An early twentieth-century postcard view of the interior of the Church
A view of the gallery added in the 1920s
Founded in 1840 in a former Methodist church the building was later rebuilt with a lecture hall downstairs and the church upstairs. A church with a radical history in both theology and, at times, in its political leanings, it was destroyed in the blitz of 1941 although the congregation found a new home as part of All Souls’ Church in Belfast in 1944.
First Presbyterian Non-Subscribing Church, Moira
Moira meeting-house with the parish church visible in the background
This building dates from 1738 and has not greatly changed since that time. A plain and very simple preaching house slightly later in date to the nearby parish church.
Old Presbyterian Church Cairncastle, opened 1989 (Photo: Lena Cockroft)
Rev Lena Cockroft at Cairncastle not long after the opening
The congregation has roots that go back to the middle of the seventeenth century but this is also the newest Non-Subscribing Presbyterian church. Built during the ministry of the Rev Lena Cockroft it was opened on the site of the original in 1989. A simple but attractive building that incorporates features from the old church in its design.
Greyabbey meeting-house in 1907
Greyabbey memorial to the Rev William Hall
The congregation dates back to the 1600s and has had an often controversial history. The minister in 1798, the Rev James Porter, was hanged in that year because of his support for the United Irishmen. His successor, the Rev John Watson, faced a concerted attempt by a conservative faction to seize control of his meeting-house. His successor, Rev William Hall, held a successful fundraising visit to the USA in the 1850s to rebuild the church in 1862. A radical in his theology he later led the congregation into the Presbytery of Antrim.
First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing), Newry viewed from the side
The interior showing the organ dating back to 1806
Opened in 1852 and designed by the Newry-born architect W.J. Barre this was one of the first dissenting churches in Ireland to adopt the gothic style. W.J Barre went on to design many prominent buildings, particularly in Belfast, especially churches. It also houses the first organ ever used in a Presbyterian church in the north of Ireland – originally unveiled in Belfast’s Second Congregation in 1806 it is still in regular use in Newry.
Mountpottinger NSP Church, Belfast
One of four regal heads on the door surrounds of Mountpottinger. Who could it be?
This congregation developed out of a Sunday School that was established in the vicinity and which grew and attracted the parents of the children into a church. The building was opened for worship in 1875 and occupies a prominent site at a major intersection in Belfast.
You can read further reflections on the regal heads of Mountpottinger here:
From the ‘Christian Freeman’, 1866
Twentieth-century stained glass window (featuring Martin Luther) made at the An Túr Gloine (‘The Glass Tower’) studio
The seventeenth-century congregation that met on Wood Street later moved to Strand Street before building an ambitious gothic building designed by W.H. Lynn on St Stephens Green in 1863. Occupying a prime city centre location the site is also an awkward shape but is well fitted out with many fine features. With the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation celebrated in 2017 it is worth noting that Dublin Unitarian Church is the only church of any denomination in Ireland to have stained glass that depicts Martin Luther.
For more images from the ‘Christian Freeman’ see: