Belfast Telegraph

Tributes are paid to 'outstanding' historian Malley

By Brendan McDaid

Tributes were last night paid to one of Northern Ireland's most prominent historians after his death from cancer.

Belfast native Annesley John Malley had been instrumental in charting the history of the north west dating back to the 1600s.

He died after a long battle with blood cancer at Belfast City Hospital on Tuesday morning.

He will be buried at St Columb’s Cathedral in his adopted home of Londonderry today.

Mr Malley, who was in his late 60s, attended Regent House School in Newtownards before being trained in England as a surveyor.

When he returned to Northern Ireland he worked as a surveyor in the north west.

His friend and fellow historian Ken McCormick said it was that background in surveying which sparked Annesley’s interest in land surveys, old maps and historic properties and monuments.

It was his research work and skill in interpreting maps from the Plantation period onward that brought him to the attention of Derry City Council and the National Trust.

Alongside that he developed a very detailed approach to looking at local history.

Mr McCormick said of his friend: “He was the top expert in my view in the history of our locality, Derry and the north west, and indeed other parts of Northern Ireland as well.

“If Ilex for example wanted to develop projects and needed funding they went to him for complete historical rundown and evaluation of a property.

He would produce fantastic, detailed reports like the one he did for Ebrington barracks.” Mr McCormick said all those close to Mr Malley were deeply saddened at his passing.

“He is a big, big loss. He was really on so many levels an outstanding historian and he did it all quietly and modestly and in a non-showy way.

“He was a very modest guy, but he was a giant in the historical field.

“Only once in every couple of generations do you get someone as workmanlike, as good and modest, but yet so utterly brilliant.”

Mr Malley’s funeral service will be held in St Columb’s Cathedral today at 1pm.

The family have requested donations in lieu of flowers, if desired, be made payable to WH&SC Trust (Sperrin Room), c/o Adair and Neely Funeral Directors, 92 Duke Street, Waterside, Derry, BT47 6DQ.

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