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Co. Tyrone, Christ Church, Strabane

Christ Church, Church of Ireland, Strabane 22 Bowling Green, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, UK BT82 8BW


Surviving records for this parish have been microfilmed by the staff of PRONI (Public Records Office Northern Ireland)

Baptisms 1803-1908; Marriages 1804-1907 (gaps 1806-1812); Burials 1826-1922; Banns 1849-62; Confirmation List 1824; Registry of Vestryman 1871-1920; Account Book 1889-1901; Vestry Minutes 1838-1937. PRONI Ref: MIC583/27-28, MIC1/307

Book – ‘Upon This Rock’ is a new and updated chronicle of the parish from father and son team, Gordon and Trevor Smyth. “This book captures wonderfully the history and stories of the Parish of Camus-Juxta-Mourne and in particular, the life of Christ Church”.

Christ Church Strabane (Church of Ireland), also known as Camus-Juxta-Mourne Parish Church.

Exterior view of Christ Church (Camus-juxta-Mourne), Strabane
Photograph by John Campbell


31st Oct. 1874
The foundation stone of a new parish church at Strabane will be laid on Tuesday next, 17th Nov. 1874, by her Grace the Duchess of Abercorn. The site and a handsome donation have been presented by the Bishop of Derry. The building will be in the early English Gothic style and will be erected from designs by Mr. John KENNEDY. The cost will be about £4,500.

New Episcopal Church Strabane

With this issue we give an illustration <above> of Christ Church, Strabane, County Tyrone, the foundation-stone of which, as we have already announced, was laid by the Duchess of Abercorn on the 17th inst. Being erected from a design by Mr. John Kennedy, of Londonderry, and was selected in a competition. It will comprise nave, aisles, and transept. The material will be the rubblestone of the locality, with freestone dressings.

Sittings will be provided for 400, exclusive of the choir. The benches will be of pitch pine, 8 ft. from back to back. The passages will be laid with red and black tiles, and the chancel with encaustic tiles. Mr. James M’CLAY of Strabane, is the contractor for the entire work, including heating and lighting. Cost £4200

The church is intended to be used in place of the old church of St. Comghall, erected two centuries ago, and in memory of the Rev. James SMITH, for 26 years, rector of the parish. ( from the Irish builder.)

19 Feb. 1881 marriage
February 16th at Christ Church Strabane by the Rev. Mervyn WILSON Mr. T. Thos. BURNS Limerick to Maggie eldest daughter of Mr. J. M’CANN Coleraine (Londonderry Sentinel)

16 Nov. 1883 marriage
November 13, at Christ Church, Strabane, by the Rev. Mervyn WILSON, Joseph DOHERTY, painter, Strabane, to Maggie, youngest daughter of John MOFFET, farmer, Turniskey, Pomeroy. (Derry Journal)

9 Feb 1884 marriage
January 31, Christ Church, Strabane, by the Rev. John M
MONTEITH, Mr. David LYONS, head groom, the Commercial Hotel, Strabane, to Annie CANNING, housekeeper same place. (Londonderry Sentinel )

Christ Church, Strabane 23 Mar 1885
A meeting of the Band of Hope in connection with the above church was held in the Parish School-house the other evening. There was a very large attendance, every available seat being occupied. The room, which was tastefully decorated for the occasion, presented a marked improvement on its old appearance. A permanent platform was erected at one end, upon which was conspicuous a new harmonium, a very handsome and beautifully toned instrument, purchased by the exertions of Miss H. M KEE, who gracefully presided at it during the evening. To this lady many thanks are due for the great interest and pains she has taken in the musical part of the Band of Hope entertainments. The chair was taken the Rev. W. G. RENNISON, in the absence of the Rector, who was suffering from a slight indisposition. After a few preliminary remarks by the Chairman, the programme was proceeded with, the chief features of which consisted of readings by Mr. John BAILLIE, Mr. DAVIS, and Mr. McLAUGHLIN, and songs by Miss Caroline GREEN, Mr. GALBRAITH, and Master M’CLAY. All were enthusiastically received by the audience, who showed much appreciation of the treat provided for them. The meeting, which was a very successful one, was brought to close by the singing of God Save the Queen. (Derry Journal)

