Monday, 8 July 2013

St. Ernan's, Donegal

John Hamilton, (1800-1884), a wealthy and philanthropic landlord, owned large estates at Brownhall in south Donegal. In 1824, Hamilton decided to build a small dwelling on St. Ernan's Island in Donegal Bay, and in due course, with the help of the local tenantry, and with great difficulty, he built a causeway over to the island. Hamilton was a good landlord, and was liked and  respected by all creeds and classes. He liked St. Ernan's so much, that he soon decided to build a much larger house there.

Over the years, this house was sold a number of times to different buyers, until it became into the procession of the Dane-Morgan family. In the early 1950s, they bequeathed St. Ernan's to the Church of Ireland. Thus, it became a holiday home for clergy families. It remained as such until closure in the mid-1970s. It is now a hotel.

The Volt House, Raphoe

The Volt House in the Diamond in Raphoe was built in 1738 by Bishop Nicholas Forster as a home for clergy widows. It was administered by the Bishop, the Archdeacon of Raphoe and the Dean of Raphoe. Now no longer a residence, the building has been tastefully restored in keeping with its 18th century style, and is used by several community organisations. Bishop Forster, a philanthropist, also built and endowed schools, including the then new premises of the Royal School, Raphoe, the Diocesan Library, and hospitals.

Tullaghobegley, Killult, St. Anne

Tullaghobegley Parish is in north-west Donegal, and includes Tory Island. The name means, "O Begley's Hill". Tully O'Begley founded a monastery in the district. There is an ancient round tower, abbey ruin and two crosses on Tory Island. One of these is the famous Tau Cross, shaped like the Greek letter "tau", T. The renowned landscape and portrait painter, Dr. Derek Hill, (1916-2000), did some of his best work on Tory Island.

The old church was replaced with a new one in 1792. A church was built at Killult, just to the west of Falcarragh, and was consecrated in 1820. This, the present church, was rebuilt in 1840. There is a tower at the west end, with a window in one side, and two doors. It has four small finials on top. Inside, the nave is lit by three square paned windows on each side, the vestry room is to the left. The east window is of three lights, and has plain, lattice glass.

The pulpit is on the left. The two chairs in the sanctuary are in memory of the Rev. William Stewart Griffith, Curate of Tullaghobegley, 1870-1876, and Rector from 1886 until his death in 1911. The font stands in the centre of the nave near the entrance, and their remains a large old stove in the middle of the church with a chimney which goes up through the roof.

The Tau Cross and candlesticks are in memory of Anne Warren, daughter of Cannon F.N. Warren, Rector 1988-1997, and Mrs Warren, who died in a tragic car accident in 1990.

On the south wall, a monument commemorates the Rev. Stewart Griffith, in whose memory the two altar prayer book stands were given.

Rossnowlagh, St. John

Rossnowlagh, "the apple wood", is a parish and village on the south coast of Donegal, to the west of the Donegal to Ballyshannon road. The parish was created originally as a perpetual curacy out of its neighbour, Drumholm, in 1831. The church was consecrated on 21st September that year, and dedicated to St. John. The Church is entered through a small porch at the west end, over which is a bellcote. There are two windows, each of two lights in the side walls, as well as a window with two lights above the porch. There are three windows of two lights in each side wall of the nave. The east window, which has three lights, is of stained glass and depicts the Risen Lord at the empty tomb. It commemorates Francis Jennings, his wife and three of his daughters, and is dated 1951.

The sanctuary is separated from the nave by three-sided communion rails, set into which, on the right side, is a prayer desk. The vestry room is to the right of the sanctuary. The Holy Table is in memory of Robert Hannah, and is dated 1932. Outside, and to the left , is the pulpit, before which stands the font. The lectern on the right side of the nave commemorates Robert Gray. There is a one manual organ by Evans and Barr of Belfast in the south-east side of the nave.

A plaque records the dedication of the lighting and heating systems in 1955 in memory of William and Hannah Smyth. Another plaque records the dedication of the entrance gates in 1963 in memory of the Thompson family. Another plaque on the west wall records the re-hallowing of the church after extensive renovations in 1995.

Clooney, Londonderry, All Saints Strathfoyle

Clooney, "the meadow", is a large parish in the Waterside of Londonderry. In ancient times, there was a chapel of Clooney in Glendermott parish. This was rebuilt before 1600, but was in ruins in 1692. A perpetual curacy was established in Glendermott parish for Clooney district in 1863. James Murray of Caw, Londonderry, granted a site for the church, which was dedicated to All Saints in 1867.

