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Saint Joseph's Catholic Church, Marshalstown, County Wexford
15701919
Representative view of church.
Reg. No.15701919
Date1870 - 1875
Previous NameN/A
TownlandMARSHALSTOWN (SC. BY.)
CountyCounty Wexford
Coordinates295184, 145043
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC HISTORICAL SCIENTIFIC SOCIAL TECHNICAL
RatingRegional
Original Usechurch/chapel
In Use Aschurch/chapel
 
Description
Detached ten-bay double-height Catholic church, dated 1873; opened 1873, on a rectangular plan comprising eight-bay double-height nave opening into two-bay double-height chancel (east); single-bay three-stage tower (south-west) on a square plan supporting broach spire. Renovated, 1912, with interior "improved". Renovated, 1940, with sanctuary "improved". Renovated, 1976, with sanctuary reordered. Restored, 2000-1. Pitched slate roofs with roll moulded clay ridge tiles, cut-granite coping to gables on cut-granite ogee kneelers with Cross finials to apexes; and cast-iron rainwater goods on cut-granite "Cavetto" consoles retaining cast-iron downpipes. Repointed cut-granite banded snecked rubble stone walls on benchmark-inscribed cut-granite chamfered cushion course on plinth with cut-granite diagonal stepped buttresses to corners having cut-granite "slated" coping. Lancet window openings, cut-granite block-and-start surrounds having chamfered reveals with hood mouldings on monolithic label stops framing storm glazing over fixed-pane fittings having stained glass margins centred on leaded stained glass panels. Hexafoil-detailed pointed-arch window opening (east) with cut-granite thumbnail beaded sill, cut-granite mullions, and cut-granite block-and-start surround having chamfered reveals with hood moulding on monolithic label stops framing storm glazing over fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Pointed-arch door opening to entrance (west) front with cut-granite threshold, and cut-granite block-and-start surround having chamfered reveals with hood moulding on monolithic label stops framing timber boarded double doors. Pointed-arch window opening (gable) with cut-granite Y-mullion, and cut-granite block-and-start surround having chamfered reveals with hood moulding on monolithic label stops framing storm glazing over fixed-pane fittings having stained glass margins centred on leaded stained glass panels. Interior including vestibule (west); square-headed door opening into nave with glazed timber panelled double doors having sidelights on panelled risers below overlight; full-height interior open into roof restored, 2000-1, with arcaded choir gallery (west) below stained glass memorial "West Window" (1912), encaustic tiled central aisle between Maltese Cross-detailed timber pews, timber boarded or tongue-and-groove timber panelled wainscoting supporting carved timber dado rail, paired timber stations between stained glass memorial windows (1912), exposed pointed-arch braced scissor truss timber roof construction on cut-granite corbels with wind braced timber boarded ceiling on carved timber cornice, and carpeted cut-veined white marble stepped dais to sanctuary (east) reordered, 1976, with pointed-arch chancel arch framing Gothic-style high altar below stained glass memorial "East Window" (1912) in mosaic tiled surround. Set in landscaped grounds with cut-granite piers to perimeter having cut-granite chamfered capping supporting "Fleur-de-Lys"-detailed wrought iron double gates.

Appraisal

A church representing an important component of the later nineteenth-century ecclesiastical heritage of County Wexford with the architectural value of the composition, one recalling aspects of the contemporary Saint Mary's Catholic Church (1866-7) in Cushenstown (15703501) and thereby attributable to Bonaventure "Bonny" Pierce (1828-1910), confirmed by such attributes as the rectilinear plan form, aligned along a liturgically-correct axis; the construction in a banded ochre-coloured fieldstone offset by silver-grey granite dressings not only demonstrating good quality workmanship, but also producing a mild polychromatic palette; the slender profile of the openings underpinning a "medieval" Gothic theme with the chancel defined by an elegant "East Window"; and the polygonal spire embellishing the tower as a prominent eye-catcher in the landscape. 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 reordered (1976) in accordance with the liturgical reforms sanctioned by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (1962-5) where contemporary joinery; vibrant stained glass; a "flèche"-topped high altar; the Flynn Memorial "East Window" (1912); and gilded mosaic work, all highlight the 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 a sylvan setting.
 
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