Extension of Croghan Chapel refused by landlord Guy Lloyd

1st April 1856
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In 1856, the Catholic tenantry of Guy Lloyd Esq. requested four perches of land contiguous to Croghan chapel, so that they may extend it. They offered to pay for this additional land at any rent he wished to fix. Lloyd point blank refused...

Freeman's Journal, Tuesday, April 01, 1856 [p.2]

HIGH CHURCH LANDLORDISM

The Catholic chapel of Croghan, in tho county Roscommon, being found quite inadequate to the wants of tho congregation, steps have been taken for the purpose of enlarging it, and a committee has been appointed with that view.  One of the first proceedings necesaary was to apply to Mr. Guy Lloyd, tho lord of the soil, for a site for the proposed addition, and a memorial was accordingly addressed by the committee to that gentleman applying for a space of only four perches adjoining the present chapel for whatever rent he might choose to fix upon it, fully three-fourths of the congregation, aa tbs Roscommon Messenger informs us, being themselves tenants of Mr. Lloyd's, and deeming, no doubt, that they had some claim to as much of the soil as they might kneel on to worship their Creator. Mr. Lloyd has, however, refused to comply with the request, and has conveyed his refusal in the following singular letter:—

"Croghan, 20th March, 1856

" GENTLEMEN—I have received your memorial, and have given it the best consideration In my power. I am very sorry that I cannot comply with your request; I am not indifferent to the importance of religious instruction ; I have established Scriptural schools on my property. You have never been asked to aid them in any way, ns you profess to think that error Is taught there—so I consider that you have ought not to have asked me to promote, by any voluntary act of mine, the teaching of what I object to; I desire the fullest liberty of conscience for all. I may add that if you would arrange to have meetings for klndly and calmly discussing the points of difference between our churches I would be ready to re-consider the matter. —Your faithful servant, Guy Lloyd."

" To Mr. John Casserly, and others signing the memorial."

Freemans Journal, Friday, April 04, 1856 [p.2]

THE CHAPEL OF CROGHAN—MR. GUY LLOYD.

Some persons have very singular notions of landlord rights and Christian virtues. As to the rights they appear limited to a class which involve no correlative duties—and their Christianity consists in the exercise of an hard, barren, polemical spirit which rejoices in contention, and would embitter the kindly relations of life with theological differences. We noticed on Tuesday a display of this sort, of which, thank God, the instances are very few in Ireland. We have had constantly to record the liberality of Protestant proprietors in giving sites for chapels and school-houses, with donations and subscriptions, to enable their tenants and non-tenants to worship becomingly the Common Father of all. We have known very few instances, none of a recent date, where a landlord withheld from his tenants the little plot for the House of God. In the old country of the O'Connors, and the parish of Croghan—the seat of that kingly race where the Catholic service was solemnized long before the ancestors of Mr. Guy Lloyd emerged into renown—it appears the small chapel needed extension. The worshippers had increased beyond the accommodation, and some of the chief parishioners formed a committee to enlarge the chapel. There seems to have prevailed in the district a phase of that proselytising lunacy which some of the new proprietors have imported with their improvements. We know not, or if we did, would it be much to the purpose—whether Mr. Guy Lloyd be of the recent additions. The name, at least, is local, for we remember a gentleman, who prefixed " Pennefather" to "Lloyd," addressed Roscommon last election on the highest Conservative principles.

