In 2011 the Foundation was commissioned by Larne Borough Council to carry out research into the more important medieval religious sites within the council area. The sites in question were Glynn; Templecorran; Cairncastle; St John’s Church, Islandmagee; Glenarm friary; St Cedma’s Church, Inver; and Ballykeel. Some of these locations continue to be places of worship and all of them contain a fascinating array of tombstones.

For each of these places we were tasked with assembling the historical documentation not only for the site, but also for its associated buildings and graveyard, including important headstones and other grave markers. The research also involved looking for evidence for the establishment of the ecclesiastical site and any previous activity on the site.

Larne Medieval Churches 1 reduced

We were also asked to identify important individuals and associated with the graveyard and/or the church. In addition, we researched key points of genealogical interest for locals and/or tourists interested in researching their family history. Among those commemorated at these locations were notable clergyman, members of the landed gentry, farmers, tradesmen, United Irishmen, and writers of distinction, with inscriptions dating from the early seventeenth century onwards.

The research collated was used to inform initiatives developed by the Council and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to manage and conserve these sites and to improve public understanding and enjoyment of them. The outputs included the creation of a website, the production of a heritage trail and the installation of interpretative signage.