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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Church and gates

Date of Construction:
1900 - 1919

Address :
Portstewart Presbyterian Church Enfield Street Portstewart Co. Londonderry BT55 7BC

North Mullaghacall

Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
25/05/1976 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
C8173 3824

Owner Category

Church - Presbyterian

Exterior Description And Setting

A free-standing pebbledash Presbyterian Church with three-stage entrance tower, built c.1904 to designs by Vincent Craig and located at the junction of Church Street and Enfield Street in Portstewart town centre. Rectangular plan with side aisles and transepts to north and south, chancel to east and three-stage square entrance tower to northwest; abutted by modern extension to east (of little interest). Red tiles to pitched roof with rounded ridge tiles; tiled spire with finial to apex; raised sandstone verges and kneeler stones to gables. Cast-iron ogee rainwater goods on moulded sandstone eaves. Walling is pebbledash with red sandstone dressings; buttresses have sandstone offsets. Windows are generally lancets (to sides) with Art Nouveau style glazing, sandstone surrounds and chamfered sandstone sills. Chancel has pointed-headed leaded-and-stained glass windows. Semi-circular head west window has Art Nouveau-style tracery broken by a Gothic cusped buttress and is surmounted by label mould. West-facing front has large tracery window to gallery and two windows with voussoirs divided by buttress to ground floor. Entrance tower at left has corner piers rising to shaped parapets; three cusped louvered vents to each face of belfry; square quadrant tracery window to second stage at west; segmental-headed fore-shortened window to north with voussoirs and decorative drip stone. Entrance to west is accessed via a set of five concrete steps and comprises segmental-headed double-leaf timber-sheeted doors with cast-iron handle in a chamfered sandstone recess, surmounted by joggled voussoirs and hood mould. The north elevation has three sets of paired lancets divided by buttresses; gabled transept at left with oculus over paired slender lancets. The east gable is abutted by the chancel (lower) which has a window to each face; abutted to right by a vestry under cat-slide roof with gabled entrance to north having 1/1 timber sash window and timber-sheeted entrance door. The south elevation has three sets of paired lancets divided by buttresses; transept at right with oculus over paired slender lancets. Transept abutted at right by the modern extension. To left is a canted entrance porch to re-entrant angle having red tiles to roof and pointed-headed timber-sheeted door in chamfered sandstone recess; accessed by five stone steps with parapet walls topped by coping stones and original terracotta and black square tiles. Setting: Prominently situated at the junction of Church Street and Enfield Street to the east of The Promenade and south of Dr Adam Clarke Memorial Methodist Church (HB03/09/002), in a largely residential area. Modern three and four-storey apartment blocks have been constructed directly to south and east of the church. A double-height modern church hall has been built to the rear of the church, which is sympathetic in style and scale. Tarmacadamed parking area to rear. Church is bounded to road by roughcast rendered wall with saddleback reconstituted stone coping interrupted by square piers; to south are two rectangular piers supporting original cast-iron latch gate. Angled piers with sandstone caps also to northwest corner supporting original cast-iron gate with slide bolt latches. Roof: Flat red clay tiles Walling: Pebbledash with red sandstone dressings Windows: Leaded-and-stained glass lancets RWG: Cast-iron


