Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-11 > 0911288954
From: Jacki Richey <>
Subject: Re: Protestants in Northern Ireland Today
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 23:49:14 -0800
I certainly appreciate your writing to me. It seems that I have gotten
some misconceptions on the history of Scots moving to Northern Ireland.
Please understand that my husband and I are descendants of Scotch-Irish
who migrated to the United States in the 18th century--Paul is a Richey,
and I am a Simpson. Your message brought more questions, which I hope
you will answer. I will give you the sources of my information so you
can help me see where they went wrong.
Edward Andrews wrote:
> Jacki Richey wrote:
> The Scots were primarily
> > Presbyterian trying to find (among other things) more religious
> > tolerance than they found in their homeland.
> The above statement simply is not true. With the exception of the
> period 1660 - 1689 Presbyterianism was much more heavily persecuted in
> Ireland than it was in Scotland. From 1689 it was the established
> religion, while until well into the 19th Century there were
> disadvantages in being a Presbyterian in Ireland.
"The Scotch-Irish in Pennsylvania" by Guy S. Klett; Pennsylvania History
Studies: No. 3; The Pennsylvania Historical Association, Gettysburg, PA,
1948, p. 3 describes the religious persecution of Scottish
Presbyterians, which made it desirable for many of them to migrate to
Northern Ireland: "In the beginning of 1597 James VI of Scotland had
gained sufficient power to curb Presbyterian interested, firmly rooted
among the Lowland Scots. He had...restricted the growth of the
Presbyterian Church in Scotland by restoring Episcopacy and by
forbidding the assemblies of the church to meet. After James became
king of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1603, disturbed conditions in
Scotland became such that many of the Lowland Scots readily migrated
when the Plantation scheme for the North of Ireland was put into
The persecution of the Presbyterian Scots in Northern Ireland in the
18th century is described in this monograph (pp. 4-5) and is one of the
reasons given for the migrations from Northern Ireland to America from
1684 to 1840.
> > Surely not all the Scots left Northern Ireland. Does anyone know among
> > the Protestants in Northern Ireland today, how many of them are Scottish
> > Presbyterian?
> There are very few Scottish Presbyterians in Ireland, but there are a
> lot of Irish Presbyterians - The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has
> between 300,000 and 330,000 persons connected with the Church, the
> vast majority in Northern Ireland.
> There has been so much intermarriage between the peoples of Ulster
> that it is misleading to identify Ulster Presbyterians as being
Klett on page one stated "Intermarriage with the native Irish was the
exception rather than the rule. Hence, the term (Scotch-Irish)
distinguishes them from the native Irish, and indicates the temporary
settlement of these Scots in Ireland." May I conclude from what you
have said and from this monograph that the Scots who lived in Ulster up
to the end of the 18th century did not intermarry significantly with the
native Irish? Those who did not migrate to America did intermarry in
the 19th and 20th centuries, correct?
>Until recently the founding myth of the Community was of the
> people who had come over to hold Ulster for Britain. This has been
> revised because of the political problems of the past three decades.
Again quoting from page 1: "During the seventeenth century a large
number of the adventurous and distressed inhabitants of England and
Scotland colonized the North of Ireland while many others from the
British isles and the mainland of Europe were settling
America....Although the plan aimed to colonize the Ulster area of the
North of Ireland chiefly with English and Scotch settlers, and with the
Irish of 'good note,' the Scotch migration from the Lowlands became so
large that it greatly outnumbered the English migration."
Are you saying that the plans of Sir Francis Bacon and others to
colonize Ulster with English and Scots is being distorted in recent
times so history will be more "politically correct"?
> In fact, there are considerable differences in attitude and culture
> between the Presbyterians of Ulster and the people of Scotland.
> When I return to Ulster, for a visit, after 30 years in Scotland I
> have to do a certain amount of readjustment to the culture, and the
> attitudes to many issues are very different.
> Irish Presbyterianism is a very different animal form the mainstream
> of Presbyterianism in Scotland, represented by the Church of Scotland.
> Not only would the Irish Church be more theologically conservative,
> and much less liturgically minded, it sees itself as the Church of the
> worshipping community, rather than the Church of the whole people.
> The PCI would be closer in attitude to either the Free Kirk, or some
> of the American Churches - especially in its social context.
It does not surprise me that the Irish Presbyterian Church would be more
conservative than that of Scotland, or of America, for that matter, due
to the Catholic influences that must have been substantial.
What percentage of the people of Northern Ireland are Catholic,
Anglican, and Presbyterian?
Thanks for your clarifications,
|Re: Protestants in Northern Ireland Today by Jacki Richey <>|