"A Raucous Crowd"
As a result of the incidents which took place prior to the Service of Consecration, charges of "rowdyism" and "bigotry" was made on the Parish and the charge of Popery on Dean Clarendon. Early references in this book have indicated something of the "sturdy Protestantism" which characterised the Parishioners in this area. These were the same people who had met for a service of thanksgiving on Tuesday, June 8th, 1887, at 4.30 in the morning for the defeat of Home Rule, when four hundred people attended the dawn ceremony. On the eve of the Consecration service, the strong Protestant susceptibilities of the village were awakened and offence was taken to the reredos and, in particular, to the appearance of three crocketed finials, which Parishioners claimed, resembled crosses.
In those days there was considerable suspicion and ignorance concerning church buildings. As a result of the agitation and high feeling — a specially summoned Vestry meeting was held on Monday, 21st September, to consider the reredos of the church. The meeting took place in the Rectory and the 100% attendance indicates something of its importance.
The architect explained to the Vestry that he had never intended to design crosses as finials. His design was of 'crocketed finials'. These had been introduced in the erection or improvement of over 40 churches in Ireland by him. He stated that he had never before heard those called crosses, nor had he ever had any objection raised to them. He emphasised that 'crocketed finials' certainly did not, in any way, contravene the 36th Canon of the Church.
After considerable debate the following resolutions were carried:
1. "That the reredos remain as it is at present until it has been seen by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese and that the Select Vestry enter a protest against it as being an innovation on the plans submitted to the Vestry".
(The chairman, Dean Clarendon, dissented from this resolution and Mr. Christie-Miller left before it was put to the meeting).
2. "That the following members be requested to present the protest to the Lord Bishop of the Diocese tomorrow morning, the churchwardens, Messrs. Dennison and Lyttle and R. A. Waddell".
Within hours of the Vestry meeting taking place, the above resolutions became invalid. That same evening the agitation became so great that a "large and raucous crowd" gathered in the church and threatened to pull down the reredos. Dean Clarendon records the events in his memoirs. ". . .a large assembly gathered in the church that evening and demanded that the crosses should be taken down so that the Bishop should not consecrate them the following day. I was called to baptise an infant who was supposed to be dying. I told the crowd this, and they agreed to wait until I had done mis."
The "News Letter", reporting the consecration service, continues the story for us:—". . . at a late hour of the night, a large mob gathered around the Rector's residence and so intimidated him that he was reluctantly obliged at two o'clock in the morning to set the workmen to take down the reredos and when the ceremony was in progress this most ornate and elaborate piece of ecclesiastical furniture was lying prone among the stones and debris just as the masons had left the church".
100 years have now elapsed since that fateful Monday evening. No doubt the Vestry felt justified in their protest; but their actions appear to have encouraged the crowd in their lawlessness and their undignified threats perhaps justifiably earned them the charges of "rowdyism" and "bigotry". Perhaps it is too reminiscent of the raucous crowd of 2,000 years ago who called for the release of Barabbas.
The reredos incident was widely reported in the newspapers. One of the most emotive extracts is that recorded in the Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette, where we read that: "the consecration service was marred by a senseless and ungrateful rabble .... some of those who still call themselves Church people have no idea that God's house ought to be the best house in the parish; they rather cling to that kind of church which the celebrated Irish agitator, Daniel O'Connell described as, "a pigsty with a sentry box at one end," which was but a too true description of many a Parish Church in Ireland in times now happily gone by forever."
Despite the gaping hole in the East end of the chancel, the consecration took place the next day. No doubt the large congregation, including 53 clergy, were appalled and astonished at the undignified state of the Chancel. Bishop Reeves performed the ceremony and the Primate, Archbishop Robert Knox, took part in the service. The sermon was preached by the Dean of Armagh, Dr. Chadwick. It appears it was somewhat lengthy and lasted well over an hour.
The following account of the re-opening of the Church appeared in a Belfast newspaper.
THE REOPENING OF MARALIN.PARISHCHURCH.
The ancient parish church of Mural in, within about three miles of Lurgan, was reopened, after extensive alterations and improvement at three o'clock yesterday, in presence of a large congregation of laymen and ecclesiastic. Among the latter being the Lord Primate (his Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Knox) and the Bishop of Down and Connor (Dr. Roves). The chief feature in the church is a, magnificent new chancel, largely contributed to by Mr. and Mrs. Christy-Millar, of Kircassock, and which: is dedicated especially to the memory of the great prolate Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down and Connor from 1CG1 to 1007. The new chancel is a beautiful structure in the Gothic style,-mid carried out in sand stone, the architect being Thomas Drew, R. H.A., Dublin; and the builders Messrs. Collcn,Portadown and Dublin. There were no fewer than fifty-seven clergymen in the church during the ceremony. The now organ was beautifully played by Mr. Livock, organist .Lurgan Parish Church, and the incidental music was appro-priately rendered by an efficient choir under his direction. It is unpleasant to have * to record that on the evening previous to' the ceremony some of the. Vestry took exception to the elaborate reredos, and in order to carry their views into effect hold a special meeting, at which a resolution was, formulated and passed decidedly objecting to this particular portion of the church ornamentation. To this resolution the rector Rev. Mr. Clarandon did not especially object, and eventually after considerable discussion it was decided leave the matter to the Bishop to see what he might determine as to the specially disputed points, some crockoted finials, which certain of the parishioners asserted partook of the form of crosses?. "Unfortunate, however, this judicious and amicable course was not persisted in, for at a late hour of the night a large, mob gathered around the rector's residence, and so intimidated him that .he was reluctantly obliged at two o'clock in the morning to set the workmen to take down the rercdos, and when the ceremony was in progress this most ornate and elaborate piece of ecclesiastical furniture was lying prone among the stones and debris just as the masons had left the church. Great feeling exists on the subject.
The serious charges made against Dean Clarendon concerned him greatly. The crowd saw the 'crocketed finials' as a Popish innovation. There was much genuine fear and distress in the Parish, that Popery was being introduced into the Church. Thus on the Sunday after the vitriolic incident, in order to educate and inform his parishioners on the matter of the reredos, Dean Clarendon preached a most moving and challenging sermon. In this he refuted the charges of Popery cast upon him. He had not, he said, contravened the 36th Canon of the Church of Ireland.
His text was 1st Cor.10:15, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say".
Mr. Christie-Miller paid for the publication of this sermon, entitled: "Audi alterampartem" (Hear the other side).
The writer includes the sermon in its entirety, as it is an invaluable document offering an insightful picture of the fears and concerns of Parishioners at the beginning of this century. 100 years later, in a society divided by Sectarianism and strife, I have no doubt we can still learn something from it.
AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM
(Hear the Other Side)
A SERMON PREACHED IN THE PARISHCHURCH OF THE HOLY AND UNDIVIDED TRINITY,
ON THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
the 27th day of September, 1891
THOMAS WILLIAM CLARENDON, B. D.
RECTOR OF MARALIN, FORMERLY CURATE OF ST. THOMAS, BELFAST;
SOMETIME SENIOR MODERATOR AND GOLD MEDALLIST IN MODERN LITERATURE;
ARCHBISHOP KING'S DIVINITY PRIZEMAN;
DR. DOWNES' DIVINITY PRIZEMAN IN WRITTEN COMPOSITION, EXTEMPORE SPEAKING AND READING THE LITURGY;
ELRINGTON THEOLOGICAL PRIZEMAN;
PRIZEMAN IN HEBREW, BIBLICAL GREEK AND ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY IN TRINITYCOLLEGE, DUBLIN
PUBLISHED BY REQUEST BELFAST: PRINTED BY A. MAYNE & BOYD, 2 CORPORATION STREET 1891
This sermon being an appeal to the reason of the hearers was not addressed to those who say "Nothing will convince me" but it was specially intended for those parishioners who, acknowledging their ignorance on some of the matters in dispute, were distressed at the suggestion that Popery was being introduced into their ParishChurch.
The Sermon is now published in the hope that it will be read with the same attention with which it was heard, and that the arguments and statements that it contains will prove to many that the writer is innocent of the serious charges that have been made against him, and that the beautiful reredos, a costly gift to the Church, was no Popish innovation on the part either of the Rector, the Architect, or the Donors.
