Built in 1870 this church in Bridge Street, presently a Freemasons Hall, replaced Cootehill’s first Methodist church which was erected in 1797 and was large enough to accommodate 300 people. This early church was built on land in Bridge Street donated free by the Coote family who also gave money for the project H6015 : An architectural gem: Bellamont House and its history
. However the Cootes’ liberal attitude towards Methodism and other ‘foreign’ denominations who were welcomed to their town was not shared by the elders of the established Church of Ireland to which the Coote family belonged. H6014 : COOTEHILL: Linen and Religion
Prior to that, the famous Methodist evangelist John Wesley (1703-91) visited Cootehill on at least four occasions between 1758-78. An indefatigable preacher and traveller, he crossed the Irish Sea 42 times and, in all, spent six year of his busy life in Ireland. Following his first visit to Cootehill in May 1758 when he preached in the open, and subsequent visits in 1760 and 1762, a Methodist community was formed in the town. When Wesley visited for the last time in May 1778 at the age of 75, the Presbyterians allowed him to preach in their Meeting House. Afterwards he remarked: “I had a very extraordinary congregation. To many church people were added Seceders, Arians, Moravians and what not”. The diversity was probably a measure of the respect Wesley and his adherents had earned among the many other denominations who the Cootes had attracted to their prosperous ‘linen’ town.
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