Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Church, walls, gates, piers and railings.

Date of Construction:
1800 - 1819

Address :
Parish Church of St. Mary (C of I) John Mitchel Place Newry Co Down BT34 2BP


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J0853 2610

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

Rectangular nave church in Gothic style with square entrance tower and later chancel. Pitched natural slate roofs with ashlar Newry granite walls and dressings to parapets, windows, doors and other detailing. The chancel faces west geographically, and the tower (at the opposite end) towards John Mitchel Place. A spired free-standing four-stage tower is attached to the gable of the church by a short link block. Corner buttresses with raised and moulded bases rise to full height of tower at front, and insteps slightly at second stage; the buttresses have decorative quatrefoil and lancet panels, all recessed. At centre of tower, two granite steps lead up to a four-order door opening with four-centre arched head (with stepped voussoirs). It is set within a blind arch of two orders (one decorated with diamond studs, the other with chevrons) springing from pilasters with vee channel down the centre of their faces. This opening contains a pair of stained oak four-panel doors with glazed timber tracery fanlight above. A cast metal lamp (once gas, now electric) hangs above. Second stage contains a Gothic window opening, with moulded jambs, hood mould on carved heads, and corbelled apron panel. Immediately over is a cartouche depicting a seated abbot flanked by yew trees. Above this runs a gable-shaped string course which continues as cinquefoil gablets around the buttresses. The third stage has diamond shaped granite moulding around a white-faced clock. Above again is a horizontal string course between the corner buttresses. This delineates the top stage which has a tall hood moulded Gothic opening with chamfered jambs and vertical tracery, behind which are wooden louvres. Around the roof is a projecting stepped and crenellated parapet supported by five moulded brackets. Each corner of the parapet has a pinnacle with cinquefoil gablet under and metal finial cap. An octagonal ashlar masonry needle spire rises from the top of the tower. The left and right cheeks of the tower are similar in every respect to the façade except that the ground floor doors are narrower than at front and there is no cartouche. The rear wall of the tower is also identical from the gabled string course upwards (but with sheeted timber diamond panel devoid of clock). Round metal down pipes on both sides of the tower on this side. Between tower and nave is a short two-stage link block. It has a small square window at ground floor level, and a small Y traceried lancet window above, the latter with hood mould. Above is a moulded string course and a moulded crenellated parapet, stepped behind which is the wall of the upper floor. This also contains a lancet window and has a similar crenellated parapet above. Both sides of this block are identical. All these window openings have chamfered surrounds and cills. At ground floor level on the gable of the nave on either side of the link block is a small four-centred hood moulded window with chamfered surrounds. Above, at first floor, is a tall Gothic window with Y tracery, hood mould, moulded jambs and projecting apron panel on three moulded brackets. There is a buttress to each corner. These are surmounted by gableted and capped pinnacles and form the ends of a plain crenellated parapet which rises up each gable pitch Along the sides of the nave at ground floor are five small traceried windows within four-centre arched openings; each has a stepped square voussoir and chamfered surrounds. Directly below each window, at ground level, is a small rectangular opening for under floor ventilation. At first floor level are five tall hood-moulded Gothic openings with Y tracery lancets, and also with chamfered surrounds. The windows are equally spaced and separated by four full-height three-stage buttresses with recessed panels to top stage. These buttresses finish flush with the bracketed eaves course, above which is a moulded cornice. As noted above, each buttress at front east forms an end to the parapet over the nave gable. The buttresses at the west end of the nave are identical. Plastic down pipes and metal gutters. The chancel abuts the west end (geographically). It is flanked by a block on either side (vestry to south, organ chamber to north) and projects at rear. The side rooms are slightly instepped from the nave, with an angled pinnacled buttress at their join, and an angled stepped and pinnacled buttress to their outside corners. Each side elevation has a small rectangular window with flat hood mould at ground floor. At first floor is a Gothic window with hood mould. Above is a tall louvred window with hood mould and Y tracery (similar to that on the tower). All these windows have chamfered surrounds. There is a metal sheeted door set within a square headed and chamfered opening three steps up on the south wall. Both side rooms have stepped and gabled parapets. There is an identical set of windows to the west-facing walls of these rooms, with parapeted gables over (and with moulded string course under). The chancel projection insteps from the side rooms. It has an angled and stepped three-stage buttress to each outside corner. Its rear elevation has five traceried lights in a large Gothic headed opening with moulded cill course which continues around the cheeks. Above is a small vent, over which is a plain parapeted gable surmounted by a stone cross and with moulded string course under. The latter continues underneath the plain parapeted cheeks (which have no openings) and meets the rising string course from the side rooms. In the angle between the chancel projection and organ room, at the north-west corner, is a modern boiler room. This has a flat concrete roof and dashed walls. The grounds are laid out in lawns with semicircular gravel drive from John Mitchel Place up to and along either side of the building. There are two sets of gates with railings on street façade, with quatrefoil-section ashlar granite piers. The gates and railings are modern with finials and details salvaged from the previous gates. Boundary walls to sides and rear are random rubble. The side walls have quarry-faced copings. On rear wall (to St Mary’s St) is a cast and wrought iron pedestrian gate flanked by square strap-pointed piers with oversailing pyramidal caps. A small lean-to toilet abuts the inside south-west corner. This building has an asbestos slate roof and cement rendered walls, and is enclosed by a cement rendered wall. At north-west corner is a modern flat-roofed building with external oil tank.


