Millisle and Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church: A Short History

History of Millisle Presbyterian Congregation.

THE earliest account of the Presbyterian Congregation of Millisle is not to be found in the records or Minutes of any Presbytery or Synod. We do not know at what exact date the members of the Presbyterian Church in Millisle and district were "erected" into a congregation. Nor do we know what Presbytery gave permission for such an erection. The first knowledge we possess is contained in an ancient "Session Book," which informs us that subscriptions were received by responsible persons, for the building of the Church in Millisle, in July, 1773. We also learn that the Church was built in 1773. The Register of Baptisms in connection with the Congregation records the first Baptism as taking place on the 28th day of September, 1773. The items of information thus supplied by the Session Book and by the Baptismal Register enable us to state that the Congregation was in existence in the year 1773, and it was probably erected and organized in that year, or immediately before it.

The following are the names of the members of the Congregation who contributed to the cost and work of building the Church, with the amounts they contributed in money and in kind, or, as the old Minute Book of Session so quaintly describes them, the amounts given in "cash," and in "work done by man and horse":--

"The Subscriptions given by the Congregation of Millisle for Building of the Meeting House from the 20th day of July, 1773:

To John Nevin, to cash22157 
  ''   David Young, to cash380 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse140 
  ''   Samuel M'Quoid, to cash0110 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse080 
  ''   David Punton, to cash120 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse056 
  ''   John Orr, to cash125 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0115 
  ''   Hugh Montgomery, to cash040 
  ''   Adam Punton, to cash0114 
  ''   Andrew M'Cready, to cash0 114 
  ''   John Davidson, to cash044 
  ''   Samuel Byers, to cash060 
  ''   Nicholas Magill, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse093 
  ''   John M'Keag, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0911½
  ''   Andrew M'Gowan, to cash022 
  ''   Thomas M'Keag, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0110 
  ''   Matthew Crawford, to cash050 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse030 
  ''   Robert M'Keag, to cash1144 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0172 
  ''   Thomas M'Caw, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse084 
  ''   John M'Gaw, to cash0120 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse078 
  ''   Hugh Fulton, to cash0114 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse095 
  ''   Robert Armstrong, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0106 
  ''   Theophilus Shannon, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0126 
  ''   Patrick Niblock, to cash066 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse033 
  ''   John O'Hara, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse086 
  ''   Alexander Magill, to cash066 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse045 
  ''   Andrew M'Keag, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse012 
  ''   Abraham Robinson, to cash0114 
  ''   James Byers, to cash054 
  ''   William Caw, to cash055 
  ''   John M'Gill, to cash0114 
  ''   John Miller, to cash039 
  ''   Mary Henderson, to cash0114 
  ''   Henry Lemon, to cash017 
  ''   John Boden, to cash0110 
  ''   Thomas Crawford, to cash089 
  ''   Elizabeth Morrow, to cash039 
  ''   Robert Crawford, to cash055 
  ''   Robert Miller, to cash055 
  ''   Robert Adams, to cash055 
  ''   Mary Davis, to cash033 
  ''   Margaret M'Kee, to cash03 9 
  ''   William Colwell, to cash055 
  ''   John M'Whinney, to cash066 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0310 
  ''   Hugh Millar, to cash028 
  ''        ''     to work done006½
  ''   Isabella Goullin055 
  ''   William Robinson, to cash0114 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0132 
  ''   John Clark, to cash066 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse079 
  ''   John Robison, to cash014 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse017½
  ''   David M'Kee, to cash088 
  ''   John Mitchell, to cash129 
  ''   Widow Boyle0114 
  ''   Hugh Boyle, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0711 
  ''   John White, to cash0155 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse075 
  ''   James Caughey, to cash044 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse017 
  ''   Robert Burrowes, to cash029 
  ''   William Burrowes, to cash066 
  ''   Charles and Robert M'Cracken, to cash055 
  ''   William Reid, to cash0114½
  ''   Thomas M'Mikan, to cash055 
  ''   William M'Comb, to cash022 
  ''   William Gibby, to cash066 
  ''   David Alexander, to cash129 
  ''   Thomas Askin, to cash055 
  ''   John Brown, to cash080 
  ''   Widow Gibby, to cash039 
  ''   John Cree, to cash0114 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse088 
  ''   John M'Dowell, to cash0114½
  ''        ''      ''     062 
  ''   John Davidson, to cash055 
  ''   James M'Keag, to cash055 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse094 
  ''   James Magill, to cash0114½
  ''        ''     to work done088 
  ''   Andrew Ewart, to cash055 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0210 
  ''   James Campbell, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse067 
  ''   Widow M'Comb, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse089 
  ''   Robert Byers, work done by man and horse088 
  ''   Samuel Ewart, to cash055 
  ''   James Barkley, to cash055 
  ''   John M'Naire, to cash022 
  ''   William M'Kee, to cash055 
  ''   John Warnock, to cash0114½
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0114½
  ''   Thomas Campbell, to cash055 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse055½
  ''   John Morrow, to cash028½
  ''   Samuel Stevenson, to cash055 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse022 
  ''   Hugh Beck, to cash022 
  ''   John Campbell, to cash055 
  ''   Adam Gonnan, to cash076 
  ''   William Heslop, to cash050 
  ''   William Gaw, to cash0147½
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse0811 
  ''   Robert Boyle, to cash129 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse047 
  ''   John King, to cash033 
  ''        ''     to cash017½
  ''   Hugh M'Caw, to cash046 
  ''   James M'Keag, to cash 0 2 6 
  ''   William M'Whinney, work done017½
  ''        ''     to cash033 
  ''   Thomas Gibson, to cash044 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse055 
  ''   Mary and Elizabeth Gibson033 
  ''   Mary White, to cash022 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse022 
  ''   James Mitchell, to cash022 
  ''   Widow Hill, to cash026 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse017½
  ''   Hugh White, to cash028½
  ''   George Goudy, to cash017½
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse017½
  ''   John Shaw, to cash033 
  ''        ''     to work Gone by man and horse017½
  ''   William Heron, to cash0114½
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse044 
  ''   James M'Connell, to cash0114½
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse083 
  ''   Patrick Fullerton, to cash160 
  ''   Gilbert Stevenson, to cash033 
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse011 
  ''   John Taylor, to cash039½
  ''        ''     to work done028½
  ''   John and Jinnat Morrison, to cash020 
  ''   James Adams, to cash0114½
  ''   Robert Lavery and Thos. Foster, to cash028 
  ''   David M'Kelvey, to cash0117 
  ''   John M'Hinch, to cash0114½
  ''   John M'Skellie, to cash0114½
  ''   Hugh Andrew, to cash129 
  ''   William Russell, to cash0114½
  ''   James Andrew, to cash055 
  ''   John M'Cartney, to cash129 
  ''   Thomas Gonnan, to cash022 
  ''   Widow M'Comb, to cash129 
  ''   Agnes M'Clelland, to cash011 
  ''   Archibald M'William, to cash011 
  ''   James Johnston, to cash044 
  ''   James Hindman and John Shanks022 
  ''   James Boyle, to cash028½
  ''   Isabella Martin, to cash011 
  ''   Mitchell Campbell, to cash011 
  ''   James Gilmore, to cash028½
  ''   James Brison, to cash055 
  ''   John Brison, to cash066 
  ''   Mitchell Murdock, to cash044 
  ''   Thomas M'Nish, to cash044 
  ''   John Etichson, to cash0114½
  ''        ''     to work done by man and horse028½
  ''   John M'Dowell088 
  ''   William Crawford066 
  ''   Robert M'Kie028½
  ''   David Trombel0114½
  ''   George Burrowes0114½

The Session Book concludes the list of contributions here, and adds the following explanation and information:--

"The foregoing contributions of money and of work done were given by the people of Millisle for the building of their house of worship in the year of our Lord 1773.

Mr. John Nevin also, who had kindly given ground for the Meeting House gratuitously, and for which no rent was ever paid, increased his original subscription to the sum of £50 sterling, for the purpose of buying timber for the roof. In the disputes of the congregation he took no part whatever, till the last day of polling, whether the Meeting House should belong or not to the Seceders. The party friendly to the Seceders had a majority of votes in their favour, till the claim of Mr. Nevin, his £50, and his vote favourable to the Synod of Ulster, decided at once the cause of their disputation."

Mr. John Nevin was owner or landlord of the townland of Ballymacruise. He lived at Ballymacruise House. He succeeded in getting the congregation of Millisle placed under the jurisdiction of the Synod of Ulster, and under the care of the Presbytery of Belfast, in that Synod.

The next task of the congregation was to obtain a minister. And here great difficulties arose. Those families who had shown themselves "friendly to the Seceders" were dissatisfied. They wanted a minister from the Secession Synod. They objected to the ministers and licentiates who were connected with the General Synod of Ulster, and who applied as candidates for the vacant pulpit. No candidate could get a sufficient number of votes in his favour to warrant a call being made out to him. The dissatisfied members were strong in numbers, and were numerous enough to prevent a call being issued. This action of the families who were "friendly to the Seceders" caused keen resentment amongst those members who were eager and anxious to have a minister in their midst. A serious division took place as a result. Thirty-nine of those families who preferred the Secession Synod -- although they had contributed to the building of Millisle Church -- ceased to be connected with the congregation. Thirty-six of these joined the newly-formed Secession congregation of Ballycopeland, and the remaining three families joined neighbouring congregations. The congregation of Millisle, thus reduced and greatly weakened, did not attempt to secure a minister of its own, for the time being. A temporary arrangement was made with the Rev. Alexander Grier, who had received a call from the members of Ballycopeland congregation. The members of Millisle congregation invited Mr. Grier to undertake the pastoral charge of Millisle, in addition to the charge of Ballycopeland. Mr. Grier accepted the call from Ballycopeland, and the invitation from Millisle, and discharged the pastoral duties of Millisle Presbyterian congregation from 1773 to 1777.

A Congregational Committee was elected or appointed during Mr. Grier's term of office in Millisle. This Committee at once undertook the duty of pew-letting and of collecting stipend for the support of the Minister. The work thus done is recorded in the Minute Book of the Session, as follows:--

"19th August, 1776. Sittings let by the Committee to members of the congregation, together with the amounts of Stipend paid quarterly:--


Pew No. 1 and Pew No. 2:Patrick Murdoch,2 sittings085
Thomas M'Meekin,2       ''   
James Fulton,1       ''   
William M'Kee,2       ''   
Grisey King, 1       ''   
Margaret Lennox, 1       ''   
John Taylor, 1       ''   

Pew No. 3.Thomas M'Nish040
Mitchell Murdoch

Pew No. 4.Samuel Stevenson0310½
Gilbert Stevenson
Widow Sloan
James Brown

Pew No. 5.Widow Colwell 2 sittings039
Robert Adams,2       ''   
Alex. M'Cartney,2       ''   
Mary Kennedy,1       ''   

Pew No. 6.Robert M'Cracken,3 sittings 03
George Goudy,1       ''   
James Murdoch,1       ''   
Margt. M 'Cracken,1       ''   

Pew No. 7.James Morland,2 sittings 036
Robert Hogg,2       ''   
Wm. M'Whinney,1       ''   
Sarah M'Comb,1       ''   
Jane Nelson,1       ''   

Pew No.8.William Andrews,1 sitting 03
Samuel M'Clure,1       ''   
Margaret Gonnon,1       ''   
Margaret Byers,1       ''   
William Craig,1       ''   
W. Crawford's Daughter,1       ''   
John M'Keag,1       ''   
Charles Armour,1       ''   

Pew No. 9.Thomas Adams,1 sitting 033
David Campbell,1       ''   
John Rainey,1       ''   
Joseph Cahoon,1       ''   
Hugh M'Caw,1       ''   
David Adams,1       ''   
Charles Campbell,1       ''   

Pew No. 10.Patrick Fullerton033

Pew No. 11.Robert M'Millan,2 sittings 03
James Sirvis,2       ''   
William Davidson,1       ''   
George Hill,1       ''   
Alexander Askin,1       ''   

Pew No. 12.John Davidson,2 sittings 036
William Crawford,3       ''   
James Clark,2       ''   

Pew No. 13.James Byers,2 sittings 03
Gawn Muckle,2       ''   
William Fagon,1       ''   
John Williamson,2       ''   

Pew No. 14.John M'Gill039

Pew No. 15.William Gabbey,2 sittings 0310½
Andrew M'Cready,2       ''   
William Davis,1       ''   
James Barkley,1       ''   
Agnes Caughey,1       ''   

Pew No. 16.Andrew M'Keag040
John O'Hara,
Robert Millar,

Pew No. 17.Robert Armstrong04
John Neal,
Nevin Taylor,

Pew No. 18.Thomas M'Keag,026
John Brisbro,

Pew No. 19.Hugh Boyle054
Hugh Andrew

Pew No. 20.Robert Boyle040
William Reid
Widow Boal

Pew No. 21.David Punton04
James Adams

Pew No. 22.James M'Connell040
Adam Punton

Pew No. 23.George M'Comb0310½
John Taylor
James Brison
James M'Cullough

Pew No. 24.George Bennett,1 sitting(s)039
James M'Cullough2      ''
Widow Grogin,2      ''
Margt. Alexander, 1     ''
Hugh Montgomery,1      ''

Pew No. 25.John M'Hinch03
John M'Nally

Pew No. 26. Adam Gonnan,4 sitting(s)036
Hugh M'Caw,2      ''
John Gonnan,1      ''

Pew No. 27. James Young,1 sitting(s)03
James Caughey,1      ''
Widow Colwell,2      ''
Wm. Robinson,1      ''
Robert Lamon,1      ''
James Barkley,1      ''

Pew No. 28.David Campbell033

Pew No. 29 and Pew No. 30.John M'Cartney06
William Robison

Pew No. 31. James Taylor,2 sittings036
Hugh Millar,2      ''
lnglis M'Dowell,2      ''
Patrick Beggs,1      ''

Pew No. 32. Alexander Robb03
William Burrowes

Pew No. 33.James M'Gill039
James M'Keag

Pew No. 34.John Gaw,2 sitting(s)0310½
Alexander Bennett,2      ''
James Shaw,1      ''
John Millar,1      ''
William Gaw,1      ''

Pew No. 35. Thomas M'Caw040
James Histy

Pew No. 36. Theophilus Shannon04
Robert Cooper

Pew No. 37. William Gaw029
  John M'Whinney

In addition to the above-named stipend-payers, the following members of Millisle Presbyterian Church were also contributors to stipend, and had sittings assigned to them by the Committee, or sub-let to them by members of the congregation:--

David Young,Stipend paid Quarterly05
David Alexander,     ''           ''          ''

