St. Mary's Parish, Dublin

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

St. Mary's, originally part of St. Michan's parish, and separated from it in 1697, contains 25,305 inhabitants, and 2018 houses valued at £5 and upwards, the total annual value being £91,895. The living is a rectory, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Christ-Church: the minister's money amounts to £974. 16. 6., and the gross income is £1127. The church is a large building, in Stafford-street, possessing little architectural beauty. Its chief entrance is a large gate with Ionic columns on each side, surmounted by a square belfry.

In the interior are many monumental tablets, among the more remarkable of which is one to the memory of Edward Tennison, Bishop of Ossory; one to that of Dr. Robert Law; one to that of Mr. William Watson, founder of the Society for Discountenancing Vice; and one lately erected to the Hon. T. B. Vandeleur, third justice of the King's Bench, Ireland. In the crowded cemetery are the tombs of Dr. Marlay, Bishop of Waterford, and uncle to the late Henry Grattan; Mrs. Mercer, the foundress of Mercer's Hospital; and Mr. Simpson, the founder of Simpson's Hospital.

The Board of First Fruits, in 1831, granted a loan of £1615 for the repair of the church, and in 1836 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners granted £205.3. 11. for the same purpose. St. Mary's chapel of ease, built on a plot of ground in Mountjoy-street, presented to the parish by the Earl of Mountjoy, is a very elegant specimen of the modern Gothic, from a design of Mr. Semple; it has a light tapering spire surrounded by minarets of similar shape. It was opened in 1830 as a free church, and has lately received a grant of £445. 13.0. for its repair from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The Episcopal chapel of the Lying-in Hospital and the Bethesda Episcopal chapel are in this parish; the latter was erected in 1786, at the sole expense of William Smyth, Esq., nephew of the Archbishop of that name: he appointed two clergymen to officiate, and, in 1787, annexed to it an asylum for female orphans, in which about 24 children are entirely supported.

A penitentiary adjoins it, which was opened in 1794 for the reception of females discharged from the Lock Hospital. Here are parochial schools for boys and girls, who are totally provided for; a free school for both sexes, an infants' school, and schools for boys and girls in connection with the Scots' Church. A female almshouse in Denmark-street was founded by Tristram Fostrick, Esq., in 1789. Mrs. Mary Damer, in 1753, bequeathed £1765, and Richard Cave, Esq., in 1830, £1600 to the parish for charitable uses.

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