This plaque is of special historical interest as it explains the mass migration of Presbyterians from Ulster that began with The Petition of Ulstermen in 1718.
In commemoration of the undernamed Members
of this Congregation
who from loyalty to their Church principles
resigned their seats on the Corporation
of this City
At the passing of The Irish Test Act in 1704 [see below]
James Lennox, M.P.
John Harvey, Chamberlain
The Sacramental Test Act of 1704 forced Presbyterians to take the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper according to the rites of the Church of Ireland as a condition of holding any office, civil or military, under the Crown. Presbyterians were now Dissenters: suspicious of establishments- civil and religious, yet considering themselves at times as almost an alternative establishment.
Rather than conform to the demands of Anglican bishops and submit to authority, the Presbyterians of Ulster resigned all positions of authority and looked to emigration to the American colonies, a wave that began in 1717 which had reached 250,000 by 1770.