Robert M'Keag,     ''           ''          ''039
David Adams,     ''           ''          ''

James Campbell,     ''           ''          ''04
Widow M'Comb,     ''           ''          ''

Hugh Fulton,     ''           ''          ''040
Alexander M'Gill,     ''           ''          ''
John Morrison,     ''           ''          ''
Abraham Robison     ''           ''          ''
Thomas Crawford,     ''           ''          ''

Andrew Ewart,     ''           ''          ''0310½
Samuel Ewart,     ''           ''          ''
Robert Byers,     ''           ''          ''
Andrew Ewart,     ''           ''          ''

John Clark,     ''           ''          ''039
Joseph M'Comb,     ''           ''          ''

James Davidson,     ''           ''          ''03
James M'Keag,     ''           ''          ''

William Kinnaird,     ''           ''          ''036
John M'Donald,     ''           ''          ''
John M'Dowell,     ''           ''          ''
James Blakley,     ''           ''          ''
George Gowie,     ''           ''          ''
John Gibson,     ''           ''          ''
William Hislop,     ''           ''          ''

John Robinson,     ''           ''          ''034
James Lindsay,     ''           ''          ''
William M'Quoid,     ''           ''          ''
Fergus M'Clement,     ''           ''          ''
John Nevin     ''           ''          ''039

Alexander Grier,Secession Minister039

Jas. Johnston,Stipend paid Quarterly039
James Dickson,     ''           ''          ''

Robert Boyd,     ''           ''          ''039
James Robison,     ''           ''          ''

David M'Kee,     ''           ''          ''03
Hans Faris     ''           ''          ''
Samuel Smiley,     ''           ''          ''
William Shearer,     ''           ''          ''

James Wallis,     ''           ''          ''0310½
Agnes Wallis,     ''           ''          ''
Thomas G0nnon,     ''           ''          ''
John M'Clement,     ''           ''          ''
Mary Shields,     ''           ''          ''
James Muckle,     ''           ''          ''
Agnes M'Clelland,     ''           ''          ''

John M'Dowell,     ''           ''          ''026

John Orr,     ''           ''          ''04
Nicholas M'Gill,     ''           ''          ''

John Mitchell,     ''           ''          ''043
John Cree,     ''           ''          ''

William Heron,     ''           ''          ''043
William Russell,     ''           ''          ''
John Barkley,     ''           ''          ''

Thomas Campbell,     ''           ''          ''04
Thomas Hill,     ''           ''          ''
John M'Kee,     ''           ''          ''
Samuel Dunn,     ''           ''          ''

Patrick Niblock,     ''           ''          ''040
John Etchison,     ''           ''          ''

John King,     ''           ''          ''0310½
Thomas Askin,     ''           ''          ''
John Brown,     ''           ''          ''
William M'Comb,     ''           ''          ''
Widow Gibbey,     ''           ''          ''
Elizabeth Murphy,     ''           ''          ''

The Rev. Alexander Grier ceased to be minister of Ballycopeland in 1777, and at the same time his period of duty as minister in Millisle came to an end. By this time a Session had been ordained, and a Committee had been appointed. Stipend had been promised by the seat-holders in the Church, either individually or collectively, according to the method by which the sittings were let, and this stipend was regularly paid. It was also being increased, as new members joined the congregation, and as others increased their contributions. The Session Committee, and members generally, were satisfied that the congregation was now organized and managed in an efficient manner. All were now eager and ready to hear candidates on trial for the vacant pulpit. A goodly number of licentiates and ministers applied for, and were given a hearing. The congregation decided to call a licentiate. The older members advised the voters to support and call the eldest of the licentiates who had preached, and this advice was followed. The suggestion of these older members was received and acted upon, and a unanimous call was forwarded to Mr. Andrew Greer. This call was made and given in the following words:

"To the Reverend Andrew Greer.

Rev. Sir,

We the Elders and other Members of the Protestant Dissenting Congregation of Millisle, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being very sensible of the great loss which we and our families have for some time past sustained by the want of a fixed Pastor, and having heard an agreeable character of you, as well as having lately had an opportunity for several Lord's days of hearing you preach the Gospel and perform other parts of your office in the pulpit; besides, that many of us have had the pleasure of your conversation in private whilst you were among us, in all which you acquitted yourself to our satisfaction, and agreeably to our taste and capacity.

We have therefore agreed to call and invite, and by these presents we do call and invite you, Mr. Andrew Greer, to take upon you the pastoral charge of this our congregation.

And upon accepting this our call, we promise you all due encouragement and obedience in the Lord. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our name this 6th day of April, 1777:--

Elders:-- David Young, George M'Comb, Samuel Ewart, John Taylor, and James Patton.

Other Members:-- James M'Ney, John M'Dowell, James Stevenson, Gilbert Stevenson,Robert M'Kee, William Robinson, John Brown, Mrs. Colwell, Michael Murdoch, Robert M'Cracken, Charles M'Cracken, James Murdoch, Robert Hogg, James Armstrong, James Byers, Margaret Byers, David Campbell, Eliza Freeburn, William M'Quoid, John Caughey, Joseph Jamison, John Davidson, George Hill, William Crawford, John Williamson, James Byers, Gawn Muckle, William Gebbie, William Davis, Agnes Caughey, John O'Harry, John Montgomery, Nevin Taylor, John Irwin, Hugh Boyle, John White, John Bryson, John Niblock, James Boyle, James Bryson, George Bennett, Mary Orr, William M'Kee, Patrick Murdoch, Hugh Beck, James Fulton, Alexander King, Samuel M'Clure, Hugh Montgomery, Jannet Grogan, Adam Gunning, Hugh M'Meekan, Alexander Bennett, William Caldwell, James Caughey, Andrew Meekan, John Roddie, English M'Dowell, James Taylor, John Gaw, William M'Clements, James Shaw, William Gaw, Thomas M'Caw. John Millar, Robert Cooper, Theophilus Shannon, John M'Whinney, George M'Cracken, William Gaw, David Alexander, John Warnock, Hugh Bailie, James Patton, Christina Porter, Hugh Fulton, John Fulton, James Jamison, Henry Ewart, William Kinnaird, John King, Andrew Ewart, William Haslett, James Adair, James M'Cormick, James Hamill, William Bitcon, James Johnston, David Trumble, Charles M'Gill, Samuel Davis, James Campbell, James Wallace, James Muckle, John Brown, Hugh Jamison, James White, William M'Comb, John M'Clements, Thomas Erskine, John Hutcheson. John Hutcheson, Thomas Campbell, John M'Kee, Samuel Dunn, Thomas Hill, Robert Huddleston, James Cree, John Cree, John M'Dowell, John M'Dowell, Thomas Gibson, Robert Millar, George Goudie, Robert Fulton, Robert M'Nish, James Byers, Samuel Beck, John Punton, Mary Hunter, Mary Alexander, Mary Dougherty, William M'Whinney, Andrew Barkley, Robert Lynn, Robert Boyle, Isabella Boyle, Eliza M'Comb, Ellen M'Caw, David Orr, Jane Orr, Agnes Wallace, Mary M'Clean, Agnes Burrows, Eliza Burrows, Eliza M'Millan, Ann M'Cullough, Jane M'Kee, Robert Byers."

"That the above Names were annexed to this Call, either Personally, or by Order, is attested by me,

               H. M'KEE.
               6th April, 1777."


The signature, "H. M'Kee," of the witness who certifies that the Names were annexed to the Call in the proper way, is that of the Rev. Hugh M'Kee, who was ordained minister of Drumbo, by the Belfast Presbytery, on 25th September, 1776.

The wording of the "Call" is most interesting. It is drawn up by members of the congregation, with the knowledge and consent, and perhaps also the assistance, of at least one member of the Presbytery of Belfast.

Mr. Greer was a man of quiet and unobtrusive life and character. He began his work as minister in Millisle under most favourable circumstances, and he continued as he began. His duties were always well and faithfully done, and he won the respect and esteem of all who knew him.

In the year following his ordination the Committee formulated and agreed upon regulations for the future management of the temporal affairs of the congregation. These were known as the "Rules of the Committee of the Congregation of Millisle," and were as follow:--

"I. That said Committee are to meet together every month, on the second Sabbath of the month, either before Sermon or in the Interval of Worship, and then conclude when it may be most expedient to hold a meeting of Committee to regulate the affairs of said Congregation.

II. That at every meeting of Committee there shall be a President, the oldest Member to preside first, then at the next Meeting the next oldest Member shall preside. Members shall continue to preside in order of Seniority until the youngest Member presides, after which the oldest shall again be President, and so on.

III. That no act is to be made or entered into except by a Majority of Voices (or Votes).

IV. That the Committee are not to be concerned with the Sessional affairs.

V. That a monthly Collection shall be uplifted at the Meeting House Doors every First Sabbath of each Month, beginning on the First Sabbath of March, 1778."

The Committee representing Millisle Congregation, in the year 1781, consisted of the following members:-- Hugh Betty, David Young, John Brison,

Joseph Jamison, John Niblock, Robert Coupper, George M'Comb, George Bennett, John Taylor, Robert Fulton, Robert Boyle, John Tylor (Craigboy), Samuel Ewart, Charles M'Gill, David Trimble, James M'Cormick, William M'Kee, James Boyle, David Campbell, Henry Ewart, and Thomas Gibson.

At a meeting of this Committee, held on 18th October, 1781, "it was concluded by the old Committee to appoint the following persons to succeed them this year:-- David Young, David Trimble, Thomas M'Caw, Samuel Beck, John Caughey, John Punton, John Erwin, George Bennett, George M'Comb, James Jamison, James M'Cullough, James Jamison, John Richy, David Campbell, Hugh Boal, James Punton, and David Alexander."

This last-named Committee remained in office until 11th August, 1783, when "it was concluded by the old Committee to appoint the following persons to succeed them this year:-- John Niblock, John Erwin, James M'Cullough, John Pentland, John Richy, John Fulton, Samuel Ewart, Robert Boal, John M'Dowell, Joseph Jamison, John Gaw, Charles M'Gill, William M'Kee, and John M'Donald."

Millisle Church before renovation

On the 24th December, 1784, "at a meeting of the Committee for Regulating the Affairs of Millisle Dissenting Meeting House, held at Robert Boyle's, the Committee consisting of the following members:-- David Young, John Niblock, George M'Comb, Joseph Jamison, David Trimble, John Pentland, Samuel Ewart, John Richy, Thomas Shaw, David Campbell, James M'Cullough, and Robert Boyle, it was unanimously agreed that the Congregation stands indebted to Mr. Andrew Greer £69 10s. 1d., sterling." On 13th December, 1789, "the arrears of stipend due to Rev. Andrew Greer were reduced to £25 2s 1d. sterling."

The following paragraph is an exact copy of an entry found in the Baptismal Register of the Congregation. The entry was made on the flyleaf or first page of the Register:

"June 15, 1793. This day were delivered to James Dickson, Session Clerk, Two Silver Chalices, by James Arbuckle, Esqr., who had been commissioned and ordered to buy them for the use of the Congregation of Mill Isle, by the late William Hunter, of Donaghadee, who did in his lifetime, and before several respectable Witnesses, deliver the sum of Ten Guineas to the said James Arbuckle, Collector, of Donaghadee, and order him to buy two Silver Cups or Chalices, and present them to the said Congregation of Mill Isle, as a Memento that he, the said William Hunter, had been a Member of said Congregation."

These Silver Cups were for the use of the Congregation as Communion Cups, and they were so used from the time when they were given until the recent introduction of Individual Communion Cups.

The Cups or Chalices presented by Mr. Hunter are of beautiful and chaste design. Each bears the inscription:

"The Gift of William Hunter, of Donaghadee, To the Presbyterian Congregation of Mill Isle, April 19th, 1791."

After thirty-two years spent in the active duties of the ministry in Millisle the Rev. Andrew Greer obtained permission to retire, owing to his failing health, and availed himself of this permission, in 1809.

At a meeting of the General Synod of Ulster, held at Cookstown on 26th June 1810, the Presbytery of Belfast reported "that they licensed Mr. John Walker on the 7th November, 1809, and ordained him in the Congregation of Millisle, on the 13th of April, 1810, as assistant and successor to the Rev. Andrew Greer; that he subscribed the Confession of Faith, and is a Contributor to the Widows' Fund."

The Rev. John Walker had received a hearty and unanimous call from the members of Millisle, and he began to minister amongst a loyal and lovable people with whom he was very soon exceedingly popular. His kindness and cheerfulness commended his pulpit ministrations, and endeared him to the hearts of all. He was however soon to experience trouble in connection with the Presbytery of Belfast, and with the General Synod of Ulster. He was requested by Mrs. Arnold, of Donaghadee, "to solemnize the rite of marriage between her and Philip Savage, Esq., also of Donaghadee," and consented to do so. Mrs. Arnold's late husband was the Rev. John Arnold, minister of Donaghadee Presbyterian Congregation. This Congregation was then within the bounds of, and connected with, the Presbytery of Bangor. Mr. Walker and Mr. Arnold were neighbours in the ministry, and were on terms of the closest and most intimate friendship. Philip Savage, Esq., of Donaghadee, and formerly of Portaferry, was a retired farmer, and a Roman Catholic. Popularly known as "Phil" Savage, he was well known and well liked everywhere in the Ards Peninsula. He was wealthy and generous, and the richest and the poorest, and people of all creeds and classes, regarded him, and rightly, as a friend. With his characteristic kindness the Rev. John Walker officiated at the marriage of Mr. Savage and Mrs. Arnold. But both Presbytery and Synod held that the marriage was irregular, and condemned Mr. Walker's action. The Congregation of Millisle was unanimous in its strong support of Mr. Walker. A memorial, signed by the voters of the Congregation, and by all the responsible persons in the district, was presented to the Synod, stating that "all have the highest opinion of Mr. Walker's goodness and integrity," and that "he would be more useful in the congregation than any other minister." The Synod, however, at its meeting in Cookstown on Thursday, 30th June, 1814, decided that Mr. Walker should not have officiated at the marriage. Both contracting parties were outside the bounds of his congregation and Presbytery, and the marriage was in several other respects irregular. After prolonged discussions in the Synod, during which many members of the Presbytery of Belfast reconsidered their decision, and came to the assistance of the Commissioners from Millisle, Mr. Walker found that a majority of the members of the General Synod were against him. He therefore requested the members of his Congregation, and his friends in the Presbytery, not to debate the matter further, and he ceased to be minister of Millisle on the last day of June, in the year 1814.

