Elizabeth Jane Taylor, 1893 Silver Commemerative Trowel

Looking for other six from Balmoral Methodist Church...

1893 Silver Trowel and Calling Card Case (on Taylor tartan)
Current Owner

My name is Elizabeth Jane (Warren-Perry) Taylor and I have in my possession, one of seven silver commemerative trowels with ivory handle, presented at the 1893 laying of the corner-stones of Balmoral Methodist Church on Balmoral Avenue, Belfast, to my great-great grandmother Mrs. Mary Stafford by her husband John J. Stafford. I received the trowel when my grandmother Norah died in 1991. Also seen the above photograph is the card case belonging to my great grandmother Anna Eaton Stafford (AES).

The trowel has followed this path: From Mrs. Mary (Margaret Elizabeth) Stafford (wife of J.J. Stafford) to daughter Anna Eaton (Stafford) Pratt (wife of Goodwin Pratt) to only child/daughter Norah Stafford (Pratt) Newman (wife of Philip Sydney Newman) to only child/daughter Wendy Stafford (Newman) Warren-Perry (wife of Richard Adam Warren-Perry) to Elizabeth Jane (Warren-Perry) Taylor (me) eldest of three daughters (plus one older brother). 

I was born in Lisburn in 1961 and immigrated to Canada with my family a few years later.  My grandmother Norah eventually followed us here to Canada.


I would dearly love to locate any of the other six silver trowels and document how they have been passed down over the last 117 years.  If you have any information on the gentlemen or ladies listed below, I'd love to hear from you.  You can email me at folksong @ FrankTaylor.ca


Final Service (1984)

The final worship service will be held in Osborne Park Church on Sunday, 1st,January, 1984. It will be at 3:30 PM.

The usual morning service will take place at 11:30 am and will consist of the Covenant Service and Holy Communion.

The afternoon service, which will also be a Circuit Rally, will be an act of Thanksgiving for the past 90 years of worship and service and an expression of confidence in the future ventures in fellowship which will take place on the site. It will therefore be more of a celebration than a funeral service!

There is an element of sadness in the closure, but gladness that a serious effort is being made to maintain some work and witness there the exact form of which is still being discussed.

In the meantime the loyal members of the congregation are in the process of deciding with which Society they will identify in the future. They would value the support of former members and other Methodist friends in this service of celebration, closure and commitment.

They would also be happy to consider requests from other Churches for any of the interior furnishings e.g. hymn-boards, pews, pulpit and choir stalls and communion sets. To see these things being used elsewhere would give them great joy.

Methodist Newsletter, January 1984 Page 5


Fifieth Anniversary (1944)

Osborne Park Church Jubilee: 1894 - 1944

From Mr. F.J. Cole's historical record of the church, we read that "In the year 1889 the increase in the number of Methodists in South Belfast was so considerable that there were indications of congestion in connection with the memership of University Road Church.  Consquently the matter of extension to the Balmoral disctirct received the earnest consideration of the Quarterly Meeting of that Church."  during the ministry of Rev. Wesley Guard a site was secured in Osborne Park.

The building of the Balmoaral Church began in the year 1893, the stone -laying ceremony taking place on 4th November, over which Rev. Wm. Gorman presided.  The Building Committee presented silver trowels to the following ladies:- Mrs. Robert Lindsay, Mrs. R.J. McConnell, Mrs. J. Cleaver, Mrs. J.J. Stafford, Mrs. J. Fulton, Miss Kirkwood and Miss G. Waugh, who laid memorial stones.

The church was opened for worship on Friday, 4th May, 1894, by the Rev. Thomas G. Selby, of Liverpool, with Rev. Wm. Gorman taking part in the service. On Sunday, 6th May, Mr. Selby again occupied the pulpit.  Opening services were continued on Sunday, May 13th, when Revs. Wm. Gorman and Wesley Guard were the preachers, and Sunday, May 20th, Rev. Charles Inwood was the preacher.

