Collegiate Church of St Mary Youghal
Overview
 
St. Mary's Collegiate Church, Youghal, County Cork, Ireland is a Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 Church in Youghal
Youghal
Youghal is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Sitting on the estuary of the River Blackwater, in the past it was militarily and economically important. Being built on the edge of a steep riverbank, the town has a distinctive long and narrow layout...

 in East County Cork. Formerly part of the Diocese of Cloyne, it is now in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.
The church is likely to have been a monastic settlement of Saint Declan of Ardmore (ca. 450). It was rebuilt in Irish Romanesque style (ca. 750) and the Great Nave was erected in the year 1220.
Encyclopedia
St. Mary's Collegiate Church, Youghal, County Cork, Ireland is a Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 Church in Youghal
Youghal
Youghal is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Sitting on the estuary of the River Blackwater, in the past it was militarily and economically important. Being built on the edge of a steep riverbank, the town has a distinctive long and narrow layout...

 in East County Cork. Formerly part of the Diocese of Cloyne, it is now in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.

Early days

The church is likely to have been a monastic settlement of Saint Declan of Ardmore (ca. 450). It was rebuilt in Irish Romanesque style (ca. 750) and the Great Nave was erected in the year 1220. The roof timbers have been carbon dated by Queen's University Belfast to the year 1170. There was an early 13th century re-building and this was under the direction and hand of the Masters of four local guilds of operative masons, whose marks are still to be found on the pillars of the gothic arches.

The earliest entry in the vestry book of Youghal is a statement of parish accounts for 1201. Pope Nicholas IV
Pope Nicholas IV
Pope Nicholas IV , born Girolamo Masci, was Pope from February 22, 1288 to April 4, 1292. A Franciscan friar, he had been legate to the Greeks under Pope Gregory X in 1272, succeeded Bonaventure as Minister General of his religious order in 1274, was made Cardinal Priest of Santa Prassede and...

, in the taxations of 1291, described Youghal
Youghal
Youghal is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Sitting on the estuary of the River Blackwater, in the past it was militarily and economically important. Being built on the edge of a steep riverbank, the town has a distinctive long and narrow layout...

 as being the richest benefice in Cloyne. The list of clergy can be traced back to this date.

Formation of the Collegiate Church

On 27th December 1464 St. Mary's was made a Collegiate Church
Collegiate church
In Christianity, a collegiate church is a church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons; a non-monastic, or "secular" community of clergy, organised as a self-governing corporate body, which may be presided over by a dean or provost...

, with the foundation of Our Lady's College of Yoghill by Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Desmond
Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Desmond
Thomas FitzJames FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Desmond , called 'Thomas of Drogheda', was the son of James FitzGerald, 6th Earl of Desmond and Mary de Burgh....

 (proprietor of Youghal
Youghal
Youghal is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Sitting on the estuary of the River Blackwater, in the past it was militarily and economically important. Being built on the edge of a steep riverbank, the town has a distinctive long and narrow layout...

 and Lord Deputy of Ireland), for the purpose of training seminarians. It was served by a Warden and Clerks consisting of eight Fellows and eight choristers.

Reformation

Following the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

, the church and its assets came into the control of the Established church. The majority Roman Catholic population was obliged to conduct their services elsewhere in private accommodations. Due to the Penal Laws
Penal Laws (Ireland)
The term Penal Laws in Ireland were a series of laws imposed under English and later British rule that sought to discriminate against Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters in favour of members of the established Church of Ireland....

, it was not possible to construct another church until 1796 when St. Mary’s parish church was built. It remains the oldest Catholic Church in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cloyne
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cloyne
The Diocese of Cloyne is a Roman Catholic diocese in southern Ireland. It is one of six suffragan dioceses in the ecclesiastical province of Cashel and is subject to the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. The diocese is in the secular province of the same name - Munster...

 still active as a parish church. The last Catholic warden was Thomas Allen (1533); Roger Skiddy was appointed by King Edward VI of England
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

. He is described as "Warden of Youghal" in 1567. Sixty years later all the endowments were acquired by the Earl of Cork
Earl of Cork
Earl of the County of Cork, usually shortened to Earl of Cork, is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1620 for the Anglo-Irish politician Richard Boyle, 1st Baron Boyle...

, and in 1639 the rectory was united to the wardenship. A Catholic succession of wardens was maintained as late as 1709, when Father Richard Harnet held the position, which was then merely titular.

In 1597, the college house was plundered and laid in ruins by the insurgent forces of Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond
Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond
Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond was an Irish nobleman and leader of the Desmond Rebellions of 1579.-Life:...

