and not merely when one was bound by an oath. Social divisions were considered of little importance and no special honour was offered to those holding man-given authority. In their worship Friends had no set liturgy or prearranged programme, no ordained clergy, but met in silence, in homes or simple meeting houses, open to the ministry of the Holy Spirit through those who were faithful to His prompting. The scourge of war and conflict was to be avoided at both individual and national level, for all were enjoined to live 'in virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all war'.


To the east of Portadown a vigorous group of Friends was already in being. However they looked to Lurgan as their centre and focus as most were tenants of the Brownlow estate. The majority were immigrants from the North of England and they brought with them skills that were valued by the ambitious and enterprising landlord, Arthur Chamberlain Brownlow. He readily accepted as tenants weavers and tanners who were likely to develop the economic potential of his lands. Many lived in the area between Portadown and Lurgan in the parish of Seagoe. Early meeting places included the homes of Francis Robson in Tamnificarbet and of Roger Webb in Aughacommon, only a few miles from the Portadown crossing-place. The old Friends burial-ground at Lynastown was also in this densely settled area.

To the west near Loughgall and Richhill on the Cope and Richardson estates there was a quite different settlement. The area is still known as "the orchard country" and many of the farmers who took up leases brought a knowledge of fruit cultivation to their adopted land. Among these settlers too were many who responded readily to the Quaker message of William Edmondson and other pioneers and formed a strong community in this district.
By 1692 a further group of Friends were meeting about three miles to the south of Portadown and some years later they built a meeting house at Moyallon which still stands. Like many of the Lurgan Friends they were involved in the production of linen. They saw the potential of water power on the Bann and along the valley of this river many bleach greens and other enterprises associated with the linen trade were set up.


The few inhabitants of Portadown must have known of the Quaker community and some may have worshipped in these local meetings. However, in these early years Friends were subject to much persecution through their failure to conform to the commonly accepted practices of the time in civil and ecclesiastical affairs. They met for worship privately in breach of the Conventicle Act, refused to pay tithes in support of the Established Church, followed the biblical injunction not to swear (even in a court of law) and declined to offer honour to individuals in authority by removing their hats. As a result they were often penalized by fines, imprisonment or rough treatment.

Probably the first Friend in the Portadown area was a man named George Wycliff, a member of Ballyhagan meeting, who lived in Selsion townland in the parish of Drumcree. Of him we read in 'The Sufferings of Quakers in Ireland' by Fuller and Holms that in 1671 he was making a journey to Dundalk with some loads of timber through the wild country of South Armagh - a route which could cause a traveller a certain degree of apprehension even a few years ago during the IRA campaign. Then, as in recent years, officious young soldiers, unsure of who was friend or foe, could make the journey a difficult one as we read in the following account:

"There came to him one Traverse Lloyd, Lieutenant of a Troop, and asked him if he was a Tory (a name at that time given to the Irish who had been dispossessed of their lands by English settlers). George answered, He was an honest man. Lloyd said he would make him take off his Hat, and endeavoured to ride over him four times, beat him with his Staff, and wounded him in the Head, so that he bled very much; also he alighted and took hold of his Hair, and pulled it off, did beat, and kick with his Feet near a Quarter of an Hour, and took him towards Dundalk, and coming to a River, a Trumpeter of Lloyd's Company took George behind him on Horse-back; but Lloyd turning about, beat the Trumpeter, caused George to alight and wade the River; and commanded two of his Men to take the Horses from him, and committed him to the bailiff of the Town, where he was kept twenty Hours, then released; and going to Lloyd, demanded of him his Horses, he (Lloyd) answered, 'He might thank God that his Horse had more Mercy than himself, or else he would have trod out his Guts, and if he would have his Horses and Goods, he might make proclamation for them: so with Labour and cost got his Horses again, some being above twenty Miles from the Place where they were taken from him, but lost Sacks and other things worth £1 sterling."

This all happened simply because George failed to take off his hat to the officer!

Again by John Hollingsworth  (John of Giles....)

I visited the website of one of our Irish friends, Bob Sinton and noticed the article below regarding the Lynastown Quaker Burial Ground.  Several of us have visited this ancient place and noted the plaque on the old stone wall containing approximately 200 names of those buried there starting in 1658 (William Lynas).  Valentine Hollingsworth's first wife, Ann Rea was buried there in 1671.  The Quakers did not like the custom of marking graves so, unfortunately, there were no markers placed on the early graves.