Since the opening of the church 17 ministers have been appointed as follows: Rev. William Gorman, Rev. J.H. Douglas, B.A., Rev. Louis W. Crooks, Rev. John O. Price, Rev. Wesley Guard, Rev. James D. Lamont, Rev. Alexander McCrea, M.A., Rev. John W. Carromers, M.A. LL.D., Rev T.E. Gibson, Rev. Randall C. Phillips, Rev. Wm. J. Oliver, Rev. Wm. T. Clarke, Rev. W. Gordon Lee, and Rev. James Smyth, LL.D., D.D.

"The faithful work of these ministers has been loyally sustained by an able band of laymen, who have consistently performed the duties assigned to them with a high degree of efficiency."  "It is impossible to mention all their names, but the following have been circuit stewards:- Messrs. J. J. Stafford, Wm. Adams, Wm. H. Cooke, Fred Stafford, E.G.W Oldham, A.C. Dixon, M.A., D.Sc.; F.R.S. J. Newman Hall, B.A., L FitzHenry, Alexander Elliott, S. G. Wilson, and H.G. Crawford, M.C."

Shortly after the opening of the church in 1894, a morning Sunday School was begun, the first superintendent being Mr. H.S. Woods.  Some of the first teachers who still survive are Miss Stafford (Mrs. W.G. Adams), Miss J. Allen (Mrs. B. Stafford), Mr. J.B. McCutcheon and Mr. Frederick A. Browne.

In 1896 an afternoon Sunday School was started with Mr. H.A. Hopkinson as superintendent.  Amoung his successors in office were:- Mr. J.A. Collin, Mr. J.B. Aicken, Mr. Alexander Elliott, Mr. F.A. Brown, Dr. A.C. Dixon, Mr. J.B. McCutcheon, Mr. W.I. Quinn, Mr. J.G. Reid, and Mr. H.M. Wilson.

Osborne Park has reason to be proud of its record in respect of candidates for the ministry, which includes Rev. J.R. Wesley Roddie, Rev. R.C. Roddie, M.A., Rev. Albert Holland, and Rev. H. Wilfred Stafford, B.A., B.Comm., who were all connected with Osborne Park in their youth.  Rev. R.J. Cooke, who is presently serving with H.M. Forces in South Africa, also came out from this church.

The Jubliee Services which were held on Sunday and Monday, 7th and 8th May, 1944, will long be remembered by all who attended. The large congregations crowded the chruch both morning and evening, and included many former members, now filing positions of trust in other circuits.  It was a great delight to have as special Julilee preachers two Old Boys of the congregation - Rev. J.R. Wesley Roddie in the morning, and Rev. H. Wilfred Stafford, B.A., B. Comm., in the evening.

During the morning service a tablet, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm A. Stafford, commemorating the opening of the church in 1894, was dedicated.  This handsome tablet contains the names of the 17 ministers of the church.  Rev. Dr. Smyth read their names and dates of their ministry, after which Mr. Roddie offered the prayer of Thanksgiving.  Mr. Hooton Mitchell rendered the solos, "Lord God of Abraham" (Mendelssohn) and "Thou art the Light" (Mozart).

At the close of the service a Sacramental Service was held.

At the evening service, Miss Evelyn Gibb rendered the solos "He shall gently lead thee" (Hamblin) and "Beyond the Dawn" (Saunderson). The choir rendered anthems at both servcies.

Generous offerings were given on behalf of the Jubilee Fund, which has been inaugurated to effect necessary improvements and additionas to the Lecture Hall, the following former and present members acting as special collectors:- In the morning, Mr. Fred. W. Browne, Mr. Robert Moffett, J.P., Mr. W.I. Quinn, O.B.E., Mr Richard Stafford, and at the evening service Mr. R.J. Adams, Dr. Frank Moorse, J.P., Mr. Goodwin Pratt and Mr. E.M. Pratt.

