Saturday, 28 July 2012

Aghanloo Parish Church

Aghanloo, "the little ford of Lugha", is a small parish to the north of Limavady in County Derry, on the Castlerock Road. The Patron Saint was Lugha. At the time of the Plantation, it was granted to the Haberdashers' Company. The old church was reported to be ruinous in the 1622 survey. It was still in bad repair by 1693, but was rebuilt about 1700. The grassy mound nearby is the remains of this church.

The present church was consecrated on the 2nd July 1826. It is a small, hall church, with a tower and chancel, typical of the design of John Bowden. The large basalt blocks of which the church is built, are most striking.

Inside, there are rooms at either side of the chancel. There are three diamond-paned, clear windows, with cupsed Y shape tracery in the south wall. The font is on the north west corner of the nave, the pulpit is on the left, and the prayer desk is on the right. The prayer desk and chair are in memory of Anne Lane Megeath and Dr James Lane. The brass eagle lectern commemorates Joseph Irwin who died in 1919.

On the north wall there are monuments to Dr Benjamin Lane who died in 1922, and to the Rev William Smyly, Rector of Aghanloo from 1827 until his death in 1835. His wife Charlotte who died in 1855 is also commemorated. There is a monument to Anna Lane Megeath and her brother Dr John Lane, 1925, and to Samuel Martin who died in 1831 and to Arabella, his wife, and their daughter. A memorial commemorates Major John Percival Young of the Royal Pakistan Engineering Regiment who was killed in a mountaineering accident in Pakistan, 1948.

The Youngs of Aghanloo House, a former Rectory, are a prominent land-owning family ine the parish. On the south wall is a large memorial to the Rev. George Vaughan Sampson, Rector of Aghanloo 1794-1807, who translated the Epistle to the Hebrews. He was a well known historian and antiquarian. On the east wall, left of the sanctuary there is a memorial to the Rev. George Craig, Rector 1853-1880, and to his wife who died in 1880.

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