Clooney Church is well sited above the east bank of the River Foyle in the Waterside, at the hairpin bend junction of Bond's Hill and Clooney Terrace. The tower in the north west corner is surmounted by a short octagonal spire. The spire is flanked at its base by four small steep pyramids. Beneath it, steps descend to Bond's Hill below. On the Bond's Hill north side of the church at basement level, are three blind arcades. Round the corner from the west wall with its imposing west door entrance, is a porch which protrudes from the south aisle. The refurbishment of the entrance stonework is in memory of Isobel Lowry, 1983. The list of Rectors of Clooney in the porch was donated by Dick and Dorothy Harvey, 1979. The little window on the left of the porch depicts St. Patrick with a shamrock, and the window opposite depicts St. Columba. These were installed during further renovations in 2000.

The interior of the church is most impressive, as indeed is the whole building. The central nave is flanked by two arcaded aisles with short transepts contained within the line of the east end of the aisles. Three marble steps lead into the chancel, beyond which is a three sided sanctuary. Beneath the north aisle, there is a basement which contains choir vestries and other prayer rooms.

There is a small prayer desk at the west door which commemorates James Gibbons, 1969. Above the west door, there is a rose window. Above that are two stained glass windows, and over them, again a single single circular window in the apex of the roof. In the west wall of the south aisle, there is a small window of coloured glass, depicting a dove, and beside it a window depicting praying hands, the gift of the McCorkell family. On the other side of the west wall, a window depicts The Good Shepherd in memory of Thomas and Margaret Alexander and their parents, George and Mary, 1968. The baptistery is at the west end of the north aisle. The window in it depicts Jesus gathering the little children, 1898. There are two pairs of windows in the north aisle. The first pair is of opaque diamond glass. the first of the second pair is in memory of soldiers of the 5th Londonderry Battalion of the Ulster Defence Regiment who were killed of who died between 1970 and 1992. It contains the city crest and the badge of the U.D.R., and the Bible. The other window has opaque diamond glass. In the south aisle, there are also two pairs of windows. The first pair has one window which was presented by the Brownies to mark sixty years of their existence in the parish, 1932-1992. Their motto, "lend a hand" is inscribed. The other window is of opaque diamond glass, as are both windows in the neighbouring pair. The nave and aisles are separated by four arches above which are three clerestory windows of two lights on each side. The window in the south transept contains various figures in stained glass, and has tracery above. It commemorates Henry Lane, 1894. The opposite window in the north transept illustrates the "Nunc Dimittis", (St. Luke 2:29-32) on the left, and, "behold the Lamb of God", on the right. The left section is in memory of the Rev. Edward Stewart who died in 1883, and the right section commemorates his son, the Rev. John Stewart, Vicar of Clooney, 1872-1880. The three windows in the sanctuary have two lights each, and are inserted in the three sections of the apsidal east sanctuary wall. Each window has three levels. The twelve Apostles are depicted in the top two levels, and there are various Biblical scenes in the bottom levels. Memorial inscriptions at the base of the whole window record that it was erected in memory of W. S. Harvey, who died in 1870, to the Glory of God at the desire of and by the bequest of James Nesbitt. It is altogether, a magnificent set of stained glass windows. Round the base of the sanctuary is a fine marble reredos.

The altar is finely carved. Two of the four chairs in the sanctuary are in memory of Canon William Garstin, Curate of Clooney, 1905-1908, and Rector, 1914-1920. The prayer desk in the sanctuary is in memory of Mary Campbell, 1958. There is a prayer desk at each end of the choir stalls. The vestry room is to the left  of the chancel, and the organ chamber is on the right. The organ is of two manuals and pedals, and its detached console is in the north aisle. 

The pulpit on the right is of brown marble. The small prayer desk beside it was made in 1996. A small font adjacent commemorates James Moore who died in 1987.

The two memorials to those of the parish who fell and served in the Great War and in the second World War are on the east wall of the north transept. A monument on the north wall of the north aisle commemorates Lt. William Gilliland of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was killed at Galipoli in 1915. Margaret Gilliland who died in 1938, and Joseph Cooke who died in 1918 are commemorated on other memorials on the same wall. On the south wall of the south aisle, there is a memorial to Sgt. Major John Lowry who died in 1936, and a memorial to Martha Plummer who died in 1940.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Tullyaughnish, Ramelton, St. Paul

The Parish of Tullyaughnish, "the hill of the horse island", is situated on the west shore of Lough Swilly, with the town of Ramelton at its center. The survey of 1622 observed that the original church was on Aughnish Island in Lough Swilly. It was moved to Ramelton to which Sir William Stewart had come in the Plantation of Ulster, and had built a castle in the village. His descendants still live in Ramelton today. There was also in the parish, a Franciscan Friary at Killydonnell which had been founded by the O'Donnell clan in the 16th century. The neighboring ancient parish of Tullyfern near Kilmacrennan, was joined to Tullyaughnish about 1660.

