David Sloane Corkey

David Sloane Corkey

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated 27th January 1910 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter. The article records the death of the Rev. Corkey, father of David Corkey.

Rev. Dr. Corkey, Glendermott.

It is with feelings of no ordinary regret that we have to announce the death of the Rev. Dr. Corkey, of 2nd Glendermott Presbyterian Church. The news has come with startling suddenness, for on the 25th he was engaged in the discharge of the duties connected with his ministerial office, and on the evening of that day conducted a meeting in his usual acceptable manner. When on his way home he took suddenly ill, and although Dr. Elliot and Dr. Malseed were immediately summoned, when they arrived it was their sad duty to pronounce life extinct. The ranks of the Presbyterian ministry have been considerably thinned by death since the last General Assembly, Dr. Corkey’s being the twelfth during the past six months, and certainly the Church has never lost one more highly esteemed, and one whose place it will be more difficult to fill than that of the minister of Second Glendermott. He was greatly beloved by all who knew him, and many throughout the Church will mourn his loss.

The deceased was born about seventy-six years ago near Markethill, County Armagh. After a very distinguished career at Queen’s College, Belfast, he proceeded to graduation in the old Queen’s University, and in 1855 he entered upon his theological course at the Assembly’s College. It is interesting to note that Dr. Corkey had as college contemporaries men who subsequently rose to high positions in the Church and State; for example, Rev. Dr. Gibson, of Perth; Dr. Black, Dromore; Judge Barkley, and Dr. Davidson. Notwithstanding the keen competition in those days for scholarships and prizes, Dr. Corkey was always in the front rank, and his college career was an exceptionally brilliant one. He graduated not only in arts, but also in law, and when the Queen’s University was abolished in 1882 he received (honoris causa) the degree of LL.D. In the year 1860 he was called to succeed the Rev. Marshall Moore, as the minister of 2nd Glendermott, and on the 27th September was ordained in that congregation. There for the long period of 49 years he laboured amongst a warmly attached people, being most devoted to his work, never sparing himself, in order that he might magnify his ministerial office, giving of his very best in the pulpit from Sabbath to Sabbath, whilst in the discharge of his pastoral duties he might justly be described as an ideal minister.

He began his ministry just at the time when the great revival movement was spreading all over Ulster. Indeed it was in 1859 he was licensed by the Presbytery of Belfast, and for a short time before his call to Glendermott he acted as missionary in the congregation of Rosemary Street, which had then as its minister the Rev. John Macnaughtan. The experience which he gained during those few months coloured his whole future ministry, for his preaching was ever of the pure evangelical type, and he was an able exponent of the simple Gospel which made his ministry such a blessing to his people. Dr. Corkey was probably one of the warmest advocates of temperance that that cause has ever had in this country. He was most fearless in his denunciation of the evils of intemperance, and that at a time when total abstinence was not so popular as it is today. In a sketch which appeared a short time ago in one of the Presbyterian papers the writer said that "Long before it was fashionable to be a total abstainer Mr. Corkey was one, and long before it was considered prudent by many ministers to preach temperance sermons, he was preaching them, and preaching them with such earnestness, conviction, and logical power that even opponents were compelled to stand and think. He was always in the fighting line, whether it was the battle for the use of Psalms only in the service of the Church, or the total abstinence movement, or the use of unfermented wine at the Communion, or the suppression of smoking, juvenile or otherwise." A couple of years ago Dr. Corkey announced his intention of resigning the clerkship of his Presbytery, which office he had held for over 40 years, and on that occasion he was made the recipient of a beautiful illuminated address from the members of his congregation and a number of his friends, accompanied by a purse containing one hundred and thirty one sovereigns. Judge Rentoul, who wrote expressing his regret that he was unable to attend the function, referred to the fact that Dr. Corkey in his early days had been Barrington Lecturer, and stated that had he gone to the Bar he would in all likelihood have become a judge or a great leader of the Bar. In addition to his ministerial work, Dr. Corkey contributed a good deal to the literature of the Church by his writings, more especially on the subject in which he was so deeply interested, that of temperance. In his own personal capacity he has throughout his ministry rendered his Church invaluable services, and he occupied what we believe is a unique position in the Church in having no fewer than eight sons ministers of the Gospel, and one daughter a lady missionary. Some of these young ministers are labouring in America and some in Scotland, but the majority of them are in connection with the Irish Presbyterian Church, the popular minister of Townsend Street being one, while another is assistant to the Rev. Henry Montgomery at the Albert Hall. With all these, as well as with the congregation of 2nd Glendermott, the deepest sympathy will be felt in the heavy loss they have sustained.

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated 29th January 1910 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

Funeral of Rev. Dr. Corkey, Glendermott.

