World War 1
In the new century as in the previous ones, Ulster's sectarian violence was never far from the surface. The atmosphere in the Province was particularly tense as controversy now raged over Home Rule. Under the leadership of M.P. Sir Edward Carson, massive opposition was organised. Loyalists pledged themselves to use "all means which may be found necessary to defeat the pre-sent conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland". Led by Carson and Craig, "all means" included the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force. It appeared that Ulster was lurching closer to civil war.
Rural battalions of this new paramilitary force were set up throughout the Province. The men marched and drilled in small villages and towns. Ac-cording to accounts by local people, it was not uncommon to find local volunteers practising in Magheralin on Sunday afternoons and embarking on ten mile route marches in the area. The picture was the same in other villages. Each village or townland made up its own platoon or company. Initially, the men had little uniform, but by winter 1913 staff at the UVF headquarters sent out its lists of supplies and members were encouraged to purchase full uniform and emergency rations. Camps of instruction were later organised to consolidate the "street training" which volunteers had received. Later, the men were to become armed.
With the declaration of World War I Ulstermen were extremely reticent to give any aid to the British war effort, whilst Home Rule threatened the Province. However, Kitchener soon recognised the formidable qualities of the UVF and a deal was struck. If Carson's army lent their support to the war effort, the Home Rule Bill would be deferred. The result was the formation of the 36 Ulster Division.
Many of the men from the Magheralin Company of the UVF enlisted and joined the 16 Royal Irish Rifles. Enlistment took place at Brownlow House. Much of the training was completed here before the men were shipped off to England and hence to France. During their stay in Lurgan training included preparation for war by way of trench digging and road and hut construction. Much of the work began with picks and shovels, as opposed to guns. Hence, Lurgan Park became the rehearsal stage for trench digging at the Somme.
We have seen from earlier accounts in this book, sectarian violence had never been far from the surface in Magheralin. This small village had seen riots and violence in the past. The parishioners were renowned for their "sturdy Protestantism" and the "unseemly conflict" which had arisen between Dean Clarendon and the parishioners over the Reredos had no doubt fired even further their sense of Protestantism and loyalism.
Little is known about exact numbers who joined the UVF but it is certain that a large company existed here. In July 1914 the Select Vestry received a letter from the Lord Bishop stating that suffragettes had threatened an attack on the churches. The meeting was adjourned to the church, where, after some deliberation and debate, it was decided that a watch should be placed on the church at night. The curate, Rev. W. R. S. Clarendon, promised that the Maralin company of the UVF would supply the watch for some time.
No doubt, however, the subsequent threat of war soon focused the company's attention on more menacing issues. When war finally did call the Ulstermen, there was little reticence on the part of the Magheralin Volunteers.
Dean Clarendon's work took a different dimension following the out-break of World War 1. During this time if often fell to the local clergyman to inform the family when a son or a loved one had been killed in action in France. This must have been a particularly traumatic task for him. Perhaps, too, the difficulty was compounded by the fact that Dean Clarendon's own son was also serving in the Forces in France.
During the period, Dean Clarendon's work was probably rendered more difficult by the fact that he was without a curate during the time that his son was in France.
Whenever news reached the parish of another casualty, the whole community was thrown into mourning. The arrival of the postman or dreaded telegram boy struck fear at the heart of each family. Then it was customary for the neighbours to gather at the house visited by the postman the entire community then shared in the grief of the bereaved family.
Such a scene was certainly re-enacted many times throughout the four years of the First World War. Annie and Abraham Cousins, occupied number 21 of the Weaver's Cottages in Dollingstown. Their son John enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles and soon afterwards was dispatched to France. In 1918 he was seriously wounded and taken to a field hospital at Rouen where he died of wounds on 2nd April, 1918. Known always for his exceptional kindness and smypathy with his parishioners, Dean Clarendon spent much of his time throughout the war years comforting and reassuring his people. Undoubtedly he shared in the grief of the Cousins' family, who were faithful members of the congregation.
John Cousins' name is recorded on the Dollingstown Memorial, with the other 19 young men from the village who fell in the Great War. Another memorial to him exists in the `corner of a foreign field' of France. In between the countless headstones, in a British Military Cemetery at Rouen, can be found the grave of John Cousins. The cemetery register indicates the stark details of a young life cut down in its prime in Feb., 1917.
COUSINS, Rfn. J., 1492. 11th/13th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles. 2nd April, 1918. Age 23. Son of Abram and Annie Cousins, of Dollingstown, Lurgan. P. VII. G. 3B.
COWAN, Rfn. M., 9944. 1st Bn. Royal Irish Rifles. 8th April, 1917. Age 17. O. VII. C. 7.
"A corner of a foreign field ... " Grave of John Cousins, Dollingstown (St.
Sever British Military Cemetery, Rouen).
During the war years, it was common practice for the people of the parish to walk to Lurgan. Newsagents often placed the casualty page in the windows of the newsagency so that those who couldn't afford to buy a paper, might still be able to learn something of the progress of the war and details of the wounded and missing.
Many of the 183 names listed on the Magheralin War Memorial, together with the 20 recorded on the Dollingstown Memorial, went over the top on that cataclysmic day of the 1st July, 1916. The Belfast Evening Telegraph spoke of the tremendous victory and the heroic valour of Ulster's Sons. But such jingoism records little of the horror and tragedy of so many lives lost and the impact of such a catastrophe on such small communities as Magheralin and Dollingstown. A long way from the gas, barbed wire and carnage of the battlefield, the bereaved sought solace and comfort in the church. There was no grave to mourn at and for many, the pain and loss were exacerbated by this.
Many families of the victims were never to know the last resting place of their dead sons. The contents of a telegram reading "missing, believed killed" caused untold sorrow. It was probable that the body would never be found. One parishioner, Mrs. Watson from Beech Park, derived some comfort in knowing that her son Ivan was buried in a marked grave. In 1923, the Select Vestry granted her permission to erect in church the wooden cross taken from her son's grave in France.
The erection of the War Memorial at Dollingstown and Magheralin, in the 1920's, was obviously a small source of comfort to the many families whose loved ones never returned.
World War II
Today, removed from World War II by half a century the words "We will remember them" are perhaps too often reserved only for Remembrance Sunday, and the brief homage we pay to the brave men who sacrificed their lives for freedom. There are still in the Parish a number of men however, for whom the passing of 50 years does nothing to blot out the vivid memories of life at the frontline. Each year, a dwindling number of these ex-Servicemen still attend the Act of Remembrance Services at Dollingstown and Magheralin War Memorials.
The outbreak of World War II brought a new dimension to the church's ministry. Many in the Parish had grim forebodings! At the Easter General Vestry of 13th April, 1939 the Churchwardens reported that:
"conditions in the world are fearful and the Christian Church is suffering the severest test in its history".
Later that same year the Vestry met in the church to consider what action could be taken to conform to the lighting restrictions in compliance with the Civil Defence Regulations. It was decided it was impossible to `Black Out' the church and so a decision was taken to hold Sunday evening services at an earlier time of 4.00 p.m.
In April, 1941, the Rev. R. Adams addressed his vestry and referred to the manner in which "the forces of brutality had come upon our land. Against these materialistic powers, the church took her stand, holding the spiritual front. In such a fight, the Parish of Magheralin could play an important part".
Whilst the rumble of guns and the beaches of Normandy and Dunkirk were far off, the soldiers and troops were very much on our own doorstep. Troops were billeted at Kircassock, Gracehall and Waringfield.
Troops in Ulster
The story of the troops in Ulster is a subject which merits a complete historical study in itself. However, such was their impact on the small communities throughout Ulster, and particularly in this part of the world, that it is necessary to pause and digress for a moment to reflect on their role at this time.
At the outbreak of the Second World War there was concern in the higher echelons of power that Germany might invade Great Britain through neutral Southern Ireland.
The defence of Northern Ireland was first of all in the hands of the 5th Infantry Division and then in February 1940 they were sent out to Madagascar and the 53rd Welsh Division took over. Units of the Division were spread along the border and especially in the towns and villages of Counties Down and Armagh. No. 532 (Petrol) Company was stationed in Tandragee Castle,
No. 533 (Supply) Company in Brownlow House (Lurgan) and also in the district vwas No. 531 (Ammunition Company). Welsh Infantry Battalions were in
Newtownards and Keady and there was an Anti-Aircraft Battery at Dundrum.
The Royal Engineers were in the Gilford Demesne and a Reconnaisance Regiment of Armoured Scout cars and light tanks in Drumbanagher.
The arrival of the Royal Army Service Corps and the British RMP 183 Company in Dollingstown caused much excitement and stir.