PRAYER BEFORE THE SERMON
(The Collect for Whitsunday)
GOD, who didst teach the hearts of Thy faithful people, by sending to them the light of The Holy Spirit; grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
"I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. " 1 Cor. X., 15
St. Paul here makes an appeal to the reasoning faculties of his hearers.
It is one of the distinguishing features of Protestantism that we allow the right of private judgement and insist upon the exercise of private judgement, whereas the Romanist appeals almost entirely to authority. His question about any disputed matter is "What does the Church say about it?" not "What are the arguments for and against it?"
The text might be a motto for Protestants on this question of authority, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I Say. " So he writes; and not "I am in the place of God to you, therefore obey what I command."
I want you, my friends, to exercise today the reasoning powers that God has given you. My main appeal to you today is not to your affections, not to your interest, but to your reason: "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. " Listen patiently, listen candidly, that is with a real wish to get at the truth, listen generously, that is with the desire not to catch up some unguarded word, but to see whether upon the whole what I say is not sensible and true.
Shall we not also lift up our hearts to God asking Him for grace, I, that my words may be acceptable, and you that you may be given a right judgement in the matter?
It is hardly necessary that I should apologise today for speaking about myself in the pulpit, a thing that I usually avoid. For how can I go on with my ministry among you without first doing my best to answer the grave charge that has been made against me? What use would it be if today I could preach an eloquent powerful Gospel sermon to you, whilst many of you might say in your hearts "It is all hypocrisy, he does not mean what he says, his acts do not agree with his works?" You know that if a clergyman is suspected, for instance, of being a drunkard, his sermons may be very eloquent but they come with no power to the hearts of his hearers. And so if it is true that I am striving to lead you into popery my words, "though I spake with the tongues of men and of angels, " would not help or impress you. If the source is regarded as tainted who will drink of the stream?
Now, what is the charge brought against me that has caused such sorrow to many in the past week?
It is that I, your Rector, introduced three crosses above the Communion Table in this church contrary to the 36th Canon of the Church of Ireland.
That I find to be the main charge, though there are others which I had better mention.
First, that this was done as an innovation on the plans submitted to the Select Vestry.
Secondly, that it was done surreptitiously, that is in an underhand manner.
Thirdly, that I cunningly kept back the introduction of the crosses to the last few days of the work in the hope that I could get them consecrated before the parishioners had time to object to them.
Now, if these charges are true, the word "Jesuit" is exactly the true name to apply to your rector.
Let me deal with the first of these subsidiary charges. It is said that the Vestry was not consulted with regard to the reredos (that is the technical name for any structure behind the Communion Table). My answer to that is this — The sketch that was brought before the Vestry at the first to shew the nature of the improvements suggested by the architect contains a reredos of three arches above the Communion Table. These arches, however, were not identical with the arches that were actually erected, and they differed from them in one particular (that is now a most important particular), namely, that they did not shew any so-called crosses. My idea was this — The Vestry have approved of a sketch containing a reredos and a pulpit. The details of both must be left to the architect, and if he submits to me nothing that seems to me at all likely to cause offence, I sanction it. If he submits a design that contains anything about which I am not sure as to whether it will cause offence or not, I must consult the Vestry on the matter.
It is obvious I think to everyone that details must be left to the architect, that it would be absurd, after obtaining the services of the best architect we could get, then to have a vote of the Vestry upon every point of detail. The exact height of the pulpit, the exact colour of the marble it contains, the exact form of the arches of the reredos — these are things that must be left to the architect, the Vestry of course having the right to object to anything that they find to be objectionable. Therefore (and I think the members of the Vestry agreed with me on this point) if the reredos had not contained three so-called crosses, the fact that the form of the reredos differed in some particulars from that shewn in the original sketch, which was intended merely to shew the general character of the work, would never have been raised as an objection. Therefore we come back to the main question again. Did I sanction an important innovation on the sketch submitted to the Vestry, one that was certain or likely to be objected to, namely the introduction of three crosses?
The next charge is that the so-called crosses were introduced surreptitiously, or in an underhand manner. This is certainly not the case. There was no attempt at concealment. The reredos was erected exactly in the same manner as the rest of the building. People came in and looked at what was going on. The different parts were unpacked as they arrived and left openly on the floor of the Church where every one could see them. The plan of the reredos was spread out in the chancel, as it required to be frequently consulted by the workmen, and was not kept in the foreman's office as the other plans were. There was nothing surreptitious or underhand in the way in which the reredos was erected.
The third subsidiary charge is that I cunningly or cleverly kept back the introduction of the crosses until the last few days of the work in the hope that I could get them consecrated before the parishioners had time to object to them.
Now, it is true that the so-called crosses were not erected until Thursday night or Friday morning before the Tuesday of the opening. But was that a cunning device of mine? The fact is this — The architect wrote to me in July that the sculptor expected to have all the carving, including the pulpit and the reredos, ready by the first of September, three weeks before the open ing. I expected, therefore, that the reredos would have been erected three weeks before the Consecretion Service.
From the first of September, my friend, Mr. Christie-Miller, and I, kept writing and telegraphing to the sculptor in Dublin urging him to send on the work that there might be no danger of it being late. The work at the reredos, which was very elaborate, took longer than was anticipated, but it was not my cunning or cleverness that kept back the erection of its finials — the so-called crosses — until the last few days. I say this solemnly as the strict truth
And now I come to the main charge — that I introduced three crosses behind the Communion Table contrary to the 36th Canon.
The 36th Canon reads thus — "There shall not be any Cross, ornamental or otherwise, on the Communion Table, or on the covering thereof, nor shall a cross be erected or depicted on the wall or other structure behind the Communion Table, in any of the Churches or other places of worship of the Church of Ireland. "
Now, when I was ordained a minister of the Church 13 years ago I promised to keep the Canons of the Church. And on the 16th March, 1884, when I was inducted as rector of this parish, I read out these words in hearing of the congregation — "I promise to submit myself to the authority of the Church of Ireland, and to the Laws and Tribunals thereof." The 36th Canon is one of these laws. Therefore, if I knowingly introduced three crosses, ornamental or otherwise, into the reredos of this Church, I broke a law of the Church that I promised to observe. Nothing could be more dishonourable and dishonest than that.
Do I stand before you this day a dishonoured man? I affirm in the presence of God that I had no intention of introducing a cross above the Communion Table in this Church.
Have I ever broken my pledged word to any of you? Have I ever done such a dishonourable action in the past? My life has been before you for seven and a half years, and I ask you: Have I ever done anything that would lead you to think it likely that I would promise to refrain from doing a thing and then knowingly go and do it? I think you should be very careful before you accuse a man of such dishonesty.
TThese three finials are still in existence, and can be produced if necessary in a court of law. One of them I have placed in the chancel, so that any one who cares to wait until the Communion Service is finished may come and examine it. I have spoken to scores of people who have narrowly examined these finials, and not one has said that they are crosses. They are crocketed finials, something like poppy-heads, and often called "glorified cauliflowers," (and neither I nor the architect intended to convey any disrespect for any one by giving them this name). These crocketed finials are to be seen in many public buildings where a cross would be quite out of place, such as the City Hall of Belfast. The architect informed the Select Vestry that he had been concerned in the erection or improvement of over forty churches in Ireland, and that he had introduced these crocketed finials in nearly all of them, and had never heard them called crosses before.
How then was such a charge ever raised?
In two ways I believe — First, by their being called "clothed crosses, " or "concealed crosses". I myself never heard of a clothed cross before this occasion; but it is obvious that almost any form may be described as a clothed cross. A circle set up on a gable is a clothed cross, for you can draw two lines across it at right angles, and the segments between may be called "clothing". If a crocketed finial is a clothed cross, then the upper limb and the cross piece have both been carefully clothed, and the lower limb has been concealed in the gable.
APPEARANCE OF CROSSES
The second way in which this charge arose out of the existence of these crocketed finials was that from the outside, seen through the Cathedral glass of the window, these three finials did look like dim crosses. I have admitted this from the first moment that my attention was called to it, and I have said that something might be done to take away this appearance of crosses, as seen from the outside.
