WATERFORD CHURCHES

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The Cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Trinity and commonly called Christ-Church, was originally built by the Ostmen of Waterford, in 1096, and the ancient edifice was standing till 1773. It was a venerable structure, with the parish church of the Holy Trinity and the chapel of St. Nicholas, which was used as a vestry, at the east end, and having also two other chapels, one on the south and the other on the north side, the former of which was used for a consistory court. The present church, which is also parochial, was erected under the authority of a committee appointed by the corporation, and superintended by the dean and chapter, at the expense of £5397, defrayed by a grant from the corporation, the tithes of Cahir bequeathed by Bishop Gore for the repairs of churches in this diocese and in that of Lismore, the produce of the sale of pews, and private subscription.

It is a handsome structure, partly built with the materials of the old church, in the modern style of architecture, with a lofty and much ornamented steeple rising from the west end; the whole length is 170 feet, and its breadth 58 feet; the western entrance has on one side the consistorial court, and on the other the vestry, and above these are apartments for a library; between the entrance and the body of the church is a spacious vestibule, in which are preserved some of the monuments that were erected in the old cathedral; that portion of the building which may be called the church is 90 feet long and 40 feet high, and consists of a nave and aisles, separated by ranges of columns supporting galleries.

In 1815, an accidental fire materially injured the building and destroyed the organ, but it was restored in 1818 at a very great expense, towards which £2000 was granted by the Board of First Fruits. Among the monuments in the vestibule are one to the Fitzgerald family, erected in 1770; a very neat monument to Mrs. Susannah Mason, erected in 1752; and one to Bishop Foy: among those of more modern erection is a tablet to the memory of Bishop Stock, who died in 1813. In the churchyard are two remarkably ancient monuments, one to James Rice, mayor in 1469; the other bearing the figure of a man in armour, but without date or inscription. James Rice, about the year 1482, built a chapel 22 feet square against the north side of the cathedral, and dedicated it to St. James the Elder and St. Catherine; this, with another chapel to the east of it, and the chapter-house, was taken down about 50 years since, in order to enlarge the churchyard.

The Bishop's palace is situated on the south side of the open space that surrounds the cathedral, and is a handsome building of hewn stone; the front towards the Mall is ornamented with a fine Doric portico and enriched cornice; the other, facing the churchyard, has the doorway, window cases, and quoins in rustic work. The Deanery-house, and also a building for the accommodation of clergymen's widows, called the Widows' Apartments, are situated in the same space.

In the R. C. divisions the united sees form one of the seven bishopricks suffragan to the archiepiscopal see of Cashel; they comprise 35 parochial benefices or unions, and contain 78 chapels, served by 89 clergymen, of whom, including the bishop, 35 are parish priests, and 54 coadjutors or curates. The parochial benefices of the bishop are Trinity Within and St. John's, in the former of which are the cathedral and the bishop's residence.

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