As with most Presbyterian churches in Ireland, Kingmills has its origins in the plantation of Ulster. Planters setting up estates brought with them Scottish families to act as tenants and care for the estate. This led to the early formation of a Presbyterian church in Markethill.

Following years of famine in Scotland there was an influx of Scottish settlers into the district, swelling the Presbyterian congregation. A split in the Markethill church in 1739 led to the formation of two separate congregations. At the same time worshippers from outlying areas appealed to the Presbytery for separate preaching in their own locality. This request was granted and a church was established at Tullyallen.

Members of this congregation considered the distance from their homesteads to the church a difficulty and in the 1780's began to meet in the loft of a corn mill owned by Alexander King. Indeed this gave the church the name Kingsmills.

The landlord Richard Wilson, for the purpose of constructing a meetinghouse, granted two acres of land to the congregation. The first church was a simple low-brow building with a thatched roof and earthen floor. The congregation called its first minister and in 1792 the Rev.WJ Beatty was installed.

The earliest grave is that of Mrs Harpur who was buried in 1799.


Text © MDE Ltd 2002; Photos © AMM 2002