Seapatrick

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ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH CENTENARY

At the time St. Anne's was completed we had the centenary of St. Patrick's Church in the Village. Quite a contrast in size but both beautiful in their own settings and both the reward for devotion and determination. The year long centenary celebrations began on 28th January, 1982 with a Thanksgiving Service. This had been postponed from the 11th January because of a heavy snowfall. Such is the love and esteem in which the villagers hold their Church that almost every seat was taken an hour before the Service was due to begin, justification, if any was needed, for the beliefs and hopes of those, who over one hundred years before had campaigned for the retention of a church in the Village.

Indeed in his address, the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, Dr. Robert Eames stressed that love, when speaking about his previous visit, not long after coming to the Diocese - "That occasion was virtually on the eve of my departure for the U.S.A. and I could not have taken a better example in heart and mind of the love of our people for their Church than that which I experienced here almost a year ago". He paid tribute to those responsible for leadership in the Church and to the Vestry members and various committees and organisations "which make this place live and witness and be." The Bishop spoke about the thankfulness we should feel, the gift of worship which should never be taken for granted and this centenary "which must also be a springboard for the lives of faith they lived outside the walls of this place". During the course of the service Mr. Hugh McClory, people's churchwarden petitioned the Bishop to dedicate the many gifts. A list of these is given at the end.

The Service was followed by tea in the Church hall and the elaborate centenary cake, provided by parishioner Mr. Barry Edwards, was cut by Miss Sarah Beattie, described by the Rector as someone who has been involved in the work of St. Patrick's Church for a very long time. Speaking on behalf of the people of the Village Church, Mr. William Fyvie described how the life of the village community had centered for a very long time around the now defunct mill of F. W. Hayes & Co., manufacturers of linen thread and yarn. Mill craftsmen had built the Village Church and School and many a villager had been laid to rest in a mill coffin. There was, and still is, the Village Band and the social events of the year were the mill trip and the mill ball, not forgetting the football team which on one occasion played in the Irish Senior Cup competition. In a very happy atmosphere presentations were made to "one of the Parish's most devoted and long serving Sunday School teachers," Mrs. Clarence Cheney; to the churchwardens and their wives, Mr. and Mrs. H. Carson and Mr. and Mrs. H. McClory; to the Rector and their organist Mrs. Patricia Hamilton, for their leadership and service over 21 years and to Bishop R. H. A. Eames.

In March, special trees, donated by Mr. G. Stevenson, were planted in the Church grounds by men of the congregation, and the Seapatrick Ladies' Guild and a Boys' Brigade Company were formed. A Fete was held, with the fancy dress competition judged by our newly-arrived curate, Reverend Harry Trimble, and Mrs. Trimble. At the same time there was a Flower Festival in the Church, organised by Mrs. Patricia Hamilton and ladies of the congregation. Gifts which had been presented over the years to the Church, were highlighted with floral tributes and there were floral displays of biblical scenes created by the Sunday School children. The celebrations continued into 1983 and were featured with the dedication of a new East Window by the Most Reverend Dr. George Simms, former Primate. The Window, given by parishioners, depicts on the main panel, St. Patrick coming to Ireland and on the side panels, within shamrock outlines, scenes from his life tending sheep on Mount Slemish and teaching the Gospel. An historical pageant, written by Mrs. Iris Minnis and narrated by Alister Minnis, with the Sunday School children and choir, dramatised the events of the centenary year and in bringing the celebrations to a close, summed up much of what we believe in and cherish.

In 1983 the Lord Bishop acknowledged the service given by our Rector, Canon N. R. Hamilton, over the years, by announcing his preferment as Chancellor of Dromore Cathedral Chapter. A large contingent of parishioners travelled to Dromore for the service of installation. Holy Trinity was enriched with the gift of three windows. In 1981 a window depicting St. Francis of Assisi was given by Peggy Close in memory of her husband, William, a great supporter and worker for the Church. Later, in 1984 a window portrayal of Jesus calling fishermen to follow him was given by Charles Murdock, in memory of his family. Also in 1984 a memorial window in the Sanctuary of Holy Trinity Church in memory of Canon Thomas Parr, who died in 1969, was dedicated by the Right Reverend C. I. Peacocke. The window portrayal of 'Jesus the Healer', was chosen in recognition of Canon Parr's care for the sick and elderly during his twenty-six years as Rector (1935-1961). A carved reading desk chair was also dedicated in St. Patrick's Church to his memory. Such was the immediate and generous response, that Miss I. M. Stanage and her committee found it only necessary to make one appeal for the memorial fund.

At the 1984 Easter Vestry, the Rector paid tribute to the enthusiasm and drive of Mrs. Margaret Jones assisted by Mrs. R. Trimble and other ladies in raising money for new crockery and china. The organ fund also benefited from a 'Good Old Days' concert organised by Margaret and the Choir with that 'man of many parts', the Reverend Harry Trimble as Master of Ceremonies, and from another concert organised by Mr. T. A. Wilson. The part time pastoral work of the Reverend A. E.Crawford, especially visits to the elderly and sick, was praised. His assistance was especially valuable at a time of short staffing and he and the Reverend D. Stranex were always ready to help. Also thanked were Miss I. Stanage for her work as Honorary Auditor and those two pillars of the Church, the Honorary Treasurer, Mr. Norman Johnston, and Honorary Secretary, Mr. Herbert Sherwood.

THE TROUBLES

Perhaps it is only when we relate the beginning of the troubles to some event at the time, such as the death of Canon Parr, that we realise how long they have lasted. That beginning is generally thought to have been the civil rights march in Londonderry on 5th October, 1968. The continuing conflict led in March, 1972, to the proroging of Stormont and direct rule from Westminster, with a Secretary of State. Thus ended the 50 years' life of the Northern Ireland Parliament. After almost 20 years, the tragic loss of life, the injuries and grief and the twists and turns of the political scene have become commonplace. Each new outrage drives previous ones further back in memory, except for those who suffer injury or loss. For them the memory stays living and lifetime. They are the victims of those who seek and need disunity. But in the quiet of the Churches, the unifying force of Christian beliefs is the one constant influence on all shades of opinion. It is that role of our Church and its members that is relevant to this record.

From the outbreak of the troubles, the Church leaders and representatives have tried on many occasions to act as mediators. Perhaps, the most dramatic was the meeting at Feakle in County Clare in December 1974, between the main Protestant Churches and the Army Council of the Provisional I.R.A. There have also been numerous deputations to governments, political parties and paramilitary organisations. None has had a decisive effect on the general problem, but many have ameliorated particular issues. Where the consequences of the civil strife are concerned, the Churches continue to carry out their work as Good Samaritans. Comfort has been given to the bereaved and injured, temporary accommodation provided where necessary and support given for multi-denominational young people's holidays and projects. In this work they have been greatly assisted and encouraged by Churches outside Ireland.

What more can the Churches do? It has first to be recognised that church disunity makes their work less effective and their voice less likely to be heeded. In that knowledge, the Churches have co-operated in many situations and although there is much more to be achieved, there is now more contact, more mutual respect and understanding between the Churches than at any earlier period of Irish history. To speak of Church unity tends to divide people into those who seek it as an aid to healing society and those who are deeply suspicious of it as a kind of surrender to the interests of others. 'Perhaps the vision we should have for the future is that of a close federation of Churches, each retaining their uniqueness, sharing with each other, co-operating with each other and learning from each other. The ultimate answer to our political problems has to be a political solution. The Church can not associate itself with any particular political programme. To do so would alienate or divide its members. It can and does, preach the reconciling love of God, which is at the heart of the Christian message. It is then for each of us to examine our attitudes and actions in the light of that message. No doubt, those inclined to do so, will select bits and parts to suit their own attitudes but so it always has been.

It may be asked what value is all this, if the paramilitaries consistently ignore their Bishops and also the unambigious words of Pope John Paul II at Drogheda in 1979: "I pray with you that nobody may ever call murder by any other name than murder . . . . let us remember that the word remains for ever'All who take the sword shall perish by the sword'. . . On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence and to return to the ways of peace".We should remember, that despite the deafness of the paramilitaries, history teaches us that they can not survive without support in the community. It is the part played at local level by ordinary Church members, which continually influences, indeed to a considerable extent constitutes the general situation, that can help remove that support. We see that in Banbridge, with our one community spirit, as evidenced by the recent week of prayer and our freedom from locally generated violence. The spirit of Christian forgiveness, so evident everywhere with many who have suffered and the recognition of the unity we have in Christ, offer us real hope for the future.

But just as for world peace we have to fight for peace in our Parish and Province. 'Every word we speak, every action we take affects our neighbour for good or ill   Enough of lawlessness, enough of bigotry, enough of hatred . . . . All Christians of goodwill must learn to unite and pull together in heart and mind to make this a better country and a better world.' (Passages in single quotation marks have been taken from a sermon by the Reverend Kenneth Quinn in Holy Trinity Church on 25th January, 1987.)

 

In this 150th anniversary year of the consecration of Holy Trinity Church, a brief look at our Parish as it is today. The Reverend Chancellor N. R. Hamilton has been our Rector for 26 years. During this time he has had the assistance of a varying number of curates more often than not, just the one. At present there is one full time curate, the Reverend
J.L.Medhurst, two auxiliary curates, the Reverend K. N. Quinn and the Reverend R. M. McClean and the assistance of
the Reverend A. E. Crawford. It is perhaps worth recalling the words of Canon W. S. Kerr, Rector from 1915-1932 and later Bishop of the Diocese. From his 1925 report, "I feel it right to say, that my 10 years experience here show that Seapatrick Parish cannot be properly worked, until there are again two curates in it". At that time there were 660 families in the Parish. Now there are over 1,000 families, some 2,200 parishioners and a greater multiplicity of tasks. In a parish of this size the Rector is very dependent on voluntary help. Those who give that help whether as vestry members, Church wardens, office bearers, superintendents, choir, bell ringers, flower arrangers, Sunday School teachers, fund raisers, magazine distributors, offering counters, creche  minders, members of the various organisations, or in many other ways, are givers in the Christian tradition. Their reward is in giving, their attitude, to paraphrase President Jack Kennedy, "Ask not what your Church can do for you; ask what you can do for your church".

