Our History

Our congregation was originally part of a union with a Randalstown Burgher congregation (now 2nd Randalstown), and first met in Ahoghill around 1770.

On the 16th May 1774 the Randalstown Church petitioned the Presbytery of Moira and Lisburn for Supply of Sermon. This was granted, with the minister having to preach in Randalstown or Ahoghill.

Rev. William Holmes was installed on 11th January 1775.

Rev. Thomas Smith was ordained on 12th October 1780 but he became involved in the Rebellion of 1798 and emigrated to America in 1799. His resignation ended the union with Randalstown, as the congregations became separate charges.

Various disagreements caused about half of the congregation to leave. This group of Anti-Burghers would later build their own church in the village, and eventually become known as Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Rev. John Marr was ordained and installed on 6th December 1800, his ministry continued for forty-three years until his death on 3rd February 1844. He was buried in his family plot in our grave yard.

Rev. Stewart Fullerton was ordained and installed to what was then known as Third Ahoghill on 7th May 1845, he was removed as minister of the congregation by Synod on 11th August 1857.

Rev. James McClure Abernethy was ordained and installed on 25th March 1858, and after a year of ministry left for service with the Colonial Mission in Australia on 26th April 1859.

The spiritual awakening of the Ulster Revival swept through Ahoghill, with many souls being drawn to Christ and lives transformed.

Church attendance increased dramatically in the village, historians report that “the three Presbyterian churches in Ahoghill are full; and the Second and Third are contemplating large additions to their accommodation.”

Records show thirty-four new communicants were added to our congregation.

Rev. Robert Mitchell was ordained and installed on 14th December 1859 and remained until 28th May 1900. He died aged 74 on 8th June 1901 and was buried in our grave yard.

Brookside Presbyterian Church choir around 1875.

The earliest known photograph of our meetinghouse.

Rev. Robert Hugh Wilson was ordained and installed on 8th November 1900 and ministered 12 years before he was called to St. James, Ballymoney, on 28th May 1912.

Synod granted a request to change the name of our church, and referred the decision back to the congregation. Third Ahoghill became known as Brookside.

Rev. Thomas Moore was ordained and installed on 1st October 1912 and remained until 1st December 1916 when he received a call to Trinity Church, Prince’s Park, Liverpool.

Rev. William John McGeagh was ordained and installed on 31st May 1917 and resigned on 3rd February 1920, having accepted a joint charge to First and Second Moneymore.


Rev. David McConnell was installed on 29th June 1920 but was tragically killed aged 56 as the result of a road accident on 15th December 1931. His body was laid to rest in our grave yard.

An aerial photo of Ahoghill shows Brookside (top right)

The Rev. Adam Alexander Gilmore Kirkpatrick was installed on 27th July 1932, and although crippled with arthritis for many years, he was a faithful pastor until his retirement on 31st March 1954.

He was laid to rest in our grave yard following his death on 8th December 1968.

Our church choir with Rev. Kirkpatrick.

Rev. James Wilson McAuley was ordained and installed in Brookside on 7th October 1954. He resigned to go to Nelson Memorial congregation, Belfast on 20th March 1960.

Rev. James Alexander Matthews was ordained and installed on 5th October 1960 and remained until 27th April 1971 when he resigned to become minister of First Lurgan.


An aerial photo of Ahoghill shows all three Presbyterian meetinghouses in the village, with Brookside top centre.

The construction of a new church hall was completed.

Rev. Ivan Alexander McKay was installed on 23rd March 1972. He had a long and fruitful ministry and saw considerable growth in the size of the congregation before resigning on 26th May 1996 to go to Dundonald congregation in Belfast.

The original stonework of the meetinghouse is revealed during renovation works.

The church building was reopened after extension and renovation works were completed.

Former minister Rev. James Alexander Matthews was elected as Moderator of the General Assembly.

Our fourteenth minister Rev. David McGaughey commenced his ministry on Sunday 18th May 1997 and exercised a faithful preaching and teaching ministry until his resignation on 26th October 2007.

Former minister Rev. Ivan McKay was elected Moderator of the General Assembly.

An extension to the church halls complex was completed and was opened by The Very Rev. Harry Uprichard, then Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and minister of neighbouring Ahoghill congregation Trinity.

Our church choir inside the meetinghouse.

Rev. William Moody was installed in Brookside on 19th September 2008, and continued the faithful preaching of God’s Word.

A new manse was built for the arrival of Rev. Moody and was completed in the summer of 2009.

More Photos

For more historical photos of our congregation
visit the 2nd Ahoghill Boys' Brigade website.