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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great part of Ireland for the purpose of fixing the sites
of the new schools, and had a large share in the com-
pilation of the lesson-books which were issued by the
Commissioners. Dr. Carlile was himself a clear and
vigorous writer. Several of his works were published.
Among these are : Two Sermons preached in Mary's
Abbey, Dublin, by James Carlile, D.D., on " The Duties
of Protestants and Roman Catholics mutually toward

1 Irish Worthies > by Rev. Thomas Hamilton, M.A. Belfast : 1875.
Sketch of Rev. James Carlile, D.D., by his nephew, Rev. Gavin Carlyle,
M.A., of London.

2 See above, p. 92.


each other" (Dublin : 1824) ; A Series of Sermons on
the Nature and Effects of Repentance and Faith (Dublin :
1821); Old Doctrines of the Bible (Dublin : 1823); The
Deity of Christ (Dublin : 1828); Letters on the Divine
Origin and Authority of the Holy Scriptures (Dublin :
1833); and a volume, published after his death, on
Saints in their Final Glory (Dublin : 1854). Some of
these works are of great value and well worthy of

The congregation of Mary's Abbey, thus equipped
with three ministers (18 13-1824, when McDowell,
Horner, and Carlile were colleagues), was at this time
in a most flourishing condition. In a history of Dublin
published in 18 18, 1 the number of members of Mary's
Abbey congregation is stated to be two thousand. This,
of course, includes all the persons connected with the

In 1824 Dr. McDowell, the venerable senior pastor,
died. A marble tablet to his memory was placed in
the interior of the church. This tablet is now to be
seen in the porch of the new church at Rutland Square.

At a congregational meeting held on February 2nd,
1826, it was resolved that the service should commence
in the forenoon at n.30, and in the afternoon at 3.
Evening services are a modern innovation.

In 1828, Dr. Horner becoming infirm, the congre-
gation began to look out for an assistant to him. Their
thoughts turned to the Rev. Henry Cooke, then minister
of Killyleagh, who had already distinguished himself as
the champion of orthodoxy in the Arian controversy.
Mr. Cooke, however, declined the call, and in the

1 History of Dublin. By J. Warburton, Esq., Deputy-Keeper of
Records in the Birmingham Tower, Rev. J. Whitelaw, Vicar of St.
Catherine's, and Rev. Robert Walsh, M.R.I.A.


following year became minister of the new church of
May Street, Belfast, now imperishably associated with
his illustrious memory. Just ten years afterwards he
received from the Dublin Corporation, the freedom of
the City of Dublin, " in consideration of the zeal which
he has so long manifested in support of pure religion."
In the beginning of 1829 the Rev. W. B. Kirkpatrick,
licentiate of the Presbytery of Armagh, having preached
two Sabbaths in Mary's Abbey, was then at a congre-
gational meeting invited to preach four Sabbaths on trial.
People did not in those days believe in the possibility
of testing a man's power of preaching by the two
sermons of a single Lord's Day. Travelling, besides,
was more tedious, and it was hardly worth a preacher's
while to travel the long journey in those days by road
for only a single Sabbath. Anyhow, Mr. Kirkpatrick
came safely through the lt trial," was unanimously called
in April, and ordained as assistant and successor to
Dr. Horner. Once more there were three ministers in
Mary's Abbey. Mr. Kirkpatrick, like his colleagues
and most of his predecessors, took a prominent place
in the city of Dublin and in the work of the Presby-
terian Church throughout the South and West. He
was Convener of the Committee on the State of Reli-
gion, and Convener of the Church Extension Mission.
In 1850 he was elected Moderator of the General
Assembly. He was appointed by the Government a
Commissioner of Charitable Bequests and also a Com-
missioner of Endowed Schools. The temperance cause
found in him one of its most devoted advocates. He
was a man of considerable literary power, but his
pastoral and public labours left him little time for
literary work. One little book of his remains to show
what manner of man he was and by what spirit he was



animated. It is entitled Chapters in Irish History. As
I have said elsewhere/ " it is at once loyal and liberal,
well-informed, and ably written. The spirit is that of
a true historian, anxious to know and to state the truth,
and of a true Christian, anxious to heal the wounds of
the past and to unite Irishmen in a common brother-
hood of peace and industry." In his preaching his
great aim was to preach the gospel in its simplicity;
and in private conversation he ever sought to guide the
thoughts of his people to eternal things.