The Sunday Schools where the attendance is about 350 and the youth organisations - Boys' Brigade, Scouts, Cub Scouts, Beavers, Guides, Brownies, Bunnies and Youth Guild are our Church's future. All who teach, organise and support them are doing vital work, not just for the Church but for the careers of the young and for society. The adult organisations - Mothers' Union, St. Patrick's Ladies' Guild, Men's Society, Trefoil Guild, Young Wives, Women's Work Party, Dramatic Society, Bowling and Badminton Clubs, have their individual aims. But they have in common, the fostering of community spirit in the Church and a willingness to give help when needed as, for example, the painting of the Church railings and the cleaning and revarnishing of the pews by the Men's Society.

It would be impractical to go into sufficient detail, to do justice to all the organisations. However as a tribute to all and especially to those past and present, often unsung workers for our Church - the wives and families of the Clergy - a fuller account is given of the Mothers' Union and Girl Guides, formed in the Parish by a Rector's wife and daughter,Considered by distinguished Church leaders to be the greatest asset a parish could possess, the Mothers' Union is just that in Seapatrick. But it is not simply a local organisation concerned with parish life and problems. From its founding in 1876 by Mary Summer, a Rector's wife in Hampshire, it has grown into a world wide organisation with some 14,500 branches. With that strength and unity, it now undertakes international and national projects of aid and community service. In 1887, the Mothers' Union in Ireland was started by Annabel Hayes, the Rector's wife, of Raheny, Dublin, so that centenary is also being celebrated this year.

The Seapatrick Parish branch was formed in 1917 by Mrs. Kerr, wife of the Rector, Canon William Shaw Kerr. Mrs. Violet Gallaher is one of the founder members and during her time as Secretary, the banner, which stands proudly in the Chancel, was bought. Now in her nineties Violet recalls that when she went to the Rectory for her marriage licence, she was invited to join the Mothers' Union. Not knowing anything about it, she sought enlightenment at home but the suggestion (from a male), Violet prefers not to be written.

He was wrong, but not alone, for even today the members are well used to being called - the Catering Corps, Tea Ladies, white gloved banner wavers, that Holy Huddle, etc. Of course they organise and carry out hospitality and fund raising supremely well, but their Aim is "The advancement of the Christian religion in the sphere of marriage and family life". The membership is open to all baptised women prepared to support that Aim and the associated five objects. At present there are 65 members in Seapatrick and not only do they carry out their good works and maintain their link with St. Mary's branch in Dublin but they have great enjoyment doing so.Violet started work in Walker's factory at the age of 14 and stayed there for 44 years until moving to Brookfield. Her starting wages were 3s.6d. a week for a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. day and midday on Saturday. She often has a chat with another parishioner, Charlie McClean who lives near-by. Now in his 97th year, Charlie served through many of the great battles of World War I, the fourth generation of his family to serve in the Army. Four brothers also served, two of whom lost their lives, and one brother was turned down when he went to the Police Station to enlist - he was aged 6. Charlie was for a time in the same battalion as Violet's late husband and when they both volunteered for service in the Second World War, almost 50 years ago, Charlie failed his medical! Both Violet and Charlie are very alert and have many memories of our Church, going back to the time when Dean C. T. P. Grierson was Rector.

Mrs. Kerr's daughters, Mrs. Rosaleen Knight formed the Guiding Unit in 1924 and Dorothy Kerr started the Rangers, so altogether the Kerr family left us a great legacy. A window, given in memory of Rosaleen by past and present members of the Trefoil Guild, family and friends was dedicated in 1986. It portrays the Benediction with a Celtic blessing and is appropriately near the West Door. Appropriate also for in Celtic society, women had equal status and the Celtic Church has nearly as many traditions of women 'saints' as men 'saints'. In 1984, a window depicting Guide emblems was given by Guides and friends in memory of Emma Reid B.E.M., Guider of 1st. Banbridge Guide Unit for 33 years. The present Guider, Mrs. H. Ferris, and about half of the 25 members are from our Church but there is, of course, no religious qualification to joining the Guides. Much of the appeal and value is in experiencing a wide variety of backgrounds and opinions, the outdoor activities, and as one member put it "the sheer fun of being a Guide".

The Church organisations are a reflection of the Church's health and the activity in the Hall on most nights of the week indicates that all are flourishing. Another important factor in the Church's health is its financial position.When taking over 'for a short period' some 12 years ago, Norman Johnston, the Hon. Treasurer, recalls that we were some £40,000 in debt. That was mainly due to the building of the new- Church Hall. Since then we have had major expenditures - on the Church re-roofing £ 19,000, tarmacing £ 14,000 and organ rebuilding £ 14,800. The last accounts showed a small credit, a great improvement on the earlier position, but there is little reserve for any large building repair or emergency.

Appeals for funds have been a constant theme for our Church throughout its history, as no doubt they have been for most churches. At the time Holy Trinity Church was built, we were fortunate to have rich patrons such as the Marquis of Downshire. The boast then of the country people in Down "that the Marquis can ride his horse from Newry to Belfast on his own ground" was not far short of the truth. Those days have long since gone and we are all patrons now. Just as with voluntary help, church giving is a Christian act. Our Church is fortunate that so many see it as a positive function, seeking to give, rather than waiting to be asked or persuaded. The stronger our Church is financially, the more good it can do, both locally and elsewhere.

We received a fine heritage and would wish to pass on a fine one. Such is envisaged in this extract from an article written in 1985 by our then Diocesan Bishop, Robert Eames. It marked the 40th anniversary of the division of the Diocese of Down, Connor and Dromore into the two Dioceses. "I wonder what the next forty years holds for us. There will be many more issues, more problems - but, thank God, there will be new generations of dedicated clergy and laity. I pray we will hand on to them a heritage which is more concerned with people than things and a diocese which has as its first priority 'things spiritual'."It is hoped that the following events in our anniversary year celebrations, will make a contribution towards that heritage. These events were planned by an anniversary committee under the joint chairmanship of the Reverend Chancellor N. R. Hamilton and the Reverend K. Quinn, so that some activity should take place most months leading up to November 7th:

Over 400 daffodil bulbs were planted in the Church grounds by the Sunday School children. In support of the World Wide Church week of Prayer, and to mark, in this our anniversary year, the friendship between Christian Churches, our clergy and people met those of other Churches in Banbridge for tea and a short service at a different Church each evening from the 19th to 23rd January with the final evening at Holy Trinity Church on Sunday, 25th. The packed Churches and evident goodwill made this a rewarding and heartwarming experience for all taking part. A Pageant was held on the 9th and 10th of April. A review by David Griffin: For two nights, a packed Church Hall enjoyed the colour, music, history and legend associated with the story of the Parish of Seapatrick. A cast of almost fifty, drawn from parishioners, young and old, retold the story in mime, verse and song. As narrator Brian Minnis, led us through many of the great events of Ireland's History; so the courageous and versatile cast changed from peaceful followers of St. Patrick, to soldiers marching to the Boyne, became the starving masses of the famine at the workhouse gate, turned craftsmen of the linen industry and finally donned uniform to march to the Somme.

Spoken verse, both humorous and moving was brought to life by Lucy MacCormac, Eileen Johnston, Margaret Breen, Millie Moore, Andrew Minnis and the Rector. Soloists were Margaret Jones, Pamela McCullough, Alan Burns and Tommy McMaster, accompanied by Harry Anderson. Street games, songs and rhymes of bygone days, were re-enacted by Irene Hozack's troupe of Sunday School children:- Natasha Bleeks, Patrick Bloomer, Ashley Cairns, Denise Dunlop, Pamela Hood, Lisa Johnston, Niall Rankin, Christopher Thompson, Heather and Ian Vage. The choir and cast led the audience in singing a selection of hymns and songs of both World Wars. The Pageant was indeed a triumph for writer and producer Iris Minnis, the entire cast and backstage team who put together this splendid entertainment. A Holy Week Mission was held for the first time since 1965. The Mission then was conducted by the Right Reverend Gordon Perdue and our Missioner now was Canon George Salter from the same Diocese of Cork. Holy Communion was held each morning at 7.15 a.m. and a well attended sequence of services each evening from Sunday to Good Friday. An extract from a letter received from Canon Salter:- "My thanks for the way in which the mission was supported throughout the week- which brought great blessings to me and I hope to all who attended throughout the week.  God bless you all."

The 150th Anniversary Parish Fete was held on the 30th May. It was opened by our former Curate, the Reverend Ronnie Lawrenson, always very much involved in organisations during his time in Seapatrick. It was a great day and our thanks are due to the hard working Fete Committee and their Chairman, Ken Thompson, with special thanks to Sam and Lorraine Lyttle of Brownlow Travel for their sponsorship of the star prize. There was a nett income of about £6,000. Anniversary mementoes in the form of ties, tiles, head scarves and book markers were sold from about June onwards.On Sunday evening, 6th September, the charismatic Walton Empey, Bishop of Meath and Kildare, was the guest preacher at a special service of Holy Communion. Currently chairman of the Church of Ireland Youth Council, the emphasis of the service was naturally on 'Youth'. The young and the young at heart who packed the Church were stimulated and stimulating.

