Wednesday, 1 August 2012

St. Augustine's Church, Londonderry

St. Augustine's Church is situated on the historic walls of Derry. It stands upon the site of an ancient Augustinian abbey which dated from the end of the 13th century. This abbey was used by the planters at the beginning of the 17th century until the completion of the cathedral in 1633. The church was rebuilt by Bishop Barnard about 1768, and named, "ye chapel of ease".

The present church was consecrated on 11th June 1872. It is a benefice in the Parish of Templemore. At the west end, there is a lean-to porch with a gabled door and a bellcote.

The window above the entrance contains four circular lights and geometric tracery. 

Inside the porch are the steps to the gallery, beneath which is the baptistry. A plaque in it states that the font was presented by the Mother's Union, and that it was dedicated on the Ascension Day, 6th May 1948. A lectern in the baptistry was presented by Samuel Heatley in memory of his wife, Margaret, who died in 1996.

The choir stalls are on either side of the chancel. They were presented in 1961 by members of the Junior Girl's Friendly Society in memory of Scott Gallagher who died in 1955. The prayer desk on the left was presented by the G.F.S. in 1935, and the prayer desk on the right was presented by the family of Cecil Allen who died in 1996. The brass eagle lectern and the Holy Table were presented in 1931, and the pulpit was dedicated in 1934.

These furnishings were provided at the time of the renovations which were carried out from 1931 to 1934. The original Holy Table was presented to Killowen Church, Coleraine. There are three chairs in the sanctuary, one of which was given in memory of Meta Armstrong who died in 1967. There are also two small prayer desks in the sanctuary.

The organ by Conacher, has two manuals and pedals. The organ chamber is to the left of the chancel, and the vestry room is to the right of the sanctuary. The sanctuary walls are lined with lovely Minton tiles which depict wheat sheaves, and above them, running round the three sides, the tiled frieze depicts grapes.

St. Augustine's has some very fine windows. The two in the porch, as well as the first window in the south wall, have opaque lattice glass. The nave windows each have two lights and small sections above.

The second window in the south wall shows Jesus calling the little children, with a Bible in the tracery, and it commemorates Violet Roulston, her husband Christopher and their son Maurice, 1999.

The third window contains the War memorial, and the names of those who fell in the second World War. It depicts Elisha encouraging his servant on the walls of Dothan, (2 Kings 6:17). The fourth window was dedicated in 1989, and it commemorates Canon Herbert McKegney, Rector of St. Augustine's, 1930-1972. Canon McKegney was a keen Scouter, so the window shows the world badge of Scouting in the tracery, and it also illustrates the lamb in the midst of the Throne and the mulitudes in white, from the Book of Revelation.

In the north wall of the nave, the window by the baptistry depicts the Baptism of Jesus in it's two lights. The Lamb of God appears in the tracery above. The window was dedicated in 2001 in memory of Mrs Annie (Nan) Heatley and her daughter, Joy. It also commemorates Samuel and Margaret Heatley, and was donated by the family. The second window has opaque lattice glass. The third window depicts Ruth and Naomi, and commemorates Elizabeth Frances Algeo who died in 1944.


The east window has three lights and geometric tracery. The upper sections depict the Good Shepherd, and the lower sections depict The Prodigal Son. Noah's Ark appears in the tracery above. The window commemorates Thomas Scott of Willsborough who died in 1872.

There is a small window in the north wall of the sanctuary, the gift of the Rev. Thomas Scott, Incumbent, 1870-1877, during whose incumbency, the present church was built. It depicts Simeon receiving the Child Jesus in the Temple (the Nunc Dimittis)

In the porch, a monument commemorates Lt. Robert Boyd of the Bengal Army who was killed at Malaga in Spain in 1831. Robert Boyd's sister married Lt. Col. Colby who was involved in the production of the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland in 1836. There is also a stone with the Red Hand of Ulster, which has the inscription, "to the memory of John McCombe who departed 1689)".

The Roll of Honour commemorates those who served and fell in the two world wars. There is an old stone tablet of unknown origin on the window still in the porch.

On the north nave wall is a monument to William Algeo, ship's surgeon on S.S. California, who died when the ship was torpedoed in 1917. There is a memorial to Charles Alego who died in 1926, and on the arch adjacent to the organ, a brass plaque commemorates David and Ruby Holmes, by whose bequest the organ was rebuilt in 1983. The Great War memorial is on the south wall, and there is a memorial to Mary Caroline Maguinness, who died in 1986, on the west wall.

The grave of Rev. John McArthur, father of Sir William McArthur who was once Lord Mayor of London.

The grave of Rev. William McClure, Minister of First Presbyterian Church, Londonderry for 49 years. The remains of the Walker Monument  in the background.

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