The funeral of the Rev. Joseph Corkey, M.A. LL.D., late pastor of Second Glendermott Presbyterian Church, took place yesterday to the Glendermott New Burying-ground. The cortege was large and representative, bearing testimony to the great esteem in which the deceased was held by all who knew him. A short service was held at the Manse by the rev. Professor Graham, Magee College, after which the coffin was borne to the hearse by deceased’s sons. The chief mourners were Rev. Joseph Corkey, Duns, Scotland; Rev. V.M. Corkey, Drumhillery; Mr. John Corkey, Glendermott; Rev. Wm. Corket, Belfast; Rev. David Corkey, Belfast; Rev. Dr. Corkey, Ballygawley (sons), and Mr. Wm. Corkey, Market hill (brother). On the coffin were laid a number of beautiful wreaths and floral tributes from Glendermott Protestant Total Abstinence union; Mr. Jamison and family; Mrs. Hunter, schoolmistress; Mr. M.A. Thompson; the students belonging to Glendermott Presbytery; Mrs. Wray and family; and the teachers of second Glendermott School.

A service was conducted in Second Glendermott Church and there was a very large congregation. The first part of the service was conducted by Rev. Dr. Davidson, ex Moderator of the General Assembly. After the singing of the 90th Psalm, a portion of Scripture from the Book of Revelations was read by Rev. Robt. Hyndman, Magheramason. The 23rd Psalm was then sung, and following this Rev. J.C. Clarke, D.D., Moderator of the General Assembly, delivered an impressive address, in which he referred to the noble qualities of the deceased and the loss which the people of that district and the Church had sustained by his death. He mentioned that Dr. Corkey had been a very earnest temperance advocate and a man who had lived the life which he preached to others.

Rev. John Stuart, LL.D., pastor of the Waterside Presbyterian Church, Londonderry, officiated at the graveside.

At a meeting of the Glendermott Presbytery, held yesterday in the session room of First Glendermott Presbyterian Church, Rev. J. Johnston (Moderator) in the chair, sympathetic references were made by the members to the death of the Rev. Dr. Corkey, who had served his entire ministerial career in the Presbytery. It was moved by the Rev. J. Connell, seconded by Rev. S. Semple, that the Rev. Thomas Thompson, Presbyterian minister, of First Glendermott, be nominated for the vacant chaplaincy in the workhouse in the room of the Rev. Dr. Corkey. The resolution was agree to.

The following is an extract from Lisburn Standard dated March 6th 1925.

Dundrod Presbyterian Church
New Minister Ordained.

The Templepatrick Presbytery met in Dundrod Presbyterian Church yesterday and ordained the Rev. D. McKinney, B.A., a licentiate of the Raphoe Presbytery in the pastoral oversight of the congregation, and successor to the late Rev. D.S. Corkey, B.A. The Moderator of the Presbytery presided at the service, which was attended by a large congregation. Rev. S.R. Jamison, M.A. Loanends presched an eloquent and inspiring sermon. The ordination prayers were offered by the Rev. Professor David Smith, M.A., and Rev. D.D. Boyle, M.A. An impressive charge to minister and people was given by Rev. M. Majury, B.A., D.D.

The following extract is from The Lisburn Standard dated Friday October 17th 1924.

Death of Rev. David Corkey.

We exceedingly regret to have to announce the death of the Rev. David S. Corkey, B.A., Dundrod Presbyterian Church, which took place on Tuesday in London. It was only a month ago since Mr. Corkey complained of an illness, but until a little more than a week ago there did not seem to be any cause for alarm. He crossed to London to consult a specialist, who advised an immediate operation, and on Tuesday afternoon he passed away at The National Hospital.

The youngest son of Rev. Dr. Corkey, of Glendermott, deceased was one of eight brothers who entered the ministry, while his sister is the wife of Rev. T.J.K. Rankin, Presbyterian Minister, Legacurry.

In 1911 he received a call to Dundrod (County Antrim) Presbyterian Church, where he was ordained on 20th February of that year. Here he had a very fruitful ministry and carried on a very successful work amongst the young. But it is as one of the finest chaplains who served during the war that he will be remembered by a wider circle. He offered himself for service in 1914, and was appointed chaplain to the 11th Battalion Royal Scots in France, where he rendered magnificent service, being mentioned in despatches.

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Standard dated Friday 23rd May 1919

Dundrod Church
Compliment to Rev. D.S. Corkey, B.A.

A very enjoyable social meeting of the congregation of Dundrod Presbyterian Church was held on Wednesday evening 14th inst., in the lecture hall to welcome home their beloved pastor Rev. D.S. Corkey, B.A., on his return from France, where for almost four years he acted as chaplain to the forces. Mr. Corkey was one of the most devoted chaplains of the Irish Presbyterian Church who served on the Western front, and that he was held on the highest esteem by the men with whom he came in contact was testified to by several speakers who had an opportunity of gaining first hand information. It will be recollected that during the campaign Mr Corkey sustained a very serious injury from a shell, which necessitated the amputation of his left arm; but it will be a matter of keen satisfaction to his many friends to learn that his health has considerably improved, and that he hopes soon to resume the active duties of the ministry in Dundrod, one of the most flourishing of our country congregations.

