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The buildings of this historic foundation were wholly wrecked by the soldiers of Cromwell in 1649, and left much as we see them to-day. • The bells which were considered very fine, bowever, escaped in the demolition of the church. By order of the Protector they were shipped to the arsenal of Chester, probably with the intention of having them
recast for gun metal. The Dean of Liverpool, by some chance, having heard of their fame, secured them by purchase. They may now be heard at the city of the Mersey in River-street church.
None of the tombs, and they must have been many, of famous prelates, abbots, and heroes, who sleep in Selskar, escaped the destruction of Cromwell, save one or two mutilated slabs. The quartered arms of Stafford and Sutton, which appear with the inscription on one of these form a subject of heraldic interest. From the devices, it would seem the epitaph commemorates descendants of the two ill-fated houses—Buckingham of Maxstoke, and De Someri, of Dudley Castle.' - In the documents enacting its suppression as well as all the subsequent deeds of assignment relating to it the names of the churches of St. Dulogue and St. Patrick are invariably coupled with that of Selskar ; they were part of its belongings.
Beyond tradition, the strongest evidence of the Danish associations of the abbey lies perhaps in this connexion of its name with that of St. Dulogue. This saint was the titular patron of the Norsemen. In various sea ports occupied by them—Dublin, Waterford, Carrickfergus, &c., are churches or parishes dedicated to St. Olave or Dulogue. In Wexford
1 Stafford and De Someri (Sutton), from whom the Wexford families of the names were descended.
nothing remains of this dedication ; but the Danish parish bounded by the stream of Bishop's water is well known.
The sister church of St. Dulogue's, St. Patrick's, situate in the east end of the town, is the best preserved of the ruins of Wexford. To the antiquarian, historical evidence is scarcely needed to tell that this church once belonged to the abbey of SS. Peter and Paul. Its buildings are in miniature those of the latter church. Here we again find the double naves, supported by the centre row of pillars, the diverse windows, one pointed, the other of later Gothic, filling the eastern gables. There was, however, no tower.
Two eyelet belfries, set east and west respectively, are a peculiar feature of St. Patrick's. One of these, which stood above the altar, contained the “Sanctus Bell ” which was rung from the sanctuary at the more solemn parts of service. The chancel arch is worthy of admiration.
St. Mary's Church stands farther east of St. Patrick's ; very little of its remains may now be seen. There are in existence many fine illustrations of its ruins as they stood in the beginning of this century. In design it was much more beautiful than any of the mediaeval churches of the town. The capitals of its pillars, mouldings of its arches, and tracery of its windows were of late decorated work. It is interesting to note that
Kilkenny Temies, on the the ill-fate
the bell of St. Mary's is still preserved in Wexford. It escaped the vandalism of Cromwell's followers, and after an eventful series of peregrinations found its way to the Christian Brothers' schools, Joseph-street, where it is now used.
No traces remain of the pre-Patrician church of St. Iberius, the Celtic patron of Wexford. The present parish church dedicated to the saint possibly stands close to its site.
Of the religious establishments which had their sites outside the walls of Wexford, much interest is centered in the Hospital of St. John, now marked by the graveyard in John-street. It was founded by William Earl Marshal, about the year 1211. It is one of the many foundations of this family of famous builders so intimately associated with the palatinate of Leinster at the period of the Conquest. A chapter of the Knights of the Order was held here in 1234, in the hope of making peace between De Burgh and Richard Earl Marshal. The effort however was ineffectual. Shortly afterwards the ill-fated Earl fell a victim to the treachery of his enemies, on the Curragh of Kildare, whence he was borne to Kilkenny Castle, where he died from his wounds.
The Convent and Church of the Franciscans date from 1230. On the same site a church and hospital dedicated to SS. Bridget and John had been previously erected for the Knights Templars by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and Lord of Wexford. This church, with its property and endowments, passed to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem shortly afterwarıls, and, at the request of William Marshal, the younger, was given by them to the Fransciscans. In the 35th year of the reign of Henry VIII. this convent met the common fate of suppression. However, the church was again restored to the Order, and in that period of religious toleration accorded through the measures of Falkland, the Divine Mysteries were permitted to be celebrated there, the church being outside the walls of the town. In 1649, on Wexford being invested by Cromwell, ruin fell upon the home of the Franciscans. Forty years later the site was once more restored, and the present edifice erected partly on the walls of the old Church of SS. Bridget and John.
Amongst the mediæval foundations of Wexford around which a sympathetic interest clings is that of St. Mary Magdalen, at Maudlinstown. It was a leper hospital, and is supposed to have been founded about 1170, and endowed by Ferrand, the friend and companion in arms of Raymond le Gros. Ferrand was one of the bravest of the Norman adventurers. His valour was intensified by the fact that he was a victim of the terrible disease, leprosy. He is said to have courted death in battle in preference to the slow but certain death which awaited him from his loathsome malady.
Not far from Maudlinstown, at Kerlogue, was a church of the Military Order of the Templars. It was also one of the Pembroke
foundations, and was attached to the Commandery of Wexford. On the suppression of the Templars, when their possessions passed to the Knights of St. John, many of their churches were abandoned. Though roofless for centuries, the altar at Kerlogue remained intact, and a few years since it was removed and re-erected in the grounds of the modern church of Bride-street, where it may be seen.
St. Peter's, St. Michael's, and St. Brigid's, complete the list of the ancient churches of Wexford. Of St. Peter's Church there are little traces except the foundations, and the graveyard that surrounds it has been forsaken for more than a century. This parish was of considerable area. It extended from the south-west part of the town to the mountain of Forth. It was bounded on the north by the parish of Carrick, and on the east by the parish of St. Michael, and Maudlinstown, and on the south by the parish of Rathaspeck. The dedication of the old church is described as “St. Peter ye minor."
St. Brigid's Church, save in its dedication to the national patroness, seems to have few traditions. On the occasion of the building of the magnificent convent of St. Bride, a coign from the last vestiges of old St. Brigid's was used as the foundation stone of the new building.
“St. Michael's in the Fields," outside the walls of Wexford, was a Danish church. The cemetery which marks its site in the Faythe is still much used. The Norsemen were the merchants of their timetraders of the deep. When they became Christians, in all their commercial transactions they invoked St. Michael. He was besought to preside over all their worldly affairs. His church was the last spot they visited when embarking on their perilous voyages, the first to which they repaired to make thanksgiving on their return. Their crops, their homes, their domestic cares, were also placed in his keeping. The festival of Michaelmas was the pay time in money or kind which dated their engagements. This usage became by custom part of the common English constitution, which survives as the fixed period for settlement of rents, insurance premiums, &c., to which we adhere to this day. We seldom meet an old Danish church of St. Michael that does not command a view of the sea. The Danes invariably built a tower beside the church, which was used as a beacon tower. In this custom, to a large extent, they followed the traditions of their old religion. Like the Irish themselves previous to their conversion, the Danes were ardent fire worshippers. Of the forms of paganism which prevailed in most parts of the world in the Mythic Ages, that of fire worship was the most ideal. The inclination, in its still clouded reason, of the human heart towards the worship of a Supreme Being, was attracted to that mysterious luminary, the sun. Earthly fire, so suggestive of its brightness, became sacred in the eyes of almost all the cultured nations of antiquity. The Egyptians kept a perpetual flame burning within every temple. The Greeks, the Latins, and the Persians, in addition to the flames in their temples, had in all their cities and
the meart towards nary, the
ost parts of the Shippers. Of thes to their