Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Martha Maria Stewart Magee & Reverend Richard Dill

Martha Maria Stewart was born in Lurgan, County Galway, Ireland around 1755. In 1780 she married Reverend William Magee, a Minister of First Lurgan Presbyterian Church. Rev. Magee died in 1800 leaving her dependant on the Presbyterian Widows' Fund. Her two sons died in early adulthood, one from an accident and the other from rabies contracted while he was serving with the British Army in India.

After inheriting a fortune from her two brothers, both military men, she moved to Dublin. In addition to other charitable bequests totalling £40,000, Mrs. Magee left £20,000 to endow a college for the education of the Presbyterian ministry. After prolonged controversy with the General Assembly, led by Henry Cooke, in 1865 the trustees established Magee College, Londonderry. Despite Mrs. Magee's wish that the college be for the education of the Presbyterian ministry, all denominations were accepted from its very beginning. In 1970 it became an integral part of the New University of Ulster (now the University of Ulster). Martha Maria Stewart Magee died in Dublin on 22 June 1846 and is buried in this vault in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

The face of the mother figure has weathered in a curious fashion so that it is darkly obscured.
At some camera angles the mother's face disappears.
The monument over Martha Maria Magee's grave is particularly interesting. Architecturally it is in the classical style of the ancient world favoured by the Victorians, with Doric columns supporting a canopy and the figures dressed in flowing robes. The face of the mother figure has weathered in a curious fashion so that it is darkly obscured. At some camera angles the mother's face seems to disappear. Also notable is her relationship with the man interred under the stone directly in front of hers.

Mrs. Magee's stone reads:

To the Memory of
who died 22nd June 1846
By her Executors Revd. RICHARD DILL

The monument which stands directly in front of the Magee tomb, and rather curiously obscures the base of it, is that of Reverend Richard Dill, named on her tomb as one of Mrs. Magee's Executors. The stones are so close together that you have to lean over Dill's monument in order to read the inscription on the base of the Magee tomb. I am left wondering about his relationship with Mrs. Magee given that the last line of his epitaph reads, "He delivered the poor that cried and the fatherless, and caused the widow's heart to sing for joy."

The inscription on Rev. Dill's tomb reads:

In Memory of
for 24 years
Pastor of the Ormond Quay Presbyterian Church
who died on the 8th December 1858
in the 52nd year of his age
"He delivered the poor that cried and the fatherless
and caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy." 
 Job. XXIX. 12. 13.

All Photographs ©Copyright J. Geraghty-Gorman 2011 and may not be reproduced in any form.
*Click on Photographs to view larger version.
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