A guide to trace your ancestors from Lurgan, County Armagh and from the County of Armagh

Lurgan Young Men’s Society – Annual Report 1881

Lurgan Church of Ireland Young Men’s Society.

Annual Report

For The Year Ending October, 1881.


MOTTO 1881-82 – “The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than
thousands of gold and silver.” – Psalm cxix. 72.



1. This Society shall be called “The Lurgan Church Of Ireland Young Men’s Society.”

2. The objects of this Society shall be the spiritual, moral, and intellectual improvement of its Members.

3. The Society shall be under the management of a Patron, a President (the Rector of the Parish), Vice-Presidents (including the Curates of the Parish), a Treasurer, a Librarian, and Hon. Secretaries, all of whom shall be ex-officio members of Committee, and a Committee consisting of twelve members.

4. The first four names on the list of the Members of Committee, and all the other office-bearers of the Society (excepting the Patron, the President, and clerical Vice-Presidents) shall retire annually, but be eligible for re-election at the Annual General meeting of the Society, which shall be held in or about the first week in October, when the Treasurer’s Account and the Report of the Committee for the past year shall be submitted.

5. The Committee shall fill up any vacancies which may occur in itself between the Annual General Meetings. A member absent from four consecutive Committee Meetings shall, ipso facto, cease to be a Member of Committee, unless just cause is assigned for his absence.

6. Bye-laws may be altered as occasion may require at ordinary weekly meetings of the Society, a week’s notice of such alteration being given, and thus amended shall, if the Committee approve, become Bye-laws of the Society; but no rule shall be altered without the consent of a General Meeting, which may be summoned at any time by the Committee.

7. All who are members of or friendly to the Church of Ireland are eligible to be elected as Members of the Society. Candidates for admission shall be proposed and seconded at a Weekly Meeting by Members who can speak as to character.

8. The Subscription for Membership shall be 2s. 6d. yearly, payable in advance; larger subscriptions are, however, requested from those who can afford to give them. Apprentices and others whom the Committee approve of, are to be charged 1s. annually.

9. Any Member whose subscription shall be in arrear for three months after the same becomes payable shall, ipso facto, cease to be a Member.

10. Members of the Society shall be liable to expulsion if any breach of morality be proved against them, or for any other cause which the Committee may deem sufficient.

11. The operations of the Society shall be carried on in humble dependence upon the Divine blessing by means of Bible Classes, papers on Religious or other subjects, Debates, Readings, Music, and Lectures.

12. The Committee shall meet, if required, once a month, or oftener; five to form a quorum.

13. The Meetings of the Society and of its Committee shall be opened and closed with prayer.


1. Weekly Meetings of the Society shall be held on Monday evenings during the Session, commencing at 8 o’clock, and ending not later than 9-50.

2. On special occasions, such as when Lectures are being given, the Bye-law about closing may be dispensed with at the discretion of the chair.

3. Business for the following evening of Meeting shall be announced immediately after the reading of the Minutes, when possible.

4. Anonymous Papers shall be read in the order they are received by the Secretaries, provided there is nothing in them objectionable on moral grounds.

5. The public shall not be admitted to any debate unless agreed to previously by a majority of the members present and voting.

6. In all debates the remarks of the two opening speakers are not to occupy more than 15 minutes each; but they shall each be entitled to occupy 10 minutes additional in closing, the affirmative speaker to speak last; other speakers are not to occupy more than 10 minutes each, and to speak once only. For the purposes of this Bye-law the time to be allowed to each speaker shall be reckoned from the time the preceding speaker takes his seat.

7. The remarks of intermediate speakers in debates shall not extend beyond 9-25, at which hour the Chairman shall call upon the opening speaker on the negative side to reply, unless the debate be adjourned.

8. On the motion of any Member who has not previously spoken, the debate may be adjourned, the majority of the Members agreeing. The mover of the adjournment to open next meeting.

9. Any Member taking part in a debate must not read his remarks.

10. Any Member intending to sever his connexion with the Society shall give notice of the same to one of the Hon. Secretaries.

Session 1880-81.

