C.H. (Clarke Huston) 1858-1934 Irwin.

A history of Presbyterianism in Dublin and the south and west of Ireland online

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tery, who was ordained at Creggs, November 19th,
1867. Mr. Harrison removed to Clogher, in the Con-
naught Presbytery, in 1872, thence to Dromore West,
and afterwards to Castlebellingham, where he now
labours. In 1873 the General Assembly united the
two congregations of Creggs and Roscommon.

The congregation of Roscommon was organised in
1867. After the union of Creggs and Roscommon,
the first minister of the united congregations was the
Rev. Wm. Smyth, who was installed there on the
5 th August, 1873. Mr. Smyth removed to Loughgall
in 1880, and was succeeded by the Rev. A. Ferguson
(previously of Corboy), who was installed at Creggs
and Roscommon, June 21st, 1881. Mr. Ferguson
accepted a call to Kilkinamurray, near Rathfriland, in
1882. He was succeeded by the present minister,
Rev. Joseph McCorkell, licentiate of the Presbytery
of Derry, who was ordained to the pastorate of Creggs
and Roscommon, August 1st, 1882.



A detailed account of Corboy congregation is given
in Dr. Killen's History of Congregations. Its first
minister, whose name has not been preserved, was
settled there about 1675. The subsequent ministers
have been

Rev. John Mairs (1697-1706). Rev. James Wilson (1801-
Rev. William Hare (1708- 1816).

1720). Rev. Thomas Kennedy (1817-
Rev. James Bond (1723- 1762). 1839).

Rev. Joseph Martin (1765- Rev. John Henry (1839-1843).

1767). Rev. John McCubbin (1843-
Rev. William Fleming (1767^ 1847).

1 784). Rev. Robert W. Fleming (1 848-
Rev. Robert Rodgers (1785- i860).

1 79 1 ) . Rev. Alexander Ferguson ( 1 860-
Rev. Joseph Osborne (1792- 1881).

1799). Rev. William Burke (1881).


Ennis is the first Presbyterian congregation which
was organised in the county of Clare, in the present
century at least. In Cromwell's time there were
Puritan ministers (whether Presbyterian or Indepen-
dent we cannot now definitely ascertain) in Ennis and
Six-Mile-Bridge, midway between Ennis and Limerick.
There was an interesting Moravian settlement for
some years near Corofin, eight miles north of Ennis.
Two Clare gentlemen, Messrs. Burton and Blood,
joined the United Brethren, or Moravians, towards the
end of last century, and settled a pastor and colony
from Germany, giving land for church and parsonage,
and letting small farms to the settlers. All flourished


till 1798. The congregation then numbered at least a
hundred, when the Rebellion burst upon them and, like
many of our Presbyterian congregations throughout
the South and West at that time, the little community
was dispersed. 1

The first efforts to gather together the Presbyterian
residents at Ennis in this century were made by the
Rev. Dr. Wilson of Limerick, who reported to the
Presbytery of Munster in 1845 tnat ne na cl visited
Ennis, and would recommend it being taken up as
a station. For a time the Rev. Archibald Lowry faith-
fully laboured there as missionary, and other supplies
were sent, but chiefly through lack of funds nothing
permanent was done.

About 1853 Dr. Brown of Aghadowey wrote to Rev.
J. W. Whigham, then recently settled at Ballinasloe,
requesting him to go to Ennis, find out the number
and circumstances of the Presbyterians there, and
report to the Mission Board. Dr. Whigham did so,
and as the result of his visits and representations a
congregation was organised. Just about that time an
old college friend of Dr. Whigham's arrived on a visit
to him at Ballinasloe. This was the Rev. Thomas
Warren, who had been licensed by the Belfast Presby-
tery in 1850, and after spending nearly three years
as minister of a church in the city of Baltimore, in the
United States, had returned to Ireland in ill-health.
Dr. Whigham induced his friend to settle in Ennis.
The first services were held in the Wesleyan chapel,
and afterwards in the Record Court, the use of which
was most kindly granted by three successive high
sheriffs. One of the local priests, however, complained

