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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Church, curved wall to South, cast-iron railings & entrance gates to West and lamp posts

Date of Construction:
1840 - 1859

Address :
Methodist Church Circular Road Coleraine Co. Londonderry BT52 1PS


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
22/06/1977 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
C8472 3249

Owner Category

Church - Methodist

Exterior Description And Setting

A mid-Victorian classical-styled Methodist Church fronted by a Corinthian portico in antis, built 1853 to designs by Isaac Farrell and located to the east side of Circular Road in Coleraine town centre. Rectangular plan with stairwell bays to antae and semi-circular apse to west; apse abutted by a single-storey flat-roof modern extension connecting two-and-three-storey modern church hall (1961) to rear (of no interest). Pitched natural slate roof with angled ridge tiles. Cast-iron ogee rainwater goods on projecting eaves. Stucco-fronted with channelled rustication to ground floor; ruled-and-lined render on a rubblestone plinth to side elevations; roughcast render to apse at east. Windows to gallery level are replacement 4/4 timber sash with margin panes, round-headed four-paned top-lights and projecting painted sills; segmental-headed replacement 4/2 timber sash with margin panes, horns and projecting painted sills at ground floor; replacement twentieth-century round-headed leaded-and-stained glass windows to apse. The principal elevation faces west and is dominated by the distyle portico in antis with pediment containing a dentilled cornice. Pediment is supported on two Corinthian columns with entassis; corner pilasters with Corinthian capitals frame antae, each containing a blind window opening with moulded architrave having projecting sill decorated with a moulded panel; plasterwork cornice and decorative moulding to soffit of portico. Central doorcase comprises moulded architrave surmounted by frieze with two painted rosette mouldings and a dentilled ovolo-moulded cornice. Double-leaf two-panelled timber doors surmounted by a fixed panelled timber tympanum and flanked by panelled jambs. Portico is accessed by a set of seven concrete steps with modern metal handrail. There is a curved flanking wall, render and painted, to South, which would have been reflected to north; there is evidence of this having been removed. There are two original cast-iron lamp posts eiother side of entrance. The north elevation has five evenly spaced windows at ground and first floor. The east elevation comprises semi-circular apse with three replacement leaded-and-stained glass windows at gallery level; abutted at ground floor left by a modern single-storey flat-roof extension connecting the two-storey modern church hall. The south elevation is as described at north. Setting: Situated on a triangular plot to the east side of Circular Road in Coleraine town centre, directly south of Coleraine Public Library. Overlooking modern shopping complex situated on the east banks of the Bann. Lawned to front with pathway laid in modern brick pavior. Directly to rear of church, accessed via the flat-roof modern extension and from Queen Street to east, is the modern church hall (1961) in typical mid-twentieth-century style. Large gap site to south currently in use as a car-park, bounded by a high rendered wall. Site is bounded to north by painted smooth rendered wall with saddleback concrete coping, punctuated by square piers with pointed concrete caps. Cast-iron railings on a concrete plinth bounds site to front (west); cast-iron gates to entrance on round cast-iron piers topped by acorn finials. Roof: Natural slate Walling: Stucco-fronted, ruled-and-lined and roughcast render Windows: Replacement timber sash and leaded-and-stained glass RWG: Cast-iron