The IRA was active at this time, in minor ways, but did not constitute a serious threat, although in Belfast troops were warned not to go out after dark in parties of less than 6. In February 1940 when 532 Company moved into Balmoral Showgrounds, the IRA set fire to the stables and on another occasion McAteer with some of his friends held up the Broadway Cinema and delivered a `patriotic' speech to the troops.
In the event there was no invasion via Southern Ireland and the Division spent much of its time on field exercises. These included Route marches to Ballykinler for rifle practice; infantry training on the Black Mountain with Bren guns and grenades; and heavier weapon practices up in the Sperrins.
On divisional exercises the 532 (Petrol) Company had to establish `Petrol Points' for replenishing divisional transport. For security reasons all town and village names had been removed. All signposts were also taken down and troops worked on six figure map references. One such Petrol Point was established by our present Secretary in the Church, Corporal J. W. O. MacArthur. Mr. MacArthur, a native of East Ham, had never been to Magheralin before. The map reference given was in fact the Damhill Road on the slope leading up to the house where Mrs. Winnie Ellis now lives in Magheralin. The young Corporal could never have guessed that he would return to this quiet village to live and take such a prominent and active role in the Parish Church.
British troops enjoyed their stay in Northern Ireland where they had been made most welcome and received many kindnesses from both the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities. The 53rd Welsh Division left Northern Ireland in 1942 for the larger Corps exercises in Scotland and the American troops moved in.
TROOPS IN THE PARISH
The Royal Army Service Corps and the British RMP 183 Company were stationed at Gracehall in Dollingstown. Villagers today remember vividly the long heavy convoys which continually trundled by their front doors. The vehicles were massive heavy ancient machines and were a great attraction to children, who soon learned that the soldiers would indulge them with sweets and other novelties.
At Waringfield the location of a British Military Hospital a different type of activity was witnessed by the local people. Here, ambulances were always on standby awaiting the arrival of wounded soldiers at Megaberry Airfield. One lady recalls watching the injured soldiers, as they were lifted off the planes on stretchers and transferred to the waiting ambulances which then transported them to Waringfield.
For some time Waringfield was also the `home' of a company of French soldiers. A former organist of Magheralin Church recalls an incident which occurred in Moira Parish Church during this time. It seems that the Company of French soldiers marched to morning service one particular Sunday. The organist and Rector obviously delighted at the prospect of such a packed congregation anticipated hearty singing! One can imagine their disappointment however, when it was discovered that these were French troops and whilst they may have learned to sing "Danny Boy" and "It's a long way to Tipperary" they certainly had not as yet, mastered the vocabulary of the Irish Church Hymnal!
The troops' attendance at Sunday Service was perhaps not as frequent as it should have been considering the `misdemeanours' committed by some of the soldiers on the previous Saturday evening. The story is told by one local man who lives close to Waringfield, that these young soldiers were not always as circumspect as they might have been when it came to `keeping their hands to themselves'. The gentleman remembers quite vividly the scene in his or-chard every Sunday morning. The soldiers, from the nearby camp, having missed the last bus on Saturday evening had stolen bicycles to travel back to Waringfield. Unwilling to deposit the stolen bicycles too close to the camp's entrance (which they supposed would be incriminating evidence!) they judiciously abandoned them some few hundred yards away in Holt McCullough's orchard. Thus it was his `responsibility' to pay a weekly Sun-day morning visit to the local Police Station and report the `incident'. This episode was re-enacted week after week, while the troops were billeted at Waringfield and there may have been as many as several dozen bicycles strewn about the orchard.
HQ AT KIRCASSOCK
The establishment of the Headquarters of the 8th USAAF Composite Command in Kircassock House brought `the war' to the doorstep of our Parish. The presence of troops and army vehicles filling the country lanes and villages was an ever constant reminder of the war. However the troops also brought a new dimension to the quiet rural life of the locality.
Today, parishioners recall the presence of the troops with varying degrees of magnanimity and sympathy. The status of the local lads seems to have diminished and degenerated considerably with the arrival of the troops! The local girls were fascinated! Here were young men who spoke with captivating accents and wore smart uniforms ready to flatter and beguile the local girls. The arrival of the Americans meant silk stockings, cigarettes and chewing gum all in abundance! The girls were transported by bus to dances and other forms of entertainment which took place inside Kircassock grounds. The `country lads' from the area, had little to fight back with. One local man recalls "We didn't have a look in".
For some, romance flourished and several local girls married soldiers. Perhaps even more marriages may have taken place had it not been for that fateful moment in history D-Day. Many of the Americans who had been stationed at Kircassock were tragically killed while playing their part in this major battle. No doubt, many girls felt cheated by war, when they learned of the fate of their loved one.
For others it was simply a question of "out of sight out of mind", and when no further correspondence was received by the girls it was soon a case of "back to porridge" and a return to dating the local lads! No doubt the young men of the area were somewhat relieved that their attentions were now more favourably considered though I suspect that their ego had been slightly bruised and the Americans had done little to boost their morale indeed, in many instances they had struck a positive blow at their confidence. Their self-esteem seems to have been quickly restored, however, and this is substantiated by the increased number of marriages which took place in the area, in the post-war period.
The very real threat posed by the IRA during this time, is the subject of another interesting story concerning the troops billeted at Kircassock. Guard duty is rarely the most enviable task performed by soldiers and even less so when the guard is on duty alone. One young soldier at Kircassock decided to contrive a scenario which would remedy this solitary vigil! At approximately 11.57 one Saturday evening he left his sentry box crossed the road, and fired two shots at the Gate Lodge where he had been on guard duty. He promptly returned to his sentry box and raised the alarm. Within minutes the incident had drawn all the high ranking officers in the camp. The local police soon arrived on the scene and investigations began.
Whilst the young soldier accepted verbal accolades for his bravery, he embroidered his story, relating that two shots had been fired and that he had courageously returned the fire. Sgt. Moore from Waringstown became suspicious however. The information gleaned from local residents suggested that no such return fire had occurred. It was of course only a short time before the astute Sergeant extracted the truth. The young soldier confessed to having fabricated the entire incident!
Such a situation today would result in very serious trouble for the soldier concerned. It isn't recorded what punishment was meted out to the young lad. Perhaps his sentence was not too severe in view of the fact that he succeeded in highlighting the vulnerability of a one-man guard. After this incident guards were `doubled'. The Gate Lodge, fifty years later, still bears the scars of this episode. Two dents, which were made by the bullets, are still visible in the brickwork.
The location of troops in the area certainly meant that a number of prominent visitors stayed at Kircassock. Winston Churchill and Eisenhower are both reputed to have stayed a night at Kircassock, when they visited troops in the Province. Other visitors included Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour and William Bendix. The entertainment provided for the troops was excellent, and evidently calculated to be so, to boost the soldiers morale.
Shortly after their military training and preparation in the grounds of Kircassock, these young men left the peaceful country roads of this Parish, to participate in one of the most important offensives of the Second World War, the D-Day landings. Writing to a local girl after the event, one young soldier reported that many of the men from 8th USAAF Composite Command had been killed on that fateful day!
Whilst the presence of troops and army vehicles were a constant reminder of war the Parish was also to see something of the `victims' of war.
During the terrible `Blitz' in Belfast in April and May 1941, 56,600 homes were hit. Of these 3,200 were completely destroyed and over 10,000 people were homeless. Almost 1,000 people died and 2,500 were injured. Suddenly war had invaded Ulster. Throughout the Province evacuees poured into the rural towns and villages. At first they were accepted with some reticence. However, local people had little choice in the matter. Evacuees were deposited on their doorsteps throughout the area. One parishioner recounts the story of their arrival at school.
"For the first week, they stood transfixed in one corner of the playground and we remained in the other. We eyed each other suspiciously and mocked the accents. After that first week, we got on famously well with our `town cousins'."
Another parishioner recalls that "Many of them were all right. And many were all wrong!"
On the 1st May, 1941, an emergency meeting of the Vestry was held to discuss the provision for evacuees in the Parish. The minute records that "arrangements made for evacuated persons in Drumlin School were proceeding very satisfactorily".
By August 1941 Beech Park School was also occupied by the homeless from Belfast, and in June 1942 a resolution was passed that "the evacuees occupying the building be granted permission to install a stove and that they be informed that the Select Vestry may recompense them for the outlay when they give up possession".
THE WAR CONTINUES
At the usual monthly Vestry meeting in September 1940 the Rector reported that the Canteen recently opened at Dollingstown for the entertainment of H.M. Forces was most successful. This continued for some years and was under the careful direction of Miss Julia Johnston, the local school mistress, who is reputed to have been a strong disciplinarian. To this day, her memory strikes fear at the heart of those she taught.