The Choir's evening of Sacred Music and Readings on Sunday, 4th October, also attracted a capacity audience of all denominations. With a guest cast of Counterpoint, Rosalind McGrath (contralto) and United Kingdom Choirgirl of the Year, Victoria McLoughlin, backed up by Reverend R. M. McClean, Harry Anderson and Choir, the general comment 'Marvellous evening' was not surprising. The new All Saints' Side Chapel is the major tangible expression of Parish thankfulness for the 150 years life of Holy Trinity Church. It is envisaged by the Rector that this new addition to our Church will be used for small communion, marriage, and baptismal services and as a resting place for the dead before a funeral. The intimate atmosphere will, it is hoped, endear it to parishioners. The Chapel seats 50 and is furnished almost entirely by gifts from parishioners. A list of these is given at the end. Costing in the region of £20,000 and completed on schedule, the fittings and furnishings are, with very few exceptions, from Northern Ireland manufacturers. Great credit is due to the architect, Mr. Gordon McKnight, the contractor, Mr. D. Chambers and Mr. Bert Wilson from our Anniversary Committee, who devoted a great deal of time, effort and planning to its completion. It is the hope that All Saints' Chapel will eventually be made harmoniously complete, with an All Saints window. A Gift Book is being placed in the Chapel in which present and future gifts and donations will be recorded. The main porch was renovated at the same time at a cost of about £1,500. The alterations included - removing staircase steps, the radiator and other 'clutter' from the porch; fitting a new staircase enclosed by a panelled wall; stripping and cementing the other walls and re-tiling the floor. Most of the old pews which had been removed to allow for the Side Chapel were taken by St. Mark's, Tandragee and a donation was received for them. A few of the remainder are being converted into Prayer Book shelves and other items by Mr. Tom McMaster - perhaps even into some pine chairs.

He who took down the pew-ends,
And sold them anywhere,
But kindly spared a few ends
Work'd up into a chair.
O worthy persecution
Of dust! O hue divine!
O cheerful substitution,
Thou varnished pitch-pine!
 

Church furnishing! Church furnishing!
Sing art and crafty praise!
He gave the brass for burnishing,
He gave the thick red baize,
He gave the new addition,
 Pull'd down the dull old aisle,
To pave the sweet transition
He gave th' encaustic tile.

(Hymn, verses 2 and 3).

By a happy coincidence the centenary of the Mothers' Union in Ireland is the same year as the 150th Anniversary of Holy Trinity. To mark both events the Mothers' Union donated a stained glass window for the new All Saints' Chapel. The window depicts the Annunciation which has special significance for the Mothers' Union. It tells of the Angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she would be the mother of the promised Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. The window shows the Angel Gabriel and Mary with the Holy Spirit represented in the form of a dove. The stained glass is predominantly blue, the same St. Patrick blue as their banner and the Chapel carpet. An historical plaque showing the Vicars and Rectors of the Parish was placed on the West Wall. The list is as complete and as far back in history as authentic records permit. As a link with the early unknown clergy and the Celtic Church from which we evolved, the name of the Parish is also shown in Irish and Latin - the languages used right back to the days of St. Patrick. Our Church member, Mr. Tom McMaster, made the plaque and Mr. Brian Parkes did the lettering. There is a space on the other side of the Roll of Honour for a continuation plaque, but that, we trust, is something for far distant future parishioners to consider.

Saturday, November 7th, 1987, was thankfully a pleasant autumnal day. Outwardly the appearance of those who crowded the Church was very different to that in 1837 when Bishop James Saurin consecrated Holy Trinity. But the thankfulness was the same, the devotion timeless. The procession was an impressive spectacle: The Parish Crucifer followed by the Choir; St. Patrick's Churchwardens, Mr. George McClean and Mr. Tommy McClimonds; visiting Clergy - Reverend J. Briggs and the Very Reverend Dr. E. P. Gardner (present Minister and a former Minister of Scarva Street Presbyterian Church), Reverend S. A. Matthews (Bannside Presbyterian Church), Right Reverend D. H. Porter (Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church), and the Reverends G. Green and F. Kearney representing the Very Reverend Michael Henry Canon O'Rourke, P.P. emphasising the fraternity that exists in the town; 4 Rectors from neighbouring Parishes, the Reverends G. N. Sproule (Magherally and Annaclone), G. N. Little (Aghaderg, Donaghmore and Scarva), R. Neill (Tullylish) and P. Houston (Gilford); 3 of our former Curates, Reverend Canon T. E. Beacom and Reverends R. D. Lawrenson and H. Trimble; the Rector's brother, Reverend Canon E. Hamilton; Reverend A. E. Crawford, assistant in the Parish; Reverend D. Stranex, retired; Reverend Chancellor W. Allister, a former Church member; the Holy Trinity Churchwardens, Mr. S. Moore and Mr. C. McCaughey; our Curate Assistants, the Reverends J. L. Medhurst, K. N. Quinn and R. M. McClean; Archdeacon, the Venerable W. B. Neill; the Rector, Reverend Chancellor N. R. Hamilton; the Primatial Cross and The Most Reverend Dr. R. H. A. Eames, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

All there will have their own memories of a Sesquicentennial Service which was absorbing in all its aspects - the Lessons, the Prayers, the magnificent music and singing of the Choir, the requests to dedicate the Chapel and gifts read out by the People's Churchwarden, Mr. Colin McCaughey, the dedication by the Primate and his sermon. A video tape of the Service was made by boys from Banbridge Academy by kind arrangement of the Headmaster and parishioner, Mr. Winston Breen. Afterwards in the Parish Hall, the Anniversary cake was cut by the Primate and there was a speech from the Rector. He welcomed the visiting Clergy and his father, Dean Hamilton, now in his 90th year, and regretted that Bishop Peacocke, Canon O'Rourke and Mr. Jones were unable to be present. (Sadly, Canon O'Rourke died on 19th November.) All concerned with the building and completion of the Chapel were congratulated. The following perhaps apocryphal story, was told by the Rector, some indication maybe of the difficult task the Clergy have in catering for the varied interests and outlooks of parishioners. "A Rector of Seapatrick was much addicted to reading and was followed soon after by one who was equally addicted to writing. As might be expected their sermons were rare gems of erudition - both went on to gain high honours - but their visits around the Parish were also somewhat rare. When the time came for the next appointment there was much airing of different points of view, including, 'Why don't we ask the Bishop to send us a Rector who doesn't read or write'." The senior former Curate present, Canon T. E. Beacom, then brought back many memories for older Church members with an amusing account of his wartime curacy, 1938-1944. A gift was presented to the Primate by Mrs. Patricia Hamilton and he replied "It was a great privilege to be with you. I enjoyed it very much. This is a beautiful Church and a beautiful Chapel". The tea, organised by the ladies of the Anniversary Committee, was in the traditional standard and who could ask for more. There was so much that not even a swarm of Beavers and Bunnies could have demolished it. It was a very happy occasion.

But the ups and downs of life in Northern Ireland were very evident the following day. At St. Macartin's Cathedral, Enniskillen, for the Remembrance Service, the Primate found himself instead being interviewed on television about the massacre of 11 people, with some 60 injured. Two former Curates, Reverend Canon John McCarthy, Rector of St. Macartin's, and Reverend Harry Trimble, Rector at nearby Magheracross, Ballinamallard, were also interviewed by the media, as was the Presbyterian Minister in Enniskillen, the Reverend David Cupples, a former Head boy of Banbridge Academy and member of Scarva Street Presbyterian Church. Anyone who doubted the unifying force of Christian beliefs and their help in the face of disaster must surely have been influenced otherwise by the reactions of the injured and bereaved. Their attitudes, and those of the Clergy of all denominations, were the very essence of Christianity.

1987 will be generally remembered for some time by its disasters - the Herald of Free Enterprise sinking, the big wind, the stock market crash, the Enniskillen massacre and the King's Cross fire. But at least in Seapatrick Parish the year is also marked by our Sesquicentennial Service of Thanksgiving and the new All Saints' Chapel. They will live on in the history of our Church. In his sermon the Primate spoke about placing our faith in things eternal and referred to an article written by John Betjeman, shortly before he died. In this, he had expressed the view that the appeal and value of the village church and old church buildings in our heritage, lay in their message of permanence in a fast changing world. "They speak of those things that last"; and in doing so, we pray that our two churches may grow old in antiquity, passing milestone after milestone of anniversaries, "And countless congregations as the generations pass Join choir and great crowned organ case, in centuries of song To praise Eternity contained in Time and coloured glass". (John Betjeman).

In this historical record we have seen how our Church and Parish have passed through periods of great enlightenment, persecution, neglect, and economic difficulty. The Early Irish Church brought us the Christian message taught directly from the Scriptures. That Church evolved and expanded in its independence. As the Celtic Church it did wonderful work with teaching and missions to Europe and other lands, until the ravages of the Danes and civil strife disrupted its organisation. Then came the period when the Church moved more into conformity with the Western Church and Church of England, under Papal authority. It was a time when wars and abuses reduced its state to a very low point. That decline continued up to and after the Reformation, which marked the great divide in the Western Christian Church. Sadly the political factors, which had such an influence on the Reformation in Ireland, are still, some 400 years later, affecting Church relationships.

