Survey Data

Reg No

12317046


Rating

Regional


Categories of Special Interest

Architectural Historical Social


Original Use

Church/chapel


In Use As

Bell tower/stand


Date

1820 - 1825


Coordinates

258705, 142048


Date Recorded

18/05/2004


Date Updated

--/--/--


Description

Freestanding single-bay three-stage tower, built 1823, on a square plan originally forming entrance tower of Catholic church, built 1770, on site with octagonal spire over. Remainder of church demolished, post-1867, with tower converted to use as bell tower. Copper-clad octagonal spire behind parapet with cast-iron cross finial to apex. Random squared rubble limestone walls with slight batter to first stage, limestone ashlar dressings including quoins to corners, rectangular recessed panels to first stage, stringcourse to each stage, rectangular panels to top stage, and battlemented parapet on stringcourse having corner pinnacles rising into finials. Pointed-arch openings to each stage with cut-limestone sills (forming sill course to second stage), hood mouldings over supporting squared rubble limestone voussoirs, and louvered panel fittings. Oculus openings to top (bell) stage with carved cut-limestone surrounds, squared limestone voussoirs, and louvered panel fittings. Pointed-arch door opening with cut-limestone step, cut-limestone surround having chamfered reveals, squared limestone voussoirs over, and tongue-and-groove timber panelled double doors having overpanel. Set back from line of road.

Appraisal

An elegantly-appointed tower forming a dramatic landmark in the townscape of Thomastown: the composition is particularly noteworthy for the arrangement whereby each stage steps in slightly as the tower rises, thereby producing an elegant profile. Pointed-arch openings enhancing the architectural design value of the composition form a stylistic link with the superseding church nearby (12317048/KK-28-17-48) while cut-stone dressings displaying expert stone masonry further enliven the external expression of the tower. Reputed in local folklore to have been the first such structure purpose-built for a Catholic church in Ireland the tower is of additional importance as further evidence (including the attendant graveyard (12317090/KK-28-17-90)) of an earlier church in the grounds, thereby attesting to a long-standing ecclesiastical presence in the locality.