In 1832 the congregation of Mary's Abbey consisted
of two hundred and twenty families, and a hundred
and forty individual subscribers. The strength of the
congregation, and the Presbyterian population of the
city, had so much increased, that the elders of Mary's
Abbey and Usher's Quay consulted together about the
necessity for forming an additional congregation in the
city of Dublin. In 1838 the united Sessions of these
congregations issued a printed statement on this subject.
The result was that in 1840 the foundation-stone of a
new church was laid at Adelaide Road. These elders
were men of public spirit, far-seeing, and prudent.
They were not actuated by that short-sighted and
selfish policy which so often opposes Church extension
on the ground that existing congregations will be
injured. As a rule churches do not die by expansion,
but by contraction. The old congregation of Mary's
Abbey, which has been the parent hive from which so
many of our more modern Dublin congregations have
come, is healthy and hopeful still.

In 1840 public baptism was for the first time
introduced into this congregation.

1 Famous Irish Preachers. Dublin : Mecredy and Kyle, 1889.


The Rev. Dr. Carlile, who had long taken an interest
in the mission work at Birr, obtained the sanction of
the Session and congregation to a proposal that he
made that, while still retaining his position as one of
the ministers of Mary's Abbey, he should devote the
remaining years of his life to the service of that mission.
He went to Birr in 1840 and remained there till his
death in 1854. Dr. Horner died in 1843.

On the death of Dr. Carlile, Mr. Kirkpatrick was
left in sole charge of the congregation, and for the
first time in more than sixty years, Mary's Abbey
had only one minister. But it was only for a short

In September, 1858, the Rev. John Hall (now D.D.),
previously minister of 1st Armagh, was installed as
colleague to Dr. Kirkpatrick. Dr. Hall was the first
editor of the Children's Missionary Herald; and was,
for many years of his ministry in Dublin, editor of the
Evangelical Witness. This was a monthly magazine,
begun in 1862 by Dr. Hall, and, after his removal to
America, continued by Rev. Thomas Croskery and
afterwards by Rev. T. Y. Killen. It then became a
weekly paper under the title of the Witness } and after
some time the Presbyterian Churchman succeeded it as
the monthly magazine of the Irish Presbyterian Church.
Some of the best talent in the Church contributed to
the Evangelical Witness under Dr. Hall's editorship,
and that magazine soon became a power in shaping
and leading Presbyterian opinion. Dr. Hall had a
high repute in Dublin as an impressive and evangelical
preacher. His influence was very great not only in
the Presbyterian Church, but amongst other denomina-
tions also. Now, however, as minister of the Fifth
Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, he wields an


influence not second to that of any other religious
teacher in the United States.

The congregation of Mary's Abbey had for some
time been considering the propriety of building a new
church, or enlarging and improving the old one, when
the generous offer was made by Alexander Findlater,
Esq., J. P., a member of Kingstown congregation, to
build for them a church at his own expense. A com-
manding site .was purchased by the congregation in
Rutland Square, at a cost of ^"2,600. Here the new
and beautiful church was built, at an expenditure of
about ; 1 4,000. A memorial window was erected by
the congregation to " commemorate the munificence
and perpetuate the name of Alexander Findlater, the
founder and donor of this church." The church was
seated to accommodate eight hundred and fifty persons,
and has schoolroom or lecture-hall beneath. The
foundation-stone was laid in November, 1862, and the
building was completed in October, 1864.

On November 13th, 1864, being a communion
Sabbath, the closing services were held in the old
church of Mary's Abbey, in which the congregation
had worshipped since 1777, and on the same spot where
their former church of Capel Street had been since 1667.

On two days of the same week, 18th and 19th of
November, the opening services were held in Rutland
Square Church. Sermons were preached on these
days by the Rev. Dr. Cooke of Belfast, and the Rev.
Dr. Horatius Bonar of Edinburgh. In the evening
of each day public meetings were held, at which
addresses were given by Rev. Hamilton Magee, Rev.
Thomas Lyttle, Rev. John Hall, Rev. W. Fleming
Stevenson, Rev. W. B. Kirkpatrick, D.D., and Rev.
Robert Watts, D.D.


The first Sabbath on which the congregation met
for worship in Rutland Square Church was November
20th, 1864. On that day the sermons were preached
by Dr. Kirkpatrick and Mr. Hall. 1

In 1867 Dr. Hall accepted a call to New York. He
was succeeded by Rev. David McKee (previously of
Ballywalter), who was installed in Rutland Square,
February 8th, 1869. Mr. McKee removed to New
Zealand, where he has since died, in the year 1879. He
was a man of independent mind, of sweet and gentle
spirit, and of much originality and power as a preacher.
The next colleague-minister was the Rev. Andrew
Charles Murphy, D.Lit. (previously of 1st Derry), who
was installed in Rutland Square, January 20th, 1880.