Mr. Walker had taken Ballymacruise House at a yearly rent. This house was surrounded by five acres of grounds. The grounds were partly planted with trees, and the remaining portions were used as orchards, or as fruit and vegetable and flower gardens. He retained the residence, and returning to Glasgow University, he came back in the year 1820 to Millisle as a qualified surgeon. He conducted a private school at Ballymacruise for a number of years, and was a most successful teacher. He also practised as a doctor in the district until the time of his death.

The Congregation of Millisle were faced in 1814 with the task of selecting their fourth minister. Several candidates preached on trial, and after hearing these, the Rev. Andrew Greer, Senior Minister, advised the members to make out, and sign, and forward, the following "Call to Rev. John Hanna":--

"We, the Session and Congregation of Millisle, having heard of your abilities and zeal in preaching the Gospel, and having heard of your being favoured agreeably to our supplication, with a hearing of you for four Lord's Days on trial, are perfectly satisfied as to your qualifications for the ministerial office.

We therefore unanimously invite and call you to be assistant and successor to our present worthy pastor, the Reverend Andrew Greer, promising to receive at your hand the ordinances of religion and intending also a becoming respect to your person.

And for your further encouragement to undertake amongst us this arduous and honourable employment, we promise you the annual sum of £60 during the life of Mr. Greer, should the stipend amount to that, and after his decease the sum of £50, should you survive him as our minister.

This our Call we have subscribed in our Meeting House at Millisle on the 22nd day of January, 1815.

Andrew Greer, Archibald Fulton, William Boyce, Charles Maxwell, John Fulton, Thomas Hill, James Adams, John Fulton, jun., James Bailie, Andrew Francis, Samuel Fulton, Gilbert Stevenson, Andrew Francis, jun., James Patton, John Joyce, John M'Quoid, Joseph Fulton, Thomas Blain, Francis Byers, Hugh Campbell, William M'Clean, William Campbell, George Bennett, James Warnock, John Beck, William Campbell, Samuel Byers, John Smith, Hugh Carr, James Byers, John Davis, Samuel Haslet, Robert Cooper, James Donnan, Robert Haslet, John Orr, James Ewart, Andrew Youart, John Cooper, Hugh Fulton, John M'Whinney, William M'Caw, George Bennett, James Dickson, John Taylor, James Gunning, Andrew Herron, John Gunning, John Keag, James Herron, George Adams, Henry Ewart, Thomas Simpson, William Boyle, James M'Whinney, Samuel Stevenson, Thomas Muckle, Alexander Stevenson, John Thompson, Solomon Nixon, William Otterson, Hugh Camlin, William Irwin, James Birch, John Hill, David Martin, John Campbell, Hugh Boyle, Andrew Byers, Robert Niblock, James Innes, James Dickson, David Young, Patrick Murdoch, Cornelius Campbell, William M'Kee, James M'Cutcheon, David Irwin, John Millar.

I certify that the above Call was signed in my presence.



Rev. Fletcher Blakely was present at the signing of the Call, representing the Presbytery of Belfast. He was minister of the Congregation of Moneyrea.

The Call was gratefully accepted by the Rev. John Hanna, and he was ordained in the Congregation of Millisle by the Presbytery of Belfast on the first Tuesday of May, 1815. At the meeting of the General Synod at Belfast, which commenced on 27th June, 1815, Rev. John Hanna was present, with Mr. Thomas Hill, as Representative Elder, from the Congregation of Millisle.

Mr. Hanna's ministry was marked by great faithfulness to duty. He was a man of great earnestness and energy, a preacher of merit, a good pastor, and a genial friend. He earned and always held the esteem and affection of the people of Millisle.

On 6th April, 1819, Rev. Andrew Greer, Senior Minister of Millisle, passed away. By his death the Congregation sustained a heavy loss and the sorrow of all who had known him as their spiritual guide was accordingly great.

After the death of the Rev. Andrew Greer the minister and members of the Congregation decided that the existing rules of the Committee should be revised. It was now deemed advisable that members of Session should be permitted to attend the meetings of the Committee. From 1819 until the present time it has been the custom in Millisle to regard the members of Session as, by virtue of their office, members also of the Congregational Committee. Some financial matters required adjustment and alteration.The Minister, Session, and Committee, were all alike determined to bring an end a custom which had been common from the time of the commencement of the congregation, namely, the custom of sub-letting sittings, or portions of sittings. Members of the Congregation, without the consent of the Committee, had been accustomed to share their sittings with other members. Parents divided the portions of pews occupied by them, with married sons, and with daughters who married. The result was crowding and confusion in parts of the Church, and an even greater confusion where payments of stipend were concerned. No proper list of seatholders could be made out, and stipend was paid in two different days. Individual members paid stipend, but groups of members also paid for a single sitting by one contribution to the stipend fund.

The following is a copy of the revised rules or regulations:--

"Regulations of the Committee and Session in the Congregation of Millisle as formed in August, 1820.

I. That there shall be no under sitters, but every person shall apply to the Committee for whatever seat or sittings they require.

II. That all regular seat-holders shall enjoy their property in their respective seats in the meeting-house, and be entitled to all Christian privileges, they paying the amount of stipend charged upon the seat or sittings they possess.

III. That any persons not fulfilling this stipulation but allowing more than four quarters of arrears upon their seat or sittings the Committee shall give them notice by letter of such arrear, and if it remains afterwards one month unpaid their seat or sittings may be let as soon and in whatever manner the Committee may think proper.

IV. That such persons shall, through indolence or neglect, suffer their seat or sittings to be forfeited and let to others, shall when becoming again members in the meeting-house, be considered as accountable for the arrear they had before incurred.

V. That no persons are legally entitled to accommodation in seats but the members of the families who pay stipend.

VI. That persons in the congregation who have sat with their parents till the time of their marriage are required to take a seat or sittings for themselves, otherwise they cannot be considered as regular members.

VII. All persons who are regular in their conduct and unable to pay anything for the support of a Gospel ministry shall be provided with seats by the Committee free of expense; they if belonging to the congregation shall be exempt from payment and entitled to all Christian privileges as others are entitled, upon making their case known to the minister of members of the Session or Committee.

VII. No difficulty seems by this to be thrown in the way of any individual, and therefore before the children of persons be baptised, or they themselves admitted to the the Lord's Table, it is necessary that their names be entered in the seat book, for a seat or sitting, either for payment or without it.

IX. When persons who are not members of the congregation apply for the baptism of infants, the case must be first mentioned to the Session on the Sabbath, and considered by them, and after that the request of such persons shall be complied with, if the Session see no cause or reason to order the reverse.

X. All certificates granted to persons leaving the congregation or removing from the country must be given at a meeting of the elders, and signed by the Minister and Session Clerk, and before such certificate be obtained for any individual it will be necessary (unless in cases of poverty) that his accounts be settled with the Collector and Committee.

XI. With respect to marriages also it is deemed proper that either the parents or guardians of those about to be married shall speak personally to the minister, so that impositions may be avoided, and all things done decently and in order.

In addition to these regulations the Minister and Session desire to express their unwillingness that children should be baptized on the Sabbath in private houses except to persons who are servants themselves to others, and in cases of absolute necessity. The Minister is willing to baptize children each Sabbath publicly in the meeting-house, but he considers the collection of friends which sometimes takes place at a baptism, and the conversation that commonly occurs, inconsistent with the sanctification of the Sabbath, nor will he continue to baptize children to such parents as willingly neglect the observance of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or Public Worship."

The observance of these Rules and Regulations assisted the members of Session and Committee in many ways in the management of matters, both temporal and spiritual, connected with the well-being of the congregation.

It was soon found, however, that even the strictest observance of the new Rules could not solve the problem of pew-letting. There were more seat-holders than the Church could accommodate. A further Rule was therefore agreed upon by the Session and Committee. It was decided that only two members should be permitted to come from each household or family on each Sabbath day. This Rule was observed by the people without murmur or complaint. But an increasing population meant that the membership of the congregation was quickly growing, and the only satisfactory way of dealing with the lack of accommodation was that of adding a wing to the Church. A wing was therefore added about the year 1825. The Church was most probably rectangular in shape at first. The new wing would therefore be the present portion of the building which is at right angles to the remainder, and on the eastern side. It is popularly known as the "Sea Aisle."

In the same year Mr. William Campbell, a member of the Session of Millisle Church, passed away. He was greatly missed and mourned by all. He was an office-bearer who had the welfare of the congregation at heart, and who worked constantly for the highest good of the Church. For some time before his death he had seen the necessity for additional Communion Cups for the use of the congregation at the half-yearly observance of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. He accordingly left instructions for the presenting of two chalices to the congregation, the presentation to take place after his death.

The minute book of Session pays the following tribute to Mr. Campbell's life of usefulness, as it records his death and gives particulars regarding his bequest:--

"Died on Monday, 22nd August, 1825, William Campbell, Ballyhaskin, aged sixty-three years.

Few persons in his situation have been more extensively useful. Through life he was distinguished for propriety of conduct, and by all who knew him, rich and poor, he was much respected. He was a lover of peace and tranquility, and in settling the differences which occur frequently with neighbours he was seldom unsuccessful. To the honest and industrious man he was a generous and disinterested friend. His liberality was not confined or contracted, but embraced every sect of professing Christians with charity and every man with benevolence. 'Live and let live' was always his favourite motto. Take him for all, we may seldom find his like again. 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.'

The said William Campbell, whose death is here recorded, did a short time before his dissolution mention to two or three individuals his intention of leaving also two Chalices or Cups for the Communion as a memento that he belonged to the congregation of Millisle, and wrote (not in his will but on a small slip of paper) the purport of the inscription to be engraved on them, and before the first Sacrament that followed his death such Cups, so engraved, were presented to the Session and Congregation by John Campbell, the heir and nephew of the deceased."

These Cups are exactly similar in size and in design to the Cups given and bequeathed by the late Mr. William Hunter to Millisle Congregation. The cost of the Cups given and bequeathed by Mr. William Campbell was £11 10s. 0d. The inscription engraved on each Cup reads as follows: "William Campbell, of Ballyhaskin (who was several years a member of Session) left this token of regard to the Presbyterian Congregation of Mill Isle. August 22nd, 1825."

Millisle Church after renovation

The following list, recorded in the Session Book, gives the "Names of the Elders in the Congregation of Millisle in June, 1828:-- Thomas Hill Ballycopeland; William Boyle, Millisle; James Dickson, Ballyrolley; James Bailie, Ballycopeland; Robert Patton, Killaughy; Samuel Brown, Ballyvester; William Boyd, Ballyblack;. John Campbell, Ballyhaskin; James Ewart, Whiskin; and John Campbell, junr., Ballyhaskin."

The Session Book also records the names of the members of "Committee of the Congregation of Millisle as appointed April, 1829, for the purpose of new slating the meeting-house:-- James Bailie, and Thomas Hill, Ballycopeland; John Fulton, jun., Ballybuttle; James Dickson, Ballyrolley; James Gunning, Drumfad; John Moore, Ballymacruise; James Adams, Millisle; William Boyd and William Duncan, Ballyblack; William Otterson and Robert Reid, Ballyraer; Samuel Brown, Ballyvester; William Adams, Craigboy and Ballyhay; Gilbert Stevenson, Kilbright; John Caughey, Ballymoney and Carney Hill; David Young, Gransha and Ballyfrenis; John Gunning and John M'Gimpsey, Killaughey; James Ewart, Whiskin, James Ralston, jun., Ganaway; John Campbell, senr., and Henry Ewart, Ballyhaskin." Each member of this Committee was directed to collect subscriptions (to defray the cost of slating the meeting-house) from the members residing in the townland or townlands with which his name was connected.

The main portion of the Church was at this time more than fifty years erected. The wear and tear of the passing years had made it desirable that new slates should take the place of those with which the roof had been covered at first. It is very probable also that the re-roofing of the older part of the Church in 1828 was done for another reason -- the roof of the new wing and that of the rest of the Church could be finished in the same way, and the entire building would thus have a much better external appearance.

The following is a most interesting record, giving an

"Account of Expenses for re-slating the Meeting House of Millisle, May, 1828:--

7,000 slates, at £1 4s 0d per 1,000880
To John Patterson, for nails0116
To James Otterson, for lime050
To John Gunning, Kilns, Donaghadee, lime124
Lead for roof, 2cwt. 2qrs. 171bs. at £1 5s 6d per cwt.3811
400 Laths, at 2s 4d per hundred094
Metal Nails016
1,800 Laths, at 2s 4d per hundred220
Iron: 2qrs. SIbs., for beam, at 10s 6d per cwt.0510
To John Dunn, work and attendance1100
To James White, for auctioning old slates, etc.010
To James Otterson, for slating and for workmanship, as per account9130
To James M'Whinney, for timber and carpenter work2128
1,500 Slates1160
For 64. Ridge Tiles, at 7d each, and nails2110
For cleaning the Meeting-House077
Slates got from Mr. Campbell020
Total cost of Re-slating the Church£3503


To meet the cost of re-slating the Church the following subscriptions were paid by the members residing in the different Townlands:--

"Townland Subscriptions:--

Ballyrolly and Drumfad2176
Millisle and Ballymacruise3199
Ganaway and Whiskin1166
Ballymoney, Kilbright, and Carney Hill0170
Ballyvester and Craigboy0176
Gransha and Ballyfrenis0180
Old Lead sold in Belfast13
Proceeds of Auction Sale of old slates, window-shutter., etc.11
Public money from Session house collection250
Balance due after re-slating Church£816


In order to clear off the debt of £8 16. 9,d incurred by the re-slating of the Church, a subscription Jist was commenced, and the following subscriptions were received:--

"Captain Boyle's subscription0100
William Smith's subscription030
Robert Patton026
John Jamison020
William Niblock020
Rev. J. Hanna0100
Balance of Public Money taken at Sacrament073
Monthly Sermon Collection10
do. do. do.130
Do. do. do.0145
August Collection236
November Collection228
Small Subscriptions026


This amount (£9 3s 4¼d) left a small credit balance in the hands of the Committee, and the work of slating was finished in July, 1828. In 1831 the pulpit was painted, at a cost of £1 2s 9d, and in June, 1832, the pews in the Church were painted by Mr. Francis Gunning and Mr. Vint, at a cost of £11 10s 0d.

Up to this time there had been one gallery only in Millisle Presbyterian Church. This was the gallery at the northern end of the building. A new gallery was erected in the southern end of the Church in the year 1833. For many years afterwards the gallery in the north was known as the "Old Gallery," and that at the opposite end of the Church was spoken of as the "New Gallery."

The cost of this erection is thus recorded in detail:--

"Expense of a new Gallery built in Millisle Church in 1833.

