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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:

Date of Construction:
1780 - 1799

Address :
Holy Trinity Church Cumber Lower Claudy County Londonderry


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
25/05/1976 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
C5182 0903

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

Church of Ireland, Board of First Fruits, Norman-Romanesque style church, built c.1796, located to the south of the Glenshane Road, outside the village of Claudy. Rectangular plan form with three bays and three-stage bell tower to west end, the tower being added in the late Nineteenth Century. South side central bay has pedimented gable over a round arched window with recessed plate tracery comprising of a pair of arched windows with a small circular window above. Projecting chancel to east end has stepped quoins, slight battering to base of walls, sandstone skews and cinquefoil tracery to large window. South elevation has three bays, with central bay having projecting pedimented gable. Coursed rubble schist walls with stepped ashlar plinth and dressed sandstone to openings, string courses and skews. Modern pointing to stonework throughout. Lead cover flashing to string courses. Three round arched windows with recessed plate tracery, stone voussoirs to arched head and recessed head and deep sandstone cills. Three-stage bell tower to west end has sandstone string course at each level, with dressed quoins to upper stages and stone battlements to parapet roof. The top stage of the tower, on all elevations, has recessed walling with castellated lintels creating pilasters to corners and centre, containing arched openings to bell chamber with protective screen; the middle stage on west, north and east elevations contains an oculus window with sandstone surround. At the base of the tower, on the south elevation, a pedimented doorcase contains modern paired timber entrance doors set within smooth architraves, under shallow arch constructed using slim stone voussoirs. Lead covering to top edge of pediment. Modern concrete ramp with metal rail to west side of door, four concrete steps to landing immediately in front of entrance doors. Walls to chancel at east end coursed rubble schist with slight battering to base. West elevation of bell-tower has round headed arched window with plate tracery and dressed sandstone architrave and keystone at lowest stage. North elevation of bell-tower has blind wall at lowest level. Elevation to nave has coursed rubble schist walling with modern rendered ‘L’ shaped extension with slate pitched and lean-to roof, metal rainwater goods, modern timber windows and doors. No openings to nave. East elevation comprises projecting gable containing chancel with battered stone walls as before and stone skews to gable of main church. Large equilateral arched window opening with geometrical tracery consisting of cinquefoil embellishment. Roof of nave re-slated in 1997 using natural slate. Cast-iron rainwater goods on projecting eaves corbel. Steeply pitched roof to chancel with crested cast-iron ridge, skews to gable and small trefoil finial. Setting: Church is set in its own grounds, to the south of the Glenshane Road, outside the village of Claudy. It is bounded by hedges and has a curved wall at entrance. Steel gates set within stone gate piers mark vehicular entrance from road. Pedestrian gate in north boundary hedge comprises modern steel gate with steel posts. Gravel area around whole of church building includes a gravel drive from entrance gates to church. A graveyard is located to south and west of church with large mausoleum to the Acheson family located immediately in front of south elevation. Cast-iron lamp standards within grounds. Materials: Roof: Natural slate RWG: Cast-iron Walling: Schist and sandstone Windows: Plate tracery


Not Known

Historical Information

In 1789 the parish of Cumber was divided into Upper and Lower sections. It had been originally proposed to build the new parish church for Cumber Lower at Brackfield on the farm of a Mr Simpson. However, when this was not possible a site was chosen in the townland of Killaloo. A number of sources give the date of building for this church as 1796. Its architect is not known, but it was built with a gift of £460 from the Board of First Fruits. Ordnance Survey maps show the church as a rectangular structure with a square projection on its north side. The plan of the tower does not appear to be shown on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1830 though later 6-inch maps show the main body slightly more elongated to take account of the chancel. The latter seems to have been constructed in the mid 1870s for, according to Curl (p. 296), in 1874 the Skinners’ Company of London contributed generously to the new chancel of the church. The Norman belfry to the tower is believed to have been added in the late nineteenth century (Rowan, p. 190). In 1994 extensive repairs to the church were proposed and a specification was drawn up by Caroline Dickson Architects. These were given NIEA approval in July 1994. The parishioners decided to undertake the works in stages. An inspection report submitted to NIEA in November 1997 noted that the following works had been carried out: the building had been re-roofed with second-hand natural slate, the previous ridge tiles had been used, new lead soakers and cover flashes had been fitted, the previous roughcast render had been retained on the north side, the stonework on the south façade had been repointed, and new stairs to the balcony and pulpit had been added. The churchyard includes a mausoleum of 1870 to the family of Acheson Lyle of the Oaks. References - Primary Sources 1. PRONI First Valuation fieldbook, c. 1835 – VAL/1/B/552 2. PRONI Valuation Revision Books, 1860-1929 – VAL/12/B/32/5A-F 3. PRONI Valuation map, 1856 – VAL/2/A/5/22C 4. PRONI Ordnance Survey 6-inch map, 1830 – OS/6/5/22/1 5. PRONI Ordnance Survey 6-inch map, 1904-32 – OS/6/5/22/3 6. NIEA First Survey record – HB01/02/008 7. NIEA HB Records – HB01/02/008 References - Secondary Sources 1. J.B. Leslie, Derry Clergy and Parishes (Enniskillen, 1937) 2. J. Rutherford, Cumber Presbyterian Church and Parish (Londonderry, 1939) 3. Alistair J. Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (Harmondsworth, 1979) 4. James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-1914 (Chichester, 1986) 5. Angélique Day & Patrick McWilliams, Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol. 28, 32-33 6. David W. T. Crooks, Living Stones. A Historical Survey of the Churches of the Dioceses of Derry and Raphoe (2001) Online sources Dictionary or Irish Architects:

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form H-. Alterations detracting from building H+. Alterations enhancing the building I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

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


A Norman-Romanesque style Church of Ireland church, built c.1796 with assistance from the Board of First Fruits and constructed of coursed rubble schist with sandstone detailing. The church is located to the south of Glenshane Road approximately 3km north-west of Claudy. The graveyard located in the grounds contains a large mausoleum of 1870 to Acheson Lyle of the Oaks (HB01/02/003). The rectangular plan form of three bays, the central bay with a pedimented gable, was extended to the east in 1874 with the addition of the chancel and to the west with the three-stage bell tower in the late nineteenth century. Despite the lean-to extension to the north elevation the overall composition of the church and its tower is harmonious and its proportions are elegant. This rural church is a fine and rare example of a Norman-Romanesque style Church of Ireland church. It retains a wealth of original fabric and is one of relatively few dating from the late eighteenth century. The church in its setting demonstrates the refined character typical of the period and continues to display all of the characteristics that make it a building of special architectural and historic interest. The church is of significant social importance to the surrounding community.

General Comments

Additional listing criteria apply - R-Age, S-Authenticity, T-Historic Importance & U-Historic Associations

Date of Survey

18 June 2014