First Broughshane Presbyterian Church (1859)

Rev. Archibald Robinson, the Presbyterian minister, of the village, relates the following: —

“The first case of awakening here was of a very peculiar and solemn kind. It was in 1858. It was that of a man who had been a drunkard. He was drunk the week before. In the middle of the night he awoke and roused the family out of their beds—said he had had a dream—an angel came and told him to be up and busy praying for mercy, for he would die at one o’clock, or, if not at one, decidedly at four o’clock the next day. He dressed and gave himself up entirely to reading and prayer. People thought he was mad—in delirium tremens. He refused all solicitations to induce him to drink— went about wringing his hands and entreating mercy, till about one o’clock—went to his bed, and died happy about four!

“It was not, however, till May 1859 that we were visited with a most gracious and abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We had been praying for and expecting some such precious blessing, but were, notwithstanding, taken by surprise, so sudden, powerful, and extraordinary were the manifestations of the Spirit’s presence. Persons of every shade of temperament and character were mysteriously affected, overpowered, prostrated, and made to pour out the most thrilling agonising cries for mercy. Most of those thus impressed and awakened found peace and comfort in a very short space of time, and then their countenances shone with a sweetness and glory beyond description. Very many of them received a marvellous fluency and power of prayer. A hatred of sin, a love for the Saviour, a zeal for His cause, affection for one another, and an anxiety about perishing sinners, took absolute possession of their hearts, and literally ruled and governed their actions. For about six weeks almost all agricultural operations, and indeed every kind of secular employment, were suspended, no man being able to think of or attend to anything but the interests of his soul. Night and day the sound of praise and prayer never ceased to float upon the air. An overwhelming sense of awe and terror held in check the boldest sinners, while thousands who till now had lived as if eternity were a priestly fiction seemed now for the first time to realise its truth and presence and to feel as if the end of all things was at hand. I should say about one thousand people were suddenly, sensibly, and powerfully impressed and awakened.”

One morning during the revival a remarkable occurrence took place in the spinning mill close by. Twenty to thirty persons were prostrated under severe conviction of sin and as a result the mill had to stop production. Two days later, when it attempted to reopen, only half the employees were fit for work, the-’other half being physically affected in the awakening.


The 1859 Ulster Revival, known as 'the Great Awakening', had a profound effect upon the local community. Starting with emotional scenes in the local Raceview Spinning Mill the outbreak of spiritual revival spread around the district. Large crowds gathered outside the local Presbyterian Church. Many of the 4,000 crowd were converted to faith in Jesus Christ. The outcome of that revival resulted in a new Presbyterian church being built in the village.

From Wikipedia.

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