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New Presbyterian Church at Drumhillery

Drumhillery Presbyterian Church County Armagh

The Ulster Gazette Saturday, May 23, 1868 Transcribed by Jane

Laying the Foundation Stone of a New Presbyterian Church at Drumhillery [From our reporter]

On Thursday the interesting ceremony of laying the foundation stone of a new Church for the Presbyterian congregation at Drumhillery was gone through in the presence of a large and respectable assemblage. The site of the Church is close by the old building, but more easy of approach from the main road.

The ground on which it is to be erected is a gift to the congregation from the Right Honorable the Earl of Caledon, who accompanied the gift with a subscription of £50, and is, we understand, but one of many noble and generous acts on the part of his Lordship since he attained his majority.

The site of this church is beautifully chosen. Situate at the foot of a gently sloping declivity, it is but a few moment’s walk from the schoolhouse and at a very convenient distance from the beautiful Manse attached to it. Its central situation is suitable for the congregation who worship in Drumhillery and if we may judge from the plans, and the spirit with which the undertaking has been inaugurated, the new edifice promises to be one in every respect worthy of its respectable owners. A sum of £600 was subscribed by the congregation before any step was taken in the matter. The ground plan shows that the Church will cover an area of 75 feet by 40, and it is expected to have the walls up and covered within the present Summer.

Shortly after the appointed hour the Rev. Mr. MACAULAY, the esteemed pastor of the congregation, repaired to the site. He was accompanied by Henry L. PRENTICE, Esq., J.P., D.L., the popular agent to the Caledon property; by the Rev. Samuel SIMPSON, Rector of Madden; Rev. Mr. BLECKLEY, Monaghan; Rev. Mr. LINDSAY, Middletown; Mr. M’KELL and a number of ladies. A large assemblage of people had congregated at the place, on reaching which, Rev. Mr. MACAULAY, opened the proceedings with singing a psalm. Prayer was offered up by Rev. Mr. BLECKLEY.

Rev. Mr. MACAULAY, addressing Mr. PRENTICE, said – It affords me much pleasure to present you with this silver trowel, as a momento of respect and esteem from the congregation of Drumhillery. It bears the following inscription -“Presented to Henry L. PRENTICE, Esq., J.P., D.L., on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of a new Presbyterian Church at Drumhillery. 21st May, 1868.”

Mr. PRENTICE having accepted the trowel, descended to the foundation with some mortar which had been provided for the purpose, and having applied the mortar and hammer, declared the first stone duly laid in the name of the Holy Trinity. He then said they were assembled there on a very solemn occasion – to witness the commencement of a new building, to be devoted to the worship of God, in connexion with the Presbyterian Church. He had been asked by their respected Minister and a number of the congregation to lay the first stone, which he felt much pleasure in doing, as he had known and esteemed many members of the Drumhillery congregation for nearly half a century, which was a very long period in the life of a man. On the present occasion he represented the Earl of Caledon -(applause)- who attained his majority last July, and on whose estate the new Church was about to be built. He knew his lordship’s very friendly feeling towards the congregation of Drumhillery, and he was sure he would feel much gratified when he had heard that so much had been done in connexion with this undertaking. (Applause.) I shall only detain you further while I express a hope that this Church may be a boon to this and future generations. From what I have seen of the place and what I know of the circumstances I have reason to hope it will be a Church in every respect worthy of the congregation, and I hope and believe it will be a blessing.