1 Letter of Rev. T. Warren to the author.


to the Grand Jury, and the Presbyterian congregation
deemed it prudent to withdraw. They then resolved
to build a church of their own. Mr. Warren was
formally installed by the Presbytery of Athlone,
June 6th, 1854, and the church, a neat Gothic structure,
was opened by Rev. Dr. Cooke of Belfast on May
1 6th, 1856. Church and manse were erected at a
cost of ;i,ioo and left free of debt, mainly through
the exertions of Mr. Warren, by whom also, before his
resignation, funds were collected and used for the
purchase of the ground (upwards of half-an-acre) on
which the church and manse stand, and it is now rent
free for ever.

Besides his services in Ennis, Mr. Warren conducted
services, in the early years of his ministry, at Kilrush
and Miltown Malbay. The erection of Kilrush into a
congregation relieved him of this portion of his work,
but he also held services at Carhue, eight miles from
Ennis, which still remains in connection with the
congregation, and at Clare Castle, a military station,
two and a half miles from Ennis.

On October 2nd, 1885, the Rev. Richard Scott,
licentiate of the Glendermot Presbytery, was ordained
as assistant and successor to Mr. Warren in the pastor-
ate of Ennis congregation. Far from the centre of
Presbyterianism, labouring in much isolation, the
minister of Ennis deserves the sympathy and encourage-
ment of the Irish Presbyterian Church.


Galway is a historic congregation. Its foundations
were laid in persecution. The first Presbyterian
minister who preached there was imprisoned for pre-
suming to " divide the Protestant interest, at a time


when the Papists were rapidly conforming." 1 This
was the Rev. William Biggar of Limerick, who came
to preach in Galway in 1698 at the request of some
Presbyterian residents in that city. But persecution
did not crush the spirit of the people, for the Rev.
Thomas Hooks was ordained as minister of the
Presbyterian congregation in Galway in 1700. The
subsequent ministers were Rev. Nathaniel Orr (1707-
17 10) and Rev. Alexander Hamilton (17 10-1722).
The congregation had become so weakened, that no
Presbyterian minister was settled there for a hundred
and ten years. The Rev. Joseph Fisher was ordained
there in 1835. He resigned in 1845, an d was succeeded
by Revs. William Adair (1 846-1 882), Dr. W. Ross
Hamilton (1872, died 1873), John C. Moore (1875-
1879), Dr. J. G. Robb (1879-1881), and the present
minister, Rev. John C. Clarke, M.A., who was installed
in 1882. Mr. Clarke is Convener of the General
Assembly's Church Extension Mission. The late
James Campbell, Esq., J. P., Mrs. Wilson, sister of the
late Rev. William Adair, and John Miller, Esq., have
been among the most active and generous members of
the Presbyterian Church in Galway in recent years.


The congregation of Longford owes its origin to the
zealous missionary labours of the Rev. Henry Wallace,
afterwards minister at Cork and Derry, and finally
Professor of Christian Ethics in the Assembly's College,
Belfast. As the result of Mr. Wallace's labours, a
congregation was organised at Longford, in 1833, and
its first minister, the Rev. Samuel McCutcheon, was
ordained there in 1834. Mr. McCutcheon died, after a

1 See above, page 16.


faithful ministry, in 1875, and was succeeded by the
Rev. Alexander Rentoul, M.A. (1875-1881), after-
wards minister of Sandymount, and by the present
minister, Rev. Alfred H. Rentoul, M.A., who was
ordained there in 1882.