Paid Contractor, James M'Cullough1680
  ''   Robert Finlay, for work done200
  ''     ''     ''   050
  ''     ''     ''   026
  ''   for Lock, Smith Work, Hinge07
  ''   for Flttings for window055
  ''   John Dunn, for his work089
  ''   to James M'Cullough03
  ''   for Iron and Smith Work061


In June, 1836, it was decided by the congregation that the Session House should be "altered so as to make it serve for a pubhc School House" The following are the details of the cost of the alterations:--

Paid for Nails to John M'Donald08
Smith Work to Hugh Martin06
Iron to Misses Wright02
Locks and Bolts022
Timber to Mr. Wallace279
Metal Nails013
Slates from Tullycavey2100
Slates from Nevin Lemon1100
Carpenter Work to Patrick M'Cullough1140
Mason Work42
Fifteen Barrels of Lime0163
Other Expenses1100


About this time (1836) two breaches were repaired in the sea wall surrounding the Church. In addition to the work of repairing these breaches, a battery or breakwater was built. The entire work of repairs and of building was carried out by Messrs. Dunn, at a cost of £17 14s 9d.

In the year 1842 the Church was repaired, and a new ceiling was added. The carpenter work was done by Mr. James M'Cullough, at a cost of £8 15s 0d. The work of plastering was done by Mr. John Campbell, at a cost of £25 9s 6d. Other work done cost £0 9s 6d, the entire cost of ceiling the Church thus amounting to £34 14s 0d.

In 1834 the congregation of Millisle was transferred from the Presbytery of Belfast to that of Bangor

In 1840 the General Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod were united, and the united body has since been known as the "General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland." The Congregation of Millisle, as a Congregation within the General Assembly, was placed under the care and jurisdiction of the newly-formed Presbytery of Ards.

In 1847 the Rev. John Hanna retired from the active duties of the ministry, owing to long-continued illness. His enforced retirement was greatly regretted by the people of Millisle, whose sympathies had been much with him, and whose hopes had been that he should be restored to health, and to labour longer in their midst.

The congregation thus rendered vacant, having heard a number of candidates preach on trial, unanimously decided to call Mr. John M'Auley to be their minister. The following is a copy of the call that was thus extended to him:--

Call to Mr. John M'Auley from the Presbyterian Church of Millisle.

" We, the members of the Presbyterian Church of Millisle, having beard a good report of you, Mr. John M'Auley, and having, through the care of the Presbytery of Ards, had an opportunity of knowing your gifts as a Preacher, and being fully satisfied of your capacity to be our teacher in the Lord, do hereby call and entreat you to take upon you the work of the ministry among us; and we promise attention to your instructions in the Gospel, respect to your person for your work's sake, and submission to the discipline of the Presbyterian Church, according to the law of the Lord Jesus. And we further promise the amount of forty pounds sterling, and if the annual stipend be more, it shall also be given for your support and encouragement.

Dated and signed in our Church this 29th day of November, 1847.

Elders: Robert Patton, James Dickson.

William Davis, James M'Caw, John Orr, David Campbell, Robert Gunning, Alexander Boyd, William Campbell, John Campbell, James Martin, Andrew Heron, James Campbell, James Ewart, James Warnock, James Adams, James Adams, Hugh Reid, William Adams, James M'Quoid, Jane Reid, James M'Meeken, James Ferson, John Johnston, William Goudy, James Francis, John Francis, William Warnock, William Melvin, James Mawhinney, William Boyle, John Campbell.

We do certify that we presided by appointment of Presbytery in moderating in a call in the congregation of Millisle for Mr. John M'Auley and that we were present at the signing of the call.



Rev. John M'Auley, who was present at the signing of the call, was minister of the congregation of First Donaghadee from 1822 until his death in 1879. He was a cousin of Mr. John M'Auley, to whom the call was made out, and who became, soon after accepting it, minister of Millisle.

Rev. Robert Black, who was also present at the signing of the call, was the minister of the congregation of Ballycopeland.

Mr. M'Auley, having accepted the call, was ordained to the office of the ministry In Millisle on 2nd March, 1848. Thus began a long and useful and happy ministry. Mr. M'Auley was beloved as few ministers have been beloved, and he loved his people, and counted it a joy to be the minister of Millisle Presbyterian Church. When he came a minister to the congregation and district, he found the sad state of poverty and need that followed the potato famine of the years 1846 and 1847. For many years Mr. M'Auley did not receive the full amount of stipend promised to him, but he never complained. Indeed he often helped those who were feeling more than others the hardness of the times, obeying thus the Scriptural injunction: "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." During these years of hardship and distress many members of the congregation of Millisle emigrated to America. Most of these settled in and around Rock Island, a city of western Illinois, U.S.A. on the Mississippi River. A strong colony of Irish settlers from Ballymacruise, Drumfad, Ballyhaskin, Ballywhiskin, and adjoining townlands was established here, and that colony still exists. The descendants of those early emigrants differ in speech from the surrounding farmers and tradespeople, and they still like to have news about Millisle and the old folks whose names are so familiar to them.

On 4th January, 1850, the Rev. John Hanna, senior minister of Millisle, passed away at Ballyhaskin, in the sixty-sixth year of his age and the thirty-fifth year of his ministry. His mortal remains were laid to rest in Millisle Burying-ground. A large horizontal stone covers the grave, hearing the following inscription:--

to the memory of
The Rev. John Hanna.
Born 6th November, 1784.
Ordained as minister of the
Presbyterian Congregation of Millisle
2nd May, 1815. Died Jan. 4th, 1850.
He was a faithful Preacher
of the Gospel of Grace, and a laborious Pastor,
who felt the solemnity of his charge,
and sought to lead into the paths
of understanding and of life
that flock which the Chief Shepherd
had committed to his care.

'Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. -- Phil. II., 16.'

Here also lieth the body of his Wife,
Jane Hanna, otherwise Maxwell,
who departed this life 12th June, 1857,
Aged 68 years.

The Remains of their Son,
the Rev. Robert Maxwell Hanna,
lie in Florence, Italy.

He was 14 years a Minister in connection
with the Free Church of Scotland.

He died on the 19th December, 1857.
Aged 36."

The portion of ground surrounding Millisle Presbyterian Church was not used as a burying-ground until the time of Rev. John Hanna's death. The burial of the senior minister of Millisle beside the Church he loved and served so long and well was the first interment, and the burying-ground had thus its commencement. Mrs. William M'Cully, who before her marriage was Miss Mary Cree, was the second person whose remains were laid to rest in Millisle Graveyard. Her grave is at the foot of Rev. John Hanna's grave, and close to it. Mrs. John M'Kee, who before her marriage was Miss Alice Boyd, of Ballyblack, was the third person whose remains were interred in the burying-ground. This third interment took place inside the ground at the right side or south side of the main gate as one enters it and goes towards the Church. Other interments soon followed the first three, and the grounds surrounding the Church, which had been held as sacred because of their nearness to the place of prayer, became more sacred still. God's House was now surrounded by God's-Acre, a place of solemn and sorrowful memories for many a member of Millisle.

      "I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls
      The burial-ground God's-Acre! It is just;
      It consecrates each grave within its walls,
      And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust."

An eminent Scottish Divine has said that the Great Redeemer of Souls plucks some flowers from life's Garden in January. Others He may want in March or in April-fair, spring-like flowers, to adorn His House above. Others He will gather in June, in life's early prime. Some He wants in August, ere the prime of life is past. Some again He plucks in the Autumn season, while a few are permitted to remain until December's snows have crowned them, before He takes them hence.

The burying-ground at Millisle is a sadly silent witness of the truth of these words. Here, many a time and oft, all that can die of little children has been reverently given back to the kindly care of Mother Earth. Girls and boys have been called away from the joys of young life here to the greater joys of the unending youth of the life hereafter. Strong men and women, living useful lives, have been suddenly and unexpectedly called to rest. The weak and weary and infirm have heard the summons, and they have not disobeyed. The aged souls have found that life at longest is brief, and they, too, have slept. And now young and old, strong and weak, stern and gentle, rich and poor, each and all lie buried in this spot of earth so close to Church and sea.

Many a sorrowful company has slowly wended its way to the churchyard at Millisle, and many a heart has been empty because a grave has been filled. But the sorrowing ones have grieved not as those who have no hope. The Church beside their beloved dead has proclaimed its message of comfort and of strength. It has spoken of One Who is King and Head of the Church, Who died, and rose again. It has told how "this mortal shall put on Immortality," and how "Death is swallowed up in victory." It has taught saddened souls to say: "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

So the churchyard has more than sad memories and thoughts connected with it. It has thoughts of trust and triumph too. The dear dead are there. But they are also "with Christ, which is far better." A place very sad yet very dear to the members of Old Millisle is thus their little sea-girt churchyard. The stranger or visitor, passing swiftly along the coast road on a summer's day, and looking over to it, can learn but little of its story, and little of what it means to one who knows and loves and cares. For the latter the words of a poet will serve as an expression of his thoughts:

      "I can see the quiet churchyard down below,
      Where the salt sea-breezes murmur to and fro,
      And when God my soul shall keep
      It is there I want to sleep
      With the dear old folk who loved me long ago."

After the death of the Rev. John Hanna the congregation of Millisle experienced a number of uneventful years. The locality slowly recovered from the disastrous effects of the potato famine, and although emigration to America continued, depriving the country of promising young lives, prosperity rewarded many who remained in the homeland.

The members of Millisle now felt that the time had come when they should provide a residence for their minister. Before proceeding to carry out this good intention, at the request of Mr. McAuley new members of Session were elected. These were solemnly set apart and ordained to the office of ruling elders by the Presbytery of Ards in the 1858. The following statement, with the signatures of the newly-ordained members of session attached to it, is to be found in one of the old records of the congregation:--

"We believe the Westminster Confession of Faith (as received and approved by the Church of Scotland in the Act of 1647, prefixed to the Confession) to be founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God, and as such we acknowledge it as the Confession of our Faith.



The new members of Session assisted the minister in the work of visitation, and in other ways strengthened his hands, so that he was comparatively free to arrange for the work of building the Manse, and of defraying the cost of the building. Mr. Andrew Mulholland, of Springvale, was requested to grant and lease a piece of ground as a suitable site for a Manse, and readily consented. He granted a lease for the term of one thousand years for the ground on which the Manse and out-offices stand, subject to the yearly rent of three pounds sterling, the ground containing one acre statute measure or thereabouts. This grant and lease were made by Mr. Andrew Mulholland to Mr. John Campbell, of Ballyhaskin, Mr. Thomas Hill, of Ballycopeland, and Mr. William Warnock, of Ballywhisken, Trustees of the Presbyterian Congregation of Millisle, the date of the lease being 1st April, 1859. One condition of the lease was that the Trustees and Members of the Congregation should spend in building the Manse and Offices "at least the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds."

In an energetic way that was characteristic of him, Mr. M'Auley, commenced at once to arrange for the work of building the residence which was to be his future home. He requested each member who possessed a horse to do the work of carting stone, lime, timber, slates, or sand, for one day at least. Those who did not possess horses and carts were to borrow them if possible and do a fair share of the drawing and other work. The stones were brought from Ballywhisken Quarry, and with these the Manse was built. The plans for the Manse were drawn by Mr. James Barclay, a carpenter of Ballycopeland, who resided in later years in Ballymacruise. Mr. M'Auley saw that the plans were carried out. The work of building was done by Mr. Robert Finlay, of Millisle, and by Mr. William Cleeland, of Carrowdore, assisted by members of the congregation. The entire cost of the Manse, consisting of wages paid to workmen, and the amounts paid for building materials, was probably not much more than the two hundred and fifty pounds specified in the lease.

The Manse of Millisle is a substantial erection, well planned, and well and truly built. It stands at present in every way as good as when it was built, more than seventy years ago. Mr. M'Auley did not occupy it immediately after it was finished, as it was not then convenient for him to leave his farm in Ballycopeland. The Manse was let by him to a tenant for a number of years before he came to reside in it.

The money necessary for the building of the Manse was lent to the members of the congregation by Mr. John Warnock and his brother, Mr. William Warnock, both of Ballyhaskin. This money had been repaid, with interest, with the exception of £90, before the two brothers died. When their nephew Mr. Hugh Campbell Warnock, inherited the property owned by them, he very generously cancelled and "forgave" the debt of £90.

On 6th October, 1870, the members of the Presbytery of Ards met in Millisle Presbyterian Church and solemnly set apart and ordained to the office of the eldership Mr. John Burch, Mr. James Francis, and Mr. Dupre M'Wha.

In the year 1874 the Church was repaired, and the old roof, which had been covered with small slates from Tullycavey, was removed. The work of repairing the walls, and of roofing the Church with new and larger slates, was carried out by Mr. John Waugh, sen., of Millisle.

During the month of June, 1877, the interior of the Church was renovated. The old, upright, high-backed pews were lowered by six inches, the back of each pew being cut down to that extent. The pews were painted after being lowered. A new pulpit was erected in the Church at this time. The entire work of renovation was carried out by Mr. William M'Cully, carpenter, of Millisle.

On 3rd September, 1879, Miss Sarah McAuley, daughter of the Rev. John M'Auley, died in Dublin. Her death occasioned great sorrow to her parents, to her brothers and sisters, and to all who knew her. The members of the congregation of Millisle erected a beautiful stone to her memory in Mount Jerome Cemetery. The stone entirely covers the grave within which the mortal remains of Miss McAuley were laid to rest. On one side it bears the inscription:--

Affectionate Remembrance
Daughter of the Rev. John M'Auley,
Millisle, Co. Down,
who died 3rd September, 1879, aged 23 years."

On the other side of the stone is the inscription:

by the Presbyterian Congregation of Millisle.

'I will come again and receive you unto Myself,
that where I am, there ye may be also.'"

Grave of Mrs Sarh McAuley

The members of Millisle Congregation also placed a mural tablet to Miss M'Auley's memory in their Church -- that Church of which her father was the esteemed minister, and of which she was a beloved member. The tablet is of white marble and it is placed upon a dark or slate-coloured marble slab, which serves as a fitting background. The inscription is as follows:--

"Erected by the
Presbyterian Congregation
of Millisle,
In Affectionate Remembrance of
Sarah Jane McAuley,
who died in Dublin, 3rd September, 1879,
Aged 23 years.
Her remains were interred
in Mt. Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.

'I will come again and receive you unto Myself,
that where I am, there ye may be also.'"

