St. Mary’s Church (I.C.), New Ross - Wexford Guide and Directory, 1885

About “Wexford County Guide and Directory,” 1885

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version of Bassett’s Wexford County Guide and Directory is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

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OLD accounts variously style what is now the Protestant parish place of worship (St Mary’s), as Christ Church, and St. Saviours. It possesses a ruin whose decayed elegance, and dignified proportions render it an object of great interest to tourists. There is no more conspicuous position in the town than that which it occupies on the hill-side. A spacious burial ground surrounds it, and is used in common by Catholics and Protestants. A portion only of the ancient church has been restored. The unrestored part bears evidence of most careful treatment, without which, owing to the crumbly nature of the stone, it would not have so well resisted the ravages of time. The northern transept contains a curious and beautiful relic in the shape of a tomb, upon which is the recumbent figure of a woman. Several opinions exist regarding this tomb. It is supposed to have been erected to the memory of one of the two Roses, whose names are associated with the building of the town walls—Rose, sister of Strongbow, and Rose, widow of Robert Meyler. While the local guides continue to tell of the Roses and their works the ferns wave their broad fronds over the tomb, the moss steals into the stiff folds of the gown and the bit of broken pillar, which serves as a headstone—gives no clue. A headless male figure, in armor, near by, has seen harder fortune. It is broken in several fragments. A broad stone under the window of the same transept has a curiously entwined cross, and there are carved emblems upon the side of the tomb which it covers.

A tablet in the wall bears the name of Matthew Dormer, 1648. In 1649 Cromwell occupied the house of a family of that name. A Nicholas Dormer represented the borough in 1639, and was afterwards indicted for rebellion. The end wall of the chancel, is so loaded with ivy that the original fabric is scarcely discernible from the outside. Its point is surmounted by a cross. A broad niche is let into the north wall which contains a tomb. In the southern side a recess, perhaps originally a credence table, is surrounded by weather-worn carvings. In the south transept some of the carved decorations of the windows are well preserved, being in filagree, terminated by heads which retain some of their original character. A much defaced inscription on an old tomb is dated 1594. Of the crypt which runs beneath the south transept tradition says, that from it a passage extends under the bed of the river. As far as explored, it has two compartments, in which are the tombs of Robert Tyndall, J.P., Oaklands, 1877, and William Cherry, 1878. The walk which leads around the back of the church gains interest from the number of representative names which meet the eye. Along the side of the church some of the tombs are arranged one higher than another, so as to form broad steps. A fine avenue of trees shades the path by the northern boundary wall, which is thickly studded with monumental tablets.

The entrance of the modern church is characterized by plainness and solidity. Its interior is enriched by a great number of monuments and mural tablets. A low arch spans the chancel opening, within which are monuments to Charles Tottenham, M.P., and his wife, daughter of Viscount Loftus, 1795. Immediately beneath them is an ancient stone coffin of great size. The simplicity which is the rule in the other parts of the building, is extended to all its fittings and appointments. At the second south window is a testimonial to Standish Hartrich, a merchant of New Ross, which was erected by his friends and townsmen. In the north wall a tablet records the fate of Thomas Edward Jones, who was lost on the U.S. Steamer, Arctic, at Cape Race, 1854. Many of the tablets in the gallery walls are of fine material and workmanship.

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