It was from John Knox, who was destined to exercise the most extraordinary influence in shaping the ecclesiastical history of Scotland, that, through his followers, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland owes its origin. The great reformer, born near Haddington in 1515, received a learned education and was ordained as a priest in the Roman Church at an early age. He came under the influence of Protestant teaching and, in 1547, after the murder of Cardinal Beaton, joined those responsible in St. Andrew's Castle. There he found himself the spiritual leader of St. Andrews, but his work came to a sudden end when, on the appearance of a French fleet, the Castle capitulated and, together with its defenders, he was carried off to France as a galley slave. He spent nineteen months chained to the oars until, at the intercession of Edward VI, he was released and allowed to come to England.

He became one of the King's Chaplains and, in this capacity, took part in the preparation of the Prayer Book of 1552 and the drafting of the Forty-two Articles of the Church of England. He declined the Bishopric of Rochester and, on the accession of Mary in 1553, he fled to the Continent where he ministered for five years to the English Protestant refugees in Germany and Switzerland. At Geneva he met John Calvin, the French Reformer, whose Biblical and Patristic studies exercised such a great influence on the leaders of the Scottish Reformed Church.

Having returned to Scotland in 1555, conditions there made it prudent for him to retire again to Geneva after a short sojourn. However, in 1559, he came back once more, the Reformation swept through the country and was consolidated not on the setting up of a " new Church," but on the " purification of the temple"

When the Scottish Parliament officially terminated the Roman Church as the National Church, Protestant ministers were asked to draw up a formal statement of belief for which the Reformed Church stood. The outcome was the "Scottish Confession of Faith" compiled by John Knox and five associates. Its preface states : "If any man will note in this our Confession any article or sentence repugnant to God's Holy Word, that it would please him of his gentleness and for Christian charity's sake to admonish us of the same in writing; and we upon our honour and fidelity by God's grace do promise unto him satisfaction from the mouth of God that is from His holy scriptures or else reformation of that which he shall prove to be amiss." This clearly indicates the Scriptural intention of the Scottish Reformers.

In October, 1560, the first General Assembly met and a Service Book based on the one Knox had compiled at Frankfort, and had used at Geneva, was authorised. Knox's Liturgy was formally received by the Assembly as the Service Book of the Church in 1562 and the completed Psalter in 1564. He also produced " The First Book of Discipline " outlining the views of the Reformers on the best system of Church government, of education and of relief of the poor. There were to be four types of office-bearers, Ministers, Teachers, Elders and Deacons. Due to the number of ministers being few, carefully selected lay readers were to be appointed to conduct services where there was not a regular minister. Superintendents were to be selected, one to each of ten large districts, each having his own parish to minister to, discipline to adminster and readers to appoint in his area. Presbyteries arose later out of weekly meetings in towns called " The Exercise," while Synods developed out of the Superintendents' Councils. Baptism was only to be permitted during Public Worship, the Lord's Supper was to be observed quarterly and none who could not say the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Apostle's Creed were to have children baptised or be admitted to the Lord's Table. There were to be two Sunday services, at the second of which the young were to be catechised. Discipline in the sense of moral oversight was rigid and the penalties for defaulters were severe.

When Knox died, Scotland was still in great confusion. Episcopal order was not actually illegal and, in law, Bishops could still draw' the episcopal revenues. Bishops, however, were (lying out despite attempts to replace them when James VI became King in 1578. He was at constant argument with the Scottish Presbyterian ministers and his reign was an unsettled period for both Episcopacy and Presbyterianism. He had fixed ideas about the absolute rights and powers of a King in State and in Church. Like his Stuart successors, he considered Kings were appointed by God and were answerable only to Him. This theory of the Divine Right of Kings made James the would-be dictator of all worship, government and policy of the Church. Episcopacy suited him best and he abhorred Presbyterianism with its insistence upon Jesus Christ as the only King and Head of the, Church, the equality of its ministers an& its independent and democratic spirit. He is recorded as saying : "No Bishop, no King " and " Presbytery agreeth as well with the Monarchy as God with the devil."
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Andrew Melville was the leader of the Presbyterians from 1574 and it was not long until he was in open conflict with James. "There are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland," he said, "there is King James, the head of the Commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose Kingdom he is not a King, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member."

The General Assembly of 1580 declared Bishops to be unlawful and unwarranted, and at the following Assembly Presbyterian orders were formally set up in Scotland. Melville's Second Book of Discipline, which declared that neither bishops nor superintendents should be permitted and that neither king nor parliament should have any jurisdiction over the Church's teaching or government was adopted and confirmed. James retaliated through Parliament in 1584 with the " Black Acts " which brought back the headship of the King and the rule of bishops, and made criticism of the King treasonable. Utter confusion followed for eight years until, in 1592, victory came again to Presbyterianism in an Act of Parliament which established the government of the Church by General Assemblies, Synods, Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions. James gave his assent to this Act but, he continued to connive secretly to restore Episcopacy waiting for the day when he would become King of England. In 1603, he acceded to the throne of England becoming James I of England and, at the same time, James VI of Scotland. In London, in 1610, he had three Scots ministers consecrated as bishops with orders to consecrate others in Scotland, but the Presbyterian Courts continued to meet with the bishops as permanent Moderators of Synods. In 1617 James revisited Scotland and, at a crowded Assembly at Perth, the " Five Articles of Perth " were imposed on the Scottish Church. They provided for private Baptism: private Communion for the sick and aged; the observance of Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension and Whit Sunday; Confirmation; kneeling at Communion.

Charles I became King on his father's death, in 1625, and on his first visit to Scotland, in 1633, he was received with acclamation by the people of Edinburgh. His popularity was of short duration for, assisted by Archbishop Laud, he immediately attempted to enforce, by General Order in Council, the use of an obligatory Prayer Book. On 23rd July, 1637, it was used for the first time at St. Giles and provoked a riot. Crowds flocked to Edinburgh and, in February, 1638, the "National Covenant" to "defend the true religion and recover the purity and liberty of the Gospel " was signed by thousands in Greyfriars.

At the Glasgow Assembly of 1638, the Lord High Commissioner was defied. Episcopacy was swept away and the bishops deposed. The political situation made Civil War inevitable in England and this was to involve Scotland also. The Covenanters and the English Long Parliament together signed the Solemn League and Covenant at Westminster, in 1643, and so began the train of events which led to the execution of Charles I in 1649 with Cromwell becoming Lord Protector.
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In THE sixteenth century the situation in England was almost more confused than in Scotland. The Reformation in England had its origins in a tension between Papacy and State and resulted in Henry VIII's action of substituting himself for the Pope as the Head of the Church. Nevertheless, Henry remained opposed to the Reformed doctrines as he wished England to remain Romanist in belief but free from the Pope.

Edward, his son, was friendly towards Lutheran ideas and with his uncle, the Duke of Somerset, introduced Church reforms on Protestant principles. Re formers from the Continent and men like John .Knox were welcomed, their ideas sought and valued. The first Prayer Book in English was produced by Cramner in 1549 and an act of Uniformity ordered it to be read in all Churches. A party of Protestant extremists began to destroy and deface the old Churches, especially in the eastern counties and in London.