After Miss McAuley's death the affairs of the congregation of Millisle afford no incident worthy of being recorded here, until the last illness and death of her father, the Rev. John McAuley. His death took place at the Manse, on 18th September, 1893. His passing was deeply regretted by all who knew him. Greatly beloved, he was the faithful pastor and personal friend of every member of his congregation. Soon after his death a mural Tablet was erected to his memory in the Church he loved. The Tablet is similar to that erected to his daughter's memory, being of white marble, placed against a dark background. At the top of the Tablet is an open Bible. On one page of the Book are the words: "Blessed are the pure in heart," and on the other page: "Thy will be done." The remainder of the inscription is as follows: "In Affectionate Remembrance of the. Rev. John McAuley, for forty-five years the minister of this Church. Ordained to the pastorate, 1848. Died 1893, aged 75 years. He was a faithful, zealous preacher of the Gospel. A much valued friend and Christian counsellor, to his attached and now sorrowing people, by whom this tablet is erected to his memory. Millisle, 1894. 'He being dead, yet speaketh,' -- Heb. xi., 4."

After Mr. McAuley's death the congregation of Millisle had some difficulty in discovering and in deciding upon a worthy successor. Acting on Mr. McAuley's advice, given a few months before his death, the congregation desired to call Mr. Alexander MacLurg, M.A., a licentiate. Mr. MacLurg, on being informed of this desire, requested the people to desist, as he had received a call from the congregation of First Ardstraw, and he had promised to accept it. The members of Millisle congregation then heard a list of candidates preach on trial, but could not decide unanimously on any one of these. When this lack of agreement was revealed on the day of voting, it was proposed by Mr. Hugh Adams, of Ballycopeland, and seconded by Mr. James Fulton of Millisle, and unanimously agreed, that a second list of candidates should be heard. With regard to the second list there was prompt and perfect agreement. Immediately after the Rev. Samuel J. Lyons, minister of Poyntzpass and Scarva, had preached, the remaining candidates were informed that the members of Millisle were unanimously in favour of Mr. Lyons, and anxious to have him as their minister, as soon as possible. Several candidates on hearing this, declined to preach, and thus the installation of Mr. Lyons was hastened. On 23rd January, 1894, he was installed as minister of Millisle Congregation by the Presbytery of Ards. Mr. Lyons quickly justified the confidence that had thus been placed in him by the people of Millisle. He was a young man of gentle and genial disposition, a hard worker, a faithful pastor, and an able preacher of the Gospel. He commenced his ministry, and he continued it, with great devotion, deep earnestness, and constant faithfulness.

On 20th November, 1894, at a regularly constituted Meeting of the Session and Committee of the Congregation, the following Rules were proposed, seconded, and passed unanimously, with regard to Pew Sitting:--

1. That any person applying for a single sitting shall pay not less than Six Shillings per annum, and is expected to subscribe to the Sustentation Fund in the same proportion. This was proposed by Mr. John M'Ilroy, and seconded by Mr. Hugh Gilmore.

2. That any person wanting a full seat shall pay not less than Twenty-Five Shillings per annum, and also subscribe to the Sustentation Fund -- the Pew Committee to make any further arrangements. This was proposed by Mr. James Campbell, and seconded by Mr. James M'Wha.

3. That any persons who are unwilling to admit any other person into the same seat with them will have to pay additional stipend. This was proposed by Mr. Francis Armstrong, and seconded by Mr. Samuel Boyle.

The following were appointed members of a Committee in charge of Pew Sittings:-- Messrs. John Burch, William Robinson, James Campbell, and Hugh Gilmore.

On 20th May, 1895, the Session and Committee of the Congregation adopted the following Rules with regard to the Burying Ground in connection with the Church:--

1. That none but bona-fide members of the Congregation have the right of Interment in the Graveyard belonging to the Church, and that the Trustees appointed to look after it shall have the power of prohibiting from interring those who are not members of the Congregation.

2. That any person who ceases to be a contributor to the Stipend, or who may be in one year's arrears of Stipend, forfeits all claim to Interment even though he may have made a former Interment.

3. That the scale of charges shall be from Ten Shillings to Two Shillings and Sixpence for each Interment, to be regulated by the Trustees.

4. That it is earnestly requested that those who have Burying Ground in the Churchyard shall have marks of identification made over their graves, at an early date, in order that their claims may be recognised.

These Rules were proposed by Mr. John M'Ilroy, and seconded by Mr. William Robinson.

The following Trustees were appointed to take charge of the Graveyard:-- Messrs. John Burch, John M'Ilroy, Anthony Boyd, and James Campbell.

In the year 1895 a new Committee was appointed by the members of Millisle Congregation. This Committee consisted of the following members:-- Messrs. James Campbell, William Robinson, Hugh Gilmore, Francis Armstrong, James Fulton, Alexander Adams, Anthony Boyd, Hugh Walker, Henry Campbell, John M'Ilroy, James M'Wha, William Boyd, John M'Kee, George Mitchell Francs, William Warnock, David Duncan, Samuel Boyle, James M'Kee, David Campbell, William James Boyd, Henry Waugh, William Robert Dunwoody, and Henry M'Cracken.

In 1895 -- the year following the installation of Mr. Lyons as minister of Millisle -- the following were the contributors to stipend and sustentation in the Congregation:-- William Campbell, James Martin, Thomas Jackson, Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. J. M'Quold, David Campbell, James Campbell, Jane Campbell, Mary Campbell, Dupre M'Wha, William J. M'Clean, James Fulton, Thomas Mills, John Drennan, Nathaniel Taylor, Charles Dunbar-Buller, Mrs. Robert Brown, James Campbell, William Warnock, Catherine Orr, Sarah Ewart, David Magowan, Anthony Boyd, Hugh Gilmore, Andrew Bitcon, John Clegg, Thomas Robinson, Jane Warnock, John Palmer, Nevin Ewart, John Hall, Thomas Boyle, James Brown, Mrs. Francis Ewart, Henry Keith, William Mathers, Maggie Burch, John Burch, James Coulter, Samuel M'Cormick, Henry Garrett, Mrs. R. M'Gimpsey, Mrs. James Bitcon, Alexander Bennett, James M'Keag, John M'Kee, jun., John Burch, jun., William Melville, Miss A. Walker, Samuel Boyle, John Shanks, John Waugh, Mary M'Caw, Peter Hamill, Robert Niblock, Robert Finlay, James Shaw, James M'Cracken, William Shanks, Alexander Oliver, John Walker, Hugh Bennett, Adelaide Caughey, Robert Waugh, Samuel M'Dowell, jun., Jane M'Ilnay, Mrs. William Muckle, Ann Simpson, Jane Cree, Mrs. O'Kane, James Jamison, William Bell, Joseph M'Caw, Mrs. Long, Edward Robinson, William Dunwoody, Mrs. William Neilly, James O'Neill, James Lowry, Mary J. Finlay, Maggie Lowry, Hugh W. Martin, Hugh Drennan, Mrs. Stewart, Thomas Newell, William M'Gimpsey, James Waugh, David Adams, Alexander Newell, Samuel Fitzsimmons, Mrs. M'Roberts, William Ray, Robert Adams, Mrs. Killen, Hugh M'Dowell, James Fulton, Richard Schmidt, John M'Ilroy, William Shanks, jun., James Boyle, Mrs. J. Bailie, Miss Campbell, William Burch, Fergus Boyd, John M'Gimpsey, Jane Boyle, Mrs. Lyons, James Gunning, sen., Mrs. Taylor, Thomas Muckle, Samuel Sloan, Alexander Hill, Hugh Adams, Agnes Adams, John Mitchell, Thomas Barkley, Mrs. James Adams, Mrs. C. Magill, Fancis Armstrong, Henry Waugh, Robert Crawford, Mrs. Robert M'Cracken, Thomas M'Gilton, Mrs. James Barkley, jun., James Gunning, jun., Hugh Muckle, David Gibson Hugh Barkley, Mary Barkley, John Crawford, sen., John Crawford, jun., William M'Ilnay, James Kane, William Adams, Miss Baird, Mary Bennett, Ellen Sloan, Alexander Boyd, John M'Kee, sen., James Bennett, David Duncan, William Boyd, Robert Patton, Jane Cooper, Mrs. F. Robinson, David M'Blain, Mrs. T. Dalzell, John Gaw, Mary Cooper, jun., John Francis, Mrs. A. M'Gimpsey, Mrs. C. M'Whinney, William Crawford, Thomas Brown, Mrs. Nevin Barkley, Henry Fitzsimmons, Mrs. M'Millan, John Patton, James Cooper, Robert M'Gilton, John Boyd, Joseph M'Gowan, William James Boyd, Martha Orr, William M'Gimpsey, James A. Francis, Robert M'Gimpsey, Ann M'Gowan, William Anderson, James Francis, Robert M'Gimpsey, W. J. Johnstone, James Gordon, James Withers, William Gray, William Conway, J. M'Gimpsey, jun., George Boyle, Hugh Tollerton, James Gray, Gilbert Vance, W. J. M'Knight, William Scott, Thomas M'Keag, Henry M'Clements and William Bennett.

In the same year the following financial statement, regarding monies paid by members of the congregation, and expenses incurred, was issued:--

INCOME. £ s d
Stipend 73 18 3
Sustentation 25 1 0
Missions 14 10 3
Proceeds of Special Service 12 1 10
Sabbath Collections 39 0 11
Orphan Society 7 9 3
Proceeds of Soiree 23 12 3
Proceeds of Concert 7 12 6
£203 6 3


OUTLAY. £ s d
Stipend paid to Rev. S. J. Lyons 80 0 0
Paid to Sustentation 30 0 0
Paid to Missions 14 10 3
Paid to Orphan Society 7 9 3
Expenses of Sabbath School 6 14 2
Expenses of Soiree 10 16 5
Expenses of Concert 4 13 4
Rent and Taxes 3 19 2
Sexton's Fees 4 0 0
Clerk of Presbytery's Fees 1 11 0
Paid Precentor 10 0 0
Repairs to Church 11 6 10
Sundries 7 14 5
Balance on hands 10 11 5
£203 6 3


In the year 1900 the battery, which has since secured the Church against the encroachment of the sea, was built. The work of building was done by Mr. John Waugh, sen.,and his son, Mr. James Waugh. Farmers carted the large stones from the shore to the sea-wall surrounding the Church. These stones were fixed in position, and the spaces between them were filled with a grouting of cement. A very strong bulwark was thus built, and it remains intact. In the same year the wall (along the main shore road) surrounding the Manse grounds was built, and by the same builders. The avenue leading to the Manse from the road was changed, and the gates were removed from the centre of the fence surrounding the grounds to the northern end. A small gate was also placed at the southern end of the new wall, and a narrow path was made from this gate to the Manse. The grounds, thus considerably altered, were planted with ornamental trees and shrubs. The latter were obtained from Mr. Robert Carson, Nurseryman, of Donaghadee, and the price charged was £7. The battery and Manse wall were built at a total cost of £90. This money was paid to Mr. John Waugh by Mr. James Fulton, of Millisle, out of the estate of his brother, Mr. George Fulton. The latter had died some years previously, in England, and a short time before his death had expressed the desire that £100 should be given to Millisle Church, after his decease, and out of his personal estate.

On 6th October, 1903, the Presbytery of Ards met in Millisle Presbyterian Church, for the purpose of ordaining elders. The Rev. John Y. Minford preached a suitable sermon from Genesis 17, 1. The Rev. Samuel Walker stated the scriptural warrant for the office of elder and for his election and ordination. The elders-elect -- Messrs. Anthony Boyd, John M'Kee, Dupre M'Wha, and William Scott -- then answered the prescribed questions in the affirmative, and having signed the Westminster Confession of Faith in terms of the Assembly's Formula in the Minute Book of Session, were solemnly set apart to the office of elder in the congregation with prayer and the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, the Rev. Samuel J. Lyons leading in prayer. The Rev. R. J. Morrell gave an impressive charge to the elders and people, and dismissed the congregation with the benediction.

In the year 1903 a new heating apparatus was installed in the Church. This was a small pipe (high-pressure) hot-water heating apparatus, and it was installed by Messrs. Simonton and Co., "Etna Works," Tomb Street, Belfast, at a cost of £40.

On 28th January, 1906, the Rev. John Beatty, minister of Ballycopeland, passed away. The congregation of Ballycopeland, thus left without a minister, was united with the congregation of Millisle, so as to form one pastoral charge. The General Assembly's Committee on the Union of Congregations appointed the Rev. S. J. Lyons, of Millisle, minister of the united charge, and suggested that it be called the Congregation of "Millisle and Ballycopeland." This union was at first a harmonious one, but difficulties soon arose regarding the Church property at Ballycopeland, and especially with regard to the burying-ground attached to Ballycopeland Church. The Ards Presbytery referred the whole matter to the General Assembly for advice in June, 1907, and it was resolved "that a small Commission of Assembly, with Assembly power, be appointed to take whatever steps they think necessary to protect the Church property in connection with the congregation of Millisle and Ballycopeland." This Commission was then and there appointed, consisting of the following members:-- Rev. Dr. MacDermott, Rev. Dr. Heron, Rev. Dr. M'Kean, Rev. J. Bingham, Mr. A. Burney (Carnmoney, Belfast), and Mr. Henry Craig (Rathmore, Bloomfield). At its meeting in 1908 the Assembly continued the Commission, with the addition of Mr. James M'Caughey (Easton Gardens, Cliftonville, Belfast). The Commission was re-appointed at each meeting of Assembly until June, 1912, when its final report was presented by the Rev. Dr. M'Kean. This report was as follows: "The Commission on Church Property at Ballycopeland report that as a result of legal proceedings they have recovered possession of the Church property at Ballycopeland, and that they have instructed their solicitors, without delay, to collect the costs they have incurred in connection with the case." The Report was received by the Assembly, and the Commission was thanked for its service", and discharged.

