The Church of Ireland Clergy


Seamus & Joseph Seery

On 31 October, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. Thus began the Reformation which was to sweep Europe in the following decades.

By the 1530s the Reformation had reached Ireland. Abbeys were suppressed and in January 1537, the Colonial Parliament in Dublin declared Henry V111 Supreme Head of the Church.

The diocese of Ferns did not remain untouched. Ferns Abbey was suppressed in April 1539 and in December of that year Alexander Devereux, Abbot of Dunbrody Abbey was schismatically consecrated Bishop of Ferns, though he returned to the Roman Catholic church during the reign of Queen Mary. In October 1566, Queen Elizabeth 1 appointed her nephew, John Devereux, as the first Protestant Bishop of Ferns. Both of these Devereux bishops were of the Ballymagir family.

Taghmon, like every other parish in the dioscese, experienced turmoil during the Reformation. However, there are few records of the changes that took place in Taghmon at this time. Leslie records Willian Devereux as being the last Catholic Prebendary at Taghmon. He was appointed in 1567 and possibly remained in that position until 1572. Richard Devereux the next Prebendary is known to have served during the period 1612-1615. Little is known about him, but one can only assume that as his predecessor was listed as the last Catholic Prebendary, he must have been the first Protestant Minister at Taghmon.

There was a gap of some forty years before the next rector was appointed to Taghmon. In 1657, Adam Wilkinson was appointed Commonwealth Minister with responsibility for Clongeen also.

PREBENDARIES OF TAGHMON

1612---1615 Richard Devereux
1657---1662 Adam Wilkinson
1662---1678 Humphrey Good
1691---1714 William Buttenwood
1714---1735 Roger Vigors
1735---1746 Harffinch Piggott
1746---1785 Andrew Hamilton
1785---1813 Robert Hawkshaw (He resided at Hillburn and claimed losses totalling 249.5.11 after the 1798 Insurrection)
1813---1823 Simon Little
1823---1840 Ralph Boyd
1840---1847 William Scott
1847---1865 John Harley died aged 60 in 1865 and was one of the few ministers to be buried in Taghmon. His wife, Mary Anne died in 1886 and is buried with him.
1865---1871 Thomas John Jacob, born locally and also buried in Taghmon. The Prebend remained vacant for four years.
1876---1878 James Peed
1878---1900 Robert Burnett became Chancellor in 1900.
1900--- Thomas Brownell Gibson.

RECTORS OF TAGHMON.

1872---1878 Nathaniel Switzer. Died at Ozier Hill, Sept 11th 1878 aged 54 yrs, buried in Taghmon.
1878---1881 John Matthews.
1881---1885 Henry Rennison.
1885---1891 Peter Wilson.
1891---1897 Garrett Rennison
1897---1915 William Raymond Evans.
1915---1921 Thomas William Lowe
Taghmon and Horetown united in 1922
1921---1926 Francis Bettsworth Mollan appointed to Horetown in 1907. (Following the Union of Taghmon and Horetown in 1922 he served both communities)
1926---1934 Thomas Talbot.
1934---1956 George Browne.
1956---1964 M.W. Talbot.
1964---1995 Ernest A. Brandon.
1995 Taghmon united with Wexford, Ardcolm, Killurin, Horetown.
1995--- Norman T. Ruddock.

CURATES OF TAGHMON.

1780---1786 Frederick Draffen (He married Elizabeth Cox of the Coolcliffe family - see article by Tom Williams - 'Taghmon in 1798' in this issue).
1815---1817 Henry Francis Lyte. He was the author of the famous hymn " Abide with me " which he composed just before his death in Nice in 1847. (see Evelyne Miller's article in 1996 Journal of The Taghmon Historical Society).
1817---1818 George Jones.
1840---1856 George Richards, buried in Taghmon.
1865 William Dowsley.
1865 John Gifford Jacob.

PREBENDARIES OF COOLSTUFF

1551---1570 Robert Cheevers
1582---1600 James Devereux
1602---1615 Henry Reighe or (Rigg) described as 'an ancient reading minister, of Irish birth, and skilful in the English, Irish and Latin tongues'.
1626---1639 Hugh Gough
1639--- James Croxton (he resigned after a few months)
1639---1646 John Wadding
1646---1669 Valentine Goodhand
1669---1691 William Owen
1691---1692 John Everdon
1692---1693 Jasper Cox
1693---1714 Robert Elliot
1714---1729 Joseph Millar
1729---1729 Sutton Symes (resigned same year for Preb of Clone)
1729---1731 William Curtis
1731---1735 Thomas Staples
1735---1746 John Philips
1746---1770 Joshua Nunn
1770---1777 William Dickson
1777---1783 Philip Heydon
1784---1797 John Nixon
1797---1806 William Hinson
1806---1811 Joseph Lendrum
1811---1822 Hon. Lorenzo Hely Hutchinson. (He was the 5th son of Rt.Hon. John Hely-Hutchinson, Provost of T. C. D. and of his wife Christiana, Baroness Donoughmore.
1822---1823 Arthur Colley
1823---1873 George Richards.Died in 1873 aged 93
1876---1900 Francis Le Hunte
1900---1909 Henry Rennison
1909---1924 John Rothwell Willis

VICARS OF COOLSTUFF

1552 James Meyler
1612 Robert O Dreighan an ancient minister of Irish birth, having the English, Irish and Latin tongues.
1618 Maurice O' Creghan

CURATES OF COOLSTUFF

1615 Robert Cleere
1802---1817 George Richards
1817 George Jones
1823 Samuel Hawkshaw
1869---1870 John Gifford Jacob
The residence of the Church of Ireland clergymen of Coolstuff was in the vicinity of the graveyard and a church was also situated here, the remains of which can still be seen. 'There is a glebe of 4 acres of good land. There is no church, the inhabitants resort to that of the adjoining parish of Taghmon '.

RECTORS OF KILGARVAN

1612---1615 John Bateson. (A scholar aged 17 is appointed Rector with a dispensation. In 1615 he was a student in college.
1635 Thomas Parson, Rector of Kilgarvan and Horetown.
1662 Adam Wilkinson
1683---1685 John Barrington. Became Rector of Taghmon in 1691.
1685---1690 William Burtenwood
1690--- ? Benjamin Neale
1733--- ? John Elliot
c 1769 Shapland Swiney
1778---1796 Meade Swift (afterwards Meade Dennis)
1796--- ? James Morgan (He was Rector of the Union of Horetown in 1798 and claimed losses totalling 39.13.3 for damage to the Parish Church of Horetown)
(Kilgarvan became part of Horetown Union in 1662)

Coolstuff Graveyard - the ruins of the church can still be seen in the background

The Kilrane and Taghmon Stall in the Church of Ireland Cathedral of Ferns

The Coolstuffe and Fethard Stall in the Church of Ireland Cathedral of Ferns

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Ferns Clergy and Parishes, by Canon J.B.Leslie
History of The Diocese of Ferns, by W.H. Grattan Flood
The Irish Church Directory
The Representative Church Body Library
Canon N.T.Ruddock
Rev. Leslie Dean Forrest
Hilary Murphy

REFERENCES AND NOTES

  1. Topographical Dictionery of Co. Wexford, by Samuel Lewis, 1837