I affirm that in my opinion these three finials bear no resemblance to crosses as seen from the inside of the Church, and that I never thought that they would be seen from the outside at all, much less that they would have the appearance, even the dim appearance, of crosses.
I have solemnly denied the intention of introducing crosses into the reredos of this Church, and if any one continues to say that I had any such intention he does more dishonour to himself than he can possibly do to me.
My action in the Vestry was this — I said, as I have just said now, that the finials were not at all like crosses as seen from the inside of the Church, and therefore they did not contravene the Canon, but as they did look something like crosses as seen from the outside, I was willing that they should be modified in such a way that this appearance would be removed, or else if the Vestry wished that the three finials should be removed altogether.
I thought that this would satisfy all parties. I found, however, that at any rate some members of the Vestry thought that the people wished the whole reredos removed, because, as they said, it was a Popish innovation.
"SLUR OF POPERY"
This I strenuously opposed, as it would cast the slur of Popery upon me, and for my own sake, for the sake of my children, and for the sake of my Parishioners, I demanded that the question should be decided by the proper tribunal, the Bishop and the Diocesan Court. Finally, the vestry decided that if the matter were to be referred to the Bishop, the so-called crosses should not be removed until his Lordship had seen the reredos at its worst, and they drew up a protest against it.
You know all that followed. Yielding to the threats of an excited crowd I took upon myself the responsibility, first, of having the finials removed, contrary to the decision of the Vestry, and at last when this did not satisfy them, of ordering the whole reredos to be taken down by the workmen to prevent it being torn down by the crowd.
It was stated in one of the local newspapers that Roman Catholics said that the reredos in MaralinChurch was very similar to that in the Roman Catholic Chapel at Aghagallon. In order to test the truth of this statement I went to Aghagallon yesterday and saw the reredos there.
Let me describe it for you. It is a large structure painted white and gold, containing five arches. In the centre arch there is a Crucifix that is a cross with the figure of our Lord hanging upon it. Under this is the Tabernacle or small cupboard in which the Host (that is the consecrated bread) is placed, and above it is a Canopy or Baldchinno. The two arches next the central arch contain a number of tall candles, and in the extreme arch on the north side is a large figure of the Virgin with the Child in her arms, and a lamp before it.
In the corresponding arch on the south side is a large figure of Joseph, the husband of Mary. All these arches are enclosed in a large arch reaching to the ceiling, and it and all the arches are surmounted, not with crocketed finials, but with plain crosses.
Now, what was the reredos in Maralin? It consisted of three arches of red sandstone, beautifully carved, set in three gables of equal height. The gables were surmounted by the crocketed finials, which from the outside looked like crosses when seen through the cathedral glass of the east window. And what did the three arches contain? Three texts in gold letters. In the centre panel "Do this in remembrance of Me." In the panel on the north side "Draw near with faith, " and in the panel on the south side "And be thankful.” Is there any real resemblance between the two?
The Protestant reredos with its three texts was surely an eloquent protest against the idolatrous Popish reredos with it figures of the Virgin and St. Joseph, its crucifix and its tabernacle; and nothing but the wish to stir up strife among Protestants could have made any intelligent or even ignorant Roman Catholic compare the Protestant reredos in Maralin church with the Popish reredos in Aghagallon Chapel.
Our reredos was very beautiful, and if the crocketed finials were removed (about which the question had arisen) no objection could have been taken to it.
The hasty action that was taken did great harm. It fastened the charge of "rowdyism" and bigotry upon the parish, and the charge of Popery on me. It has naturally hurt and alienated those who have contributed more than £3 for the Church improvements, so that they are disinclined to lend any further aid. It has deprived our Church of a beautiful work of art.
The Reredos and Holy Table.
Reredos and Holy table
The panels of the reredos are the family memorial to Mrs. Clarendon. The table of Austrian Oak was presented by the parishioners in memory of Dean Clarendon.
Ah! if the crowd could have shewn some forbearance and acted in the sensible manner in which the Vestry acted. The finials objected to would have been removed, (there was no wish to force them on the congregation) and the beautiful reredos with its three touching texts would have remained instead of the disgraceful blot that now appears in our lovely chancel.
We have lost our fair name as a parish. We have lost, I believe, what many parishioners much desired, a beautiful tower for our Church, which would have been a feature in the landscape and would have made the valley of the Lagan in the neighbourhood of Maralin a lovely scene.
What have we gained? I cannot see that anything has been gained. But I know that our Heavenly Father makes all things work together for the good of His own; and there may be some lessons for us all.
A SAD NIGHT
On that sad night when I sat deeply pained and grieved, but never for one moment fearing that any personal violence would be offered to me, I examined myself carefully, and my conscience entirely acquitted me of any desire to introduce Popery or Ritualism, or to stir up strife. But for one thing I did blame myself. I felt that had I been more laborious and systematic in visiting my parishioners they would have known me better and could not have imagined that I would try to introduce Popery amongst them, or intentionally break my pledged word. I take that as one of the chief lessons that I am intended to learn by the suffering of the past week, and I hope that I shall have grace to do better in this matter of visiting the whole as well as the sick throughout this large parish.
I desire now to quote short extracts from two letters shewing the spirit in which the improvements in the Church were begun. The first is a letter from the lady who contributed so largely to the work as to make its accomplishment possible.
It is dated 28th April, 1890 (nearly a year and a half ago) — "I must say we do like beauty in the House of God, but anything approaching HighChurch we both dislike extremely." The second is my answer, dated 3rd May, 1890 (the night of the meeting of the Vestry, which decided to accept the plans and to proceed with part of the work) — "It is wonderful how in some places the cry of 'High Church1 is raised against any improvement in the appearance of a Church, but I believe we shall not have any such opposition or misrepresentation to contend with here. I may add that I quite sympathise in your dislike of extremes in ritual and in doctrine, whilst desiring with you that everything in connection with the House of God should be beautiful and fitting."
Now, I have had to speak a great deal about myself this morning, but let me say with regard to others that I feel deeply for those who honestly thought that Popery was being introduced among them. I know (and let me add I share) their horror of Popery as a system that is very full of error upon the most important matters. I think they were mistaken certainly as to my intention, and almost as certainly as to the effect of what was actually erected. But to believe that one's pastor is a Jesuit, and that one's ParishChurch is going to be turned into a Romish Chapel, must be a real source of sorrow to earnest Christian people. May I hope that what I have said will have a reassuring effect, and that such members of this congregation will now be able to acquit me of the grave charge that has been brought against me? If they can I am sure that they will be glad to do so.
I am happy to say that I have already been acquitted of the charge of Popery by many who have seen all that was erected, including the finials. Those that are over me in the Lord, the Bishop of the Diocese, and the Lord Primate, who ordained me, and who instituted me into this Parish, the Dean of Dromore, rector of the adjoining Parish, who preached here the day that I was inducted as rector and commended me to you, and holy men of God, have assured me or others of their belief in my innocence of the charge of striving to introduce Popery or to break one of the Canons of the Church. I have had much sympathy shewn me, even by some humble members of this flock, that has deeply touched me. These are things for which I thank God — bright gleams of sunshine in the darkest days of my life.
I have striven to be forbearing in this matter, and to try to put myself in the position of others. I have refused to tell the Constabulary authorities the names of those who threatened to pull down the reredos if it were not taken down by my orders. I have tried to say no word of bitterness, and to make allowance for any bitter words that have been said of or to me. I hope, therefore, that soon we shall be once more a united parish, "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. "
Believe me, I love my flock. I would not willingly grieve them. I want to spend and be spent for them, and to teach them the glorious Gospel of the grace of God. I shall not resign the charge that God has committed to me in this part of His vineyard. Though discouraged and disheartened I shall take up once more the thread of my life and of my work among you, seeking to do better in the future than in the past. And I have begun already to feel that I can "glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may overshadow me." May it be so with all of you also. "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer for you is that you may be saved."
