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On March 18th 2006, thanks to the considerable kindness of both Michael McShane - a key member of the Creggan Local Historical Society - and John Donaldson, the Creggan Church Warden, I was finally able to enter Creggan Church. I am especially grateful to Michael not only for the entire day that he set aside to answer all my questions, but also for his chauffering which went way beyond any reasonable call of duty.
Thank you!

I have put a photo of the Creggan Church Window (done in memory of Sir Thomas JACKSON ) on a separate page because of its importance to the family and because of the size required to view the details of its composition.
With respect to the photos included beneath, I was working from notes when it came to their labelling and there may be some inaccuracies. There was so much to learn and I only captured portions in my notes. If there are errors and if anyone can set me straight, I would sincerely appreciate the help.

Sharon Oddie Brown, August 1, 2006

CREGGAN CHURCH, CREGGAN PARISH, CO. ARMAGH

At the entrance to the churchyard of Creggan Church, there are three buildings. As I entered the gate to the grounds, the Girls School was on my right and the stables were on my left. The building that was the boys school was closer to the church and situated directly behind the boys school. When I look at the photos of the buildings now that I am home in Canada, I question my memory. There are no windows in the building that I have identified as the "Girls School" and this strikes me as strange. Perhaps it isn't.
I do not know the dates that these buildings functioned as schools nor do I know whether Sir Thomas attended school here. It was suggested to me that he may have attended a school called Creggan School which was run by the wife of Rev. Atkinson. That school would have been further down the road. (I believe it was burnt down during the Troubles and a modern bungalow now stands on its site.) What we do know is that Sir Thomas attended a school with his brother John which was within walking distance from Urker and which also included a schoolmaster who was much disliked (by the two boys).
Behind the church is a bridge that spans the Creggan River. From here one can walk south to Liscalgot (see Map) where the GILMORE and JACKSON families lived from the 1820s to the mid-1900s. It is a short walk through lush rolling hills and is likely the route that the children would have taken. If adults came to church in a horse drawn car, I do not know if they would have taken this route over the bridge, or gone the longer way round by the road that Urker Lodge fronted on.
SEE: Creggan Parish Births, Marriages & Burials relating to JACKSONs

Creggan Church Boys School
Creggan Church Girls School
Creggan Church Stables

Interior of Creggan Church
The photograph makes the church appear larger than it is. It is actually a modest country church - appropriate to the size of congregation.
Inside there are also memorials to James DONALSON April 24, 1907-July 6, 1997, as well as a plaque to the EASTWOOD family whose remains are in the vault in the graveyard. There is also a list of the rectors as well as a framed list of baptisms including the names of the last of the JACKSON ancestors who lived at Urker: Lucie Catherine & James Henry Francis WRIGHT.
Richard Donaldson Memorial
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF RICHARD DONALDSON M.D. For thirty two years dispensing physician to the district of Crossmaglen. He was a man of great mental energy, a benevolent Physician and a Christian of unostentatious Piety. The Parishioners of Creggan will long remain deeply indebted to his indefatigable and successful exertions for the Maintenance of their church in the time of its greatest difficulties.
He died March 4th 1876 aged 54. This monument was erected by his numerous friends who deeply deplored his early death.
Creggan River
This is the view from the bridge behind the church. A perfect pastoral scene. The path from the bridge leads to Liscalgot .

BROWNE Memorial
"Erected by Thomas Jackson in loving remembrance of William R. BROWNE died 12th April 1862 Also his father, Daniel Gunn BROWN Minister to the First Newtownhamilton Presbyterian Church 1835-1868 died 24th May 1892 and his wife Margaret nee JACKSON died 2nd Jan 1895.
"The Lord gaveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord"
JOB. Ch 1, Verse 21.

Daniel F. BROWNE died Feb 1867
John J. BROWNE died Jan 1878
Sons of Rev D.G. BROWN

In loving memory of my dear husband Hugh Kirkpatrick BROWNE who fell asleep 5 July 1904; also Lily his only daughter who died in infancy 4 July 1893
"Until the day dawn"

 

Creggan Church
The view from the graveyard. In 1988, The Creggan Local History Society published a Guide to Creggan Church & Gaveyard. Copies may be obtained at their centre in Cullyhanna, or on the internet (they deserve your support and patronage!). Some sources say the present church was built in 1758 on the site of an earlier church and the bell tower was added in 1799. Other sources point to the fact that there are Vestry minutes dating back to 1731 which imply the existance of a church which is likely this one.


The following photographs show the graveyard before its current restoration. The Manse and the Roctory are also shown as they once were. These postcards are in the collection of Christine Wright. I do not know their date.
Sharon Oddie Brown, August 11. 2006

 

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