In due course Edward's sister Mary, a staunch Romanist, succeeded him and in November, 1554, secured the Pope's forgiveness for England and his power was restored. The next step was to force all "heretics "to recant and a period of persecution began which increased in intensity and violence until the end of Mary's reign in 1558.

With the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558, one of the first things was to settle the future of the Church. Her right to be Queen was not accepted by the Pope since her mother, Anne Boleyn, had married Henry VIII, during the lifetime of Catherne of Aragon who was regarded by the Roman Church as Henry's only lawful wife. Through a new Act of Supremacy which revived the Headship of the Crown over the Church the ecclesiastical rule of the Pope was once more renounced.

She favoured a prelatic Church which would include the majority of her people and in this sought the assistance of the many Protestants who had been forced to flee the country during Mary's reign and had returned to England. The matter was put beyond all doubt when the Pope excommunicated her to 1570. After that the extreme Protestants or Puritans of England began to demand further changes in Church administration. Severe laws were passed against them but despite this they increased in numbers and influence until the end of Elizabeth's reign.

In 1603, James VI of Scotland became James I of England and just as he had quarrelled with his Scottish subjects on Church affairs, he soon became involved similarly with his English peoples. He was met on his way to London by a deputation which presented a petition signed by a thousand ministers of the Church of England who desired the Church to become more Puritan. James called a meeting of the bishops at Hampton Court in 1604 to consider the matter. The Puritans offended him by mentioning Presbyteries and reminding him of his troubles in Scotland. He concluded his answering speech by saying, " No Bishop, no King, as I before said . . . If this be all that they have to say I shall make them conform themselves or I will harry them out of the land or else do worse." The most important result of this conference was the new translation of the Bible now known as the Authorised Version of 1611. However, in spite of the views of James the House of Commons became more and more Puritan and continually demanded reforms in religion.

As far as Church matters were concerned Charles I continued the aims of his father, but with less tact. In 1633, Archbishop Laud found the Church in grave disorder with services carelessly conducted, Churches in disrepair and all kinds of teachings in use. He tried to restore order by insisting that all clergy conform to the Prayer Book believing that uniformity of ceremonial was essential if unity of belief was to be maintained. He wished to keep whatever was good in the ceremonies of the pre-Reformation Church, but his opponents, the Puritans of England like the Presbyterians of Scotland, considered anything connected with the Pope to be superstition.

Laud made many enemies by his tactless methods. He expelled many clergy and opposed freedom of speech and liberty of the press and it was not till some years later, with the Civil War and coming to power of Cromwell, that conditions for the Puritans changed.
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THE accession of James I to the throne of England in 1603 marked the start of an important era in the history of Ireland. The wars which had prevailed almost throughout the reign of Elizabeth were now succeeded by the tranquillity consequent upon national prostration. The Irish were disposed to yield willing homage to the new King, hoping that, as a son of Mary, who, they believed, had died a martyr for the Roman, faith, he would be a supporter of their creed. They resumed possession of the Churches in which Protestant worship had been recently conducted and forcibly ejected the Protestant ministers.

They were speedily disillusioned and their insurrectionary movement was quickly quelled by the Lord Deputy, Mountjoy. James, whatever may have been his secret leanings, refused to accord any public countenance to the Roman faith in Ireland.

With the flight of the Earls vast Estates became forfeited to the Crown and James resolved to plant them with settlers from England and Scotland as the only way to remedy the disorder which had prevailed in the northern province. The districts escheated had been the scene of perpetual warfare and now were utterly desolate. The Protestant Churches were neglected and Divine Service was only conducted in a few of the more prominent towns.

With the advent of the settlers the Protestant Church now acquired some strength and stability and a Convocation of Clergy was held in 1615 and accepted a Confession of Faith which was drawn up by Archbishop Ussher. This Confession was Calvinistic in doctrine and comprehensive in spirit, assuming no authority to enforce ecclesiastical canons or to decree rites and ceremonies. The spirit of toleration by which these articles were distinguished is to be attributed mainly to the fact that the Convocation was composed, to- a great extent, of clergy who had fled from England in consequence of the rigid terms of conformity imposed there. The ministers who came from Scotland to preach the Gospel to the settlers were the founders and fathers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and were kindly received by the Bishops of the Established Church being inducted to Parishes throughout the country. The ministry of these men was, however, soon brought to an end when the prelates refused to ordain, for the future, any who would not promise conformity to the English Church and even suspended some of the ministers who were already ordained. In vain did Archbishop Ussher endeavour to restore these ministers to their office and, despite his opposition, at a Convocation in 1634 the Confession of Faith drawn up in 1615 was set aside and the Articles of the Church of England were substituted. For a brief period the Protestant Church in Ireland had been one Church and had the counsels of Archbishop Ussher, that wise and far-seeing man of moderation, prevailed what a difference it might have made to Protestant witness in this land.

Some years earlier, after the Six Mile Water revival, the Presbyterian ministers agreed to meet once a month at Antrim but this, with the increasing persecutions, ceased and Presbyterians were deprived from 1637 to 1642. This tyrannical policy diminished greatly the Protestant population and robbed it of its most active and resolute members at a time when Romish intrigue was working to extirpate the English, root and branch. In October, 1641, the Irish broke out in rebellion with dramatic suddenness and fury and were only stopped in the north at places where the Scots were most numerous. With the consent of King and Parliament, a Scottish army arrived for the protection of their compatriots and the restoration of order in the country. This object was soon accomplished so far as the greater part of the north was concerned.

As all civil and ecclesiastical government was over thrown by these events the Scots instituted their particular form of religion and Church government. With the influence of the Solemn League and Covenant fresh in their minds and looking beyond national considerations, five army chaplains and four elders met at Carrickfergus on 10th June, 1642, and constituted the first regular Presbytery held in Ireland.
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The Army Presbytery, as it was called, began the work of introducing Church government according to the doctrine, worship and discipline of the Church of Scotland by supplying congregations in such places as requested ministers.
The Presbytery, with the help of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, pursued its course of planting and erecting congregations wherever they found Scottish communities strong enough to support the Gospel. "The Solemn League and Covenant" of 1643, which denounced prelacy, bound subscribers to labour for the preservation of the reformed religion in Scotland and to promote the reformation of religion in England and Ireland, was a further source of encouragement. The Covenanters never doubted that the reformation was synonymous with Presbyterianism and proceeded to plant the vacant Parishes with ministers until about seventy had been inducted.

The execution of the King on 30th January, 1649, was a crisis in the fortune of the Presbyterians. They were on the side of royalty, but Cromwell had established his supremacy in Ireland by the sword and his Commissioners summoned the ministers to appear on a charge of preaching and praying against the Commonwealth and in favour of the Royal family. Some fled to Scotland, but while the matter was under discussion, Cromwell assumed the title of Lord Protector and dissolved the Commonwealth. Under these new circumstances the charges were dropped.

At length, with the Restoration of the Monarchy, the new order changed giving place to the old. The bishops returned and the ministers were met with the alternative of re-ordination and induction by a bishop or resignation of their Parishes. The vast majority suffered deposition rather than yield up their liberty to worship God according to their consciences and were followed by threats of legal process if, in future, they exercised their ministry in any of its parts.