Rev. Mr. BLECKLEY said – I have to convey the thanks of this congregation and its pastor to you, Mr. PRENTICE, and through you to Lord Caledon, whose personal absence from this place to-day is rendered unavoidable by the discharge of more important public duties. I wish personally to express my sense of the wisdom of the course adopted by his Lordship in promoting the intellectual and religious improvement of the people. It has been said that “property has its duties as well as its privileges,” but I believe that the discharge of those duties in the securing of the privileges the value of an estate is not the land as it came from the hand of Nature, with unfelled forests and undrained morasses; nor of a people living in poverty – the victims alternately of famine and fever. It is an intelligent and industrious tenantry, which imparts beauty, healthfulness, and fertility. For education, without religion, leads to profitless speculation; and earnestness in religion without knowledge, cuds in bigotry and fanaticism; but these combined are like the sunbeams of the summer – the warmth that promotes vegetation, and light which paints and beautifies the flowers. (Applause.) I do not wish to extol my own denomination; but I believe they are second to none in intelligence and industry. They are the least of a burden to the country. The time of country gentlemen is seldom occupied by them in the discharge of public duties of jurors; and in the workhouse they are rarely found, except in the case of an orphan child, or of a person worn down by infirmity and old age. And I rejoice to think that very soon no Presbyterian orphan will be left in a workhouse, and no Church member abandoned to the uncongenial society to be found within those walls. Again the security of property depends not a little upon them. The agitations which disturb the public mind seldom reach the districts in which they prevail; and in our colonies, to which they are sometimes, perhaps unkindly, driven, they still retain their habits of industry, and their devoted loyalty to the British Crown. (Applause.) There has now been laid the cornerstone of a material building; but there is another building, whose foundation is laid in Zion – a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation, or, as Bishop Lowth would render it, “immovably fixed.” That foundation is the only one – the Lord Jesus Christ. You are called to build yourselves on that foundation. You are the Lord’s building – lively stones – cemented by charity. The door of this temple is faith; the ascending steps are hope; the light within it, living truth; the fire upon its altar is love; and its ascending incense is praise to God. And when the voice of the singers were as one in the temple of old, the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord – so in the union of the Church now, the Lord is glorified in the assemblies of his people. And you, my brother MACAULAY, let me address you, as I know by experience how arduous is the work to which you are called, in the erection of the material building, and also as a wise master builder in the spiritual. Your own character must leave its impress, as the city of the new Jerusalem had on its twelve foundations the names of the Apostles; or, as the famous sculptor of old, Phidias, left his own likeness curiously wrought on the shield of the image he had so skillfully formed. Your joy and the spiritual advancement of your people are one; for your joy and crown of rejoicing on that day will be your soul- saved people – a wreath more precious than any that can adorn a mortal brow.

Rev. Mr. MACAULAY said – Mr. PRENTICE, Ladies and Gentlemen – I shall only say a very few words on this – to me and my congregation – most interesting occasion. The house we here shall build, the foundation stone of which has just been laid, is for the promotion of religion, morality, and education in this neighbourhood. We build this house to the honour and glory of our God; and our prayer and hope and desire is that it may ever prove a blessing to this neighbourhood. Here, the salvation of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ shall be fully and freely be made known and our trust is that sinners here will be converted, while those who know the consolations of God’s love shall, even here, with joy draw water from the wells of salvation. Here, the pure Gospel shall be preached; and while we shall adhere to our principles, our object shall be, as heretofore, to cultivate friendly feelings towards Christians of all other Churches, and, according to the requirements of the present time, to overlook minor differences, and unite manfully for the defence of the Gospel and the maintenance of our “altars free.” (Applause.) It is in his own house that God especially meets with his people, and bestows blessings upon them. Therefore, the building of such an house is a noble and a good work – sure to bring a blessing to all who freely and heartily engage in it. This house will be a place were subjection to all those in authority and obedience to the laws of the State shall be firmly inculcated – where peace will be proclaimed and brotherly love promoted – always free from bigotry or narrow sectarianism. Here we shall proclaim the glad tidings of salvation and worship God the Father , Son, and Holy Ghost in simplicity and in truth. To all who have honoured us here to-day by their presence, we beg to tender our sincere thanks. We are encouraged, by their attendance, in this great undertaking; for truly the work inaugurated here to-day is a great work – great, not merely as regards the material structure, but also in its spiritual bearings. This house will be here after us, when we have been gathered to our fathers; and souls will be saved here who will be with us hereafter in glory; so that this house is not for any political or party purpose, but purely for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. [Mr. MACAULAY concluded by pronouncing the benediction.]

After the ceremony a number of friends adjourned to the Manse, where an excellent luncheon was provided for them by Mrs. MACAULAY.

Drumhillery (Drumhillary) – additional information transcribed by Teena from the Armagh Guardian, Belfast Morning News & the Londonderry Standard.

21 Apr. 1838 Marriage
On the 12th inst. by the Rev. Samuel Hendren A.M. Middletown, Mr. George FREELAND of Camagh, Derrynoose, to Miss Mary, daughter of Mr. James MITCHELL, Drumhillery Tynan.

