'Treasure Ireland' boost for six Northern Ireland churches

Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

 

Six much-loved Northern Ireland churches each receive a share of £30,000 grant funding.

The grants comes from the National Churches Trust’s Treasure Ireland project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Department of Communities. 

A further £13,500 of funding has been provided by The Wolfson Fabric Repair Grants as part of our partnership with the Wolfson Foundation to support listed churches in the UK.

Nigel Mills, Senior Church Support Officer for the National Churches Trust said:

This funding will allow us to keep more church and chapel buildings in Northern Ireland in good repair. That is especially important due to the challenge of Covid-19 and will help churches and chapels play their part in helping local people during these difficult times.”

Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added:

We’re delighted to support these six churches to carry out urgent repairs and help preserve the heritage of these historic buildings. We’re grateful to National Lottery players for making it possible and ensuring they are able to continue engaging with a wide range of audiences.”

The churches being helped are:

St Patrick's Church, Ballymena  -  Church of Ireland

Located in heart of Ballymena town, St Patrick’s is a gothic style church built in 1879 after the previous church was destroyed by fire. The building contains many beautiful examples of stained glass, notably by Belfast based studio Campbell Bros.

St Patrick’s Bell Tower stands over 90 feet high and is one of the 7 towers of Ballymena. The church has been granted £5,800 to support urgent repairs to the floor of the Bellringer's Room.

Slavin Parish Church, Belleek  -  Church of Ireland

Slavin church is located on the shores of magical Lower Lough Erne east of the village of Belleek. The present church dates from the nineteenth century and was built as a chapel of ease for parish members. 

This picturesque rural church receives £1,000 to assist with roof and rainwater good repairs.

St Columba Church, Derry City  -  Roman Catholic

Built in 1784 this iconic Renaissance-style church was the first Roman Catholic house of worship constructed outside the historic city walls following the relaxation of the Penal Laws in the late 18th century.

The church was constructed on what is traditionally believed to be the site of the city’s medieval Cathedral Teampall Mor. This A listed church is a well-known tourist attraction and receives a grant of £6,000 to support repairs to failing timber window frames. An additional grant of £4,500 from the Wolfson Foundation has enhanced the award.

St Columba Church, Draperstown  -  Church of Ireland

The present St Columba church dates from 1888 and was built on the floor plan of an earlier building dating from 1760. This church is highly original and incorporates an earlier existing tower dating from 1792. Within the church you can see breath taking stained glass by Clayton & Bell, London.    

In recent years the church received a donation to help with the restoration of the historic tower from Viscount Alamein, son of the famous allied World War 2 commander, Field Marshall ‘Monty’ Montgomery. The Field Marshall’s uncle, the Revd Samuel Montgomery is buried in the church.

Treasure Ireland has awarded St Columba £4,000 to assist with roof repairs.

First Presbyterian Non-Subscribing Church, Newry  

Designed by Newry born architect William J. Barre the First Presbyterian Non-Subscribing Church is a gothic style building that broke with the tradition of plain and simple designs. The congregation was founded in 1650 with the present church dating from 1853.

The organ which is still in use was first played in St George’s Chapel, Windsor for much of the 19th century and was installed in the Newry church in 1928.

The church receives a grant of £7,500 to replace failing timber window frames with additional grant support of £5,000 from the Wolfson Foundation.

St Eugene's Church, Glenock, Newtownstewart  -  Roman Catholic

The present Roman Catholic church was built in 1823 to replace an earlier simple structure dating from 1785. The church is famous for its striking octagonal belfry that stands tall overlooking the beautiful countryside. The church also retains much of its authentic interior.

St Eugene’s has been allocated £5,700 to support repairs to the building’s masonry and windows. An additional Wolfson Foundation grant of £4,000 helps to maintain this important church.