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Abandoned Ireland – Tarquin Blake on St Mary’s

In 2015, Tarquin Blake published a book “Abandoned Churches of Ireland” – click on the image below to see the book’s website.

http://www.abandonedireland.com/Abandoned%20Churches%20of%20Ireland.html

The book contains some notes on St Mary’s Clonmethan. We will not reproduce the comments in full here (lest we break copyright), but some words from the book give us some insights in the story of St Mary’s.

According to Blake, the church was first mentioned in 1216. By 1654, the church was in a state of disrepair, but was rebuilt with the help of the Board of First Fruits in 1818. In 1834, the parish population was noted as including eight Church of Ireland members and over 600 Roman Catholics.

Blake nte sthe last marriage in the church was in 1917, and the last baptism in 1933. The church closed in 1960.

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Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland and Rev Aldhouse

As you may have seen on some earlier posts, Rev F H Aldhouse was the last rector at St . Mary’s Clonmethan. It seems we – the Friends of Clonmethan – shared a common interest with him. Rev Aldhouse was a member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, a society whose mission is to  ‘preserve, examine and illustrate all ancient monuments and memorials of the arts, manners and customs of the past, as connected with the antiquities language, literature and history of Ireland’ – see http://rsai.ie/about/. According to the society’s journal, (Vol 6, No 2), Rev Aldhouse as admitted as a member at a meeting held at ‘the Society’s Rooms, 6 St Stephen’s Green, 26 September 1916’. He was proposed by W. Cotter Stubbs, who was a member of the society’s council.

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Remembering a Rector and War Chaplin

Postponed until a later date due to Covid 19 restrictions.

War-time France 1917 and bucolic North County Dublin – it is difficult to imagine two completely different places to work as a clergyman. However, that is what happened when Reverend Frederick Aldhouse swapped his parish in Oldtown for the battlefields of France.

A local community group The Friends of Clonmethan have been working  for some time to improve the churchyard and grounds of Saint Mary’s Church in Oldtown, the parish of Reverend Aldhouse. The church had become overgrown since its closure in 1960 but an active group of people have been working away – mowing the grass, removing ivy and restoring the entrance gates. All the work has been done against the background of Covid-19, while adhering to HSE protocols on Social Distancing.

On Friday 28th August at 7pm, Archbishop Michael Jackson will bless a new headstone to Reverend FH Aldhouse, the last resident Rector of the parish.  Also in attendance will be Rector Neal Phair from Swords Group of Parishes and Father John Keegan from Rolestown parish.  

A noted writer and poet, Reverend Aldhouse initially came to St Mary’s in 1914.  He saw service as a Chaplain in The First World War, returning to Clonmethan in 1919 where he remained as Rector until his death in August 1949. Frederick Aldhouse provided comfort to soldiers as their Padre during the Great War, to the Church of Ireland members of the village and to his neighbours and friends of all faiths.  Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Clonmethan, his final resting place is marked with a beautiful headstone inscribed with some of his poetry.

Clonmethan Church is located 750 metres from the village of Oldtown on the R122 in the direction of Naul.

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Views from above

Some great work has gone on this week. Some of the Friends of Clonmethan were cleared for take-off – well, put into a boom lift – to clean off plaster and ivy from the upper reaches of the church. Some great views from on high.

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Remembering the Battle of Passchendaele…

Today marks the anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele which began on the 31st July 1917. We pay tribute to all who were involved. Here is a picture of wild poppies growing in a field in St. Margaret’s which feels very fitting for the day that’s in it.

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In short: The life of Frederick Henry Aldhouse.

A few weeks ago we marked the final resting place of Rev Aldhouse. Below is a short history of his life.

Frederick Henry Aldhouse was born on 1st November 1873 in Dublin, to Frederick Stephen Aldhouse and Francis Harriette Aldhouse (nee Hime). He attended Trinity College receiving his BA in 1898 and his MA in 1901. At this time he was preaching in Castlebar from 1899 to 1902. In 1902, he moved to St Doloughs in Malahide Co Dublin as Curate. After his spell in Malahide he went on to Clonmethan church near Oldtown in 1914.

Around November 1916, Frederick volunteered his service during the first world war. He served in France with YMCA as a chaplain in May 1917. He later traveled to India in November 1918 and then returned to London in February 1919. After arriving home from volunteering his services he was awarded the British War Medal.

He then returned to Clonmethan Church in 1919. From this time onward he was a comfort to his parishioners, a good friend to his neighbours. Heremained in Clonmethan and wrote prolifically until the end of life on 30th August 1949. May he rest in peace.

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Rev F. H. Aldhouse remembered

Today just before noon, our community paid tribute to Rev F H Aldhouse. He provided comfort to his comrades as their padre during the Great War (1914-18), to the Church of Ireland members of our village and to his neighbours and friends of all faiths. Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Clonmethan. His final resting place is marked with a most magnificent stone in the graveyard, with some of his own poetry inscribed  thereon. Do call in and pay your respects in not too distant future.

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Captured in a painting…

My 16yo daughter painted the picture below recently, at my request of course. I think she worked from a photo here on the blog. If anyone knows of other paintings, let us know as it would be great to capture them here.

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And let there be light

Genesis 1:3 – God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And there is now light at Clonmethan, probably for the first time in 60 years or more. Well done to all.

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Clonmethan and The Board of First Fruits

The Board of First Fruits was an arm of the Church of Ireland, established in 1711 by Queen Anne. Its goal was to improve churches and glebe houses in Ireland. In or around 1811, the church and glebe at Clonmethan received a total of £837 10s. as shown by the parliamentary records extract below.

In today’s terms, this amount equates to about £39,000. At the time, it could buy 79 horses, 930 stones of wool or pay wages of a skilled tradesman for 5583 days (source:https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/).