It is the desire of the writer to state here, as clearly as possible, the facts regarding the union of the two congregations, the subsequent difficulties and the result of the legal proceedings. The Rev. Samuel Samuel Walker, of First Donaghadee Presbyterian Church, was appointed Convener of the Commission of the Presbytery in charge of the vacant congregation of Ballycopeland. He consulted the members of the congregation at a congregational meeting held on 18th February, 1906, with regard to the future of the congregation. Deputies were appointed at this meeting, and these members, together with deputies from Millisle Church, met the Union Committee of the General Assembly. Terms of Union were agreed upon, and on Sabbath, 11th March, 1906, Mr. Walker read these terms of Union in Ballycopeland Church. Immediately afterwards he went to Millisle, and did the same in Millisle Church. Everything was perfectly unanimous in both Churches, according to Mr. Walker's report, except that a lady in Millisle Church asked a question. The name of the lady, the nature of her question, and Mr. Walker's attempt to answer it, have all been unrecorded and forgotten. The result of Mr. Walker's visit to both Churches was that Millisle and Ballycopeland Congregations were declared to be united, and the Rev. S. J. Lyons first preached in Ballycopeland Church as its minister, and as minister of the united congregations, on 18th March, 1906. Mr. Lyons conducted the services in both Churches from this date until 20th January, 1907, when Mr. Thomas D. Corbett, a layman, conducted the service in Ballycopeland Church. Mr. Corbett had been brought there by a number of the members of the congregation who were opposed to the union of the congregations, mainly because they feared that their rights with regard to Ballycopeland graveyard would be interfered with. It was believed that if members of Ballycopeland congregation went to reside at a distance, and ceased to be members of the congregation by ceasing to contribute to its funds they would thus forfeit the right they had possessed of burial in the burying-ground attached to the Church. This belief led to a desire on the part of some to dissent from the union of congregations, to secure for themselves the congregational property, and to have a minister of Ballycopeland alone. An assurance was given by the Presbytery to the effect that the burial rights of the Ballycopeland people would not be interfered with, but the opposition to the union had commenced, and Mr. Corbett in due time arrived to take pastoral charge. Mr. Lyons and other ministers of the Presbytery endeavoured to continue the Sabbath Services in the Church but they met with such opposition that the General Assembly's Commission advised Mr. Lyons to institute legal proceedings. The consequence was an action, heard in Dublin, on 28th June, and 29th June, 1911, before the Master of the Rolls in the Chancery Division, in which "the Rev. S. J. Lyons and others sought a declaration that they held Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church in trust for the Congregation, and for an injunction to restrain Thomas D. Corbett and others from taking and holding possession of the Church property." On the second day of the hearing of the action the defendants decided to withdraw their defence, and not to proceed with the case. The case thus came to an end, and the following is an extract from the summing up of the action, and the declared judgment of the Master of the Rolls:-- "Anyone who has the interests of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland at heart -- a Church which no one can speak of without the deepest respect, and indeed I may say reverence and affection, no matter to what denomination they belong -- no one having the interests of that great Church at heart can fail to recognise that they have taken, and to throw themselves into communion with the great body of the Church and submit to the great Assembly which represents that Church -- the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. I hope that the doubts which weighed upon the minds of the defendants will very speedily disappear. For myself I am absolutely convinced that the intention of everyone of those learned divines who interposed in this case from first to last was that no injustice should be done to the Ballycopeland Congregation, no interference with their rights in respect of the graveyard, and no interference with the still more solemn rights in connection with the ceremonies of public worship. Indeed I think myself they may fully trust them as regards the graveyard. For the rest a little commonsense and a little give-and-take will soon make Ballycopeland and Millisle united in fact, in heart, and affection, as they are in my opinion united by the resolutions which I must now take, and which in any case I think I would have decided were taken, In strict accordance with the laws of the Presbyterian Church. I make a decree as against the defendants who have appeared upon the evidence that has already been given, and which is now uncontroverted, and against the defendants who have not appeared I pronounce judgment in default of appearance and defence."

Thus ended an unhappy state of affairs which was for several years a great source of worry to those who were most closely connected with it. The union of Millisle and Ballycopeland has been, since June, 1911, one of the happiest and most harmonious of congregational amalgamations. The two are now so completely made one that only the name "Millisle and Ballycopeland" remains to remind us that they were at one time separate and district congregations.

On 1st November, 1906, a Congregational Meeting was held in Millisle Church. The Rev. S. J. Lyons presided, and new Trustees of the Manse and Manse premises and grounds were chosen and appointed. These Trustees in whose names Millisle Manse, premises, and grounds, now became legally vested, were Messrs. Francis Armstrong, of Craigboy; Anthony Boyd, of Ballyhaskin; John M'Kee, of Grangee; and William Robinson, of Killaughey.

On 15th June, 1907, Mr. William Gordon of Ballyhay; Mr. David Angus, Craigboy; Mr. John Tweedie, of Killaughey; Mr. John Brown, of Killaughey; Mr. Henry Barclay, of Millisle; and Mr. James S. M'Keag, of Ballyhay, acting as Trustees on behalf of Millisle and Ballycopeland Congregation, purchased for the sum of forty pounds from Mr. John Mitchell, of Millisle, that portion of his farm, containing half an acre Statute measure on which Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church was erected, the remaining part of the ground being occupied as a Burial Ground. This ground had been subject to the yearly rent of one pound sixteen shillings and tenpence, and it now became free of rent for ever, and the property for ever of the congregation. This conveyance of the property was agreed to by Mrs. Catherine Darley, of "The Aske," Bray, County Wicklow, who was then owner of the fee simple of the townland of Ballycopeland, and under whom Mr. John Mitchell held his farm in that townland.

On 25th May, 1909, a meeting of the Congregational Committee was held in the Session Room. Arrangements were made for the enlargement of the Session Room by the removal of the wall which divided it from the room where the members of the choir met. This dividing wall was removed, and another wall built, the result being that the Session Room was considerably enlarged. The work of alteration was done at the request of Mr. William Duncan, of Ballyblack, who had not sufficient accommodation in the Session Room for his large Bible Class. Mr. Duncan taught the young people of the congregation for a number of years, and was most successful in maintaining a flourishing Bible Class. The work done in the class by Mr. Duncan is still bearing its good fruit, and the splendid influence of this devoted teacher remained in the lives of those members of Millisle and Ballycopeland Congregation who were privileged to have his instruction in matters Scriptural and spiritual. The work of enlarging and improving the Session Room was carried out by Mr. Andrew Bitcon.

In May, 1910, the ceiling of the Church was removed, and a new ceiling of pine was erected by Mr. Thomas Ferguson, Builder and Contractor, of Bangor, at a total cost of £70.

On 19th October, 1910, at a meeting of Session of Millisle and Ballycopeland Congregation, "the praise service in the congregation came up for consideration. It was considered that the introduction of an instrument would be an improvement. Accordingly it was moved by Mr. Anthony Boyd, and seconded by Mr. John M'Kee, and passed unanimously, that steps be taken to have this change carried out, and that an early date."

A suitable organ was soon afterwards obtained. It cost £48, and it was purchased and installed in the Church in 1911. On a Saturday evening in the summer of that year a short choral service was held in the Church. The Rev. S. J. Lyons conducted the devotional part of the service. Miss Frew, of Ballywhiskin, presided at the organ, and the members of the choir sang a number of appropriate psalms, paraphrases, and hymns. Thus instrumental music was introduced in Millisle Presbyterian Church, and from this time hymns and paraphrases became a regular feature and part of the Divine Services on Sabbath Days, in addition to the psalms.

The praise service of the Church consisted of the Psalms of David, and of these alone until the end of the ministry of the Rev. John M'Auley. After his death, and during the vacancy in the congregation, paraphrases were introduced. The young licentiates who were candidates for the vacant pulpit were requested to announce a paraphrase as the closing item of praise at each service. "They went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing" of objections or opposition to paraphrase in Millisle, and paraphrases were accordingly announced and sung, except on the first occasion when such an announcement was made. On this first occasion an elder arose, and grasping with shaking hands the pew before him, said to the licentiate: "I beg your pardon, sir, we do not sing paraphrases here." The young licentiate then announced a psalm, which was sung, and so the service closed. This paraphrase, thus announced but not sung, was Number 58, commencing with the words, "Where high the heavenly temple stands." No further protest was made, and during the remainder of the vacancy paraphrases were sung. They have been regularly used ever since.

Hymns were first sung in Millisle Presbyterian Church on the evening of the installation of the Rev. S. J. Lyons as minister of the congregation. The hymns were taken from "Sankey's Hymnary." At the installation social they were sung between the speeches delivered by the visiting clergymen. Hymns were afterwards sung in the Church at the annual Congregational Social Evenings and at Services of Sacred Song. They were gradually introduced in this way, and became popular. Then they were sung during the Sabbath Services while the offering was received. Finally, with the introduction of instrumental music, they were used regularly, in the worship of the Church, as at present.

During this time of transition from the use of the psalms alone, to the use in addition of paraphrases of scripture and hymns, accompanied by instrumental music, in the services of Millisle Church, the precentor or leader of the choir was Mr. Thomas Robinson, of Newtownards.

After the installation of the organ Miss Monk, of Donaghadee, acted as organist for a short time, after which Mr. Hamilton Ferguson, Principal of Killaughey Public Elementary School, was appointed organist and precentor.

On 12th June, 1912, new Trustees of Ballycopeland Church, and of the Graveyard attached to the Church, were chosen and appointed. Mr. David Angus, of Craigboy, was the only continuing and acting Trustee, and the following new Trustees were appointed in addition to Mr. Angus:-- Mr. Thomas Henry Barclay, of Templepatrick; Mr. Robert Brown, of Ballymacruise; and Mr. David Warden Campbell, of Ballyhaskin.

On 23rd April, 1913, the Committee of Millisle and Ballycopeland Congregation met in the Session Room adjacent to the Church. The members present were Messrs. Alexander Adair, William John Bell, Robert M'Dowell, John Drennan, sen., David Drennan, and Rev. Samuel J. Lyons, who presided. The proposed extension of the graveyard "chiefly occupied the attention of the members. The Chairman stated that he had received a letter from Commander Ward, Lord Dunleath's Estate Agent, to the effect that Lord Dunleath is willing to give the portion of ground desired for the extension of the graveyard on the following conditions:-- (1) That the present tenant give his consent; (2) that a substantial wall be built around it; (3) that the congregation defray all legal expenses."

The grant from Lord Dunleath was gratefully accepted, and the Committee carried out the conditions stated. Mr. James Finlay, the tenant of the ground required, sold his tenant right, and surrendered all claims upon the ground, for the sum of £8. Mr. Alexander Adair was requested to arrange with Mr. James Zeno Sloan, B.E., Architect, Newtownards, with regard to the plans for the wall surrounding the additional portion of the burying-ground, and all legal expenses were paid by the Committee.

The boundary walls around the new portions of the Graveyard attached to Millisle Church were built during the summer and autumn of 1913 by Mr. Robt. M'Conkey, jun., Builder and Contractor, of 4, Manor Street, Donaghadee. The walls were one hundred and eighty-three yards in length, four feet and six inches in height, and eighteen inches wide.

They were built with stone, and coped with a smooth cement coping. The sides of the walls were pebble dashed in cement. The old plaster was also stripped from the walls of the Session House, and the Session House was pebble dashed in cement. The entire work of building the boundary walls, and of coping and pebble dashing the walls and the Session House, was done for the sum of £89 16s 6d.

In the year 1914 the stables at Millisle Presbyterian Church were built by Mr. Robert M'Conkey, jun., of Donaghadee. The materials for the building were supplied by the Church Committee, and the work was planned and supervised by Mr. James Z. Sloan, B.E., of Newtownards. The entire cost of the materials and of the building was £87 3s 5d. The tenant right of the site of the Stables, which adjoined the Burying-ground, was purchased from Mr. James Finlay for £1 7s 6d.

The grant by Lord Dunleath of the ground for the enlargement of the Graveyard and of the site for the Stables was made to Mr. Anthony Boyd, of Ballyhaskin; Mr. John M'Kee, of Grangee; Mr. William Robinson, of Killaughey; Mr. Francis Armstrong, of Ballyvester; Mr. Dupre M'Wha, of Ballymacruise; Mr. James Barclay, of Millisle; Mr. Robert Brown, of Ballymacruise, Trustees of the Congregational Property of Millisle and Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church. The grant consisted of "that piece of ground containing one Rood statute measure or thereabouts, bounded on the North by the existing Burying-ground attached to Millisle Church on the South by the holding in the tenancy of James Finlay, on the East by the sea, and on the West by the Old Road leading from Millisle to Ballywalter." Lord Dunleath granted and conveyed "all right, title, and interest to and in the same and every part thereof to the Trustees in fee simple for the purposes aforesaid, the Trustees and their heirs to hold these premises on trust for the Congregation so long as the same shall remain under the jurisdiction of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland." The conveyance of the grant was made on the 29th day of December, 1914.

In the year 1914 the following were the members of the Congregational Committee:-- Messrs. John Hall, Hamilton Ferguson, Alexander Adair, William John Bell, David W. Campbell, John Drennan, James M'Nay, Francis Armstrong, Robert A. Wright, John Mitchell, James Barclay, William Forgie, William Robinson, and Robert Brown.

In January, 1914, the mortal remains of a man named John Scott were laid to rest in Ballycopeland Churchyard. The writer has been unable to obtain details regarding the family to which this man belonged. Mention is however made of the interment because of the strange wording of that part of the inscription upon the family tombstone which records the death of John. The following is an exact copy of the entire inscription --:

"In Memory
Walter Scott,
born 20th January, 1808,
died 31st May, 1870.

His niece, Mary Frew, born September, 1831,
died 25th December, 1870.

And his wife, Agnes,
died 19th May, 1892, aged 76 years.

John Scott,
only child of Walter Scott and Agnes his wife,
was born 13th March, 1843.

He died during the years 1912 and 1013, and this
life was ended for him finally on the
12th of January, 1914.

'Many kings have sat down upon the ground; and one that was never thought of hath worn the crown.' -- Ecclesiasticus, chap. xi.

Animus purissimus, ingenium profundum,
Amicus delectissimus O! cujusmodi
Sunt illae conditiones quae possunt
Molem caecam inter amores."

The inscription is remarkable for several reasons. Firstly, it states that John Scott died during the years 1912 and 1913, and that he finally passed away in January, 1914. The writer has not yet met anyone who can furnish a clue to the meaning of such a statement regarding the date (or dates) of the death of this man. Secondly, the text which follows the record of his death is not taken from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, but from a book of the Apocrypha. Thirdly, the Latin words which complete the inscription describe a man far above the average in so far as purity of heart, cleverness of mind, and true friendship are concerned. The Latin may be translated thus: "A most pure mind (or heart), a profound intellect, a most delightful friend. Oh! of what a kind are those qualities which can create an unseen solidity in their friendships (or loves)."

The graves where the members of the Scott family are interred, with tombstone thus inscribed, surrounded by an iron railing are situated in the north-east corner of Ballycopeland Churchyard.

In February, 1918, Mr. David Walker, of Strand Braddon, Ballyvester, Donaghadee, who had been a ruling elder in the Congregation of Ballycairn until October, 1917, was co-opted as a member of Session in Millisle and Ballycopeland Congregation.

During the Great War the members of Millisle and Ballycopeland nobly did their part. A considerable number, led by love of home and of homeland, went forth to face the foe. These brave men and boys were remembered by all at home, in anxious and earnest prayer for their safety, and in constant correspondence. The relatives and friends kept as closely as possible in communication with their loved ones in the different fighting forces, encouraging them not only by the written message, but also by parcels containing comforts which helped them to bear their hardships and to fight the good fight.

