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Saint Mary's Church (Newtownbarry), Church Street, The Mall or Main Street, Bunclody originally Newtownbarry, County Wexford
15602059
Representative view of church.
Reg. No.15602059
Date1770 - 1780
Previous NameN/A
TownlandNEWTOWNBARRY
CountyCounty Wexford
Coordinates291058, 156775
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC HISTORICAL SOCIAL TECHNICAL
RatingNational
Original Usechurch/chapel
In Use Aschurch/chapel
 
Description
Detached five-bay double-height Church of Ireland church, built 1775-6, on a cruciform plan originally four-bay double-height on a rectangular plan comprising three-bay double-height nave opening into single-bay (single-bay deep) double-height transepts centred on single-bay double-height chancel to crossing (north); single-bay three-stage tower (east) on a square plan supporting octagonal spire. Extended and reoriented, 1869, producing present composition. Refronted, 1877-8. Reroofed, 1983-4. Replacement pitched artificial slate roof on a T-shaped plan abutting pitched artificial slate roof (north) with ridge tiles, lichen-spotted cut-granite coping to gables including lichen-spotted cut-granite coping to gable to entrance (south) front on cut-granite kneelers with Celtic Cross finial to apex, lichen-spotted cut-granite coping to gable (north) on cut-granite gabled "Bowtell" kneelers with Celtic Cross finial to apex, and cast-iron rainwater goods on rendered eaves retaining cast-iron downpipes. Roughcast walls on cut-granite chamfered cushion course on rendered plinth; tuck pointed snecked granite surface finish (north) on cut-granite chamfered cushion course on granite ashlar plinth with cut-granite diagonal stepped buttresses to corners having lichen-spotted cut-granite "slated" coping; granite ashlar surface finish to entrance (south) front with cut-granite "diaper work" surface finish to gable. Pointed-arch window openings with cut-granite sills, timber Y-mullions, and concealed dressings framing fixed-pane fittings having lattice glazing bars. Pointed-arch window opening (north) with cut-granite engaged colonette mullions, and cut-granite block-and-start surround having chamfered reveals with hood moulding on foliate label stops framing storm glazing over fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass margins centred on leaded stained glass panels. Pointed-arch door opening to entrance (south) front below unfinished memorial with cut-granite step threshold, and cut-granite block-and-start surround having engaged colonette-detailed reveals with hood moulding framing timber boarded double doors. Octafoil "Rose Window" to gable with lichen-spotted cut-granite surround having rosette-detailed concave reveals framing iron mesh storm panel over fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Lancet window openings (south) with cut-granite sills, and cut-granite block-and-start surrounds having chamfered reveals with hood mouldings framing iron mesh storm panels over fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Full-height interior open into roof with stained glass "Rose Window" (1877), pair of stained glass memorial windows (1877), carpeted central aisle between cruciform-detailed timber pews, pair of cut-white marble tablets (ob. ----; ----), exposed pointed-arch braced collared timber roof construction on "Cavetto"-detailed thumbnail beaded corbels with wind braced rafters to ceiling on carved timber cornice, cut-granite Gothic-style pulpit on an octagonal plan with cut-granite Gothic-style clerk's desk on an octagonal plan, and pointed-arch chancel arch framing carpeted stepped dais to chancel (north) with cast-iron balusters supporting carved timber communion railing centred on cloaked altar below stained glass "North Window" (----). Set in landscaped grounds on a slightly elevated corner site with repointed granite ashlar piers to perimeter having cut-granite shallow pyramidal capping supporting wrought iron double gates.

Appraisal

A church erected to a design signed (1776) by Thomas Cooley (1742?-84) of Dublin and London (DIA) representing an important component of the ecclesiastical heritage of north County Wexford with the architectural value of the composition, 'a handsome and richly decorated structure…situated on a fine elevation surrounded with beautiful trees' (Lacy 1863, 484), confirmed by such attributes as the cruciform plan form, aligned along a liturgically-incorrect axis; the "pointed" profile of the openings underpinning a stolid Georgian Gothic theme with the chancel defined by a "North Window" 'of the same design as that in the Memorial Church at Lucknow India' (Irish Builder 1st August 1869, 175); the silver-grey granite surface finishes demonstrating good quality workmanship; and the polygonal spire embellishing the tower as a familiar eye-catcher in the landscape: meanwhile, aspects of the composition clearly illustrate the near-total reconstruction of the church with financial support from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (reorganised 1833) and the later "improvement" of the church to a design by William Burges (1827-81) of London with an unfinished memorial to Robert Westley Hall-Dare (1840-76) and Charles Hall-Dare (1861-76) inscribed: "THESE STONES SHALL BE FOR A MEMORIAL". Having been well maintained, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with substantial quantities of the original fabric, both to the exterior and to the interior where stained glass supplied (1877) by Saunders and Company (fl. 1869-80) of London; contemporary joinery; restrained tablets; and the thirteenth-century French Gothic-style "North Window" installed (1866) as a memorial to Robert Westley Hall-Dare (1817-66) and Frances Anna Catherine Hall-Dare (née Lambart) (d. 1862), all highlight the considerable artistic potential of the composition: meanwhile, an exposed timber roof construction pinpoints the engineering or technical dexterity of a church making a pleasing visual statement in an urban street scene.
 
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