by Mike Stewart.

Notes on the building of St Paul's Church.

Location of the Parish Registers and other Parish records.

Rectors and Curates of St. Paul's with biographical notes.



St Paul's Church Yard. August 2013.
Click to enlarge the photograph.


The public is likely oblivious to the presence of a graveyard on the south side of St. Paul's. Staff of the Planning and Development Directorate of the Cork City Council provided some background to these grounds. The graveyard was confined to the southern side of the church and did not extend beyond the modern day boundary on the south-western side. Archaeological excavations clarified this. The graveyard is square in shape measuring about 25m x 25m; the boundaries as they are today correspond to those in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Notes taken from Richard Caulfield's 'Council Book of the Corporation of Cork from 1609 to 1643 & 1690-1800'. Guilford Surrey: J. Billings & Sons, 1876:
'23 May 1732: Ordered, that the piece of ground, part of the Corporation ground west of the passage leading to S. Paul's Churchyard, be granted by the Corporation to said church as an addition to the churchyard, viz., in a direct line from the lower end of the east part of the ground on the other side of the said passage to the wall of Mr. John Hawkins' holdings, reserving an equal depth on the west side of the said passage, with the ground on the east side of the said passage from the street; the said ground to be staked out by Mr. Mayor, the Sheriffs, Ald. Bennett, Morley, Mr. Pembrocke, and Com. Speaker.' (p.509)

'20 July 1734: Whereas Richd. Harrison refuses to execute leases pursuant to his agreement on the Cant for the ground near S. Paul's Church, and to pay the rent for the time he was in possession, ordered, that Mr. R. Hoare do commence a suit to oblige Mr. Harrison to execute leases pursuant to on the posting.' (p.532)

'11 November 1734: That leases should be prepared for Richd. Harrison to perfect for the ground near S. Paul's Church, pursuant to Mr. Yeamen's award, to commence 27 Sep. last, provided he agrees immediately to it.' (p.538)

'1 Sep., 1737: That a draft of a deed be prepared by the Parishioners of S. Paul's church, for a grant, the Mayor and Constables of the Staple and their successors as the trustees for the ground before said church, for a burying place for strangers and others who die in the Parish, such as the Mayor, &c., shall recommend as objects to Charity to be buried without fees.' (p.567)

Taken from Charles A. Webster's 'The Diocese of Cork', 1920 p.156:
'The Coal Quay, which is now a large market square, perpetuates by its name the fact that in the eighteenth century most of the coal vessels arriving in Cork discharged their cargoes in the locality; and the graveyard attached to St. Paul's Church close by has many headstones erected to the memory of Welsh seamen who died in Cork. The Corporation had a yard in the immediate vicinity of the church, and by an order made 23 May, 1732, part of this yard, on the west of the passage leading into St. Paul's churchyard, was granted by the Corporation as an addition to the burial space. At a later date the Mayor of Cork and Constables of the Staple were granted the right of free burial for strangers and others who were objects of charity.'
Taken from J. Coleman's (ed) 'Windele's Cork: Historical and Descriptive Writings of Cork from its Foundation to the Middle of the Nineteenth Century'. By John Windle. Cork: Guy, 1910:
'The burial ground in front [of St. Paul's Church], is remarkable for the number of sea-faring people interred there. The inscriptions on the tombstones are generally very characteristic.'
Taken from 'North Gate Supplement', [Cork] 3rd June 1987, p.4 - Richard Cooke:
'[St. Paul's] Crypt and Graveyard. In the crypt and adjoining burial ground, where an old elm tree towers over Paul Street, one can see some magnificent 18th and 19th century ornamented tombstones and headstone in remembrance of the many Welsh sailors who died in the city while t heir vessels were docked at neighbouring Coal Quay and Lavitt's Quay. It also served as a vagrants and paupers final resting place. Part of the old burial ground is now used as a car park.'

Site plan with locations of tombs and grave slabs
(Sheila Lane and Associates. Courtesy of Deborah Sutton, Archaeologist, Cork City Council)
Click to enlarge the photo.
Following the purchase of the church and burial grounds by Guy & Co. in the late 1950's, it is generally believed that some table tombs were removed and or demolished. The following Monumental Inscription was on the South wall, likely of one of these table tombs:
'In a tomb beneath this tablet rests the remains of Richard Kellett Esq. many years senior Alderman and banker in this city. . . . . He resigned his spirit to God the 25th January 1828 at the great age of 94. Also in the same tomb rest the ashes of his truly beloved wife Jane Susanna her meek and mild spirit was removed from this life 22nd March 1802, as also the remains of his first and favorite child Susanna wife of Col. Fittes who departed this life the 20th September 1817. This tablet is also sacred to the memory of his gallant grandson Augustus Henry Kellett R.N. who departed this life at Paris the 10th June 1828, who was cut off in the prime of his life by disease yet in the service of his country in the Burmese War in which he acted so distinguished a part.' [Co. Cork Pedigrees: item from interleaves)

Click to enlarge the photo.
The western side of the graveyard was levelled and in the late 1960's and early 1970's headstones were re-deposited on the eastern side of the graveyard. Some limited ground works for the new paving and signage in the former graveyard as part of the current retail development was undertaken in June and July 2008.
'The need for minimum disturbance of the archaeological remains present on the site dictated the work permitted. At the western side, excavation was limited to a depth of 0.6m as disarticulated human remains were revealed. The stratigraphy generally consisted of brick and stone rubble. Evidence for subsurface stone-faced, brick lined crypts was also uncovered. The removal of the ramp and steps at the southern face of the church exposed the doors to the church's crypt. Fragments of headstone were uncovered in the rubble excavated. The remains of a north-south brick vaulted tomb were revealed at north-eastern side of the graveyard. The southern church wall was therefore used as the northern wall of the tomb. An additional three vaults were revealed' as shown on the site plan.'

Recently, the Planning and Development Directorate of the Cork City Council requested a survey of the existing headstones to be undertaken. 'It is hoped that this will be done in the near future. It is proposed that the headstones on the eastern and southern boundary walls of the former graveyard will be retained on the site and made safe.' Recently uncovered headstones include the names of liam Busteed, William Daunt, Alexander Paterson, and John Campbell (see pictures) and some fragments with Joseph and Wi. (Cork City Council, correspondence).

A monumental inscription in St. Paul's Church:
'Sacred to the Memory of Catherine Alcock Jones died Sept 27 1844 Erected by Capt. William Ponsoby Jones 22nd Reg. B.N.I. as a tribute of affection for a beloved and lamented sister'
(Co. Cork Pedigrees: Travers and Assoc. Families (LDS #1951821) From M.I. in St Paul's Church, Cork.)
In May of 2010 the stones outside the church were counted and closely observed for possible inscriptions. According to Walsh, gravestones facing west are mostly of limestone and are in fairly good condition. Even so it is difficult to read the inscriptions as they are eroded by weather, and some are covered by a strong growth of ivy or by heavy bushes in the south-east corner. Markers facing north are in a much poorer condition and are made from a number of materials such as iron, sandstone, slate and limestone. Over the years as the markers have been moved; some have lain against or over others and due to weathering and the different materials would disintegrate if an attempt were made to move them. Inscriptions are also difficult to read due to condition of markers and growth of lichen.

This inscription of a stone no longer visible was published in a book of interesting epitaphs:
Thomas Taylor.
Repent! Repent!! While you have time,
Here I lie cut off in my prime,
Tom Taylor,
A Sailor,
Aged 89.
(Stuffling, p.166)

St Paul's Churchyard Gate.
Click to enlarge the photo.