St Cedma’s Church Parish Church in Larne has a long and interesting history. In ancient times there were three churches in Larne – Drumalis, Inverbeg, and Invermore. The earliest recorded mention of any of these occurs in AD 1187. All traces of these ruins have been long since obliterated with the exception of the Parish Church (now dedicated to St Cedma), which occupies the site of the ancient Church of Invermore. The current building dates from 1350 and so is the second oldest building in continuous use in Co Antrim. The modern history of the Parish dates from 1609 and from that time a full history of the Parish is available, together with a complete list of records of Rectors and curates.
The grounds of the church are entered via a beautiful lych gate, constructed of Burma teak. The churchyard is the oldest one in Larne and includes many interesting armorial stones dating back to the early period of the plantation settlement in the town. Many of the headstones have been removed from their original settings and have been arranged around the outer wall. The oldest headstone is dated 1677.
The windows of the church come in for much favourable comment. Two of the windows were designed and executed by Miss Wilhelmina Geddis in the 1920s. One of these, a two-light window depicting the Irish saints – Patrick and Columba has been depicted by Lesley Whiteside in two of her books (a) “In Search of Columba” and (b) “Patrick in Stained Glass”.
The decorations on the chancel ceiling are painted on canvas. The ceiling is divided into thirty two panels, each containing a distinct ecclesiastical device, including a symbol for each of the 12 apostles.
The dramatic dado on the East Chancel Wall is made of encaustic tiles showing the Emblems of the Passion of Christ.
The chancel Floor is also made of encaustic tiles with representations of Agnus Dei, and emblems of the Four Evangelists, Alpha and Omega.
Although an ancient parish, the people of St Cedma’s offer a warm welcome to visitors and new members through a range of Sunday services, from lively and enthusiastic to quiet and reflective. The weekly life of the parish offers opportunities for personal support, development of personal faith and for generous service to the wider community. St Cedma’s seeks to serve the needs of the community in Larne facing the challenges of the twenty-first century.
St John’s Church, Glynn
Located along the side of the Glynn River, and signposted from Glynn Railway Station, St John’s Glynn is a picturesque church designed by Sir Charles Lanyon. In 1838 the parish of Glynn has been separated from Larne & Inver and made into a independent parish. Francis Willet Watterson, a clergyman who lived in the parish, was appointed to the living and services were regularly held in a temporary building in the village of Glynn. In 1840 the present St John’s church was built to accommodate 210 people at an estimated cost of £471 3s 10d.
The church is constructed of black stone and has a small bell tower at one end. A wide stone lane leads up to the church from the Main Road.
Completely refurbished in 2001, the church is a warm and welcoming place that provides a spiritual heart to the village community of “the Glynn”. A community church for all ages, there is a lively Sunday School (called “Noah’s Ark”), Mother’s Union and a small and enthusiastic choir. Within the well kept graveyard are the ruins of the medieval church.
St Columba’s Church, Gleno Village
In 1842 a church was built in Gleno, on the site of Miss McClaverty’s cottage, to serve the Parish of Raloo. Like St John’s, Glynn this church was also designed by Charles Lanyon. It was built of rough-hewn basalt, with quoins at all corners, wide but shallow breakfronts at each end, with a decorative campanile over the west gable, and a small porch attached to the centre of the south wall.
The Church is situated on the top tier of the split-level village of Gleno about four miles from Larne. On Easter Sunday 2006, following a major restoration, the church was dedicated as St Columba’s, by the Bishop of Connor. Services are held every Sunday, and the small but enthusiastic congregation will give a warm welcome to all visitors.