Title : Annamoe
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Title:Drawings of Derralossary Church Refurbishment 1820
Description : More..
Title : Drawings of Derralossary Church Refurbishment 1820
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A History of Derralossary Church

The site on which this church is built is of pre-christian date as a worship place but even as a Christian site it appears to be very old although there are few references to it. The earliest mention is in a list of churches in the diocese of Dublin in the time of Archbishop Henry (1212-1218)

Alen’s note to the name in the Reperterium Veride (Alen’s register compiled in 1530-1532) calling it ‘the principal church in the whole of our land which is called Ffertir’ (Vartry) shows that it has been a parish church for a long time. The Abbey of Glendalough was in the parish but Derralossary was, presumably, a more convenient parochial centre after the building of Castlekevin. It seems likely that it was originally a hermit’s cell but whether it dates from or after the settlement of Saint Kevin at Glendalough is is not possible to say.

The Rev. William Stokes, rector of the parish from 1891-1901, records that Archbishop Luke (the fourteenth Archbishop, 1230) used an oolite stone from Montacute in Somerset to beautify Christ Church cathedral in Dublin and with the same stone ‘carried down on horses backs’ he restored Derralossary.

There are various suggestions as to the origin of the name none of which are completely satisfactory. Mr. Stokes suggested “Doire Lasrach” “The oak grove of the flame” which he inferred was the Druidic title, and, at least, has the merit of being poetic.

The date of commencement of the present church is not known but some traces of entries of births, marriages and deaths, in the parish records remain although the registers themselves were destroyed when the public record office was burnt in 1922. For instance the Rev. Ambrose weeks was “Minister” in 1773. His wife who died in 1793 is buried in the churchyard. After the Reformation the church evidently became ruined and it is described as “altogether out of repair” at the time of the visitation of 1630.

A drawing by George Petrie shows the church in 1820 without the tower. About that year it was enlarged by the addition of the transepts at a cost of £553-16-11. The tower was added about 1836-40. There is a chamber under the chancel which, traditionally, was built as a vault for the Temple family of Roundwood Park (Sir William Temple 1628-1699 was Swift’s patron). This chamber was used as a vestry up to the 1890’s when the present vestry was built. A circular stairway in the south-west corner of the chancel led down to it.

In 1897 an appeal for funds for restoration was made by the Rev. William Stokes who quotes “the eminent architect Mr. Thomas Drew M.R.I.A.” as saying”this church is in a deplorable condition….it has now reached a stage of structural decay and dilapidation, within a few years of absolute ruin. (This is owing not to neglect but to age)”.

In 1957 the fabric of the church was repaired and re-decoration carried out with funds raised by members of the parish.Authorities: Liam Proce Esq. D.J Rev. William Stokes (notes). Lewis Topographical Dictionary. Miscellaneous parish papers and oral information.

(The above notes were found among papers passed to the late Mrs Annie Taylor of Annamoe following the death of Bobby Childers in 1998. The last service was held in Derralossary church in July 1968 when only 3 people attended. In November 1961 some 200 people attended the service of dedication for Derralossary National School; formerly the parish hall. The school is now closed and is a private residence)