The Old Graveyard and ruined Church at Churchtown.
[We are grateful to Bertie Daly for the research work he completed on this section]
To get back to Bruhenny or Churchtown as it is now called, in the old days Bruhenny was the name it was mostly called, and now I will try to relate to you a picture of the chief Anglican families, Rectors and churches used by them at one time or another, when they were built right up to the Reformation and up until 1900.
Cloyne and the Pipe Roll of Cloyne had a great link with Bruhenny. The Pipe Roll was 17 ½ feet long and 7 ¼ inches wide made of parchment. The ancient document out lined the feudal system of ownership of land with – in the diocese of Cloyne is consisted of a series of entries of juries findings and of acts of deeds relating to the See of Cloyne. The document was written on both sides, in fact there were two copies, an exact copy which seemed to vanish, the other was given to the Dublin office of records for safe keeping where it was destroyed in 1922. There were some translation to the English language but the Latin version the original was best and begun in 1364.
In the year 1291 at Bruhenny Church, 100 yards East of the town sadly now in ruins except a few arches, the historic presence of Robert Cheusner appeared on the scene presented by Odo de Barry to the vicarage in the Co. of Cork. Then John de Barry Clarke was presented by Philip de Barry son and heir of Odo de Barry. After that Thomas O’Holan in the year 1311, Vide Cahirultan was the rector of Brothing there mentioned Bruhenny 1384.
In the year 1545 James Roche settled into Bruhenny and in 1591 Lucas Brady is rector of Bruhenny son and heir of Hugh Brady Bishop of Meath, he signed the settlement of Thomond on the 17th of August 1585. Luke died 1612. January the 16th 1610 William Holiday arrives and we find William in Ballyhooly in 1615. That year 1615 John Hull becomes Vicar of Wallstown Templeroan and Ballintemple also Churchtown, he was later Precentor of five years later in 1630, so in the year 1637 became Rector of Schull in West Cork. Around the year 1634 a James Barry appears as Impropiator of the rectory of Bruhenny. Up until 1661 Rev. Pakington was at Bruhenny to find himself as Archdeacon of Cork to 1662.
Then in 1662 John Veacy came and was admitted on the 24th Sept. 1663, to be Rector of Bruhenny, Shandrum, Aglishdrinagh and Rathgoggan. He was Dean of Cork later in 1667. This next year 1668 October 29th, Christopher Vowell is presented by Philippa Percivall, Ballyhea was joined with Bruhenny. It would bring the two parishes very close together, at least for a while.
So it was in the year 1700 that Kerry Fitzmaurice took over at Bruhenny presented by Johis Percival Baronetti. Here lots of changes took place, some good, some foolish I think. The drastic decision to build a new church in Mary Field and leave the beautiful old Bruhenny building. The good ones were, to found a charitable institution at Burton Park for the poor, of forty two pounds per annum by Sir John Percival.
In 1713 a presentation of Limerick Silver, Patten, Ohalice, and Flagan inscription reads, Ex dono viri honorabilis Johannis Percival equitas aurati in usum Roclesiae Parochialis de Browheny.
Now in 1710 an act of parliament sanctions a change to the new site and in the year of 1715, the new church is consecrated in the town land of Maryland quarter of a mile to the west of the town and connected to Burton Park by a beech lined avenue and a two arched stone bridge still standing in the beautiful park lands of Burton Park.
So the beautiful old church of Bruhenny was left to fall to bits in the process and a new era follows, so we read on. It was approximately sixty feet long and thirty feet wide and according to records in 1774 the old church was in ruins. Strangely the New Church’s “Foundation Stone” which was embedded on the West wall inside, now kept at St. Johns reads, Cumf Beat v SPS Deo Opt Max Anno 1792 Domus Orationis. It is likely the new church was built at different stages in the shape of a cross with a square tower.
Rev, Kerry Fitzmorris in 1712 serves at the parishes of Liscarroll, Buttevant, Bregogue as well as Bruhenny, Bregogue had a little church on the North Western end adjoining the town land of Tullig, its cemetery is in Tullig near the wallof Tubbera Tadg it is believed a water font is built into the wall there still, this was told to me by a previous owner Miss Kathleen Ryan, the font is now below the present ground level. Rev. Kerry kept all these parishes until he died in 1728, his father Ulysses Fitzmorris was one of the Landstown family of Kerry County.