In this manner Presbyterianism was driven underground yet the, ministers did not desert their people, but continued their ministrations to them in the barns and silent glens as they had opportunity. Some of the younger men with stubborn spirit called the people to great meetings on the hillsides by day and by night and in so doing, attracted such attention from those in authority that they were forced to flee the country.

The older ministers lived quietly without much observation, of the magistrates and, gradually, made their way to a more public exercise of their ministry. It took a decade to win this modicum of toleration during which they subsisted on a precarious income from their impoverished flocks. When the ministers emerged into the light again it was by the connivance of the civil rulers rather than by the force of law. This may be taken as an acknowledgement of their peaceable behaviour and a recognition of their loyalty. About 1670 they had regained such confidence as to venture on the erection of humble Meeting Houses. These edifices were constructed of perishable materials and were dark, narrow and devoid of any pretensions to art and comfort.

In 1672 the King made a grant of six hundred pounds a year to the ministers as a token of his goodwill and in recognition of their loyalty in the past. Though the grant was small and irregularly paid it carried with it, what was more acceptable, the recognition of Royal patronage. Henceforth, the ministers had to hold out chiefly against ecclesiastical laws which were administered from time to time with great severity. They endured and at length reached that stage when James II made them a cloak for favouring the Papists by granting Indulgences which comprehended both denominations. They availed themselves of these Indulgences, well aware that these and other actions of the King were meant to terminate in the subversion o: civil and religious liberty. Apprehending this, the Presbyterians united with the Episcopal party in confronting a common danger. Both regarded the King as the enemy of a common Protestantism and in the interests of freedom agreed on a united front to Romanism. In the ensuing conflicts the Presbyterians were extremely active and zealous in the defence of the Protestant cause and in the promoting of the Revolution of 1688.
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In 1609 the King granted the lands of Killultagh ' to Sir Fulke Conway who had been associated with Sir Arthur Chichester in the war against Hugh O'Neill. Chichester held him in high regard and used his very considerable influence on his behalf. He came from a family which had originally been domiciled in Flintshire, but whose lands then lay in Warkwickshire. As an army captain he had served under Essex in Ireland in 1598 and was knighted two years later.

On receiving the grant of this territory, which included that upon which modern Lisburn stands, he set about the erection of a castle and town bringing over many English and Welsh settlers. The castle, the remains of which can still be seen in the Castle Gardens, was built on the site of an earlier fort known as Lisnagarvey and for many years the town bore this name.

The settlement was completed about 1622 and a letter from Lord Edward Conway written in 1621 gives some indication of his impressions. In it he observes "This is a curious place ... Greater storms are not in any place nor greater serenities : foul ways, boggy ground, pleasant fields, water brooks, rivers full of fish, full of game, the people in their attire, language, fashion: barbarous. In their entertainment free and noble."

The management of the first Lord Conway's Irish estate fell largly to his secretary George Rawdon, a Yorkshire man, who was destined later to receive a baronetcy and a grant of lands at Moira. Rawdon was the great man of that period in Lisnagarvey, of considerable energy and organising ability, he left an imprint on the affairs of the settlement which remained long after his death.

In 1641, it was largely due to his leadership that the rebels, who had overrun so much of the province, were so effectively routed when they came to attack the town. An account of the battle, which can be regarded as a turning point in the insurrection, is worthy of note : " 28th November, 1641-Miraculous victory gained over the first formed army of the Irish soon after their rebellion which broke out the 23rd October, 1641O'Neill, Maginnis and Plunkett, their leaders, having enlisted and drawn together out of Armagh, Tyrone, Antrim and Down and other counties in Ulster, eight or nine thousand men which were formed into eight regiments and a troop of horse with two field-pieces they did rendezvous on 27th November at and about the house of Sir John Rawdon at Brookhill, 3 miles distant from Lisnagarvey, in which they knew there was a garrison of five companies, newly raised and Lord Conway's troop of horse. Principal design was march to beseige Carrickfergus, but they judged it unsafe to pass Lisnagarvey. They resolved to attack the next morning considering the defenders of little account, being so small and badly armed. Deserters from the town had carried them information about the strength of the defenders. Sir George Rawdon got back to the town from England on 27th November, just in time. The troops were drawn up in the market place hourly expecting assault and stood there throughout the night. The next morning, Sunday, scouts on horseback were sent out and found the Irish at Mass in the fields at their camp. On seeing the reconnoitering troops, they immediately quitted their devotions and with a beat of drums marched to the town. Before ten o'clock they appeared in the Warren, not a musket shot from the town. They sent out two divisions some 600 or 700 apiece to compass the town and plant field pieces on high way to it. In so doing they shot some men in the market place. The commander of the garrison and Sir George Rawdon, seeing the danger, sent troops to face those on the north and keep them away. The other attacking enemy came in by Bridge Street and were beaten with 200 being slain there. The attackers to the north, having failed to come in at the same time, were repulsed in Castle Street and 300 were slain there and in the meadows behind the houses. After a respite of two hours, at one o'clock, a further attack was beaten back until in the evening darkness, the rebels, after continuous attacks, set fire to the town and in a few hours all was burnt. A relief force arrived during the night from Carrickfergus and from six to eleven the fight continued in confusion. Suddenly the enemy went into retreat and with not more than 200 men disappeared in the darkness."

Outnumbered and ill-equipped, the garrison appeared to face inevitable defeat but, so resolute was the defence, the- day ended with a resounding victory though, in gaining it, the town was left in ruins.

The night before the attack had brought snow and ice on the ground and this was to be of immense value to the garrison. Those in control were quick to realise that something had to be done to enable the troop of horse to engage in battle and so during that eventful Saturday night the smiths of the town were pressed into service and worked with such zeal that by dawn they had frosted the horses, enabling the mounted troops to be effectively deployed.
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Again, on a Sunday, sixty-six years later, the town was once more devastated by fire, this time accidentally. Prevailing conjecture is that the designation Lisnagarvey was abolished after that disaster and the present one of Lisburn framed allusion to and was in commemoration of the calamity. According to the late Dean Carmody, who carried out extensive researches into the history of the Cathedral and town, this is an error for it appears by the registry of baptism, marriage and funerals that the modern name began and the ancient one ceased as early as January, 1662, the reason of which cannot now be ascertained. One possible explanation was that the change took place having reference to the fire and sacking of the town in 1641. In depositions taken, following the events of 1641, an English soldier stated the rebels entered at a place called "Louzy Burne" and this may have some significance. The Dean held the view ,that an ancient fort called Lisburn existed from an early period just as there was a fort called Lisnagarvey. The remains of an important and well fortified primitive town with stone paving down to the river still exists at the top of Hill Street and he was of the opinion that here was the location of the Lisburn from which the town now takes its name. The reason for the reversion to the earlier name cannot be established but the Dean's conjecture is not at all unreasonable.

The family history of the Conways discloses that Sir Edward, one of the principal secretaries of state, inherited the estates in 1624 and received the titles of Viscount Killultagh and Viscount Conway in 1626. Edward, the `3rd Viscount, was created Earl of Conway in 1679 and, on his death in 1683, having no issue, the estates passed to his cousin, Francis Seymour, who assumed the name Conway. In 1750, Lord Conway was created the Earl of Hertford and Viscount Beauchamp. In more recent times the Killultagh property has always been referred to as the Hertford Estate and the old territorial name has completely disappeared.

