Millisle and Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church: A Short History

The Ministers of the Ballycopeland Congregation.

The following account deals with the ministers of Ballycopeland Congregation prior to its union with the Congregation of Millisle in the year 1906.



The Rev. Alexander Grier was the first minister of Ballycopeland. He was the son of a farmer who resided near Markethill, Co. Armagh. He was brought up in connection with Markethill Secession Congregation, which Congregation was at that time under the care and jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Moira and Lisburn. Mr. Grier was licensed to preach by this Presbytery, and was a most acceptable preacher. The report of the Presbytery to the Synod in 1768 records the interesting information that two congregations had called Mr. Grier to be their minister. There was also a prospect that he would receive a call from a third congregation. The Synod considered the matter, and instructed the Presbytery to direct Mr. Grier to accept the call from the congregation that had greatest need of a minister. The vacant congregation, having the greatest need of Mr. Grier, proved to be that of Hillhall, near Lisburn. On 22nd March, 1769, Mr. Alexander Grier was ordained to the office of the ministry in Hillhall Secession Church by the Presbytery of Moira and Lisburn. After four years in this charge he accepted a call from the newly-formed congregation of Ballycopeland. He was installed in Ballycopeland on 21st October, 1773.

Mr. Grier married a daughter of the Rev. Isaac Patton minister of the Secession Congregation of Lylehill, and the first "Seceding" minister settled in Ireland. Mr. Patton's residence was close to the place at present occupied by Loanends Presbyterian Church.

When Mr. Grier came to Ballycopeland as minister, he did not come to reside there. He went instead to live with his father-in-law at Lylehill, where he assisted Mr. Patton as teacher in a private school, the pupils meeting for instruction in Mr. Patton's house. This old-time school is described in the "Life of the Rev. Henry Montgomery, M.A., LL.D.," a biography written by Dr. Montgomery's son-in-law, the Rev. John A. Crozier, of Newry. Mr. Crozier informs us that "the school was at Lyle-Hill, in the parish of Templepatrick." The children met for instruction six days in the week (the Saturday holiday of the present day not having then come into fashion). "Books of any kind were then a scarce commodity, especially with country folk; schoolbooks were few and bad; of regular class-books there were none. A few primers of a very primitive type, an odd reading book, some old copies of the Delphine Classics, with that plague to schoolboys, their Latin 'Interpretation' and Notes, and an occasional 'Gough,' which practically taught multiplication and division by doing duty as the common arithmetic for half the school -- these, picked up by the scholars how and where they could, formed the usual intellectual furnishing of an ordinary country school in those days. The master was looked upon as a necessary institution to keep the house open, wield the birch, and receive the pence." Henry Montgomery, who became so famous as the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian leader and divine, and as the great oratorical opponent of Rev. Dr. Cooke, was a pupil at the school described above. He was taught by the Rev. Alexander Grier (in the little, old parlour of Rev. Isaac Patton's residence) the rudiments of Latin. He was also taught in the vestry of Lyle-Hill meeting-house, every Saturday for two years, "The Shorter Catechism, with the Scripture proofs at large."

Mr. Grier was thus actively engaged for six days every week, and living at a considerable distance from Ballycopeland. He came on horseback to a house in or near Ballycopeland every Saturday evening, conducted services in Ballycopeland Secession Church and in Millisle Presbyterian Church on the Sabbath, did some pastoral visitation, and returned to Lyle-Hill either on Sabbath evenings or very early on Monday mornings.

The members of both Ballycopeland and Millisle endured this pastoral neglect without complaint, but the Presbytery took notice of it, and referred the matter to the Synod. Both Presbytery and Synod found fault with Mr. Grier regarding other matters, and he was asked to resign. He refused to do so until 1777, when he ceased to be minister of Ballycopeland and at the same time relinquished the temporary charge of Millisle. He returned on many occasions to Ballycopeland until 1779, when his successor in office was appointed. Mr. Grier's name continues to appear for a number of years in connection with discussions in Presbytery and in Synod. It is most probable that he had given up entirely the active duties of the ministry by the year 1790. He taught in the school at Lyle-Hill after this, and was still teaching in the year 1802.

Mr. Grier was a man of independent and strong character. He was a good preacher, but he refused to recognize other departments of ministerial work. As a teacher he had the gift of imparting knowledge, and he worked hard as his father-in-law's assistant in the little private school. He probably continued here as teacher after the death of his father-in-law, but no records remain, of which the present writer is aware, regarding the time or place or manner of his passing from the earthly scene.



The Rev. John Hutton was the second minister of the Congregation of Ballycopeland. He was a son of Mr. John Hutton, and he was born in the year 1749 at Greenloaning, near Dunblane, Perthshire, Scotland. He was ordained as minister of a Secession Congregation in Scotland in the year 1776. He resigned this Scottish charge in 1779, having received a call from Ballycopeland. He was installed as minister of Ballycopeland on 26th May, 1779, by the Anti-Burgher Presbytery of Moira and Lisburn. He was Moderator of the Associate (Anti- Burgher) Synod in Ireland in 1797-1798. He continued until the time of his death in the active duties of the ministry in Ballycopeland Congregation. He died on 25th March, 1823, and was buried in Templepatrick Cemetery, near Donaghadee.