The Lynastown Burial Ground is located on land that once belonged to the Lynas family.  This small plot of land was located in Moyraverty just off the coach road from Belfast (N. Ireland) to Armagh near the Red Cow Inn. 


In subsequent years other Friends were buried there and in 1673 the plot was sold by Thomas Lynas to the trustees of the Friends for 10 shillings.  Six years later (1679) a Deed of Conveyance was drawn transferring the plot to twelve other Quakers.  These twelve included Valentine Hollingsworth (one of the witnesses was Henry Hollingsworth).


I hope you enjoy reading about the old Lynastown Quaker Burial Ground.





A Seventeenth Century Quaker Burial Ground


Over the past year a number of groups have co-operated in an extensive renovation programme at the old Quaker Burial Ground known as Lynastown. This cemetery, which is one of the oldest, if not the oldest Quaker graveyard in Ireland, lies some 75 metres to the north of the Bluestone Road on the edge of the Brownlow sector of Craigavon.

The Quaker movement was initiated in Ireland by William Edmondson. He was convinced of its validity while on a stock purchasing visit to England. On his return to Ireland he opened a shop in Lurgan and in 1654 commenced a Quaker Meeting for worship, probably the first in Ireland, in his own house. This house was located in what is now Church Place in Lurgan, approximately where the premises of T G Menary & Co., solicitors, are at present.

Among the first worshippers in William Edmondson's house was old William Lynas and, when he died on 20 June 1658, Quaker principles precluded his burial by a priest in the parish graveyard. He was therefore buried in a small plot belonging to his son Thomas in the townland of Moyraverty and it was this small plot which developed into Lynastown burial ground. Thirteen other members of the Society of Friends were interred before an Indenture was signed on 15 December 1673 and the sum of ten shillings paid to Thomas Lynas for the transfer of this ground to Francis Robson of Tamnificarbet and William Porter of Lurgan. Both these men were weavers and prominent local Quakers and this indenture, which was for a period of seven years, was the first step in bringing the burial ground under more formal Quaker control. The Indenture details the dimensions of the burial ground which are identical with those of today: "Part of the townland of Moyraverty.... which doth contain by estimation (on the side towards the King's High Street) twenty-five yards and a half or thereabouts and on that side adjoining Westwards on a piece of ground now in the tennure and possession of Richard Mathson containing thirty-five yards or thereabouts also butting and bounding Eastwards on a piece of ground in the tennure and possession of Leonard Calvert together with a highway leading from the King's High Street (into the aforementioned sould piece of ground) along by Leonard Calvert's groundside through the end of a little plot of ground called Whitehead's Garden containing seven yards broad or thereabouts be it more or less as it is now ditched and fenced out...".

The Indenture was witnessed by ten men, seven of whom were sufficiently literate to sign their names and very sensibly included the adjoining landowners Richard Measson and Leonard Calvert.

Almost six years later, on 2 August 1679, a Deed of Conveyance was signed transferring the ground at Lynastown to twelve other Quakers. This Conveyance stated quite specifically that "the onely intent use and purpose that the aforesaid piece of parcell shall and may bee continue and remain a burying place wherein for the bury their dead and not only theirs but such others as they the aforesaid people shall suffer there to be buried". Again, each of these twelve men were able to sign their names, as were eight of the nine witnesses. This indicates a remarkable level of literacy among Lurgan's Quaker community in the seventeenth century. Eleven of the signatories were tradesmen and the trades represented were linen draper, cooper, turner, tanner, shopkeeper, weaver (2), tailor (2), and smith ("). One of the signatories, Vallentine Hollingsworth, was listed as a freeholder.

The burying place at Lynastown was originally surrounded by a hawthorn hedge, and possibly a ditch, although there was constant complaint about the wetness of the ground. Access was by means of a gate and by 1679 there was a demand for a lock for this gate - possibly to prevent entry by straying animals. William Williams was asked by Lurgan Men's Meeting on 29 November 1682 to "provide and make ye graves at ye burying place when there is occasion" and on 17 of twelfth month 1685 they decided to approach him to negotiate for a drier piece of ground to act as a new burying place. These negotiations, however, proved unsuccessful. Thirty-five shillings were paid in 1686 for ditching and fencing and the Quaker desire for proper order was manifest when in the same year it was agreed that "all graves be hereafter made in a row, and at one side of ye burying place". Recurring problems over securing the entrance were resolved on 23 December 1687 when "Thomas Wainwright having gotten a new gate made for the burying place gives account to this meeting that ye new gate, and gate posts, and a lock and hinges for ye sd. gate with new style and getting and finishing ye same cost twenty shillings". The same meeting decided that John Hutchesson should be asked to maintain the graveyard on a regular basis. He later agreed to do this but appears not to have continued these duties for long as on 4 November 1690 Mark Wright and Thomas Wainwright were "desired to take care the graveyard fences and stile be well made and kept in repair".

