The Church of Ireland

A Rough Field

The story of

A project of the Select Vestry of
Garvaghy Parish
undertaken by
George Musgrave and Paul Thompson




Chapter 5

The new Presbyterian Church

The 19th century came to a close with a meeting of the Congregation Committee of Garvaghy Presbyterian Church in 1899 at which a proposal to build a new Church was discussed. The result was a decision to build one and the contract was awarded to Mr Hugh McAleenan of Castlewellan. The cost of the building, of modified Gothic design, was to be �765. The foundation stones were laid on 29th October 1903 and the project was completed in less than one year. The total cost came to �1,050. The first service was held in the Church on May 15th 1904. The Minister at that time was the Rev David Baird.

Also within the Parish of Garvaghy is the place of worship of the Presbyterian Congregation of Kilkinamurry. This was founded in 1820 when a number of people met together for worship in a tent. By 1821 the Congregation had become established and a Meeting House was built. The first Minister was the Rev George Legate who was ordained in 1824 and served for 50 years.

The Parish Church at the turn of the century

The minutes of the Select Vestry meetings provide a certain amount of information about the Church. The earliest extant records date from 1871 but for many years only the minutes of the Annual General Easter Vestry meetings were kept.

At the first session of the General Convention of the Church of Ireland in Dublin 1870, following disestablishment, it was decreed that to be registered as a vestryman, and therefore eligible to vote and hold office, one had to be male, over 21, a resident of the parish or an owner of property in the parish and subject to Diocesan Synods, also a subscriber to Parochial funds. In time registration was opened up to women as well as to those who did not own property. The age limit was also lowered to 18 years. This change in thinking has carried on into other areas of the Church of Ireland in that women were also in later years admitted to the Office of Reader. In more recent times the General Synod passed legislation allowing women to be ordained as deacon, priest and bishop.

Parish accounts

The earliest extant Church accounts are for the year 1889-1890 The details are outlined below.

Sunday offerings �3.17.5
Burial fees �1.7.6
Fee for registering graves by Churchwardens �3.1.0
Total income �8.5.11

Church insurance �0.6.0
Coal, Oil �0.17.6
Communion Elements �0.8.6 Sexton �2.0.0
Oil (stove?)�2.2.0
Brushes �0.5.6
Cleaning Walks (or Walls?) �0.4.6
Balance �2.1.11

Assessment was �30.0.0

A new Roof and other repairs

In 1895 the Parish Church received a new roof, a project that would have cost a good deal of money. Unfortunately no detailed records of the work are available but it certainly involved an increase in the pitch of the roof and the change in outline can be viewed well from the present car park. A report, however, of the Service of Thanksgiving for the restoration of the building was published in the Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette, December 10th 1897. It mentions also that the during this work the east end of Garvaghy Church was re-arranged so that the Prayer Desk and Lectern were on one side with the Pulpit on the other. The interior of the Church was also repainted. The Service of Thanksgiving was said by the Rector, the Rev J H Chapman, the lessons were read by the Right Hon Lord Arthur Hill MP and the Bishop preached the sermon. The collection at the Service for the restoration fund came to �14.6s.

The Parish in the 20th century

Select Vestry meetings

In 1900, 1901, 1902 and 1903 the Annual Easter Vestry was held in the Vestry room of the Parish Church. The Rev F Wilkinson was rector at the time. In earlier years the meetings had been held in the School House.

School repairs

In 1902 the Annual General Vestry discussed School House repairs. No details are given, but Mr William Dennison, Mr James Kerr and Miss Clinton, who was both organist and local School

Teacher, were appointed to collect subscriptions. The Vestry also received estimates from S Heron of Ballynahinch for painting of School (�1.2.0) and of Church (�8.12.6.) These were accepted.

A call for a curate

A special meeting of the Select Vestry was held in the Parochial Schoolhouse on 18th April 1904 at 7.30pm at which the Rev F Wilkinson presided. It was proposed by Robert James Spiers and seconded by William McClughan and passed unanimously that,

`We the Select Vestry of Garvaghy, do most respectfully petition our Bishop, the Diocesan Council and Church extension Committee, to grant us the services of a curate to reside amongst us, our rector living five and a half miles from our Church and having a united Parish of 14 miles in length and there being a Church of Ireland population of 215 in Garvaghy Parish, which with the Dromara population of 338 and considering the great extent of the union it is impossible for our clergyman to adequately visit and minister to us.'

The reply of the Diocesan Council is not recorded although no Curate was ever appointed.


8th June 1901 in Dromore Cathedral -19 from Garvaghy, 16 from Dromara, presented by the Rev F Wilkinson. These constitute the earliest confirmation records of the Parish.

Rector's accident

At the Annual General Vestry March 18th 1913 held in the Vestry Room, Mr John Gracey was elected Chairman as the Rector had had an accident. It was decided that steps should be taken to erect a wall between Church and School House on the graveyard side but the matter was left until the recovery of the rector.

