Donaghendry book marks parish history

L to R James Glendinning, Jim McGreevy (HLF) and Val Moffett.
L to R James Glendinning, Jim McGreevy (HLF) and Val Moffett.

‘In St Patrick’s Footsteps’ – the story of a parish over a period of 1,500 years is the result of seven years’ research by Donaghendry Heritage Group, based in Stewartstown.

This group has probed and researched into the history of the Church of Ireland parish examining original papers stored in libraries and Public Record Offices in Armagh, Belfast and Dublin and well preserved Donaghendry Church records.

L to R Mrs Eileen Donnelly, Keith Buchanan (MLA), Jim McGreevy (HLF) & Patsy McGlone (MLA).

L to R Mrs Eileen Donnelly, Keith Buchanan (MLA), Jim McGreevy (HLF) & Patsy McGlone (MLA).

The result is an illustrated book detailing the fascinating tale of the happenings in the parish over one and a half millennia.

This church was 500 years old at the time of the Battle of Hastings, 1,000 years old when Christopher Columbus discovered America and it has records of births deaths and marriages before Captain Cook discovered Australia.

Recently the Heritage Group set up a permanent information board at the site of St Patrick’s first church and they have made available to local schools booklets of information to help the pupils discover the past in their area.

Now Donaghendry Heritage Group has published the first ever book detailing the history of the parish. This impressive well illustrated book contains the story of Donaghendry from the time of the Druids whom Patrick defied by using their site for his own church. The chronicle continues to the time of Henry VIII when records indicate that the building was in a ‘ruinous state’, through times of peace and turmoil when the church was responsible for roads, orphans and public houses! This is a story with many twists and turns right up to the present day.

L to R Book Authors in Q & A session, Val Moffett, James Glendinning and Rev Andrew Rawding (Chairperson).

L to R Book Authors in Q & A session, Val Moffett, James Glendinning and Rev Andrew Rawding (Chairperson).

The book ‘In St Patrick’s Footsteps’ was launched in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland hall in Stewartstown and Donaghendry Heritage Group is grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund which funded the entire project and to Ms Jodie Jackson for her personal interest.

A number of copies are available from outlets in Stewartstown and Sheehy’s and Ranfurly House or from Val and Hazel Moffett on 028 87738688.

L to R Canon W E C Fleming (Guest Speaker), Mrs Fleming, Dean The Rev Kenneth Hall and Mrs Elizabeth Abernethy (Committee Member).

L to R Canon W E C Fleming (Guest Speaker), Mrs Fleming, Dean The Rev Kenneth Hall and Mrs Elizabeth Abernethy (Committee Member).

Harpist, Esther Graham, who performed at the launch of the Donaghendry Heritage Group book - 'In St. Patrick's Footsteps'.

Harpist, Esther Graham, who performed at the launch of the Donaghendry Heritage Group book - 'In St. Patrick's Footsteps'.

Glancing through the Donaghendry Heritage Group book 'In St. Patrick's Footsteps' launched at Donaghendry Hall were Rev Andrew Rawding, Rector of Donaghendry Parish Church, Canon William Fleming, guest speaker and Jewel Fleming.

Glancing through the Donaghendry Heritage Group book 'In St. Patrick's Footsteps' launched at Donaghendry Hall were Rev Andrew Rawding, Rector of Donaghendry Parish Church, Canon William Fleming, guest speaker and Jewel Fleming.