Adam Clarke Memorial Methodist Church

The first church on this site was a simple building which also served as a Sunday School. Doctor Adam Clarke, the Church Minister, raised the money for and started the building of the church, which opened in 1831. He was a talented speaker and caught the attention of John Wesley – the founder of Methodism along with his brother, Charles – on a trip to Ireland. He rose through the ranks and held the most senior position in the Methodist church thrice. He was a gifted linguist and scholar, even working on translating the Rosetta Stone!

Methodist Church & Adam Clarke Memorial

The present church, the Adam Clarke Memorial Church, named in his honour opened on 29th September 1887. The Architect was Thomas Elliot of Enniskillen and the first stone was laid by the Duke of Abercorn. It is a small church, four bays long with chancel and porch, built in coursed basalt with sandstone trim in Neo-Norman style. The round headed windows are emphasised by a continuous string course and decorative buttresses in the interspaces. At the west end rises a slim tower with gables and a sandstone conical spire, ending in a finial.

First Methodist Church opened in 1831
First Methodist Church opened in 1831

It is one of the few Methodist churches to have a bell, which was cast in 1681 by Francis Fremy of Amsterdam and reached Portrush via Dr Clarke who received it from the Duke of Newcastle, who was given it by the Earl of Durham, UK Ambassador to Russia who allegedly received it from Alexander I – the Czar of Russia.  This bell unfortunately was chipped which resulted in an unusual chime when rung on Sundays.

Adam Clarke Memorial Church opened in 1887
Adam Clarke Memorial Church opened in 1887

The bell is no longer used and is displayed in the Church porch. The obelisk in the garden of the Church was erected on a raised grass-covered mound behind the church in 1859 to mark the centenary of Dr. Clarke’s birth and was moved to its current place in 1916.