On Monday evening a most enthusiastic Jubilee Meeting was presided over by Rev. James Smyth, LL.D., D.D., in the absence, owing to illness, of the circuit steward, Mr. Alexander Elliott.  The President, Rev. George A. Joynt, M.A., B.A.I., conveyed the greetings of the church. Mr. J.B. McCutcheon, the only surviving member of the Building Committee and of the original Board of Turstees, referred to his long and happy associations with the church, the choir and the Sunday School and Bible Class he had conducted, several members of which are now in the ministry of the Methodist and sister chuches.  Mr. F.J. Cole, who wrote the Jubilee Souvenir in collaboration with Mr. Wilfred Bunting, gave some interesting historical facts. Revs Albert Holland, W. Gordon Lee, Alexander McCrea, M.S., W.J. Finlay Maquire, and F.H.S. Magiure took part in what has been described as one of the most successful meetings ever held in Osborne Park Church.  Miss Dorothy Marshall sang the solos "Art thou troubled" (Handel) and "Star of God" (Eric Coats).  The choir rendered the anthem, "The Lord is my Shepherd", Mr. Douglas presiding at the organ at all the services.

After the meeting in the church, the friends adjourned to the Lecture Hall, where refreshments were served. this included a birthday cake made by Mrs. P.S. Newman, the ingredients being provided by the ladies of the congregation from thei rations.  The cake was cut by Mrs. W.G. Adams with the silver trowel presented to her mother (Mrs. J.J. Stafford) at the stone-laying of the church.

The mother church, University Road, was represented by the circuit steward Mr. John McGregor, and the grand-mother church, Donegall Square, by Mr. H.S. Broomfield.

Mr. Newman, treasurer of the Jubilee Fund, reported on the progress of the fund and made an appeal for further subscriptions.

Letters of apology and greetings were received from those unable to be present as follows:- Revs. Canon L.W. Creabs, M.A., W.T. Clarke, and W.J. Oliver, Mr. N. Robb, Mr H.T.Scott, A.R.C.M., Mr. D.J. Thompson, Mr. B. Thompson, Very Rev. John Waddell, M.A., D.D., the Leaders' Meetings of the Centenary Church, Dublin, and University Road Church, Belfast.

After a cordial vote of thanks had been passed to all who had helped to make the services so successful, especially Mr. Wilfred Bunding, who had a large part in arranging the services and programme, the ladies who provided the tea, and the church officer, Mr. H. Gribben, the President brought a memorable meeting to close with prayer and benediction.


(See the bottom of the page for photographs of the church taken during the 50th Jubilee celebrations.)


Original Presentation of the Silver Trowels  (1893)

Balmoral Methodist Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Laying the Memorial Stones, 1893

On Saturday afternoon 4th inst., the memorial-stones in connection with the new Methodist Church, which is being erected at Balmoral, were laid in the presence of a large and interested assemblage of spectators, which must be taken as an indication of the progress of Methodism in Belfast. The church is being built to meet the requirements of the increasing population of this popular and pleasant suburb of the city, and, when finished, will prove a most convenient place of worship for the neighbourhood of Osborne Park, Malone Park, and Balmoral. The ground on which the sacred edifice is being erected is situated near the Lisburn Road end of Osborne Park, on which it has a frontage of 100 feet. The internal dimensions of the church are 68 feet long and 35 feet wide, in which provision has been made for comfortably seating 420 adults. The elevations of the building are in late Gothic style, built of red bricks, with dressings of red sandstone. The front elevation contains the entrance doorway, over which is a beautiful four-light window, with neat couped work in the heads of the lights. The buttresses in the front are terminated by neat pinnacles of wrought stone. The body of the church will have two aisles, with pews in the centre, and also in the sides. The pulpit will have a front of moulded and panelled pitch pine. Accommodation for the choir will be provided on a raised platform adjacent to pulpit, behind which is situated the chamber for the organ, which has been generously presented to the church by Mr. Edward Lindsay. The pipes of the organ rising boldly up at the end of the church under the arch of the organ chamber will form a pleasing and artistic background to the woodwork of the pulpit and choir seats. The roof timbers, which are exposed to view, will be of pitch pine, the ceiling being formed by sheeting, and the underside of the rafters with wood of light colour. The windows will be glazed in cathedral leaded lights of quiet tones. Provision is made to give complete control of the ventilation and heating, which will be found to be quite in accordance with modern ideas on this subject. The church is being erected by Mr. James Kidd, of Annadale Street, from the plans and under the superintendence of Mr. J. J. Phillips, C.E., of Royal Avenue.

