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St. Mary's Roman Catholic church, Milltown, County Westmeath
15401736
General view from the southwest.
Reg. No.15401736
Date1840 - 1860
Previous NameN/A
TownlandCORKAN
CountyCounty Westmeath
Coordinates230025, 254419
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC SOCIAL
RatingRegional
Original Usechurch/chapel
In Use Aschurch/chapel
Additional Usebell tower/stand
 
Description
Freestanding T-plan Roman Catholic church, built c.1840, comprising two-bay nave with single-bay transepts to northwest and southeast. Altered and renovated, c.1980, with entrance porch added to west gable. Pitched slate roof with cement rendered walls. Pointed-arched window openings with chamfered dressed limestone surrounds having timber Y-tracery and plain stained glass windows. Freestanding three-storey belfry on octagonal plan to west, dated 1855, with conical dressed limestone roof over having Celtic cross finial. Constructed of dressed and squared limestone rubble with ashlar limestone detailing. Cusped openings with timber louvered vents. Set back from road in own grounds with graveyard to west/southwest with collection of grave markers dating from the mid-nineteenth century. Coursed rubble limestone wall to road frontage to south. Associated parochial house (15401737) located to the northeast.

Appraisal

A simple mid nineteenth-century T-plan Roman Catholic Chapel with a good quality (later) detached belfry. This modest church is typical of the plain, almost vernacular, T-plan chapels that were built in great numbers throughout the Irish countryside in the years before and immediately after Catholic Emancipation (1829). The lack of an attached belfry is a typical feature of early churches of this nature, probably on account of the relative lack of resources available to the Catholic Church at the time. Unfortunately, recent renovations have removed some of the early character of this modest building, detracting somewhat from its historic character. Of greater interest is the freestanding octagonal bell tower, dated 1855. It is constructed of fine limestone masonry, almost ashlar in quality, and is a distinctive local landmark. The graveyard, which contains a number of fine mid nineteenth-century stone grave markers, and the attractive limestone boundary wall, completes the setting. The present church replaced an earlier building, which was located a short distance to the southwest (Ordnance Survey Map 1837). Oliver Begg (died 1848), of Loughnazon Hall (15401816) donated funds towards the construction of the present church.
 
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