25 October 2019

Two photographs in
a journal illustrate
paper on Bishop Stock

Saint Anne's Church Cappoquin … built on the initiative of Bishop Joseph Stock (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

It is a pleasure to see that two of my photographs have been used to illustrate a paper on Bishop Joseph Stock in the latest edition of Decies: Journal of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society.

This journal is a major source of historical, social archaeological, geographic and social information about Waterford, city and county.

The latest edition of Decies was launched during a weekend of musical celebrations that included the John Dwyer Trad Weekend. This was appropriate as one of the papers in the journal on the 75th anniversary of the founding of Waterford Music Club, and the cover of the journal shows the medallion of the club.

Some of the contributors to the journal had also been invited to give a short talk related to the article they wrote, including Cian Flaherty, who spoke about his paper on the diary of Bishop Stock, written in 1811.

My two photographs in this edition of Decies illustrate Cian Flaherty’s paper – ‘All well here’: The Diary of Bishop Joseph Stack, 1811 (pp 48-58). In his paper, he also cites my chapter, ‘Bishop Joseph Stock (ca 1740-1813) and the clergy of the Diocese of Killala during the 1798 Rising’ in Sheila Mulloy (ed), Victory or glorious defeat: biographies of participants in the Mayo rebellion of 1798 (Dublin: Original Writing, 2010).

Portrait of Stock in the Vestry of Christ Church, Delgany (copyright Patrick Comerford 2016)

My first photograph (p 48) was taken three years ago in the Vestry in Christ Church, Delgany, Co Wicklow, where the vestry walls are lined with portraits and photographs of previous rectors.

As Canon Joseph Stock was Rector of Delgany, Co Wicklow (1789-1798), at the same time as he was the Headmaster of Portora Royal School, Enniskillen (1795-1798). During that period, he was also Rector of Conwal, Co Donegal (1779-1795), Vicar of Lusk, Co Dublin (1780-1788) and Prebendary of Dysert and Kilmorleran (1793-1795).

Stock was Bishop of Killala (1798-1810) during the 1798 Rising, and despite being imprisoned in Killala Castle by the French invaders, he was regarded as a sympathiser of the United Irishmen.

Stock’s Memorial in Christ Church Waterford (copyright Patrick Comerford 2018)

My second photograph (p 57) is the monument to Bishop Stock in Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford. Joseph Stock succeeded Power le Poer Trench as Bishop of Waterford and Lismore in 1810, despite opposition from other bishops, including Archbishop William Stuart of Armagh and Archbishop William Beresford of Tuam.

Stock’s time in Waterford and Lismore was quieter and more peaceful than his time in Co Mayo. He died in Waterford on 13 August 1813, and the while marble memorial over his tomb in Christ Church Cathedral was erected by his widow.

The third photograph illustrating this paper is of Saint James’s Church, Stradbally. Stock’s diary notes his visit to this church on 11 May 1811, when the vicar was the Revd John Devereux and the curate was the Revd John Foley. Stock notes the new church that had been built in the parish, and Cian Flaherty has a particular interest in this church as he is compiling a survey of the old graveyard in Stradbally and is secretary of the Stradbally Church Ruins Committee.

But he might have equally illustrated his paper with a photograph of Saint Anne’s Church, Cappoquin, and his paper brings back many happy childhood memories of this Church of Ireland Parish Church.

Stock was back in Stradbally on 19 May and his diary notes on 20 May that he visited both Lismore and Cappoquin.

In his diary, he writes: ‘Cappoquin, a large town in the parish of Lismore, greatly in want of a church, for which [his predecessor] Bishop Trench obtained from the [Board of] First Fruits £600, not yet called for, because Sir J. Keene [Sir John Keane (1757-1829) of Cappoquin House], the landlord, and other Protestants in the neighbourhood, wish to have a church at greater cost.’ Sir J. Keene offers a subscription of £50 for a steeple and belfry; Mr Chearnley will give twenty guineas, and the Bishop the same. The Protestants resort to the neighbouring church of Affane; but the congregation diminishes from the inconvenient distance of their place of worship. Rest of the day at Cappoquin, a tolerable inn.’

While Stock was still bishop, the Dean and Chapter of Saint Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, agreed in 1814 to a separate area served by a perpetual curate or vicar, and the Revd George Tierney Roche, who was appointed 200 years ago in 1819.

Saint Anne’s Church was built on the same triangle of land as Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in the centre of Cappoquin and was consecrated in October 1820.

Clergy who served the parish during the 19th century included John Frederick MacNeice (1866-1942), who was the curate assistant in 1895-1899. He later became Bishop of Cashel, Emly, Waterford and Lismore (1931-1934) and Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore (1934-1942). His sons included the poet Louis MacNeice.

Saint Anne’s is a well-proportioned, modest, detached, three-bay, double-height church, with a single-bay, and a single-bay, a three-stage entrance tower built on a square plan, and a double-height lower chancel and a single-storey vestry built in 1869. The clock – the only public clock in Cappoquin – was electrified in 1968.

The church has lancet windows in the nave and at the top stage to tower, and a three-light chancel window. Inside, there are carved timber pews, a Gothic-style pulpit, a chancel arch, a decorative Gothic-style timber reredos, an open timber roof on cut-stone corbels, and a monument to Senator Sir John Keane, who died in 1956.

The last separate perpetual curate or Vicar of Cappoquin was Canon Joseph Smith O’Loughlin (1940-1956), who was also Chancellor of Lismore (1947-1956). Two years after he resigned, Cappoquin Parish was united with Lismore Cathedral Parish once again in 1958.

Little has changed in Cappoquin since I was a child in the 1950s ... the rowing club and the boathouse are still there, so too are the clock in the tower of Saint Anne’s, the Toby Jug, Barron’s Bakery, the name over Uniacke’s, the arches of Kelleher’s SuperValu which I knew in my childhood as Russell’s, and the petrol pumps on the footpath outside Lehane’s Garage.

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society was founded in the mid-1950s as the Old Waterford Society. The annual journal was first known as The Old Waterford Record. This became Decies, which was first published in 1976, and is now published in November each year.

The journal Decies is edited by Peigí Devlin, and is on sale at the Book Centre, Waterford, and the Book Centre, Clonmel. In recent years, the publication of Decies has been assisted with generous subventions from Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council.

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