"Public Opinion and
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Whilst the issue of the reredos caused great consternation within the Parish, outside too, the reverberations of bitterness and division were experienced. Further fuel was added to the fire of suspicion and prejudice as the incident became an issue for public comment and debate. Controversy rapidly spilled onto the pages of the local newspapers and provoked further disunity and resentment and the reredos remained an emotive issue for some considerable time. Something of the intensity of feeling is captured in the following letters which appeared in the newspapers of the day. They reflect the climate of suspicion and controversy which threatened the peace and harmony, not only of the Parish, but indeed, the entire community.
'A Romish Innovation"? One of the crocketed d finials which parishioners claimed resembled crosses.
THE LURGAN TIMES SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3rd, 1891
Sir; Allow me to refer to the unhappy difference which has arisen in the Parish of Maralin between the rector and the:,parish-ioaers about the decorations of the church which has been recently altered in form of architecture, and to say that I have been a worshipper in the building that hat been altered, since its erection about 1845 by the parishioners; but, as I know very little about architectures little, indeed, that I would not know a "glorified cauliflower" from a glorified cabbage—all I can say is, that the building which has been altered was plain, substantial, and much ?too large for the number of people who have worshipped in it recently. Besides, every old condemned pew bad family and friendly memories and associations connected with it that no modern decorations, no 'matter how costly or how artistic, can 'replace. Still, although an old building. :(every corner of which we venerated so much) has been altered, I cannot understand or approve of all the clamour and excitement that has been got up about the alterations and decorations, after the work has been executed, when we had the power in our own hand to prevent them. In fact every-thing from the commencement must have been goimg on with the consent and approval of the Select Vestry, who are the elected representatives of the parish, and, if any-thing has been dome that the parishioners do not approve of, they alone should be held responsible for neglect of duty and breach of confidence reposed in them; because, I understand that the rector submitted the plans of the new building as well 'as the scheme by which the alterations could be carried out; and that, although the plans distinctly showed the decorations that are now objected to, they not only approved of them, but passed a resolution giving the rector power to have the works carried out. It was, therefore, his duty to do so, and why should the now be blamn'd,for the decorations that were then approved of and admitted, be now condemmed? I have not had the oportunity of seeing the condemned part, but am told that it is an exquisite work of art, and that there is nothing objectionable in it, only that the artist has stolen an imaginary cross into it, which can only be detected from a given point. Is it possible that the people of this parish, who I know to be tine Protestants, would deny-the emblem of their Christianity, or the Cross that was marked on their brow when they were first admitted into the Church " as a token that he will not hereafter be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified"? Can 1, as a member of the Orange Society of 27 years standing, or as a member of the Freemason Society of 25 years standing, forget or deny the duties which the emblems of each Order remimd me? God forbid. Or can I, as a member of a Christian church, forget, deny, or be ashamed of the emblem of our common Christianity, which was marked on .ny brow at the time I was admitted as a member of that Church? I say far more emphatically-God; forbid,; forbid; and hope that the cross may always remind me of my duty to my God, and that the compass and square will, in the same way, remimd me of my duty to my neighbour. In this I am certain, that all true Orange-men, true Freemasons, and true Christians will agree with me. No doubt there may be somic extreme parties who will refuse to adopt the cross as an emblem of their religion, merely because the Roman Catholics use it as such ; but I am not one of those who will show my aversion to Popery so far, as to deny the cross and refuse it a place in a Christian place of worship. I rather join in the words that our great countryman (Foley) has so often sting with so much power and feeling.
"Grant us, oh ! Lord, that we all may see The shadows of the Cross and Thee."
I write in defence of the cross, and, in doing so, must condemn the alterations; because the foundations of the former building were laid in the form of the cross, and the buildimg made to represent the same. The walls were sound, the whole building perfect and venerated by worshippers. A large sum of money has been spent in altering its character and destroying the memories connected with it, for the purpose ofperpetuatimg the name of a stranger to the parish, who has accumulated wealth. If, however, instead of altering the building, a tower and a bell had beem added to it, and 12000 invested, so as to produce £100 a year to be paid to a curate to Visit the houses of the poor of the parish, who can-not find means to decorate their bodies, consistent with decorations of the church and the dress of those for whom- it is in-tended, it would have been of some service. Let us hope that the cloak of philanthropy and Godliness is not thrown over vanity, and that true Christianity may prevail.—I ail, sir, your obedient servant,
A CHURCH OF IRELANDMAN.Ballyleney, 29th Sept., 1891.
MARALINCHURCH.TO THE EDITOR.
SIR,-I trust you will allow a small space in one of your columns for this short letter, in which I most heartily thank the Very Rev. T. W. Clarendon, Rector of the beautiful church of Maralin, for his most heart-rending sermon, preached on Sunday last, in self-defence, to explain to his congregation that he had been wrongly and cruelly judged by some of the parishioners, respecting the sad and cruel work which was carried on in the Holy House of, God on the evening of the 21st ult.; but I frost if any were in the church on Sunday that helped in that sad work, which will ever be remembered by all who have witnessed it, they cannot think now, as they must have thought then, that Mr. Clarendon, as a shepherd of God's sheep, had any wish to make their Protestant Church of Ireland like the Roman Catholic Chapel; amd t trust his sermon will long be remembered by all who heard it, and that there are many who will join me in praying to God to help His servant, Mr. Clarendon, to carry on his good and holy work with a new spirit, in that beautiful house of prayer among his parishioners, that, by God's help, he may teach them to love and honour the house of God.
A MEMBER OF THE PROTESTANT CHURCH.
THE LURGAN TIMES SATURDAY,OCTOBER 10th, 1891
TO THE EDITOR. DEAR SIR,—Your correspondent, who signs himself "A Church of Ireland Man," seems to me to be ignorant of whom he terms a stranger to Maralin Parish. Most of the parishioners know how long a time. Christy-Miller and her ancestors have been connected with MaralinParishChurch. Mrs. Christy- Miller's great grandfather (Mr. John Christy) purchased Kircassock between 1780 and 1790. His grandson (Mr. Joseph Christy) contributed £100 to the building of Maralin Church about 1845,and, in acknowledgment, was allotted the second scat im the west tramsept. This was zealously held by the proprietors of Kircassock until the Disestablishment of the Church, and the right was tried in a court of law by the late R. P. Tighe, Esq., against a parishioner who claimed it during his absence on the Continent, and the case was decided in favour of Mr. Tighe (who was a close relation to the Christy family). I think your correspondent should be more guarded in rushing into public print as to the inability of the members of MaralinChurch to decorate their bodies (as he terms it). If he would only take the trouble of visiting the church during the hours of service, I think he would be agreeably disappointed in finding that those who worship there, had found means to decorate their bodies, and that they, as a whole, would compare very favourably with most country congregations. I am afraid your correspondent has not been very regular in his attendance of late, but hope that he may be more so in future.—I remain, sir, faith-fully yours,
TO THE EDITOR.
Sir,—I have only just seen a letter in your paper of Saturday last, from " A
Church of Ireland Man," in which he says that a large sum of money has been expended in altering the character of the church, and destroying the family associations of its old pews, for the purpose of perpetuating the name of a stranger to the parish, &c., &.c. I will only remark that the character of MaralinChurch, previous to the alterations, was the character of a barn. The pews he regrets had, no doubt, a hoary look front not being painted or varnished for 4.5 years—since the church was built. I should have supposed that all old family memories would have been connected with the ivy-clad ruin on the other side of the road.
It is quite absurd to call Mrs. Christie-Miller "a stranger" to the parish in which her father and mother resided, and which was the home of her childhood; and it appears from documents which 1 have in my possession, that her ancestors were owners of Kircassock 130 years ago.
