Presbyterian families from the Tullyallen and Mountnorris area had to travel to Markethill to attend church services. Having made a request to the Presbytery they were granted permission to create a separate church within the locality to be known as Portnorris (aka Mountnorris or Tullyallen). The first church, dating from 1742, was likely to have been a wooden structure with a thatched roof. Mr. John Mulligan was ordained in 1742 and continued to minister there until his death in 1776.
Two years later, the Reverend Francis Turretine was commissioned to preach. It was decided that a new church should be built but there arose a dispute as to where the new church should be located. The argument could not be easily resolved and so two different buildings were constructed on two different sites, the minister being forced to hold meetings at a bleach-mill half way between the two churches. The parting of the congregation was finalised when the members of Tullyallen issued a call for separate ministry.
TULLYALLEN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Having applied to the Presbytery for preaching, Tullyallen received as its first minister Mr. William McAuley who remained with the congregation for eight years before resigning to travel to New York. His replacement at was Mr. Robert Lyons Porter. Ordained in 1799, he continued at the church until his retirement in 1836 and even then continued to reside in the area and work within the local community.
Under the pastoral care of Mr. John Dunwoody Martin, the congregation withheld support for the General Assembly for some years, as did many other churches in the area. In 1887, Mr. Martin celebrated fifty years in charge of the church and received a timepiece from the congregation in recognition for his leadership. It would seem that at this time he was senior minister but had an assistant in Mr. John Entrican who served the congregation for nine years before moving to Third Cookstown in 1893.
Mr. Andrew Gailey was the incumbent in 1893 but resigned in 1907 for a charge in Lucan, County Dublin. The Reverend Edward Charleton Leinster replaced him in 1908 and ministered at Tullyallen until his retirement in 1921. At this time the two congregations reunited.
MOUNTNORRIS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Following the split of 1790 the Mountnorris congregation constructed cross-shaped church, unusually with four aisles. Reverend Turrettin continued as minister at Mountnorris until his death in 1804 when Mr. William McGowan succeeded him. The earliest gravestone in the churchyard is that of Reverend McGowan's wife Jane, who died in 1912, aged 27. After Reverend McGowan's retirement in 1847 Mr. William Henry McEwen was ordained and gave pastoral care to the church for thirty years before his retirement. A grandson of the minister, the Honourable John McEwen became Minister of Agriculture and Commerce in Australia.
Mr. Robert Robson was called to the charge of Mountnorris in 1878, succeeded by Mr. William James Lowe who was ordained in 1884. After five years he resigned the charge and went on to become Moderator of the General Assembly. Mr. John Vance was installed in 1890 but his ministry lasted only three years before he emigrated to Australia, as did his successor at Mountnorris, Mr. James Maxwell Rodgers Dale, ordained in 1893 he emigrated in 1905. Mr. Samuel James Hamilton became the last minister to be enrolled in the ministry of the separate Mountnorris charge.
THE UNITED CHURCH
The Tullyallen and Mountnorris congregations reunited in 1921 under the ministry of Mr. Hamilton. But despite sharing a minister the churches retained their separate identities and services, uniting only on special occasions. Mr. Hamilton resigned in 1927 to take up a charge a Killead, County Antrim. Mr. Andrew McCurdy was installed in 1927 and cared for the church for thirty years before receiving a call to another charge. It is recorded that he enjoyed a game of draughts but was not gracious in defeat.
Mr. Maurice Bolton accepted responsibility for the church in 1957 and founded the Boys Brigade Company at the church. He left to take the care of Strand church in Londonderry. His successor, Reverend Alan Vincent Martin, had previously been a missionary in India before his ordination to the church at Mountnorris in 1968. During his time in charge he set up the Presbyterian Women's Association and a successful bowling club. Following his departure the Reverend Leonard Paul McClenaghan served the church for four years before accepting a call to Magheramourne Presbyterian in Larne.
Mr. Richard Montgomery took up the church in 1983 but stayed for only nine months before being appointed Assistant Warden at Thompson House in Belfast. Despite the short duration of his ministry Mr. Montgomery had an impact on church life, in that he founded a Youth Club on Saturdays and set up the Social Action Committee to address issues affecting the locality. His successor was the Reverend Robert Alan Knox. Ordained in 1989 he had previously been Chaplain to the Royal Air Force and Royal Scots Regiment. He resigned in 2000 to take up the care of a church in the Shetland Islands.Recent ministers
2000 – Rev. Alan Knox
2007 - Rev. Nigel Reid