The late Hugh McCall, the noted writer and journalist of the nineteenth century, a Lisburn man, resided in the town for the greater part of his long life. Liberal in outlook, a redoubtable champion of the oppressed, succeeding generations are indebted to him for the valuable insight into local and even wider affairs contained in his writings. He used his influence as a writer and speaker to relieve the local tenant farmers from the hard conditions of absolute dependence on the "Office" under which they lived.

The policy of the agent of the Hertford Estate was to keep the tenants so dependent that at election time they had the choice of voting for the " Office " candidate or losing their farms. Leases were refused avowedly on this principle and many men with extensive business premises possessed no better security than a tenancy from year to year. The tenant who took part in any social or political agitation which was displeasing to the "Office" was certain to receive a notice to quit. One of the tyrannical customs that prevailed in that "Office" was called the" fining system" which enabled the Agent to take from the tenant the capital which was essential to the proper cultivation of his farm. Such fines were imposed at the whim of the Agent.

Up till 1845, the Marquis of Hertford who was drawing an income of over 150,000 a year from his estate had never set foot upon it. Captain Meynell, who was then the Member of Parliament for Lisburn, used his influence with Sir, Robert Peel to obtain the vacant " Garter " for the Marquis but, as Peel was justly impressed with the evils of absenteeism he declined to grant the coveted honour. Some promise was probably given by the Marquis that he would in future spend part of every autumn upon his estate and in October, 1845, he paid his first and last visit to Lisburn. Mr. McCall, when invited to meet him, knew he had the, reputation of being a great diplomatist but he did not know that his father, the 3rd Marquis, was the original of Thackeray's Marquis of Steyne and Disraeli's Lord Monmouth. His manner was so gracious and his sincerity (as he thought) so apparent that he believed him when he said that "he would rather have the words `Good Landlord' upon his tombstone than the most flattering epitaph in Westminster Abbey." The Marquis knew that Mr. McCall was the strong advocate of the tenants and promised him to redress the wrongs of the tenantrv but his sympathy ended with his promises. During his life his Agent was permitted to act as he pleased and to raise the rents in proportion to the increased value the tenants' toil and capital had given the land.
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In 1847 and 1848 through famine it became necessary to take steps to rescue the population from absolute starvation. A Committee was set up in Lisburn and subscriptions were obtained from nearly all the manufacturers. Lord Hertford alone amongst the great landlords of Ulster showed no generous sympathy with his tenants in, their hardship, but by the aid of charity and assisted emigration many were rescued from death. The Marquis of Downshire expended the upwards of ?15,000 in aiding the poorer classes of his tenants, whereas Lord Hertford gave only about 1700.

In November, 1852, there began the first battle of the Lisburn electors to secure the independence of the borough. Lord Hertford had nominated the candidates up to that time and was supporting the Lord Advocate, Mr. Inglis, who earlier had been defeated at Orkney. No opposition was expected but, after many meetings of his friends, Mr. Roger Johnson Smyth was prevailed upon to become the Independent candidate and he was successful at the ensuing election by a majority of 12 in a total poll of 186 votes. An article appeared in the London Times describing the election in Lisburn as the decline and fall of territorial influence in Ulster. Again in 1853 on the death of Mr. Smyth a further election took ,place, Mr. Jonathan Joseph Richardson being returned as the Independent member for Lisburn and was the first member of the Society of Friends to be elected to Parliament by an Ulster constituency.

In 1857 Lord Hertford, despite promises not to use the influence of the " Office " nominated Colonel Hogg, who was afterwards to become Lord Magheramorne, and again Mr. Richardson carried the day at the poll. Mr. Richardson retired from the fray at the election in 1863 when Mr. John D. Barbour (father of the late Sir Milne Barbour) went forward as the Independent candidate in opposition to the " Office " nominee, Mr. Edward Wingfield Verner. Mr. Barbour won the election but the victory was short-lived as he was unseated on petition and the representative on the "Office" declared elected, remaining the member for Lisburn until the death of Lord Hertford.

Extra police and indeed military, including mounted troops, had been drafted into the town for Nomination Day in connection with that election and from all accounts it was a stormy occasion. Partisans of the candidates gathered, some bearing with them offensive weapons, and when they clashed there were many skirmishes which required all the energies of the forces of the law to break up and restore order. The number of voters was in the region of three hundred and with the opposing sides so evenly poised the absence of even a few voters on polling day could have a decisive effect. Mr. Barbour had a majority of 6, polling 140 against his opponents 134, with 32 voters remaining "neutral." The actual names of the voters and how they polled is on record and it is interesting to note that within the congregation there was a marked division of opinion. The whole story of the series of elections in Lisburn at that period is a most absorbing and indeed exciting phase of the history of the town.

In 1872 Sir Richard Wallace succeeded to the HertfordEstate after a long and costly litigation with, Sir Hamilton Seymour. The policy of the " Office " was at once changed. Leases which had been refused to the manufacturers and residents alike were granted upon fair and just terms and the old order was gone for all time.

These extracts from the recollections of Mr. McCall, reflect his radical leanings and without rather more detailed. information on the Conservative viewpoint than is readily available it is not possible to gain a really balanced appreciation of conditions then obtaining. The situation would appear, however, to have been little. different from that elsewhere at the time and the old order, with all its faults, not just as harshly administered as was, for political reasons, asserted by the reformers.

Sir Richard Wallace rebuilt his Lisburn residence, which had been destroyed by fire, modelling it on Hertford House in London. The building is now occupied by the Technical School and to him the town is indebted for one of its fine open spaces in the Wallace Park. The Castle Gardens had, at an earlier date, during the lifetime of the Marquis of Hertford, been maintained by him as a promenade for the people of the town. Sir Richard was a connoisseur of the arts and a noted collector of paintings and objects d'art. On his death he bequeathed to the nation the Wallace Collection which is housed at Hertford House, London, and is .a permanent memorial to a man of discrimination in the realm of fine arts. Perhaps a little known mark of his influence are the drinking fountains of French design and manufacture in the Castle Gardens and Wallace Park which, with others now removed from their origional positions, are similar to those he had presented to the City of Paris.

At nine o'clock each evening one can hear the Cathedral bell tolling for a few minutes perpetuating the old custom of sounding " Curfew." Lisburn is one of the few places where this, relic of the past is still observed. The French derivation of the word (couvre feu) makes obvious its original intent to prevent conflagrations in olden days by indicating the hour when domestic fires were to be damped down for the night. The term came in time to be applied to other than its original implication, for instance in Ireland in some parts it signified the hour when the native Irish were required to go beyond the confines of the towns lest during the night they might rise against the English and Scottish settlers.

The Minister's bell of the Cathedral was used until fairly recent years as the local fire alarm and within the memory of many residents in the town was its tolling to summon the fire fighters. The original fire engine was a wonderful machine in its day and how often the streets must have echoed to the sound of it being hurriedly drawn from the back of the Courthouse to the scene of action. Tragedy brought glamour for many a small boy of those now distant years and how they thrilled at the sight of the gallant volunteers dashing forth at times of emergency under the command of Richard Knox, W. B. Leonard and William Megran.

