Friday, 27 July 2012

Tamlaghtfinlagan, St Findluganus, Ballykelly

Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church is in Ballykelly, Co. Londonderry, five kilometres west of Limavady on the Londonderry Road. The name means "The Plague Monument of Findluganus". Findluganus or Finlagan, Patron Saint of the parish, was a contemporary of and friend of Saint Columba. Columba is supposed to have founded an abbey in the district about 585.

In 1622, the church was in ruins. The Fishmongers' Company which had settled in the area after the Plantation, repaired and enlarged the old church, which was dedicated to St Peter. It was also known as the Garrison Church. This church was destroyed and restored twice during the 17th century. It was kept in good repair in the 18th century, with a chancel being built in 1719.

The Fishmongers also erected a castle at Walworth, west of Ballykelly. Walworth was named after Sir William Walworth who was Mayor of London at the time of Wat Tyler's revolt in 1381.

The present church in Ballykelly was built in 1795 by the Earl of Bristol, Bishop Hervey. The chancel, vestry and gallery were added in 1851, and the north aisle, by Joseph Welland, was built in 1859. 

Set amongst trees in spacious grounds at the edge of the village, Tamlaghtfinlagan church is an impressive sight. It is a three bay hall with a tower and a tall elegant ashlar spire. There are crenellations     
along the external walls. The nave walls are supported by buttresses.

The window in the west wall of the porch is in memory of Private Michael Boxall, 5th Co. Londonderry Battalion, Ulster Defence Regiment. Two Rolls of Honour in the porch commemorate those who fell in the Great War. The gallery is over the west end of the nave. The nave ceiling has a flat, classical design, and the ceiling in the sanctuary is vaulted. There are three windows in the south wall. Each has two lights and diamond panes with rectangular edges, and Y tracery and various crest insets. The middle window was installed in 1995 to mark the bicentenary of the church. On the left are inset illustrations of the church, 1795, of the rectory which was built in 1863, and of Jesus calling the children. On the right, are illustrations of the texts, "Go onto all the world" and "Do all to the glory of God", and St John's chapel at Myroe, 1863, is depicted.

The arms of the Beresford family also appear.

The Hon. John Beresford

The Hon John Beresford was a son of Marcus, Earl of Tyrone, who became Marquis of Waterford. At the end of the 18th century, he was a member of the Privy Councils of England and Ireland, and first Commissioner of the Revenue.

The third window in the south wall, nearest the chancel displays the arms of the Earl of Bristol and the Diocesan crest, combined with the Bristol arms.

There are similarly three windows of two lights each in the north aisle with contain crests.

The middle window depicts on the left, the Empty Tomb, and on the right, the loaves and the fishes for the feeding of the five thousand. It commemorates Arthur Sampson, JP, 1860.

The east window has three lights of diamond coloured glass and double Y tracery. The tracery displays the arms of the Marquis of Waterford, head of the Beresford family. There are also the arms of the Sampson family, and the Fishmongers' Company and the Hon. The Irish Society.

The aisle and the nave are separated by one small arch under the gallery, and three large arches. The baptistry is in the west end of the aisle. The altar was purchased in 1947 to mark the 150th anniversary of the church two years earlier. The old altar was given to St John's, Myroe. The reredos and Communion rails commemorate those who fell in the second World War. There are two chairs in the sanctuary. That on the left is in memory of William and Margaret Quigg. The credence table was presented by the Brown family in memory of their parents. The vestry room is to the left of the chancel. The vestry table is in memory of Robert, John and James McMichael 1968.

The pulpit on the left, which was presented in 1923, is in memory of Conolly Gage of Drummond, who was the last Irish agent to the Fishmongers' Company. He died in 1922. The prayer lectern on the right commemorates Maria Hester Sampson who died in 1895. The prayer desk on the right is in memory of William Charles Gage and his sisters. The electronic organ is on the right side of the nave near the chancel. Ballykelly has had long associations with the Royal Air Force. Two RAF flags are placed at each corner of the gallery.


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