Part 5 The Identity and Faith of the Ulster Protestant

Archbishop James Ussher5 Archbishop James Ussher Forging the Faith of the Ulster Plantation in the Fires of Persecution and Genocide

The final of part of our journey exploring the faith of the Ulster Protestant brings us back to Ireland and the century which has influenced Northern Ireland more than any other.  The 16th Century saw the defeat of the Irish Earls who fostered rebellion against the English Crown by inviting a Spanish Invasion.  With their defeat tens of thousands of Scottish Protestants were settled in Ulster by both Crown and Private Plantations.  They were encouraged to practice their Presbyterian Faith in the Church of Ireland as a consequence of Archbishop James Ussher’s rather bold attempt to incorporate Episcopalians and Presbyterians in one united Church body that would be capable of withstanding the aggressive Counter Reformation spearheaded by the devious Jesuits.  Sadly Ussher’s plans would be ruined by Archbishop Laud’s Anglo Catholic Policy on the one hand, and by the massacre of 1641 on the other. Ironically it would be that massacre which enabled the development of the Irish Presbyterian Church, which was responsible for transplanting the Scottish Reformation firmly in Ulster soil.

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