History – church
The historical records show that the “meeting house” was built (with a thatched roof) in 1711.(Taken from ‘Malin – Aspects of its History’ by Conal Byrne May 1992) A record of the first ordained Minister mentioned is the Rev. John Harvey in 1717. Tradition in Malin maintained that, because of the Penal Laws, the Presbyterians had to build their church below the high water mark, so the church was built on the sands of the sea and the tide swept round it twice a day. For this reason graves were put in the sand dunes where the Catholic church in Lagg now stands, until the new road was built. A few Presbyterian families still use family graves in that graveyard.. Certain Church of Ireland families also made use of this graveyard. In the old section of the cemetery at Lagg Catholic Church there is the following inscription on a tombstone:
“Here lies the body of Margaret Hart aged 81 years wife of Jonathan Bines who died February the 16th Day A.D. 1719.Jonathan Bines aged 75 who departed this life the 26th Day of October 1722”
The family to which this inscription refers were Presbyterians who lived at Knockamany. It can be safely stated that the couple mentioned were in residence here before the end of the seventeenth century. (Taken from “Our Inis Eoghain Heritage” by Brian Bonner,first published in 1984)
In 1868 the church was extended by 16 ft and given its horse-shoe gallery. The church was known as the Meeting House, and some still refer to it by that name.
As we look back over the records of Births and Marriages from 1845 we see the same family names appearing in Church life today – Boggs, Colhoun, Davis, Fulton, Henderson, Merchant, Platt, Smyth, Stewart – the world has moved on but the steadfastness for the love of God in this area has passed on from generation to generation as these same families and others continue to instil in their children a passion for the all -powerful and loving God.
Farming was the main source of income in this area at that time, and for some of the families this livelihood has continued over the generations.
In 1956 the Moderator, in his address to the General Assembly said that “in Eire there was an increase in the confidence of Presbyterians……A special tribute to the members of Malin – the most northerly congregation of the church – was due, he said, for the spirit with which all cooperated to keep their church in beauty and cleanliness. Were there such enthusiasm and voluntary work everywhere, the wheels of the Kingdom of God in our land would turn with a new velocity and a new power”.
For close on 200 years after its establishment Malin congregation had no official residence for its ministers, who either rented or bought their own in the locality. Around 1900 efforts were made to establish a Manse Fund, which by 7th July,1903, had reached £280.
In September 1903, the committee considered the purchase of Rockville House and lands from Rev. A. Henderson, but agreement between the committee and Rev. A Henderson had to be cancelled. From 1903-1906 nothing was done. On 30th April 1907 Rev. Henderson resigned and was succeeded by Rev. J. Brewster. On 5th September, 1907 at a congregational meeting it was unanimously agreed to build, but it took the impetus of another new minister Rev. John T. Dougherty to proceed. 4 Acres of land in the Cave field, Drumcrowie, were bought from Dr. Gilmore M.D. at £50 per Cunningham acre (half an acre free). Eventually Dr. Gilmore was paid 200 pounds in gold sovereigns. £665.16.0 was the agreed price with the Contractor, and the Manse was built in 1911. After the Carndonagh and Malin churches were united with one Minister in 1965, the Manse was sold in the early seventies.