A Brief History

The first built church was erected in 1822 on a site behind the present church and parallel to the road.  Writing in his 150th Anniversary booklet Dr. S.H.Carson wrote “One can easily imagine it sitting back from the roadway by a quiet churchyard with its grass, trees and shrubs”.  Indeed it was in this very churchyard that the second minister Rev. W.T.G.Dowling was buried.  His headstone still stands near the Manseside entrance to the church.

There are only two illustrations of the old church, one a pen and ink drawing, the other being a printer’s block for printing on notepaper on hymn books or as has been found in a cupboard, printing on song booklets.

The actual formation of a congregation would have taken place before 1822 when a group of people who had been gathering to worship, after the Presbyterian form, in a house near the Ulster Bank in High Street wrote to the Synod of Ulster in 1821.  Their petition asked that the Presbytery of Dromore be authorised to supply them with preaching every Lord’s Day during the ensuing twelve months and pledged to defray the expense themselves which was £50.

In the following year more money than this was available and the Synod was approached again, asking permission to build a meeting house and to be constituted a congregation.  By this time a site was acquired from a Mr. Giles Atkinson where the church is presently situated.  With the Synod’s consent the church was soon built and the first minister called.

The present building replaced the old one in 1858, a gallery added in 1875 and the transepts, extending the seating capacity from 550 to 900, were built in 1890.  At the same time heating the church by steam was introduced and a vestry was erected.  The cost of this was £1,800 and was cleared in just over five years. The present vestibule was added in 1920 and a memorial plaque to Rev. W.J.Macaulay and a War Memorial table were placed on the wall facing the door.

  • +44 28 3839 3773
  • [email protected]
  • First Presbyterian Church
    Watson Street
    Co. Armagh
    BT63 5AQ
  • Office Hours
    Tuesday & Thursday 9:00am – 5:00pm
    Friday 9:00am – 1:00pm
    (Closed 1:00pm – 2:00pm for lunch)
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