Lurgan meeting was not only conscious of the need for fencing, draining and orderly arrangement of the graveyard. There was also concern that proper records should be kept. John Dobb was entrusted with this task on 9 of twelfth month 1687. By October 1691 he had left the country, possibly a consequence of the Williamite Wars and the record book, was "committed to ye custody of William Porter that it may be more duly kept in order as formerly".

Records of the date of construction of the stone wall encompassing the burial ground have not yet come to light but its appearance suggests that it was built in stages, possibly beginning as a famine relief measure in the 1840's. This supposition is borne out by the Ordnance Survey maps which show no wall in 1835, the north and west walls complete by 1860 and the east wall complete by 1908. The south wall, which contains the archway and gate and faces towards the Bluestone Road, must have been completed during the early part of the present century. The caretaker's house, regrettably demolished as part of Craigavon's early development, appears on the 1860 O.S. map but not on the 1835 edition.

Initial Quaker meetings for worship and for the purpose of marriage were held in the homes of members. Early meetings were held in William Edmonson's and when he left for Cavan other frequently used homes were those of Roger Webb and Mark Wright. After Roger Wright's death and burial at Lynastown in 1684 meeting were often held at the house of John Robson in Tamnificarbet, almost half-way between Lurgan and Portadown, and some Quaker marriage records to the "publick meeting house of John Robson's". William Edmondson in his Journal refers to a visit to John Robson's house in 1695 "and from thence to a meeting at Lurgan". The minute of this meeting on 30 April 1695 records that "Our antient friend William Edmondson be present at this meeting proposes ye great need there is of a better Meeting-house to be built that which is being in a Decaying Condition and not suitable for ye Meeting. So it being approved by ye meeting that there is a necessity for a better house have consented that preparation be made for ye Building of a better as Conveniently can be had". Just two years later the new Meeting House and its associated new burying ground were in use and the first burial there was that of Thomas Turner of Lurgan who died 29 December 1697. From this date onwards interments at Lynastown declined.

Prior to the opening of the Lurgan Meeting House and burying ground the Christy, Morton and Mulligan families of Moyallan had used Lynastown for interments. They not only continued this practice for a time after 1697, but even after the new Moyallan Meeting House and Graveyard had opened in 1736 the Christy family continued to use Lynastown. There were 39 burials between 1717 and 1788 and only five of these were definitely of friends who were not from Moyallan and its adjacent townlands. Fifteen members of the Christy family were interred in Lynastown during this period.

After the funeral of George Ballintine of Moyraverty in 1788 there were no further burials at Lynastown for over fifty years. During this period a number of Friends joined the emerging Methodist Church and among these were several of the Webb family. On the night of 6/7 January 1839 one of the worst storms in Irish recorded history devastated much of the country. Factories and churches were severely damaged, hundreds of thousands of trees uprooted and thatched cottages stripped of their roofs. The spire of Shankill Parish Church in Lurgan was blown down and the new Methodist Chapel at Bluestone, which was almost ready for consecration, was levelled to the ground. In Moyallan 73 year old Margaret Webb did not survive the storm. Her funeral, on 8 January 1839, was to Lynastown and on its way it passed the rubble of the devastated church. Over the next twelve months there were four more interments at Lynastown and all of these were of people who lived locally. In the space of the next one hundred and fifty years there were only 26 further burials, almost exclusively of people who had not been members of the Society of Friends. Their average age was 73, contrasting sharply with the great number of child burials (40%) which had been the case in the first fifty years.

The final burial at Lynastown was that of William John Williamson who died on 24 March 1967. New road and house building subsequently left the site exposed and open to vandals, and the growth of briars and bushes made it almost inaccessible. Work over recent months involving a number of community groups has concentrated on rebuilding the wall, providing a new archway and gate to the same designs as had previously existed and, hopefully, returning the burying ground to a place of rest and remembrance.