Unearthing Tullylish Monastery | British Newspaper Archive


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we have added an incredible 304,139 brand new pages to our collection, as well as one brand new newspaper from Northern Ireland, which sheds light on the discovery of Tullylish monastery in County Down. Meanwhile, from Arbroath to Aylesbury, from Belfast to Banbury, from Wolverhampton to Worthing, we have updated 22 of our existing titles from across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

So read on to discover more about our new and updated titles of the week, as well as to learn about the unearthing of an ancient site, Tullylish monastery, in County Down.

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Our solo new title of the week is the Banbridge Chronicle, which was established in the County Down town of Banbridge in 1870. With the full title of the Banbridge Chronicle and Downshire Standard, this politically independent title appeared twice a week in the Victorian era, on both Wednesday and Saturdays, at the modest cost of one pence. Circulating in the counties of Down, Armagh, and Antrim, the paper continued to be published into the twentieth century, being known as the ‘number one paper’ in Banbridge.

By the 1980s, the Banbridge Chronicle was now a weekly paper, appearing every Thursday at the cost of fifteen pence. Also circulating in Dromore, Rathfriland, Poyntzpass, Scarva and Tandragee, the historical title was saved from closure in 2021. It is now known as the ‘oldest and largest selling local weekly newspaper in the Banbridge and surrounding districts.’

Before we go on to examine the discovery of the remains of Tullylish monastery, in the village of Tullylish, which lies near to Banbridge, we’d love to showcase some of our updated titles of the week. Leading the charge with nearly 70,000 brand new pages joining its ranks is the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, whilst taking second place is Lincolnshire’s Horncastle News, with over 38,000 brand new pages being added over the last seven days. Meanwhile, over 23,000 brand new pages have joined the Wolverhampton Express and Star.

Back across the Irish Sea, over 21,000 brand new pages from the year 2002 have joined the Belfast News-Letter, whilst we have updated nine of our Scottish titles, with updates to the likes of the Edinburgh Evening News, the Fife Free Press and the Montrose Review.

Unearthing Tullylish Monastery

In August 1983 our new title the Banbridge Chronicle reported how ‘remnants’ of Tullylish monastery had been unearthed during an archaeological dig. The dig on the ruins of Tullylish monastery took place ‘on a site adjoining the ruins of the old Tullylish Parish Church, not far from the present Parish church,’ the old Tullylish parish church having been rebuilt in 1698, and replaced in 1861 by the present church.

But what drew archaeologists to this site at Tullylish monastery? The Banbridge Chronicle on 25 August 1983 described how the Department of the Environment’s Ancient Monuments Branch became interested in Tullylish monastery thanks to:

…references in the ancient Annals of Ulster, which indicated that the site had been in use as a monastery early in the 9th Century. After the year 1200, references in historic documents are all to churches on the site, the old monastic foundation seemingly having faded out of existence by the start of the 13th Century.

Heading up the 10 week dig was Dr. Richard Ivans, ‘a member of the Branch’s archaeological staff.’ Dr. Ivans worked alongside a ‘team of 11 students and recent graduates,’ who worked to unearth finds that were mostly from the Middle Ages, the Banbridge Chronicle relating how:

Of the 120 metre site, Dr. Ivans and his team have excavated an area of 30m x 30m and two of their more significant discoveries are part of the original ditch which bounded the monastery, and a medieval Kiln, probably for drying corn. The ditch, which would have served partly as a boundary line, partly as a form of defence, is 3m deep, one of the largest yet uncovered in Ireland.

Other discoveries included:

…a fragment of French pottery, and some intriguing pieces of Irish pottery – intriguing because, unlike much of the staid productions of the 14/15th Century, it has a criss-cross pattern on the body of the vessel, a similar pattern on the edge of the rim and a ‘frill’ around the rim.

Some of the earliest finds dated back to the days of Tullylish monastery, and included ‘metal pins probably used to fasten cloaks,’ and ‘what seem to be bracelets, made from lignite, a softer form of coal.’ The finds were due to be taken back to Queen’s University in Belfast for examination, and meanwhile, the Banbridge Chronicle outlined the role that Tullylish monastery would have played in the community in the Middle Ages, serving ‘the scattered inhabitants of the district as the centre to meet and trade, a role later filled by towns and villages.’

In November 1986 Dr. Richard Ivans was back in Banbridge, talking about Tullylish monastery. The Banbridge Chronicle on 20 November 1986 outlined the ‘grim picture’ that Dr. Ivans’s talk painted about life in Tullylish in the Middle Ages, based on archaeological evidence. The newspaper described how:

From teeth samples uncovered from ancient burials, it was learnt that the average age of death was 24-25 years, 25 per cent of the inhabitants died before the age of 15, 50 per cent died between 25-35, and only 2.5 per cent survived over the age of 40.

The Banbridge Chronicle is a wonderful record of the archaeological finds at Tullylish monastery and elsewhere. Discover more about archaeology, Northern Irish history, and much more besides, in the pages of our newspaper Archive today.

New Titles
TitleYears Added
Banbridge Chronicle1980-1984, 1986, 1988-1991, 1996-1998
Updated Titles

This week we have updated 22 of our existing titles.

You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.

TitleYears Added
Arbroath Herald1983-1984
Banbury Guardian1956-1960, 1979, 1982-1985, 1987-1989
Bedfordshire Times and Independent1845-1858, 1874-1886, 1889-1890
Belfast News-Letter2002
Beverley Guardian1988
Brechin Advertiser1984-1985
Broughty Ferry Guide and Advertiser1981, 1983-1984
Bucks Advertiser & Aylesbury News1986, 1989
Daventry and District Weekly Express1877, 1889, 1948, 1950-1956, 2003
Edinburgh Evening News1993
Fife Free Press1964-1965
Fife Herald1998
Forfar Dispatch1953-1958, 1986
Horncastle News1885-1895, 1898-1907, 1914-1941, 1957-1971, 1980, 1982-1985, 1987-1988, 1993-1994, 1997
Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail1999
Mearns Leader1975, 1993
Montrose Review1965-1966, 1986
Northampton Chronicle and Echo1994, 1996-1999
Rugby Advertiser1969-1974, 1976-1977, 1988
Star Green ‘un1977-1985
Wolverhampton Express and Star1971, 1986
Worthing Herald1984, 1986-1987

You can keep up to date with all the latest additions by visiting the recently added page.  You can even look ahead to see what we’re going to add tomorrow.


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1 comments On Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

  • Hello,
    Yet another week goes by with absolutely no updates or new titles from South West England: do you have any strategy in your choice of regional Coverage?

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