The Committee of the Lurgan Church of Ireland Young Men’s Society, in presenting the Members with their Ninth Annual Report, wish to express their thankfulness to God for the large measure of prosperity that has crowned their labours during the past year, with the earnest prayer that the members may ever continue to have the “spiritual, moral, and intellectual” welfare of each other at heart.
Your Committee are glad to be able to report that many members are engaged in the noble and voluntary work of Sunday-school teaching throughout the different districts of the parish, while others are devoting whatever time they can afford to some other branch of the work in the vineyard of the Lord.
The number of Members has steadily increased since our last Annual Report was presented, there being at the end of the Session 150 names on the roll, which is, no doubt, very encouraging; but your Committee think the membership could be greatly increased if each Member were to solicit those who are eligible for our Association to join our ranks, and by so doing our institution would be elevated one step nearer the attainment of its high and noble aim.


The weekly meetings were held Monday evenings during the Session Shankill Buildings, when the following programme was gone through : – 

Oct. 01 Election of Officers and other preliminary business.
Oct. 04 Public Soiree in the Town Hall.
Oct. 11 Anonymous Papers.
Oct. 18 No Meeting.
Oct. 25 Essay – “The Land Question.” By Mr. W. O. Martin.
Nov. 01 No Meeting.
Nov. 08 Adjourned Discussion on “The Land Question.”
Nov. 15 Debate – “Does Sectarianism benefit Christianity ?”
    Affir. – Mr. W. Hazelton.
    Neg. – Mr. John Bratty.
Nov. 22 Adjourned Debate.
Nov. 29 Anonymous Papers.
Dec. 06 Readings by Messrs. R. Beckett, W. J. Cordner, R. G. McCann, H. Livingston, and S. Macoun.
Dec. 13 Essay – “The Psalmist of Israel.” By Mr. H. Livingston.
Dec. 20 Debate – “Is the Irish Policy of the present Government commendable ?”
    Affir. – Mr. Thomas Faloon.
    Neg. – Mr. Richard Howell.
Dec. 21 No Meeting.
Jan. 03 Adjourned Debate on the question “Is the Irish Policy of the present Government commendable ?”
Jan. 10 Anonymous Papers.
Jan. 17 Essay – “The Press.” By George Bradshaw.
Jan. 24 Debate – “Was Wellington a greater General than Napoleon ?”
    Affir. – Mr. W. Skelton.
    Neg. – Mr. W. Clendinning.
Jan. 31 Readings, Recitation, and Music, by Messrs. W. D. Bray, W. O. Martin, S. Mahaffy, G. J. Wake, W. A. Gilbert,
  H. Mahaffy, J. Bunting, and the Rev. J. G. Burton.
Feb. 07 Essay – “National Characteristics.” By Mr. John H. McCann.
Feb. 14 No Meeting
Feb. 21 No Meeting
Feb. 28 Essay – “Notes of a Visit to the City of Derry, chiefly descriptive of persons and places connected with the Siege of 1688-89.”
  By the Rev. W. Murdoch, Maralin.
Mar. 07 Anonymous papers.
Mar. 14 Essay – “James II.” By the Rev. J. G. Burton.
Mar. 21 Readings, Recitation, and Music, by Rev. J. G. Burton, Messrs. A. Morrison, S. Macoun, W. Hazelton, S. Mahaffy,
  W. O. Martin, R. Beckett, and C. Thompson.
Mar. 28 Essay – “The Book of Common Prayer.” By Mr. John Bratty.
Apr. 04 Social Meeting in the Free School.


The spirit of criticism and debate that pervaded all the meetings has been sometimes keen and searching, but of the most friendly character, each member bearing in mind the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would they should do unto you.” Perhaps in the whole work of the Society there has not been a greater difficulty to contend with than that of obtaining some of your members to write essays or take a leading part in debates, and for many years the programme for the Session could not be printed and placed in the hands of Members till the Session was far advanced. However, your Committee are happy to be able to say they have overcome the difficulty by appointing as a deputation Messrs. W. O. Martin and W. Hazelton, a month previous to the opening of the Session, to wait upon the leading members of the Society and ascertain from them the names of essays they would write, or what part each one would take in a debate. This plan they find to be highly beneficial and satisfactory, as it relieves the Hon. Secs. of a very heavy burden which hitherto they had to bear, and it also put them in a position to be able at our Annual General Meeting to place in the hands of each Member a printed programme of the coming Session’s work.


During the Session our worthy and respected President continued his Wednesday evening Bible Class; commencing at nine o’clock, immediately after service in church. He took for consideration part of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The class, we rejoice to state, was very largely attended by many of the young men of our town, even of different denominations, and more especially by many of the working class, for whom it was principally organized. The amount of profit realized in the class has been very great, and we believe shall endure for time and eternity, as the Lord has promised that His word shall not return unto Him void. The class will be continued this Session. We would urge upon the young men of Lurgan, and especially the members of the Society, the value and necessity of such a Bible Class, as infidelity, indifference, and zeal without knowledge are fast spreading through the land.
Your Committee regret their being unable to arrange for any public lectures during the Session.