The Rev. John Hutton married Miss Catherine M'Hinch, a daughter of Mr. John M'Hinch, of Killaughey, and an aunt of the Rev. William M'Hinch, who was Secession Minister of Dungiven Congregation, County Londonderry, and later minister of the Congregation of Dundalk.

The children of the Rev. John Hutton and his wife, Mrs. Catherine Hutton, were as follow:--

1. Isabella Hutton, born 9th September, 1782, and baptized in Ballycopeland Church on 8th October, 1782.

2. John Hutton, baptized in Ballycopeland Church on 29th March, 1784. He died, unmarried, in Ballycopeland.

3. Catherine Hutton, baptized on 26th April, 1790.

4. Mary Hutton, baptized on 5th March, 1792. She was born in the townland of Ballycopeland, and she was married to Mr. Henry Carmichael, of Cottown House, a brother of Mr. David Carmichael, sen. They had two children, John, and Lydia. Mrs. Mary Carmichael died on 6th July, 1849, and was buried in Templepatrick Cemetery.

5. Agnes Hutton, baptized on 22nd April, 1794. She was also called Nancy. She was unmarried, and lived and died in Ballycopeland.

6. Ebenezer Hutton, baptized on 31st January, 1797.

7. Jane Hutton, baptized on 23rd October, 1799. She died in infancy, and was buried in Templepatrick Cemetery.

8. Elizabeth Hutton, the eighth and youngest child of the Rev. John Hutton and his wife, Mrs. Catherine Hutton, was baptized on 3rd August, 1802. She married Mr. Robert Boyle, of Ballymacruise. He was born on 25th March, 1798. Their children were John, Catherine, Jane, William, Lydia, and Elizabeth.

Mr. David Cree, of Seaview Avenue, Millisle who died since the writer came to Millisle, at the advanced age of over ninety years, was a nephew of Mr. Robert Boyle, of Ballymacruise. Mr. Cree knew the children of the Rev. John Hutton, and supplied the writer with much of the information given here.

Mr. James Boyle, of Seaview Avenue, Millisle, is a great-grandson of the Rev. John Hutton. Mr. Boyle has in his home in Seaview Avenue, a number of articles of interest. These were the personal possessions of the Rev. John Hutton. They include a heavy glass tumbler, used by Mr. Hutton in Ballycopeland Church. It was kept, supplied with water, in the pulpit, for the minister's use. There is also a baptismal bowl, which was used by Mr. Hutton in the Church in the observance of the Sacrament of Baptism. It was broken, and was neatly repaired with metal clasps, so that it could be safely used again. There are also many articles of china, and a table and cupboard, which were once in the Rev. John Hutton's home in Ballycopeland. Mr. Boyle has in addition a pair of shoe-buckles, which were worn by Mr. Hutton on special occasions. It is greatly to be regretted however that some valuable articles of Mr. Huttons furniture, including a very massive old mahogany writing-desk, and a grandfather clock, were not retained in this country. Mr. Hutton's splendid library has been lost. Most of the books of which it consisted were borrowed after his death, and these suffered the usual fate of borrowed books. Only a few of his manuscript sermons remain, and these have been given to the Presbyterian Historical Society, Church House, Belfast.

Mr. Hutton purchased a farm in the townland of Ballycopeland, in order to obtain a residence. The dwelling-house on this farm was situated on a height still known as "Hutton's Hill." The farm owned by Mr. Hutton is now in the possession of Mr. Samuel Adams, of Ballycopeland.

Mr. Hutton was Moderator of Synod during the time of the United Irishmen, and the Rebellion of 1798. He was later requested as Moderator to preach in a Church not far from the town of Ballynahinch. On his way to this Church he rode on horseback through the town on the day of the famous battle of Ballynahinch. He saw the battle, waged fiercely between the military forces of the Crown and the United Irishmen. In the ranks of the latter the fair young heroine, Betsy Gray, from the Six-Road-Ends, lost her life. Her mortal remains lie buried near the scene of the battle. Mr. Hutton's presence in Ballynahinch on that fatal day led the agents of the Crown to suspect that he had some connection with the United Irishmen, and some knowledge relating to the Rebellion. The consequence was that soon after the battle his house in Ballycopeland was surrounded one night by soldiers in search of Mr. Hutton. He was not at home, and the soldiers left. They discovered that he had no part in the Rebellion, and did not return to molest him further.

To the Rev. John Hutton belongs the credit of organizing the Congregation of Ballycopeland. The Congregation was only six years old when he was called to be minister there, and he was the first minister to reside in the district, and to visit the people. He was a man of scholarly tastes, and his sermons were always well prepared. The members of Ballycopeland loved to attend the little Church, and to receive there on the Sabbath the spiritual uplift and guidance that enabled them to meet, as Christians should, the joys and sorrows of the week that followed.

Some years after his death, the members of the Congregation erected a tombstone at his grave in Templepatrick Cemetery, in memory of the pastor whom they loved so long and well. The followingis a copy of the inscription on the tombstone:--

"Erected by the
Associate Congregation of Ballycopeland,
to the memory of their late
Worthy and Beloved Pastor,
The Rev. John Hutton,
who departed this life on the 25th March, 1823,
in the 74th year of his age, and the 47th year of his ministry,
nearly 44 of which he was their
Stated Pastor,
and laboured diligently and faithfully among them,
in Word and Doctrine.
'Be ye also ready.'

