Tamlaghtard, "the high plague monument ", is situated on an exposed, windswept site, on the slopes of Benevenagh Mountain, overlooking the Magilligan peninsula at the north-eastern tip of Lough Foyle. The church is said to have been founded by St Patrick. Patrick's work was continued by the patron saint of the parish, Cadan, who lived around the beginning of the sixth century, and whose tomb is supposed to lie close to the old church. The ruins of this church are adjacent to St Aidan's Roman Catholic Church nearby, the site of which was given to their congregation by the Earl Bishop when Tamlaghtard church was built.
The exact date of the present church is uncertain, but it was built between 1778 and 1787, with assistance from the Earl Bishop. It is a simple three bay church with a tower, through which the church is entered. At its base is a flight of steps, and on both sides, there are two smaller towers, which are, in fact, extensions to the nave, and of the same height.
On the north wall, and on each of the tower entrance, are blind windows. There is a window in both of the miniature towers at the west end, and three windows of two lights and Y tracery in the south wall of the nave. The east window has three lights and tracery.
Inside the porch are the stairs to the gallery. In the nave, the baptistery is in the south west corner beneath the gallery. The chancel and vestry room to the left was built in 1854.
The stone pulpit is to the left. The prayer desk on the right is in the memory of Sir Fredrick William Heygate, DL who died in 1894, and the wooden eagle lectern adjacent commemorates the Rev John McAdams, Rector of Tamlaghtard, 1670-1899.
In the sanctuary, the reading lights commemorate Sir Henry McDonald Tyler and his daughter, 1980, and the prayer desk was presented by the Rev. Robert Stanley, Rector, 1954-1960, and Mrs Stanley.
Tamlaghtard has some fine monuments and memorials commemorating the Heygate, MacCausland, Gage and Tyler families. On the north wall is a monument to Sir John Heygate, 4th Baronet, of Ballerina, and second son of Arthur Conolly Gage. There is a memorial to Connolly MacCausland of Drenagh who died in 1827. The section below commemorates Marcus MaCausland who died in 1862, and below again, a part of the memorial commemorates Marianne MaCausland who died in 1864. There are memorials to Ann Gage who died in 1868, and to husband Marcus Gage who died in 1890. Henry Tyler who died in 1897, and his daughter who was the wife of Canon Henry Francis McDonald Tyler, Rector of Tullyaughnish (Ramelton), and Conolly Gage of Ballerena, and his wife Henrietta, who died in 1869 are all commemorated.
Monuments commemorate Col. Robert Henry Gage Heygate, DSO who died in 1923, and Sir William Fredrick Heygate, DL, who died in 1894, and Marianne, daughter of Conolly Gage of Ballerina, wife of Sir Fredrick Heygate, and the Rev. Thomas Thomson, LL.,D., Rector 1931-1928.
On the east wall are the memorials to Eliza Dysart who died in 1871, and to her husband the Rev. William Dysart, Rector of Tamlaghtard, 1856-1874, and who died in 1881. On the south wall, there is a memorial to Christopher Gage Heygate who died in 1905, aged twelve years, and Conolly MacCausland of Fruithill (the old name of Drenagh), who died in 1794, and his wife, are commemorated.
|View of Bellarena Presbyterian Church from Tamlaghtard Church of Ireland. Lough Foyle in the background.|