The year 1864 marked the centenary of the Priory Church but the present building represents only a small portion of the history of this ancient site.
Mary Rodgers, in her history ‘Prospect of Erne’, writes that substantial and elaborately-carved stones in the Churchyard bear pre-Christian symbolism; the well-known Bishop’s Stone itself is thought to have been adapted by the Christians when they took over what had been a pagan site. Other stones also bear markings of earlier rituals and beliefs.
The name "Killadeas" tells us something of the Christian history, as it is a corruption of ‘Culdees’ the Ceili De or Companion of God - a monastic order which was prominent from the eight century onwards on nearby Devenish and other islands on the lower lough Erne.
A previous structure, whose ruins were noted by James Butler in 1744, was known as the Yellow Church because of the colour of its stonework. According to legend, this was first built on the wrong site because of the founder’s incorrect interpretation of a vision; after it was finished and consecrated, angels were credited with its being "in one night taken up and laid where it is now".
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