Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gospel Halls and Ulster-Scots

This is a subject that deserves more attention than this wee post. The first gospel hall in Ulster is said to have been at Ballymacvea near Kells in Co Antrim, established by Jeremiah Meneely in the wake of the 1859 Revival (I visited the ruins with William Roulston and Eull Dunlop a few weeks ago - shown in the photo above) There was a major revival in Scotland that same year, and gospel halls sprang up all over Lanarkshire and Ayrshire in the following years. This article gives more fascinating background on the Ulster-Scots links among the early Brethren / gospel halls in Ulster and Scotland, for example:

- Jeremiah Meneely preaching in Ayrshire

- John McVicar (of Cullybackey) preaching in Ayrshire

- Samuel Dodds, Ulsterman living in Dalry, visited by another Ulsterman, William Thomson, and their subsequent evangelism

- William McLean, a "Scotch Baptist" evangelist in Ulster, who later became a Brethren leader in New Zealand

- John Patton from Newtownards, his visit to Stranraer, the view across to Ulster and the eventual founding of Butterlump Hall (my grandfather was a Sunday School teacher there, as the photo on the cover of the recent "William Thompson - Low Country Poet" poems book shows. The old wooden building is now at Ballygigan near Killyleagh - see the four pics below, click on them to enlarge)

It's a brilliant article, signposting a mountain of research that someone needs to do!

(NB - with thanks to Lindsay Young from Falkirk for sending the article to me)