WHITECHURCH, a parish, partly in the barony of BANTRY, but chiefly in that of SHELBURNE, county of WEXFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 4¾ miles (S. S.
W.) from New Ross, on the road to Fethard; containing 1328 inhabitants. After the battle of New Ross in 1798, the insurgents under the command of the Rev.
Philip Roche encamped on Slieve Kieltre, a lofty eminence partly in this parish, and during their continuance here a detachment from the main body destroyed a gun brig lying off Pilltown. The parish is situated on the Ross river, by which it is bounded on the west; it comprises 5017 statute acres, chiefly under tillage; the soil is in some parts good, and the system of agriculture has in particular instances been brought to a high state of perfection; green crops, and an extensive system of drainage, introduced by the late Mr. Glascott, have been continued with great success on the estate of Pilltown, and are gradually being adopted on other estates; but in the central and inland parts of the parish, the soil of which is chiefly of a poor quality, the old system of agriculture is still practised. Lime, and a testaceous sediment found on the banks of the river, are in general use for manure. There are some patches of bog on the sides of Slieve Kieltre, and on the summit of that eminence is an extended plain, forming a good sheepwalk, and serving as a common for the adjoining estates. A black mould resembling tin ore appears in veins in many parts of the parish, and there are quarries of roofing slate of an indifferent quality.
The river, which abounds with the finest salmon, is here navigable for vessels of several hundred tons, and the inlets to Pilltown and Camlin are navigable for small vessels. At the village of Whitechurch is a station of the constabulary police. Pilltown, the seat of W. M.
Glascott, Esq., is pleasantly situated on the Ross river, and surrounded by an extensive demesne embellished with thriving plantations. Landscape, now the residence of John Ussher, Esq., derives its name from the beautiful view it embraces of the river and the ornamental grounds of Castle Annaghs on the opposite bank; it is surrounded with a fine plantation of fir, sycamore, beech, and oak trees. Stokestown, now the residence of Jos. Deane, Esq., is similarly embellished; and Killowen is the pleasing seat of Capt. Glascott.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Ferns, united by act of council, in 1723, to the rectory of Kilmokea, together constituting the union and corps of the prebend of Whitechurch in the cathedral of Ferns, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £348. 18. 5½., and the entire tithes of the benefice to £646. 3. There is a glebe of 2 acres in this parish, and one of 12 acres in that of Kilmokea, on which is the glebe-house. The church is a plain building without either tower or spire; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £190 for its repair and improvement. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Horeswood; there is a neat chapel near the village of Old Court. At Stokestown is an excellent school-house with apartments for the master and mistress, built at an expense of £500 by the late Mrs. Erith Paul, who by her will, in 1810, endowed the school with £800, and with 2½ acres of ground for the use of the teachers; she also bequeathed a further sum, of which the interest was to be applied to the relief of such poor aged and infirm persons as her trustees should appoint. These legacies were paid over to the Commissioners for Charitable Bequests, but delays, occasioned by official difficulties, having occurred in their appropriation, the funds accumulated to about £6000, and are now vested in the 3½ per cents., and the interest regularly applied as follows: £50 per ann. to the master and mistress of the school, £50 for apprenticing the children, and the remainder, £107. 18., in annuities of £8. 6. per ann. to 13 aged and infirm persons.
A parochial school-house was built in 1831 near the village of Whitechurch, on an acre of ground given by W. W. Glascott, Esq.; it was erected and is partly supported by subscription; and there is a national school attached to the R. C. chapel: in these schools about 140 children are educated.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.
The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.
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