CUNINGHAM MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church was commissioned by sisters Catherine and Jane Cuningham in memory of their mother Mrs Anne Cuningham. The laying of the foundation stone took place on Monday 9th August 1880 at 1.30pm. The new church was dedicated on 1st September 1881, by the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rev Dr. William Stevenson of Rathgar, Dublin. This replaced a previous meeting house on the same site erected about one hundred years previously.
The architects were Young and MacKenzie, Belfast and the builders were Hugh McManus and Son, Randalstown. The building cost £5,500 and is built in a Gothic style with a square tower and spire and comprises a nave with projecting transepts, porches, session and minister’s room. The exterior walls are of local basalt set in cement, with dressings of sandstone from the Dungannon quarries. The Sun Dial from the old meeting-house was built into the vestibule of the new church. The tower and spire which is decorated with gargoyles in the shape of wolves’ heads reaches a height of one hundred and thirty feet to the weather vane. The windows are tinted with cathedral glass with a neat border. Seating capacity is for seven hundred people and the pews are arranged so as to ensure a clear and uninterrupted view of the pulpit which projects in front of an arched recess, in which is placed a canopied stall, surmounted by carved crockets and finial. Doors to the session and minister’s room are placed at each side of the pulpit. Electricity for the church was for many years supplied by the Maine Works until its closure in 1963 after which the church had to be rewired for Electricity Board light.
Situated beside the fast flowing River Maine, the Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, has the distinction of being the most prominent landmark in our village with the very fitting inscription on the bell, “Jesus Reigns Beside the Maine.”
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