Fahan Presbyterian Church

Jesus is Lord - Romans 10: 9

Fahan & Buncrana united.

After Rev Reagh resigned, the congregation of Fahan was vacant for seven years.  John Erwin (or Irwin) who was born in County Derry and educated at Scotland and licensed to Derry Presbytery in 1766 was ordained to Fahan in September 1777.  On account of ill health he resigned (retired) from active duties on February 22 1796.  It is recorded that the Rev John Erwin senior minister was deposed from the ministry on 4 August 1801 for celebrating marriages contrary to the rules of the General Synod. 

The congregations of Fahan and Buncrana now formed a united charge and ordained Rev David Hamilton on 3 September 1799.  He was born near Ramelton in 1778 and educated at Strabane and licensed to the Letterkenny Presbytery in 1796.  The manse was at Crislaghkeel, Fahan and it is said that Mr. Hamilton came by horseback on Sunday afternoons through a pass on the mountain from Fahan to conduct the Buncrana service.  The pass to this day is referred to as “Davy’s Gap” after David Hamilton.  

He married Miss Logan of Buncrana in 1810 and resigned the pastoral charge of the Buncrana portion of his congregation on 21 October 1834.  He retained Fahan. 

His death is noted in the Londonderry Sentinel Saturday 14 November 1840 (which cost 4½d for a single number or a yearly subscription was £1.00 and if paid in advance was 19 shillings) that: - 

"At his residence, Fahan on the first instant the Rev David Hamilton in the 62 year of his age and 42 of his ministry, greatly respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance." 

John Moran was born on 20 November 1820 and lived at Ealghbeg where his father was an elder of the congregation of Fahan.  He received his education at Foyle College and the Old College in Belfast.   He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Derry in November 5, 1845 and ordained over the charge of first Ballybay in March 24 1846.  On 16 November 1846 he was installed in first Newry and then went to Belmont, Belfast on 28 March 1862.  He died on 9 June 1880 and had published a “Collection of 100 Hymns”.  The Moran families still continue to worship at Fahan Presbyterian Church to this day. 

It is recorded in the vestry minutes of the Upper Parish Church of Fahan (i.e. Church of Ireland) on Monday April 21 1813: - 

"Resolved that the sum of forty pounds be laid on in aid of rebuilding the Presbyterian Meeting House of Cashel in the Parish of Fahan." and signed by James Spencer Knox (Rector), David Hamilton, Samuel Cochran and John Gibson.  This would have been quite a sum of money for these days and it seems unusual there was cooperation between the two faiths as there was usually a fair degree of coolness between both. 

In a survey of buildings in 1835 it is recorded: - 

"TUMAN MEETING HOUSE 53x34x16 Value £12.70.9

                    SESSION HOUSE 17½x12x6 Value 12/3d"

It is recorded that in the Inishowen area by 1830, Presbyterians outnumbered established Church members (i.e. Church of Ireland) and formed 2/3 of the denomination being in the southern-most parishes of Burt, Inch, Muff and Fahan Upper.  The population density in 1840 was such that in the northern parts of Fahan it was close to 500 persons per square mile of cultivated land. 

In 1857 “Grifiths Valuation” the Presbyterian meeting house was listed as a good building on 3 Rude and 25 Perches with an RAV of £11.00.  It was exempt of rates as it was a house of worship and was under the estate of P Kennedy.