Minutes of Select Vestry meetings

Until 1920 only the minutes of the Annual General Easter Vestry meetings (AGEV) had been recorded. It is therefore not known how often the Select Vestry met or the nature of the business transacted. Minutes of all Select Vestry meetings, however, began in 1920. At the first minuted meeting on 2nd July it was decided to spend a sum of money on a trip for the Sunday School children. Also in November of 1920 there is a reference to a new stove being bought for the Church.

Mr, James Kerr

At the Annual General Vestry of 1921 Mr James Kerr is mentioned as Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary. The contribution of the Kerr family to the Church in Garvaghy Parish has been Immense and it was continued into recent years by the late Mr Sidney Kerr son of the Mr James Kerr named above.

Envelope Scheme

The envelope scheme for financial giving was started in June or July 1922. This had been discussed at the General Vestry in April 1922.

Mention is also made of Miss Clinton as the Honorary Organist.

Garvaghy Bazaar

At the Annual General Easter Vestry of 1922 there was concern expressed that the parish should make an effort to pay the minimum Clerical Stipend as laid down by General Synod. It was also decided to re-paint the Church doors. A circular dated December 1922 says that Garvaghy found it difficult to meet the Yearly Sustentation and so at a meeting of the Select Vestry it was decided to hold a Bazaar to help towards this end.

The Bazaar was held over a period of three days and according to a report in the Dromore Leader of 16th December 1922 the total amount raised to that date was �375-13s-Od including a very generous gift of �50 from Lord Waring and Mrs. Kelly. The Bazaar was extended, however, for several extra days to sell off articles that had remained. The final sum realised is not recorded either in available Church records or by the local press. The sum of money reported in the Leader, however, must have represented a great deal of hard work on the part of parishioners.

The generous gift by Lord Waring is part of a pattern of contact between his family and Garvaghy Parish. The exact nature of the relationship between the two in uncertain but seems to stem from the early 18th century when the Waring family established their seat in the Parish.

Bazaar and War Bonds 1923

A meeting was held 20th December 1923 in Church to discuss the money raised at the Bazaar. The purpose of the money was to help pay the Clerical Income. After a prolonged discussion it was proposed by Mr RJ Spiers and seconded by Mr James Kerr that the money be invested in 5% war stock and the interest be paid annually to the Clerical Income. Mr R J Spiers and Mr John Gracey were appointed Trustees. The Rector was also to be a Trustee.

Much later at a meeting on 22nd April 1938 it was decided to pay the interest into the Sustentation Fund rather than into the Clerical Income. Later again, in 1950, there was a discussion about the names of the Trustees -new ones were Mr William Spiers, Mr Sidney Kerr and the Rev S Squires. The certificate was for �490 and the Vestry proposed adding a further �10. At a later meeting it was reported however that the �10 could not be added as the War Stock would have to be sold and new Stock bought, probably at a loss.

Select Vestry meeting 30th April 1924

Miss Clinton proposed that the Organ Blower receive �1.5.0 per annum; this was passed. Mr William McClughan proposed that the interior walls of the Church be painted a putty or cream colour; this was passed. It was also decided to erect a tablet in the Church to commemorate those who served in the Great War.

Heavy rain in 1925

In 1925 only 6 people attended the AGEV due to the very heavy rain. Those present were the rector, the Rev J Armstrong, William McClughan, Robert James Spiers, James Irwin, James Kerr and Joseph Cherry.

The work of Miss Clinton

Miss Clinton moved away from the area in 1927 and at a meeting of the Select Vestry the rector made reference to her work with the music of the Church, the choir and her great contribution to the Church's interest in foreign missions and charities. She had also been principal of Garvaghy School for upwards of 35 years, a post from which she retired in 1926.

The funeral of Mr Willie Wallace, March 1929

Mr Willie Wallace had been organist in the Parish Church since Miss Clinton had left. He was a very skilled musician and it is recorded that music was often to be heard coming from his home in Tullyniskey. Willie had played at many concerts throughout Co Down and he spent much of his spare time collecting folk songs of the County. He had been cycling home from Dromara on 13th March when he fell with a fatal wound to his head. On the way to the Church a large number of Orange Brethren and Black Knights wearing regalia marched behind the hearse while the coffin was wrapped in the flags of Waringsford Lodge and Preceptory. The Rector, the Rev J Armstrong presided at the Funeral Service and was assisted by the Rev David Baird of Garvaghy Presbyterian Church.

