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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 1849 and 1858, 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.                

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