(1799 – 1810)
(Transcribed by Declan Quaile)
(First published in our Review 2004 journal)
Click here to view Fr McGuire's Marriage Database
Fr. Peter McGuire was born at Sheetland, west of Termonfeckin village in c.1760. Coming from a family associated with the church1 he was trained in one of the Irish Colleges in Europe (probably Salamanca) before returning to become curate and then Administrator in Drogheda. He served there until c.1799 when he was transferred to Termonfeckin. Living at Newhouse he ministered in the parish until the end of June 1810 when he was transferred to Ardee; bringing the register book with him. He was parish priest of Ardee until his death in 1821.2 His place of burial is unknown, though most likely Ballapousta cemetery.
Page two of Fr McGuire's Marriage Register, covering January to June 1800.
With the gradual relaxation of the Penal Laws in the late 18th century a call was made by the Catholic Church for parishes to retain a register to record baptisms, marriages and deaths. Fr. McGuire commenced a register in Termonfeckin in July 1799, but which included marriages and deaths only. His introduction to the register reads: “Revd Peter Mguire’s Marriage book for the Parish of Termonfeckan, County of Louth, commencing in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Nine and the 39th year of his present majesty King George III. 1799.” At the time Termonfeckin was part of the united parishes of Termonfeckin, Monasterboice, Ballymakenny, Drumshallon and Mullary so the period from July 1799 up to July 1802 includes many marriages from outside the Termonfeckin area. After July 1802 only marriages in the Termonfeckin and Ballymakenny area are recorded. The convention of noting the bride’s place of abode was also introduced to the register at this time.
Some social aspects in the register are worth noting. Generally only male witnesses were used, usually one from each family, at the ceremony. There were hardly any marriages during the season of Lent as can be seen from the lack of dates in March each year; only one or two appearing in the eleven years of the register.
1. Another member of the same family, James Maguire (1855-1935), was curate in several parishes prior to becoming P.P. of Louth parish from 1902 to 1935.
2. Later historians incorrectly state that Fr. McGuire died as parish priest of Faughart in 1839. Fr. Thomas Gogarty, curate in Ardee from 1910 to 1914, notes that Fr. McGuire died there in 1821, presumably while still parish priest of Ardee.