Friday, 22 April 2016

Truscott Lodge - A Cemetery Location.

Three miles outside Londonderry's city boundaries on the north side of Letterkenny Road is what is commonly but incorrectly referred to as Killea Mortuary Chapel. The ruinous and ivy clad building which is situate at the front right hand side of Killea Cemetery was the residence for the cemetery caretaker and it's correct name is Truscott Lodge. I suspect that the presence of a bell cote over the main entrance gave the impression of a church.

It is said to have been constructed in or about the year 1864 to the design of Richard Williamson who was the County Surveyor for County Londonderry between 1860 and 1874. During this period he also acted as surveyor to the Irish Society. Francis Wyatt Truscott was appointed as Deputy Governor of the Irish Society on 8th February 1867 for the ensuing year. That would suggest a date of construction slightly later than that which is generally accepted. The southern aspect of the building has two carved roundels with the wording, " Rose/Governor/ Trustcott/Dep/Governor.

It is unfortunate that the roof of the lodge was permitted to fall in on itself and the building to become uninhabitable. I can remember it being occupied right through the 1960's. Apparently it was someone by the name of King who was the last resident.

This churchyard was originally the site of one of five chapels of ease to the Parish Church of Templemore, (St. Columb's Cathedral). It was destroyed at the time of the Siege but never rebuilt. The walls of the church are recorded as having survived until the nineteenth century.


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