Farrell, Francis

Historical Information

The Methodist church, Coleraine, was built in 1852-3 to designs by the leading Methodist church architect at the period, also responsible for Coleraine Academical Institution, Isaac Farrell ( His design for Coleraine has been called ‘perhaps his most imaginative’ being externally more three-dimensional than his Donegall Square design which was completed in 1847 (Walker). The church is first shown on the large-scale town plan of Coleraine dating from 1904 and is listed in Griffith’s Valuation (1856-64) at £50. Dimensions are given for the ‘chapel’ and school house. The first Methodist preacher visited Coleraine in 1774 and rooms were converted into a hall at the rear of disused military barracks in Bridge Street in 1777. The following year John Wesley himself visited Coleraine and preached to large numbers in the Barrack Square, returning in 1785 and saying of Coleraine townsfolk that they were ‘good old soldiers and entirely after my own heart’ (Walker). The same year, John Galt, a local merchant, founded the Sunday School which is now claimed to be the longest-running Sunday School in Ireland ( Galt provided a site for the growing Wesleyan congregation and a church accommodating 300 worshippers and a manse were built in 1801-2 on the town ramparts at a cost of £500, after which ‘Preaching House Lane’ was named. These early buildings remained on the site until the 1960s, being used later as church halls. School rooms were built under the church and the debt remaining on the buildings was still proving a heavy burden in 1836. The new church was built in 1852-3 at a cost of £2,540 on a site to the rear of the old building. The ccontractor was Samuel Kirkpatrick and stucco work was carried out by Thomas Boyle of Coleraine (Girvan). Contemporary descriptions praised the ‘fine ceiling covered with groined arches and beautifully ornamented’ and the mahogany pulpit was stated to be ‘one of the most beautiful to be found in any church in the country’ (Coleraine Chronicle 16th September 1854). Subscriptions towards the cost came from Mrs and Mrs Archibald McElwaine who gave £1,000, the Honourable the Irish Society who gave £300 and the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers who donated £50 ( Farrell originally drew up two designs for the church, the unrealised design later being used for the Methodist Church in Donegall Square. Farrell intended the present building to have curved screen walls ending in neo-classical pavilions but the pavilions were never built and only part of the southern wall remains. Valuer’s notes of the 1930s show the church with vestry and lecture hall to the rear and external stores, heating chamber and lavatories. Repairs and renovations over the years have included the installation of electric light in 1938, a new roof in 1952 and three stained-glass windows behind the pulpit in 1960. A new suite of halls was constructed and dedicated in 1961 at a cost of £24,000 and the manse to the south of the church was demolished in the 1970s (Mullin). The church was listed in 1977. A Copeman Hart digital electronic organ was installed in 1988 at a cost of £12,000. Extensive renovations costing £200,000 took place to the roof, ceiling, floor, walls, doors, windows and pews in 1992-3 under the supervision of William Hunter, architect. The contractors were H Taggart & Sons Ltd (Coleraine Chronicle 1st May 1993). References: Primary Sources 1. PRONI OS/6/5/7/1 First Edition OS Map 1830 2. PRONI OS/6/5/7/2 Second Edition OS map 1849-50 3. PRONI OS/6/5/7/3 Third Edition OS Map 1904 4. PRONI OS/6/5/7/4 Fourth Edition OS Map 1923 5. PRONI OS/6/5/7/5 Fifth Edition OS Map 1949 6. PRONI VAL/1/B/542A-D Townland Valuation (1828-40) 7. PRONI VAL/2/B/5/3/C Griffith’s Valuation (1856-64) 8. PRONI VAL/12/B/30/9A-N Annual Revisions (1864-1929) 9. Coleraine Chronicle 16th September 1854 10. Coleraine Chronicle 1st May 1993 Secondary Sources 1. Girvan, W D “Historic Buildings, Groups of Buildings, Areas of Architectural Importance in Coleraine and Portstewart” Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 1971-2 2. Mullin, Rev T H “Coleraine in Modern Times” Belfast: Century Services Ltd, 1979 3. Walker, S “Historic Ulster Churches” Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, 2000 4.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form H-. Alterations detracting from building J. Setting

Historic Interest

Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance V. Authorship X. Local Interest


A mid-Victorian classical-styled Methodist Church fronted by a Corinthian portico in antis, built 1853 to designs by Isaac Farrell, leading Methodist church architect at the time, it is located to the east side of Circular Road in Coleraine town centre. Refurbished in recent years, replacement fabric is of appropriate style and quality and the building retains much of its original character. Prominently sited the church is an excellent example of the classical phase of Methodist churches of Ulster in the nineteenth-century and the work of a prominent Irish architect. The building is a local landmark, making an important contribution to the architectural character of Coleraine. It is of local interest and social importance to the surrounding community.

General Comments

Listing Criteria R - Age; S - Authenticity and T - Historic Importance also apply.

Date of Survey

08 February 2013