Sunday, 28 March 2021

Kilmood Hearse House

The Hearse House (Image: Rev Dr Stanley Gamble, 2020)

Hearse houses are a rarity these days, I'm told.

These modest buildings were built within the grounds of churches to house horse-drawn hearses.

Parishioners were permitted the use of the hearse, though they had to supply the horse.

Hearse houses became redundant shortly after the arrival of the motor car.

How many hearse-houses still exist in Northern Ireland?

The charming little hearse house of St Mary's parish church, Kilmood, County Down, was restored in 2019-20.

It stands at the back of the church, at the rear wall in the grounds.

Remains of the Hearse House before Restoration
(Image: Parish of Killinchy, Kilmood, and Tullynakill)

The building dates from the time the church was built, 1821-22.

Michael Lagan, of Florida Manor, has been a great supporter of the parish (once part of the historic manor of Florida); and seeing the ruinous tiny building, suggested that a worthy use could be made of it for the community.

This generous offer was welcomed by the parish, and work began: stonemasons rebuilt the walls; a new slate roof was erected; electricity installed; new doors and windows; and landscaping of the immediate vicinity.

Interior in 2020 (Image: Rev Dr Stanley Gamble)

As a result of this project the former hearse house is today transformed into a quiet room for private prayer and contemplation.

Individuals and families can now spend some time in a safe and comfortable setting while visiting the church grounds.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

It is marvellous to see this restoration, which I must visit next tome I return to Co Down. My grandparents are buried at Kilmood and I took my late father to tend their graves, when he was an elderly man, so this has great resonance for me. Thank you for posting.