Reverend Samuel Scott Frackelton,
Rector of Tamlaght Lower, 1881 to 1911

The Reverend Samuel Scott Frackelton was rector at Tamlaght O’Crilly Lower Church – near Innisrush – from 1881 until his death in July 1911.  The Rev. S. S. Frackelton was much loved by the parishioners in Tamlaght Lower Church of Ireland. The local people acknowledged the tireless work, and endless generosity, of both Samuel Frackelton and his wife Elizabeth, across their thirty years in the parish. This page is a tribute to their work and philanthropy in the area.

Origins of the Surname, Frackelton

The surname Frackelton is quite rare. It begins to appear in records from the late 1600s onwards, largely initially from the Lancashire region, in the North West of England. It would seem likely that Samuel Scott’s forefathers were originally from mainland Britain. There are also records in the 1800s of Frackletons’ migrating from England to the new world.

The Frackelton Family of Dromore

Samuel Frackelton was born around 1831 in Dromore, County Down.  The Frackelton family were well known and regarded in the region. They opened a store in 1800. His father, Mr. John Frackelton, who passed away in 1867, was in business initially in Dromore, but later moved to Belfast, where, after joining in partnership with a gentleman called McClements, opened a store selling glass, paint, oil and colours. The store was situated at 42 Church Lane in the city.

Frackelton Belfast store advertisement in the Northern Whig & Belfast Post in 1933

Frackelton’s store – page one advertisement from 1933

It later moved to Skipper Street. In the second world war, a Nazi air raid destroyed part of the city center, forcing Frackelton’s to move to a building opposite Cromac Building in Victoria Square. And then in October 1956 Frackelton’s moved to Cromac Building itself in Victoria Square. Their new store space was considerable, coming to some 10,000 square feet.

Samuel Scott Frackelton had five siblings. One brother, the Rev. Henry Frackelton, was a Methodist minister and preached at Ligoniel. Another sibling, Mr. John Frackelton, was a member of the Chemists’ & Druggists Society of Ireland. Mr. James Frackelton, who lived in Dunmurry, was another brother. And a further brother was Mr. William George Frackleton. It was William George Frackelton’s sons, William and Frederick, that carried on the longstanding family business after their father passed on. The business was originally founded by their grandfather, and even in the 1900s still retained the family name – “Frackelton’s”

Marriage & Preaching in Magherahamlet

Samuel Scott Frackelton graduated, in the mid 1850s, with a Master of Arts from Trinity College in Dublin. His first experience working in the church was gained in mainland Britain. He was curate under Canon Hume, in a busy parish in Liverpool. In November 1858, the Reverend H. E. Boyd, of Dromara, presented Samuel Frackelton with the perpetual curacy of Magherahamlet Parish Church, which had a value of 120 pounds per annum.  It was a welcome opportunity to leave Liverpool and return home to family and friends in County Down.  He officially started his new job in Magherahamlet on 1st February 1859.

In his second year at the church, Frackelton got married. On 5th November 1860, in Holywood Church, he married Mary Sarah McCutcheon.  The Reverend J. C. Flood was in charge of proceedings. Mary was the second daughter of the late John McCutcheon of Holywood. She was in her 20th year, Samuel Frackelton in his 29th. Seemingly a daughter was born in the early 1860s.  Their son – Maxwell Edward Graham Frackleton – was born on 3rd July 1864. But a heartbreaking series of events occurred in 1865. The couple’s 6 month old son died on February 1st (or 3rd if we rely on the church wall inscription). And devastatingly, a mere five months later, on 5th July, his young wife Mary also passed away. She was only 24 years old. Both died at their home in Magherahamlet Glebe.

Inside, on one of walls of Magherahamlet Parish Church, is the inscription:

To the glory of God and in loving memory of Mary Sarah, second daughter of the late John McCutcheon of Holywood and wife of the Rev. Samuel Scott Frackelton, for many years incumbent of this parish, who died July 5th 1865 aged 24 years and whose body lies interred in a vault beneath these sacred walls. Endowed by nature with rare gifts of mind and person, she was beloved by all who knew her not only for her sweet and generous disposition, but for her consistent Christian life, which shone as a bright light until the day she yielded up her spirit to God who gave it. Also in memory of her infant son Maxwell Edward Graham who died February 3rd 1865 aged 6 months.

