The Church of St. John Milltown Magherafelt, Co. Derry


The last significant detail of the eighteenth century in the Parish of Magherafelt is the establishment of the first Mass-house which was to occupy a permanent site until the present day. No doubt it too was a “mean and inconsiderable building,” like its predecessors. That it stands 1 mile outside the town like its equivalent structure in Ballinascreen, Maghera and Bellaghy, bears witness to the equivocation of the establishment and the tolerance of individual Protestants who no doubt made the site available, since a position in the town was still against the law and liable to cause offense.

The site at Milltown is clearly being used for a chapel from 1792 onwards. The Ordnance Survey Memoir of 1834 records "A Roman Catholic Chapel is situated in the townland of Tamnadace on the road from Magherafelt to Castledawson and about a mile from the former town. It was erected in the year 1792 and was enlarged and newly roofed in 1831. It at present consists of a main and lesser aisle 54 feet long and 25 feet wide. It is but partially fitted up with pews. It contains a gallery and would accomodate 500 persons.

- From the book "Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Magherafelt, Co. Derry 1882-1982"

 It has more recently been refurbished by Monsignor O’Byrne after a fire in 2002. St John’s served the people of Magherafelt until Canon Patrick Donnelly built the church of Our Lady of the Assumption on a plot of land donated by the Salters Company in present day King Street. This beautiful church, one of the most beautiful in the archdiocese, was officially dedicated on September 10th, 1882 by Dr McGettigan, Archbishop of Armagh. The sermon  was preached by the Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Logue, later Cardinal Logue, Archbishop of Armagh.

In order to cater for growing numbers in the parish Canon Mc Keone PP (1976- 1993), added a new wing to the church in 1981.


The Church of St. John Milltown Magherafelt, Co. Derry