Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Newtownards Priory, 1888

These images are from The Irish Builder, 1st November 1888. The drawing is by John T Rea of Glenside, Holywood. The reference to 'Henry VIII's Bible' would point to the William Tyndale translations of the early 1500s. The words read "Take heed to thy footsteps when thou enterest into the courts of thy God" (from Ecclesiastes 5 v 1) and "I was glad when they said unto me we will go into the house of the Lord' (Psalm 122 v 1). Others smarter than me can pin down the original source!

The ornate doorway and these scriptural details were added by Sir Hugh Montgomery during his restoration of the building, thought to have been as early as 1607; a 1607 datestone inside the building today is a clue. Montgomery's in-laws, the Shaws of Greenock, were renowned stonemasons in Scotland who carried out all of the maintenance and repair work to all of the Royal buildings. William Schaw was Master of the King's Works and reputedly the founder of another type of masonry.