During the last twelve months the Library has been taken advantage of by the Members, and we hope that each one will be able and willing at the meetings of our coming Session to give to the Society the benefit of his reading.


The Reading and Recreation Rooms continue to receive a fair amount of support. Yearly subscribers to the Reading Room have the use of the Library free.


In the month of July your Committee undertook the responsibility of publishing the Parochial Magazine, as Mr. Mahaffy was obliged to resign its publication, and they hope to receive from the public in general, and the Church congregation in particular, such a measure of support as will enable them to make it as successful now as it was in the hands of its former proprietor.


Your Committee have to express regret at the loss of one of our beloved and most respected Vice-Presidents, Rev. J. G. Burton, B.A., who was curate in the parish for nearly two years, and also Vice-President of our Society for the same time. In the Rev. Mr. Burton our members always found warmheartedness, humility, and genuine Christianity. His benevolence was almost unrivalled. Your Committee deemed it to be their duty to present him with an address in the name of the Society, expressing their regret at the departure of such a valuable friend for a foreign land.  The address was presented at the social meeting held in April last, and many of our generous parishioners could not allow our Vice-President to depart from amongst them without acknowledging his widespread kindness. They therefore presented him on the same occasion with a purse of sovereigns. Your Committee also regret the loss of a few other members, who have gone to other places. Mr. Alexander Morrison, who acted as one of your honorary secretaries for the Session of 1879-80, has removed to Belfast; Mr. W. T. C. Skelton, to London; Mr. R. G. McCann, to America; and Mr. John Semple, to Enniskillen; to all of whom your Committee wish a happy future, and pray that their paths may be directed by Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Your Committee have pleasure in returning their best thanks to Mr. Poole and the choir of the church for their valuable aid, rendered with the utmost goodwill and courtesy, at all times when their efficient services are required. The balance to your credit in Treasurer’s statement of accounts is £8  16s  7d.


In conclusion, you Committee would earnestly press upon the members the primary aim of the Society, which is the spiritual, moral, and intellectual improvement of its members. This can be arrived at only by a careful and candid examination of all subjects placed at your disposal, and humbly imploring the Lord for the aid and comfort of His Blessed spirit to guide you into all truth, that you may have a right judgment in all things; ever bearing in mind that time is only a parenthesis in eternity; and while intellectual and moral improvements are beneficial they do not reach beyond the limits of this life. Each one, individually, should set his affections on things above, and be enabled, by God’s grace , to say with the Prophet of old “Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive, shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

The path of life well laid in youth
Brings priceless treasures to our race;
Adorns the lips with gracious truth,
And guides our steps in every place.



DR.           CR.                     
To Balance    £15   16   6½                
          By Mr. Lonsdale’s Account      £2    4 0
          By Mr. Turkington’s Account 1 18 0
Subscriptions from Right Hon. Lord Lurgan, K.P. 1 0 0   By Mr. White’s Account 3 7 0
Subscriptions from Rev. Dr. Campbell 1 0 0   By Mr. J. B. Mahaffy’s Account 2 2 6
Subscriptions from John W. Greer, Esq., J.P. 1 0 0   By Messrs. W. & G. Baird’s Account 2 2 6
Subscriptions from James Malcolm, Esq., J.P. 1 0 0   By Contributions to Poor – per Rev. J. G. Burton 5 0 0
Subscriptions from Rev. S. J. Hackett, B.A. 0 5 0   By Address to Rev. J. G. Burton 5 0 0
Subscriptions from Rev. J. G. Burton, B.A. 0 5 0   By Balance of Books 0 11
Subscriptions from Courtney Johnston, Esq. 0 5 0   By Deficit in Social Meeting 1 7 6
Subscriptions from Lieut. Col. Waring 0 5 0   By Fruit for Social Meeting 1 3 0
Members Subscriptions 7 13 0   By Robinson Bros. Account 0 12 0
Subscriptions towards Rev. J. G. Burton’s Address 1 12 6   By Mr. Tindal’s Account 0 5 6
Proceeds of Soiree 4 8 0   By Balance Forward 8 16 7
  £34 10        £34 10
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