St Johns Church Edgeworthstown
St Johns Church Edgeworthstown, St. John’s Church of Ireland church is located just off the Main Street in Edgeworthstown.
It is a simple Neo-Gothic limestone church which was built sometime between 1700 and 1750, but may be on the site of an earlier church.
The original church is believed to have been founded around the 6th century by St. Beatan, whose feast-day is 24th January.
The church has a square-planned entrance tower, with a belfry on the upper levels. Internally, St John’s is very simply-decorated, with an attractive stained glass window over the altar and box pews running the length of the nave. Memorials dedicated to members of the parish, in particular the Edgeworth family, line the walls.
Historic visitors to the church include the writer Sir Walter Scott, who was a friend of Maria Edgeworth. The church once had a spire, comprising an iron frame covered in natural slate, which was erected by Richard Lovell Edgeworth in 1811, using a complex system of pullies and weights. The spire lasted until 1935.
The surrounding graveyard features a range of headstones, altar tombs and recumbent (flat) slabs which date from the 18th to the 20th centuries. One of the earliest is dated 1737. Noteworthy graves include the Edgeworth family vault and the tombstones of the Camlisk branch of the O’Farrells of Annaly.
This graveyard is also the resting place of Oscar Wilde’s beloved younger sister, Isola Wilde(1857-67), who died when she was just nine years of age. Isola had been staying with an aunt – Margaret Noble who was the wife of the rector in Edgeworthstown – when she caught a fever and died. Her grave is currently not marked.
Near the church stands the rectory, a fine building dating from about 1735, which was restored in recent years.
The church is open by appointment.