Convenient to the site of the building, in the erection of which considerable progress has been made, a tent was put up, and here the meeting was held. Rev. William Gorman, minister of University Road Church, presided, and the attendance included Revs. Dr. McCutcheon. President of the Methodist College; R. Crawford Johnson, Richard Cole, W. Y. Northridge, Wesley Guard R. W. Seaver (rector St. John's, Malone), A. J. Wilson (Malone Presbyterian Church), James Grubb; Messrs. F. Megarry, J. P.; J. Greenhill, R. G. Lindsay, J. B. McCutcheon, William Greenhill, J. Cleaver, J. J. Phillips, C.E.; William T. Mercier, S. Mercier, D. Bigger, J. J. Stafford , F. Stafford, Thos. Lutton, William Geddis, George Waugh, James Kirkwood, John Stephenson, &c. After the singing of hymn 992 and prayer, the Chairman said that he did not think the enterprise they were about to further that day, ever so beautiful and sacred as it was, needed much elucidation from him beyond saying that it was the natural development of the work of God. Indeed, seven years ago they should have been engaged in what they were about that day. That was the happy overflow of a church that years ago, so far as accommodation was concerned, had fairly discharged its duty, and it was in response to what he might call the cry of outcast Balmoral, because their friends out there were saying that they were utterly abandoned, and that they must come out and provide them with a place to worship in. They had already commenced this happy undertaking, and would, endeavour, when the building was completed, by the grace of God, to take what part the Lord might call them to take amongst the other Churches which were witnessing for Christ in that neighbourhood. He was quite sure the prayers of friends present that day would be that from first to last God might bless that Church in the shedding of the light-the light of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God- amongst all those people amongst whom in particular its lot would be cast.

The meeting then adjourned for the purpose of witnessing the performance of the interesting ceremony, the stones being laid by Mrs. H. Lindsay. Mrs. R. .T. M 'Connell, Mrs. Stafford , Mrs. Cleaver, Mrs. Fulton, Mrs. Kirkwood, and Miss G. Waugh . These ladies were presented by the building committee with beautiful silver trowels , supplied by Messrs. Cahoon Bros., Castle Place, and a bottle containing copies of the Christian Advocate, Methodist Recorder, and the Belfast daily papers, having been deposited in a cavity in the wall, the stones were declared " well and truly laid."

The trowels were handed to the ladies, respectively, by the following gentlemen:- Rev. Wm. Gorman, Messrs. F. Megarry, J. J. Phillips, J. J. Stafford , Jas. Kirkwood, Wm. Geddis, and J. B. McCutcheon

Mr Wm. Greenhill, circuit steward, on being called upon by the chairman, said that the erection of a church in that district had been in contemplation for six or seven years, and it would be an advantage to that growing neighbourhood, and a relief to University Road Church, which for some years past had been so overcrowded that they were unable to furnish sitting accommodation for all who desired to join the congregation. In regard to the financial aspect of the matter, he might mention that about a thousand pounds had already been subscribed almost altogether by the members of the University Road Church. Since that time a considerable amount had been collected. Yet they had this fact to bear in mind, that before the church was completed they would require 2,000 at least, perhaps more. He would like very much to open the church free of debt. They had been very liberally supported so far, and he trusted those interested in the church would do their utmost to try and realise the amount they required. It was a Methodist Church, but he hoped Methodism would never be regarded as an end in itself, only as an instrument in spreading scriptural holiness throughout the land. (Applause.)

A collection having been made, amounting to nearly 100, the company returned to the tent. After the, singing of the hymn, "This stone to Thee in faith we lay."