As soon as possible after the cessation of hostilities the congregation fittingly honoured the men who had served and suffered in the great conflict. A war memorial tablet was erected in Millisle Church, bearing the names of all who had responded to the call of duty. The tablet is of beautiful design. It consists of a lacquered brass plate which is framed in polished oak. The inscription is as follows:-- "Millisle and Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church. 1914-1919. In honoured memory of the members of this Church who served their King and country in the Great War. Killed in Action:-- Sgt. James M'Kee, Pte. James A. Drennan, Pte. Robert M'Gimpsey, Mr. James Jamison, sen. (died at sea). 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'" The names of those who served and survived are recorded as follows: "Lieut. William BOyd, Lieut. Samuel M/ Jamison, Sgt. Wm. Bitcon, Cpl. George Jamison, L.C/pl. D. J. Drennan, Gunr. Samuel Boyle, Gunr. James Kane, Pte. Andrew Brown, Pte. Thomas Brown, Pte. D. Brown, Pte. W. J. Bennett, Pte. Robert Baird, Pte. D. Boyd, Pte. H. Bitcon, Pte. Thomas Boyle, Pte. John Francis, Pte. Robert Finlay, Lieut. Thomas Nesbitt, Flying Officer R. M'K. Jamison, D.F.C., Sgt. D. J. Jamison, Cpl. T. Keith, D.C.M.; L/Cpl. D. J. M'Kee, Gunr. Robert M'Kee, Spr. John Walker, Stok. Hugh Finlay, Pte. Robert Martin, Pte. D. Magowan, Pte. Hugh M'Gimpsey, Pte. James M'Gimpsey, Pte. D. Nesbitt, Pte. John O'Neill, Pte. John Sandford, Pte. D. Shanks, Pte. Fred Trean, Pte. Samuel Walker.

'Thine, a Lord, is the Victory.'"

At a meeting of Session and Committee held on 9th February, 1919, it was decided that the portion of the graveyard which had been recently acquired should be put to proper order for interments. It was also decided that the sum of £1 should be paid for each grave by members of the Church who wished to obtain plots in the new portion, and that £5 should be paid for each grave by non-members, these fees to be prepaid.

In the year 1923 the Session of Millisle and Ballycopeland consisted of the following members: Messrs. Anthony Boyd, John M'Kee, Dupre M'Wha, and David Moore. At the same time the following were the members of the Congregational Committee: Messrs. Alexander Adair, Samuel Adams, James Barclay, William John Bell, Anthony Boyd, jun., Thomas Colwell, Robert Brown, James Crawford, John Johnston, Robert A. Wright, Miss Jane Warnock, Miss Dora Campbell, Miss Anna J. Boyd, Mrs. William Robinson, Miss Madeline Crawford, Messrs. Samuel M'Kee, Hugh Mitchell, Robert M'Wha, John Martin, William M'Whinney, jun., and William M'Wha.

In the year 1927 a beautiful service of Individual Communion Cups, was presented by the members of the Girls' Auxiliary to the Congregation. The service bears the inscription: "Presented by the Girls' Auxiliary to Millisle and Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church. 1927." A handsome oak cabinet the service is kept. The service has taken the place of the four silver chalices already mentioned in this history, which, with pewter flagons and pewter plates, and lead tokens of admission to the Table of the Lord, are all in a condition of the best possible preservation.

In the following year the members of the Girls' Auxiliary presented a large Pulpit Bible to the Church. The Bible is inscribed: "Presented to the Congregation of Millisle and Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church, by the members of the Girls' Auxiliary. May, 1928."

Since the latter date the Girls' Auxiliary has also given a valuable service in china for the use of the Congregation on occasions of social evenings and entertainments, when the cup that cheers is a welcome feature of the proceedings.

These different gifts to the Congregation are in keeping with the generous annual contributions to the Zenana Mission and its related funds by the Millisle and Ballycopeland branch of the Girls' Auxiliary.

On the 30th day of May, 1928, the Rev. S. J. Lyons, B.D., retired from the active duties of the ministry, owing to ill-health. The retirement of Mr. Lyons caused great regret to the members of the united congregation, of which he had been for so many years the faithful and beloved pastor.

The Presbytery of Ards appointed a Commission in charge of the vacant Congregation, with the Rev. Robert Andrews as convener. A list of candidates for the vacancy was drawn up, and when these had preached on trial, the members of the Congregation decided to forward a unanimous call to Rev. Thomas Kilpatrick, M.A., minister of Clagan Congregation, in the Presbytery of Tyrone. The following is a copy of the call:--

"The Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
Call to
Rev. Thomas Kilpatrick, M.A.,
from the Congregation of
Millisle and Ballycopeland.

We, the Members of the Congregation of Millisle and Ballycopeland, in connection with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, being fully satisfied of your fitness to be our teacher in the Lord, do hereby call and invite you, the
Reverend Thomas Kilpatrick, M.A.,
to undertake the work of the Ministry among us, promising to respect you for your work's sake, to attend to your instruction in the Gospel, and to submit to the discipline of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland according to the law of the Lord Jesus Christ; and we further promise the annual sum of one hundred and sixty pounds sterling (£160), payable quarterly, with any increase on the stipend above that sum, for your support and encouragement, and to contribute to the Sustentation Fund of the Church according to the regulations for the time being of the General Assembly; and that you shall have the sum of fifty pounds per annum in lieu of the Manse.

Dated and Signed this 29th day of August, in the year 1928.



John M'Kee. Samuel Adams.
John Palmer. Anthony Boyd.
James Barclay. John Crawford.
Wm. L. Anderson. Dora Campbell.
Thomas Colwell. Annie Boyle.
Jeanie Newell. Peggy Porter.
Anna E. Johnston. Helen Thompson.
James Waugh. Nan Mitchell.
William Waugh. Agnes Boyle.
William Garrett. James O'Neill.
Robina Adams. Hugh M'Gimpsey.
Robert Kane. Mary Hamill.
Grace Cree. Mary Waugh.
Minnie Bennett. Hannah Waugh.
Hugh Bennett. Maggie Robinson.
Maria M'Auley. Mrs. M'Cracken.
Jane Warnock. Minnie O'Neill.
Sarah E. M'Wha. William Fergie.
Elizabeth M'Wha. William Fergie.
John Hall. E. Beatrice Barclay.
David W. Campbell. M. Campbell.
Mary Madalene Muckle. Isobel M'Wha.
Madelina Crawford. Margaret Shaw.
Violet M. Barclay. Jane Cree.


I certify that I attended in the Congregation of Millisle and Ballycopeland this 29th day of August, 1928, by appointment of the Presbytery of Ards, as its Commission, and that I was present at the Signing of the Call.



M. Campbell. Nettie Lyons.
F. A. Campbell. Mary M'Cullough.
John C. Boyd. Sara Anderson.
Mary E. M'Clean. Molly M'Wha.
M. Lamont. Georgina Crawford.
J. T. Lamont. Isabella A. M'Clean.
M. J. Palmer. Agnes Boyle, jun.
Robert Boyle. Mary E. Colwell.
James Boyle. Jane M'Cracken.
Ellen Bennett. Norman Lyons.
Maggie Brain. Robert M'Wha.
Mary Mawhinney. Lila Brown.
Grace Hinds. E. J. Barclay.


Signed this 2nd of September, 1928.



The Rev. Robert Andrews, who certified that the first day's signatures were correct, and that the names were signed in his presence, was Moderator of the Commission of the Presbytery in charge of the vacancy. He is Minister of Shore Street Presbyterian Church, Donaghadee.

The Rev. George Heron, who certified that the second day's signatures were correct, and that the names were signed in his presence, was a member of the Commission in charge. He is the Minister of the United Congregation of First and Second Ballywalter.

The call thus given was accepted, and on 4th October, 1928, the Presbytery of Ards met in Millisle Presbyterian Church, in order to receive the credentials of, and to instal the Rev. Thomas Kirkpatrick as minister of Millisle and Ballycopeland. The Rev. Hugh F. Kirker, M.A., Moderator of Presbytery, presided, and constituted the Presbytery with prayer. The Rev. David Dowling, M.A., preached from the text: "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end (Psalm 73, verses 16 and 17)." The Clerk of Presbytery (Rev. Thomas Patterson, B.A.) read the Rule of Faith (Chapter Two of the Code). The prescribed questions were put to the minister-elect by the Moderator, and these were satisfactorily answered. Mr. Kilpatrick then signed the Confession of Faith in terms of the Assembly's Formula, and was installed with prayer, the Rev. T. J. Harrison, B.A., of Second Rathfriland Congregation, and the Rev. T. H. Robinson, M.A., B.D., of First Cookstown Congregation, leading in the prayers. When the right hand of fellowship had been given to the newly-installed minister by his ministerial brethren, a suitable charge was delivered to the minister and congregation by the Rev. Daniel Palmer, B.A. The service was brought to a close with praise and prayer, and with the pronouncement of the Apostolic Benediction.

In January, 1929, the following members were elected by the Congregation to act as the Congregational Committee: Messrs. Alexander Adair, Samuel Adams, James Barclay, William John Bell, Anthony Boyd, David Warden Campbell, Miss Dora Campbell, Messrs. Thomas Colwell, James Crawford, William Garrett, Robert M'Wha, William M'Wha. Hugh Mitchell, John Palmer, and Miss Jane Warnock.

On 7th May, 1929, the Rev. Samuel J. Lyons, B.D., senior minister of the Congregation, passed away at the Manse. His death was deeply regretted, not only by all the members of the Congregation of Millisle and Ballycopeland, but by all who knew him. His mortal remains were laid to rest in Millisle Churchyard.

In 1929 and 1930 the Manse was renovated and painted, the total cost of the work being £179 10s 0d.

In May, 1932, the following members were elected to act as the Congregational Committee:-- Messrs. Alexander Adair, Samuel Adams, James Barclay, Alexander Boyd, Miss A. J. Boyd, Mr.Anthony Boyd, Miss Sarah Boyd, Miss Agnes Boyle, Messrs. Hugh Brown, David W. Campbell, Thomas Colwell, James Crawford, Henry Garrett, William Garrett, John Hall, C. Eric Morton, William M'Wha, Samuel M'Kee, Robert M'Wha, John Palmer, William Ritchie, and William Waugh.

On 24th October, 1932, a Congregational Meeting was held in Millisle Church. The members were asked to decide whether the existing Church building should be repaired and renovated, or a new Church erected on a different site. Fifty-five of the qualified voters who were present voted. Forty-seven were in favour of repairing the old Church, and eight voted for the erection of a new

one. The decision of the meeting was therefore by a large majority of votes In favour of renovation, and this decision was acted upon soon afterwards.

On 22nd December, 1932, a Commission of the Presbytery of Ards met in Millisle Church for the purpose of ordaining elders. The Commission consisted of the following members:-- Rev. H. F. Kirker, M.A.; Rev. Robert Andrews, Rev. David Watson, B.A.; Rev. David Parke, M.A.; Rev. Walter Nelson, M.A.; Mr. David Ewart, ruling elder; and Rev. T. Kilpatrick, M.A. The Rev. R. Andrews stated the Scriptural warrant for the office of elder. The elders-elect -- Messrs. Alexander Adair, Co.C., J.P., James Barclay, Anthony Boyd, David Warden Campbell, Samuel M'Kee, and Robert M'Wha -- then answered the prescribed questions in the affirmative, and having signed the Westminster Confession of Faith in terms of the Assembly's Formula, they were solemnly set apart and ordained as elders in the Congregation of Millisle and Ballycopeland, with prayer and the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, the Rev. D. Watson and Rev. D. Parke leading In the ordination prayers. The Rev. H. F. Kirker gave an instructive and impressive charge to the newly-ordained elders and to the congregation, and dismissed them with the Apostolic Benediction.

In July, 1933, electric light was installed in Millisle Manse. The work of installation was done by Mr. James Waugh, jun., of "Bayview," Millisle.

For some years previous to the renovation of Millisle Church a number of bequests were left or given to the Congregation. These bequests were as follow: Miss Jane Campbell, of Ballyrolly, bequeathed £50; Miss Elizabeth Campbell, of Millisle, left £164; Miss Adelaide Caughey, of Donaghadee, left £100; Mrs. David Duncan, of Ballyblack, left £10; Miss Jane Warnock, of Millisle left £209; Mr. James Gunning, of Ballycopeland left £40; and Mr. Hugh Clarke Dunlop, of Donaghadee, left £200. The terms of Mr. Dunlop's bequest were that the money left by him to the Congregation was to be invested, and half the annual interest was to be given to the stipend fund, the other half to be devoted to the sustentation fund of the Congregation.

The money received from the other bequests was invested, and the total amount, with accumulated interest, was eventually used for the renovation of the Church.

In November, 1933, the bequest from the estate of the late Miss Elizabeth Campbell became available for the renovation of Millisle Presbyterian Church. Miss Campbell died on 23rd March, 1921, and by her will she bequeathed the sum of £164 to the Trustees of the Church. The terms of the bequest were that the money was to be invested, and the interest was to be allowed to accumulate for twelve years after the date of Miss Campbell's death, after which the principal and accumulated interest were to be applied in building a new Church, provided that if it was decided to erect a spire on said Church the bequest was to be cancelled, and in lieu thereof the money was to be devoted to other purposes. Counsel's opinion was obtained when the twelve years had expired, as to whether the bequest and interest could be applied towards the renovation of the existing Church. The advice given by counsel was that as there was not sufficient money in the possession of the Trustees of the Church for the erection of a new building, the renovation of the existing Church was an object as near to the Testator's intentions as could be suggested. An application was then made to the Ministry of Finance, requesting the Ministry to deal with the matter. The Ministry ordered that the bequest and interest, amounting in all to £294, should be used for renovation, and that no portion of the amount mentioned should be transferred to the Trustees of the Church until renovation and repairs to the value of at least £300 had been carried out.

This order of the Ministry of Finance hastened the preparations for the renovation of the Church. Tenders were received for the work to be done and the lowest tender was accepted. The work of renovation and repairs commenced on 2nd January, 1934, and it was finished five months afterwards. During these five months the members of the Congregation of Millisle and Ballycopeland held their services of public worship and all other meetings in Millisle Masonic Hall. The Hall was placed at the disposal of the Congregation free of all rent and charges, with the exception of the charge for the electric light used at evening services and meetings. The generosity and courtesy of the hospitality thus extended by the members of the Masonic Order were greatly and gratefully appreciated by every member of the Congregation.