The original Wesleyan Preaching House was in Market Street on the site now occupied by the Christian Workers' Hall and formerly the old Picture blouse. There was also a Preaching House in Linenhall Street at the rear of the Church Hall where the Hibernian Hall is now located. Originally the building in Market Street was extremely unpretentious, its height one storey and seated with forms. Gradually the tiny building was improved, a second storey was added and about half a dozen pews were erected. There, however, in that humble sanctuary Wesley himself held forth. Gideon Ousley preached to crowded congregations. Dr. Adam Clarke also occupied the same pulpit and the eloquent Richard Watson was one of the last of that race of ministers who conducted Divine Worship in the old Chapel.
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MANY histories of Ireland devote much space to the Plantation of Ulster in 1610, and show how it affected the succeeding history of the North of Ireland, but, it has not always been made clear that the Plantation only included six out of the nine counties, and have given little or no account of the earlier settlement of the counties of Antrim and Down. The settlers in the Lagan Valley area were predominantly of English extraction whereas those coming into the other districts of Antrim and Down were in the main Scots. Thus, there was a thin wedge of English people in and about Lisburn between the Scots settled to the north, in Antrim, and the south, in Down. Consequently, the area became one in which the Episcopal Church predominated and was not influenced, in those early years, by the Scottish Presbyterian influx to the Province.

This state of affairs was not to be of long duration. The insurgents involved in the rising of 1641 were repulsed at Lisburn after a brief but violent battle and the support troops coming to the assistance of the local garrison were Scots based on Carrickfergus. It would be natural to assume that such as were posted in the district carried with them their Presbyterian form of worship.

Turning to the history of Lisburn Cathedral at that period one can obtain an indication that there were signs of non-conformism in the Parish. For instance, the Rev. James Hamilton, M.A., Rector of Blaris, 1637/61, showed strong resistance to the Covenant and was suspended in 1644, being " restrained from service of the ministry." In 1647, he was reported to have been " deprived by Presbytery and lurking where he can be entertained." Rawdon wrote in 1657, "Mr. Hamilton, who was presented to Blaris is still alive, but does not look after it. I do not know what he may do." He retained the title to the rectory, however, till 1661.

During the Commonwealth the Rev. Andrew Wyke was appointed to "preach the Gospel at Lisnagarvey." He was reputed to be an anabaptist The Rev. Patrick Adair, the leading Presbyterian minister in Ulster, at that time, held him in poor esteem and it is stated that "before six months in Lisburn he was engaged in a bitter controversy with the Presbyterians and getting the worst of the encounter."

The Rector of the Cathedral over the period 1668/70 was the Rev. James Mace, who, it is started, had been permitted to preach during the Commonwealth, which suggests his leanings had not been fully prelatic. In March, 1670, Rawdon wrote " Bill against Conventicles in England makes some think the Church will be fuller than it is and it has been propounded building a gallery." It would seem from this latter recording that there was in existence a section of the community with nonconformist views and participating in worship outside the Episcopal Church.

The fact that by 1688 a successful application was made to the Antrim Meeting for a minister would indicate a corporate body being already well established and, indeed, some writers hold this view. The researches of many have failed to reveal whether the congregation had previously been supplied by a minister, but the absence of such information does not invalidate the claim to place the date of the formation of the congregation earlier than 1688.

Dr. John M. Barkley emphasises that Presbyterian congregations as distinct from the Established Church did not exist in Ireland until 1660. Prior to that date the Presbyterian ministers were inducted into the " parish Churches " and were not ministers of " nonconformist congregations." In effect up to 1660 there was Presbyterianism in Ireland and from that date onwards a separate and distinct Presbyterian Church. It is most important to bear this in mind in arriving at any conjecture on the date of the formation of the first Presbyterian congregation in Lisburn. However, from the various records and authorities consulted, it is considered a not unreasonable assumption to suggest that the congregation came into existence about 1668. That there was Presbyterianism in Lisburn before that date can be accepted without doubt.
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" Let a Man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."-1 Cor. IV. 1:2.

ON the first Tuesday of July, 1688, when, at the ordination of Mr. McCracken, at Lisburn, this text was taken by the Rev. Patrick Adair as the subject for his address, the recorded history of the congregation begins. Over a year previously, two representatives of the Presbyterians of the town, William Livingstone and John McKnight, appeared before the Antrim Meeting at Ballyclare seeking " supply of ordained ministers in order to their being planted with a Gospel minister."

Their request was acceded to and culminated in the appointment of Mr. McCracken. One can but conjecture how these men made the journey to and from Ballyclare, most probably by horse or even on foot, and in those unsettled days not without hazard. They travelled hopefully to present their case and it must have been with great satisfaction that they returned to report to the congregation on the friendly reception they had received and the success of their mission.

It is interesting to note that the Rev. Patrick Adair, minister of Cairncastle, Co. Antrim, who delivered the address at the ordination, was an outstanding persona lity in the Church in the seventeenth century. In those days when Presbyterianism was considered "no religion for a gentleman," he opposed the army generals in Ulster by signing a representation against the execution of Charles I, which he and his friends described as " an act of horror without precedent in history."

In 1650, a party of soldiers was sent to arrest him at his manse, but he managed to escape capture by hiding behind rocks and using, for a time, a variety of disguises. When the political situation became less tense, he was allowed safe conduct to attend a meeting at Antrim for a discussion on the question of Presbyterian rights. However, he still remained under strong suspicion and, some days later, sixteen soldiers and a sergeant, none of whom could read, removed every paper, book and letter from his house. While doing this, the maid managed to extract a bundle of papers from the bag in which the sergeant had placed them and by a stroke of fortune, they were the most important documents seized, being most likely part of his manuscripts on the history of the Presbyterian Church.

The new minister was a native of County Antrim and after receiving his divinity training at Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1673, was licensed by the Antrim Meeting in August, 1684. He received the call to Lisburn in 1688, being promised ?40 per annum stipend.

These were stirring times in Lisburn, Schomberg had advanced to Dundalk and Newry, but an outbreak of disease amongst his troops obliged him to withdraw to Lisburn in the winter of 1689/90. He is reputed to have occupied a house in Castle Street, nearly opposite the side entrance to the Cathedral, and one which had previously been the residence of Bishop Jeremy Taylor. One can imagine the conditions in the town at that time with an assemblage of troops of different nationalities in the vicinity. As one of his first acts, the Duke found it necessary to call a meeting to arrange food prices, as even in those days a " black market " was not unknown.
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During that period, Thomas Lascelles, a merchant of the town, supplied broadcloth and gold lace to the troops for their uniforms with unfortunate results, as when they left, he was unable to collect considerable debts due. It is of interest that it was from a brother of this man the present Earl of Harewod is descended.

Early in the morning of 14th June, 1690, bonfires blazed on the mountain tops around the Lagan Valley and special messengers were despatched from Belfast to circulate the news that King William, with his bodyguard and a large number of troops, had landed at Carrickfergus. A new dynasty was now at hand and on 19th June, the King arrived at Lisburn, where he rested some hours, dining with Captain Johnston at the house of William Edmonson, a Quaker, whose residence stood on the site now occupied by the Northern Bank Ltd. The Rev. McCracken, who had previously been a member of the deputation sent to London to present the address of welcome from the Presbyterians of Ulster, called on the King and is reported to have been received with geniality. Later that day, he, together with the Rev. Patrick Adair and other ministers, awaited on the King at Hillsborough, who, as a result of their overtures promised to increase the amount of the Regium Donum to twelve hundred pounds per annum. It is suggested that, during the time the main body of his troops was encamped at Blaris, the King worshipped in the Presbyterian Meeting House at Lisburn, then a building of rather primitive design with a thatched roof, situated in the Longstone area on the outskirts of the town at that time.