7 May 1887 Christ Church Strabane Band of Hope Soiree

On Wednesday evening the children in connection with the above enjoyed a very pleasant treat by the kindness of Miss H. M’KEE. The parish school room was tastefully decorated for the occasion, the walls being covered with banners and the skillful devices by which ladies are wont to turn the most cheerless aspect into one presenting comfort and elegance. The tea-tables groaned under an abundance of good things. Flowers and fruit were interspersed with more substantial viands in the shape of plum-cake, &c. After the children, nearly 60 in number, had partaken of a plentiful repast, their parents and friends made their appearance, and the following programme was gone through. Chorus, The children are gathering solo, The Reign of the Roses,”

Miss STEVENSON reading
Miss H. M’KEE and Miss GREEN duet
chorus, Old Robert Storey
reading, Mr. KNOX
solo “Pretty Maid”, Miss GREEN
duet Hear me, Korma,” (?) Miss H. M’KEE and Miss STEVENSON

It is a most gratifying result of Miss M’KEE’S energy that the Band of Hope movement is making steady progress in Strabane and not only this, but also that the number of total abstainers of more advanced years is steadily on the increase. Miss M’KEE  is ably seconded this important work by the Misses GREEN, Miss M’DOUGAL and Miss May STEVENSON. These ladies are worthy of all praise; they have contributed large portions of their time and the musical talent with which they are endowed to forward a movement which must have most useful effects. Miss Kathleen BATES and Mr. and Mrs. MILLER, of Newtownstewart, helped largely to make the previous week’s musical entertainment a decided success. Miss M’KEE may be heartily congratulated upon such a successful wind-up to the meetings of the season. (Londonderry Sentinel)

9 Feb. 1888 marriage
February 8, at Christ Church, Strabane, by Rev. W. H. JOHNSTON M.A., John HOUSTON, cabinetmaker, to Ellen, youngest daughter of John JACK, both of Strabane. (Londonderry Sentinel)

14 Jun 1889 Marriage
June, 6, at Christ Church Strabane, by Rev. Mr. DELAP, Thomas STEWART to Maggie GRAHAM, both of Evish. (Tyrone Constitution)

5 Sept. 1889 Confirmation in Christ Church Strabane

A confirmation service was conducted in Christ Church, Strabane, yesterday. The service commenced by the Rev. Mr. DELAP (curate) reading the Litany and the congregation singing “Thine for ever, Lord love.” The Dean of Derry read the 8th Psalm, after which the Bishop of Derry addressed the communicants before putting the question to them, showing them how solemn an act they were about to perform. He preached a most eloquent and stirring sermon to the communicants, pointing out the deductions to be drawn from the act they were about to perform and the blessings which followed it. The number who presented themselves for confirmation was 78, this being the largest number that has come forward for a great many years past. The following clergymen were present and assisted at the service

Bishop ALEXANDER and Dean SMYLY, Derry
Rev. M. WILSON, rector, Camus
Rev. J.S. McCLINTOCK rector, Lifford

Rev. Mr. DELAP, Strabane
Rev. E. O’BRIEN, Lifford.
(Londonderry Sentinel)

9 Nov 1889 marriage
At Christ Church, Strabane, on the 1st inst. by the Rev. A. DELAP, James M’NAUL to Minnie DOHERTY, both of Strabane. (Coleraine Chronicle)

14 Jun. 1890
On Monday, the 3rd inst., in Christ Church, Strabane, County Tyrone, the marriage of Mr John POLLOCK and Miss Kate H. McCLAY was solemnised by the Rev. A. H. DELAP in the presence of a large and fashionable concourse of friends. The bride was very tastefully attired in a brown travelling costume, and was attended by Miss F. HEPBURN, Miss Minnie McCLAY and Miss LOVE as bridesmaids. Mr J. R. DONNELL ably supported the bridegroom as best man. After the ceremony the happy couple left Strabane by train for London via Belfast and Liverpool amidst the ringing of joybells and the acclamations of the assembled populace. Apart from the favour they gained through their musical proclivities, Mr POLLOCK and Miss McCLAY enjoyed a wide popularity, which was amply attested to by the numberless valuable wedding presents they received. (Irish Society)

12 Sept. 1890 marriage
September 4. at Christ Church, Strabane, County Tyrone, by the Lord Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, assisted the Rev. Mervyn WILSON, father of the bride, the Rev. J, J. MOUTRAY L.L.D., the Rev. Canon OLPHERT and the Rev. A. DELAP, Mervyn MOUTRAY, Killymoon Castle, Cookstown to Helena Claraline, 2nd daughter the Rev. Mervyn WILSON, of Camus Rectory, Strabane. (Tyrone Constitution)

