Sunday, 27 June 2021

St Anne's Church, Belfast

The old parish church of St Anne, so named after the wife of the 5th Earl and 1st Marquess of Donegall, once stood on the site of the present Cathedral in Donegall Street, Belfast.

The Brown Linen Hall, of 1754, originally stood on this site.

It was demolished twenty years later to make way for St Anne's parish church.

The Belfast News Letter reported at the time that,
"On Saturday last, the Church of this town [in High Street] was thrown down, and on the Monday following the foundations of a new one were begun to be sunk."
The said Church was the old Corporation Church in High Street, where St George's now stands.

The new parish church, at Donegall Street, was funded by the town's landlord, Lord Donegall.

The architect was Francis Hiorne, of Warwick, assisted by the Belfast architect, Roger Mulholland.

St Anne's stood in a recess on the east side of Donegall Street.

Nave of St Anne's Parish Church looking towards the Apse (Image: Robert John Welch, 1899)

It was constructed of brick, with a wooden tower and a cupola made of copper.

Its front was adorned with a handsome Doric portico and attic balustrade.

The tower was of two stages, and in the Ionic order; and its cupola had Corinthian ornaments, surmounted by a spiral termination.

While the church was being built the congregation had the use of the Second Presbyterian Church in Rosemary Street.

The Rights and parish silver of the old Corporation church were duly transferred to St Anne's.

In 1775, the bell of St Anne’s Church was donated by the Charitable Society for the church it had intended to build as part of its proposed Poorhouse and Hospital.

St Anne's Church: Nave & Pulpit from the Apse (Image: Robert John Welch)

In the event, the church was not built, but the bell was placed prominently in the new premises and used into the 20th century.

In 1776, St Anne’s Church was consecrated.

An entry in the Henry Joy: Historical Collection for Sunday, October 27th, reported that,
“The elegant new Church erected here by the Earl of Donegall was consecrated by the Bishop of Down and Connor” - Dr Traill.
In 1778, John Wesley preached in St Anne’s.

The old parish church of St Anne continued in use until the 31st December, 1903, while the nave of the new cathedral was built around it.

The old church was thereafter demolished.

First published in July, 2013.


Anonymous said...

A very fine looking building.

Scott Speakman said...

My 3rd great grandparents were married in St. Anne's Church 6 April 1830. A few years later the immigrated to America.