Also his Wife, Catharine Hutton, alias M'Hinch,
who departed this life on the 28th of June, 1841,
aged 82 years.

Also his Daughter, Jane, a child."



Rev Isaiah Steen The Rev. Isaiah Steen was the third minister of the Congregation of Ballycopeland. He was the sixth son and youngest child of John Steen, and he was born in the townland of Balleney, near Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, in the year 1798. His father was a grandson of one of four brothers of the Steens who came over from Scotland together. They left Scotland as a result of the religious persecution in that country. John Steen, father of the Rev. Isaiah Steen, was born in Ireland in 1759, and he died in May, 1852, aged ninety-three years. He married, in the year 1778, Miss Nancy Schoals, who was also born in 1759, and who died on 17th December, 1847, aged eighty-eight years. They brought up a family of six sons:-- James, Thomas, Conolly, Philip, John and Isaiah Steen.

Isaiah was set apart for the ministry of the Church. He received his education at the Royal College, Belfast, and obtained the General Certificate in Arts in 1818. His theological training was completed in 1822, and he was licensed by Down Secession Presbytery in October, 1822. On 8th October, 1823, he was ordained as minister of Ballycopeland Church. During his ministry in Ballycopeland the Rev. Isaiah Steen proved himself a workman that needed not to be ashamed. He was a diligent pastor, a saintly scholar, and a fervent and eloquent preacher of the everlasting Gospel. His brethren in the ministry showed their high regard for him by electing him as Moderator of the Secession Synod for the year 1831-1832. As there was no Manse attached at that time to Ballycopeland Church, the Rev. Isaiah Steen lived in Donaghadee, and by his people in Ballycopeland and by all in Donaghadee he was held in the highest esteem. It was with great sorrow that the members of Ballycopeland Church and his many friends in Donaghadee and district received the news of his departure from their midst. He resigned the pastoral charge of his congregation in 1832, having been appointed Headmaster of the Mathematical Department of the Royal Academical Institution in Belfast. He held the latter position until 1869, and he died on 3rd August, 1871, aged seventy-three years.

He was a gifted and painstaking teacher, and the author of "Steen's Mental Arithmetic." This useful book contained one hundred and ninety-six pages of information and instruction on the subject. It was described by the writer as "A Treatise on Mental Arithmetic in Theory and Practice." . It was most popular with both teachers and pupils, and enjoyed an extensive sale, the fourth edition being published two years after the first appearance of the book in the year 1844.

The Rev. Isaiah Steen married, on 12th July, 1824, Miss Isabella Carmichael, a daughter of Mr. John Carmichael, of Millisle. She was born in 1802, and died in 1841. Their children were:--

1. John Carmichael teen, born in Donaghadee, on 5th February, 1826. Educated in Belfast, he went to Scotland, living in Edinburgh until the time of his death (in the year 1886). He married Miss Elizabeth Jane Barnett, daughter of Mr. James Barnett, of Belfast. She returned to Belfast after the death of her husband, residing from 1887 until the time of her death at 30, College Gardens, Belfast. Two of her daughters still reside at this address. One of these is Miss Edith Carmichael Steen, Treasurer for "Women's Work," the Magazine for the Women's Association for Foreign Missions and of the Girls' Auxiliary in connection with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Miss E. C. Steen has also been an active worker in the Soldiers' Homes founded by Miss Elise Sandes, both in India and in Ireland, for more than thirty years. Her sister, Miss Annie Livingstone Steen, was for thirty years a missionary in India in connection with the United Free Church of Scotland. Another sister was Miss Mary Harvey Steen. She was a missionary in India for fourteen years in connection with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. She died on 24th September, 1912. The other surviving members of the family of Mr. John C. Steen are Miss Alice Eustace Steen, and Mr. James Barnett Steen.

2. Thomas Steen, born in Donaghadee on 22nd December, 1827. He became an Inspector of Factories in England. He married Miss Eleanor Dinnen, of Belfast. He died on 1st April, 1874.

3. Robert Steen, born in Donaghadee on 9th May, 1830. He was educated in Ireland and on the Continent, receiving the degree of Ph.D. at the University of Leipsic. He was elected Headmaster of the Classical Department of the Royal Academical Institution in Belfast, and held this position, with credit to himself and advantage to the Institution, for thirty-five years (1856-1891). He died in the year 1893. Dr. Robert Steen was married, 1n 1858, to Miss Anne Carmichael, a daughter of Mr. David Carmichael, of Millisle, and later of Belfast.

4. Agnes Steen was born in Donaghadee on 13th June, 1832, the day on which her father was chosen as Headmaster of the Royal Academical Institution. She married Mr. Walter Burns, of Belfast, a music publisher and composer.

5. James Steen, born in Belfast in 1834. He died, unmarried, in 1868.

6. Hunter Steen, born in Belfast in 1836. He married, in 1869, a Miss Mary Jane Clarke, of Belfast.

7. Margaret Steen, born in Belfast in 1839. She married, in 1863, Mr. David Martin, of Rathfriland, and later of Newry, Co. Down, the senior partner of the wholesale firm of grocers known as Messrs. Martin, Nesbitt, and Irwin, Ltd., Newry.

