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St Patrick's Church, Templepatrick

St Patrick's church

A brief history:

The church of Patrick may have existed from the 5th century in this part of the Six Mile Water valley. The Holy Well at which converts were reputedly baptised by Patrick was still in existence in the early 20th century.

The Castle of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem occupied the site of Castle Upton from the thirteenth centry until the Reformation. It was the principle monastic priory of the diocese, controlled by the Ards Preceptory of St. John. This military order of monks - originally known as Hospitallers (after a hospital in Jerusalem dedicated to St John the Baptist) and now known as the Knights of Malta - served as Knights Templars in King Edward's Crusades in the Holy Lands. Only the cemetery containing the Mausoleum of the Templetown family remains today.

The present parish church in Templepatrick was originally dedicated to St John, possibly because of the association with the Knights of St John. The dedication was changed in 1886 by Bishop Reeves and it became St Patrick's. Consecrated in 1827, it was built at a cost of £830, a gift from the Board of First Fruits. In 1889 a new chancel, East window, vestry room and organ chamber were added and at the West end of the building a baptistry, choir vestry and porch. This was possible through the generosity of members of the Templetown family. All these improvements are recorded as having cost £900.

From 1898 the Rector was responsible for the adjoining parish of Donegore, although the union of the two parishes was not official until 1922.

St Patrick's church contains a fine Haighton organ built between 1827 and 1840, and an interesting brass font which originally belonged to a church in Sebastopol on the Crimean peninsula.

Restoration work was completed in 1993 after an extensive outbreak of dry rot was discovered. During the restoration some faint traces of a large mural were found on the north wall, and also uncovered were wrought iron roof arches similar to those in other churches built in the early 19th century.

Here is a link for information on St. John's Church