Coagh Presbyterian – The new church, 1708–1711


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The following transcripts were compiled from the Records of the General Synod of Ulster, from 1691 to 1820, published by the Presbyterian Church of Ireland in 1890 (Vol. I. Belfast: Archer and Sons).

Note: The transcriber's editing marks and comments appear [within square brackets].

1708-06-01, at Antrim: The Records of the Synod of Ulster recorded an appeal from the inhabitants of Coagh and Ballinderry for a new church, the Presbytery of Tyrone having declined:

  Coagh——Nicholas Sharp, &c:, Inhabitants about Coagh & Ballenderry, Comm'rs [Commissioners], supplicated, shewing that they addrest the Presby [Presbytery] of Tyrone for a new Erection, & offer'd Reasons for the same; & pray'd that some from Monymore & Ballyclug Congregations might be annext to them for promoving the said Erection: which Desire that Meeting did not grant. The Petitioners therefor appeal'd to this Synod. The Appeal & Reasons thereof were read, also the Minutes of the Presby relative thereunto. The Appealants & Presby being heard were remov'd. We then voted whether there be sufficient Ground of the Appeal or not? It was carryed, nem: contradic:, there is sufficient Ground of the Appeal. Then we voted whether the Presby of Tyrone shall be rebukt. It was carryed, rebuke. They being call'd in, were accordingly rebukt, & exhorted to rational Grounds to promote what may be for spreading of the Gospel. Then it was voted, refer the whole Matter complexly to a Committee, or to the Synod of Monaghan? It was carryed, refer to a Committee, whose Names follow:——from Down, Mr Biggar, Mr Jackson; from Belfast, Mr Kirkpatrick, Mr Gowan; from Antrim, Mr Scot, Mr Abernethy; from Colerain, Mr. McGrigor, Mr Woodside; from Ardmagh, Mr Lang, Mr Millikan; from Monaghan, Mr Bap: Boyd, Mr Darragh; from Derry, Mr John Harvey, Mr Winsley: each Presby bring a ruling Elder; the Names follow:——Mr Blackwood, Mr Arth: Maxwel, Mr Wm Shaw, Nathan'l Dunlop, Wm Fairis, And'w Pikan, David Cargill; to meet on the third Tuesday of July, at Ballenderry, at 10 a Clock in the Morning; 9 to be a Quorum, whereof 6 to be Min'rs [Ministers]; the Meeting of Tyrone to give what Light in the Affair they can; Mr Thomb to open that Committee by Preaching; Mr Jas Scot to assist the People of Coagh by his Advice, if requir'd; if any Eld'r now nam'd do not go, the Presby is to appoint another in his Place. Papers were return'd to the Appealants. (pp 152-3)

1708-09-08, at Belfast: At the meeting of the Synod, various grievances were submitted pertaining to the new congregation:

  ... Appear'd from Ballroney & Moneymore, John Bell, Comm'r [Commissioner]; produc'd a Supplication complaining that the new Erection at Coagh, and the Proceedings of the Committee which met last at Ballenderry, had, in that Affair, occasion'd some Grievances to the Congregations of Monymore and Ballyroney, from which they desire to be reliev'd by this Synod. Also appear'd, Richd Kenkin and James Hogg, inhabitants within the Scheme of the new Erection at Coagh, Com'rs, complaining that Committee's too sudden Procedure in erecting that Congregation without calling or consulting them. There appear'd also from Coagh, Duncan Johson [sic] and John McNeil, Com'rs, complaining of several Indirect Practises us'd by some in Monymore and Ballyroney Congregations to obstruct such a Good Work as that Erection was; all these Papers were considered, and a Vote propos'd, delay this whole Matter till next Gen'l [General] Synod or not? It was carryd delay, yet, notwithstanding of this Vote, the Synod acquainted those from Coagh that this Vote is not to hinder them to proceed in their own Affairs. It was observ'd by this Synod that, in a Supplication from Ballyclug, & allow'd by the Presby of Tyrone, there were some things that were offensive; whereupon this Synod did admonish that Presby to be more catious [sic] for the Future in allowing Testimonials of that Nature. The Papers belonging to the several Partys were return'd to them. Mr John Gaudy with the Reasons of his Absence, were consider'd sustain'd. He was excus'd. It's now reported by several Br'n [Brethren] that Mr Arch'd Boyd being on his Way hither fell sick, he was oblidg'd to return. He was also excus’d. (pp 163-4)

