Built in 1786 (enlarged in 1889), this was the first Presbyterian church at Ballybay. It is located here at Derryvally beside the R183 Clones road outside the town of Ballybay because, by law, new churches (other than those of the ‘established’ Church of Ireland) had then to be built at least an “Irish mile” away from a town
Its congregation was first formed in about 1697 at a time when there was a large influx of Scottish and Ulster Presbyterian farmers who were being offered land tenancies in Co. Monaghan on advantageous terms. For the newcomers, outdoor worship, possibly with some shelter for the minister, was the practice of the time. They were also affected by various tensions within their religion, especially that between the conservative Calvinists and militant ‘seceders’. It was this that in 1764 caused 300 ‘secessionist’ Presbyterians in Co. Monaghan to leave with their minister to settle in America (the Cahans exodus) Link
In 1799 “First” Ballybay had problems of its own when a disagreement about who was to be the new incumbent minister arose. The outcome was that a large part of the congregation left to set up a separate church 200 yards away with its own minister. Their new building was completed the following year, 1800. Confusingly the new church was not known as ‘Second Ballybay’ but as the Derryvally church H6921 : The Derryvally Presbyterian church of Ballybay seen from First Ballybay Presbyterian churchyard 200 yards away
In 1834, on the retirement from First Ballybay of Rev James Morrell, the minister whose nomination had caused the original rift in the congregation, there were ructions over his successor which further fragmented the church. The majority of the congregation was in favour of Rev William Gibson while the rest wanted the other candidate, Morrell’s son John. The upshot was that John Morrell and his supporters left to found Second Ballybay church (now allowed to be in the town), making it then the third Presbyterian church in this small market town H7120 : Presbyterian Church, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan
The rift between First Ballybay and Derryvally lasted for more than a century. In 1909, the two warring congregations were reunited at First Ballybay but with two separate churchyards. The Derryvally church building became a Community Hall.
Ref: “At the Ford of the Birches”, Murnane Brothers 1999 Link