St Peter's Church, North Main Street, City of Cork.

Notes on the building of St Peter's Church.

Architectural Drawings of St Peter's Church

Location of the Parish Registers of St Peter's Church.

The Church Wardens of St Peter's Church.

Surviving Memorials inside St Peter's Church.

The Monument of Sir Matthew Deane Bart in St Peter's Church.

St Peter's Graveyard located at the rear of the church.

The Streets and Lanes of St Peter's Parish

St Peter's Church, as seen from North Main Street.
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Quote from "The Ancient And Present State of the County and City of Cork" by Charles Smith 1750: The church of St Peter is now the oldest church standing in the city. The steeple is detached a considerable way to the W. of the church and served as a tower to defend the city wall as is before mentioned. This church is about 90 feet long, but not of proportional breadth; it has a tolerable neat alter-piece, consisting of fluted corinthian pilasters; over the communion table, is a dove painted, surrounded with a glory in a pediment; on the W. is a mayor's gallery, over which are the king's arms, carved and painted; and on each side, are parallel galleries, and double rows of pews.

On the S. side of the alter, is a monument of Sir Mathew Deane and his lady, with their effigies in plaster of paris, as large as the life, in a praying posture, on each side of a desk. This monument consists of three pillars, of black marble, with white bases and capitals, supporting an open pediment. On the base, is this inscription.
Sir Matthew Deane,
Knight and Baronet,
On the cornice, are cherubims; and on the top, images supporting banners. There are some grave-with dates as old as the year 1500. In this church, there is early service and Sacrament every third Sunday of the month.

St Peter's Church, City of Cork 2006.
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Quote from "Historical Notes" by W.A. Copinger, B.L., F.S.A. (Eng), F.R.S.A. (Irel.)
(in "The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork" by Charles Smith, edited by Robert Day and W.A. Copinger, Cork 1893):

"St Peter's:

Sir Matthew Deane.
Among the entry of leases by the Corporation is one to Sir Matthew Deane, in 1693, of "A housein St Peter's Church Lane for 199 years, from 25th March, 1693, for 1l. 12s. a year. Note. - The Corporation forgave the rent; Capt. Deane is to make a Poor House there. Gave it 1721."
In 1878, Dr Caulfield made the sketch here given. "The coat of arms on the east side of this tomb is quite obliterated. This day I scraped off several coats of whitewash. The stone on which it was cut was quite disintegrated, it was like sand. Aug 16, 1878" R.C."

"By an indenture dated 28th September, 1733, between William Newenham of Coolmore, county Cork, and the Lord Bishop of Cork and Ross, and the Rev. Thomas Russell, the Archdeacon of Cork and minister of the parish of St Peter's, Cork, Newenham granted an annuity or rent charge of 30 during his life out of all and singular, the lands of Killingly alias Killanully, in the barony of Kerricurrihy and county of Cork, to be paid for a lecture sermon to be preached each Lord's Day in St Peter's Church.

St Peter's was the burial-place of many of the old families of Cork. Richard Walshe Fitz John, by his will, dated 10th June 1583; David Tyrrie Fitz Edmond, by his will, 13 May 1570; Patrick Myagh, by his will, 18th October 1569; Andrew Galwey, by his will proved 9th February 1580; Christopher Galwey by his will, 21st July, 1582; Edmond Fitz Nicholas,als.Frankaghe, by his will, proved 9th March, 1580, all desire to be buried at St Peter's Church.

Maurice Roche, by his will, proved 10 Dec, 1582 desires to be "Buryed in the buryall of his father and grandfather, in St Peter's Church, within Corke."

"George Galwey Fitz Edwarde, by his will, proved 30th April, 1579, desires to be buried "At St Katherine's Chapel, in St Peter's Church."
In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury was proved in 1581 the will of John Hawker, of Challock, Kent, yoeman, which contains the following direction:-

My bodye to be buried in Sainte Peter's Churche, in the cittie of Corke, in Irelande, so neere as maie be unto the place where Arthure Carter, late Provost Marshall of Munster, lyeth."

