Derryloran Parish County Tyrone
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The excellent work of transcribing and indexing parish registers of baptism, marriage and burial conducted by Mark Williams for the Anglican Record Project which is released exclusively via the Archive of the Month medium, continues this month with a contribution from the diocese of Armagh – specifically the parish of Derryloran, county Tyrone, which centres on the town of Cookstown.
For this parish no less than three combined registers and two baptismal registers have been transcribed to give a complete 100–year run of baptisms from 1796 (when the earliest register commences) to 1896 (when the second register of baptisms ends) together with the lists of confirmations which took place in the specific years of 1824, 1828, 1833?, 1837, 1840, 1843, 1846, 1849, 1852 and 1856, as they are recorded in the first of the combined registers. The transcripts are enhanced by a comprehensive alphabetical index of names. The original volumes from which the information was transcribed remain in local custody, where they are all available for consultation (together with related registers of marriage and burial) by contacting the rector, Canon Robert Porteus. Microfilm copies are also available at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.
In 1837 (some 40 years after this comprehensive transcript of baptisms begins) Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland described Derryloran as a parish in the two counties of Londonderry and Tyrone, but chiefly the latter, on the roads from Armagh to Coleraine and Omagh to Belfast, and containing the post–town of Cookstown. At this strategic intersection in the heart of mid–Ulster, the parish and its principal town occupied an important and influential position. In 1837, Lewis accounted for some 8406 inhabitants and that the boundaries of the parish extended to just over 12,000 statute acres, only 400 of which was woodland and 100 of which was bogland – the remainder being described as ‘fertile and well cultivated’ whilst even ‘the bog is very valuable as fuel’. The land was well fenced and watered by the River Ballinderry, and ornamented with plantations and gentlemen’s seats.
As Canon Porteus reveals in his history of the parish, Derryloran derives its name from St Loran, the early leader of the local Christian community, and means ‘the oak grove of Loran’. The original Christian settlement would have been a monastic enclosure. The earliest evidence of church building does not come until 1622, when a church is described as ‘almost finished’. This is the church building of which the ruins lie close to the town of Cookstown today.
A new church was built in 1822 of hewn freestone from a design by the famous London architect, John Nash, who had previously set about redesigning and rebuilding Killymoon Castle for its owner William Stewart, and who was subsequently commissioned to design the new parish church at the heart of the town. Completion of the church and its consecration on 8 August 1822 coincided with the rapid urban growth of the centre from this period as is reflected by the rate of baptismal entries recorded in the registers and now brought to life in these accompanying transcripts.
Mid–19th century elevation of Derryloran parish church, as designed by John Nash, and surveyed by Joseph Welland, Principal Architect of the Irish Ecclesiastical Commissioners, from a collection of Welland’s architectural drawings, RCB Library MS 139/3.
For further information about the parish of Derryloran see link to website.
For further information please contact:
Dr Susan Hood