, who, among other acts of desecration, unroofed the beautiful High Chancel.

Sir Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

 was Mayor of Youghal
Youghal
Youghal is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Sitting on the estuary of the River Blackwater, in the past it was militarily and economically important. Being built on the edge of a steep riverbank, the town has a distinctive long and narrow layout...

 in 1588 and lived in the Warden's Residence (now known as Myrtle Grove). Having bought Sir Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

's land for £1,000 in 1596, Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork
Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork
Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork , also known as the Great Earl of Cork, was Lord Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland....

, bought the church on 29 March 1606. Two years later, at the cost of £2,000, he rebuilt the church making good the devastation of the Desmond Rebellion. He endeavoured at the same time to increase the population of the town by infusion of "an active and enterprising race of English inhabitants". In the civil war or 1641, Richard Boyle added two large towers to the house, built five circular turrets to around the park and cast a platform of earth on which he placed ordnance to command the town and harbour. He erected a marble monument for himself and his family which almost reaches the roof of the chapel. In 1649, during the Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 conducted his campaign from Youghal and delivered a funeral oration from the top of a chest which is still preserved in the church.

In 1782, the house passed to Nicholas Giles who converted it for use as a dwelling. It is this house that is seen today surrounded by just two of the original defence towers, the rest having been removed in 1782.

George Berkeley
George Berkeley
George Berkeley , also known as Bishop Berkeley , was an Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism"...

, Bishop of Cloyne
Bishop of Cloyne
The Bishop of Cloyne is an episcopal title which takes its name after the small town of Cloyne in County Cork, Ireland. In the Roman Catholic Church it is a separate title, but in the Church of Ireland it has been united with other bishoprics....

 and great philosopher, took up residency as Warden of the College in 1734 and conducted services in the church. John Wesley
John Wesley
John Wesley was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield...

, also visited Youghal in 1765 and attended Divine Service in St. Mary's. Large-scale works of restoration, including the re-edification of the Chancel, were carried out between 1851 and 1854. In 1833, £200 was given to the parish for slating the church roof and the present roof was accordingly put in. A restoration of a remedial nature was carried out between 1970 and 1973. In the late 1980s the Lady Chapel was restored.

National Monument

The Collegiate Church is a building of historical importance for Ireland. It occupies a site devoted to religious worship since early Christian times and is now a National Monument of Ireland
National Monument (Ireland)
The Irish state has officially approved the following List of National Monuments of Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, a structure or site may be deemed to be a "National Monument", and therefore worthy of state protection, if it is of national importance...

. The Collegiate Church is under the care of the government, by way of an unusual lease between the Church of Ireland Representative Church Body, and the Youghal Urban District Council.

Clergy

  • 1221 Nicholas De Cler
  • 1312 Hamon Le Blound
  • 1347 John De Tunstall
  • 1373 William De Karlele
  • 1384 John Drax
  • 1389 John Hunt
  • 1399 John Tanner
  • 1403 Thomas O'Galvan
  • 1464 Robert Miles & Philip Christofre
  • 1482 Donald O'Fallon
  • 1488 William Frauncis
  • 1490 Walter Stevyn
  • 1503 Cornelius Ronan & Florence O'Solovan
  • 1517 Dominus Alexander Gogh
  • 1521 Maurice Fitzjohn
  • 1525 Peter Walshe
  • 1534 Thomas Alen
  • 1535 Walter Manville
  • 1537 Peter Walsh
  • 1540 David Condowne

  • 1570 Roger Skiddy
  • 1580/81 Dr Marmaduke Middleton
    Marmaduke Middleton
    -Life:He was educated at the University of Oxford, but left before graduating. He was vicar of Parish of Coolock and Dunboyne, in Ireland, and then rector of Killure. In 1579 he became bishop of Waterford and Lismore, in the Church of Ireland...

  • 1587 Thomas Wethered
  • 1592 Nathaniel Baxter
    Nathaniel Baxter
    Nathaniel Baxter was an English clergyman and poet. In earlier life tutor to Sir Philip Sidney, and interested in the manner of Sidney's circle in literature and Ramist logic, he became more sternly religious in his opinions...

  • 1598 John Chardin
  • 1598 Dr Meredith Hanmer
    Meredith Hanmer
    Meredith Hanmer was a Welsh clergyman, known as a controversialist, historian, and translator. He was considered embittered, by the Lord-Deputy William Russell, 1st Baron Russell of Thornhaugh; but he appears now as a shrewd observer of the Protestant and nonconformist life of Ireland as founded...

