Lives Remembered

Church of Ireland's oldest clergyman was still writing at 102

Canon Ernest Long was believed to be the oldest Church of Ireland clergyman and Lisburn Distillery fan

Even at the age of 102, Canon Ernest Long was planning his next book.

The oldest clergyman in the Church of Ireland was a prolific author on subjects including theology, philosophy and unionism.

One of the founders of the The Orange Standard newspaper, he was also a long servant of the Orange Order, acting as grand chaplain and chosen to cut the first sod at its east Belfast headquarters.

He was ordained a priest in 1950 and ministered at St Clement's Church and Willowfield in Belfast, before being appointed to the rectorship of Dromara and Garvaghy, where he remained for 30 years.

Appointed a canon of Dromore Cathedral, he edited the diocesan magazine and had his last book, about key figures in the Reformation, published just last year.

Bishop of Down and Dromore Harold Miller said he had a remarkable range of interests, from the Orange Order and Church history to football - he was thought to be the oldest supporter of Lisburn Distillery.

"When I visited him around his 102nd birthday in the nursing home, he told me that he was hoping to bring out a new book on 'Mighty Missioners'," he said.

"His conversation was always interesting, his faith secure and his determination legendary. He will be greatly missed."

Canon Samuel Ernest Long, who died on April 9 aged 102, was predeceased by his wife Ellie and is survived by sons Norman, Colin and Mervyn.

Lives Remembered