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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: 217
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: 58
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: 217
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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 Post subject: Re: Family Pews
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:19 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:58 am
Posts: 217
Location: Qld Australia
With the Limerick Chronicle now available on the British Newspaper Archive (ref. http://www.irishgenealogynews.com/ )
I managed to piece together portion of an article from the Chronicle in July 1853 which indicates that family pews had become a focus of protests between Liberal and Conservative supporters in the 1853 election. My attention was drawn to this by the involvment of the Murphys of Ballycorick.
For background see:
The changing ruling class in Sixmilebridge and the impact they left on the community, 1650-1900 by Jayme Keogh
http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... ssacre.htm

Quote:
In the village of Bearfield, within a few miles of Ennis the conduct of Mr. John Curtin of Cappa, Michl. Arthur and &field. Moran, was made the subject of an altar harangue, in consequence of having supported Col. Vandeleur. The response made to the strictures of the priest by some of the devout ones in the chapel was, that they would break up the pews of the parties mentioned, Oh, boys, replied his reverence, (who was then taking off his vestments), don't do anything while I'm here. This approving hint being taken, the priest was no sooner out than the rioting began in right earnest. The individuals thus held up to public fury made a noble resistance, but they were overpowered by numbers and maltreated, while their pews were broken into fragments, and thrown out on the public road. We understand that in this case the aggrieved parties are resolved to bring the matter before a court of justice, as they know some of the rioters. One of the voters thus treated has stated his determination never to enter a chapel again during his life.

We now proceed to a different district of the County, where the Rev. Cornelius O'Gorman, P.P. carries on his labours. The Rev. gentleman was also very active at the late contest, and in his parish chapel five or six pews were broken. On Saturday night last, the pews of Messrs. John Breen, Edmund Murphy, sen. Edmund Murphy, jun. Thomas Flynn, of Deer Island, and Thomas Moylan, of Ballycorick, were broken to pieces in their parish chapel which lies between Ennis and Kildysart, in consequence of their having voted for Col. Vandeleur.

At Kilshanny chapel, in another extremity of the county, the pew of Mr. Kerin, a respectable freeholder, was also broken, thrown out on the road and burned. We regret to add that this outrage alarmed Mrs. Kerin so much, she has been taken seriously ill. We may notice one affecting incident which occurred in Tulla, where a
poor man, Michael Nugent of Coolreacastle, was forced up to the booth by the priests. He was evidently trembling from head to foot, and when asked for whom he would vote, he most reluctantly, and with tears in his eyes, voted for the priest's candidates; and then, as if unable longer to repress his feelings—he turned round in the booth, and publicly addressing the priest—exclaimed Now, I suppose I will be allowed to enter my chapel after you have forced me to go against the best landlord in Ireland.


Published: Wednesday 13 July 1853
Newspaper: Limerick Chronicle
County: Limerick, Republic of Ireland


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 Post subject: Re: Family Pews
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:50 am
Posts: 58
With reference to M. McNamara's post and Miss Butler of Kilfinaghty, I came across this paragraph in the Church of Ireland Gazette (30 August 1907) concerning the State Inebriate Reformatory in Ennis, a form of custodial detention for 'habitual drunkards'; there were many female drunkards detained in the Reformatory at that time.

The Gazette writes:

One of the brightest features in connexion with the women's department is the interest taken in some of them by the Hon. Miss L. Butler, the youngest daughter of Lord Dunboyne, of Knoppogue Castle, Newmarket-on-Fergus. She attends, at least, once a week, and personally teaches them many useful things. The advice and instruction that she gives to those of her own faith cannot be excelled. She has, indeed, struck the right keynote in her methods of working. Work through societies and agencies we know to be greatly a failure. Personal service, and without any show of condescension, is what is required. This is what Miss Butler ungrudgingly gives. That she travels a long distance each week, often cycles by bad roads and in a humid climate, is only part of a noble, unselfish character. To remain long hours in the company of criminal inebriates would try the best of us, but for Miss Butler, it is a labour of love.

Polycarp


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