Cranfield Church

Map Reference: J055853 (3055, 3853)

This ruined church stands within a rectangular graveyard. There is no visible evidence that there was an early enclosure. The church was a medieval parish church possibly dating from the 13th century. It is a simple rectangular structure measuring 13m by 6.5m externally and 11.4m by 4.8m internally. Only the west gable survives to full height although there are substantial remains of the other walls.

The west doorway has a pointed arch and two steps lead down into the interior. The east gable has the remains of a tall pointed window. There were windows in the north and south walls but all worked stone has been removed. The site is dedicated to St Olcan.

About 100m NNE of the church, on the north shore of Lough Neagh, is a holy well. It is enclosed by a semi-circular stone wall and is stone lined. A very large rag tree overhangs the well and almost obscures it. Pilgrimages were made to Cranfield between May Eve and June 29. Apart from making use of the rag tree for cures pilgrims would also collect the amber coloured crystals which were found in the well. These crystals were thought to protect women during childbirth, men from drowning, and homes from fire and burglary. During the 19th century emigrants to America believed that, if they swallowed one of these crystals, they would sail safely across the Atlantic Ocean.

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