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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church at Cork. In 1835 he reported that he had sixty
communicants, and that their place of meeting was
quite filled. But ill-health obliged Mr. Wallace to
relinquish his faithful labours in the South, and he
resigned his charge in Cork in 1837.

Mr. Wallace was succeeded by. the Rev. Edward M.
Dill, M.D., who was installed there in 1838. During
Dr. Dill's ministry the present church of Queen Street
was built, and until the building of Trinity Church
it was the only (orthodox) Presbyterian church in the
city of Cork. Dr. Dill resigned the charge in 1846,
having been appointed General Itinerant Missionary
Agent of the Home Mission. He was succeeded by
the Rev. William Magill, who was installed in 1847.
For thirty-seven years Dr. Magill honourably upheld the
interests of Presbyterianism and the cause of religion
in the city of Cork. He is an eloquent and powerful
preacher and a zealous pastor. In 1874 he was
Moderator of the General Assembly. During his
ministry the congregation built for itself a beautiful
new church, known as Trinity Church, which is an
ornament to the city. Dr. Magill retired from active
duties in 1884 and was succeeded by the Rev. Samuel
Law Wilson, M.A., who was installed there in the
same year. Mr. Wilson resigned in December, 1889,
having accepted a call to the congregation of York
Street, Belfast. The Rev. J. H. Murphy, M.A., pre-
viously of Cavan, has been installed in Trinity Church,
June, 1890.

During the present century many prominent mer-
chants of the city of Cork have been identified with
the Presbyterian Church, such as Messrs. Carmichael,
Coldbeck, Dale, Dobbin, Dowden, Ferguson, Lunham,
McOstrich, Ogilvie, Sutherland, etc.


Abbey Street, Dublin (Union Chapel).

THE congregation of Union Chapel, Lower Abbey
Street, Dublin, takes its name from a union of two
Seceding congregations which existed in Dublin toward
the close of the last century. These were the Burgher
and Anti-burgher congregations. The latter previously
worshipped in the old Tailors' Hall, Back Lane. The
former had for a long time worshipped in a church
which had an interesting history. This was the
church of Mass Lane or Lucy Lane. This lane has
now disappeared, but was about the spot now called
Chancery Place, near the east end of the Four

The church of Mass Lane was originally the chapel
of a Dominican friary. After the suppression of the
friary by Henry VIII. the Benchers of the King's Inns
obtained the building and used it as their chapel.
James II. restored it to the Jesuits and heard mass
in it during his stay in Dublin. After the Revolution
William III. presented it to a congregation of French
Huguenots, and the King himself attended services
in Mass Lane after the battle of the Boyne. Some


years later the Huguenots of Mass Lane joined the
French church in Peter Street, which was in existence
until the beginning of the present century. 1

At length the church of Mass Lane came into pos-
session of the Seceders. In 1796 we find in Dublin
two congregations of Seceders, divided by the con-
troversy about the burgess oath into Burghers and
Anti-burghers. 2 They do not appear to have been
very numerous. In 18 18 the two congregations only
numbered 140 persons. 3 Mass Lane was the more
important, as it received a grant of jo a year Regium
Donum, while the congregation of Back Lane received
$0 a year. 4 The Rev. Mr. Hutcheson was up to this
time minister of Mass Lane, and the Rev. David Stuart
was minister of Back Lane. About this time the
congregation of Back Lane removed to a new church
which they had built in Mary's Abbey, not far from the
Synod of Ulster church of Mary's Abbey (which since
removed to Rutland Square). This Secession church
was built on the site of the old Bank of Ireland, and is
now used as the Jewish synagogue. James Clarke, Esq.,
was a wealthy member of the congregation, and it was
largely by his liberality that the new church was built.
He was Treasurer of the Irish Evangelical Society


In 181 8 the Rev. Thomas Hutcheson retired from
the pastorate of Mass Lane, owing to ill-health, and
shortly after this his congregation united with that of
Mary's Abbey (Secession Church). It was in this

1 " Presbyterianism in Dublin," by Dr. William Frazer, in the Evan-
gelical Witness (edited by Rev. John Hall, Dublin), April, 1863.