The present church of St. Paul, Ramelton, dates from 1825. It cost £1,101, of which the rector, the Rev. Cornelius Ussher contributed £900. It is a large almost square building with a tower in the west end and a sanctuary at the east end.

The tower has louvers in the upper storey, and battlements at the top, with prominent corner finials. The nave walls are supported by buttresses, the easternmost of which are capped by finials. Inside there is a large gallery, underneath which, to the left of the entrance, is the baptistery. This was erected in in 1967 in memory of Forrest Mitchel. The sanctuary is approached up steps, through the choir, and the vestry room is to the left.

In the east wall is a magnificent window of three lights. It was installed in 1975, and depicts the Creation. Inscribed in it are the words from the canticle Benedictie, "All ye works of the Lord Praise him". The window is by Patrick Pollen, and commemorates Major Robert Wood Grove of Castlegrovw, who died in 1969. In the north wall are six opaque square paned windows. There are five similar windows in the south wall, and of the six there, the fifth commemorates Hamilton Verschoyle, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh who died in 1870, and his wife who died in 1883. The window in the south wall of the sanctuary is in memory of James Grove who died in 1891.

The alatr is in memory of Charles Lord who died in 1917, and the prayer desk commemorates John  M. C. Grove and his wife Lucy and their daughter. It was presented by Eileen Grove in 1955. The lectern is in memory of Alex Mitchell who died in 1886, and the pulpit is on the right hand side of the nave. The organ, by Conacher, has two manuals and pedals, and was installed in 1900. It was restored in 1999.

On the west wall a plaque acknowledges the gift by the Jacob family of vestry furniture, bookshelves, the sound system and pulpit area refurbishment. On the north wall are memorials to Edith Anne Gibbon who died in 1880 aged six years, to Ann Mitchell who died in 1895, and to Alma. M. Mitchell who died in 1978. On the south wall, a monument commemorates Lt. Adrian Stewart of the Gloucestershire Regiment who died in the Great War, 1914. Another monument commemorates Lt. Col. Dan Webber of the West Yorkshire Regiment who died in 1993. There is a memorial to those who fell in the Great War, and a memorial to Lt. A. G. Hamon of the Royal Navy who was killed on HMS Eagle in 1958, and to his daughter who died in 1956.

View of Ramelton, from St. Pauls. Visible are Ramelton Presbyterian Church on the right and the ruins of Ramelton Old Church on the left.

On the north wall of the chancel is a memorial to two brothers, the Rev. John. T. Browne from Ramelton, who was rector of Haigh, Lancashire, who died in 1862, and William Browne who died in 1880. Opposite a plaque states that the east window is a gift of Eileen Grove in memory of her husband, Major Grove who died in 1969. Also in the south sanctuary wall is a monument to Samuel Sproule who was secretary to the Grand Jury of County Donegal, who died in 1866.

The old rectory, a fine house in spacious grounds, was built about 1875. This was replaced with the present rectory in 1995. The parochial hall was the Robertson School. It was renovated in 1999.

Kilmacrennan, St. Finian and St. Mark

Kilmacrennan, "the church of the son of Nennain" is a village some eleven kilometers north-west of Letterkenny. Columba spent his childhood here, and was educated at Temple Douglas nearby. He is siad to have founded a monastery in the locality.

Kilmacreenan old church was built after 1622. In the 1729 survey, the church was in good repair. This was demolished in 1845, and was replaced with the present church which was completed in 1846. It is a hall church with a porch near the west end of the south side. To the west of that, almost on the south west corner is a square tower which is surmounted by a small conical spire. The vestry room is opposite the north wall. The baptistery occupies the whole length of the west wall, and it was arranged in its present form in 1979. It was at this time that the church was given its present dedication. The sanctuary was refurbished in 1939.

There are three diamond paned clear windows on both the north and the south walls and a diamond paned window of two lights in the west wall, and a large similar window of three lights in the east wall, which is decorated with fleur de lys and other patterns in colour.

There is one small window in each side of the sanctuary. Thus, the whole building is spacious, airy and brightly lit. The pulpit, which is on the right side of the nave, came from a Congregational chapel in Galway via a Jesuit church! It is finely carved with figures from the Reformation. The prayer desk was made and presented by Canon James Gerald Harvey, Rector, 1921-1957.

