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St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic church, County Westmeath
15401313
General view from the west.
Reg. No.15401313
Date1870 - 1890
Previous NameN/A
TownlandWILLIAMSTOWN
CountyCounty Westmeath
Coordinates256399, 260055
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC SOCIAL
RatingRegional
Original Usechurch/chapel
In Use Aschurch/chapel
 
Description
Freestanding Roman Catholic church on cruciform plan, built c.1880, comprising three-bay nave (west), single-bay chancel and (east) and single-bay transepts to north and south. Two-stage pinnacled spirelet on octagonal plan with open belfry above centre of entrance front (west). Steeply pitched natural slate roof with corbelled eaves, decorative ridge cresting and raised ashlar limestone verges with fractables. Constructed of snecked-rusticated limestone with extensive ashlar detailing and dressings, including string courses and surrounds to openings. Clasping buttresses to corners, surmounted by pinnacles with wrought-iron cross finials. Wrought-iron Celtic cross finial to spirelet. Pointed-arched window openings with stained glass to nave gable, nave, and gable ends of transepts. Pointed-arched triple-light opening to chancel gable. Lozenge-shaped windows to gables of transepts. Ordered recessed pointed-arched door openings to entrance gable and to the west face of each transept with ashlar limestone surrounds and timber double-doors. Interesting interior with open timber cross-braced roof. Set back from road in own grounds. Located in prominent position in the landscape on the summit of a ridge.

Appraisal

A very fine late nineteenth-century church, built in a full-blooded Gothic-style with extensive detailing throughout. This assured and well-built church has an air of authority, despite its relatively small size, and it dominates the surrounding countryside. The contrast between the severity of the dark rock-faced limestone masonry walls and the smooth light ashlar detailing creates an interesting and appealing textural variation to the exterior. The pinnacled spirelet almost seems to erupt from the body of the church and is an interesting and unusual feature which helps to this distinguish this church above many of its contemporaries in Westmeath.
 
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