The case of the Clough meeting house (1836)

Clough Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church

John F Larkin, QC
Attorney General for Northern Ireland

 The case of the Clough meeting house (1836):
law reporting and pamphleteering

The Lecture will take place in the meeting house on
Wednesday, 24th May 2017
at 7.30 pm

Followed by refreshments in the hall.  Admission free.  Everyone welcome.

The case of Dill v Watson (1836) determined which of two parties in Irish Presbyterianism was entitled to the ownership of the Meeting House in Clough, County Down. It was the first Irish battle in a campaign in which litigation was the adjunct of theological controversy, and in the Clough case there is almost a fusion of legal and theological debate. What is striking (and fascinating) about the Clough case is that both parties published reports of the decision. Law reporting was for the parties to the Clough litigation no abstract record of a judicial decision but a further way for historical, legal, political and theological debate to be carried on. The two reports of the Clough case opened a distinct front in a pamphlet campaign that lasted until the Dissenters Chapels Act 1844 – if not beyond. This lecture explores this litigation and its background through the prism of the two partisan reports of the Clough case and the later law report by Thomas Jones. It examines the significance of the Clough case as a turning point in wider legal and theological controversy.

For further information contact: Rev Dr David Steers,

Clough Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church,
Castlewellan Road, Clough, County Down BT30 8RD