A gift of Lord Waring

The Dromore Leader of 19th October 1929 reported that during the Evening Prayer of the previous Sunday the Rev Thomas Martin of Aghaderg Parish, at the request of the Rev Mr Armstrong, Rector of Garvaghy, dedicated a set of Aladdin lamps. These were presented to the Church by Lord Waring and Mrs Alexander Kelly. After the third collect the Churchwardens, Mr Robert Spiers and Mr William Cunningham, asked the Rev Thomas Martin to dedicate the gifts. After the act of dedication Mr Martin gave a short address and remarked that he had come to know Mrs Kelly during that time he had been curate of Waringstown and that this gift she and Lord Waring had made to the Church was typical of her generous nature. He also said that although he did not know the present Lord Waring he had been told of his attention to and gifts to both the Church of Garvaghy and other organisations in the locality. Mr Martin took as his text on this occasion,

`I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life.'

A new organ

At a meeting of the Select Vestry on 2nd December 1930 a committee was appointed to buy a new organ. James Pollock, organist of Dromara, was also to be on the committee to give advice and guidance. This had been bought and dedicated by March 1932 and at the Vestry Meeting held in that month the Rector thanked Mr R J Spiers and Mr James Kerr as the main people behind the work for the organ.

3rd January 1940

At this meeting of the Select Vestry tenders for a new Communion Table were discussed. Mr Logan's tender was accepted. The organ was again considered for some uncertain reason. The Rev Mr Woodhouse, who was in temporary charge of Garvaghy and Dromara, was left to deal with the matter. He also suggested some other improvements to the Church.

7th February 1940

The members of the Select Vestry heard a lengthy discussion regarding the matter of buying an oil heater for the choir. The Rev Mr Woodhouse was told to do as he thought best. He also submitted a draft of a new Chalice at the meeting but the members thought they would not buy it at present. He also told the members that at a meeting of Dromara Vestry it had been said that if Garvaghy could raise an extra �7 Sustentation then Dromara would raise the rest to enable them to have the services of a rector.

Mr S Kerr

At a meeting of the Vestry held in the Church on Sunday 30th April 1944, with the Rev S Squires presiding, Mr Sidney Kerr was elected to the Select Vestry and was appointed Treasurer and Secretary in place of his late father, Mr James Kerr. The vestry had given a wreath at the time of his father's recent death.

Birds in the belfry

In May 1944 it was reported that a Jackdaw had built a nest in the belfry and there was concern about possible damage. Mr Thomas Ferguson said that he would send along some of his sons to help with the removal of the nest.

Church paths

In 1945 the Vestry got a quotation for repairing the paths around the Church which were needing restoration. The quotation in question was �45 with a further �15 being required to pipe away the rain water.

Change in Parochial status

A joint meeting was held with Dromara in Garvaghy School room in 1945, the purpose being to discuss a proposal to raise the parishes of Garvaghy and Dromara from the status of Curate-in-charge to that of an Incumbency. The Garvaghy members were pleased to go along with the scheme as long as the assessment for Garvaghy be reduced in proportion to the number of families as compared with the number in Dromara. To date they had been paying the assessment 50-50; the Rev S Squires said he would contact the Diocesan Council regarding altering the assessment. At a later meeting it was reported that the parishes could divide the assessment any way they wished and the Diocesan Council only asked that they receive the full amount. On 10th May 1946 Garvaghy Vestry decided to pay half of the required �85. The distribution of a circular to each family about the changes was to be left to the Chairman and Mr S Kerr. In 1948 this story continued with Dromara feeling that Garvaghy should not have to pay half and proposed that 2/ 5 be paid instead. This was accepted by the members of Garvaghy Select Vestry.

A Group or a Union?

In 1947 there was discussion as to whether Garvaghy and Dromara should remain as Grouped Parishes or move to being a Union. As a Group each Parish remained independent and merely shared the services of a priest. As a Union however they would merge to become one parish, having two centres of worship, administered by a single Select Vestry. It was decided that Garvaghy and Dromara remain a Group rather than change to being a Union.

Harvest Envelopes

The Harvest Gift envelopes were introduced for the Harvest Services of 1947. This was in place of the special collectors of other years. The new venture was proposed by Mr J Kerr and seconded by Mr T H Porter. At meeting in 1948 it was reported that the Harvest Envelope Scheme had worked very well.

Cleaning of the War Memorial

In March 1951 the War Memorial Tablet was cleaned and a stove pipe fitted. The minutes of the Select Vestry meetings reports that the members were "astounded" at the prices, �4-50 for the cleaning and �9-10-6 for the pipe.

A light shines

Electric lights were installed during October 1955 by Mr Jack Geddis of Muckamore, Co. Antrim. They were dedicated at the Harvest Thanksgiving service on 14th October by the Rev G Thornton of Magherafelt. Also dedicated at this service were the pulpit hanging and the book stand for the Holy Table. These were anonymous gifts.

