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Shankill Graveyard, Lurgan, Co Armagh

Founders of Methodism


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One of the first founders of Methodism in Lurgan was Issac Bullock, a member of a family that had long settled in the town. As a young man he had been in the army, and served in the West Indies, and was one of the 60 called the “forlorn hope”. In 1762 he was one of the first to enter the breach in the storming of Havana, Cuba. Only six of this advance party survived and the frightful encounter that he had encountered in this attack left a profound impression on him, and gave rise to a nervous disposition that remained with him to the end of his life. It is quite possible that Isaac Bullock became converted when Wesley first visited Lurgan in 1756.

 

It was at the Market House in Lurgan that the seeds of Wesley’s ministry germinated for it was shortly after this that the followers of the Wesleyan movement assembled a room in the home of the Bullock family. This property was at the rear High Street and formed part to the tenement known as “The Rookery”. From this time onwards the Bullock residence was used for regular worship, in fact it was not until some 22 years later that the first Methodist Meeting House in Lurgan was founded off Queen’s Street in Nettleton’s Court. Isaac Bullock died and is buried in Shankill. Perhaps the last survivors of those who had heard Wesley speak in Lurgan were Isaac’s daughter Susanna Bullock, and his niece May Furphy.

 

The Bullock’s were originally Quakers. Ezekiel Bullock one of five sons of George Bullock who came from England to settle in Tullygally in the seventeenth century. There is also an 18th century sandstone headstone marking the burial plot of the Bullock family in Shankill inscribed. “Here lyeth the body of John Bullock who departed this life ye 4th of October 1771, aged 64 years." By the 19th century, however owing either to phonetic decay in local speech or a clerical error the name is recorded on two other headstones in the graveyard as Bullick. The first a headstone in sandstone records the memory of “James Berril Bullick, who died 9th January 1859, aged 39 years." The second headstone is set within a railed enclosure bearing the inscription “In affection remembrance of Mary Ann Bullick, died 28th June 1851." Jane Bullick died 4th October1864. Thomas Bullock died 22 may 1858. Elizabeth Bullick died 1st January 1851. Mary Bullick died 23 September 1880. My heart and my flesh faileth but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever Samuel William Comerford Bullick died 1st January 1881, aged 12 years and 5 months. God is Love. Also Wm Bullick who died 5th September 1889, aged 75 years, also Thomas Bullick son of above who died 5th May 1902, aged 27 years.

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