Stranorlar Presbyterian

Please click here for a booklet of Stranorlar Presbyterian covering 1675 to 2006.

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Below is an extract from Ulster Heritage magazine:
Stranorlar Presbyterian Church 0r 'Meetin'hoose' has been a rock for successive generations of Presyterians in this locality for more than three centuries. Family names such as Adams, Alexander, Arle, Armstrong, Baird, Bates, Blair, Bell, Boggle, Campbell, Carson, Ewing, Fairman, Hastings, Henderson, Irwin, Knox, Leeper, Love, Lucas, MacGregor, Magee, McCain/McKane, McClean, McClure, Neilands, Roulston, Russell, Kee, Taylor, Virtue, Wallace, Wauchop, Woods, Wilson and Whyte are examples of the many planted family names associated with this congregation since the early days.

The village of Stranorlar like so many other remote Ulster villages of this time quickly developed a strong Presbyterian influence as the planted Scots of that era brought with them their 'Scriptural Creed, and habits of industry and love of Liberty'. Their strong faith combined with their high moral standards and work ethic has laid the foundation of the proud Ulster-Scot heritage we enjoy today.

Stranorlar lies on the outer edge of the Laggan Presbytery in East Donegal which is noted as the second Presbytery established in Ireland in the year 1649, after Carrickfergus in 1642. According to its early records the first commissioners in Stranorlar requested supply of a Minister as early as August 1675: "John Armstrong from Stranorland (sic.) desired a visit and some supply for that people, who now have of late become more willing to receive the Gospel than before..."

Rev. Alexander Leckey, Minister in nearby Convoy village from 1870 and a renowned local historian, remarked in his notes in 1905: "this previous unwillingness to 'desire and receive the Gospel' on part of the people of Stranorlar and the neighbourhood should not lead us to think that they were sinners above all others that dwelt in the Laggan, but should, rather, I suppose, be attributed to the fact that they lived within what would have then been considered at an inconvenient distance from two other Presbyterian places of worship, viz., Donoughmore and Covoy."

As both meetinghouses at Convoy and Donoughmore were at a considerable distance we can assume that Stranorlar folk had been gathering for worship locally in a somewhat informal manner for some time before August 0f 1675, and felt that their numbers and their needs justified the formal calling of a Minister to lead them.

However, due to various underlying reasons such as the scarcity of such Ministers, serious poverty and wretched living conditions among the people, as well as the on-going and continued suppression by the established church, the Presbyterians in Stranorlar were not successful in installing their first official Minister, Master Robert Wilson, until 25th June 1709. And the congregation has had an interesting and colourful past and, like most others, has gone through various phases of growth and decline since its inception.

Many able men have passed through our pulpits since Master Wilson passed on in 1727 including Rev. Joseph Kinkead (1745-1755); Rev. Joseph Love (1767-1807); Rev. James Neilson (1808-1821); Rev. James Steele DD (1821-1859); Rev. Hugh Clarke Graham (1859-1874); Rev. WJ Macaulay (1874-1880); Rev. James Curry (1881-1940); Rev. John McFall (1941-1947); Rev. Charles McKimm Eadie (1948-1951); Rev. Herbert Courtney (1951-1955); Rev. WJE McClure (1955-1965); Rev. John Sproule ((1966-1971); Rev. W McI Craig (1971-1977); Rev. GD Campbell (1978-1986); Rev. Eleanor Henning (1988-1997); Rev. Alan Carson (1998-2004); Rev. Tom Luke (2005-2007) and Rev. Stanley Stewart, our present minister.

On R238 from Derry to Buncrana at Tooban, Burnfoot 

Fahan, Via Lifford, Co. Donegal 

Republic of Ireland EIRCode F93 XY65 

ROI Registered Charity Number (RCN): 20205867