New Year’s Day 1871 – the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland

Following the passing of the Irish Church Act 1869, and after 18 months of intense preparation, debate, sometimes controversy, and legislating by the General Convention of the Church of Ireland in 1870, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland occurred on 1st January 1871: 150 years ago.

In February 2020, long before people had to stop gathering because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, students from Ashton School, Cork, Bandon Grammar School, and Midleton College were enlisted by the their school chaplains – Drew Ruttle, the Reverend Anne Skuse, and Canon Andrew Orr – to re-enact the fifth day of the General Convention held on 19th February 1870 when the Preamble and Declaration were read for the first time.

Dr Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, came up with the idea of the re-enactment as a Cork event (even though, of course, it happened in Dublin) to mark the 150th Anniversary of Disestablishment, because it was his predecessor, Bishop John Gregg, who proposed the motion and read aloud the proposed Preamble and Declaration for the first time.

Here is a video clip of the re-enactment:

Videographer:  John Berry
Photographer:  Jim Coughlan
Video editing and captions:  Drew Ruttle, Chaplain of Ashton School.

A full report from earlier in the year of the re-enactment and photographs are HERE and HERE

The full text of the Preamble and Declaration may be read here:


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