Through all the trials and tribulations, the Church of Ireland is today, active, forward looking and strong in the affections of its members. We treasure the link with the Early Irish Church and after the Reformation and Disestablishment we are probably nearer in character to that Church than at any intervening period. But it is the link with other Churches that is our priority. In the words of the Rector before the Week of Prayer for Church Unity, " . . . the divisions and the often petty bickering among different branches of the Christian Church have been a disgrace. The tragedy is that we so often emphasise the differences rather than the similarities. In this all Churches are at fault. The essential thing is that we all proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord of all life . . . . We should never confuse unity with uniformity of worship which is quite a different issue". That is the light in which this historical record should be regarded and not as a source of division. In the study of history the truth is often obscure, subject as it is, to human bias and interpretation. But one-clear message, from the trials and persecution that all Churches have suffered, is how thankful we should be for our heritage of freedom. It is a heritage that needs our constant vigilance. We are approaching the end of this turbulent century and the beginning of the third Christian millennium, with a way of life undreamt of a few centuries ago. In a future where the pace of change will be even more dramatic, we need, as never before, 'the unity in truth for which Christ prayed'.

Vicars of Seapatrick Parish from 1505 and Rectors from 1837. Earlier records are not available. Where the brief biographical notes are supplemented in the record, ‘See text’ is added.

VICARS

1505  Patrick Maginn (Maguyn) is Vicar of Sangpadrig, Dmmore. (Arm. Hib., i. 292).

1630 - 1638  Thomas Fairfax. A native of Norfolk. M.A. (Cantab) 1628, Fellow (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge) 1629 - 1632. Archdeacon of Clogher 1638 - 1641. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Brent Moore, brother of Sir Edward Moore, ancestor of the Earls of Drogheda.

1673  Christophilus Jenny, M.A., afterwards D.D. Archdeacon of Derry 1695- 1702. Chaplain in Colonel Monroe’s Regiment during the Siege of Derry. He married Mary Ussher,
of the Primate’s family.

1679. 1690  Jeremiah Radham. Born Dublin. T.C.D., M.A. 1673. He married Deborah Motley of Dublin. Church ruinous in 1679.

1692 - 1734  Oliver Gardiner. Born County Antrim. T.C.D., M.A. 1685. He left one shilling each to his brother Henry Gardiner, of Newry, his sister Katherine Maculla, of Dublin, and his
sister Mary Milling, of Ardee. All the rest to his dear wife. See text.

1734 - 1745  William Rowan. Sixth son of the Reverend John Rowan, Vicar of Drumballyroney. Born at Ballynagappog, Hilltown. T.C.D., M.A, 1729. LL.B. 1738. Previously Vicar of Magherally, 1734. Vicar-General of Dromore 1742. He married Mary, younger daughter of Philip Cradock, of Redcross, County Wicklow, by Jane, sister of the Most Reverend Henry Maule, Bishop of Meath, and formerly successively Bishop of Cork and of Dromore.

1745 - 1787  James Dickson of Rathfriland. T.C.D., B.A. 1732. Dean of Down 1768- 1787. He first married Hannah Houston. She died in 1784. His second wife was Letitia, widow of the Reverend George Howse, Archdeacon of Dromore. He had by his first wife, two sons, William, Bishop of Down and Connor, and John, Archdeacon of Down, and daughters, Mary and Margaret. See text,

1787- 1797  William Sturrock of London. Glasgow University. M.A. 1753. Archdeacon of Armagh 1797-1814 In 1791 a certain Lieutenant David Powell in his diary had the following note “During my command at Banbridge, made the acquaintance of Mr. Sturrock, the Rector of the parish, to whose hospitality and pleasant society I am much indebted.”

1797 - 1803 James Trail Sturrock. Son of his predecessor. Born in County Down. T.C.D. BA. 1794, He married Annabella, daughter of Robert Stewart, of Ballydrain, Co. Antrim. He was killed by a fall from his horse on 17th April. 1803. His widow survived till 24th December, 1859. Monument to both in Church, erected by their descendant, R. H. S.Reade. See text.

1803 - 1810  Honourable Pierce Meade. Fifth son of the first Earl of Clanwilliam and Theodosia only daughter of Robert Magill of Gill Hall. M.A. (Oxon). Archdeacon of Dromore 1810 - 1832. He married Elizabeth, daughter of the Right Reverend Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore.

1810- 1831  Francis Burrowes. Born at Cavan. T.C.D. B.A. 1784. Appointed Diocesan Schoolmaster, Dromore, by Lord Lieutenant on 2nd May, 1804. He married Belinda, daughter of Sir Coslet Stothard, Knight, of Dromore. See text.

1832 – 1837  Daniel Dickinson. Born in Dublin. T.C.D. M.A. 1822. The last Vicar. The Parish was separated from the Deanery of Dromore in 1837. See below in Rectors.

RECTORS

(The Deans of Dromore were Rectors from 1609 till 1837.)

1837 - 1870 Daniel Dickinson. Married at Banbridge Church on 8th May, 1838, to Margaretta, third daughter of William Hayes, of Millmount, Banbridge. There is a memorial in Holy Trinity Church. His daughter, Emily Isabella, married Sir Edward Hudson Hudson- Kinahan, Baronet, of Glenville, County Cork, See text.

1870 - 1888  Henry Stewart. Son of James Robert Stewart, D.L., of Gortletragh, Monkstown, County Dublin, and grandson of Henry Stewart and the Honourable Elizabeth Pakenham, daughter of the second Lord Longford. T.C.D. M.A. 1867. D.D. 1880. Dean of Dromore 1885 - 1887. He married Martha Angelina, only daughter of the Reverend Edward Michael Hamilton, and niece of Lord Clermont. See text.

1888 – 1911  Charles Thornton Primrose Grierson of Rathfarnham House, County Dublin. T.C.D. MA. 1882. B.D. 1896. Dean of Belfast 1911 - 1919. Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore 1919 - 1934. He married Blanche Caldwell Bloomfield of Castle Caldwell, County Fermanagh. His only daughter, Ula Blanche married Henry Kinahan in 1914. See text.

1911 – 1915  Richard Ussher Greer. Son of the Reverend William Henry Greer, Rector of Kilcoleman, County Mayo. T.C.D. M.A. 1893. He married Elizabeth Lindsay Greer of Tullylagan, County Tyrone. He died suddenly, aged 46. His son was appointed Bishop of Manchester in 1947.

1915 - 1932  William Shaw Kerr of Broomfield House, Tinahely, County Wicklow. T.C.D. B.A. B.D. 1897. Dean and Vicar of Belfast 1932. Bishop of Down and Dromore 1944 - 1955. He married Amy Smith of London. Described his rectorship of Seapatrick as ‘seventeen of the happiest years in my life’. See text.

1933 – 1934  Webb Butler Jones. Son of Venerable Richard Bathoe Jones, Archdeacon of Killaloe. T.C.D. MA. Former Rector of St. Mary’s, Belfast, 1925, and of Christ Church, Lisburn, 1929. He married a daughter of Venerable Samuel Hemphill, D.D., Rector of Drumbeg and Archdeacon of Down. He died suddenly, aged 54.

1935 - 1961 Thomas Parr. Son of Thomas Parr, M.D., Drogheda. T.C.D. M.A. Rural Dean of Aghaderg 1940- 1961. Canon of St. Anne’s Cathedral 1945- 1965. Rector of Killough from 1961 - 1968 when he retired. See text.

1961 Noble Ridgeway Hamilton. Born in Dublin. Son of the Very Reverend Noble Holton Hamilton, Dean of Waterford. T.C.D. M.A. Chaplain to Forces (Major). Awarded the Territorial Decoration, Rector of St. Clement’s. Belfast, 1955 - 1961. Rural Dean of Aghaderg from 1964. Chancellor of Dromore Chapter from 1982. T.C.D. Rugby Colour and later played for CIYMS 1st XV. He married Patricia Ayo  Hobson, born in Lagos, Nigeria, where her father, Canon A. Hobson, was at the time in the Church Missionary Society and Headmaster of the Church School in Lagos.

 1987 has certainly been an eventful year for our Rector and his wife Patricia. There were all the Anniversary events up to September. Then on the 11th of that month, their daughter, Alison, was married in Holy Trinity Church. On the 13th, the Rector baptized his two grandsons — he remarked in his address that given two wishes for them, they would be that Patrick from Sevenoaks, Kent, should play rugby for England and David from Ballymena, for Ireland. In true Christian spirit he did not wish David success. Then the culmination of the Anniversary year on November 7th. The dedication by the Primate of All Saints’ Chapel — that long time bee in the Rector’s bonnet— was just reward for his perseverance and in the spirit of a favourite quotation, the prayer of Sir Francis Drake — “Oh Lord God, when thou givest to thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same, until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory.”

CURATE ASSISTANTS OF SEAPATRICK PARISH

1634  Joseph Michell.

1662 - 1669  Michael Matthews. Vicar of Donaghmore 1669.

1713 - 1717  Samuel Redman. Vicar of Kilmore 1717.

1733  Arthur Workman. Son of Meredith Workman, High Sheriff of County Armagh. The Visitation of 1733 has the following :— “A Curate specially appointed to this Parish, viz., Arthur Workman has £30 sallary — lives at Warrengstown in Donaghcloney Parish with his sister, 3 miles from this Church, preaches and reads prayers every Sunday morning — and administers the Communion monthly. Church in good order and everything decent.”

1735 - 1737  Thomas Waring of Waringstown. Son of Thomas Waring, High Sheriff of County Down. T.C.D. B.A. Vicar of Garvaghy.

1803 James Campbell. Son of the Reverend William Campbell, D.D., Vicar of Newry. Born in County Down. T.C.D. WA. 1799, LL.B. and LLD. 1818. Rector of Forkhill 1817 -1858.

1807 William Sampson.

1807 - 1811 John Stott. T.C.D. B.A.

1815 Henry Hunt of Dublin. T.C.D. MA. Vicar-General of Elphin.

1817 - 1823 James M’Creight of County Armagh. T.C.D. B.A. Perpetual Curate, Caledon, 1825 -1835. Rector of Keady 1835.

