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 Post subject: Family Pews
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:58 am
Posts: 155
Location: Qld Australia
On my recent trip to Ireland I uncovered the will of my great grandfather Michael Murphy of Ballycorick. One of the bequests in the will was to one of his sons in the form of his ownership of a pew in the Ballycorick Church.
Can anyone tell me was (is) this common practice in Ireland, i.e. that families (presumably those who can afford it) could purchase a pew in their local parish church?
Or was this just one method that the entrepreneurial Fr Dinan who built the Ballycorick Church, used to offset constructional costs.
I can well imagine that in their heyday the Murphys would have required considerably more than one pew to accomodate them !

Murf


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 Post subject: Re: Family Pews
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:56 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Clare
Pews were often sponsered by individuals or families when a new church was being built. In many churches the seats have brass plates on them giving the sponser's name. Usually, the seats would have been for general use rather than for the use of the sponsers. I've never heard of a seat being 'passed on' to the next generation but maybe this was the case in some places.


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 Post subject: Re: Family Pews
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:50 am
Posts: 49
The new church at Kilshanny of 1894 was provided with a full complement of pitch pine seats. These seats were auctioned by Fr McGurran, the parish priest, who allocated pews positionally - according to amounts bid. The families who purchased seats were obliged to pay a yearly retention fee. This whole pew arrangement was later abolished by Bishop Thomas O'Dea, bishop of the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora. See Thomas May's book (published in 2000) on the churches of the diocese.


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 Post subject: Re: Family Pews
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:58 am
Posts: 155
Location: Qld Australia
Thanks for those comments.
Iwill look up that reference.
Murf


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 Post subject: Re: Family Pews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 12:56 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare
An amusing anecdote about pews, told to me by Mildred Ievers (now deceased) of Mount Ievers.
In the Kilfinaghty parish church (Cof I) in Sixmilebridge, box pews were allocated by the parish vestry. The vestry decided on the basis of the size of the contribution a family gave to the church. The result was that the larger landowners occupied the pews to the front, e.g. Butlers, Ievers, Stafford-O'Briens, with a downward gradient towards the rear. At the rear of the church were the RIC men and servants working in the estates. Immediately above the latter was a balcony with a harmonium which was played by an aging Miss Butler. Miss Butler used to place candles on the rail of the balcony to help her see the keys she was playing.
Mildred Ievers (then a young woman) said that the tedium of Sunday service was broken by muffled screams from the rear as hot candle wax dropped onto the necks and heads of the unfortunates under the balcony rails.


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