Monday, 22 November 2010

St. John's Parish Church - Dunnalong by Amanda Buchanan

In the early 1830s due to the growing church of Ireland community and the lack of transportation the need for a local church was a major issue in the lower Donagheady area. During 1832 the Marquis of Abercorn granted an acre of ground for a church to be built in the townland of Drumgauty. It was not until the 1860s that a decision was made to create the perpetual curacy of Dunnalong. The Church of St. John was built in 1865 on a plot of land formerly leased by James McGettigan. The cost of building the church was covered by a grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and by public subscription. It was designed by architects Welland and Gillespie.

The Church with its steeply pitched roof is an unmissable landmark on the main road between Derry and Strabane. The stones used for the building of the Church were acquired from the local slate quarry in the adjoining town-land of Solus.

The first curate was Frederick James Clark who had been curate of Donagheady. Following the retirement of the Rev. Thomas Sutcliffe in 1921 the curacy was in the care of Camus-Juxtra-Mourne until 1926. During 1926 the Rev. William Rennison retired from the parish of Leckpatrick and as a result of this the parishes of Leckpatrick and Dunnalong were united. Their first rector being Rev. Thomas Alexander Hickson Moriarty.

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