8. William Steen, born in 1841. He died in infancy. His mother, Mrs. Isabella Carmichael Steen, died in 1841, aged thirty-nine years.

The Rev. Isaiah Steen married again in 1855. His second wife was Miss Dorothy Smith Peile, of Workington, England. Their only child was William Peile Steen, born in 1857. He was educated at Queen's College, Belfast, and at London University, and received an educational appointment in Burlington House, Cambridge.



The Rev. John Lawrence Rentoul was the fourth minister of Ballycopeland. He was a member of a family well and favourably known in the Irish Presbyterian Church, and honoured and revered in ma~y lands. The spelling of the name has appeared In different forms -- Rentoul, Rintoul, Rantoul. A member of the family, driven from France by the persecution following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in the year 1685, came to Scotland and settled in Perthshire. One of his descendants was the Rev. James Rentoul, M.A., who came from Scotland to Ray, County Donegal, and was ordained minister of the Secession Congregation (now called Second Ray) on the 28th June, 1791. He married Miss Anne Reed, daughter of his predecessor, the Rev. Robert Reed, on 30th July, 1793. Their fourth son, John Lawrence Rentoul, who became minister of Ballycopeland and later of the Secession Congregation of Ballymoney, was born on 30th December, 1806. He was educated at the Royal College, Belfast, and received the General Certificate in Arts in 1829. He was licensed to preach as a probationer for the ministry by Donegal Secession Presbytery on 7th July, 1831. He was ordained as minister of Ballycopeland on 3rd April, 1833, and he resigned the charge of the Congregation in May, 1837. He was installed in Ballymoney Secession Church (now called Trinity Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney), on 16th May, 1837. He died on 19th August, 1869.

The eldest brother of the Rev. John L. Rentoul was the Rev. Alexander Rentoul, M.D., D.D., who practised first as a doctor, and then decided to qualify for the ministry. He succeeded his father as minister of Second Ray Presbyterian Church, and was in turn Succeeded by his son, the Rev. James Alexander Rentoul, B.A., LL.D. The latter left the ministry, being called to the English Bar. He became Member of Parliament for East Down in 1890. He resigned his seat in 1901, having been appointed a Judge of the City of London Court and Judge of the Central Criminal Court of London. The name of Judge Rentoul was a famous one, and he added lustre to the administration of British Justice until his death on 12th August, 1919.

Mrs John Rentoul  Rev John Rentoul

The Rev. John Lawrence Rentoul married, in August, 1834, Miss Dorcas Carmichael, fourth daughter of Mr. Richard Carmichael, of Millisle. They had nine children, and the following is a brief account of their six daughters and three sons:--

1. Dorcas Carmichael Rentoul, who married Mr. William Hastings, Clerk of Union, Magherafelt. Their children are: Mr. Lawrence Rentoul Hastings, Solicitor, Magherafelt; Dr. Hastings, Magherafelt; Mr. William A. Hastings, of Illinois, U.S.A.; Miss Eva Carmichael Hastings, Matron of the Massereene Hospital, Antrim; Miss Constance Hastings, Magherafelt; Mrs. Megahey, Dublin; and Mrs. Dorcas Carmichael Binnie, of Carrickfergus.

2. Elizabeth Rentoul, who died young, and unmarried.

3. Sarah Rentoul, who married Rev. Robert J. Lynd, D.D., minister of May Street Church, Belfast, and Moderator of the General Assembly in the year 1888. Their son is the famous journalist, essayist, and author, Mr. Robert Lynd, of London.

4. Margaret Rentoul, who married Mr. David Boal, of Londonderry.

5. Eva Rentoul, who became the wife of Mr. Joseph Little, of Liverpool.

6. Anna Rentoul, who was married to Mr. William Alexander Cameron, of the Manchester and County Bank, Blackburn, England.

7. James Rentoul, son of Rev. John L. Rentoul and Mrs. Dorcas Carmichael Rentoul, entered the ministry. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Route on 10th May, 1864, and ordained minister of Clough Congregation (Co. Antrim), on 14th March, 1865. He was installed in Second Dromore (now Banbridge Road Congregation, Dromore) on 31st May, 1878. He died in 1917, aged seventy-six years.

8. John Lawrence Rentoul, son of Rev. John L. Rentoul and Mrs. Dorcas C. Rentoul, also entered the ministry. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Route in 1872, and ordained in the same year as minister of First Lisburn. After fourteen years' ministry in Ireland he went to England, where he was installed minister of St. George's Church, Sunderland. He afterwards went to Scotland, where he was minister of Cambusnethan Church until his death in the year 1900.

9. Robert Reed Rentoul, son of Rev. John L. Rentoul and Mrs. Dorcas C. Rentoul. entered the medical profession. He was Doctor to the Port of Liverpool, and he became one of the most eminent physicians in England. He was far in advance of his time on such subjects as heredity, environment, etc.