Death of a faithful Rector

The Rev S Squires died 2nd February 1956 aged 54 years in the Musgrave and Clark Clinc, Belfast. He was buried in Dromara Parish Churchyard on Saturday 4th February 1956 at 3.00pm. The crowd was so great that not all could get into the Church. The Rev Canon Kilpatrick of Dromore Cathedral read the Burial Service and the Rev John Frazer of Willowfield Parish, Belfast, preached the sermon. A memorial service was held later in Garvaghy on Sunday 12th February 1956 at 3.30pm at which the Church was filled to overflowing. The service was conducted by the Rev Mr Rose of Belfast and the sermon was preached by the Rev F C Jameson of Upper Falls Parish, Belfast. He took as his text 2 Corinthians 4:5,

`For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.'

At the first Annual General Easter Vestry, held on 6th April 1956, after the death of the Rev S Squires, the Rev G Thornton of Magherafelt, was in the chair. Mention was made of all who had died in the past year especially the Rev S Squires and a period of silence was observed.

The Rev S E Long

In 1956 the Rev S E Long was instituted as Incumbent of the Grouped Parishes of Dromara and Garvaghy. He moved from the curacy of Willowfield in Belfast and very quickly became an integral part of the local community and played an active part in every aspect of it.

Fund Raising

A Sale of Work was organised by the women of the parish for November 1957 to be held in the Presbyterian lecture hall. The men of the vestry were asked to give their full support. The Sale of Work and the sale of Christmas cards raised �140. Mention was also made at this time of the difficulty Garvaghy had in meeting its share of the clerical stipend.

A new rectory

A tender of �4000 for a new rectory in Dromara was accepted in 1959. During the building of the new rectory the Long family lived in Mill View, Waringsford. This house was owned by Mr George Ervine JP who asked only the smallest of fees.

Repairs to the Church

At the General Easter Vestry in April 1962 it was reported that water had now been laid to the side of the Church, new heating had been installed and new Church furniture had been obtained and the Church painted. The re-opening and re-dedication took place at the beginning of April 1962 and was presided over by the Rt Rev F J Mitchell, Bishop of the Diocese. The gifts given in memory of the Rev. S. Squires were a pulpit, prayer desk and lectern, each of which were made of oak. Other gifts were a Holy Table (from Mr William Spiers), an oil fired central heating (from Dr Martha Cantley of Belfast), a communion rail carpet (from Mrs William Spiers), and a vase (from Miss Meta Spiers). Other items dedicated were sanctuary chairs and carpeting in the nave. Taking part in the service were, along with the Bishop, the Rev S E Long (rector), the Rev CHE Clayton (Dromore Cathedral and Rural Dean) and the Rev J Shearer (Ballynahinch); the Churchwardens were Mr Robert Lavery and Mr Samuel Cunningham; Miss Edna Ferguson presided at the organ. In his sermon the Bishop paid tribute to the late Rev S Squires whom he had known since college days. Among those present were the late rector's wife, Mrs Squires, and his daughter, Miss Patricia Squires.

Garvaghy School

The School had been a very important part of the Parish for many years but it finally closed at the end of December 1969. Many people objected to this but the closure went ahead and the pupils were transferred to Kinallen. In more recent times the schools of Carnew, Gransha and Kinallen have all closed and a new building has been built in Kinallen. Following the closure of Garvaghy School the property and the land attached reverted to the ownership of the Church. In 1973 a car park was made on the land adjoining the former School, which had now become the Church Hall. This was carried out by voluntary labour. Over the years both car park and hall have been upgraded and improved. The hall is still used for a range of functions throughout the year: Bible Study and Prayer Group meetings, Sunday School, drama, missionary meetings and meals.

Service for the deaf

Since 1975 the Parish has hosted an annual service for the adult deaf on a Sunday evening on or near to Palm Sunday. This was established when the Rev Oliver Thompson was Chief Executive and Chaplain to the Ulster Institute for the Deaf and it has been continued under his successor, the Rev William Murphy. In the Service the Chaplain's regular congregation and others who have hearing difficulties join with Garvaghy Parishioners and friends in worship and praise. The practice is that the Chaplain "signs" the service and translates for the hearing members of the congregation. The evening has always been brought to a close with a large supper and plenty of conversation in the Church Hall, all of which is typical of the warm hospitality of the people of Garvaghy.

Garvaghy Anniversary

The 280th anniversary of the present Church in Garvaghy was observed with services on 17th June 1979. The Very Rev G Wilson, Dean of Connor, was the guest preacher and also dedicated a number of gifts: a new front door, Service Book, Bible, and the redecoration of the Church and the renewal of the woodwork. The Service Book and door were the gifts of the Wallace family and the Bible was the gift of Mrs M Hamilton of Drumlough. The Choir sang "Green Pastures," a setting of the 23rd Psalm, and the soloist was Mrs Wilkinson who sang "The Holy City." The other special singers and instrumentalists were the "Kingsmen". Also present at the service was the Rev J A Todd, Minister of Garvaghy Presbyterian Church. The collection at the service came to �707.77

Recent times

On Sunday 21st June 1981 the Rev S E Long completed twenty five years as Incumbent of Garvaghy and Dromara. The preacher at the Sunday Services was the Rt Rev Dr G McMullan, Bishop of Clogher. At tea in Dromara Parish Hall following the service in Dromara presentations were made to mark the occasion. Mr John Jess, People's Churchwarden of Dromara, presided. He and Mr John Wallace, People's Churchwarden of Garvaghy gave the rector an electric typewriter and a cheque. Mrs P McKinstry of Dromara and Mrs M Porter of Garvaghy presented Mrs Long with a table lamp.