Downs Conroy arrived in Brohenny 1728 the 18th March to be rector, and in 1735 you had Robert Brereton from Co. Carlow his mother Catherine was a daughter of George Percival and Mary Crofton and he stayed until 1764, being in charge of Kilbrin as well from 1742. Note a Gargoile or stone head is built into the right pier at Kilbrin this is from the old church which stood inside the South West entrance of Kilbrin.
Charles Percival took over on the 7th of June 1764 as Rector of Bruhenny on presentation of John Earl of Egmont and gets a lease from the Dean of Cloyne of Kilbrogan at three pounds yearly in the parish of Churchtown and gets a fresh lease in 1780 for one pound and ten shillings per annum.
At any rate in 1774 Bruhenny church was in ruins in the churchlands Glebe.
The Glebe Lands amounted to 11 acres 1 rood and 35 perches. The new Glebe Lands at Maryfield had three acres and thirty four perches. 1780 sees Charles Percival A.M. Curate Jr. and he died in 1795. On the year of 95 Rev Matthew Purcell second son of Sir John Purcell in High Fort took the parish with very little Anglican parishioners and in 1805 just one family remained, the salary of the curate 69 pounds four shillings and seven pence and a half penny.
The new church could hold three hundred people, later more would come but never more than forty five parishioners. Rev Matthew Purcell was born in 1771 and died in 1845 interred at Maryfield. I don’t know where Sir John Purcell was buried. At the moment I can see three burial sites only this year 1998. An alter tomb belonging to Rev Lucias George 1859, another one in the middle with iron railings I reckon is Rev. Purcell and a large tomb belonging to the Purcell family. Lucias George was rector in 1845 and Sir Edward Tierney was his patron. In 1860 the Maryfield church is in good order and Rev. Matthew Tierney is rector no glebe house in Churchtown, there is a service every Sunday and Chief Fiests Sacrament monthly and the Three Great Festivals. C.I. population 27. Eleven acres without residence.
Rev, Matthew Tierney resigned in 1872 and went to a parish in or near Bristol. He I think was then last Vicar of Maryfield at Churchtown. The church only 179 years old with a strange history starting in 1715. Built in bits and scraps finally in a cruciform shape the tower and chancel added after, dedicated finally in 1792. In 1834 the square tower was damaged to be repaired again in 1837 at a cost of 250 pounds, to be demolished in 1894. The Dedication Stone written in Latin and was embedded inside of the West wall is safe in St. Johns Buttevant now in 1998 translated goes like this.
“Together with the Blessed Son and Holy Spirit this House of prayer was dedicated to the best and Greatest God in the year 1792. Bruhenny now amalgamated with Buttevant and Rev. Cotter L.L.D. rector, writes according to Grove Whites records, I brought the “Dedication Stone” to Buttevant St. Johns for safe keeping after it was demolished in 1894 also some of the baptismal font. He thought the bowl was from the old Bruhenny church, and VERY OLD. He says again that Maryfield chancel was paved with black and white marble and none of the Percival family were buried in its chancel. As I write now in 1998 the “Dedication Stone” and “font” are in safe keeping and can be seen at any time.
To go back some time to Cloyne and Bruhenny and the connections with outstanding people, Percevals knew and mixed with scientists, philosophers, famous writers and churchmen. Jonathan Swift Dean of St.Patricks Dublin, author of Gullivers Travels a book to give a dig at the crooked politicians and snobs of the day who rode high on the people’s money and labour to let the people in squalor in the streets of Dublin and else where. Likening them to the people he met in his village of Lilliput, A Voyage to B robdengnag, and A Voyage to Laputa and a visit to The Houyhnhnms. Another man or acquaintance was the world famous Sir Isaac Netwon leading scientist discoverer of Gravity. Gallileo some time earlier had the same idea and was jailed for such an outlandish idea. Then Berkley visitor to Burton Hall friend of Swift Philosopher, Reformer enemy of the Slave trade. Bishop of Cloyne as well as Berkley worked hard to rid America North and South of the slave trade to free the black African families dragged from their homes by the sea merchants and ship captains to sell at marts in America to pick cotton for the Irish, English, Welsh and Scotch these settlers acquired vast ranches of land out there for nothing and no help to work them, so they thought slavery was the answer. The cruelty here was outrageous and Berkley fought a hard battle. Cotton was brought in here and the European Continent to be sold to sweat shops at ridiculous low prices. What had this to do with Bruhenny and Annagh. The black families brought in chains to America helped to smash linen prices and all the little linen industries collapsed not alone in Annagh but in the large linen fields of Dromina, but Ballyhooly where there was a big water driven mill.