05 October 2023

Saint William’s College
beside York Minster
has survived changes
over the centuries

Saint William’s College was founded for chantry priests in York Minister (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

Saint William’s College is a beautiful mediaeval building beside York Minster and a Grade I listed building. It is a unique example of the survival of a non-monastic religious building to survive despite its suppression during the Tudor Reformation.

The college was founded in 1461 as a residence for priests serving chantry altars in York Minster. It is named after Archbishop William Fitzherbert of York, who was canonised as Saint William of York in 1227.

The college was founded by George Neville and the Earl of Warwick to house a provost and 23 fellows or priests. Work started on the present building in 1465.

The courtyard structure may incorporate parts of two earlier houses. It included a great hall to the north, with a chapel to its east. The hall survives in part, but its ceiling has been lowered and the plasterwork was replaced in 1910. The posts of a screens passage also remain, the other side of which is the fireplace of the original kitchen. It has been suggested that doorways led off the courtyard to staircases, with rooms for the provost and fellows of the college leading off them.

Although the college was not a monastic establishment, it was affected by the Dissolution of the Monasteric houmes. Saint William’s College was sold after the Reformation, and the building was converted to a substantial house in 1548. A century later, the building was owned by Sir Henry Jenkyns in 1642 and housed the printing presses of King Charles I during the Civil War.

Later tenants included Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle (1669-1738), who commissioned the building of Castle Howard. In the 17th century, the ‘Bishop's Chamber’ was created on the first floor, to the west of the great hall, and it survives largely intact. Around the same time, a single main staircase that survives was added, while a room to the south-west has remains of wall paintings from this era.

Part of the ground floor was in retail use in the 18th century, and bow windows that were at the time still survive. Otherwise, the fa├žade generally survives as it was built, with an ashlar ground floor and a timber-framed, jettied upper floor.

The doorway itself is a replacement, but the coats of arms above are from about 1670, and carvings of Saint Christopher and the Virgin and Child either side of the entrance also survive.

The building was bought by the Province of York in the Church of England in 1902 for use by the convocation, and it was restored by the Irish-born architect Temple Lushington Moore (1856-1920).

Temple Moore’s alterations at Saint William College included the creation of the Maclagan Memorial Hall in the upper part of the great hall, where the original roof structure can be seen, although much renewed.

Temple Moore was born in Tullamore, Co Offaly, the son of an Irish general. He grew up in Scotland and was articled to the architect George Gilbert Scott, Jr. He practised as an architect in London and is known for a series of fine Gothic Revival churches built in 1890-1917. He also restored many churches and designed church fittings.

His other works in York included the reredos behind the high altar, and the pulpit and its sounding board in Saint Mary Bishophill Junior, possibly the oldest surviving church within the city walls of York.

Temple Moore was an Anglican in the Anglo-Catholic tradition and has been described as ‘England’s leading ecclesiastical architect from the mid-Edwardian years.’ The architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner once said that Moore ‘is always sensitive in his designs and often interesting.’

One of Moore’s best-known works is Pusey House, Oxford, where he designed a large Gothic building around a quadrangle. The Chapel and part of the Library were complete by 1914, and most of the remaining portions of the building were finished in 1918. That year, Temple Moore’s only son, Richard More (1891-1918), was killed when the RMS Leinster was torpedoed and sunk off Dublin. Moore’s south range of the quadrangle at Pusey House remained unexecuted when he died in 1920, and was only finished in 1925 to sympathetic designs by John Duke Coleridge (1879-1934).

Since 1972, the Dean and Chapter of York Minister have been the Trustees of Saint William’s College.

The doorway itself is a replacement, but the coats of arms above are from about 1670 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (130) 5 October 2023

Saint Michael’s Church, Waterville, Co Kerry, was built in the 1860s (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and the week began with the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XVII, 1 October 2023).

Before today begins, I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection.

The Church celebrated Saint Michael and All Angels last Friday (29 September). So my reflections each morning during Michaelmas last week and this week are taking this format:

1, A reflection on a church named after Saint Michael or his depiction in Church Art;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

In the porch of the Church of Saint Michael and All Angels, Waterville … renovated in recent years to serve as a church and a heritage centre (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Saint Michael and All Angels Church, Waterville, Co Kerry:

Waterville is on the Ring of Kerry on a narrow strip of land between Currane Lake and the Atlantic Ocean. The Church of Saint Michael and All Angels is the Church of Ireland parish church in Waterville. The parish has also been known as Dromod and Templedrome. The original church at Dromod or Dromid was at Salahig, outside Waterville, and dated back to the 12th century.

The list of vicars and rectors of the parish dates back to the early 15th century when Maurice O’Sullewayn (O’Sullivan) was appointed Vicar of Inishnosail or Drummad in the Diocese of Ardfert, after obtaining a dispensation because he was the son of a priest. A similar dispensation, for the same reason, was granted in 1430 to his successor, Maurice O’Cuoma.