The entire work of renovating the Church was planned and supervised by Mr. Stephen A. Orr, B.E., Civil Engineer and Architect, of 40, Victoria Square, Belfast. The firm of builders whose tender was accepted was that of Messrs. Cairns Bros., of Candahar Street, Belfast, who undertook to complete the work in a satisfactory manner for the sum of £1,587 10s 0d. The work included a new floor in the Church, three new galleries, new windows and doors, new pews, pulpit, and choir accommodation. The porches at the northern and southern entrances to the Church were rebuilt, and a porch was added to the eastern wing of the building. This latter porch is the largest, and includes a winding staircase which leads to the gallery facing the pulpit. The windows lighting the stairway command splendid views of sea and shore. Attached to this porch also is the vestry, or minister's room. Electric light was installed in the Church by Messrs. David Gamble and Co., of 63, Dublin Road, Belfast, who supplied a screwed conduit installation, with a flood-lighting scheme for the centre of the building, the lights being flush with the ceiling. A large pipe (low pressure) hot water heating apparatus was installed in the Church by Messrs. Musgrave and Co., Ltd., of St. Ann's Iron Works, Albertbridge Road, Belfast. The work of painting and decorating the interior and exterior of the Church was one by Mr. Robert Ralph, of 17, Delhi Street, Belfast. The contracts for lighting, heating, and painting were subcontracts, the work and cost connected with them being included in the contract undertaken by Messrs. Cairns Bros.

Re-dedication and re-opening services were held in the newly-renovated Church on Sabbath, 10th June, 1934, and the Sabbath following. On 10th June the preacher was the Very Rev. James J. Macaulay, B.A., D.D., of Rathgar, Dublin, ex-Moderator of the General Assembly. The morning service being solemnly et apart once more for Divine worship by Dr. Macaulay, who in words of earnest intercession invoked the blessing of God on the worship of His House in Millisle in all the coming days. The service was a very beautiful and impressive one, and it will remain as a blessed and treasured memory in the minds of all who were privileged to be present. After the service of re-dedication Dr. Macaulay addressed the congregation on the subject of the history of their Church. He said that he had early memories of Millisle. He well remembered his relative, the Rev. John M'Auley, who was minister in Millisle for many years. He also remembered many of the older members of the Congregation. If the stones of Millisle Church could speak, they could witness regarding a succession of faithful and beloved pastors. They could witness also with regard to the worship, the spiritual experience, and the faithfulness of the forefathers of many of those who now occupied the pews. The Church was very beautifully renovated, and the congregation would now enter on a new period of history. He expressed the hope that under the Divine guidance it would be a bright and blessed period for all.

On the Sabbath following the re-dedication of the Church the re-opening services were continued, the preacher being the Rev. Principal F. J. Paul, M.A., D.D., Professor of Church History in Assembly's College, Belfast. Dr. Paul congratulated the members of the united Congregation on the work they had done in repairing and in making beautiful the Church they loved. He said that memories would be active now, and those who were present would be remembering bygone days, and the friends who were now no longer in their midst. The mortal remains of very many of these departed ones were laid to rest in God's acre, which so appropriately surrounded their Church. The members present would remember too how they had come to that place of prayer in sorrow, and they had been sent forth from it with the joy of God in their hearts. They had come in weakness, many a time and oft, and in the House of God they had found a renewal of strength. They were still coming to worship there, because they could only find in the things of God the satisfaction of their souls. He appealed to the younger members of the Church, bidding them come to God with their gifts and talents, and concentrate these by using them in His service. They had a great, good time of usefulness and of blessedness ahead if they gave themselves in surrender and in service to Jesus Christ, the Lord of all true life.

The attendances at the services conducted by Dr. Macaulay and by Dr. Paul were large and representative. The older members of the congregation, and the old friends of Millisle, were well represented. Special collectors attended from places near to Millisle and from a wider district. The offerings, which were in aid of the building and renovation fund of the Church, were on a most generous scale, being liberally supported by old friends and new, and by all the members of the United Congregation. At the close of the services on each Sabbath the minister of the Congregation thanked the distinguished preachers, and all who assisted in making the services a success in every way.

At the evening service on Sabbath, 24th June, 1934, a beautiful mural marble tablet was unveiled and dedicated in Millisle and Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church in memory of Rev. Samuel J. Lyons, B.D., who was for thirty-five years minister of the congregation. The tablet was erected by the members of the Congregation as a tribute to his work and worth. The service was conducted by the Rev. Robert Andrews, of Donaghadee, a lifelong friend of the late Mr. Lyons. Speaking of Mr. Lyons, the preacher said that he was in his early years brought under the influence of the Gospel, and it was his great desire to make that Gospel known to others. He therefore became a student for the ministry, and was anxious to prepare well for the great work that lay before him. When he entered upon the work of the ministry, he preached the Gospel of the Cross. He found in that Gospel the message that makes men new creatures. As a man he was modest. His sense of dependence upon God prevented him from glorying in his own wisdom or strength. He was kind-hearted, and never consciously hurt anyone by word or act. As a pastor he was most faithful in the discharge of all his duties. He loved the people of his congregation and was beloved by them. In their love for him they had erected the tablet to his memory which was now to be unveiled. It was right and fitting that Mrs. Lyons should unveil it. She had always been a true friend to every member of the Congregation, and she was beloved by all. She had presented a handsome clock to the Church in memory of her husband, and it added greatly to the appearance of the renovated building.

The tablet was unveiled by Mrs. Lyons, and the words of the inscription were read to the Congregation by the Rev. T. Kilpatrick, as follows: "In loving remembrance of the Rev. Samuel J. Lyons, B.D., for thirty-five years the faithful and honoured pastor of this Congregation. Ordained in Poyntzpass and Scarva, 4th January, 1893. Installed in Millisle, 23rd January, 1894. Died 7th May, 1929. 'A good minister of Jesus Christ.'"

In June, 1934, a Communion Table of beautiful design was presented to the Church by Mr. and Mrs. James M'Wha, of Ballyrolly, Millisle. This generous gift is in harmony with its sacred surroundings, and is most suitable for the place it occupies.

At the commencement of the morning service on Sabbath, 22nd July, 1934, a handsome Walnut Endsleigh Organ was dedicated by prayer by the minister, Rev. T. Kilpatrick, M.A., in Millisle Church. After being thus set apart for the rendering of the musical accompaniments of the praises of the people in their place of prayer, and of their thanksgivings to God in the services of public worship, Mr. Robert M'Wha. A.Mus.T.C.L., organist of the Church, presided at the organ. His rendering of a beautiful piece of sacred music proved that the newly-dedicated instrument was a very suitable one in every way for the requirements of the congregation. The organ was supplied by Messrs. M. Crymble, Ltd., of 58, Wellington Place, Belfast.

On Sabbath, 30th September, 1934, and on the following night, Harvest Thanksgiving Services were held in Millisle Church. The special preacher on Sabbath was Rev. R. J. Wilson, M.A., B.D., of First Carrickfergus Presbyterian Church; and on Monday night the Rev. W. P. Hall, M.A., formerly minister of Ballysillan Presbyterian Church, Belfast, and latterly of Knox Church, Galt, Ontario, Canada, was the special preacher. The Church was beautifully decorated for the occasion with flowers and fruits and grain, and on the night following the Harvest Services the flowers and farm produce were sold. The offerings at the Services, and the money received at the sale of the gifts used in decorating the Church, were in aid of the Building and Renovation Fund. The record sum of £77 was received, and this was sufficient to clear off the remaining portion of debt incurred by the recent extensive renovation. Thus the Church was repaired, and the cost of the repairs was cleared off in a very short space of time, and thanksgiving for the Harvest was accompanied by thanksgiving for the offerings of a willing and generous congregation.

Millisle Manse

In October, 1934, a handsome and valuable oak table was presented to the Church, for use in the Vestry, by Miss A. J. Boyd, of Killaughey, and Miss S. Boyd, of Ballyhaskin. This generous act has provided one of the most beautiful articles of furniture in connection with the newly-renovated Church.

In the same month, as this history of congregational life and work goes to press, the following are the names of the members of the united Congregation of Millisle and Ballycopeland who contribute to the Stipend, Sustentation, and Mission Funds of the Church:-- Samuel Adams, Alexander Adams, Samuel Anderson, John Burch, Hugh Boyd, William Brain, Mrs. Andrew Bennett, Miss Madeline Crawford, James Crawford, John Crawford, William Davidson, Miss Jane M'Keag, Miss E. Kane, William Muckle, Mrs. David Morrow, Samuel M'Gilton, William M'Keag, Alexander Mawhinney, Robert O'Neill, Robert J. Reid, Miss E. Sloan, Mrs. R. M'Gimpsey, James Boyle, James Verner, Alexander Adair, Miss Jane Adams, Matthew Gunning, Thomas Morrow, James M'Nay, Miss Mary B. Mawhinney, Miss Walker, Thomas Hill, Thomas Colwell, James O'Neill: W. C. Crawford, Robert Crawford, C. E. Morgan, James Wright, Thomas Craig, James Nicholson, John C. Boyd, Miss Sarah Robinson, Miss H. Campbell, John Drennan, John Drennan, jun., Samuel O'Neill, Mrs. Simpson, William J. Taylor, George Bennett, Thomas Waugh, William Mawhinney, John Beatty, George A. Fletcher, Thomas Barclay, Mrs. W. J. Boyd, Miss A. J. Boyd, Andrew Brown, William Brown, Francis Brown, Mrs. W. Crawford, H. Ferguson, William Bennett, Mrs. M'Blain, R. J. M'Gimpsey, Mrs. J. M'Keag, Thomas M'Keag, Robert Miskimmin, Mrs. H. Mawhinney, John Martin, Miss M. E. Ferguson, Hugh Brown, Mrs. James Armstrong, Miss Alice Boyd, Miss Lily Boyd, Miss Ida Ferguson, Harold Ferguson, Robert Ferguson, John Keenan, Arthur M'Gimpsey, James Gunning, George Francis, Thomas M'Millen, James Barclay, James Kerr, Francis Armstrong, Miss Maggie Stewart, Miss Lizzie Anderson, James Pollock, Alexander Crawford, Miss Sarah Gray, W. H. Waugh, Andrew M'Gimpsey, Hugh Tollerton, John Crawford, John O'Neill, Miss Shepherd, Mrs. Baird, Mrs. William Armstrong, Robert Irvine, Alexander Boyd, Robert Brown, John Hall, Miss M. Melville, George Newell, Samuel Newell, Hugh Walker, Robert Walker, Mrs. John Adams, David Adams, James Barclay, Hugh Bennett, David Brown, Mrs. S. Boyle, Robert Boyle, James Boyle, John Crawford, Miss Jane Cree, James O'Neill, Mrs. Dunn, W. R. Dunwoody, William Forgie, Miss Martha Finlay, R. J. Goodwin, Peter Hamill, Mrs. Cummings, Robert Kane, George Kane, Miss Georgina Kane, Mrs. Barclay, Miss Jane Long, Miss Catherine Lowry, Miss Mina Lowry, John Mitchell, Mrs. R. M'Auley, Andrew Martin, Miss Mary Mawhinney, Mrs. W. M'Gimpsey, Mrs. Nelson, Miss Maggie Reid, Miss Maggie Shaw, Mrs. M'Cracken, James Waugh, Miss Annie Waugh, John Palmer, Miss Dalzell, Mrs. William Boyd, Mrs. Kennedy, Mrs. M'Clure, Miss M. Thompson, Miss H. Thompson, Thomas Moore, William Anderson, Robert Simpson, James Kane, Joseph Donaldson, William Newell, Miss Alice Mooney, Samuel Boyle, Robert M'Wha, Miss Agnes Boyle, Miss Annie Jamison, Miss Coulter, Miss M'Roberts, Mrs. A. Irvine, H. Warden, J. T. Lamont, Samuel Fletcher, Miss E. B. Barclay, S. Blackhall, Thomas Kane, Alexander Murray, Miss Molly M'Wha, James Keenan, Angus Jamison, Mrs. W. Robinson, William Brown, F. J. Barclay, Mrs. Eaton, William Waugh, Miss Anna Crawford, John M'Bratney, Mrs. Muckle, R. J. Reid, Mrs. Martin, Miss Mary Finlay, Mr. and Mrs. T. Courtney, G. Cosgrave, W. F. Starkie, Miss Limia Bennett, T. Kilpatrick, Robert Warnock, David Nelson, Miss M. Boal, Robert Girvan, William Adams, Miss Nellie O'Neill, Mrs. Lyons, "J. T., (Millisle), Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Boyd, Alexander Boyd, D. W. Campbell, Mrs. S. Martin, Mrs. H. Campbell, James M'Gowan, Daniel Boyle, Thomas Boyle, James Boyle, Mrs. Wm. Mathers, Miss Anna Boyd, Miss Sarah Boyd, Richard Herron, Miss Annie Boyle, Robert M'Gowan, Arthur Cleland, Mrs. Murray, R. J. Pack-Beresford, Wm. R. Mathers, A. Keiling, Mrs. Lunn, Henry Hamilton, David Martin, Robert Muckle, H. A. M'Roberts, James M'Wha, William M'Quoid, W. J. M'Clean, Hugh Lockhart, William M'Wha, Wm. Ritchie, Mrs. Neilly, W. J. Bell, William Garrett, Alexander Gray, John M'Kee, Miss Annie M'Kee, Samuel M'Kee, Henry Garrett, Samuel Gunning, John M'Gimpsey, John Blair, Robert Johnston, James Kane, and Mrs. William Armstrong.

The writer must now bring this account of the history and activities and relationships of Millisle and Ballycopeland Church to a close. Those who read it will observe that time has brought great changes since the year 1773. But the unchanging God remains with us, and we honour the same Lord whom they honoured who built the little meeting-house by the sea one hundred and sixty-one years ago. Those who worked and worshipped here in those distant days are gone the way of all flesh. But memories of them live and linger, and their works do follow them. It is now our privilege to take up and carry on their labours of love, and to engage in the simple and solemn services of the sanctuary in which they found their greatest joy. The story of the past and present may end here -- a story not fully told, for "time's effacing finger" has blotted out many an ancient record. It is the writer's prayer that a fairer and fuller story will be written in the days that are yet to be. May the present and future members of Millisle and Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church walk worthily in the steps of those who have gone before, and serve in spirit and in truth their fathers' God and their God. Finding the Eternal God as their Refuge and their Strength, may they launch out upon a new period of faithful and consecrated service. And may all those who shall worship, in all the coming days, in the Church they love so well, experience the richest blessings of Heaven, and rejoice in fullest fellowship with Him Who is King and Head of the Church, and Whose great and gracious promise regarding the future years is this: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."


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