A successful ‘Derry Walls Day 2014’ took place in the city on Saturday.
The event marked the 400th anniversary, in September 1614, when Peter Benson, a London tiler and bricklayer, was awarded the contract for building the historic Walls.
Living history performers representing Peter Benson, Matthias Springham, Commissioner from the City of London, and Captain Manus O’Cahan, local Irish landholder, met up with Commander Peter Campbell RN Rtd, the ninth generation descendent of Peter Benson.
Commander Campbell was accompanied by his son Rory (10th generation descendent) and grandson Finian (11th generation descendent).
Witnessing this historic reunion was Piers Nicholson, Deputy Master of the present-day Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers, who brought a message of fraternal greetings from the Mayor of the City London to Mayor of Derry, Brenda Stevenson.
Representing the cultural tourism attractions around the City Walls was the Very Rev Dr William Morton, Dean of Derry.
Derry Walls Day 2014 was part of European Heritage Open Days 2014. A range of other activities happened throughout the day around the City Walls and within the heritage buildings surrounding them.
These included the Mason’s Treasure Hunt, a Pop-up Museum and the Playhouse’s School for History Detectives. Spaces around the City Walls - including the Deanery Basement and on Walker’s Plinth - were brought to life with living history performers.
Each year, from 2013 until 2018, Holywell Trust’s City Walls Heritage Project is revealing a key milestone in the building of the Derry Walls. 2013-2018 is the quadricentennial of the building of the Derry Walls, the north’s largest ancient monument in state guardianship. Representing Holywell Trust was Eamonn Deane, Chairperson.
The City Walls Heritage Project is a partnership project with Derry City Council and the DOE’s NI Environment Agency with support from the National Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and Heritage Council of Ireland.
Mark H Durkan MLA, Minister of the Environment, and Brenda Stevenson, Mayor of Derry, represented the partners in the project.