Skip to content

Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Church, gates piers and walling

Date of Construction:
1600 - 1649

Address :
Lissan Church of Ireland Parish Church Churchtown 1 Lissan Road Cookstown Co Londonderry BT80 8EN


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
01/10/1975 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
H8055 8291

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

A small slated and gabled church of mainly roughcast finish comprising a nave and undivided chancel, with a long gabled porch projecting to the south and a short gabled vestry and toilet to the rear. It stands on a slightly elevated site facing the main road and set back slightly from it within its own grounds, in a rural area. The main entance faces south. The south elevation consists of a long nave with a slightly projecting short rectangular blind stair bay to the left of a deep projecting open porch, and a long wall containing three windows to the right of it, from the right end extremity of which extends a later full-height buttress of raking profile. The roof of the nave is of Bangor blue slates in regular courses and the rainwater goods are of aluminium and cast iron. Walling is mainly roughcast render except for the stair bay and the set back corner of the west gable. The stair bay is of roughly coursed grey, blue, and red rubble, with roughly squared sandstone quoins. Its narrow western face contains a low rectangular timber boarded doorway with a segmental red stone relieving arch, surmounted by a semi-circular headed stained glass stair window set in a red brick arch with brick and sandstone dressings to the jambs. The corner of the west gable which is visible beyond the stair bay consists of exposed stonework for most of its height, comprising red and grey quoins, an inscribed sundial, and a battered base of smooth cement render. The front gable of the porch is also of rubble stonework, with raised block quoins in smooth cement render to the extremities, and contains an open semi-circuar arched entrance dressed in moulded sandstone ashlar, blocked at the jambs, and incorporating a red brick outer arch. The sides of the porch are roughcast rendered. The roof of the porch is slated as previous to the nave, with timber barge boards. Windows in the nave are semi-circular headed, the two larger containing stained glass, set in plain reveals, the third being a very narrow slit-like lancet containing simple square pattern leaded panes in a timber frame, set in splayed grey and red sandstone reveals. The west gable of the nave is battered at the base, and is surmounted by a stone bellcote, constructed of ashlar sandstone, which has a semi-circular arched opening, hung with a bell, and surmounted by a pedimental gable to the two main faces. The nave gable contains a large semi-circular headed two-light timber framed Y-traceried window containing lattice-pattern leaded glazing with storm glazing over it. High up at the right hand extremity of the gable is a stone sun-dial exposed where the later render has been cut around it. It is dated 1732. The return face of it which is also inscribed is exposed on the south corner of the gable. The north or rear elevation of the nave is of similar character and materials to the front, but with a batter to the base. There are two large windows in the nave wall, semi-circular headed and three-light with a transom, containing leaded glazing in timber frames with storm glazing over it. The two low gabled projections form a vestry and a toilet and are of similar materials to the main church, but with rectangular windows which include top-hung vents. The east gable of the nave contains a large semi-circular headed three-light ashlar sandstone dressed window of semi-circular arched lancets and cusped tracery lights. It contains stained glass and is protected by storm glazing. Projecting from the right hand corner of the gable is a low battered buttress-like projection, while at the left hand side is a broad and bulky full height buttress with flat slab copings. SETTING: The churchyard is mainly grassed, with some trees, and contains a variety of what appears to be mainly 19th and 20th century memorials. The church is approached by a broad concrete driveway flanked each side by roughcast rendered retaining walls to the grass burial ground, and entered from the roadway through a main gateway set in a roughcast rendered front boundary wall. The rear boundary wall is of rubble stonework. The main gateway comprises a pair of ironwork gates, hung between large square piers which are smooth rendered, lined, and blocked and have broad sandstone caps


Not Known

Historical Information

The precise date of building is not recorded but the essential block of the present building is shown on the OS map of 1833. In 1837 it was described as being "a plain and very ancient structure with an east window of stained glass". There is a date of 1618 inscribed on the wall just inside the doorway to the nave, there is a date of 1685 on the font, and the east window commemorates Rev George Walker, Governor of Derry in 1689, who was rector of this parish in 1688-90. A survey in 1693 reported "the walls and roofs of Lissan Church in good repair". There is also a stone sun-dial, built into the corner of the west gable and south wall of the church, which is dated 1732. The bellcote is in a Georgian Classical style which suggests an 18th century date for it, and some traceried windows are in a Georgian Gothic style which also suggest an 18th century date for them. The gallery appears to be of 19th century date and may date from the improvements recorded in 1861. The church clearly presents an amalgam of different periods but in general and overall architectural form it may be said to represent an early 17th century church which has 18th and 19th century additions to its structure, with later 20th century additions to its furnishings. References - Primary Sources 1. OS Map 1833, Co Londonderry 46. 2. Inscribed date of 1618 on the wall of the nave. 3. RCB Library. Unsigned drawings dated 3rd September 1861. Portfolio 2B. Secondary Sources 1. S. Lewis, A topographical dictionary of Ireland (London, 1837), Vol 2, p 287. 2. J.B. Leslie, Armagh Clergy and Parishes (Dundalk, 1911), pp 348-350. 3. J.B. Leslie, Supplement to Armagh Clergy and Parishes (Dundalk, 1948), p 132. 4. A.J. Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North-West Ulster (Harmondsworth, 1979), p 362.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Z. Rarity V. Authorship Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance


This is a small and unpretentious church of modest size but long foundation which presents an interesting mixture of well proportioned elements and more informal parts. It bears inscribed dates of the 17th century, in its interior wall and on its font, while also exhibiting a blend of Georgian Classical and Georgian Gothic features, in the bellcote and some traceried windows respectively, as well as displaying a built-in 18th century date. Other features date from the Victorian age, and this amalgam of different periods illustrates a long process of historic development, and is manifested in a structure of considerable visual charm. Its picturesque quality is enhanced by the pleasant setting which relies on such supporting elements as the boundary walls, gate piers, and gates.

General Comments

Date of Survey

30 November 2007