Find out more about the rich history of the Livingston Centre at Killinchy Parish Church
The Livingston Centre Story
The Livingston Centre at Killinchy Parish Church is a local heritage centre. It tells the transatlantic story of the Livingston family. Reverend John Livingston was the first Protestant rector of Killinchy in 1630. He was behind the building of the Eagle Wing, the first recorded attempted sailing between Ulster and America. The Livingston family became one of the most influential families in American history and includes Presidents, a First Lady, Congressmen, Senators, Governors, businessmen, entrepreneurs and military heroes. The Centre also covers other periods of history including the Celtic period, the Viking invasion, the Norman Conquest, the Ulster Plantation, 1798 Rebellion, 1859 Revival and the Ulster Covenant 1912.
The American Revolution
The children and grandchildren of Robert Livingston played important roles in the political, social and economic life of the colony of New York. Members of the family were involved in establishing a number of institutions including the New York Hospital and the New York Chamber of Commerce. The Livingston’s also made a major contribution to the period leading up to and including the American Revolution.
The Rich History Of John Livingston
John Livingston was born on 21 June 1603 in Monyabroch, an old name for Kilsyth, a parish midway between Glasgow and Stirling.
Just a few months earlier, King James VI of Scotland succeeded his cousin Queen Elizabeth I and became king of England and Ireland. This was an era of great change in Scotland
Livingston was the first Protestant minister to live in Killinchy and following his arrival he began to organise his congregation along presbyterian lines. Looking back on this period many years later,he wrote that they had ‘public worship free of any inventions of men’. Elders (providing spiritual oversight) and deacons (responsible for financial matters) were chosen from among the people. He was not popular with the Bishop of Down, Robert Echlin, who was also Scottish, but had a strong supporter in Lord Claneboye
The History of the Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation transformed religious practice across much of northern Europe. In a major change, the Lord’s Supper or Communion replaced the celebration of Mass and so the interiors of churches also changed. Instead of a stone altar, wooden tables were provided in many early seventeenth-century churches in Ulster, around which worshippers sat for Communion services.
Discover the transatlantic story of the Rev. John Livingston