Insight into Col Saunderson

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A talk on Colonel Edward Saunderson - whose statue stands in Portadown town centre - will take place at a special 10th anniversary meeting of South Lough Neagh Historical Society.

It will be held on Monday, March 30 at 7.30 pm in the Community Hall Maghery.

The speaker will be historical researcher Dr Clive Schoular, who will be sharing some lesser known facts on Col Saunderson.

The Co Cavan man was a long-serving MP at Westminster, representing Co Armagh, and became a leader of Irish unionism from 1880 to 1906.

He was born at Castle Saunderson near Clones but was brought up in France, educated by Jesuit priests and spoke fluent French. One of his great pursuits was yacht racing not only on Lough Erne but further afield. On one occasion he raced against Kaiser Wilhelm 11 in the Baltic.

He travelled widely, especially in Africa, and developed contacts with all the leading parliamentarians of his day including Randolph Churchill, entertaining royalty at his dinner parties in his London house. He was also an enthusiastic supporter in parliament for the wider education of children.

Col Saunderson later went on to become an avid evangelical and Church of Ireland lay preacher, conducting services in the family estate chapel in the grounds of Castle Saunderson where he is buried.