The congregation of Moyvore was organised by the
Dublin Presbytery in the year 1838. The church was
built in 1840. The first minister was the Rev. John
Fisher, ordained there March 30th, 1 84 1. He was
succeeded by Rev. John Boyd, licentiate of Belfast
Presbytery, who was ordained there February 7th,
1 844, by the Presbytery of Athlone. On that occasion
the Presbytery were entertained at dinner by Benjamin
Digby, Esq., of Mountjoy Square, Dublin, and Moyvore.
Mr. Boyd was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Watson (pre-
viously of the Belfast Town Mission), in 1855. The
manse was built in 1869 by the efforts of Mr. Watson.
Mr. Watson died September 17th, 1873, and the present
minister, Rev. John Topping, M.D., was ordained there
in February, 1874.


The congregation of Mullingar was organised in 1821,
mainly by the labours of Rev. James Horner of Mary's
Abbey, Dublin. Mr. Horner visited Mullingar in 1820
and 1 82 1, and preached to the Presbyterians there.
In January, 1821, he gave the Dublin Presbytery a
report of his visit and a list of the Presbyterians in and
near Mullingar who were disposed to favour the estab-
lishment of a congregation there. In August, 1821, he
read to the Presbytery a letter from Colonel Armstrong,
agent of the Earl of Granard, granting a site for a


Presbyterian church at Mullingar. The church was
built soon after, and its first minister, Rev. Alexander
Gibson, was ordained there in 1823. He was succeeded
by the Rev. R. H. Harshaw (185 8- 1 8 59) now of
Mountmellick, and the present minister, Rev. Matthew
Murphy, who was ordained there in 1862. When the
Athlone Presbytery was formed in 1 841, the congrega-
tion of Mullingar was transferred to it from the Pres-
bytery of Dublin.


The congregation of Tully was organised by the
Presbytery of Athlone in December, 1844, in compli-
ance with a memorial from Presbyterian families in
the neighbourhood of Coolarty and Tully. The first
minister was the Rev. Thomas J. Patteson, who was
installed there March 21st, 1845. Mr. Patteson
resigned in August of the same year, having accepted
a call to a congregation of the Free Church of Scot-
land. He was succeeded by the Rev. John Edmonds,
who had previously been labouring as itinerant mis-
sionary in County Longford and other midland counties,
and who was installed at Tully, September 16th, 1846.
Mr. Edmonds, after a faithful ministry of more than
twenty years, died on the 8th November, 1867. The
next minister was the Rev. William Moore, M.A., who
was ordained at Tully, November 3rd, 1868. In
December, 1869, Mr. Moore went as missionary to
Spain, at the call of the Board of Missions. He was
succeeded by Rev. Walter Anderson, ordained at
Tully, April 17th, 1 87 1. Mr. Anderson died in 1873
and was succeeded by the Rev. William Moore, who
had returned from Spain and was installed as minister
of Tully for the second time, May 26th, 1875. In 1879


Mr. Moore removed to Dublin, where he became
minister of Jervis Street Mission church, and after-
wards of Gloucester Street, whence he once more re-
moved to Spain. Mr. Moore was for some years
editor of Daybreak, the children's magazine of the
Irish Presbyterian Church. He is now principal of
the training college for Spanish pastors in connection
with the Presbyterian Church.

On the 1 Oth February, 1880, the Rev. William
Burke was ordained minister of Tully. In 1881 the
congregation of Corboy having become vacant, the two
congregations were united, and Mr. Burke became
minister of the joint charge. This arrangement, how-
ever, did not prove satisfactory in its working, and the
union of the two congregations was dissolved by the
Assembly of 1886, .Mr. Burke remaining minister of
Corboy. The present minister, Rev. James Mitchell
(previously of Newcastle, Co. Down), was installed as
minister of Tully, April 12th, 1887.

Tully Presbyterian Church is about three miles from
Edgeworthstown, a station on the Midland Railway
to Sligo. It takes its name from the townland Tully,
the property of J. W. Bond, Esq., D.L., whose father,
Captain Willoughby Bond, was an elder of the con-
gregation till the time of his death, and whose great-
grandfather, Rev. James Bond, was Presbyterian
minister of Corboy. The only elder now in connec-
tion with the congregation of Tully is G. W. Wilson-
Slator, Esq., D.L., who takes an active part in the
proceedings of the General Assembly.

