Monday, 6 August 2012

Killowen, Coleraine, St John


The Parish of Killowen is one of the smallest in the geographical area in the Diocese of Derry, yet on of the largest in population. Its church which is dedicated to St.John, is situated on the west bank of the River Bann in Coleraine, Co. Derry. The diocesan boundary with Connor Diocese is formed by the river, and the other side of which is the parish of St. Patrick's, Coleraine.


The name Killowen means, "Owen (or Eugene's) Church". The dedication to St.John, which has lasted, is a mis-translation of the Irish. In ancient times, the parish was called Drumtarsi. In 1248, the English erected a castle and a bridge over the Bann. Stones for this castle came from the ancient abbey of St. Carbreus.


At the time of the Plantation, the Clothworkers' Company was established in the area, which then was a county, the County of Coleraine. The name Killowen was given to the parish at this time. In 1622, Killowen Church was, "meanly repayred". In the 1768 survey, it was reported to be in very good repair. The church was converted into a school house in 1830, and in that year, a new church was built with financial assistance from the Clothworkers' Company, the Bishop, the Irish Society and the Board of First Fruits. In 1875, the church was practically rebuilt. The west wall was added, the east wall was partially replaced, and a chancel was added. The side walls were raised, and a new roof was built. The church was consecrated on 27th July 1875.

The vestry room to the left of the chancel, was built in 1927 in memory of Henry Stewart O'Hara, Bishop of Cashel, at the expense of his widow.

Corbel from the North Side of St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast.


Bishop O' Hara was Rector of St.Patrick's, Coleraine from 1869 to 1894, and Bishop of Cashel, 1900-1919. He was largely responsible for the early building of St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast, when Vicar of Belfast, 1894-1900. A plaque is erected in the vestry room of Killowen Church was erected by Mrs O' Hara.

Killowen Church is entered by a small west porch. Inside, the nave is flanked by a south aisle, which on the outside has two gables. The short aisle to the west is lower in height. This contains the baptistry. The font was presented by Robert McCandless. In June 2001, two new stained glass windows in the baptistry were dedicated by Edwin Whyte in memory of his wife Margaret and their daughter Janet. Together, they depict the children coming to Jesus.


At the other end of the aisle, east, is an extension which contains a porch and the organ chamber. The west window has four lights and illustrates the four Evangelists. In the tracery, there is a crest with the Latin inscription, Domine Dirige Nos. In the baptistry in the south aisle, are two small windows with opaque lattice glass. The first window in the aisle also has opaque lattice glass. The other window has three lights. From left to right, the window illustrates, the Flight into Egypt, the Manger Scene, and, Our Lord as a boy in the Temple. This is the anniversary window of the Mother's Union Killowen Branch 2004. Each of the three windows in the north wall has two lights. The first, which was dedicated in 1998, commemorates Jim Oliver. A brass plaque adjacent acknowledges the window. The left side has the text, "He hath ears to hear, let him hear", (St. Mark 4:9), and the right side illustrates the text of Revelation 3:20, "Behold I stand at the door and knock". The middle window commemorates, on the left, members of the 5th Battalion, Ulster Defence Regiment, who fell between 1970 and 1992, and on the right, members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Reserve members, 1996. The window on the right depicts Christ, the Resurrection and the Life, and it commemorates Rosemary, wife of the Rev. Alwyn Maconachie, Rector of Killowen, 1947-1964, who died in 1954. The east window depicts the Ascension of our Lord, and it commemorates those who fell in the two World Wars.


In the nave, the pulpit on the right below the chancel, commemorates Bishop O'Hara's wife, Hatton, 1937. There are two cared prayer desks on the left side, and there is a wooden eagle lectern adjacent which commemorates the Rev. W.H. Giles, Rector of Killowen, 1894 to 1923, and Mrs Giles. The Holy Table came from St. Augustine's Church in Londonderry in 1936. The Concher organ has two manuals and pedals. It was built in 1894. It was transferred from the organ loft to the south side of the chancel in 1906. The organ chamber and a reading desk were presented by grandchildren of John Wilson and his wife Catherine who emigrated to America in 1876. The organ stool commemorates Hugh Clements who died in 1998.

  
On the west wall, a monument commemorates Henry Kyle, JP, DL of Laurel Hill who died in 1878. There is a memorial to William Thompson Kyle, his youngest son who died in 1913. On the south wall, his wife Elizabeth who died in 1865, and their son Henry who died in 1866, are commemorated. In the baptistry, a Latin memorial commemorates Elizabeth Todd who died in 1750. The Roll of Honour to those who fell in the Great War is on the east wall of the aisle, and on the south wall, those who fell in the Second World War are commemorated. On the east wall, left of the sanctuary, there is a memorial to the Rev. William Sillito, Curate of Killowen, 1824-1831, and Rector, 1831-1873. He died in 1875. On the east wall, right of the sanctuary, is a memorial to the Rev. Wilfred Courtney Abbott, Curate-in-charge, then Rector of Killowen, 1924-1947. On the north wall of the sanctuary, a brass memorial commemorates Hugh Clements, JP, a former Mayor of Coleraine, who died in 1954. On the north wall there is a memorial to Margaret Emma, wife of the Rev. James Stewart, Rector of Killowen, 1873-1894, during whose incumbency the church was rebuilt. She died in 1884. There is also a memorial to Ann, the wife of the Rt. Hon. Richard Jackson of Jackson Hall Coleraine, daughter of Charles O'Niell of Shane's Castle, Antrim, who died in 1781.



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