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Stop 16: the Presbyterian church
are on the Portlaw bridge, look across the road and you will see the
Presbyterian Church. It was set up in the middle of the 19th Century.
It is not used today and is starting to look a bit derelict. It reminds us that
the Presbyterian community prospered in the town years ago. A lot of the
supervisors in the tannery were Presbyterians who came from Northern Ireland.
church seems to be away from today’s town centre, as does the Catholic one,
St. Patrick’s Church, up the hill. (We decided not to make you walk that far
so we put St. Patrick’s on our driving trail!). However, the old Portlaw was
actually mostly on the other side of the river from where it is today. The
landlord knocked a lot of the houses that were there and the Malcomsons
developed the site of today’s town. So, the Presbyterian Church was actually
very central to the community back in the 1840s.
Manse house is attached to it. A famous international footballer called Dr.
Staunton used to live there. This house was flooded many times when the river
overflowed. Strangely, the church was never flooded. Some say that the church
was used as a stable for horses and carriages around the turn of the 19th
Century during Portlaw’s less prosperous years.
Again, you can see the remains of some cast iron work on and around the
church, which was possibly cast in the local foundry.