2 Life and Times of the Countess of Huntingdon, II., 217.

3 Warburton, Whitelaw, and Walsh : History of Dublin.

4 Mathews : Account of Regium Donuni.


year that the two Synods of Burghers and Anti-burghers
united and formed the Secession Synod. Wm. McAuley,
Esq., was at this time a leading member of Mass Lane
congregation, and appeared before the Synod on its
behalf. It was the united sessions of Mass Lane and
Mary's Abbey who, about the year 18 19, overtured the
Secession Synod to undertake home mission work in
the South and West of Ireland. 1

The Rev. David Stuart, who thus became minister
of the united Secession congregation at Mary's Abbey,
was a man of great ability. He preached a sermon at
the opening of the Secession Synod in Cookstown in
1820, on "The call of God to Irish Christians on behalf
of their perishing countrymen, and the guilt and danger
of neglecting to hear it." The sermon is still preserved, 2
and is a very earnest and powerful discourse. Other
published sermons of his which are preserved in the
same volume are on The Death of Judas, and two ser-
mons on Unitarianism another Gospel, a reply to Rev.
Dr. Armstrong's Vindication of Unitarian Christianity
(1838). He also published a small pamphlet on the
Doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation and Atone-
ment of our Lord Jesus Christ (Dublin : 1834).

In 1823 Mr. Stuart, still retaining his pastorate, was
appointed Professor of Theology in the Theological
Training College or Academy of the Irish Evangelical
Society at Manor Street, near Prussia Street. A manu-
script volume of notes of his lectures on T'heology is
preserved in the library of Magee College.

Under Mr. Stuart's ministry, the Secession congre-
gation of Mary's Abbey became so large that, in seven

1 Minutes of Secession Synod.

2 Miscellaneous Sermons by Ministers of the Secession Synod, 1799-


years after the erection of its church and its union with
Mass Lane congregation, it was necessary to erect a
new building. A new church was then erected in
Lower Abbey Street in 1825, and was called, in com-
memoration of the union of the congregations and
perhaps, also, of the Synods " Union Chapel."

In 1837 tne Secession Synod organised another
congregation in Dublin. This was the congregation of
D'Olier Street (afterwards Gloucester Street). Union
Chapel congregation then became known as " First
Dublin " on the minutes of the Secession Synod. After
the union of the Secession Synod with the Synod of
Ulster, the congregation of Union Chapel became part
of the Presbytery of Dublin in connection with the
General Assembly. In 1841 Mr. Stuart's connection
with Union Chapel ceased.

He was succeeded by the Rev. S. G. Morrison.
Mr. Morrison had been ordained by the Independents
at Armagh in August, 1838, Rev. Mr. Edgar and Rev.
Mr. McAlister, Presbyterian ministers, assisting. He
continued to labour in the Tabernacle, Armagh, till
1843, when he removed to the Independent congre-
gation of Plunket Street, Dublin, where he was in-
stalled by Rev. Dr. Urwick, Rev. Mr. Hands, and Rev.
Mr. Cooper. About the close of 1844 Mr. Morrison
received an invitation from the congregation of Union
Chapel to become their minister, and both he and the
congregation of Plunket Street then joined Union

In 1846 Mr. Morrison and the congregation of Union
Chapel applied to be received into connection with the
Presbytery of Munster. After inquiry by a committee
of Presbytery the request was granted, and Mr. Morrison
was formally installed in Union Chapel, December 30th,


1846. At that time Mr. Morrison's reputation as a
preacher had already attracted a large congregation.
The average attendance on Sabbath was seven hundred ;
there were one hundred and fifty communicants, and
seventy in attendance at Sabbath-school. 1 In 1861
there were two hundred communicants on the roll,
and one hundred families in connection with the

In 1869 the Munster Presbytery ordained the follow-
ing gentlemen as elders and deacons in Union Chapel :
Elders David Bryan, Adam Kirkpatrick, John Adams,
James Baird ; Deacons Benjamin Patterson, James
M 'Robbie, Alexander McKay, Samuel Bouchier, Henry
Cochrane, 2 John Orr Miller, and Frederick Winder.
The congregation subsequently became once more
connected with the Presbytery of Dublin.

Mr. Morrison having retired from active duty, the
Rev. William Tait, LL.D. (previously of Castleblayney),
was installed as his assistant and successor on the 1st
November, 1881. Dr. Tait resigned the pastorate in
February, 1890.

Adelaide Road, Dublin.

The increasing strength of Presbyterianism in Dublin
in 1840 led to the formation of a new congregation.
The foundation-stone of Adelaide Road Church was
laid in this year. The first minister of the congregation
was the Rev. Charles Nairne, ordained there in 1842.
Mr. Nairne resigned the pastorate in 1844, having
accepted a presentation to the parish of St. John's,
Glasgow, in connection with the Church of Scotland.
In May, 1844, the Rev. William Arnot of Edinburgh

1 Minutes of Munster Presbytery. 2 Now Sir Henry Cochrane.


conducted the anniversary services in Adelaide Road
Church, and the names given in an advertisement o
the services in Saunders 1 Newsletter, as connected with
the church, are Wm. Todd, Alexander McCook, Dr. .
Paterson, Wm. Mcintosh, Andrew Risk, Frederick C.
Ferguson, Samuel Morewood, J. T. Mackay, Thomas
Heiton, Kenneth Chisholm, John Johnston, Thomas
Peile, jun., and John Lang.