17 Sept. 1891 marriage
September 16, Christ Church, Strabane. Rev. Mervyn WILSON, rector. Charles BOYD to Maggie A. DICKSON, both of Strabane. (Londonderry Sentinel)

18 Aug. 1893 marriage
August 13, Christ Church, Strabane, by Rev. Mervyn Wilson, Sergeant Thomas KEANE, 5th Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers, Lifford, to Maggie, eldest daughter of James KINCH merchant Strabane. (Tyrone Constitution)

31 Oct. 1894
The Master acknowledged, (of Strabane Workhouse) with thanks, the receipt of large packets of papers and periodicals from Mrs. M’FARLANE of Melmount and Mrs. A. T. BROWN, of Strabane. He also reported having received during the week for the use of the inmates a large quantity of fruit from the Rev. Mr. DELAP, and the decorations used at Christ Church. Strabane, during the Harvest Thanksgiving Service. The Board considered this a very thoughtful act on Mr. DELAP’S part. (Derry Journal)

12 Dec. 1894 Opening of the organ in Christ Church Strabane

Right Rev. Dr. ALEXANDER, the Lord Bishop Derry and Raphoe, will preach tomorrow at 12 noon on the occasion of the opening of the new organ in Christ Church, Strabane. The Duke and Duchess of Abercorn, the Marquis and Marchioness of Hamilton, and the Baronscourt party are likely to be present. The musical service will be of exceptional merit, the choir being strengthened by a number of the choristers from Derry Cathedral. The organ, which has cost £400, has been built by Messrs. R. CONACHER & Co., of Huddersfield and Dublin, the builders of about 700 organs in the United Kingdom. The specification was drawn up by Dr. D, C. JONES (Fellow of the Royal College of Organists) and in the quality of tone and finish of workmanship displayed the builders have fully kept up their great reputation. There will be evening service at 7:30 o’clock, which Rev. Frank SMITH, M.A., rector Stratford-on-Avon, will be the preacher. Dr. JONES, Derry, will preside at the organ. The offertory will be in aid of the organ fund. (Derry Journal)

7 Feb. 1896 Strabane Parish of Camus-Juxta-Mourne

Interesting Congregational Reunion
Following the enjoyable entertainment provided by her Grace the Duchess of Abercorn, for the children attending the new day school in connection with the above parish, a largely-attended and a most successful reunion of the members of the congregation took place in the handsome and commodious schoolrooms Thursday evening. This being practically the first social reunion of the kind since the appointment of the Rev. A. DELAP rector of Christ Church. Strabane, the event was looked forward to by both minister and people with pleasing anticipations and every effort was put forth to make the occasion a memorable one in the annals of the congregation. Towards this end, the rector and Mrs DELAP willingly assisted by a number of ladies worked most energetically for some time past, and they had the satisfaction of seeing their efforts crowned with great success. The primary object of the meeting was to bring the members of the congregation together so that they might get to know each other more intimately, and thereby have their sympathies enlarged, class prejudices removed, and feeling of brotherly love and kindly cooperation engendered amongst them, so that the various branches of Church work might be carried on in the future with more success and satisfaction than ever before.

In order that the poorest members might not be debarred from the privilege of participating in the pleasures of the evening tickets were issued at a merely nominal figure, three of a family being admitted for one shilling. Such thoughtful consideration had its reward in an over-flowing attendance, there being between two and three hundred people present. All the arrangements were complete as possible and were carried out in a manner highly creditable to those responsible. The Interior of the new hall presented quite a brilliant and attractive appearance. The tables. Instead of arranged the usual stiff way and orthodox style, were laid out more after the manner of afternoon tea in the social circle and were adorned with a charming variety of seasonal flowers and plants in pots. In addition to abundant supply of rich fruit-cake and confectionery, supplied Miss WILSON, many of the ladies supplemented the good things in store by special contributions of their own baking, so that there was no lack of novelties.

