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A Place of Worship
Banbridge Road Presbyterian church





The Old Celtic Cross, Dromore
Banbridge Road Presbyterian Church, Dromore The Old Celtic Cross,

A short history to celebrate the Sesquicentennial of
Banbridge Road
Presbyterian Church

By the
Rev. Hugh R. Moore, M.A.

It came to pass . . .

On the 11th October 1836 a deputation of people from the town waited on the Session Synod requesting that services should be held in the town of Dromore.

By 1841 a church had been built.

On the 7th of March 1843 the first minister was Ordained and Installed.

The pictures on the cover are photographs of actual paintings; part of an
Illuminated Address presented to the minister, the Rev. James Rentoul, in
1915 by the congregation.



my constant source of encouragement throughout my ministry



past and present who have
served God so faithfully
through their church

I gratefully dedicate
this book and give
God the glory


The Author wishes to record his appreciation and grateful thanks to:�

Mrs. K. Aiken, Glynis and Gary for their very considerable help

Mr. Andrew Doloughan not only for correcting the proofs, but also for his advice and all his useful suggestions The Dromore Leader for the use of their files.

The Banbridge Chronicle for their co-operation and tolerance. All who helped with information, paper cuttings, photographs, memories

The Rev. Lena Baxter, B.L.S., B.D., and her sister and brother for the use of materials and pictures from the Illuminated Address presented to their great-grandfather, the Rev. James Rentoul in 1915.

Mr. Jim Ball for material on the Union

The Very Rev. Howard Cromie, D.D. for information on the Rentoul family

Ronnie Foster.

And especially to the Rev. A. L. R. Bickerstaff who provided much of the `straw' for the bricks of the Rev. McKee's ministry as well as his own boyhood memories of the Rev. James Rentoul and his mother's recollections of the Rev. McKee

Also those members of the Church Committee who acted in an advisory capacity, Mrs. H. McDonald, Miss M. Coulter, Dr. R. McNeice, Messrs. J. Walker, W. Spratt, W. Wilson, and C. Thompson. Their help was valuable and appreciated.


The Brigades
  The Boys' Brigade
  The Girls' Brigade
The Bowling Club

The Saturday Evening Youth Club

A Congregations Appreciation

Rev. A. W. Boyd

The First Assistant.

The Sunday Schools .





Men for the Ministry .


Rev. Steele Rentoul


Rev. A. L. R. Bickerstaff


Rev. Cecil Oliver Weir


Rev. David Latimer

Missions and Special Services


The Orphan Society


The Choir, Organist and Praise


Bible Study and Prayer.


I. B .R . A.


The Manse


The Kirk Session

Clerks and Meetings


Treasurers and Secretaries


Notable Presentations


The Tennis Club


The Badminton Club

And A Last Word


Farewell Address

The Author's Comments

This story, for it is that, rather than a history, has been written in view of the fact that the congregation will be celebrating its 150th anniversary, perhaps in the near future, or at the latest in March 1993, 150 years after the first minister was ordained.

I have tried from the material available to produce an account that is fair, factual, and I hope readable. In parts it may not be as detailed as it ought to be, but the main events are recorded `warts and all.'

It is for the most part a distillation of Presbytery records, the minutes of Session and Committee, minutes of organizations, as well as newspaper accounts, and the memories of those who were actually `there'.

I have tried to be accurate, and to verify oral tradition where it has been used. Where there are inaccuracies, sources not acknowledged, important events or people omitted, I apologise - you will forgive me.

The phrase often used by writers, the `dignity of history', may have its critics, but reading and researching material for this story has brought home to me the dedication of the ministers and the sacrifices of the members who gave of their time and money that the Kingdom of God might be extended through their church - Dignity is there.

Ralph Emerson once said that the use of history is to give value to the present hour and duty; so I ask you to read this story thoughtfully that it may help you to be more earnest in your service of the Christian Cause and one hopes the future of Banbridge Road will be worthy of its past.

It has been my privilege to gather this material and write this story. I shall cheerfully bear the reproach of having failed to do justice to Banbridge Road, its ministers and its people.

"Light and shadow by turns, but always love."