The church is a neat Gothic building of dressed
stone. It was built in 1855, the services having previ-
ously been held in a hired house. The manse, which
has four acres of land as a glebe, was built about 1 860.


It is two miles from the church, on the road to Castle-
pollard, where the minister conducts public worship on
the afternoon of every alternate Sabbath. This station
is also ministered to by the Rev. John Rainey of



Kells, Co. Meath.

KELLS, in the County Meath, is one of the mos
ancient and interesting towns in Ireland. Sir
William Wilde speaks of it as u one of the most memo-
rable places in early Irish ecclesiastical history." It
abounds with valuable architectural remains, such as
sculptured crosses, ancient inscriptions, a round tower,
etc., and is closely associated with the early labours of
Columbkille, the Apostle of Iona and of Scotland.

Two of the most ancient books in the world are
closely associated with Kells. One of these is the
u Book of Kells," which may be seen in the Library of
Trinity College, Dublin, where it is an object of great
interest to visitors and scholars. It is a Latin manu-
script of the Gospels, beautifully illuminated. It was
written in the sixth century, was discovered in the Abbey
of Kells, and is generally attributed to Columbkille and
his disciples. 2

The other book is called the " Cathac." It is believed
to be the identical Latin Psalter copied from the original
by Columbkille in 560. The Cathac may be seen in

1 All the congregations of this Presbytery, with the exception of Kells,
are in the province of Ulster. Their history is therefore not given here.

2 See Gilbert on the National Manuscripts of Ireland. See also
Stokes : Ireland and the Celtic Church.



the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. It was enclosed in
a bronze shrine, mounted with silver. On this shrine
or casket is an Irish inscription stating that it was made
in the town of Kells by one Litric MacAedha, who
worked in the house of the Abbot, Donal O'Rafferty.
This fixes the age for us, as O'Rafferty died in 1098.
This shrine (or Cumdhach) is thus about 800 years old,
and is a beautiful specimen of artistic skill and excellent
workmanship. 1

It is only in recent years that a Presbyterian con-
gregation has been established at Kells. It was organ-
ised by the Presbytery of Bailieborough in 1 869, having
been for several years previous conducted as a mission
station. The first minister was the Rev. James Ma-
conaghie, M.A. (now of Fortwilliam Park Church,
Belfast), who was ordained at Kells in 1869. During
Mr. Maconaghie's ministry a neat and substantial church
was built in 1871. Mr. Maconaghie was succeeded by
Rev. Patrick W. White (now of Stonebridge), who was
ordained in 1872. The next minister was Rev. Alex.
McClinchie (now of New South Wales), who was
ordained in 1879. Mr. McClinchie was succeeded by
the Rev. H. H. Moore, M.A., who was ordained in
1883. Mr. Moore removed to Hilltown, Rathfriland,
in 1885, and was succeeded by the present minister,
Rev. William Fearon, B.A., who was installed at Kells,
September 2nd, 1885. By Mr. Fearon's energetic efforts,
a manse has recently been erected in connection with
the congregation. Besides his services at Kells, Mr.
Fearon preaches also on alternate Sabbaths at Navan,
where there is a flourishing station.

1 Kells and its Books. By Rev. W. Fearon, B.A., of Kells, in Day-
break, Feb., 1889.


[The Presbytery of Connaught was formed in 1825.]


BALLINA congregation was for some years main-
tained as a mission station in connection with
Killala. The first services were commenced there in
1835 by the Rev. David Rodgers, minister of Killala.
In 1 844 the Rev. Archibald Lowry, afterwards minister
of 1st Donegal, was appointed to take sole charge of the
station. He removed to Roundstone, County Galway,
in November, 1845.