Your correspondent says, "I hope the cross may always remind me of my duty to my God, and the compass and square re-mind me of my duty to my neighbour." In this instance the compass and square have completely failed; perhaps the Church Catechism might succeed in future, and I would direct his attention to the question—" What is my duty to my neighbour ?' " and ask him to meditate on the reply—" To keep my tongue," &c., &c. I have not the slightest idea who your correspondent is. and would not have taken any notice of his letter, being anonymous. but for the last lines, which, notwithstamling his hopes about his cross and compass and square, are written in a most uncharitable spirit.—I am, Sir, faithfully yours,
G. M. VAUGHAN. - Quilly, Dromore, Oct. 8, 1891.
That he has strengthened the belief of those who believe wrong; he has to a large extent discouraged, and l fear, weakened Protestant-ism in the whole district; he has brought disunion among his own parishioners; he last issue that the rector has been preaching has with, be says, the help of the Select Vestry, put many on their watch against his actions, and many other evils are the outcome of the foolish undertaking. One would like to know if the people in the forty parishes mentioned, did or did not draw up a protest against the three " Romish crosses" which we are told stand upon a " reredos," or in other words, on an " altar." If they did, it seems that the Bishop, or some one in power, looked upon such a protest as being foolish in the extreme, and allowing both reredos and crosses to remain. No doubt the people of Maralin thought that the same conclusion would be arrived at in their case also, and no one can blame them for clearing themselves by taking the law into their own hands for once. The rector tells us that he refused to give information to the constabulary. We should not think that a man of his cloth and experience would be so foolish, as to think of doing such a thing. Both he and hia friends know that there are many who are still willing to die for the cause of Protestantism. Let me ask "A Church of Ireland Man" why he refers to the words of what he calls our great countryman (Foley), as I don't think such a man should have a place in this discussion. I am very sorry about the whole thing, but, at the same time, I cannot allow mien to try to push a cause which I don't believe in. I hear that the crosses are to be put up again, and if this is so, it will sever the connection of those who are the means of getting them up, with Scripture and Protestantism for ever end for a day longer.—Yours sincerely,
THE LURGAN TIMES
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17th, ON 1891
TO THE EDITOR.
SIR,—A. " Protestant" asked in your last issue what the member of the Protestant Church meant by saying a most " heart-rending sermon" was preached in Maralin Church by the rector. He did not mean the rector was sorry for having put up the (so-called) crosses, as he did not think he had any cause to be sorry for the thing lie did not do; but he did think it was most heart-rending to anyone that called them-selves true Protestants, to hear the rector of a Christian parish preach a sermon of self-defence in a parish like Maralin, where the people that call themselves Protestants ought to be more enlightened. end more wise in their religion, than to think their rector would introduce crosses in their Church as Popery. I think if the Protestant is a member of the MaralinChurch, he should attend it more regularly, that he might learn more for the good of his soul. Were he to study what his Prayer Book teaches him ; such as the articles of religion, the Catechism, the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for the Christian year, then he would be more wise in his faith. Let him read his Bible, from which he may be taught many lessons that will help him on through life. (First), " Do ye unto others as ye would men should do unto you" " Judge not that ye be not judged." The rector did not say he wished his Church to be in the fashion by decorating it with Romish emblems. 1 think there the Protestant is wrong; did he ask himself one question before he wrote his letter to the paper, did he put himself in the rector's place and say how should I like this to be said of me P I fear he did not, or he would not have said what he did of a neighbour. Would he like anyone to say, or make public a thing which they thought was a fault in him, which he himself was innocent of P If all of us were to think more of the duty towards our neighbour, which we are taught from childhood in the Church Catechism, there would be much more true Christianity reigning in the hearts of people who call themselves Christians and servants of God. May I add, I think it is the congregation in general that introduces Popery in the church far more than the so-called " crosses" could possibly do. Were they to join in the prayers, psalms, and responses, and pray for themselves, instead of leaving it all to the rector (which is Romish in the extreme). I think all, this should be looked at before members of the congregation put in print "Their rector was introducing popery into a ProtestantChurch." Why should Maralin parishioners have such a strong objection to the cross ? Are they not, when they are first made a member of the congregation of Christ's flock, signed with the sign of the cross, in token that hereafter they should not be ashamed to confess that Christ was crucified and died upon the cross to save us all, that if we believed in him, we could obtain ever-lasting life P Instead of objecting to the cross, we ought to be pleased to have it to remind us of the Saviour who died upon the cross to save sinners. We all want some-thing to remind us of Him who suffered so much for tie, that we might be saved. He was accused of things Ile was not guilty of by people He had taught, even as people are accusing the rector of Maralin of things they do not know the meaning of, whether they be right or wrong. I think were it left to the judgment of God, who knoweth all things, it would be better than trying to judge a man of a crime they do riot understand. I am, sir, one that tries to live up to what he professes to be.
A MEMBER OF TIHEPROTESTANTChurch. TO TIHE EDITOR.
SIR,—Our parish—the parishioners and our clergy—have been the subject of so much comment and controversy in your paper, and the various letters and comments have been transferred to so many others over the length and breadth of the land, that I claim a space to say a word in defence of our people for their prompt and deter-mined action in insisting peremptorily on the removal of the piece of carved work termed a reredos. The Rev. Mr. Clarendon is the round man in the square hole as rector of Maralin Parish, and to prove my assertion I will give you a few undiluted facts on which you and your readers may rely as strict truth. I will pass over for the present the early introduction of Saints' Day observances and other little matters, and come to last Easter when our Orange and Protestant Rector (who assures us he would not dream of inserting the thin end of the Popery wedge) had the audacity to bring into the Sunday-school a very large coloured picture of the crucifixion of our Saviour—similar to the station of the cross used in all Romish Chapels, only larger—am) taught the children from it! At this time, you will understand, Divine Service was held in the school-room, and this Rotnish picture was left on the wall during the evening service in full view of the congregation. At the collection, several prominent members of the congregation got up and in strong terms protested against such an innovation and left the building. At the next meeting of the Select Vestry, this incident was brought forward, and Mr. Clarendon was there and then asked for an explanation. This was given., but deemed so unsatisfactory that he had to humbly apologise and promise not to attempt any-thing of the kind again. It was only through the intervention of Mr. Dennison, who is highly respected in the parish, and a man who carries considerable weight with his colleagues, that the matter was allowed to be hushed up. It is so silly of a man in Mr. Clarendon’s position protesting so much as to his horror of everything papistical, when every little boy in the pariah knows that he is never happy outside the shadow of a cross of same kind. tie wears them on his person ; he wears them in his home; he has no leas than two in prominent positions in his study, and may have them in his bed chamber for aught I know. Perhaps these are "glorified cauliflowers," but they are uncommonly like old-fashioned crosses to the naked eyes of ordinary country folk.
Again, there is not a service the members of his family attend, but there is an exhibition on their part of the bowing and scraping to the reading desk (on which there is a carved cross) such as we have not hitherto been used to in this part of the country, and which is, to my mind, extremely unbecoming and objectionable. The bowl or basin for the Lady water—technically called the Piecena—for the washing of the. Communion vessels at the altar—by the way—first introduced to this part of the country inWaringstownChurch—is distinctly 1 Romishish, and on a par with other little matters I have not yet mentioned, but all of which go to show the inclinations and leanings of our HighChurch cleric.
Mr. Clarendon distinctly stated in his address from the pulpit—an address which I take leave to say was a desecration of the pulpit, although I notice one of your correspondents termed it a heart-rending sermon (save the mark) —that Dean Campbell. signifiedhie approval of the reredos, and condemned the proceedings which ended by having it removed. While I am not in a position to say anything positively as to your Lurgan rector's opinion of the business, I am informed by two gentlemen who know him personally, that so far from expressing his approval of Mr. Clarendon's course of conduct, he emphatically condemns it. Either this is true or it is not. From what I know of Dr. Campbell's reputation and experience, I should be inclined to think he would not tolerate for a moment anything which would give occasion for strife in the pariah, se that I believe he did not approve. The portion of the wall from which Mr. Clarendon's altar pieces was removed, is still in the rough state in which it was left by the workmen, and is an eyesore. People say he intends to re-erect it when matters quiet down a bit. If my letter has not run to too great length already, I would urge upon the vestry to take their stand as men of principle, and put their foot down resolutely on anything which has an appearance of the thin edge of the wedge. With rectors of Mr. Clarendon's proclivities and aspirations, the people cannot be too watchful, Apologising for the length of this letter, I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Maralin, 7th Oct., 1891.
TO THE EDITOR.