  • 1602 Daniel Sowlyvane
  • 1602/3 Dr Richard Boyle
  • 1615 Ricardus Boyle
  • 1619 Mr Suther
  • 1624 Lewis Trix
  • 1637 Gervaise Thorpe
  • 1638 Philemon Fitzsymons
  • 1650 James Wood
  • 1659 Raymond Burgh
  • 1661 Daniel Eyres (Curate)
  • 1662 James Spencer (Curate)
  • 1665 William Palmer
  • 1672 Samuel Jordan
  • 1681 Raymund Bourgh (Bourke)

  • 1682 Gilbert Heathcote (Curate)
  • 1693 Mathew Jones ("serves a cure")
  • 1697 Richard Davies (Curate)
  • 1712 Thomas Ryder (Curate)
  • 1727 Michael Davies (Curate) until 1746
  • 1730 Nathaniel France (Curate)
  • 1746 Francis Hamilton (Curate)
  • 1753 Atkin Hayman (Curate)
  • 1764 Jeremiah Pratt (Curate)
  • 1776 John Lawless (Curate)
  • 1780 Richard Vincent (Curate)
  • 1780 Jonas Pratt (2nd Curate)
  • 1787 Edward Spread (Curate)
  • 1804 Sackville Robert Hamilton (Curate)
  • 1805 John Uniake Swayne
  • 1806 Thomas Hoare (Curate)
  • 1807 Robert Bell (Curate)
  • 1818 William Hallaran (Curate)
  • 1819 William Welland
  • 1819 Bigoe Henzell
  • 1822 James Lawrance Cotter (Curate)


Rectors of Youghal

In 1827 the Bishop of Cloyne obtained an act "for the incumbent of the rectory to have the cure of souls in the said parish".
  • 1828 James Hingston
  • 1836 John Aldworth
  • 1847 Pierce William Drew
  • 1871 Richard Jones
  • 1901 John Richard Hedges Becher
  • 1907 Richard J. Hodges
  • 1925 Vivian W. Darling

  • 1934 F.T. Deacon
  • 1936 H. McCartney
  • 1948 S.R.C. Watts
  • 1955 Oliver A.P. Peare
  • 1964 T.H. Robinson
  • 1967 L. MacManaway
  • 1974 I.J. Power

  • 1982 H.M.D.M. St. G Durand, Bt
  • 1993 Peter Rhys Thomas
  • 1999 Susan Watterson
  • 2004 Andrew McCroskery
  • 2008 Michael Thompson
  • 2010 Patrick Hewitt


Organ

In 1812 an organ was purchased and a gallery erected for it at the western end of the nave. In 1861 a new organ was procured at a cost of £300 from Telford and Telford Organs Builders of Dublin. The organ was removed in 1965 as it was in a very poor condition and the on-going costs seemed impossible at the time.

In 2007 a new organ was moved and restored by Neilands of Wexford, from the Closed Church of St. Michael-on-the-Mount-Without in the City of Bristol, England. It was installed on to the North Bay of the Crossing of the Great Nave.

Sacred Root Concerts

The setting of St Mary's Collegiate Church has hosted a series of Sacred Root concerts to raise spirits and with God's blessing finance current and future Sacred Root music projects. Recent events include John Spillane
John Spillane
John Spillane is a singer-songwriter from Cork, Ireland. He graduated from University College Cork with a degree in Irish and in English.-Background:Spillane grew up in the Cork suburb of Bishopstown, in a large family of boys...

, Mick Flannery
Mick Flannery
Mick Flannery is an Irish singer-songwriter from Blarney, County Cork.His debut album Evening Train resulted from his time spent studying music and management at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork...

, Liam Ó Maonlaí
Liam Ó Maonlaí
Liam Ó Maonlaí is an Irish musician best known as a member of the Hothouse Flowers. Ó Maonlaí formed the band in 1985 with his schoolmate Fiachna Ó Braonáin....

, Kíla
Kíla
Kíla are an Irish folk music/World music group, originally formed in 1987 in the Irish Language secondary school, Coláiste Eoin in Co. Dublin. Kila's blend of Irish traditional music and World Music with a modern rock sensibility is generally credited with breathing new life into contemporary Irish...

 and Declan O'Rourke
Declan O'Rourke
Declan O'Rourke is a 33 year old platinum record singer/songwriter from Dublin, Ireland.-Career:At the age of 13, when living in Australia with his family, O'Rourke was given his first guitar by a priest in Kyabram who recognised his potential and love for music, hence the title of his debut album...

.
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