The Rev Dr Henry Cooke was one of the most influential Presbyterian ministers in the 19th century. He became a relentless opponent of heresy in his church and was a leading figure in the controversy between the orthodox Presbyterians and those who subscribed to Unitarian doctrines led by his rival, Henry Montgomery.
In 1829, mainly as a result of his efforts, Presbyterian ministers with Unitarian or Arian views withdrew from the General Synod of Ulster and formed the Remonstrant Synod which was the beginning of what is now known as the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The expulsion of the Arian views led ultimately to the union in 1840 of the Secession Synod and the Synod of Ulster to form the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
Henry Cooke's statue stands in the centre of Belfast, a reminder of the large part he played in the religious and public history of Ireland in the 19th century.