Rev. Wesley Guard (vice-president of the Conference) addressed the meeting. He congratulated himself in being permitted to be there on auspicious occasion, and he congratulated those present in taking part in and furthering the work in which they had that day been engaged, and also the ladies who had taken such a prominent and sympathetic part in connection with the adjoining sanctuary. Mr. Gorman had already told them that a good many years ago there was a project in hand of building there, but it would seem that the way was blocked, and that there was no thoroughfare, but when these little difficulties had been got out of the way there was a consensus of feeling in the matter, and he rejoiced that he was permitted to see the building so far advanced, and to witness the laying of those memorial-stones which had been so well and truly laid. (Applause.) Their people had been drifting a little in that direction, and they were there because they ought to be there. The church was being erected because their people needed it, and when in God's good time a congregation would drift out towards Dunmurry it might be necessary to work there, and rear another church if it be God's will. Some people said they were Roman Catholics first, and Englishmen afterwards. Well, he was a Christian first, and that was greater than any ism. He found Methodism suited to his spiritual need, but that did not interfere with his love for everyone that loved the Lord Jesus Christ, and his rejoicing in the prosperity of the other portions of the Church of the living God. (Applause.) They differed and they agreed. He would not like everybody to be a Methodist. Some people could not be Methodists-he could not be anything else. He believed in variety; but they were one in Christ Jesus, and they were there in that part of the suburbs of Belfast in no spirit of rivalry, but in a spirit of emulation-indeed, not in a spirit, he was going to say, of emulation, but in a spirit of need. In common with all Christian Churches, they held the great verities of the Christian religion. They believed the Bible contained all that was necessary to salvation; but outside its four corners there was nothing binding on their consciences, except what could be shown to be in perfect harmony with it.

The hymn, "Christ is our corner-store," was then sung; after which, Rev. Dr. McCutcheon said it would be impossible to witness without feeling interested the sevenfold, and, therefore, perfect stone-haying they had witnessed that day. He thought the frequency of that ceremony of stone-laying and church dedication in the city of Belfast was a cause of thankfulness and encouragement not only in respect to their own Church, but with respect to all evangelical Churches in the city. (Applause.) It must be regarded as a sure token that the existing Churches felt at least some sense of responsibility with regard to the rapidly-increasing population of the prosperous city or Belfast and that at least they were doing something, if not doing all they ought to do, to provide church accommodation for that population. Indeed, the frequency of these occurrences rendered them, if he (Dr. McCutcheon) might venture to use the word, somewhat commonplace. But then they ought to remember that their best and most precious blessings were themselves intensely commonplace. The air which they breathed was a fitting emblem of God's bounty to their race, and they found it diffused everywhere. The blessed sunshine which shone upon them from day to day, and, above all, what St. Jude called the common salvation, which was for all and free for all by the mercy of God through Jesus Christ their Lord, were commonplace. He thought the work in which they had that day been engaged was one of an intensely practical character, as practical and much more important than even the turning of the first sod for a new line of railway, or the laying down of the keel of one of those great ocean steamers, for the construction of which Belfast had become so justly celebrated. It was intended there to erect a church in which people could engage in worshipping God without distraction, and in spirit and in truth. It sought to link in the most practical fashion time with eternity. It was not only a purpose cherished in the heart, but not fulfilled, but it was a purpose cherished in the heart and actually fulfilled that day, and they only waited for the placing of the topstone on the building to rejoice in a finished work. Dr. McCutcheon concluded by expressing the hope that the design of the church might be blessedly realised, and that the work carried on within its walls might be prosperous and abiding. (Applause.)

On the motion of Mr. W. T. Mercier, seconded by Mr. John Greenhill, the thanks of the meeting were accorded to the ladies who had laid the memorial stones, and to all who had assisted in the proceedings, including Mr. C. McDade, who had kindly lent a beautiful American organ for the occasion.

After the singing of the hymn, "Behold the sure foundation-stone," The Chairman pronounced the benediction, and the proceedings concluded.

From The Christian Advocate, November 10, 1893 page 538

Photos from the 50th Anniversary (1944)






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