At the Easter General Vestry in 1945, the Rev. G.A. Quin paid tribute to the men of the Parish who were serving in the forces. Recorded in the minutes is the following entry: "We look forward to the cessation of hostilities and to the return of the men and women from the Parish now serving with the Forces to their homes and peace".
For many, this was a time for jubilation and thanksgiving; for others the joy was eclipsed by the knowledge that their loved one would never return home. The fortunes of two former curates of our Parish encapsulates such a situation.
The D. F. Simmons served as curate of the Parish from August 1940 until October 1942. He decided to join the army as a Padre and left the Parish to do this. On his way to the Forces in India, he met a nurse on the boat, and later married her.
In 1942 another former curate, the Rev. James Douglas, also joined the Forces as a Padre. Sadly, he was killed in the Normandy landings in 1944, and was later mentioned in dispatches, having been in the front line with his men.
Mr. Douglas was appointed curate of Magheralin in August 1933 and remained here for five years before moving to Colebrook as Rector in February, 1938 and later joining the army as a padre. The resilient and complete faith in God which had characterised Mr. Douglas' ministry in Magheralin was the gift he took with him to the field of battle. That he was able to share God's saving grace with so many young men, and urge them to place their trust in God was indeed a special calling for Mr. Douglas. He felt honoured that God had called him to do this business and he answered that call faithfully to the end. A Padre leading his men in prayer in the fleeting minutes before battle is a sobering moment.
The Rev. James Douglas was born in Waterford and educated in Wesley College and Trinity College, Dublin. When he first came to Magheralin, he lodged at first in the `Wilderness' with the Gilpin family. Later in 1935 he married and moved to the curate's house at no. 19 Avenue Road. This was formerly a Police Barracks and retained a cell in the basement! One night, Mrs. Douglas was startled to hear banging on the door. Upon opening it, she discovered that a man, pursued by a crowd for some misdemeanour was seeking police protection! Mrs. Douglas played the organ in Dollingstown for some time.
Today, half a century later, Mr. Douglas is survived by three children and his wife. One daughter lives in Helen's Bay, while his son is the well-known Dr. Douglas, often referred to as `the kidney man' at Belfast City Hospital. Mr. Douglas' eldest daughter Anne, now lives in the area and is a parishioner of the church where her father once served. A teacher, she married Dr. W. Miller, who is a local GP. Mrs. Douglas, although frail and unable to attend the church where she has so many happy memories, is still a frequent visitor to the area.
The story recounted above is really an epilogue to the war years. It serves to illustrate that despite the tragedy and suffering, despite the terrible losses incurred and the agony and heartache of families, life moves forward.
In Exodus Chapter 14 the voice of God said to Moses : "Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward".
Earlier this year, two grandchildren of Mr. Douglas were married. A third generation will grow up. Let us pray that they will never know the trauma of war. It was the hope of all those young men, who fought and died in World War II that we should have a better future one of peace, prosperity and freedom.
The closing lines of this chapter must belong to one distinguished man whose outstanding bravery and courage during the Second World War, won him many accolades. Lt. E. H. Colonel Brush merits special attention. His achievements are not outlined in this section but are dealt with in another chapter of this book. I would commend this to the reader.
IN PROUD AND UNDYING MEMORY OF OUR
MEN WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR
ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS
SERGT. HERBERT JOHNSTON, WILSON FULTON,
PTE. MOSES BELL, WM. CARSON, HARRY McCORMACK,
ROYAL IRISH RIFLES
2nd LIEUT. IVAN WATSON, CPL. SAM HAMILTON,
WM. McCONNELL, RFM. JOSHUA BELL, L/CPL. THOS. BUNTING,
RFM. JOHN COUSINS, W. J. KING, THOS. SMITH, THOS. WELLS,
SAM WELLS, THOS. GREGSON
ROYAL INNIS. FUSILIERS
PTE. JAS. COUSINS, JOS. KING
LIEUT. ERNEST JOHNSTON
THIS MEMORIAL HAS BEEN ERECTED BY THEIR FRIENDS IN
DOLLINGSTOWN AND BALLYMACATEER
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
we will remember them.
F/LT. H. De L. WATSON, F/O A. W. V. GREEN, GNR. T. G. ANDREWS,
G. E. BANKS, YEOMAN SIGNALLER, G. P. McDOWELL,
ELIZABETH OSBORNE, NAAFI
ROBERT McDOWELL 16th R.I.R.
Murdered in Co. Wicklow 22nd June, 1922
Above is inscription on Dollingstown War Memorial
Maralin War Memorial
ERECTED TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN HONOUROF THE MEN OF THIS PARISH WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR.
LIEUT. E. JOHNSTON, Duke of Wellington Regt.
2nd LIEUT. I. P. WATSON, R.I.R., SERGT. R. IRWIN, N.I.H.
SERGT. J. T. DAWSON, Royal Innis. Fus., CORPL. W. FULTON, R.I.F.
CORPL. H. JOHNSTON, R.I.F., L/CPL. W. J. McCONNELL, R.I.R.
L/CPL. R. BELL, R.I.F., L/CPL. J. S. LYTTLE, R.I.F.
PTE. E. COSTLEY, I.G., PTE. R. J. CORBETT, R.I.F.
PTE. J. COUSINS, R.I.F., PTE. J. KING, RFM. J. BELL, R.I.R.
RFM. J. COUSINS, RFM. S. HAMILTON, RFM. W. J. KING
RFM. J. MAWHINNEY, RFM. G. S. W. SPENCE, RFM. S. WELLS
RFM. W. WILSON, RFM. T. BUNTING, R.I.R., RFM. J. GREGSON
L/CPL. J. HEANEY, RFM. J. McCRACKEN, RFM. T. SMITH
RFM. R. WATSON, RFM. T. WELLS, PTE. M. BELL, R.I.F.
PTE. W. CARSON, R.I.F., PTE. H. McCORMICK,
PTE. T. McKINLEY, R.I.F., PTE. J. LAVERY, A&S HYDS.
PTE. T. McGUIGAN, CONN. R., PTE. J. NESBITT, R.I.F.
PTE. W. J. BUNTING, R.N.
THE FOLLOWING ALSO SERVED
R. McMULLEN, A. MOORE
ROYAL AIR FORCE
PTE. A. BERRY, T. J. MALCOLMSON STAFF.MAJOR C. W. GREER 5th LANCERS
TROOPER E. McKEOWNNORTH IRISH HORSE
SERGT. A. KENNEDY, TROOPER W. DOWDS, S. MATCHETTR.F.A.
Q.M. SERGT. R. McCAMBLEY, GNR. J. E. ROONEY,DR. G. MATCHETTR.G.A.
SERGT. J. HANNA, GNR. S. KERR, J. W. MALONE,P. ROONEY, R. ROONEY R. E.
LT. COL. G. WADDELL, CPL. P. JOHNSTON, SPR. T. BUNTING, J. E. CLARKE, S. DAWSON, R. LYTTLECOLDSTREAM GUARDSMAJOR E. G. CHRISTIE-MILLER IRISH GUARDS
CPL. W. J. HALL, L/CPL. W. ORBINSON R. INNIS FUS.
LT. COL. G. H. BRUSHE, CAPT. W. R. S. CLARENDON,
SERGT. J. IRWIN, SERGT. F. GRAHAM, CPL. R. MALCOLMSON,
L/CPL. W. G. IRWIN, PTE. S. LAMIE, J. MEGARRELL, R. NESBITT
GLOUCESTER REGT.CAPT. (ACT. LT. COL.) G. CHRISTIE-MILLER, D.S.O., M.C.
DORSET REGT. PTE.C. DOWIE OXFORD AND BUCKS L.I.
LIEUT. S. R. CHRISTIE-MILLER ROYAL IRISH RIFLES
LIEUT. A. GREEN, T. W. E. SPENCE, C. S. W. WATSON, M.C.