Dr. Kirkpatrick died in 1 882, after an active ministry
of more than fifty years in Dublin. In 1883 Dr.
Murphy accepted a call to the congregation of Crouch
Hill, London, whence he has since returned to Ireland
and is now minister of Elmwood Church, Belfast.

The next minister was the Rev. John Sinclair
Hamilton, M.A. (previously of 1st Banbridge), who
was installed in Rutland Square, March 20th, 1884. In
November, 1888, Mr. Hamilton resigned the pastorate
on account of ill-health, and removed to the United
States, where he afterwards resumed work as minister
of the Presbyterian Church, but died in New York,
April, 1890. He was succeeded by the present
minister, Rev. James Denham Osborne, M.A. (pre-
viously of 1st Ballymoney), who was installed in
Rutland Square, June, 1889.

1 All these sermons and addresses, containing much interesting
matter, have been preserved in a volume entitled " Memorial Services
in connection with the removal of the congregation of Mary's Abbey to
Rutland Square, Dublin." Dublin : 1865.



Like the congregations of Adelaide Road, Donore,
and Rathgar, the congregation of Sandymount is one
of the fruits of the modern growth of Presbyterianism
in Dublin and its suburbs. Its first minister was
the Rev. Thomas Lyttle, who was ordained there on
February 4th, 1857. Mr. Lyttle was a faithful pastor
and a man of much ability and public spirit. He was
for some years Clerk of the Dublin Presbytery, and
also editor of the Presbyterian Churchman. He took
an active part in promoting the welfare of the Presby-
terian Association of the city of Dublin in its old quarters
in Westmoreland Street, and was one of the chief
originators of the purchase of the capacious building at
16, Upper Sackville Street, which, with its fine suite
of reading-rooms, library, lecture-hall, etc., is now the
headquarters of Presbyterianism in the metropolis.
Even a man of Mr. Lyttle's genial and kindly spirit did
not escape the rude repulse of bigotry and intolerance.
In 1867 he reported to the Presbytery of Dublin that
he had asked the Rev. Dr. Ryder, Rector of Donny-
brook, to permit him to conduct a service in the
graveyard at Donnybrook, on the occasion of the inter-
ment there of the child of a member of his (Mr.
Lyttle's). congregation. Dr. Ryder declined to give the
permission, on the ground "that it would be quite
unprecedented that any clergyman who does not
belong to the parish church should officiate in the
parish graveyard." Mr. Lyttle further reported that
Dr. Ryder's predecessor had also refused him under
similar circumstances. A committee of Presbytery was
appointed to inquire into the law on the subject. This
committee reported to the Presbytery in 1868 that they


had acted in connection with the Assembly's Com-
mittee in correspondence with Government, and had
waited on the Lord Lieutenant, who admitted the
grievance. On the recommendation of the committee,
the Presbytery agreed to petition Parliament to amend
the existing law. During Mr. Lyttle's ministry, the
present beautiful church, lecture-hall, and the adjoin-
ing manse were built. Mr. Lyttle died on November
2 1 st, 1880. He was succeeded by the Rev. Alex-
ander Rentoul, M.A., previously minister at Liver-
pool and at Longford, who was installed in Sandymount,
April 2 1 st, 1 88 1. Mr. Rentoul was a son of the
Rev. James B.jRentoul, D.D., of Garvagh, Co. Derry,
one of the fathers of the Secession Synod. One
of his brothers is the Rev. Professor Rentoul, D.D., of
Ormond College, Melbourne ; another is the Rev.
R. W. Rentoul, B.A., of Darlington, England, and the
third is the Rev. Alfred H. Rentoul, M.A., of Longford.
Here were four sons, all ministers all following the
profession of their honoured father. Mr. Alexander
Rentoul was a man of eminent ability and piety, an
eloquent preacher and a zealous pastor. After years
of weak health, he died on August 29th, 1889. The
present minister, Rev. James A. Campbell, previously of
2nd Omagh, was installed in Sandymount, May 2nd, 1890.