O'Farrell Patrick Reside, S Wilson Drew, Thomas

Historical Information

Built to replace St Patrick's Church, High St, which was falling into ruin (HB16/28/001; this church was eventually rebuilt in 1866). Foundation stone laid in 1810, but it was necessary to raise further finance through bequests, public subscriptions and a local tax before its architect and builder Patrick O'Farrell (Blackwater, Co Armagh) could start work the following year. Because of further financial difficulties, it was 1819 before it was completed and consecrated by the Lord Primate, William Stewart. Clock by Edward Smith (Dublin) installed in 1827, the gift of the Earl of Kilmorey. Organ built 1864 by Telford & Telford (Dublin); overhauled 1917. Lectern installed in 1884, the gift of Rev TE Swanzy (son of Rev TB Swanzy). The west end of the church was entirely rebuilt in 1886 by Messrs Collen Bros (Portadown) to designs by Thomas Drew (who later designed St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast and was a pupil of Charles Lanyon). This entailed lengthening the existing chancel and flanking rooms to create the present vestry and organ chamber. Font and choir stalls also of this date (the latter commemorate Rev TB Swanzy). New open pews were also fabricated from the original box pews. The nave arcades were also to be rebuilt, but only the stone columns under the ends of the gallery were completed. The spire was rebuilt in 1993, following lightning damage. Many of the monumments and memorials were transferred from the old church. Primary Sources: 1. Archaeological Survey of Co Down, pp.332-3 Secondary sources: 1. S. W. Reside (1933), St Mary's Parish Church, Newry: its history, memorials, vicars, curates and churchwardens (Newry). 2. T. Canavan (1989), Frontier town: an illustrated history of Newry, p.120 (Belfast: Blackstaff). 3. Irish Builder 1 Feb 1884 (vol 26/ no. 579): p.43; Ibid, 1 May 1886 (vol 28/ no. 633): p.135

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form E. Spatial Organisation H+. Alterations enhancing the building I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

V. Authorship W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance


Rectangular nave church in Gothic style with square entrance tower and later chancel. This church, with its triple-aisled plan form, elegant style, immaculate detailing, vaulted ceiling and galleries, is an excellent architectural composition. Added to this are the internal fittings, all of which add to its character. The building has strong local links, reflected in its military standards and many memorials to important local people.

General Comments

Date of Survey

Monday, August 11, 1997