The Rev. J. W. Hunter, previously of Terrace Row,
Coleraine, was installed here in January, 1845. When
the new Trustees of the General (Eustace Street) Fund
were appointed by the Lord Chancellor in 1850, the
first trustees representing Adelaide Road were Rev. J.
W. Hunter, and Messrs. William Todd, Thomas Heiton,
and John Lang.

In 1865 Mr. Hunter obtained leave for his congre-
gation to choose an assistant and successor to him, in
consequence of infirmity. 1 In September of that year,
the Rev. R. A. Carden, D.D., was installed as assistant-
minister. Dr. Carden had been minister of the Epis-
copal Church of America, but sought admission into
the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and was received
by the Assembly. In 1866 Dr. Carden was called to
1st Bally mena, but declined the call.

Dr. Carden's career in Adelaide Road was a brief
one. He declined the call to Ballymena in March,
1866. In April of the same year he was reported to
the Dublin Presbytery by the Session of his congrega-
tion for his method of administering baptism, using
some form of prayer and the Apostles' Creed, bowing
at the name of Jesus, and making the sign of the cross
on the forehead of the child in baptism. He explained

1 Mr. Hunter died in 1879.


that he had not read the directions in the Presbyterian
Book of Discipline, and had used principally the forms
with which he had been familiar. His explanation was
accepted, the Presbytery expressing regret that he had
not previously acquainted himself fully with Presby-
terian order and discipline. Dr. Carden doubtless
chafed under his own hastily-imposed burden of Pres-
byterianism, for in the month of May, 1866, he resigned
the pastorate of Adelaide Road and his connection with
the Presbyterian Church, intimating his intention of
returning to the Episcopal Church.

In August, 1866, the present pastor, Rev. R. McCheyne
Edgar, M.A., previously of Queen Street, Cork, was in-
stalled as assistant-minister in Adelaide Road. Mr.
Edgar's has been a faithful and laborious pastorate.
During his ministry a commodious manse has been built,
a fine lecture-hall and suite of rooms have been added to
the church, and the church itself has been completely
renovated. Amid all the labours, pastoral and public, of
a city minister, Mr. Edgar has found time to contribute
largely to the theological literature of the day. His
best-known works are The Philosophy of the Cross;
Does God answer Prayer ? ; and homiletic contributions
to several volumes of the Pulpit Commentary.

Adelaide Road is an active and flourishing congrega-
tion. The pastor is ably assisted by an excellent staff
of elders and members of committee.


The congregation of Athy is one of those which had
an early existence in the history of Irish Presbyter-
ianism, which for a time became extinct, and were
afterwards revived.


Its first ministers were Revs. Dr. Thralkeld and Mr.
Walker. The Rev. Mr. McGachin (or McGachy) was
ordained there in 1720. His was a lengthened pastorate.
He was still minister in 1770, though beginning to feel
the infirmities of age, for we find it reported in that
year to the Trustees of the General Fund that " Mr.
McGachin is no longer capable of preaching at Bally-
brittas." Ballybrittas was a congregation in Queen's
County, to which Mr. McGachin ministered, as well as
to the congregation of Athy, in County Kildare. The
troublous times toward the close of the eighteenth cen-
tury had probably the effect of scattering some of the
members, and the growth of moderatism had probably
exercised its destructive influence on the internal life
of the congregation, for soon after this it became extinct.

In November, 185 1, the Presbytery of Dublin organ-
ised the Presbyterian families of Athy into a con-
gregation, under very promising circumstances. The
Rev. John Hall (now of Waterford) was the first
minister of the revived congregation. He was ordained
there in 1852. In 1 861 Mr. Hall resigned the charge
of Athy, having been appointed to the work of the
Colonial Mission in British Columbia. Mr. Hall was
succeeded by the Rev. Robert Wallace (previously of
Glennan, Co. Monaghan, and now of New Row,
Coleraine), who was installed there in 1 861. Mr.
Wallace was succeeded by the Rev. T. R. White
(previously of Loughmorne, now of Bailieboro'), who
was installed there in 1865.

The present minister is the Rev. J. G. Clarke, who
was installed in 1874, and is universally respected and
beloved. The congregation of Athy is a strong and
generous one. Its large contributions to missionary
objects are specially noteworthy.