Some five years later, on 30th August 1870, Samuel Scott Frackleton got married for a second time. His new wife was Bessie Boyde, the youngest daughter of the late James Boyde, Esq., Moybrick, Dromara, in County Down. The Rev. H. Murphy, rector of Dromara, married the couple in Magherahamlet.

Frackelton would continue preaching in Magherahamlet until 1881. But after 22 years in the rural County Down church, he decided to move some 60 miles northwards to County Derry and Tamlaght Lower. The rector was in his 50th year, Elizabeth in her 44th.  They felt that it was time for a new chapter. New beginnings.

A New Chapter – Tamlaght O’Crilly Lower

Glenone was a small rural community.  But House 91 in Glenone, i.e. Glenone Glebe or Rectory, provided a large and very comfortable environment for the minister and his wife. It was a large brick building, good slate roof, with over 8 or 9 rooms.  The 7 windows at the front of the house indicated a substantial abode. There were five outbuildings.

Reverend S. S. Frackelton

Signature of the Reverend Samuel Scott Frackleton of Tamlaght Lower Church, from 1900

Over the years, Samuel Frackelton, and his wife Elizabeth, grew to be much respected and loved in their Tamlaght parish. The rector oversaw several major renovations to the church, including the complete renovation of the interior of the church in 1887, and in 1898 the building of a much needed vestry extension to the church.

The rector was very popular in the region. He was known for standing up for the poor and the weak. He took a close interest in the local farming community. He was especially interested in the standing up for the rights of tenants. Indeed he was one of the first to speak out on the issue. As a philanthropist (as BTW was his wife, Elizabeth), he always endeavoured to help the needy and downtrodden. Local people often spoke of the numerous examples of his kindness. Nobody in need, ever left the rectory empty-handed. But despite his kindness and gentle humour, in the pulpit he was an earnest speaker. He was a man of conviction. These convictions were also demonstrated in the many letters that he wrote to benefit the causes that he held dear.

Samuel Frackelton worked closely with the vestry, notably the ever-reliant William George Courtenay and Thomas Smyth. By 1899, the church returned the best financial accounts since his arrival in Innisrush some 18 years previous!

And let’s also remember his wife. From the vestry meetings, we can some examples of Elizabeth Frackelton’s generosity – in 1895 she contributed an altar cover; in 1897 she bought two bracket-lamps for the east-end wall of the church; in 1899 she gifted the church brass branch candlesticks for the pulpit; and paid for the painting of all woodwork and walls of the recently constructed vestry. In 1902 she purchased a new stove (and the related pipework) for the church, as well as the installation – all at her own cost. She contributed the beautiful large stained glass window (the Good Shepherd) at the front of the church (still in place to this day).

It is also worth noting the kindness of Samuel Frackelton’s cousin, Mr A. H. Hume from Belfast, for his many gifts to the church.

The 1901 census indicates that the Frackelton’s employed one live-in servant i.e. Sarah Jane Boyd, who was 35 years old, Church of Ireland, and originally from County Down.

In his final five years, due to failing health, Mr. Frackelton had been assisted by a curate in Tamlaght Lower parish. The first curacy was held by the Rev. R. W. W. MacQuaide in 1906. He was subsequently promoted in 1909 from Innisrush to the neighbouring incumbency of Tamlaght Upper. The Reverend J. Kelly was the replacement curate employed to assist Samuel Frackelton.

By April 1911, the Frackelton’s had two live-in helpers. Martha Rogers, 51 years old, was a nurse. Janie Murphy, 19 years old, was a housemaid. Martha was Church of Ireland, and originally from County Down; and Janie was a local County Antrim girl and Presbyterian.

The Reverend Samuel Scott Frackelton died on Saturday 29th July 1911 at Glenone Glebe. He was 80 years old. James Rogers was present at his death.

