Thursday, 4 February 2016

Ballywillan Old Church

Just outside Portrush lies the parish of Ballywillan, or Ballywillin and particularly interesting Church ruins.

Not that this set of snaps is particularly interesting but there you go.  This was a bit of a scouting mission to see what was there and the plan is to return here and have another go at capturing the essence of the place.

Dates back to the 12th Century, apparently.

Unusually, inside the walls of the ruined church is full of gravestones.

Now there's a bit of a story about the oldest gravestone in this place, which goes like this.  Once upon a time - 1689 to be precise - the King of England, James 2nd was travelling through this area.  Now if you know your dates, this was an important period of time.  He was en route to Derry, which was under siege.  The story goes he took a shine for a local farmer's daughter and the farmer, thinking it would do no harm to curry a bit of favour with the King, allowed his daughter to be entertained by the King of an evening.

 Now eggs being eggs and Kings being Kings it comes as no surprise to the intelligent reader that a child was born to the farmer's daughter approximately 9 months later.   King James, of course, was nowhere to be seen and denied all.  (He had, apparently, seven illegitimate children during his life).   And so the child, Dorothea, was born and raised locally, unfortunately to die in her twenties.  She was buried in Ballywillan churchyard and her headstone is said to have been erected by Queen Anne, her half-sister.  Had she lived to survive William 3rd and Queen Anne she would have had claim to the Throne of England.

I think I'll come back here armed with the Sinar once it warms up a bit - try to capture some of the texture on those old stones and Celtic Crosses, y'know.

1 comment:

  1. There's this thing with english kings and farmers daughters up through the years. Would not surprise me much if we found the same with our own viking kings either, to be honest.
    A nice set of snaps of the old church, Michael. And I really look forward to see something more detailed in the future. If the old sun should shine down on us again, some day. We need to be loaded with some patience, I guess.