On the north wall is a monument to the Rev. William Allman, Rector 1873-1895. There is also a memorial to Hugh Kennedy and his parents, in whose memory the amplification system was installed. On the south wall is a brass plaque to George Allman, son of the Rev. W. Allman, who died in 1911, as well as a memorial to Alex Baxter who died in 1999, and to Jeannie Baxter who died in 1992. The chancel lights and other gifts were presented in their memory. The former Robertson school adjacent to the church, is now in use as a parish hall.

Killygarvan, Rathmullan, St. Columb

Kilygarvan, "the wood of the rough field"  is a a praish half way up the west coast of Lough Swilly. The Church is in Rathmullan, where there are the remains of an ancient priory. At the survey in 1622, the church was considered to be in such bad repair , that it would be better to worship in the old priory. By 1729, the church which had been consecrated in 1706, was in good repair. Another church was built in 1814.

The present church dates from 1887, when the chancel, organ chamber and vestry were added to the building of 1814. At the west end is a tower, with a window on either side, and the entrance to the porch in the west end. Inside is a gallery, under which to the left is the baptistery.

In the north wall, at the west end, are two small square windows, one below the other. There is also a large window with three lights, commemorating Thomas Batt of Rathmullan House who died in 1857.

It contains the Batt family crests. In the south wall are three windows, each with two lights. The first two are of clear lattice glass. The third window depicts Jesus with Martha, her sister Mary, and Lazarus  and is in memory of Letitia, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs C. Gayer. There is an opaque glass window in the south sanctuary wall.

The east window, dated 1883, is in memory of Elizabeth Otway, daughter of Thomas Batt, who died in 1878. The four lights depict, Jesus walking on the water, the miraculous draught of fishes, the woman caught in adultery, and the raising of Lazarus.

The prayer desk was presented by David Kelly in memory of his sons. The lectern is nicely carved. The pulpit is in memory of the Rev. Henry Stewart Cochrane, Rector of Killygarvan, 1835-1880. The organ and the altar, which is dated 1936, are in memory of the Rev. William Battersby Lloyd, Rector 1883-1907.

Three important families left their mark on the parish in the 18th and 19th centuries, and their monuments are in the church. One of these was the Knox family of Prehen, Lonodnderry, descendents of Andrew Know, Bishop of Raphoe 1611-1633. On the north wall are a roll of honour and a monument to those who fell in the Great War. Next is the monument of Andrew Know of Prehen, M.P. for Donegal who died in 1774, and his daughter Mariana who died in 1761. In the south wall, Dominick, son of Andrew Knox, who died in 1851, is commemorated  .

The Batt family of Purdysburn, Belfast arrived in Rathmullan. They had come up through County Wexford in the 18th century. They were bankers, founders of the Belfast Bank. Thomas Batt bought the Knox properties around Rathmullan, and rebuilt Rathmullan House, now a hotel. The east window, as has been said, commemorates his daughter.

The Montgomery family was prominent in military life in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Their residence was Fort Royal, also now a hotel. On the east wall of the nave , to the right of the sanctuary, and adjacent to them on the south wall, are several brass plaques to the family. On one, General George Samuel Montgomery who died in 1898, and his wife, Letitia, who died in 1894 are commemorated. His son, Major T. R. A. G. Montgomery who died in 1922, is commemorated on another brass plaque, and another son, Col. C. A. S. Montgomery is also commemorated. Brigadier Harold Matthews, C.B.E who died in 1947, and his wife Sybil, daughter of J. H. Jellet are commemorated on two plaques. J. H. Jellet was in the Royal Artillery. He died at Fort Royal in 1938, and is commemorated, as is his daughter, Salisbury Mable who died in 1950.

There are two brasses to Brigadier General Arthur B. Stopford, Royal Artillery, who died in 1902, and his wife Evelyn, who died at Fort Royal in 1949. In the south wall is a monument to Gardiner Trouter who took part in the Crimean War, and who died at Sevastopol in 1851.

In the north wall of the sanctuary is a monument dated 1887 to Henry S. Irwin, who died in 1823 aged eight years, and in the east wall of the nave, a brass memorial commemorates the Rev. Andrew Noblett, Rector of Killygarvan, 1924-1937, who died in 1948.

Monday, 6 May 2013

All Saints, Newtowncunningham

The Parish of All Saints, Newtowncunningham, Co. Donegal, lies along the east shore of Lough Swilly, south of Inch Island. Newtowncunningham is half way between Letterkenny and Derry. At the time of the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century, the area was planted by the Cunningham family, hence the name of the villages of Manorcunningham and Newtowncunningham.

