26 August 2021

A former Gothic chapel,
school and parish hall
at South Abbey, Youghal

The former chapel of easte at South Abbey stands on the site of a 13th-century Franciscan Friary in Youghal, Co Cork (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

For much of the 19th century, the Church of Ireland parish in Youghal, Co Cork, had not just one but two churches. During my ‘road trip’ visit to Youghal last week, as well as visiting Saint Mary’s Collegiate Church, I also visited the former chapel of ease at South Abbey, which later served as a parish school.

South Abbey and the street it fronts take their name from South Abbey, a 13th-century Franciscan Friary in Youghal.

The Franciscan Friary or South Abbey was founded in 1224 by Maurice FitzMaurice FitzGerald, 2nd Lord of Offaly, and he was buried there in 1257. This was the first Franciscan foundation in Ireland.

Originally, Maurice FitzGerald planned a castle on the site. But, after some of the workers were treated harshly by his eldest son, he changed his design and founded a religious house.

Maurice FitzGerald died in 1257, and the Franciscan friary was completed in 1260 by his youngest son, Thomas. His grandson, Thomas FitzGerald, ancestor of the Earls of Kildare, founded the Dominican Priory or North Abbey.

The Franciscan Friary in Youghal was dissolved, along with other monastic houses, during the Tudor Reformation in the 16th century and none of its remains survive today.

The church at South Abbey, built in 1817, was designed by the priest-architect Edward Marks (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

The Church of Ireland parish in Youghal built a new church at South Abbey as a chapel of ease in 1817. The church built at a cost of £1,200, of which £900 was a gift from the Board of First Fruits and £300 was raised by subscription. The Duke of Devonshire, who lived at Lismore Castle, gave £100.

The internal dimensions were 18 x 9 metres. In addition, there was a bell tower and a porch. The staircase and upper floor were insterted at a later date when the church was converted for use as parish school.

The church was designed by the Revd Dr Edward Marks (1791-1869), an architect who was later ordained a priest in the Church of Ireland.

Edward Marks, a son of the architect Edward Marks, was born in Cork in 1792, and studied at the Dublin Society’s School of Architectural Drawing from 1812.

Marks married Martha Hammett of Waterford in Saint Patrick’s Church, Waterford, in 1815 and the couple lived in Waterford. Martha died in Waterford at the age of 23 on 4 December 1817, 18 months after their marriage, having given birth to a son, (Dr) Alexander Hammett Marks.

Edward Marks had designed the chapel of ease at South Abbey that year. He remained in Waterford for a time after Martha’s death. While he was still living in Waterford, he designed a school and schoolmaster’s apartments in Lismore in 1819 for Colonel Currey.

But Marks then gave up architecture and to study for ordination in the Church of Ireland. He entered Trinity College Dublin, in 1821 at the age of 29, and received the degrees BA (1825), MA (1832), and BD and DD (1840).

He was ordained in the Diocese of Raphoe in 1825, and returned to Dublin, first as curate of Sandford Parish (1830), Assistant Chaplain of the Molyneux Asylum (1835), and then as Resident Preacher and a Minor Canon in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (1837) and a Vicar Choral (1839).

He died on 7 May 1869 at the age of 77; his second wife, Joyce Anne, died on 27 April 1872. His memorial tablet in Saint Patrick’s says he ‘laboured zealously and faithfully in this Cathedral and Deanery upwards of 32 years.’ During that time, ‘the Schools, especially the Infant School which he established, were the first and constant object of his fostering care.’

The chapel of ease at South Abbey became a school and parish hall in 1888 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

The chapel of ease at South Abbey continued in use until 1888, when it became a school on the ground floor, with a parish hall above level. It continued to function as a school and parish hall until 2011.

This is a listed property fronting directly onto the street at South Abbey, and it continues to make a notable impression on the streetscape of Youghal. Its gothic style is typical of churches of the time. The architectural features include the pointed arch openings, the centralised parapet, the towers and the porch.

There are elements of Neo-Tudor style too in the four-centred arch opening and square headed surround and in the cruciform incisions. The design is emphasised by the dividing buttresses at the nave and symmetrical façade. The Y-tracery in the windows adds decorative interest to the façade and is well crafted.

South Abbey House, at No 7 South Abbey, part of a terrace of elegant Georgian houses (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

The former church faces a terrace of elegant Georgian houses on South Abbey, including the house at No 7, known as South Abbey House. The terrace was built ca 1780, and the most striking feature of No 7 is the large, finely crafted and unusual door surround.

South Abbey House is a terraced four-bay four-storey house with an integral carriage and this striking door surround was added in the late 19th century. It provides a central focus and decorative emphasis to a building of regular proportions and simple elegance.

This pointed arch opening has a decorative render surround incorporating engaged columns, a timber panelled door and a render canopy supported by columns with decorative capitals, and a round-headed arch with a decorative surround and cornice.