The Rev S E Long was installed as a Canon of Dromore Cathedral, holding the Prebendary of Dromara, on 2nd July 1981. The preacher was the Rev Dr M Dewar, who at that time was rector of Helen's Bay. Dr Long contributed greatly to the Church in the Diocese, not only by his part in the life of the Cathedral, but also by his writing on a wide range of subjects, his editorship of the Diocesan Magazine and his leadership of the Lurgan Clerical Union. His dedication to learning was crowned by his working for and his achieving of a Doctorate in 1994. He retired from the Parishes in 1985. Throughout his time he worked hard for the Church and the community and was held in high esteem. His commitment to the wider community was recognised by his appointment as J P in 1968, a job that he undertook with care and dedication. He was also a prominent member of the Orange Order and wrote a number of books and articles on Orange and Unionist matters. These include: "Orangeism: A New Historical Appreciation" "Carson: Man for Ulster" "Orangeism in Northern Ireland" and "The Orange Institution in the USA"

Dr Long was ordained deacon on 26th June 1949 for the curacy of St Clement's Parish, Belfast. He was ordained priest on 24th June 1950 and in 1952 moved to be curate of Willowfield Parish, also in Belfast. In 1956 he moved to be Incumbent of the Grouped Parishes of Dromara and Garvaghy. He and his wife, Eleanor, were married on 16th April 1947 and have three children: Norman William, Samuel Colin and Ernest Mervyn.

Dr Long was succeeded by the Rev William Thomas Long who was instituted as rector on 1st May 1986. The Rev William Long was ordained deacon 24th June 1981 for the curacy of Orangefield Parish in Belfast. He was ordained priest on 29th June 1982 and in 1984 moved to be curate in St Mark's Parish in Portadown. He was Incumbent of Dromara and Garvaghy 1986 to 1991, Aghalurcher, Tattykeeran and Cooneen (Clogher Diocese) 1991 to 1996 and is currently Incumbent of Kilhorne (Annalong) in Down Diocese. He and his wife, Geraldine, married 27th February 1981 and have two children, Mandy and William.

During the Incumbency of the Rev William Long the first known notice board for Garvaghy Parish Church was erected and was a gift of the Cunningham family in memory of their late parents, Rachel and David John Cunningham. The dedication was carried out by the Rev Canon S E Long on 2nd November 1986. In December 1986 electrical heating was installed in the Church Hall to replace the old pot-bellied stove. A sponsored walk in May 1987 raised the sum of �940 for the Parish and in January 1988 a new organ was purchased for the sum of �3200. A Parish Mission was held in Garvaghy 10th to 17th April 1988 at which the Evangelist was Captain David Oxley of the Church Army. Then in the spring of 1989 the Church bell, dating from the early 18th century, was taken down and sent to England for expert repair work. The Rev William Long preached his last sermon in Garvaghy Parish Church on Sunday 25th August 1991.

More recent times still saw more developments in the life of Garvaghy Parish. Sunday 15th June 1996 witnessed a quite unusual occurrence in the story of the Parish. The service of the Holy Communion was held outside the Church building in bright sunshine. The reason for this was the Church was occupied by a very active swarm of bees. At a social evening on 20th September 1996 members of the Church staged a play written by Miss Alma Ferguson, called, "So much for your plans" which was enjoyed by a large number of people from the Parish and beyond. In these recent years the Parish, along with Dromara enjoyed the services and friendship of Mr Raymond Rennix, a Diocesan Reader, who had moved with his wife Helen from St Thomas' Parish in Belfast to live in Dromara. Raymond had a keen interest in the Church's liturgy and shared fully in the life of the Church and community.

In conclusion

It is always difficult to know where to finish a story such as that of the Church in Garvaghy. The history of a Church, a community, never really comes to an end for the people of the present are continually making tomorrow's history in all kinds of ways.

In Church of Ireland Parishes the body that oversees the temporal affairs of the Church is known as the Select Vestry, its members being elected by the Parishioners. Its members play an important part in shaping the life of the Church, in preserving the heritage of the past and in looking forward into the future

Several currently serving members of the Garvaghy Parish Select Vestry have been members now for many years and over that time contributed much to the life of the Church. Mr Jack Kerr was elected to the Select Vestry on 11th April 1947 meaning that at the time of going to print he has served for 52 years. His wife Mrs Vera Kerr was elected to the Select Vestry on 23rd April 1954 and resigned from it in April 1994 having served as a member for 40 years. Together this makes a total of 92 years faithful service to the Church. Mrs Kerr was also organist for quite a few years having started to play in 1944.

