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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Restoration in Sion by Conway builders, co Derry.

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  1. The Church of the Good Shepherd, Sion Mills

    The Church of the Good Shepherd, Sion Mills.

    It is based on the design of a church at Pistoia, near Florence.

    Part of the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Diocese of Derry and Raphoe, belonging to the Urney and Sion Mills grouping

    Sion Mills was laid out as a model linen village by the Herdman brothers, James, John and George.

    In 1835 they converted an old flour mill on the River Mourne into a flax spinning mill, and erected a bigger mill behind it in the 1850s.

    Nearly everything in Sion Mills was designed by James Herdman's son in law, the English architect William Unsworth. Sion House, a half timbered Elizabethan style mansion, was planned by Unsworth at the same time as he was designing the first Shakespeare memorial theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, destroyed by a fire in 1926. More modest half timbered buildings include the gatehouse, the recreation hall and Old St. Saviour's church. Unsworth based his design for the polychrome Anglican church, the Church of the Good Shepherd, (1909) on a church in Pistoia in Tuscany.

    By contrast the modern Catholic church of St Teresa (1963 by Patrick Haughey) is admirable for its severely plain lines - a long rectangle with a striking representation of the Last Supper on the slate facade. Oisín Kelly was the artist.