Church of the Assumption - Wexford Guide and Directory, 1885

About “Wexford County Guide and Directory,” 1885

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version of Bassett’s Wexford County Guide and Directory is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

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IT would be difficult to find a more fitting site for a church than this one occupies. Its grounds slope gently in every direction. It is the terminus of a broad, new street, and the country landscape which it faces is very agreeable, including the well-built house and school of the Christian Brothers, the verdant hill of Cromwell’s Fort, and between them undulating fields, in one of which stands an ancient windmill shorn of its sails. The church may be said to be twin-born with that of the Immaculate Conception, since their corner-stones were laid on the same day. The spires appear at a distance to be one the shadow of the other, square and massive at the base and for some distance above the top of the roof, and then tapering to a delicate point. At the beginning of the present century the ruins of a small church, dedicated to St. Bridget, stood on the spot now occupied by the gate of the Assumption Church. The sites of a large number of small churches, the ruins of some of them still standing, are visible from this gate. The corner of the yard on the left was formerly used by the Society of Friends as a burial ground. About the great church door is an ingeniously arranged pavement of small, round stones. An inscription in white is firmly set in a groundwork of black to the memory of the Very Rev. Father James Roche, builder of the Twin Churches. At the north door is a second pavement of the same sort, bearing the date of celebration of the first Mass, 18th of April, 1858. The interior of the church is lofty and of fine capacity. Its roof is pointed, and the walls have mediaeval decorations, the heads of saints being set in medallions between the arches of the nave, the frames of the Station pictures corresponding in style. Two rows of solid and simple granite pillars separate the nave and aisles. A carved font of elaborate form, with self-acting cover, is enclosed by an iron rail on the right of the principal entrance. Half-way up the south aisle is a large figure of the Saviour, by Meyer, of Munich, presented by the Holy Family of Women of the Sacred Heart. The third window in the south aisle is double, and represents St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Ignatius Loyola, and was presented by Moses Doyle, who died in 1878. The second window has St. John the Evangelist and St. Margaret, and was erected to the memory of John Lambert, by his widow. The Altar of the Virgin was the gift of Mr. Devereux, of George’s Street.

A handsome carved screen of Caen stone, with polished Irish marble columns, divides the Grand Altar from the Altars of St. Joseph and the Virgin. The Altar itself is a rich and elaborate specimen of work in Caen stone, and was presented by the Holy Family of Women. A high relief in the front of the Altar is a copy of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” Encaustic tiles, set in Portland stone, form the pavement of the chancel. The pulpit is of richly-carved stone with polished pillars of various colours. Two doors leading from the church to the left are provided with hinges and trimmings of polished brass. John Fanning presented the first window on the north aisle, in memory of his father and sister. It represents St. Nicholas of Tolentine and St. Margaret of Cortona. Robert Dempsey erected the second, in memory of his father and mother, and upon it are the figures of St. William and St. Margaret. The great window of the sanctuary is a representation of the Ascension, and is excellent in colour. In the gallery over the main entrance is an organ of a graceful and unique pattern, in keeping with the general style of the church.

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