Calry Church, The Mall, Rathquarter

Calry Church on the Mall, which is in the Gothic style of architecture, is built on an elevated site overlooking the Garavogue river. The Rector’s Manse is located behind the church on a site further down the slope.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage describes the building as follows:

Detached five-bay single-cell stone Church of Ireland church, built 1824. Square plan single-bay three-stage tower with octagonal steeple to west, single-bay lean-to in corner to south of tower. Pitched slate roof, clay ridge tiles, parapet gutter set behind parapet, cast-iron rainwater goods. Ashlar limestone spire terminating in ball finial. Coursed rubble limestone walling, ashlar limestone stepped buttresses with crocketed pinnacles (clasping at corners), crenellated ashlar limestone parapets raking to gables, moulded ashlar string courses, oblong date plaque ‘CALRY CHURCH 1824 A D’ with hood over on north face of tower over door, blank shield plaque over door to north-west, battered ashlar plinth. Pointed-arched openings to nave, chancel and tower, ashlar hood-moulds, perpendicular tracery to chancel, leaded light windows, painted timber louvres to third stage of tower. Square-headed window openings to east and west gables and second stage of tower, hood-moulds, some square-pane cast-iron windows. Circular and quatrefoil openings to upper levels of east and west gables, hood moulds, painted timber louvres. Four-centred arched ashlar limestone door openings, double chamfered and concave reveals, painted vertically-sheeted timber doors with fixed panels over c. 1980. Set back from road in grounds occupying elevated site overlooking Garavogue River, rubble and ashlar limestone boundary walls, ashlar limestone gate piers, wrought-iron gates and railings.

O’Rorke in covering the history of St John’s Church, Sligo remarks:

We learn, from various advertisements and news paragraphs, which appeared in the Sligo Journal, in the year 1819, that St. John’s Church was then too small to contain the number of Church Protestants in the benefice. To supply the accommodation wanted, the church of Calry was built in 1823; and its first incumbent was Reverend James Armstrong, who was succeeded by Rev. Messrs. Todd, Shone (the present bishop), Dowden, Heany, and Berry, the actual incumbent.

Calry Church on the Mall was built in 1823, to serve the substantial Anglican population on the north side of Sligo. The tall graceful spire has been a prominent Sligo landmark ever since the Church opened in 1824.

Proposals to build a chapel for the growing protestant population were first put forward in March 1817, and the construction of The Calry Church and a Glebe House was carried out by the local building contractor John Lynn.

The Calry Church was constructed to a plain Gothic style with a tower and a lovely spire commands a demanding position on a height overlooking the flowing waters of the nearby Garavogue River.

The stones used in the construction of the church was quarried on the spot, which would explain the somewhat low cost of £5,246.15s for the building works, of which £823.00 was raised by subscription and by the sale of pews.

According to Kilgannon’s history book Sligo and its Surroundings, the construction of the church in 1823 was “said to be the outcome of of some bitterness at a heated parliamentary debate election between two candidates for the representation of the Borough.”

Kilgannon also explains that “Calry was constituted in 1871 a distinct parish by the Diocesan Synod, the appointment of incumbent being vested in the Diocesan Board of Patronage, the parish being previously a curacy in the Union of St Johns, the rector of which was the patron.”

After the church was consecrated in June 1824, its first Curate was the Rev William Armstrong, who ministered until his death in March 1840 at the age of 46.

The 19th century curates who ministered at the church are as follows:

Period of ministry Minister Remarks
1824-1840 Rev. William Armstrong Died on 29 March 1840 at the age of 46.

After his death a Tablet to his memory was erected in the Church and The Armstrong Fund for Assisting in the Education of Sons of the Clergy in the County of Sligo was established.

A trust deed was executed and twelve trustees were appointed to administer the fund.

The sons of Rev. Armstrong’s widow were the first nominees.

