James Ireland was born in Scotland, but he was born again in Virginia. He became a fearless preacher of the gospel in a colony where that ministry was illegal. He experienced the wrath of Protestant persecution more than most. On one occasion, while in prayer two men grabbed him by the collar, declaring that if he didn’t stop preaching he would go to jail. He couldn’t make that promise, so he went to the local jail, but through its window, he continued to preach. There his troubles only intensified. Men would ride their horses through the people who were listening to him, or they’d try to spit and even urinate into his face. Someone tried to blow up his cell, and others burned sulphur and pepper under the floor, in an attempt to suffocate him. Drunken trouble-makers were put into the cell with him to harass him, but under the Lord’s blessings, some of them were born again. Outside of jail, Ireland was often threatened with beatings and dunking. On one occasion two women conspired to poison his family, causing everyone to become very sick and one of his eight children actually died. But, out of love, Brother Ireland kept on.

There are several memorials step up in northern Virginia in honor of this hero of the faith. One of them, on the grounds of the Culpepper Baptist Church, is in the shape of a bell. It was erected “so that imagination, when our bell is rung, may hear James Ireland calling us forth,” to worship and serve the King of kings.