Drumcree Residents ~ 1737 - 40
The Parish of Drumcree is a Church of Ireland rural parish on the Northern side of Portadown. Drumcree which means "Ridge of the Branch" may well in days of old have been a centre for Druid worship. However it would appear that Drumcree became a Christian centre in Celtic times. The Celdees of Armagh who were formed in the sixth century to oversee the worship of the Cathedral also had responsibility for Drumcree. When parishes were formed in the Irish Church in 1110, the parish of Drumcree was defined as having sixty - six townlands. These townlands lie west of the river Bann. Shortly afterwards the Irish Church came under control of the church of Rome. That was in 1172 at the Synod of Cashel.
When the reformation took place in the mid-sixteenth century, the Irish Church became protestant like the Church of England and independent again. Nothing is known about the reformation years, except that Henry Iharran was appointed Vicar of the parishes of Kilmore and Drumcree on 5th January 1505. A map of 1609 shows that there was a church in ruins in Drumcree Churchyard. Shortly after the Ulster plantation in 1610 a church was built on the site of the present church. It is understood that the church seated five hundred people and had a gallery.
Around 1657 it was suggested that Drumcree Church and Seagoe Church should be closed and a new church should be founded at Edenderry. But this never came to pass. The Reverend John Wesley had a great influence on the parish and visited it six times between 1769 and 1785. The tower of the church was built in 1812 and the bell was hung in 1814.
When Portadown began to grow at the beginning of the nineteenth century, thirteen town-lands were separated from Drumcree, to form the parish of Portadown. The townlands are: Annagh, Artabrackagh, Ballyworkan, Baltylum, Clounagh, Corcrain, Drumnakelly, Drumnasoo, Garvaghy, Kilmoriaty, Mahon, Mullantine and Tavenagh. The Curate of Drumcree, Robert Henry was appointed Curate in Charge. A Chapel of Ease dedicated to St Martin was built where St Mark's is now sited. It was consecrated on 14th November 1826. It was decided in 1854 to build a new church at Drumcree, which is the present church. In 1867 five more townlands were separated from Drumcree to help form the parish of Diamond. These townlands are: Corglass, Annagora, Ballymakeown, Coharra and Cushenny.
The church of Ireland had been supported by the state prior to 1870, that is, it was the established church. But the Irish Church Act of 1869 brought the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church of Ireland from 1st January 1871. This meant that the Church lost millions of pounds and a great deal of property. Drumcree lost almost all of its 565 acres of Glebe land.
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