Tuesday, 11 July 2017

St Cuthbert's Church, Dunluce

North-east elevation

ST CUTHBERT'S CHURCH, Dunluce, County Antrim, now ruinous and of considerable antiquity, stands across the main road from Dunluce Castle.

The Ecclesiastical Roll of 1306 describes Dunluce parish as distinct and separate from that of Bushmills.

However, under the influence of the MacDonnells, St Cuthbert’s church at Dunluce Castle became more prominent.

By the time of the Regal Visitation of 1633 both parishes had grown into a union entitled Portcaman-cum-Dunluce, served by one vicar.

West front with porch

Renovations were undertaken in the 1630s to St Cuthbert’s by Katherine, Duchess of Buckingham (c1603-49), wife of Randal, 2nd Earl and 1st Marquess of Antrim (1609-83).

St Cuthbert’s Church was in all probability the only place of worship in the vicinity from 1633 until 1820.

South-east elevation

At a vestry meeting held in October, 1820, it was determined that, due to the expense of carrying out repairs to St Cuthbert’s and its inconvenient location, a new church be built on the ruins of the old church at Portcaman (Bushmills).

St Cuthbert's was originally thatched.

Mural monument on the interior north wall

Its ceiling described was described in memoirs as being painted white, with the signs of the zodiac.

Wisely enough, the window apertures are all on the south side; the north wall of the church is solid.

The church is surrounded by its graveyard and several prominent graves beside its south wall.

The oldest grave dates from about 1630.

St Cuthbert's served  the parish of Dunluce from ca 1620 until 1820, when the new church of St John the Baptist was built in Bushmills.

First published in July, 2015.

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