St. Mary's Church - Lavey Parish
The beautiful black stone, Gothic Revival style church of St. Mary's, Lavey, County Derry, stands alongside the A42 approximately halfway between the old market towns of Maghera and Portglenone.
The church is built in the townland of Mayogall; and it is often referred to by the older generation as "Mayogall Chapel". The foundation stone of the chapel was laid on Thursday, 2nd MAY 1872 by the Rev. James McLaughlin, the then Parish Priest of Lavey, who had been given special permission to do so by the Bishop of Derry, the Most Rev. Dr. Francis Kelly.
The chapel was opened, although unfinished, on Sunday, 6th JULY 1873 by Dr. Francis Kelly and dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy.
Much of the cost of the building was raised from within the parish. Funds were also raised amongst the Tyne-side Irish communities of Newcastle-on-Tyne, Jarrow, Wallsend, etc., in which many people from this parish had settled. The land for building had been acquired from the Bellaghy Estate; and the design and building entrusted to Messrs. Tipping and Co. of Castledawson and Magherafelt.
The chapel we know today replaced a chapel which was situated about 100 metres to the North on the opposite side of the road. Part of its ruins are still visible in what is locally referred to as the 'Old Graveyard'.
The chapel in the Old Graveyard was built in 1802 to replace an old Mass House whose origins went back into Penal times