In addition Mr Porter was also elected People's Churchwarden on the same occasion. He and his wife, Mrs Mina Porter, who was elected to the Select Vestry in 1984, are still hardworking members. Mr Robert Lavery and Mr Samuel Cunningham have each completed 40 years to date and continue to serve.

Sadly, however, two of those who had served the longest in the latter part of the 20th century, Mr Sidney Kerr and Mr Samuel Ferguson, died in recent years. Each had completed fifty years as members of the Select Vestry and Mr Sidney Kerr had also been Honorary Treasurer for that same length of time and concurrently Honorary Secretary for much of it. Also in recent times the death took place of Mr Thomas James (Jim) Ferguson, the last man to be employed as Sexton of the Parish Church. He had been appointed sexton in 1945.

Mr Samuel Ferguson's daughter, Miss Edna Ferguson, is currently the very capable and talented organist of the Church. The result of her dedicated work with the Choir manifests itself in the high quality of the music and singing at each Sunday's worship and at the major festivals of the Christian Year. She was appointed deputy to Mrs Vera Kerr at the Annual General Easter Vestry on 2nd April 1959 and in 1961 was appointed Organist.

Many people in many ways have shaped and served the Church in the Parish making it what it is today. In the roll of the 20th century many names come up time and time again, names such as Berwick, Biggerstaff, Copling, Craig, Cunningham, Dennison, Edgar, Ferguson, Gribben, Hawthorne, Kelso, Kerr, Laffins, Lavery, Musgrave, McClughan, Mcllroy, Porter, Rankin, Roke, Shillington, Spiers, Steele and Wallace. There is not enough space to examine the contribution made by each family but it is all of immense and lasting value.

The Church in Garvaghy has seen many chapters open and close from the days of the small Celtic monastery in the 9th century through to the closing days of the 20th century but still the prayers and praises of the people are offered and the name of God is glorified. As this chapter closes perhaps it would be wise to reflect on the words of the writer of the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews,

`Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.'

(Hebrews 12:2)

Appendix A

Garvaghy School, an account by Mr J Kerr,
Schoolmaster of Garvaghy School from 15th
May 1939 to 28th September 1945

Garvaghy School is situated on the eastern side of the road between Garvaghy Parish Church and Garvaghy Presbyterian Church about equidistant from each. It is thought that the original school was on the opposite side of the road immediately across from the present building. However no trace of this old structure remains.

Garvaghy Public Elementary School as it was known was a voluntary School, controlled for the most part by the Church of Ireland. The Rector of the grouped parishes of Dromara and Garvaghy being manager of the School. As manager the Rector was responsible for the basic maintenance of the School and for the appointment of teachers. Occasionally however teachers and pupils organised events to raise funds to augment the cash necessary for maintaining and heating the building. These fund raising events usually were concerts held in Waringsford Orange Hall which was always kindly granted and made ready by members of the Lodge. The children were the entertainers, thoroughly enjoying the rehearsals and the actual performance on the night. Parents and friends supported well.

The School is a stone built building and while in operation as a school was divided into two classrooms by a wooden partition with a communicating door. Just one entrance which led into a porch acted as a cloakroom for the pupils. In the 1930s the senior classroom was heated by a stove and the junior by an open fire. There were no modern facilities. Drinking water had to be carried each morning from a well and there were outside toilets.

Just prior to the outbreak of war in 1939 there were approximately 60 pupils on the roll with a staff of Principal and assistant teacher. Many of the children were sons and daughters of farmers from the area. Quite a number also came from the village of Waringsford where often their fathers worked in Ervine's Mill which at that time was a busy and expanding business. The assistant teacher held sway in the junior classroom having charge of infants, senior infants and the 1st and 2nd classes, while the Principal had classes 3rd to 7th. The upper limit of age for school attendance was 14 years. Some pupils on approaching the upper age limit transferred to Wallace, Banbridge Academy or Lisburn Technical but transport was often a problem. However, the introduction of the Qualifying Examination for pupils aged eleven plus meant a dramatic fall in the numbers on the rolls. From henceforth all pupils over eleven years transferred from Primary School to either a Grammar School or to a new Intermediate School.

About this time the management of the School was transferred to the Down Education Committee and as a result some structural improvements were made. The toilets were upgraded but despite this remained very basic. Running water was not provided for several more years. The Education Committee was later named the South Eastern Education and Library Board. During the 1960's the school population of Garvaghy gradually declined and with the building of a new school at Kinallen all the pupils were transferred there. This marked the beginning of the end for the small local schools and today Garvaghy, Carnew, Gransha and Skeogh no longer exist as schools. On its closure as a school Garvaghy reverted back to ownership of Garvaghy Parish Church.