SIR,—Could Mr. Dennison not discover anything in my letter to find fault with only the word " stranger" P Could he not have defended his own acts as a Select Vestry man—acts that have led to all the unpleasantness in the parish — instead of dragging Mrs Christie-Miller's name before the people of this parish, and giving extracts from the history of Kircassock, for the purpose of proving that site was not the " stranger" P Could he not have felt that the word referred to Rev. Mr. Clarendon, to Mr. Christie-Miller, or, perhaps, to him-self, instead of to the daughter of a mother whose goodness was well known and well remembered in the parish, and a daughter, who, we hope, will yet follow in her mother's footsteps. But as I do not think that Mr. Dennison's memory will enable him to remember all the incidents connected with the history of Kircassock during the past 120 years, nor even to the year in which the church has been demolished was built, I must believe that the historical sketches have been supplied, and say that all histories, where impartially written, have dark as well as bright pages.
Of course, Mr. Dennison is quite right in saying that if I visited the church I would not find the congregation with “unadorned bodies." Certainly not ; because the chosen few righteous which ale now called to repentance in it, would not he there if not fashionably dressed, save the few miserable old creatures who are compelled to exhibit themselves in rags, and so earn their share of parochial ' charity." But memory brings me back to the days of Murphy and of Brooke, when the highways and hedges were searched, and His house was filled to overflowing with a people who worshipped Him with a fervent simplicity and truth; when we were taught by the eye of faith to see the atoning blood flowing from Christ's side on the Cross, and to see Him again in glory on the right hand of God pleading for our sins. If I were to accept Mr. Dennison's invitation, I would naturally ask—Were there not ten cleansed in those days P Where are the nine P Neglected and forgotten; who, if with the feelings of the publican, would enter into the present house, and, perchance, trespass within the sacred precincts of a pew allotted to a modern pharisee, would get scowled upon. I am one of the nine who thinks there is more devotion, purity of thought, and true religion in feeding my soul on the memory of the past, and elevating it from His footstool to the glorious Universe which is the real house of God—the place in which are seen all the finishings of Divine workmanship, and in which the beauty and greatness of the Infinite Mind and the end-less diversities of Omniscient skill appear in all their most exquisite forms, and in the last degree of refinement and perfection, rather than to enter a house made with man's hands, in which fallen man has violated the law of God by his vain endea. yours to imitate the things which he has made, and which He has forbidden man to make. Again, in the darkness of the night, if I raise my thoughts to the house of God, I can see all lighted by His own light, with planets and stars, reminding me of glorified saints, who at all times are ready to reflect and convey His benign influence or favours to His people on earth ; whereas if I visit the Maralin house of the gods at the same hour, the candles must be lighted on the altar before I can see the " glorified cauliflowers," the finials, or anything else to worship. I must, therefore, leave Mr. Dennison to enjoy what he has got, with the hope that, as noisy geese once saved Rome, the united voices of our despised nine will yet save our religion from impurities.
There is no man I respect more than Mr. Dennison, and if I write anything unpleasant I am sure be will forgive me because I write not against himself but against the position in which he is plaeed, and the character that has been forced upon him. But who, in the name of common sense and of common decency, is Mr. Vaughan of Dromore, who pokes his nose into our parochial matters, and who drags the name of a lady whom we all respect, whether we are high church or low church, into a letter in which he calls me an evil speaker, a liar, and a slanderer, merely because I wrote that somebody mist be a "stranger?" Bah! Shades of the knights of old ! Perhaps he has played the part of a "fill up" at a garden party in the parish, and has thus become acquainted with our parochial affairs. If this be so, I can quite understand why he jumps into the arena and shouts " who dare step on the tails of that coat"? 1 can also understand why he calls the church a barn, which in local parlance is understood to be a " threshing floor," where the wheat is separated from the chaff, and this is, no doubt., why he dare not visit the old building. He would have considered an anonymous writer beneath his notice, only, of course, he was in. "duty bound;" and if he had not put his name to his letter, it might have been taken in the quarter for which it was in-tended, as the laboured production of some irritable schoolboy, and its object would have been lost. For my own part, I do not court the friendship of any man, or, rather, let me say, that I do not do homage to an y man, that I may be recognised. All I aspire to is, to be able to live in fellowship with my brother sons of toil around me; and, as I am rather bashful, I still think it safer to keep under the cover of the glorified cauliflower, with the hope that its glorified shadows will hide me from all venomous tbings.-I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A CHURCH OF IRELANDMAN.
Ballyleney, 12th October, 1891.
New Plans for Reredos
The issue of the reredos remained unresolved for several years. Plans for a new reredos were again submitted to the Vestry in October 1894. However, the seeds of suspicion which had lain dormant for three years were once again awakened.
Considerable debate ensued during the subsequent Vestry meetings and plans were passed. However on completion of the reredos, objection was again expressed with regard to the flat topped finials. The Vestry resolved that the tops should be rounded, so as to ensure that nothing could be added to them at a later date.
Mr. Christie-Miller emphasised that changes could not now be made to the plans — and eventually after much deliberation in February 1895, the Vestry resigned themselves to acceptance of the original plans which they had passed, and recorded their hearty thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Christie-Miller for their generosity.
The gratitude of the Vestry on this occasion was however short-lived. In March 1895 the Vestry minutes indicate:— "a good deal of heated discussion followed about the dispute in connection with the reredos, when Mr. R. A. Waddell proposed, and Mr. T. Lyness seconded, the following resolution, in order to bring The Lord Bishop in on the matter to have it settled:
"That we the Select Vestry of the Parish of Maralin request The Lord Bishop of this Diocese to order the removal of the reredos as at present erected in MaralinChurch, owing to its not having been erected in accordance with the plans passed by this Select Vestry, or to have it finished in accordance with the plans passed".
The chairman ruled it out of order and would not accept it. His ruling was very severely questioned, and much heated discussion ensued.
Mr. Waddell remarked that there were a good many people waiting to hear the result of this meeting and the chairman pointed at the secretary and said: "Now remember, Mr. Waddell, if anything happens you will be held accountable for it".
This statement, the secretary took exception to. After some confusion the meeting adjourned."
APPEAL TO LORD BISHOP
Ultimately the secretary did appeal to the Lord Bishop against the chair-man's ruling. He requested him to intervene in the matter which he did on Thursday, 4th April. A copy of His Lordship's decision follows:
Ardtullagh, Holywood, Co. Down. — 5th April, 1895.
My Dear Mr. Waddell, As you are aware, I yesterday made a careful examination of the drawings and the minute book of the Select Vestry with reference to the finials on the three goblets of the reredos in Maralin Church, and also of the letter of Mr. Clarendon on the subject and besides at the church, met several members of the Select Vestry.
The question of the difference in the drawing and the alleged wish of
the Select Vestry viz. whether the tops of the finials were to be flat or rounded off above, is, I understand, not regarded as of any importance in itself. But the real question submitted to me was as to which of these designs was actually approved of by the Select Vestry.
The resolution in the minutes made no mention of this alteration; but approved of another — namely the termination of the four pinnacles. But the use of the word "other" seems to me to confirm the statement that the finials of the gablets had been discussed also. The drawing of the design submitted to the Vestry represented the gablets as now executed and the "other pinnacles" as having flat tops. The alteration is the last desired by the Vestry is marked in each place by a coloured pencil and a similar mark occurs on one finial of a gablet. It does not appear that when it was proposed that these finials should also be altered that anyone seriously objected, though probably the matter was debated. But however that may be, I have come to the conclusion that the Vestry desired the alteration to be made in the three Gablets and that the coloured mark in the drawing on one was intended to apply to all and that through some unexplained mistake the architect was not duly informed of this; and thus the difference has arisen. I believe also that this mistake was quite unintentional and there could be no object in hindering the proposed alteration. The design as submitted to me and approved of by me has been accurately carried out and is a very beautiful object.
I would now submit to the Select Vestry that although this alteration has occurred, it is a very slight one and that it would be a wise and sensible act on their part to let the matter drop. Mr. and Mrs. Christie-Miller's kindness and generosity are so great as to deserve a far larger token of recognition than this; and besides the principle of peace and goodwill amongst brother Christians would be thereby promoted.
