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Donagheady Parish, Church of Ireland, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland: A Short History

Extracted from Derry Clergy and Parishes -Rev. James B. Leslie (R. H. Ritchie, Enniskillen, 1937)
Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by
Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia


Donagheady (called Downaghgede in Colton’s Visit.) = Domnah Caoide – “the Church of St Caidinus”. He was one of the companions of Columbanus, and the Apostle of the Morini. In 1397, the herenach paid 12/4 rent for Church lands and 13/4 for the Episcopal thirds. In 1609 for 4 balliboes (of which half a ballyboe was free) he paid 10/- with a yearly cosherie in the Bp’s Visitation and fines for bloodshed and 40/- for the thirds.

In 1661 Robert Simpson and Robert Dunne were Churchwardens. (V.B.)

In 1686 Robert Baird was Parish Clerk, John Baird, Schoolmaster; John Hamilton of Castlemellan and Andrew Dinn [Dunn] of Clamegorly [Glennagoorland], Churchwardens; John Young of Maghereagh and John Brown of Altrest, Inquisitors.

In 1693 Andrew Hamilton was V.[icar], Alexander Mitchell, Parish Clerk; Hugh Hamilton and John McFarland, Churchwardens 1692-3; William Baird and James Gormly, Inquisitors 1692-3; Jas. Semple and John Brissan [Bryson?] 1693-4. Vicar is also Archd. of Raphoe which is separated from this Parish by ye Fin (sic) River. Keeps a curate at £80, officiates in person once a month. Parishioners generally conformable. Glebe per estimation 180 acres, by the Survey 838! James Hamilton, Esq., is Patron. There is an impropriation called the Grange, in this parish, where an old Religious House or Chappell stood; the Heirs of one Hamilton, Impropr. This place is four miles from the Church, and therefore ought to have a chappell for the people that live about it; the Impropr. purchased would help to endow it.

The Parish Church defaced in the troubles, but tolerably repaired.

In 1718 Andrew Mitchell was still clerk, Alexander Stirling Schoolmaster; Wm. Beard [Baird] and John Hamilton, Churchwardens; Wm. Brown, Wm. Haffy [Mahaffy?], John Cunningham, Jas. Kinkade, John McCadony [McEldowney?], Inquisitors. In 1768 Church in good repair, a glebe and an old ruinous house. The Rector, George Bracegirdle and Curate, Thos. Burgoyne…….live in the neighbouring parishes……and constantly do the duty. (Parl. Ret.)

A new Church was bult in 1788 in the Grecian style with a small cupola and a bell at the western end, half a mile W. of the ruins of the old Church.

In 1861 there were 1,277 Church People and 3,599 Protestant Dissenters [Presbyterians]. £800 was spent on the completion of the Church between 1834 and 1865. The Glebe house was built in 1792.

Dunnalong was established as a P.C. out of this parish.

In 1867 the income was £1,030.16.11 – including a Glebe of 1,682 acres. A curate received £120, the P.C. of Dunalong £80. Patron the Marquess of Abercorn who received £14,662.2s.3d. compensation for the loss of the Advowson in 1870. Annuity awarded £1,310.13s.6d.

In 1879 a new and handsome parish Church was built at a cost of £3,000. It was cons. this year by Bp. Alexander (afterwards Primate) and was dedicated to St. James. The architect was Mr. John Kennedy of Londonderry and the contractors Messrs. Colhoun Bros. of Londonderry. The chancel is paved with encaustic tiles of special pattern and a new bell weighing 658 lbs, by John Murphy of Dublin was provided. In 1894 the Chancel was improved by the erection of a new Altar Rail, marble kneeling step for communicants and marble steps to Chancel.

There are parochial schools at Glenagoorland and Earlsgift. The old Churchyard of Donagheady and the old Churchyard and ruins of the Abbey of Grange are vested in the Local Burial Board.

Further Co. Tyrone records can be viewed here:

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