1709-06-01, at Derry: The Records of the Synod of Ulster recorded the continuing difficulty about the new church at Coagh:

  The Committee mett at Ballenderry, July 20th, 1708 (as appointed), about erecting a new Congregation at Coagh. Mr Bap't Boyd, Clerk to that Committee, read their Minutes (Mr John Thomb open'd the Committee by Preaching). By those Minutes it appears that all Partys being heard by the Committee, there did appear sufficient Ground to erect a new Congregation at Coagh. How it was bounded was read in the Committee Minutes. To make those Minutes more distinct, the Bounds of the said new Congregation are expressly mention'd afterward. The Committee Minutes being now read, the Synod approv'd their Diligence by Plurality of Votes. Understanding that some now have Grievances on Account of that Erection, there was Liberty granted to such as are les'd by that Erection, to table their Grievance before the Synod to Morrow.

[Accordingly:] The Affair about Coagh being resum'd, and Liberty having been granted to any who have Grievances on Account of the Erection at Coagh to table them before us, from Ballyclug Congregation appear'd Ja's Stevenson & Rob't Speir, shewing in their Supplication, now read, what Grievances they undergo by Reason of that Erection at Coagh; likewise from Monymore Congregation Mr Ja's Dyke and Alex'r McCane, shewing that it will be very difficult for that Congregation to support their Min'r [Minister] if so many of their Members be joyned to that new Erection; they also complaining of that Committee mett at Ballenderry, as greatly injuring that People. Another Supplication from the Inhabitants within the circumscrib'd Bounds of the new Erection of Coagh, holding forth many Grievances flowing from that Erection, in which last Supplication are many reflecting Expressions, notwithstanding of which Tyrone Presby allow'd said Supplication to come into this Synod. We voted whether remove Tyrone Presby, and admonish them for their allowing that Paper to be brought into this Synod? It was carryed, remove that Presby. Then we voted that they be call'd in & admonisht. They were call'd in and admonisht, as also exhorted to be more wary, and allow no indecent Papers to be brought by those under their Inspection to come into this Synod. From the new Congregation at Coag[h] appear'd Messrs Wm Steuart, Duncan Johnston, Nichlas [sic] Sharp, with others. Their Commission was read. They produc'd a Supplication shewing that the Act of the Committee at Ballenderry, erecting them into a Congregation, may be made effectuall by oblidging the Persons annext to that Congregation to joyn orderly with them. For concluding this Affair (Partys being remov'd) we appointed a Select Committee of Min'rs [Ministers] & ruling Elders, whose names are as followeth:——Mr McCrackan, Mr Mairs, Mr Pettegrew, Mr Clark, Mr Ferguson, Mr Holmes, Senr, Mr John Wilson, Mr Wm Cornwall, Mr Ambrose; Elders——Mr Isaac McCartney, Capt Galbreat, John Logh, Robt Rainey, Mr Boyle, who are to meet & consider all these Papers, and what all can say on the Subject, & make an Overture to this Synod. Partys being call'd, this was read to them, and all were enjoyn'd to attend that Committee. Coagh desiring some Min'rs may be allow'd to them, that they may be assisting to them in framing their Papers, Mr Shennan & Mr Reid were appointed to assist them in what they desir'd. This Committee is to meet here at 7 in the Morning, all Partys, as also the Presby of Tyrone, are to attend; ...

  [After roll call and prayer:] The Committee for Coagh met——Bellyclug, Monymore, and these within the circumscrib'd Bounds of the new Erection, also the new Erection at Coagh (the appointed Min'rs having assisted the People of Coagh in framing their Papers). All Partys being heard, & after long Reasoning upon the whole, The Committee made the following Overtures concerning Coagh, Bellyclug, & Monimore:——

