Categories of Special Interest
Architectural Artistic Archaeological Historical Social
In Use As
1200 - 1820
Freestanding multi-period Church of Ireland church, having four-bay thirteenth-century nave, square- plan four-stage bell tower c.1480 to west end, remains of original aisle to south, roofless original chancel to east with lofted two-storey domestic building attached to south. Nave extensively renovated and chancel arch closed off 1785, nave refenestrated 1815, and single-bay single-storey addition with lean-to slate roof to south of tower. Pitched slate roof to nave, with cut limestone coping, above almost intact timber roof of c.1489. Recent poured concrete roof to tower, with medieval 'Irish' chamfered crenellations. Battered rubble limestone walls with roughly dressed quoins and cut limestone string courses to tower, rendered rubble limestone walls to nave, with rendered buttresses to south elevation, and with rubble limestone east gable. Pointed-arch window openings to nave, having round-headed leaded double timber sliding sash six-over-four pane windows with limestone sills. Pointed-arch window to first floor of tower, with moulded limestone surround, hood-moulding and flamboyant bar tracery with stained glass above four leaded ogee-headed lights; louvered single and double ogee- headed lights elsewhere. Pointed four-light window to east end of nave with intersecting tracery and stained glass. Blocked square-headed window to north side of nave with two ogee-headed lights and carved limestone label-moulding. Pointed-arch door opening to west elevation of tower, having chamfered cut limestone surround and voussoirs, limestone threshold and studded panelled timber double-leaf door. Wall memorial to north wall. Interior has square-plan piers with chamfered corners, limestone flag floor having inset late sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, carved timber pulpit, organ, porch screen and altar seating. Armorial plaque to one pier. Various stone and brass plaques to east ends of nave side walls and to east wall of nave. Limestone date plaque 1815 and grave-slab of 1580 to porch. Decoratively carved timber pointed door to addition. Graveyard accessed by lane from Main Street, having decorative wrought-iron double-leaf gate with wrought-iron arch overhead bearing name of church, and double-leaf decorative wrought-iron gate with dressed limestone piers at graveyard end of lane. Graveyard has variety of medieval and later grave-slabs and gravestones and architectural fragments, and is bounded on south side by medieval town wall of Fethard having remains of late medieval almshouse attached, to north by late medieval former almshouse, and to east by row of late medieval houses.
Like the Town Hall and the Augustinian Abbey, the medieval parish church is a multi-period building of outstanding architectural, archaeological and historical importance. The church stands at the heart of the medieval walled town and the focus for the extraordinary number of late medieval structures arranged around the sides of the graveyard with rear entrances allowing direct access to the graveyard. The size and design of the church reflect Fethard's prosperity in the medieval and early modern periods, the different types of windows, from different eras, emphasise the continuity of use. The impressive tower, that is highly visible for a considerable distance, is a particularly important and dramatic example of fifteenth-century craftsmanship, and is especially evocative of the medieval era as it stands picturesquely and appropriately inside the almost entirely intact medieval town wall and close to a impressively rare grouping of late medieval houses and almshouses. The interior has a finely crafted timber screen to the vestibule, and at the east end a stained-glass window with Eucharistic motifs, both highly decorative, and showing care and attention in the design as well as the execution. The recently timber roof to the nave, recently dated to of c.1489, is of exceptional importance as it is one of a small number of medieval roofs surviving in Ireland and is almost entirely intact.