His death certificate lists arteriosclerosis as the cause of death. Atherosclerosis is a term that refers to the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the walls of the artery (plaques), which can eventually restrict blood flow. It is often referred to as hardening of the arteries. His doctor cited that he had been suffering from this ailment for some years.

Despite his age, and ailing health, the parishioners and locals were stunned and saddened to hear of his passing. On Monday 7th August 1911, a specially convened meeting of the vestry of Tamlaght O’Crilly Lower was held. In complete silence, the vestry passed the following resolution:

“That we, the members of the select vestry of the parish of Tamlaght O’Crilly Lower, beg to convey to Mrs. and Miss Frackleton our sincere sympathy in their recent bereavement in the death of our much-esteemed, and revered rector and their beloved husband and father, and pray that God may comfort and sustain them in their sad loss and heavy trial.”

During his years at Tamlaght Lower, and under his supervision, the church was completely renovated. He was famous for his helpfulness and generosity. As the media of the time said, he was, “one of the oldest and most revered members the Church of Ireland ministry….the Reverend Frackelton never allowed his faith in his fellow men to grow weak or waver. A real philanthropist, endowed with kindly humour, in his desire to help the needy and afflicted, he never stopped to consider the cost to himself. Those who have had the privilege to know him, tell with glistening eye of the many gracious and kindly deeds which marked his whole career. He is also remembered with affection among the survivors of an older generation as a famous “Tenant Righter,” one of the first to come forward in that great fight, and right staunchly did he wield his pen and send forth his voice from many a platform in the battle for cause in the righteousness of which believed.”

Another newspaper added that: “He was an earnest preacher, and took a personal and sympathetic interest in his parishioners and neighbours of all denominations. His charity was proverbial, no deserving case ever being sent empty away from the door of Glenone Rectory. He was interested in agriculture, and personally supervised the farming operations of the glebe. He was a member the Orange Institution and an enthusiastic Unionist. For years he was a familiar figure on Twelfth of July platforms, and as long as his health permitted, he travelled to County Down at election times to record the vote that he held in respect of property which ho owned in that county.”

Mr. Frackelton was highly regarded in the Orange Order. He was also a member of the Masonic Order – and was chaplain to No. 51 Lodge.

Samuel Scott Frackelton

Elizabeth Frackelton’s stain-glass tribute to her late husband

The funeral took place on Wednesday 2nd August. His remains were removed from Glenone Rectory in Portglenone. The coffin was taken to Ballymena by hearse. It then went on to Belfast by rail, arriving at the York Street terminal of the Midland Railway shortly before 12 noon. There it was met by the Rev. Henry Frackelton, brother of the deceased; and nephews – Mr. W. Frackelton and Mr. S. S. Frackelton; and a cousin – Mr. A. H. Hume. On the road to Magherahamlet the funeral cortege was joined by a large number of sympathisers.

At the graveside, the service was conducted the Reverend Thomas Kelly. The Rev. Kelly had been assisting the deceased rector in his parish at Tamlaght Lower, since 1909, and the Rev. Thomas McCreight, the rector of Ballynahinch. Messrs. Melville Co., Ltd., organised the funeral arrangements.

The Reverand Frackelton left behind a grieving wife (Elizabeth) and a daughter. I have had no luck in finding any details about the daughter – no birth, marriage, or death data…not even her name.

Innisrush Church Elizabeth Frackelton Frackleton

Tamlaght Lower Church, Elizabeth Frackelton mural tablet

In February 1918, a beautiful stained-glass window was erected in the parish church of Tamlaght O’Crilly Lower, by Mrs. Frackelton, in memory of her husband and his thirty years as rector. The window is the main one at the front of the church, and is a representation of the Good Shepherd watching over his flock. The Bishop of Derry at the same time dedicated a mural tablet to the memory of Elizabeth Frackleton herself, who died some three years after her husband, on the 24th August 1914. The cost of the mural was borne by the rector and parishioners. Images of both tributes are posted on this page. Please note, I have added her signature, and an explanation of the latin words, below her mural (see right).

If perchance you have any photos of Samuel or Elizabeth Frackelton, or Samuel’s daughter, please drop me a line.  Indeed, any information as to what happened to the daughter would be wonderful.