Banbridge (1859)

William Greene, Esq., a civil engineer by profession and an eye-witness of the movement in the town, relates:

“Prayer-meetings were held from time to time, and month after month passed, but no sign was given. At length I was present at a solemn meeting. I could not refrain from tears at the earnest spirit evinced by all. We parted, however, without having witnessed anything uncommon but intense earnestness. It was about three days afterwards, when the same persons were assembled, that the blessed showers came down to refresh the waiting hearts of God’s people. Such sights as were witnessed on that night it would not be possible to describe. Multitudes had their stony hearts broken under the subduing influences of the Divine Spirit.

“Soon after I was in the neighbourhood again, and went in the evening with the same friend to a prayer-meeting. On our way, about half a mile from the town, we went into two lowly dwellings; and, in a few minutes, there gathered around us eight or nine, who seemed to be filled with joy and peace. We remained but a short time to pray and exhort, and then went off. Scarcely had we got to the door of the Presbyterian church, which was very full, when we met some sin-sick ones being carried, one after another, to the school house adjacent, crying and sobbing in indescribable agony. Some received peace in answer to earnest prayer whilst there, and many were taken to their own homes.”



This town and the district of country surrounding it have participated to a very gratifying extent in the shower of Divine blessing which is now doing so much for Ireland and Britain. At a single meeting, upwards of sixty people were visibly la­bouring under conviction, and those who profess to be on the Lord's side are numerous, and increasing every day. The Unitarians have been reached here to a wonderful extent, and on every hand embrace the saving truths of the gospel.

From ‘The Revival Newspaper,’ Volume i, p50, Sept 10th, 1859.

The following is written to a friend in London, by a Student on a visit to Ireland. It is with unfeigned pleasure and gratitude to God that I have to record the events which have transpired since my arrival in this place on Saturday evening. On Sunday morn­ing I preached in the chapel, from Eph. iii. 19, to an earnest, praying, and weeping congregation. In the evening a vast multitude congregated by invitation on Daisy Hill (the lawn of the Rev. W. Eccles, Baptist minister). A brother opened the meeting with singing and prayer, and then read the latter part of the 8th Romans, speaking for about half-an-hour from the 32nd verse with great earnestness and power. As Mr Eccles had gone to another meeting, I felt very anxious (though confident in God), as all the responsibility and arrangement rested on me. I then ascended the table from which we speak to the crowd, who were sitting above us on the sloping side of the hill, and gave out a psalm, and then prayed. I took as the subject upon which. to address them, Prov. 1. 24. I felt I had power, realizing the influences of the Holy Spirit; when I had been speaking for about twenty minutes, four were stricken in rapid succession, and cried for mercy, and subsequently one or two more. I cannot tell you the awful solemnity of the scene, nor describe the awe which took possession of my own soul. I saw them fall as by a stroke of lightning and cry out for mercy. I saw them after. The manifestations were different. One fine stout young woman was terribly convulsed; three men could not hold her; she dashed them away as though they had been children, while she cried, " Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me! Have mercy, O Lord; have mercy! "Another remained for a long time apparently insensible, then she continued clasping her hands and praying in broken whispers for forgiveness. She was in great terror, for she kept on saying, "Lord, have mercy! I'm lost; I'm lost! It's too late; there 'hope!" I have no room here for all the particulars. When they were all gone and I was lying down weary after the three services of the day, a man came to ask me to come and see a young girl who had been a prostitute, who was at the meeting, and feeling conviction and also a strange sensation, had thought to go home quietly; but when she had just reached the gate of the field, she fell down. The man said she had given up her bad ways for some months. I found her supported by two females and weeping bitterly, the tears streaming down her cheeks in torrents. She was in the man's house who came for me, which is in Bird-lane, the worst street in the whole town, though he himself is a decent man, and has a prayer-meeting for these poor things in his house. This girl was lodging with him, having just left a situation she had held as a servant. I spoke to her of the love of Christ and repeated for her some of the fullest and most gracious New Testament promises. She became calmer. I then prayed with her. When I had done she said, "Now I would not part with my Jesus for ten thou­sand worlds." The house was by this time nearly full, of prostitutes chiefly. I spoke to them of their sins and their Saviour; many of them were in tears and had been weeping all through the prayer. On returning through the town, a man met me, saying he was coming for me. A young woman, a flax-spinner' living in his house, had been at the meeting, and about an hour after she had got home was suddenly prostrated. I found her lying on a bed in great mental agony. I spoke and prayed with her, and left her calmer and more hope­ful. Since then Mr Eccles and I have visited all the cases, and we find them all progressing favourably; some have already been made to feel joy and gladness by realizing an interest in Christ. One woman who was stricken attended all the large meetings both this year and last, without being made to feel her sinfulness. Let us glorify God! Last night I preached in a country barn, full to overflowing; two were prostrated there. The Lord is again beginning to work mightily. Where Mr Eccles was on Sunday night nearly twenty prostrations occurred. It was at Ballinafern, about four miles from here. J. P.

From ‘The Revival Newspaper,’ Volume iii, p52, Aug 18th, 1860.

When revival reached Banbridge the Baptist church was well placed to exploit public interest in the gospel and was led by a competent minister accustomed to a strenuous programme of evangelistic preaching. On the green lawn of Daisy Hill, which was his residence, the big white kitchen table was placed, and this became the pulpit from which William F Eccles, along with others, preached almost daily throughout the summer. Dense crowds of people listened and some swayed and many sank to the ground pierced by the arrow of conviction of sin., It is estimated that at times 2000 people were assembled on the lawn and the adjoining meadow. During that year scores were converted in the little chapel and the congregation became so large that it was found necessary to build a gallery on three sides of the building. - History of the Banbridge Baptist Church by W K Stewart.

There was also revival in 1875 as a result of Moody in Belfast.

There are crowded meetings, many enquirer and numerous cases of genuine conversion.

From 'The Witness' 1/1/1875.

Additional Information

The meetings were on the lawn of Eccles Manse, but there are now flats. The Postcode is close.

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