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St. James's Church
 

County

Waterford

Coordinates

N 52° 07' 46.9"   W 007° 27' 50.9"

Nearest town

Stradbally

Grid Ref.

X 36745 97614

Map No.

82

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

69

Date of visit

Tuesday 18 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The ruins of the St. James's church in the grounds of the modern Church of Ireland church.


In the Stradbally churchyard, where the modern Church of Ireland church is, there are the ruins of a medieval church. Its conditions are so bad that it's near to a collapse. All the walls are propped up and there are signs to warn people of the danger and to deny the access to the ruins.
The church was built by Thomas FitzAnthony, an Anglo-Norman magnate and knight of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, in the early 13th century. It served as a parish church for the flourishing and important settlement of Stradbally.
In its origins the church had a nave only with a thatched roof and two doorways in the north and south walls, the chancel was added later and it was built slightly out of axis in respect of the nave, the altar is at east (80°). It also had a three-storey tower to the northeast corner of the church used as the residence for the priest, but now it's just a pile of rubbles apart for a section of the north wall.
It seems that the building also functioned as an abbey in the possessions of the Augustinian Order who kept it for about 300 years.
At the time of the Reformation under king Henry VIII the church was in deteriorated conditions. At the end of the 16th century the archbishop of Cashel was ordered by the Crown to take a survey over the Diocese of Waterford, but his report was quite elusive and didn't tell that most of the parishes in that part of the county were still loyal to the Pope. Only in the 1619 a Protestant vicar was appointed to Stradbally and his control lasted 30 years, until the arrival of Cromwell, when the church was closed down.
The fact that the nave has some 18th century tombs within it could indicate that the church was in disuse by that time. In particular three table tombs are quite interesting. They are the family tombs for the Rodericks, the Kennedys and for Hagherin and his wife McGrath.
Two mausoleums can be seen outside the ruined church.
We entered the ruins through the south doorway.


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