The turn of the century was marked by the arrival of the Huguenots in the district headed by Louis Crommelin, who was to have such an influence on the development of the linen industry which, for so long, played such an important part in the prosperity of the town. This influx had its effect on ecclesiastical affairs as the refugees were provided with a French Protestant Church situated in Castle Street, on the site of the present Town Hall, and were supplied with a French Chaplain, the Rev. Charles Lavalade. Calvanistic in doctrine, their considerate treatment was in marked contrast to that afforded to the Presbyterians.

The site of the original Linen Factory established by Louis Crommelin was in Bridge Street where " Colonel Popham Seymour Conway, heir of the Conway estate, granted a valuable plot of ground situated near the County Down Bridge and numbers of the French fugitives found work there." At that time, the bridge was not in the position now occupied by the Union Bridge, but was located some thirty yards downstream and linked up with Gregg Street, then the main approach to the town from the County Down. About 1690, a William Colbert fled from France, eventually settling in Lisburn and his son, James, was employed in this factory. Through this young man the congregation would seem to have one of its earliest connections with the Huguenots, for it is on record that he married a Presbyterian and became a member of that denomination. Probably Alexander Colbert, who became an elder in 1748, was his son.

The refusal of the Rev. McCracken to take the Abjuration Oath in 1703, was to be a decision which had very serious consequences for him and the pastoral care of his charge. Those Protestant dissenters who objected to the oath based their main opposition on the ground that the wording obliged them to recognise and defend the existing establishment in Church as well as in State. This, they said, not only meant giving their full approval to the laws which deprived 'them of their religious liberty, but, strictly interpreted, would imply acceptance of the whole episcopal system. A further point made against the oath was that it asserted as fact, what was at the best a conjecture, that the Pretender was not the son of James II.

The leader of these " non-jurors " was the Rev. John McBride, the chief Presbyterian minister in Belfast, who had already aroused the hostility of the ecclesiastical authorities. In order that the matter could be discussed, the annual Synod for 1703, was convened, at his instance, a. month earlier than had originally been arranged. This Synod does not seem to have reached any definite conclusion but, it is clear that the Rev. McBride and some others failed to take the oath. This appears from the proposal brought before the Committee of Accounts of the Irish Commons that, since the Revs. McBride and McCracken had failed to qualify, they should be deprived of their share of " Regium Donum." There is, however, no evidence that this proposal was carried out at that time.

After this initial threat to enforce the oath the matter seems to have been allowed to drop. In the same year, the Rev. McCracken wrote to his friend in Dublin Castle, Joshua Dawson, concerning the oath, " I have not heard of any justice that hath or is concerning themselves about it only some proctor or such officers of the Bishop's Court." Woodrow, writing several years later, says, " It was about the year seventeen four or five when the oath was violently pressed in Ireland and the Revs. McBride and McCracken were obliged to leave their charges for refusing it." However, although in 1704 the judges at Carrickfergus ordered the grand jury of Antrim to present the non-jurors, nothing was done. Later in the same year the Sheriff of Antrim offered ?500 for an information against the Rev. McCracken, but this also failed for in January, 1705, he was still at Lisburn and was present at the Synod of that year. He was present again in 1706 but, by then, the Rev. McBride was in exile.
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At the Synod of 1706, the Rev. McCracken and two other non-jurors gave assurance of their loyalty to the Queen and attachment to the Protestant interest. His two associates do not seem to have been troubled nor was the Rev. McCracken till some years later and for this respite he regarded himself as indebted to the Government. However, early in 1710, proceedings against him on account of the oath were once more threatened. In his report to Dawson on the matter he made out that the prosecution was simply the work of three justices of the peace and enquired how far the Government would help him in returning to Ireland to settle his affairs, for by that time the threat had been carried out and in September, 1710, he had fled to Scotland.

The double fact, first that he was the only person seriously troubled at that time and secondly that he was able to leave the country, shows how local and spasmodic was the persecution. This immunity of the Protestant dissenting non-jurors was one of the things complained of by the House of Lords in their address to the Queen in 1711. The principal remedy suggested was the complete withdrawal of the Regium Donum. The Government did not immediately follow out this suggestion but, it seems likely that in the following year payment to the Revs. McCracken, McBride and another minister was suspended.

The Synod of 1712, at which the Rev. McCracken was not present, strongly urged all those who had entered the ministry since the Abjuration Oath was imposed and had not taken it, to do so as quickly as possible. The Presbyterians had plenty of other grievances and did not want to give their enemies any additional weapons against them. Those who refused the oath would have the sympathy of their colleagues in any consequent sufferings but, could hardly expect their cause to be the cause of all.

The Rev. McCracken's chief hope now seems to have rested in the English Government and he went to London to forward his cause there. Action depended largely on the 'attitude of the Lord Lieutenant and Ormonde, whose Government was drawing to a close, was apparently unwilling to meddle in the affair. Towards the end of 1712, the English Lord Treasurer (Oxford) had made some indirect enquiries from the Irish Chancellor, Sir Constantine Phipps, about the effect of suspending proceedings against the non-juring dissenters. The Chancellor suggested that such would place the Irish dissenters in a more favourable position than those in England. Beyond this, nothing was done -the Revs. McCracken and McBride returned in 1713 with no guarantee of protection and the influence of their friends in London and Dublin was not sufficient to restrain the local magistrates. Both were reported to have claimed assurances of protection from the Lord

Treasurer and even from the Queen, but such, in fact, had not been given. At the same time, it is clear the Government did not order their prosecution which was entirely the work of the local justices. The most active of these were Westenra Waring, High Sheriff of Down and Captain Brent Spencer of Lisburn, and between them they had the Rev. McBride in hiding and the Rev. McCracken imprisoned at Carrickfergus before the end of 171'3. These officers of the law, whilst engaged in this act of persecution, did not interfere with the nonjuring Roman Catholic priest responsible for the oversight of that denomination in Lisburn and he was permitted to carry on his pastoral duties undisturbed.

The Spencers held a tract of land of some 2500 acres in extent from Lord Conway and were, in consequence, one of the most important families in the district at that time. Captain Brent Spencer subsequently became a Member of Parliament as the nominee of Lord Conway.

The invasion scare of 1715 naturally produced a desire to conciliate all possible supporters, the attempt to enforce the Abjuration Oath was dropped and in 1716, the Rev. McCracken was released and for the first time since 1710 felt it safe to attend the Synod. Insistence on the oath was allowed to lapse.

The whole episode of the Abjuration Oath throws important light on the position of the Irish Protestant dissenters at that time. It is clear that the Government regarded the oath merely as a security against hidden Jacobites and did not intend it to be. a new burden on the dissenters but, when it appeared that the oath could become a weapon in the hands of their persecutors, the Government did little for them.
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Reverting to 1704, the Test Act created a state of affairs for the Presbyterian community all over the country which became well nigh intolerable and it was under the cloud of these circumstances that the congregation laboured at 'that time. Conditions called for steadfastness in their belief despite great privations and it was this long proven quality of the Ulster Presbyterians that ensured their spiritual survival when every hand seemed to be against them.