The diminishing windows of the house are typical features of townhouses of its time and emphasise the vertical thrust and elegance of the façade.

As for the South Abbey national school, it moved in 2011 to a new premises on the Golf Links Road, leaving the old school empty.

The large, finely crafted and unusual door surround at No 7 South Abbey (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
89, Saint Botolph’s Church, Cambridge

The door into Saint Botolph’s Church on Trumpington Street, Cambridge (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Before the day gets busy, I am taking a little time this morning for prayer, reflection and reading. Each morning in the time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

My theme this week is churches in Cambridge that are not college chapels. My photographs this morning (26 August 2021) are from Saint Botolph’s Church on Trumpington Street, at the corner of Silver Street.

The chancel of Saint Botolph’s was rebuilt by Bodley (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Saint Botolph’s Church on Trumpington Street, Cambridge, beside Corpus Christi College and close to Little Saint Mary’s Church, is another Cambridge church associated with the architect George Frederick Bodley (1827-1907). Like All Saints’ Church, it too has windows by the Tractarian artist Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907).

Saint Botolph, an abbot from East Anglia who lived in the seventh century, is the patron saint of travellers, and this church once stood at the South Gate or Trumptington Gate of Cambridge, used by travellers arriving from or leaving for London, or travellers from the west who crossed the River Cam where Silver Street Bridge now stands.

There may have been a Saxon church on this site in the past, and it certainly was the site of a Norman church. The nave and aisles of the present church were built in the early 14th century, ca 1320, the period that was influential in Bodley’s design of All Saints’ Church.

The tower was built in the 15th century, as were the west end of the nave, the south chapel and the south porch, as well as the carved rood screen separating the nave from the chancel.

This is the only mediaeval rood screen to survive in an ancient parish church in Cambridge. The panels were painted in the 19th century with images of the Archangel Gabriel (left or north side) and the Virgin Mary (right or south side), and together they tell the story of the Annunciation.

The mediaeval font near the tower and the west porch has an elegant, octagonal Laudian wooden cover and canopy that date from 1637.

Bodley was invited to rebuild the chancel of Saint Botoloph’s in 1872, and he brought with him two local artists, GR Leach, who was also working at All Saints, and G Gray, to carry out the high Victorian decoration of the chancel.

The north window in the chancel is a memorial to the Revd Dr William Magan Campion (1820-1896), who was the Rector of Saint Botolph’s (1862-1892) and President of Queens’ College, Cambridge (1892-1896).

The window shows Saint Botolph between Saint Bernard and Saint Margaret, the two patron saints of Queens’ College, which was patron of the living. Campion was instrumental in bringing Bodley, and Kempe and Leach along with him to work on the restoration of Saint Botolph’s as a result of their work at All Saints’ Church in Jesus Lane.

An earlier association with neighbouring Corpus Christi College is recalled by with the pelican in the Crucifixion window by Kempe in the north aisle.

The north window in the chancel commemorates the Revd Dr William Magan Campion (1820-1896), Rector of Saint Botolph’s and President of Queens’ College, who was born in Port Laoise (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Bodley’s patron at Saint Botolph’s, William Magan Campion, was born in Ireland. He was born on 28 October 1820, the second son of William Campion of Maryborough (Port Laoise), Co Laois. He was admitted as a pensioner to Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1845 to read Maths, and was elected a Fellow of Queens’ in 1850, when he was appointed a Lecturer in Mathematics.

He was ordained deacon in 1851 and priest in 1855. However, he was considered too young to become the President of Queens’ College when Joshua King died in 1857.

Campion became a member of the first Council of the Senate and its Secretary in 1865. He was the Rector of Saint Botolph’s (1862-1892), a rural dean (1870-1892), and an Honorary Canon of Ely Cathedral (1879-1896). He was also Lady Margaret’s preacher in Cambridge University in 1862, and Whitehall Preacher in 1862-1864.

Campion was finally elected President of Queens’ College in 1892 after the death of George Phillips. But by then he was already old and in poor health. He died in the President’s Lodge at Queens’ College on 20 October 1896 and is buried in the Mill Road Cemetery, Cambridge.

Father Stephen Anderson is the Rector of Saint Botolph’s and Tim Brown is the Interim Director of Music.

The mediaeval font has a restored Laudian cover and canopy (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Matthew 24: 42-51 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 42 ‘Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

45 ‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says to himself, “My master is delayed”, 49 and he begins to beat his fellow-slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51 He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Inside Saint Botolph's, facing the west end and looking out onto Trumpinton Street (Photograph: Patrick Comerofrd)

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (26 August 2021) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for those working to make gender equality a reality. May we treat each other with respect and dignity, regardless of gender.

The Crucifixion Window by Kempe (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

One of the panels on the rood screen, painted in the 19th century with images of the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, telling the story of the Annunciation (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)