COY. Q-M-S H. MOORE, SERGT. T. BOYCE, H. DOWIE, H. NEILL,
CPL. W. CLARKE, W. J. FERRIS, S. FULTON, C. WILSON,
L/CPL. G. BAXTER, M.M., W. CROOKSHANKS, W. J. FINLEY,
J. HAMILTON, J. K. McKEOWN, T. MILLS, T. MILLS, H. MULLEN,
J. PEPPER, RFM. S. BAXTER, B. BELL, F. BELL, J. BELL, W. BELL,
F. CABRY, M. CONNOR, J. CONWAY, S. COPELAND, W. J. COSTLEY,
J. COUSINS, J. CUNNINGHAM, T. CUNNINGHAM, D. DIAMOND,
J. DOUIE, R. DOUIE, J. DOWDS, J. FERRIS, H. GILLILAND,
S. GILLILAND, W. GILLILAND, G. GUINEY, J. HAMILTON,
W. J. IRWIN, A. JEFFERS, D. KING, J. KING, I. H. LAWTHER,
W. McALISTER, M. McATEER, G. McCLEAN, J. McCLURG,
J. McCORMICK, J. McKINLEY, J. McKINLEY, W. McKINLEY,
C. D. MAGUIRE, H. MAGUIRE, T. MALONE, T. MALONE,
A. MATCHETT, S. MATCHETT, F. MATHERS, W. MATHERS,
J. MAWHINNEY, J. MERCER, R. MULLEN, J. NEILL, J. NEILL,
W. NEILL, A. PATTON, F. ROBERTS, G. ROBERTS, E. ROBINSON,
W. ROBINSON, W. J. TAYLOR
ROYAL IRISH FUS.
COY. S.-M. D. MAGILL, Q-M-S R. FERGUSON, SGT. R. CARSON,
W. J. HALL, R. NAPIER, W. NEILL, D.C.M., CAPT. J. MULLEN,
G. WRIGHT, L/CPL. G. HAMILTON, PTE. J. CABRY, S. CARSON,
D. FULTON, C. GILLILAND, J. HALL, T. HASKINS,
J. E. McCULLOUGH, W. McILWAINE, S. J. MAGILL, W. MALONE,
W. MATHERS, J. MULLEN, J. ROBERTS, F. THOMPSON CONNAUGHT RANGERS
PTE. M. MULLENMACHINE GUN CORPS.PTE. W. MURPHY R.A.S.C.
SGT. G. A. JEFFERS, CPL. W. E. JEFFERS, CPL. F. McCULLOUGH,
PTE. H. BOWERY, G. BOYCE, W. BURNS, G. MAGEE, H. MATHERS,
J. REAR.A.M.C.PTE. J. MULLEN A&S HYLANDERS J. LAVERY SCOTTISH FUS.
SIG. G. McCLATCHEY, R.I.F., GUN. G. B. HAYES, R.G.A.RFM. R. GILLILAND, R.I.R.
R. ARMY CHAPLAIN DEPT.REV. J. H. KIDD, J. N. SPENCE, R. H. SPENCE
ROYAL MARINES PTE. R. H. HAYDEN
W. BELL, R. BOYCE, S. GIBSON, J. SANDS, G. W. WADDELL,J. E. WATSON
NEW ZEALAND FORCES R. SPENCE, W. H. SPENCE
DEAN T. W. CLARENDON 1884 - 1931
"Call upon me in the day of thy tribulation and I will deliver thee and thou shalt magnify me."
Few rectors can have experienced such turmoil and difficulty as that encountered by Dean Clarendon during the early years of his ministry in Magheralin. An earlier chaper chronicles fully the events which culminated in that fateful day, described by the Dean as his 'darkest hour.' The cruel and unsubstantiated charges of 'popery' brought against him, reflect the narrow minded, ignorant and suspicious nature of the people one hundred years ago. The seeds of suspicion which were sown in 1891 resulted in bitterness and violence; it is ironic to note that the same malignant seeds continue to divide our Province, one hundred years later.
Dean Clarendon was an exceptional man in every respect. As rector of Magheralin, he showed resilience and courage in the face of adversity. While many of his talents were not appreciated, or even recognised amongst his parishioners, he was highly esteemed by the members of other churches, where his broadmindedness and literary talents were much admired.
On a practical level, support from the congregation and vestry was often circumscribed and restrained. This is reflected in two entries from the Parish minutes, where we discover that the Vestry held Dean Clarendon financially accountable for new initiatives. In December 1889, the Dean's proposal to set about improving the church was met with some reticience.
"Rev. Clarendon is authorised to apply to the Diocesan Artchitect to furnish plans and estimate of the probable expense of improving and re-seating the Parish Church. The rector, to undertake to pay the fee in case it be not found profitable to go on with the work."
The innovation of introducing a system of Free and Open Pews in the church was also greeted with much caution. The minutes of February 1893 indicate once again, the financial liability imposed on the Rector:-
" ..... .if after a year's experience of the free and open system it was found that it was not successful i.e. that the congregation were not enlarged and the contributions were not sufficient to keep up the services of the church, he (the Rector) should himself payout any deficit that might occur in the account. "
FIFTY YEARS MINISTRY
In Dean Clarendon's book "A fifty years ministry" he recounts; "Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days
of my life. And a ministry of fifty years shows much that one would fain have had otherwise - so many shortcomings and failures and sins to be deplored; one has lived far below what one had hoped to have attained; far below the high standard set before us in the Ordination Service."
Dean Clarendon was born in 1855. He married Lavinia Ewart, youngest daughter of Sir William Ewart, MP, a member of the well-known linen manufacturing family.
Dean Clarendon was a distinguished graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, where he gained many valuable prizes in his theological course and was Senior Moderator in Modern Literature. In 1878, he was ordained curate at St. Thomas Church, Belfast and in 1884, he became Rector of Magheralin, where he spent the remaining 46 years of his ministry absorbed in the work of the Parish.
He was examining chaplain to the Bishop of Down from 1903 to 1907 and private chaplain to Dr. Crozier, Bishop of Down 1907 to 1911. He subsequently again acted as examining chaplain to successive Bishops of Down. In 1908, he was appointed Precentor of Dromore and Canon of Belfast Cathedral. In 1917, he became Rural Dean of Shankill and later in 1925, he was appointed Dean of Dromore.
Dean Clarendon began his ministry with a pony and croydon. Later he advanced to a tri-cycle and then a bicycle, before purchasing his first car pictured here outside the old Rectory.
In 1878, when Dean Clarendon first came North, he found a tremendous difference in the people "I found the people pleasant to work with. It took a good while to get to know them but they were staunch friends afterwards. Having spent my life before my ordination chiefly in the South and about Dublin, I noticed a great difference between the geniality and quick, friendliness of Southern peopIe and the dour 'standoffishness' of the busy hard-working character of the Northen people with whom I came in contact. You did not get to know them at once, but they were well worth knowing when you did."
Writing at the end of his "50 years ministry" Dean Clarendon reflects on the political and social implications of the day.
"We had a large congregation at four o'clock in the morning in the church on 8 June 1886. It was a Thanksgiving Service for the defeat of Home Rule by a majority of 30. At that time, many thought that Home Rule in Ireland would be most disastrous. Since then, Home Rule has come for the South and West of Ireland and I have a good hope that it has come to be a real benefit in many ways to our country. We live and learn and of course opinions differ.
Northern Ireland seems to be doing very well. I wonder will the division between North and South continue. It is hard to prophesy.
As far as I can make out, the great Shannon Scheme, which is now approaching its completion, will make electric lighting almost universal in the South and I hope that cheap light and power will lead to a development of trade and manufacture.
The great advance in the use of electricity is one of the chief forward movements that have taken place during the last 50 years. Another is the use of motor power for traction instead of horse-power.
I began my ministry in Magheralin with a pony and croydon, the latter presented to me by my former parishioners at St. Thomas, Belfast. From that I advanced first to use of a tricycle and then to a bicycle and now I use also a motor car so that getting about the parish has become much easier and more rapid than it was half a century ago. The recent advent of motor omnibuses makes the passage to and from Belfast much easier than it was when we had to drive 2 ~ miles to the station at Moira and 31!J to Lurgan and there were comparatively few trains in the day.
Now the omnibus passes through the village of Magheralin and one can go and come often. In the future, it may be that aeroplanes will be as common as motor cars are now. Certainly, when I came to Magheralin, I little thought that I should drive an engine along the roads in the course of time. "
When Dean Clarendon first came to the Parish, he found that a curate was much needed. At the time of Disestablishment in 1870, it was thought that the Parish could be worked by one man and no provision was made for a curate. The Diocesan Council required £1,000 to be paid down when in 1902, the Parish entered the scheme for a curate. The generosity of Mr. ChristieMiller was again evident, when he paid the sum of £ 1,000 and also the additional payment for a curate for the first year.
Dean Clarendon took a very keen interest in education. During the 1920's he sanctioned the transfer of Dollingstown, Magheralin and Lisnasure Schools to the Ministry of Education to be managed by committees.
It was also during Dean Clarendon's incumbency that he recognised the need for a Sunday Evening Service in Dollingstown. This was started in Dollingstown School in 1886. In 1914, St. Saviour's Church was erected (the upper storey of the Dolling Memorial Hall).
