- The Scots Church, Athy Road, Carlow
- 'Carlow's oldest church'
- Photo: W. Ellis
The Scots Church
Presbyterian Church in Carlow
The first attempt to form a Congregation in the town of Carlow was made in
the year of our Lord 1816. The circumstances that led to it being the settlement
there of Mr. Thomas Cox, a native of Hampshire, in England: This Gentleman
finding no other place of worship in the town than the Established Church with
service once a week and a Wesleyan meeting house with service once in the
fortnight, lamented the want of a gospel ministry such as he had long enjoyed
under the distinguished servant of God, David Bogue of Gosport.
To remedy, in some measure, this defect, he first applied to the Methodists,
proposing to them that they should endeavour to procure a regular service on
every Lord’s day; but in this he did not succeed. The reason of the application
to them was that there was no prospect of establishing an Independent
Congregation, such as he desired.
Bad however and almost hopeless as this prospect was, he applied to the
Evangelical Society through their Irish Secretary, the Rev. W. Cooper and was
informed by him they had not ministers to supply the places where congregations
were already formed. The case of Carlow was next laid before the Evangelical
Society through their English Secretary, the Rev. Mark Wilks. He gave every
encouragement and had a gentleman sent from Rothman Academy, with directions to
proceed to Carlow, but he was diverted from his purpose by the Irish Secretary
and otherwise disposed of.
Under these circumstances, Mr. Cox’s thoughts were directed to a Presbyterian
Establishment and, with the desire of furthering this object, he was joined by
Mr. James Holland, Mr. Francis Montgomery, John Mahary M.D., and Mr. Thomas
Cobden. Those gentlemen applied to Mr. James Homer, as moderator of the Dublin
Presbytery and he immediately attended to their representation, came to Carlow,
preached in the Methodist House and promised to procure a regular supply of
Ministers from the synod of Ulster.
Here it may be proper to observe that D. Mahary avowed himself a Unitarian,
but professed his acquiescence in the wish of the others to have a Calvanistic
Minister, so far as he would not oppose his diction.
The Methodists having kindly granted the use of their house of worship, Mr.
Cooke was sent as a supply for some months and was succeeded by Mr. Stewart and
During Mr. Parke’s stay their thoughts were turned to the erection of a place
of worship and subscriptions were set on foot for the furtherance of this
object. Ground was taken from Mr. Nathinal Proctor at the rent of £15.0.0 per
annum. A plan was given by Mr Cobden, the estimate amounting to £800.0.0. and
the first stone was laid by Mr. C. Butler, Sovereign of the town of Carlow, on
the 18th June, 1818.
On the 26th July, 1821, the lease of the house was subjected, having been
made to the following trustees in the name of the Congregation, and with this
resolution, that as any trustee was removed by death, the remaining trustees
should supply his place by another chosen from the Congregation.
Mr. Thomas Cox, Mr. A. Malcomson, Mr. Thomas Cobden, Mr. S. Walker, Mr.
Francis Montgomery, Mr. S. Clarke, Rev. James Morgan, Mr. J. Lahee, D. Mahary.
In 1820 a payment was made to Mr. Morgan amounting to £37.0.0 and for 1821 he
On the 18th July, 1821, a sermon was preached in aid of the Hibernian
Missionary Society, by the Rev. John Pethorick of Dublin, which produced £5.0.0
and on the 22nd of July, 1822, Mr. Morgan preached, by order of Synod, in aid of
the fund for reliving the distresses that prevailed in the South and West of
Ireland, when the collection with donations amounted to upwards of £23.0.0.
Dr. Mahary having withdrawn from the Congregation on account of its adherence
to Calvinistic principles. Mr. Cobden succeeded him as treasurer.
To carry forward the building the following sums of money were received, viz
- From Mr. Homer, to collections in Dublin and in the North of Ireland £
- From the Trustees of the Presbyterian find, in Dublin: £ ????
- By collections in Carlow and its vicinity: £ ????
- By money forwarded in equal sums by the Rev. J. Homer, Messrs Cox,
Montgomery and Cobden: £ ????
- By money borrowed, and materials of building received on credit: £ ????
With this money the house was completed, having cost £120.15.3 more than was
given in the estimate, in consideration of the addition of the gallery, and on
the 12th September, 1819, it was opened by the Rev. James Homer.
Here it may be observed great encouragement was given by many who were
members of the established Church and who, though they had no intention of
forsaking that communion, entered their names as subscribers to the support of a
Presbyterian place of worship — the congregation was accordingly supplied by
…………… with a view to the settlement of a minister. Messrs Blakeley, White,
Brakey, Raphael and Morgan preached successively.
The last was unanimously invited to take charge of the Congregation, the
invitation was accepted and his ordination took place on the 21st of June 1820.
The officiating ministers were Rev. James Horner, the Rev. James Carsaisle and
the Rev. Joseph Scott
Scots Churches are very rare, only 4 known to be in existence in Ireland.
Compiled by Carlow County Heritage
Society for the Scots Church, Carlow c1986 (now part of the Pat Purcell Papers)
Source: Carloviana 1993/94
Source: Pat Purcell Papers provided by his
- The information contained in these
pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with
others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
- © 2001 County Carlow
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