Sunday, 31 October 2021

Derry Palace

THE see of Derry was constituted in 1158.

It originated in a monastery founded by St Columb, about 545, of which some of the abbots at a very early period were styled bishops; but the title of Bishop of Derry was not established until 1158, or even a century later, as the bishops, whose See was at Londonderry, were sometimes called Bishops of Tyrone.

The See first existed at Ardstraw, where St Eugene, the first bishop, died about 618.

It was subsequently transferred to Maghera, whence it was transferred to Derry.

By an inquisition in 1622, the Bishop was found to be entitled to fish for salmon on the Monday after the 4th June, within the great net fishery belonging to the London Society; also to half the tithe of salmon, etc, caught in the River Bann and Lough Foyle.

Bishop Hopkins, who died in 1690, was at great expense in beautifying the cathedral and furnishing it with organs and massive plate; and is said to have spent £1,000 in buildings and other improvements in this diocese and that of Raphoe.

Episcopal Arms of Derry & Raphoe
(Image: Will's Cigarette Card)

Derry continued to be a separate bishopric until the death of Dr Bissett, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, 1836, when that See was annexed to the diocese of Derry, and its temporalities became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

Its greatest length is 60 miles, and its greatest breadth 54 miles, extending into four counties.

It comprises parts of counties Londonderry, Tyrone, Donegal, and Antrim.

The Palace: Garden Front (Image: Robert French)

THE PALACE, adjoining the cathedral, was built in 1753 by the Right Rev William Barnard, Lord Bishop of Derry, 1747-68.

It comprises a square Georgian block of three storeys over a high basement.

It is thought that the palace was extended ca 1800 by the Earl-Bishop, the Right Rev Frederick Augustus Hervey.

It was damaged in 1802 while occupied as a barrack and subsequently repaired by the Right Rev and Hon William Knox.

Former Bishop's Palace (Image: Northern Regional College)

The former gardens at the sides and rear of the palace have been replaced by a more prosaic car-park.

The palace was sold by the Church of Ireland in 1945-6 to the Freemasons.

First published in October, 2015.


Mark Brown said...

The garden to the rear is now a car park. Run and maintained by the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland. Freemasons still own this building and a small plot to the side for their own car parking.

Unknown said...

Do you have information on houses surrounding the city? Creevagh, Caw, Molenan etc?