However, in 1707, a domestic calamity in the accidental burning of the entire town brought hardship to all creeds and classes in Lisburn which, for a time, must have tended to place in the background the trials of the Presbyterians in clinging to their dissenting traditions. The fire started at :noon on Sunday, 20th April, when the people of the town were at their places of worship and spread with such great rapidity along both sides of the streets that within three hours the whole place was razed to the ground. The people ran out into the streets carrying what belongings they could struggle along with and soon a large collection of all kinds of furnishings was piled in the Churchyard, which for many was the nearest open space. Here, the young and old congregated while the more active continued to salvage everything possible but all in vain because even the effects taken into the open became alight and were completely destroyed. At that stage the thatched roofing of the houses was sending up a shower of burning embers and coals in such alarming profusion that some fell on the village of Largymore on the County Down side of the river and set it alight also. Considering that the personal wealth of many at that time consisted to a large extent of the contents of their homes, the resultant loss and distress can be well imagined. The only buildings which survived the ravages of this terrible fire were the Town House, Roger's house and Smith's house.

Subsequently, an enquiry was conducted by Mr. Justice Hornbie, Lord Conway's Chamberlain, to determine how the fire originated and it would appear that none present in the town was able to give any evidence on the matter. However, an eye-witness who was in the neighbouring fields testified that " A flame in the form of a great sheet descended from Heaven and fell upon the town setting it alight." This was regarded as a Divine judgment on the townspeople and it was considered that all had been impious in the sight of God except the two persons whose houses were spared from the conflagration. A reminder of this happening is recorded on a stone set in the wall of the premises adjoining the Assembly Rooms, on the north side, which reads:

I. H. 1. 1708.

The year above this house erected
The town was burned ye year before People therein may be directed
God hath judgments still in store
And that they do not him provoke
To give to them a second stroke
The builder also doth desire at expiration of his lease
The landlord living at that time may think upon the builder's case.

The premises, at that time occupied by a man named Ward, were the first erected after the fire and have, in recent years, been converted into a number of shops and offices.

The plight of their brethren in Lisburn was reported to the Synod in June, 1707, when, after a graphic account of the situation had been presented with an appeal for financial assistance, steps were taken to raise funds not only in Ulster, but also in England and Scotland. It is noteworthy to observe that, despite the prevailing treatment of the Presbyterian community throughout the country, it was recommended that " Brethren use their interest to collect money for that charitable use provided that out of the first money collected the Meeting House be built as well as the Episcopal Church according to their respective valuation, the Church ?800 and the Meeting House ?500." The ultimate response to this appeal is not on record, but it would appear from overtures made at subsequent Synod Meetings that, like so many good intentions, it may not have come up to all that was expected from it.
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The disbursement of the relief funds became a subject for conflict between the Episcopalians and Presbyterians it being alleged that the latter had been parsimonious in the distribution of monies received from the Synod to any but of their own denomination. Apparently in the assessment of the amount payable out of general relief funds as compensation for the Meeting House the congregation was greatly disappointed because the basis was that of an ordinary dwelling house and had no relevance to the actual loss. This subsequently led to a further appeal to the Synod for additional assistance.

It would appear that the congregation did not rebuild at Longstone, but acquired the present site at Market Square after the fire and there erected a modest form of Meeting House at a cost of some ?400. One does know that a renewal of the lease of the site at Market Square was obtained by Henry Bell and Francis Burden in 1741, and this was renewed in 1752 to William Fairlie. In this latter Indenture the site is described as having onetime been "Levingston's," that there was a Meeting House there approached down a side passage, the site area was 70 feet frontage with depth of 216 feet, and there was a tenement to the front with various office houses together with gardens surrounding. Knowing that the foundations of the Cathedral were under construction in 1708, it would be a fair assumption that the new Meeting House in Market Square came into use for public worship in or about the year 1710. Here, during those times of difficulty, without their minister for lengthy periods in hiding and languishing in prison, there is no doubt the congregation laboured under most trying and difficult conditions. It is understood that in 1720, the Rev. McCracken was in exceptionally poor circumstances arising from the cruel and harsh penalties imposed upon him by those responsible for the administration of the law.

One of the chief events of the eighteenth century was the first non-subscription controversy. The "Scots Confession (1560) " had been signed by the Scottish ministers who met in the first Presbytery in 1642, but when they accepted livings in Ireland there is nothing to indicate that they were required to sign any Confession or Articles. In 1698, the Synod enacted that "no young man should be licensed to preach the Gospel unless he had subscribed to the Westminster Confession as the confession of his faith," and in 1705, it was required "that all persons licensed or ordained shall be required to subscribe the Westminster Confession as the confession of their faith." Subscription became the law of the church, but was not enforced in many Presbyteries.

In 1705, in connection with the Presbytery of Antrim, a group of ministers formed a Society for the purpose of discussing matters of common interest. Meeting at Belfast, it became known as the "Belfast Society," with many learned and devout ministers as members, several destined to become Moderators of the Synod in the succeeding years. Many theological and cultural topics were discussed, and its members made clear their objection to subscription of "man-made" confessions as tests of orthodoxy. Matters came to a head in 1719, when the Rev. Abernethy, the founder of the Society, preached and published a sermon entitled " Religious Obedience founded on Personal Persuasion," which immediately brought forth accusations of heresy giving rise to seven years of controversy in the Synod.

The leaders of the Church " believed these brethren to be sincere in holding the essential doctrines of the Gospel" and for this reason, it is presumed, did not bring them to trial for holding heretical doctrines. The Synod did not adopt the other line of action open to it of enforcing the law of subscription to the Westminster Confession in the case of every entrant by which, with the passage of time, every minister would have passed a test of orthodoxy and in so doing a breach would have been avoided.

The course adopted was one of expediency when, in 1725, the sixteen ministers who had not subscribed to the Confession of Faith were transferred from the Presbyteries with which they were connected to the Presbytery of Antrim and, in 1726, this Presbytery separated from the Synod. It was a very partial separation, however, as the non-subscribers were still at liberty to preach, if invited, in the Synod's pulpits and administer ordinances to Synod members. The ministers of both Synod and Presbytery of Antrim were educated at the same colleges and differed but little in religious belief. The members of the Presbytery of Antrim sat; deliberated and sometimes even voted at meetings of Synod, both parties remaining close friends for eighty years.

Arising from this controversy the new Presbytery of Bangor was formed in 1725, and the Lisburn congregation became attached to it.

The Rev. McCracken died on 14th November, 1730, after a ministry lasting forty-two years, leaving a widow and family in very poor circumstances. He is reputed to have been a fine theologian and a man of strong principles. One must respect him for his scruples about the Abjuration Oath for which he suffered great privations. Were they advisable when so many of his ministerial brethren did not think so? He chose the hard way for his conscience sake. Events over the immediate years after his death bear evidence of the unsettled state of the congregation to which, no doubt, his enforced absences contributed.
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GILBERT KENNEDY, M.A., 1732/1733

TROUBLED times came upon the congregation during the vacancy created by the death of the Rev. McCracken. At that period there was a party in every congregation, whom the recent prolonged and acrimonious discussions carried on in the Synod in connection with subscribing the Confession of Faith had awakened the fact that many of the younger ministers and probationers were inclined to be non-subscribers in their religious belief. The subscribing party was ever on the watch for those who were suspected of heresy and was ready to oppose the settlement of such in any vacancy which might occur.

