28 June 2017

Visiting Nantenan Glebe,
a regency-era rectory,
in the summer rain

Nantenan Glebe … a regency-era rectory between Rathkeale and Askeaton (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

I was writing at the end of last week about the church at Nantenan, which may date back to the late mediaeval period or even later, and the surrounding churchyard, half-way between Askeaton and Rathkeale in west Co Limerick.

Earlier this week I also visited Nantenan Glebe, the former glebe house or rectory for the parish that was built by the Board of First Fruits and which, retains much of its modest form, despite later additions.

Many of the features of this house, including the slate roof and sash windows, help to conserve the original appearance of the house.

This detached, three-bay, two-storey over basement former rectory was built around 1819. Although I can find no records of the architect, I wondered whether it was designed by James Pain, who designed the former rectory in Askeaton at the same time.

The house has a porch to the front or west elevation, a single-bay single-storey extension to the south, a two-bay three-storey block to the rear or east elevation, and a single-bay, single-storey extension to south elevation.

The house has roughcast rendered walls. There is a hipped slate sprocketed roof with rendered chimneystacks, a hipped slate roof on the rear block, flat roofs on the extensions, and a half-hipped slate roof on the porch.

There are square-headed openings with six-over-six pane timber sliding sash windows that have painted stone sills. There are square-headed openings to the extensions, some with timber casement windows, and a square-headed opening at the porch with double-leaf timber panelled doors.

A flight of concrete steps with metal railings leads up to the porch and front door.

Much of the original glebe land still surrounds Nantenan Glebe (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Outside, it is possible to trace the former walled garden, the kitchen garden and the stables.

A two-bay single-storey outbuilding at the east courtyard has a pitched slate roof. There are rubble boundary walls to the courtyard with an elliptical-headed carriage arch to the north wall with red brick voussoirs.

There is a pair of square-profile rubble limestone piers to the west with double-leaf cast-iron gates and rubble limestone boundary walls.

The Board of First Fruits contributed a gift of £450 towards building the glebehouse in 1819, and a further loan of £50. Samuel Lewis described the house in the 1830s as a handsome residence. At that time, the glebe comprised six acres, which had been bought by the Board of First Fruits.

Until the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, Nantenan union of parishes was part of the corps of the Precentorship of Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Nantenan parish was united with Rathkeale from 1918, and also with Ballingarry and Rathronan from 1958. So, my predecessors as precentors and as the priests in this parish had a particular interest in the glebehouse at Nantenan.

After almost 200 years, much of this glebe land still surrounds the house, and in this week’s summer rain it reinforced my claim last year after the ‘Brexit’ referendum in Britain that Ireland too is ‘a green and pleasant land.’

The drive at Nantenan Glebe in the summer rain (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)


Limerick Heritage said...

Corps of the precentorship of St. Mary's?
Does that mean they got the tithes? How was pastoral care provided.. directly from the cathedral or by a vicar. Curate?

Patrick Comerford said...

Yes, basically the tithes from a number of parishes went to support the principal cathedral dignitaries, such as the precentor, chancellor and treasurer, and they in turn provided a vicar (namely someone who substitutes), who was paid from the tithes collected on behalf of the dignitary, or a curate, and they in turn provided church services and pastoral care. A similar situation existed in prebendal parishes that supported named prebendaries or canons in the cathedral chapter, and these canons too provided vicars or curates for those parishes if they did not live there as the rector. The situation became over-burdened, and led to the temporalities and tithe reform legislation from the 1830s, paving the way for disestablishment. It's only with disestablishment that many parishes are provided with a full-time, resident rector and then many glebe houses become the rectories. Patrick.