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".

Friday, 3 May 2013

Clonmany, St. Columbkille

Clonmany, "the meadow of Maine", is in the north of the Inishowen peninsula. St. Columba founded a church there in the sixth century.

The Earl-Bishop built the parish church in 1772. It was a simple two bay hall with a two storey tower at the west end. It was closed in 1927, and is now a ruin.


The Parish of Desertegney, "the desert of hermitage of Eagneach", is just north of Buncrana on the eash shore of Lough Swilly. It is said to have been founded by St. Columba. The Church was built in 1779. It was a three bay hall with a tower. It was closed in 1972, and is now a forlorn ruin.


The Parish of Leck, the name of which means, " a great stone" is four kilometers east of Letterkenny. In the eighteenth century, the church was in good order. The building was replaced in 1839 with a new building which was built by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It was a simple rectangular three bay hall.

Leck and Aughanunshin parishes were amalgamated in 1872, and both were amalgamated with Conwall in 1900 to form Conwall Union. The church was closed in 1972. 


Kilcar, "The Church of Carthagh" is a small parish in the south-west of Donegal, between Killybegs and Glencolumbkille. St. Carthagh is thought to have presided over a monastery in the area about 540 A. D.

The present church was built in 1828. It was a plain building with two bays and a tower. It was closed in 1960 and is now a ruin.

Gleneely, All Saints

Gleneely Village is in the north of the Inishowen peninsula. The church nearby, which is by Joseph Welland, is supposed to have been built at the instigation of Miss Catherine Ball of Grousehall. It was consecrated on the 27th March 1856. It is a simple, rectangular church with a belfry. A chancel was to have been built, but never was - the arch can be seen outside behind. Gleneely church was closed in 1992.


Dunlewey means, "Lewe's Fort". Dunlewey Church was Consecrated as a Chapel of Ease in Tullaghobegley Parish, Gortahork, on 1st September 1853. In 1872, the perpetual curacy was absorbed into neighboring parishes. The Church is a four bay hall with a tall tower at the west end which has prominent finals.

Dunlewey church was closed in 1955, and is now a ruin on the shores of Dunlewey Lough, at the foot of Mount Errigal.

The bell is now at Cashel Church near Creeslough, and on it is inscribed the date 11th October 1860, and the name of the Incumbent, Rev. J. H. Bor, who was Incumbent 1856-1872. James Henry Bor was the only man to hold the incumbency without any other parish.  

Derg, Castlederg, St. John

Derg, "The Oak Wood", is a parish which is centered in the west Tyrone town of Castlederg. The ancient church was reported to be in ruins in 1619, when it was rebuilt by Sir John Davis. This was destroyed in 1641, and it remained in ruins until 1731 when the nave of the present church was built by Hugh Edwards of Castle Gore.

It is certain that the tower at the west end of Derg church is older than the nave, as it is more Elizabethan or Jacobean in architectural style. It presumably survives from the old church. It has a fine classical doorway which is flanked by free standing Tuscan columns, and it is surmounted by a high pediment with a crest carved upon it.

Inside the porch, the entrance door to the nave is surmounted by a round-headed archway with the Latin inscription "auspiciis Domini resurgo", which can be translated, "by the favors of God, I rise", and the date is 1731. The architrave has floral patterns and acanthus leaves on an ogee moulding. The door is in memory of William and Fanny Harper, 1959. The sections of paneling in the porch were donated in memory of Mary Jane Bogle, Samuel and Rebecca Loughlin, Joseph and Elizabeth Milligan, Jack Cummings, Jack Cooper, Harry Dougal RN, and Samuel and Lilian Walls. The tiling on the floor of the porch was the gift of Colonel and Mrs Carr, 1971, the floodlighting is in memory of Ronald Finlay and the retaining wall in the churchyard is in memory of Leslie McNutt, 1992. To the left of the porch is the Smyly Rooms which was built in 1971 to commemorate John Denis Ferguson Smyly who died in 1941, and his father, uncle, and grandfather.

The window over the west entrance to the nave depicts the Lamb of God. The nave is of five bays, and to the left is the north aisle. They are joined by four arches. On the south nave wall, the first window which is the baptistery, depicts St. John,  and the second is of square-paned  opaque glass with an inset depicting St. Luke. The third window was donated in 1959, and shows Jesus blessing the children. It is in memeory of Andrew McCready who died in 1957. The fourth window depicts St. Mark and the fifth, St. Matthew. In the west aisle wall there is a round window, and there are five windows with opaque glass in the north aisle wall. The window in the east aisle has three lights and tracery. The east window has three lights of diamond colored glass, and the middle section has an inset depicting the Lamb of God.

The baptistery is in the south-west corner of the nave. The font was presented by the children of the Sunday School in 1931. There is a stone pulpit on the right side, and a prayer desk on the left. The Conacher organ has two manuals and pedals. The blower was presented by the Mothers Union in 1954. In the sanctuary, the panelling on the south side commemorates those who fell in the Great War, and that on the north side, those who fell in the Second World War.

On the south wall, a monument commemorates the Rev. Edward Edwards, JP who died in 1881. He was perpetual Curate of Derg, 1849-1880. Adjacent is an inscription in his memory which was erected by his daughter. On the same wall, a monument commemorates Lt. Col. Edwards and Lt. Edwards who died in 1884. It is surmounted by a crest. There is also a memorial to William King Edwards, DL who died in 1912. On the west wall there is a brass memorial to those who were killed whilst serving in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and with the Ulster Defence Regiment. There is a second record of the donation of £300 to the church by Major John Smyly in 1896. On the north wall, a memorial commemorates Sir Robert Ferguson Bart., MP for Londonderry, who died in 1860, and other members of his family. On the aisle north wall, the Rev. Archibald Hamilton, perpetual Curate of Derg, 1808-1849 is commemorated along with other family members.