The 'Shandon mystery'
On Sunday 6th February, the tercentenary, 300 years, of the present day Saint Anne’s Church, Shandon, Cork’s iconic church, with its famous Shandon Bells, was inaugurated by the Bishop, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, who visited the parish to preside at the Sunday Service.
The year will be inaugurated by a parish initiative called ‘The Shandon Mystery’ and an appeal to Cork people everywhere, Irish people and everyone anywhere, to help the parish to try to discover the exact dates of the building and the date of the consecration (opening) of the Church.
Bishop Colton explains:
The problem is that the parish records were lost in the fire in the Public Records Office one hundred years ago in June 1922. We need help.
We have looked at all sorts of records, spoken with parishioners, some local people, and spoken to some archivists and historians. We have checked dates on parish silver, on plaques and on the font in the Church. There appears to be no foundation stone and no memorial stone commemorating the consecration. We would like to know these dates and that is what we mean by ‘The Shandon Mystery’.
As Church of Ireland Bishop and as a local Church of Ireland community we are very conscious that Saint Anne’s, Shandon, to the people of Cork and for Irish people, this Church is much more than a parish church. It is a potent, evocative and emotive symbol of Cork around which the people of Cork rally, unite and identify. So, we are appealing to everyone to help us to solve our ‘Shandon Mystery’. It just may be that someone has an original source in an archive that we do not know about, or information from a secondary source in a book or diary for example, that we are not aware of. We are going to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Shandon starting later this year, regardless, but it would also, as part of that, be great to solve our ‘Shandon Mystery’. Indeed, someone out there may readily have an easy answer for us.
The Parish and Diocese are in the process of developing a full Tercentenary programme in partnership with the City of Cork, the local community, history groups, and many interested parties, including the Church of Ireland nationally.