During recent years the Church has greatly enhanced the Church Hall, as the old School is now called. A completely new modern kitchen has been installed, new toilets fitted and the whole building has been rewired also an electric heating system installed. The Church now makes good use of the Hall; each Sunday for Sunday School, weekly Bible Studies, occasional missionary meetings and a range of other Church activities including Drama Groups. With the new kitchen catering is much easier. The old school building has become a central part of the everyday functioning of the Parish.

While functioning as a voluntary school the pupils did not enjoy many of the luxuries enjoyed by many scholars today. All textbooks and writing materials had to be purchased. Often in the senior classes a reading book consisting of selected stories, perhaps a novel by Charles Dickens or a Shakespearean play would be studied. Quite often too the use of Latin in everyday English would be examined. The structure of sentences in writing together with parsing were also taught. Mathematics generally consisted of arithmetic with a little algebra. Pen and ink were used in writing books while pencils were kept for jotters. The school day lasted from 9.30am to 3.00pm with a mid-day break at 12.30 for lunch. Children brought their own packed lunch and when the 1/3 pint of milk was supplied this facility was taken up by most pupils. During break football, skipping, marbles etc. were played but on wet winter days everyone remained in class.

There was not much communication between pupils of neighbouring schools. Sports Day in Dromore meant that all the schools of the area met and competed in various sports and fancy dress. These occasions were well supported by parents and friends.

As there was no piped water supply two pupils were enlisted to bring a bucket of drinking water from the well each morning. This bucket was placed on a bench at the north wall of the School. There was also a weekly rota of pupils to help with sweeping and cleaning and it was not until Garvaghy was taken over by the Down Education Committee that a caretaker was appointed. School holidays were influenced by the farming year, planting, grain and potato harvests with breaks being generally no more than three weeks. New pupils were enrolled after the spring and summer holidays and the size of classes throughout the School was dependent on the intake on these occasions. Absences were not a problem. The School Attendance Officer visited the School monthly and he expected to receive good reasons for absences. Parents were cooperative and helpful. In the early days of the War a small garden was cultivated in a corner of the field behind the School in which vegetables were grown. Girls did needlework and in winter cookery was an extra. All pupils took part in PE or in PT as it was then called. Apart from needlework and cookery all pupils took all subjects including music and geography along with those already mentioned. Radio lessons for schools, music, nature study and history etc. also played their part and were much appreciated. Some homework was set, written work together with spellings and tables to be learned by rote. Tests were conducted twice a year but no written reports of these were sent to the parents. The age of "paper mania" had not yet arrived.

Religious Education was taught in accordance with a programme set down by the Church of Ireland and all pupils took part. In the summer a visiting clergyman came to test the pupils on their progress. During the Religious Instruction period a card displaying the words "Religious Instruction" was placed in a prominent position in the classroom. This card was then turned round to show "Secular Instruction" as appropriate.

School Inspectors from the then Ministry of Education visited Garvaghy generally once in two years. Their visits were generally informal and advisory and certainly there was much less pressure on teachers and pupils than there is today. All pupils walked to school, no queue of

cars at the school gate. Children were quite safe on the roads with none of today's problems of abduction and abuse. Altogether Garvaghy School was a most pleasant place to work, set in the midst of a friendly farming community and friendships forged at school and in the surrounding district have remained strong until today.

Appendix B

The townlands of Garvaghy Parish


Balle Ailigh, meaning "townland of the stony place"
This had been owned by the Church, as apparently was the whole Parish, but by 1834 the landlord was a Magennis and his home as well as a Roman Catholic Church were situated in the townland.


Balle Ailigh Mor, meaning "large townland of the stony place"
This formed part of the mensal lands of the Bishop of Dromore, that is land that was for the sole use of the Bishop for the literal purpose of putting food on his table.


Cam Aodha, meaning "Aodh's Cairn"
This townland on the eastern boundary of the parish once belonged to Sir Art Magennis and contains Carnew Hill which at 753 feet is the highest point of the parish. A map of 1743 shows a lake in the townland but no trace of it remains. The location of the Cairn indicated by the name of the townland is uncertain.


Caiseal Ui Bheannachain, meaning "O'Banahan's cashel"
A Cashel was a protective stone enclosure around an important farmstead similar to the more plentiful earth enclosures known as raths. No cashel survives in the townland but there are two examples to the south-east in the parish of Drumgooland.


Corrbhaile, meaning "odd/noticeable townland"
The word is a compound of corr meaning "odd, pointed or projecting" and baile meaning "town or townland". This was Church land in the early 17th century.


Aonach, meaning "fairground"
Some have suggested that the name comes from eanach "marsh" but as this is more usually anglicized annagh the meaning indicated above is more likely. The name would seem to come from a "fair ground" or a "fair hill" site not identified.


