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Paranormal Investigation 82
St Johns Church
Paranormal Investigation 83
The restored gothic-style former Church of Ireland building is located in Ballycahane (close to the village of Portlaw) in County Waterford. St Johns (also known as Guilcagh Church) was designed by architect – William Tinsley (1804-1885). It was built to serve the diocese of Lismore. Tinsley also designed the nearby rectory (constructed 1849). A William A. Darby was documented in the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal (Volume 5, 1849) as being curacy/tenure of Guilcagh. A George Wilson laid the foundation stone of the church on the 15th May 1849. He was interred in a burial plot at Guilcagh on the 7th February 1851, on the very day the ground was consecrated (declared sacred) by the Bishop of Cashel. George was born in 1743, passing away on the 1st June 1850 (aged 107). Other prominent burials that have taken place at the site include a Reverend William Westropp Flemying who was rector for the parishes of Clonegan, Mothel and Guilcagh. He died on the 6th September 1921, and was interred alongside his beloved wife – Mary Fleming who ‘entered into rest’ on the 8th August 1909. Louisa Anne Beresford (Marchioness of Waterford, 1818-1891) is believed to had designed the original stained glass windows. The double-height rectangular plan church is approached by a long path, cloaked by lime trees. It was painstakingly restored in 1998 by the current owners after being in disuse for forty years. The roof had fallen in and the inside was full of tree heaths. Nowadays, the church is a luxurious retreat that accommodates up to six people for a relaxing stay. It comes with added bonuses such as, underfloor heating and impressive views from a curved balcony that overlooks a pulpit.
Cumber House is located in Claudy; a village in County Derry and is under the management of Claudy John Mitchell’s GAC (Gaelic Football Club). The house dates back to between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century (presumably 1810). The Browne-Lecky family were the first owners. A John Hamilton Browne (born circa 1763 – died 1848) married Jane Matilda Lecky (died 1855) in 1795. They had six children. The death notices from the Londonderry Sentinel from November 18th 1848 read: Browne. On Saturday, the 11th inst, at his residence Comber House, County Derry, J.H.Browne Esq, in the 85th year of his age. His remains were borne by his tenantry to the family vault in Comber Church yard on Thursday last. A Fr James McDonagh was the parish priest in the area at this particular point in time (up until 1859). John and Jane’s son, George Browne (1816-1877) was married to Susan Mary Hilton. He was a Major in the 44th Regiment and held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P) and Deputy Lieutenant (D.L) for County Derry. They had three sons, who of whom performed duties in the armed services. They all died without heirs. The youngest of their three sons, a William Hamilton Browne Lecky served as a captain in the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Severn. He died on the 12th December 1900 leaving the estate to the last owner – Major Cecil Hamilton Browne Lecky. Major Cecil was buried nearby at Cumber Church. In the 1911 census, Major Cecil Hamilton Browne-Lechy (aged 52) lived at the property, alongside sisters Eveline (48) and Constance (47). Major Cecil was buried nearby at Cumber Church. During World War II, allied armed forces from Britain and America (consisting of 80 engineers) used the house as a billet (a temporally lodgement for soldiers).