The Envelope system of collecting for the Sustentation Fund was introduced by Dean Clarendon in 1921. He felt confident that this was one of the best ways of giving everyone an opportunity of supporting the church in a practical and meaningful manner.
Dean Clarendon was not solely concerned for the spiritual welfare of the congregation. His interest in the parishioners extended to the social and domestic well-being of the people. When employment was scarce, he secured jobs for many of the men folk in the village, at Ewart's Linen Factory in Belfast.
Mrs. Clarendon died in 1913. Her husband retired in 1931 after 46 years ministry in Magheralin. He passed away in October 1934 and was survived by his two sons and daughter - Rev Wm. R.S. Clarendon, Mr. Victor F. Clarendon, and Mrs. Reginald Ward.
Looking back at Dean Clarendon's ministry from a distance of 100 years, we can discern clearly his dedication and loyalty to the Parish. His faithfulness, his integrity and his tremendous capacity to forgive and understand were true Christian attributes. Dean Clarendon was a man whose vision and courage left us with one of the most beautiful churches in Ireland.
CANON C. J. McLEOD (1931 1940)
Canon C.J. McLeod was a native of the West of Ireland. He was ordained in 1923 for the curacy of St. Michael's Belfast. He was transferred from St. Michael's to St. Jude's in 1925 and remained there until nominated Rector of Magheralin in 1931. Canon McLeod ministered in the parish for nine years, when he was instituted as incumbent of Christ Church, Lisburn, on 26th November 1940. In 1954, he was appointed Prebendary of Cairncastle.
During his years at Magheralin, Canon McLeod proved a most able Rector and endeared himself to the Parishioners. He was particuarly known for the sympathetic manner in which he Rev. Canon C.J. McLeod ministered to the sick.
History is often said to repeat itself. Certainly Canon McLeod suffered none of the problems faced by Dean Clarendon. However, in Canon McLeod's day the Vestry remained as stringent as they had been in earlier times. Consequently in November 1935, three days before The Dedication of the Holy Table, in memory of Dean Clarendon - the Bishop had to be informed that the service was cancelled. The problem arose over the design of the memorial. The Vestry, no doubt, by this time quite practised in the field of designs, had cast a discerning eye over the Table, and announced that it did not conform to the original specifications submitted. In January 1936, a unanimous decision was taken to cancel the contract and have the Table removed from the church! Six months of deliberation and correspondence ensued when it was finally decided to accept the Table providing that all polish was removed.
In July, Canon McLeod reported that the entire effect of the Table was `pleasing' and that a Vestry would be summoned before the Consecration Ceremony took place. The dedication of the Dean Clarendon Memorial Table eventually took place on Sunday, 20th September 1936, without further recourse to debate and discussion.
At the Easter General Vestry of 1938 the treasurer reported a debit balance of £31-18-1. Canon McLeod identified the reasons for this in his Annual Report. He attributed the debit balance to the high level of unemployment in the area and rationalised that because of this the church like everything else had suffered.
Times however, were to become even more difficult for the Parish. The threat of another World War was to become reality in 1939. Before leaving the Parish in April 1940, Canon McLeod was to see tremendous changes. In the Vestry, he presided over meetings which were convened to discuss compliance with Civil Defence Regulations on Lighting Restrictions. In church and during the week, he prayed with families whose loved ones had already left, to fight in France. This was the beginning of a new era, which was characterised by ration books, petrol shortages and gas masks. All of this is particularly ironic, in view of the fact that in 1933, Canon McLeod had re-quested the Regional Education Committee to instal electric light in the village school. Within the space of six years, the Vestry was meeting again to consider the possibility of `blacking out' buildings. Both literally and metaphorically the Parish found itself in the midst of very dark times!
DEAN R. ADAMS1940 1943
Rev. R. Adam's incumbency in Magheralin was a short one, covering the span of only three years. His appointment to the Parish in April 1940 was initially met with some dissention. The Parochial Nominators and the Bishop disagreed over the selection and Mr. Adams was appointed. Although parishioners were not personally opposed to Mr. Adams, they disapproved of the Bishop's decision not to comply with their choice of another minister.
In order to register their dissent Dean R. Adams some parishioners refused to co-operate with the new Rector. This must have proved a particularly harrowing experience for the young rector. However, despite the initial trauma suffered by him, the author is happy to report that this active and forward thinking young man eventually won over many in his congregation. Mr. Adams had a fruitful ministry in Magheralin and ensured that the Lord's work continued to flourish in the Parish, despite the climate of fear and anguish generated by the cataclysmic events of the world at war.
Mr. Adams became the third rector in our church, to guide the Parish through the crisis of world war. Consequently much of the Vestry Minutes record the business of arranging for the billeting of evacuees and catering for the troops. During this period church activities were restricted to comply with Civil Defence Regulations on Lighting Restrictions. Other aspects of Parish life were also disrupted. In June 1940 the Sunday School Excursion was postponed "due to the serious conditions now prevailing". The report from the Vestry Minutes records; "the serious responsibility and danger which might result through taking children a long distance from their homes under present conditions."
While today's generation knows little about food and clothes rationing, petrol shortages and gas masks, these were in fact common features of life in the Parish in the 1940's. However, for all the difficulties and hardships experienced by parishioners during these years, the church did not become insular in its thinking. Mr. Adams was an astute man ready to respond sympathetically to the spiritual and practical needs of everyone. After the `blitz' in Belfast, in April and May 1941, many of the Belfast Parishes suffered as a result of the Air Raids. Mr. Adams initiated a special appeal in the parish to help alleviate the distress of the Belfast Parishes and special services were held to pray for those who had become casualties of the war.
At the Easter General Vestry of 1943 Mr. Adams spoke of the loss sustained by parishioners, as a result of the war. On this occasion he looked to the future of the parish and spoke of the role which everyone would play in building a better world after peace would be resumed.
Mr. Adams, however, was not to lead the parish through the days of economic revival. In April 1943 he was called to take charge of the Parish of All Saints, Belfast. At his departure he expressed regret that he would not after all lead his congregation through more prosperous times when the cloud of war would be lifted and the parish could play its part in building a brighter future for its children. The feelings of regret expressed by Mr. Adams, on his departure, were certainly reciprocated by the parishioners. Many of them had come to appreciate his dedication and diligence and total commitment to his Saviour. His constant encouragement to parishioners was a great source of comfort during the dark days of the 1940's.
An extract from Mr. Adams address at the Easter General Vestry of 1941, provides a most fitting postscript to this synopsis of his ministry in Magheralin. Half a century later, as we celebrate the centenary of our church and look to the future, the import of his words, must surely carry special significance for us.
"The core of Christianity is the Christian man, born again of the Spirit of God, faithful in his life, bright in his honour. Of such is is the Kingdom of God. The future lies with a people that cherishes these things."
THE RIGHT REV. GEORGE ALDERSONQUIN 1943 1951
The Right Rev. George Quin, former Bishop of Down and Dromore and Rector of Magheralin (1943-51), passed away on Sunday 5th August 1990. `The People's Bishop' as he became known was greatly loved and much ad-mired by the parishioners in Magheralin. He won their loyalty and support, building a special bond between himself and them.
Rt. Rev. George Alder son Quin, rector of Magheralin 19431951
During his eight years as Rector in this parish, Rev. Quin built his ministry on `friendship'. Both he and his wife won the affections of the congregation. Such was the genuine warmth of their friendship, that many on the periphery of parish life became fully involved in the church work. His vision of his ministry always extended beyond care of the faithful reaching out in love and concern for those on the fringe of the church and outside its influence.
Arriving in Magheralin in 1943, the Rev. George Quin found many in the parish, who were anxious and concerned about loved ones serving in the Forces. During the years of his ministry, a marked spiritual growth in the congregation soon became evident. After the first year of his incumbency the Financial Report showed a marked improvement with a considerable increase in the number of subscribers to the Freewill Offering Fund, and a very great increase in the total subscriptions to Parochial funds. This pattern continued and in April 1946, the church wardens reported the best financial statement in the history of our parish.
Church activities also grew during this period. Parochial organisations, which had declined during the war years, were now in full swing again. The Boys' Brigade was formed during Bishop Quin's ministry in Magheralin. As Rector, he was always concerned about the youth of the parish and took a keen interest in their spiritual well-being. In 1946, Mr. S. Lyttle gave the site for the erection of a hall at Drumnaferry. A Young Men's Club was formed there and existed for many years.
An indication of the `spiritual renewal' in the church during the post-war years is evidenced by the growing attendances at church services. In 1948, the Rector recorded attendances at Drumnaferry Bible Class as being over 100!
