Skip to content

Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:

Date of Construction:
1760 - 1779

Address :
First Presbyterian Church (Non Subscribing) Glebe Road Dunmurry Co. Antrim BT17 0PN


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
26/02/1976 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J2907 6891

Owner Category

Church - Other

Exterior Description And Setting

A single-storey Georgian building built 1779, with gallery level and rectangular plan form, with a two storey subservient brick, rendered return to the rear.Located on the Glebe Road in Dunmurry at the junction of Lenwood Drive, on the north side of the main railway Belfast to Dublin Railway adjacent to the level crossing. The roofing is a large, steep hipped slated roof with clay ridge tiles, with cast iron RWG throughout. The walling is brown and black random rubble stone with much galletting with sandstone plinth and eaves course. The windows are large single glazed, timber framed, round headed arched openings with Gibbs surrounds and small consoles under the cills. The front doors are double six-panelled timber doors painted black with Gibbs surrounds with triple keystone and pediment over. The principal elevation is east facing and is symmetrically arranged. Two front doors are located either side off centre served by six single width steps, with shoe scrapers at either end. Three large windows are located centrally and to either side of the doors. The central window is late Victorian stained glassed depicting a landscape, by Campbell Brothers of Belfast, dated 1904. Above each door is a sandstone surround tablet inscribing details of the Rev. and date of completion. The south facing elevation has one centrally located large window matching those of the principal elevation. The west facing rear elevation was a two storey over basement return, projecting westerly from the centre of the facade. The walling to the rear is of inferior quality of stone and craftsmanship. The rear return is flanked by two high level Gibbs surround windows, matching the style of the principal facade. The rear return is rendered in a rough cast. The windows are Georgian sliding sash and vary between 6/6, 3/6 and round headed 3/1. The first floor of the return is a historical addition to the existing ground floor and is narrower in width, resulting in a course of lead flashing between floors. The ground floor windows have enormous stone cills and thick stone surrounds painted grey. The roof to the return is hipped adjacent to the existing church roof with a gable end faces west. Access to the heating chamber is via stone steps running parallel along the south facing facade of the return. Centrally located on the gabled elevation of the return is a chimney stack with two clay pots over. A stone tablet with inscription is located midway below the chimney. A six-panelled timber rear door with sandstone surrounds is located on the north face of the return along with windows to match the opposite elevation. The north facing facade replicates exactly the south elevation. The church is set within its own grounds which are richly vegetated with flowers shrubs and trees. A rough cast stone wall runs along the perimeter of the site with two large gate piers with modern iron gates fixed, located at the northeast corner of the site, accessing on to a stone drive way leading up to the front steps. A graveyard surrounds the south and west elevations with the church hall located to the south side of the site. Modern dwellings bound the northern site perimeter. Roofing Slate Walling Brown and black random rubble with sandstone detailing and ashlar surrounds Window Timber various RWG Cast iron


Mulholland, Roger

Historical Information

The dated plaque located on the front elevation is at present clearly inscribed with “This house was rebuilt at the expense of the congregation of Dunmurry, 1719”, however earlier photographs c.1970 and the OS memoirs c.1835, provide documentary evidence that the plaque was initially inscribed with the date “1779”. The architectural proportions and style would date this building to the 18th century, and the use of the Gibbs surrounds would almost certainly confirm a date later than 1719. . Brett goes on to state that the congregation was first founded in 1676. A date stone on the rear of the building inscribed with “Anno Christi, 1714, R Georgy RJ” could be from the original meeting house. Brett tentatively attributes the present building to the Belfast architect Roger Mulholland. The building as it appears on the first edition 1833 OS maps is illustrated as a rectangular plan form, and it is not until the 1859 OS maps that first shows the vestry to the rear. The OS memoirs states “Attached to the rear of the meeting house stands a session house, 1-storey high and slated” confirming that the heating chamber below and the additional storey were later additions although the dates are not confirm. The Annual Revisions 1862-22 do not denote any changes in the tenancy of the Unitarian Meeting House or the landlordship of the Marquis of Donegal. There has also very little change to the architectural character of the building internally. A large stained glass window in the front elevation, in memory of members of the McCance family, locally linen merchants, was erected in c.1900. The detailed descriptions of the building in the OS memoirs c.1835 are still very applicable at the time of survey (2010). References – Primary sources 1. PRONI VAL/12/B/8/15A-F - Annual Revisions 1862-22 2. PRONI OS/6/1/64/1 – OS Map 1833 3. PRONI OS/6/1/64/2b – OS Map 1859 4. PRONI OS/6/1/64/3 – OS Map 1904 5. PRONI OS/6/1/64/4 – OS Map 1925 6. PRONI OS/6/1/64/6 – OS Map 1938 7. Day, A. and P. McWilliams, eds. “Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Volume 8, Parishes of County Antrim II, 1832-8” Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, 1991 References – Secondary sources 8. CEB Brett “Buildings of County Antrim” UAHS & UHF, 1996

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Z. Rarity Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance


This eighteenth century Georgian church, is relatively rare, well proportioned and simply detailed apart from the Gibbs surrounds to the large openings throughout, usually associated on large public buildings. Its enjoys a good setting to the front with an open grassed area with some mature trees. The robustness of the exterior is offset by the elegance of the interior. Light in colour and material, the simple joinery and plasterwork is elevated by the detailed joinery work around the pulpit area. Overall, the church has largely retained all of its original essential character and the survival of the historical fabric both internally and externally, is of great historic interest and value, and contributes positively to the character of the surrounding area. It also has group value with the former manse to the south (HB19.20.006)

General Comments

Date of Survey

25 May 2010