The village of Camlough (Crooked Lake), is so called from the shape of the lake in the parish, which is about 90 acres in extent, and from which a stream runs towards Newry, supplying water power to the mills and factories of the district.

Camlough was established as a Perpetual Curacy, out of Killeavy Parish about the year 1793.  The Church of Camlough was designed by the notable architect Thomas Cooley and built by Primate Robinson in 1773-1774 on a site conveyed for the purpose by James, Earl of Charlemont, on 20 May 1773.  The church was consecrated in 1785.

The remains of the former church built in 1773 and situated in Camlough are still an outstanding landmark in the area.  The stalwart tower still bears witness to the many faithful worshippers who assembled throughout the generations long past.
Ruins of St. Jude's Church, Camlough
The Church was built to only accommodate 120 souls.  In 1859 the average attendance at Morning Worship was 118 and Evening Worship 58.  Morning Prayer was held each Sunday in Camlough at 12.00 noon and Evening Prayer at Millvale at 5.00pm.  Holy Communion was celebrated on the 1st Sunday of each month and also at Christmas, Easter and Whit Sunday.  Baptisms were held on the 2nd Sunday of the month during Morning Worship with Sunday School being held in Camlough and Millvale.
On Monday 28 March 1864, with Rev J B Frith, Incumbent of Camlough and Rev H W Lett, Curate, present at the Easter Vestry, it was resolved that in the consequence of the great increase in the number of members of the Established Church in this parish, amounting now to about 800 souls, the accommodation afforded in the Parish Church was wholly inadequate.

It was also resolved that the site of the Parish Church was inconvenient, seeing the greater number resided at the distance of two miles from the Church, and that an enlargement of the present Church would not therefore meet the needs of the parishioners, and that a larger church on a new site, nearer the dwelling houses of the parishioners is required as a substitute for the small, old and inconveniently situated present Parish Church of St. Jude’s.

The corner-stone of the new Parish Church was laid at Maghernahely, Bessbrook, on Saturday 18 May 1867 at 4.00pm by the Rev Alexander Irwin, MA, Rector of Killeavy, Precentor of Armagh Cathedral and Chaplain to the Lord Primate.

On Tuesday 22 September 1868, the new Episcopal Church at Bessbrook was consecrated by His Grace, The Most Rev Marcus Gervais Beresford DD.  The style of the architecture is the early English, and the Church consists of Nave, North and South Transepts, Chancel and Tower, the latter being 70 feet (21.34m) in height.  The Spire was a later addition.  The building is of granite with brick arches.

The total cost of Christ Church, Bessbrook, Parish of Camlough, was £3014-19-7, together with the addition of two memorial windows in the South Transept, costing £50.00.

In 1945, the following resolution was unanimously passed:
 “that Camlough and Killeavy Union agrees to the prospective union with the parish of Mullaglass, as approved in the final scheme of the commission for the union of parishes in 1922, being dissolved, and hereby requests the Diocesan Council to take the necessary steps to have this carried into effect.”

On 1 October 1965, the Union known as Camlough and Killeavy came to an end, and a new grouping of Camlough and Mullaglass came into being.

During 2016, the Diocesan Commission on Ministry, re-organised various parochial groups within the Armagh Diocese.  As a result, a new Parochial Grouping of Camlough, Mullaglass and Ballymoyer Union came into effect on 1 January 2017, consisting of Christ Church, Bessbrook, St Luke's Mullaglass, St Luke's Ballymoyer and St Luke's Belleek.

On Friday 14 October 2011, a new Parish Hall was opened adjacent to Christ Church, Bessbrook was opened by The Most Reverend Alan Harpur, Archbishop of Armagh.  The hall cost in excess of £400,000 to build.

Today, Christ Church, Bessbrook is the place of worship for 130 local families and our current Rector, Rev Alan Synnott, was Instituted by the Archbishop of Armagh, The Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, at a service in Christ Church on Friday 22 September 2017.

Christ Church Parish Hall, Bessbrook