Ballywillan Presbyterian Church, Portrush – Origin:
Ballywillan was one of the earliest congregations in the district, for Gabriel Cornwall of ‘Balliwoolen’ appears in a list of 14 ministers in 1655 who received grants from the Commonwealth government.
Mr Cornwall preached in the old parish church at Crossreagh crossroads until 1661 when he was ejected for refusing to be re-ordained by a bishop when the Monarchy was restored.
The Ordinance Survey Memoirs of 1835 note that there was a tradition that there had once been a Presbyterian meeting house in Maddybenny. This may have been a primitive meeting house or merely a barn or such building on Mr Cornwell’s own property which he used when conditions improved sufficiently for ministers to begin to preach to their people again.
Later the congregation obtained a site at McIlvennon West on which to build a church, but the date is not known – their subsequent churches have all been built on this site.
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