Thursday, September 17, 2015

Steeple Renovations for the First Parish Church, East Derry, New Hampshire


One of the very first posts I ever wrote for my blog back in 2009 was about the First Parish Church in East Derry, New Hampshire.  You can read all about it HERE.  I’ve written about the Forest Hill Cemetery behind this church too many times to list all the links here.  It has been featured on Weathervane Wednesday, too. 

The First Parish Church in East Derry was named to the “Seven to Save” list in 2009, by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.  Being named to this list has brought awareness of the danger of losing the historical building, and the congregation has worked hard to raise the funds for renovations. This year, the steeple has been removed for reconstruction.

The church building was built in 1769, and the steeple was added in 1824.  It is of timber frame construction.   Although the structure is in good condition, it still needs an estimated $1.5 to $2 million dollars worth of repairs. The steeple was in the worst condition.  It was decided to remove the steeple before winter and to begin the repairs in time for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the church. 

The Presbyterian congregation was founded in 1719 by Reverend James McGregor, who had brought his flock with him from Aghadowey in Northern Ireland to Nutfield, later renamed Londonderry, New Hampshire.  The church is now a Congregational church.  

I went over to see the church a few days ago, and to photograph the steeple renovations.  Next door, at the East Derry library, a librarian kindly copied a press release about the rehabilitation project for me.  The information you see here came from that press release.


On September 9th a large timber framed section of the steeple was carefully removed and placed on the front lawn of the church.  This section contains the belfry and lantern.  A temporary roof was built above the clock, which remains above the church. 

More repairs are scheduled for the next few years including lifting the entire church for foundation work, slate roof rehabilitation, and some interior finishes.  Hopefully the entire project will be completed by the time of the 300th anniversary celebrations!

The back of the church seen from Forest Hill Cemetery


For high resolution graphics files on the renovation work, please contact Paul Lindemann of Derry, New Hampshire at paul@nutfieldhistory.org or at Twitter @nuthist 

For video of the steeple removal see http://www.nutfieldhistory.org/ , a project by Paul Lindemann.

The First Parish Congregational Church, UCC
47 E. Derry Road
PO Box 114
East Derry, NH  03041

“First Parish Church”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 1, 2009 http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/11/first-parish-church-derry.html

"Weathervane Wednesday ~ Two Derry Churches", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 9, 2011,    http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2011/11/weathervane-wednesday-two-derry.html 

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 Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Steeple Renovations for the First Parish Church, East Derry, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 17, 2015, ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/09/steeple-renovations-for-first-parish.html : accessed [access date]).

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