£12,000 for Ballykelly church

Religious image
Religious image

A much loved Ballykelly church is to get a £12.000 funding boost from a £607,000 payout by the National Churches Trust.

Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church is among a total of 36 churches and chapels in Northern Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland to benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches, the charity supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK.

This funding will help ensure that this historic and much loved church will continue to serve local people for many years to come

Huw Edwards

Founded in 1953, the Trust has helped over 10,000 churches, chapels and meeting houses with funding for urgent repairs and to pay for the installation of kitchens and toilets to enable more places of worship to become community hubs.

Overall, 13 of the churches receiving funding are on Historic England’s heritage at risk register.

Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said: “The UK’s churches and chapels are a treasure trove of architecture, history and faith. But these buildings don’t belong to the past. They pay a vital role in our present and future too, acting as places of worship, community centres or simply somewhere to go for quiet contemplation.

“The cost of keeping churches and chapels wind and watertight and paying for the installation of modern facilities is far beyond the means of congregations.

“That’s why I’m delighted that the National Churches Trust has been able to provide a £12,000 grant to Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church. This funding will help ensure that this historic and much loved church will continue to serve local people for many years to come.”

Also known as St Findluganus Church, Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church is a Grade B+ (II*) building belonging to the Church of Ireland in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe.

The National Churches Trust Repair Grant is to help fund a project to make the church structurally sound and weather-tight, including urgent repairs to the tower and spire and to the rainwater disposal system.

The original church at Ballykelly was reported to be in ruins in 1622, it was restored and enlarged by the Fishmongers and known as the Garrison Church. It was destroyed in 1641, restored in 1644, destroyed again in 1689 but again restored by order of King William III in 1692.

The present church was built by the Earl of Bristol (Bishop) in 1795, the chancel, vestry and gallery were added in 1851 and the north aisle in 1859.

In 1934 the parish church was completely renovated, choir stalls made, the east window taken out and remade, new louvres placed on the north west side of the tower, much pointing done to the tower and walls of the church. In 1935 the vestry was enlarged and coalhouse placed under it.

As well as Sunday services, the church is used during the week by the Roe Valley Community Choir. The Church also hosts annual Shackleton Association service. This association was established when RAF Ballykelly ceased to exist in 1971. This group of men and women served at this base at some point in their service and they return with their families every year for a Church service and are served a meal.