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Saint Mary's Lavey up until 30th April 2018 ad.

Reopening 8th December 2019 ad.

Lavey Chapel Opening 1873

Sited with its east end almost on the roadside, St. Mary's, Lavey closely resembles the siting and layout of St. Patrick's, Castlederg, where the parishioners had to walk around the transepts to find the entrance. The foundation stone was laid on 26th May 1872 and it was dedicated on the 26th May 1873 by the bishop of the diocese, Dr. Kelly.

The Londonderry Journal of the 9th July 1873 described the church:

"A grand and beautiful edifice, few churches in Ireland have been built in so short a period of time. Three months before the building was commenced the only available fund was the small sum of seventeen pounds. It has not only been built within a limited period of fourteen months but what is better, it is perfectly free of any debt. This is the more remarkable, when we state that it is a very large and most expensively built church".

 The parish priest was Reverend James McLaughlin who left a note in the Baptismal Register - "Having spent eight laborious years in Lavey, expended during this time more than three thousand pounds in the erection of churches and schools". Detailed lists of sub­scribers are among the parish records.

The Journal continued its description:

"It stands on a beautiful rising round, which comnands a view of the surrounding district. The site and adjacent grounds consists of one and a half acres which are kindly granted in perpetuity by Earl of Stafford, Sir Thomas Bateson and Lady le Poer Trench who are the joint proprietors of the Bellaghy Estate. The building and details, even to the furniture in the sacristy and altars is strictly Gothic of the most severe style. The plan cruciform, consists of nave, transepts, sanctuary, chapel of the Blessed Virgin and chapel of St. Joseph. The length of the nave is one hundred and six feet, the width thirty feet and across the transepts seventy feet and there also thirty feet wide; the sanctuary has a width of thirty feet and twenty feet long and is well adapted, on account of its site, for carrying out the grand and imposing ceremonies of the church.

 Stone is the best quality of black stone from the quarries of Knockloughleim. The exterior faces of all the stones are scabbled and the joints are punched four inches from the face, and laid with Portland cement. The walls of the entire superstructure are of uncoursed masonry and present an appearance of solidity and strength not surpassed by any church in Ireland. The stone used for the plinth and quoins is of the best description of sandstone, from the quarries of Tullyhogue. The jambs and mullions of the windows are all Dungiven freestone. The pillars are Dungannon freestone and consist of plinth, bell, abacus and capital.

 The roof is by far the grandest and most expensive part of the building, the timber is memel and red pine. The eight principals, which support the roof of the nave, rest on cut stone corbels. The roof of the transepts, sanctuary, chapels of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are sheeted with red pine and panelled. No part of the building, however, displays more beauty and artistic skill than the cornice which is both massive and beautiful. The timber of the entire roof is stained and varnished.

 The morning was unfavourable but the assemblage was one of the largest ever witnessed in any church in the County Derry. The gathering was between three and four thousand and nearly an equal number was congregated outside the building. Father Edward Loughrey preached the sermon and his distinct and powerful voice could be easily heard in every part of the large edifice. The collection was four hundred pounds. Messrs O'Neill and Byrne of Belfast were the architects and Mr. G. Tipping of Castledawson the contractor".

 

 

Lavey Chapel

Interior Saint Mary's Chapel Lavey Parish

Lavey Chapel from top of Christmas Tree 2014ad

Saint Mary's Lavey 2001 AD

St Mary's Lavey 2001

Saint Mary's Lavey 1950s

St Mary's Lavey 1950s

Lavey Chapel Night

Lavey Chapel Old Altar

A brief history of Saint Mary's Chapel Lavey

Building donations list around 1860 1870s

Video Chapel People 1987

Saint Mary's Lavey 68 Mayogall Road, Magherafelt, Co Derry, BT45 8PG