Exterior Side

Portaferry Presbyterian Church was built in 1841 on land gifted by the local landlords, the Savage family.

The minister at that time was the Reverend John Orr and it was under his guidance that this building was erected. Orr, and his clerical predecessors William Steel Dickson and William Moreland, had run a Classics School in Portaferry for the ‘sons of merchants and gentlemen’. This familiarity with antiquity, at least in part, explains the rather unusual adoption of the Greek Revival style of design. In addition, the purity of thought associated with the ancient Greek civilisation struck a note with the free-thinking Presbyterians of the day.

The building was designed by John Millar, a young Belfast architect. It is believed that Portaferry Presbyterian Church was modelled on the Temple of Nemesis on the Greek Island of Rhamnous.  It has been described as “one of the most distinguished Neoclassical buildings in Ulster, and…in the first rank of Neoclassical designs in the whole of the British Isles”.