The parish committee presented a respectable memorial to the generous lord of the soil, signed by a great number of his own tenantry. Indeed, three-fourths of the Croghan congregation are represented to be his tenants, and, of course, the claims of the memorialists were considerably strengthened by the fact that the accommodation was principally required for his own tenantry. The memorial did not ask very much, and the little it did ask was to be compensated by whatever rent Mr. Lloyd himself wished to fix. The request was limited to just "four perches" contiguous to the chapel, at Mr. Lloyd's own rent. But it might as well have been four or forty acres as four perches, for Mr. Guy Lloyd objected in principle to a Catholic place of worship for his Catholic tenants. He received the memorial—we are not informed whether with or without the precautions of the Lazaretto—and gave it "all the consideration in his power." After deep reflection he could not comply with the request. Mr. Guy Lloyd, however, is "not insensible to the importance of religious instruction." He knows how " to do unto others as he would be done unto." If he repudiated the memorial of his tenants, he is still alive to the value of religious, instruction, and in proof he tells the memorialists " I have established Scriptural schools on my property!" This is Mr. Lloyd's mode of establishing his sensibility to religious instruction. He erects Protestant reformatories for the Catholic juveniles of Croghan, and because his tenants will not send their children to his schools he will not give a perch of land for their chapel. Mr. Lloyd's arguments harness with his liberality. The former are as unique as the latter is munificent Mr. Lloyd tells his tenants, "You have never been asked to aid them in any way"—that is, we presume they were not invited to assist Mr. Lloyd in building his Scriptural schools—indeed, one is surprised, after reading his epistolary curiosity, that they were not and, inasmuch as the tenants did not subscribe to his snug seminaries of proselytism, " I consider that " you ought not to have asked me to promote by " any voluntary act of mine the teaching of what I object to. I desire the fullest liberty of conscience for all." We wonder did Mr. Guy Lloyd appreciate the full force and applicability of his matchless reasoning ? Does it not go to the root of the Irish Church establishment? A Catholic might say in the exact words of the letter, "I consider you ought not ask me to promote the teaching of that I object to (compulsory tithes and church rates). I desire the fullest liberty of conscience for all." Mutatis mutandis, the tenant may adopt the argument and words of his Scriptural landlord. But there is one ground on which Mr. Guy Lloyd would be disposed to review his decision and listen to the prayer of the memorial. Of the eccentricities which stud this incomparable letter the last is not the least singular. Mr. L. will not grant a sod for a parish chapel he will leave his own tenants to worship in the chapel yard, exposed to the inclemency of the weather. But if he withholds the four perches for that purpose, he has no objection to listen to reason if another purpose be substituted. " I may," he says, "state that if you would arrange to have meetings for kindly and calmly discussing the points of difference between our churches, I should be ready to reconsider the matter" If the tenants would give over their foolish notions about a house exclusively dedicated to worship and prayer, and consent to have nice little assemblies "o' Sunday evenings" to argue about points of doctrine, Mr. Guy Lloyd might not prove obdurate, and the four perches may be granted. What a model village would Croghan be with its weekly, or "oftener if needs be," polemical disputations, in which no doubt the landlord would take a prominent part, for he appears a ripe theologue from his ambition to enter the lists with the priest of the parish or his curate. The hallucinations of mankind are very strange. Mr. Lloyd, no doubt, sincerely believes that the best mode of attaching the affections of his tenantry and the parishioners of Croghan would be—not the concession of a few perches of land to enlarge their humble chapel— but the erection of a little theatre of discord where, as he naively expresses it, all might meet to discuss the points of difference between the Catholic and Protestant Churches. The result of such reunions would be polemical contention which would soon intensify into personal hatreds; and Croghan, now undisturbed, save with the excitement produced by the Scriptural Schools, would be a model of unremitted discord. Mr. Lloyd is evidently a man of strong religious feeling, but he has yet to appreciate the truth of the Christian maxim—"Love thy Neighbour as Thyself." A little more of that Christian charity, without which outward profession is a mockery, would greatly improve his religious fervour, and add to his respect without compromising the sincerity of his opposition to other forms of Christianity than his own — We should say, though the inference may be a strong one, that Mr. Lloyd is not without some good qualities, and, when uninfluenced by the sour spirit of fanaticism, can do a generous act. He will find it more profitable to live in amity than hostility with his neighbours. Wiser men, and at least as conscientious Protestants as Mr. Lloyd, have done on a far more liberal scale for strangers that which he objects to do for his own tenantry. If the gloomy principle on which he acted had been generally carried out, society would be a mass of bad passions— Catholic and Protestant could never approach except to revile one another. We would have cockpits for theological controversy established in every parish—the time now devoted to other objects would be spent in "cramming" for the delightful pastime—and Ireland in a short time would be covered with a plague worse than the inflictions of Egypt.