The congregation of Tullamore was organised by the
Athlone Presbytery in 1856. The first minister was
the Rev. Samuel Kelly, licentiate of the Presbytery of
Bailieborough, who was ordained there December 3rd,
1857. Mr. Kelly received an appointment to Australia
on the Colonial Mission, and was designated to that
work, April 22nd, 1858. He was succeeded by the


Rev. James Duff Cuffey, who was ordained there
June 30th, 1859. In the following week the congrega-
tion was transferred by the General Assembly from the
Presbytery of Athlone to that of Dublin. Mr. Cuffey
died on May 5 th, 1863. He was succeeded by Rev.
Andrew Burrowes, who was ordained at Tullamore,
June 29th, 1864. The congregation, which had hitherto
worshipped in a house rented and fitted up for the
purpose, increased so much under the ministry of
Mr. Burrowes that they resolved to build a church.
The church was opened in 1866 by the Rev. Dr. Edgar
of Belfast. Mr. Burrowes removed to Waterford in
1868. He was succeeded by the Rev. Robert H.
Smythe, who was ordained at Tullamore, December
17th, 1868. During Mr. Smythe's ministry the church
was enlarged, and mission stations were opened in
neighbouring towns. Mr. Smythe removed to Carrow-
dore, Co. Down, in 1879, and was succeeded by the
Rev. David Mitchel, previously of Kilkenny. Mr.
Mitchel's pastorate at Tullamore was a brief one. He
was ordained there August 2 1st, 1879, and left it for
Warrenpoint, June 2 1st, 1880. He was succeeded by
Rev. W. S. Frackelton, previously a minister in the
United States, who was installed at Tullamore, Novem-
ber 19th, 1880. Mr. Frackelton was appointed in 1884
to engage in the Colonial Mission in New South Wales.
He was succeeded by the present minister, Rev. Henry
Patterson Glenn, A.B., who was ordained at Tullamore,
December 10th, 1884. Under Mr. Glenn's ministry a
school has been established, and flourishing mission
stations are maintained by him at Clara and elsewhere
in his extensive district. 1

1 See also Killen's History of Congregations.



The first minister of the Presbyterian congregation
at Wexford appears to have been the Rev. Gideon
Jacque. He was ordained there in 168 1. 1 Like Mr.
Coldin of Enniscorthy, Mr. Jacque removed to Scotland
about the beginning of 1689, after the outbreak of the
Revolutionary war. He remained in Scotland, where
he was minister of the parish of Liberton, 2 till 1695,
when he returned to Wexford. He remained at Wexford
till 1706.

We have no further trace of Presbyterianism in
Wexford till the visit of the Rev. Robert Knox to that
town in 1840. He found about fifteen Presbyterian
families in or about Wexford, who professed their
willingness to assist in the maintenance of a Pres-
byterian Church there. 3 On November 25 th the
Presbytery of Dublin formally organised the congrega-
tion of Wexford, the people there promising a stipend
of 2$ a year (to be supplemented, of course, by Regium
Donum and a grant from the mission funds). The
Rev. R. Dickson was ordained as minister there, Septem-
ber 22nd, 1 841. Mr. Dickson resigned in 1844, having
accepted a call to Ballysillan, near Belfast. He was
succeeded by the Rev. John P. Bond, who was ordained
there on March 24th, 1846. In 1844 Mr. Bond, then
a licentiate, published a pamphlet bearing this title :
A Convert 1 s Plea against Prelacy, by John P. Bond,
Ramelton, formerly an Episcopalian, now a licentiate
of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Belfast : 1844).
Mr. Bond's pastorate at Wexford and his belief in

1 Appendix to Account of Emlyris Trial.

2 Reid : History, II., 417.

3 Reports of Home Mission of Synod of Ulster.


Presbyterianism were, however, of short duration.
About 1850 he resigned Wexford and returned to the
Episcopal Church. He then wrote another pamphlet
in defence of his conduct in making this second change.
One of his hearers at Wexford bound the two pamphlets
together and labelled them " Consistency." 1 Mr. Bond's
successor was the Rev. William Burns, who was or-
dained in Wexford, March 26th, 1850. The present
manse, which is one of the best and most beautifully
situated ministers' residences in the Dublin Presbytery,
was built during the ministry of Mr. Burns. He
remained at Wexford till his death on May 9th, 1881.
The next minister was the Rev. Samuel McCune,
B.A., who was installed on October 25th, 1881. Mr.
McCune removed to Magherafelt, and was succeeded
by the present minister, Rev. James Steen. Mr. Steen,
who had been previously minister at Drum and at
Castlebar, was installed in Wexford, May 29th, 1888.


There appears to have been a Presbyterian congre-
gation in Wicklow soon after the passing of the Act of
Uniformity. The first Presbyterian minister of Wicklow
of whom we have any record was the Rev. Robert
Kelso. He had been ordained at Raloo, near Larne,
in 1673, but after a ministry there of one year, he came
to Wicklow in 1674, and remained there till 1685.- He
then removed to Enniskillen, where, as Presbyterian
minister, he took a foremost part in the gallant defence
of that town in 1 688-89. 2 There he laboured, says

1 Related by the late Professor Witherow to the Author, Septem-
ber 15th, 1885.

2 Witherow : Perry and Enniskillen ', p. 215.


McCormick in his Account of the Inniskilling Men, u both
publicly and privately in animating his hearers to take
up arms and stand upon their own defence, showing
example himself by wearing arms and marching in the
head of them when together."