The next minister was the Rev. Thomas Armstrong,
licentiate of the Presbytery of Monaghan. Mr. Arm-
strong came in November, 1845, an< ^ was ordained
May 6th, 1846. The Presbytery of Connaught had in
1 844 recommended the erection of a Presbyterian church
in Ballina, the average attendance of Presbyterian wor-
shippers at the service there being then about forty.
For some time the services were held in a schoolroom,
but at last by the exertions of Mr. Armstrong a church
was erected. It was opened in July, 185 1, by the

1 Most of the particulars regarding the congregations of this Pres-
bytery have already been given by Dr. Killen in his History of Con-
gregations. Some of the additional facts here stated are from the
minutes of the Connaught Presbytery.


Rev. Dr. Cooke of Belfast. Subsequently a manse and
school were also erected.

Mr. Armstrong's ministry at Ballina was commenced
in trying times. Soon after his settlement there the
terrors of the Irish famine swept over the land, and
nowhere were its ravages more severely felt than in
Connaught. Mr. Armstrong took an active and pro-
minent part in the measures which were adopted to
alleviate the distress and sufferings of the people. He
was a member of the Ballina Relief Committee, on which
were to be found the leading ministers and members of
all denominations, who, laying aside their sectarian dif-
ferences, worked together for the help of their starving
fellow-creatures. The chairman was Colonel, after-
wards Sir Arthur Knox Gore, Bart. Other members,
besides Mr. Armstrong the Presbyterian minister, were
the Rector, Rev. Joseph Verschoyle, his curate, Rev.
Joseph Kinkead, and the Rev. Hugh Conway, then
Roman Catholic administrator of the parish and now
Bishop of the diocese. Of that committee of 1846,
Bishop Conway and the Rev. Thomas Armstrong are
now the only survivors. 1

Mr. Armstrong's labours and experiences at this
time were very similar to those of the Rev. Samuel
Craig, which are related below in an account of
Summerhill congregation, Presbytery of Munster.

Terrible poverty and desolation followed the famine
and the fever which accompanied and succeeded it.
Emigration then became the resort and refuge of many.
The poverty of those who remained led to wholesale
evictions from their small holdings. Of this Mr.

1 " My Life in Connaught." By Rev. Thomas Armstrong. Mission-
ary Herald, 1889, 1890.


Armstrong says : " There would have been wisdom in
this course if carried out with kindness and care. Pro-
vision should have been made for these humble people
to enable them to emigrate with comfort to another
land where their toil would be repaid by prosperity
and comfort. But, as a rule, this was not done. Entire
families were turned out on the roadside without a
shelter, sometimes even in the cold and rain of the
winter time. ' The Crowbar Brigade ' unroofed the
houses and broke down the walls, so that the poor
creatures had nothing to protect them from the weather,
even in the ruins of their old homes. . . . The mode
of carrying out clearings was such as to leave a sting
of bitterness in the hearts of the evicted, which they
carried to other lands, and still rankles in their breasts.
I have seen crowds of peasantry, as they were about
to take their seats on the long Bianconi car, kneel
down in the open street of Ballina, and invoke the
direst curses on those who had forced them into exile."
At the visitation of Ballina congregation by the
Connaught Presbytery in 1862, the representatives of
the congregational committee were : David Baird, Henry
Cummings, William Little, J. W. Chisholm. There
were then thirty-six families and sixty-one communi-
cants connected with the congregation.

The Rev. Dr. Edgar of Belfast, who visited Con-
naught about the beginning of the famine time, was so
touched by the destitution of the people, both spiritual
and temporal, that he appealed to the Presbyterians of
Ulster for practical help. The result was not only a
large contribution of pecuniary relief for the starving
people, but also the establishment of the Connaught
Scriptural and Industrial Schools. Of these schools,
with their headquarters at Ballina, the Rev. Robert


Allen, previously of Stewartstown, was appointed the
first superintendent.

