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which Mr. Coffey has so ably urged (Journal, June, 1894, pp. 184-187) against the views now advocated. It is enough to note, and it is more to the point, that Mr. Coffey has omitted to refer to the passages repeated ahove, or to offer an explanation of their meaning other than that put upon them by me. For my own part I do not see how "Professor Rhys' view that the sidh is to be regarded as the entrance to the underworld—Hades," could possibly be made to agree with the above equations. On the contrary, they seem to me to offer abundant testimony in support of the interpretation which I give to the word sidh.
The uncertainty attaching to ancient traditions is well exemplified in the case of this " Seal Balbh," whose name, whether it be regarded as that of one historical individual, Seal the Speechless, or as applicable to many other "dumb champions," suggests material for a monograph on that theme alone.1 But in every instance this progenitor of a "banshee" is regarded as a being of flesh and blood.
1 This is seen from two other references of Mr. Hore's (" Book of Rights," 226, and 24. P. 11. p. 169, MS. Royal Irish Academy); as also from "Silva Gadelica," vol. i., 293, 368, vi. (v.), x. (iv. J.), and xxiv. (ii.).and from "Leabhar na Feinne," p. 34.
THE OLD SESSION-BOOK OF TEMPLEPATRICK
By The REV. W. T. LATIMER, B.A.
'oe more than two hundred years a majority of the Protestant popula
tion of Ulster have been adherents of the Presbyterian Church. It is, therefore, but reasonable to expect that the Synodical, Presbyterial, and Parochial records of this church should contain much that is interesting to the historian, the antiquary, and the genealogist. The Synodical minutes go no farther back than 1691, but there are Presbyterial and congregational records that reach to very near the time when the first presbytery was constituted. Of these none is more interesting than the old Session Book of Templepatrick. Through the kindness of the Rev. Robert Campbell, and of his son, Dr. Campbell, I have been permitted to examine this valuable record of congregational history. Although yellow with age, written by different hands, abounding in abbreviations, and in some places blurred by exposure to damp, it is almost all so legible as to be easily deciphered. It begins in 1646, and extends, with some interruptions, till 1744. It contains a few separate accounts of income and expenditure, but almost the entire volume is taken up with minutes of the meetings of session. There was a separate "Book of Records" for baptisms, but it has been unfortunately lost.
Josias Welsh, a grandson of John Knox, became parish minister of Templepatrick in 1626. As he preached Presbyterian doctrines, and practised Presbyterian discipline, he suffered from the attempts of Charles I. to bring the Irish Church into strict conformity with the English. Mr. Welsh died in 1634. Through him several Ulster families claim descent from John Knox. Among these are the Rogers family of Derry and of Kingstown, the Booth family of Denamona, Omagh, and the Nelson family of Downpatrick.
After the death of Welsh, the services in the parish church were conducted by Conformists; but, in 1646, after the royal power had been overthrown in Ulster, a Presbyterian was once more appointed to the charge. This minister was the Rev. Anthony Kennedy, and the " Session Book" begins with a record of his induction :—
The admission of Mr. Anthony Kennedy to the Parish of Templepatrick (by the providence of the Great God) was the penult day of October, 1646. Mr. Ferguson being that day moderator, and with him ministers, Mr. Adair, Mr. D. Buttle, and Mr. Cunningham, with expectants, Mr. Jamus Cer, Mr. John Greig, and Mr. Jeremiah O'quyn.
By Mr. Kennedy's exertions, the parish church, then in ruins, was rebuilt. After the restoration he was of course expelled from the building he had erected, and it was nearly ten years before the congregation ventured to build a meeting-house for themselves. From some of the entries it seems that Mr. Kennedy was possessed of considerable private means. Possibly he may have been a relation of the Eev. Thomas Kennedy, who, the same year, was ordained minister of Carland, and who was a near relative of the sixth Earl of Cassilis.
The second entry relates to the formation of a Session:—
The names of the elders of the Session of Templepatrick being publickly admitted and sworn, with prayer and fasting, the 22nd day of November, being the Lord's Day, 1646 :—
Major Edmund Ellis. John Inglis.
Lieutenant James Lindsay. William Wallace.
Mr. William Shaw. Alex. Caruth.
Adam M'Nielie. Gilbert M'Nielie.
John Peticrew. Thomas Loggan.
Thomas Windrum. Thomas Taggart.
Hugh Kennedy. Alex. Pringle.
Hugh Sloan. Gawin Herbison.
William M°Cord. Gilbert Bellihill.
At this time many of the aristocracy were Presbyterians, and the congregation of Templepatrick seems for a lengthened period to have numbered the leading local landlords among its members. Captain Henry Upton, who had come to Ireland with Essex, bought land at Templepatrick, married a daughter of Sir Hugh Clotworthy, and founded a family long celebrated for attachment to the Presbyterian Church, and whose head is now Lord Templetown. During the reign of Charles II., Mr. Arthur Upton was chosen to represent county Antrim in the Irish Parliament, and he retained his seat for about forty years. He was succeeded by his son, the gallant Colonel Clotworthy Upton, who, when King William attempted to storm Limerick, entered the breach at the head of a forlorn hope. In 1711, Colonel Upton "was-set apart by prayer and solemn obligations" to the office of ruling elder. Afterwards he often represented the congregation at meetings of Synod, where he acted as a leader of the orthodox party in their conflicts with the Non-Subscribers. He was distinguished for his hospitality, and was accustomed to entertain the clergy of his church at Castle-Upton.
