The first Presbyterian meetinghouse in Donagheady parish was erected in 1672 drawing families from both Donagheady and Leckpatrick parishes. Following the death of the minister, Rev. Thomas Wensley in 1736, a dispute arose amongst the congregation regarding the choice of a new minister. An inability to reach a decision divided the congregation, culminating in a riot during a church service. The congregation was divided in 1741 into the First and Second Congregations, each with their own meetinghouse in the immediate neighbourhood.
Londonderry Standard April 2 1870
The new Presbyterian Church, First Donagheady, was opened on Sabbath last, the 27th inst., when the REV. JACOB ALEXANDER, of Free St. David’s, Edinburgh, preached with great eloquence and acceptance to a very crowded house. It was calculated that there were nearly 800 persons present, of whom many came from a great distance to hear the distinguished preacher. The following gentlemen kindly acted as collectors: - T. W. D. HUMPHREYS, ESQ., J.P., Milltown House, Strabane; ROBERT BOND, ESQ., Glenview House [Co. Londonderry]; DAVID PORTER, ESQ., Carrowen, Burt [Co. Donegal]; WM. PORTER, ESQ., Moness, Burt [Co. Donegal]; ANDREW CLARKE, ESQ., Belmont, Lifford [Co. Donegal]; JAMES McILWAINE, ESQ., Strabane; Robert McCREA HOLMES, ESQ., Glencush; CALDWELL MOTHERWELL, ESQ., Monglass [Co. Donegal]; SAMUEL DONNELL, ESQ., Strabane; WILLIAM McCREA, ESQ., South Grange; WILLIAM BARNHILL, ESQ., Brickfield, Strabane; JOSEPH DOUGLAS, ESQ., Park, Cumber Claudy [Co. Londonderry]; JOSEPH IRWIN, ESQ., Ballyarton [Co. Londonderry]; GEORGE GORDON, ESQ., Strabane; JOSEPH CHRISTIE, ESQ., Ballymaclenaghan [Co. Londonderry]; JAMES HOLMES, ESQ., Londonderry; Mr Alexander preached again in the evening to a very large audience, and fully sustained his well-known reputation as a pulpit orator, when the following gentlemen acted as collectors: - JAMES HOLMES, ESQ., Strandabrosny; ROBERT McCREA CHAMBERS, ESQ., Londonderry; ROBERT McCREA, JUN., ESQ., Grange House; ROBERT McINTIRE, ESQ., Maghereagh; WM. McCREA, ESQ., Farmhill; ROBERT McCLEERY, ESQ., Ballee; JAMES ALEXANDER, ESQ., Sandville; JOHN McCREA, ESQ., Maghereagh; JOHN CHURCH, ESQ., Strabane; WILLIAM McCREA, JUN., ESQ., South Grange; JOSEPH MCCREA, ESQ., Lisdivin; MATTHEW BALLANTINE, ESQ., Londonderry; THOS. ROULSTONE, ESQ., Castlederg; JAMES MATHERS, ESQ., Tavnabrine; NEHEMIAH ROULSTON, ESQ., Castlederg; SAMUEL LENNOX, ESQ., Londonderry.
The united collections of both morning and evening, including the sale of tickets, amounted to upwards of £80, exclusive of donations of many friends who were unable to attend. The committee and session beg to express their warmest thanks the REV. MR. ALEXANDER for his effective and universally appreciated services, which will not be soon forgotten here, and which made a deep impression on all present; to the collectors who kindly officiated on the occasion; to the Christian public generally for their sympathy and aid; and to all who have, in any way, assisted the congregation in their present effort.
The Church, which is an exceedingly and commodious one, capable of seating about 600 persons, reflects the greatest credit on the architect MR. CHURCH, and on the contractors, MESSRS. COLHOUN and HUTCHINSON of Derry, who have done the work in first-rate style, and to the satisfaction of all and will be highly ornamental to the interesting locality in which it is placed. It stands on the same site formerly occupied by the old building – one of the earliest Presbyterian Churches erected in Ulster. The psalmody on the occasion was conducted with his usual good taste and ability, by MR. R. P. KERR, of Londonderry, to whom the thanks of the congregation are justly due. The congregation have also to acknowledge, with gratitude, the gift of a handsome clock from MR. ANDREW RAMSAY, of Derry.