As you drive along the Sligo Road, heading into the village of Belcoo, while some may be taken in by the views on your left of Cuilcagh mountain and Lower Lough MacNean, on the right is the ruins of Templenaffrin church and its graveyard.

This secluded church is set on a stony mound, and according to information provided by Lady Dorothy Lowry-Corry in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, the church and graveyard may occupy the site of some pagan cairn.

The journal states there is nothing known of the origin of the church, the name of its founder or any patron saint.

There is a list of Church Termoners in Fermanagh, as they existed apparently about the 13th or 14th Centuries which list Clann Cill Mhic Ghiolla Lasiar and Muintir Bhlaithmhic as Termoners over Cill Mhic Ghiolla Lasair and Teampull an Aiffrinn (the church of the mass in Irish).

This shows there may have been some connection between Killesher Parish Church situated on the south shore of Lower Lough MacNean and Templenaffrin on the north shore, which might date back to before the formation of the parishes before the 12th and 13th Centuries.

But the journal says any ecclesiastical connections between the churches can only be surmised.

According to the journal, the earliest historical document in which the church is mentioned is the Survey of County Fermanagh, taken at Devenish on July 7, 1603, in which it is stated “the chapell of temple Anaaifrin hath 2 tates of land; it is possessed by the Clan gilli lasair as corbes: all these lands are lykwise small measure”.

The August 18, 1608 survey of the county said Templenaffrin was among those lands the Bishop of Clogher received certain pensions, refections and customs from.

However, the Inquisition in 1609 taken at Enniskillen contradicted this by stating that the only obligation laid on the herenaghs of Templenaffrin was the upkeep of the chapel, to be paid for by the tithes and revenues of its herenagh lands.

In 1609-10, the church appears to have been roofless, with Lady Dorothy saying this is probably a result of endless fighting at the end of the 16th Century, beginning of the 17th, but it was probably still in use.

It is unknown when the church fell into ruin.

It was situated among lands granted at the time of the Plantation to dispossessed Irish gentry, and it may be possible that the church was for a time repaired and used by them for Roman Catholic worship until 1641.

But Lady Dorothy says this is only a suggestion, and there is no evidence to support this and there are some who say Protestants would also have used the church at some period; however, again, she says there is no definite evidence.

The ruined church is 64ft 4 inches long by 26ft 6 inches wide, with the walls and gables three feet thick.

Speckled around the church are headstones dating back hundreds of years, with some dated 1729 and 1773.

One of the headstones apparently marks the last resting place of the Rev. Charles Scallogue, a priest ordained in Dublin in 1670 (and who died in 1729) by the Blessed Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh.

The land the church and graveyard were in passed ownership on a number of occasions throughout the centuries.

But while the owners of the land may have changed, the ruined church, covered by trees and ivy and the moss-laden gravestones, give a brief history of people and a place of which relatively little is known, and much of that forgotten.