St. Peter's Church History

Traditional Anglican Church worship - Holy Communion & Morning Prayer.

A History of St. Peter’s Church

The first mention of the parish occurs in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas in 1291. Little is known about the early building other than that the Chancel of the building was repaired in 1615. The next reference to a church is one being built in 1628 accommodating about 70 persons.

During the incumbency of the Revd Henry Hodder LI.D (1826-1865) the present Church was built in 1851. The building consisted of chancel, west end and tower, with spire covered in slate. Incorporated into this building is a portion of the 1628 church—the north wall from the entrance door to the chancel. Later, during the incumbency of the Revd R.S. Gregg (1865-1873), the annexe to the body of the church was built and also the vestry. This section is to the plans by Wm. Burges Esq, architect of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in 1866-1867. In 1896-97, a cut stone spire replaced one of timber and slate at a cost of £280.

The children of the parish attended a parochial school in Ballincollig and records show an average attendance of 15-20 pupils. This school was replaced in 1920 by the present parochial hall, minus the new additions, situated adjacent to the present rectory. With declining numbers this school was closed in 1925 and records shows that the rector was granted £3 annually to transport the children to St Fin Barre’s N.S. in Cork.

Entering the church, your eye is immediately drawn to the fine stained glass window in the sanctuary. It is erected to commemorate one Arthur Lionel Tobin whose father was one time owner of Gunpowder Mills in Ballincollig. The window was executed by Henry Holiday (1839-1927) and W.G.Saunders, two of the major figures of the century in stained glass art. It is probably the only window resulting from their brief collaboration. The main panels depict Temperance, Fortitude and Justice. Looking around the interior, adjacent to the vestry door is a memorial to Julia, wife of G. Dolmage. This tablet was removed from the Garrison church in Ballincollig following its closure c. 1922.

On the west end is a memorial to John A. Wood. It is a painting of The Resurrection by Patrick Pye. It is interesting to note that the painting is very like one done by Giovanni Bellini in the 15th Century. Patrick Pye, when executing the painting, had no knowledge of the Bellini.

The pulpit, communion rail and lectern were installed in 1907 and were made in oak by Messrs. Vits, Ghent, Belgium.

The text ‘O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ was proposed by the then rector’s wife Mrs Gibbings, at the Easter General Vestry of 5th April 1904 and painted shortly afterwards. Robert Gibbings, author of ‘Lovely is the Lee’ and other works, grew up in the old rectory which is located at Minister’s Cross just to the south of the church. The parish sold the old rectory in 1989.

The church was re-roofed and redecorated inside in the summer of 2000.

Herbert Calvert

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