Quote from "Historical and Descriptive Notices of Cork" by J. Windell 2nd edition Cork 1843:

"ST PETER'S- this church stands at the west side of the north Main-street, in a narrow recess. Its exterior, heretofore, was mean and unpromising. The interior, however, is otherwise; the term elegant may justly be applied to it. It is indebted to the good taste of Archdeacon KYLE, for a handsome Belfry and Spire, 155 feet high, recently erected, the latter ribbed and crocketted and covered in plates of zink. The nature of the foundation not permitting the use of a more ponderous material.

The original church of St Peter was founded in the 13th century, if not earlier. Henry III by a charter dated 20th May 1270 confirms to the Bishop of Cork and his successors, the patronage and advowson of the churches of St Mary Nard and Kilmahanok, and the chapel of St Peter at Cork, "capelle sci Petri Corcag", Ex Rot. Plac. 25 Ed. I, in Tur. Record, Dublin

This gives a high antiquity to this church. The structure must have been of considerable extent, and far greater pretentions than the present, embracing within its limits several small chapels or oratories. Judging by fragments which were disinterred in 1838, the style was either the Norman or earliest pointed. The remains of its great doorway exhibit the lozenge fret, or moulding belonging to these styles. In the landgable roll already referred to (Roche MSS) a Ladye chapel is mentioned (Capelle de Marie Ecclie Petri)and in 1594, Richard Skyddye, is mentioned as "the Chaplain of our Ladye chapel" in this church.

There is another grant, dated February 1606, from the Archdeacon, Parish-priest and church wardens, to one Carrule, a Taylor and Stephen Skyddy, a Merchant of "the voyde room in the fore front of the church, to the streat-warde, on the east side of the pynacle of the said church, extending in length between both the stone pyllers of the pynacle of the said church, north and south; and in breadth from the pinacle on the weast, to the channell by the King's-streat, (Main street) on the east and in height, to the teyle of the Tower and of the gable of glass windowes of said church. To hold (for the purpose of building a shop therein) for the term of thirty-one years, at the rate of tenn shillings." This instrument contains a covenant against selling or underletting the said shop to any other tailor or merchant.

By another instrument, dated 5th November 1609, a grant is made to THOMAS DAVIE, of a voyde place belonging to said church, for a grave for his wife, "which place lyeth going up to the quire or chancell of the said church, from Morgan O'Haherine, his grave or tomb on the south side, to Goulde's chapel on the north."

This Goulde's chapel was probably the chauntry to which it was found by inquisition in 1578. Robert Goulde had, contrary to the statute of Mortmain, granted two messuages and a garden of annual value, besides reprises, of 6s. 8d. for the purpose of finding one priest to say mass for his soul.

In 1782, the old church was taken down, and the present one finished in 1788. A small chapel near the porch, contains a monument of Sir MATHEW DEANE. It had stood in the old church previously to its demolishion, and presents two figures kneeling on an alter tomb. The date is 1710. On a plain stone font, which had belonged to the ancient structure, are cut in raised characters the letters R. W. and the date 1664. The oldest tombstone in the burying ground, at the west side of the church - is that of STEPHEN COUCH, with the year 1693 inscribed. Smith saw in his time, ere the old church was destroyed, gravestones as old as 1500, and the disinternment of tombstones from the foundation of the old Belfry in 1838 mentioned heretofore, has disclosed others of older date.

The belfry of the old church stood detached at the west side of the grave yard, close to the City wall. It was taken down in 1683."

The spire on the ancient St Peter's Church, Cork. It was 155 feet high.
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Ancient Font in St Peter's Church, City of Cork
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St Peter's Church interior as it is today.
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St Peter's Church interior window.
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The church has been remodelled to serve as offices for the Cork Vision Center (a tourist office and art gallery) and bears little resemblance to the ancient church it once was. It once had stained glass windows, one of which was dedicated to Robert Stevelly, church warden who died in 1795. The stained glass windows were removed when the church was deconsecrated in 1949.