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Virtual Tour

The Wills' Aisle


This Aisle is a reminder of the family who lived at Wills' Castle, which is now no longer in existence.

This south transept is also known as Freeman's Aisle because of the fact that the Freemen of Carrickfergus sat here for the services. They were obliged to go to Church every Sunday with the Mayor. On the right of this aisle at the front were the seats of the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses. In those days they sat in state behind an arcade, which divided the aisle from the crossing. This arcading disappeared in the restoration of 1872.

On the right of this aisle is a window in memory of George Edmondstone Kirk who was drowned at sea. The window depicts our Lord walking upon the water and saying to Peter who is beginning to sink: "Be of good cheer. It is I."

Opposite this a window in the left wall commemorates the three great Irish Saints-Saint Patrick, Ireland's Patron Saint; Saint Columba, the founder of Iona and the Apostle to Scotland, and Saint Aidan who brought the Gospel to the north of England. This window was erected in 1912 in memory of William Gorman, J.P.

Beside this window is one of the finest tablets in the Church, the Gardner memorial. The gem of the work is in the heads of the three cherubs below and artists have praised it highly.

The other window on the left is a fine example of a visual aid to the understanding of the Bible. Erected in memory of the Rev. George Chamberlain, it depicts the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ as the Good Shepherd and the parable of the Prodigal Son.

On the windowsill lie a number of carved stones. Apart from two which formed a window head in Wills' Castle they all come from the ancient Abbey at Woodburn with which the Church was linked. It is good that the Church possesses these few existing relics of the Abbey founded by John De Courcy.

One of the most interesting historical links with the past is found low down on the left. It is a very ancient Piscina in which the vessels were washed after the Sacrament. Note the small drain hole leading down to the earth. A noted Norman Piscina in England is in the Crypt of Gloucester Cathedral.

The large pattern window at the end of this aisle is in memory of William Robert Burleigh who died in 1872. Restoration was carried out to this main window in the year 2000. All Sandstone tracery was renewed, stained glass cleaned, lead support straps replaced and protective storm glazing fixed to the exterior.

We now go towards the Donegall or Chichester aisle opposite, pausing for a while at the Crossing to see some objects there.


St Nicholas Sketch