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9th century crozier returns to the Shankill

Queen’s University and the Greater Shankill Partnership have been working together with the Shankill’s shamrock shaped St Matthew’s Church to mark its 150th anniversary.

To celebrate and showcase the evolving social history linked to the church and the community, Queen’s is facilitating an exhibition of photos, artefacts and displays.

On display for one day only at the launch on of the exhibition on Tuesday, March 8, will be a bishop’s crozier dating back to the 9th century. This was discovered in the grounds of Shankill Graveyard 300 years ago and is kept in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

The Rev Tracey McRoberts, rector of St Matthew’s said: “We are looking forward to welcoming children from local schools to view this priceless Shankill treasure alongside croziers used by our bishop today.

On Saturday March 12, we will be capturing some of the rich social history of the church and the Shankill area in a ‘History Harvest’ to gather stories, memories, old photos and memorabilia relating to the history of the church and wider area.”

Olwen Purdue, Professor of Social History at Queen’s, said: “This church, and the parish it serves, has an important history, dating back to pre–Christian times and closely connected to the wider history and growth of Belfast.

“The people of these streets have experienced wars and rebellions, industrialisation, urban change and conflict; they have also experienced work, play, loss, childhood, old age.

“This exciting collaboration between academics, public history students and local communities seeks to capture and tell the stories of these streets and the people who lived in them to explore the rich and diverse social history of this neighbourhood and community and develop new resources for learning and engaging with local history.”

Welcoming the exhibition, Jackie Redpath of the Greater Shankill Partnership, said: “We’re delighted that a partnership between St Matthew’s, Queen’s University and ourselves has come together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the church and the rich history of the Shankill. We are especially grateful to the National Museum Dublin for bringing the bishop’s crozier back to its origins on the Shankill to exhibit – truly an historical occasion.”

Contact Details

Contact Details

For further information please contact:

Mrs Karen Bushby

Diocesan Communications Officer, Connor
Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street
028 9082 8874
07766 103880



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