All Saints Church was built in 1722 as a private chapel for the Forward Family of Castleforward, and was consecrated on All Saints' Day, 1st November that year. On the 9th December 1728, it became a chapel of ease in the Parish of Taughboyne. At the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, 1870, All Saints district was separated from the Parish of Taughboyne, and it became a parish in its own right.

All Saints Church possesses one of the two lych gates in the Dioceses of Derry and Raphoe, the other being at Baronscourt Church, County Tyrone. It was erected in 1920 to commemorate the Rev. Alexander George Stuart and his wife, Christine Emma of Bogay House, Newtowncunningham. Sadly in recent times the gate has been subjected to an attack by ghastly individuals.

Bogay House was given to the Rev. Thomas Pemberton, Rector of Taughboyne for use as a rectory about 1800. Mrs Stuart was a sister of the Very Rev. Edward Bowen, Rector of All Saints, 1868-1886, and Dean of Raphoe, 1882 until his death in 1897.

There is a three storey tower at the west end of the church which is surmounted by corner finials. It was built in 1808. A stone in the interior west wall records the presentation of the clock in the tower by the Rev. Robert Blackmore Rankin, Rector of All Saints, 1885-1917. Also in the porch are two crosses which came from the grave of Lt. Col. A.G.Stuart who was killed at Westroute in Flanders in 1916 during the Great War.

The nave is lit by four windows in the south wall and three in the north wall. Each has two lights with clear lattice panes and Y tracery. There are five windows with coloured patterned glass in the sanctuary. The central window has two lights and cusped tracery.

The baptistery is in the south-west corner of the nave. It was erected in 1992 in memory of a nine-year old Audrey Christine West who was killed in a car accident in 1991. The vestry room is to the left of the nave.
The stone pulpit has marble columns, and inscribed upon it are the names of the four Evangelists. It is on the left side of the nave, outside the chancel. The wooden eagle lectern commemorates Dean Bowen. There is a two manual electronic organ with pedals.

The chancel was built in 1896. The two marble steps into it were erected in 1905 in memory of Isabella Kerr. The reredos commemorates those that fell in the Great War. The names of the former are inscribed on the left side of the altar, and those of the latter, on the right. The prayer desk in the sanctuary was given in thanksgiving for the survival of a serious illness in infancy of Stephen Devenny in 1991.

The three classical monuments on the north wall commemorate the Forward Family. The Rt. Hon. Ralph Howard of Shelton House, Arklow, Co. Wicklow, 1st Viscount Wicklow, M.P for the County of Wicklow, married Alicia, daughter of William Forward of Castleforward in 1755. William Forward, who built the church, is commemorated on a monument over the vestry door. He died in 1770. Alicia is commemorated in the middle monument  William, son of Ralph and Alicia Howard became the third Earl of Wicklow, and in 1780 he assumed the surname and arms of the Forward family. The other monument on the north wall commemorates his wife Eleanor, who died in 1807.

On the south wall is a memorial in the baptistery to Audrey West, John Gordon Bowen, brother of Dean Bowen, brother of Dean Bowen who died in 1891, and his wife Harriet who died in 1885 are commemorated on a brass plaque.

There is a memorial to Dean Bowen, and above it, his Father, the Rev. Edward Bowen, Rector of Taughboyne, 1819-1867, is commemorated. Another memorial commemorates the Rev. A.G.Stuart and his wife Christine and the family. Their son Lt. Col. Alexander Stuart who was killed in Flanders in 1916 is commemorated. There is also a memorial to the Rev. R. B. Rankin. William Forwards gravestone is set into the south wall.

Burt, Christ Church

Burt, "Druim Bearta" - the height of Bearta, is between Derry and Newtowncunningham. The ancient church belonged to the Abbey of Macosquin, and later became one of the five chapels of ease of Templemore Parish. There have been several churches on the different sites, built about 1620, 1737, and around 1805. The present church was built about 1860 to a design by John G. Ferguson . It is a rectangular hall with a porch and a tower in the north west corner, and a porch to the side of the sanctuary. The tower is surmounted by a cream brick turret and short spire.

There is a lattice window of three lights in the west wall, and a stained glass window of three lights in the east wall. There are four lattice windows in the south wall, and three in the north wall, the middle one of which is lattice.

The first window is in memory of the Rev. Cononolly Cheevers, perpetual curate 1820-1871,

and the other window is in memory of Frances Crookshank who died in 1880.

Burt Church was closed in 1973. It has since been sold and converted into a bar/restaurant. In the words of my friend The Rev. Canon David Crooks, " It is to be regretted that the restaurant within contains a pub, with the old church furniture and fittings, including the pulpit, adjacent to the bar, which to say the least, is in very bad taste".