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Saint Catherine's Catholic Church originally Saint Peter's Catholic Church, Murntown latterly Murrintown, County Wexford
15704254
Representative view of church.
Reg. No.15704254
Date1835 - 1840
Previous NameN/A
TownlandMURNTOWN LOWER
CountyCounty Wexford
Coordinates300906, 115994
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC HISTORICAL SOCIAL
RatingRegional
Original Usechurch/chapel
In Use Aschurch/chapel
 
Description
Detached four-bay double-height single-cell Catholic church, built 1837, on a rectangular plan with single-bay single-storey flat-roofed projecting porch to entrance (west) front. "Improved", 1901. Renovated, 1910, with interior "improved". Renovated, 1987, with sanctuary reordered. Pitched slate roof, clay ridge tiles with cut-granite Celtic Cross finial to apex to chancel (east), and cast-iron rainwater goods on rendered eaves retaining cast-iron downpipes. Gritdashed roughcast walls on rendered chamfered plinth with rusticated rendered quoins to corners. Lancet window openings with cut-granite sills, and cut-granite surrounds having chamfered reveals framing fixed-pane fittings having stained glass margins centred on square glazing bars. Pointed-arch window opening to chancel (east) with cut-granite sill, and cut-granite surround having chamfered reveals framing storm glazing over fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Tudor-headed opposing door openings (west) with cut-granite surrounds having chamfered reveals framing timber boarded or tongue-and-groove timber panelled double doors. Interior including vestibule (west) with cut-white marble wall monument (ob. 1858); pointed-arch door opening into nave with cut-granite surround having chamfered reveals framing glazed timber panelled double doors having overlight; full-height interior with carpeted aisles between timber pews, timber boarded wainscoting supporting carved timber dado rail, paired Gothic-style timber stations between frosted glass memorial windows (undated), cut-limestone floor monument (ob. 1814), and carpeted stepped dais to sanctuary (east) reordered, 1987, with Gothic-style timber panelled reredos below stained glass "East Window" (undated). Set in landscaped grounds.

Appraisal

A church 'rebuilt by subscription on an acre of ground presented by N.A. Vigors Esquire' (Lewis 1837 II, 86) representing an important component of the early nineteenth-century ecclesiastical heritage of south County Wexford with the architectural value of the composition, one showing the hallmarks of a period of construction in the immediate aftermath of the Roman Catholic Relief Act, 1829, confirmed by such attributes as the rectilinear "barn" plan form, aligned along a skewed liturgically-correct axis; and the slender profile of the openings underpinning a "medieval" Gothic theme with the chancel defined by a elegant "East Window": meanwhile, aspects of the composition illustrate the continued development or "improvement" of the church in the early twentieth century with those works attributed to Joseph Kelly Freeman (b. 1865) of Eccles Street, Dublin (de Vál 2004, 116). Having been well maintained, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with quantities of the historic or original fabric, both to the exterior and to the interior reordered (1987) in accordance with the liturgical reforms sanctioned by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (1962-5) where contemporary joinery; a floor monument commemorating Reverend Patrick O'Toole (d. 1814); a "flèche"-topped reredos; and a vibrant "East Window" attributable to Joshua Clarke and Sons (established 1892) of North Frederick Street, Dublin, all highlight the artistic potential of a church making a pleasing visual statement in a rural village setting.
 
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