4 Dec. 1841 21 The Presbyterian Church of Drumhillery

On Sabbath the 21st inst., the Presbyterian Church of Drumhillery after being rebuilt, was opened for public worship. The services of the day were conducted by the Rev. Dr. COULTER, Gilnahirk, who delivered an appropriate discourse, characterised by richness and depth of thought, evangelical sentiment, brilliancy of language and earnestness of delivery. Dr. COULTER is at all times an excellent and interesting preacher; but such a strain of eloquence and such force of reasoning and of appeal pervaded his discourse on this occasion as could not fail to engage the attention and rouse the energies of all who heard it. Notwithstanding the extreme severity of the weather, a numerous congregation assembled and a collection of upwards of £27 was taken up, including the following sums from gentlemen who could not attend;

James ROSS Esq., Monaghan
Henry L. PRENTICE Esq., Caledon
David HORNER Esq., Monaghan
Samuel MAGEE Esq. M.D., Keady
Maxwell CROSS Esq., Dartan
Counsellor TENISON, Portnellagan
John BRYANS Esq., Killaneel

The following gentlemen were the collectors on the occasion €”John KANE David SMYTH M.D., Robert BLAIR and John STITT.

19 Dec. 1856 Marriage
Dec. 17, in the First Presbyterian Church, in this city, (Armagh) by Rev. J. Hall, Miss WYNNE, The Mall, Armagh, daughter of the late Thomas WYNNE Esq., Lislea, to Rev. James MACAULEY minister of Drumhillary.

8 Oct.1858 Death a Remarkable Character

A few days ago, Mr. William MITCHELL, of Drumhillary, parish of Tynan, died at the advanced age of 72. Deceased was an extraordinary person. He had the misfortune, in his infancy, to lose his eyesight, by that scourge of humanity, the small pox. He was naturally gifted with a strong, vigorous mind, which he managed, by strict application, to store with useful knowledge. He was ardently attached to music, with the science of which he was intimately acquainted. He was an excellent practitioner on the violin and had the gifted author of “Traits and Stories of the Irish peasantry”, been acquainted with the deceased, it is doubtful whether Frank M”CRORY would have furnished the prototype of the “Irish Fiddler.” He was a good historian and possessed a fair knowledge of the current literature of the day. As a consistent Presbyterian he loved to dwell on the successful struggles of his ancestors, for the rights of conscience, “in the days of other years.” And he might aptly be termed “the old mortality of the days of the covenant.” The writer of this brief notice, in his infancy, was wont to look up to him with the veneration due to a parent and he may be permitted to breathe a sigh to his memory.

Alas! poor Yorick! I knew him well. A man of infinite jest, most excellent fancy.”

25 Feb. 1861 Marriage
Feb. 20th in Drumhillery meeting house by the Rev. James Macauley, Wilson REID of Cargilisgreen, to Elizabeth second daughter of the late Mr. John TAIT same place.

1 Jan. 1862 Marriage
December 26th in Drumhillery Presbyterian Church by the Rev. James M’Auley, Mr. Robert CARR to Miss Mary HUSTON.

28 Mar. 1866 Marriage
March 22nd in Drumhillery Presbyterian Church by the Rev. James Macauley, Mr Francis WILSON of Lislea, to Jane, daughter of Mr. Andrew CAMPBELL of Tivnacree.

25 Dec. 1866 Marriage
December 20th in Kilkinamurry Presbyterian Church by the Rev. James Macaulay, Drumhillary, uncle to the bride, assisted by the Rev. James Foster, Newmills, brother of the bridegroom, Mr. John FOSTER Enogh, Dromore to Margaret, eldest daughter of Mr. Samuel MACCAULEY, Closkelt, Ballyward.

11 Apr. 1874 Death
ApriI 4, at his residence, Drumhillery, Keady, the Rev James MACAULEY aged 53 years.

16 Jun. 1891 Marriage
June 10th at Drumhillery Presbyterian Church by the Rev William Ingram, John Fawkner CUNNINGHAM Belfast, to Elice Fordyce daughter of James ANDERSON, The Patch, Keady County Armagh.

In the book ‘A History of the Irish Presbyterians’, the Rev. Thomas CLARK, a minister of the secession church, was ordained at Cahans on the 23rd July 1751. He itinerated through a large district, and was the means of establishing stations, which became congregations. He held regular service at Monaghan, and also at Drumhillery, where, as early as 1752, there was a session and a meeting-house. Accompanied by 300 people, he immigrated to America in 1764.

By the uniting together of two Presbyterian churches in 1840, the General Synod of Ulster, and the Secession Synod, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) was established.

A Brief Guide to PCI (Presbyterian Church of Ireland)