Craig, Vincent

Historical Information

Portstewart Presbyterian Church, an Edwardian edifice constructed in the Art-Nouveau style preferred by its architect, is the second church to occupy the current plot of land in the town. The Ordnance Survey Memoirs record that the first Presbyterian church was erected in 1827, ‘a plain rectangular building 76 feet long by 29 and a half feet in breadth;’ the first edition of the Ordnance Survey map in 1830 depicts the rectangular shaped building, however it was not captioned on that plan as a house of worship. Presbyterianism was the predominant denomination in Portstewart at the time of the church’s erection; of a population of approximately 2,650, there were 1,809 Presbyterians within the town by the Ordnance Survey. The memoir writer records that the original church cost £500, primarily raised by the local congregation; John Cromie of Cromore House (HB03/07/010A) granted the land in perpetuity and gifted £100 towards construction. The church when completed could accommodate 500 persons and was lighted by six windows on each side, possessing a door in either gable; a datestone from the original church (which is installed in the current building) read ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, AD 1827’ (Ordnance Survey Memoirs, p. 3). By the second edition of the Ordnance Survey map in c. 1860 an addition had been installed to the east side of the church giving it a distinct T-shape; the map first captioned the building as a ‘Presbyterian Meeting Ho[use].’ With the addition of the eastern extension, the value of Portstewart Presbyterian Meeting House was recorded at £40 in Griffith’s Valuation (1857). The Annual Revisions (1859-1929) continued to value the church site at £40, even after the construction of the current house of worship c. 1905. In 1904 the Builder noted that the current church was under construction, the foundations having been laid in 1903; the architect was Vincent Craig, whilst a Mr. James Kennedy of Coleraine was approached to realise the design (The Builder, p. 233). Walker states that during the Victorian period Presbyterian Church design predominantly followed classical standards; however ‘in some quarters church architecture began to follow trends in other aspects of the arts.’ Portstewart Presbyterian Church is an example of a church influenced by the internationally fashionable Art Nouveau movement preferred by Vincent Craig (Walker, p. 43). Craig (1869-1925), the younger brother of James Craig (Lord Craigavon and first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland), was a Belfast-based architect who, having toured Europe during his education, adopted a cultured and innovative style, preferring the aesthetic Art-Nouveau movement. Craig had previously constructed Ballywatt Presbyterian Church (HB03/05/015) in 1895 in an Art-Nouveau style and replicated his approach in the design of Portstewart Presbyterian which bears stylistically resemblance (Dictionary of Irish Architects). Walker states that the original Presbyterian Church in Portstewart was a distinctly Georgian edifice and that early photographs of the town show the church prior to its demolition with a notice in front of the building advertising the erection of a new building. Craig designed the cruciform church roughcast possessing red sandstone dressings and a red Ruabon tiled roof with distinct features such as Art-Nouveau tracery; Walker and Girvan record that Craig’s design was clearly influenced by the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (the primary proponent of the Art-Nouveau movement in Britain), most notably in the parapet of the tower and the characteristic use of curved lines (Girvan, p. 35; Walker, p. 152). Girvan states that additions to the church were made in 1959; these additions included the installation of the south-east extension which was sympathetically designed to fit in with the style of the church. Portstewart Presbyterian Church was listed in 1976; Kirkpatrick states that membership of the church currently stands at around 400 families. References Primary Sources 1. PRONI OS/6/5/3/1 – First Edition Ordnance Survey Map 1830 2. PRONI OS/6/5/3/2 – Second Edition Ordnance Survey Map c. 1860 3. PRONI OS/6/5/3/3 – Third Edition Ordnance Survey Map 1904 4. PRONI OS/6/5/3/4 – Fourth Edition Ordnance Survey Map 1922-32 5. PRONI VAL/1/A/5/3 – Townland Valuation Map c. 1830 6. PRONI VAL/1/B/ 539A-B – Townland Valuation c. 1830 7. PRONI VAL/2/B/5/10 – Griffith’s Valuation 1857 8. PRONI VAL/12/B/30/17A – Annual Revisions 1859-1863 9. PRONI VAL/12/B/30/17B – Annual Revisions 1874-1876 10. PRONI VAL/12/B/30/17C – Annual Revisions 1877-1887 11. PRONI VAL/12/B/30/17D – Annual Revisions 1888-1894 12. PRONI VAL/12/B/30/17E – Annual Revisions 1895-1905 13. PRONI VAL/12/B/30/17F – Annual Revisions 1906-1917 14. PRONI VAL/12/B/30/17G – Annual Revisions 1918-1929 15. Ordnance Survey Memoirs, Co. Londonderry, Vol. 33 No. XII (1835) 16. The Builder, Vol. 87, 27 Aug 1904. 17. Ordnance Survey Map – 5-16 SW (1979) 18. First Survey Record – HB03/09/001 (1973) 19. First Survey Image – HB03/09/001 (1973) Secondary Sources 1. Girvan, W. D., ‘Historic Buildings in Coleraine and Portstewart’ Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 1972. 2. Kirkpatrick, L., ‘Presbyterians in Ireland: An illustrated history’ Booklink, 2006. 3. Walker, S., ‘Historic Ulster Churches’ Belfast: The Institute of Irish Studies, 2000. Online Resources 1. Dictionary of Irish Architects -

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form I. Quality and survival of Interior

Historic Interest

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


An Edwardian free-standing pebbledash Presbyterian Church with three-stage entrance tower, built c.1904 to designs of the renowned architect Vincent Craig and located at the junction of Church Street and Enfield Street in Portstewart town centre. Architectural detailing is largely intact. This is a well-preserved turn of the century Presbyterian Church, with design elements typical of Vincent Craig’s style. A lively design with a red-tiled roof, large Art Nouveau-style tracery window, corner porch and shaped parapets to tower, all associated with the Art and Crafts movement and synonymous with Craig. Housing a relatively well-preserved interior with some good Art-Nouveau detailing, the church is a good example of the work of a prominent Ulster architect. Prominently sited in Portstewart, this is an important building of architectural and historic interest which is also of social interest to the local community.

General Comments

Listing criteria R - Age and S - Authenticty also apply to this building.

Date of Survey

25 April 2012