1828 - 1830 Graham Philip Crozier. Son of George Crozier, of Banbridge, Attorney-at-law. T.C.D. B.A. 1823. Rector of Taunagh (Elphin) 1853-1870. Canon Crozier married Anne, daughter of Roger Robinson, J.P., of Cloombarry, County Sligo.

1831  C. V. Kelly.

1837 - 1838  Charles O’Neile Pratt.

1841 - 1868  William Metge of Gatway. T.C.D. M.A. Rector of Kentstown (Meath).

1862   James Henry Watson. Born in County Dublin. T.C.D. B.A. 1855.

1865 - 1867  Robert Edmund Glenny of Newry. T.C.D. M.A. Rector of Clonallon. B.D. and D.D.1891.

 1867   Sheldon Francis Dudley-Janns of Roscrea. T.C.D. M.A. 1880. B.D. 1888. Rector of Glenarm 1872 - 1908. Chancellor of Connor 1900 - 1908.

1871 - 1873  Edward William Doyle of Bessbrook. T.C.D. B.A. 1867. Rector of Mullaghglass 1873 -1878. A.C.S. Chaplain, Bengal, 1878 - 1880. He went to Australia in 1884.

1874  Robert Kenny. T.C.D. B.A. M.A. 1878. Various posts in Australia from 1882, including Rector of All Saints’ and St. Peter’s, South Australia.

1875 - 1877 Henry Monck Mason Hackett. Second son of Reverend John Winthrop Hackett, Incumbent of St. James’s, Bray. T.C.D. M.A. 1876. B.D. 1887. C.M.S., India, 1877 . 1886. Dean of Waterford 1904 - 1913. Vicar of St. Peter’s, Belsize Park, London, 1913 - 1929.

1877 - 1880  Alexander Roderick Ryder. Son of Reverend Roderick Ryder, Perp. Curate of Errismore, Tuam. T.C.D. M.A. Rector of Scarva 1880, TuIlylish 1882 and Drumbeg 1888.

1878 - 1883  Ernest Augustus Cooper. Born in Dublin. T.C.D. B.A. 1878. B.D. 1884. Rector of Carrowdore 1883 - 1904. In South Africa from 1904 - 1918.

1880.. 1884  Edward Dupre Atkinson of Gortmore, Dundrum, Dublin. LL.B. (Cantab). Rector of Donaghcloney. Archdeacon of Dromore, 1905. See text.

1882- 1884  Henry James Cooke. Born in County Clare. T.C.D. M.A. 1884. Rector of Donnybrook, West Australia, 1902 - 1904 and of Midland Junction ,West Australia, 1904.

1883 - 1885 William Henry Davis, Born in Dublin. T.C.D. M.A. 1886. Rector of St. Jude’s, Ballynafeigh, 1886- 1917.

1884- 1888  Owen Thomas Lloyd Crossley. Born in Lurgan. T.C.D. M.A. 1888. B.D. and D.D. 1911. Bishop of Auckland, 1911 - 1913. he married Grace Mary, eldest daughter of Robert Joy, J.P., of Banbridge.

1888  Oswald William Scott. T.C.D. M.A. Rector of Gilford, 1904.

1890- 1892  Ernest Alexanderson Wright. Son of Reverend Charles Henry Hamilton Wright, D.D., sometime Incumbent of St. Mary’s, Belfast. T.C.D. M.A. 1890. Vicar of All Saints’, Clapham Park, London, 1909.

1890- 1894  John Edward Browne. Born in Sligo. T.C.D. B.A. 1888. B.D. 1892. Incumbent of St. Mary’s, Belfast, 1914- 1924. Treasurer of Connor 1920. 1924.

1892 - 1893  Thomas Edward Thorpe. Born in Dublin. T.C.D. Rector of Layde 1906- 1923.

1893 - 1894  William Kelly. R.U.I. B.A. 1890. T.C.D. Incumbent of Tamlaghtfinlagan (Derry) 1926. Rural Dean of Limavady 1930- 1931.

1894  Edward Albert Myles of Limerick. T.C.D. M.A. Dean of Dromore.

1894 - 1896  Thomas Redmond Brunskill of Dublin. T.C.D. M.A. 1902. Rector of St. Mary’s, Drogheda from 1905. Archdeacon of Meath 1927.

1896- 1898  Edward John Young of Dublin. T.C.D. BA, 1891. Canon of Christ Church, Dublin,1931.

1896 - 1900  Samuel Patton Mitchell of Colehill. T.C.D. MA. 1899. Vicar of St. Nicholas’, Belfast from 1901. Rural Dean of South Belfast 1926.

1896  John Beatty of Dingens, County Cavan, M.A. 1898. Naval Chaplain 1901 –1923

 1898 - 1901  Benjamin James Du Boe of Riverstown, County Kildare. T.C.D. M.A. 1907. Rector of Brushfleld, Somerset from 1910.

1900 - 1903 John Curtis Steele of Cork. T.C.D. M.A. 1900. Incumbent of Killaghtee (Raphoe) from1924. Canon of Raphoe 1928.

1901 - 1902 William McKeag O’Kane of Millisle, County Down. R.U.I. B.A. 1892. LL.B. 1895. Queen’s College, Belfast. Rector of Langar with Bamstone, Notts., from 1926.

1902 William Edmund Hurst T.C.D. M.A. Rector of Moira 1907.

1903 - 1905 John Winthrop Crozier. Second son of the Most Reverend John Baptist Crozier, D.D., Archbishop of Armagh. T.C.D. M.A. 1906. Chaplain to Forces (mentioned in despatches) 1915- 1916. Lord Bishop of Tuam. See text.

1905 - 1907 Stanley Gibson McMurtrie. B.A (Cantab) 1899. Curate of St. James New Brighton, Cheshire, 1912.

1907 - 1914 Richard Crawford. Rector of Magherally, 1914 - 1928.

1908 - 1910 Randolph Reginald Muir of Lame. Q.U.B. B.A. 1900. Vicar of Glenavy from 1914.

1910 - 1911 Richard Graeme Fenton Singleton. T.C.D. B.A. 1897. Incumbent of Gartree (Connor) from 1913.

1913- 1917 William Wallace of Monkstown, County Dublin. T.C.D. M.A. 1914. With Church Army in France, 1917. Rector of Acton Scott Diocese of Hereford, from 1927.

1919 - 1921 Joseph Coulter. Magee College. Rector of Great with Little Hampden, Diocese of Oxford from 1928.

1921 - 1923 Henry Francis Osborne Egerton of County Fermanagh. T.C.D. M.A. 1922. “To their great regret he left to take up the important senior curacy in Portadown. Whilst amongst them he did fine work.” He formed the Second Banbridge Scout Troop in the Parish. Curate-in-charge of Dunany with Dunleer, Diocese of Armagh, from 1934.

1923 - 1926 Benjamin Northridge of Ballineen, County Cork. “There was one word that occurred to him regarding Mr. Northridge, that was affection, and affection for him had been growing. They appreciated his work in the pulpit and his work with the Boy Scouts and throughout the Parish.” Curate-in-charge of Lea, 1939 - 1961. Rural Dean of Geashill, 1950 - 1961.

1926 - 1929 Cuthbert Irvine Peacocke. Son of the Right Reverend Joseph Irvine Peacocke, D.D., Bishop of Derry. T.C.D. M.A. Not only one of the most efficient curates their Parish ever had but there was more than his capacity for work, or his abilities as a preacher in which he promised to have a very high rank in the church, the great thing about him that made them deplore his going away so much was what might be called his lovableness, Bishop of Derry, 1970.

And some fifty seven years later, from the Right Reverend C. I. Peacocke :— “ had a very happy time in Banbridge, it was a very sporting town and I joined the Rugby Club and Cricket Club; at that time Banbridge had the best hockey team. Bishop Kerr and family were very kind to me. I had ‘digs’ with the Hemphills. We started a young Vestry and formed a Youth Guild which was responsible for raising money to paint the Church. We also had a Rover and Ranger Drama and Concert Society run by Miss Dornan. Mr. Stanage ran the Sunday School and was a great supporter of youth endeavour. It was a very happy and enthusiastic parish in which to begin one’s ministry and learn the ropes of the job! I look back with great happiness to my time in Seapatrick.”

1930 - 1934  John Howard Kingston of Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh. T.C.D. BA. 1930. “Fresh from college he made a good beginning in winning a place in the affections of the people.”M.A. 1944.Canon of Derry, 1964- 1971.

1934 - 1937 Britain de Gorrequer Lougheed. T.C.D. B.A. Son of Reverend Britain Lougheed of Clara King’s County. “A very zealous and efficient colleague who during a very trying time proved himself equal to the heavy burden of responsibility laid upon young shoulders after the death of the Reverend W. B. Jones.” Rector of Kinnitty (Meath) 1946- 1969.

1938 - 1944  Thomas Ernest Beacom. T.C.D. M.A. B.D. During the six years of his fruitful and genial ministry he had instituted a Men’s Study Class, Bible Class for children and had brought the Youth Guild to a high degree of efficiency. He also did fine work with the Sunday Schools. Ernest: Perhaps some of my ideas did not meet with the approval of more conservative opinion but I hope that people always felt that I had behind every new venture the welfare of the great Parish of Seapatrick and not only that, but the greater background of the Church of Ireland. Rector of St. Katherine’s, Belfast. Canon of St. Anne’s from 1966. See text.

1944 - 1945 Richard Patrick Crosland Hanson. T.C.D. B.D. He had done a vast amount of work in the Parish. They had always been fortunate in Seapatrick in having excellent men to serve in the capacity of curate and all had, he believed, gone on to gain higher honours in the Church. He had no doubt Mr. Hanson had a great future before him.(Parishioners still remember the fun he caused when bringing his identical twin brother to a function in Seapatrick.) D.D. 1950. Lord Bishop of Clogher, 1970. Professor of History and Contemporary Theology at University of Manchester from 1973.

