The old Church at Durrus East, Moulivard was probably built around the 14th or early 15th century, contemporaneous with the ruined church in Kilcrohane graveyard. Inside the church is an incised cross dating from the early Christian period. This was found by Jeremiah Hurley, d. 1933, grandfather of Vincent Hurley while ploughing their farm near the creamery and then placed in the Church grounds. Another cross of this type is in Cape Clear and may denote an old monastic settlement. There had been a monastic settlement at Scartbawn under the patronage of the MacCarthy (Teig Rua sept) who had a castle in the area. This moved to Moulivard to take advantage of the water power of Four Mile Water and the mill race is still visible in Ballinvillen (townland of the mill). Moulivard Church was in good repair in 1639 and in use mid-17th century but according to Brady was in ruins by 1699. It is said that the white friars are associated with the site but there is no corroboration of this. There is a local tradition that the church was used in Penal times, when Mass was celebrated from time to time by itinerant friars. On St John’s Eve an open air mass is celebrated each year. The stone table used otherwise for coffins is used and in the course of the mass parishioners call out the names of family members buried in the graveyard for prayers.

In the 1730s the Franciscans had a limited presence in West Cork site of their former monasteries. There is also a local tradition that a priest was hanged from a tree on the back road near Durrus Court, there were episodes of ‘priest-catchers’ in 1707, 1712 and 1717. On the coast near Kilcrohane is an area Coosataggart (Cuas an tSagairt) where priests reputedly used to hide in a cave in Penal times. According to tradition there was a church at

John Connolly, Gortycloona, b 1927 has acted as an unofficial guardian of the graveyard over the years. He was told by his mother Mary (nee O’Neill of Ballycomane b 1886 who had it from her mother Julia b 1859) that there was a monastry of huts occupied by white friars located at Gairdín na nBráth (na mBráthar? Garden of the brothers/monks?) opposite the present gates. The monks were supposed to some 20 in number but were murdered by Cromwell’s troops who came out from Bantry. It is not clear if the reputed monastry was temporary used by monks seeking refuge or was of some antiquity.

Vincent Hurley, Ballycomane attributes a cure of a chronic back problem of his to Father Barnane and his own father who suffered from Asthma generally had an easy time if he visited the shrine on St John’s night. He said that Jack Minihane’s father from Ballycomane were tidying the graveyard the night before St John’s Eve and saw a person with two crutches arriving and leaving without crutches. The gifts of coins left used to be collected by Paddy Collins a gentleman of the road. He also heard a story of a woman from Kealkil with a very sick child coming to Bantry the day Fr Barnane died and and being told he died and the funeral was on the way to Durrus East and the child recovered.

In the Paddy O’Keeffe papers there is a reference to a tradition that O’Sullivan Bere’s troops heard mass in the church returning from the Battle of Kinsale in 1600.