Seagoe Parish has digitised and made available online the first 30 years of their parish magazine which first went into production over 100 years ago.
A searchable website, seagoearchives.uk, was officially launched at the Seagoe Centre on Tuesday 4 June, opening up this historical treasure trove to everyone.
The site features PDFs and transcripts from every issue of the magazine from 1906–1935 (below right). They carry the usual details of parish life but also fascinating and important information about local agricultural practices, changes in the landscape, education and entertainment. Particularly poignant are articles about the First World War and letters from the Front.
Throughout this period the magazines were edited by the rector, Canon James Edward Archer, a renowned and brilliant scholar. They had a readership of 4,000 and were sent to friends and family overseas, reaching, it seems, almost every continent.
The launch event included readings from the archive and a demonstration of the website. Seagoe rector, Revd Canon Terence Cadden, thanked all who had made the project possible, particularly Craigavon Historical Society, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and the Treasurer to the Select Vestry, Mr Philip Holland who secured much of the funding.
Canon Cadden continued:
“‘History’, when we break down that word, is sometimes described as ‘His story’, and from a Christian point of view I think that’s actually quite significant. History is really ‘His Story’; God’s command unfolding down through the centuries from Creation. And because these are church magazines, not only are there items of historical interest for the wider community, but also unfolding through that is His story – the story of God at work in this place for over 100 years now. So very fittingly we are here in God’s presence to give thanks for the history that he has put in place and for this opportunity to digitise just one small part of it.”
As the new site goes live, Canon Archer’s mission statement for the magazine seems prophetic:
The magazine will be a vehicle for transmitting all that concerns the Parish of Seagoe to lovers of Seagoe all the world over and especially for supplying the parishioners with all that may be of use and interest to them in the past and present history of the Parish.