James Joseph Magennis VC Frances Elizabeth Clarke Stewart Parker Samuel Beckett Sam Hanna Bell William Carleton John Hewitt Rosamond Praegar Bernard (Barney) Hughes

Henry Cooke (1788 - 1868):
Cleric, Presbyterian


Henry Cooke was born at Grillagh, near Maghera, County Londonderry. He was educated locally and at the University of Glasgow. In 1808 he was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry and was given a parish in Duneane near Randalstown, later moving to Donegore, near Templepatrick, County Antrim. In 1815 he resumed his studies at Glasgow and in 1817 he entered Trinity College and attended medical classes, preaching to various Presbyterian congregations on Sundays. By 1818 he was pastor of Killyleagh, County Down. He was bitterly opposed to the Unitarian elements within the Irish Presbyterian Church, and ultimately brought about their separation. His followers built him a church in May Street, Belfast, where he preached until his death. He was Moderator of the Synod of Ulster in 1824, twice Moderator of the General Assembly in1841 and 1862. He abhorred the restricted use of the Scriptures in the new system of Irish National Education and by 1839 had urged the Synod of Ulster to establish a system of education of its own. He campaigned repeatedly against O'Connell's Irish policy, for example during the Protestant demonstration in Hillsborough in 1834 and at the anti-Repeal meeting in Belfast in 1841. Jefferson College in the United States conferred a doctorate upon him, and in 1837 Trinity College, Dublin did likewise. In 1839 he was given the freedom of Dublin by the corporation. He was instrumental in establishing the Free Church of Scotland. He devoted much time to an Analytical Concordance of Scripture, the manuscript of which was destroyed by fire in a London hotel. He edited a new edition of Brown's Family Bible. He was appointed President of Belfast Theological College, and in 1849 he became Dean of Residence for Presbyterian students in Belfast. As late as 1867, within a year of his death, he gave a public speech in Hillsborough opposing the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. He was interred at Balmoral Cemetery, formerly Belfast Cemetery Malone, which he had co-founded.


Born: 11 May 1788
Died: 13 December 1868
Kate Newmann
Bibliography:
Biography by JL Porter 1871