By Jim McCarthy
The first Church of Ireland Church in the Village of Churchtown stood in the graveyard beside the Parsonage (now Sampson’s home). The old Parsonage before Sir Edward Tierney rebuilt the village 1825-1848, was a thatched house which stood on the same site as the present house.
A doorway connected the grounds of the Parsonage with the churchyard and when I was a schoolboy the outline of that door could still be seen on the boundary wall. Many of the old Protestant families of Churchtown are buried in vaults underneath the old church in the village. Early members of the Percival family are buried there, also, Conrons of Walshestown Castle, Glovers of Mountcorbett and Egmont, McGraths of Ballyadam and members of the Crofts family of Churchtown House. George Crofts and his wife Mary Willis were buried there in 1741. Also Wills Crofts and his wife, Eleanor Freeman from Ballinguile were buried in the old church in the village in 1793.
THE CHURCH AT MARYFIELD
In the year 1792 a new Protestant Church was built at a place called the Maryfield about a quarter of a mile west of Churchtown village. This church was closed and dismantled around 1905. In the churchyard at Maryfield can be seen the tombs of the Purcells of Burton Park, Taylors of Egmond also the graves of Rev Matthew Purcell and Rev Lucius George.
RECTORS OF CHURCHTOWN PARISH
In the year 1591 Rev Lucas Brady was Vicar of Churchtown. Rev Thomas Holliday came in 1610. In 1615 Rev John Hull, Rev William Burley was there in 1625. Rev John Vesay was Rector of Churchtown in 1662. In 1668 Rev Christopher Vowell was Rector. He was transferred to Charleville in 1671. Rev Kerry Fitzmaurice in 1700. In 1713 Sir John Percival founded a Charitable Institution in Churchtown and endowed it with £42 per annum.
In 1728 Rev Downes Conron was Rector of Churchtown. He was born at Walshestown about two miles east of the village. Rev Robert Breton came in 1735 , Rev Charles Percival, nephew to the Earl of Egmont was Rector of Churchtown in 1764. The Glebeland amounted to 11 acres 3 road 35 perches. In 1795 Rev Matthew Purcell, eldest son of Sir John Purcell of Highfort, Liscarroll, became Rector of Churchtown. Rev Purcell was also Rector of the Parish of Dungourney in East Cork.
When Rev Matthew Purcell died in the year 1845 Sir Edward Tierney claimed the living of the Parish for his son-in-law Rev Sir Lionel Darrell (of the law suit frame ). Rev Lionel Darrell was granted the Parish but he lived as a country gentlman at Fretherne House in Somerset in England, but instead of coming to Churchtown he sent over a young curate in charge.
This young English clergyman was named Rev Lucius George. He was the first to occupy the new parsonage in the village square. Rev Lucius George ministered in Churchtown Parish for 15 years. He died in 1860 and his grave can be seen in the little cemetry at Maryfield. Rev Matthew Tierney came as Rector of Churchtown in 1860. He resigned in 1873 when he was appointed to a parish at Hemel Hempstead in England. When Rev Matthew Tierney left, the Church of Ireland Parish of Churchtown was then joined to Buttevant.
SOME BURIALS IN THE OLD CHURCHYARD, CHURCHTOWN
Edward Glover of Mountcorbett and his wife Mary Barry of Ballyvonaire died 1763. John Glover of Ballygowan, Doneraile, buried 1825. George Crofts of Templemary, Buttevant buried 1857.