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Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001

Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

Magherally Church of Ireland
St. John the Evangelist
in Kilmacrew Rd, Magherally

old parish church Magherally Church of Ireland

The photo on the left shows the old church. The photo on right of the new church was kindly sent to me by Rev. Elizabeth Hanna, rector of the parish in 2005.

In 1557 the Down Survey mentions that there was an old ruined church in the parish but nothing much remained of it then. In 1703 the parish was annexed to Garvaghy because of the dilapidated state of the church and small congregation.

The old church on the summit of 450 ft hill, was built in 1770 (see above left ) and was described in 1836 as a plain building capable of holding about 300 people. It is 30 feet to the north of where the even 'older' church stood. The Glebe House is a little to the north east of the church near the new church. It stood proudly on the little hill and one of its earliest marriages was that of Hugh Bronte and Alice McClory, grandparents of the famous Bronte sisters, who eloped here from Emdale in 1776. It was abandoned & left roofless in 1886 when the new church, above, was built just up the road . The rector in 1892 was Rev. George Made & in 1910 was Rev. R. Quirk.

old records destroyed in the Dublin fire of 1922; baptisms & burials from 1880 & marriages from 1845; graveyard at the old church , gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 20; oldest stone 1697; email me for a gravestone lookup

References;V12 p 113,115 OSM: BIH p M; GIC; PNNI V6 p 257; MC

Magherally Presbyterian Church
just NE of parish church in Kilnacrew Road, Magherally townland

The congregation was founded in 1656 and its first minister was Rev. Andrew McCormick. It was said to be the 8th Presbyterian church built in Ireland. The second minister was Rev. John Hunter from 1672 but he fled to Scotland during the troubles.He was followed by Rev. James Heron from 1693- 1699 then Rev. Samuel Young from1704-1718. Then came Rev. John Menogh 1722-1733.
The first meeting house was built in Drumneath then rebult in Magherally in 1737. The minister 1734-40 was Rev James Moody then Rev. William Thompson 1742- 1856 then Rev. Isaac Patrick 1758- 1805 then 1805-1835 was Rev. Alexander Patterson.

In 1836 it was described as a plain,stone building in a T shape, with a tower. It held 800 people with an average attendance in 1836 of 550. The minister 1835-1837 was Rev. Samuel Marcus Dill with a salary of £80 per year, with £75 being given to Rev William Patterson, a superannuated minister (at his deceased it reverted to Rev. Dill). The minister in 1839 was Rev. Thomas Boyd then 1840-1883 was Rev. James Thompson.

The church was also known as the 'Valley Church' to distinguish it from the Parish Church, which is known as the 'Church on the Hill'. The minister 1883-1946 was Rev. John Dunwoody Martin.

records from 1837, graveyard attached, gravestone inscriptions UHF Vol 20; oldest tone 1812; email me for a gravestone lookup

References; HCPCI p191; V12 p 113, 115 OSM; OFN p71; EPC p19; OFB p x,75, 85; GIPR; POD; MIs


by Ros Davies