Thomastown Church

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Thomastown Church
Cill Bhaile Mhic Andáin

Old Thomastown Church.png

Aisle arcade
Ireland relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Thomastown Church
52°31′34″N7°08′21″W / 52.526122°N 7.139052°W / 52.526122; -7.139052 Coordinates: 52°31′34″N7°08′21″W / 52.526122°N 7.139052°W / 52.526122; -7.139052
Location Pipe Street, Thomastown, County Kilkenny
Country Ireland
Denomination Church of Ireland
Previous denomination Pre-Reformation Catholic
Founder(s) Thomas FitzAnthony
Functional status inactive
Style French Gothic [1]
Years built betwee 1215 and 1229
Number of floors 1
Diocese Ossory
Official name Thomastown Church
Reference no. 191

Thomastown Church is a medieval church and National Monument in County Kilkenny, Ireland. [2] [3]

County Kilkenny County in the Republic of Ireland

County Kilkenny is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the South-East Region. It is named after the city of Kilkenny. Kilkenny County Council is the local authority for the county. As of the 2016 census the population of the county was 99,232. The county was based on the historic Gaelic kingdom of Ossory (Osraighe), which was co-terminus with the Diocese of Ossory.



Thomastown Church is located in the centre of Thomastown, immediately behind the Protestant Church and north of the River Nore. [4]

Thomastown Town in Leinster, Ireland

Thomastown, historically known as Grennan, is a town in County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in the south-east of Ireland. It is a lively market town along a stretch of the River Nore which is known for its salmon and trout, with a number of historical landmarks in the vicinity. Visitor attractions include Jerpoint Abbey, Kilfane Glen gardens, and Mount Juliet Golf Course.

River Nore river in Ireland

The River Nore is a 140-kilometre (87 mi) long river located in south-east of Ireland. Along with the River Suir and River Barrow, it is one of the constituent rivers of the group known as the Three Sisters. The river drains approximately 977 square miles (2,530 km2) of Leinster. The long term average flow rate of the River Nore is 42.9 cubic metres per second (m3/s) The river rises in the Devil's Bit Mountain, County Tipperary. Flowing generally southeast, and then south, before emptying into the Celtic Sea at Waterford Harbour, Waterford.


The church was founded by Thomas FitzAnthony, a Cambro-Norman knight who was granted land here in 1215 by John, King of England and Lord of Ireland. [5] It belonged to Inistioge Augustinian Priory (est. 1210). It may also have had Dominican associations. [6] After the Reformation the nave was modified for use by the Anglican Church of Ireland. In 1809 the present Catholic church was built on the site of the south aisle.

John, King of England 13th-century King of England and grantor of Magna Carta

John, also known as John Lackland, was King of England from 1199 until his death in 1216. John lost the Duchy of Normandy and most of his other French lands to King Philip II of France, resulting in the collapse of the Angevin Empire and contributing to the subsequent growth in power of the French Capetian dynasty during the 13th century. The baronial revolt at the end of John's reign led to the sealing of Magna Carta, a document sometimes considered an early step in the evolution of the constitution of the United Kingdom.

Dominican Order Roman Catholic religious order

The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a mendicant Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Dominic of Caleruega in France, approved by Pope Honorius III via the Papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and affiliated lay or secular Dominicans.

Reformation in Ireland

The Reformation in Ireland was a movement for the reform of religious life and institutions that was introduced into Ireland by the English administration at the behest of King Henry VIII of England. His desire for an annulment of his marriage was known as the King's Great Matter. Ultimately Pope Clement VII refused the petition; consequently, in order to give legal effect to his wishes, it became necessary for the King to assert his lordship over the Catholic Church in his realm. In passing the Acts of Supremacy in 1534, the English Parliament confirmed the King's supremacy over the Church in the Kingdom of England. This challenge to Papal supremacy resulted in a breach with the Catholic Church. By 1541, the Irish Parliament had agreed to the change in status of the country from that of a Lordship to that of Kingdom of Ireland.


Thomastown Church was built as a nave and chancel with north and south aisles. The ruins today consist of the north aisle arcade (five arches with quatrefoil pillars, decorated capitals and clerestory) the west gable and a fragment of the crossing tower.

Nave main body of a church

The nave is the central part of a church, stretching from the main entrance or rear wall, to the transepts, or in a church without transepts, to the chancel. When a church contains side aisles, as in a basilica-type building, the strict definition of the term 'nave' is restricted to the central aisle. In a broader, more colloquial sense, the nave includes all areas available for the lay worshippers, including the side-aisles and transepts. Either way, the nave is distinct from the area reserved for the choir and clergy.

Chancel space around the altar of a traditional Christian church

In church architecture, the chancel is the space around the altar, including the choir and the sanctuary, at the liturgical east end of a traditional Christian church building. It may terminate in an apse. It is generally the area used by the clergy and choir during worship, while the congregation is in the nave. Direct access may be provided by a priest's door, usually on the south side of the church. This is one definition, sometimes called the "strict" one; in practice in churches where the eastern end contains other elements such as an ambulatory and side chapels, these are also often counted as part of the chancel, especially when discussing architecture. In smaller churches, where the altar is backed by the outside east wall and there is no distinct choir, the chancel and sanctuary may be the same area. In churches with a retroquire area behind the altar, this may only be included in the broader definition of chancel.

Aisle architectural element

An aisle is, in general (common), a space for walking with rows of seats on both sides or with rows of seats on one side and a wall on the other. Aisles can be seen in airplanes, certain types of buildings, such as churches, cathedrals, synagogues, meeting halls, parliaments and legislatures, courtrooms, theatres, and in certain types of passenger vehicles. Their floors may be flat or, as in theatres, stepped upwards from a stage.

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