Yours faithfully, Thos. J. Down and Connor. R. A. Waddell, Esq., Sec. Select Vestry, Maralin.
PEACE AND GOODWILL
The communication from the Bishop appears to have restored the peace and goodwill which he urged. As a result, the Select Vestry unanimously resolved on the 9th April, 1895:
"That we the Select Vestry of the Parish of Maralin having heard the decision of the Lord Bishop in regard to carrying out of the plans of the reredos in the church, though he has decided it is not erected in accordance with the plans passed by us, we hereby wave our objection in accordance with his request in the interests of peace and goodwill and we believe it was quite unintentional on the part of Mr. and Mrs. Christie-Miller that the reredos was not erected in accordance with the plans passed by the Select Vestry."
The Vestry also indicated their rather more conciliatory spirit in the following letter, sent to the Bishop:
Maralin Select Vestry — 9th April, 1895.
We, the Select Vestry of the Parish of Maralin, wish to tender to your Lordship our heartiest thanks for your kind and prompt intervention in the case of the unfortunate dispute about the carrying out of the plans of the reredos, recently erected in this church and may further add it is the first time we have had the pleasure of meeting your Lordship as a body and hope the day is far distant when we shall have to meet you under similar circumstances, and wish you may be long spared to occupy the exalted position which it has pleased Almighty God to call you and that you will fearlessly maintain the Evangelical principles for which you are so highly respected and beloved. His Lordship, Thos. J. Down and Connor, Ardtullagh, Holywood, Co. Down.
The writer is happy to report that such circumstances did not recur — no such recourse to action was ever prompted again. Here ended a chapter in the life of MaralinChurch. The dispute which began in 1891 was a long and protracted one. The fervent emotions of the `staunch Protestantism' of the Magheralin congregation, once aroused, were not easily quelled and the wounds festered for some four years. Suspicion and fear are terrible things — the history of man is a chronicle of wars and rumours of wars, often em-barked on because the seeds of suspicion and fear had sown bitterness and hatred.
Throughout the terrible incident, Dean Clarendon appears to have behaved with all the decorum and patience of his Christian virtue, endeavouring at all times "to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Though discouraged and disheartened he assured his parishioners that he would "take up once more the thread of his life and of his work among them, seeking to do better in the future than in the past."
After the rebuilding of the church in 1891 Dean Clarendon met with further disunity and confrontation when he suggested that the church should be `free and open' to all parishioners. At this time, pews were allocated to parishioners according to the amount paid to the Sustentation Fund. This system had operated for centuries and was strictly adhered to. The Select Vestry was appalled by the suggestion to abolish the system and felt that it was too great an innovation. Pew allocation continued as before.
However, undeterred, Dean Clarendon persisted. There were not, he argued, sufficient pews for all the families in the parish. After some difficulty over this issue it was resolved in February 1893 that: "On Easter Sunday next all the sittings in the parish church of Magheralinbe free and unappropriated".
Dean Clarendon assured his Vestry that if after a year's trial that the free and open system was not successful, he would propose a return to the arrangement of allocation of seats and that he personally would make good any deficit that might occur in the account.
However, he felt assured that a `free and open church might prove a great blessing in the parish and tend to the Glory of Almighty God'.
Church minutes indicate that there was never a need to return to the system of pew rents and there was never any report about further disputes over the matter of pews.
The following extracts from the church minutes, indicate the practice of letting church pews, and something of the "difficulties' which often arose as a result of the system.
ALLOCATION OF SEATS "At a Vestry duly called and held within the Parish Church of Maralin on Tuesday, 7th of August, 1792, we the minister, Church Wardens, then pre-sent, do appoint that the following seats belong in the said Church to the under-named inhabitants of said Parish (that is to say):
— (on the East side of the Communion Table) Anthony Balance and J. S. Lavery.
Seat no.2 Tho. Swenerton, Joe Swenerton and John Marconi by Prescriptive Right.
Seat no.3 Wm. Close.
Seat no.4 Tho. Douglass.
Seat no.5 Jas. Douglass.
Seat no.6— Mr. John Waring
Seat no7 Mr. Camack by Do. liberty for Geo. McKinley to sit until MrCamack has occasion for it.
Seat no.8— Anth.Gurnell by Do Hugh Briggs and John Condy.
Seat no 9— Margt.O'Hara by Do and John McKinstry.
Seat no 10— Dan Monroe.
Seat no. 1 1 — Sam Humphry and Bob McCaghan.
Seat no. 12 — Robt. Spence Do.
Seat no. 13 — Silcock and Tho. Gardner
Seat no. 14 — J. W. Boyle and Geo. Bell no-one appearing to claim the seat 14, we the Rector and Church Wardens concede the same to James MaCoun until claimed. B. M. Dolling, Rector; Jas. Macoun, P. Hill (churchwardens).
Seat no. 15 — Tho.Gregston and Wm. Gardener.
Seat no. 16 — The Churchwardens.
Seat no. 17 — Not erected Joe Maginess.
Seat no. 18 — Tho.Douglass Esq. Servants.
Seat no. 19 — Henry Atkinson.
Seat no. 20 — Geo. McDowall.
Seat no. 21 — Edward Lunn.
Seat no. 22 — Joe Berry.
Seat no. 23 — Wm. Wolfondenby Do.
Seat no. 24 — Mr. Langhtry of Belmount.
Seat no. 25 — Henry Taylor and Henry Campbell.
Seat no. 26 — The Rector's
Seat no. 27 — Mr. Bos.Waddell.
Seat no. 28 — The Bishop's now occupied by Captain Blizzard.
Seat no. 29 — Wm. Macoun and Richard Macoun .
Seat no. 30 — Tho.Bigarstaff and Richard Hill ."
During the 18th and 19th Centuries the transfer or reallocation of Pews was transacted through the Court of Vestry.
The following extract from Vestry minutes in 1830 outlines this process. Pew no. 25, was registered to Henry Taylor in 1792. 38 years later after his death, the Vestry met to reallocate the pew.
"At a Court of Vestry legally convened and held in the Parish Church of Maralin on Sunday, the 14th day of June, 1830, for the purpose of allocating the Pew no. 25, formerly registered to Henry Taylor and Henry Campbell, the minister, churchwardens and principal inhabitants being present.
"Whereas the aforesaid Henry Taylor being dead and Mr. Robert Wad-dell (now in possession of site on which said Taylor's house stood) refusing to repair said Pew, and whereas the aforesaid Henry Campbell has refused to repair said Pew, but consents to surrender his right therein and Mr. Rob Waddell also consents to surrender his rights therein, the former to Mr. Joseph Berry of Gartross, the latter to Mr. Henry Bell of Ballykeel, said surrender and refusal being notified to the Lord Bishop of the diocese — and whereas the Lord Bishop has by writing allocated the said Pew to the aforesaid Joseph Berry and Henry Bell, they making all necessary present and future repairs, it was unanimously agreed that said Pew in future be allocated to the said Joseph Berry and Henry Bell."
Peace and reconciliation were restored to the Parish of Magheralin after 1895, much of the minutes of the Vestry pertaining to the business of appointments and general upkeep of the church. In 1900, some debate arose over the proposal to establish a Police Barracks in the village.
"Mr. T. Kennedy_proposed and Mr. Thomas Lyness seconded, and it was passed, the rector dissenting, `That we the Select Vestry of the Parish Church of Maralin protest against the establishment of a Police Barracks in Maralin as altogether uncalled for and unnecessary and that a copy be sent to the Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary".
Evidently the events of the previous years, in particular the protests over the reredos, had been closely monitored by the authorities. Pressed upon by the Constabulary Authorities, Dean Clarendon had refused to name those who had threatened to pull down the reredos. During the early 1900's the Policeman on Cycle Patrol travelled throughout his sub-district daily and knew and was known by most of the inhabitants. He was in every sense a neighbourhood Policeman. His knowledge of the citizens of the area, was tested by his senior officer on monthly inspection.
The Royal Irish Constabulary Manual in 1909 set out this requirement clearly!