And 42 years later in December, 1987, from the Right Reverend Professor Richard Hanson now living in Cheshire — “I have vivid recollections of my year (1944/5) spent as curate of Banbridge, all of them pleasant. Relations between Protestants and Roman Catholics in those days were good. The Catholic P.P. always invited the C. of I. curate to a meal in his house. My rector was Thomas Parr, a bachelor who lived only for and in his parish, a most devoted shepherd of his flock, he was always to be found in the homes of his people. I lived with him pretty uncomfortably in the Rectory, looked after (if that is the right word) by Sarah Hutchinson. But as we both worked so hard, we had little time to worry about our circumstances. For the last few months we had Belgian soldiers billetted on us. They always made an awful noise, but one night in May 1945 their noise was unusually excessive. I needed sleep after a hard day’s work, and rose from my bed to protest. ‘C’est fini’, they said. I thought that they were referring to the noise, and indicated in the best French I could muster that I hoped it had. ‘No’, they said, ‘La guerre est fini!’ The Germans had surrendered. It was worth making a noise about.

My chief recollection of the parish is the way in which I was welcomed without the slightest hesitation and with great warmth into the houses of all the parishioners. I was particularly responsible for the children. I taught in at least two state schools and held at least two Sunday school classes a week, one on Sunday and one on a week-day for those children who had not good enough clothes to appear on Sunday. I also ran a very large Children’s Service on Sundays, at which the children had their own churchwardens, collectors and people responsible for keeping order — and fierce guardians of the peace they were! I taught partly by encouraging the boys and girls to act the parables of the Gospels, and they threw themselves into this with serious enthusiasm. I put on a play for adults about the Cranmer and the Litany which I had written myself. I played hockey for a Banbridge team, the second or third, I think. I recollect it as a most strenuous but most enjoyable year.

Three people stand out in my memory, besides the rector: George Paul, an ordinary mill-worker who had he been given the opportunity could have done well at a university: he became a great friend of mine. Alas, he died of cancer not very long after I left. Next, a boy of about 12 called Raymond Adair who was involved in all my children’s activities, to whom I once casually mentioned that if he could not become a ‘minister’, as he wanted, he might become a Church Army Captain. Twenty years later I met him in Nottingham. He a Church Army Captain! He is now and has for some time been a priest of the Church of England in Wakefield diocese. Last, a young Presbyterian minister in charge of a congregation just outside Banbridge with whom I used to gather in order to discuss theology: his name was Buick Knox. He later had a distinguished career as a church historian in Wales and finally in Westminster College, Cambridge.  I could go on for pages, but I must stop.”

1946 - 1947 John James Frederick Stephens. A chaplain to the Forces before coming to Seapatrick, he had returned to England and his fine services had been lost to the Parish. Rector of Broadheath, Worcester, from 1951 - 1982.

1947 - 1952 Joseph Bryans. T.C.D. M.A. “His visits to the old and infirm were greatly appreciated.” Rector of Tamlaghtard with Aghanloo (Derry Diocese) from 1960.

1954 Stanley Wilson. T.C.D. M.A. A most willing and efficient helper and his addresses were much appreciated. Vicar of The Guitings with Cutsdean and Farmcote, Diocese of Gloucester, from 1977.

1955 - 1960 David Murphy. University of London. B.A. B. D. Did magnificent work in the Parish especially among the youth. Vicar of West Pelton, Diocese of Durham, from 1973. David: On behalf of my wife and myself, I wish to thank all those kind parishioners and good friends who have bestowed upon us so many beautiful and useful gifts. We shall never forget the happy years spent in Banbridge. It is nice to know that quite a few people in the Parish of Derriaghy have Banbridge connections. By this means we hope to keep “in touch’. Again many thanks for all your kindness and may the Parish of Seapatrick long flourish. A special word to the boys and girls — don’t forget Sunday School!

 (The Rev David Murphy died in 1996, and his ashes are buried in the Churchyard of  Dromore Cathedral.)

1962 - 1966 John McCarthy. T.C.D. M.A. M admirable and able curate. His thought challenging sermons are an inspiration to us all. Rector of St. Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen. Canon of Clogher. A talented sportsman, John played Gaelic football for Trinity and Tralee and Inter-Provincial hockey for Munster. But they would probably say at Castlewellan Road, that he reached the pinnacle of his sporting career as a member of Banbridge Hockey Club 1st XI for many seasons. He married Miss Isobel Kyle who had given four years splendid service in the building up of the choir.

John in September, 1966

Four years may not be a very long time yet it was long enough for me to notice and to be part of many changes in our Parish life. There have been many changes made on the Church building; a place that was always full of beauty and peace and sanctity has been greatly brightened and beautified and has been for me and for our people here as well a sanctuary of deep contentment. This I shall miss and always thankfully remember. The Village Church too has been beautified and I shall take away from that end of the Parish, memories of warm worship and will always remember the sincerity and extent of the friendship that I have received from the people of the Village. People of course have changed as well. Those who were mere children when I came are now maturing into responsible adults who will, I know, be worthy upholders of the great traditions of the parish of which they are members.

It is true that a Curate has greater affection for his first parish than any other and that too I am sure will be my experience. One may leave friends, one may lose touch with them perhaps even forget them from time to time but true friends are never lost but are friends forever. The sadness of parting is in my case diminished by the thought that I have been supremely happy here. The thanks for that must go to you the parishioners and not least to the Rector. He has always been ready to help but never patronisingly; he has allowed me to assume certain responsibilities and so gain experience that I will value in my new Parish; and above all he has been ever generous in his praise and constant in his encouragement. I can only end by expressing the wish that Seapatrick Parish will continue to flourish; that it will always play its rightful part in the affairs of Banbridge and that the people here will live and work together in true harmony bound together by the unbreakable chain of everlasting love.

And from John in December, 1987

On 1st July, 1962 (over 25 years ago!) I was made a Deacon in St. John’s, Orangefield, Belfast and began my Ministry in Seapatrick Parish, Banbridge. How much do I remember of those four years I spent there until I left for Seagoe Parish in September, 1966? Not much, I suppose, for all this was a long time ago and anyway most of our yesterdays so often seem to fuse into one day — busy, exciting, challenging. However, [ remember that Mr. Hamilton (as he was then) was still a comparative new boy in the parish when I first arrived on the scene. The Choir had not, as yet, been robed; bowls was very definitely a man’s game; and the new hall was not even a dream in the mind of Seapatrick parishioners. Somehow or other we managed to survive in the old hail where the present Edenderry School found a home and where the Badminton Club found enough skill and determination to win the Ballyward League on, at least, a few occasions. I’m old enough now to be able to forget the disappointments on the badminton court so I can happily say that I won most of my men’s doubles in that particularly competitive league. The fact that I had Herbie Barr as a partner had, of course, everything to do with my success!

I remember also starting a Youth Club in the Parish soon after I arrived and while it had its ups and downs like most Youth organizations I do recall large numbers of young people involving themselves in our activities. Trips in double-decker buses to faraway places like Belfast (no M1 then!) were always popular and exciting while regular soccer matches during the Summer at least kept the Curate fit for the following hockey season! Towards the end of my time in Banbridge plans to build a new hall were beginning to emerge and I recall accompanying the Rector and members of the Select Vestry to Enniskillen to view the hall recently built there. Little did I realise then that many years later I would be invited to become Rector of that Cathedral Parish and that my first year there would bring so much sorrow to so many people.. A far cry from the carefree days in Banbridge so long ago.

The Parish of Seapatrick has had a long and proud history and I feel privileged to have been part of it even if only for a short and insignificant time. The Parish will have a great future too and Iam sure all who served among you will wish it well and will watch that progress with great joy and deep thanksgiving.

1967 - 1970 William Desmond Sinnamon. T.C.D. BA. He has won the respect and may I say the affection of the parishioners with his infectious enthusiasm and sincere friendliness. He married Miss Jennifer Duke, B.A who following Miss Isobel Kyle. trained the choir and is doing such a splendid job with the junior choir. Rector of Christ Church, Taney (Dublin), 1983.

1969 1973 George Hilliard. B.A. Princeton Theol. Coll. A tremendous gift of sympathy which found expression in visiting those in hospital and the homes of the bereaved. His ministry is a very carefully thought out and positive one. One of eight ordained in surely one of the most impressive services ever held in Holy Trinity Church. George:- Then seven went away and I was left in Banbridge. I had just finished 6 years training, and only 3 weeks before, had left Princeton, New Jersey. Your homes and hearts were open to me, often to the ‘wee small hours.’ My work in the hospital has rewarded me in more ways than you will ever know and I believe that for some of you it was not in vain. Of course some of you may say that I had special reasons for being in the hospital so often. Christine and I have been married now for 18 months and you have welcomed her to your hearts as you did me. We will miss you from Lenaderg to Corbet, from Yellow Hill to Tullyheenan and all points in between. Rector of Cloyne, 1985. Dean of Cloyne.

1971 - 1978 Ronald D. Lawrenson. G.O.E. He will be missed by young and adult alike. On the Parish level he will be particularly missed for his organising ability and work among the youth. Ronald I can only count it my greatest good fortune and privilege that I have been allowed to work among you for seven years which is far exceeding the length of service of most former Curate Assistants. For me they have been the happiest seven years of my life and I owe this situation to the kindness of so many people in Banbridge. Bishop’s Curate of Tynan (St. Vindic) and Middletown (St. John).