In acknowledgement of his splendid services to the Empire, and as an expression of gratitude on his safe return, the members of the church presented him with an artistically illuminated address, hand somely framed, a pulpit gown, and a case of Treasury notes. Tea having been served by the ladies of the congregation.

The Chairman *Rev. Dr. J.A. Irwin) expressed the pleasure it afforded him to preside on that interesting occasion, and said he thought there was not within the bounds of the General Assembly a congregation that had been more loyal, more united, and more devoted than Dundrod during their ministers absence, It was a great gratification to those who were appointed by the Presbytery in charge of the congregation – Mr. Wallace. Mr. Canning and himself – to find that it was in charge of such capable hands as the worthy session and committee. The duty of the commission was, therefore, very pleasant and comparatively light. He desired, on behalf of all present, to welcome Mr. Corkey home again to his work of the ministry Dundrod (applause).

The Presentation

At this stage Mr. Alex Kennedy read the address to Rev D.S. Corkey which with the case of Treasury notes was presented by Mr. John McClure, who said they were proud of all the work Mr. Corkey had done for his country. Mrs McCullough (Carnaughlis) and Mrs Graham (Riverside) then gracefully placed the pulpit gown on Mr. Corkey.

Rev Mr Corkey, who had as enthusiastic reception supplementing his formal reply, said he felt very grateful for the great honour and kindness they had shown him that evening, and not only on that occasion, but during the past four years, and indeed, since he first came to Dundrod. It reflected the greatest honour and credit on the congregation and their former ministers that they had done so well during his absence, and that matters had gone on so smoothly and so successfully and he desired especially to thank those who had largely bourne the burden when he was away. Alluding to the experiences of the troops in France, Mr. Corkey said one always felt hopelessly unable to speak adequately regarding those brave men. They had so much to go through that no-one could realise what they had endured except those who had been with them. Nothing could ever repay those men for what they had done, and they could not do too much for the fighting men who had returned from war. (Applause) Reverting to the work in Dundrod during his absence, he wished to thank the minister in charge, the session and committee, the S.S. teachers, and the collectors -all who had helped to make the work of the congregation flow along so easily and satisfactorily. His thanks were specially due to Mr Kennedy. Few of them knew the width and scope of Mr Kennedy’s mental and bodily activities in connection with the congregation – visiting the sick, arranging the services, superintending the Sabbath School, managing the day school, and looking after the finances. Then he had to thank those who had supplied the pulpit, particularly Rev. F.C. Bell, whose splendid services had been so highly appreciated. (Applause). He never could do justice to the ladies of the congregation who had sent out so many parcels to the troops; and the men had deeply appreciated the gifts. In conclusion, he again thanked the congregation for that evening’s kindness, and he thanked God for the time when He gave him Dundrod as the place to work in, "The Lord of us hath mindful been, and He will bless us still." (Applause)

Ministerial Tribute.

Rev. James Haire said his stay with Rev Corkey in France had intensified his affection and respect and esteem for him and it was a great delight to see how the troops loved and respected Mr Corkey and would have done anything to oblige him.
His life and influence were the best argument for Christianity in the district in where he was stationed, and he was on of the finest gifts that had been given to the army in that area. Capt. Corkey gave himself loyally and nobly to his work, and they had really no idea of the magnificent services he wielded, and the power of his preaching, and it was with keen satisfaction that he (Mr. Haire) was present that evening to tell them a little about their minister’s work in France. They were noted for liberality, and that evening they had maintained their high reputation. (Applause).

David Corkey and the terrible reality of The Great War

David Sloane Corkey

David Sloane Corkey

DURING his ministry at Dundrod a series of worldwide events in 1914 culminated in what was to be later referred to as The Great War.

A number of men from Dundrod signed up and David Corkey, determined to play his part, applied to be Chaplain at the front. His post was confirmed by the War Office in late April 1915.

We are fortunate that David Corkey kept a diary of his movements and experiences throughout this time. He was also a prolific letter writer and thanks to his descendants many of these letters survive today, enabling us to piece together the events of that era. The documents were also utilised by his sister-in-law Ethel Corkey when she wrote her book “David Corkey – a life story.”


Drooth, dreams and temperance

THE DIGGER looks back at the thorny issue of alcohol and the church

Whiskey Jug

Cruiskeen Lawn Whiskey Jug

ON the 6th April, 1816 it was reported by the Belfast Newsletter that the innkeeper at Dundrod, David Mairs, lost the thatched roof from his dwelling house and adjoining barn during what was described as a "singular weather phenomenon."

The report states that "a severe shower of hail, accompanied with loud peals of thunder, a body of matter was observed resembling a little dark cloud stretching itself to the ground and wreathing like that part of a water-spout which may be seen in a fluctuating state before it bursts."

Some of the thatch from Mr. Mair’s homestead was located three quarters of a mile away.

Almost 20 years later the Ordnance Survey Memoirs make a brief reference to the “hamlet of Dundrod” and informs us that Dundrod “is merely a collection of 12 dirty-looking cottages and one two-storey house occupied as a whiskey shop.”


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