Glebe House / Old Rectory

 

Artists Impression of the original Glebe House

Artists Impression of the original Glebe House

1908 map showing the old rectory

1908 map showing the old rectory

The   current rectory was erected in the 1930s on part of the garden of the   previous rectory, which was by all accounts a much grander building but   unfortunately no pictorial evidence of it remains. There was a Culdee   parsonage on this site as far back as 1622. It would appear that the Rev.   Barclay Cope improved on this to build a grand glebe house in 1740, with   further improvements in 1781/1782 costing £1200. It was obviously a very   impressive building at that time. The Rev. Francis Meredith Moeran who was   rector from 1897-1906 decribes the house in a book of his memoirs as ‘a   beautiful home overlooking the lake but far too large for any ordinary parson   as it consisted of no less than six sitting rooms, seven bedrooms and nine   rooms in the kitchen premises, but there was no bathroom so water had to be   carried up three stories to the bedrooms’. The 1901 census records show that   the house had 12 windows in the front, and the family occupied 32 rooms.   However by 1911 only 16 rooms were occupied, possibly because of the   condition of the building. A local lady who was born in 1920 remembers   visiting the rectory with her father as a small child. She recalls that it   was a very large stone house painted pink with large entrance steps to the   left leading into a long hall with green tiles. This artist’s impression of   the old rectory has been created using the above information along with the   length, breadth and height dimensions as set out in the 1837/38 Townland   Valuations. Locals tell us that when a new rector arrived in 1920 he was   reluctant to move into the building as the two previous rectors had died of   tuberculosis, a very contagious disease of that era. The church vestry   considered the house too large and costly for a rectory anyway so it was   decided to rent it out. Mrs Cecilia Cope expressed an interest in it, but   decided against it when she found out that part of the garden was to be kept   for a proposed new rectory. It was eventually rented out to Major Briscoe, a   retired army officer. Unfortunately, just a few years later the house was   totally destroyed by fire. It was decided that loose mortar lying around the   damaged building should be used in gravel walks in the churchyard. The stones   from the ruin ended up in Canada after the purchaser asked for two years in   which to remove it and ship it across the Atlantic. The purchase price was   £15. The coach house and barns belonging to, and at the rear of, the Old   Rectory escaped the fire, and were sold in 1976 for private residences. They   are now two separate impressive family homes. It is interesting to note that,   when the Gordon family were renovating the old coach house in the 1970s, they   found a Sunday School register from around 1920. It showed that the   enrolments in a particular class had dropped by nearly 50% in one year,   thought to be a result of the global Spanish flu epidemic at that time.

 

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