The Rev. John Lawrence Rentoul was a worthy successor to the Rev. Isaiah Steen as minister of Ballycopeland Church. He was on untiring worker, and an eloquent preacher. His four years of ministry in Ballycopeland were abundantly blessed, and the members of the Congregation greatly regretted his departure. His installation in the Secession Congregation of Ballymoney became famous, owing to an incident occurring in connection with it. The vacancy in the Congregation had been brought about by the temporary suspension from the ministry of the Rev. Robert Loughhead. The suspended minister, with a strong party of his followers, who "thought him hardly dealt with," took possession of the Church, which they held against all comers until the Secession Synod paid Mr. Loughhead a sum of 30, to which it was felt he was entitled. The Congregation then had the Church restored to them. This Church was an old one. It was in an unfavourable situation "behind a clachan of houses which fringed the burn, and had been an old malt kiln." A new building was necessary, and under Mr. Rentoul's leadership it was erected. During Mr. Rentoul's first year of ministry in Ballymoney he received only 11 as stipend. This amount was increased however, as time went on, despite the cost to the congregation of building a Church, then the Land Head School House, and finally a splendid Manse. The latter was erected in 1854, and was "the first Manse in the whole locality."

Mr. Rentoul's ministry in Ballymoney was a strenuous one in every respect. He excelled in every department of pastoral work. His pulpit ministrations, his visitation, and his support of every deserving cause, were all well done by this devoted servant of God. He was one of the earliest and most active friends of the temperance movement. He was a lover of young and old, and he strove always to make the social life of the community purer and better, both by precept and by example.

He was the capable Clerk of the Route Presbytery for many years, and in Presbytery as in Pastorate it was true of him that he "did a hard, honest, effective day's work."

He was called to his rest and reward on 19th August, 1869. Soon after his death, the following obituary reference appeared in the 'Evangelical Witness':-- "Rev. John L. Rentoul. As announced in our last issue, this esteemed minister died on the 19th of August. He was in the thirty-sixth year of his ministry, having spent four years in Ballycopeland, and thirty-two in Second BAllymoney. His father was minister of the Secession Congregation of of Ray, or Manorcunningham, in the county of Donegal, and was succeeded by his son, Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentoul, a brother of our deceased friend friend. Dr. Rentoul, who was greatly esteemed and beloved in his neighbourhood, died a few years ago. Another brother, James, is the respected minister of Second Garvagh. Belonging thus to a clerical family, he was thoroughly attached to the office of the ministry, and devoted to his work. He loved the Presbyterian Church, and desired to see her occupying a position of usefulness and glory in the land. He took the deepest interest in our Connaught Mission, personally visited the field, and was ever ready to plead the cause of our countrymen. He was an enemy of all oppression, and his heart beat true to the impulses of patriotism and philanthropy. The respect and love with which his brethren regarded him were evidenced by the fact that about forty ministers, some of them from considerable distances, followed his remains to their last resting place."

It is worthy of note that the passing years have not meant the passing into forgetfulness of the respect and love with which the members of his congregation have regarded him. In December, 1923, more than fifty-four years after his death, a clock lit by electricity, and visible from afar by night and day, was placed in the spire of Trinity Church, Ballymoney, "in memory of John Lawrence Rentoul."



Rev S J and Mrs Moore The Rev. Samuel James Moore was the fifth minister of Ballycopeland Church. He was the eldest son of the Rev. David Moore, minister of the Secession Congregation of Markethill, County Armagh. He was born on 15th July, 1810, In Markethill. He was educated at the Royal College, Belfast, and received his Certificate in Arts in 1833. He was licensed to preach by the Secession Presbytery of Armagh. Having received a unanimous call from the Congregation of Ballycopeland, he accepted it, and was ordained in Ballycopeland on 9th May, 1838. He resigned the pastoral charge of Ballycopeland on 8th September, 1845, and on 28th October, 1845, he was installed as minister of Donoughmore Congregation, County Down. He resigned the charge of Donoughmore on 20th August, 1850, and on 24th September, 1850, he was installed as minister of Third Ballymena. He died on Saturday evening, 8th April, 1876.

The Rev. S. J. Moore was married to Miss Mary Carmichael, daughter of Mr. David Carmichael, sen., of Millisle. They had eight children. Their eldest child, David, died in early boyhood. Their second child, Annie, also died young. She was an invalid for some time before her death, and was unable to walk to Sabbath School. She was wheeled there in a bath-chair, and attended most regularly until the end came. A beautiful mirror, presented by her to West Church, then recently erected, bears the following inscription: "For the Vestry of Third Ballymena. Presented by Annie, a Pupil in the Sabbath School, March 4, 1864, a few days before she fell asleep in Jesus." This mirror was rescued from West Church when that building was destroyed by fire in 1926, and it is now in the vestry of the new Church. The second daughter of Rev. S. J. and Mrs. Moore was named Elizabeth. She married Mr. Thomas Hardy, of Ballymena. She is now a widow, and resides in England. The second son and fourth child of Mr. and Mrs. Moore was Robert Carmichael Moore, who entered the medical profession, obtaining the Degrees of Master of Arts and of Doctor of Medicine in the year 1882. He died in Rangoon, Burma, India. Miss Mary Moore, the third daughter of Rev. S. J. Moore and Mrs. Moore, resides in California, U.S.A., and Miss Lucy Moore, their fourth daughter, resides in Italy. Their youngest son, John, lives in Australia. The youngest daughter and eighth child of the family was named Annie, in memory of the eldest daughter, whose early death has been referred to. She is now the widow of Mr. Osborne Wilson, and resides in Australia.

