Cranfield and its Holy Well
Above the ruin of the 800 year old Catholic Church of Creamhchoill (Cranfield), “Wood Of The Wild Garlic”. The church was desecrated in the early 1600’s and left to fall into dereliction by local people fearful of violence being enacted on them through the strict British imposed Penal Laws, which outlawed their faith under threat of death, Priests were sent ‘on the run’. Burials in the graveyard go back centuries and St Olcan of Armoy is buried there. The old church is sited in a most picturesque spot on the east shore of Lough Neagh, County Antrim, close to the town of Randalstown.
THE story of Ireland’s loyalty to the Catholic Faith and to the Church of Christ through the long, dark generations and centuries is one of the chief reasons for the persistent, venomous, unscrupulous defamation of our country that has been carried on by the English all over the world for close on eight hundred years, and is still resumed whenever opportunity offers.
Under these ‘Laws‘........
•The Catholic Church forbidden to keep church registers.
•The Irish Catholic was forbidden the exercise of his religion.
•He was forbidden to receive education.
•He was forbidden to enter a profession.
•He was forbidden to hold public office.
•He was forbidden to engage in trade or commerce.
•He was forbidden to live in a corporate town or within five miles thereof.
•He was forbidden to own a horse of greater value than five pounds.
•He was forbidden to own land.
•He was forbidden to lease land.
•He was forbidden to accept a mortgage on land in security for a loan.
•He was forbidden to vote.
•He was forbidden to keep any arms for his protection.
•He was forbidden to hold a life annuity.
•He was forbidden to buy land from a Protestant.
•He was forbidden to receive a gift of land from a Protestant.
•He was forbidden to inherit land from a Protestant.
•He was forbidden to inherit anything from a Protestant.
•He was forbidden to rent any land that was worth more than 30 shillings a year.
•He was forbidden to reap from his land any profit exceeding a third of the rent.
•He could not be guardian to a child.
•He could not, when dying, leave his infant children under Catholic guardianship.
•He could not attend Catholic worship.
•He was compelled by law to attend Protestant worship.
•He could not himself educate his child.
•He could not send his child to a Catholic teacher.
•He could not employ a Catholic teacher to come to his child.
•He could not send his child abroad to receive education.
During the Penal Days however local people still assembled secretly to partake in Mass served by a priest in hiding, in the back ground of the above photo is “The Holy Well Of St Olcan“.