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Aspects of the 1859 Revival in the Maze, Broomhedge and Kilwarlin Areas Near Lisburn

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 25, 2009


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by Gilbert Watson

"When researching family history in rural areas, and my subject area is the Maze, Broomhedge and Kilwarlin, there are numerous questions on wider issues which need to be asked if we hope to portray, with a degree of accuracy, the life and times of previous generations. We may well wonder what effect, if any, major historical events such as the 1798 Rebellion or the Famine had on the areas where our families lived and did it impact on their lives? At the parochial level it would be of interest to explore the social impact of the Maze Races on the surrounding area or the effect on emigration of the Cotton Famine of 1862–3.

This article, in the sesquicentenary year of the religious Revival of 1859, is the result of one such exercise in response to the question – did the 1859 Revival have any impact on the unfolding history of the Watson family?"

Aspects of the 1959 Revival examines the 1859 Revival - an apparently spontaneous outbreak of religious fervour that swept over much of the province of Ulster. The majority of those involved were Presbyterians, although the Established Church, Methodists and the smaller evangelical denominations participated in the movement as well.