A brother of the Rev. S. J. Moore was famous as the minister of Connor Congregation, and later as the first minister of Elmwood Church, Belfast. He was the Rev. John Hamilton Moore, D.D., and during his ministry in Connor, the great Irish Revival of 1859 commenced within the bounds of his congregation.

During his seven years of ministry in Ballycopeland the Rev S. J. Moore organized the congregation in a most efficient way. He kept written records of the various activities of the Church, and he strengthened the life of the Church by his orderly, punctual, and courteous methods in all matters relating to the well-being of the flock committed to his care. He was also an eloquent and impressive preacher. "To a reverent, shy reserve of manner he added a richly-toned musical voice, all of which contributed to his future popularity. Mr. Moore laboured lovingly and faithfully in the Donoughmore Congregation for four years and ten months. At the end of that time hereceived a unanimous call from the Congregation of Third Ballymena (also called Wellington Street Congregation, Ballymena). Having accepted the call, on the last Sabbath of his ministry in Donoughmore he preached his farewell sermon from the truly remarkable and unusual text: "He went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8, 39).

Nine years after his arrival in Ballymena the Revival commenced in the neighbouring Congregation of Connor, where his younger brother was minister. He assisted his brother in the meetings at Connor, and conducted many meetings in his own Church, in the open air, and in every place where he could assist, by word and work, the wonderful work of grace of the year 1859. In the Revival year he was Moderator of the Synod of Ballymena and Coleraine. At the meeting of Synod in Cookstown, and at the subsequent meeting of the General Assembly in Dublin, he stirred the hearts of the assembled brethren by his glowing accounts of the work that was being done, calling upon all to work and pray for the progress of the Revival in their different spheres of duty. The attendances at Wellington Street Church increased greatly as a result of the Revival, and the members of the congregation decided that a new Church was necessary, owing to want of accommodation for worshippers in the old. This Church was built, costing over 5,000, and was opened for worship by the Rev. Dr. John Hall, of Dublin, on 1st January, 1863. It was subsequently called the West Church, Ballymena. The major portion of the Congregation of Third Ballymena withdrew to the new Church. This section retained the name of Third Ballymena, and is known also as the Congregation of West Church, Ballymena. The section of the congregation that adhered to the former building in Wellington Street was soon recognised by the General Assembly as a Congregation, and a minister was ordained in this charge, which is known as Wellington Street Congregation, Ballymena. In a very short time both of these Congregations were large and flourishing, and they are large and important Congregations to-day.

Mr. Moore's ministry in West Church was a very happy and prosperous one. His influence for good still abides with the Congregation he loved and served until his death, and with the town of Ballymena, where he was, in a remarkable way, the minister of two Churches, both of which knew him well, and loved him well, as a most faithful and zealous preacher of the everlasting Gospel. "He fearlessly talked the truth, preached the truth, and wrote the truth." He was a man of literary tastes, and reached many by his writings whom he could not reach by the spoken word. Some of his publications were of a controversial character. The majority were Sabbath-school addresses and sermons: -- "The Christian Protestant." "Zion's Service of Song," "The Present War with Russia and our Duty with regard to it," "The Subject and Mode of Christian Baptism,: "The Child's Stone for the Lord's Temple," "The Sabbath-school System Commended," "An Old Disciple," "The Lord's Treasury and How to Fill It," "The Christ-like Child," "The Child Loaned to the Church," "The Protestant Church: Which Is it?" "The Ministerial Office Magnified," "The Christian in the Church," "The Plymouth Plunge," and "The Plymouth Prayer Puzzle."



Rev Robert Black The Rev. Robert Black was the sixth minister of the Congregation of Ballycopeland. He was born near the town of Ballybay, in County Monaghan, in the year 1818. He was educated at the Royal College, Belfast, and received his General Certificate from the Assembly's Examination Committee in 1841. He was licensed to preach the Gospel as a probationer for the ministry by the Presbytery of Bailieborough on Christmas Eve, in the year 1844. He preached as a competing licentiate in Ballycopeland Church, and received a unanimous cali to be minister there. He accepted the call, and was ordained to the pastoral oversight of the Congregation of Ballycopeland by the Presbytery of Ards on 10th June, 1846. In 1856 he was elected Clerk of the Presbytery of Ards, and acted in this capacity until he resigned the charge of Ballycopeland. Having recieved a call from the Congregation of Dundalk, he resigned the Clerkship of the Presbytery and the charge of Ballycopeland on 11th June, 1860. He was installed as minister of Dundalk Congregation by the Presbytery of Newry on 26th June, 1860. Owing to failing health he retired from the active duties of the ministry in 1879. He died on 15th April, 1885.

Mr. Black was married, in December, 1860, to Miss Margaret M'Connell, youngest daughter of Mr. Hugh M'Connell, of Comber. Mr. and Mrs. Black had a family of three daughters. Their eldest daughter, Miss Mary Black, is now Mrs. Travers, and resides at Drumnacoll, Co. Antrim. Their second daughter, Miss Eleanor Black, is now Mrs. D. M. Wilson, of 11, Deramore Drive, Belfast. Her husband, the Honourable Mr. Justice Wilson, died in 1932. He was Judge of the Court of Chancery in Northern Ireland. He was a son of the Rev. David Wilson, D.D., of Limerick, who was for two successive years (1865 and 1866) Moderator of the General Assembly. The third and youngest daughter of the Rev. Robert and Mrs. Black was Miss Sarah Stewart Black. She is now Mrs. Andrews, of Kingsway, Gerrard's Cross, Buckinghamshire, England.