1977- 1980 Michael Withers. T.C.D. B.A. B.D. (Edin). We shall miss Michael’s cheery disposition, hearty laugh and quick wit. He has a great gift of oratory and his ability in making relevant many Bible stories has been inspiration to many. His wife Jean has been a tower of strength especially in her contribution to the work of the Young Wives Group and Mothers’ Union. Michael:- Jean and I would like to thank you most sincerely for the wonderful gifts. Please do not forget us or any of your former curates and their families, in a very wonderful but sometimes difficult vocation. Rector of St. Chrisopher’s, Belfast from 1980.

1979 - 1981 Robert W. Jones. G.O.E. His ministry has been much appreciated especially his conduct of Church services, his work among the young and with the Sunday School. Robert :— It seems hard to believe that just over two years ago I arrived here. Some people have told me I was very shy. I cannot really say whether I was or not but I know that at the beginning I was very nervous and very lonely. Denise and I would like to thank you all for the good times we had together. Robert married our Church member, Denise McPolin. Denise has been a most active and willing church worker in the choir, as a Sunday School teacher and as one of the leaders in the recently formed Beaver group. Rector of Drumgath and Drumgooland.

1982 - 1985 Thomas Harry Trimble. T.C.D. Dip. Th. A colleague in the fullest sense of the word. His knowledge of people and places after a short time in the Parish was remarkable. The people have taken Mr. and Mrs. Trimble to their hearts. Harry:- Over these two and a half years my family and I were made tremendously welcome in Banbridge. I am conscious of the privilege of working among you and look back on happy times and events with thanksgiving. Ruby and Jane join with me in thanking you for all your kindness and wishing you God’s Richest Blessings in the future.   Rector of Magheracross, Ballinamallard.

1983 Robert Mervyn McClean. Edgehill Theological College. Ordained in 1963. Auxiliary Ministry. Head of Religious Studies at Banbridge Academy.

1985 John L.. Medhurst. T.C.D. Dip. Th. Originally came with his parents from Sussex. Ordained in Downpatrick in June, 1985. A cricket follower and keen angler, he is interested in music and plays the violin. His wife, Barbara, is a Q.U,B. B.A. and a former active Church worker in St. Comgall’s, Bangor.

1985 Kenneth N. Quinn. Q.U.B. B.Sc. Auxiliary Ministry. Also ordained in Downpatrick in June, 1985. Played rugby for Ulster in the inter-provincials and against the All Blacks.

Some Parishioners Who were ordained to the Ministry in recent years

* Wilfred Johnston. M.A. Rector of Glendermott, 1969. Canon of Derry, 1966. Deceased, 1980.

*George Ralph Harden Johnston. T.C.D. M.A. Rector of Greenisland from 1964. Canon of St. Anne’s, 1983.

(*Their father was Mr. S. G. Johnston, M.A., our former Diocesan Lay Reader.)

Rex Thompson. Son of William Thompson, a former Churchwarden and Vestry member. Deceased.

Wilfred Thompson Allister. T.C.D. M.A. Son of Mr. J. Allister, a long serving Vestry member and Churchwarden. Rector of Devenish with Bohoe from 1963. Chancellor of Clogher Cathedral, 1985. Although a good hockey player himself, the star of the family was his late brother and parishioner, Aubrey, who was capped 24 times for Ireland. Aubrey’s sons, Colin and Nigel, are maintaining the family tradition and, with others, the long connection Church members have had with the Banbridge Hockey Club.

Raymond Adair. Rippon Hall, Oxford. (Ordained, 1973). Rector of St. Catherine’s, Sandal, Wakefield, 1977.

David John Jardine. Q.U.B. B.A. Assistant Chaplain, Crumlin Road Prison from 1975. Now in America with Society of St. Francis.

William James Arlow. Edinburgh Theology College. Since 1979, Canon in charge of Ecumenical Reconciliation Affairs, St. Anne’s Cathedral, plus, since 1986, Bishop’s Curate, Ballyphilip and Ardquin.

Alexander Morrow. Curate of Newtownards, 1973 Deceased, 1979.

Norman Jardine. Q.U.B. B.Sc. B.C.T.S. Trinity Theology College (Bristol). Rector of Ballybeen (Down), 1980.

William Keith McMaster. Q.U.B. B.A., T.C.D. Dip. Th., Curate, St. Columba’s, Portadown, 1982. Vicar in a Group Ministry, Shirley, Birmingham,1986.

Kenneth N. Quinn. See under “Curate Assistants.”

 CHURCHWARDENS OF SEAPATRICK PARISH

FROM 1803

In 1830 a prolonged dispute broke out about the Vicar’s right to nominate one of the churchwardens. A better temper prevailed in 1833,. when Richard Hayes of Millmount and Thomas Crawford of Ballievey were unanimously appointed. But it was not until 1856 that the Vestry minutes record the nominating by the Rector of a churchwarden — Thomas Shekelton. From that date the first name shown for the Parish and St. Patrick’s Church is the Rectors churchwarden, the second the Peoples churchwarden. Separate churchwardens for St. Patrick’s Church were only recorded from 1913.

1803, Wm. M'William

1819, Thomas Gardner

1833, Richard Hayes

1804, Wm. M'William

John Mulligan

(Millmount)

1805, Daniel Quinn

(Parkmount)

Thomas Crawford

E.B.Gilmore

1820, Capt.John Scriven

(Ballievy)

1806, Daniel Quinn

Ballymoney Lodge)

1834, John Hale

E.B. Gilmore

Robert scott

Robert M'Clelland

1807, Wm. Hudson

1821, Captain John Scriven

1835, Richard Hayes

John Copeland

Robert Scott

(Millmount)

1808, Joshua Hayes

1822, Richard Hayes

Alex. Crothers

( temporarily)

Robert Scott

1836, George Hayes

 William Hayes

1823, Francis M'William

(Edenderry)

(Ballydown)

Richard Hayes

Stewart Craig

 John Copeland

1824, Francis M'William

1837, Robert Hall

1809, David Waugh

Peter Quinn

(Ballymoney Lodge)

Jas. Chas. Mulligan

1825, George Crawford

Robert M'Clelland, Jun.

1810, Jas. Chas. Mulligan

(Ballydown)

1838, Geo. Tyrrell, M.D.

Jacob Posnet

Robert Ardery

John Crawford Mulligan

1811, Francis Hale

1826, Robert Ardery

(Ballymoney)

Robert Adair

John woods

1839, Francis hale

1812, John Robinson

1827, Hugh Dunbar

James Crothers

Francis Hale

(Drumnagally)

(Ballydown)

1813, John Love

Ham. Ferguson

1840, Geo. Chapman

Jas. Shannon        

1828, Robert Ardey, Jun.

John M'Clelland

1814, John Love

James Wallace, (Greenhill)

(Bannview)

John M'Clelland

1829, F.W.Hayes

1841, Henry Loftie Rutton

1815, John Kinnear

Henry Weir

William Walker

John Matear

1830, George Mulligan

1842, Robert Hayes

(Ballylough)

(Ballydown)

(Millmount)

1816, Samuel Law

Thomas Crawford

John scott

(Hazelbank)

(Ballievy)

1843, Charles Magee

John Finlay

1831, Thomas Crawford

Thomas Blackwood

1817, Walter Crawford

George Mulligan

1844, Titus Burgess

(Ballievey)

1832, George Crawford

Stewart Craig

Thomas Gardner

(Ballievy)

1845, Richard Hayes

1818, Walter Crawford

John Mulligan

(Millmount)

Thomas Gardner

(Tullyconnaught)

Hamilton Moore

 

 

 

1846, Robert Hayes

1868, John H. O'Flaherty

1891, Robert Joy

(Millmount)

Richard J. Friel

S. Cunningham

James Carson

1869, John H. O'Flaherty

1892, Robert Joy

1847, William Waugh

Richard J.Friel

S. Cunningham

Samuel Woods

1870, John H.O'Flaherty

1893, Robert Joy

1848, David Hale

Richard J. Friel

S. Cunningham

Robert Hamilton

1871, John H. O'Flaherty-

1894, Robert Joy

1849, Thomas Shekelton

Andrew M'Clelland

Edw. Wyly

James Hutchinson

1872, John H. O'Flaherty

1895, Robert Joy

1850, George G. Tyrrell

Andrew M'Clelland

Edw. Wyly

Wilm. M'Clelland

1873, John H. O'Flaherty

1896, Robert Joy

1851, Albert Courtenaye

Alex. S. Montgomery

Edw. Wyly

William Finlay

1874, John H. O'Flaherty

1897, Robert Joy

1852, Robert Smyth

John Butt

C.H. M'Call

William Leetch

1875, Wm. A. Chapman

1898, Robert Joy

1853, Denis Leonard

James Young

Andrew M'Clelland

Robert Smyth

1876, Wm. A. Chapman

1899, Robert Joy

1854, James Clibborn Hill

James Young

Thomas Larmour

William Bittle

1877, Wm. A. Chapman

1900, Robert Joy

1855, Denis leonard

Joseph Mehaffy

George M'Clure

Robert Smyth

1878, Robert Joy

1901, Robert Joy

1856, Thomas Shekelton

Joseph Mehaffy

Samuel Fryar

Robert Smyth

1879, Robert Joy

1902, Thomas Larmour

1857, John Hale

Joseph Mehaffy

S.G. Fenton

Robert Smyth

1880, Robert Joy

1903, C.H. M'Call

1858, James Price

Joseph Mehaffy

R.F. Kilpatrick

Robert Smyth

1881, Robert Joy

1904, C.H. M'Call

1859, Charles J. Mulligan

Joseph Mehaffy

James M'Carthy

Thomas Shekelton

1882, Robert Joy

1905, Arthur Haire

1860, John H. O'Flaherty

F.W. Hayes

W.A. Taylor

James Nelson

1883, Robert Joy

1906, Charles Halliday

1861, John H. O'Flaherty

F.W. Hayes

Robert Shannon

James Nelson

1884, Robert Joy

1907, Charles Halliday

1862, John H. O'Flaherty

F.W. Hayes

Robert Shannon

William Friar

1885, Robert Joy

1908, Charles Halliday

1863, John H.O'Flaherty

Andrew M'Clelland

Thomas Larmour

George Barry

1886, Robert Joy

1909, Charles Halliday

 

