Rev. Robert McCLURE
- Born: Cir 1732
- Marriage: Ellen BENSON
- Died: 11 May 1823 aged about 91
Extract from "The McClure Family" by James Alexander McClure (1914)
The most distinguished of the McClures of Down was Rev. Robert McClure, for sixty-three years pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Annahilt, ordained and installed April 29, 1760. His great grandson. Prof. John Robinson Leebody, M. A.. D. Sc. of Magee College, Londonderry, furnishes the following:
'My great-grandfather, the Rev. Robert McClure, was minister of Anuahilt from 1760 to 1823. His family resided near Belfast where they owned some property. From this Mr. McClure derived income sufficient to live in easy circumstances. His staff of servants included a butler \emdash not a usual luxury for a Presbyterian minister either then or now. His wife was a daughter of Archdeacon Benson, of Hillsborough, and a grand-daugher of a former Bishop of Down and Connor. Mr. McClure was on terms of intimacy with the country gentry and a great favorite with the Marquis of Downshire, with whom he used to dine every Wednesday at the castle. Many offers of promotion were made to him if he would consent to join the Episcopal Church, which he resolutely declined.
He had a numerous family, but of the history of several of them I have no details. One of his daughters married Rev. Dr Wright, his assistant and successor. Another, John Robinson, a gentleman farmer near Hillsborough, who was my grandfather and after whom I am named. Another, Rev. Mr. Ashe, an English rector. One of his younger sons, Arthur, was in the army, and I believe attached to the staff of the Duke of Kent. After retiring from the army he resided near Lisburn, and I recollect being at his house when a boy. He used to tell that he had frequently carried our late Queen in his arms when she was a child.
Mr. McClure was the Moderator of the Synod 1779; preached from Philip, 4: 1-5, At the opening of the Synod in 1780 his sermon on I Timothy, 4: 16, was printed.
Mr. McClure is described as a man of distinguished appearance. I have heard my mother say that she remembered seeing him frequently when she was a girl, and her recollection of him was a tall, white-haired old gentleman with an ear trumpet. I may mention an anecdote I have heard which illustrates, amougst other things, the difference between the present standard of ministerial propriety and that current a century ago. Near Hillsborough, at a place called The Maze, there is a race-course, once very famous, and I believe still of considerable repute. Riding to it one morning during the race week with some of the local gentry, he overheard an altercation between a woman and her son, whom she was endeavoring to persuade to stay away from the races. To the final declaration of the youth, "I will go; there is our minister going', Mr. McClure merely remarked, 'No one will ever say that again,' turned his horse round and despite the exhortations of his friends for being so needlessly scrupulous, rode home and was never seen on a race course again."
Extract from "History of Congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland" by the Rev. W.D. Killen (1886)
The next minister was Mr. Robert McClure, who was ordained here (Anahilt) on the 29th of April 1760. Becoming infirm, Mr William Wright was ordained his assistant and successor on the 24th of June 1802. Mr. McClure died May 11th, 1823, leaving a family.
Robert married Ellen BENSON, daughter of Rev. Trevor BENSON Archdeacon of Down and Jane HUTCHINSON.