The awakening of the people to the spiritual realities of life is in many ways a reflection of Bishop Quin's tremendous love for his parishioners. One story, told today, reflects his love and humanity. A mother, was wakened by a sick child at 2.00 am in the morning - such a scene has been re-enacted in countless homes. While fetching a drink for the child, the mother heard a knock at the door. Answering the knock - she discovered the Rector on the doorstep `I saw your light on and thought you might need help.' Upon learning that nothing too serious was wrong, he asked `Could we share a cup of tea?' This was a true pastor and friend, who had time for everyone.
In 1951, Bishop Quin was appointed to Belfast as incumbent of St. Patrick's, Ballymacarrett. This was a sad day for Magheralin. History does not record if it rained on the day he preached his farewell sermon in the parish. However, I am reliably informed that inside the church - it was distinctly `wet'! Parishioners today have vivid memories of that occasion. The congregation was deeply moved, and it is said that even men resorted to taking out their handkerchiefs - there wasn't a dry eye in the congregation, and Bishop Quin, in the pulpit, was also moved to tears. This is surely some measure of the affection the people had for their pastor!
During his incumbency at St. Patrick's, he also held the position as a Canon of Belfast Catheral and Archdeacon of Down. In 1968, he was appointed Rector of Bangor Parish. For eleven years from his election as Bishop of Down and Dromore in 1969 he presided over the affairs of the Diocese with that same love and devotion which characterised his whole ministry. He retired in 1980.
Bishop Quin will always be remembered with gratitude by the parishioners of Magheralin for his warm personality, his love of people and his capacity for making and keeping friends. It was fitting that his burial should take place in Magheralin, where he was greatly loved.
CANON A. J. DOUGLAS (1951 - 1963)
Magheralin will always hold special memories of their first 'family' home. It was here that they were received affectionately by the Parish. During their 12 years ministry, they made lasting friendships and endeared themselves to the congregation.
On arrival in the Parish 40 years ago, Mr. Douglas found the Rectory 'uninhabitable.' The Diocesan Architect had warned that the building was in an appalling condition - apparently the gable end wall had a split so large that it was possible to put a foot through it. It was obvious that parts of the wall were moving and the whole structure was ready to collapse.
CANON A. J. DOUGLAS (1951 - 1963)
Mr. Douglas and his family resided at a house in Drumnabreeze for a period of 2'/z years until a new Rectory was built. The late Mr. Swift Bateman willingly let out his vacant house as a `temporary rectory' until a rather snowy day in January 1954, when Mr. Douglas and his wife and daughter Barbara took up residence in the new Rectory.
In 1962, Mr. Douglas initiated the Christian Stewardship Campaign. Recognising that an income of £2,800 was far below what was needed to pay for the bare essentials of heat, light, salaries, insurance etc, the 'New Plan' was presented to Parishioners. Aside from the normal `maintenance costs' - a new heating plant was required for the church; church paths needed re-surfacing, and woodworm had been discovered in the organ loft. There were also other responsibilities too. St. Saviour's Church, Lisnasure, and the Old School all had to be properly maintained.
The `new plan' was implemented over a period of three years. As a result the Parish income was doubled. The following years saw many improvements. The old furnace room of the church was renovated and converted into a choir room. In addition to this, the floor above the organ loft was replaced and a new door made to give free access to the bells and the top of the tower.
The main priority of the Vestry at this time was, however, the building of a new hall - but first it was necessary to have the old school and its grounds handed back to the Parish.
For a number of years, the Vestry had been agitating and demanding that the Ministry of Education would do this. The old school was somewhat dilapidated - it possessed no modern toilet facilities - the children of the area certainly deserved something better. Eventually, the Education Authorities agreed and a new school was built with the old building and its grounds being re-transferred to the Parish. The Select Vestry immediately consulted an architect, and began to make plans. Unfortunately, Mr. Douglas was not to see these plans come to fruition as he was appointed to the Parish of Orangefield - before building commenced.
Mr. Douglas is today fondly remembered by Parishioners for his keen sense of humour. It is fitting to record two of his favourite stories here which will be familiar to many of the Parishioners. On one occasion when church heating was giving considerable trouble, the churchwardens and Mr. Douglas undertook to investigate the problem in the furnace room. Mr. Douglas's son Norman came upon them whilst the inspection was taking place. A few days later in Sunday School when asked -
"Who were the three men cast into the burning fiery furnace" - Norman promptly replied; "Daddy, Mr Gilliland and Mr. Hand"!
On another occasion, Mr. Douglas's return was greeted by the Sexton who informed him - "Rector, I'm glad to see you back, for I thought the curate would have the whole parish buried before you got here!"
Evidently, there had been an unusually large number of funerals during Mr. Douglas's absence.
During his incumbency, there was certainly a renewed sense of family responsibility for maintaining the work of the Church and Parish. Mr. Douglas, in his farewell letter to Parishioners, paid tribute to the "Christian zeal and sincerity possessed by the people of this Parish." He went on to record that -"The people came to church to worship God. They came in order to see Jesus. It is easy to sense an atmosphere and when the atmosphere is right, one is enabled to give of their best." There is no doubt that Mr. Douglas gave of his best during his years of ministry in the parish. A faithful witness with a concern for the advancement of God's Kingdom. He was attentive to all aspects of Parish work and above all to the welfare of his congregation.
CANON P. J. SYNNOTT(1963 - 1974)
Rev. P. J. Synnott was instituted Rector of the Parish in October 1963. He ministered in Magheralin for almost eleven years, during which time he was to guide the affairs of the Parish through the early days of `the troubles' when civil strife and sectarian violence swept the Province.
Within a short time of their arrival in the Parish, Mr. Synnott, his wife Jessie and two children, Joy and Alan, endeared themselves to the Magheralin Parishioners. It quickly became evident that a special characteristic of Mr Synnott's incumbency was to be the very practical and supportive role played by his wife. This was certainly to be a 'partner-ship' ministry with Mrs. Synnott actively involved in the varied aspects of Parish life.
The first year of Mr Synnott's ministry in Magheralin saw much parochial development and achievement. During his time here, he instilled in his congregation an increasing awareness of the importance of social as well as spiritual fellowship. As a result, organisations and clubs within the church flourished. The Life Boys, Boys' Brigade, Bowling Club and Youth Guild were all active in the preceeding years before Mr. Synnott's appointment.
Under the direction of Mrs. Synnott, a Young Wives' Group and Mothers' Union Branch were formed. Mrs. Synnott had always expressed a real concern for the social and spiritual well-being of young people. Endeavouring to address this issue, she re-introduced the Girls' Friendly Society in 1964. Her particular talent for leadership and her keen
interest in children soon ensured that this was a thriving branch with high standards which reflected the enthusiasm and dedication of its leaders.
One of the highlights of Mr. Synnott's ministry was the opening of the new parochial hall in 1966. This greatly complemented the growth of activities and organisations and created a tremendous spirit of community and fellowship within the church. During this time, enrolment figures in the Youth Organisations were most encouraging and large numbers are reported in the Boys' Brigade, Life Boys and Girls' Friendly Society. Another highlight of P. J. Synnott's incumbency was the robing of the church choir in 1968. This was largely due to the very generous gift of an anonymous donor.
In 1969, the Province fell into the grip of crisis. Mr. Synnott was tireless in his efforts to promote peace and harmony. He attempted to instil in his congregation a climate of understanding and tolerance. In 1971, the spate of petrol bombings and attacks on public buildings, including those on church property, caused the vestry some concern. That same year, Mr. Synnott called a special meeting of the Select Vestry to consider what action might be taken to protect the Parochial Hall from such attacks. In April 1973, the Chairman's Report at the Easter General Vestry indicates something of the climate of the time. Mr. Synnott identifies - "a social and political revolution with a growing disrespect for law and order."
He felt that the church had a vital role to play in easing the suspicion and violence which threatened the Province. He advised his congregation that - "we need to be a worshipping community in this area with the ministry and laity working together for the advancement of Christ's Church."
While the village of Magheralin was certainly not unaffected by the `troubles,' life in the Parish still continued towards steady progress. In May 1973, Mr Synnott acknowledged that - "life in our Parish has gone on in a fairly normal manner and I would like to thank our Parishioners for the way in which they have gone about their daily tasks in a normal manner. This has contributed greatly to the peace of the community, but in reality, we all, in a greater or lesser measure have been intimidated."
A sad comment on the times is the fact that the traditional Sunday School Excursion to Bangor was cancelled for several consecutive years. It was unanimously agreed by all concerned that it was unwise to expose children to the street violence which was a common feature of the Province in the early 1970's.