The Rev. Robert Black was a cultured and a scholarly preacher. His sermons, prepared with great care and diligence, were clear and beautiful expositions of Divine truth, and were delivered with much charm and grace. He was a man of genuine piety and of great sincerity. He was a true and constant friend to all the members of the congregations committed to his charge. He took a personal interest in every member of his flock, and he was regarded by each and all as helper and counsellor. He loved the poor, and during the years 1846 and 1847, when great poverty and distress followed the failure of the potato crop in Ireland, he worked in union and co-operation with several clergymen, who sought to secure every possible assistance for the poor and distressed in Donaghadee, Ballycopeland, and the surrounding district. His kind and sympathetic nature often led him to perform acts of self-denial and of generosity that proved him to be one of the most unselfish of men. He led others to be gentle and generous too by the example he set and the influence he exerted. During the time of the Famine, and for several years afterwards, many of the farmers in the district were unable to pay their rents in full. Mr. Black and the neighbouring clergy of different denominations appealed to the landlords, and to their agents, describing the circumstances of those who could not pay the full amounts. In nearly every case in which these clergymen were interested they were not only successful in securing what they sought, but succeeded also in winning the friendship of the gentlemen to whom they applied for assistance and sympathy. The landlords were wont to regard Mr. Black as the leader of the helpers of the poor in the district, and they often came to him in order to obtain necessary information regarding those who were in distress, whom they assisted as a result of what he had done for them, and as a consequence of what he was able to say on their behalf.

The same unselfish spirit was exhibited by Mr. Black when the members of Ballycopeland wished to build a Manse as a residence for their minister. He insisted that the Manse should be small in size, and requested the Congregation not to spend much money in erecting it. The farmers who desired to build the Manse were not prosperous, and their minister acted towards them in accordance with the true spirit of Christian charity. He was content to dwell in a small and modest residence, rather than have a burden of debt imposed upon the willing. and loyal people to whom he was privileged to minister.

When Mr. Black left Ballycopeland for Dundalk, after fourteen years of happiness in his first charge, he took with him the best wishes of every member of the little congregation that had known him as a friend in need and a friend indeed. He was the same faithful and loving pastor and friend to the members of his second charge. In Dundalk he was a beloved and successful minister, and he continued to the end to prove himself a Christian gentleman who exercised a commanding influence for good.

After his retirement from the active duties of the ministry the Rev. Robert Black resided for four years with his family at Lausanne, Switzerland. Mr. Black went to Switzerland for a twofold reason -- for the education of his daughters, and in the hope that his health would benefit by the change. Returning to Ireland, he took up residence at "The Old House," Comber, Co. Down, where he died soon afterwards. He passed away suddenly one evening, while playing chess, to the great grief of the members of his home, and of his many friends. His death caused great sorrow to many of the ministers and members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and to the members of the Congregations of Ballycopeland and Dundalk. He had endeared himself to all who came in contact with him, in these Congregations, in the Presbyteries of Ards and of Newry, and in the General Assembly. As a Minister of a Congregation, as a Clerk of Presbytery, and as a Convener of an important Committee of Assembly, he had served his Church toiling "with a devotion which raised his work" above all formality and officialism, and which won for him the esteem of all.

At the meeting of the General Assembly in Belfast in June, 1886, the following minute with reference to the death of the Rev. Robert Black was prepared and adopted as the minute of the Assembly, and is entered on the record of proceedings:-- "In the death of the Rev. Robert Black, of Dundalk, the Assembly was deprived of the sagacious counsels and active services of one who for more than thirty-nine years was an earnest and faithful minister of the Gospel, and who for a considerable period discharged with fidelity and efficiency the duties of Convener for the Mission to Soldiers and Sailors and for Weak Congregations, securing from the Government authorities increased attention to the spiritual wants of Presbyterians in the Army and the Navy, and eliciting from the Church much generous sympathy for those brethren whose ministerial income was very limited."



Rev John Beatty The Rev. John Beatty was the seventh minister of the Congregation of Ballycopeland. He was born at Ballycrune, in the Parish of Anahilt, County Down, on 22nd August, 1832. He was a son of Mr. Martyn Beatty, a farmer, and a member of a family whose ancestors came to Ireland from Nithsdale, in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, about the year 1670. He was brought up in connection with the Congregation of Loughaghery, under the ministry of the Rev. Robert Moorhead. He was educated at the Anahilt Endowed School; the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast; Queen's College, Belfast; and Assembly's College, Belfast. He was licensed to preach the Gospel as a probationer for the ministry by the Presbytery of Dromore on 11th May, 1858. He was ordained in Ballycopeland on 27th December, 1860, and he remained as minister there until his death. He died on 28th January, 1906.

