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Although the exact date when burials commenced is unknown, historians believe that the Rev Samuel Barber (minister from 1763-1811) was instrumental in having the ground immediately surrounding the church set aside as the congregation’s first graveyard.

In fact, one of the oldest readable gravestones found just to the rear of the church building is a memorial to the Rev Samuel Barber and reads as follows: 

The Congregation of Rathfriland Presented

This Monument to their Pastor

 The Revd Samuel Barber; A.M.

 George Barber died June 12th, 1783 aged 3 years

 Eliza Barber died March 21st, 1785, aged 4 years,

 John Barber died Aug 30th, 1794 aged 22 years

 Sarah Barber died Aug 29th 1797 Aged 21 years. 

The Rev Samuel Barber died the 6th day of September, 1811in the 74th year of his age and the 49th of his ministry an able servant of Christ a fearless advocate of the right of private judgement in matters of faith and a Steady friend of Civil and Religious liberty.

His eldest daughter; Mary Bankhead, Died 18th May, 1817, aged 42 years. His wife Elizabeth, died 7th April 1832, in her 90th year

Note: Elizabeth, the wife of Rev Samuel Barber was a daughter of the Rev Thomas Kennedy of Mourne and the great grand-daughter of the Rev Gilbert Kennedy of Dundonald, a younger son of Colonel Gilbert Kennedy of Ardmillan, Ayrshire, and nephew of John, 6th Earl of Cassilis, one of the Scottish noblemen appointed to act as lay assessors at the Westminster Assembly.


There are several other graves associated with former ministers: 


Rev John White    (Period of Ministry:  1813-1836)

In Memory of the Rev John White A.M For 23 Years Minister of The First Presbyterian Congregation of Rathfriland Who Died on the 2nd April 1836 Aged 48 years.

His Friends have erected this monument.

Henry C White died 27th Jan 1823 Aged 11 months  

Dorethea White 1st Nov 1826 -      35 years     

John White Junr - 10th December 1835 - 17 Years   

Miss Mary Capstin  22nd August 1839 - 85 Years


Rev William Rossborough   (Period of Ministry: 1837-1858)

The Revd Wm Rossborough's family Burying Ground

Here lieth the remains of Margaret McAlister His Beloved Wife Who Departed This Life The 20th Day of January 1847 Aged 30 Years. And Also By His Second Wife His Son William Alfred Who Died 2nd September 1854 Aged 4 Months.



Rev James Wilson LL.D  (Period of Ministry:  1863-1910)

Rev James Wilson, LL.D. For 51 years Minister of First Rathfriland Church. Born 1840 Died 1914 Jesus Lover of My Soul Let Me to Thy Bosom Fly


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