Lambeg Churchyard

We know that in 1666 a Mathew Paling asked Edward Conway, 1st Earl of Conway to build him a house with stables at Lambeg near Lisburn at an estimated cost of between £200 to £300. Assuming this was granted, one might then expect that Lambeg would emerge as the centre of Paling/Pelan activity for some time since. One might also expect a reasonable presence of Pelan graves in Lambeg Churchyard and this is indeed the case. Unfortunately the early records for Lambeg church have been lost and so the only extant early BMD records are those that can be found in Lisburn cathedral and in surrounding parishes.

There is a notable monument to an Essy Pelan here which is in the form of a classical "broken column". She died on her 21st birthday (1st Mar 1833) reputedly of a broken heart although a contemporary newspaper report says, less romantically, that it was "after a long and trying illness". The story [3] appears to be that her betrothed emigrated to North America, their communications faded away over time and he forgot about her. He returned years after her death a successful man and much to the chagrin of the Pelan family and locals he erected the monument to her. Whether this story bears scrutiny is another matter as it would seem highly unlikely that anyone could erect a monument over a grave without the grave owner's permission, so the Pelan family can't have been too displeased.

Beside the above monument in a railed-off grave are the following (from [2] and newspaper sources):

Contrary to speculation on the History from Headstones page [1], Essy's father was Richard Bryson Pelan. He disappeared in New York in tragic circumstances and was assumed dead by 1883. This is why his date of death is not recorded on the headstone. The name Bryson is still to be found in some Pelan families today.

Lennon Wylie Website - Bible Family Tree

Mary Lennon has scanned a bible containing a Lambeg Pelan family tree, the bible being attributed to "Richard Brison Lisburn 1810". It mostly describes the marriage of George and Jane Pelan (married 14 Oct. 1819) and the fate of their offspring:

  • Agnes Pelan, b. 2nd Oct. 1820, d. 29th Oct 1917

  • Eleanor Pelan, 11th June ????

  • Hugh Pelan, b. ? May 1822

  • Hamilton Pelan, b. 25th July 1824, d. 14th March 1829 (from effects of measles)

  • Sarah Pelan, b. 7th June 1826, d. 21st March 1827 (severe attack of hooping cough)

  • Sarah Pelan, b. Jan 1828

  • Hamilton Pelan, b. 19 July 1829, d. 16th March 1830

  • George Pelan (Jnr), b 22nd Jan 1831, d. 16th Jan 1898

  • Hamilton Pelan, b. 29 June 1832

  • Brison Pelan, b. 23rd March 1836

It seems plausible to suggest that Jane's maiden name was Brison/Bryson and that the bible owning Richard was possibly her brother.

A multitude of Pelan graves

There are many other Pelans buried in the same churchyard - probably the most you may ever see close together in any graveyard - ranging from the very old to the very recent. Here are thumbnails of some of the graves.


    1. History from Headstones, Pelan Monument

    2. Lambeg Churchyard : Inscriptions on old tombstones (1626-1837) by William Cassidy

    3. Lisburn Standard - Friday, 22 December, 1916 - available via Eddie's Extracts