The following ladies had charge of the tea-tables;

Mrs M’Farlane
Mrs Thompson
Mrs French
Miss Hamilton
Mrs Craig
Miss R. Graham
Miss Graham
Miss M’Elwee
Mrs Robinson
Miss Robinson
Mrs M’Clenaghan
Mrs Delap
Miss Butler
Mrs Keayly
Miss Love
Mrs Chambers
Miss Moore
Mrs Dunlop
the Misses Hamilton
Mrs Erskine
Miss Dunncan
the Misses Coyle
Mrs Thos. Pollock
Miss Hepburn
Mrs Simms
Miss Storr
Mrs Clarke
Miss Clarke
Miss Scott

The stewards were;

J. Craig
W W M’Kew
R .J. Cralg
R. Graham
W. W. Robinson
James Robinson
A. Erskine
A. Ross
S. J. Seeds
J. Graham
J. Blackburn
J. B. Murphy
T. R. Withrington
James Thompson
R. A. E M’Keon?
S. M’Clay

After tea the chair was taken by the Rev. A. DELAP and thanks having been returned by singing the doxology a well-arranged programme was taken up, the opening item being a song by Mr. J. CRAIG. Then there were songs by Miss ROBINSON, Rev. Dr. MILLER (rector of Donegal). Miss M’KEE and Miss Jenny PERRY and a recitation by Mr. S. J. SEEDS.

At this stage of the proceedings the programme was varied by interesting addresses by the chairman, Rev Robert MILLER and Rev. S. St. George M’CLENAGHAN, rector of Killaghtee.

The Chairman in an earnest and practical speech, dwelt particularly on themes connected with the parish, and the work to be done in it. He said the reason he took precedence of the other guests, who were to address them, was because he wished to speak of the work in general, while they would deal with particulars. He knew there were many complaints about work undone and badly done and he freely admitted there was too much ground for such, but he wished to remind the congregation; 1st, that they had got mere man, full of faults and imperfections, prejudices and ignorances, as their pastor. 2nd, that the work was too great for him and that help was much needed. The aim and ideal of parish life was a body alive, organised and differentiated for work; the work done mutual help within; and outside the parish.

(edited here)

Referring particularly to their own church, the Chairman said l am thankful to see so many tokens of loving care for its adornment.The beautiful structure itself, the noble east window, the other coloured windows, the font, the pulpit, the desks, the organ and the beautiful text above the chancel arch, the new brass standards, all tokens of thoughtful care for the beauty and dignity God’s house. I understand a member of the congregation is providing new markers in place of the present ones, which are getting shabby. We want still, hymn boards, kneeling pads and cushions for the seats without them; and some time, perhaps, we may be able to fill the north and south transept windows with some of the noble stonework for which our country was ever famous. Speaking of the services in the church and the responsibilities of the members of the congregation attending them, he said, “We must be there in body and spirit.”

A Sunday-school superintendent is wanted. We want laymen and laywomen to take charge of prayer-meetings, to visit, to distribute, to teach in Dergalt National Schools, in parish schools, and Sunday-schools. We want an energetic temperance committee for adult and Band of Hope work. We want more and more earnest prayers and workers for mission work. The speaker concluded by asking for volunteers for the various departments of parochial work. The Rev. Robert MILLER, rector of Donegal, then delivered an interesting and very earnest address on the subject of temperance.

The Rev. H. St. George M’CLENAGHAN, rector of Killaghtee, then delivered an excellent address on the subject of missions. dealt principally with the excuses made for not taking any part in missionary work.

Songs were given with much ability and satisfaction by
Miss Martha COYLE
Miss ROBINSON sang a song entitled “Fiddle and I” and was accompanied on the violin by her brother, Mr Wadham ROBINSON.

The other accompaniments were played by Miss ROBINSON

At the close of the programme the usual votes of thanks were passed to the tea-makers, singers, and all who had contributed to the success of the entertainment and a most enjoyable meeting was brought to a close by singing the National Anthem. (Tyrone Constitution)

30 Jun. 1897 A Strabane Bigamy Case. The Accused Pleads Guilty

On Monday at the Petty Sessions held at Strabane before;

Mr. Alex. WEIR J.P.
Captain Wm. KNOX J.P.

A young man, named Sam’l FINLAY, Strabane foundry worker, was brought up in custody on a charge of bigamy. The offence set out on the summons was that defendant, being a married man, did at Strabane, on the 2nd April 1894 unlawfully and feloniously marry one Esther WREY <sic>, his former wife, Isabella FINLAY (alias SHIELDS), being then alive. Both the women concerned were in attendance. One of them belongs to Belfast, and the other is native of Strabane.

Mr. DICKIE, on behalf of the Crown. The accused was not professionally represented.

