St. Paul's Tartaraghan

The history of the Diamond parish

The core of this small parish of Diamond Grange lies in the townlands of Grange Lower (904 acres) and Grange Upper (64 acres), which in medieval times formed a Grange or farm belonging to the Abbey in Newry, and sothis Grange was part of the Exempt Jurisdiction of Newry and Mourne, even though Newry was some 15 miles distant. However, at a practical level these and some neighbouring townlands were regarded as being a district within the ancient and extensive parish of Kilmore.

 

In the 1830's the Cope family of Loughgall, the local landlords, built a school in Grange Lower, which also served as a place of worship, and a Sunday School was also established, the duty being discharged by a Curate from Kilmore. This district (together with a small portion of Drumcree parish) was officially made into a Perpetual Curacy in 1867, and it continued to be administered by the Rector of Kilmore who appointed the Perpetual Curate,for whose accommodation a Glebe House was built in 1867.

 

Four years later (1874),Francis Cope of Loughgall Manor, gave the sum of £3,000 upon trust for the building of a Church, the capital sum to be invested until the time of his death, which occurred in 1920. The Church was built in 1926, by which time the initial sum of £3,000 had increased to £4,613. It is a beautifully proportioned building in black whinstone in the Norman style of architecture, the Architect being Mr. R.C. Orpen, R.H.A. of Dublin. It was Consecrated and Dedicated to St.Paul, on January 25, 1927 (the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul) .A pipe organ was installed in 1937, and the Communion Plate is inscribed "Grange O'Neiland Church, 1853."

 

As a consequence in the decline of the rural population,the Parish of Diamond Grange was grouped with Kilmore, its mother Church, in 1919, and sixty years later, in 1979, the grouping was dissolved and it was grouped with the neighbouring parish of Tartaraghan. The congregation presently comprises some sixty families, and the Rector is the Rev. David Hilliard, Tartaraghan Rectory, 5 Tarthlogue Road, Portadown BT62 1RB.

 

Diamond Grange Records consist of Baptisms from 1877 and Marriages from 1910; unfortunately the older records were destroyed in Dublin during the 1922 Civil War. There is no burial ground attached to the parish,the majority of the people having burial rights in the old Kilmore churchyard.