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Villierstown Church (Aglish), Villierstown, County Waterford
22819003
Representative view of church.
Reg. No.22819003
Date1745 - 1750
Previous NameN/A
TownlandVILLIERSTOWN
CountyCounty Waterford
Coordinates210270, 93005
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC HISTORICAL SOCIAL
RatingRegional
Original Usechurch/chapel
 
Description
Detached three-bay double-height Church of Ireland church, built 1748, on a cruciform plan comprising single-bay double-height nave opening into single-bay (single-bay deep) double-height transepts centred on single-bay double-height chancel to crossing (east); single-bay double-height pedimented "narthex" to entrance (west) front. Closed, 1958. Donated, 1965. Vacant, 1969. Adapted to alternative use, 1974. Now disused. Pitched slate roof on a cruciform plan with sections of replacement fibre-cement slate (west); pitched (gabled) slate roof ("narthex"), ridge tiles, and no rainwater goods surviving on rendered stepped eaves. Part ivy-covered coursed rubble stone battered walls originally rendered on plinth; rendered surface finish (east) with stepped buttresses to corners having "slated" coping; coursed rubble stone walls ("narthex") on plinth with cut-limestone pediment on frieze supporting bellcote. Paired round-headed window openings with cut-limestone sills, and rough hewn limestone surrounds having chamfered reveals framing nine-over-nine timber sash windows without horns. Round-headed window openings (transepts) with rough hewn limestone surrounds having chamfered reveals framing sixteenth-over-eight timber sash windows. "Venetian Window" in round-headed recess (east), pilasters supporting cornice on blind frieze on entablature, and concealed dressings framing iron mesh storm panels over fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Square-headed door opening ("narthes") approached by two cut-limestone steps, cut-limestone doorcase with cornice on pulvinated frieze framing timber panelled double doors. Interior including vestibule (west); full-height interior choir gallery (west) on fluted cast-iron Doric pillars, stained glass memorial "Venetian Window" (----), and moulded plasterwork cornice to coved ceiling. Set in landscaped grounds with limestone ashlar piers to perimeter having cornice capping supporting arrow head-detailed cast-iron double gates.

Appraisal

A church erected by John Villiers (c.1684-1766), first Earl Grandison (Carlisle 1810, n.p., representing an important component of the mid eighteenth-century ecclesiastical heritage of County Waterford with the architectural value of the composition confirmed by such attributes as the cruciform plan form, aligned along a liturgically-correct axis; the feint battered silhouette; the coupled openings showing conventional Georgian glazing patterns with the chancel defined by a Classically-detailed "Venetian Window"; and the bellcote embellishing the pedimented roof as a picturesque eye-catcher in the landscape. A prolonged period of neglect notwithstanding, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with substantial quantities of the original fabric, both to the exterior and to the interior, including crown or cylinder glazing panels in hornless sash frames: meanwhile, contemporary joinery; sleek plasterwork refinements; and a vibrant "Venetian Window", all highlight the artistic potential of a church forming part of a self-contained group alongside an adjacent monument (see 22819006) with the resulting ensemble making a pleasing visual statement as the set piece of an estate village street scene. NOTE: The reuse of the church has been the subject of much debate since it was donated to the village (1965) by James Henry Ion Villiers-Stuart (1928-2004) to prevent it 'falling into disrepair and ruin'; the gift was welcomed by Bishop Daniel Coghlan (1884-1965) and Reverend Hackett PP and a committee quickly raised £1,500 for its adaptation as a Catholic church, however, the works failed to progress under Bishop Michael Russell (1920-2009) and Reverend Quinlan PP and, when visited by RTÉ in 1969, the church had been taken over by local children as a playground.
 
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