Friends Burial Ground - South Belfast Burial Ground... · Friends Burial Ground Balmoral, Belfast ...…

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<ul><li><p>Friends Burial GroundBalmoral, Belfast</p><p>Friends Burial Ground, Balmoral Avenue, Belfast was opened in 1837. Beforethis, Belfast Friends were interred at Lisburn or Megaberry. The present wallsand gate date from 1900. There have been about 600 burials in total since 1837.This burial ground is still in use, and is managed by both Frederick Street andSouth Belfast Quaker Meetings.</p><p>The Religious Society of FriendsFriends are perhaps better known to mostpeople today by the name Quaker, which wasoriginally given to the members of the Societyas a nickname in the seventeenth century. TheReligious Society of Friends was founded inEngland in 1652, by George Fox. The firstsettled Quaker Meeting in Ireland wasestablished in Lurgan by William Edmundsonin 1654. The Society of Friends did not have aregular meeting in Belfast until the end of theeighteenth century. From the 1820s onwardsthe linen industry was becoming more factory-rather than cottage- based, particularly in thecity of Belfast. Quaker families featured</p><p>prominently in the production and marketingof linen throughout the nineteenth century. In1799, a Meeting was established in Belfast , andthe first Meeting House was built in FrederickStreet in 1811. The congregation was largeenough to justify its own burial ground solelyfor the Society. Friends have distinctive viewsabout death, mourning, gravestones andsuitable inscriptions. As there was insufficientland for burial beside the Meeting House, a plotwas purchased adjoining the (then) new MalonePresbyterian Church. This was outside Belfast,to the south of the city, and thus accessible toFriends over a wide area. </p></li><li><p>Plain headstonesWhen the burial ground was first opened, and forsome years following, gravestones were notpermitted. Earlier, in the 17th and 18th century,the graves of Quakers were not marked by a stone,by reason of the original objection of Friends tocommemorate the dead and make their burialplace a shrine. However, after about 1850, plaingravestones of a uniform size and shape wereallowed, though inscriptions were confined toname, age and date of death. There is no eulogy ofany description since, according to the beliefs ofFriends, all are equal in the sight of God, and thegravestone is only to mark the spot where thebody was laid. A few have In loving memory ofbut these are out of keeping with Quaker practice.</p><p>Early Friends were unwilling to accept theassociation of the months of the year with thenames of pagan gods (January, for example,deriving its name from Janus), and regardedordinal numbering as an adequate means ofidentification. This can be seen on many of thegravestones, where a typical inscription mayrecord the person having died in the first or thefourth month of the year.</p><p>Friends buried in the BurialGroundThere are a wide range of men, women andchildren interred in this Burial Ground. Thefollowing may be of public interest: ForsterGreen, tea and coffee merchant and</p><p>philanthropist who founded a hospital, whichbears his name, for Consumption and ChestDiseases on the outskirts of Belfast. He sufferedthe loss of five of his six children to tuberculosis,with all dying prior to his own death, aged 88, in1903. Architect Thomas Jackson, who designedthe 1840 Meeting House in Frederick Street, andmany other fine buildings around Belfast,including St. Malachys Chapel in Alfred Street(1841) and the Old Museum (1830). JohnMarsh, whose biscuit factory was a feature ofBelfast. Joseph Wright, a recognised fossilcollector and geologist, and member of theGeological Society in London. William AlfredGreen, a photographer, whose collection ishoused in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museumand which remains a rich source of visualinformation about urban and rural life in Ulsterduring the early 20th century. HannahWakefield, who died aged 48, weakened herconstitution as she was endeavouring to mitigatethe distress of the disease and famine in Belfastin 1847. Havelock Nelson was a musician andcomposer who worked with the BBC in Belfast.He was also an adviser to the first Festival atQueens in 1961. James and Muriel Young,are remembered for the legacy that they leftUlster Friends, from which many elderly Friendscontinue to benefit. Denis and Monica Barritt,remembered for their work on cross-communityand cross-border issues, including support forfamilies through Bryson House, Quaker Serviceand the visitors centre at the Maze andMaghaberry prisons. </p><p>[Sources: Sandra King, History of the Religious Society of Friends, Frederick Street, Belfast (1999); David M. Butler, The QuakerMeeting Houses of Ireland, Irish Friends Historical Committee 2004; Richard Clarke, Gravestone Inscriptions: Belfast Vol. 3,Ulster Historical Foundation 1986.] </p><p>Frederick Street Quaker Meeting 45, Frederick Street, (off York Street)Belfast BT1 2LWMeeting for Worship takes place at 11.00am every Sunday.</p><p>South Belfast Quaker Meeting 22 Marlborough Park North, Belfast, BT9 6HJMeeting for Worship takes place at 10.45am every Sunday.</p><p>Details of other Meetings in Ireland can be obtained from the websites:www.quakers-in-ireland.iewww.southbelfastquakers.org</p><p>If you would like to know more about the Society of Friends there are two Meetings in Belfast, at which all are welcome to attend. </p></li></ul>