St Eugene's

 

The Church is a listed Grade B+ Roman Catholic church ( described in listing commentary as 'an important and early catholic church which has an impressive external design and an intimate interior') constructed uniquely in stages from a simple rectangular structure in 1785, major remodelling in 1823, the additions of a wooden steeple and belfry in 1834, and in 1860's an extension to the south with ancillary and sacristy rooms which were further extended in 1949. Porches to the west and north were added in the 1990's. The wooden steeple was replaced in 1904 by E.J. Toye, notable Derry Architect, copper clad in 1909 and reclad in 1977 and 2001 following storm damage.In overall form , the church is 'T' shaped plan internally, of double height with three connected galleries with originalstair accesses and stall type seating; marble altar rails and sanctuary furnishings date from works in 1949 ,these remaining with relatively minor changes.Externally, the building is dominated by the tower and spire at the east end, this being smooth plastered and painted masonry with copper clad spire sitting atop the timber fretted belfry; roofs are of naturalslate with clay ridges, and the external walls are applied painted smooth masonry as for the tower walls. Windows vary in height, shape , heads , material and detail and material of externalsurround , this reflecting the various ages and stages of development and patterns, some arising from 'modern' replacements. The majority are of timber (sash type) of varying sizes and shapes , with gallery windows including 2 zinc and 5 circular.Church history indicates that at early construction of the building ,Protestant farmers provided and transported building materials without charge and Catholic workers cleared the site and built this unique historic Church; also that the 1834 belfry had a bell which was the first bell to ring out in the Derry Diocese since penal times, in advance of the bell ringing at Armagh Cathedral.

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