Ballacolla congregation was organised in 1858. Its
first minister was the Rev. Alexander Milligan, ordained
there in i860. Mr. Milligan removed to Corlea in 1882,
and was succeeded by Rev. A. Mogee, B.A., ordained
there in August, 1882. Mr. Mogee resigned, to go to
Canada, in 1889. Further particulars are given in
Killen's History of Congregations. The present minister,
Rev. W. S. Montgomery, B.D., was ordained there on
April 30th, 1890.

Birr, or Parsonstown.

The story of Birr congregation is unique in the
history of the Irish Presbyterian' Church. In 1839 the
Rev. William Crotty, Parish Priest of Birr, renounced
the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and he and
his congregation were received, on their own application,
into connection with the Synod of Ulster, 1 under the care
of the Presbytery of Dublin. The two congregations
of Mary's Abbey and Usher's Quay contributed liberally
for the assistance of this newly -formed and novel Pres-
byterian congregation, and a joint committee, consisting
of the ministers and leading members of these two city
churches, was appointed to look after its financial
interests. The Rev. Dr. Carlile of Mary's Abbey, who
had Mr. Kirkpatrick for his assistant, devoted the re-
mainder of his days to the work at Birr, where he lived
and laboured till his death in 1854. The Presbyterian
Church, which had been thus unexpectedly called to
labour in spiritual matters in Birr, was not unmindful

1 See above, Chapter XIX., p. 117.


of the bodily and temporal needs of the people, and
in 1848 Dr. A. W. Wallace (M.D.) came there as the
representative of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary
Society. Dr. Wallace's medical skill was the means of
alleviating much distress and suffering in the dark days
of the famine and the cholera.

Dr. Carlile was succeeded, as minister of Birr, by the
Rev. W. H. Horner, who was installed there in April,
1854. Mr. Horner resigned in 1855, and was succeeded
by Rev. E. Kimmitt (now of Clonakilty), ordained there
in 1856. The next minister was the Rev. John Cham-
bers, ordained there in September, 1857. Mr. Chambers
resigned owing to ill-health, and was succeeded by
Rev. J. Brady Meek, ordained there on July 13th, 1869.
Mr. Meek accepted a call to 1st Larne in 1872, and
was succeeded in Birr by Rev. Silas E. Wilson (pre-
viously of Dromore West), who was installed there
December 4th, 1872. Mr. Wilson accepted a call to
3rd Armagh in 1876. He was succeeded by Rev. D.
H. McMurtry.

During Mr. McMurtry's ministry the present manse
was purchased for the congregation. Mr. McMurtry
resigned Birr in December, 1881, having accepted a call
to 2nd Castleblayney. He was succeeded by Rev. John
M. Simms, B.A., who was ordained there on May 16th,
1882. During the ministry of Mr. Simms the present
beautiful new church was built. It was opened for
public worship in 1886 by the Rev. James W. Whig-
ham, D.D. (Ballinasloe). The foundation-stone was
laid by Rev. Jackson Smyth, D.D. (Armagh). Mr,
Simms, having been appointed Chaplain to the Forces,
resigned the pastorate, and was succeeded by Rev. J.
Melville Irwin (previously of Cavanaleck), who was
installed at Birr, May 24th, 1887.



The congregation of Bray owes its origin to the
Irish Evangelical Society. This was an undenomina-
tional society, founded in 18 14, for the purpose of
carrying on mission work in Ireland. Its first secre-
taries were Revs. Mr. Cooper, minister of Plunket
Street (Independent), Mr. Davies, minister of York
Street (Independent), and Mr. Carlile, minister of Mary's
Abbey (Presbyterian). 1 James Clarke, Esq., a leading
member of the Anti-burgher Society (Presbyterian),
was treasurer. The report of the Society for 18 16
states that "at Bray, a place of fashionable resort,
about ten miles south of Dublin, a field of gospel
labours has lately been opened, and means are in pro-
gress to supply that place statedly." Several ministers
of the Presbyterian Church had already preached there.
For some years before 18 16 the Rev. S. Simpson of
Usher's Quay had been in the habit of preaching there
twice a week. The services at first were held in the
house of Mr. Beggs, now Wilde's coach factory, in
Little Bray. Mr. Beggs used to go round and announce
the preachers. The Rev. Dr. Urwick often preached
there. After the Irish Evangelical Society took charge
of the work, the students from their theological college in
Prussia Street preached there for a considerable time
in the court-house. The attendance at these services
was so encouraging that in 1817a plot of ground was
taken, and "a plain but neat place of worship was
built." The population of Bray "and its vicinity" is
said to have been at this time about 5,000 souls.

