Clare                          Church

About Us

Clare Presbyterian Church was established in 1633 and is one of the oldest in Ireland.
Presbyterianism came to this area over 400 years ago, through the Plantation of Ulster.
The Rev T. Lyttle wrote of the history of Clare in 1880 that Clare, “literally means a plank and it gives the name, either alone or in composition, to a great many places in Ireland where there was a wooden bridge or footstick over a river.  Over the river Cusher, there is now a stone bridge; and there is no doubt that the plank or wooden crossing, which was here in olden times, gave the name to the little village.”  Rev Lyttle continues, “Scotch settlers were planted and a Church erected, but in the rebellion of 1641 … was burned, along with all else”.
The congregation in the 1700s numbered between 300–400 families.  Even into the early years of the 19th century, the records of Seatholders, show members of the congregation travelling from as far away as Poyntzpass, Marlicoo, Cornascriebe and Ballynewry.  However, the rise of other congregations such as Ahorey, Cremore and Tandragee would, understandably, prove to be much more convenient for families travelling the long distances to Clare on foot.
The present Meeting House is the 4th building in Clare’s long history.  The first church was burnt down in the violence of 1641.  The second building lasted somewhere between 30 and 40 years and the third stood for a century and a half.  It was a three-isled building.  A popular design of its time as it was easy and relatively inexpensive to construct.  It is clear from the church records that in it's final years, it was in a very poor state of repair and the estimated cost of the new building would be £750.  The present building was built in 1828 and the interior was extensively renovated in 2013.
          1633–1678                Rev Harris?
          1679-1694?               Rev John McBride
          1697-1725                 Rev Moses Cherry
          1725-1765                 Rev George Cherry
          1765-1802                 Rev Samuel Livingstone
          1807-1816                 Rev Robert Adams
          1817-1824                 Rev James Gardner
          1824-1876                 Rev John Bell
          1877-1881                 Rev David Wilson
          1882-1928                 Rev Robert James Whan
          1930-1935                 Dr R J Porter
          1935-1937                 Rev Marshall McCreery
          1938-1941                 Rev James Malcolm
          1941-1945                 Rev Francis J McMorran
          1946-1951                 Rev Stanley Williamson
          1951-1965                 Rev Cecil O Weir
          1967-1985                 The Very Rev Dr S Hutchinson
          1988-2016                 Rev Colin Harris
          2017-                          Rev Philip McClelland
Interior of Clare Presbyterian Church Tandragee after renovation