  Ist. That the new Erection at Coagh, made by the late Committee at Ballenderry, July 20th, 1708, for that People, stand & continue a distinct Congregation, bounded as follows, viz.——that Wm McMullen & Neighbours in Millinaho [Mullanahoe, parish of Arboe], Thos Bell and Neighbours in Tirkvillan [Trickvallan, parish of Arboe], Rich: Rankin & Neighbours in Tirkvillan, John McCreigh in Drumady [Drumad, parish of Tamlaght?], Wm Vans & Hugh Fleck in Achavan [Aghaveagh, parish of Tamlaght?], Richd McGau in Ballynargan [parish of Arboe], Jas Dun & his Neighbours in Inniskillin [Enniskillen, parish of Artrea], Thos McCord & Moses Redman in Edruna [Edernagh, parish of Artrea], Alexr Mitchell in Liscasy [Liscausy, parish of Artrea], James McCord in the Moor, Claud Rolan in Ballynahone [parish of Artrea], James Johnston & Andw Ferguson in Drummullan [parish of Arboe], at the little Bridge, James McKee & Wm Hamilton in Ballydally [Ballydawley, parish of Artrea], Jas Hogg and John McKee in Ballygurch [Ballygurk, parish of Artrea], Wm Aikin & John Barnet in Ballycogly, & from that to the Logh by Ballyronan [parish of Artrea], and all these People, and all within those Bounds, be the new Erection at Coagh, and apply to the Meeting of Tyrone to plant them.

  IId. That the Synod advise the Presby of Tyrone to fall on some proper Method for prevailing within the Congregations of Monymore and Ballyclug to make a competent Maintenance for their respective Min'rs, seeing they appear still in a Condition to do so; which Overtures of the Committee being read again & again by this Synod, that a Congregation of Coagh, circumscrib'd by the Persons and Bounds aforesaid, was well approven by this Synod, & Tyrone Presby was advis'd to do what is desir'd with Reference to Ballyclug & Monymore Congregations, which two are to give a competent Maintenance to their Ministers. (pp 174-6)

1710-06-21, at Belfast: Nicholas Sharp and Duncanon Johnston of Coagh asked that their grievances be redressed:

  Coagh——Mr Nich: Sharp, &c:, petition'd this Synod with Reference to that new Erection. We have appointed that the Affairs to be considered shall be introduc'd by the Committee of Bills, that Affair is therefore remitted to that Committee. ...

  That new Erection supplicating by their Comm'rs [Commissioners], Nich's Sharp and Duncan Johnston, would have their Grievances redrest, that Affair came in - Com: of Bills. The Supplication being read & consider'd the Synod appointed a select Committee of Min'rs [Ministers] & Eld'rs, who may meet & prepare an Overture to this Synod. The Presby [Presbytery] of Tyrone protested against leaving that Affair to a Select Committee to overture to this Synod. ...

  The Committee, having sat upon the above Affair, overtur'd to the Synod as follows:——

  1. That the Presby of Tyrone be enjoyn'd to proceed with Mr David Thomb in his Tryalls; and upon Mr Thomb's accepting the Call from Coagh Congregation, to plant them so soon as possible in an Orderly Way, without unnecessary Delay.
  2. That if the People of Coagh do judge themselves unnecessarily delay'd in their Settlement with Mr Thomb, then & in that Case they are to supplicate the Presby of Tyrone to call two Correspondents from the Presbytrys of Antrim, Ardmagh, and Monaghan——that is to say, two Correspond'ts from each of these three Presbys, which the three Presbys shall be oblidg'd to do upon their Application.
  3. That Mr. Nicholas Sharp & Mr Duncan Johnston be restor'd unto the Session of Coagh as Members thereof, no sufficient Ground appearing to us of their being laid aside.
  4. That neither Monymore nor Ballyclug shall detain any of the Members dissannext from them and joyn'd to the new Congregation of Coagh, or receive Money from them in Prejudice of Coagh Stipend.
  5. That all their Debates may fall, and no farther hearing of them in publick Synod, and that they be exhorted to Love & Peace among themselves.
  6. That the People of Coagh pay all due Respect and Deference to the Presby of Tyrone, and the Presby of Tyrone shall be encourageing to that People. Which Overtures being read again & again in the Audience of the Presby of Tyrone, & all Partys concern'd (all being allow'd to speak) were heard, after which all here concern'd in the Affair were remov'd, the Synod, after Reasoning on the said Overtures, made this the State of the Vote——whether this Synod will approve the said Overtures? It was carryed unanimously——approve the said Overtures. Partys being call'd, this was read to them, and all were exhorted to acquiesce in the Determination, & studdy the mutual Peace of each other. (pp 194, 200-1)

1711-10-17: Tyrone Presby ordain'd Mr David Thomb at Coagh.

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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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