By the mid-15th century, the Papal letters note that the parish was a sinecure. The appointment was often filled by non-resident pluralists, who left their pastoral and parochial duties to low-paid curates. For example, in the early 19th century, Daniel Eccles Lucas was Rector of Dromod or Waterville in Co Kerry (1812-1828), and at the same time Rector of Castleblakeney, Co Galway (1823-1828), in the Diocese of Elphin.

George Blake Concannon was Rector of Dromod in 1855-1872, but during that time was also chaplain to the Earl of Gainsborough (1865-1870). This second appointment is all the more surprising because Charles Noel (1818-1881), 2nd Earl of Gainsborough, was a prominent Whig politician who became a Roman Catholic in a very public conversion in 1850, along with his wife and children.

I told this story in ‘Four Victorian weddings and a funeral,’ published as a chapter in Marriage and the Irish: A miscellany, edited by Salvador Ryan (Wordwell: Dublin, 2019).

While Concannon was Rector of Dromod, the Church of Saint Michael and All Angels was built in 1861 and was consecrated by Charles Graves, Bishop of Limerick and Ardfert, in 1866. The church is set in an interesting graveyard, with the former parish school beside it, and commending views out across Waterville Bay.

Inside Saint Michael’s Church, designed by Welland and Gillespie (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Saint Michael’s is a double-height over part-basement Gothic Revival church, dated 1866. It was designed by Joseph Welland and completed by the partnership of Welland and Gillespie.

The church has a four-bay nave, a single-bay, double-height lower chancel at the east end, a vestry projection on the north side, a corbelled limestone ashlar spirelet at the gable, and a single-bay porch on the south side,.

The church is built with random rubble red sandstone walls with grey limestone dressings and has a pitched artificial slate roof with gable limestone copings and springers. There is a buttress at the centre of the west gable, a limestone corbel table to the gutters, carved rosettes at the west gable and a base batter. The lancet windows have limestone surrounds and leaded diamond glazing with stained glass margins. The east window is a triple lancet.

The church was first planned in 1858-1859 and the foundation stone was laid in March 1859. The contractor was DW Murphy of Bantry, Co Cork. The plans were modified by Joseph Welland and William Gillespie in 1861-1866, and the church was consecrated on 29 September 1866.

The two-light west window, designed by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, was erected in 1882 in memory of John Edward Butler of Waterville and Youghal.

A later Victorian Rector of Dromod, Canon William Augustine Blood-Smith, was in Waterville in 1881-1883. He was a son-in-law of Canon Samuel Willis, Rector of Rathkeale, and later became Archdeacon of Killaloe and Kilfenora.

A lighting strike around 1900 and an increase in the size of the congregation with the expansion of the Commercial Cable Company provided the impetus for extending the church and adding a new belfry.

There are two memorials in the church to Archdeacon John George Fahy and his family. He was Rector of Dromod for over 40 years (1883-1924), was also Archdeacon of Aghadoe from 1912 and Archdeacon of Ardfert and Aghadoe from 1922, although Ardfert is misspelled on his memorial as Ardeert.

A new reredos in Saint Michael’s Church was dedicated on 18 September 1960. The church was rededicated to Saint Michael and All Angels on 29 September 1966, when the Revd James Leslie Enright was the Rector of Waterville and Valentia.

The Friends of Saint Michael’s, Waterville, was set up in 2010, after the church was a venue during the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival.

Five years ago, the local parish and the Rural Development Agency signed an agreement on a 10-year lease for the church. The parish still uses the church for services, but a heritage centre has been added to the vestry, and the church is being used for exhibitions, films, concerts and other events.

The completion of the first stage was celebrated at an ecumenical service on Trinity Sunday, 27 May 2018, when Father Gerald Finnucane and Saint Finian’s Parish, Waterville, were thanked for the use of the Waterville Oratory during the project.

A report from the Kenmare and Dromod Group of Parishes in the diocesan magazine Newslink was inviting: ‘We look forward to welcoming our regular Sunday visitors, following in the footsteps of Charlie Chaplin and General Charles de Gaulle – why not join them for a day out to the far West of the Kingdom of Kerry.’

The Waterville community, through the local development company IRD is dedicated to the protection, restoration and enhancement of the church.

The Revd Michael Cavanagh has been the priest-in-charge of Kenmare, Kilcrohane, Dromod and Valentia since 2010.

The windows at the west end of the church are in memory of John Edward Butler of Waterville (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 10: 1-12 (NRSVA):

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” 12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.’

The reredos in Saint Michael’s Church was dedicated on 18 September 1960 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayer:

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Supporting Justice for Women in Zambia.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (5 October 2023, World Teachers Day) invites us to pray in these words:

We thank you, Lord, for teachers across the world. May we value their work and their wisdom.

The Collect:

Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post Communion Prayer:

Lord, we pray that your grace
may always precede and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Archdeacon John George Fahy and his family are commemorated by two memorials in Saint Michael’s Church (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

Saint Michael’s Church looks out onto Waterville Bay and the Wild Atlantic Way (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)