St. Anne`s Church of Ireland.
In 1843 a portion of land was given to the Hon. Torrens of Derrynoid, by the landlord John Stevenson, for the purpose of building a church to serve the local patrons of the Church of Ireland in Sixtowns. A fine church was built a small rise in Cavanreagh and on August 9th 1843 the new Church of St. Anne was consecrated by the Right Rev. R. Ponsonby, Bishop of Derry.
It is said that there were 350 people at this service and absent that day because of a prior engagement was the newly appointed curate, Rev. Thomas de Vere Coneys. He eventually arrived to take up his duties in October 1843 to a huge reception. The local congregation were clearly delighted with their new church. It is said that there were 280 people present that day and that among them were 80 teachers of Irish. The sermon was preached in both Irish and English. The new curate of St. Anne`s was Professor of Irish in Trinity College , Dublin and he had a great interest in the Irish language. He seems to have been involved in teaching Irish and working with teachers of Irish in the Moyola valley area during his time in Sixtowns. This would explain why there were 80 teachers of Irish present for the consecration of St. Anne`s and his eventual inauguration on that day in October 1843.
Rev. Ponsonby was replaced by another famous scholar of Irish studies, the Rev. R.S. King. He took up his ministry on April 20th 1845. It seems that he was more cut out to be an academic than a preacher and was known to be unsettled while in Sixtowns, eventually leaving to go back to Dublin on June 29th 1847. While in Sixtowns, Rev. King kept a preachers book which not only gave account of happenings in St. Anne`s but small pieces of information about everyday life in Sixtowns during his time there. Some of these writings can be found in Rev. Thomas R McKnight`s booklet, The Little Church in the Valley, St. Anne`s. King died in Ballymena on January 4th 1900 and never became a priest. He remained a deacon all of his life. In 1851 Rev. James Twigg Wright replaced Rev. King and in 1853 he was replaced by Rev. Mathew Trant Moriarty, a Kerry man. Moriarty was to remain at St. Anne`s until 1874. It seems that he did not keep records and this may indicate a decline in interest in the Church. After that the clergy of St. Columba`s at Draperstown seem to have worked much closer with St. Anne`s as the number of patrons of that church began to fall. It is noted that the church had fallen into disrepair by the 1870`s after which it got a facelift. St. Anne`s celebrated its centenary in 1943 when services were conducted by Rev. H.A.E Egan who urged the then small congregation to keep their church in good repair regardless of their size.
Surnames of St. Anne`s.
Surnames associated with St. Anne`s church were , Sinclair Taylor, Deane, Elder, McKeown, Hassan, Dornan, Reid, Loughlin, McGonigle, Leacock, McCrea and Bradley. The last local member of the church to have been buried there was Martha Bradley (nee Sinclair) This pretty little church is rarely used nowadays except on special occasions when an ecumenical service would take place at Harvest or Christmas.