News Letter

Siege Of Derry Site Up For Sale
By Ian Starrett

Monday 10th May 2004

THE Catholic Church is poised to sell a Siege of Derry site - but the Derry Diocese was urged to think again about its plans by both loyalists and republicans yesterday.

The Brow of the Hill, one of Londonderry's best-known historic sites, was the scene of the vital Battle of Windmill Hill during the Siege of Derry.

The Catholic Church could also face Gallic fury if the site, in the Long Tower area, is dug up and built on.

French soldiers are still buried there and it was also the site of a 6th century Columban monastery where monks wrote Christian manuscripts to help spread the gospel around the world.

Catholic Church authorities in Londonderry have said that the site could now be sold to the highest bidder after a possible transfer of the green belt land to local community groups fell through.

A property developer is now believed to be interested in buying the land at the Brow of the Hill to build apartments.

Apprentice Boy William Hay, a DUP MLA, said: "It is of huge historical importance to the city, specifically from the period of the Siege. Perhaps the Church are not aware of this. It's still not too late to involve local groups.

"Maybe what the Church needs to do is to revisit this issue and look at it from a different light."

Historian Paddy Doherty said: "The Battle of Windmill Hill took place on June 4,1689, when Williamite forces recaptured the strategic area from French Jacobite troops.

"A number of French troops were killed and buried where they fell."

Sinn Fein councillor Peter Anderson said: "Some people claim that the origins of Derry can be traced back to this area."

He added that the residents were deeply concerned that the Brow of the Hill trees will be destroyed and replaced by flats.

Mr Anderson also wants the Church to think again about selling the historic site.

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