History of St. John's Longford
On this page we share some of the History of St. John's Longford. Many thanks to the local Historians, who did much of the research for us, and for Longford Library and Heritage for giving permission to include some of their historcal video's.
Situated on the site of a 15th century Dominican Abbey, at the town end of the Battery Road, is generally believed to date from c 1710. It was altered c 1780 & extended between 1810 & 1812 (to designs by John McCleland, Architect, 1757 - 1839) to accommodate many of the soldiers from the nearby Army barracks.
The current church replaced the abbey which was built c 1400 by direction of Domhnall O’Farrell, chieftain. The graveyard would date from that time, and served all denominations until 1893 when formally closed by the local authority. Later, further land was purchased and Church of Ireland burials recommenced to the rear of the church building.
The oldest existing dated memorial outside is from 1717. Among the graves are many veterans of various wars fought during the 18th & 19th century, the most notable being that of Sergeant Joseph Ward (1832 – 1872), who received the Victoria Cross for bravery during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
There are numerous unmarked graves including many reputed to be from the Great famine period of 1845 to 1848.
Cast iron railing on limestone wall along the road frontage thought to date from 1864 replacing an earlier stone wall boundary.
Inside the church on the right hand side, on the wall over the baptismal font, is an even older memorial stone to Rev James Sterling (1619 -1694). He was the rector of Templemichael C of I parish from 1660 until his death. His daughter Isabella married Capt John Achmuty MP (1649 – 1722) of Newtownflood, Co Longford. The Achmuty’s were a prominent family in Newtownforbes.
Other associated buildings
St John’s Hall ( otherwise Church Street Hall) built 1864
Sexton House – in ground of church to the left hand side
St John's National School established in 1885