"The men should make it their business to know,if possible, every per-son in their sub-district. They should have a friendly intercourse with all the respectable inhabitants and a useful one with all the bad elements. This would itself tend to repress crime as the latter persons soon became sensible when they are watched".
The proposal to establish a Police Barracks in Magheralin in 1909 was not the first time such an issue had been raised.
After sectarian disturbances in 1885, one of the local newspapers printed a letter from the Parish Priest, J. McGrath, stating. There is bitter condemnation of the outrages which have taken place in the village and culminated in the smashing of windows in the Roman Catholic Church and Presbytery. Whilst the Magheralin Protestants and Orangemen are exonerated in the letter, it appears that an unruly element, living in the immediate vicinity was culpable and had provoked the disturbances. Despite the fact that Moira Police were in the habit of visiting and patrolling the village of Magheralin every night, on this occasion they were conspicuous by their absence.
The Parish Priest in his letter stresses: "It is the wish of many of the intelligent and respectable of my parishioners that the Police Barracks which is in Moira should be transferred to Magheralin, where there seems to be more need of it, not because they think the people of this village are ill-disposed, but because of the rowdy elements which sometimes pour into it from some of the neighbouring towns and villages."
CORRESPONDENCE THE OUTRAGES AT MAGHERALIN
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING NEWS
Sir — I thank you very much for the truthful and pertinent observations which you have been kind enough to make in a short article which has appeared in this day's Morning News, on the subject of the recent outrages at Magheralin. The report of your Lurgan correspondent on the outrages which he justly describes as being of a "diabolical character" appears to me to be substantially correct. I might even go so far as to say that the details are also truthfully and impartially stated. Some of your readers may probably have expected before this to hear something from your humble servant on this disgraceful occurrence. I may as well tell you at once that I have for so far purposely abstained from making any comment on the matter until the passion and excitement created by the conduct of the evil-doers might cool down, and that I might thus be able to view the whole affair from beginning to end in a calm and judicial frame of mind. The dark clouds were gathering for some time previously, but we had no idea that the thunderstorm was going to fall upon us so suddenly. The Protestants and Orangemen of Magheralin must be exonerated from all blame, but I fear that the same thing cannot be said by some of those who happen to live in the immediate vicinity. I have in my possesion a paper signed by the three masters of the lodges that sit in Magheralin. These gentlemen express their sincere sorrow for the "unfortunate occurrence" of Wednesday night and assure me that the "disgraceful acts" were not committed by any member of their lodges. All this may be perfectly true, but will the same persons undertake to say that no members of their lodges invited the rowdies referred to in the report of your Lurgan correspondent to take part in the amusements which ended in the smashing of the church and presbytery windows? I think not. I am quite sure, however, that not one of these heads of lodges would stand idly by and see any harm done either to myself or to the parochial property. I have always found the Protestants of Magheralin to be excellent neighbours. We have lived for the last ten years on friendly terms, and I am sure that not one of them could point to any act of mine inconsistent with the obligations of Christian charity. I am perfectly convinced that these friendly relations will continue to exist, notwithstanding the efforts of certain parties to rouse animosities which it is the duty and the interest of all good men to extinguish.
The Protestants of this place are heartily ashamed of the conduct of those ruffians who were imported into Magheralin for a certain purpose, and to say the truth, they made every effort to restrain the miscreants. For my part, I don't attach so much blame to those rowdies as I do to the cowardly wirepallers who hide in the background and use those fellows as mere puppets.
The authors and instigators of the outrages of Wednesday night are well known to myself and to my humble flock. I will not mention their names at present. On the evening in question the Moira police were nowhere to be seen on the borders of Magheralin, though I am credibly informed they are in the habit of paying it a visit every night in the week. Firearms were carried on the public road running through the village, but neither policeman nor magistrate appeared on the scene to vindicate the law. The local magistrate, Mr. RobertWaddell, was conspicuous by his absence. He was probably enjoying magisterial repose in his peaceful home under the shadows of the tall trees which gracefully fringe the margin of the murmuring Lagan. Could this gentleman possibly be unaware of the numbers and characters of the men who are described by your Lurgan correspondent as pouring in from so many points of the compass to the Magheralin celebrations? Had this Justice of the Peace no fear that under the circumstances the peace might be violated and injury done to person or property? I will not go so far as to say that he wished any injury to be done to the church or presbytery, but in the opinion of my parishioners all the water in the Lagan would not wash him clear of the imputation that his absence on the occasion referred to amounted to connivance at the conduct of the imported rowdies. Whatever might have been the motive of his absence on so critical an occasion, I think most people will agree with me in saying that a magistrate who fails to perform his duties should resign the Commission of the Peace.
A few of the local Orangemen, on the evening referred to, and after the damage was done, requested me to allow them to repair the injury. My intention was to have the expenses put on the county, but at length I acceded to their wishes. I could not, however, allow the matter to be hashed up in this fashion, inasmuch as we have no guarantee that similar outrages may not be perpetrated in the future. We shall endeavour by every legitimate means to secure this important object. The conduct of the local magistrates must be carefully watched. The present Government seems anxious to act justly and impartially towards all creeds and classes of her Majesty's subjects. The Irish party has great influence, and that influence can be easily secured in our favour. For my own part, I do not anticipate any disturbances here in the future, but in this opinion I may possibly be mistaken.
It is the wish of many of the intelligent and respectable of my parishioners that the police barrack which is in Moira should be transferred toMagheralin, where there seems to be more need of it, not because they think the people of this village are ill-disposed, but because of the rowdy elements which sometimes pour into it from some of the neighbouring towns and villages. Here are the Catholic Church, Presbytery and NationalSchools and these we must secure against the incursions and sacrilegious attacks of uncivilised rowdies. The gentlemen, if I can call them such, who make it their business to stir up religious bigotry for party purposes will live to repent their folly. The Catholics of the CountyDown are pretty well able to distinguish between their friends and their foes, and without violating any laws, they possess at present some very effectual means of humbling their enemies. The Catholics of this parish
are but a small minority of the population, but they are not altogether isolated from their co-religionists throughout the province. Your humble servant, their unworthy pastor, does not intend to imitate the hireling, and run away when the wolf invades the fold. He will unmask these hyprocites who are ever prating about their loyalty, but who use this word as a cloak for their malice and bigotry. He fondly cherished the hope that the days of house-wrecking and Peep-o-Dayism were over, and that such pranks could not be played before high heaven in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The Catholics of Ulster are an enlightened, courageous, and resolute body of men, and at the present moment they are not in the mood of allowing themselves to be trampled upon with impunity. I take this opportunity of warning the sacrilegious wretches who dared to assault the House of God and that wherein the Blessed Sacrament reposed, not to do so again, lest the judgments of Heaven may fall upon them. For myself, I am prepared to lay down my life if necessary for the welfare of my flock, and I have no objection to suffer some persecution for justice sake. I may remind some of my neighbours of the fate that befell in years gone by, one and all of those men who laid sacrilegious hands on one of my worthy predecessors. Again I repeat that I shall not allow my people to be trampled upon, and that I am resolved, if tight I must, I shall be found after the battle is over not with wounds on my back, but with my face to the foe. Apologising for the space I have taken up, I am — yours very truly, J. McGrath. P.P. — Magheralin, August 15, 1885.
`Rowdy elements' were probably not more numerous in Magheralin than elsewhere during the latter half of the 19th Century, but during 1885, they certainly were not unplentiful at the street corners of the village. No doubt the adverse impression created by these early disturbances was compounded by the hysteria and agitation concerning the reredos. It is hardly surprising that the establishment of a Police Barracks at Magheralin was proposed. The abortive attempt to bring the `seat of authority' to the village, caused considerable consternation, and this is certainly evidenced in the Vestry minute book.
Whether the threat of such a proposal was responsible for quelling the fervour of the villagers is difficult to say. The result is, that no further incidents of a sectarian nature are reported and peace and order were restored in the community. Ironically, the harmony and stability were soon to be threatened from Ale world outside the small village. In a short space of time, parishioners would be looking to the Irish Home Rule Crisis and their lives would be thrown into turmoil by the outbreak of World War I.