In Lisburn, what might be called the moderate party predominated and called Mr. Gilbert Kennedy, whom the subscribing party suspected as unsound in the faith, although at his subsequent ordination he subscribed the Westminster Confession of Faith. He was ordained on 7th June, 1732, at the age of 26 years, a son of the Manse, his father being the, Rev. Gilbert Kennedy of Tullylish. Many of his kinsmen were ministers of the Presbyterian Church, his uncle, the Rev. Wm. Tennant of Neshaniny, Pennsylvania, being the founder of the famous Log College, the home of Presbyterianism in the United States of America. One of the first colleges established in the new country, it did a great work and helped to lay the foundations of American intellectual life. As the demands of the country multiplied, the college was moved to a better locality, and developed into the "College of New Jersey," which afterwards became Princeton University.

Two weeks after his ordination a petition was presented to the Synod by the large Minority opposed to him requesting that they should be erected into a distinct congregation. The Synod appointed a small Commission to take this subject into consideration and report on it. Evidently they found the minority so numerous and determined that they decided it best to advise the Synod to appoint a larger Commission to meet in October and hear both sides.

Apparently the opposition to the Rev. Kennedy was so formidable and harmful to the congregation that he thought it advisable to seek another field of labour. In the beginning of 1733, he received a call to Killyleagh which he accepted and so cleared the field for further strife. He remained in his new charge till 1744, when he accepted a call to 2nd Belfast, becoming Moderator of the Synod in 1763. It is interesting to note that his grand-daughter married His Grace the Rev. Dr. G. Beresford, Primate of All Ireland, and it is possible that the Rev. Wm. Traill, Rector of the Cathedral, 1781/96, was a kinsman. His sermon as the outgoing Moderator and other sermons have been published and it can be inferred from them that his religious views were " New Light " in doctrine. Certainly they were very different from those of his father who openly advocated subscription, and also those of his paternal grandfather who-was ejected from his congregation at Girvan and compered to flee from Scotland owing to his Puritanism.

When the Synod met in 1733, the opposing parties were exhorted to union and now there was opportunity for a fresh start. In hope that time would effect this the Commission suggested that the Presbytery should supply the congregations by turns till the next meeting of Synod unless union had taken place meanwhile. This plan was adopted, the congregation being transferred from the suspect Presbytery of Bangor to the orthodox Presbytery of Templepatrick. When consideration of matters at Lisburn was resumed by the Synod in 1734, it was found that the congregation was still divided between rival candidates. By that time, however, the minority had grown to be the major party and is so styled by the Synod. This party, who all along were partisans of the Rev. James Dykes of Maghera, intimated that they had erected a Meeting House and petitioned to be received as a distinct congregation. Mr. Alexander Brown, who was favoured by the minority, now withdrew from the contest in hope of facilitating the Synod in settling matters, but the Rev. Dykes went no further than to deny that he had encouraged faction.

Again the Synod entrusted the matter to a Commission, who, after due consideration, advised the setting aside of both candidates, that no new erection should be allowed and that both parties should be permitted to nominate such ministers and probationers as they might wish to hear till next Synod. This was agreed to, and at the same time it was intimated that the candidates should be heard time about, and without distinction, in the several Meeting Houses.
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This compromise also proved ineffectual and disappointing. At the Synod of 1735, the minor party presented a paper " containing a long detail of melancholy circumstances of their congregation " and expressed their desire for a speedy settlement as the only remedy. The major party also set forth their grievances and when asked if they would yield submismision to the decision of the Synod they consented to do so. Encouraged by this, the Synod, hoping for reconciliation appointed another Committee to converse with both parties and endeavour to reunite them. The report presented by this Committee dispelled all hope of fusion. It appeared that the major party was tied to one, John Lowry, a probationer of the Church of Scotland, who, contrary to all the rules of that Church or of the Synod, had accepted an invitation to preach in their Meeting House. This congregation had gone so far as to petition the Presbytery of Templepatrick to draw up a call to Mr. Lowry. When asked upon this, if Synod would not comply with their desire, would they be satisfied to be supplied by the Synod or Presbytery, they refused to accept supplies on this condition, so there was nothing for it but to leave them to themselves. The Synod, however, did not utterly abandon the dissentients at this point. A letter was addressed to the congregation, in which they reasoned with them on their conduct, pointing out its evil consequences and appealed to the pious among them, exhorting reunion. Arrangements were now made for the speedy settlement of the congregation of Lisburn. Four ministers were nominated as candidates and this culminated in a call being made to the Rev. William Patton of Ervey, Co. Monaghan.

This finished the dissentients with the Synod and it was under the foregoing circumstances that the Associate Presbytery of Scotland in October, 1736, received an application from " four score families " in Lisburn and the neighbourhood for the " supply of sermon." In their petition they alleged that a minister had been forced upon them by the Presbytery of Templepatrick and craved that one might be sent them who would preach the Gospel, not in the wisdom of men's words, but in the simplicity thereof. At that time the Seceders were encumbered with similar petitions and all that could be done was to charge the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine to write an encouraging answer. Matters drifted on till in March, 1745, when Mr. Isaac Patton, a probationer of the Presbytery of Dunfermline, was deputed to go to Ireland for the months of May and June to preach on four Sabbaths at Templepatrick, two at Belfast and two at Lisburn. The result of this was that in July, 1746, he was ordained as the first Secession minister in Ireland to the congregations of Lylehill, Belfast and Lisburn, his stipend being ?100 per annum, borne by the congregations involved in agreed proportions.

For many years this congregation of the dissentients was called Lisburn in the Secession records, it being the first place in Ireland to issue the cry of the man of Macedonia " Come over and help us."

In April, 1748, the Associate Synod of Scotland sent missionaries to Ballinderry, where they found adherents. A greater number were discovered at Moira and, in 1750, these two places unitedly gave a call to Mr. John Tennant bearing the upwards of 120 signatures. At the same time he had received a call from another congregation signed by some 220 persons and this one was preferred. To strengthen their claim, Moira joined Lisburn and, in February, 1752, the united congregation called Mr. James Hume, a probationer from Fifeshire. It so happened that a few months previously the Secession Synod had received an urgent appeal from Pennsylvania for ministerial assistance and had designated Mr. Hume for this work. The Synod, consequently, at first refused to sustain the call to Lisburn and ordered him to proceed to America. He refused to do so, stating his objections and, in reply, the Synod threatened to suspend his license to preach. However, milder counsels eventually prevailed and, on apologising, he was released from his assignment to Pennsylvania. He was left at the disposal of the Presbytery and ordained to the pastorate of Lisburn and Moira in January, 1753. Ten years later he resigned the Lisburn (Hillhall) portion of his charge which forthwith became a distinct congregation. It was probably about that time that the congregation removed from Lisburn to a site given by Mrs. Law, of Hillhall, and from that period the congregation has continued to bear the name " Hillhall."
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