In 1827 the Rev. C. E. Paul was settled as the

1 Reports of the Irish Evattgelical Society, 1815-1831. Library of
Assembly's College, Belfast.



Society's minister at Bray. He was succeeded by
the Rev. J. B. Grey. Mr. Grey was succeeded by the
Rev. D. H. Creighton. In 1834 Mr. Creighton and
the congregation of Bray were received into connection
with the Secession Synod, under the care of the
Monaghan Presbytery. At that time Mr. Creighton
came from Dublin every Sabbath on the mail-car, but
about 1836 he began to reside in Bray. Mr. Creighton
was an able and earnest preacher. 1 In 1840, however,
his health gave way ; the congregation fell off con-
siderably ; and in 1841 he obtained leave for the
congregation to choose an assistant and successor. In
1838 the congregation had already been transferred
from the Presbytery of Monaghan to the new (Seces-
sion) Presbytery of Dublin. The union of the Synods
in 1840 of course resulted in the congregation of Bray
coming under the care of the General Assembly.

In 1 84 1 the Presbytery of Dublin met at Bray. Mr.
George Matthews, who appears to have been, tem-
porarily at least, a member of the congregation, was
present. He stated that there were about twenty
persons then in attendance on public worship, and six-
teen communicants, and that there were altogether only
six Presbyterian families in connection with the con-
gregation, some of whom resided at a great distance.
Mr. Matthews, coming out to Bray, and finding the
church almost deserted, had himself procured the ser-
vices of Mr. Bennett, a licentiate, Mr. Matthews paying
his expenses. The place of worship, Mr. Matthews
stated, belonged to the Evangelical Society. The
station of Bray, he added, was most unpromising.

1 See Redemption Consummated. A discourse on the death of Simon
Christie, Esq. By the Rev. D. H. Creighton, 1837. The text is
Hosea xii. 14. Magee College Library.


Presbyterian people were few. There was no induce-
ment to persons of enterprise to settle in Bray, which
was a mere fishing-station ; and besides, there was
" considerable High Church feeling " in the place.

The services, however, were continued, being chiefly
conducted by licentiates, until in 1846 the Rev. John
Powell, who had already been labouring there for
about a year as licentiate, was ordained as assistant
minister in Bray. A local committee had previously
been organised to sustain and promote the interests
of the congregation. The members of committee
were Messrs. Lane, Leckie, Hamilton, Allison, and
Lumsden ; Mr. Alison being secretary, and Mr. Lums-
den, treasurer. The call to Mr. Powell was signed
by C. S. Leckie, William Allison, J. Hamilton, Alexander
Clark, William Lumsden, and John Mcintosh, and offered
^35 of stipend. During Mr. Powell's ministry in
Bray he taught a school in what is now called Novara
House, in which many of the present merchants of Bray
received their early education. Mr. Powell did not re-
main long in Bray, and accepted a call to Carlow in 1848.

After Mr. Powell's removal, the Presbytery seemed
still undecided as to whether Bray should still be
maintained as a congregation. A special visitation was
held at Bray in January, 1849, t0 report to the Mission
Directors concerning its state and prospects. The
members of the congregational committee present on
that occasion were William Allison, John Grant,
Nathaniel Beggs, J. Lumsden, and Alexander Clarke.
It was stated that the committee undertook to raise
21 annually, and that the congregation was prepared
to give a \inanimous call to the Rev. James Patterson,
licentiate of the Newry Presbytery.

The Presbytery and the Mission Board seem to have


made up their minds that Bray was worth trying again,
for on the 24th of April, 1 849, the Rev. James Patterson
was ordained as its minister. Mr. Patterson's call was
signed by twenty-one persons, of whom scarcely twelve
were professed Presbyterians, the remainder being of
other denominations. At the first communion at which
he presided, there were eight communicants; the average
attendance at public worship was twenty-five. The
Sabbath collections amounted to 6 per annum, and
the missionary collections were about 4.

Under Mr. Patterson's faithful and energetic ministry
the congregation steadily grew and prospered. At a
visitation Presbytery held in 1854, Mr. Nathaniel
Beggs was ordained to the office of the eldership. At
this visitation Mr. Patterson reported that he preached
once a fortnight at Kilpedder, Co. Wicklow, and that
the average attendance there was from fifty to sixty.

Gradually the old place of worship in the Main Street
became too small, and in 1858 the present beautiful
church on the Quinsboro' Road was dedicated for
divine worship, the Rev. Dr. Cooke of Belfast conduct-
ing the services on the occasion. By Mr. Patterson's
efforts a manse was also built about the same time.

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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 15 of 24)