The Session of Templepatrick consisted of the minister as moderator, and the elders, with whom were associated the deacons, whose chief duty was to take charge of temporal matters. The congregation was divided into districts, of which one was assigned to each elder, and every elder was bound to look sharply after the moral conduct of all the people under his charge. At each meeting of Session, two elders were appointed as "visitors" for the next Sabbath. Their special business was to " visit" the houses in the town during divine service, to find out who were absent from church, and, above all, to report the names of those whom they found drinking in the public-houses. Before the Session came all cases of discipline, and everything which directly, or even indirectly, affected the congregation. Besides this, many matters of general interest came up which it might be thought lay altogether outside the limits of their authority, even at a time when Presbyterianism was recognised as the State religion in Templepatrick. The following extract will show how the Session felt in relation to the natives :—
Sep. 7. 1647.—It is delated that Lieutenant Wallace hath some Irishes under him who comes not to the church. The Session ordains William MrCord to speak to the Lieutenant that either he will put them away from him or else cause them to keep the church.
The " Session Book" contains an entry of the amount of collections, and of the various purposes to which they were applied. On Sundays they varied from about two shillings to a pound. On the three days of Communions—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday—they often amounted to over seven pounds. A part of the money raised was required to purchase Communion elements, and part of it was devoted to various congregational and charitable purposes. We have a record of grants for "a poor scholar," " a poor man robbed of the rebels," "mending of a poor boy's head," "winding-sheets," and "mending the little bridge."
May 19. 1657.—Communion Sabbalh 36 Pottles [18 gallons] of wine and one bushel of flour was bought. The collections amounted to £7 : 13 : 0.
April 17. 1648.— Session Book, 5 : 6d.; stand for hour glass, 1 : Gd.; to Adam M'Nielie for dressing stool of repentance, 2 : 6d.
I have mentioned that the " Session Book" of Templepatrick does not contain the ordinary baptismal records; but sometimes the dispensation of baptism is alluded to incidentally. There are, however, numerous records of the publication of "bands." On one occasion as many as seven couples were proclaimed together. The fee was eight and four pence, with a shilling to the clerk for "booking their names."
April 17. 1648.—Captain John Hustown, in the parish of Balliclair, and Margaret Shaw in this parish, gave their names to be proclaimed. Hugh Sloan hath received of bands money 9 : 6d.
The Session of Templepatrick not only supervised the morals of the people, but in many respects exercised the functions of a modern court of Petty Sessions. They received informations not only regarding breaches of the laws of morality, but regarding the private quarrels of parties residing within their jurisdiction. It was enacted :—
That all complaints come into the Session by way of bill, the complaintive is to put in one shilling with his bill, and if he proves not his point his shilling forfeits to the Session-box.
The punishments that were adjudicated differed according to the nature of the transgressions for which they were inflicted. Sometimes delinquents were fined; sometimes they were even put in the pillory. For immoral conduct the punishment was generally "To stand in the publique place of repentance before the pulpit, in face of the congregation." There the culprits had to take up their position, Sunday after Sunday, till the Session were "satisfied with the signs of their repentance." Besides it was enacted "that all persons standing in the public place of repentance, shall pay the church officer one groat." In this place of punishment there was a stool for the accommodation of offenders, which, from the position it occupied, was called the " stool of repentance." The crimes that most frequently came before the Session were fornication, adultery, and Sabbath-breaking. Besides these, there were numerous private quarrels, cases of drunkenness, and various miscellaneous misdemeanours. A man was once convicted for having "thrown water upon dogs, and given them names as in the form of baptism." There are numerous records of persons being "delated to the Session," and punished for beating their wives or children on the Lord's day. A woman was punished for bleaching her "cloathes," and another for boiling porridge on that day. From this we may infer that, if any of these crimes (the wifebeating included) had been committed on any other day, the delinquents would have escaped condemnation. Then there is mention made of a woman brought up for "charming," but the proof failed. On the 27th of July, 1646, there was a case of scolding, and a case of witchcraft before the Session. With regard to charges of every kind it is quite usual to find a statement to the effect that the accused, after being found guilty and punished according to custom, was " absolved of scandal," or "absolved of y1 sin." There seems, therefore, no doubt but Sessions then claimed to possess a power which would appear strange to modern Presbyterians. The following extracts from this interesting record will convey an idea of the crimes for which members were "delated" to the Session, and the punishments inflicted. One of the first censures recorded was to the effect:—
That John Cowan shall stand opposite the pulpit, and confess his sin, in the face of the puhlic of beating his wife on the Lord's day.
Apryle 17. 1648.—Joyce Baylie and Oina O'donally were ordered to stand before the congregation in white sheets and make public confession of their sins.
John Jackson delated to ye Session for breaking of ye Sabbath in drawing bis sword to strike. Ann Stewart of Ballerobert is delated for pulling hemp upon ye Sabbath day.
William Slowan and Andrew McClure were summoned and appeared before the Session for going to England in y' unlawful expedition, they were ordered to make publique confession, they appeared again before the Session, where they were sharply rebuked and absolved from yl sin. [This was for the political offence of serving with the Scotch troops, that, as a result of the Engagement, took the field in a vain attempt to liberate Charles I.]
JOUR. r.8.A.I., VOL. V., PT. II., 5Th SRR. ' L