Thomas Witherow

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Thomas Witherow (1824–1890) was an Irish Presbyterian minister and historian.



The son of Hugh Witherow, a farmer at Aughlish, near Dungiven, County Londonderry, and his wife Elizabeth Martin, he was born at Ballycastle on 29 May 1824. He received his early education at Ralliagh church school, and then studied with James Bryce. Later on he went to Belfast Academy and the Royal Academical Institution.

Dungiven town, townland and civil parish in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Dungiven is a small town, townland and civil parish in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is on the main A6 Belfast to Derry road. It lies where the rivers Roe, Owenreagh and Owenbeg meet at the foot of the 1,525 ft (465 m) Benbradagh. Nearby is the Glenshane Pass, where the road rises to over 1,000 ft (300 m). It had a population of 3,288 people in the 2011 Census, an increase of 10% over the 2001 population of 2,993. It is within Causeway Coast and Glens district.

County Londonderry Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

County Londonderry, also known as County Derry, is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Prior to the partition of Ireland, it was one of the counties of the Kingdom of Ireland from 1613 onward and then of the United Kingdom after the Acts of Union 1800. Adjoining the north-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,074 km² and today has a population of about 247,132.

Ballycastle, County Antrim town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Ballycastle is a small seaside town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is on the north-easternmost coastal tip of Ireland, in the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The harbour hosts the ferry to Rathlin Island, which can be seen from the coast. The Ould Lammas Fair is held each year in Ballycastle on the last Monday and Tuesday of August. Ballycastle is the home of the Corrymeela Community.

In 1839 he entered the collegiate department of the Academical Institution, and here, with the exception of a session at Edinburgh, all his college days were spent. [1]

In 1845 Witherow was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Glendermot, and in 1845 he ordained at Maghera, Londonderry, by the presbytery of Magherafelt, as colleague to Charles Kennedy. In 1865, on the opening of Magee College, Londonderry, he was appointed by the General Assembly as Professor of Church History and Pastoral Theology. [1]

Maghera town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Maghera is a town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Its population was 4,220 in the 2011 Census, increasing from 3,711 in the 2001 Census. It is situated within Mid-Ulster District, as well as the civil parish of Maghera, which it was named after, and the former barony of Loughinsholin.

Magee College campus of Ulster University in Derry, Northern Ireland

Ulster University, Magee campus is located in Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It opened in 1865 as a Presbyterian Christian arts and theological college. Since 1953, it has had no religious affiliation and provides a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate academic degree programmes in disciplines ranging from business, law, social work, creative arts & technologies, cinematic arts, design, computer science and computer games to psychology and nursing.

In 1878 Witherow was elected moderator of the Irish General Assembly, and in 1884 as a senator of the Royal University of Ireland. He was made hon. D.D. in 1883 by the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland, and LL.D. by the Royal University in 1885.

Witherow died on 25 January 1890 at Londonderry, and was buried in the city cemetery there. [1]


Witherow's main works were: [1]

He was a contributor to the British and Foreign Evangelical Review, the Belfast Witness, and the Londonderry Standard, and was one of the editors of the Presbyterian Review.


Witherow married Catharine, daughter of Thomas Milling of Maghera. They had seven daughters and three sons.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Lee, Sidney, ed. (1900). "Witherow, Thomas"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 62. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


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Sidney Lee 19th/20th-century English biographer and critic

Sir Sidney Lee was an English biographer, writer and critic.

<i>Dictionary of National Biography</i> Multi-volume reference work

The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives.

Academic offices
New title Professor of Church History and Pastoral Theology
at Magee College, Derry, County Londonderry

Succeeded by
J. Edgar Henry
Presbyterian Church titles
Preceded by
George Bellis (1877)
Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Succeeded by
Robert Watts (1879)

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