1840-1856 Rev. Andrew Gillmor Promoted to the parish of Killenvoy, 1856
1856-1866 Rev. Samuel Shone Distinguished Hebrew Prizeman in his university career.

Curate, Rathlin Island, 1843-1846

Curate, St John’s, Sligo, 1847-1856.

Promoted to the parish of Urney in county Cavan, 1866

1878: appointed Archdeacon of Kilmore and held this position along with the Rectory of Cavan until 1884.

1884: Consecrated Lord Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh.

1867-1871 Rev. John Dowden Curate, St John’s Sligo, 1864-1867

Curate, St Stephen’s, Dublin, 1871-1874

Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant, 1870-1874

Pantonian Professor of Theology and Bell Lecturer in Edinburgh Theological College, 1874-1887

Canon of Edinburgh Cathedral, 1880-1887

Donnellan Lecturer, TCD, 1884

1886: Consecrated Bishop of Edinburgh

1871-1876 Rev. Robert McWalter
1876-1877 Rev. Matthew Magill Died 1877 after only a year as Curate
1877-1887 Rev. Thomas Heaney Curate of Clontibret, 1869-1870

Curate of Enniscorthy, 1870-1873

Curate of Trinity College Dublin, 1873-1876

English Chaplain at Calais, 1887

Rector of St Stephen’s Church, Hull , c.1891-2

1887-1890 Rev. J. Fleetwood Berry Curate of Christ Church, Kingstown, 1881-1883

Diocesan Curate to the Bishop of Meath (Lord Plunket), 1883-1884

Senior Curate of St Matthias’s Church, Dublin, 1884-1887

Rector of St Nicholas’s, Galway, 1890-????

1890-???? Rev. Llewelyn Paul T. Ledoux Distinguished career at Trinity College Dublin

Ordained Deacon, 1881

Ordained Priest, 1882

Curate, Portadown (Diocese Armagh), 1881

Rector, Kilmore, 1883

Curate, Bray (Diocese Dublin), 1888

Incumbent, Killinchy (Diocese Down) 1888

The original interior of the church was fitted in oak and over the years many improvements were made as reported by Kilgannon: “In 1885 a beautiful stained glass window was erected, an din 1887, among other improvements and changes in the internal arrangements, a hydraulic engine was erected to substitute manual labour in the working of the organ. The motive power of this engine is derived from the Kilsellagh water supply, a vault for the purpose having been arranged on the ground floor. It should be mentioned that these improvements are mainly due to the exertions of the late Mrs Wynne, of Hazelwood. Unfortunately, this esteemed lady did not live to see the improvements which she inaugurated brought to completion. A very handsome lectern was presented to the church by Miss Wynne when the alterations were being carried out.”

There are a number of vaults beneath the church which had remained virtually unused since the construction in 1824, until renovation works were carried out in the early 2000s when the vaults were finally put to use.

The “Mrs Wynne” referenced by Kilgannon would appear to be Stella Fanny Gore-Booth who married Owen Wynne VI on 1 November 1870. They had four daughters – Muriel Caroline Louisa, Evelyn Mary, Dorothy Adelaide and Madeline Mary. Owen Wynne VI had no male heir. Eldest daughter, Muriel Caroline Wynne, who married Philip Dudley Perceval of Templehouse in 1892 and died in June 1932, was the last Wynne of Hazelwood.

Her younger sister, Evelyn Mary, married Henry L’Estrange of Kevinsfort House and died October 1952. Her demise ended the direct association of the Wynne family with Sligo after a span of two and a half centuries.

Mrs Stella Fanny Wynne died on 1 March 1887 as a result of severe injuries incurred following an accident on 27 February 1887. The death certificate records that her demise was due to a fractured skull (36 hours certified). She was only 40 years old. However, her legacy and generosity as a patron of Calry Church lives on.



National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

O’Rorke’s History of Sligo

Sligo and its Surroundings (Tadhg Kilgannon)

Hazelwood Heritage Society