F.W.Hayes

Thomas Larmour

1864, John H.O'Flaherty

1887, Robert Joy

1910, Charles Halliday

James Young

F.W.hayes

Robert Larmour

1865, William Hayes

1888, Robert Joy

1911, Charles Halliday

John H.O'Flaherty

Andrew M'Clelland

Thomas Larmour

1866, John H.O'Flaherty

1889, Robert Joy

1912, Charles Halliday

Andrew M'Clelland

F.W.Hayes

Thomas Larmour

1867, John H.O'Flaherty

1890, Robert Joy

 

Andrew M'Clelland

F.W.Hayes

 

Churchwardens of Seapatrick from 1803(Continued)

  Holy Trinity St. Patricks   Holy Trinity St. Patricks
1913 George W.Waddell A. Graham 1943 W. Anderson J. Beattie
  S.G.Fenton J. McClure   G. Ervine J. Cowan
1914 C.H.McCall A. Graham 1944 J. Allister J. Beattie
  Charles Halliday J. McClure   E.C.Greenfield J. Cowan
1915 Robert Sheridan A. Graham 1945 J. Allister J.Beattie
  Charles Halliday J. McClure   E.C.Greenfield J.Cowan
1916 Robert Sheridan A. Graham 1946 D. Hanlon J.Beattie
  Charles Halliday J. McClure   G. Paul J.Cowan
1917 Samuel Fryer A.Graham 1947 D.Hanlon J.Beattie
  J.U.Finney J.McClure   G.Paul J.Cowan
1918 C.H.McCall A.Graham 1948 G.Dennison J.Hanna
  Alex.Bunting J.McClure   W.Hamill R.J.Jamison
1919 Thomas Larmour A.Graham 1949 G.Dennison J.Hanna
  James McClure W.Fleming   W.Hamill R.J.Jamison
1920 Robert Shannon A.Graham 1950 N.Mehaffey J.Hanna
  Robert Sheridan W.Fleming   W.Drummond R.J.Jamison
1921 John Doran A.Graham 1951 N.Mehaffey J.Hanna
  James Scott W.Fleming   W.Drummond R.J Jamison
1922 W.J.Greenfield A.Graham 1952 J.M.Coulter D.Adair
  George M'Cormac W.Fleming   J.Herron R.J.Jameson
1923 James Snowden A.Graham 1953 J.M.Coulter D.Adair
  Joseph Hozack W.Fleming   J.Herron R.J.Jameson
1924 David Herron A.Graham 1954 T.H.Mathers D.Adair
  John Jardine W.Fleming   D.Jardine R.J.Jameson

1925

Thomas Burnett

A.Graham

1955

T.H.Mathers

D.Adair

 

David Walsh

W.Fleming

 

D.Jardine

R.J.Jameson

1926

David Walsh

A.Graham

1956

C.Beck

D.Adair

 

A.McQuade

W.Fleming

 

B.Magill

R.J.Jameson

1927

W.Thompson

A.Graham

1957

C.Beck

D.Adair

 

Gilbert Irvine

W.Fleming

 

B.Magill

R.J.Jameson

1928

R.W.Connor

A.Graham

1958

J.Dickson

D.Adair

 

H.C.Baxter

W.Fleming

 

J.Harris Rea

J.Cowan

1929

R.W.Connor

J.Baillie

1959

J.Dickson

D.Adair

 

H.C.Baxter

S.Gamble

 

J.Harris Rea

J.Cowan

1930

W.J.Cherry

J.Baillie

1960

H.W.Sherwood

D.Adair

 

W.J.Greenfield

S.Gamble

 

J.Dorman

J.Cowan

1931

Serg.M.W.Browne

J.McBride

1961

H.W.Sherwood

D.Adair

 

T.McDowell

S.Gamble

 

J.Dorman

J.Cowan

1932

T.McDowell

J.McBride

1962

H.W.Sherwood

D.Adair

 

Serg.M.W.Browne

S.Gamble

 

J.Dormam

J.Cowan

1933

J.Hozack

J.McBride

1963

J.Grant

J.Sneddon

 

A.Bunting

J.Beattie

 

J.Bell

J.Shannon

1934

W.J.Greenfield

F.Sneddon

1964

J.Grant

J.Sneddon

 

Capt.L. Haire

J.Beattie

 

J.Bell

J.Shannon

1935

W.J.Greenfield

J.Beattie

1965

T.Hayes

W.Jameson

 

Capt.L. Haire

J.McBride

 

R.McDonald

J.Sneddon

1936

W.J.Greenfield

J.Beattie

1966

T.Hayes

W.Jameson

 

Capt.L.Haire

J.McBride

 

R.Mcdonald

J.Diamond

1937

W.J.Greenfield

J.Beattie

1967

G.Stevenson

W.Jameson

 

Capt.L.Haire

J.McBride

 

R.McDonald

J.Diamond

1938

T.Stanage

J.Beattie

1968

G.Stevenson

C.Adair

 

A.McQuaide

J.McBride

 

R.McDonald

W.Glenn

1939

T.Stanage

J.Beattie

1969

G.Stevenson

C.Adair

 

A.McQuaide

J.McBride

 

R.McDonald

W.Glenn

1940

J.Jardine

J.Beattie

1970

B.Minnis

R.Kerr

 

G.M'Cormac

J.McBride

 

J.McGaw

W.Glenn

1941

J.Jardine

J.Beattie

1971

B.Minnis

R.Kerr

 

G.M'Cormac

J.McBride

 

J.McGaw

W.Glenn

1942

W.Anderson

J.Beattie

1972

G.D.Adams

D.Martin

 

G.Ervine

J.Cowan

 

J.McGaw

R.Reid

 

1973

G.D.Adams

D.Martin

1981

R.Mooney

H.McClory

 

J.McC.Hozack

R.Reid

 

K.Thompson

H.Carson

1974

H.Anderson

R.Reid

1982

K.Thompson

H.McClory

 

J.McC.Hozack

P.Dutton

 

M.Dawson

H.Carson

1975

H.Anderson

P.Dutton

1983

T.McFall

H.McClory

 

R.Russell

B.Minnis

 

J.Crozier

G.McClean

1976

T.McMaster

D.Ryan

1984

T.H.McFall

H.McClory

 

R.Russell

J.Burns

 

J.Crozier

G.McClean

1977

T.McMaster

D.Ryan

1985

T.H.McFall

G.McClean

 

R.Robinson

J.Burns

 

C.McCaughey

H.McClory

1978

A.White

D.Ryan

1986

S.Moore

G.McClean

 

R.Robinson

J.Dean

 

C.McCaughey

T.McClimonds

1979

A.White

H.McClory

1987

S.Moore

G.McClean

 

A.Burns

H.Carson

 

C.McCaughey

T.McClimonds

1980.

R.Mooney

H.McClory

 

 

 

 

A.Burns

H.Carson

 

 

 

THE OLD PARISH CHURCHYARD

 The old Seapatrick Parish Churchyard has an important place in our history. It is the visible link with a Christian settlement going back to possibly the 5th century. As mentioned earlier, it is hoped that a complete record of the older gravestones will soon be made. The Ulster Historical Foundation has Banbridge next on its list for a survey and all inscriptions pre 1900 will be recorded.

 The oldest readable gravestone found so far is that of the Fraser family. The father, John Fraser, died in 1711 at the age of 98 and his wife and 4 sons died before him. The Monroe vault was probably constructed in 1722 and Colonel Monroe was interred in 1727. There is neither name nor date on the vault and it was later used for many years as a storehouse. What happened to much earlier gravestones is a matter for conjecture, bearing in mind that up to the 16th century and probably later, most people were poor and illiterate and may have marked graves with simple wooden or stone memorials. Some such stones still exist but any inscriptions have long since vanished, as have any wooden memorials. However there may be older gravestones which have fallen or were knocked down when the Church was destroyed in 1641. These may be lying buried with their inscriptions protected from weathering. So it is hoped that in any future levelling, digging or grave making, great care will be taken to preserve and report on any finds. It may be of interest that the oldest named and dated gravestone in County Down, is that of Sir Nicolas Bagnall in Newry (1578) and the second oldest is in Ardglass (1585). The stone at St. Patrick's reputed burial place in Downpatrick was placed there in 1899 by F. J. Bigger.

 It was also in 1899 that the Bishop of Meath said "With some notable exceptions, the condition of the burial grounds throughout Ireland is discreditable and compares very unfavourably with the thoughtful care bestowed on them in other countries". Little has changed in general, but at least the appearance of the old Parish graveyard has been considerably improved by recent maintenance and during the year further work will be earned out on the fallen and displaced gravestones. The inscriptions are an important, often unique, source of genealogical information for the 18th and early 19th centuries, especially in view of the destruction of burial registers in 1922.

 As can be seen; slate is clearly the best material for retaining lettering and for resistance to weathering and lichens. It is unfortunate that its use has now virtually ceased. Some of the inscriptions or part inscriptions, are given in the following pages. A few of these refer to people or events mentioned in the text, others are indicative of the life expectancy at that period. Wandering around the gravestones, it is easy to imagine Thomas Gray having a setting like this in mind for his "Elegy written in a Country Church-yard". By will or fortune, we have our own Thomas Gray. His grave is beside the West Wall, inside the old Church. The gravestone, now broken, shows that he died aged 20,

 "Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown".