Main Record - County Wexford
|Catholic Church of Saint John the Baptist, Galbally, County Wexford
|Date||1825 - 1830|
|Townland||GALBALLY (BAN. BY.)|
|Categories of Special Interest||ARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC HISTORICAL SOCIAL|
|In Use As||church/chapel|| |
Detached five-bay double-height Catholic church, opened 1828, on a rectangular plan comprising four-bay double-height nave opening into single-bay double-height chancel (north); single-bay two-stage tower to entrance (south) front on a square plan supporting elongated pyramidal spire. "Improved", 1878-9, producing present composition. "Repaired", 1947-51. Renovated, ----, with sanctuary reordered. Pitched slate roofs with clay ridge tiles, lichen-covered coping to gables including lichen-covered coping to gable (north) on cut-granite "Cavetto" corbels with Cross finial to apex, and cast-iron rainwater goods on rendered eaves retaining cast-iron downpipes. Cement rendered walls on cement rendered plinth; cement rendered surface finish (tower) on cement rendered plinth with cut-granite stringcourse (clock stage). Round-headed window openings with cut-granite sills, and rendered "bas-relief" surrounds framing storm glazing over fixed-pane fittings having stained glass margins centred on leaded stained glass panels. Round-headed "Trinity Window" (north) with cut-granite block-and-start surrounds framing storm glazing over fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Square-headed door opening in round-headed recess (tower), rendered "bas-relief" surround framing timber boarded double doors. Round-headed window openings ("cheeks") with cut-granite sills, and concealed dressings framing storm glazing over fixed-pane fittings. Interior including vestibule (south); square-headed door opening into nave with glazed timber panelled double doors; full-height interior with arcaded choir gallery (south) in round-headed alcove, tiled central aisle between replacement timber pews, paired Gothic-style timber stations between stained glass memorial windows (----), pair of cut-white marble wall monuments (1896; 1897) with pair of rosette-detailed cut-white marble Classical-style wall monuments (1826; 1849), moulded plasterwork cornice to coved ceiling, and herring bone-pattern timber parquet stepped dais to sanctuary (north) reordered, ----, with round-headed chancel arch framing replacement timber panelled high altar (2002) below stained glass memorial "Trinity Window" (1879). Set in landscaped grounds on a corner site with rendered chamfered piers to perimeter having chamfered stringcourses below chamfered capping supporting wrought iron double gates.
A church representing an integral component of the early nineteenth-century ecclesiastical heritage of County Wexford with the architectural value of the composition, one 'erected at an expense…by [John Hyacinth] Talbot [and] endowed with fifteen acres of land for the use of the priest' (Lewis 1837 I, 138), suggested by such attributes as the nave-with-entrance tower plan form, aligned along a liturgically-incorrect axis; the arcaded profile of the openings underpinning a streamlined Romanesque theme with the chancel defined by an elegant "Trinity Window"; and the copper-covered spire embellishing the tower as a picturesque eye-catcher in the landscape: meanwhile, aspects of the composition clearly illustrate the continued development or "improvement" of the church with financial support from Christopher Thomas Talbot Redington MP (1843-99) of Galway (de Vál 2004, 43). Having been well maintained, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with quantities of the original fabric, both to the exterior and to the interior reordered (----) in accordance with the liturgical reforms sanctioned by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (1962-5) where contemporary joinery; restrained stained glass; wall monuments commemorating Anna Eliza Talbot (d. 1826) of Talbot Hall and Esther Redmond (d. 1849) of Summerhill; and the vibrant Talbot Memorial "Trinity Window" (1879), all highlight the artistic potential of a church making a pleasing visual statement in a rural village setting.
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