Mr. Allen died in 1865. At his death Mr. Arm-
strong was appointed Superintendent of the Connaught
schools, and resigned the pastorate of Ballina, April 8th,
1868. Mr. Armstrong in this new sphere has done a
great and good work. The Ballina Orphanage, watched
over with such care by him and Mrs. Armstrong, has
afforded a shelter, a home, and an education to hun-
dreds of orphan children, many of whom are now
occupying positions of honour and usefulness.

The next minister of Ballina congregation was the
Rev. Robert Duff, M.A., who was ordained there on
December 30th, 1868. Mr. Duff resigned, January
31st, 1877, having accepted a call to St. George's
Presbyterian Church, Liverpool. He was succeeded
by the Rev. T. R. Cairns, previously minister of Moy,
who was installed in Ballina, October 24th, 1877, but
resigned in August, 1879, having been appointed to the
Colonial Mission in New Zealand.

The present minister, Rev. John Cairns, previously
of Turlough, in the same Presbytery, was installed in
Ballina, October 29th, 1879. There are now fifty-five
families and eighty-two communicants connected with
the congregation.


The first minister of Ballinglen was the Rev. Michael
Brannigan. Mr. Brannigan was a Roman Catholic by
birth, a native of Co. Tyrone. The study of the Bible
in the Irish language led him to question the teachings
of the Church of Rome. He sought counsel from the
Rev. Robert Allen, then of Stewartstown, and finally
resolved to enter the Presbyterian ministry. He was


ordained in 1845 as itinerant missionary in Mayo and
Sligo in connection with the Students' Missionary
Association of Belfast College. By his indefatigable
labours, twelve new mission stations were established
before the end of 1846. Among these was Ballinglen,
over which district Mr. Brannigan was appointed
minister after the appointment of Rev. Robert Allen as
superintendent of the Connaught schools. In 1848 the
congregation of Ballinglen was formally organised, and
the funds were collected by Mr. Brannigan for the
erection of a church, which was opened free of debt in
1850 by the Rev. Dr. Cooke of Belfast. In 1864 both
church and manse were burned down, but were rebuilt
in 1865. Mr. Brannigan died in November, 1874.

He was succeeded by the Rev. William Fearon,
B.A., now of Kells, Co. Meath. Mr. Fearon was
ordained at Ballinglen, January 26th, 1876, and
resigned in 1879. The present minister, Rev. James
Wilkin, M.A., was ordained on April 10th, 1879.


The congregation of Ballymote dates from about
the year 1760. The first ministers were successively
Rev. Hugh Nesbit, Rev. Joseph King, and Rev. Booth
Caldwell, who were ministers of Sligo and Ballymote.
Mr. Caldwell died in 18 10. Rev. Jacob Scott was the
next minister. After labouring in the joint charge
of Sligo and Ballymote, he was appointed in 1823
as minister of Ballymote exclusively. When the
Connaught Presbytery visited the congregation in 1826,
during Mr. Scott's ministry, there were two elders,
thirty families and fifty communicants. The elders
were William Cunningham and Robert Orr, and the re-
presentatives of the congregation were Russel Hunter


and James Orr. Mr. Scott was succeeded by the Rev.
James Fleming, licentiate of the Tyrone Presbytery,
who was ordained at Ballymote, January 22nd, 1829.
Mr. Fleming died on May 9th, 1850.

The present minister, Rev. John Dewart, was or-
dained there October 9th, 1850.

In April, 1856, it was reported to the Presbytery
that there was a debt on the manse at Ballymote of
over ;ioo, that the church was in need of extensive
repairs, almost equivalent to re-building, and that the
landlord, Sir Robert Gore Booth, had resolutely and
obstinately refused to grant a lease in perpetuity, and
that thus the congregation were cut off from the
possibility of obtaining a grant from the Church and
Manse Fund. It was also reported that Jemmett

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