Despite the `troubles,' Parish activities continued to thrive during this period and this is evidenced by the number of fund raising efforts which are recorded at this time. A campaign named `Operation Overdraft' was launched in 1963, its aim being to clear off a bank overdraft and raise an extra £3,000. The organisations pledged total support to the scheme and the result was a surge of enthusiasm which generated a new community spirit within the Parish.
Perhaps one of the most revealing postscripts to Mr. Synnott's ministry is the role he and his wife played in their attempts to swell the funds for 'Operation Overdraft.' Anxious to play their part, together they embarked on a sponsored walk and raised £345. This not only epitomises their concern to play a very practical role in the church, but also symbolises `the partnership' which characterised P. J. Synnott's ministry in this Parish.
CANON. R. L. HUTCHINSON 1974 -1994
Canon R. L. Hutchinson
Magheralin remained vacant for only four months following Rev. P. J. Synnott's departure. The seventh Rector of our Parish this Century was to be the Rev. R. L. Hutchinson.
Born in 1929, Roland Hutchinson was brought up on a small farm in Co. Londonderry where he was endowed with a great love of nature. Educated at Rainey Endowed School at Magherafelt and Trinity College, Dublin, he graduated in 1951.
In 1952, Mr. Hutchinson was ordained for the curacy of Mullabrack, Markethill. He moved to the curacy of Dromore Cathedral in 1954 where he married local girl Maureen Watson on 10 August, 1961. At this time, Miss Watson was a teacher in the local Primary School at Magheralin. When her husband was appointed curate-in-charge of the Parishes of Rathmullan and Tyrella, Maureen gave up her teaching post in Magheralin. Neither she nor her husband could possibly have foreseen the circumstances which would lead to their return to the Parish. Mr. Hutchinson was at this time, also appointed as officiating Chaplain to the forces stationed at Ballykinlar. By 1965, he had brought the Parishes of Rathmullan and Tyrella, up to full status, and was instituted Rector on 26 January of that year.
A man of outstanding ability and energy, he still finds time to pursue his hobbies. One of his greatest loves is music and he was the Founder and for some years Conductor of Dromore and District Male Voice Choir. They have won several festivals and are widely acclaimed in the Province.
His early love of nature is evident in his reputation as having `green fingers.' It is not uncommon to find members of the clergy interested in horticulure, but Mr. Hutchinson is something of a celebrity in the gardening world. He has competed in many horticultural shows in the past, being among the cup winners. He enjoys lecturing, demonstrating and judging at such societies.
Mr. Hutchinson is also interested in dogs. He has owned and bred several golden retriever champions. In 1965, he owned the only full champion cocker in the whole British Isles.
Perhaps one of his most absorbing hobbies is `Bee Keeping.' In spite of `hundreds of stings,' he calls it a `relaxing and fascinating past-time.'
Instituted as Rector of Magheralin in September 1974, Mr. Hutchinson came to Magheralin with considerable preaching and pastoral experience. An able preacher of spirital maturity, he has the reputation for `getting things done 'there are no half measures when working for the `King of Kings'. The emphasis has always been on the spiritual awakening of the people.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
It is this message which Canon Hutchinson proclaims to the people of Magheralin. There is no dilution of the Gospel; for him, a man is either saved or lost - there are no grey areas. He has always endeavoured to `speak the truth in love,' meeting at first with some opposition, he continued undaunted. The early guest services were attended by large congregations and many to-day, including vestry men, testify to their new life and faith which began then in what can only be described as a `revival.'
During the incumbency of Canon Hutchinson in Magheralin, he has exemplified the adage that `the church exists for those who are outside it.' He believes that the church cannot be `inward' or `exclusive' and so a feature of his ministry has been the guest services and special services, which include the `Beekeepers Harvest,' `Industrial Services,' `Sportsmen's Services' and `Men's Breakfasts.'
The `Way to Life Crusade' conducted by Dick Saunders in 1975 in Lurgan and a more recent mission at Lisnasure, conducted by Rev. Sam Workman, are highlights in the church's ministry. Many parishioners were converted to Christ during these campaigns.
The Industrial Service on Rogation Sunday 1976 was the first of its kind in the area. Bedecked with all the products of local industry, it was followed by a Businessmen's Testimony Service.
History was again made on 25 June, 1985, when eight Lay Readers for the Diocese were licensed in Magheralin, amongst them being David and Gillian Napier (nee Irvine) who have rendered invaluable help since their licensing.
The Church was again packed to overflowing, with the visit of the African Children's Choir in 1988. On this occasion, some 750 people filled the church. More recently, the number was equalled when the Lurgan Testimony Male Voice Choir held their 32nd Annual Festival of Male Voice Praise for the first time ever outside of Lurgan.
Another highlight was the 250th Anniversary of John Wesley when on a beautiful spring morning of 22 May 1988, we gathered in the old church ruins at 4.30 a.m. for the Dawn Chorus. This was followed at 8.30 a.m. with a service of Holy Communion, Bishop George Quin being the celebrant and using the old communion table of Bishop Jeremy Taylor. It was a most solemn service amongst the old church ruins where for centuries before, holy and devout men had ministered to, we trust, our holy and devout ancestors.
The three `broadcasts' which we were privileged to have also stand out as opportunities to share our worship with others and to present the clear Gospel of Redeeming Grace. The volume of letters received after these services was most encouraging.
The most recent service, which will always stand out, is the `Beekeepers' Harvest Service' on 25th November 1990, the first of its kind in Ireland. It attracted men and women from all parts of Ireland, and the wish was expressed that it might become an annual event.
"IN HIS SERVICE
The Parish Church and hall are still the centre of activity, and we hope, attraction in the village and community. The weekly services are well attended, considering the times we live in and the general falling away of church-going people. An average attendance of 220 is recorded at the morning service and 150 in the evening. The latter is very much higher than the diocesan average. Communicant life has more than trebled over the past few years, proving one thing, that when people come to saving faith in Christ, they will meet around His table and keep His command to `Do this in remembrance of Me."
One of the most outstanding features of the services in the Parish Church is the loyalty and enthusiasm shown by the choir. A traditionalist at heart, the rector brings real life and meaning into the Prayer Book services, capturing the true devotional spirit of the reformers.
At ease with any of the modern Bible translations, he still reads from the Authorised Version because of its music and beauty, not found in present day English. He does like however to `liven' the hymn singing by adding occasionally some of the old-fashioned revival-hour hymns and some of the modern hand-clapping compositions, but everyone must have depth of meaning and be sound doctrinally.
He still uses the Book of Common Prayer for all the main services and it looks now that he is highly unlikely to graduate to what is termed "The Alternative." However, the old saying holds good that the sheep will go to where they get grass! May it long continue to grow!
Dollingstown, sometimes considered a little entity on their own, has seen a lot of new building over the past decade, the result being a much fuller church and many more new faces. Reckoned to be a very homely service, there being only one in the morning, the congregation takes part most enthusiastically urged on by a young and competent, organist, Nicola Wickie.
Music can make or mar a service, but in St. Saviour's, it is always a case of `making' the service. The church is not licensed for marriages and it is very seldom that it is used for a funeral service. The Sunday School has started to grow again with all the young families coming into the area, and it may be that at some future date the organisations may be started again.
Lisnasure, on the other hand, seems to be nearing its demise. Were it not for the very well attended United Prayer Meeting on Monday evenings, the little `hut' would probably close. A `hut' it is, used by the army during the last war, and bought and erected by Rector George Quin. It has served its purpose well. Many a good mission was held there and many a good Bible Class, and many a good supper served. Harvest Thanksgiving Services have always been well supported, but the Sunday afternoon service has dwindled to almost nothing, simply because of so few Church of Ireland people living in that area, and those that do, have their modern cars and much prefer the evening service in the Parish Church. However, for the sake of the Monday night prayer meeting we will keep it open and maintain it, because prayer is
the source of strength and progress in any parish.
Although not part of our parish `set-up' we must mention Soye's Hall on the Lurgan Road, and especially the little band of faithful praying people who meet each Friday night and never fail to pray for the Rector and the work in the Parish Church. May God continue to bless this praying group, many of whom are our own members.
After several years of concentrated "ploughing and sowing," the Rector felt it was time to bring in a new voice to do the "reaping." There had been already coffee-bar missions amongst the youth and special efforts in Holy Week and other occasions, but the time had come for an all out Parish Mission.
The Reverend Godfrey Taylor, from St. John's, Bournemouth, was invited to be our missioner, in November 1987. He came bringing with him a team of lay people and began a series of home meetings and factory visitations, all so different from the Irish understanding of a Mission. Many souls were converted and the faithful were strengthened and sanctified. We learnt much, especially about preparation, prayer, and visitation.