The 1st witness called was Sarah M’CULLY 62 Lesson street, Belfast, who deposed that she was living in Belfast in February, 1886. She knew Samuel FINLAY, prisoner, for about 12 months previous to that date. She could not say where he was living at that time. She was present at the marriage between accused and SHIELDS, (now Isabella FINLAY). The prisoner was not living in the same house with Isabella SHIELDS at the time of the marriage. It took place in St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Belfast. The officiating clergyman was Father CONVERY, now parish priest of Cushendall. She (Sarah M’CULLY) was one of the witnesses to the marriage. The prisoner and his wife lived together for some time afterwards.

Isabella FINLAY has one child. She is still alive, and is here in court today. (witness here identified the marriage certificate which she had signed, and which was put in evidence)

Catherine WRAY, Strabane, deposed -I have a half-sister called Esther WRAY. I know the prisoner, Samuel INLAY; In April 1894; I was present at the marriage between prisoner and my half-sister; April, 1894, I was a witness to the marriage. It took place at Christ Church, Strabane, which is known as the Parish Church of Camus-juxta-Mourne.

The Prisoner – “That was a change.” (laughter)

Witness – “The marriage was celebrated by Mr. TOMPKINS. My sister, Esther, was then living with her father, Wm. WRAY, who is a pensioner. Witness here identified the marriage certificate, which was put in evidence. she was not cross examined.

Esther WRAY (alias FINLAY) deposed – In Apr. 1894, I was married to the prisoner in Strabane Parish Church. He represented to me that he was a widower and had one child; he told me his former wife was dead.

Prisoner – “She has had a resurrection, I fear.:

Witness – My father’s name is William WRAY. The prisoner has lived with me since we were married, except when he went off to get work.

The Prisoner – “I did not desert you and I will come back and live with you again when I get out.”

This closed the case for the Crown and Mr. DICKIE asked that the accused be returned for trial at the next assizes. The chairman, having cautioned the prisoner, said if he wished to make any statement they would hear it.

The Prisoner – “The only thing I wish to say is that I plead guilty to the charge here and I will also plead guilty at the assizes. I may say I have not been living with this woman (Isabella FINLAY) for 10 years. I think she should be tried for not living with me. (laughter) The Prisoner asked to be liberated on bail, but Mr. DICKIE said he would require very substantial bail and therefore, he thought bail should not be granted. The prisoner was then returned for trial at the assizes. (Derry Journal)

16 July 1897
Samuel FINLAY sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour (Tyrone Constitution)

8 Oct 1897 marriage
September 30, at Christ’s Church, Strabane by the  Rev. A. H. Delap, William, 5th son of Charles SHANNON, Ennesclin, to Lizzie, 3rd daughter of Alexander VIRTUE Strabane. (Derry Journal)

Interior view of Christ Church (Camus-juxta-Mourne), Strabane
Photograph by John Campbell

2 Sept. 1901 married
August 28, at Christ Church Strabane, by the Rev. A. Delap, Rev. J. Olphert, and Rev. F. M. Hamilton, John Claudius, 4th Royal inniskilling Fusiliers, only son of Emerson Tennant HERDMAN Esq., D.L., of Sion Honse, Co. Tyrone, to Maud Harriet, youngest daughter of Major-General A. CLARK- KENNEDY of Camus, Strabane, Co. Tyrone. (Derry Journal)

26 Jun. 1903 married
June 24, at Christ Church Strabane, by the Rev. A. H. Delap, Rector of Strabane, assisted by Rev. A. J. Hunter, Rector of Lifford, Charles John BRENNAN, Belfast, to Charlotte Kathleen, daughter of Robert MAGEE Strabane. (Belfast Newsletter)

4 May 1912 married
April 10th, at Christ Church, Strabane, by the Rev. A. H. Delap B.A., rector, W. J. M’K. CRAIG, son of Mr. David CRAIG Ardstraw, to Kathleen May, daughter of Mrs. R. J. CRAIG Courthouse, Strabane. (Strabane Weekly News)

15 June 1912 married
May 15th, 1912, Christ Church Strabane, by the Rev. A. H. Delap, B.A., rector, Andrew DUNN, son of Mr. David DUNN, Ballydian, Co. Down, to Annie E. H., daughter of Mrs. CRAIG, Courthouse Strabane. (Strabane Weekly News)

compiled, extracted & transcribed from the noted resources by Teena