After Mr. Kelso's removal, we have no further trace
of Presbyterianism in the town of Wicklow for more
than a century. Doubtless soon after that time most
of the Presbyterian residents there took refuge in
Scotland or Ulster when the war of the Revolution
commenced in Ireland.

A singular circumstance led to the revival of Presby-
terianism in Wicklow. About 1855, on tne death of
Archdeacon Magee, the three parishes of which he was
incumbent were made independent charges. One of
these was Killiskey, about five miles from the town of
Wicklow. The parish church was known by the name
of Nunscross. The curate of this parish was the Rev.
William Vickars, a pious man, laborious pastor, and
earnest preacher. He had been in sole charge of the
parish for seventeen years. It was naturally supposed
that he would succeed to the living on the death of
Archdeacon Magee. To the surprise of the parishioners,
it was said that Archbishop Whately intended to remove
him from his charge without giving him any other
appointment, and to put over them an inexperienced
young man, fresh from college. Accordingly they drew
up a memorial expressing their prayer that Mr. Vickars
should be continued in Nunscross. But it was of no avail.
The young minister referred to was appointed. The
result was that a portion of the congregation ceased to
worship at the parish church, and met on Sabbaths at a
school-room in the neighbourhood called Kilfee, near the
Devil's Glen. A requisition was got up to the Rev.


Dr. Kirkpatrick of Dublin, who was then on a visit to
his brother-in-law in that neighbourhood, to conduct
Divine service in the schoolhouse. Dr. Kirkpatrick
complied, and preached there for several Sabbaths.
Afterwards ministers were sent from the North of Ireland,
and amongst them the Rev. John M. Bleckley, B.A., who
was at that time assistant to the Rev. Richard Dill of
Knowhead near Derry. Mr. Bleckley was so much
liked by the people that they sent a memorial to the
Board of Missions, asking that Mr. Bleckley should be
appointed as their minister, and to act as missionary in
the surrounding district. Mr. Bleckley came to Wicklow
in 1856. His first services were held at Kilfee, and in
1857 a place for services was secured in Wicklow,
where service was held first on Wednesday evenings
and afterwards on Sabbath evenings. In i860 the
congregation was formally organised, and a new church
was subsequently built in the town of Wicklow. This
church was opened in 1 863 by the Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick
and the Rev. Dr. John Hall of Dublin.

Mr. Bleckley was a minister of much ability and
power. He was son of the Rev. John Bleckley of
Monaghan. Before he was twelve years old he had
read a very large course of classics, with French, and
a considerable portion of the Psalms in Hebrew. He
was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he
graduated with a high place in first class, and then at
the New College, Edinburgh. He was much beloved
in Wicklow and the extensive district round about it
in which he laboured. In 1866 he accepted a call to
the congregation of Queen Street, Cork. He came to
Cork very ill, but preached his first sermon as minister
of Queen Street on Sabbath, February 10th, 1867. On
that day week at the evening service it was announced


to his sorrowing people that he had just gone to his
everlasting rest. 1

The next minister at Wicklow was the Rev. George
McCaughey, B.A., who was ordained there Septem-
ber 24th, 1867. Few ministers have a pastorate so
laborious as his was. For many years, in addition to
his services in the town of Wicklow, he preached every
Sabbath at the mission stations of either Kilpedder or
Roundwood, neither of them less than ten miles dis-
tant. During the week he travelled long distances to
minister to the mission stations of Shillelagh (forty miles
distant by rail), Ballycullen, Arklow, Clorah, and
Kilcarra. Mr. McCaughey removed to Lucan in 1887,
and was succeeded at Wicklow by the present minister,
the Rev. Samuel Matthews, B.A., who was installed
there on March 26th, 1888. The labours of the
minister of Wicklow are such as ought to command the
sympathy and interest of the whole Irish Presbyterian

1 Sermons on the Christian Armour and other Subjects. By the late
Rev. J. M. Bleckley, A.B., Wicklow. With Memoir. Edited by
Rev. I. N. Harkness. Dublin : 1868.



IN 1673 Mr. William Cock was ordained here, 1 but
whether or not he was the first minister we cannot
definitely ascertain. The next minister of whom we

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Online LibraryC.H. (Clarke Huston) 1858-1934 IrwinA history of Presbyterianism in Dublin and the south and west of Ireland → online text (page 19 of 24)