This experience stood well to us when we came to hold the first of our Centenary Year Missions in Dollingstown. This time the Reverend Daniel Cozens was chosen to lead a team, again doing home and factory visitations and meetings, concluding each evening with a combined service. Strange to some, these services were held in a neutral venue, a car showroom of all places, very kindly put at our disposal by Mr. Stanley Abraham. Again the power of God was witnessed when His Gospel was preached, and several souls sought the Lord.
That led us on to our next Centenary Mission at our Lisnasure centre of worship. Having so few people in that area now, we very wisely sought the help and co-operation of our Presbyterian and Methodist friends. We decided to hold a united mission and called in the help of the best known evangelist in our Province, namely the Rev. Sam Workman. God abundantly blessed this decision and bound us lovingly together in prayer. The preparation was thorough. Denominationalism never entered our conversations or minds. We were united in an effort to bring souls, any soul, to Christ. The Lord drew many unto Himself and we finished with a congregation of over 800 in the great marquee on the Sunday night 19th May, 1991.
At the time of writing, we are deeply involved with the preparation for our closing mission of Centenary Year in December. Ian Knox, a lay-reader in the Church of England, solicitor, and evangelist, has agreed to be our missioner. He was here before several years ago, as was his father Neville Knox. He has already conducted most successful missions in Shankill Parish, St. Mark's (Portadown) and All Saints (Belfast), and so we are looking forward to a great time of blessing to conclude our Centenary Celebrations. After all, that is what the church exists for, to win souls for Christ.
Whilst Canon Hutchinson has real desire for the spiritual growth of his people, his work is not confined to this sphere alone. As we approach the 21st Century, he is intrinsically aware that the church must put in order `God's Household.' Living in an age of technology, we are faced with even greater opportunities and challenges than ever before. Canon Hutchinson believes that the church cannot remain static or rooted in the previous Centuries. The material church must move with the times. As a result, there have been considerable innovations in the Parish during his ministry. They include work in the following areas:
Glebe Land Reclaimed
Canon Hutchinson's discerning eye for business has earned him the title of a `hardheaded businessman.' When he first arrived in Magheralin, the local residents asked `What manner of man is this?' some went as far as expressing doubts about his soundness of mind, when they saw him with an eager and willing army of men tackling the enormous task of draining and cultivating `the bog.'
This is where his farming upbringing stood by him. He succeeded in bringing into full cultivation and production land which never had been ploughed in living memory. Later, the opportunity of selling the three acres for the handsome sum of £69,000 was an offer he jumped at. Subsequently, this amount was invested, the interest of which, according to church law must be used first, for the upkeep of the Rectory and afterwards, as the Diocesan Council permits. This means that never again will the Parish have to raise one penny for the repairs and maintenance of the Rectory. The present housing development of Parklands now stands on `the bog.'
The opportunity to sell one acre of ground at the rear of the hall, to the Church of Ireland Housing Association, was another lucrative transaction. The present construction of the first phase of seven retirement bungalows is well underway as the accompanying photograph shows. Again, church law dictates that interest accruing from the £29,000 invested must be used for religious education. This means that the Sunday Schools and Youth Groups are taken care of for the future.
In June 1984, a new Choir Room, Vestry, Toilets and Store were built. This feat was accomplished by one man, David Judge, over a period of eleven months under the Government A.C.E. Scheme. The building was named `The Hutchinson Suite' in appreciation of the work of the Rector and his wife over the first ten years of his incumbency. The new building, which was officially opened by Mrs. Hutchinson, was luxuriously fitted out through the generosity of appreciative parishioners.
Hutchinson Suite Library
This small library is currently being built up for study by Clergy, Lay Readers and Sunday School Teachers.
Car Parking Facilities
One hundred years ago, the Vestry created stables at the church for eight horses. A growing church and modern methods of travel put an increasing demand on car parking space today. A large area of glebe land was utilised to provide a new car park in 1975. More recently, under the A.C.E. Scheme, the car park has been enclosed by a stone wall and tarmaced.
Renovations to St. Saviour's and Youth Lounge
Dry rot was encountered in the Youth Lounge recently and this resulted in the building being re-roofed and the walls re-plastered. St. Saviour's Church, Dollingstown, has also been treated.
Extensive renovations to Dollingstown Church have also been carried out and include gifts of:- (a) New pulpit; (b) Prayer Desk; (c) Communion Table & Rails; (d) New Kitchen.
Canon Hutchinson was astonished when he came to the Parish and discovered that St. Saviour's had no bell. He felt that the ringing of a church bell is a very important part of parish life. A search for a bell resulted in fin-ding one in a church near the border at Killeavy in Co. Armagh. The bell weighing 3 cwt was installed in April, 1984.
Upon arrival in Magheralin in 1974, the Rector was again the main driving force behind the restoration of the rectory outhouses and yard. In 1974, these were in complete ruin, the roof and timbers had been disposed of earlier. However, within a short space of time, an energetic band of voluntary workers restored the old stone buildings and electric light and water were installed. These too add dramatically to the value of the glebe.
Much has been achieved during the second half of this century. The congregation has awakened to a new sense of self-giving. In the 19th Century, Magheralin Parish benefited greatly from the generosity of wealthy families, notably the Christie-Millers and the Clarendons. Today, it is not the generosity of only a few, but the team spirit of the many who ensure that the church progresses. Now in centenary year, the work is carried out by the many parishioners who have come forward to dedicate their time and skills to God in the Service of His Church.
Canon Hutchinson and his wife over the past 17 years have served the Parish with zealous love, cementing the relationship between priest and people.
Bishop Quin once said - "After anyone has served an apprenticeship in Magheralin, he is fit to go anywhere."
Since becoming Rector of Magheralin, Canon Hutchinson has trained five curates. The sixth, the Rev. Trevor Stevenson, is the most recent newcomer to Magheralin. Asked about his curates, the Rector replied: "I have nothing but the highest of praise for all of them."
He inherited his first curate, the Rev. Kenneth Clarke and was extremely grateful for his guidance and co-operation on taking up the leadership of this Parish. Mr. Clarke stayed one year to help the Rector settle into his new ministry and then moved on to Dundonald in October 1975.
He was followed by the Rev. Norman Jardine in July of the following year. Prior to his ordination, Mr. Jardine was a member of St. John's Parish, Lurgan. The irony of the matter is that he was parochial nominator and had actually approached our Rector for St. John's at the same time our own nominators were in consultation with him for Magheralin. After his initial training here, he too moved on to Dundonald.
Next came the Rev. Robin Adams, a Derry man and educated at Oakhill Theological College, London, After completing his first curacy, he moved to Coleraine but later returned to marry one of our choir members, Donna Napier. He was followed by the Rev. Thomas Allen who subsequently became Rector of the neighbouring Parish of Upper and Lower, Kilwarlin.
The Rev. David McClay, a native of Donegal, came to Magheralin in April 1987. After a short curacy of two and a half years, he was appointed Rector of the important Parish of Kilkeel.
The latest addition to the list of curates is the Rev. Trevor Stevenson from Crinken Parish near Bray. As we welcome Mr. Stevenson and his wife to our Parish, we trust they will have a most fruitful ministry amongst us.
THE RECTORY FAMILY
Canon and Mrs. Hutchinson's four children, Nigel, Janet, Ruth and Heather were all born in Tyrella but for the most part grew up in Magheralin. All are distinguished by their academic achievements and were educated at the Village Primary School and later at Wallace High School, Lisburn.
Nigel graduated from Queen's University in 1988 with an Honours Degree in Computer Science and currently works with the firm of Kainos in Belfast. Married to parishioner and Sunday School teacher Michelle Allen, they reside in Waringstown. Nigel is a member of our Select Vestry and is presently Freewill Offering Secretary.
Janet graduated from Stranmillis College in 1990 and now teaches in Crossgar. History was made in the village on 10 August, 1990, when Janet became the first rectory bride from the parish in 73 years. She married Nigel Erskine. Janet retraced the steps taken by Dean Clarendon's daughter in 1917. At present, she lives at Dromore.
Ruth is at present studying Maths and Computer Science at Queen's University, while Heather, the youngest member of the family, is preparing for `A' Levels and also planning for a University Career.
Included in the Rectory family is Carl McCambley, our organist, who has lived at the Rectory for the past four years. He too is studying Music and English at Queen's University.
Mrs. Hutchinson, Nigel, Janet, Ruth, Heather and Nigel Erskine are all members of the church choir and together with the Rector and organist, make a formidable contribution to the worship of our church.