Verger’s 50 years of service in Enniskillen Cathedral

At a recent service in the Cathedral Church of St Macartin, Enniskillen, the Dean of Clogher, the Very Revd Kenneth Hall, led the tributes to Mr Jack Watson who has been Verger of the cathedral for a period of fifty years. Mr Watson was appointed at a meeting of the Select Vestry held on 15th March 1962.

The duties associated with the position of Verger are many. Preparing the cathedral for acts of worship is a primary function. Jack is normally found at the main door at each service, extending a welcome to those who are coming to worship. A conservative estimate indicates that Jack has prepared the cathedral for at least eight thousand acts of worship during his fifty years of service. Most of these were for regular church services, but of course there were many other important occasions including the attendance of Royalty and Civic leaders.

In addition to regular services in the cathedral there are those happy occasions when families and friends gather in the cathedral to celebrate marriage. Again Jack makes careful preparation for these ceremonies. It is estimated that during his time as Verger, he has made preparations for three hundred weddings. There are also the sad occasions, and if the pattern of the past seventeen years has been typical of the earlier years then Jack will have witnessed around eleven hundred funerals in the cathedral.

The role of Verger involves close working relationships with others who have responsibilities in the cathedral. Jack has worked under five Rectors; four of those have also been Deans of Clogher. In addition to the Rectors there have been twelve Curates or Assistants and fifty different churchwardens during his time as Verger. Jack has maintained an excellent and harmonious working relationship with all these people.

Mrs Maud Shaw, People’s Churchwarden, on behalf of the parish presented Jack with a gift in recognition of his fifty years service. The Rector’s Churchwarden Mr Raymond Campbell, said “we trust that Jack will be long spared to continue giving the standard of service which we, the parishioners of St Macartin’s Cathedral, value so highly.”

On behalf of the diocese, the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell presented Jack with a plaque of the Diocesan coat of arms in acknowledgement of his service to the cathedral.