Mr. Beatty was the eldest of a family of four -- two boys and two girls. His brother was the Rev. William Beatty, B.A., D.D., and for many years was a missionary of the Irish Presbyterian Church in India. His great faithfulness in the service of his Master in the foreign field was fittingly recognized by the Church at home, when, in June, 1898, he was unanimously elected Moderator of the General Assembly for the ensuing year. His son, the Rev. Martyn W. Beatty, B.A., has followed in his father's footsteps, and is a missionary of our Church in India. He is stationed at Borsad, Bombay.

The Rev. John Beatty was married, on 10th March, 1863, to Miss Mary Moorhead. the eldest daughter of the Rev. Robert Moorhead, of Loughaghery Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Beatty came to the Manse of Ballycopeland as a true helpmeet for her husband. She shared his joys and sorrows, increasing the former, and lessening the latter, until the day came when husband and wife were parted by the passing of Mr. Beatty to his rest and reward.

Mr. and Mrs. Beatty had six children. Their two daughters are Miss Elizabeth Beatty, and Miss Mary Amelia Beatty. Their eldest son, Doctor Robert Moorhead Beatty, is a medical practitioner at Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, England. Their second son is the Rev. John Beatty, B.A., of Ballycopeland. Their third son is Mr. Frederick James Beatty, who is engaged in the linen business, and resides at 12, Harberton Avenue, Belfast. Their youngest son is Doctor Martyn Cecil Beatty, who is practising at Broadway, Worcestershire, England.

While a licentiate Mr. Beatty added to the training he had recieved at College by taking part in the work of the Town Mission in Belfast. He was appointed a Town Missionary, and the Mission area known as the "Brown Square District" was assigned to him as his sphere of duty. This district was a large and difficult one, extending westward from the present Royal Avenue, and including a great many streets and lanes in the neighbourhood of Smithfield. It was not an easy field in which to work, but Mr. Beatty enjoyed it, "because of the manifold opportunities of doing good it afforded," and because he had a people to deal with who needed greatly the Gospel he loved to proclaim. He was thus rejoicing in the privilege of bringing to the poor the unsearchable riches of Christ, to the weary and heavy laden the rest that remaineth for the people of God, and to the discouraged and sorrowful a joy that earth could neither give nor take away, when the great Revival movement of 1859 commenced. "Into the movement he entered heart and soul, and rejoiced exceedingly at the new and glowing field of evangelistic work that so suddenly and so marvellously opened out before him."

He was very busy as an evangelist and missionary, preaching, conducting prayer meetings and Bible classes, and visiting the people of his district with unwearied diligence, when he was invited to preach on trial in Ballycopeland. He accepted the invitation, preached as a competing licentiate on two Sabbaths, and received a unanimous call from the Congregation. He accepted the call, resigned his position of Town Missionary in Belfast immediately afterwards, and was ordained to the office of the ministry in Ballycopeland Church.

Mr. Beatty began his ministry in Ballycopeland as an earnest and energetic pastor. He was deeply devoted to his high and holy calling. He loved his work, and he loved the people who had chosen him in return a love that would not let him go when he was called on more than one occasion to other and larger spheres of service. Such a happy relationship existed always between them and him, as people and pastor, that only the highest and best results were the abiding and abounding proofs of Mr. Beatty's faithfulness and success in the ministry. He excelled also as an evangelist, and his services were in constant demand outside his congregation. There was a loving appeal in his presentation of the Gospel that won many lives for the kingdom of his Master, Jesus Christ.

This career of great usefulness continued without interruption for seven years. Then a deep, dark shadow fell across the pathway of the minister of Ballycopeland. It was the shadow of a great affliction and of much suffering, and it remained and increased until the time of his death. His work was made difficult by reason of physical pain and weakness, but he did not desert the path of duty. Through all the thirty-eight years that followed he laboured, and loved, and led his flock.

"He lured to brighter worlds, and led the way" although the way for him was one of darkness and of difficulty. He was never known to complain. He never murmured, but maintained always and everywhere a beautiful spirit of gladness and of gratitude. He preached, with great force and earnestness, the message of the love of God. The goodness of God to him was something that he longed to make known, so that others might share in it. He was a learner in the school of suffering, and he was able as a consequence to teach many lessons of consolation. "He was able, by the grace of God given unto him, to comfort others in trial, with the comfort wherewith be himself was comforted of God." To the very end of his ministry the little church at Ballycopeland was well attended by his own people, and by visitors to the seaside. The latter came not only from the Ballycopeland district, but also from Donaghadee, and from places farther distant.So, heavily handicapped though he was, he continued heroically in the discharge of pastoral and pulpit work until a few months before the end.

He was present at the observance of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, on Sabbath, 15th October, 1905, in Ballycopeland Church. He was then rapidly failing in health and strength, and his presence was unexpected. His brother, the Rev. Dr. William Beatty, was conducting the service, when he arrived. He was wheeled in his bath-chair into the Church, and joined the people in partaking of the Sacrament. He then addressed the assembled communicants, speaking from the texts: "Ye are My witnesses," and. "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

Three months later the sufferings of his earthly life were ended, and the joys of another life began. On Sabbath, 28th January, 1906, "God's finger touched him, and he slept." His mortal remains were laid to rest in Ballycopeland Churchyard.

"Now the labourer's task is o'er.
      Now the battle-day is past;
 Now upon the farther shore
      Lands the voyager at last.
           Father, in Thy gracious keeping
           Leave we now Thy servant sleeping."


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