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St Paul's, Dunboe (Articlave)

Part of the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Diocese of Derry and Raphoe, belonging to the Castlerock (Christchurch), Dunboe (St Paul's) and Fermoyle (Church of the Ascension) grouping.

 

The Church of St. Paul is situated in Articlave, which is about one mile to the east of Castlerock.

 

Within the parish and within walking distance from Castlerock are the beautiful grounds and walks around Downhill Castle and the Mussenden Temple. Downhill Castle is famous, for the Earl of Bristol who was then bishop of Derry built it.

 

St Paul’s Church was built to replace the ruin at Downhill. It is generally believed that Articlave village was the first settlement on the Clothworker Company Estate in 1611 and that the site was in all probability selected on account of the nearby river. When the ecclesiastical authorities had to consider the necessity of providing a new church for the parish it was natural that they should select the most advantageous position. A certain Captain Jackson gave a grant of one acre of land, and on this land the church was built. Bishop Hopkins gave the consent for the building of this church and Bishop King consecrated it on June 2nd, 1691.

 

Another notable day in the history of St. Paul’s is June 24th, 1848. On that day within these walls five young men stood before the Bishop to be admitted to the Order of the Priesthood. One of the five was destined to occupy in later years, the highest position in the Church of Ireland. Here William Alexander received his sacred commission as Priest. William Alexander was then a curate attached to Derry Cathedral. In 1867 he was consecrated Bishop of Derry and Raphoe and in 1896 became Primate of all Ireland. In 1850 he married the talented Miss Cecil Frances Humphreys in the old Parish Church of Strabane. Mrs Alexander was a hymn writer of world wide reputation and her hymn (one of many) “There is a green hill far away” is amongst the best known hymns in the Christian world today.

 

St. Paul’s Church was built in very troubled times and consequently the structure is of a plain and very simple type. The square tower at the West end is imposing and well proportioned and on the South wall near the door the attention of visitors is attracted by a sundial of blue slate. It bears the date 1823, with this suggestive inscription: ‘Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours, and ask them what report they bore to heav’n.’

 

As we linger at St. Paul’s Church, we remember that here for over 300 years God has been worshipped and the glad tidings of the Gospel have been preached. The members of the Church of Ireland today in the district of Articlave love their Church with all its hallowed associations. In 1991 the Church was refurbished at considerable cost to commemorate its tercentenary. May it long continue to be a source of Spiritual blessing.

 

Dunboe or Drumboe (description from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837)

 

DUNBOE, or DRUMBOE, a parish, in the barony of COLERAINE, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (w. by N.) from Coleraine ; containing 5018 inhabitants.

 

This appears to have been a very important district from an early period, for, even in the 5th century, we find it mentioned under the name of Le Bendrigi, which seems to have comprised the northern parts of the present barony of Coleraine ; and it is stated that St. Patrick founded the old church here. The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 14,811 ¼ statute acres, of which 14,576 are applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £5796 per ann. On the south and west it is composed of basaltic mountains, which afford good pasturage, and on the opposite sides it is washed by the ocean and the river Bann, towards which latter the surface gradually descends, and the sands at its mouth formed the most extensive rabbit warrens in the kingdom, until the decline in the price of the fur, when the warrens were mostly destroyed, and the land brought into cultivation. Numerous streams descend from the mountains, fertilizing the meadows through which they pass. Near Articlave and Downhill the land is good and under an excellent system of cultivation.

 

Downhill, the splendid residence of Sir Jas. R. Bruce, Bart., occupies an elevated point of land between the (rivers) Bann and Foyle, opening in full view on the Atlantic ocean; was erected by the late Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry, and is built in the Italian style, of hewn freestone; the pilasters are extremely chaste and beautiful, the interior is finished in the most costly manner, the saloons being adorned with marble statues, and the halls and galleries with statuary and paintings of the most celebrated ancient and modern masters. In the glens, the plantations are extensive, beautifully laid out, and ornamented with rustic buildings and bridges, On the lawn stands a unique and beautiful mausoleum, erected by the bishop to the memory of his brother, who was ambassador to the court of Spain, exhibiting a full-length statue of him, beneath an elevated canopy.

 

The living is a rectory, forming the corps of the archdeaconry of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop : the tithes amount to £480, The glebe-house is a commodious residence, occupied by the Rev, Archdeacon Monsell ; there are four glebes, containing together 550 statute acres, 382 of which are cultivated land, the remainder being hilly and affording good pasturage for cattle, The church is a large and handsome edifice, situated at Articlave, for the repair of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £230 ; it was erected on a new site in 1691, the old church having been destroyed by King James's army, on its retreat from Derry.

 

In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish forms part of the union of Killowen. (Note: Parts of this R.C. district were also inculded in the parish of Tamlaghtard or Magilligan according to the article on that parish and not mentioned in the article on Dunboe)

 

In the village of Articlave is a meeting-house for Presbyterians, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and at Ballinrees is one in connection with the Seceding Synod, both of the second class

 

The parochial schools, situated at Articlave, are supported by the archdeacon; there are also schools at Downhill, built by Sir J. R. Bruce, and supported by him and Lady Bruce. Schools are maintained in other parts of the parish, together affording instruction to more than 500 children, There are also two private and eight Sunday schools.

 

The parish belongs partly to Sir J. R. Bruce, and partly to the Clothworkers' Company; the latter contribute £15 per ann, to the poor on their own estate. Not far from Downhill are the ruins of the ancient abbey of Duncruthin, which became the parish church previously to 1291 and in the western part of the parish stands a great fort, called the Giant's Sconce, occupying the summit of a lofty isolated hill of basalt, strongly fortified by nature.

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Uploaded on August 2, 2008