Feochadanaigh, meaning "place of thistles"
This was held by Sir Art Magennis in the early 17th century but as it contains the Parish Church and graveyard it most likely began as Church land.


Garbhachadh, meaning "rough field"
It is thought that up to 1659 the townland of Garvaghy was the area referred to as Ballyfergowan or Fergone meaning probably "smith's grassland". The prominent hill in the townland has been known since 1618 as Garvaghy Hill.


Coill Chon Murchaidh, meaning "wood of Murchadh's hound"
By 1617 the townland belonged to Edward Trevor but nothing is known of its earlier history.


Cill Eidhnigh, meaning "ivy-covered Church"
For information on this townland see chapter one.


Cnoc Mhig Uidhrin, meaning "MacGivern's Hill"
This was used as the general name for the Bishop's four mensal townlands. All their names were, Knockgorm, Killaney, Castlevennon and Balloolymore. There were many clergy of the MacGivern name in Dromore Diocese in 15th century and there could be a link between some of them and the townland.


Seanrod, meaning "old road"
For information about this townland see chapter one.


Tulaigh Abhann Eascannai, meaning "hillock of the Eel Burn"
This was one of the Garvaghy group of townlands held by William Worseley from Sir Art Magennis.


Tulaigh Oirir, meaning "hillock of the boundary"
This lies on the boundary between Lower and Upper Iveagh which may have given rise to the "boundary" element to the name.

Appendix C
The succession of Clergy in the
Parish of Garvaghy

It should be noted that until the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1870 the position of Rector of Garvaghy was held by the Prebendary (or Canon) of Dromaragh in Dromore Cathedral. He derived his income from contributions levied from several parishes, including Garvaghy and Dromara along with others. The name of the Prebend is an old form of the spelling of Dromara. The Vicar was a priest who worked in the Parish as the representative of the Rector and a Curate was someone employed by the Vicar to assist with work in the Parish.

1629 John Death
1634 Patrick Dunkin
1661 Wiliam Lindsay
1673 Leonard Hudson
1679 Samuel Hudson (son of Leonard, above)
1686 John Wetherby
1694 William Johnston
1716 Joshua Pullein
1727 Gabriel James Maturin
1734 Joseph Hanna
1741 Thomas Waring
1742 James Brush
1777 John Beatty
1793 Thomas Beatty
1813 Charles Hamilton


Hugh Samuel Hamilton (son of Charles, above)


William Mortimer


Abraham Smyth King


Francis Robert McMinn Graham


James Blackwood

United with Dromara, 1885


Joseph Henry Chapman


William Doran Falkiner Wilkinson


James Armstrong


Hugh Frederic Woodhouse (Priest-in-Charge)


Stanhope Sabine Squires


Samuel Ernest Long


William Thomas Long


Paul Thompson


Gary Millar



1742 James Dickson
1828 John Bredin
1841 James Silcock
1848 John Williams
1865 Abraham Smyth King
1868 W Metge

Appendix D
The Prebendaries of Dromaragh
(Dromore Cathedral)

Until Disestablishment the Prebendaries (or Canons) of Dromaragh in Dromore Cathedral were appointed as Rectors of the parishes from which they derived their income. After Disestablishment this ceased to be the practice so that the clergy who worked in the parishes were instituted as Rectors rather than as Vicars.

1441 John O'Mustega
1504 Marcus Magynd
1504 William O'Rooney
1529 Peter O'Rooney
1530 Patrick McGyn
1530 Arthur O'Rooney
1539 Patrick Maguyn and Dermot Omuste
1539 Thomas MacCarmuyc
1609 Nicholas Webbe
1613 John Deth
1629 Robert Ussher Son of H Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh.
1629 Henry Jones
1637 Nicholas Bernard
1661 Joshua Cowley
1677 John Hales
1681 Legard Blacker
1686 John Cuppaidge
1687 Henry Jenny
1694 John Wetherby
1735 Southwell Ricard
1748 Arthur Forde
1768 William Stinton
1798 Holt Waring
1811 Hannington Elgee Boyd
1864 Henry Murphy
1878 Jonathan Harding
1892 George Wade
1899 Henry Willaim Lett


James Edward Archer


Patrick Albert Kelly


Andrew William McGarvey


Thomas McCreight


Edward Samuel Medcalf


Matthew George Gardiner


Henry O'Connor


Robert William Thomas Howard Kilpatrick


John William Applebe


George Cooper Johnston


Henry Hughes


Charles Henry Ernest Clayton


Hugh Hastings Richard Mayes


William John Thomas Frazer


Nobel Ridgeway Hamilton


Ralph Strafford Peters


Dermot Christopher Ledgard Jameson


Samuel Ernest Long


Mervyn Robert Wilson


John Donaldson Caldwell


Robert Ferguson Greer
1993 Brian Thomas Blacoe


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Parish registers
Divine Service registers
M S S in Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
Parliamentary Gazetteer 1843/44

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