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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

Strokestown Records On–Line

The RCB Library’s Archive of the Month for January 2019 presents the transcribed registers of Bumlin, centred on St John’s church in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, (now part of a group of parishes based on Boyle) together with the inscriptions on the monuments in the church and the surrounding churchyard. As the vestry minute book for the years 1811 to 1870 was featured in the Archive of the Month in May 2018, Bumlin is one of the first Church of Ireland parishes to have all its principal historical records transcribed and available online. Together, these offer a rich resource to local and family historians, with an abundance of records of individuals.

The registers and memorial inscriptions have been transcribed and edited as part of the Anglican Record Project (initiated by Mark Williams), a long–running series of mainly Church of Ireland parish record transcriptions, available on the RCB Library website
(www.ireland.anglican.org).

In 1751 Thomas Mahon MP, of Strokestown House, conveyed to the Bishop of Elphin an acre of land in Strokestown, for the purpose of erecting a new church, as the ancient church of Bumlin was declared to be: ‘in a decayed and ruinous condition and the site thereof inconvenient’ to the new planned town which he was developing. The new church was confirmed as the parish church in place of Bumlin in March 1754. In 1813 the Vestry sought a loan of £1,000 from the Board of First Fruits to add a tower and steeple, which had not been built before the church was destroyed, apparently by a storm, in the winter of 1818/19. The present church was built in 1820 with a loan of £2,700 from the Board of First Fruits. The architect of the unusual octagonal design was John Lynn, who also worked on Rockingham House. The church, dedicated to St John the Baptist, was consecrated on 27 August 1820, and remained in use until 1977, re–opening as a heritage centre in 1982. It is now home to the County Roscommon Heritage and Genealogy Centre, and both it and the churchyard are very well maintained.

The publication of the Strokestown record collection demonstrates that the value of each one is enhanced by the availability of the others. Cumulatively, the vestry minutes, parish registers and memorial inscriptions provide an important source for tracing the history not only of the Church of Ireland parish but the wider local community, over two centuries. This work by Alan Moran and Mark Williams indicates all too clearly the valuable contribution which dedicated individuals can make to the parish records.

Tomorrow (Sunday) in St Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, the Epiphany Processions by candlelight will be held at 3.15pm. This service of scripture readings, prayer and music is based on the journey of the Wise Men. The music will be sung by the cathedral choir and the readings will be given by cathedral staff. Later, at 6.30pm David Leigh will play Olivier Messiaen’s organ meditation on the birth of Christ, La Nativité du Siegneur. In Christ Church cathedral, Dublin, the Epiphany Eucharist will be sung at 11am by the cathedral choir who will also sing Festal Choral Evensong at 3.30pm. In the Church of the Holy Saviour in Narraghmore, Co. Kildare, at 7.30pm, Dean Philip Knowles will introduce a carol service in candlelight for the Feast of the Epiphany. The organist will be Karen Plewman and the Dean will launch an outline plan for the restoration of the East Window.